The Voidboat once more came to a halt at the borders of the lightning sea. Yet another clone flew out into the countless streaks of lightning, beginning to slowly transform its divine body.
In truth, Ji Ning could’ve transformed one clone to the level of being able to withstand the gray lightning, then halted the transformation process and used it as the ‘base template’ for restoring his other clones. That way, all of the recreated clones would start with enough affinity for lightning to immediately go and try to be transformed by using the black lightning sea serpents. That would allow for more time to be saved. Ning, however, didn’t do this; he continued to have every single clone go through the slow transformation process.
That way, with each attempt Ning would continue to accumulate more experience.
At present, the reason why Ning was able to endure the gray lightning was thanks to his divine body having trained in the Ninth Cycle of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], rather than due to him being experienced in lightning. He only succeeded due to his incredibly tough body. By testing things out time and time again, he was accumulating experience. He would rather spend an extra three months gaining experience than potentially waste a tiny bit of chaos nectar.
“Mm.” Atop the Voidboat, Ning frowned. He once more sensed the agony of his soul being destroyed.
Yet another failure.
Another streak of light flew out and entered the sea of lightning.
Clones of Ning’s original body continued to advance, each of them being felled in turn by the lightning sea serpents. Clearly, using them to transform his body was incredibly difficult. However, as he continued to gain experience and perfect his technique, each time he was able to endure the lightning sea serpents for increasingly long periods of time.
Ning felt tremendous heartache as well. Every single clone represented some of his chaos nectar.
“I just need to hold on for a while longer. Just now, if I was slightly luckier, I might’ve succeeded.” Ning did his best to maintain complete calmness as he continued his attempts.
Within the region of gray lightning, there was a cocoon of black lightning. Within the cocoon, Ji Ning’s nude body was covered with dim flickerings of black lightning. His skin and his muscles would occasionally be destroyed, but they would almost instantly recover and heal. Ning’s eyes were closed, and all of his heartforce was focused on guiding the strands of black lightning. The power of the lightning sea serpents was simply too terrifying; he wasn’t able to forcibly command even the tiniest part of it, just guide it.
Clearly, Ning had gained increasing amounts of experience in this technique, at the cost of paying with his life over and over.
Starting with his hands, his entire body began to transform. His torso…his four limbs…his head.
Ning’s eyes suddenly opened.
Swish! Swish! Black lightning shot out from his eyes, not damaging them in the slightest.
“I finally succeeded.” Ning willed the barrier of golden tattoo-light to disappear. Instantly, the cocoon of black lightning collapsed as well. The black lightning sea snake lashed out chaotically, some of it sweeping past Ning’s body as well. However, the lightning simply shot through Ning’s body without damaging it. Ning continued to stand there, completely unharmed. In fact, some of the black lightning even swirled around inside of his body.
“I finally succeeded!” Ning excitedly clenched his fists. After having been completely stonewalled by Exalted Celestial Thundergod, his only hope was to risk the sea of lightning. At first, he had failed multiple times, causing him to begin to worry. What if he died dozens of times without succeeding? Was he supposed to use up all of his chaos nectar on this single technique?
Fortunately, as his experience increased, he was able to withstand the transformation process of the lightning sea serpent for increasingly long period of times. Ning felt more confident in himself upon seeing that he was improving…and today, he had finally succeeded.
“The remaining steps will no longer be dangerous.” Ning let out a relaxed chuckle. “The next step will be to tame a Ninehorn Lightning Serpent. I don’t have Thousandrot Godfruits or a Myriad Thunders Godgem, but I do have chaos nectar. Clearly, the only issue before me is actually finding one of them.”
“Time to go.”
This time, Ning headed straight towards the field of endless black lightning in a fearless manner. The black lightning bolts were all in the shape of serpents, and they flew about with wild abandon with utterly heaven-wrecking power. However…no sea wave, no matter how vast, could drown a fish. This region of lightning sea snakes could be described as an lethally dangerous zone for others, but it was no longer of any danger to Ning. Still, upon actually entering the region, Ning still slowed down his advance and advanced cautiously.
One lightning sea serpent after another flashed past Ning, some brushing against him. Ning, however, simply felt a warm, gentle feeling throughout his body.
“Ha.” He let out a chuckle, then flew all the way into the region.
“Time to search for a Ninehorn Lightning Serpent.”
As Ning flew through the region of black lightning, he continuously released his heartforce to search the region. Heartforce was inherently formless, and so not even the lightning sea serpents were capable of damaging it. Given how far Ning’s coresense stretched, he was quickly able to locate a Ninehorn Lightning Serpent located deep within the sea of lightning. Not hesitating at all, Ning immediately flew in that direction, boring deep into the heart of the lightning sea.
Prior to this, Ning was still able to see the primordial chaos if he raised his head. Now, however, the only thing he could see anywhere were those flashes of black lightning.
After flying for a full hour, a Ninehorn Lightning Serpent drew close to Ning’s direction.
“Perfect.” Ning had long ago formed a ‘serpent egg’ of divine tattoos within his body. So long as a Ninehorn Lightning Serpent touched his body, it would immediately be drawn inside.
Swoosh! Ning did everything he could to move closer to that Ninehorn Lightning Serpent.
Whoosh! The giant black serpent had nine horns on its head and was incredibly agile. It was happily swimming about within the sea of lightning, sometimes flying fast, sometimes flying slow. What caused Ning the most despair was that it had suddenly begun to fly towards a different direction. Given how fast it was, Ning wasn’t even able to catch a glimpse of it, to say nothing of catch it.
“Ugh. Failed.” Once the Ninehorn Lightning Serpent began to move away from him, given how fast its speed was, there was no way Ning could possibly catch up to it. Thus, actually encountering and acquiring one had an element of luck to it, especially in the encountering part.
“I’ll keep going in deeper.” Ning continued to advance into the depths of the lightning sea. The entire lightning sea did have a coremost region. In a lightning sea of sufficiently vast size, Myriad Thunders Godgems would crystallize within these core regions. However, this one had been discovered by the Three Realms long ago. Given how able the likes of Suiren and Daoist Three Purities were, if there were any godgems within it, they would’ve been able and willing to pay the price necessary to enter the core regions to harvest the godgems. Mother Nuwa in particular was completely capable of easily traversing the sea.
Thus, Ning didn’t believe that he would encounter a Myriad Thunders Godgem within the core.
He continued to fly deeper and deeper into towards core…
He flew fairly slowly within the lightning sea. Given that the lightning sea was also quite vast, he flew for two full months. Although he encountered more than a hundred Ninehorn Lightning Serpents, not a single one of them touched him. One of them was so close that Ning was able to see it with the naked eye, but alas…with a swish, it flew past Ning without touching him. Ning frantically expanded his body to become ten thousand kilometers in size, but was still unable to touch it.
The serpent was simply too fast.
After flying for more than two months, Ning finally arrived at the core region of the lightning sea.
He spread out his heartsense. He was able to sense that a series of terrifyingly powerful ripples were emanating from the core; clearly, this was the wellspring of power for the lightning sea. There was a large number of Ninehorn Lightning Serpents around the wellspring as well. In this place, Ninehorn Lightning Serpents were far more common than in any other place. This was the reason why Ning had come here.
“As expected, there are no Myriad Thunders Godgems here.” However, Ning only felt excitement. “Now that I’ve finally arrived here, I can see that there are plenty of Ninehorn Lightning Serpents here. I should be able to touch one.”
Suddenly, an enormous serpentine tail brushed past Ning. It touched the divine tattoo of a snake egg within Ning’s body…and then, the entire enormous Ninehorn Lightning Serpent was completely drawn towards it. Its sentience caused it to choose to burrow straight inside Ning’s body. The titanic, massive serpent had actually completely burrowed itself within the divine body of the human-sized Ji Ning, entering the divine tattoo of a lightning serpent egg.
It was as though that divine tattoo had become its home.
Ning used his coresense to investigate the tattoo, only to see that the Ninehorn Lightning Serpent had lazily coiled around itself within the tattoo, seemingly asleep.
“I really wonder how the person who devised this technique was able to come up with this lightning serpent egg tattoo. Its capable of making Ninehorn Lightning Serpents behave like ordinary little serpents that are still asleep within the egg in such a docile manner.” Ning felt a surge of joy in his heart. He had accomplished his task; he had finally managed to capture a Ninehorn Lightning Serpent. However…Ning knew very well that it was the tattoo that kept the serpent docile and slumbering. He himself was completely unable to control it as of now.
If he wanted to control it, he’d have to tame it and transform it on a fundamental level. Only then would it truly become part of his evasion technique.
“Time to go.” Ning slowly began to fly towards the outside.
After spending three full months in flight, he finally flew out of the depths of the lightning sea, past the borders, and onto the Voidboat.
Within the Starseizing Manor.
Ning was seated in the lotus position within the main hall. Before him were seven black bottles. According to the records, taming a Ninehorn Lightning Serpent should only require six bottles, but Ning was worried about running out mid-way. Thus, he added an extra bottle.
“Ouch. Still…this divine ability will be worth it. Even the most supreme of existences in the Three Realms would want to acquire it. To trade six bottles of chaos nectar for it…worth it!” Ning closed his eyes, beginning to tame the serpent in accordance with the notes recorded regarding the technique.
Drops of chaos nectar began to fly out, each filled with extraordinary power. The drops burrowed their way into Ning’s body. Under Ning’s guidance, they flew straight towards the divine tattoo of a lightning serpent egg, then penetrated into the body of the Ninehorn Lightning Serpent. Once the chaos nectar entered its body, the serpent felt an incredibly comfortable sensation.
As this happened, a golden tattoo suddenly appeared as well. Ning had manifested it, and he sent the tattoo flying forward, imprinting it onto the serpent’s body.
One golden tattoo after another began to appear, landing on the serpent’s body nonstop. At the same time, drops of chaos nectar continued to flow into the serpent’s body. Because of the chaos nectar, the serpent felt incredibly relaxed and comfortable. Thus, it didn’t fight back at all. Otherwise…it would’ve been shocked and immediately fled the lightning serpent egg, at which point Ning would only be able to stare blankly.
Time flowed on.
Ning’s chaos nectar continued to be used up, and more and more divine golden tattoos appeared on the Ninehorn Lightning Serpent’s body. It slowly began to transform, becoming friendly towards Ning. In fact, Ning’s soul could vaguely sense its presence. It was a sensation akin to sensing his own spirit-beast. However, the sensation was still very weak as of now.
One bottle of chaos nectar after another continued to be used up…
The serpent grew increasingly gentle, and its violent, offensive power began to disappear.
“Whew.” Ning opened his eyes, revealing a smile.
He could sense the spiritual conection between himself and the Ninehorn Lightning Serpent that lay coiled within the lightning serpent egg inside his body. However, although the little serpent was sentient, its intelligence level was too low; all it had was a vague sense that Ning was the most important thing in the world to it.
“I really did use up six bottles of chaos nectar.” Ning took a look and did a tally. “In fact, a little bit of the sixth bottle is still left.”
Ning stood up within the empty region outside the lightning sea. With but a thought, he instantly caused the black lightning serpent to appear and swirl around his body. In fact, the little serpent even used its head to brush against Ning’s face in a very friendly manner.
Ning willed it, and swish! A streak of black light flashed, and Ning suddenly appeared far away. Then, with another flash of black light, Ning reappeared at his original position.
“With this divine ability…” Ning had a look of anticipation in his eyes. “Senior apprentice-sister, I’ll definitely force the Seamless Gate to let you come back.” Prior to this, his chances of successfully forcing the Seamless Gate to lower its head were quite low; all he could do was try his best for her sake. Now, however…Ning truly felt confident.