Ji Ning secretly sighed to himself. So the items of those he killed belonged to him? Clearly, Undermoon Lake didn’t forbid internecine warfare. Perhaps this sort of internal struggle was an even more grueling and cruel form of tempering for the survivors. In truth, the sea yaksha alone had slain thousands of Empyrean Gods. From this, one could tell that Undermoon Lake’s process of selection was innately brutal to begin with.
Ning followed the silver-haired man forward through the fifth island, Moonfall Island.
Moonfall Island emanated an aura of shockingly great age.
The other four islands were all quite ordinary, but Ning had the sense that this island was different. It seemed as though this island contained an inconceivable type of power within it that was easily capable of obliterating him.
“The major power who created Undermoon Lake…he went through tremendous effort to select and train Empyrean Gods. Why?” Ning mused to himself, “Does he merely want to temper us, then release us? Not very likely. There has to be an important reason behind it all. Mmm…let me go to the final area first. I’ll be able to leave afterwards, which means that this final area will make everything clear.”
Moments later, Ning and the silver-haired man winded their way through a mountain path, arriving at the mountain peak. At the very top of this peak was a palace that was built from seemingly ordinary-looking rocks.
“This is Moonfall Shrine.” The silver-haired man pointed towards the shrine before them. It looked ordinary; in fact, it looked rather old, ragged, and in bad shape. However, despite it’s seemingly poor condition, it was actually the heart of the entire Moonfall Island.
In front of the shrine, there was a stone tablet that shone with golden light.
“Move all of the Empyrean Gods you brought with you to this place,” the silver-haired man instructed.
“Alright.” Ning nodded, then willed it. Instantly, a large group of figures appeared around him. It was the two hundred-plus Empyrean Gods. Sin, Sealthroat, the Seven Dragon Gods, and the rest all stared curiously around them. Quite a few of them revealed looks of surprise and joy.
“This isn’t Kilostar Island.”
“This is a new island.”
“This has to be the fifth island. We are going to leave! We’ll be able to leave!”
The Empyrean Gods instantly grew excited. They also noticed Darknorth and the silver-haired man.
“Darknorth, this is the fifth island, right?” One of the Empyrean Gods called out to him, and the others all looked towards him as well.
Ning smiled and nodded. “This is the fifth island, Moonfall Island.”
“Darknorth, in the future, if there’s anything you need, just say the word. Even if it costs me my life, I won’t shy back!”
“Darknorth, some thanks cannot be expressed with words.”
The Empyrean Gods were all quite excited. Some of them were actually crying. To them, it was as though Ning had given them a second life. All of them were Empyrean Gods…they would naturally remember the debts they owed others. If Ning asked them to help in the future and they refused, it would negatively impact their Dao-hearts. Only a small number of truly demonic, fiendish figures were capable of ignoring the debts they owed others without having their Dao-hearts being affected at all.
“Enough,” the silver-haired man said calmly.
A surge of invisible power swept out from the shrine. It was like an invisible palm that slapped down upon the bodies of the Empyrean Gods. All of them were flattened into the ground, with only Ning being unaffected.
Ning stared at this scene, stupefied. The Empyrean Gods were completely scared senseless as well. This was two terrifying! There were more than two hundred of them, but they had been smacked into the ground without being able to resist at all…and this was not simply a forceful strike of raw power.
If it was a forceful strike of raw power, the Empyrean Gods would have been drilled into the ground like nails, leaving behind deep holes. But instead, all of them were knocked prone, face-down into the ground. Clearly, in that moment, they were as weak as mortals against this sort of power.
“The major power who created Undermoon Lake truly was formidable. His abilities are beyond what I can imagine,” Ning mused to himself.
“The only reason you are able to leave is because you followed Darknorth,” the silver-haired man said calmly. “Now…each of you shall go one-by-one and place your palms atop the golden stone tablet.”
“Yes.” “Yes.” “Yes…”
Moments ago, the Empyrean Gods had all been extremely excited. But now, they were all incredibly nervous and cautious, not daring to act rashly for fear of losing their lives.
Empyrean God Sin was at the very front, and so he was the first to step forward and press his hand against the golden stone tablet. In the instant that he did so, his body completely froze and became unmoving. This sight caused all the Empyrean Gods to grow nervous. Ning, upon seeing this, became nervous as well…but worrying was of no use. The aura emitting from the shrine alone was enough to effortlessly murder him.
The silver-haired man gave Ning a glance. He could sense Ning’s worry, and so he said calmly, “Don’t worry. He’s fine.”
After roughly ten breaths worth of time, Sin finally regained consciousness. He retracted his palm, a look of disbelief flashing over his face as he stared at the golden stone tablet.
“Beat it!” The silver-haired man snapped.
Sin finally came back to his senses and hurriedly stepped back.
“Next!” The silver-haired man instructed.
Although the other Empyrean Gods were quite uneasy, they had no choice but to go forward. Sin said to them, “It’s fine. There’s no danger.” Only then did the Empyrean Gods feel slightly less nervous.
Every single Empyrean God went forward in turn, pressing their hands on the stone tablet. Each of them froze for ten seconds before regaining consciousness.
After a long period of time passed, all of the Empyrean Gods finished touching the golden stone tablet.
“Put them all away.” The silver-haired man looked towards Ning. Upon hearing his words, Sin and the others let out sighs of relief. Ning waved his hand, once more drawing the Empyrean Gods into his Immortal estate.
“Darknorth, you go as well. Place your hand atop the tablet,” the silver-haired man said.
Ning walked forward, gently resting his hand against the golden stone tablet.
A surge of invisible power filled his mind and his soul.
“I swear on my very life itself…” No longer under his control, Ning’s soul began to swear an oath on its own. However, Ning remained fully aware of what was happening.
This…this was a lifeblood oath!
Life oaths were very complicated. Not just anyone could simply speak a life oath. For example, in the Three Realms, there were no major powers who could force themselves to swear lifeblood oaths! Generally speaking, only Chaos Immortals and World Gods would perhaps be capable of voluntarily making themselves swear lifeblood oaths. Aside from them, all others would need to rely on special objects.
In the chaos-kingdom of Pangaea, the largest clans and sects would generally have a treasure similar to this golden stone tablet, which would be used to force the sect disciples to involuntarily swear lifeblood oaths.
Once a lifeblood oath was sworn, there would be no way for the oath-swearer to divulge any secrets that he was sworn to secrecy about.
For example, when Ning tried to soulscour some of them, he discovered that some of their thought-bubbles with divine abilities and techniques within them were covered by countless complicated runes. There was simply no way to see inside those memories.
There was no way to violate a lifeblood oath whatsoever!
Ning came back to his senses, then stared at the golden stone tablet. He said softly, “No wonder Buddha Jueming only gave a bit of information regarding some of the treasures, but was completely silent regarding Undermoon Lake. So it was due to this lifeblood oath.”
Lifeblood oaths could be used to strictly restrict any and all information from being spread about something.
As for items like Iceheart Leafs, they weren’t unique to Undermoon Lake. They existed in the outside world as well, which was why it was permitted to discuss them.
“After you leave, you won’t be able to discuss most things pertaining to Undermoon Lake, but you will be permitted to recommend that more Empyrean Gods enter,” the silver-haired man said.
“More enter?” Ning secretly shook his head. Impossible. The chances of surviving Undermoon Lake were far too low. This sort of ‘training’ and ‘tempering’ was utterly terrifying, despite its effectiveness. Ning had indeed made it out alive, but he didn’t feel confident that others would be able to similarly survive it. In addition, the Three Realms were facing a major calamity; hundreds of Empyrean Gods and True Immortals, when joined together into a formation, were as strong as a Daofather! At a time like this, there was no way he would possibly work to convince more Empyrean Gods to enter this place.
“Alright. Enter the shrine,” the silver-haired man said with a smile. “After you leave it, I’ll deliver you away from Undermoon Lake.”
“Alright.” Ning immediately walked towards it.
The shrine was ancient and tattered, but the aura of power it had emanated earlier had made Ning understand that it wasn’t as simple as it looked.
He stepped through the doorway.
“Eh?” Upon entering, Ning swept the place with his gaze. This shrine truly was too simple and plain. It was completely empty, with almost nothing inside it. There were stone pillars and stone walls, but no decorations or furnishings of any kind. The shrine was just a few hundred meters long, and he was able to see every corner of it clearly.
Suddenly, a blurry, deep azure light emerged from every part of the shrine. Every single rock emanated this aura of deep azure light, and the countless rays of light swirled around Ning’s body. Soon, a ‘cocoon’ of deep azure light had appeared within the shrine.
The silver-haired man watched quietly from outside. A hint of a smile appeared on his face as he murmured softly to himself, “I hope you won’t disappoint Master.”