Book 16, The Nihilum Zone, Chapter 17 – The Seventeenth Stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens]
“What happened just now?” The giant yellow bear immediately asked, “I clearly sensed that you were at your limit, but were still unable to defeat that violet-caped fellow. How is it that suddenly…?”
The black-robed Ji Ning knew what the big bear was asking. He didn’t seek to hide anything from the big bear; after all, there were a good number of individuals in the Three Realms who used heartforce. He immediately replied, “Senior bear, previously, when my divine power was almost used up, I felt as though things were hopeless. Ignoring all else, I poured everything into executing my most powerful sword-arts…but who would’ve thought that the power of my sword-arts would exceed even my own expectations? Only then did I realize that my heartforce had actually flowed into my sword-arts and had been slightly depleted.”
“Heartforce?” The giant yellow bear was surprised. “You were able to use your heartforce through your sword-fingers?”
“Yes.” Ning nodded.
“But but but…” The giant yellow bear didn’t dare believe it.
In truth, the giant yellow bear actually knew less about heartforce than Ning himself did. Ning, after all, had trained in [Houyi’s Archery], and had read a good number of books at Mount Innerheart regarding the Three Realms. As for the giant yellow bear, all he knew, he had learned while accompanying Daoist Threelives.
“You…you were able to use your heartforce through your sword-fingers…but you haven’t even undergone your tribulation, right…?” The giant yellow bear was still in a stunned state. Within the Three Realms, those who could control heartforce were all quite famous; every single one of them was a terrifying force, generally at the True God or Daofather level. Even the weakest of them were generally at least Empyrean Gods or True Immortals.
“It has nothing to do with the tribulation.” The black-robed Ning shook his head. “It has everything to do with your level of insight into heartforce. According to the system which mighty Houyi established, heartforce can be divided into five levels. Thanks to the descent of the karmic sinflames, as well as the experiences I have undergone here in the Nihilum Zone…my heartforce actually ended up reaching the third level, ‘ruler’. Given that I’ve been training in [Houyi’s Archery] almost every day for the past half year while floating about in the Nihilum Zone, my mastery over my heartforce has been improved. Perhaps because I established a foundation through training [Houyi’s Archery], as well as due to my heartforce reaching the third level…I was lucky enough to execute the technique successfully.”
“The third stage?” The giant yellow bear didn’t really understand; he didn’t have any insight into Houyi’s systemized levels for heartforce.
“However…what’s the usage?” The black-robed Ning shook his head. “Even if I do understand how to apply heartforce to my sword-fingers…I still haven’t undergone my tribulation. I’m completely unable to defeat this Snaphorn world of the Primordial Ruinworld, much less escape the Nihilum Zone.”
“Don’t be discouraged,” the giant yellow bear said. “You’ve gained quite a lot, learning how to apply heartforce through your sword-fingers.”
“I’m not depressed.” The black-robed Ning was actually quite calm.
“Right; that massive army of the Snaphorn world has arrived, and they can easily capture you. Why aren’t they attacking? Why are they letting you recover?” The giant yellow bear was puzzled by this.
The black-robed Ning shook his head. “I don’t know the answer either. From the sound of it…they seem to want to use me as a target dummy for training. Perhaps there is another reason as well…but who cares? As long as I have a chance to stay alive, I’ll take it. The longer I can stay alive, the better a chance Master might have to find me. This is a chance to survive…I naturally have to seize it.”
“Right.” The giant yellow bear nodded as well.
Within the misty, void-like region within the underwater estate.
The giant yellow bear had just returned here. He looked at the seven powerful experts.
“Well?” The beautiful, black-armored woman asked impatiently.
“Ji Ning says that the reason why the army of the Snaphorn world has only trapped him rather than killed him is because they apparently want to use him as a training dummy to temper and train some of their more powerful warriors.” The giant yellow bear continued, “However…the reason really isn’t worth over-analyzing. What matters is that Ji Ning is currently not in a life-or-death situation. There’s no need for you to reveal your presences for now; let’s just wait patiently. The longer this drags out, the better; if Patriarch Subhuti is able to find Ji Ning, then everything will be well.”
The seven Fiendgods all nodded in agreement.
“There’s one other important matter. Ning said that he’s been able to develop a way for him to apply his heartforce through his fingers,” the giant yellow bear suddenly said. “That’s why his power increased so dramatically.”
“A way for him to apply heartforce?!”
All seven of the Fiendgods simultaneously cried out in shock.
Red-hair said in disbelief, “He…he…you said heartforce…heartforce!!! How could he have developed…”
“Ji Ning trained in [Houyi’s Archery], and so he had a set of heartforce techniques to begin with. Perhaps this helped inspire him? In addition, his heartforce has reached the third level,” the giant yellow bear said. “He said something about the third level of heartforce, with Houyi having divided it up into five levels, but I didn’t really understand it.”
“The third level?”
“What a monster.”
The seven of them were all stunned. The giant yellow bear had never needed to participate in any of the battles of Pangu’s World, but the seven of them had followed Daoist Threelives in one battle after another. They naturally knew a great deal of information regarding the most powerful figures of the Three Realms. If you knew yourself well and your foes well, you would live longer; they naturally knew that heartforce was divided into five levels, and that reaching the third level was considered a very high accomplishment, even in Pangu’s World.
“Humans truly live up to their reputation.” Of the seven figures, the child suddenly let out a sigh. “The comprehension ability of humans…they truly are the champion of the myriad races! I wonder how in the world Mother Nuwa was able to develop a race with such comprehension abilities. Compared to humans, we Fiendgods have an all but non-existent level of comprehension abilities.”
“Humans rose up from a weak starting point to become the masters of Pangu’s Primordial World. Even amongst the ranks of the Daofathers, humans are the most numerous race! In fact, the power of humans as a race is capable of equaling the combined power of all the other myriad races. This young master of ours…he is a peerless monster, even amongst humans. There’s no way we can compare to him. No way!” The elder sighed as well.
All seven of them were true Fiendgods. The youngest of them had been born when Pangu’s World had just been created.
How long had they lived for?
They had watched with their own eyes as humanity became powerful. When the human race had first been created, they were an extremely weak race; most likely, any random, powerful Fiendgod would have been able to annihilate the entire race. But humans had been created by Mother Nuwa, and after Pangu perished, Nuwa became the most powerful figure of the Primordial Era. Naturally, no one would go and wipe out her human race for no good reason. Humans bred at a very fast rate, had incredible comprehension abilities, and grew up very quickly. They gave birth to Celestial Immortals…Pure Yang True Immortals…and even even Daofathers of the Great Firmament! They grew nonstop, and their status became higher and higher. And now…their single race was capable of withstanding all of the myriad other races combined! Even the Fiendgods of Primordial Chaos had to acknowledge humans and their status.
If anyone dared to act against humanity…the major powers of the human race would wipe them out!
“He lives up to being our young master, the successor to the Godking.” A friendly, amiable-looking youth said with a sigh, “He was actually able to come up with a way to apply heartforce, even though he hasn’t even undergone his Celestial Tribulation. Combined with the [Starseizing Hand]…our young master has most likely become the most powerful figure amongst all Void-level Fiendgods. In fact, he’s extremely close to being as powerful as an Empyrean God!”
“Not just yet, but…still, he does indeed have a chance at becoming nearly as powerful as an Empyrean God.” Snow Scorpion nodded.
There was naturally an enormous difference between Void-level Fiendgods and Empyrean Gods.
Still…how many Empyrean Gods had a monstrously powerful divine ability like the [Starseizing Hand]?
And how many were in control of heartforce?
These two points alone were able to make up for many weaknesses. Still…despite that, it could only be said that Ning stood a a ‘chance at becoming nearly as powerful as an Empyrean God’; one couldn’t actually say that he truly already had the combat power of an Empyrean God. This was because when Fiendgods underwent their Empyrean Tribulation and become an Empyrean God, their divine bodies would undergo an earth-shaking change. In addition, their divine power would also skyrocket in quality and quantity. The difference in divine body and divine power was simply too great! The [Starseizing Hand] alone was not enough to make up for a difference of this magnitude; even if one added heartforce into the mix, it would be hard to say.
And in addition…
Empyrean Gods also had very high levels of insight into the Dao.
Thus, ever since the creation of Pangu’s World, there had never been anyone who, as a Void-level Fiendgod, could be said to have truly reached the power of an Empyrean God. Of course…Ning was a monster the likes of which had never been seen, even in Pangu’s World. First of all, he was the only person who knew the [Starseizing Hand], with the other practitioner, Daoist Threelives, having died long ago. And secondly, although there were a few who knew how to apply heartforce, there were almost none at the Void-level; after all, even Ning had only developed this technique after first training in [Houyi’s Archery], then undergoing karmic sinflames, then suffering in the Void and reaching the third level of heartforce.
To be able to possess both the [Starseizing Hand] and be able to apply heartforce…Ning truly was an absolute monster.
Thus, even these seven Fiendgods who had been alive since the days when Pangu had established the universe had to sigh at the fact that Ning was extremely close to the level of Empyrean Gods.
“What is this alien doing?”
“He seems to be training.”
The general and the 801 violet-caped warriors stared at the distant human youth. At this moment, above Ning’s head had appeared two miniature stars; they were a miniature Solar Star and a miniature Lunar Star. Above the miniature Solar Star, flames blazed and a tiny Golden Crow flew about, while above the Lunar Star, an osmanthus tree was growing. Both the miniature Solar Star and the miniature Lunar Star were quite detailed; they seemed to truly be identical to the true Solar Star and Lunar Star, albeit countless times smaller.
His divine power was continuing to recover.
Ning was training quite calmly.
A long time later…
After his divine power had completely recovered, Ning was once more at peak power.
Whoosh. Ning opened his eyes, sweeping the warriors of the Snaphorn world with his gaze.
“He stopped. It seems he’s recovered.” The general smiled. “Baloni, you go.”
“Yes.” A desire for battle blazed in the eyes of a violet-caped warrior. He was so excited, he let out a hiss with his slender little tongue. “Alien brat, I’m not as useless as the likes of Tonto and the others. Ahaha…” His ear-piercing laughter rang out as he transformed into a black streak of light, charging straight for Ning.
One massive battle after another.
Each time, a violet-caped warrior would fight against Ning by himself. Some had lower attack power than Ning, but were superior in speed and so could still give him a good fight. The violet-caped warriors also had particularly superb warriors who were superior to Ning in every aspect.
Each time, Ning fought until his divine power was completely exhausted, then would stop fighting and calmly focus on recovering through the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens]! The aliens, in turn, permitted Ning to recover.
The aliens came in a steady stream, forcing Ning to squeeze out every bit of potential he had. The three Queen Mothers, through these constant engagements, were able to sense Ning’s heartforce rippling. They, in turn, were working hard to hypothesize how heartforce was to be used.
Time flowed on…and in the blink of an eye, more than twelve years had gone past.
Ning had completely forgotten the flow of time, losing himself in battle. During the past twelve years, he had completely focused all of his attention on the application of heartforce; every single battle was a test for him, and he constantly tried and tested new methods. His method of applying heartforce to his fingers became more and more exquisite; by now, Ning was actually able to use up nearly 3% of his total heartforce through a single sword-finger. This was quite astonishing…but clearly, he hadn’t reached his maximum potential yet.
Two miniature versions of the Solar Star and the Lunar Star were hovering above Ning’s head.
A large amount of divine power was circulating through his body. During the past twelve years, Ning’s divine power had grown nonstop, becoming thicker, denser, and more perfect. And today…Ning had truly reached the peak of power possible for the sixteenth stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens].
His divine power finally began to transform.
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