Ji Ning felt as though his heart was being torn apart. This pain filled every part of his body. Ever since his parents had passed away, he truly had very few kinsmen. Although his master Diancai always had a strict look and a cold face, Ning could sense the love and caring his master felt for him from deep within his heart. His master had the exact same sort of disposition which Ning’s own father, Ji Yichuan, had.
“No. No…” Ning’s heart was filled with nothing but despair.
Nobody could rescue his master from the Celestial Tribulation! Even a Daofather of the Great Firmament would only be able to watch from one side…because upon interfering, heaven’s punishment would be triggered, causing even a Daofather who tried to withstand it to perish.
Next…Ning suddenly felt a powerful desire enter his heart.
“I’ve had enough. ENOUGH!!!” Within his own mind, Ning let out a howl of utter despair. “I’ve had ENOUGH of this feeling of powerlessness. I don’t want any more of my loved ones to leave me. I don’t have it. I WON’T HAVE IT!”
His mother had passed away…
His father had passed away…
And now, even his master was going to pass away…
Ning’s heart felt like it was being chopped apart by knives! An incomparably powerful desire filled him; the desire to not let him or his loved ones be toyed with by destiny. A desire to completely control his own destiny, his own fate.
“I need to grow powerful. More powerful. If I can become like Pangu, capable of establishing the heavens and forming the earth, or like Nuwa, capable of repairing the heavens or destroying them…then perhaps the so-called Celestial Tribulation would be nothing more than a joke in my eyes.” For the first time in his life, Ning had the goal to truly stand at the absolute top of the Three Realms, the unquestioned top, beyond all other powers…
…to be at Pangu’s level.
Pangu, he who had established the heavens and formed the earth, creating the Primordial World.
Nuwa, who had mastered 84,000 Daos, and had become heralded as Mother Nuwa, the ‘Supremely Benevolent, Supremely Holy Pangu-God’. She had reached Pangu’s level, and had also become the undisputed number one figure of the Three Realms!
At their levels…
Even the heavens and the earth would have to submit, much less the Celestial Tribulation, which was nothing more than a mere part of the heavens and the earth!
“Master…” But no matter what Ning currently desired within his heart, he wasn’t able to change anything. All he could do…was watch!
Although Ning and Immortal Fivecraze both felt pain and resentment…in this moment, it was the tribulant, Immortal Diancai, who truly felt utter despair.
Immortal Diancai clutched at his chest, head raised. When he saw that the vortex of lightning and clouds was not dispersing, and was instead nurturing an even more powerful bolt of lightning, Immortal Diancai felt despair. “Why are there more coming? Why are there more…”
“Junior apprentice-sister, I’m coming.” Immortal Diancai’s face turned calm. He stared at the bolt of lightning forming within the skies, then pointed towards it. “Go!”
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish!
The five Heavenraker swords all soared into the heavens, preparing to welcome that bolt of lightning.
This time, Immortal Diancai used the most beautiful, magnificent, and most powerful sword-art he had ever used since he was born. The five Immortal swords swirled around each other, joining together as they went to welcome annihilation.
Back when Immortal Diancai had merely been a third-generation disciple of the Black-White College.
“Young fellow, you should be filled with the vigor and energy of youth. Why are you like this?”
“My junior apprentice-sister is dead. Life holds no meaning for me now. Life holds no meaning!”
“Life holds no meaning? Since you feel as though life has no meaning…this old man actually just so happens to want to kill someone today. Don’t fight back. Just let me kill you.”
Five unranked flying swords flew together towards the numb, despairing youth…and invisible sword-intent instantly transmitted into the youth’s brain.
One sword-stance after another was desmonstrated…and the sword-art became filled with increasing despair, the utmost despair.
“Five Elements Sword, stance eighteen: Minor Five Elements Extermination!”
Each stance was more complex and inconceivable than the last.
“Five Elements Sword, stance thirty-six: Major Five Elements, All Life!”
“Destiny brought us together, and so I will teach you this set of sword techniques. Meditate well on them, young man. Your future path will be a long one!”
That voice had echoed within his mind.
By the time the young Diancai had woken up, he could no longer find that old man, no matter how hard he searched.
This stroke of karmic fortune caused Immortal Diancai to skyrocket in power in sword-arts. He was acknowledged by all the Loose Immortals of the Black-White College as having the highest chance of becoming a Celestial Immortal! After gaining the assistance of Ning’s Dao-repository and being able to compare the techniques within to his own techniques, he gained new insights and made another breakthrough, reaching Immortal Northwalker’s level. But even up till now, he had only reached the level of the seventeenth stance of the Five Elements Sword!
It must be understood that the first eighteen stances represented the first half of the technique. The next eighteen stances were far more mysterious and profound.
The old man definitely was a formidable figure of the Three Realms, given that he was able to transmit a technique such as this. Clearly, he was just wandering casually through the Three Realms, and happened upon Immortal Diancai by chance. Upon seeing that Immortal Diancai had potential, he had casually taught him this sword technique, then left. This didn’t mean he had taken Diancai on as a disciple! If he had, he would’ve taught him Ki Refining techniques, secret arts, and more; in fact, he would often provide guidance to help Diancai work through anything he found confusing. The reality was, Immortal Diancai had to rely on himself and his own efforts in order to resolve any confusions he had regarding the Five Elements Sword!
Immortal Diancai suddenly understood.
It was like the golden light of the sun piercing through the darkness of the skies. The thunder tribulation had completely disrupted his emotions, causing him to rise to triumphant heights, then fall in an abyss of despair. Now that he was preparing to welcome death…his sword-arts broke through to a new level.
He finally comprehended what it truly meant to be reach the limits of despair…and what the true mysteries of the ‘Minor Five Elements, Extermination’ technique truly meant! [1. This is a wordplay; the word ‘extermination’ here is a two-part word, ‘miejue’ that when taken together means ‘extermination/complete destruction’, but when read separately can be interpreted as destroying despair.]
“Five Elements Sword, stance eighteen: Minor Five Elements, Extermination!” Immortal Diancai continued to clutch at his chest, but suddenly…he smiled.
The five black flying Immortal swords in the skies, joined into the illusion of five massive mountains, had previously each been glowing with a different color of light. The light had circulated from sword to sword, joining them together and supporting each other. But Immortal Diancai suddenly willed them to change…
Space itself seemed to shake.
The five illusory mountains suddenly merged into a single illusion, an enormous five-fingered mountain. The five mountains had become one! There were five peaks jutting out from the top of this mountain like five fingers; each peak was of a different color! The mountain carried with it a feeling of incomparably heavy despair and depression, as though its despair could smother and exterminate anything in the world!
This was the final stance of the first half of the Five Elements Sword, the sword-stance that represented mastery of the first half…Minor Five Elements Extermination!
The forty-sixth bolt of skythunder crashed against the five Heavenraker swords which appeared like a mountain with five fingers stretching out from its peak.
The entire mountain trembled slightly, and the bolt of skythunder was dispersed.
The forty-seventh bolt of lightning came crashing down!
Still holding his chest, Immortal Diancai just smiled as he stared upwards. The five Heavenraker swords went up to greet the lightning, and the mountain peak they formed was incomparably tall and massive, so much so that its peak seemed to encompass this entire minor world. Once more, it blocked the bolt of skythunder.
“This…” Immortal Fivecraze and Ning were both stunned. Both of them had been gripped by despair, but now they were stunned.
“Earlier, junior apprentice-brother used a forbidden technique to overcome the first five nine-sets of the thunder tribulation. Why is it that the sixth set has become so simple for him?” Immortal Fivecraze was completely flabbergasted. “A sudden breakthrough? But…but…a breakthrough during the Celestial Tribulation?”
Ning felt dazed as well. Generally speaking, one might make sudden breakthroughs in combat, but the crashing skythunder didn’t carry within it any of the mysteries of the Dao; it was nothing more than raw, primalistic strikes of lightning. Could it be that somehow, it had taught his master something? How did his master’s sword-arts suddenly become this powerful?
Although Ning didn’t know how his master had made a sudden breakthrough, he still felt his heart become filled with the utmost of joy.
“Hahaha…keep blocking. Keep blocking!” Ning watched eagerly.
One thunderbolt after another continued to come crashing down. Each time, Immortal Diancai used the ‘Minor Five Elements Extermination’ to defend against the attack…but starting from the fifty-first bolt, he was clearly beginning to find it a bit difficult! The power of the fifty-second bolt caused his five Immortal swords to be smashed downwards by three hundred meters, and the fifty-third bolt caused the illusory mountain his swords had created to nearly be dispersed!
“The last one…the last one!” Ning and Immortal Fivecraze both stared intently.
The fifty-fourth bolt of skythunder came crashing down! This bolt of skythunder was tinged with a hint of violet light.
“Block!” Immortal Diancai’s aura actually grew even more powerful; his Dao-heart had been baptized by despair and grown even more stronger. The five Heavenraker swords ferociously battled upwards, transforming into an enormous illusory mountain.
The skythunder and the mountain crashed against each other. The mountain was completely destroyed and the five Immortal swords were blasted away…but the skythunder was completely dispersed as well.
“HE BLOCKED IT!” Immortal Fivecraze let out an excited howl.
Ning raised his head, staring intently at the lightning-cloud vortex in the skies. Immortal Fivecraze immediately did the same as well. Both were worried that even more skythunder would be coming. However…this time, no more came. The vortex of lightning in the skies began to dissipate towards the four directions, and as they did, a single streak of electricity began to swirl around Immortal Diancai’s body.
When this streak of lightning appeared and descended upon Immortal Diancai, his aura began to subtly change and grow profound; this was an aura that completely surpassed that of Void-level Earth Immortals and Loose Immortals.
“A Celestial Immortal Body.” Ning and Immortal Fivecraze both revealed looks of delight.
“Congratulations, Master.” After the final flickers of electricity disappeared, Ning immediately called out to his master in a loud voice.
“Junior apprentice-brother, that was a thunder tribulation of six nine-sets. It’s utterly unfathomable that a Ki Refiner actually met with six nine-sets…I imagine that generally, only disciples of Daofathers and other legendary figures would be subjected to such a tribulation. But you actually overcame it! Ahaha, I’m in utter awe of you. Junior apprentice-brother, hurry up and rest up; soon, the demonheart tribulation will arrive. You’ve already overcome the most dangerous and most terrifying tribulation, the thunder tribulation; don’t be felled by the demonheart tribulation,” Immortal Fivecraze said.
“Right.” Immortal Diancai nodded calmly, a smile on his face. He pointed a finger towards Ning, and all five Heavenraker swords immediately flew towards Ning. “I no longer need these five Immortal swords.”
Ning nodded, immediately taking back the five Heavenraker swords.
“The demonheart tribulation will take a minimum of seven days,” Immortal Fivecraze said solemly. “Ji Ning, when my junior apprentice-brother is undergoing his demonheart tribulation…we absolutely cannot allow anyone to disturb him. If there are any enemies preparing to attack, they will most likely do so during this final tribulation. You and I both need to be careful.”
“Right. Understood. No one will be permitted to disturb my master,” Ning said seriously as well.
His true body had trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]; it was extremely well-suited for close combat. He truly wasn’t worried about anyone in terms of a head-on fight. As for his Primaltwin, it had the [Heavenraker] sword formation, which would be formed from nine Heavenraker Immortal swords. All by himself, he would be able to deal with two Celestial Immortals.
No one would be allowed to interfere! No one at all! Regardless of who they were or who their backer was…they would not be permitted to disturb his master’s tribulation!
Within Stillwater Commandery. A ripple appeared in the darkness of the empty skies, and a white-robed female suddenly emerged from the ripple.
She had a slim, pretty face and a reserved aura, but she was on the level of an Earth Immortal or Loose Immortal. Her eyes, however, were filled with a natural arrogance, an arrogance that held all those before her in contempt.
“Mm?” The white-robed woman stared at the distant mountains. “Here we are!”