Book 34, The Stone Hellephant Wall, Chapter 22 – Ancestral Proscriptions
Only after putting away the Sithe disk did Ji Ning feel marginally at ease. Otherwise, the many barriers it served as the focal point for would’ve been very problematic for him. Even if he did acquire treasures from within the mountain, there would’ve been no way out for him.
“How were you able to disguise yourself as Joyquill? You even managed to emulate his truesoul’s aura!”
The three silver men flew towards Ning. They had been shocked when they saw Daolord Joyquill seize the Sithe disk, but when they saw the Northbow sword appear in Ning’s hand they immediately knew who he was. They certainly wouldn’t believe that Daolord Joyquill had the power to seize a Northbow sword from Daolord Darknorth!
“Haha…” Ning laughed as he transformed back into his own appearance. “You found out too late,” Ning said as he summoned his awe-inspiring heartworld projection to cover both this tunnel as well as the garrison outside. Even the inner depths of the mountain were completely covered by it… and as it descended, the other Daolords of the three great clans were stunned.
“What’s going on?”
“Is this the legendary ‘heartworld projection’? Could it be Daolord Darknorth?”
“This place is our ancestral grounds, a place hidden from all others and which is protected by the Sithe disk. How could the heartworld projection have invaded it?” They all began to panic.
Ning just frowned slightly. He could sense that although his heartworld projection covered an extremely large region, there was some sort of energy deep within the mountain which was able to resist and block his heartworld projection, making it unable to penetrate any deeper.
“Soulthrall.” A wave of heartforce swept outwards. This was Ning’s soul-hypnosis technique, and it instantly struck all of the Daolords within the range of his heartworld projection. None of them were able to resist it at all! Even the Daolords of the Fourth Step were instantly drawn into a dazed state.
“What are you doing!” The three silver men were shocked and enraged.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” Ning looked back at the three silver men. “Don’t worry, I’m not planning to kill them. If I wanted to do so, I would’ve been able to easily eradicate them through my heartworld projection alone. I wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of putting them under my control instead…”
“You…!” The three silver men were enraged and anxious. The vast majority of the Daolords of their three clans were all located here! There were one or two standing guard over their clan, and a few had ventured so deep into the mountain that they weren’t covered by the heartworld projection. However, Ning had at least thirty-one Samsara Daolords under his control.
“Don’t worry. If you can agree to my requests, I’ll release all of them completely unharmed.” A cold light flashed through Ning’s eyes. “But if you refuse, then don’t blame me for what I’ll be forced to do.”
The three great clans viewed themselves as the absolute rulers of this world, believing all other living creatures to be beneath them. They viewed themselves as the ultimate arbiters of life and death for the others. This mentality was pervasive in the three great clans, shared by the clan leaders and clansmen alike. They had always believed this, and after becoming Samsara Daolords they had only become even more fearless and lawless. And in truth, they were indeed the rulers of this world. No one had ever been able to challenge or shake their authority! Only, the descent of Daolord Darknorth upon this world had shaken their status.
“Speak!” the muscular silver man commanded with a growl.
“Speak. Don’t ask for too much,” the silver-haired man said, teeth clenched.
“My conditions are simple,” Ning said. “First, you are not permitted to attack me… but of course, I won’t do anything further to you either. We shall coexist peacefully. Second, you must tell me all the secrets you know pertaining to the Sithe, including everything you know about this mountain. If you agree to both conditions… we still won’t be friends, but at least we won’t be enemies any longer.”
The world of cultivators was a world of slaughter and strife. The three great clans were protected by many formations and barriers; there was no way for Ning to wipe them out at all. Even if he did, the only result would be a different organization would rise to rule over this world.
As a result, Ning couldn’t even be bothered to get into a real war against these people. His ultimate goal was to obtain the Sithe treasury! Once he did, he would immediately leave this place. There really was no need for him to become enemies with these three clan leaders. They were far too strong, after all; he wasn’t able to defeat any of them. Right now, he knew nothing about the depths of this mountain whatsoever. The three great clans, however, had spent countless aeons searching and exploring the place. They definitely knew a great deal about it.
His enemies knew a great deal regarding this mountain, while he knew nothing at all. His enemies were also stronger than him; if they wanted to scheme against him here, he would probably be in a great deal of danger.
The three clan leaders exchanged glances as they secretly conversed mentally. Soon, they clenched their teeth and came to a decision.
“That’s a nice little fantasy you you.” The muscular silver man, the clan leader of the Fumo clan, growled out: “Daolord Darknorth, we aren’t able to accept your conditions due to our ancestral proscriptions. Every single member of the clan was long ago forced to swear lifeblood oaths regarding this.”
Ning’s face tightened. Ancestral proscriptions?
“But we’ll make it up to you in other ways.” The Fumo clan leader suppressed his rage as he spoke: “First, as you’ve requested, we agree to live in peace with you. Second, you must leave our ancestral lands. We will never allow anyone who is not a member of our three clans to enter this place. Third, we’ll give you a gift of three Emperor-class golems in compensation. In return, we wish to regain our clansmen.”
“How generous,” Ning said dryly. “Three Emperor-class golems.”
“Our three great clans have only acquired a few of these golems despite having spent countless eras scouring this place. To trade you three golems for the lives of our clansmen is a show of great sincerity,” the skinny silver man, the Juwah clan leader, said in a sharp and shrill voice.
“I agree that you are being quite sincere… but unfortunately, my goal is the Sithe treasury.” Ning shook his head. “Emperor-class golems? I really don’t care too much about them.”
His ultimate goal was a treasure that could intrigue even an Autarch; only then would he have a chance at reviving Yu Wei. He needed treasures on par with Crimsonwave Temple in value. Emperor-class golems weren’t even close! It must be remembered that the two overseers who had stood guard over Crimsonwave Temple were Hegemon-class figures!
“There is no way we’ll permit anyone outside of our three clans to enter the ancestral grounds,” the silver-haired man said in a cold voice.
“Absolutely not.” The muscular silver man’s voice was ice-cold as well. “I strongly recommend that you accept our conditions…”
“So I should go ahead and kill them?” Ning asked.
“They are just Daolords; even if all of them died, we’d be able to raise a new generation of them in time.” The three silver men didn’t hesitate at all.
The ancestral grounds served as the foundation for the entire clan. There was an enormous treasury here, and despite having spent countless years scouring the place they had only acquired a fraction of the treasures in the outermost layer. If Daolord Darknorth entered, he might find things that were even better than what they had acquired. He might’ve sworn an oath not to kill them, but his descendants might use those treasures to wipe out the three great clans.
Why were the three great clans so formidable? It was because of the three silver men, right? But the treasury held things that were even more terrifying and powerful than the silver men! If Ning acquired them, he would be able to establish a clan that was even more terrifyingly powerful than theirs.
“So I really should go ahead and kill them?” Ning’s voice was cold as well. Swish! The Daolord who was located closest to the three clan leaders instantly had his truesoul snuffed out. His eyes turned completely blank and dead.
“You-!” The three clan leaders were instantly driven into a state of fury.
“The two of us will hold him back. You go and rescue as many of our clansmen as you can.” The muscular silver man and the skinny silver man howled with rage as they charged towards Ning, while the silver-haired man turned to fly deep into the mountain, seeking to pull away the Daolords.
“Too late.” A flicker of something baleful flashed through Ning’s eyes. If their negotiations had fallen through… then so be it. Let them die. Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh! One truesoul after another was extinguished by Ning’s [Heartforce Eradicator]. Not a single person was able to withstand this attack.
In the blink of an eye, every single one of the Daolords had perished.
“Daolord Darknorth, you are dead meat!”
“Die, Darknorth! Die!” The two clan leaders went berserk. In the past, they had always been the ones to hold the power of life and death over others. There had never been a situation where so many Daolords of their clans had been instantly annihilated by others.
“Even all three of you working together weren’t able to do anything to me. What’s the point of even trying with two?” Ning manifested three heads and six arms as he drew his six Northbow swords. With his heartworld projection and his nine novessence arts swirling around him, he was able to defend against the attacks of the two clan leaders while moving deeper and deeper into the mountain. Although the two clan leaders managed to slow him down greatly, he was still able to move deeper within.
“Hm. The Nonti clan leader flew out of the range of my heartworld projection?” Ning frowned. His heartworld projection merely covered part of the mountain; deep within the mountain, there was some sort of unknown energy which was able to resist his heartworld projection. The third silver man had flown deeper into the mountain and outside of the range of Ning’s scans.