Book 29, Daolord, Chapter 29 – The Sacred City of Skywood
Ji Ning blinked, then laughed. “Not bad! I’ll find a place to let you break through in peace.”
“Right.” Su Youji nodded quite joyfully. As for Ning, he felt rather speechless. Oh, Youji… you are breaking through to become a Daolord of the Second Step, but your master is still just a Daolord of the First Step…
A short while later, the flying vessel reached a fairly nearby chaos planet, then descended upon it. Ji Ning waved his hand, setting up a simple restrictive formation around the planet. Ning was now on a completely different level of power compared to the past; he would now be extremely powerful even compared to other Daolords, and to encounter a worthy opponent in this region of the primordial chaos was fairly unlikely.
“What?! Youji is about to make her breakthrough?” Pillsaint had a look of astonishment on his face.
“Right.” Ning nodded. “So you have to work hard as well.”
Pillsaint nodded repeatedly. “I need to refine more pills in order to improve my Dao of Alchemy, but to gain insights from repeated, actual alchemy attempts will require quite some time. Still… since both you and Youji have made breakthroughs already, I really do need to pick up the pace.”
“Samsara Daolords… with each step we take, we walk the line between life and death. Do not be rash or push too hard to make a breakthrough. Speed isn’t the most important thing.” Ning said a few words, then fell silent. Ugh. Judging from the situation, he would probably be slower than both of his subordinates.
Ning waved his hand, causing an enormous boulder to fly off of a distant mountain of the chaos planet. The boulder landed in front of Ning, who simply looked at it. Crack! The boulder was sheared flat. Ning then sat down in the lotus position atop the boulder, beginning to meditate.
“In the past thousand years, I’ve only been able to improve my Blood Drop sword-intent slightly.” Ning chuckled self-deprecatingly. “It seems I really am going to be slower than both Youji and Pillsaint.” He had to improve in all five of his original Supreme Daos and then recombine them once more into a new Omega Sword Dao; this was how his Omega Dao would improve.
Ning’s eyelids slowly swung shut, but streaks of sword-light could be seen flickering through the cracks of his lidded eyes. Tiny spatial tears repeatedly appeared and disappeared within afew meters of him as well. Clearly, Ning was visualizing and training in sword-arts.
A long while later…
BOOM! A wind arose in the skies above the chaos planet, and an awesome vortex of chaos energy began to form and be absorbed by Su Youji ni large quantities. Clearly, her breakthrough had begun. Pillsaint watched intently, but Ning simply considered to meditate in the lotus position, continuing to visualize his sword-arts.
This breakthrough took more than three days before everything became calm once more.
“Master.” Su Youji put away her Immortal estate and walked over.
“Haha, you really are different now that you’ve reached the second step. You’ve actually become even more beautiful!” The nearby Pillsaint whooped in delight. He truly had the heart of a child, and becoming a Daolord hadn’t changed him one bit. It was actually because of his pure, guileless heart that he had been able to become a Daolord. The [Seven Leafpill Chapters] had assisted him, but at the core was his own Dao-heart.
Su Youji glanced at Pillsaint, and the latter was instantly enraptured. “Pillsaint, address me as ‘big sister’.” Su Youji continued to stare sweetly at Pillsaint.
“Big sister… big sis-” The spellbound Pillsaint suddenly came back to his senses, then pointed at Su Youji and stammered, “H-Hey…”
Su Youji said smugly, “Pillsaint, it seems your Dao-heart isn’t strong enough yet.”
“Oh man. I am doomed. I was enraptured almost instantly. I am going to be in so much trouble in the future.” A miserable look was on Pillsaint’s face.
“It isn’t that Pillsaint has a weak Dao-heart, it’s that he’s still just a Daolord of the First Step.” Ning arose from his boulder, then stepped down. “Pillsaint’s path is the Dao of Alchemy, which means he will indeed be a bit weaker in combat. You, on the other hand, have the legacy of Feixian the Exalted. It would be laughable if you couldn’t enspell a Daolord of the First Step despite having reached the second step. But Youji, you really shouldn’t do that to Pillsaint too often.”
“I know, I know. I was just excited because I broke through.” Su Youji nodded repeatedly, then looked towards Ning with some excitement. “Master, why don’t you give my charm skills a try?”
Ning revealed a smile. “Go ahead and try.”
Su Youji immediately said, “Then Master, you must…” Halfway through her words, she immediately used her secret arts. She had already been beautiful enough to cause the downfall of kingdoms. Now, her smile made her eyes look like the most enchanting things in the universe. Her gaze was unfathomably deep, making it so that Ning couldn’t help but be drawn to them. Even if he wasn’t, those beautiful eyes seemed to be imprinted onto his mind, stirring and beguiling his inner heart…
Ning’s gaze slowly grew more and more distant.
“Master,” Su Youji said softly, “Come here and take Youji into your arms.”
“Yeah…” Ning mumbled softly, and Su Youji revealed a look of excitement.
“Yeah, no thanks.” Ning stared at her. “Is this what you were trying to accomplish by trying to charming your master!?”
Ning’s soul was comparable to that of a Daolord of the Fourth Step, and his heartforce made him superior to many. He was at the cusp of breaking through to the sixth stage of heartforce; just a few slight improvements would result in him becoming a true Heartforce Cultivator. How could a newly ascended Daolord of the Second Step like Su Youji possibly shake his will? However, Ning could sense how truly formidable these secret arts of Feixian the Exalted were. Most likely, once Su Youji became a Daolord of the Third Step she would be able to have a slight affect on Ning for a very brief period of time.
If she reached the fourth step… Su Youji as a Daolord of the Fourth Step would be truly frightening! And yet, this path held both strengths and weaknesses, with the weaknesses being quite obvious; if she encountered a Heartforce Cultivator, she would be in serious trouble.
“I could sense that I wasn’t able to beguile you, so I just wanted to joke around with you a bit, Master,” Su Youji explained hurriedly. She then mumbled to herself, “Can’t I even make a joke?”
“Alright, alright. Time to head out. We’re pretty closed to the Sacred City,” Ning said with a laugh. “Joking around now is fine, but don’t cause any trouble once we enter the Sacred City. That is one of the eight Sacred Cities of the Dao Alliance, after all.”
“Don’t worry, Master.”
Ning once more began to advance with Pillsaint and Su Youji in tow. The travelled for another two hundred-plus years, then finally reached the fabled city of Skywood, one of the eight Sacred Cities.
“So that’s Skywood.” Ning stared off into the distance. Although Skywood was described as a ‘city’, it didn’t have any walls. It was actually a collection of staggeringly large edifices which hovered together above the clouds! It was filled with towering palaces, ancient estates, and strange buildings. Every single building glowed with the light of restrictive spells, causing it to radiate with a plethora of colors.
Most dazzling of all were the completely jade-green city gates, which were three million meters tall. Quite a few figures could be seen soaring through the clouds and into the gates, with some figures flitting into the various palaces and estates.
“One of the eight Sacred Cities.” Pillsaint was rather excited. “It reigns over or directly influences tens of thousands of nearby territories. I hear that an enormous number of Daolords are here.”
“Normally, Skywood City sees over ten thousand Daolords at any given point in time,” Ning said.
In terms of raw numbers of Daolords? The Ancient cultivators, the Brightshore Kingdom, the Aeonian race, the Aberrant special lifeforms… no one could compete with the Dao Alliance in this area. Any of the eight Sacred Cities of the Dao Alliance held more Daolords than any of the other organizations held in their main headquarters.
The Brightshore Kingdom’s Twelve Palaces had thousands of Daolords (excluding the black-armored ones), but most of them were outside adventuring, and so only a few hundred powerful Daolords were actually within the borders of the Brightshore Kingdom at any point in time. Skywood City, however, held more than ten thousand cultivators who were training in seclusion… and this represented just a tiny fraction of Skywood’s total area of influence.
If all of the Daolords of the tens of thousands of nearby territories were gathered together, there would probably be far more of them! The vast majority of Daolords were wandering the outside world or in their own sects, after all. Only a small amount were within Skywood City.
“Skywood City is controlled by one of the nine great sects of the Dao Alliance, the Skywood Sect,” Ning said. “This place is operated in accordance with the laws of the Skywood Sect.”
“The eight Sacred Cities are all quite interesting.” Pillsaint laughed. “Eight Sacred Cities which are under the control of nine different organizations. The Dao Alliance really is rather chaotic.”
“Master, I hear that the governor of Skywood City is also the sect leader of the Skywood Sect, the legendary Emperor Skywood, right?” Su Youji asked curiously. Eternal Emperor Skywood was extremely famous, and she had heard of him long ago in the Brightshore Kingdom.
Ning chuckled and nodded. On the surface, the Dao Alliance had a total of eight mighty Emperors who were the governors of these eight Sacred Cities. However…
Even the likes of the Brightshore Kingdom and the Aeonians had multiple Eternal Emperors, despite being far smaller organizations. Could the exalted Dao Alliance truly have just eight Eternal Emperors? Who would possibly believe such a thing? However, the eight governors of the Sacred Cities had lived for countless chaos cycles and had reigned over their respective Sacred Cities. Without question, they were incredibly strong even amongst Eternal Emperors.
Not even the most powerful of Eternal Emperors were able to shake the positions of the eight governors! Not only were the governors themselves powerful and given great authority within the Dao Alliance, they were also secretly supported by many reclusive old experts. This was why they were referred to as being the nine major organizations which reigned over the Dao Alliance.