Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 9 – A Tough Nut
The skinny onyx humanoid was skilled with the saber, but for the sake of tying down Azurefiend he didn’t use any weapons at all. He used his bare hands, and since every part of his body was akin to a weapon he was able to tie down Azurefiend as best he could.
Whoosh. He sent his right palm out, his arm stretching to become more than ten thousand kilometers long.
Whap! Azurefiend, in his true form, struck out with his tail against the incoming black palm.
Crack! The vast black arm suddenly changed directions, lashing out in a strange whip-like manner as the arm seemed to transform into an arc that built up power and then struck out once more. The skinny onyx humanoid’s entire body seemed to have transformed into a bow-like shape.
“This Black Emperor really is tough to deal with.” Hegemon Azurefiend had a complete advantage in power, and was significantly superior to his opponent in terms of insights into the Dao, but his attacks were doing absolutely nothing when being landed upon the Black Emperor’s body. This allowed the Black Emperor to continuously tie him down.
“Darknorth has chosen to fight the other Black Emperor by himself. He should be able to keep himself safe, right?” Azurefiend cast a sideways glance at the distant Ning as he battled. A look of shock suddenly appeared on his face.
“Puny Daolord, you truly are arrogant. However, your arrogance has given us a chance to deal with you. Otherwise, we’d probably have to massacre everyone here to coerce you into complying, starting with all the disciples of Vastheaven Palace. And yet, that might not be enough.” The muscular Black Emperor was clearly in a good mood. “Now, we simply have to kill you and we’ll have won the realmship.”
“You might be celebrating just a bit too early.” Ning stood there in the air, staring calmly at the onyx humanoid before him.
“If you are in such a hurry to die, then die you shall.” The muscular onyx humanoid suddenly struck out with a giant black palm that blotted out the skies as it swept out towards Ning. Whoosh! Ning suddenly moved, disappearing from the onyx humanoid’s field of vision.
“He disappeared?” The muscular onyx humanoid’s palm-strike missed. He immediately struck out in every direction with his palms. As he saw it, even if Ning did vanish he would only be able to hide with his evasion-arts. There was no way he would’ve been able to escape too far.
“I’m over here.” A voice rang out from behind him. The muscular onyx humanoid stared backwards in astonishment, only to see the white-robed youth with the black sheath on his back standing far behind him.
“He’s fast.” A feeling of trepidation appeared within the onyx humanoid’s heart.
“The Black Emperor’s body is a waste on you. Your insights into the Dao are too low. You have some innate advantages in a life-or-death battle, but if I wanted to leave you wouldn’t be able to stop me at all.” Ning slowly shook his head. He suddenly couldn’t help but sigh a bit in his heart. When he had first seen that onyx humanoid’s corpse, he had felt absolutely stunned. He never would’ve imagined that he would have reached that same level of power as well.
In terms of the Dao of the Sword, Ning was on a full level higher than Emperor Heartsword had been. Now that Ning had mastered the fourteenth stance of the [Heartsword] art, he was just a single stance behind Emperor Heartsword, who had created just fifteen stances in total. On the whole, Ning was now far more powerful than Emperor Heartsword. He truly had reached the Hegemon level of combat power.
“Puny Daolord, you are far too arrogant. Die for me!” The muscular onyx humanoid was rather embarrassed and angered as he charged through the air at Ning. Each step he took caused the void around him to shudder as he once more struck out furiously with his giant palms.
Swoosh. Ning moved again. This time, he transformed into a streak of sword-light that dodged hundreds of thousands of kilometers to one side. “You can’t even touch me.” Ning shook his head slowly. This was far too easy.
When he had first relied on his Omega Sword Dao to become a Daolord of the Fourth Step, he hadn’t been this fast. However, it had been more than ten chaos cycles since then. He had reached the Archon level in the Dao of Thunder, giving him an even more terrifying level of speed. He had also reached the Archon level in the Dao of Space, giving him a tremendous amount of skill in manipulating space.
Thus, Ning had now reached a brand new level of speed. Only a Hegemon who was completely focused on speed would be able to catch up to Ning.
“You can’t even capture a Daolord?!” the distant skinny onyx humanoid sent a frantic mental message.
“Puny Daolord!” This time, the muscular onyx humanoid truly was angry and embarrassed. He raised his head, letting out a furious roar. Boom! A thick black fog spread out from him to cover an area of nearly ten million kilometers around him. Everything in this area was mired as if in quicksand, causing Ning’s speed to dramatically lessen.
“Ah, I knew Black Emperors of the Sithe couldn’t possibly be THIS week.” Ning’s body flickered as he transformed into his three-headed, six-armed mode. All six of the Northbow swords flew out from the sheath on his back and into his hands. “Come on.” Ning cracked a smile.
Slash! Slash! Slash! The onyx humanoid struck out with extraordinary strength, delivering one furious palm after another in an effort to slay Ning as quickly as possible. Alas, he had merely reached the Archon level in terms of insights into the Dao. His weaknesses were quite apparent.
Ning was still able to easily maneuver around the onyx humanoid despite the black fog. Ning didn’t even use his own secret arts! Although his speed was lessened, his sword remained incredibly fast.
Slash! Slash! Slash! Ning’s sword-light pierced through the skies, each streak of sword-light being ephemeral and nigh-invisible. The hints of sword-light were hard to detect, but they carried a terrifying amount of power and seemed capable of chopping through anything which stood in their path. This was a terrifying level of power that came from the combination of the fourteenth stance of the [Heartsword] art and a fourth-stage Daolord’s Omega Sword Dao. Each strike was ghostly and unpredictable. The onyx humanoid felt as though the blows were drilling straight through its body.
Slash! Slash! Slash! In the blink of an eye, the two exchanged more than a hundred blows against each other. The onyx humanoid wasn’t able to land a single attack against Ning; in short, he was being utterly dominated! However, Ning couldn’t help but frown as well: “His body really is incredibly tough. Even when I use my full power, I remain unable to injure him.”
“What the hell? He’s no Daolord, he’s clearly a Hegemon!” The muscular onyx humanoid suddenly pulled away as he shouted furiously, “I can’t do anything to him!”
“Go all out and burn your essence. End it quickly!” the skinny onyx humanoid, pressured by Hegemon Azurefiend, sent a frantic mental message.
“You try! I haven’t been able to even touch him a single time. His sword-arts are completely flawless. Even if I really did go all out, he could just flee over to Azurefiend.” The Black Emperor wasn’t willing to go all-out. Unlike normal cultivators, they healed and recovered quite slowly. Once they went all-out, they would be at risk of energy exhaustion. Once they exhausted their energy reserves, their bodies would grow weak and they could even be defeated and then destroyed.
“Withdraw!” The muscular onyx humanoid issued an order to withdraw, and the three quickly rejoined each other.
Azurefiend and Whitethaw moved to stand by Ning’s side. The two sides stared at each other from afar.
The three onyx humanoids were all rather angry, but they also felt stunned. How was it that a Daolord had actually reached such a level of power? He definitely had the power of a Hegemon! Thankfully, the three onyx humanoids all had extremely tough bodies; ordinary Emperors would’ve been slain with ease by Ning’s current level of sword-arts.
“Formidable. I truly do admire you, for a Daolord like yourself to have reached such a level of power.” The skinny onyx humanoid stared at Ning. “However… are you absolutely sure that you wish to become an enemy of the Icepeak Army?”
“I do not wish to become an enemy of the Icepeak Army. However, there is no way I’ll hand over a realmship for nothing.” Ning shook his head.
“Bold. These actions, however, are tantamount to declaring us your enemy!” The skinny onyx humanoid laughed coldly, “I’ll give you one more chance! Hand over the realmship. Otherwise, we’ll have no choice but to go ahead to report to our superiors that you are being defiant. In the end, the result shall be your death.”
Ning just smiled.
“Very well then.” They saw the look on Ning’s face. The skinny onyx humanoid barked, “Let’s go! Next time we come, we’ll kill them all.”
“Let’s go.” The three onyx humanoids immediately entered the spatial rift, vanishing without a trace and leaving just Ning, Azurefiend, and Whitethaw behind.
Azurefiend glanced at the white-robed youth by his side. He could sense that Ning had grown tremendously more powerful since their battle in the Jadefire Realm. By now, Ning truly had reached the Hegemon level of power.
“Darknorth, you have now become an enemy of the Icepeak Army,” Azurefiend said softly. “The Icepeak Army is not an easy foe to deal with. Given their disposition, they will definitely launch a war against you.”
“They aren’t easy to deal with, but neither am I.” A flicker of killing intent appeared in Ning’s eyes.
“You?” Azurefiend was stunned.
“Soon, I’ll have solved the formations and freed Flamewing,” Ning said.
“You are confident in being able to resolve the formations soon?” Azurefiend was overjoyed.
“More or less. Even if I end up taking longer than I expected, I should be able to buy myself the time needed via the Jadefire Realm. If necessary, I can also run around in the realmship and buy myself some more time,” Ning said. “However… I don’t think we’ll need to go to all that trouble. By the time they come back, the Flamewing God will be waiting for them.”
“Hahaha! If the Flamewing God comes out…” Azurefiend was absolutely overjoyed and excited by this prospect. “You really will be able to do whatever the hell you want. That is a Chaos Primordial! Hahaha! With a Chaos Primordial at your beck and call, who would dare cause trouble for you? If you gave the order, the Chaos Primordial would charge straight into the Icepeak Army’s base and wreck it. The Lonely King would be able to do nothing but stare, dumbstruck, as it happened. There’s nothing he can do to the Flamewing God. Why didn’t you tell me earlier?! I was so afraid that I thought we’d have to go wandering through the cosmos.” Azurefiend stared at Ning.
“Without Flamewing, I wouldn’t have dared to take such a tough line against them.” Ning smiled as well. “Let’s cut the chit-chat. Starting today, I’m going to put all of my time and effort into solving the formations and breaking them as soon as possible.”