Book 42, The Five Truncheon Chapters, Chapter 3 - Wandering the Sacred Realm Alone
This was another testament to how formidable the path of the Omega Dao was. Mastering the Eternal Omega Sword Dao put Ji Ning on par with the Autarchs, and as Ning infused more and more Daos into his Sword Dao, he began to improve in many other areas as well. Given enough time, he would undergo a final transformation and reach a higher level, the level which the entire cultivator civilization yearned for!
"A pity. Once again, no luck with those nine techniques." Ning slowly shook his head. "They are all bound by lifeblood oaths. There's no way to review those techniques at all. Can it really be possible that every single Hegemon and Emperor was bound by a lifeblood oath? Is there really no way at all?"
"No. The probability may be low, but there always is a chance. Mm. Well. Time to go to the Sacred Realm." Ning lifted his head to stare at the towering Realmgate. It had been glowing with dazzling light for many years now.
Ning took a single step forwards and moved towards the Realmgate. After stepping inside, he entered yet another tunnel that was formed from many different folds of dimensional space. This was the dimensional passageway which led to the Sacred Realm.
This time, he didn't suffer any attacks within the dimensional passageway. Sneak attacks had clearly proven to be useless against him, after all, and letting him die alone in exile wasn't worth it. They had been waiting for him for many years now… waiting for him to come to the Sacred Realm.
"The Sacred Realm." Ning stood at the exit to the tunnel, staring at the Sacred Realm around him. "Odd. I thought that this place would be quite dangerous, that there would be many different traps and formations awaiting my arrival. Who would've thought that there'd be nothing here?" Ning was rather surprised. There was no way any ambush could escape his detection. Ning had been planning to rely on his Storm Sword Dao to flee at high speeds if he discovered any traps, but now it seemed as it was all unnecessary.
Swoosh! Ning flew away from the Realmgate and into the skies. He stared down at the vast world around him, quickly seeing the palaces and estates which were located off in the distance. Clearly, there had once been many people who had lived here. Now, the entire Sacred Realm was deathly silent. All the Daolords had been evacuated, leaving their empty estates behind.
Ning took a deep breath, and as he did so a surge of energy flowed into his body, making him feel quite comfortable. An awesome aura of power pervaded this entire place. The energy here was so dense than an entire army of Hegemons could draw upon it and use it to cultivate.
"What a truly wonderful 'Sacred Realm'," Ning said with an approving chuckle.
"Daolord." An icy void suddenly echoed in the skies above the Sacred Realm.
"Is that the Sithe Exalt?" Ning stood there in midair, a smile on his face. "I thought you'd attack me as soon as I exited the Realmgate. I didn't expect you to behave so courteously."
"I, Bowenya, have been waiting for you for many years now, Daolord," the icy void said.
"I, Darknorth, was teleported into this place by you Sithe. Heh." Ning chuckled. "Honestly, I would really rather not fight you. If you just let me go, that would be the best outcome for both of us! Otherwise, our only option is to fight each other."
Many of the Sithe descendants were moved by these words. They knew just how powerful Daolord Darknorth was, and they weren't willing to fight him. If it truly was possible for them to avoid this battle, how wonderful it would be! However, they all knew that this was a fantasy. No one dared to disobey the orders from the supreme Sithe leader! There was no way out of this deadly battle.
"Daolord Darknorth?" The icy voice spoke out once more: "A fine name. There is no need for us to waste time on words. If you wish to leave this place, you must do so through overpowering us. Given how strong you are, I imagine you can tell where the exit path lies."
"The exit path should lie within the Daoguard Tower in the very rear, I imagine," Ning said. Ning was able to sense and scan the entire Sacred Realm through the power of his Wind Sword Dao, and he knew of the presence of those three Daoguard Towers.
All three Daoguard Towers had a total of twelve stories. Based on what Ning knew regarding the Sithe, this meant that these were Daoguard Towers which belonged to Sithe Exalts! There was no way they would be as easy to deal with as the Daoguard Tower he had dealt with some time ago. Ning's acute attunement to space also allowed him to ascertain and verify that the center of the Sacred Realm, the place where all the dimensional controls were located, was within the Daoguard Tower at the very rear.
What he didn't know was that during the Dawn War, all three Daoguard Towers shared part of the dimensional controls! After two of the Sithe Exalts died, the Daoguard Towers had been modified so that the only one which could be used to control this hidden dimension was the one which Exalt Bowenya controlled.
"Impressive, Daolord Darknorth." The icy voice continued, "Then come and fight me, if you dare."
"Hmph." Ning let out an amused snort. "Be there shortly. Relax."
Ning began to leisurely fly through the Sacred Realm, blinking through the various regions within it and inspecting it carefully.
"Huh." Ning stood before a mountain wall which was filed with many carvings as well as some cultivation techniques. "Now that's interesting." Ning was like a tourist, wandering through the various parts of the Sacred Realm and visiting many of the sects it held.
The Hegemons and Emperors had been waiting for battle for many years now, and they all felt rather speechless at Ning's behavior. Still… they had already managed to wait for over a hundred chaos cycles. A bit more time would make no difference at all. They could be patient.
Ning spent a total of fifteen days touring the Sacred Realm.
"A pity. I didn't find any trace of the nine techniques I'm interested in." Ning couldn't help but sigh to himself. The Sacred Realm had been used to train Samsara Daolords for countless aeons. Many techniques had been recorded here, and not all of them had been destroyed during the evacuation. Ning was able to broaden his horizons by inspecting the remaining ones, but he didn't find the ones he really needed.
Whoosh. Ning began to fly closer towards the Sacred Mountains. There were a total of three towering Daoguard Towers at the peaks of three of the mountains, and they were all glowing with dazzling light that caused spacetime to ripple around them. The effect of the light extended to a distance of a trillion kilometers, and the effect was continuous. Not even Autarch Mogg, who specialized in the Dao of Space, would be able to teleport through this region, to say nothing of Ning.
This was one of the things which made an Exalt's Daoguard Tower so incredibly dangerous! Spacetime was completely suppressed here.
"This truly is a beautiful world. A pity that it is about to be torn apart by war," Ning said.
"Even if it is destroyed, we can remake it in the future," that icy voice replied.
Ning said nothing further. He drew a Northbow sword from the sheath on his back, then continued to fly forwards as he carefully inspected the area around him. "I can sense danger within every inch of the Sacred Mountains. It doesn't matter which direction I enter from; I'll still be face incredible danger. I have no choice but to just charge in."
Whoosh. Ning continued to fly forwards. Suddenly, the hills below him began to tremble and shake, followed by rippling ley-lines to appear. A massive formation that was a hundred billion kilometers in size began to activate, and it completely separated the surrounding dimension away from the normal spacetime continuum.
"The Dimensional Separator again?" Ning shook his head and laughed. An area of a hundred billion kilometers around him had been completely separated from the outside world. Ning had suffered a similar attack while rescuing the Paragon of Pills. Ning couldn't help but sigh at how the Sithe seemed to be able to play with space, cutting through it as though it was a cake.
Ning simply stood there in the air, sword at the ready as he calmly glanced at the stand-alone dimension which had been formed around him. He was waiting for them to come to him. If he didn't fight, how was he supposed to capture more Emperors and search for those nine techniques?
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Vile auras began to appear at the margins of this sealed spacetime continuum, and the vile auras began to come together and form vilefiends. These vilefiends were all extremely powerful, the most powerful vilefiends Ning had seen thus far. They were probably all at the Otherverse Lord level of power.
"Exalt-level Daoguard Towers are able to make use of even more of the power of the Sithe energy generator. As a result, they can give birth to vilefiends of tremendous power. Still, for them to produce a total of 105 vilefiends of such power at once… they've probably brought out everything they built up over the course of aeons." Ning remained quite calm. This was all as he had inspected. These vilefiends would at most be able to slow him down a bit.
"GWAAAAR!" "KILL!" "DIE!"
Cracks began to appear in the ground at the margins of this sealed continuum, and various creatures began to fly out of those cracks. Their eyes were all dead, and they were at varying levels of power. Some had auras comparable to Otherverse Lords, while others were noticeably more powerful. Still, they were all somewhat inferior to the likes of the Blazesun Ruler."
"Not that strong, but there are certainly quite a lot of them. If they all attack at once, it'll be a bit troublesome." Ning frowned slightly. It would consume quite a bit of his energy to kill all those vilefiends as well as those poor mind-controlled living golems.
Moments later, a total of nine figures appeared around Ning.
"Eh?" Ning frowned again. "Daolords?" The nine figures were all Samsara Daolords, but all of them were unspeakably powerful.
"Daolord Darknorth, we'll be more than enough to deal with you. You aren't worthy of the Hegemons and Emperors dirtying their hands!" The nine Daolords all had crazed looks in their eyes. Daolords were generally fearless to begin with, and the Sithe Exalt had offered them enormous rewards for this mission. He had also given them control over many vilefiends and living golems. They naturally were going to do their absolute utmost in this battle.
Book 42, The Five Truncheon Chapters, Chapter 4 - Successfully Surrounded
Within this sealed continuum, Ji Ning's Sword Dao Domain was only able to extend up to a distance of one billion kilometers. The invisible suppressive power of the Sacred Realm was simply too strong.
"Attack! Once Daolord Darknorth's domain sweeps over us, we'll be dead,"a black-winged Daolor sent mentally. Given Ning's power, even Hegemons and Emperors would fall to his domain unless they were protected by incredibly powerful treasures, to say nothing of mere Daolords. He would be able to toy with them as he pleased.
"You actually want to attack me with such a miniscule amount of power?" Ning made his move, transforming into a streak of light that flew towards the Daolord closest to him.
The nine Daolords were all separated at the margins of this sealed continuum, each in a different direction. That way, if Ning wanted to deal with them he would have to fly to them one-by-one.
"Kill this Daolord!"
"Kill him!" The vilefiends and the living golems let out crazed roars as they fearlessly swarmed towards Ning, seeking to surround him. As for the nine Daolords, they immediately set up various treasures which were controlled by the power of a Daoguard Tower.
Ning's answer to this mass attack was to continue flying forwards at high speed while manifesting countless streaks of sword-light within his Sword Dao Domain. They sent the vilefiends and the living golems stumbling backwards, falling to the ground, or even go flying into the air. Only a tiny number of them were able to get close to Ning, with the majority unable to approach him.
This was why a powerful domain was so useful in battle. Ning was able to use it toy with anyone at or below the Otherverse Lord level of power.
Clack! Clack! Clack! Strange edifices began to appear in front of the nine Daolords. They looked like miniature castles, with each being 9,900 meters tall and completely golden. Semi-translucent towers could be seen at the very top of the castles. These nine Sithe treasures were controlled by the Daoguard Tower, and they were powerful treasures which could be used to attack from afar.
The main mission for these nine Daoguards was to get in and then put these nine treasures in position. If they managed to do that, they would have succeeded in their task!
"These Daolords truly are fools." Ning flew so incredibly fast that he was already within a billion kilometers of the first Daolord. His Sword Dao Domain instantly captured the Daolord, preventing him from moving at all.
"Get in here." Ning didn't attack, instead choosing to draw both the Daolord and the treasure into his estate-world, separating it from the power of the Daoguard Tower.
Riiiiiiip! Beams of dazzling, destructive energy spat out from the other eight castle towers, moving with incomprehensible speed and striking with nigh-Autarch levels of power! The attacks were incredibly powerful, but in the end they were generated by treasures. There was no way these attacks could compare with attacks from actual Autarchs in terms of profundity; they relied strictly upon overwhelming speed and power.
Swoosh! Ning used his Storm Sword Dao to evade. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! He evaded all eight destructive rays of light. By the time those eight rays of light had flown tens of billion kilometers and reached Ning, Ning was able to brush past them and let them splatter against the distant dimensional membrane, causing it to tremble.
As for the vilefiends and living golems? The ones touched by the rays of light were instantly and easily chopped apart! However, the vilefiends and the living golems were able to quickly recover. Killing them wouldn't be that easy.
Rumble… suddenly, yet another rift appeared at the margins of this sealed continuum. A total of fifty-plus Hegemons andEmperors flew out from within this rift! Ning raised an eyebrow, then immediately transformed into a streak of light as he flew towards those fifty-plus Hegemons. However, as he did so another rift appeared in the distance. Another squad of fifty-plus Hegemons and Emperors appeared from this second rift as well.
"Eight of the nine treasures remain intact. Good enough." The Hegemons began to advance. When they saw that eight of the castle towers were once more glowing with destructive light, they couldn't help but secretly feel a sense of joy.
"This 'Daolord Darknorth' is nothing more than a Daolord whose truesoul is crumbling away. We have over a hundred Hegemons on our side and are supported by treasures from the Daoguard Tower. I refuse to believe we cannot kill him."
"We'll smash him apart with one coordinated strike. We'll be rewarded for our victory and this calamity shall be at an end."
"Attack!" The Hegemons and Emperors were brimming with malevolence. Whether it was because they had to obey orders, wanted to protect their home, or desired the great rewards promised, they had to kill Ning!
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! A miniature star began to appear in front of each of the hundred-plus Hegemons and Emperors. The hundred-plus miniature stars manifested runes which began to accumulate different but equally terrifying types of power.
"Flameland Astral Chains!"
"Iceland Astral Chains!"
The Hegemons began to launch their various weapons as well. The nine castle-like treasures were fixed in location and didn't need to be controlled, but the various 'astral chains' were more complicated and needed to be controlled. Thus, the Sithe had sent over a hundred Hegemons and Emperors to man them. Each of the miniature stars was drawing power from the Daoguard Towers, then controlled by a Hegemon or Emperor to launch attacks via a formation that made it hard for Ning to dodge.
Whoosh! The fifty-plus Hegemons and Emperors to the left released streams of icy energy from their miniature stars. The icy energy shot straight towards Ning like rays of frozen light, completely freezing even spacetime. The combined power of the freezing energy was absolutely at the Autarch level of power; even Autarchs would be temporarily suppressed by such an assault.
To the right, streams of fiery golden light appeared as well, joining together and shooting towards Ning at terrifying speeds.
To one side, freezing cold. To the other, blazing heat. These were two diametrically different types of energy, and each was capable of threatening even an Autarch. When used in concert, they became even more terrifyingly powerful, especially now that they came together in accordance with an incredibly profound formation. They flew towards Ning in an intricate manner, making it almost impossible for him to dodge.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! The eight streams of apocalyptic light continued to attack as well, slowing down Ning's movements.
"Hmph." Ning moved like the storm, transforming into a blurry shadow of lightning and wind. However, the 'Flameland Astral Chains' and the 'Iceland Astral Chains' being used by the Hegemons and Emperors had completely locked onto Ning, and they arced in the air as they continued their pursuit of him.
"I can't dodge them?!" A look of shock and anger appeared on Ning's face, while looks of excitement appeared on the faces of the hundred-plus Hegemons and the eight Daolords.
Whoosh! Ning hurriedly retreated backwards, wishing to draw those two terrifying types of energy together and cause them to collide.
"Did he think that our treasures would interfere with each other?"
"When the two astral chains link up, merging fire and ice together, the power shall only increase!" The Hegemons all smirked as they watched the freezing energy swirl together with the golden flames as both continued to shoot towards Ning. Finally, the energies began to clash together. Tink! Each collision was extremely soft, and the only result was a series of strange dimensional ripples being generated as the attacks became even more powerful.
They watched as Daolord Darknorth continued to retreat, his face ashen as he frantically used the Northbow sword in his hand to execute the Water Sword Dao. A stream of watery light circled around him, striving to block the attacks, but some of the destructive power managed to pierce through the water. Of course, this was with Daolord Darknorth doing his best to conserve his energy.
Daolord Darknorth had clearly been caught off-guard by the hundred-plus streams of energy assaulting him. He executed repeated sword-arts, striving to block as his truesoul began to crumble more quickly.
"Hahaha… the Exalt's prediction was spot-on!"
"He might be fast, but the astral chains are a perfect counter for him. When the astral chains from the Flameland Elder Hall and the Iceland Elder Hall merge together, they are his absolute nemesis. It'll be hard for us to kill him outright, but we'll be able to exhaust a large amount of his energy and hasten the collapse of his truesoul."
The Hegemons grew increasingly excited. To kill this terrifying Daolord was unrealistic; all they could do was exhaust as much of his power as was possible! Each time the Daolord defended, his lifespan would be shortened. Eventually, he would die without them needing to do a thing.
"Kill! Kill! Kill!"
"Again!" The Hegemons and Emperors were all in a wonderful mood.
Ning had gotten the worst of his first clash against them. This time, he transformed into a streak of light and shot straight towards them. Clearly, he wanted to try and capture or kill as many Hegemons as he could. If he succeeded, the astral chains would become ownerless and he could take them away with ease.
"Daolord Darknorth, our Exalt has already predicted your every move!" The Hegemons scattered every which way, but as they flew the miniature stars flew with them, allowing them to maintain the astral chain formations.
Boom! Yet another rift appeared at the borders, resulting in thirty-five more Hegemons appearing. After they appeared, they immediately produced their own treasures and joined together into a formation. Soon, a thick black miasma began to sweep out and cover the entire sealed continuum, causing an ominous feeling to arise in Ning's heart.