“However…Ji Ning, your actions are far too risky,” Empyrean Goddess Guo Zi said. “Right now, our two sides are only engaging in small-scale skirmishes against each other. Both sides are still holding back, as no one is willing to expand the scale of the war just yet. Both sides are searching for weaknesses and openings, so as to win the war for karmic luck. Not only are we trying to win, we are also trying to ensure that our Empyrean Gods and True Immortals will survive. The Seamless Gate is trying to do the same thing.”
“Even if we win the war for karmic luck, if all of our Empyrean Gods and True Immortals end up dying, along with the majority of our True Gods and Daofathers…what’s the point?” Guo Zi looked towards Ning. “Until the final moment arrives, neither side is willing to launch a frenzied, all-out assault. When that final Endwar comes, it will be a massacre on both sides.”
“There is an invisible line which neither side is willing to cross. But you…you’ve crossed that line.” Guo Zi gazed towards Ning. “But of course, that’s just you, and so the Seamless Gate will only act against you and you alone. The further across that line you dare step, the more effort they will put into getting rid of you.”
“Still…don’t worry too much. If they begin to deploy their Empyrean Gods and True Immortals in large numbers, we’ll immediately move to stop them, because any actions involving nearly three hundred such experts is an act of war.” Guo Zi continued to look at Ning. “But if they just send small numbers of their most top-tier Empyrean Gods and True Immortals to kill you, there’s no way we can send an army to stop them.”
“You are very powerful, but the Seamless Gate also has some truly astonishing Empyrean Gods and True Immortals on their side.”
Ning nodded. “Fellow Daoist Guo Zi, I understand these things. But since I’ve already chosen to embark on this path, I naturally am prepared for the consequences.”
Guo Zi no longer tried to dissuade him. She knew that Ning was a powerful Empyrean God and a True Immortal, not a fool. And so she bid farewell and left, along with her forces.
As for Ning, he rode his Voidboat back to Sword Immortal world.
Sword Immortal world. The mountain peaks of the Five Treasure Peaks still pierced high into the clouds, and things were as quiet as ever.
Ning and the seven Empyrean Gods landed atop the mountains.
“Ji Ning, you can’t ignore what Guo Zi said just now,” Empyrean God Redsnow said worriedly. “Although you are powerful, our Nuwa Alliance alone has multiple figures who are on your level, such as the various divine archers. If any of them are given Daofruit of primordial chaos, they’ll probably be a bit more powerful than even you with your perfect Heaven Punisher. The Seamless Gate has powerful figure as well, and none of them are easy to deal with.”
“If I encounter an army, there’s nothing I can do, but if I encounter just one person, I can still fight back,” Ning said.
“Don’t disregard what she said. There are those who are more powerful than us when they use Chaos treasures or Daofruit,” Redsnow said. Primelight and the rest of the seven looked towards Ning as well.
Ning understood. In truth, both sides had a tacit understanding with each other.
If you are fighting by yourself, then I’ll send a single person to deal with you. Whoever ends up dying can only blame himself for being too weak.
But now, a madman appeared on your side who is ambushing and murdering my subordinates? He’s going too far. I’m going to send my army after him! If this madman halts his actions, I’ll naturally no longer have an excuse to send out an army; only if you employ an army will we do the same.
This came without any negotiations or public declarations, but this was indeed how both sides acted. This was a rule of their war!
If there were no rules at all, then it would be easy for things to rapidly escalate until a point was reached where the Endwar would begin prematurely. Clearly, neither side wished for the Endwar to begin just yet.
Within the thatched cottage. Ning was seated in the lotus position, waiting patiently.
He had risked his life today. Why? To incite the Seamless Gate.
Rumble…suddenly, a thought-strand descended upon Ning.
“Ji Ning.” An icy voice rang out.
“Finally.” Ning allowed the thought-strand to guide him into the dreamworld. This was exactly what he wanted; to negotiate with the Seamless Gate.
Within the dreamworld of darkness. The towering throne was still hovering within the center of this world, and the black-robed Godking sat upon it, staring down at the figure which had just appeared.
“Ji Ning.” The Godking roared with absolute fury, “You actually dare to rely on your personal power to assault some of the bases of my Seamless Gate? You are the first person in the Nuwa Alliance who dares to do such a thing!”
In truth, there were quite a few Empyrean Gods and True Immortals with deep-seated hatred towards the Seamless Gate. However, Ji Ning was the only one who was actually willing to risk his life in such a manner, and who had the power to carry it out! The formations around those bases were generally capable of withstanding the combined attacks of more than twenty Empyrean Gods and True Immortals for a period of time, after all.
“What do you want?” Ning raised his head to look at the Godking.
The Godking paused, then growled out, “Fifteen Empyrean Gods and True Immortals have died by your hand. If you let matters rest, I can let bygones be bygones.”
The Godking, in the end, had chosen to swallow his rage. He had to take into consideration his disposition of forces across the entire Three Realms, and he couldn’t perpetually be on alert against Ji Ning’s ambushes. His only option would be to change his force disposition throughout the entire Three Realms, but that would come at a price. For example, if he withdrew all the Empyrean Gods and True Immortals from the bases and headquarters, there were a number of major worlds that would become impossible to penetrate and infiltrate.
“Let bygones be bygones?” Ning looked at the Godking. “I can let matters rest…but I have a request.”
The Godking was utterly enraged. This child actually dared to make a request? But the Godking still suppressed his anger and said, “Speak!”
“Give senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei back to me,” Ning said.
The Godking was stunned…and then he began to roar with laughter. His laughter, tinged with fury, shook the entire world of darkness. “So the reason why you’ve gone so crazy is for Yu Wei. It seems that woman is quite important to you, for you to risk your life in such a way.”
“Yes.” Ning nodded. “I can risk my life for her sake. If you hand her to me, I’ll immediately halt. If you don’t…I’ll keep killing!”
“So you are doing this to extort us, to force our hand?” The Godking’s voice was like ice. “Ji Ning, you value yourself too highly. I’m just trying to avoid a bit of unnecessary trouble, which is why I gave you a chance to calm things down with us. But you actually dare to threaten us, the Seamless Gate? You truly are too arrogant. Do you think that just because you succeeded with your first ambush, you’ll succeed in a second or a third ambush? Do you really think that our Seamless Gate is unable to deal with a stripling like you?”
Who was the Godking? He was, nominally speaking, the leader of the entire Seamless Gate. He could converse as equals with even the Three Sovereigns of Mankind or the leaders of Daoism and Buddhism.
Just now, the Godking had been putting on a charitable, magnanimous air; if Ning halted, he would spare Ning. But now, Ning dared to make requests of him? Fine, then; if the request wasn’t excessive, the Godking would agree to it. But Ning had actually carried out these actions to threaten the Seamless Gate, to force them to do something they didn’t want to do? That was courting death!
“I only hope for you to return her to me, Godking.” Ning looked at the Godking.
“Impossible.” The Godking stared back at Ning. “You only have two options before you. To halt and be spared, or to continue and perish. As for Yu Wei…you can forget about her.”
Ning stared at the Godking.
The Godking stared back at Ning.
Whoosh. Ning disappeared into thin air.
“He really is courting death.” The Godking felt even angrier now. “An Empyrean God actually dares to try to threaten and extort the Seamless Gate? What a joke. A joke!”
The Seamless Gate’s original incarnation was that of the Seamless Chaosworld, a world on par with the Pangu Chaosworld. How could a power like this allow itself to be extorted?
Ning sat there by himself within the thatched cottage. He sat there for a long, long time.
“Although the chances are very slim…I will still go and kill them. Kill them until they can no longer bear it.” A breathtaking determination could be seen in Ning’s eyes. This was a dangerous path, a path which involved repeatedly risking his life…but that was the nature of his decision.
Ning cast the matter to the back of his mind, sending his mind into the Starseizing Manor.
Within the main palace of the manor was a large pile of treasures. These were the treasures he had acquired during his earlier ambushes. Ning quickly began to bind them to himself. These treasures might not be too useful to him, but they’d be plenty of help to other Empyrean Gods and True Immortals. If he could increase the power of his forces, their chances of success in the future would be slightly greater.
“Pure Yang treasure.”
“A Protocosmic spirit-treasure…but it’s just a low-grade one of ordinary power. Still, quite interesting.”
“Quite a few Pure Yang Immortal pills. Great Firmanent Immortal pills. Poison?” Ning quickly finished sorting through all of the treasures of the Empyrean Gods and True Immortals.
And then, Ning began to bind all of the various treasures left behind by the many slain Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals. This happened quite quickly, as these were the treasures dropped by the low-level figures he had casually mopped up after killing the Empyrean Gods and True Immortals. Their items weren’t particularly valuable, with most being at the Immortal-rank at best. Every so often, he would be lucky and encounter a Pure Yang treasure.
“These are the treasures left behind by Youngflame Freak. Hrm…where’s the Worldhold Pagoda?”
“Pity. The Worldhold Pagoda isn’t with these sixteen clones.” Ning still remembered how the Worldhold Pagoda had sent him to the Nihilum Zone. Still, after searching through all the items, he still hadn’t been able to find it. Instead, he encountered some bugs and aberrations.
Ning paid no notice to most of Youngflame Freak’s treasures, but one treasure did attract his attention.
“What’s this?” Ning was startled.
An enormous, pitch-black stone stele was hanging there in midair. The stone stele was emanating a faint aura of might. Although the aura was very weak, it had an exalted quality about it, far more exalted than even the aura which Patriarch Subhuti had.
Although Ning’s true body remained within the thatched cottage, he quickly sent out a strand of divine power to form a body which manifested within the Starseizing Manor. He took a personal, close look at the levitating black stone stele.