DECSTreason

Book 27, Twelve Palaces, Chapter 28 – The Reason

“The alternate universe is fairly similar to our own.” Ji Ning also felt that something was off. “Logically speaking, less than one in a thousand World Gods would have reached a transcendent level of power. For this group of a hundred World-level cultivators to have so many supreme World Gods and three or four transcendent World Gods doesn’t make sense. Where the hell did they come from?”

Ning and the other four had effortlessly dominated the group, not giving them any chance to fight back before perishing. Thus, Ning’s group was only able to come to a general approximation regarding how strong they were.

“Let me take a look.” Skyfire Brightshore immediately soared into the skies, then cast his gaze down upon the entire chaos planet as his eyes blazed with fire.

“Hm. Let me take a look on the other side of the chaos planet.” The chaos planet was a sphere, and on the other side of the planet they ended up finding a large number of estates.

“They should be residing in that place.” Solewind cast his gaze downwards. “And… I see quite a few restrictive formations. There’s no way to use godsense to scan the place.”

“We killed 126 World-level cultivators, but there are nearly 150 estates there.” Ning frowned. “Are there still others?”

“Even if there are, they would’ve fled,” Prince Greatjoy said.

This guess was correct.

……

A group of nineteen World-level cultivators were hiding within an empty part of the primordial chaos. All of them had ugly looks on their faces as they traded glances. In their eyes could be seen both terror and joy.

“Thank goodness we were responsible for keeping watch over the headquarters.”

“That was terrifying.”

“All those life tablets went poof in an instant. None of them survived!”

When they thought back to the sight of all those life tablets shattering at the same instant, they couldn’t help but be seized by terror once more.

The World-level cultivators had all left behind life tablets so that the others would know if they were alive or not. Just now, when this group had been convening in their headquarters, they realized to their astonishment that a total of 126 life tablets had shattered apart in the same instant. Even the life tablets of the terrifyingly strong transcendent World Gods who they had dreaded were quickly shattered.

It had been a complete massacre!

Although they didn’t personally witness the battle, the wholesale annihilation of the life tablets was enough for them to guess at what had happened. They had been so terrified that they immediately fled from their headquarters and used a spatial teleportation to escape.

“Some of them had extremely powerful protective divine abilities. Logically speaking, even if they were attacked by Daolords they would’ve merely been captured and drawn into magic treasures to be slowly ground down. But… all those life tablets shattered in almost the blink of an eye.”

“What the hell did they run into?”

“Those five World-level cultivators… was a major power hiding amongst their ranks?”

The lucky survivors speculated wildly, but were unable to go beyond speculation. They would never dare to return to that place.

And so, just like that this formidable local organization disappeared, never to be heard of again.

This group of World-level cultivators truly had been quite powerful. Unfortunately, they had run into Ning’s group of five. These five were the most freakishly talented of the freakishly talented. Anyone besides the five of them would’ve found it extremely difficult to deal with this group.

For fear that this matter might have unexpected repercussions, Ning’s group decided to temporarily hide within a vacant region of primordial chaos as Prince Greatjoy stealthily investigated the matter. “Given my abilities, not even Daolords would be able to detect my actions unless they are even stronger than I am in the Dao of Spacetime.” In terms of mastery over spacetime, Prince Greatjoy’s level of expertise was superior to even that of many Daolords of the Second Step who specialized in the Dao of Spacetime.

As for those who weren’t particularly skilled? Not even Daolords of the Fourth Step would be able to discover any traces of him.

This was why the Dao of Spacetime was such a terrifying Dao.

“Nothing seems to be happening whatsoever. It seems as though that was nothing more than an ordinary robbery attempt.” Bandits were common in every universe, and there were many within the Brightshore Kingdom as well. Even in the Endless Territories, there were World-level cultivators who delighted in waylaying and robbing others. This was the fastest way of acquiring treasures, a way far faster and safer than adventuring in ruins left behind by Daolords. A sufficiently prepared ambush was far safer than adventuring in unexplored regions.

Time slowly flowed on. Ning’s group continued to advance, behaving even more cautiously than before as they moved through one territory after another. Despite that, they still suffered yet another ambush.

Even though they were moving with extreme caution, they had suffered two consecutive ambushes in a row. As for the results were… there were no surprises whatsoever. Anyone who dared to ambush Ning’s group was absolutely courting death.

Rumble…

Three World Gods were swept away by an enormous wave of water and smashed violently upon the ground.

The earth shuddered and split apart from the force of the collision. The three World Gods hurriedly rose to their feet, then stared in terror at the five World-level cultivators who were slowly descending upon them from the skies.

“They are terrifyingly strong.”

“W-way too strong.”

“How can World Gods be this strong?”

The eyes of the three World Gods were filled with terror. They would never forget what they had just seen. That terrifying finger-art… every single wave of the finger had caused World-level cultivators to perish. That terrifying wave… it had crushed more than half of them to death in an instant. As for the ones who wanted to flee, they were slain by crashing bolts of lightning. In the end, only the three of them had managed to survive, and only because their foes let them live.

Only now did they realize that it was possible for World-level cultivators to reach such a level of power.

“You can continue to live,” Prince Greatjoy said coldly, “But you have to do as I say.”

“Y-y-yes.” The three World Gods hurriedly nodded.

“Swear a lifeblood oath that you will never divulge what happened today to anyone. In addition, swear that you will honestly answer any questions we ask you,” Prince Greatjoy ordered grimly.

“Yes.” The three World Gods didn’t even think about fighting back or arguing as they all obediently swore the lifeblood oaths. All three of them were dressed in gray armored robes. Normally, these gray-robed cultivators were viewed as nightmares by other cultivators, but today they were filled with the utmost of reverence towards their captors. They put away their gray armored robes and lowered their heads, for fear of offending the five before them.

“Why did you attempt to waylay us?” Prince Greatjoy asked as Ning and the others watched.

“There were only five of you, and all of you were World-level cultivators. We thought you’d be easy to deal with.” A skinny man with a long beard hurried to be the first to respond.

“No other reasons? You were going to kill us just because we were easy targets?” Prince Greatjoy was puzzled, and he swept his gaze across the other two.

“Right.”

“That is the case.”

The three all immediately nodded.

Ning and the others exchanged a glance. This was the third time they had been ambushed in the past month. It must be understood that it would take them roughly a thousand years to travel from the transversal conduit to the Archaeus region. It would make sense for them to be ambushed once every decade, but for them to be ambushed three times in one month made no sense. And yet… apparently this was nothing more than a normal attempt at highway robbery.

“We were ambushed three times in one month.” Prince Greatjoy frowned. “Do you know why?”

“You don’t know?” The skinny, bearded World God looked at him.

“Speak!” Prince Greatjoy’s eyes lit up, as did the eyes of Ning and the others.

“Because of Nine Godstars,” the prisoner said hurriedly. “Nine Godstars has already formally announced its criteria for accepting new disciples.”

Ning and the others exchanged a glance. Nine Godstars was an extremely large organization.

“They only accept World-level cultivators as new members, and you have to have personally slain at least a thousand other World-level cultivators before you are qualified to join them,” the bearded man said. “Once news of this spread, not only did this cause an enormous stir in the eighteen territories next to Nine Godstars, it also caused a stir in hundreds of nearby territories! Many extremely powerful World-level cultivators began to furiously hunt down and kill down other World-level cultivators. It has been an absolute massacre. Weaker cultivators like us have nowhere to hide, and so we have to join together in large numbers to stay safe.”

“What? You have to kill a thousand World-level cultivators in order to become a member of the sect?” Skyfire Brightshore was shocked.

“That’s a bit crazy.” Heartlord Solewind frowned.

“This entrance requirement…” Ning shook his head.

To kill a thousand World-level cultivators was an extremely difficult. Even enslaved, oathbound World-level slaves were only willing to serve because it gave them a chance to stay alive! If a master insisted on slaying his slaves, the slave would probably go all-out in fighting back. If the slave was going to die no matter what, he would generally prefer to die fighting. When Daolord Windsource was about to die, his slaves would often curse and berate him as they no longer had anything to fear.

Even if you were an extremely powerful cultivator… after many battles, some unexpected variables might occur. You might’ve worked hard to kill several hundred cultivators, only to end up dead in ditch for some reason.

To actually kill a thousand would be very, very difficult.

“Nine Godstars is the number one sect within hundreds of territories, after all.” Next to the bearded man was an extremely muscular World God dressed in scale armor. He said hurriedly, “Nine Godstars has nine major branches, and each branch is led by a major power who is at the Verge of the Daomerge. As for its most powerful expert, that person is ranked as one of the elite Paladins of the Church of Annihilation.”

Ning’s group knew all this. The Church of Annihilation was in control of this entire alternate universe and was an utterly enormous organization. The ‘Paladins’ of the Church of Annihilation held high positions and were extremely respected.

“Nine Godstars will only be accepting eighteen disciples this time,” the scaled World God said hurriedly. “They’ll stop once the final slot is taken! I hear that the top three will be given Archaeus medallions and be sent to the legendary Archaeus region.”

“Archaeus medallions?” Ning and the others were all intrigued.

Archaeus medallions were extremely valuable. The almighty Hegemon had sent his will through the transversal conduit and used many schemes but had only been able to accumulate a few of those medallions over the course of countless years.

“That’s why everyone in the surrounding territories has gone mad. Not only will they have a chance of becoming a disciple, they’ll even have a chance of gaining a legendary Archaeus medallion. All of the transcendent World-level cultivators in the nearby territories have all hastened over here. There’s nowhere for weaker World Gods like us to run.” The bearded man shook his head. “That’s why you’ll encounter ambushes throughout these territories. Most likely, it’ll only come to an end after Nine Godstars accepts its eighteenth and final disciple.”

Finally, Ning’s group had an answer as to why there was such a high concentration of powerful cultivators. It was because the weaker ones had all been killed!

The ones still alive were fairly strong, and some had actually hastened to this place from other territories.

“If they knew that all five of us each hold an Archaeus medallion… I can’t even imagine how many World Gods would come to surround and attack us. There might even be Daolords coming for us.” Skyfire Brightshore sent an amused mental message to the others.

“Haha, we definitely can’t let them find out.”

Now that they knew the reason behind this… they still felt some pressure, but they also felt much more relaxed.

“It seems as though we will often be attacked over the next century or so,” Prince Greatjoy sent. “Everyone, let’s not be too reckless. The mighty Nine Godstars sect is behind this matter. If we attract the attention of their experts, we will be doomed.”

“Right.” Ning and the others all nodded.

Book 27, Twelve Palaces, Chapter 29 – Adventures

Ji Ning and the others were very careful. However, the Nine Godstars sect had sent out dozens of Daolords of the First Step to keep watch over the place, with the goal of preventing some truly dazzlingly talented World-level cultivators from being surrounded, trapped, and killed. These Daolords had all broken through via usage of Pseudo Samsara Pills.

These Daolords of the First Step were scattered across the local territories, keeping a secret look out for particularly dazzling and talented World-level cultivators. If they found one, they would be permitted to return to the sect in advance.

When roaming, they would actively emanate their Samsara Daolord auras, making it so that the World-level cultivators would not dare to act against them. There was a significant difference in power between them and Samsara Daolords, after all! Ji Ning, for example, would probably be merely a match for Daolords of the First Step if he was relying solely on his sword-arts. It was thanks to the azureflower mist energy strengthening his body and making it comparable to a Daolord’s that he was able to rise above them in power.

Firesurge, Greatjoy, and the others had their own divine abilities and secret arts as well.

Generally speaking, it was very difficult to rely on mere divine abilities to defeat those at a completely different level. The [Fogstone Apocalypse] was a very good example of a divine ability that didn’t qualify! Only some truly, devastatingly powerful divine abilities would do the trick, such as the [Five Seals Sword Dao] of Emperor Mirrorsnow. Alas, there was no way for Ning to use it.

……

Mighty divine abilities, secret arts, powerful innate gifts like Skyfire’s, supportive techniques like Ning’s azureflower mist energy… this was what was needed, along with ridiculously profound insights into the Dao, for a World-level cultivator to be able to slay a Daolord of the First Step! And of course, not even the likes of Bertulu would be able to slay a Daolord of the Second Step.

Thus, it was generally quite safe for Daolords of the First Step to be used to patrol most territories.

But of course, the Nine Godstars sect naturally would keep this type of mission a secret. Those World-level cultivators all believed that the only way to succeed was by killing a thousand of their peers, which was why they remained as berserk as ever.

“Damn.”

Sixteen years after they entered the sphere of influence of the Nine Godstars sect.

Ning and the others were in an empty part of space. They exchanged glances with each other, their faces grim.

“Greatjoy, you were a bit rash this time.” Heartlord Solewind had a rather ugly look on his face as he stared at the magic treasures and suits of armor floating in front of them.

“We had no other options! When we refused to follow that Daolord of the First Step, he tried to abduct us by force. You know that we cannot reveal our true identities.” Prince Greatjoy had an ugly look on his face as well as he spoke mentally to the other four. “We lied to him and told him that we are members of other sects, but he completely ignored us. We had no choice but to kill him!”

“We killed a Daolord of the Nine Godstars sect. Even though he was merely a Daolord of the First Step… I’m sure that the Nine Godstars sect has already found out and is sending people to investigate.” Firesurge was worried as well.

Ning and Skyfire both had solemn looks on their faces as well.

What were they to do?

The actual killing had been quite enjoyable. That Daolord of the First Step had been courting death, acting and speaking in such a dominating manner towards them. Any of the five were capable of slaughtering that Daolord! But in the end, it had been Prince Greatjoy who punched out with a fist and completely crushed him to death!

“We had no other options, but don’t worry,” Prince Greatjoy sent. “Although the Nine Godstars sect would immediately be notified of his death, it’ll take them some time for their investigators to be sent out and to arrive at this place.”

“And… they can forget about discovering anything.” Prince Greatjoy’s eyes were as cold as ice. “Give me one hour. I will completely scramble spacetime here and make it impossible for them to invert the flow of time, unless they bring someone who is ten times more skilled than myself in the Dao of Spacetime.”

“Alright.” Ning and the others felt stunned. Right. Greatjoy had reached a tremendously high level of skill in the Dao of Spacetime. If he was to scramble spacetime in the surrounding area, it would be difficult for even the Nine Godstars sect to find out what had happened here. At the very least, it would buy them some time.

Ugh. They had been doing their best to be low-key, but it was impossible for them to completely avoid showing at least part of their true power when they had to deal with so many ambushes. In addition, they had no idea that there were Daolords patrolling about in secret. In the end, one of them actually chased the five of them down. The five didn’t dare to actually go visit the Nine Godstars sect, as once their identities were revealed they would quite possibly face annihilation.

……

Ning’s group destroyed all the evidence at the scene and scrambled spacetime, then transformed into different appearances. They even summoned quite a few World-level retainers and servants from their estate-worlds, then continued to venture forth in a nine-cultivator squad.

Things happened just as they had predicted.

Roughly two years later, a Daolord of the Third Step from the Nine Godstars sect arrived in the place where they had slain the first Daolord. Given how powerful the Nine Godstars sect was, for them to calculate where their Daolord had died was an easy task! But of course, to actually divine the identity of the killer was virtually impossible. When World God Northrest had died, there had been no way for Vastheaven Palace to divine who had done it. They had to have more variables to work with in order to lower the difficulty of the Numerancy divination.

“Eh?”

“Spacetime has been scrambled here.” When the Daolord of the Third Step sought to reverse the flow of time and see what had happened, all he saw was a field of completely distorted and chaotic spacetime. There was no way to investigate at all.

“Did that servant of mine offend a major power who was skilled in the Dao of Spacetime?” The Daolord murmured to himself, “Perhaps my servant offended him, resulting in my servant being killed… and yet, that major power did not wish to become an enemy of our Nine Godstars sect… and so he scrambled spacetime here?”

Daolords who walked the Dao of Spacetime were notoriously tough to deal with. When this Daolord of the Third Step realized that spacetime had been completely scrambled here, he couldn’t help but feel sour about this matter.

……

In the end, the Nine Godstars sect was still the most dominating force in the hundreds of nearby territories. How could they possibly just let this matter come to an end?

However, if they wanted to get to the bottom of this matter they would have to invite a true master of the Dao of Spacetime to head out from their headquarters and investigate in person. The entire sect, however, only had two Daolords who were skilled in the Dao of Spacetime. One was a Daolord of the Second Step, while the other was a venerable figure who had reached the Verge of the Daomerge and was the third most respected figure of the entire sect.

The Daolord of the Second Step wasn’t willing to take the risk, whereas there was no one capable of giving orders to the Verge-level Daolord. Thus, more than a hundred years passed before the latter finally decided to head out and take a look.

“What’s this?!” When this mighty Daolord unscrambled spacetime, he was immediately shocked and stunned by what he discovered.

“Five World-level cultivators? One of them attacked and slew a Daolord of the First Step with a single blow?” This Daolord was stunned. “Where the hell did these freaks come from? Although I wasn’t able to see how strong the other four were, this one is incredibly strong. And… judging from how he scrambled spacetime, he has to be an extremely skilled master of the Dao of Spacetime.”

“Where the hell did they come from?”

Not even the entire Nine Godstars sect had a single disciple who was this freakishly talented!

There was no way for him to know, of course, that this man was an honorary disciple of an almighty Hegemon in a different universe and one of the most elite members of the Brightshore Kingdom. The Nine Godstars sect was nothing compared to the Brightshore Kingdom! It must be understood that the Brightshore Kingdom had entire squads of freakishly strong Daolords who were comparable to Eternal Emperors.

“We have to find and recruit this person into our Nine Godstars sect. I’ll chase him down!”

He gave the order, and the entire Nine Godstars sect sprang into action. He truly would have loved to take on such a freakishly talented disciple. He himself walked the Dao of Spacetime, and it was incredibly rare for him to encounter someone of such talent who walked his Dao. Alas, by this point in time Ning’s group of five had long ago escaped from the Nine Godstars sect’s sphere of influence.

……

The Nine Godstars sect was extremely influential in their local cluster of several hundred territories, but beyond that their influence and power dropped rapidly.

Aside from their slaying of that Daolord of the First Step, Ning’s group encountered another extremely dangerous situation during their journey. Ning’s group accidentally ran into a nation of Aberrants that was wandering the primordial chaos. That nation of Aberrants was actually established atop the shell of an utterly enormous turtle, and the turtle-like creature was clearly in a state of hibernation, slumbering as it drifted through the void of space.

This part of the journey should’ve been a safe one. Who would’ve thought that they’d run into such an unusual nation? Ning’s group ran into this nation by accident, and they were immediately attacked by one of those Aberrants which sought to eat them alive. Ning’s group was forced to fight back, which only attracted the attention of even more of those Aberrants.

Fortunately, that giant slumbering turtle did not wake up. Ning and the others all had the feeling that the turtle’s aura was utterly terrifying. Once it woke up, it would be incredibly easy for it to kill all five of them. No matter what they would’ve tried, they still probably wouldn’t have been able to survive the slumbering turtle’s attack.

In the end, Ning and the others joined forces and managed to just barely escape. From start to finish, they didn’t dare to actually kill so much as a single one of those Aberrants, for fear of stirring the hornet’s nest and waking that giant turtle.

……

Aside from the Nine Godstars sect and the titanic turtle, the other problems they encountered were largely irrelevant.

“The Archaeus region. We’ve finally arrived.”

Ning’s group of five stood in the air, staring off into the distance. In front of them was a region filled with countless roiling clouds that flickered with violet light. This gigantic region covered by clouds was the Archaeus region! But of course, this was nothing more than the tip of the iceberg, a miniscule part of the massive, actual region. None of them even knew exactly how far off the Archaeus region stretched.

After journeying for 1605 years, Ning’s group had finally reached the Archaeus region.