Book 20, Jindan Upgrade, Chapter 8 – A Surviving Empyrean God
“You are too weak. Too weak!” The golden yaksha’s frenzied voice echoed throughout the heavens as he once more transformed into a streak of golden light, chasing after Ji Ning and assaulting him repeatedly.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Ning was knocked flying backwards repeatedly, sometimes being driven into the sea, sometimes somersaulting backwards in rather pathetic fashion. He was at a definite, absolute disadvantage.
“You are really weak…but your body’s pretty tough. My [Seagod Yaksha] is incredibly strong, but you are able to easily absorb this type of punishment.” The golden yaksha continued to attack as he spoke, laughing wildly.
His words were correct; any ordinary Empyrean God body that wasn’t protected by the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] would’ve long ago been destroyed by now.
But if he didn’t have the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], Ning wouldn’t have dared to choose this style of fighting either!
“He’s very strong and incredibly fast, but his agility is average. His combat techniques are all quite ordinary.” Over the course of this battle, Ning quickly deduced his foe’s strengths and weaknesses. “When fighting against him, I can’t just take him head on. I have to use the intricacies of my sword-arts to deal with him.”
Ning suddenly burst forth from the surface of the sea, as did the golden yaksha which was in hot pursuit of him.
“Come.” Two swords in his hands, a fierce light flashed through Ning’s eyes. It was time to counterattack.
Instantly, a total of 729 swords appeared out of nowhere. These swords all undulated in different manners as they levitated in the air. In front of Ning’s chest, a jade sword began to take form. The power of this jade sword was terrifyingly great. The only reason why Ning was able to use the ninth stage of the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation] was entirely because he had fourth-level heartforce and a soul heartforce technique.
This jade sword that was manifested by merging the power of 729 top-grade Pure Yang swords. It’s power was definitely not weaker than Ning’s when using the [Starseizing Hand]!
“Go.” Ning pointed towards the distant Yaksha.
“Ahahaha, he’s actually using an Immortal technique.” The golden yaksha laughed wildly, continuing to crush forward. He didn’t care if Ning was going to use close combat or long-range attacks; with his absolute advantage in power, he was crush Ning with overwhelming force.
The jade sword struck out towards the golden yaksha, seeking to avoid the yakshas defenses, but the yaksha was simply too strong. A brandishing block with the steel warfork was able to block in time. With a ‘bang’ sound, the jade sword was instantly destroyed, while the golden yaksha merely paused for a moment in midair.
“Even the ninth stage of the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation] is only able to cause him to pause slightly? It seems I’ll have to use heartforce.” A second jade sword materialized in front of Ji Ning’s body, and his invisible heartforce surged into it. The power of the second jade sword instantly rose, transforming it on a qualitative level.
Fourth stage heartforce, in and of itself, was far more powerful than the ninth-stage [Greater Thousand Swords Formation].
When using fourth stage heartforce, Ning would be able to reach the apex of power possible for Empyrean Gods and True Immortals for a short period of time. The only difference was that the likes of Redsnow would be able to fight at that level for a sustained period of time, whereas Ning would only be able to do so briefly.
“It’s useless. That tiny bit of power you have is usel-…” The golden yaksha was roaring with savage laughter as he pounced towards Ning.
The jade sword transformed into a blur. It seemed identical to the first sword, but once the golden yaksha actually reached jade sword, the speed of the jade sword suddenly increased dramatically. The heartforce within it exploded forth with full power!
The upgraded jade sword became nothing more than a vague blur in front of the golden yaksha. The golden yaksha tried to block it, but his combat techniques were simply too weak.
SLASH![Brightmoon] sword-art, Shadowless stance!
The jade sword sliced through the golden yaksha’s body in a bizarre, unpredictable manner. Although this body was very close to that of a True God, it actually wasn’t enhanced by any body-protecting divine ability at all. Assaulted by the incredibly sharp jade sword…it was instantly chopped in half.
Ning, however, remained wary and vigilant. He knew very well that the golden yaksha was able to easily dissolve and coalesce his body, or even to completely transform it into liquid. He probably wouldn’t die that easily. In addition, Ning could sense that his foe’s aura remained incredibly powerful.
The two halves of the bisected golden yaksha’s body suddenly transformed into a flood of water. The enormous flood of water spun in midair, then completely detonated, blasting apart into countless smaller streams of water that flew everywhere. Once they touched the surface of the sea, the streams once more transformed into many jade yakshas, a total of 519 of them.
“You were actually able to injure my true body. You are qualified to pass through this section that I guard.” The 519 jade yakshas stood atop the sea, staring towards Ning and speaking together in a strange voice. “However, I am merely the weakest of the guardians which Master left behind. Those ancient fellows are all more powerful than me. If you want to survive them and acquire the treasures which Master left behind…I judge that you are lacking in power. Hahaha…”
Laughing in a shrill, ear-piercing manner, the 519 jade yakshas all flew in different directions, quickly disappearing from Ning’s field of vision.
Ning just silently stood there in midair for a moment.
“Come back.” The 729 top-grade Pure Yang swords all returned to his body.
“Just the weakest guardian, with more to come?” Ning frowned, murmuring softly to himself. He was slowly beginning to understand things here.
“Even the sole person to leave this place, Buddha Jueming, entered during the Primordial Era and was only able to emerge during the era of the Three Realms. It took him countless years,” Ning mused to himself. “Clearly, Undermoon Lake isn’t so easily traversed. The very first opponent I encountered was able to force me to use heartforce to beat him. The rest will be even harder.”
Ning once more boarded the Ruyi Soulsnake Shuttle and continued to advance along the path of the floating wooden bridge.
After flying for more than half a day, Ning was vaguely able to make out an extremely beautiful island far off in the distance. The wooden bridge was leading towards this island as well.
“What a lovely island.” Ning quickly arrived at the island and took a close look at it. The natural energy surrounding the island had all been manipulated and controlled, causing this island to be perpetually blanketed in falling snow. The island itself was very beautiful as well, and at the center of it was a beautiful palace that was at least three thousand meters high.
Atop the palace, he could see the statues of three strange beasts that were seated in the lotus position.
“A palace? Why has a palace been built here?” Ning was secretly puzzled. He immediately landed and walked through the island, scanning his surroundings as he moved towards the palace.
Ning stood outside the palace, staring towards the insides. His eyes were filled with torch-light as he did so. He had the feeling that there was a reason this palace was here.
“Eh?” Ning’s [Torch-Dragon’s Eye] suddenly discovered a body flickering about within the deepest parts of the palace.
“It hasn’t been a thousand years yet. Why has it come again?”
“Then let’s fight. Let’s fight!”
The figures within the darkest reaches of the palace had eyes filled with frenzy.
As for Ning, still standing outside the palace, he frowned. “I wasn’t seeing things. There really are living beings inside this place.”
Whoosh. After hesitating for a moment, Ning stepped into the palace. Here at Undermoon Lake, neither coresense nor heartforce could be used to search. Thus, the only choice was for him to investigate in person! Since the wooden bridge led to this place, this eye-catching palace definitely served a specific purpose.
This was the front palace. Two corridors connected to it led deeper into the palace. Ning chose one of them. He walked through it, leading to an enormous courtyard that was filled with many pavilions.
Whoosh! The wind suddenly moved.
Ning was still walking through the corridor. His faced changed, and a sword in his hands instantly chopped backwards. Here in the palace, Ning had naturally kept his swords in his hands.
Clang! A ringing sound could be heard, followed by a figure flashing past him.
“Stay your hands!” Ning’s face changed, and he hurriedly called out, “Stop this! I’m not an enemy!”
Slash! Yet another gust of wind as yet another blurred form appeared.
“Empyrean God Roughpeak, I’m from the Three Realms as well!” Ning said hurriedly. His voice, filled with divine power, echoed outwards as he used his swords to block as he dodged.
“Eh?” The distant blur came to a halt, revealing an ashen-faced youth who was wielding a pair of bladewheels in his hands. He stared at Ning with a berserk look in his eyes. His eyes were vaguely bloodshot; clearly, he wasn’t disguising his murderous intent at all.
“Three Realms?” The ashen-faced youth snickered coldly, then growled, “Snowfiend, we’ve fought countless times by now, and you’ve also disguised yourself as an Empyrean God of the Three Realms on multiple occasions. Do you really think you’ll be able to fool me again?”
“Empyrean God Roughpeak,” Ning said hurriedly, “I really am from the Three Realms. I’m not this ‘Snowfiend’ person. Your master is Exalted Celestial Carefree of the Daoist Path, am I right?”
Ning was naturally able to recognize this person at a single glance.
The Three Realms only had so many Empyrean Gods and True Immortals to begin with, and Ning had actually spent time memorizing all of the thousands who had entered Undermoon Lake. Undermoon Lake’s world was filled with natural energy, and it also contained within it multiple types of stellar energy. Both divine power and ki could be replenished here. Although the density of the energy here couldn’t compare to that of the Three Realms, it was still more than enough to maintain life.
Thus, Empyrean God Roughpeak’s appearance hadn’t changed. His aura, however, had changed dramatically.
Roughpeak: A relaxed, carefree Empyrean God who always had a smile on his face. That’s what the report about him said. But the person Ning saw had an ashen face, bloodshot eyes, and was filled with a surging killing intent. Clearly, he had reached the point where his Dao-heart was unable to control his murderous impulses.
“Master?” The youth stared at Ning, frowning. “And who are you? I’ve never even met you.”
“I only began my training long after you entered Undermoon Lake, Empyrean God Roughpeak,” Ning said. “I am the disciple of Daofather Subhuti.”
Many people in the Three Realms now knew that Ning was Subhuti’s disciple, and so Subhuti no longer forbade Ning from telling it to others.
“Subhuti?” The youth laughed coldly, “I imagine you overheard a few things from many of the other Empyrean Gods who entered this place. Do you really think you’ll be able to fool me so easily?” But despite his words, the youth still didn’t move.
“My master resides within the Crescent world, within the Triscar Crescent Abode of Mount Innerheart,” Ning said hurriedly.
The youth frowned. Although many Empyrean Gods had indeed entered this place, it was true that few of them would have cause to discuss the Tristar Crescent Abode of Mount Innerheart.
“Your master is the Exalted Celestial Carefree. Exalted Celestial Carefree, back when you were still in the outside world, had a total of seventy-three disciples. These days, he has a total of seventy-six,” Ning said. “The eldest disciple of Exalted Celestial Carefree died during the Primordial Era. His name was True Immortal Riverloss. Exalted Celestial Carefree’s second disciple…”
Ning continued to speak, and the face of the youth quickly changed. His body actually began to tremble, and tears began to appear in his eyes.
“Ha…hahaha….” Tears flowed down the youth’s face as he laughed. “Hahaha…hahahaha…”
Ning slowly came to a halt. He stared quietly as Empyrean God Roughpeak cried and laughed at the same time. He could sense that Roughpeak had endured many things; this wild laughter was nothing more than a way to release some of his feelings.
“What is your name, junior apprentice-brother?” The youth finally came to a halt, and he now looked towards Ning with a warm look in his eyes. Generally speaking, disciples of major powers that all belonged to the Daoist Path would sometimes refer to each other as ‘senior apprentice-brother’ or ‘junior apprentice-brother’; this was a fairly friendly way of referring to each other.
However, although Daofather Subhuti trained in both Buddhism and Daoism, he couldn’t really be considered a member of the Daoist Path. Clearly, Roughpeak felt extremely friendly towards this newcomer Empyrean God from the Three Realms, which is why he referred to Ning as ‘junior apprentice-brother’.
“My name is Darknorth. Respectful greetings to you, senior apprentice-brother Roughpeak,” Ning said.
“Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth.” The youth smiled, the tears having vanished from his eyes.
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