Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 24 – Thirty-Five Corpses
“I have zero chance. I’m not even close to meeting the mark.” Skyfire Brightshore left the primessence chains, then shook his head ruefully.
“Don’t let yourself feel too depressed about this. At least the two of us will keep you company, right?” Prince Greatjoy laughed.
“Solewind is a Heartforce Cultivator, remember?” Firesurge sent him a mental message of consolation. “As for Darknorth, he joined the Twelve Palaces just a short while ago but quickly rose to become the second-ranked expert in our trials. His rate of improvement is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not surprising that the two fo them were able to make it into the inner reaches.”
Skyfire nodded. Moments later, Prince Greatjoy nodded as well. Although he was an incredibly proud man, he had to admit that Ji Ning’s rate of improvement really was fast.
“If I fall one step behind, I’ll always be behind.” Firesurge frowned.
“Haha, let’s not get depressed.” Prince Greatjoy was in a fine mood. “In the end, lucky encounters and karmic blessings might be useful, but cultivation is ultimately up to yourself and your own efforts! They are in the inner reaches while we are in the outer reaches, but we won’t necessarily fall behind them!”
“Right. In fact, we might actually overtake them.” Firesurge nodded as well.
However, they all knew that they were just pumping themselves up and encouraging themselves. They all understood that the inner reaches had far more opportunities hidden within them than the outer reaches did, and both Solewind and Darknorth were just as talented as the three of them. There was no way they wouldn’t improve even further!
Prince Greatjoy’s retainer, ‘World Goddess Skywolf’, also gave the primessence chains a try. In the end, she was forced to come to a halt at around five hundred kilometers.
Flamefairy Su Youji actually managed to make it close to the six hundred kilometer mark. Clearly, she was quite skilled at defending against illusions, as that was her own path as well. Alas, in the end she simply hadn’t reached a high enough level of skill in this Dao.
Solewind’s retainer, Chaos Immortal Swallowback, actually managed to make it all the way to the nine hundred and ten kilometer mark! This badly shocked Ning and all the other spectators. Who would’ve thought that he would be able to make it this far?! This was almost as far as Prince Greatjoy himself had made it, and was a far stronger performance than Waterlord Firesurge’s!
Of course, in an actual battle he was far from being a match for Prince Greatjoy, Firesurge, or Skyfire. In the field of resisting illusions, however, he was clearly a very strong contender.
“Solewind and Darknorth, the two of you can stay in the inner reaches. We’ll wander the outer reaches. Don’t end up weaker than us by the next time we meet!” Prince Greatjoy laughed from afar, his voice rippling through space and making it to the other side of the chains.
“We’ll part ways here. The two of you better not disappoint me!” A stubborn, intense light gleamed in Firesurge’s eyes.
As for Su Youji, she stared at Ji Ning from afar.
Chaos Immortal Swallowback did the same towards his own master, Heartlord Solewind.
The two parties separated, heading off in different directions.
Prince Greatjoy and the others depart, beginning their journey through the various mysterious regions of the outer reaches. There, they would search for their own karmic blessings and opportunities. As for Ning and Solewind, they began their true journey into the Prime Reaches.
“Where the hell did these World-level cultivators come from?” The twelve spectators and Daolord Owlbath were all utterly amazed. They had been wandering the outer reaches for many years now, and dreamed of being able to make it past the primessence chains. They knew exactly how hard it was for one to be able to actually overcome the chains… but just now, two of the eight World-level cultivators in that group, the ones named ‘Solewind’ and ‘Darknorth’, had actually succeeded. Two others had made it past the nine hundred kilometer mark!
“Given how extraordinarily strong their hearts and souls are, they must be under the tutelage of a truly extraordinary power.”
“No ordinary school could possibly hand over eight Archaeus medallions at once.” They couldn’t help but continue to chatter in amazement, having firmly engraved the names and faces of Ning and the others in their minds.
Ning and Solewind gave the primessence chains a final glance. Prince Greatjoy and the others had already flown away.
“Let’s go,” Solewind said.” “Once we leave the Prime Reaches, we’ll meet with them again.”
“Right.” Ning nodded. He had left a message-talisman with Su Youji. Once they left the inner reaches, he would be able to locate her with ease, thanks to his connection to that talisman. Most likely, Solewind had left behind something similar with his own retainer, Chaos Immortal Swallowback.
The world of the inner reaches was aw orld that was roughly a billion kilometers in size. This wasn’t exactly small, but for cultivators of their power it wasn’t exactly large either.
This place was filled with an aura of utterly immense power. All flight was impossible here, and it was impossible for one to scan the area using godsense or chaosense, much less engage in spatial teleportation! The only option was to rely on one’s two feet. Thankfully, the two fo them were able to walk quite quickly, moving far faster than the limits of the Heavenly Daos.
“This place is an ancient battlefield.” As Ning and Solewind advanced through this world, they moved towards the peak of a mountain, then came to a halt and surveyed the entirety of the inner reaches.
As far as the eye could see, the earth was littered with trenches, gouges, canyons, crater, and rubble. This was a ruined, destroyed world. Look at that terrifying gorge over there, filled with an utterly terrifying sword-intent that was so strong that Ning could hardly breathe. The strength and intensity of that sword-intent was so great that it was definitely the most powerful sword-intent Ning had ever encountered.
Even the most powerful sword-strike of Emperor Mirrorsnow was significantly weaker compared to the sword-intent radiating from that great gorge.
Billowing plumes of watery light.
Chaotic fields of spacetime.
The entire world of the inner reaches was filled with the scars of battle. If you could recognize a a leopard’s spots, you’d know you were looking at a leopard. Just by looking at the remaining scars, Ning was able to imagine how incredibly powerful the major powers who left the scars behind were.
“So many corpses… and almost all of them are 540,000 meters tall,” Solewind said in amazement.
“From our position atop this mountain, I can see at least twenty-six corpses.” Ning stared from afar as well. Due to the nearby mountains blocking off his vision as well as the tremendous power throbbing within this world, Ning wasn’t able to bend light and see far beyond the surrounding mountains. In a ‘normal’ place, he would be able to see everything for countless kilometers around him, even if he was inside a completely sealed-off edifice.
Alas… this place was different.
“They look like cultivators, but all of their corpses are 540,000 meters tall. Some of them are even larger! Those are probably the special lifeforms,” Ning said.
“All of them should be at the Eternal Emperor level,” Solewind evaluated.
A divinity’s height was one way to measure their power.
Ning and the others had reached the limits of power possible for World Gods, with a total of 36,000 godgems in their bodies. As for the Dao-tree within their Jindan chaos regions, the trees were 108,000 meters tall. Their true personal height was also roughly 108,000 meters tall! Many of the great powers were born as ordinary mortals who were merely a few meters tall, and thus they were accustomed to using those heights in their ‘normal’ form. As a result, in both the Endless Territories as well as this alternate universe, most people stayed at a ‘normal’ height of just a few meters.
Even the princes of the Brightshore Kingdom whose true bodies were the size of chaos stars would generally stay in a form where they were roughly on par with Ji Ning in size.
The absolute hard limit for World-level cultivators was 108,000 meters.
The absolute limit for Daolords was 540,000 meters.
Reaching this height meant that you had reached the Verge of the Daomerge. One you succeeded in your Daomerge, your divine body would remain 540,000 meters tall and be comprised of 540,000 godgems. The difference was… upon succeeding in the Daomerge, the ‘Dao’ within those godgems would gain true eternity, making your divine body both perfect and eternal as well.
Ning and Solewind continued to advance through the Prime Eaches, carefully analyzing everything.
The two of them quickly discovered two Daolords and three World-level cultivators in the inner reaches! The world was just a billion kilometers in size, after all. They were able to quickly scan through the entire place, and they discovered a total of thirty-five corpses of incredible antiquity. Each corpse emanated an aura of tremendous power that carried a scent of eternity.
“Thirty-five Eternal Emperors died here?” Solewind and Ning both felt breathless.
It must be understood that even the Brightshore Kingdom only had a few Eternal Emperors, and the number of Eternal Emperors belonging to the Aeonian Kingdom could be counted on one hand. In general, Eternal Emperors were incredibly rare.
Thirty-five Eternal Emperors… this was an incredible, terrifying figure. And yet, such a powerful force of cultivators had silently died in this place, leaving behind few traces of their passing.
“Eternal Emperors are truly eternal existences. If they die, they die because others killed them. But in normal battles, a fatal end should result in their divine bodies being destroyed. Their bodies are in perfect shape, and all of them seem quite peaceful. Some were standing, some were sitting… it seems as though they welcomed death peacefully.” Solewind had a solemn look on his face as he sent, “I can’t even imagine what level of power is needed to cause thirty-five Eternal Emperors to silently, peacefully pass away into death.”
Ning nodded. This truly was a terrifying thought.
“This place gave birth to the entire universe, after all,” Ning sent mentally. “There will always be secrets which we will never know the answers to. We are still too weak and know too little.”
“Mm.” Solewind nodded.
“We’ve gone through this entire world. It really is filled with many opportunities, but all of them were left behind by these thirty-five ancient powers. We haven’t found the prime essences of this universe at all,” Ning sent.
“We are too weak. We probably aren’t able to find or locate them,” Solewind sent. “Let us do the same as those two Daolords and World-level cultivators are doing. Let us search for the legacies left behind by those thirty-five major powers.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
The thirty-five ancient corpses had prepared for and welcomed death in a very calm manner, and they had left behind all of their treasures.
Those who were bound to them by destiny would gain access to those treasures.
Every single one of the deceased major powers was terrifyingly strong. Three of them were particularly terrifying, and the aura emanating from their corpses was so strong that Ning felt certain that they were comparable to that of the almighty Hegemon, who Ning had met in person.