Book 33, Crimsonwave Temple, Chapter 14 – [Daoheart]
Whoosh. A cold wind blew out from the deep abyss in front of Ji Ning. Ning however just stood there blankly, not seeming to even notice it at all.
The [Vitalis] technique allowed one to disguise one’s truesoul aura. It could merely be described as a rare technique that wasn’t really of much use for either the Daomerge or cultivation in general. This [Daoheart] technique, however, was of enormous benefit to cultivators!
For cultivators, the Dao-heart mattered more than anything else! Without a sufficiently strong Dao-heart, you couldn’t even so much as become a Celestial Immortal. Once your Dao-heart collapsed, you might even fail to control the powerful Immortal energy coursing through your body, resulting in death via self-detonation! All Samsara Daolords, especially supreme ones, had incredibly formidable Dao-hearts.
Usually, the stronger a person was the more powerful his Dao-heart would be as well, which meant that on average Eternal Emperors had stronger Dao-hearts than Samsara Daolords did. But of course, there were a few extremely rare exceptions.
When Ninedust had been poisoned by that redscatter venom, he had been in such agony that he wanted Ning to kill him. The redscatter venom had originally been devised for usage against powerful Eternal Emperors, who had very strong Dao-hearts. It would weaken them, but it wouldn’t incapacitate them to the point where they would beg for death. This alone was a testament as to the difference in Dao-hearts between Ninedust and powerful Eternal Emperors.
However, as more time passed Ninedust’s Dao-heart had been tempered and strengthened by the redscatter venom. Towards the late stages of his poisoning, he had no longer screamed in pain. If someone was to apply redscatter venom to him again, he might be dramatically weakened but he wouldn’t beg for death. This signified that his Dao-heart had improved!
“Redscatter venom is terrifying, but it’s also a good treasure for tempering one’s Dao-heart. Alas, the effect only lasts for twelve days,” Ning mused. In the end, twelve days simply wasn’t long enough, especially given how incredibly rare and expensive redscatter venom was. When applied at the right time in a duel between Eternal Emperors, it could allow in one being able to slay a foe outright. Hence, no one would be so wasteful as to use it to temper the Dao-heart.
“This [Daoheart] technique… once you use it, you’ll suffer such tremendous agony that you’ll feel as though you’ve been hit by redscatter venom!” Ning was truly stunned.
It sounded quite simple; it was nothing more than a pain technique, right? But it must be understood that supreme Daolords had such incredibly formidable Dao-hearts that they would calmly smile in the face of death itself! To cause them to feel such agonizing pain that they would be at the verge of suffering a mental breakdown was incredibly hard to do. That was what made the redscatter venom so valuable! This [Daoheart] technique, however, was able to cause increasingly terrifying levels of pain. This sort of technique was completely unheard of in the Endless Territories!
According to the records, the [Daoheart] technique was divided up into seven levels of heart purgatories. Even the very first level was enough to cause tremendous agony to a supreme Daolord, and the higher levels were even worse. The seventh purgatory was so agonizing that supreme Daolords could instantly see their truesouls shattered and destroyed from the pain!
Ning stared at the stone pillar before him. “This stone pillar has only recorded down the first three purgatories; only Eternal Emperors will have the chance to learn the fourth to seventh purgatories! It seems as though even the Sithe Daolords were only able to train in the first three. I have to be able to master the first three purgatories if I wish to be able to traverse the tri-colored chains.”
Each of the three colored sections of the tri-colored chains in front of him would cause an agonizing amount of pain to fill his body. One had to have mastered the first three purgatories in order to safely cross the chains.
“Time to begin!”
A cold wind howled past the white-robed Ning as he waved his hand, causing the temporal acceleration cabin to appear next to him. Ning entered the log cabin, then began to train.
“Mo…ya…ta…” Ning’s soul began to recite the words to this technique. This was a soul voice with a strange cadence and profound melody to it. Slowly, Ning began to feel an increasing level of pain. This pain filled every inch of his body and began to grow stronger and stronger as Ning continued the chant. The longer he chanted, the greater the pain he felt. After an hour had passed, Ning’s forehead was creased in a frown and a fierce look was in his eyes.
“…kong…la…luo…Sithe.” Ning finished chanting through the first purgatory and opened his eyes, his forehead matted with sweat.
“How terrifying. It has been a long, long time since I’ve felt as much pain as this… but it was still within the realm of what I could tolerate.” Ning immediately shut his eyes and began to work on the second purgatory.
Ning was the most powerful Heartforce Cultivator of the Endless Territories and the master of the Omega Sword Dao. His Dao-heart was already incredibly strong!
Even if he wasn’t a Heartforce Cultivator, his Dao-heart still would’ve been quite strong. Long ago, he had been stuck at the fourth stage of heartforce, ‘mortal dust’, because of his stubborn attachment to his parents. As a result, he had been unable to calm his mind and heart enough to reach the fifth stage of heartforce, ‘truth’. However, his determination to revive his parents was so strong that his Dao-heart was still incredibly strong even then. Similarly, there were many Eternal Emperors and even Hegemons who were not Heartforce Cultivators but who had Dao-hearts of inconceivable strength.
But of course… Heartforce Cultivators would by definition have extremely strong Dao-hearts! Even then, however, there were variations amongst Heartforce Cultivators. Some were stronger, some were weaker. Ji Ning, Timedream, Cloudwalker, Winesage… their Dao-hearts naturally were ranked in this order from first to fourth.
“…tian…fu…can…Sithe.” Ning’s face was completely red, and his veins were bulging out of his trembling body. Despite that, he still managed to forcibly and fully recite the second purgatory.
“I’ve finished the second purgatory as well.” Ning wasn’t very happy. The fact that he was able to master the first and second purgatories so easily meant that they would be of little to no use to him.
“Time for the third purgatory of the [Daoheart] technique… the Jinayi purgatory.”
Ning took a deep breath, allowing his protruding veins to settle back down and the color of his skin to go back to normal. “Zi…mi…shi…ya…” Ning began to recite the words to the third purgatory.
It was like a colossal mountain of pain had just come crashing down upon his fragile body. He almost immediately felt as though he was about to suffer a mental breakdown. Although Ning had a powerful Dao-heart and things he cared immensely about, he currently had a feeling of incredible weakness, as though he wasn’t able to hold on for much longer and was about to collapse.”
Clack clack clack clack… Ning just sat there in the lotus position, but sweat was pouring down his face and the bones in his body were clacking and cracking. His muscles and his tendons were at the point of tearing apart, and even his gums were beginning to ooze blood that began to drip out from the corners of his lips. Ning, however, didn’t notice any of this at all.
His Dao-heart was completely focused on guarding his spirit and his beliefs while his soul continued to chant the words to the technique. The pain continued to increase! Everything in front of him began to turn black as all sound disappeared from the world. There was nothing aside from the endless pain!
“Ah…” Ning suddenly felt his entire mind go blank. His soul naturally stopped chanting the words to the technique and the agony quickly receded, allowing him to regain consciousness.
He lowered his head to look at himself. His arms and his crossed legs were all matted with sweat, with a few rivulets of blood splattered in.
“I was in such pain that I couldn’t even continue to chant that mantra.” Ning actually smiled delightedly at this discovery. “Hahaha! Good, good! That means my Dao-heart isn’t strong enough yet. I wasn’t even able to master the third purgatory of the [Daoheart] technique on my first try. Since the Sithe used this to train supreme Daolords, that means the most powerful Sithe Daolords had even stronger Dao-hearts than me.”
“Haha. At least the third purgatory of the [Daoheart] technique is of use to me.” Ning was delighted. If he had passed on his first try, that would’ve meant that the third purgatory was similarly useless.
“Let’s do this again. The pain I felt was less than what Ninedust went through,” Ning mused. It wasn’t that the third purgatory of the [Daoheart] technique was weaker than the effects of the redscatter venom; Ning wasn’t able to judge that. All pain, however, was relative. The redscatter venom and the agony it brought had been enough to cause Ninedust to scream in agony and beg for Ning to kill him! However, if it had been Hegemon Brightshore who had been struck by the poison, he would’ve been able to continue smiling and laughing without seeming to feel a thing. Pain was a relative concept. The pain brought by the third purgatory of the [Daoheart] technique was at most able to prevent Ning from continuing his chanting.
However… the redscatter venom caused Ninedust endless pain without end, pain for a full twelve days.
“Continue.” Ning once more began to chant the mantra. The seven stages to this [Daoheart] technique were known as the seven purgatories of the heart. Amongst the Sithe, even the most supreme of Daolords were only able to master the first three purgatories.
The first three purgatories were viewed as nightmares by even those supreme Sithe Daolords! They generally would spend countless years training before each abyss, suffering endless mental torment. If they were unable to completely master the technique within a single chaos cycle, the Sithe would forcibly remove them from this place. Only some of their supreme Daolords were able to master all three of the purgatories.
One attempt after another. Ning’s soul continuously chanted the mantra to the technique, enduring the endless agonizing that descended upon him. Each time, the agony caused him to despair and drove him unconscious. The pain was simply beyond what he could endure, and so he failed again and again. Each time, his only goal was to increase his limit further and further.
While training, Ning set up fairly simple barriers and wards around him. Once anyone came, Ning would naturally be alerted by it. Thus, he was able to completely invest himself in training.
Time continued to flow on. As Ning continued to suffer more and more torment, he was able to recite the mantra for longer periods of time. After a total of twenty-one years…
“…qian…fu…la…jie…na…yi…Sithe.” Ning finally completed his recital of the third purgatory’s mantra. Although he was wracked by agony, he was at least able to maintain the presence of mind to finish the recital.
“Success.” Ning opened his eyes.
Whoosh. Ning waved his hand, putting away the temporal acceleration cabin. He then stared at the stone pillar for a moment, then walked towards the tri-colored chains.
By now, a large group of supreme Daolords had descended upon the second world, where the furious fight over the final Voidsea Daoseal continued.