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Book 36, Daolord of the Fourth Step, Chapter 3 – Boulder Transformation

In this vast realm, seven nations were striving for dominance. The cultivation system here was completely different from that of the outside world. There were three major stages known as ‘warriors’, ‘masters’, and ‘grandmasters’. Reaching the ‘grandmaster’ level was akin to becoming a Void-level Earth Immortal in the outside world. Ji Ning transformed himself and entered this realm, beginning to truly experience it and live in it as he watched countless living beings be born and die.

“Waaaaaaa!” An infant was born within a large manor, bawling his lungs out.

The white-robed Ning appeared outside the manor. His body blurred, then transformed into a middle-aged man bearing a flag. On the flag were two simple characters which meant ‘fortune teller’. He walked in front of the manor, then said to the two manor guards, “This young master is connected to me via destiny.”

“A filthy fortune teller like you is connected to him?”



“Beat it! Fuck off!” The two guards immediately shouted at this fortune-teller, shooing him away.

Ning didn’t let himself grow angry. When he was pushed away and sent stumbling back, he called out loudly, “But we really are connected by destiny?”

The child who was born on this day within this manor was the manor-master’s only child. His name was ‘Xuhu’.

Three years later. The white-robed Ning once more appeared outside this estate. He stared at the ten-plus children playing in the mud from afar, then smiled slightly. His body blurred as he transformed into a four-year-old child as well dressed in red clothes, then ran barefoot towards the others.

“Where are you from? Why haven’t I ever met you before?” The child who spoke was surnamed Wang, and he was the only son of the lord of the manor. Wang Xuhu had a very high status, and he stared puzzledly at the red-lipped, white-toothed child in front of him.

“None of your business.” The red-clothed child spoke in a very overbearing manner. “Hey, that’s some nice mud art you made. Lemme see!” As he spoke, he reached out to grab the horse-shaped mud sculpture. Plop! The thing completely broke apart.

“Y-you…” The child, Wang Xuhu, stared wide-eyed. Tears were beginning to appear, and he was so angry he gritted his teeth. “Give it back!” As he spoke, he ran forwards to punch the red-clothed child.

“Beat him up!” The other children all joined him in picking on this new, strange child.

“You want to hit me?” The red-clothed child moved like a blur, landing a kick on Xuhu’s butt and sending him sprawling on the ground.

“Waaaaaaaah!” Xuhu was both ashamed and enraged. Still sobbing, he clambered to his feet as he continued to charge towards the red-clothed child.

“What’s going on? Why are you all fighting?” Some of the manor guests had noticed what was going on over here. The red-clothed child immediately began to run, soon charging into the distant forests and disappearing.

Xuhu was the only son of the manor lord. That very night he was struck by a severe fever which drove him delirious. This terrified the manor lord into immediately sending for a physician, but three days later Xuhu miraculously recovered on his own. He began to quickly grow in strength, and his talent for cultivation became increasingly astonishing as well. At just eighteen years of age, he stepped into the ‘master’ stage.

Warriors, masters, grandmasters… the three principle stages of cultivation in this realm. Warriors were ordinary mortals who trained physically, making it slow for them to increase their power. At their peak, they were at most comparable to the Xiantian lifeforms of the Three Realms.

Masters began to accumulate a core within their bodies… they were comparable to the Zifu Disciples and Wanxiang Adepts of the Three Realms.

Grandmasters began to establish a world within their bodies… they were comparable to the Primal Daoists and Void-level Earth Immortals of the Three Realms.

Those who surpassed the grandmaster level were comparable to Celestial Immortals. This realm only occasionally gave birth to a new Celestial Immortal, and thus their numbers were extremely low.

Ning continued to watch as Xuhu grew up. When Xuhu turned eighteen, he had already become the number one hero in the surrounding area, with no one his equal in a million kilometer area! He was extremely powerful and ferocious. However, bandits and robbers began to pour into the region. Xuhu led soldiers to attack them, but ended up being defeated in battle. He fled to a mountain village, and there he met the love of his life… ‘Rose’.

“Sir, I’d like to buy two pounds of pork.” The girl led the sickly Xuhu out to purchase some food.

“Wait a bit.” The butcher was a pudgy, white-robed grandpa who was extremely muscular-looking. He picked up his saber, then began to hack through the pig bones and carve apart the meat.

When Xuhu saw this, his eyes began to lit up. “Rose, you can go home first,” Xuhu instructed. The girl did just that with those two pounds of meat.

“Sir, please teach me your saber-arts.” Xuhu immediately fell down to his knees.

“Ahaha! I don’t know any ‘saber-arts’! All I know is how to kill pigs and butcher them,” the elderly butcher said with a loud laugh.

“Then I want to learn how to kill pigs and butcher meat,” Xuhu said hurriedly.

“I’m not gonna pay you a salary.” The old man looked at him.

“I don’t need one,” Xuhu replied.

From that day forth, the old butcher gained an apprentice. Half a year later, the old butcher suddenly vanished. No matter how Xuhu searched for him, he couldn’t find the old man. He had no choice but to bring the girl back to his homeland.

“Ahahaha… I’ve cultivated for many years, but I’ve never been a pig-sticking butcher before. That really was a first.” The old butcher had transformed back into the white-robed Ning and was standing at the peak of a mountain, watching as Xuhu led his wife away.

After learning that set of saber-arts, Xuhu began to develop at an unstoppable pace as his level of insight grew deeper and deeper. When he went back home, he slew those bandits with ease. As his insight increased even further, he actually stepped into the ‘grandmaster’ stage. When the emperor of his nation heard the news, the emperor personally sent someone over to confer the title of ‘general’ upon him!

He had established his reputation, bringing glory to clan and ancestors alike. He became one of the pillars of the entire nation, commanding over three hundred thousand soldiers to guard the borderlands. He spent more than eight hundred years serving in this capacity.

He had a total of three sons and one daughter, and a plethora of grandchildren.

Finally, the internal situation of the nation took a turn for the worse as they lost battle after battle. Xuhu did his best to hold on, leading his army in an orderly retreat, but the overall situation had already been set in stone. There was simply no way for Xuhu to reverse it. He was ambushed and surrounded by eight enemy grandmasters, causing him to suffer severe injuries. In the end, he didn’t die on the battlefield but was about to perish in bed due to the wounds suffered during that assassination attempt.

Xuhu lay there in bed, surrounded by the aura of death. Within the room stood the emperor, the senior ministers, and Xuhu’s children and grandchildren.

“Your Majesty, your old servant is about to depart.” Xuhu’s voice was hoarse and his face was ashen.

“Old general… my beloved old general… you can’t just go like this!” The young emperor was completely terrified. The old general had been his final source of support, and it was thanks to him that their nation had been able to resist for over two hundred years despite the situation being so grim. Once the old general died, everything really would come to an end. Their enemy nations were quite vicious; they had been willing to sacrifice eight grandmasters, sending them into the capital to engage in an assassination attempt.

“Flowers bloom, then shrivel; the grass grows verdant, then shrivels. This is the cycle of life.” Xuhu turned to look at his sobbing, kneeling children and grandchildren. He was quite relaxed, feeling as though he was on the verge of release.

Suddenly, a white-robed youth appeared in front of the emperor before the bed. The white-robed youth looked at him.

“You are…” Xuhu looked at the white-robed youth. Suddenly, he turned stiff – he couldn’t help but think of the red-clothed child who had given him a kick so many years ago and caused him to enter a three-day fever. That child had exactly the same eyes as the youth before him.

He then thought of his teacher, that old, grandfatherly butcher who had taught him saber-arts. His teacher had the same eyes and the same look on his face.

“Life is a cycle, and your cycle has come to an end.” Ning smiled. “I have been by your side for nearly a thousand years. It can be said that the ties of destiny linked us together. I shall ensure that you keep your memories and allow you to be reborn into the cycle of reincarnation… but our karmic ties shall have come to an end. From this day forth, everything shall be up to you.”

“Master… Master…” Xuhu called out, but his aura grew weaker and weaker.

“Go on. Go.” Ning nodded.

That day, Ning personally escorted Xuhu into the cycle of reincarnation, ensuring that he was reborn into the belly of a woman who lived in a village located within a secluded mountain paradise.

“It is time for me to go find the next person I am destined to meet.” Ning smiled and took a step forwards, leaving the general’s estate. He once more transformed into a middle-aged man who bore a flag with the words ‘fortune teller’ on it, then began to amble through the streets.

“Buns for sale! Steamed buns for sale!” The street he was on was filled with meat bun stalls, and there was a child hunched over the ground playing a game.

The flag-bearing Ning walked over to the child. “Hey kid!” Ning called out.

“Huh?” Puzzled, the kid lifted his head up to look at Ning.

“You and I are linked by destiny,” Ning said.

“You swindler, do you think to deceive my child?” A burly woman immediately charged out from behind the meat bun stall with a dough-roller in her hands. The flag-bearing Ning was frightened into a hasty retreat, but as he fled he called out loudly, “No, we really are linked by destiny!”

Fortune teller. Innhouse keeper. Coffin maker. Brothel owner. An old deathsworn soldier who lived his life out on the battlefield…

Ning took on one form after another, watching from up close as countless mortals struggled through life. Their lives… their deaths… their rises… their falls.

Time flowed on. The seven warring states ended up as a war between three states, and in the end it was the Qian state which unified the world. However, the Qian dynasty then broke apart in a civil war, with the Southern Qian and the Northern Qian battling against each other.

Eventually, the Qian dynasty fell and another arose.

Ning lived through each and every dynasty, continuing to search for the secrets of life and death. Given his wisdom and intelligence, he slowly began to gain more and more of the insights he sought.

“This… this should be the secret for my Omega Sword Dao to make its next breakthrough.” By now, he had lived in this realm for over 130 million years. On this day, Ning was standing at the peak of a towering mountain, gazing down at the world with a feeling of joy in his heart and a smile on his lips.

Whoosh. Ning transformed into a boulder that was many meters tall. The boulder landed upon the mountain peak, looking quite unremarkable. He just sat there, allowing the wind to blow against him and the sun to bake him. There was even an occasional passerby who would write a few words on him.

After transforming into the boulder, Ning just sat there and quietly stared at the vast world as well as the countless living beings who were born and reborn within it. In his heart, his five major sword stances began to merge. Blood Drop, Yin-Yang, Soleheart, Heavenbreaker, Shadowless… they slowly began to become one.



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