Book 29, Daolord, Chapter 3 - The Journey
The territories occupied by cultivators in the Endless Territories roughly made up around sixty to seventy percent the size of the alternate universe . However, there were many 'danger zones' .
For example, the region marked down as the 'Starsea of Worries' was considered the most dangerous location in all the Endless Territories . It had yet to be fully mapped out, but its known area alone already surpassed the entirety of the rest of the Endless Territories . It was incredibly dangerous, and less than one in ten thousand Daolords would survive a trip into it! Generally speaking, only incredibly powerful Daolords would be lucky enough to survive, and even the majority of Eternal Emperors who entered that place would perish .
The Starsea of Worries, in and of itself, was nearly comparable to the entire alternate universe in size . It was without a doubt the most dangerous place in the Endless Territories . The Endless Territories also had some other similar danger zones which were quite terrifying . Chances of entering and surviving were very slim .
"If we factor in those danger zones, the Endless Territories is far larger than the alternate universe . " Ji Ning was rather stunned as he carefully read through the information the star map contained regarding the Endless Territories .
"Is that…" Ning's eyes narrowed as he saw an explanation of the six major forces within the Endless Territories .
The Dao Alliance was comprised of virtually all cultivators . It was an enormous behemoth that was also far-flung and dispersed . It had the most Daolords and Eternal Emperors, but it also had so many internecine disputes and took up so much territory that it had always operated under the principle of non-governance .
The Brightshore Kingdom was created by the almighty Hegemon Brightshore, one of the three mighty Hegemons of the Endless Territories!
The Aeonians consumed cultivators, using them as food . They were extremely unified and were incredibly powerful after being Awakened .
The 'special lifeforms' . They were the hundreds and thousands of strange, unique creatures who had been birthed by the primordial chaos . After Hegemon Windrain rose to power and established the Windrain Kingdom, it became a holy land for all special lifeforms and countless special lifeforms congregated there .
The Ancient cultivators comprised the most mysterious, secretive organization in all the Endless Territories . They were extremely few in number, but each and every one of them possessed incredible power . Their divine abilities and secret arts were powerful beyond measure, and they were led by Hegemon Netherlily .
The Dark Kingdom was comprised of cultivators who had migrated from outside the Endless Territories, and they ruled over the border territories .
"Much more complex than the alternate universe," Ning mused to himself .
"Junior apprentice-brother . " Lord Woodflower smiled as he looked at Ning . "Surprised?"
"I never realized our many danger zones our Endless Territories possess, or that we actually have six major forces here," Ning said .
"There's no need for most World-level cultivators to know such things . The Endless Territories are simply too vast and filled with so many dangers that they would never make it far enough to find out," Lord Woodflower said . "You, however, are different . This is all information you'll need to know after you become a Daolord . "
Ning nodded .
"As for the danger zones… some are almost infinitely large, especially the Starsea of Worries . Not even the almighty Hegemon has been able to fully explore them," Lord Woodflower said . "Honestly, the main things you need to keep in mind are those six major powers . The Brightshore Kingdom is rather aloof, and we are on fairly good terms with the Dao Alliance, the Aeonians, and the special lifeeforms . We can be considered enemies of the Dark Kingdom, as they are foreigners, after all . But remember… we are mortal foes of the Ancient cultivators!"
"Mortal foes?" Ning was startled .
"Right . " Lord Woodflower nodded somberly . "Thus, you need to be wary of them! But of course, you need to keep an eye out for the other organizations as well . The Dao Alliance, for example . It is so large and filled with so much internal struggles that it wouldn't surprise me if some of their major powers suddenly assaulted you . Same with the Aeonians; you are a cultivator, after all! Aeonians love eating Samsara Daolord cultivators . "
"Alright . You know everything you need to know . " Lord Woodflower looked at Ning . "In short… have a safe trip . "
"Alright . " Ning nodded heavily .
After accepting the servant, Ning led Su Youji in leaving the Sword Palace .
The Brightshore Kingdom was quite similar to the Trileaf Realm, in that it also had three spacetime tunnels .
"These three spacetime tunnels lead to three different parts of the Endless Territories, allowing our cultivators to waste as little time as possible when travelling . " A black-lord Daolord guard who stood outside the tunnel smiled as he explained to Ning .
"Mm . " Ning led Su Youji straight into the spacetime tunnel . In his heart, he couldn't help but muse that the Paragon of Pills and Hegemon Brightshore apparently were quite similar in their mastery over spacetime .
The Badlands Territory and Vastheaven Palace had originally seemed quite distant from one another, but if you looked at the star map of the Endless Territories you would realize that they actually belonged to the same general neighborhood! Given Ning's strength, a few hundred years would suffice for his clone to go from the Badlands Territory to Vastheaven Palace .
"We should be able to make it in around three or so centuries . " Ning's true body would be able to move even faster; the spacetime tunnel would save him quite some time .
A flying shuttle was hurtling through the void, with Ning, Su Youji, and World God Pillsaint within it .
"Master, what sort of a place is Vastheaven Palace?" Pillsaint asked curiously .
"A place I have to go . In fact, I'm technically a member of Vastheaven Palace as well," Ning said with a smile . Indeed . He had to reach that place before he could fulfill his lifeblood oath and return to the Three Realms . His Primaltwin had been protecting the Three Realms for quite some time now, but it had to remain physically outside within the primordial chaos just beyond it, unable to actually re-enter .
"Youji, Pillsaint, both of you have made tremendous gains . I imagine both of you can become Daolords now," Ning said .
"Yes . " Su Youji nodded . "After I received the legacy of Feixian the Exalted but prior to visiting the Genesis Lands, I was already comparable to a supreme Chaos Immortal . Thanks to the opportunities the Genesis Lands gave me… even if I don't use any treasures at all, I am a transcendent Chaos Immortal . "
Ning nodded . To reach that level only through the usage of Eternal weapons wasn't that impressive . If you were able to reach a transcendent level of power without needing to rely on magic treasures, you would probably be able to break through to the Daolord level whenever you wished .
"Thank you, Master, for that Archaeus medallion . Otherwise, I have no idea how long it would take for me to break through . " Su Youji felt rather excited . She had never imagined that she would become a Daolord as well .
"I have to thank you as well, Master . If it wasn't for you, I can't even imagine how long it would take before my Dao of Alchemy would have reached its current level . " Pillsaint was quite excited . "Flamefairy, I can become a Daolord whenever I wish as well . "
Ning laughed . His two most worthy retainers were both able to become Daolords . This was truly pleasing to him .
"Right . Have Solewind, Greatjoy, and the others made their breakthroughs yet?" Ning asked .
"Ah! I was so happy to see you back that I forgot to tell you," Su Youji said . "Prince Greatjoy broke through to become a Daolord roughly three thousand years after our return! Just two years after that, Waterlord Firesurge became a Daolord as well! Another twelve thousand years after that, Solewind also become a Daolord . "
Ning was startled . All of them became Daolords?
"Makes sense . They had reached their bottlenecks long ago; the only reason they held back was because they had made some gains in the Genesis Lands . Any further improvements would be incredibly difficult . I'm not surprised they broke through to become Daolords," Ning said .
"Master, when will you become a Daolord?" Su Youji asked curiously .
"Right!" Pillsaint was curious as well .
"It won't take too long," Ning said . No matter what, he had to reunite with his clone first . In addition… he could also dimly sense that there was still a slight flaw with his Sword Dao . He had the feeling that he was close to breaking through, but just needed one final stimulus .
"Since the two of you are both ready to become Daolords… how about this . Let's find a quiet, secluded place and have you two break through there," Ning said . "Or would you prefer to train for a bit longer and further solidify your foundations?"
"I solidified my foundation long ago . I was just waiting for you to come back, Master . I can break through whenever I wish; there's no need to wait any further . " The Flamefairy smiled .
"I solidified my foundation back in the Trileaf Realm . I've been waiting to make my breakthrough," Pillsaint said . After acquiring the first six chapters of the [Seven Leafpill Chapters], he had spent roughly a million years in accelerated time training . That was how long it had taken for Ning to acquire thise six lifeblood weapons .
"If that's the case… hm . Let's just go over there . " Ning willed it, and the flying ship quickly shifted into a different dimensional continuum, then landed on a quiet, desolate chaos planet . This chaos planet had no life on it at all, and its surface was a rocky one .
Ning waved his hand, causing an Immortal estate to descend upon the surface of this planet . With another thought, Ning activated the various layers of restrictive seals and spells on the estate, causing an aura of enormous yet subdued power to cover the entire planet . Anyone off in the distance would never be able to detect any hint of an aura from this chaos planet .
Breaking through to become a Daolord would cause an enormous disturbance . They had to do their best to dampen their auras and prevent themselves from being discovered, which would cause unnecessary trouble .
"Make your breakthroughs here . I'll stand guard for you," Ning said .
"Yes, Master . " Both Pillsaint and Su Youji were rather excited and nervous . Although they were confident in their chances, breaking through to become a Daolord was an incredibly important event in the life of any cultivator .
Book 29, Daolord, Chapter 4 - The Brothers of Vastheaven Palace
Ji Ning stood before the railings of the Immortal estate on this chaos planet, staring off into the starry void .
Suddenly, a roiling aura of power rocketed into the skies, an aura which was powerful, vast, and utterly exalted . This was not an aura which a World-level cultivator could produce . Even for Ning, only the azureflower mist energy in his body could compare to this aura in power .
"A Daolord's aura . " Ning smiled . "Pillsaint was the first to breakthrough . "
Breaking through from the World level to become a Daolord required the complete rebuilding of the body, which meant that there was naturally no way to keep one's aura hidden during the process . It would erupt with abandon . But of course, Ning had long ago set wards on this planet to prevent the Daolord ripples from spreading out .
A dense whirlpool of chaos energy began to form in the void above the planet . The enormous vortex of chaos energy centered around the planet, gathering in large amounts of chaos energy and then continuously transmitting it directly into Pillsaint and letting him make use of it .
A short while later, yet another Daolord aura erupted towards the heavens as the Flamefairy began to make her breakthrough as well . Soon, yet another vortex of chaos energy began to fill the void outside the world .
The enormous chaos vortexes swirled around this chaos planet . As for Ning, he just quietly stood guard in front of the estate . A disruption in the flow of chaos energy alone generally wouldn't attract the attention of major powers, because True Gods, True Immortals, Elder Gods, and Ancestral Immortals would cause similar phenomena when they made their breakthroughs . As a result, fluctuations in the flow of chaos energy was fairly common, and the ripples were also quite weak from a distance .
The breakthrough process took more than an entire day .
Swoosh . A chubby form suddenly rocketed into the skies, then landed before Ning . It was the chubby-face, white-teethed Pillsaint . Pillsaint's aura was now more natural but also more majestic . Just judging from auras alone, one would believe that he was significantly more powerful than Ning . He had already reached the Daolord level .
"Congratulations, Daolord Pillsaint . " Ning smiled .
"I must thank you, Master . If it wasn't for you, I truly do not know how long it would've taken for me to become a Daolord . Or perhaps I might've never reached this level . " Pillsaint was rather moved as well . He was far more talented in alchemy than he was in combat, but to become a true grandmaster alchemist was incredibly difficult . This time, thanks to Ning, he had been lucky enough to attract the attention of the Paragon of Pills in the alternate universe and be bestowed with her techniques, allowing him to find his own path .
The Paragon of Pills had given him the first six chapters, which could guide one directly to becoming an Eternal Emperor . Not even the Brightshore Kingdom had a comparable alchemical technique .
Only after being guided by an eminent master did Pillsaint know what path he should take . Without an eminent master, only a man of utterly dazzling talent, such as Ji Ning, Solewind, and the others, would be able to rely on his own thoughts and ideas to enter the Daolord level . But of course, this would still be much easier if you had many other legacies and techniques to learn from . If you were able to benefit from the wisdom and experience of your predecessors, you would be able to avoid some of their mistakes . If you wished to see far, you had to stand on the shoulders of giants .
Swoosh . Moments later, yet another figured flew into the heavens, her form ephemeral and bewitchingly beautiful . Dressed in fiery red robes, it was indeed Su Youji, and her beauty and aura of seduction was only even more intoxicating than before .
As someone who trained in the Dao of Charm and control, Su Youji's natural grace and charm was becoming increasingly amazing . A single glance from her would be enough to drive most World-level cultivators insane with love, causing them to be willing to sacrifice themselves for her .
"Master . " Su Youji smiled as she looked at Ning, but she felt a bit disappointed when she saw how Ning's eyes still remained very calm and tranquil . She said with a hint of resignation, "I thought I'd be able to affect you a little bit . It seems your ability to resist mesmerization is extraordinarily powerful . As expected, given that you were able to go through the primessence chains . "
"If you used your secret arts, I might be affected," Ning said with a laugh .
"I would never do that to you," Su Youji said .
In truth, Ning wasn't sure if he would be able to withstand her . She was now a Daolord, after all . If she used her mesmerization secret arts with her Daolord-level energy… she might not be able to take control over him, but it was likely that she would be able to affect him . She wasn't an ordinary Daolord, after all; she had trained in the legacy of Feixian the Exalted, a terrifyingly powerful Daolord . But of course, even if she was able to affect Ning, Ning would be able to summon his quadressence lightning and water with a thought, using them to easily extinguish Su Youji . The main problem was that the difference in power between them remained too vast!
The Dao of Charm was not a Dao suited to close combat; it was meant to control and beguile foes .
"Now that you are Daolords, everything has changed for you," Ning said . "With each step they take, Samsara Daolords walk between life and death . You have only taken the first step on your path! In the future, you must be even more careful and meticulous in your cultivation . I won't make any unreasonable requests of you, but I do expect the two of you to at least survive to reach the fourth step . "
"Right . " Pillsaint nodded .
"Failing in the Daomerge is one thing, but if I was to fail and die when breaking through to the second, third, or fourth steps… that would be a joke!" Su Youji was quite confident as well .
For Samsara Daolords, every single step they took was akin to groping for a path through the darkness!
Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals, as well as World-level cultivators, would be able to sense the prime essences of the universe . The prime essence of the Dao of the Sword, for example, would emanate an aura with extremely detailed information regarding the Dao which would allow cultivators to safely train all the way up to the master-class as a World-level cultivator .
After that… you would be searching through the darkness . A single misplaced step would result in death .
The Daomerge at the end would prove to be the greatest trial . If your Dao held even the slightest of imperfections, there was no way it could gain true eternity . The only result would be you dying and your Dao vanishing . Not even the likes of Su Youji, Pillsaint, or Ning were confident in being able to succeed in the Daomerge . Their goal was to first do their best to become Daolords of the Fourth Step . If they couldn't even reach that level, they really would become the laughingstocks of the Brightshore Kingdom .
As for the Daomerge? They'd worry about that after actually reaching the fourth step .
Now that Su Youji and Pillsaint were Daolords, the journey before the trio would be even smoother sailing than before . Daolords were naturally a powerful deterrent to any would-be attackers, allowing them to easily travel for nearly three centuries in complete peace .
Slumberlake Star was a place with a spacetime transfer array .
Whoosh . The array suddenly lit up .
"The array was activated just a short while ago . Why is it being activated again so soon?" The Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals who were responsible for overseeing this spacetime transfer array were all puzzled and mumbled to each other .
A short while later, three figures suddenly emerged from the spacetime transfer array . The trio consisted of Ji Ning, Pillsaint, and Su Youji .
When the three of them appeared and the Daolord auras of the latter two wafted outwards, the Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals were so terrified that they didn't dare say another word .
By now, there was no way Ning would choose to waste time in order to save a bit of travel expenses . They naturally chose to independently activate the arrays each time!
"We're fairly close to Vastheaven Palace by now . We should arrive in about half a year," Ning said with a laugh .
"Congratulations, Master . " Su Youji smiled . "You've been waiting far too long for this day . "
"Yes . It has been far too long . " Ning nodded slowly . The reason he cared so much about going to Vastheaven Palace… was because he truly missed his mother and father .
A flying vessel appeared out of nowhere . Ning and the others entered the vessel, which then speedily departed . They needed to fly for roughly half a month, then go through a natural spatial vortex to reach a more distant location . This was how travelling through the primordial chaos was . In truth, very little of the time was spent going through spacetime transfer arrays; the vast majority of the time was spent going through some rather problematic locations .
There was a chaos planet located within a region of primordial chaos that was fairly close to Slumberlake Star . A fierce fight was going on upon the surface of the planet, causing quite a significant disturbance .
"Eh?" Ning suddenly had a strange feeling . At his level of power, these feelings were generally quite accurate . "Stop!" Ning immediately brought his flying vessel to a halt and put it away .
"Master?" Pillsaint and Su Youji were both puzzled . Why had they suddenly come to a halt?
"Let's take a look up ahead," Ning said . "A battle seems to be occurring upon that chaos planet . "
Pillsaint and Su Youji were both puzzled . A battle? So what? What was the point of watching? Still, neither would go against Ning's wishes . They immediately followed Ning in flying over .
Three World-level cultivators and a number of Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals were watching this battle from afar . This place was fairly close to Slumberlake Star, a spacetime transfer array, and so quite a few cultivators had come over to watch .
"Gentlemen, what is happening on that planet?" Ning walked over to them .
The watching cultivators all turned their heads, puzzled, towards Ning's group . They saw the white-robed youth, then saw the two figures behind him .
"Greetings, Daolords . " The three World-level cultivators were badly shocked . They hastily bowed .
"Daolords . " The Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals were quivering with fear .
Ning instructed, "Tell me about the battle going on upon that chaos planet . " For him to feel an affinity for it meant there had to be some sort of a connection to himself .
One of the World-level cultivators, an elderly man, immediately said, "Right away, senior . " He didn't dare act negligently towards this white-robed youth . The youth looked like a World-level cultivator, but the two Daolords were standing behind him . Clearly, this youth's background was extraordinary .
"That planet has a total of six World-level cultivators who are split up into two groups," the old man said .
"I can tell that there are two sides . " Ning frowned . He was able to see from ten billion kilometers away that atop that chaos planet, there was a single World-level cultivator who was being assaulted by five others . He was just barely able to hold his own .
"On one side is the Clearwind Temple . The five of them are working together to kill a common foe, a World-level cultivator of their mortal enemy, 'Vastheaven Palace' . " The old man hurriedly sped up his explanation .
Ning's face tightened . Vastheaven Palace? No wonder he sensed a connection!
"Hmph . " Ning took a step forward, transforming into a streak of sword-light that tore through space . Through the Blood Drop evasion skill, he entered a different dimensional continuum as he charged towards that chaos planet at maximum speed . If one of the brothers of Vastheaven Palace ended up being bullied by others before his very eyes, what a joke that would be!
"Senior, t-that's Clearwind Temple!" The old man cried out in alarm . He could sense the killing intent radiating off Ning . Clearwind Temple was a force every bit the equal of Vastheaven Palace . For World-level cultivators, such organizations were unfathomably vast and powerful .
"Master!" Su Youji transformed into a streak of light as well . The nearby cultivators were all dazed when they heard her address him as 'Master' . What was going on? Why would a Daolord address a World-level cultivator as 'master'?
"So what if they belong to Clearwind Temple? Our master belongs to Vastheaven Palace!" Pillsaint emanated a killing aura as well as he too transformed into a streak of light .
The old man and the nearby World-level cultivators, Elder Gods, and Ancestral Immortals were all completely stunned .