“Spend the next day in rest and recovery,” said Ling Yunzi. “After that, the top 16 will be selected!” Meng Hao and the others among the top 32 were now getting ever closer to the top of the main trunk of the ancient Dao Tree. Currently, they began to rest and prepare for the battles to get into the top 16.
By now, the battles to select the top 32 had already begun for the Nascent Soul and Spirit Severing stages. From Meng Hao’s position up above, he could finally see Chen Fan down in the Nascent Soul arena matches.
Although Chen Fan was currently fighting against a Nascent Soul cultivator like himself, the level of difficulty to get into the top 32 was extreme.
Nevertheless, he was still enduring. His sword strikes had gained an additional sharpness which, combined with his gloomy demeanor, caused shock to fill the heart of his opponent.
Chen Fan had long since drawn the notice of quite a few sects. His sword contained a Domain, even though he himself was only in the Nascent Soul stage. Someone like that was certain to make stunning accomplishments in the future.
One of the Three Churches and Six Sects, the Solitary Sword Pavilion, which was somewhat related to the Solitary Sword Sect, was especially interested in Chen Fan. They were actually the first to take note of him.
The day passed by quickly, and in the end, Chen Fan made it into the top 32.
As for Meng Hao, he began to fight for his spot in the top 16!
As the battle began, glittering light spread out, and they moved closer to the top of the tree. Meng Hao’s opponent was another Chosen!
It was the young woman from the Five Colors Sect, who wore robes that were a mixture of five colors. Meng Hao had been paying attention to her in previous battles, and knew that she had astonishing skill in five elements magic.
This young woman was much more cautious than Meng Hao; once she saw who her opponent was, her heart began to thump. Of the handful of people she truly feared in the arena matches, Meng Hao was one of them.
After she and Meng Hao clasped hands to each other, the young woman took the initiative, performing a double-handed incantation, immediately unleashing metal, wood, water, fire and earth, all five elements. They materialized into a massive sea, a huge battleship, a blazing sun, and an enormous clay golem that wielded a golden greatsword, all of which shot toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s eyes gleamed with the light of anticipation. Body flickering, he waved his hand, causing a Violet Sea to descend, which was his water totem. Then the Golden Crow appeared, his metal totem. After that were his wood, fire, and earth totems. Shockingly, five elements fought against five elements.
The clash caused wild colors to flash about, and rumbling to fill the air. The audiences in the outside world were looking on with rapt attention.
In the arena, Meng Hao and the young woman fought back and forth in midair. Metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, the five elements, were unleashed amidst rumbling booms. In a short time, they had exchanged several dozen attacks, but throughout it all Meng Hao never went all out. Rather, he merely relied on the five elements as the avenue of attack while facing off against the woman.
He was using this fight to strengthen his five elements magic. Considering that the young woman was even more skilled than Meng Hao in the use of the five elements, this match gave those watching it the feeling that it was two disciples from the Five Colors Sect who were fighting.
In fact, the disciples from that very sect were somewhat confused, and watched in shock as the battle unfolded.
“Fang Mu actually excels in five elements magic as well!!”
“This is unbelievable! Although many people can use five elements magic to some degree, no one can compare to the Five Colors Sect. And yet, Fang Mu is actually evenly matched with Han Mei!”
There were sixteen arenas with thirty-two people fighting in them; no one had secured victory as of yet. It was at this point that a black wind rose up within the Ruins of Immortality. Not even the enormous corpse beneath the ancient Dao Tree could do anything to prevent its arrival. It swept out, appearing directly above the huge tree. Inside of the black wind, a pair of white eyes could be seen, which stared down at the crowds of people fighting down below.
The instant the black wind appeared, the faces of Ling Yunzi and the other two old men flickered. It wasn’t just them; the crowds out in the Ninth Mountain and Sea were also shocked.
Most nervous of all were the Patriarchs in the starry sky palace. They all rose to their feet, even the old men from the Three Great Daoist Societies, their eyes widening in response to the sudden appearance of the black wind.
“The ancient Dao Tree was personally planted by the Paragons, and contains a bit of the Paragons’ will,” said the Patriarch from the Nine Seas God World. “They will be safe as long as they stay on the tree.”
By now, all of the fighters on the Dao Tree had seen the Black Wind, and their faces flickered. Ling Yunzi and the other two old men took deep breaths, and then Ling Yunzi’s voice rang out.
“You must not leave the leaves of the tree! As long as you remain on the leaves you will be in no danger!”
Almost in the same instant that Ling Yunzi’s words could be heard, a scream rang out from off in the distance, a sound so piercing it seemed capable of shredding iron or rock. It echoed about, and to the people on the tree it merely gave them a twinge of pain in their ears, inflicting not even a minor hindrance to them. However, Ling Yunzi and the other two old men coughed up blood and, faces falling, quickly retreated as close as possible to the tree.
In that same moment, an enormous eyeball began to descend from up above. It was thoroughly bloodshot, and as it neared, the veins of blood within the eye began to extend themselves and whip around. Suddenly, a shrill voice echoed out.
“Who! Who plucked out my right eye!?!?
“My right eye! Get back here, come back….”
As the sound echoed about, the crowds on the Dao Tree coughed up blood. Thankfully, a bright glow spread out from the Dao Tree, ensuring that there were no deaths, only injuries.
The black wind and the eye merely milled about outside the Dao Tree, apparently in dread of it. However, after a moment, the black wind seemed to lose patience. A shrill shriek could be heard as an enormous, decomposing roc flew out from inside. It was shockingly large, and as it flew out, its sharp talons slashed out toward the Dao Tree.
Before it could get very close, brilliant light spread out from the Dao Tree, causing the roc to let out a miserable shriek and fall back. However, it did not leave. Instead, it continued to loiter outside of the Dao Tree, its eyes radiating an intense aura of death and savagery.
Considering that was all that happened, Meng Hao, although shocked, didn’t pay very close attention to the matter. However, just when he was about to resume fighting with the young woman, another figure approached from off in the distance.
It was a man with half a head, his body surrounded by swirling black mist. He held a banner in his hand, and a sword had been plunged into his side. The grievous wound that had taken off half of his head did not appear to have been inflicted while alive, but rather as if some creature had bitten it off after he was already dead. Instead, the fatal blow that killed him was apparently delivered by the sword that was still stuck into his side.
He approached slowly, his one remaining eye sweeping over the crowds until it finally came to rest on Meng Hao. Then, he began to head directly toward him.
When Ling Yunzi and the others saw the man, their faces fell. Meng Hao’s eyes flickered.
It was at this moment that the young woman from the Five Colors Sect suddenly performed an incantation gesture and attacked. Her five elements magic caused five-colored light to blaze up, transforming into a five-colored sealing mark that rotated rapidly as it shot through the air toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao frowned. He was no longer interested in fighting, so he punched out with his right hand, simultaneously causing his Dharma Idol to appear. Intense energy surged out, and a boom could be heard as the five-colored sealing mark shattered. The young woman’s face fell, and blood spurted from her mouth.
It was in this moment that the half-headed man waved his right hand, causing the banner in his hand to unfurl. A black mist appeared, which transformed into a huge vortex. At the same time, he pointed toward Meng Hao.
“Come… come… come….” His voice was archaic, as if it had originated in ancient times. As the voice echoed out, an enormous gravitational force exploded out and enveloped the tree leaf Meng Hao was on. Meng Hao’s face flickered, and he immediately dropped to the surface of the leaf. However, the face of the young woman from the Five Colors Sect fell as she was involuntarily swept up into the air. In the blink of an eye, she appeared to be on the verge of… flying completely away from the leaf.
Everyone looked on as it happened, but none of them were able to do anything to come to her aid. Ling Yunzi and the others stared with wide eyes, but could do nothing to help.
The crowds watching in the Ninth Mountain and Sea observed the scene with wide eyes, and many gasps could be heard.
In the starry sky palace, the Matriarch from the Five Colors Sect watched with an expression of unprecedented anxiety. The young woman participating in the arena matches was not a Chosen of the sect, but one of her direct bloodline descendants.
“Save me!” the girl cried in shrill alarm. She was now flying through the air toward the edge of the leaf, and was just about to be sucked outside. She could see the terrifying roc inside the black wind nearby, opening its decomposing mouth. She could also see the eyeball, with the countless veins stretching out from it.
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered, and he suddenly extended his hand toward the girl and made a grabbing motion. The Star Plucking Magic was unleashed as he grabbed onto her and began to pull her back. However, the suction force was too strong, and all Meng Hao could do was slow her down a bit.
“Hurry up and concede!” he growled.
The young woman suddenly seemed to come to her senses, and urgently cried out, “I concede!!”
As soon as the two words left her mouth, and just as she was about to be sucked outside, glittering light surrounded her and she vanished. When she reappeared, she was back down on the first layer of leaves, badly shaken and her face ashen. She looked up toward Meng Hao with an expression of deep gratitude.
Meng Hao heaved a sigh of relief, then sat down cross-legged, looking out coldly at the half-headed man outside of the Dao Tree.
Everyone else who had been watching also sighed in relief. Ling Yunzi looked over at Meng Hao with even more admiration than before. Even he hadn’t thought of using the words ‘I concede’ to get out of danger.
Everyone out in the Ninth Mountain and Sea was completely surprised by everything that had happened. They were especially shocked by how quickly Meng Hao had reacted. To them, it was evidence of incredible quick thinking and resourcefulness.
“That’s right! All she had to do was concede, and then she was teleported out. It took a moment, but that was definitely the simplest method. How come I didn’t think of that!?”
“This Fang Mu is extremely quick-witted to come up with a plan like that in such a situation!”
Up in the palace in the sky, the Matriarch from the Five Colors Sect took a deep breath and then glanced at Meng Hao on the vortex screen. Her expression was one of gratitude; she was not the type of person who liked to owe favors to others, so this was a kindness she would be sure to repay in the future.
“The arena matches will now continue,” said Ling Yunzi from his position beneath the Dao Tree. “All of you must remember to never step foot outside of the arena. If any situation arises similar to what has just occurred, it would be much better to concede than to die.” Ling Yunzi sighed. Although he was aware of why the Three Great Daoist Societies had chosen this place to hold the arena matches, the dangers of the area made it such that those in the Spirit Realm really should not be here.