Desolate Era - Volume 26 - Chapter 33
Book 26, World Level, Chapter 33 - The Tenth Battle
’’Female Chaos Immortals are rare to begin with, and ones who specialize in using golems and bugbeasts are even rarer. When you factor in her being skilled the Dao of Fire... yes, there's only one who fits it all.’’ Daolord Flameflow looked at Ji Ning. ’’Is she your Dao-companion?’’
’’She is my friend,’’ Ji Ning replied.
’’It seems that being your friend is a good thing.’’ Daolord Flameflow said, ’’Are you planning to acquire a full legacy, then lose it to her on purpose?’’
’’Yes.’’ Ning nodded. Once she acquired a full legacy, she would be able to leave this place.
Daolord Flameflow said, ’’Then there is something I must tell you in advance.’’
’’Yes?’’ Ning looked at the Daolord. Something he needed to know in advance? Was there something wrong with this plan of his? But based on what he had seen thus far, losing on purpose was entirely permitted.
’’Being in the Astral Islands is both a curse and a blessing. If your friend is extraordinarily talented, it might be a better idea for you to let her stay here for a while longer. But of course, if she's weak it would be best for her to leave early on,’’ Daolord Flameflow said. ’’My reminder to you is this... even if she manages to survive the Astral Islands, it'll still be quite hard for her to join the Twelve Palaces.’’
’’Very hard?’’ Ning was intrigued.
’’Yes.’’ Daolord Flameflow nodded. ’’The Twelve Palaces represent the twelve most powerful organizations in the entire Brightshore Kingdom. They recruit Daolords as well as truly talented World-level cultivators who are worthy of further training. It is quite difficult for the many denizens of the Brightshore Kingdom to actually join the Twelve Palaces.’’
Daolord Flameflow continued, ’’There are some, for example, who willingly became slaves of the kingdom. Although they are still considered our citizens, they stand at the lowest rungs of society. As for those who went to mine for a thousand chaos cycles, they will become citizens upon their return, yes, but do you really think they are qualified to join the Twelve Palaces?’’ Daolord Flameflow laughed. ’’Becoming a citizen of the Brightshore Kingdom and joining the Twelve Palaces are two separate matters.’’
Ning now understood.
’’Take yourself, for example. You have the power to make it into the fifth stratum, which is why I came to give you an invitation.’’ Daolord Flameflow continued, ’’Some weaker World-level cultivators might never receive an invitation, even if they do manage to put together a complete legacy. There is a high barrier to entry for the Twelve Palaces, and even the citizens of the Brightshore Kingdom have to undergo many different trials before they are granted entry. But of course, people like you who have received invitations don't need to go through any further trials.’’
He understood. However, he still wanted to help Su Youji as quickly as possible. Ning knew exactly what her strengths and limitations were. She had just reached the World level a short while ago, and her insights into the Dao weren't even as profound as Ning's, nor was she a battle-hardy World God. She would be able to buy herself some time with her bugbeasts and golems, but as time passed... eventually, she would encounter a truly talented expert and might well lose her life.
’’I'd like to ask you, senior, to tell me which astral island she is on,’’ Ning said.
The golden book included detailed records of every astral island, including basic information about each cultivator and the treasures they held. There was naturally a notation of each location as well.
Generally speaking, the cultivators in the Astral Islands would only learn of each other's locations through actual combat. But it was only natural for a Samsara Daolord of the Thunder Palace of the Twelve Palaces to know much more.
’’The astral island she is on has the address of 399-236,’’ Daolord Flameflow said.
’’So this one over there.’’ Ning immediately was able to locate the island in question. This astral island was still on the first stratum.
’’My young friend Darknorth, I won't disturb you any further. If you wish to join the Palace of Thunder, simply shatter the talisman and I'll come welcome you.’’ Daolord Flameflow rose to his feet.
’’Thank you for everything, senior.’’ Ning felt quite grateful towards the man. If it wasn't for his help, even he didn't know how long it would be before he found Su Youji's astral island.
’’A minor matter,’’ Daolord Flameflow said with a laugh. He then turned and left, disappearing into the skies.
Ning watched silently and pensively as the Daolord left.
’’I need to make it to the fifth stratum as soon as possible. I'll then acquire one of the simpler sword-arts legacies and lose it to Youji right away,’’ Ning mused to himself. Two sword-arts legacies and one footwork legacy. Ning wanted the footwork legacy the most. Alas, it was highly ranked and hard to acquire. In fact, most of the legacy treasures were with the cultivators on the fifth stratum.
In the coming days, Ning began to issue challenges anew to the other cultivators on his stratum.
The fourth stratum. The seventh battle.
Ning encountered an expert who was skilled in the Dao of Spacetime. This was Ning's toughest, most grueling battle, because his opponent's fleeing skills were simply incredible, allowing him to retreat and advance as he pleased.
Ning knew that he had an advantage in actual power, but he was still unable to do anything to his opponent. Even when he used the [Novessence Thunder] to restrain his foe's movements, his foe's movements remained unpredictably fast and fluid. In the end, Ning was forced to split his body into two, using two bodies to battle at the same time. Although each body was weaker than his true body, they were still individually superior than his opponent in strength. Ning wasn't exactly slow. With two bodies surrounding and attacking at the same time, as well as the assistance of the [Novessence Thunder], Ning was able to force his opponent into admitting defeat.
The fourth stratum. The eighth battle.
This battle was against a special lifeform. Special lifeforms were different from ordinary cultivators. Ordinary cultivators were all born from the Worldheart of their chaosworld. Natural-born Elder Gods like Nuwa were said to be born from the primordial chaos, but in reality it was the chaosworld generated by the Worldheart which gave birth to them. They were born with mastery over one of the Heavenly Daos of their chaosworld, but they still emerged from the mysterious, marvelous powers of their Worldheart.
True Gods, Empyrean Gods, mortals... all of them were produced from the Worldheart.
Special lifeforms, however, were truly born within unique situations within the endless primordial chaos. There was a qualitative difference between them and cultivators, and although some of them were weak, others of them were inconceivably strong.
This opponent fighting Ning was an ape-like creature. Just prior to the battle, the creature was crunching his way through a tasty meal of strange, metallic objects. It had a body as tough as a Dao weapon and incredible strength, but it was also extremely intelligent. It had even deeper insights into the Dao than Ning did!
However, in the end it still lost.
This was because Ning was just as strong as it was, but was also much faster! Most importantly of all, Ning was wielding six Eternal weapons while the ape had to rely on its two arms... but to actually kill the ape would be incredibly difficult, because Ning was unable to damage its body. Binding it would also be quite difficult. The only thing Ning could do was force it to admit defeat.
The fourth stratum. The ninth battle.
This was an simple, direct battle. Ning easily gained victory.
’’I've already won nine battles in a row. One more battle. Just one more win and I'll have made it into the fifth stratum. Things will be much simpler then.’’ Ning was feeling rather confident. Thus far, he hadn't encountered any foes that required him to use his Elementum Waterflame Gourd. That was his final trump card which he would only use when absolutely necessary.
’’Next challenge.’’ Ning sent out yet another challenge to a cultivator on the fourth stratum.
’’He's won a total of nine victories in a row now.’’
One of the twelve astral islands within the fifth stratum.
A skinny, swarthy-skinned child with three eyes dressed with strange silver cape was staring intently at the golden book in his hands. ’’I hear that the almighty Hegemon personally selected this latest crop of newcomers. It really does seem as though some of them possess tremendous potential. This fellow who won nine battles in a row might not necessarily be powerful, but he definitely has been the fastest mover.’’
The golden book only included some basic information regarding the World-level cultivator on each astral island. It didn't include information such as win-loss totals. Still, it wasn't too hard to divine such information.
Ji Ning, for example. Ever since he had reached the fourth stratum, he had won every battle he was in. He had gained a number of legacy treasures, while the ones he had defeated had been completely drained of their own legacy treasures! Just by watching the movements of the various legacy treasures, one would easily be able to divine who had won which battles. It was obvious that Ning's total legacy treasures had increased nine separate times after arriving on the fourth stratum, while there were nine fourth-stratum cultivators who had lost those exact same treasures. Clearly, he had won nine battles in a row.
’’Twenty-one of the newcomers have fought their way into the fourth stratum, but eight ended up being pushed back into the third stratum. Some of them managed to fight their way back into the fourth stratum once more. Only five have won every battle they were in. The fastest has won nine battles, while the second fastest has won six.’’ The skinny, swarthy-skinned child read on. Speed didn't count for much;the slower ones might just be a bit more cautious.
’’It is rare for me to meet a worthy opponent. Mmm... once he wins his tenth battle and makes it into the fifth stratum, I'll send him a challenge.’’ A strange smile flashed past the child's face. ’’I'll teach him a thing or two and let him know that there is a heaven beyond the heavens.’’
’’Oh? He's won nine battles?’’ A black-robed expert on the fourth stratum was flipping through the golden book as well. Although he was on the fourth stratum, it had been a long, long time since anyone had challenged him. This was because he had once made it to the fifth stratum and thus received the protection of the Astral Islands! Making it to the fifth stratum was a testament to his power. Most of his former opponents now knew how strong he was and wouldn't challenge him without a good reason. As for the newcomers including Ning, few of them would be so rash as to challenge someone under protection.
’’Eheh, he's about to make it to the fifth stratum and receive protection? It won't be that easy. Not just everyone is worthy of being protected. You might be just one step away... but I will ruin your hopes.’’
’’You are just one step away, but I'll let you die in the grips of despair. Just thinking about it excites me. Seeing a genius perish in despair is such a lovely sight.’’ The black-robed expert let out a chilling laugh as he issued Ning a challenge.