Book 30, Ancient Cultivator, Chapter 6 – Battling Alone
A towering ray shrine was floating there within the dark void of chaotic space, and an awe-inspiring group of cultivators were inside it.
At the highest place within the shrine sat a silver-maksed, silver-robed man. He was the Ninedust Sectlord, and his name was known throughout the many territories of the nearby region. Countless living beings prostrated themselves before him and lived on his suffrage, and his vileness and his power had long ago been made known to the cultivators around him, inspiring terror in their hearts.
Below him stood three figures who were the three vice sectlords of the Ninedust Sect.
“Sectlord.” Daolord Graceful, one of the three vice sectlords, spoke out. “The ten years have concluded, but the Eastroad Sect has refused to leave. What should we do?”
“Do you really need to ask? Of course we are going to attack. We’re going to wipe them out!” Daolord Bruteflame, who had a stone-like body, roared angrily, “Without Daolord Eastroad, how can the Eastroad Sect possibly contend against our Ninedust Sect?”
“Hmph.” The graceful and handsome Daolord Cleversoul frowned as he barked, “Bruteflame, Ptariarch Eastroad was an extraordinarily powerful figure, and his lair is undoubtedly filled with many terrifying formations. We gave coercion a shot, and if we succeeded it would have been nice, but… attack by force? Hmph. Only the Sectlord himself has a shot at that. All three of us would be at risk of dying if we tried.”
The three vice sect-lords were Daolords of the Fourth Step, with Daolord Cleversoul being the strongest and the other two being weaker.
“Enough.” The Ninedust Sectlord said in a cold voice, “Since they have refused to leave, we’ll take them out.”
The three vice sect-lords, especially Daolords Cleversoul and Graceful, were all startled. Daolord Cleversoul barked, “The rest of you, retire for a moment.”
“Understood.” The other Daolords and World-level cultivators standing below them all departed, despite feeling puzzled.
“Sectlord.” Daolord Cleversoul raised his head to look at the Ninedust Sectlord. “Sectlord, are you perhaps being a bit too fixated on the Eastroad Sect? You first slew one of their Daolords, then moved the entire shrine over to the Eastroad Everworld to keep an eye over it… and now, you plan to attack it by force! The Eastroad Sect is already incredibly weak; we only need to besiege it, not actually attack it. Eventually, they will have to come out, unless they choose to never test themselves and never go out adventuring. If that is the case, then their sect will grow weaker and weaker over time. In a few chaos cycles, they’ll be finished. Why must we take the risk of attacking by force?”
“Agreed. Sectlord, are we perhaps being a bit too hasty?” Daolord Graceful asked. They all felt that this was a bit too impetuous. They could just take over the entire Eastroad Territory while keeping the Eastroad Sect trapped here! However, the Sectlord insisted on actually attacking.
“Hm. Now that the old Sectlord has passed away, the three of you must feel that I’m the easygoing, merciful type, yes? You believe there is no need to obey my orders, mm?” The Ninedust Sectlord’s voice was as cold as ice.
“We wouldn’t dare,” the three vice sectlords said respectfully.
“Since you do not dare to disobey, go and carry out my orders. Head out to the Eastroad Sect,” the Ninedust Sectlord barked.
“Acknowledged.” The three vice sectlords had no choice but to obey the order.
“Head out to the Eastroad Sect.” Soon, the order spread to the entire sect, and the towering gray shrine began to fly ever-closer to the Eastroad Everworld.
The towering gray shrine pierced through the world-membrane of the Eastroad Sect, then soared through its skies like an enormous levitating mountain as it moved straight to the Eastroad Sect. It made no effort to disguise or hide what it was doing at all.
“That’s the Ninedust Sect’s shrine.”
“The Ninedust Shrine of the Ninedust Sect.”
Quite a few cultivators within the Eastroad Everworld raised their heads to stare at it, their hearts filled with shock. They knew that something big was about to happen!
“Move, move, move! Head out right away!”
“Let’s go to the Eastroad Sect and watch what happens from a safe distance. This battle between the Ninedust Sect and the Eastroad Sect will be the biggest fight in many chaos cycles in these territories. There’s no way we can miss it.”
“The Eastroad Sect is probably going to be wiped out. There’s no way we can miss this spectacle. Given what a deep foundation the Eastroad Sect has accumulated over the years, it probably won’t die without a fight. I’m guessing that one or two of the Daolords of the Ninedust Sect will die as well.”
These cultivators all chatted excitedly amongst themselves as they quietly flew towards the Eastroad Sect, preparing to watch this battle. If they missed a fight like this, they would be filled with endless regrets.
“They are coming.”
“The Ninedust Sect is coming.”
“The Ninedust Sect has brought its main base, the Ninedust Shrine.” Word quickly spread like wildefire within the Eastroad Sect, and it was filled with a hubbub of commotion. Many of its disciples were shocked and restless. Although they had long ago known that a day like this would come, and that someone known as Daolord Darknorth had come to assist them… they couldn’t help but feel nervous and fearful now that the day had finally arrived.
The Ninedust Sect’s power was simply too great! Its fame and its might were all legendary throughout the nearby territories.
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth! Fellow Daoist Darknorth!” Daolord Thunderheat headed straight to the Void Pathway to ask Ning to assist.
“Have they arrived?” Ning, Pillsaint, Su Youji, and Naia all came out.
“The main base of the Ninedust Sect, the ‘Ninedust Shrine’, is flying straight towards us.” Daolord Thunderheat cleared his throat, obviously rather nervous. “They aren’t trying to do a blitzkrieg through teleportation or anything sneaky; they are just flying straight towards us! I imagine many cultivators have already noticed them. The Ninedust Sect is completely confident in its chances.”
Ning nodded. “No need to panic. From this moment forwards, you must obey all my orders.”
“Alright.” Daolord Thunderheat nodded.
“I’ll go meet the Ninedust Sect outside our sect.” Ning smiled.
“Outside the sect?” Daolord Thunderheat was shocked. “You can’t. If you go outside, you won’t be protected by the formations.”
“If I am not a match for them, then I’ll naturally retreat into the protective embrace of the Eastroad Sect’s formations.” Ning smiled. “Don’t worry. I won’t get in over my head.”
Unable to dissuade Ning, Daolord Thunderheat could only say, “Fellow Daoist Darknorth, you must be careful.”
“I’ll leave the defenses and formations protecting the Eastroad Sect to you, Daolord. Maintaining control over its formations will be critical to this fight,” Ning said.
“Don’t worry about that at all,” Daolord Thunderheat said.
Ning turned his head to glance at Naia, Pillsaint, and Su Youji, then smiled. “There’s no need for the three of you to participate in this fight. Would you like to enter my estate-world, or to watch from the outside?”
“I’m watching, of course,” Su Youji said hurriedly.
“How could I miss a fight like this?” Pillsaint shook his head.
Daolord Naia didn’t say anything. She just stood next to Su Youji and looked at Ning.
Ning chuckled. “Might as well. However, if things get dangerous you need to enter my estate-world. All of you are too weak, after all; once the real fight starts, the Ninedust Sectlord will probably wipe you all out with a single strike.”
In the end, they just weren’t strong enough. Ning had both the Hegemon’s armor as well as a powerful protective divine ability, and he also had his nine novessence arts. This was why he dared to clash against figures like Kongsan and the Ninedust Sectlord. Daolords like Naia would be finished in one blow. The difference in power was simply too great.”
“All of us will listen to your orders, Master,” Su Youji promised right away.
“Then I’m going to go now.” Ning nodded as he flew away.
Daolord Thunderheat, Su Youji, and the disciples of the Eastroad Sect all watched as Ning left, their hearts filled with nervousness.
“I’m just worried that this Daolord Darknorth will be killed by the Ninedust Sect in an instant. If that happens, we really will be doomed.”
“There’s nothing else we can do. We have to place our faith in Daolord Darknorth.” The Eastroad Sect’s disciples really were out of options.
Ning walked out of the Eastroad Sect, then scanned the surrounding area. Upon seeing a distant mountain peak a few hundred kilometers away, he took a single step forwards and moved to stand at the very top of that mountain.
“So this battle has finally come.” Ning sat down upon a boulder atop the mountain peak, staring at the distant horizons. A hint of fire could be seeing flickering in his eyes… a burning desire to do battle.
“I’ve now made breaks through in all five Supreme Daos that comprise my Omega Sword Dao. However, I’ve failed with each attempt I make to merge them together into an even stronger Omega Sword Dao.” Ning frowned. The Void Pathway had actually been quite helpful to him. Prior to coming to the Eastroad Sect, Ning had only made breakthroughs in two of his Supreme Daos: the Blood Drop sword-intent and the Yin-Yang sword-intent.
The breakthrough in the Yin-Yang sword-intent had come in a natural fashion as he hastened towards the Eastroad Sect after his battle against Daolord Kongsan. As for the other three Supreme Daos, he had made those breakthroughs during the ten thousand years he had spent in the Void Pathway. Alas, to use them to form an even higher-level Omega Sword Dao required that brief moment of epiphany, a eureka moment.
“In the end, one simply cannot reach the apex through cultivation alone. Perhaps this fight will give me a chance to gain the insight I need to make a breakthrough in my Omega Sword Dao. Once I master my second-stage Omega Sword Dao, I’ll be able to become a Daolord of the Second Step.” Ning eagerly awaited that moment. He was slightly more powerful than he had been when he had battled Kongsan, but he hadn’t made any truly transformative breakthroughs. He was in desperate need of something to stimulate him into making a breakthrough.
Rumble… the towering gray shrine finally appeared in the horizons as it flew towards the Eastroad Sect.
“There it is.”
“The Ninedust Sect has arrived.”
“They are here.” Many cultivators were hidden off in the distance, having teleported to arrive in advance of the shrine.
The towering gray shrine suddenly came to a halt in midair. The Daolords of the Ninedust Sect and its cultivators all stared off into the distance, as did the Ninedust Sectlord atop his throne. Their gazes almost instantly turned towards the mountain peak which was almost directly in front of the Eastroad Sect. There was a white-robed youth with a black sheath on his back who was on that mountain peak, and the youth rose to his feet and stared right back at them.
“A Daolord of the Second Step?” The Ninedust Sectlord murmured softly, “A puny little Daolord of the Second Step actually dares to block our advance towards the Eastroad Sect… to block my Ninedust Sect?”