Within the demonheart world. Out of curiosity, Ninelotus had come to meet Ji Ning. By now, Ninelotus had already grown up to be a slender, elegant beauty. As soon as she saw Ning, for some inexplicable reason, she felt close to him. Ning, however, felt guarded; no matter what, he absolutely could not allow himself to sink down into this demonheart world. ‘Sinking down into it’ meant liking this world and accepting it in his heart.
To like the demonheart world so much that he might abandon the real world…
To allow himself to drown within it, to allow his real self in the real world to perish!
Within this demonheart world, his parents were both alive and well. This was a world without tragedy for him. In truth, in his heart, Ning did like this world…but thankfully, he had reached the third level of heartforce, ‘ruler’. No matter what thoughts, likes, and emotions flashed through his mind, Ning remained the master of himself. He constantly reminded himself that these were all nothing more than the illusions of the demonheart world; these weren’t real.
“The feelings I bear for my parents are already having a tremendous impact on me within the demonheart world. I absolutely cannot allow my feelings for Ninelotus and Yu Wei to be added to the mix as well.” Ning knew in his heart that once he allowed love to enter the fray, this demonheart tribulation would become truly dangerous.
However…Ning wasn’t able to control the demonheart world.
As a result of this visit, Ning’s had been firmly engraved into Ninelotus’ mind. Thus, she came back repeatedly to visit him.
“This is my senior apprentice-sister, Yu Wei. She’s a true genius of our Black-White College,” Ninelotus said.
“But of course, I cannot compare to Immortal Darknorth.” Yu Wei smiled as well. As soon as Yu Wei had seen Ning, she too had felt an inexplicable attraction towards him.
Within the demonheart world, both Yu Wei and Ninelotus found themselves uncontrollably drawn to Ning.
However…Ning’s heart was filled with misgivings, and so he always moved to prevent a relationship from blossoming between them.
Time flowed on.
Decades passed in the blink of an eye.
Very early on, Ning had acquired the Starseizing Estate. By now, he had already reached the seventeenth stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens].
Yu Wei and Ninelotus were as close as real sisters, so close that they didn’t differentiate between ‘mine’ and ‘yours’. The two of them settled into a residence within Swallow Mountain, not too far from where Ning lived. The two of them felt certain that one day, their sincerity would move Ji Ning. Unlike in the real world, in this demonheart world, Ninelotus and Yu Wei were both completely devoted to Ji Ning. In fact, both of them threw away everything for his sake, and Ninelotus gave up her clan as well.
Now, in the demonheart world…the storm finally swept through the Three Realms!
Within the demonheart world, Ning allowed his Primaltwin to undergo its tribulation. The tribulation of the demonheart world was completely illusory, and so the demonheart tribulation lasted for but an instant before it ended, resulting in his Primaltwin becoming a Celestial Immortal.
With the entire Three Realms being shaken by this storm, Ning naturally allied with the Northmont clan of Stillwater. Although he didn’t truly enter into a relationship with Yu Wei and Ninelotus, the two of them continued to wholeheartedly pursue him. The Dongyan clan was on very close terms with Ning, and the Dongyan Forefather, Ji Ning, Patriarch Unity, and others all joined together into an alliance to weather this storm.
The war began!
One battle after another began to erupt within the world of the Grand Xia. To protect his tribe, Ning was forced to go into battle as well. As the war progressed, however, he found it harder and harder to gain victory in his battles…and finally, he decided to undergo his Empyrean Tribulation!
There was one major problem with the demonheart world; there was no way to gain insights into the Dao here!
This was an illusory world; every single tribulant knew that in their hearts. As a result, they couldn’t advance in the Dao in the slightest. Although Ning had already spent over a hundred years in the demonheart world, he hadn’t improved in the Dao in the slightest. The only improvement he had was in terms of his Dao-heart; he was tempering his Dao-heart.
He was also able to improve his heartforce within this illusory demonheart world, but alas, Ning remained at the third level, the ‘ruler’ level. Although he did improve slightly, to reach the fourth level of ‘mortal dust’ was far too difficult. Anyone who could reach that level would be considered one of the truly most powerful experts of the Three Realms. The terrifying divine archers of the Three Realms and Old Man Yuan were all at the fourth level.
Within the illusory world, Ning could sense that he was gradually becoming unable to defend his clan from the storm, and so he decided to undergo his Empyrean Tribulation.
The Empyrean Tribulation was simply far too powerful.
The wind tribulation, the fire tribulation…they nearly caused Ning’s death.
The thunder tribulation destroyed Ning’s true body by merely the sixty-second thunderbolt.
He had failed.
His true body had failed its tribulation, and so the Starseizing Estate left him, having gone to search for another successor.
Ning only had his Primaltwin left to him. Thus, like many other Celestial Immortals, he became embroiled into and pushed about by the waves of the storm. Yu Wei and Ninelotus both became Celestial Immortals over the course of the storm, but the two continued to follow by Ning’s side. Ning, however, continued to act guarded, not allowing the relationship between him and the two of them to deepen.
The deeper their relationship grew, the easier it would be for Ning to sink into this world.
One battle after another!
Yu Wei and Ninelotus followed Ning at all times, experiencing life-and-death experiences with him. Finally, after eighteen thousand years, the storm came to an end. Ninety percent of the Celestial Immortals of the world of the Grand Xia perished, and even the Xia Emperor had died. As for major powers, no one knew how many had perished. Ji Ning, Yu Wei, and Ninelotus, however, had not died. In fact, even the Ji clan of Swallow Mountain had survived.
With the tribulation having ended, Ning returned once more to Swallow Mountain.
Ninelotus and Yu Wei continued to follow him. They, too, took up residence at Swallow Mountain. As for Yuchi Snow and Ji Yichuan, they successfully overcome their tribulations and become Celestial Immortals towards the end of the storm. They, too, urged Ning to accept and wed Ninelotus and Yu Wei.
Eighteen thousand years!
They had experienced life and death together.
It must be understood that in the real world, Ning had only lived for a mere century. In this demonheart world, however, he had already lived for eighteen thousand years. If his Dao-heart had been slightly weaker, he would’ve long ago confused what was real and what was not. He would’ve willingly accepted that this demonheart world was the true world; after all, he had spent far more time in this world, which was a far more blissful one.
However…Ning, who had ruler-class heartforce, only felt an ever-greater amount of terror.
His father and his mother had actually both become Celestial Immortals? Yu Wei and Ninelotus had both survived the storm? Clearly, the demonheart world was doing everything it could to give him an incredibly blissful life. It had even ensured that Ning failed his Empyrean Tribulation, so as to clip his wings and lessen his ambitions.
Lessened ambitions…a blissful life…emotions…countless shared life-and-death experiences…eighteen thousand years…all of these things were having an impact on Ning.
“Ji Ning…how can you be so heartless? It’s been eighteen thousand years, but you still remain this cold-hearted. Alright…alright…alright. I will never bother you again. I’ll never irritate you again!” Ninelotus looked at Ning, her tears dripping downwards.
“Little sister Ninelotus and I will be leaving now. We’ll never bother you again, you callous, cold-hearted man.” Yu Wei’s eyes were filled with pain as well.
Immortal swords suddenly appeared in both their hands.
Ning couldn’t help it; he instinctively knocked those two Immortal swords away.
“You won’t even let us die? Even if you prevent us from dying, we can go to a place where you can’t find us, then end our lives there.” Ninelotus said with agony, “My sister and I no longer have anything worth living for, anyways.”
“Let’s go, little sister.” Yu Wei took Ninelotus by the hand.
Ning just shut his eyes.
Was he supposed to just keep fleeing within this demonheart world? Keep hiding from everything? Was this right, or was this wrong? Why was it that by fleeing…these emotions were only causing him even greater agony?
“Don’t go,” Ning suddenly said.
Yu Wei and Ninelotus had already turned away, but now their bodies both shook. These two peerless beauties, one dressed in white and the other dressed in black, both turned to look at Ning. They had an eager look in their eyes, a look that bespoke of how they had waited for eighteen thousand years…a look that was about to melt Ning’s heart.
“Ji Ning, are you truly…” Ninelotus and Yu Wei both looked at Ning.
“Don’t go.” Ning walked to them. “I don’t want you two to go.” He reached out with his arms, taking Yu Wei and Ninelotus into his embrace.
Yu Wei and Ninelotus each clung to one of Ning’s elbows, gently leaning against him.
Ning, however…could sense that his Dao-heart was wavering and growing blurry.
That he had taken yet another step towards sinking into this world.
When he took the finally step and completely sank into it…his soul would be extinguished, and he would die.
Ning began to live together with Ninelotus and Yu Wei. They truly were a trio of Immortal lovers. The Three Realms were in a state of peace, and the Ji clan had nine Celestial Immortals within it; Ji Ning, Ninelotus, Yu Wei, Yuchi Snow, Ji Yichuan, Uncle White, Autumn Leaf, Spring Grass, and Little Qing. Everyone Ning cared about was alive…and in fact, all of them had become Celestial Immortals.
His life was peaceful and beautiful. In fact, this was what Ning truly desired in his heart.
To be carefree…to do what he wanted to do…
To be together with his loved ones…to live a simple, happy life…
Both Ninelotus and Yu Wei bore him children. To teach and rear children could be quite frustrating, but it was also quite blissful and happy.
Ning had never been so blissful. Not in his previous life, and not in this one. This demonheart world, however, truly was very blissful and very perfect.
“No wonder it is rare for a single new Celestial Immortal to appear within the world of the Grand Xia, even after the passage of a million years. No wonder countless Void-level Earth Immortals have attempted their tribulations but failed.” Ning felt agony in his heart. He knew very well that all of this was a lie…but he had spent more than thirty thousand years here. A hundred years in the real world…thirty thousand years here…even Ning’s Dao-heart was finding it hard to extricate itself from this demonheart world.
In fact…he was beginning to feel slightly unwilling to extricate himself. He didn’t want to let this all be destroyed.
The demonheart world.
It was night.
A little boat was drifting about in the waters of Serpentwing Lake. Ning was seated in the lotus position within that boat. He was by himself.
“Am I really…going to sink?” Ning could already sense that his Dao-heart was growing blurrier and blurrier. Clearly, it was becoming increasingly corroded.
Ning stared at the distant Brightheart Island. That island had all the people he loved the most; his father, his mother, Ninelotus, Yu Wei, Uncle White, Little Qing, Autumn Leaf, Spring Grass, and his children. All of those relationships, all of those emotions…they were like chains that had dug their way deep inside him. As more time passed, the chains only dug deeper and deeper. Thirty thousand years of life here…it was incredibly hard for him to shake them off.
Ning gritted his teeth, blood becoming to come out from his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth as he forced the words out. “It’s all fake. FAKE!!!”
When Ning said these words, he felt as though a knife was scraping against his heart.
“It’s all fake…”
“I want all of these things to become real. I want all of them to come back to life in the real world!” Ning’s Dao-heart was like a tiny blade of grass that had become completely trapped by countless metal chains…but that blade of grass continued to struggle and grow. Although the chains tried to suffocate it, tried to drag it away, the blade of grass continued to survive and grow.
“I am myself!”
“I AM THE RULER OF MYSELF! Nobody and nothing can shake me; not thirty thousand years, not a hundred thousand years, NOTHING!!!” Ning sat there on his wooden boat, letting out an enraged roar. This was a roar directed against the entire demonheart world.
Just as Ning called these words out…
The colors of the world began to change.
Space itself broke apart.
A towering figure appeared within the distant, infinite void that was left. Its aura was incomparably powerful, and it was looking at Ning.
“So you are Ji Ning? You were the previous successor to the Starseizing Estate, yes? The [Starseizing Hand] divine ability is not to be learned by outsiders. I alone can possess it, and so…you can die!” An enormous hand appeared, instantly covering the entire sky. Carrying awe-inspiring power, it came crashing down.