Nine was the ultimate number in Heaven and Earth. But ten was perfect!
Meng Hao’s mind and spirit trembled. In all the ancient records he had researched, he had never read anything that mentioned a tenth Dao Pillar in Foundation Establishment. Even in ancient times, Cultivators never had more than nine.
Because of the change in the Heavens, the path of the Qi Condensation stage had been broken, making the tenth level of Qi Condensation disappear. That information was recorded in the ancient records. However… there was no such information about a tenth Dao Pillar!
As a Furnace Lord of the East Pill Division, he was required to have a deep understanding of history. As such, it was very beneficial to comb through the ancient records looking for clues about the ancient Dao of alchemy. After becoming a Furnace Lord, he had browsed through a vast amount of the Violet Fate Sect’s ancient records.
Despite all of that, he had never encountered any information regarding a Cultivator with a tenth Dao Pillar during Foundation Establishment.
And yet, Meng Hao could clearly sense… a tenth Dao Pillar was now forming!
Only Meng Hao was able to sense this tenth Dao Pillar, anyone else would be unable to. In much the same way that no one could sense which Cultivator the Nascent Soul blood he possessed came from, Meng Hao made sure that no one could pick up any clues about his Dao Pillars.
The only thing people could see was the increasing amount of spiritual energy erupting from the Dao Geyser. It showed no sign of lessening; it continued to envelop Meng Hao and he continued to absorb it.
As he absorbed the spiritual energy, the outline of the tenth Dao Pillar grew clearer.
Ten percent, twenty percent, thirty percent…
Dao pillar energy roared within Meng Hao, filling him with a power he had never experienced before. A shocking feeling filled him, as if he were soaring to the highest heavens.
Power! Unprecedented power!
His Spiritual Sense continued to increase exponentially. Before, it could spread out over roughly two hundred fifty meters; now, five hundred, one thousand….
His mind was filled with clarity, and as the spiritual energy poured in, he could sense everything around him. His perception of everything was different than it had been before, clearer, as if everything was in more detail. This clarity was even deeper than what he had experienced in the moment when he acquired the Perfect Foundation.
“This… is this the true Perfect Foundation?” he murmured to himself. The world outside of the spiritual energy vortex was not visible, but with his Spiritual Sense, he could see it clearly.
His heart began to race. A feeling of resolve and excitement welled up within him. He took a deep breath, intense anticipation and steadfastness filling his eyes as the spiritual energy surged into him.
He slowly lifted his hand up, then looked down at it, closing it into a fist. As the fist tightened, he felt strength.
It felt as if his blood and flesh were reforming, filling with a power that shook his mind.
The shocking level of this power was such that Meng Hao felt as if he could tear magical treasures to pieces with his bare hands. This was a similar transformation as that which had occurred when he entered the tenth level of Qi Condensation. It felt like a baptism of sorts; the power of the tenth Dao Pillar was completely transforming him, making his body more suitable for cultivation, turning his body itself into a treasure! 1
Meng Hao had the strong feeling that at the moment, he could crush all Foundation Establishment Cultivators without the aid of any magical techniques. Even Dao Children and Cultivators of the great circle of Foundation Establishment could be destroyed bare handed.
Meng Hao began to pant. From the moment he had entered the Cultivation world, he had thirsted for power, had dreamed to stand at the pinnacle. One thing after another had happened to cause him to grow stronger, all the way to this day. Meng Hao clenched his fists. He knew… that he was striding the path he had dreamed of!
Only the strong could tread this path, and now, there was no turning back. He could only stubbornly continue!
More spiritual energy erupted from the Dao Geyser, inundating Meng Hao, growing his Spiritual Sense, feeding his body, growing his Cultivation base.
The range of his Spiritual Sense increased, his body grew stronger, and his Cultivation base shot upward. His tenth Dao Pillar was rapidly solidifying!
Forty percent, fifty percent, sixty percent….
The surrounding Southern Domain Cultivators watched on dumbstruck and panting. The indescribable spiritual energy erupting out of the Dao Geyser left them in a daze. The sheer amount of spiritual energy dwarfed that seen during the enlightenment experienced by anyone in the past.
This was especially true of the following ten or so breaths. The spiritual energy was not subsiding, but growing even more abundant, as if all of the power of the Dao Geyser were exploding out.
Black Lands Dao Children Luo Chong and Xu Fei panted in shock. Wang Lihai and the other Southern Domain Dao Children also watched on in disbelief.
“Is he… is he going to reach Core Formation?”
“It doesn’t look like Core Formation, but… the spiritual energy seems without end! It seems like an ordinary Core Formation Cultivator couldn’t even match up!”
Conversations buzzed endlessly among the surrounding Cultivators. The person with the most unsightly face of all was none other than the unmasked azure-masked Cultivator. His aged face was now filled with shock. He could only stare fixedly at the shadow of Meng Hao within the dense spiritual energy.
The sense of impending crisis within him grew even more intense. The shadowy figure within the spiritual energy seemed to be transforming into something from his nightmares.
“I can’t let him continue!” the man said, gritting his teeth. His eyes filled with ferocity and determination. He lifted his hand to push against his forehead. A booming sound rolled out as the Core Qi, which had previously dissipated, once again seemed to ignite into being. The image of a sword once again appeared within the Core Qi. At the same time, the unmasked Cultivator flashed incantation gestures with both hands. The Core Qi sword screamed forth, heading directly toward Meng Hao, who was still enveloped with spiritual energy.
The sword moved with incredible speed, almost immediately reaching the spiritual energy vortex. A massive boom sounded out, but the sword was incapable of penetrating more than a teeny bit into the spiritual energy!!
The unmasked Cultivator was of the Core Formation stage, but the density of the spiritual energy erupting from the Dao Geyser was such that even his Core Qi sword couldn’t pierce through it.
The sword was stuck part way into the spiritual energy vortex. It began to tremble, as if it might be swept away at any moment.
It was at this moment that Meng Hao’s tenth Dao Pillar reached seventy percent completion!
His face unsightly, the unmasked Cultivator flashed an incantation sign with his right hand and then pressed down on his forehead. He then opened his mouth and spat out a mouthful of blood. The blood rapidly began to coalesce into the shape of another sword.
“Core Soul Emergence Slaying!” roared the unmasked Cultivator, his eyes glowing brightly. His right hand formed an incantation gesture and then waved forward. Immediately, his eyes bulged and a tremor ran through his body. Ghost images of his own face suddenly flickered into existence. This was none other than his soul.
The soul flew out of his body, merging into the blood, solidifying into the form of a blood sword.
The sword buzzed, emitting a power seemingly capable of destroying anything. The blood sword shot out to merge with the Core Qi to form… a real sword!
The blood was an embryo, the soul was the sword spirit, and the Core Qi formed the blade. This was… the Cultivator’s Consummate Life Force Sword! It emitted a shocking scream as it pierced into the spiritual energy vortex and headed directly toward Meng Hao.
It slowly approached him. Its speed was not great, but it showed no signs of stopping. It seemed it wouldn’t stop moving until Meng Hao was dead. It approached at a crawl: one hundred meters, fifty meters, twenty five meters, fifteen meters….
Meng Hao closed his eyes. He floated in the midst of the vortex of spiritual energy, his tenth Dao Pillar now eighty percent complete!
The unmasked Cultivator’s body trembled and his face was pale. It seemed as if his life force was being suppressed; a death aura appeared. Despite this, he continued to exert maximum power, using his soul to power the Consummate Life Force Sword closer to Meng Hao.
The soul within the sword let out a deep howling noise. In the blink of an eye, the sword was now only ten meters from Meng Hao. The unmasked Cultivator could now clearly see Meng Hao floating there, eyes closed. He could also sense something awakening within Meng Hao, something that seemed like an ancient wild beast.
No one would interfere in this magical battle. It didn’t matter that Meng Hao was at a critical juncture of a Cultivation base breakthrough. It didn’t matter that the unmasked Cultivator’s actions were virtually a sneak attack. This battle was between the two of them, and the two of them alone.
The other azure-masked Black Lands Cultivators did nothing to assist their compatriot. Nor did the Southern Domain Cultivators do anything to block him.
Within the space of a moment, the sword was three meters away from Meng Hao. It glittered coldly, heading directly toward his forehead….
Meng Hao’s tenth Dao Pillar was rapidly congealing. It was now ninety percent complete!
“DIE!!” screamed the unmasked Cultivator’s soul shrilly. The Consummate Life Force Sword emitted a roaring sound as it approached Meng Hao. Three meters. One meter. Half a meter….
Soon, it was only a few centimeters from Meng Hao’s forehead!!
It was at this moment that an incredible, heaven-shaking roar filled Meng Hao’s body. His tenth Dao Pillar was now one hundred percent complete!
Meng Hao slowly lifted his right hand, clasping two fingers down onto the tip of the Consummate Life Force Sword, which was only half a centimeter from his forehead.
“This is the true Perfect Foundation!” Meng Hao murmured to himself. His eyes suddenly snapped open, revealing frigid iciness and shocking killing intent.
This gaze contained a cold, callous aura.
This gaze was filled with a shocking, threatening glow.
This gaze erupted with an unbelievable domineering aura.
At the exact same time, Meng Hao could sense something within his bag of holding. Something inside was suddenly calling out with an incredible thirst.
This call came from within the blood-colored mask. It was coming from that which Meng Hao previously had been unable to even touch… the flag of three streamers! 2
This chapter was sponsored by Graham Kemp and Phong Bui
Meng Hao reached the tenth level of Qi Condensation in chapter 75 ↩
The flag of three streamers has been mentioned a few times, including chapter 130, chapter 137, chapter 177 ↩