Book 29, Daolord, Chapter 30 – Ji Ning’s Goal
The gates of the Sacred City were towering and dazzling to behold. Ji Ning’s group of three flew straight towards the gates. In truth, Skywood City had no walls at all, and so there was no real reason to go through the gates. However, this was the first time Ning’s group had ever come to a Sacred City, and they needed to procure a Dao Alliance talisman. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be considered true members of the Dao Alliance and would be forbidden entry into many places within the Sacred Cities.
“Fellow Daoists.” There was an unprepossessing little pavilion right outside the doors, and a black-robed woman immediately walked out of it with a smile on her face.
“This is our first trip to the Sacred City. We would like to pick up a Dao Alliance talisman,” Ning said. The black-robed woman before him had a very weak aura; most likely, she had relied on a Pseudo Samsara Pill in order to break through to become a Daolord of the First Step. Daolords like her would generally be given fairly menial tasks within the larger organizations and sects.
“Oh, a Dao Alliance talisman? Please follow me.” The black-robed woman guided Ning into the pavilion. Within were a number of white-robed men and women, as well as a few alien Outsiders. Judging from their auras, they were at most at the World level.
“Where have the three of you come from, and what school do you belong to? Are you already registered with the Dao Alliance?” The black-robed woman asked.
“I am Darknorth of Vastheaven Palace,” Ning said while producing his Vastheaven Palace medallion. The black-robed nodded, then waved her hand and produced a little book. She flipped through the book, quickly verifying some information about Daolord Darknorth of Vastheaven Palace.
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth of Vastheaven Palace, here is your Dao Alliance talisman.” The black-robed woman produced a black talisman and handed it over to Ning, with the talisman having the word ‘Dao’ atop it. It was covered in divine runes that seemed quite mysterious and which ensured the talisman could only be bound once. Ning waved his hand, binding it to him.
“Are these two registered with us already as well?” The black-robed woman asked. Ning shook his head and replied, “They are not. These two are my retainers.”
“Retainers?” The black-robed woman and the nearby World-level cultivators all glanced at Ning with surprise. He had two Daolords as retainers? It seemed as though this ordinary-looking Daolord Darknorth was actually quite an extraordinary figure! They naturally knew nothing of Ning’s battle against Patriarch Clearwind, as neither Vastheaven Palace nor Clearwind Temple had publicized that battle. As a result, very few knew about it.
“If you aren’t already registered with the Dao Alliance, things will be slightly more complicated,” the black-robed woman said. “Please follow me. We need to take some steps to ensure that no spies are able to make their way into the Dao Alliance.”
“I understand.” Su Youji smiled. She and Pillsaint both obediently followed after the black-robed woman. They knew coming here what the rules would be.
Ning’s history was very clean, and Vastheaven Palace had already vouched for him. As a result, he was easily able to acquire a Dao Alliance talisman and be acknowledged as a formal member of the Dao Alliance. As for unknown figures without any backers, they would need to be investigated and swear certain lifeblood oaths to prove their ‘innocence’ before they would be given a Dao Alliance talisman.
A short while later, a white-robed elder led Ning’s group of three away from the city gates. The four flew through the clouds, and the white-robed man smiled at them. “Seniors, this is your first trip to a Sacred City, so I will explain a bit regarding the rules here. There are restrictive wards and barriers surrounding all of the palaces and estates inside the Sacred City, and you are forbidden from violence within them. If you engage in violence, you shall perish and your Dao shall vanish.”
Ning and the others simply listened. These were iron rules which no one could breach. This was one of the eight Sacred Cities of the Dao Alliance, after all; no one could violate these rules, unless they had the power to challenge the entire Dao Alliance and live to tell the tale.
“Once you leave the protective wards around those various palaces and estates, no one will get involved no matter how violent the battle becomes.” The white-robed elder chuckled. “For example, the four of us are in midair right now. This airspace is not covered by the barriers or wards of any estate, and so we could theoretically be attacked at any moment.”
“How chaotic,” Pillsaint sighed.
“It is a bit chaotic. Wherever there are cultivators, there will always be chaos,” the white-robed elder said. “Also – please remember this, seniors. In Skywood City, the disciples of the Skywood Sect are not to be trifled with, not even the True Gods or Elder Gods. If you kill a member of the Skywood Sect, then you will also be put to death and your Dao shall vanished.”
Su Youji asked, “How can we tell if someone belongs to the Skywood Sect?”
“That’s very easy.” The white-robed elder smiled. “Members of the Skywood Sect are all dressed in unique robes that emanate the unique aura of the Skywood tree. If for some reason they aren’t wearing their robes and they end up being killed, their killers won’t be blamed.”
Ning and the others nodded. The Skywood tree was the sacred tree that stood guard over the entire Skywood Sect. It served as the foundation for the entire sect! Ning and the others were now able notice that there was indeed a unique, ancient, and eternal aura radiating from the robes of the Skywood Sect disciples they had met thus far. It was immediately recognizable.
“Let me tell you a bit more about the important places within Skywood City. Those hundred thousand-plus estates hovering in the air over there all for cultivators to dwell in. They belong to our Skywood Sect, and the three of you can spend a bit of chaos nectar if you wish to temporarily take up residence in one of them. It’ll be fine even if you want to stay for a hundred chaos cycles; all you need to do is pay a bit of rent in the form of chaos nectar. No one will ever dare to disturb you.” The white-robed elder pointed off into the distance, where there was a group of ancient palaces that radiated mighty auras. “That region over there is where our Skywood Sect is located, and the Eternal Emperor resides there as well. No matter what, you must not trespass there.”
The white-robed elder introduced one place after another to the group.
“We’ll go over there.” Ning pointed at a distant hall that was constructed within the clouds.
“The Spellworld?” The white-robed elder was startled.
“Yes, we shall go to the Spellworld first,” Ning said.
The Spellworld contained countless techniques within it. Every single one of the eight Sacred Cities of the Dao Alliance contained a Spellworld within it, and cultivators of the Dao Alliance were permitted to learn many precious techniques and divine abilities within those Spellworlds for a fee. There were even techniques belonging to Eternal Emperors… and supposedly, Hegemons as well! However, the more rare a technique was, the greater a price one would need to pay to learn it. Nothing in this world was free.
“The Spellworld contains countless techniques. You can choose from them as you please.” A guardian golem was standing in front of the hall, and it said in a calm voice, “Come speak to me after you have chosen.”
“This guardian golem was left here by the Dao Alliance. It is incredibly powerful,” the white-robed elder said immediately. In the end, golems were more loyal than anyone or anything else. If they were assigned to guard a place, they would never allow even the slightest of slip-ups.
“Pillsaint, Youji, the two of you should go inside and take a look as well. See if there’s anything you need. I’m going to enter now.” Ning immediately strode in after finishing his words.
“Sure, let’s take a look inside.”
“Let’s see what this place has to offer.” Both Su Youji and Pillsaint followed Ning inside.
When Ning stepped into the hall, he felt space twisting around him as though he was entering a different world. This was a world with canyons, with rivers, with towering mountains, and with waterfalls.
Jade scrolls were lying on boulders, floating in the air above deserts, hanging from tree branches, and scattered throughout the world in a casual fashion. This was a world created by an ancient power of the Dao Alliance, and it was quite mysterious and profound.
“Not this one. Nor this one. Nope, not this one either…” Ning stood there at the top of a mountain, stretching out his godsense as he began to scan through the various jade slips. Every single jade slip contained some basic information regarding the techniques which were available as well as the price one needed to pay! Ordinary techniques could be purchased by using a bit of chaos nectar, but truly core techniques were much more difficult to procure.
“Here it is!” Ning suddenly revealed a look of delight. Swoosh! Ning’s body flickered as he instantly flew from the mountain peak to a prairie that was tens of thousands of kilometers away. There was a thatched cottage on this prairies, and there were nine jade slips that had been casually tossed inside that cottage.
These nine scrolls were the [Novessence Water], [Novessence Fire], [Novessence Wood], [Novessence Earth], [Novessence Metal], [Novessence Wind], [Novessence Thunder], [Novessence Light], and [Novessence Void].
“That’s what I need. As a new Daolord, these are the secret arts which fit me perfectly.” ‘ Ning nodded slowly. Although he had gained the secret arts left behind by the deceased Sword Hegemon, it was far too hard for him to make any headway into them. Even if he put all of his efforts into training in them, for now it would be very hard for him to reach a high level of power in them. The nine secret arts created by Daolord Allgod, however, were a perfect fit for Ning.
He had the azureflower mist energy and the [Seven Leafpill Chapters]. This made it so that Ning was able to easily train in the various novessence techniques. He had already been able to reach the level of septessence thunder, and the only thing holding him back was him not having the other types of Dao lightning he needed.
“If I can master the full [Novessence Thunder], I should be able to slay most Verge-level Daolords with it! If I can merge all nine secret arts together, even the likes of Patriarch Clearwind would probably die. Even if he survived, he would be very heavily wounded.” Ning knew that training in the nine novessence arts was the best choice for him right now, which was why he had spent a thousand years hastening to Skywood City.
Daolord Allgod’s nine secret arts were only purchasable within the Dao Alliance. The Brightshore Kingdom had only been able to purchase the five weaker secret arts, with the [Novessence Thunder], [Novessence Wind], [Novessence Light], and the most powerful [Novessence Void] techniques all missing.
Ning glanced at the various techniques, feeling a sense of joy in his heart. These were the nine secret arts which Daolord Allgod had painstakingly created, and when they were used together they were capable of truly unearthly levels of power.
“I’m going to buy them all.” Ning waved his hand, collecting all nine jade slips.