When the two Ji Nings appeared in midair, the only one who wasn’t surprised was the demon king. He had learned from Snowfiend long ago that Ning had two clones, and this was actually the reason why he had given Ning the ‘special treatment’.
“Your clone has finally appeared.” The demon king laughed loudly. “I’ve been waiting quite a while.”
Whoosh! He charged straight towards Ning.
One of the Nings flew straight towards him with [Three Heads, Six Arms] activated. Six streaks of sword-light lashed out as this Ning engaged the demon king in close combat. As for the other Ning, the Ning who had just appeared…a total of 729 top-grade Pure Yang swords appeared around him, slowly undulating up and down. His Pure Yang energy, far more pure and powerful than the energy of the True Immortals of the Three Realms, flowed outwards through his body, filling each and every one of those Immortal swords.
Ning’s energy was simply too pure. The solidified energy sword that was created by the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation] was thus improved dramatically as well. All of the energy from the many swords levitating around Ning flowed towards his chest, merging into a single jade sword that appeared before him.
“Eh?” The demon king, who had just knocked aside the other Ning, suddenly felt a feeling of shock in his heart. He turned to take a look and saw the jade sword. He immediately sensed an invisible aura of menace coming from that sword, causing him to feel stunned. “That flying sword actually makes me feel as though I’m in danger. How can this be? How can he be so powerful?”
“That flying sword…”
“The power of that sword-formation…”
The lesser demons, the demon generals, Feiyou and the rest of the Empyrean Gods…everyone last one of them was stunned. There was no way to suppress or retract the aura of a sword-formation, and the jade sword was the crystallized essence of sword-ki itself; waves of power emanated outwards from it! This caused all of the demons and Empyrean Gods to feel a nameless fear.
Ji Ning…had already reached a qualitatively higher level of existence than they had.
“Go!” Ning pointed. Whoosh! The jade sword left behind a solitary, arcing scar in the skies. It transformed into a crescent streak, and the jade sword, covered by black sword-light, turned to strike at the demon king. All of the demons and Empyrean Gods present could sense the solitary, desolate beauty of the crescent streak…and could also sense the terror that it brought.
Ning had both fourth-stage swordforce and fourth-stage heartforce, and both gave him power comparable to the most supreme of Empyrean Gods. Ning’s [Starseizing Hand] also gave him power that was close to that of a supreme Empyrean God by itself. And prior to his Jindan evolving, when Ning used 729 top-grade Pure Yang swords in the ninth-level of the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation] formation, he similarly was capable of unleashing power that could only be matched by the most supreme of Empyrean Gods and True Immortals.
Fourth-stage swordforce, fourth-stage heartforce, the [Starseizing Hand], and the ninth level of the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation]; all of them were on the same level. Although the [Starseizing Hand] and the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation] were slightly weaker by comparison, they were still on the same general level as the other two.
Now that Ning’s Jindan had begun to evolve, his Pure Yang energy had become tens of times purer than before. Without any question, the jade sword formed through the crystallization of this pure energy via the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation] was now tens of times more powerful than before as well! It had already surpassed the apex of power possible Empyrean Gods; it had stepped into the Daofather level! In fact, in power and presence alone, it was a bit more powerful than Redsnow’s ‘Seven Planets God’ or even Sword Immortal Evergreen’s Daofather golem! It was comparable to Ning using the perfect Heaven Punisher!
“Fast!” The demon king’s face changed dramatically.
The jade sword shot towards him at incredible speed. After Ning’s energy had been upgraded and purified, his jade sword’s speed had been greatly enhanced as well. The demon king hurriedly brandished his longstaff, seeking to block…but the jade sword covered by black sword-light was quite bizarre. It slashed out in a strange, ghostly manner, arcing past the longstaff and scraping through the demon king’s body.
The demon king, longstaff in hand, just stood there blankly. And then, his body began to fall apart. He had already been bisected by that sword attack.
The demon king’s bisected body quickly reformed, but he still stared blankly at Ning. In fact, the entire battlefield turned completely silent. Those frantically attacking lesser demons and demon commanders had come to a halt as well. They all raised their heads, staring at their demon king in disbelief. They also stared at the white-robed youth who was surrounded by a countless cluster of levitating swords.
The nine Empyrean Gods raised their heads to stare at Ning as well.
“Darknorth…” They all felt stunned.
The Seven Dragon Gods and the many other Empyrean Gods off in the distance were all completely dazed as well. They were only able to watch, not fight…and they all stared at the white-robed youth.
“We lost. I lost.” The demon king looked at the two Ji Nings. One of them vanished, leaving behind the other one.
The attack of the demon army could indeed be described as a calamity or as a tribulation. To survive it, there were two options. The first was to endure for long enough and wait for the demon king to order the retreat. The second was to slay the demon king; in this case as well, the demon army would disperse.
However, during all of the previous tribulations, they had relied on the first method to succeed. They had supported each other and had managed to endure the deadly calamity with difficulty. Normally, one or two Empyrean Gods would die. This was because so long as a single one died, the demon army would slowly begin to lower the pace and power of its assaults. The creator of Undermoon Lake’s goal was to temper Empyrean Gods, after all, not to wipe all of them out.
In the past, they had relied on the first method…but this time, Ning had slain the demon king!
“Empyrean God Darknorth. Ji Ning.” The demon king looked at Ning. “After entering Undermoon Lake, you made it all the way here in one try…and, from what I can tell, even the countless demons under my command who guard the ‘Demon Icepass’ won’t be able to hold you off for long. You should already have the power to make it to the fourth island. After you make it there, the only one you have to worry about is the final guardian. Your talent and your power is far superior to Jueming’s; there is a very high chance that you will be able to survive and depart from Undermoon Lake.”
“Work hard, young man.” The demon king looked at Ning, a deep, long smile on his face. “When you reach the fifth island…you’ll find a surprise in store for you.”
“Children, let’s go!” The demon king turned and left. The demon commanders and lesser demons all whistled through the air after him, but as they left quite a few gave Ning curious glances.
The demon army had come like a tidalwave. Now, they receded like the waves as well.
Eastvoid and Zhenbu let out sighs of relief, but they were still frightened as they thought back to what had nearly happened. The other Empyrean Gods all landed on the ground as well.
“Darknorth.” Eastvoid walked over, a smile on his face. “Thank you. You saved my life.”
“And mine as well.” Zhenbu also grinned, then patted Ning on the shoulders.
“Darknorth, I am in complete awe of you now.”
The nine Empyrean Gods had previously viewed Ning as someone on their level, but now they were filled with the utmost of admiration towards Ning. It must be understood that Redsnow’s ‘Seven Planets God’ or Ning’s ‘Rahu God’ and ‘Heaven Punisher’ all primarily relied on the power of a formation, on the combined energy of many other Immortals and Fiendgods. Only then were they capable of getting close to the Daofather level of power.
Ever since Pangu established Heaven and Earth, there were extremely, extremely few Empyrean Gods and True Immortals who were able to reach that level of power on their own. They could be counted on one hand! Every single one was truly a favored son of the heavens. But of course, the only Empyrean God who had ever actually slain a True God or Daofather had been Houyi.
However, aside from the unequalled Houyi, Ning now stood at the absolute pinnacle amongst the countless Empyrean Gods of the Three Realms!
Within the private room inside the Immortal estate. A white-robed Ning appeared out of nowhere, immediately levitating into midair to continue training in the [Icefire Jindan Smelting] technique. Slowly, the giant formation of golden light appeared below him, as did the formation of black light above him. The red-jade gourd and the green-jade gourd once more released Ninefire Lava and Iceheart Pith, and Ning once more began to slowly refine his Jindan.
His Pure Yang Jindan had yet to be upgraded to the limit.
After this battle, Myriad Mountains Island once more became calm and tranquil. Both of Ning’s bodies focused on upgrading their Pure Yang Jindans to the second tier. By the time both of them had reached their maximum potential, more than a month and a half had passed since the demon army’s attack.
“I plan to head to the fourth island,” Ning said. “Prior to this, the demon king spoke of the ‘countless demons guarding Demon Icepass’. What’s this all about?”
Upon hearing his words, the other nine Empyrean Gods all laughed.
“So you are finally heading out?”
“Given your power, Ji Ning, it is indeed true that you have a chance of traversing Demon Icepass.”
“We’ve been waiting for you to say these words for a long time now.”
All of them laughed as they spoke. Feiyou hefted his gourd of wine, then said, “On the other side of Myriad Mountains Island is yet another floating wooden bridge. This floating wooden bridge passes through an endless chasm of ice, which has countless demons hidden within it. The number of demons in that place are far more than the number you saw in the demon army that attacked. What you need to do is continuously fight your way through them, to do your best to wipe them all out. You have to fight for a hundred years. After doing so, the demon king will decide whether or not you are qualified to enter the fourth island, based on how many demons you have slain.”
“Fight for a hundred years?” Ning was surprised. The last three times, he merely had to defeat the respective guardians. But this challenge, the fourth challenge, actually required him to battle for a hundred years?”