Book 30, Ancient Cultivator, Chapter 4 – The Void Pathway
Daolord Thunderheat and his two yellow-robed disciples were all rather stunned. These words were a bit too dominating. Kill as many as they come?
“F-Fellow Daoist Darknorth…” Daolord Thunderheat felt both eagerness and nervousness. “Are you saying that this lady Daolord will be able to resist the Ninedust Sect?” As he spoke, he glanced at Daolord Naia.
“Her name is Naia,” Ning said. When Daolord Thunderheat heard her name, he felt a cold feeling crawl past his heart. This was a name he had never heard before! Although he rarely went out adventuring, he knew almost all of the truly famous figures. This meant Daolord Naia wasn’t all that famous.
“Greetings, Daolord Naia. May I ask, if you are supported by the formations which protect my Eastroad Sect, will you be able to defeat the Ninedust Sectlord?” Daolord Thunderneat asked.
“Even with the formations helping me, I would probably be defeated and slain by him in a single strike,” Daolord Naia said.
“Ah.” Daolord Thunderheat was flabbergasted. Daolord Naia was telling the truth; the Ninedust Sectlord was on the same level as Daolord Kongsan. Naia couldn’t even withstand a single strike from Ning, who in turn didn’t dare to fight Daolord Kongsan in close combat. There was an enormous and obvious difference in power between ordinary Daolords of the Fourth Step and the truly freakishly powerful ones. The Ninedust Sectlord was one of the latter.
“Senior Darknorth, didn’t you just say that you would kill as many as come?” The white-haired disciple couldn’t help but ask this question.
“I did say just that.” Ning nodded. “But I meant, I would kill them personally.”
Daolord Thunderheat and the others all stared at Ning. “It isn’t that I look down upon you, fellow Daoist… but if my judgement is correct, you should be a Daolord of the Second Step,” Daolord Thunderheat said.
“Yes. A Daolord of the Second Step.” Ning nodded.
“A Daolord of the Second Step, fight against the Ninedust Sectlord?” Daolord Thunderheat couldn’t help but shake his head. Daolords trod a line between life and death with each step, and the difference in power between each step was very apparent. Someone at the second step, challenge someone who was at the fourth step? The Ninedust Sectlord himself was a freakishly powerful Daolord, even amongst his peers at the fourth step. Ning, defeat him? The prospects were remote.
But Daolord Naia said coldly, “My master defeated me in a single blow.”
Daolord Thunderheat and his two disciples were badly shocked by this.
“In the outside world, I probably wouldn’t be a match for the Ninedust Sectlord. But if I was in the Eastroad Sect’s base? I trust that Daolord Eastroad personally established the formations protecting this place, and that they possess extraordinary power. With it reinforcing me, I won’t fear him at all.” Ning chuckled.
“Yes, yes! The old Patriarch personally established all of the formations around the Eastroad Sect, and they truly are incredible.” Daolord Thunderheat felt both excited and ashamed. “Please pardon me, fellow Daoist. I previously didn’t dare imagine that you would be as powerful as this.”
“Generally speaking, even the most freakishly talented of Daolords of the Second Step wouldn’t be at this level of power. I only am due to certain special secret arts,” Ning said casually.
“Secret arts are part of your power as well.” Daolord Thunderheat was extremely excited. Hope! He finally saw hope. He certainly didn’t believe that Ning was nothing more than issuing empty boasts. No one who was capable of making a Daolord of the Fourth Step would be so foolish, because the consequences would arrive alongside the Ninedust Sectlord… and the consequences would be fatal. Thus, it seemed likely that this ‘Darknorth’ fellow really was capable of handling things.
A short while later, Daolord Thunderheat prepared a sumptuous banquet for Ning and the others. After the banquet concluded, Daolord Thunderheat personally escorted Ning away.
“Fellow Daoist,” Daolord Thunderheat said softly, “If you were to break through to the third step, would your chances of defeating the Ninedust Sectlord improve?”
“A Daolord of the Third Step?” Ning chuckled as he glanced at Daolord Thunderheat. “If I can reach the third step, my chances will greatly improve. In that situation, even without the assistance of the Eastroad Sect’s formations I still wouldn’t need to fear him. In fact, I might even be able to kill him.”
Ning wasn’t just bragging. If he truly did break through from the first step and become a Daolord of the Second Step… given the power of his Omega Sword Dao, he really would become on par with the likes of Daolord Kongsan and the Ninedust Sectlord. In addition, his Omega Sword Dao was flawlessly perfect in every aspect, making it absolutely perfect for actual combat. So long as the opponent did not flee and chose to continue the fight, the end result would definitely be the opponent getting the worst of it! But of course, no one would be so foolish as to stand there and get beaten down like that. Clever Daolords like Kongsan would retreat as soon as the situation turned south for them.
The reason why he hadn’t been able to flee was because the Hegemon’s Dao-seal was simply too powerful, causing even spacetime to be bound and suppressed. Daolord Kongsan had used two life-saving treasures in a row without being able to escape. It wasn’t that his fleeing abilities were weak, it was simply that the Dao-seal was far too powerful. It would have been easy for him to flee from most Daolords he battled.
“Then how long would it take you to break through to become a Daolord of the Third Step, fellow Daoist?” Thunderheat asked.
“I’m not too far off,” Ning said. To go from the first step to the second step was quite quick, and to go from the second step to the third step didn’t take that long either. Reaching the fourth step, however, was a very long process. As for succeeding in the Daomerge and gaining Eternity? Chances were slim, no matter how much time you took.
“Alright.” Daolord Thunderheat clenched his teeth. “Fellow Daoist Darknorth, the Eastroad Sect has a sect-guarding treasure which the old Patriarch brought back from the Terror Starsea.”
Ning’s eyes lit up. Something from the Terror Starsea?
“Technically speaking, I shouldn’t divulge its existence to outsiders. However, I am now the sole master of the Eastroad Sect, which is now facing an existential crisis. I’m going to ignore those rules.” Daolord Thunderheat looked at Ning. “This supreme treasure is known as the Void Pathway, and it is extremely beneficial to cultivators. Perhaps, fellow Daoist, you will be able to seize this opportunity to break through to become a Daolord of the Third Step.”
Daolord Thunderheat was simply too worried. He hoped that Darknorth would be able to grow even more powerful, as this matter would have an impact on the life and death of the Eastroad Sect.
“Void Pathway?” Ning couldn’t help but begin to feel curious.
“Follow me,” Daolord Thunderheat said solemnly.
Daolord Thunderheat led the way, while Ning followed from behind. Thunderheat dispelled one formation after another as he guided Ning to a seemingly ordinary courtyard.
“Do you see that?” Daolord Thunderheat pointed at a decorative sculpture of a mountain located in the corner of the courtyard. The ‘mountain’ even had some vines and ‘trees’ growing from it.
“What about it?” Ning was puzzled. There was nothing unusual about that artificial mountain. In fact, he couldn’t sense any formations from it at all. Daolord Thunderheat stepped forward, then waved his hand. The vines instantly were reduced to dust, revealing what was hidden beneath them. This ‘mountain’ actually had a sculpted stone ‘door’ on it!
“Is that a doorway?” Ning was puzzled.
“Yes. A door. A door that you can open,” Daolord Thunderheat said. “Daolord Darknorth, please follow me.”
Daolord Thunderheaet walked towards one of the sculpted stone doors, then pressed his hand upon it. Instantly, the doorway split open with a rumbling sound, revealing a deep, dark tunnel beneath it. The entrance to this tunnel ebbed and flowed with spatial ripples.
Ning was surprised. Prior to the stone door opening, this had seemed like nothing more than a very ordinary sculpture of a mountain. He hadn’t sensed any thing special or magical about it at all… but it now had a dimensional hallway within it.
“Come in.” Daolord Thunderheat turned to look at Ning, then stepped inside. Ning followed him without hesitation.
Whoosh. Space twisted and flowed around Ning as a dazzling, glowing golden region appeared before him.
“What’s this?” Ning and Daolord Thunderheat were standing within a long walkway. The floor was black, and the walkway itself was hanging in empty space, with nothing but the void on each side of the walkway.
“This is the Void Pathway. Everything around this golden region is just empty space; the only thing here is this Void Pathway hanging in space.” Daolord Thunderheat pointed towards the front. This walkway was an extremely long one, stretching off at least ten million kilometers. In front of the walkway stood a number of armored soldiers and guards. Ning’s visual prowess allowed him to clearly see to the very end of the walkway, where there was a royal golden throne.
“There are a total of thirty thousand soldiers here,” Daolord Thunderheat said. “Once you begin advancing through the Void Pathway, you will be impeded by these soldiers. The deeper you go, the more terrifyingly powerful the soldiers will be.”
“Oh?” Ning revealed a smile. This seemed quite similar to the Brightshore Kingdom’s ‘Daolord Cloudworld’.
“These soldiers have very unique combat Daos. Very, very unique.” Daolord Thunderheat looked at Ning. “You’ll see for yourself when you fight them. The weakest of them are comparable to Daolords of the Second Step, which is why only the Daolords of the Eastroad Sect are permitted to enter it.”
“Did Daolord Eastroad manage to reach the throne?” Ning asked.
“The old Patriarch tried twice. He failed the first time. He later gained certain insights, then went all out in a second attempt and managed to succeed. The two final soldiers are all comparable to him in power,” Daolord Thunderheat said.
Ning was stunned. This was much more impressive than the Daolord Cloudworld. Anyone who had reached the threshold of power for a Daolord of the Fourth Step would be able to battle their way to the very end of the Daolord Cloudworld, but it seemed as though this place required the trial taker to be comparable to Daolord Eastroad in power. Daolord Eastroad was already comparable to the weaker Eternal Emperors. How was it that these guards were as powerful as this?!
“Unfortunately, there’s no way to bring out even one of these thirty thousand soldiers. In fact, there’s no way to control them at all.” Daolord Thunderheat sighed. “If there was, why would we worry about the Ninedust Sect?”
Ning nodded, his gaze focused on the golden throne at the end of the walkway. “What happens once you reach the throne? Anything good?”
“A legacy,” Daolord Thunderheat said. “The old Patriarch didn’t tell me in detail, and so I imagine that the so-called legacy wouldn’t be all that interesting to freakishly strong Daolords like yourself.”
Ning chuckled. He had the legacy of the Sword Hegemon and the [Seven Leafpill Chapters] of the Paragon of Pills. There really weren’t many legacies that would interest him.
“However, when those thirty thousand soldiers fight against you, you’ll benefit from the insights into the Dao you will gain.” Daolord Thunderheat sighed. “Even the old Patriarch benefited from his first attempt, resulting in him becoming much more powerful.”