DEEGSacImm

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.

Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 8 – The Hope of the Cultivators

The enormous prison was divided into many different regions. Within a jail cell located in one particular corner of the prison, Ji Ning’s group of five was staring at that skinny, elderly prisoner.

“I was captured and brought to this place six hundred years ago, after I travelled through the spacetime transfer array and arrived at the Sacred Immortal Realm.” The skinny old man’s eyes were filled with a reminiscent look as he said softly, “Ever since then, I’ve been imprisoned here. I’ve suffered countless torments. Some cultivators chose to self-detonate because they were unable to endure the misery. Ugh… I really wish I could go back to the Mortal Realm.”

Ning’s group all frowned. Solewind asked, “Do you know nothing about the rest of this Sacred Immortal Realm?”

The skinny old man shook his head. “I know very little. We’ve been trapped here this entire time.”

“Do you know about the ‘master’ which these devils who torture you serve?” Solewind asked.

The skinny man trembled as a look of terror appeared in his eyes. “He… he’s the master of the devils. He’s terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. After I was imprisoned here, I saw him visit the prison on two separate occasions. He used a terrifying spell to personally torture us. Countless cultivators were simultaneously tortured at the same time. He was simply too powerful, too terrifying.”

“Twice? He visited the prison twice in the past six hundred years?” Solewind’s face tightened slightly.

“He comes quite frequently,” Prince Greatjoy growled.

“We have to be careful. Who knows when this Daolord will appear again?” Ning said solemnly. He didn’t dare to spread out his own godsense, as once he did that it would be very easy for their foe to detect them.

Prince Greatjoy suddenly frowned. “I ask you this. The ancient transfer array activates once every century, which means that an utter flood of cultivators has been sent over here over the course of many years. If the torment never comes to an end… why are so many of you still alive? If you know that life will be worse than death, and that you will be subject to perpetual agony with no way of fighting back, why are you still enduring?”

Ning and the others were intrigued. Right. When faced with overwhelming power, overwhelming despair, and the prospect of never-ending torture, why wouldn’t they choose to die? Logically speaking, most would rather commit suicide than to continue like this.

“Because we are going to get revenge,” the skinny old man growled, his eyes filled with fury and hate.

“You? How?” Prince Greatjoy was puzzled.

“If we can ascend, we can leave this place.” The skinny old man ground his teeth. “After ascending, I will become a Celestial Immortal and will be able to continue to cultivate. In the future, after I grow stronger, I’ll definitely come back and get my revenge.”

Heartlord Solewind asked, “Ascend? If you ascend, you’ll be able to escape the Sacred Immortal Realm?”

Ning and the others were all puzzled. Logically speaking, ‘ascension’ should represent ascending into an estate-world of a Daolord.

“Those who ascend can indeed escape,” the skinny old man said immediately. “Long, long ago, before our Mortal Realm even had that ancient transfer array, it was somewhat easier for cultivators to train to the late Apotheosis stage. In the Mortal Realm, there were some who were occasionally able to reach that stage, and once they did the Celestial Tribulation would soon descend upon them. After the tribulation, they would ascend to a land of Immortals.

“Later, cultivation in the Mortal Realm became more difficult. However, the ancient transfer array then appeared, and some of our ancient predecessors chose to travel through it and go to the Sacred Immortal Realm. Some of them even came back and then told their descendants and juniors that the Sacred Immortal Realm was a holy place for cultivation with incredibly dense elemental energy. As a result, successive generations of cultivators have come to this place.

“Only after entering did we realize that it was all just a trick.” The skinny old man gritted his teeth.

Ning and the other four were all extraordinary figures. They immediately understood what had happened.

Long ago, before the ‘Mortal Realm’ was discovered by that Daolord, cultivation was a much simpler path. When the enormous protective formation sprang up to protect the continent from the spatial storms around it, it naturally caused the elemental energy in the continent to grow sparse, making cultivation much more difficult. The ancient transfer array then appeared, followed by some cultivators who were soul-compelled to return from this ‘Sacred Immortal Realm’ and widely spread rumors of how wonderful it was.

It was only natural that more and more cultivators would be drawn to enter it.

“It was all a plot. In truth, in the Mortal Realm it is still possible for outstandingly talented geniuses to reach the late-stage Apotheosis level, then successfully overcome their tribulations and ascend.” The skinny elder continued, “But it truly is very, very difficult. The Mortal Realm is unfathomably vast, but only a handful of people each century can achieve their goals and ascend. That is why we all entered this Sacred Immortal Realm.”

The skinny elder shook his hea.d “Although we are imprisoned here, it is still true that elemental energy in this world is far denser than it was in ours. It isn’t too hard to reach the late-stage of the Apotheosis level. However, once those devils notice us reaching that stage, they’ll immediately strike and kill us! Thus, we have to accumulate as much power as possible. We need to build up so much power that as soon as we reach the late-stage of the Apotheosis level, the Celestial Tribulation will immediately descend. By then, those devils won’t be able to do anything to us.”

Ning and the others were quite curious.

“So as long as you cause a Celestial Tribulation, you’ll be out of danger?”

“Once the Celestial Tribulation comes, they would never dare to interfere! All they would do is stand off to one side and watch. Even if that devil lord came himself, he would just watch from afar. Anyone who succeeds in the tribulation would immediately ascend to the legendary Immortal Lands,” the skinny elder said.

……

As Ning and the others questioned him, they continued to discuss this matter amongst themselves.

Generally speaking, in places like the Three Realms the so-called ‘Celestial Tribulation’ might pose a threat to ordinary cultivators, but it definitely wouldn’t be able threaten a World-level cultivator! A World-level cultivator would be capable of annihilating the entire Three Realms; how could a mere tribulation be able to do anything to him? By the same principle, it was impossible for a Celestial Tribulation to threaten a Daolord! Even if a Celestial Tribulation did descend, a Daolord could forcibly intervene and completely destroy the tribulation.

“I have a possible answer,” Firesurge whispered. “Ever since we entered the Archaeus region, we’ve been hearing stories of ‘ascension’ from the continents that we visit. Do you think it’s possible that there’s a Daolord in every single continent? That they will all go so far as to spend time and effort setting up an estate-world to protect them?”

“What are you saying?” Solewind looked at him.

“I imagine you’ve all noticed this by now as well. After we entered the Archaeus region, we’ve been able to sense that its power permeates every inch of this region,” Firesurge said. “The only reason we aren’t crushed by it is because we bear Archaeus medallions.”

Ning and the others nodded. It was true that the power of the Archaeus region was omnipresent here.

“Then… it is entirely possible that the ‘Celestial Tribulation’ sent down upon the countless living creatures of the many continents here were all sent down by the Archaeus region itself,” Firesurge said.

“Right.”

“Right, that has to be it.”

Their eyes all instantly lit up as they came to understand this matter.

The Celestial Tribulation… it only came about as a result of the natural laws of Heaven and Earth.

In a chaosworld such as the Three Realms, the ‘laws’ in question were the laws of the chaoworld itself, and thus it was the chaosworld itself which sent down the Celestial Tribulations.

But here in the Archaeus region, those vast continents did not have any natural laws that belonged to the continents themselves. Logically speaking, there was no way for the continents themselves to send down Celestial Tribulations. Which meant… it had to be the entire Archaeus region which sent down the tribulations!

“Because the tribulations are sent by the Archaeus region itself, not even Daolords would dare to interfere. If they did, they would be punished by the power of the entire Archaeus region,” Firesurge said. The reason why someone like Ning would be able to destroy the Celestial Tribulation of the Three Realms was because he wasn’t afraid of any reprisal from the Three Realms. But a reprisal from the Archaeus region… even Eternal Emperors would fear such a thing.

The Archaeus region was the very core of this entire alternate universe! A strike from it would essentially represent a strike from the entire universe itself! Who would dare to withstand such a blow?

“It makes perfect sense.” Skyfire Brightshore nodded.

“There is a high probability that you are correct. I’d say the chances are at least 80%. But there’s another 20% probability as well… perhaps all this talk of ‘ascension’ is nothing more than a cruel lie meant to give these cultivators hope. Once they lose all hope, they probably won’t be able to keep on living,” Solewind said.

Whoosh. Ning and the other four silently emerged from that small jail cell. They continued to walk through the enormous prison, with no one able to detect them.

“GREETINGS, MASTER!”

Suddenly, every inch of the prison exploded with raucous chants. Every single one of the million-plus golems obediently knelt down, and the sound of their knees hitting the ground echoed throughout the prison.

“He’s coming.”

“The lord of the devils is coming.”

“N-no…”

“He’s come again.”

When the prisoners trapped within those countless jail cells within the prison heard the noise, they instantly became filled with terror. Each time this ‘lord of the devils’ arrived, he would bring them nightmarish torment that was even worse than what the devils were able to dispense. Everyone’s breathing became ragged and chaotic, and even the aura of hatred, resentment, and madness which permeated the place became much stronger than before.

Ning’s face turned pale, as did that of the other four.

“Hmph.” A cold snort rang out, followed by an awe-inspiringly powerful surge of heartforce that swept out and covered the entire prison. At the same time, some faint green mist began to seep towards every single cell.

But suddenly, the green mist came to an immediate halt.

Even that wave of heartforce trembled.

“Who are the five of you?!” A furious and stunned mental query rang out.

Ning’s group of five was standing there in the hallways. They were able to easily ensure the golems were unable to detect them, but there was no way for them to avoid the heartforce scan of a Daolord.

Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 9 – Slaying a Daolord

Ji Ning and the other four felt a bit frantic. All this was happening too fast.

“Senior.” Heartlord Solewind sent mentally, “We came on the command of our master to enter the Archaeus region and test ourselves here. Alas, we accidentally entered the Mortal Realm, then rode the spacetime transfer array in preparing to depart from this place. We never imagined that the Sacred Immortal Realm was a place which we could not exit, and so we began to search for a way which would allow us to leave this place. We have no intentions of being your enemy, senior. I’d like to ask you to permit us to leave the Sacred Immortal Realm.”

“Oh? Five World-level cultivators and five Archaeus medallions… such wealth!” The stooped Daolord who stood at the entrance of the prison sent his voice out echoing with the ears of the five. “Letting you leave isn’t completely out of the question. However, you have to agree to one of my conditions.”

“Pray tell, senior,” Solewind immediately said.

Without actually fighting them, no one would be able to tell how strong Ning’s group was!

In the Archaeus region, there were some Daolords who would slay any World-level cultivators they saw and steal their Archaeus medallions. However, the majority of Daolords were unwilling to lower themselves and rob juniors, nor were they willing to offend the sect standing behind those World-level cultivators. Generally speaking, World-level cultivators within the Archaeus region all had significant backgrounds.

“I need you to swear a lifeblood oath that once you leave this place, you will never let anyone else learn a single thing about what you experienced in the Mortal Realm and the Sacred Immortal Realm. If you accept, I’ll let you leave this place,” the stooped Daolord said.

“A lifeblood oath?” Solewind immediately smiled. “That’s simple.”

“Careful!”

The nearby Prince Greatjoy’s face tightened as light suddenly shot out of his eyes.

Moments later, the faces of Solewind, Ji Ning, Skyfire Brightshore, and Firesurge all changed. They, too, could sense a terrifying strong surge of power descend from the heavens towards the prison. For this surge of power to descend from the heavens was a clear size that it came from the grand formation which protected the entire Sacred Immortal Realm.

“Kill!” Firesurge had an ugly look on his face.

“Kill!” Prince Greatjoy bellowed out the same word.

The five of them attacked simultaneously!

……

The stooped Daolord was at the entrance to the enormous prison, and his eyes were unspeakably cold and grim. The skies above him suddenly lit up as the previously ethereal-looking formation was activated, causing an enormous black serpent to appear out of nowhere and descend from the heavens at tremendous speeds as it shot towards the prison.

Just now, the stooped Daolord had intentionally been wasting some time chatting with them to buy himself enough time to unleash the power of the formation.

“All those who discover the existence of the Sacred Immortal Realm must perish.” A murderous look was in the stooped Daolord’s eyes, and the enormous serpent moved so quickly that it appeared before him in a flash. However… immediately afterwards, the stooped Daolord’s face turned pale. “WHAT?!”

His godsense was showing him what those five World-level cultivators were doing… and they were absolutely terrifying.

Of the five, Ji Ning and Heartlord Solewind were the fastest to attack.

“Heartworld, descend!” Solewind’s red robes fluttered as he glared towards the stooped Daolord coldly, and he showed no mercy at all when he attacked.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

His heartworld projection instantly descended upon this area, causing the entire prison to boom violently. It was as though something incredibly heavy had smashed down upon it, and it was smashed apart as easily as a piece of tofu. This enormous prison was capable of holding countless cultivators prisoner, but for people on Ning’s level it was incredibly fragile. Previously, they had been deep within the prison while the Daolord had been at the entrance, which meant they were separated by many different gates. It was simpler to just destroy the entire damn thing.

“What?!”

‘B-but…”

Countless cultivators gawked in amazement at this scene. The jail cells they had been trapped in were all crushed into tiny pieces, but they themselves were left completely unscathed. This was a testament to how precise and masterful Heartlord Solewind was!

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

The million-plus golems were all knocked flat onto the ground under the crushing pressure of the heartworld projection. They weren’t able to resist in the slightest.

“An Exalted Immortal!”

“A Grand Immortal!”

“The heavens have finally come to our aid!”

Countless cultivators stared at the red-robed Heartlord Solewind, who stood there like a veritable god. Heartlord Solewind seemed to have become the center of this entire world, and he stared at that distant, stooped Daolord as he sent the full weight of his heartworld projection crashing downwards.

“A Heartforce Cultivator?” The stooped figure was stunned.

“BREAK!”

Next to Heartlord Solewind was the white-robed Ji Ning, and his eyes were equally cold. Rumble. A terrifying mixture of electric light and watery light appeared around him. The seven types of Dao lightning and seven types of Dao water transformed into a series of divine swords. The many divine swords moved incredibly fast, quickly sweeping towards the distant stooped Daolord and forming a terrifying domain that was like a vortex of darkness which ground away at his form.

This was the Yin-Yang Sword Domain!

“A sword cultivator? How could he be as terrifying as this?!” The stooped Daolord was now completely flabbergasted, and he hurriedly controlled his black serpent and used it to protect himself.

The black serpent howled furiously as it struggled to ‘survive’. The surrounding Yin-Yang Sword Domain was like a deadly fishing net that had been tightly wrapped around the serpent’s form and furiously tearing away at it.

“Great Annihilation!” Prince Greatjoy had a similarly icy look on his face as he immediately unleashed his most powerful killer attack. His twin palms suddenly glittered with dazzling golden light as they instantly pierced through the skies, striking with invincible and deadly intent towards the stooped Daolord.

BOOM! When the enormous golden palms struck down upon the black serpent, the black serpent tried to endure the power… but with a rumble, it began to shake and then crack apart.

“Ahhhh!” The stooped Daolord let out a furious, terrified scream.

“Kill him!”

“Die.”

Skyfire Brightshore and Waterlord Firesurge simultaneously struck out. The former struck out with a blazing red tail while the latter sent out two enormous entwined water dragons that shot out. The black serpent was already at the brink of collapse due to Ning’s Yin-Yang Sword Intent and Prince Greatjoy’s attack. Now, it completely broke apart… and the power of the Yin-Yang Sword Domain and the other attacks all simultaneously thundered down upon the Daolord’s body. The Daolord did have other treasures he could use to defend himself, but he was completely unable to do so.

Boom!

He was completely, totally annihilated!

……

Utter silence.

The countless cultivators all just stared in a dazed fashion. That invincibly powerful and utterly terrifying ‘lord of devils’, a man so strong that he made their souls quiver when they looked at him… had been instantly killed?

It really had been just an instant.

The five of them had only struck out a single time each! Ning had only made use of his Yin-Yang Sword Domain; he wasn’t even given enough time to launch a second attack before the Daolord had died!

“We… we…” The countless cultivators stared at Ning’s group.

“Bind them.” Heartlord Solewind swept the area with his gaze. His heartworld projection had the appearance of an endless range of blazing mountains. As for the million-plus golems that were being suppressed by it, the death of their master had resulted in them instantly becoming ownerless. Thus, Heartlord Solewind was able to bind them all right away.

“Although these golems are fairly low-level, there’s certainly a great deal of them. Let’s split them up into five portions,” Heartlord Solewind sent.

The other four didn’t really care that much and so just waved their hands to accept it.

“This Daolord was really quite weak. I felt as though he was merely an ordinary Daolord of the First Step.” Prince Greatjoy shook his head. “If it wasn’t for the formation itself being incredibly powerful, brother Darknorth’s sword-intent domain alone probably would’ve wiped him out.”

Ning and the others all nodded. This Daolord had been very weak.

When Ji Ning, Solewind, and Greatjoy had attacked, their attacks had been blocked by the black serpent. In the end, it had been the attacks of Skyfire Brightshore and Firesurge which had caused the black serpent to collapse! As for the Daolord himself? He wasn’t able to resist them in the slightest.

“I wonder… is there perhaps a second Daolord here in the Sacred Immortal Realm?” Prince Greatjoy was worried. “This one was far too weak, while the formation itself was rather strong.”

“It’s quite rare for there to be a Daolord assigned to watch guard over a continent. Do you really think there would be a second one?” Solewind shook his head. “As for the power of the formation… perhaps this Daolord purchased it from somewhere else. Truly powerful Daolords generally wouldn’t deign to do things like torture and torment mortal cultivators. Only the weaker Daolords would generally do such a thing. If there really was another Daolord here, he probably would’ve sent his godsense over to investigate long ago. If he did so, there’s no way it would’ve been able to avoid interacting with my heartworld projection.”

“Mm.” Firesurge nodded in agreement. “These golems all belonged to the Daolord we just defeated. I think there probably was just one.”

“It doesn’t matter if there was one or two,” Ning said. “Either way, we still need to go into the Daolord’s estate in the very center of the continent! The formation remains active, after all, and the core of the formation is probably located within the Daolord’s estate. Only if we go there will we be able to disrupt the formation and leave this place.”

“Let’s go to the Daolord’s estate.” Prince Greatjoy nodded. “If there are no other Daolords, things will be much simpler. If there is another Daolord, then we’ll just have to give him a fight. There’s no other options for us!”