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Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 3 – Transfer Array

Upon seeing the five, Old Demon Qixiu could sense that his very soul was beginning to shudder. He swallowed, hard, then bowed and said respectfully, “Greetings, five seniors.”

Good heavens! He stood at the very peak of power in this world. By all rights, he should’ve been invincible, and yet… why was it that these five were unfathomably more powerful than him?

“I have a few questions for you,” Heartlord Solewind said with a smile.

“Please ask, senior.” The Old Demon was quite cautious, but even he himself didn’t realize that deep within his heart, a seed of trust was beginning to blossom towards this bald, red-robed youth.

“What is the name of this continent?” Solewind asked.

“This continent is quite vast, stretching hundreds of billions of kilometers,” the Old Demon said. “Because there are so many mortals living here, we refer to this continent as the Mortal Realm.”

Solewind nodded slowly. “Has anyone ever left this ‘Mortal Realm’ and ventured off into other continents?”

“There’s only one way to do that. You’d have to activate the ancient transfer array and head to the the Sacred Immortal Realm,” the Old Demon said.

“Sacred Immortal Realm?” Solewind asked. Upon hearing this, Ji Ning, Greatjoy, Firesurge, and Skyfire all revealed smiles. They were going to be able to leave this place.

This entire continent was surrounded by spatial tempests, making it impossible for them to leave. Only by using a spatial transfer array to go to another continent would they be able to escape.

“This entire continent holds just a single transfer array within it,” the Old Demon said. “Supposedly, an incredibly long period of time ago there was a major power from the Sacred Immortal Realm who descended upon this continent who personally set up the array. There’s no way for the cultivators of our Mortal Realm to come up with such a complicated array.”

Ning and the others all laughed. Most likely, this spacetime transfer array leading to the Sacred Immortal Realm was something which had been personally established by an extremely powerful Daolord.

“Here in our Mortal Realm, the elemental energy of Heaven and Earth is very sparse. It is incredible if you can even reach the Nascent Soul stage. To reach the Apotheosis stage is even more difficult.” The Old Demon continued, “Thus, countless Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators shall gather from throughout the continent and travel through the array towards the Sacred Immortal Realm. According to the Apotheosis cultivators who came back from that place, the elemental energy there is far denser than it is here in our Mortal Realm, making it easier to cultivate and easier to overcome the tribulation.”

‘Nascent Soul’, ‘Apotheosis’… these were different terms for Ki Refiners. In the Three Realms, the mortal ranks were Zifu Disciple, Wanxiang Adept, Primal Daoists, and Void-level cultivator. This represented what the most perfect Ki Refining systems in the Three Realms could accomplish.

However, in the Endless Territories and in this alternate universe there were many different mortal races that used different Ki Refining techniques which had different terms and titles.

“Where is the transfer array?” Solewind asked.

“Here is a map.” The Old Demon immediately took out his treasured map.

Solewind glanced at it while simultaneously flipping through the Old Demon’s memories, wiping away all traces of this encounter.

“Time to leave,” Solewind said. The five immediately vanished.

“What just happened?” Old Demon Qi Xiu stared at his surroundings. “Why do I have the feeling that something is off…” The Old Demon frowned but wasn’t able to comprehend what had just happened.

……

Afterwards, Ning’s group chatted with two other Apotheosis cultivators who were considered extremely powerful in this continent. Everything they said was roughly the same as what the Old Demon had said.

The five of them road atop a cloud, staring down at the lands below.

“It is true that the elemental energy in this continent is quite sparse.” Ning nodded. “It is true that mortal cultivators would find it very hard to train here.”

If there was no elemental energy at all, there would be no way to cultivate whatsoever. The elemental energy in this continent was only enough for someone to just barely reach the Primal Daoist stage. If you wished to reach the Void level and become an Earth Immortal, it would be extremely difficult. The ‘Old Demon’ which Ning’s group had questioned would’ve been considered a Void-level Earth Immortal in the Three Realms.

“It is because of the formation which covers this entire place,” Solewind said. “This formation covers everything, drawing power from the entire continent. That’s why the elemental energy in this continent is so sparse! Still, the reason this continent is protected from the spatial tempests is because of this formation.”

“The Sacred Immortal Realm should be a continent where the density of elemental energy is normal,” Firesurge said. “However… as a result, the living creatures here refer to it as the ‘Sacred Immortal Realm’.”

“When there’s a difference in density of elemental energy, it’s only normal that there one realm is viewed as higher and one realm is viewed as lower.”

Ning and the others chatted as they advanced through the clouds and moved towards the ancient transfer array. They stared at it from afar.

The ancient transfer array took up an extremely wide amount of space. The entire formation itself covered hundreds of millions of kilometers, and its core components were extremely complicated and exquisite.

“It really is a spacetime transfer array.” Ning and the others were able to recognize it at one glance.

“Ahah. Quite lively here.” Prince Greatjoy glanced downwards, then let out a surprised sigh.

“These so-called ‘Nascent Soul’ cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators really are frighteningly numerous.” Solewind let out a laugh. This was the only spacetime transfer array within the entire continent. As a result, this place naturally attracted countless Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators from throughout the continent, making it very bustling. In fact, an enormous city had been erected here.

This city was filled to the brim with Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators. There had to be hundreds of millions of them.

Ning couldn’t help feel secretly amazed. This continent was hundreds of billions of kilometers in size, making it much vaster than the entirety of the Three Realms. Although in quality of elemental energy it was inferior to the Three Realms, its vastness resulted in the existence of hundreds of millions of Nascent Soul cultivators and Apotheosis cultivators. Any one of them would be considered a local hegemon when scattered in any of the other places in this continent.

“Let’s enter the city.”

“Let’s go take a look.”

Ning and the others walked through the city, moving directly towards the transfer array.

“I’ve been trapped at the Nascent Soul level for far too long. The density of elemental energy in Heaven and Earth is simply too low. I failed both of my attempts at reaching Apotheosis. Once I enter the Sacred Immortal Realm, I’ll be able to reach Apotheosis. I might even have a chance at overcoming my tribulation and reaching ascension!” The various cultivators in the city were chatting amongst themselves.

“I’ve become an early-stage Apotheosis cultivator, but I’m not able to improve any further. There just isn’t enough elemental energy here. Perhaps I’ll be able to become a Celestial Immortal once I go to the Sacred Immortal Realm.”

“This array only activates once every hundred years. I have to wait sixty-one more years. This really does make me impatient.”

“We’ve waited thousands of years, my brother. What’s another few decades?”

The eyes of the countless cultivators in the city were filled with eagerness. They had already reached the end of the path they could traverse here within the ‘Mortal Realm’. Only in the Sacred Immortal Realm would they have a chance to continue their path.

But none of them realized that those five seemingly-ordinary men who just walked past them were major powers who were truly capable of virtually anything! Even those ‘Celestial Immortals’ they dreamed of becoming would be wiped out in the billions by these five cultivators.

“Once every century?” Skyfire Brightshore frowned. “This spacetime transfer array only activates once every century?”

“Each activation uses up some energy. When this spacetime transfer array was created by that ancient power, only a few chaos jewels were left behind to guide it in gathering the surrounding natural energy into itself. It takes a century for it to accumulate enough energy to be activated,” Heartlord Solewind said. “My guess is that the Sacred Immortal Realm is located extremely close to this continent, which is why the activation can be as frequent as once every century. If it was farther away, it would probably be once every thousand years.”

Ning and the others nodded. This was different from the spacetime transfer arrays of the Endless Territories; if you were willing to pay enough chaos nectar, it could be activated for you whenever you wished! This array here in the alternate universe had been created by a major power, apparently out of an act of selflessness. Of course, it was also possible that this was done by the Church of Annihilation.

“Let’s go. We’ll first find a place to wait it out. Sixty-one years from now, we’ll come back,” Solewind said.

“We have no other choices.” Skyfire felt quite resigned.

It was possible for them to pour energy into the formation and activate it by force, but… once they did so and the transfer array became active, any reclusive Daolord in either this continent or the Sacred Immortal Realm would immediately realize that something was wrong! For the array to suddenly fire off before the hundred year mark had to mean that something had happened. Thus, they had no choice but to wait patiently.

In this continent, there was a place known as ‘Wintermount’.

Ning’s group of five secluded themselves here within the mountains forests, occasionally sipping wine, fishing, and sparring. Life was quite relaxing as they waited for the spacetime transfer array to activate.

Whoosh.

A fishing pole flicked upwards, followed by a fat fish being yanked out of the surface of the water. It fell down onto the bank, still flopping furiously.

“Haha, we’ll have fish soup tonight.” Ning put the fishing pole on his back as he walked through the forests. For the past thirty-plus years, he had lived the life of an ordinary mortal.

Rumble. Rumble. Rumble. A series of sounds rang out from afar. Curious, Ning walked in that direction.

A young man dressed in simple clothes whose temples were graying was seated there, using a wooden drill to drill into a piece of wood. As the wooden drill ground away, those grinding, rumbling sounds could be heard.

“I’ve never met you before.” Ning laughed. “You new?”

“I just moved here.” The gray-templed youth raised his head to smile towards Ning.

“At such a young age, you’ve chosen to live by yourself in a desolate mountain wilderness, rather than in a city or a mountain village. How odd.” Ning hefted his fishing pole.

“Sometimes, being by yourself is better,” the young man said.

Ning couldn’t help but laugh. How intriguing.

He could tell that this youth was less than thirty years of age, but his eyes were as calm and as deep as the sea. He clearly had an extraordinary heart that was far more formidable than that of many Nascent Soul cultivators or even Apotheosis cultivators. This gave Ning a completely different way of viewing him.

“My name is Darknorth. I live just a few kilometers away from here. What’s your name?” Ning smiled.

“My name is Green Bamboo,” the youth said, continuing to use his wooden drill.

Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 4 – Brightmoon Sword-Art, Blood Drop Sword-Intent

The young man continued to spin his wooden drill across that piece of wood, leaving behind one hole after another as bits of wooden detritus went flying abaout.

Ji Ning held his fish bucket in one hand and his fishing pole in the other. His gaze was focused on that spinning wooden drill, and he stared at it as though time itself had stood still for him.

“Eh?” The young man glanced at Ning in puzzlement. Was this simple tool of his really that interesting? Still, he didn’t say anything.

“The faster you rush, the slower you go?” As Ning stared at that wooden drill, a look of reflection was in his gaze. “Perhaps I should try something else.”

Sword-light began to shimmer within Ning’s eyes.

Ever since he had left the Brightshore Kingdom four thousand years ago and entered this alternate universe, he had experienced countless dangers. Skyfire Brightshore’s level of power had been increasing quite rapidly and noticeably, while Ning and the others were improving much more slowly! Ever since Ning had gained insight into his Yin-Yang Sword Domain, he had been meditating on his other four stances. Alas, he hadn’t been able to make a fundamental breakthrough.

Rumble. Rumble. The wooden drill continued to bore holes into that piece of wood.

“He’s nothing more than an ordinary mortal. If he wanted to use a knife to cut a hole in that piece of wood, he wouldn’t be able to do it! But by using the wooden drill in such a fashion, he’s able to easily drill straight through it….” Thousands on thousands of scenes suddenly flashed through Ning’s mind.

In his past life on Earth, there were some ordinary mortals who used electric power drills to drill holes in walls. To ordinary mortals, concrete was incredible hard and tough… and yet, a power drill was able to easily pierce through it.

Ning thought back to the time he had spent wandering the Three Realms, where he had seen ordinary mortals battling in close combat, using their fists to punch out like Flood Dragons suddenly bursting forth from the waves… or perhaps cultivators who used the spear…

“I always thought… that the Blood Drop stance should be the fastest stance I have. If you want to be fast, you should take the shortest route and move as quickly as you can.” Sword-arts were flickering through Ning’s eyes. “Perhaps I was wrong.”

Ning continuously mentally mapped out one sword-art after another.

……

When one reached Ning’s level of sword-arts, what one truly needed was inspiration. A single inspiration could allow his many years of accumulated insights to suddenly burst forth and be transformed! During his past life on Earth, there had been a scientist who saw an apple fall to the ground. As a result, he was suddenly inspired and came up with the law of universal gravitation. And yet, ordinary people might see the same thing happen a billion times without coming up with this idea. The reason why this scientist could was because he had a deep background and numerous past insights. All he needed was that spark of inspiration.

Ning needed a spark as well.

The reason he had been able to come up with his Yin-Yang Sword Domain was similarly because he had a moment of epiphany, allowing him to understand where his future direction lay.

Within the estate-world which Ning carried on him at all times.

Su Youji, World God Pillsaint, Elder God Wilddog, and the others were all present here, as were the World God servants who had been captured in the Bluegrace Sect.

“Master?” Su Youji had been meditating by the seashore, but she suddenly saw the white-robed Ji Ning appear off in the distance. This was a divine power incarnation which Ning had created.

“Strike.” Ning stabbed outwards with his sword. Boom! Sword-light flashed and a few cracks could be seen.

“Again!” Ning stabbed out once more. This time, his sword-light actually became a spinning, draconic votex. Roaaaar! The stabbing sound caused the space around him to tremble.

Slash!

Bang!

Boom!

Ning struck out repeatedly with his sword, using actual practice to verify the many ideas he had come up with.

In truth, there were many different paths to train in the sword, and every single path could theoretically lead to incredibly profound heights! In the past, although Ning had been able to see sword-arts which were similar to the ones he theorized about, he had never paid much attention to them. Those were sword-arts which belonged to others! Now, however, he had accumulated enough experience that he was able to naturally advance to this new level.

Only one’s own sword-arts would allow one to have deeper levels of insights.

For one who trained in the sword, only those sword-arts you yourself created would allow you to reach the greatest heights of all.

“Why are Master’s sword-art changing repeatedly? But these sword-arts are all so powerful.” Su Youji watched in a spellbound fashion. She was truly stunned.

“Whoah.”

“What terrifying sword-arts.”

Everyone on this island, including Elder God Wilddog and World God Pillsaint, were all drawn to and intrigued by the sight of Ning training with the sword. They all came over to watch, and all of them were stunned by what they saw. These were all techniques which Ning had mentally visualized and theorized. Although he felt they were ‘failures’, every single one of these sword-arts was enough to allow a cultivator to become a truly, freakishly powerful Daolord. Most likely, if you used one of those sword-arts to become a Daolord you would instantly be a match for peak Daolords of the Second Step.

However… this wasn’t what Ning wanted!

……

Ning completely ignored him, absorbed in his own sword-arts.

One sword stabbed out after another. Slowly, his sword-arts became to transform, becoming very silent. Only in the final instant would they roar forth with an explosion.

BOOM!

When the sword-light stabbed out, there was no sound. Only when it came to a halt did it release that odd explosion.

BOOM!

BOOM!

Those strange explosions were growing louder and louder. They started to sound like thunder, and anyone within tens of thousands of kilometers would probably be able to hear them.

Ning struck out once again. This stab was as silent as the others, but in that final instant, there was just an extremely odd and extremely soft sound. The sound was incredibly soft and subdued, but it filled the hearts of everyone present with terror.

Boom. Such a tiny sound. When Ning’s sword stabbed forwards, a pitch-black hole suddenly appeared in the space in front of him.

Swish.

Ning stepped forwards, walking into that pitch-black hole.

Within that hole, there was a gleaming, rainbow-like tunnel. Ning could sense that this tunnel was leading him to many other places.

“A spatial passageway?” Ning advanced forwards through the spatial passageway.

“Come out.” Ning stabbed out with his sword, and another hole suddenly appeared in the rainbow light next to him. Ning stepped into this new hole.

When Ning emerged, he realized that he was now in a desert.

“It seems as though I went around the estate-world quite a few times in the blink of an eye,” Ning chuckled. “I didn’t expect that I would be able to use the Dao of the Sword to break through the bonds of space and enter a different spatial continuum.”

Space was divided up into many different continuums. Prince Greatjoy had reached an extremely high level of skill in the Dao of Spacetime, which was why he could bring Ning and the others along with him when teleporting through spacetime. This sort of escaping ability was incredibly formidable! Ning himself was at most able to engage in spatial teleportation, which was nothing more than teleporting to a different place within the same spatial continuum. His sword, however, was able to shatter through the spatial laws of a small area around it, allowing one to pass through into a different spatial continuum.

In other words, through his Dao of the Sword Ning was now able to damage the Dao of Space and force his way into a different spatial continuum.

“According to the legends… any Dao, when trained to the ultimate apex, allows for mastery over all things,” Ning murmured softly. “At this point in time, my Dao of the Sword has reached a level where I can enter a different spatial continuum.”

“This stance… has finally been completed.” Ning smiled.

This sword-stance allowed him to forcibly destroy the Dao of Space in a localized region. Being able to enter a different continuum? That was nothing more than a side effect. In the end, the power of this stance was what truly mattered!

“I really have to thank that ‘Green Bamboo’ kid.” Ning revealed a smile. “I just changed my way of thinking slightly and was able to finally finish my path.”

Swish! Ning stood there in the desert, sending out yet another stabbing strike. In the instant in which his stab came to a halt, the sword-light around Ning’s sword twisted just slightly. This twisting represented the true, marvelous nature of the new Blood Drop stance! The reason why a wooden drill was able to drill through a wooden board was because it had to pass through the resistance of the wood.

Actually, it had to pass through the resistance of the air itself. Even in the emptiness of the space, there were forms of energy that would pose a degree of resistance, and even in true emptiness of the void, there would be the ripples of energy that came from the various prime essences of the universe, such as the prime essence of the sword, the prime essence of metal, the prime essence of wood, or the prime essence of space.

Every single place was filled with traces of the Dao. All of them served as barriers or forms of resistance that laid countless invisible strands around you. So long as any trace of the Dao existed in a place, Ning’s sword would have to go through those layers of resistance. There was no way it could ever reach an infinitely fast speed! Thus, Ning’s current stance was a stance of destruction, of piercing through anything which sought to bar his path!

His sword was like that wooden drill which forcibly drilled through that wooden board.

In fact, Ning’s stance even had the effect of destroying the Dao itself! It was capable of destroying the Dao of Space, allowing him to enter a separate spatial continuum.

“When my sword strikes out, nothing can bar its path. After I am able to strengthen it so that nothing can stop it, not the Five Elements, Yin and Yang, or even spacetime… then that is when this stance of mine should be comparable to the strongest stance which Emperor Mirrorsnow left behind.” Ning still remembered the image of his master, Emperor Mirrorsnow, displaying the most powerful stance of the [Heartseal] sword-art. That, too, was a strike that completely surpassed the limits of space and time.

Emperor Mirrorsnow had relied on that stance to gain eternity!

“The faster you rush, the slower you go. In the past, all I wanted to do was strike faster and faster… but that isn’t real speed.” Many thoughts flickered through Ning’s mind. “Many cultivators and many mortals try to seize every moment of every day, but they still end up failing.”

“Sometimes, if you slow down and catch your breath, then explode with full power, you might be more successful. The Dao can be found in life itself. It can be found in all things.” Ning smiled.

In comprehending the Dao, one had to fully understand life in all its myriad forms, to understand the essence of all things. If you did so, then when the moment came you would be able to see through to the true nature of things.

This sword-stance Ning had created destroyed all other Daos that barred its path. It seemed slow, but in reality it was now faster than ever before.

“My Blood Drop stance is the fastest of all swords, a sword of destruction, a sword that annihilates all other Daos. It is a stance that seeks to raise the sword to the ultimate level.” Ning nodded slowly. “Now, of the five stances of [Brightmoon], my Yin-Yang sword-intent and my Blood Drop sword-intent have taken form.”