Book 30, Ancient Cultivator, Chapter 10 – Breakthrough – Daolord of the Second Step
“I’m inside.” A hint of excitement flickered through the Ninedust Sectlord’s eyes after he charged into the Eastroad Sect. He could sense fate calling straight to him. “I can sense it with increasing clarity now. Hmph. I might’ve been afraid to come here when Patriarch Eastroad was alive, but does this puny Daolord of the Second Step really think he can stop me, even if he is freakishly talented? What a joke.”
“The Emperor’s Numerancy divinations were spot on. My destiny does indeed reside within this territory. All the effort I put into seizing the position of sectlord in the Ninedust Sect was worth it.” The Ninedust Sectlord’s mind was filled with many thoughts, but he showed no mercy at all when he attacked.
“Break for me!” The longstaff in his hands swept out. Boom! Boom! Boom! It was like an endless sea of water was bellowing towards the skies, with his longstaff containing multiple waves of destructive energy which wantonly struck out against everything within the Eastroad Sect. His longstaff caused palaces to crumble, walls to collapse, and courtyards to shatter. His entrance and his attack was so sudden that some of the spectating disciples of the Eastroad Sect weren’t able to flee in time. Eleven of them were killed instantly.
“Hide immediately!” Daolord Thunderheat was shocked; the Ninedust Sectlord’s attack had simply been too fast! “Hide behind me!” As he spoke, he hurriedly took control over the formations of the Eastroad Sect.
With a hissing sound, the many formations inside the Eastroad Sect were all simultaneously activated alongside the most powerful defensive barriers. One tendril of golden flame after another began to appear, then converge upon the Eastroad Sectlord like an endless stream of golden serpents. Each individual serpent seemed unremarkable, but the Ninedust Sectlord’s face tightened when he saw them. “Patriarch Eastroad really was willing to spare no expense in setting up such an enormous formation.”
Barging into another major power’s base was an extremely risky maneuver. He had long ago desired to enter this place, but so long as Patriarch Eastroad was alive and his avatar stood guard over this place there was no way the Ninedust Sectlord would dare trespass.
“Get over here, right away!” Daolord Thunderheat hurriedly waved his hand, taking his various disciples and placing them into his own estate-world.”
“The three of you should stop watching as well.” Ning moved next to Su Youji, Pillsaint, and Naia, a solemn look on his face. “Daolord Thunderheat and I are not certain as to what powers the Ninedust Sectlord possesses. He might unleash some sort of overwhelmingly powerful killer blow that will annihilate you merely as collateral damage.”
“Alright.” Su Youji and the others didn’t want to leave their lives up to luck, and so they all nodded obediently. Ning waved his hand, causing Su Youji, Pillsaint, and Naia to be instantly drawn into his estate-world.
By now, only three living creatures were left within the Eastroad Sect; all others had been drawn away into estate-worlds. The three were the Ninedust Sectlord, Ji Ning, and Daolord Thunderheat.
“Be careful, Daolord Thunderheat,” Ning sent mentally. Daolord Thunderheat couldn’t hide; he had to stay out here to control the formations.
“Don’t worry. I’ll stay far away from the two of you, and the formations inside the Eastroad Sect will make it impossible for the Ninedust Sectlord to even sense where I am. If I still end up dying accidentally somehow, I’ll have only my poor bad luck to blame.” A frenzied look was in Daolord Thunderheat’s eyes. “Fellow Daoist Darknorth, the rest is up to you.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
“That direction over there.” The Ninedust Sectlord turned to follow the silent whispers of fate, moving deeper into the Eastroad Sect while continuing to defend against the golden serpents and leaving absolute destruction in his wake.
“Ninedust Sectlord, I might not be a match for you in the outside world… but for you to charge into the Eastroad Sect is far too brash.” Ning once more revealed himself, his nine novessence arts at the ready.
A desire to do battle could be seen in Ning’s eyes. Experts like the Ninedust Sectlord held profound levels of insight into the Dao and gave Ning a completely different type of pressure in battle, making it easier for him to gain insights into his own Dao. However, under normal circumstances a battle against such a figure would be incredibly dangerous; the slightest miscalculation might result in death. The only reason Ning was able to fight him now was because the formations of the Eastroad Sect were helping him out.
Swish! A streak of sword-light flew out towards the Ninedust Sectlord, whose face tightened slightly. “Damn. It’s that irritating Daolord of the Second Step.”
Hisssss! Countless golden serpents swarmed around him, and the nine novessence arts rumbled as they transformed into dragons of energy which furiously hammered down upon him.
A rippling curtain of water appeared around the Ninedust Sectlord’s body, but in the end his defenses were unable to hold. Still, much of the power of the attacks had been weakened. “The power of the formation, combined with this second-step Daolord’s secret arts, means that I’m at best able to unleash a tenth of my true power.” The Ninedust Sectlord felt like an ordinary man who was trapped in mud; every single strike and movement was much slower than usual, as was the power of his blows.
Clang! Ning’s sword-light came straight towards him once more. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! His longstaff struck out like a Flood Dragon as it swept forwards, but Ning’s sword-light was formless and traceless, moving without sound and springing towards him from every direction..
“His sword-arts truly are unpredictable.” In the previous battle, the Ninedust Sectlord had overwhelmingly dominated Ning, and so he hadn’t truly realized how tough to deal with Ning’s sword-arts were. Now that his personal power had been dramatically reduced, he came to understand what a tough foe Ning truly was.
“If this continues… fighting in the Eastroad Sect’s base is disadvantageous to me.” The Ninedust Sectlord let out a furious roar, and his aura instantly expanded dramatically. The longstaff in his hands actually increased in size still further, allowing him to instantly overwhelm Ning and put Ning back on the defensive.
“So the new sectlord of the Ninedust Sect is as powerful as this, eh?” Ning only grew even more excited. “Perfect. The stronger he is, the better it will be for me. I just hope he isn’t too much for me to handle.” Ning had been itching to find a chance to train his sword-arts, and he needed this sort of terrifying pressure in order for him to gain the insights he needed.
The Ninedust Sect had a former sectlord who had been an extremely vile person. He had been the one to establish the actual sect, and back then Daolord Clevermind and the others had all been his retainers. Later on, the old sectlord had perished and the new one had risen to power. The new sectlord always wore a mask on his face and was a very mysterious figure. Each time he put his power on display, he had shown to the Brightshore Kingdom that he was on the same level of power as the likes of Daolord Kongsan.
“Fuck. OFF!” The Ninedust Sectlord was putting more and more pressure on Ning, continuing to advance while Ning was forced to retreat. Slowly, however, the look in Ning’s eyes began to change. First, a hint of puzzlement appeared. Then, a look of insight.
Why did cultivators put themselves in dangerous situations? Why did they walk the fine line between life and death? It was all because they could only make breakthroughs through epiphanies gained when under immense pressure. If they focused all of their time and effort on training in seclusion, it would be difficult for them to become truly accomplished figures.
The Ninedust Sectlord’s staff-arts truly were abstruse and profound. Although Ning trained in the Omega Sword Dao, he was still just a Daolord of the First Step. As a result, the Ninedust Sectlord’s ‘Dao’ completely outstripped Ning’s in raw power, giving him an enormous amount of pressure. Under this immense pressure, Ning began to make some breakthroughs thanks to the accumulated experiences he had gained while walking the Void Pathway for nearly a million years.
“So that is my Omega Sword Dao… level two.” A hint of a smile was on Ning’s lips.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The nine novessence arts had been dominating and awesome to begin with, but they suddenly transformed to become even more abstruse and profound than ever before. They had clearly become much more powerful than just a short while ago, and were now as strong as the restrictive spells protecting the Eastroad Sect. The Ninedust Sectlord blanched when he saw this; moments ago he had been dominating Ning, but now he had to focus all of his energy into resisting the nine novessence arts and those little golden serpents.
The Ninedust Sectlord twirled his longstaff, struggling to defend while dodging nonstop. The shockwaves from this battle were causing the nearby palaces to all fall apart.
“If I can reach the third level with my Omega Sword Dao, my nine novessence arts might be able to reach Daolord Allgod’s level in power,” Ning mused to himself. Based on his calculations pertaining to the power of his Omega Sword Dao, when he was a Daolord of the Third Step his Omega Sword Dao would be roughly on par with the Daos of the likes of Palace Lord Dawnstar or Daolord Allgod. By then, when he infused his Omega Sword Dao into his nine novessence arts they should be just as powerful as they had been when Daolord Allgod had personally used them to suppress and entrap Emperor Melobo.
As for right now? He wasn’t able to suppress Emperor Melobo yet, but he was able to force the Ninedust Sectlord to tread lightly, whereas in the past the latter was able to defend against it without too much difficulty.
“The Ninedust Sectlord, eh? When I killed Kongsan, it was all thanks to the Hegemon Dao-seal, not my own power. If I can slay the Ninedust Sectlord with my own abilities… that would be much more interesting.” Ning immediately retreated as he sent his nine novessence arts forward along with those little golden serpents. At this point, he was able to advance and retreat as he pleased.
Ning quickly retreated tens of thousands of kilometers, then stood at an empty area and watched from afar as the nine novessence arts and the little golden snakes besiege the Ninedust Sectlord.
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth, why have you retreated?” Daolord Thunderheat asked.
“Haha, I’ve gained certain insights and wish to make my breakthrough,” Ning sent mentally. “After I do so, the Ninedust Sectlord will no longer be a problem.” Swoosh. A black flying vessel appeared, and Ning entered it. With his nine novessence arts and his flying vessel guarding him, he was ready to begin his breakthrough.
However, his breakthrough would be a two-step process. He would first make a breakthrough as a Ki Refiner, upgrading his Jindan chaos region, then make a breakthrough with his divine body as well! He was on a battlefield, after all. If he tried to breakthrough simultaneously in both aspects, he wouldn’t even be able to fight back if he ended up in serious trouble. It was best to be careful. To speed up the process, Ning elected to simply use chaos jewels.
When he had killed Daolord Kongsan, he had acquired a good number of treasures. Other treasures and curios aside, Ning had over two hundred million cubes worth of chaos nectar and chaos jewels! The amount of chaos jewels needed to break through to become a Daolord of the Second Step was negligible for Ning.
The Dao-tree within Ning’s Jindan chaos region began to grow.