Book 31, Starflow River, Chapter 21 – Sincerity
A dimensional rift appeared within a region which bordered both the Endless Territories and the Terror Starsea. Two figures emerged from it, one a white-robed youth who carried a golden sword in his back, the second an insidious-looking silver-robed man who radiated an aura of power.
“We finally made it.”
“Haha, I didn’t expect things would progress this smoothly.”
Ji Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord both sighed in amazement.
“The two of us were so worried about dying at first.” The Ninedust Sectlord laughed. “Thank goodness Patriarch Vulturas gave us that star map, and thank goodness your sword-arts have transcended space, Darknorth. And thank goodness you are also a Heartforce Cultivator!”
“We also need to celebrate our good fortune. The Starflow River was supposed to be the most dangerous part of the journey, but we were so lucky that we didn’t run into anything dangerous at all,” Ning sighed happily.
Their good luck had combined with many other factors, allowing them to survive their return to the Endless Territories.
“Come, come! We need to make haste. We wasted sixty years after leaving Thundersouth Palace, and we’re still quite far from the Waveshift Realm. We’ve already wasted so much time, and if we waste any more the Voidsea Jadeseals will probably end up being taken by those who arrived early on,” the Ninedust Sectlord said.
“No rush,” Ning said. “I have a very quick way of travelling straight to the Waveshift Realm.”
“A very quick way?” The Ninedust Sectlord stared at Ning, puzzled.
“Through the spacetime tunnels of the Brightshore Kingdom.” Ning immediately added, “Brother Ninedust, I never spoke to you about this, but… although I am a member of the Dao Alliance, as a World-level cultivator I was abducted to the Brightshore Kingdom. Thus, I’m a member of the Twelve Palaces of Brightshore.”
“The Brightshore Kingdom? You belong to them?” The Ninedust Sectlord was stunned.
“Yes.” Ning nodded. Their journey back from the Terror Starsea had been a dangerous one, with life-threatening situations possibly occurring at any moment. In order to avoid any mistrust and anything that could affect their ability to work together, Ning had stayed silent this entire time about his true status. Now that they had shared so many life-and-death experiences for so long, he truly didn’t wish to keep this hidden.
“Y-you…” The Ninedust Sectlord had a rather complicated look on his face. He then let out a helpless sigh. “Thankfully you are merely a member of the Twelve Palaces. If you were a member of the Brightshore Imperials, I’d really have no clue what to do. The Brightshore Imperials have always been enemies of us Ancient cultivators. We’ve been fighting each other for countless chaos cycles.”
Ning nodded. The Brightshore Imperials had once been the slaves of the Ancient cultivators, which they viewed as the greatest stain on their honor. It wasn’t at all odd that the successive generations of Brightshore Imperials had all viewed the Ancient cultivators as their enemies.
“The Brightshore Hegemon is absolutely shameless.” The Ninedust Sectlord gritted his teeth, hard. “Of the three Hegemons, he’s the most shameless! He relies on his incredible mastery over spacetime to abduct some of the most powerful World-level cultivators of the Endless Territories. If it wasn’t for the Twelve Palaces of Brightshore, the Brightshore Kingdom wouldn’t have the status and standing it currently does.”
Ning had to acknowledge this as being true. In terms of Daolords, the Twelve Palaces of Brightshore had far more members than the Brightshore Imperials. The Twelve Palaces often numbered one or more of the top three Daolords of each era within their ranks… and they even had Eternal Emperors! By comparison, the imperial clan was much weaker.
“It doesn’t matter. You remain a brother for life,” the Ninedust Sectlord declared. “And given my current level of power, I really don’t worry about those Brightshore Imperials at all. Don’t worry. I won’t make things difficult for you.”
Ning immediately let out a sigh of relief. If Ninedust ended up in a battle against the Brightshore Imperials, the lifeblood oath Ning had sworn would force him to protect the Brightshore imperials. Ninedust was making his position clear in order to avoid precisely this type of awkward situation. Indeed, given Ninedust’s standing amongst at the very peak of power amongst Daolords, there really were few to no Brightshore Imperials who were a match for him, and not a single one who could truly threaten him.
Now that he was a Daolord of the Fourth Step, the Ninedust Sectlord’s ‘unkillable aquaform’ was far more powerful than Kongsan’s ‘darkness incarnate’ form had been. In a normal battle, no Daolord was capable of annihilating him when he assumed that form. In truth, all of the most supreme Daolords had their own special talents, and all of them were generally quite hard to deal with. The only ones capable of threatening them were the most supreme of Heartforce Daolords, who were able to use techniques that struck at their very souls and truesouls. Those attacks still proved dangerous to them.
Daolord Featherdress had created the [Featherdress Soulthrall Song] and become acknowledged as the most powerful of Daolords. The other supreme Daolords were unwilling to fight against her precisely because of her heartforce abilities.
“Thank you, Ninedust,” Ning said gratefully.
“Cut that out. We are brothers!” The Ninedust Sectlord shook his head and smiled. After having travelled with Ning for so long, he truly felt that Ning was a person worthy of being his lifelong friend. “Darknorth, you spoke of using the Brightshore Kingdom’s spacetime tunnels… given who I am, it probably wouldn’t be easy for me to enter them.”
“When we get there, I’ll have to trouble you to hide within one of my estate-world’s for a time,” Ning said.
“Alright.” The Ninedust Sectlord nodded. The two were very close to each other, and they both naturally swore lifeblood oaths after having decided to go to the Waveshift Realm together.
Even the best of friends would generally rely on lifeblood oaths to bind each other, as it was possible for even lifelong brothers to turn on each other for the sake of treasures involving the Daomerge. To avoid such disastrous outcomes, most would rely upon lifeblood oaths to keep everyone honest.
As Ning and Ninedust were hastening to the Waveshift Realm, yet another danger befell Vastheaven Palace.
“Vastheaven Palace.” A white-robed elder had just arrived at the Vastheaven Everworld. He stood at the peak of a mountain, staring at the distant Vastheaven Palace.
“I hear that Vastheaven Palace has gained a Heartforce Cultivator.” A look of absolute self-confidence was in the white-robed elder’s eyes. Due to certain choices he had made in his path of cultivation, he didn’t fear Heartforce Cultivators at all. “My home was too far away from the Waveshift Realm! I’m definitely going to arrive much later than the other Daolords. If I can procure the information regarding the Waveshift Realm which Daolord Solesky has, I might be able to acquire one of those jade seals even though I’ll arrive later than the others.”
The white-robed elder strode forwards through the skies, each step causing ripples of light to spread out. Soon, he arrived in the skies above Vastheaven Palace.
“Darknorth. Solesky. Are you present?” the white-robed elder asked calmly. Rumble… his voice echoed within the skies around the area. A short while later, four figures flew out of Vastheaven Palace. It was Ji Ning, Daolord Solesky, Daolord Battlemaster, and Daolord Brightfish.
“All avatars.” The white-robed elder glanced at them, then shook his head and frowned. Avatars were disposable. Each one represented ten million cubes of chaos nectar and quite a bit of effort, but for the sake of the Daomerge… even fairly poor Daolords like Solesky and Battlemaster would just grit their teeth and bear it.
“Him? The ‘Junior Radiant King’?” Daolord Solesky’s face turned white.
“It’s actually him?” The faces of Ning and the others turned pale as well.
Amongst the supreme Daolords of the Endless Territories, there was a particularly powerful Daolord who had been given the respectful title of the Radiant King. He was a terrifying Daolord who was ranked third in the Endless Territories. As for the ‘Junior Radiant King’, he belonged to the same race as the Radiant King but was slightly weaker, ranking amongst the second-tier Daolords. However, he stood at the very peak of power amongst the second-tier Daolords and was considerably stronger than Kongsan.
The two of them belonged to the same race and used similar techniques. The Junior Radiant King’s true Daoist title was actually Yanmi. He could thus be addressed as Daolord Yanmi, but most simply referred to him as the Junior Radiant King.
“I’m sure you know that my heart is like light itself. You will be unable to shake my heart unless your heartforce skills have reached a truly unfathomable peak,” the white-robed elder said calmly. “For me, wiping out Vastheaven Palace is a very easy task. Solesky, I imagine you know why I am here. Give me everything you know about the Waveshift Realm, or I will have no choice but to attack.”
Daolord Solesky had an ugly look on his face. Battlemaster and Brightfish were both anxious as well. They had guessed long ago that the power Ning had displayed was enough to scare off the vast majority of Daolords, but… this concerned the Voidsea Jadeseals! Perhaps the supreme Daolords who were completely confident in their abilities would head straight to the Waveshift Realm, but the ones who were slightly less confident would all come here to try their luck.
And indeed, it was a matter of trying their luck. Everyone knew that the chances of Solesky handing the information over was quite low… but for the sake of the Daomerge, they would still give a try, no matter how low their chances were.
“Hmph.” Seeing the looks on the faces of the four, the white-robed elder let out a cold snort. Whoosh! He suddenly seemed transformed into a dazzling sun that radiated eye-piercing radiance. His light stretched out into infinity as multiple clones of him seemed to appear. Countless clones of him quickly filled the skies, resulting in what seemed like trillions of white-robed elders appearing above and surrounding the four Vastheaven Daolords.
“If you don’t hand the information over, I’ll have no choice but to wipe you out and destroy Vastheaven Palace!” The trillions of white-robed old men all spoke out at the same time, their voices booming in the skies.
“Daolord Yanmi, if you wish to wipe out Vastheaven Palace, you need to ask me for permission first!” Ji Ning’s cold voice rang out in response.