Book 34, The Stone Hellephant Wall, Chapter 28 – The Emperor Golems
The palace ruins stretched far off into the horizon. There seemed to be no end to them.
“More than thirty thousand true Sithe once lived here.” Ji Ning stared at the ruins, rather moved. “I really wonder how different the Sithe civilization was from our cultivator civilization.”
“Darknorth.” A delight cry rang out from far away as a streak of light quickly shot towards Ning and descended. It was Ninedust.
“You finally came out. I’ve been fighting like an idiot for millions of years, all by myself,” Ninedust said with an overjoyed look on his face.
“You really disappoint me. All this time, and you haven’t caught a single Emperor-class golem?” Ning said.
“Hey, don’t blame me for that. I managed to make some improvements after inspecting those claw-marks left behind in the palace ruins, but…” Ninedust said anxiously, “But there are more than a hundred of those Emperor-class golems, and they all hide behind the remaining barriers set up by the Sithe. There’s no way for me to force them out at all. My only choice is to wait for a chance. One time, I damn near caught one of those things, but the other golems jumped into help the first one out.”
Ning now understood. The golems weren’t so foolish as to fight in solo combat! When the situation turned grim for one of them, the others would step in to help out! This was why the three great clans had labored for so long to capture Emperor-class golems, and yet only had a few in each clan.
“I have an idea.” Ning mentally transmitted his suggestion to Ninedust.
Ninedust’s eyes lit up when he heard this. “Haha…”
“That’s the only real thing I can do. If you STILL cannot capture an Emperor-class golem, there’s nothing else I can do,” Ning sent mentally.
“Don’t worry.” Ninedust suddenly thought of something. He said hurriedly, “Oh, right. I almost forgot! I’ve been battling in these ruins for countless years and have discovered quite a few dangerous regions within it. Fortunately, I have an invulnerable aquaform; otherwise, I would’ve died long ago. Here’s a map of all the danger zones I’ve discovered thus far. I prepared it for you long ago; I was just waiting for you to come out.” As Ninedust spoke, he tossed a rolled map to Ning.
Ning accepted it and gave it a glance. There was a detailed map of the palace ruins here, with markings for the various danger zones. Ning revealed a delighted smile. Without this map, he would have to carefully explore for a very long period of time if he wanted to get a sense of what dangers lay here.
“Come, let’s go catch us some golems,” Ning said.
“Let’s go.” Ninedust was filled with eagerness as well.
After a full month, Ninedust found another chance to engage an Emperor-class golem in a battle.
Whoosh. A vast wave swept out to encompass an area of over a million kilometers. The Ninedust Sectlord’s upper body was visible and utterly massive. He wielded that longstaff in his hands, smashing it outwards like a stream of water that completely embodied the essence of the word ‘entangle’.
No matter how the golem struggled, Ninedust’s longstaff continued to circle around it, preventing it from fleeing no matter how it tried.
“In the past, Ninestaff’s staff-arts were more explosive and dominating; now, they are much softer.” Ning was hiding off in the distance using his Shadowless evasion-art, and he nodded at what he saw. If one was capable of both hard and soft techniques, one would be able to unleash still-greater power in combat.
“Although he’s not able to completely defeat that golem, he can at least ensure the golem won’t be able to flee. After enough time passes, the golem’s energy reserves will run low. That’s when it will be defeated.” Ning could already guess what was about to happen.
A short while later… “Help!” The Emperor-class golem finally let out a furious call for aid.
Swoosh. Swoosh. The battle had long ago attracted the attention of quite a few golems. Upon hearing their comrade plea for aid, two Emperor-class golems immediately charged over towards Ninedust.
Ning cracked a smile. “Here they come.” Ning transformed into a streak of light, clearly moving faster than a hundred times the speed of light as he flew towards the two golems. Prior to receiving the guidance of the Autarch’s Dao, Ning had already been at the limit of a hundred times of speed of light. Ever since his Blood Drop stance broke through to the fourth level, the power of his Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop had doubled. This upgrading of his Dao resulted in Ning understanding many new things, and so his flying speed was also able to break past the bottleneck of a hundred times the speed of light.
“Who is that?”
“Where did he suddenly come from?” The two Emperor-class golem reinforcements were shocked. Ning had been maintaining the Shadowless evasion art the entire time and thus they hadn’t noticed him.
“Friends, come and help out.” Although the two Emperor-class golems were shocked at first, they quickly calmed down. It was hard for even the three clan leaders to catch them when all three were working together; what did they have to fear? Instantly, all of the other watching golems charged towards them as well.
Whoosh. Ning had already reached the two Emperor-class golems, [Three Heads, Six Arms] active and six Northbow swords at the ready.
Swish! Swish! Swish!
Streaks of mist-formed sword energy struck out with terrifying speed. Now that the Blood Drop stance’s power had doubled yet again, the attack was even faster than it had been before! The two Emperor-class golems frantically tried to defend, but they weren’t even able to touch Ning’s sword before it gently coiled around them and bound them in multiple layers.
“In you go, and you too.” These two Emperor-class golems didn’t have invulnerable aquaforms, and so they were easily taken away forcibly by Ning.
“What?!” “How is this possible?!” The other five Emperor-class golems who had been charging over to reinforce their comrades were all terrified, as was the golem which was battling against Ninedust.
This newcomer had instantly captured two Emperor-class golems? How could he be so terrifyingly strong?
What they didn’t understand was that although the three clan leaders were extremely powerful, their attacks were clumsy and limited in speed to a hundred times the speed of light. Blocking their attacks was naturally quite easy! Ning, however, was different; his sword-arts were so incredibly fast that he far outstripped the Emperor-class golems in speed. Given how unpredictable his attacks were, he naturally was able to defeat and capture the golems in just a single clash.
Forget about two; even if five or six golems were attacking him, he would be able to easily defeat and capture at least half of them in a twinkling, then in the next twinkling catch the rest. This was what made Ning so dangerous!
Swoosh. After putting away the two golems, Ning turned to charge straight towards the reinforcement golems.
“Don’t fight him head-on!” The golems were all terrified. These golems were all roughly on the same level of power; if two of them had been captured in just a single clash, how could the others possibly dare to engage? They naturally were terrified into a hasty retreat.
“This Daolord is too powerful. He’s absolutely terrifying! Even worse than the three clan leaders.”
“What should we do?”
“Even if there were ten of us working together, we still wouldn’t be a match for him. He’d just capture us all, one after the other! I think we need at least thirty working together if we want to kill him.”
The golems quickly retreated behind some of the few remaining barriers. Neither Ning nor Ninedust dared to touch them, but since the golems belonged to the Sithe side they wouldn’t be attacked.
“Everyone, we have to hurry up and join forces against him,” the golems discussed internally.
The main problem was that the palace ruins were simply far, far too vast. The golems were all scattered across it by a distance of tens or even hundreds of millions of kilometers. To gather them all together would take time. If they tried to hastily gather together in smaller numbers, the end result would just be that Ning would defeat them one-by-one.
And so… the sixteen Emperor-class golems that were close to Ninedust’s battlefield were all so terrified that they didn’t dare to come and reinforce their ‘comrade’. After spending the time needed to boil a kettle of tea, Ninedust finally managed to deplete the Emperor-class golem’s energy reserves and caught it.
Actually, this was the exact same method the three great clans had used to capture those Emperor-class golems with invulnerable forms. This was why they had quite a few of them. All combat consumed energy, and golems didn’t have spirit-pills. Their regenerative speed was also far lower than that of cultivators! A short battle was fine, but a long battle they couldn’t escape from would result in capture once their energy stores were depleted.
“I finally caught one!” Ninedust was ecstatic.
“Congratulations.” Ning flew over.
“I only managed to catch one because you blocked the others. Does this even count?” Ninedust was still a bit worried.
Ning said with a laugh, “That senior only said that you aren’t allowed to use Universe treasures or outside sources of help; you had to capture an Emperor-class golem on your own. And… that’s exactly what you did! Me fighting a few others is a separate issue entirely. It should be fine. Let’s go and ask.”
“Alright.” Ninedust rather nervously flew towards the lion statue. Thankfully, the treasure-spirit within that beastworld didn’t stop him. Instead, it granted Ninedust entry.
“Haha…” Ning started to laugh. “With this bit of luck under his belt, brother Ninedust’s chances at the Daomerge shall be a bit better now.”
The Daomerge was far too difficult. If one wished to succeed in it, one needed to fight for every scrap of karmic fortune available. Ning wasn’t confident in his own Daomerge chances, but he wished for his best friends to succeed in theirs.
“Emperor-class golems, eh? C’mere.” Eager to do battle, Ning once more charged towards the golems. Wanting to capture them was part of his eagerness, but he also had the feeling that he was gaining new insights into the five stances of his Omega Sword Dao through combat. His Soleheart stance in particular felt as though it was just one step away from the fourth stage. Clearly, the 120 million years he had spent memorizing the Autarch’s Dao had given Ning a wealth of experience to draw upon.