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Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 6 – Sacred Immortal Realm

Ji Ning, Prince Greatjoy, Solewind, and the others lived a life of leisure here at Wintermount. Although they were ten billion kilometers away, their gazes were still often turned towards what was happening at the spacetime transfer array.

“This disciple of mine actually has some talent for the sword after all.” Ning paid quite a bit of attention to his disciple. Although Yang Quding lived on Wintermount as well, nobody here was able to detect Ning’s presence unless he wished it.

“Brother Darknorth, this kid’s sword-arts seem quite similar to your own Yin-Yang Sword Domain.” Prince Greatjoy sat nearby, watching as Yang Quding trained in swordplay ten kilometers away. “He trains by himself within the deep mountains, neither impatient nor hasty, and his heart is as calm as water. I have to say, his heart is quite impressive.”

“He can be considered my disciple,” Ning said with a laugh.

“Disciple?” Prince Greatjoy was shocked. “You accepted an ordinary mortal as a disciple?”

Although he had a good impression of Yang Quding, the man was still nothing more than an ordinary mortal. The five of them were amongst the most truly, freakishly talented figures of the entire Endless Territories. Even Skyfire Brightshore, who was currently still the weakest of the five, was a dazzling genius of the Brightshore Imperials. As for the other four, they all wielded their own Supreme Daos.

Any of them could break through into the Daolord level at any moment, and they would be extraordinary ones at that. Given Ning’s status… if he wanted to choose a disciple, virtually all World-level cultivators would be crying and begging for a chance to be chosen. And yet, he instead chose an ordinary mortal as his disciple?

“Your disciple?” The nearby Solewind laughed. “We’re just passing through this place. Why’d you accept a disciple? And is this how you treat your disciples? You just completely ignore them?”

“Even if I wanted to mentor him, I wouldn’t be able to do so for long. Better to just let him grow naturally.” Ning took a slow sip of wine.

“Brother Darknorth certainly takes it easy,” Waterlord Firesurge said.

……

In the blink of an eye, more than sixty-one years went past. The spacetime transfer array was almost ready once more.

“Time to leave.” Greatjoy rose to his feet.

“Time to head out, Darknorth. Stop staring at your disciple,” Solewind teased.

Ning had just glanced off into the distance. His second disciple, ‘Green Bamboo’ Yang Quding, had long ago departed from Wintermount and was out adventuring through the world. He was already quite famous for millions of kilometers around, and was venerated as ‘Sword Immortal Green Bamboo’.

“Time to go.” Ning nodded.

Once he left, the two of them truly would have parted from each other. Once Ning returned to the Endless Territories, the two would be located within two separate universes. It truly was hard to say if they would ever meet again. It would all be up to fate.

Although the core of the spacetime transfer array was quite large, it was still completely packed with hundreds of millions of Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators who had gathered here throughout this utterly massive continent.

“Fellow Daoists, the ancient transfer array shall only be activated once every hundred years.” A middle-ranked Apotheosis cultivator was standing in midair and speaking in a sonorous voice. “Our Mortal Realm is unfathomably vast and filled with countless cultivators. Thus, I would like to invite all fellow Daoists interested in going to the Sacred Immortal Realm to first enter this estate-world! This estate-world is a very simple and crude one which is quite weak; any Apotheosis cultivator can easily tear it apart from within. All of us will enter this estate-world, and then the ancient transfer array will teleport it to the other side. This will be much easier.”

“Agreed.”

“Makes sense.”

“This has been the standard method for many years.”

Countless Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators nodded in agreement. This was a custom that had been established many years ago. Otherwise, how was the array supposed to be able to accommodate hundreds of millions of cultivators? The estate-treasure before them was quite crude and simple. They were able to see through it to know what was going on outside, and were also able to tear through it at a moment’s notice.

As for Ning’s group of five, they were mixed into the enormous group of cultivators. No one paid them any heed.

“Fellow Daoists, let us go inside together.” The tall middle-aged man in midair was the first to fly towards the entrance of the estate-world which was placed at the very center of the ancient transfer array.

This estate-world was shaped like an actual Immortal estate, and it had a normal ‘gate’.

Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!

Countless streaks of light flew towards the entrance as well.

“Let’s go.” Ning’s group of five followed the crowd into the estate as well.

“It really is weak.” The five found a corner within the estate-world, and no other cultivators were able to notice their presence. Ning laughed as he sent mentally, “I feel like the slightest vibration would be enough to cause it to completely collapse.”

“Let me stabilize it a bit. I actually am worried about it splintering,” Solewind said.

Rumble…

A cultivator on the outside had just activated the spacetime transfer array. Because it had already stored up enough energy, it now was able to completely activate.

The hundreds of millions of Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators gathered inside were all incredibly excited.

“The Sacred Immortal Realm!”

“We’re finally going to arrive at the Sacred Immortal Realm.”

“All the elders of my school are in the Sacred Immortal Realm. According to the legends, there are far more cultivators in the Sacred Immortal Realm than there are in our world.” They were all incredibly excited by this. Ever since they had embarked upon the path of cultivation, they had dreamed of one day reaching the apex of power in the Mortal Realm and then heading to the Sacred Immortal Realm.

Those qualified to head into the Sacred Immortal Realm were all major figures of the Mortal Realm.

……

A short while later, the teleportation effect came to an end. The estate-world had been sent to the Sacred Immortal Realm.

Ji Ning’s group had been relaxing in their little corner. Now, all of their faces tightened.

“Something’s wrong.” Prince Greatjoy sent mentally, “Everyone, let us hide ourselves for now and watch what happens.”

“Right.” Ning and the others all nodded.

This feeble estate-world had virtually no impact on them at all. They were able to see through it to the outside world and knew what was happening outside.

“We’ve arrived.”

“We’ve arrived at the Sacred Immortal Realm.” The hundreds of millions of Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators were all incredibly excited.

Rumble…

The shoddily-made estate-treasure blew apart with a boom.

The countless Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators all suddenly appeared in midair, covering the skies and blocking out the sun like a horde of locusts.

“Such dense elemental energy!”

“The elemental energy here is far denser than it is in our Mortal Realm.”

“So this is the Sacred Immortal Realm?” The countless cultivators all stared excitedly… but suddenly, they saw a large number of stone pillars off in the distance. The stone pillars all had cultivators bound to them. Some were humanoid, some were monsters, and some were beasts. Although they looked different, all of them were covered with blood, wounds, and scars. Many of them had eyes filled with furious hatred.

Deathly silence.

The hundreds of millions of Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators who had just arrived were all deathly silent.

Those cultivators bound to the stone pillars had clearly suffered countless types of torture. What was going on?

“Another batch has arrived.” One of the many bound and tormented cultivators let out a low mutter.

“One batch after another. There’s never an end.”

“Who can send a message to the people of the Mortal Realm? Tell them not to come to this ‘Sacred Immortal Realm’. Do not come!”

“I truly shouldn’t have come here.”

“I regret it so much.”

“Don’t come to the Sacred Immortal Realm.” The countless bound cultivators all mumbled and moaned in broken, pained voices.

As for the hundreds of millions of Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators who had just arrived, they all knew that something was wrong. Their hearts were as cold as ice.

“Ahahaha!” Suddenly, the vast land began to tremble as a deep laugh rang out from the depths of the earth. Slowly, one mountain-like figure after another began to emerge from underground. There was over a hundred of these figures, and each one was thirty thousand meters tall. An aura of darkness spread out to cover the skies as they stared at the countless cultivators with their blood-red eyes.

A hundred towering figures, and every single one of them possessed an aura that caused the cultivators to quiver in terror.

“Where are we?!” A golden-robed man amidst the crowd tamped down his horror enough to say, “This isn’t the Sacred Immortal Rea-”

“This is the Sacred Immortal Realm.” One of the towering forms spoke out in a thundering voice that shook Heaven and Earth. As he waved his hand, he caused an enormous cloth sack to appear.

Whoooooosh.

The cloth sack gave birth to an utterly, incredibly powerful sucking force. The hundreds of millions of Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators tried to resist, but they were still forcibly sucked into the cloth sack. After all the cultivators were sucked away, the cloth sack shrank in size and flew back into the towering figure’s hands.

“A few more toys.” The towering figure looked at the cloth sack, then let out a low laugh. “Master shall be excited by this! I will go deliver him his toys. As for the rest of you, stay here and deal with the disobedient ones.”

“Alright.” The other towering figures all nodded.

Whoosh.

The bag-holding figure quickly flew off into the distance.

Ning’s group of five was standing there in midair. Given Prince Greatjoy’s mastery over spacetime, the towering figures were completely unable to see them.

Ning’s group just watched silently as this all happened.

“A hundred Elder God-level golems.” Ning narrowed his eyes as he sent mentally, “And they spoke of a ‘master’. His master is most likely a Daolord.”

“Agreed. This ‘Sacred Immortal Realm’ most likely has a Daolord standing behind it.” Solewind had a solemn look on his face as well.

“This will be trouble. Let’s be careful as we investigate this matter,” Prince Greatjoy said somberly.

“Agreed.”

“Let’s go.”

The five of them left the area silently.

Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 7 – The Enormous Prison

Ji Ning and the others didn’t dare to cause the slightest disturbance, for fear of drawing the attention of the ‘Daolord’ they suspected of being behind this Sacred Immortal Realm. Right now, they had the advantage of stealth. Once they were discovered, things would become difficult. This Sacred Immortal Realm was someone else’s territory, after all. There had to be many formations protecting it.

For example, that local branch of the Bluegrass Sect in the Brightshore Kingdom was only staffed with weak World-level cultivators, but they were still able to trap Ning thanks to the grand protective formation! A Daolord’s lair was an incredibly dangerous place. There was no such thing as being too careful.

But of course, Ning’s group was fairly confident. Generally speaking, they wouldn’t be worried about weaker Daolords at all.

Swoosh.

Ning’s group of five silently teleported through space to move to the margins of this great continent, the Sacred Immortal Realm. Given Prince Greatjoy’s mastery over spacetime, a spatial teleportation caused no spatial ripples at all.

“Eh?” Ning’s group stood next to some boulders at the rather ragged edges of this continent. When they looked at the chaotic space up in front of them, they saw countless streaks of golden runes flickering and flashing. An enormous, ethereal formation was covering this entire continent.

“What a powerful formation,” Heartlord Solewind said softly. “This formation is so profound that even I find it difficult to fathom. There’s no way an ordinary Daolord was capable of creating it. I wonder if this formation was purchased by this Daolord or if he created it himself.”

“Hopefully, he bought it.” Prince Greatjoy looked as solemn as the others had ever seen him.

Ning nodded as well.

Anyone capable of developing this formation was a Daolord of the Third Step, at the very least. In fact, it might even be a Verge-level Daolord of the Fourth Step! Given this Daolord also had the advantage of being on familiar terrain… they were going to be in serious trouble.

“Then how should we leave this place?” Waterlord Firesurge asked, “You all saw that spatial transfer array. It’ll only allow us to return to the Mortal Realm! Once we activate it to go back to the Mortal Realm, that Daolord will definitely find out and might chase us all the way back. We’ll have nowhere to run.”

“Return to the Mortal Realm through the formation?” Prince Greatjoy shook his head. “Those golems would probably notice as soon as we did anything, which means their master would know as well. Given how powerful Daolords are, this one would probably be able to send his will to span the entire Sacred Immortal Realm in an instant! He would be able to disrupt the transference process. We probably won’t have any chance of going back to the Mortal Realm.”

Ning, Solewind, Skyfire, and Firesurge all had heavy looks on their faces.

A Daolord definitely was an opponent who could prove to be a huge threat to them.

“We’re not going to be able to defeat this formation.” Solewind raised his head to glance at the great formation covering the entire Sacred Immortal Realm. “Even if we go back to the Mortal Realm, it won’t be of any use. Once we go back, we won’t be able to escape.”

“Let’s keep looking,” Ning advised. “Perhaps we might find something useful.”

“No other options.”

……

The five of them began to stealthily search the entire Sacred Immortal Realm.

The Sacred Immortal Realm was much smaller than the Mortal Realm, covering just a few tens of billions of kilometers! The entire continent was covered by this enormous formation, and in the very center of the continent there was a dim, faint green mist. Deep within that mist, there was a towering estate that could vaguely be seen. This was the only place in the entire continent which Ning’s group did not dare to enter.

It was highly likely that this estate was the place where the Daolord lived!

“What a terrifying aura of resentment and hatred.”

Ning’s group was standing atop a barren, black land as they stared towards the enormous black edifice off in the distance.

Above that enormous black edifice was an aura of hatred which was so strong that it had actually become corporeal. Some of the hatred was tinged with red light, while others glowed with a black aura. However, the hatred located at the highest parts of the edifice were transformed into a deep green color, a deep green which was formed as a result of the condensed hatred of countless cultivators over the course of countless years. Every so often, furious faces could be seen appearing within the aura of hatred.

“Even if I destroyed a hundred chaosworld, the hatred and resentment wouldn’t be as strong as it is here.” Greatjoy frowned.

“I can sense that there are countless cultivators imprisoned within. This aura of hatred should be generated by them,” Solewind said. “The reason why it is so dense is possibly because these cultivators are suffering unspeakable torments. We saw early on how many cultivators were lashed to those stone pillars.”

“Let’s go inside,” Skyfire Brightshore urged.

“Let’s go.”

They needed more information. None of them dared to be arrogant in dealing with the Daolord that might be living in seclusion within this continent.

The enormous black edifice was a jail of utterly titanic proportions, and countless cultivators were imprisoned within it. It must be understood that the Mortal Realm’s formation would activate once every century. It was only natural that many cultivators had been imprisoned here.

“This place…” Waterlord Firesurge’s face paled as he continued to walk forwards. “This place is even more terrifying than the terrible Nightmare Lands which the legends of my homeland spoke of.”

“And more terrifying than the Eighteen Hells of my own homeland.” Ning was equally somber.

This enormous prison was filled with various implements of torture and punishment. This entire prison was in reality designed strictly for the torture of cultivators. It must be understood that the Eighteen Hells of the Three Realms were designed to punish great sinners, but this place had only one purpose… to torture and torment as much as possible. This made it a thousand times as frightening, causing even the faces of these five to turn pale.

“AHHH! All of you will die one day! You demons! You devils! All of you will DIE!”

“Nooooo…”

“Spare me! Spare me! Spare me!”

“No begging. Begging is pointless.”

All sorts of voices could be heard. Some were filled with hatred, some rambled, some were frenzied, some were screaming.

The entire prison was being used to furiously torment all of the hundreds of millions of newly imprisoned Nascent Soul and Apotheosis cultivators. Some of the new abductees were still begging for mercy, but they soon realized that this was completely pointless.

Whoosh…

Ning’s group of five continued their journey through the prison. Nobody was able to see them, not even the golems responsible for torturing the prisoners.

Most of these golems were at least at the Elder God level. Some were at the True God level, and a few were even at the Empyrean God level. There had to be millions of golems within this prison.

“Who would’ve thought that the ‘Sacred Immortal Realm’ so many dreamed of was actually a hell such as this?” Ning murmured softly.

“Indeed. However, there are very few Elder God-level golems. Most are weaker… perhaps the Daolord of this land is fairly weak as well,” Solewind said.

“Hopefully.” A murderous look was in Greatjoy’s eyes.

If the Daolord was a weak one, the five of them would join forces to kill him! That would end all their worries at one go.

Whoosh.

Although there were restrictive formations scattered throughout the prison, they were meant for weaker cultivators and were completely ineffective against Ning’s group. Ning’s group was able to easily enter one of the jail cells.

This jail cell held over a hundred cultivators, all shackled in chains. One of them was a skinny old man who was seated silently in the lotus position, a terrifying look in his eyes.

“I can’t accept this. I can’t accept this!” The skinny old man growled mentally, “I have to ascend and escape. If I can escape, in the future I’ll come back and kill these devils.” To this very day, he had yet to realize that his tormentors were actually golems.

“Eh?” The skinny old man suddenly felt that something was off. Five figures had suddenly appeared before him.

“You-…” The old man was stunned. This was absolutely bizarre. These five figures were simply too clean and pristine, and none of them were wearing shackles. What’s more… the doors to the prison hadn’t even opened.

“I have some questions for you,” the skinny, bald, red-robed youth said.

“Yes,” the skinny old man said obediently. He felt a sense of absolute devotion to the man before him. If the man ordered him to commit suicide, he wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest.

As for other manacled cultivators in the jail cell, they weren’t able to see a thing.

……

As Ning’s group infiltrated the enormous prison, a figure suddenly flew out of an ancient, towering estate which was surrounded by faint green mist that was located in the very core of the Sacred Immortal Realm. This figure was dressed in light green robes, had a stooped form, and just a few green scales on his forehead. His eyes looked quite cold and insidious, and his ancient face was covered in wrinkles.

“Master.” An Elder God golem standing outside the estate, waiting respectfully.

“Mm.” The stooped old man nodded. “The new batch of cultivators have arrived?”

“Yes, they just arrived. We’ve already sent them all into the prison,” the Elder God golem said respectfully. Golems were a type of magic treasures, but when they gained sentience they would be just as intelligent as actually living beings. The difference was, they would be unswervingly loyal and would do whatever their master ordered them to do.

“Mm. Let’s go take a look.” The stooped figure nodded slowly. The Elder God golem followed behind him respectfully, and the two quickly flew into the skies. In the blink of an eye, they moved more than ten billion kilometers and arrived at the enormous prison, wreathed in an aura of baleful energy.