“Oh.” Ning said hurriedly, “I… used up a lot of divine power in the previous battle. I need to take a rest.”
As he spoke, Ning hurriedly walked deeper into the cave. Waving his arm, he chopped out a neat, flat region onto the ground and then lay down. Using his arms as a pillow, he immediately closed his eyes and began to snore.
He seemed calm, but in his heart Ning felt a bit confused.
“Why the hell did I ask senior apprentice-sister if she had a Dao-companion or not?” Ning’s mind was restless. He was a smart person, and an Immortal cultivator who had understood his own heart long ago. He quickly understood the issue. “Can it be that I’m…”
“Forget it… how can Dao-companions be so casually joined?”
“Am I mentally ready?”
“Not yet! I’m not yet ready…”
Ning turned in his sleep, suppressing everything in his heart.
He thought back to the experiences he had in the past half year. He thought back to the first time he had met her, and all the times he had met her up till today. Ning had to admit… from the very beginning, he had felt very friendly towards her, because she was unlike Ninelotus, who had many beliefs that were different from Ning’s. He and Ninelotus were from different worlds. As for Yu Wei… many of her beliefs were the same as his, and her personality was similar as well!
He and Yu Wei were very similar. She was even more intelligent than him! The past half year he had spent with her was very relaxed and comfortable. She had silently, tracelessly slipped deep into his heart with her warmth. Just now in particular, when she had played the flute, the song of the flute had thoroughly penetrated his heart. Ning could even feel the joy, the pain, and the sadness she felt in her heart…
This feeling, as though he had touched her soul, made Ning feel a certain softness towards her. He even wanted to go over and hug her. This was why his subconscious had moved him to ask her about Dao-companions.
“Dao-companions… this sort of promise cannot be casually made.” Ning sighed quietly to himself in his heart.
Yu Wei watched Ning lie there deep in the cave. She rose, then walked to the entrance of the cave, where she sat down. She stared at the vast, seemingly endless mountain forest. The cave was protected by a bewildering formation, and so the outside world couldn’t see inside it.
Moonlight shone down into the cave.
Yu Wei picked up her flute, holding it as she sat there quietly.
“I can feel junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning’s heart.”
“Previously, I held back, wanting to let it all pass.”
“But on the sixth day I was in the Diagram, I was in dire straits… despite how vast the Diagram was, junior apprentice-brother ran into me. Can it be that fate is telling me that I should be together with him?”
“But… can I even have a Dao-companion? Can I dare hope for a Dao-companion?”
Yu Wei stared at the moon hanging high in the skies. She quietly asked…“Heavens above… what should I do?”
Yu Wei understood that she had reached a fork in the path.
If she chose to be with Ning, then the two might have a chance. But if she didn’t want to be with him, then after leaving the Diagram, she would have to separate from him and make a clean break.
One month after another passed. The number of Wanxiang Adepts within the Diagram dropped continuously. Now, virtually all the remaining competitors within the Diagram were monsters capable of exploding forth with power that rivaled ordinary Loose Immortals.
Within the imperial citadel’s plaza.
“Haha, only a thousand remain within the world of the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers, but the Black-White College has taken up three of those slots!” Immortal Fivecraze was utterly delighted. There was no way any of the other powers of Stillwater Commandery, including the Northmont clan of Stillwater, could compare to the Black-White College in this regard. The three experts the Black-White College had sent out this time were simply too dazzling.
“Even the Marquis of Stillwater came over to chat with me for quite a long period of time. Even other marquises came over, as well as leaders of supreme clans and sects.” Immortal Fivecraze then frowned. “But it’s weird… Ji Ning is clearly very powerful as well, but why is it that those who came to chat with me discussed little Sloppy even more?”
He could sense the goodwill these major clans and sects were displaying towards the Black-White College was primarily aimed towards befriending the Sloppy Daoist. It seemed as though Ji Ning and Yu Wei were far from being comparable with the Sloppy daoist.
“Weird, weird. Ji Ning is very formidable as well, and he’s trained for an even shorter period of time.” Immortal Fivecraze was puzzled.
“How bizarre.” Lu Dongbin, who had spent a period of time napping in the main hall of the Skylight Palace, stared at the Diagram. “I took a three month nap… why is that this little girl named Yu Wei still hasn’t become Dao-companions with Ji Ning yet?”
“Dao-companions represent a promise that cannot be so easily uttered!” The Pure Yang True Immortal who was dressed in black robes decorated with a blood-colored taiji diagram shook his head.
“You can’t dawdle when it comes to matters of love!” Lu Dongbin shook his head. “Based on my experiences roaming the Three Realms and countless minor worlds, matters of love must be immediately seized and settled down upon at the critical moments in time! If you hesitate, the more you dawdle, the more difficult it will become to form Dao-companions. I am willing to bet on it! If this Yu Wei and Ji Ning are to become Dao-companions, they’ll become Dao-companions within the Diagram. If they don’t, then after they leave it… without these shared daily life-and-death experiences, the chances will drop even more!”
“Do any of you dare to bet against me?” Lu Dongbin stared at them.
“Lu Dongbin, you are a Sage of Love. You spout so much wisdom about love… why don’t you have a Dao-companion of your own?” the True Immortal with the blood-colored taiji diagram robes spoke out.
“Those in the game are blinded by it. Those who are watching the game have clear eyes.” Lu Dongbin gave a calm response, then stopped talking.
Within a quiet mountain. A bewildering formation had been set down. Ning was seated in the lotus position atop a grassy area.
Streams of fire and water swirled around the surrounding area. Surges of power from the Solar Star and the Lunar Star were being absorbed into Ning’s body. Although they were within the world of the Diagram, he was still able to train in the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens].
A series of rumbling sounds could be heard from within Ning’s body. His bones were clattering together as his muscles and skin were rapidly transforming.
At his current level, Ning’s physical body was already extremely tough; he wasn’t too far off from the likes of the Fiendgod, Xiangliu Fang. A casual breath from him could generate a hurricane that would sweep out for a thousand kilometers.
Slowly… everything calmed down. Ning opened his eyes, revealing a smile.
“Junior apprentice-brother?” Yu Wei, who had been standing guard for him, looked eagerly at Ning.
“Mm. I’ve already broken through.” Ning let out a laugh. “It took me quite a few years, but I’ve finally managed to reach the twelfth level of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens]. And it really is different; the twelfth level of this technique… it’s comparable to ordinary early Primal stage Fiendgod Body Refiners. My divine body and my soul have completely joined… and I can feel that my soul is rapidly strengthening.”
Fiendgod Body Refiners and Ki Refiners… these were two different paths. Upon reaching the Primal level, Fiendgods could directly split off a clone! Upon reaching the Void level, they could pluck out a hair and transform it into a clone!
Now that Ning had trained to the twelfth stage, his body was actually quite similar to the Primal Turtle-Snake in that it was capable of nourishing the soul. In addition, he was able to join his soul to his body! His soul was able to enter every single part of his body. In other words… Ning’s current body was no longer made of mere flesh. His flesh and blood contained his soul within it as well! This was why he was now capable of creating mobile ‘clones’.
“Your soul is rapidly gaining in strength?” Yu Wei hurriedly said, “I heard that the souls of Fiendgods are generally even more powerful than that of ordinary Primal Daoists.”
“It’s true.” Ning nodded. “The soul-nourishment provided by my divine body is even more astonishing than that provided by the Primal Turtle-Snake… based on what I sensed when I created my Primaltwin, my Fiendgod body is strengthening my soul at least five or six times faster than the Primal Turtle-Snake did.”
“No wonder Fiendgod Body Refiners are so powerful. Everyone says that at higher levels, Fiendgod Body Refiners are even more powerful, especially after overcoming the Celestial Tribulation and becoming Empyrean Gods. Empyrean Gods are comparable to Pure Yang True Immortals in power,” Yu Wei sighed.
“Senior apprentice-sister, you know about Empyrean Gods and Pure Yang True Immortals?” Ning was startled.
“Don’t forget that I’m a reincarnated Immortal.” Yu Wei nodded. “Based on what I know… for Immortal cultivators, the stages are Zifu Disciples, Wanxiang Adepts, Primal Daoists, Void-level Earth Immortals… and, for those who pass the Celestial Tribulation, the stages are Celestial Immortals and True Immortals! True Immortals are also known as Pure Yang True Immortals. After them are Golden Immortals of the Great Firmament, also known as Daofathers of the Great Firmament! Alternately, they can just be addressed as Daofather! Daofathers are the absolute most supreme figures of the Three Realms. They are unquestioned hegemons who are even more exalted in status than the Celestial Emperor!”
Ning’s eyes lit up. He didn’t know any of these things. He had only trained for thirty years. Compared to someone who had memories from a past life, he did indeed know very little regarding the Three Realms.
“Golden Immortals of the Great Firmament, also known as Daofathers of the Great Firmament or as Daofathers?” Ning murmured to himself.
“Mastery of a Dao-Path is a prerequisite for becoming a Celestial Immortal. Mastery of a Grand Dao is a prerequisite for becoming a Pure Yang True Immortal. And mastery of a Heavenly Dao is the prerequisite for becoming a Daofather of the Great Firmament!” Yu Wei said.
Ning’s heart shook. Mastery of a Heavenly Dao?
When the Black-White College’s Headmaster Daoist Jadesea had discussed these things with him, he hadn’t explained in such detail. It seemed as though Yu Wei was truly extraordinary in her past life. At least, she knew much more than Daoist Jadesea!
“After Pangu established the heavens and the earth, there were ten Heavenly Daos! This is common knowledge for Celestial Immortals. It was a Celestial Immortal who told me this,” Yu Wei said.
“Ten Heavenly Daos?” Ning immediately asked, “What are the ten?”
“They are the Heavenly Dao of Metal, the Heavenly Dao of Wood, the Heavenly Dao of Water, the Heavenly Dao of Fire, the Heavenly Dao of Earth, the Heavenly Dao of Life, the Heavenly Dao of Destruction, the Heavenly Dao of Yin, the Heavenly Dao of Yang, the Heavenly Dao of Primordial Chaos,” Yu Wei said.
Ning immediately memorized this all.
Metal, wood, water, fire, earth, Yin, Yang, life, destruction, and primordial chaos!
“All things in the world were born from primordial chaos. They are then split into Yin and Yang. The Three Realms… its foundation comes from the Five Elements,” Yu Wei said. “For example, your Dao of Rainwater actually belongs to the Grand Dao of the Waterdrop. As for the Grand Dao of the Waterdrop, it belongs to the Heavenly Dao of Water.”
Dao. Grand Dao. Heavenly Dao.
The Five Elements served as the foundation for the functioning of the Three Realms, and were all Heavenly Daos. This was as he had expected.
“Mastery of a complete Grand Dao is already incredibly difficult,” Yu Wei said. “As for the legendary Heavenly Daos… only those who master them can have the exalted title of ‘Daofather’. After all, the Heavenly Daos are the source of all things. Thus, their masters can be titled Daofathers!”
Ning now understood.
Daoist Threelives had been born with mastery of a Grand Dao. He had later mastered many Grand Daos, but never a Heavenly Dao.
“Daofathers of the Great Firmament are seated above all. They possess inconceivable power, and are the hegemons of the Three Realms,” Yu Wei said. “Pure Yang True Immortals are the experts of the Three Realms! Daofathers won’t casually engage in combat, and so the most glorious, eye-catching figures of the Three Realms are actually the True Immortals. As for Celestial Immortals, they are also free-willed, unconstrained figures with immortal life. They can dominate a region for themselves; after all, Pure Yang True Immortals are fairly rare in the Three Worlds, and so Celestial Immortals have very high statuses as well.”
Ning nodded. Only today, did he understand… some of the higher levels of the Immortal path.
“What about the path of Fiendgods?” Ning immediately asked.
“After Fiendgods pass the Heavenly Tribulation, they become Empyrean Gods! Empyrean Gods are comparable to Pure Yang True Immortals in power. Every single one of them is an expert of the Three Realms,” Yu Wei said. “Above Empyrean Gods are True Gods! True Gods are generally actual Fiendgods who have created their own divine ability. They war against the heavens and against the earth with terrifying power, and are absolutely comparable to Golden Immortal Daofathers of the Great Firmament!”
“True Gods are the highest level of Fiendgods possible. According to legends… the Fiendgods born in the primordial chaos before the heavens were established were all at least Empyrean Gods! The strongest amongst them were True Gods of Primordial Chaos! They were born into the very highest realms of power of the Three Realms. Even without training, they were incomparably frightening figures.”