Book 35, The Aeonian Race, Chapter 10 – Uprooting the Tree
The nearby Ninedust sent mentally, “Darknorth, should we use our Hegemonic treasures?”
“No, we don’t have that many of them to begin with. Once we use them up, we’ll be out,” Ji Ning refused mentally. “We’re keeping those to keep ourselves alive at critical moments. I’ll try a few things out first. Even if it takes me a million years or a hundred million years, that’ll be better than wasting a Hegemonic treasure. Besides… even if we did use it, it wouldn’t be of that much use to us!”
Ning knew that by now, he might be at a disadvantage when fighting against an actual Archon of the Sacred Cities but he was definitely on their overall level! His Omega Sword Dao – Heavenbreaker was capable of unleashing enormous power with a full-strength spike… and yet, it still probably wouldn’t be able to burst open one of those barriers instantly. Although the Hegemonic treasures were formidable and on a higher level of power than Ning, and they would most likely be able to shatter through a number of barriers, it was likely that they would at most be able to shatter through just a thousand barriers with each go. Unfortunately, there were over 80,000 barriers here!
“Let me try first.” Ning’s body blurred as he transformed into his three-headed, six-armed form and drew his six Northbow swords. Ninedust stepped back to watch from the side; all he could do was watch and wait. There was nothing he could do to assist.
“Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop!” A cold light flashed through Ning’s eyes as he immediately executed his most penetrating attack.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish!
Six streams of mist-formed energy consecutively stabbed against the exact same spot upon the barrier in front of Ning. The powerful piercing force instantly caused the outermost layer of formations to flicker with light as countless runes began to flow over its surface.
“Omega Sword Dao – Heavenbreaker!” Next, Ning switched to a different stance. There were differences amongst barriers as well; some were extremely flexible and soft, making brute force useless and requiring penetrative power to break through. Others were extremely rigid and unyielding; in this case, the overwhelming power of the Heavenbreaker stance would be the most appropriate and effective. Some barriers were actually illusory!
This was very different from when he had to defeat the formations at Crimsonwave Temple. Those formations were there as part of a test! The formations here, however, had been set down by the Aeonians as a defensive measure to prevent others from stealing their treasures. They naturally poured everything they had into these formations.
“Haha, without anyone controlling these formations, they won’t be able to heal as quickly as I deplete their power. The end result will definitely be their destruction.” Ning quickly discovered a weakness in the formation, then immediately used his Blood Drop stance as the primary attack to break through it.
Just a single hour later, the barrier fell. Although it was able to automatically regenerate, it wasn’t able to keep up with the rate at which its power was being depleted. After breaking through the formation, Ning casually destroyed one of its formation-bases! If he didn’t do so, the formation would quickly regenerate and trap Ning inside of it.
One formation after another. Some were actually linked together, making it very hard for Ning to break through them. He was actually forced to use his Immortal energy to control the Northbow swords in attacking different formations in different regions simultaneously.
Break, break, break… one layer of barriers after another was breached by Ning’s attacks. Although the Aeonians had paid enormous prices to set up these barriers, they were weakened by the fact that they were unmanned.
Time slowly passed on. One year, two years, three years… ten years, a hundred years, a thousand years…
While breaking through the formations, Ning continuously worked on his sword-arts. He felt as though he was virtually sparring with these many generations of departed formations masters. Some of these formations had been set up by the Aeonians themselves, while others they had purchased from the outside. Every single formation was difficult to breach, and while doing so Ning gained more and more insights into his sword-arts.
“A pity that my [Heartsword] art has yet to make a breakthrough. It seems as though going from the tenth stance to the eleventh stance truly is difficult,” Ning sighed.
Every single strike of his was reinforced by the [Heartsword] art, which showed itself as a mist-formed layer of sword energy. It must be remembered that when one truly trained in the [Heartsword] art, the eighth to tenth stances were considered part of the first stage. The eleventh and twelfth stances were part of the second stage, the thirteenth and fourteenth stances were part of the third stage, and the fifteenth stance was the final stage.
Ning was still stuck in the first stage, and breaking through to the second stage was very, very difficult. Although the three hundred-plus Hegemonic legacies he had gained included a few similar techniques which also involved fusing heartforce with divine power and Immortal energy, in the end Ning was an expert of the Dao of the Sword; studying through this Dao was the fastest solution, making the [Heartsword] art the most appropriate art for him. The others could at most be used as references to use.
After reviewing the other techniques, Ning understood that gaining true mastery of the [Heartsword] art was possible only through one way – true and utter devotion to this Dao!
However, knowing and doing are two completely separate concepts. He knew what he had to do, but he still was unable to make the necessary breakthroughs. If breaking through was that easy, Emperor Heartsword wouldn’t have been the only person in all of history to have been able to truly master this [Heartsword] art.
More than eighteen million years went by.
The six Northbow swords were hanging in the air, furiously stabbing downwards in an illusory manner. Finally, with a popping sound, the last barrier was broken through by Ning.
“Success.” The distant Ninedust revealed a delighted look.
“He was actually able to break through over 80,000 barriers with just sword-arts.” The two clan leaders were both rather startled. These formations encompassed every type of barrier possible, including bewildering and illusory ones. Thankfully, Ning was a Heartforce Cultivator and thus wouldn’t be misled by them. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have been able to resolve those formations.
The white-robed Ning just stood there, his six Northbow swords hanging in the air. The swords descended in unison, flying back into the sheath on his back.
“Whew.” Ning let out a sigh of relief. He could sense that the past eighteen million years of formation-breaking had been a form of tempering for his sword-arts. He now had gained quite a few new insights into them.
“But I still have no clue as to how I am going to reach the fourth stage with the Omega Sword Dao. Becoming a Daolord of the Fourth Step truly is difficult,” Ning sighed to himself. He really didn’t have much hope; all he could do was to continuously advance. Sooner or later, he would break through.
“My young friend Darknorth, these fruits are all quite extraordinary. They are far more valuable than ordinary omnigeddon bloodfruits,” the sea dragon leader said.
Ning turned to glance at it. The two clan leaders were both staring at Ning, as were the nearly two hundred beasts off in the distance. To them, the past eighteen million years had been nothing at all.
Ning and Ninedust exchanged a glance. Both of them knew what had to be done.
“Be careful,” Ninedust sent mentally.
“Don’t worry,” Ning replied mentally.
Boom! Ning’s body blurred as it suddenly expanded dramatically in size. He instantly became the size of a towering mountain that was three million meters tall, the same height as the omnigeddon bloodfruit tree itself.
“You grew pretty big,” the flaming equine leader said with a laugh.
“It makes harvesting easier.” Ning reached out with his hand, easily plucking one of the flame-colored fruits at the very crown of the omnigeddon bloodfruit tree, then putting it away.
There were some fruits which could only be harvested in certain ways; for example, there were certain fruits which would vanish when touched by the hand. The omnigeddon bloodfruit, however, could only grow if they underwent ten thousand tribulations during their growing process! It was fine to harvest them by hand; they weren’t delicate at all.
Soon, the thirty-six fruits growing throughout the tree were completely harvested. Ning lowered his head to harvest the final fruit located at the base of the tree. He pulled the fruit into his estate-world with a thought, then reached out with both hands to grasp the trunk of the omnigeddoon bloodfruit tree. He immediately sent out his divine power to cover every inch of the tree, protecting its roots and branches.
“Get up.” Ning exerted his power, allowing his full might to be unleashed. Boom! In the end, the omnigeddon bloodfruit tree was nothing more than a tree; the Azureflower Estate world’s fruit trees had been warded by the master of the estate, which was why Ning was unable to damage them. In fact, he had been restricted to harvesting just a single fruit. The omnigeddon bloodfruit tree, however, was ‘only’ protected by those 80,000+ barriers. By now, Ning had long since destroyed those barriers, and without them blocking his path he was able to easily harvest all of the fruit from the tree.
Whoosh! The entire massive omnigeddon bloodfruit tree was uprooted from the earthy ground. Countless roots began to rise up out of the earth, but the layer of divine power covering the tree ensured that it was completely undamaged.
“He’s…” the two clan leaders and all of the spectating beasts stared in amazement at this sight. The massive tree had just been uprooted by the similarly massive Ji Ning, who moved so fast that they weren’t even able to react in time.
“In you go.” With but a thought, Ning easily drew the uprooted omnigeddon bloodfruit tree into his estate-world.
“Ah?!” After putting away the tree, Ning had been feeling quite excited and planning to flee alongside Ninedust. In fact, Ninedust had already flown towards him like a streak of light… but the look on Ning’s face had changed.
Boom! After he uprooted the omnigeddon bloodfruit tree, an enormous crevice had revealed itself underneath him. This enormous crevice was extremely deep, and at the very bottom of it there was a small pool of red liquid! This small pool of what looked like congealed blood was also thirty thousand meters in size! It rolled about like a miniature red sun.
Previously, the omnigeddon bloodfruit tree had been blocking it out, with Ning not having sensed its aura at all. Now that Ning had already uprooted the tree, he could sense a stately and ancient power instantly emanate outwards.