Ji Ning understood that the person who left behind this sort of sword-arts was powerful enough to, even in death, have complete control over whether or not Ning would live or die here. Thus, Ning didn’t hesitate. He walked straight towards the jade shrine at the end of the stairways through the Void.
The jade shrine was as beautiful as beautiful could be.
The shrine’s walls were made out of jade, possessing a semi-translucent quality about them. Just drawing near the walls of the jade shrine made Ning feel peaceful at heart.
“This shrine…” Ning swept it with his gaze as he entered. The shrine had almost nothing inside it, much like the last one.
At the very center of the shrine, there hovered a prayer mat that glowed with golden light. Far in front of the prayer mat lay an ancient, unadorned stone dais that had a slender sword atop it. The sword was three feet long but just one inch wide. This sword was completely blood-red in color, and its surface was covered with many cracks and scars. The cracks and scars covered every inch of the surface of the sword, making it look as though the sword might completely shatter at any moment. In fact, there were three particularly noticeable chunks missing from the edge of the sword.
This was a sword that was so badly damaged, it looked as though it was going to fall apart at any moment. But the sword…the sword was the source of the aura that filled the entire shrine! When Ning looked at the sword, he felt even more pressure than he did when he gazed upon Human Sovereign Fuxi. Without any question, this was a sword that vastly surpassed any Protocosmic spirit-treasure.
“A Chaos treasure?” Ning momentarily became quite excited, but moments later he frowned. “Even if it is a Chaos treasure, this sword…it’s been damaged to an incredible extent.”
After inspecting the place for a long time, Ning noticed that the prayer mat of golden light was woven from a Chaos ingredient known as winterheart grass. Similar types of prayer mats existed in the Three Realms, and those who sat upon it would feel their hearts becalmed. But in terms of price, it was merely comparable to a Protocosmic spirit-treasure. To someone like Ning, who had all the treasures of Prisonworld 17 in his hands, it really wasn’t that important.
“This is a mysterious place. It has a long staircase leading through the Void with a shrine at the end of it, and the shrine seems built to house and venerate a sword that’s almost been destroyed.” Ning was secretly puzzled.
The only items in the entire shrine were the prayer mat, the stone dais, and the divine sword. Neither the prayer mat nor the stone dais were particular special. Although the sword had an utterly shocking aura, it was unspeakably damaged.
As Ning was still pondering how to further investigate this shrine with care, a ripple of power suddenly flew out from the sword, landed on the ground, and transformed into a golden-armored female general. The golden armor was covered with many blood-colored patterns.
“Empyrean God Darknorth…Ji Ning?” The golden-armored warlady looked at Ning and spoke out.
“You are…?” Ning instantly understood. Since this person knew his name, she was probably the one who arranged for him to come here.
“I am the sword-spirit of ‘Violetjewel’, the divine sword that was wielded by World God Northrest.” The golden-armored warlady pointed at the tattered-looking sword. “That’s Violetjewel right there. You may address me as ‘sword-spirit’.”
This golden-armored woman was just the spirit of the treasure.
“You should have been sent out of Undermoon Lake, but I arranged for you to be led here instead,” the warlady said.
“What is this place?” Ning asked.
“This is still Undermoon Lake,” the golden-armored warlady said. “However, it is an independent, stand-alone dimension within Undermoon Lake. Before you entered, no one aside from myself knew that it existed.”
Ning was puzzled. “Are you saying that Reverend Jueming wasn’t allowed in here either?”
“Right. You are the only living person who has entered since Master died,” the warlady said.
“Then why did you bring me in here?” Ning was growing increasingly puzzled.
“Because of the [Five Treasures] sword-art,” the warlady said.
“The [Five Treasures]?” Ning was startled. “Are you keeping a constant watch on the actions of the Empyrean Gods within Undermoon Lake? Is that how you learned of the [Five Treasures]?”
The golden-armored warlady revealed a hint of a smile. This caused Ning to feel surprised and even a bit dazzled. Previously, she had maintained an emotionless look on her face. Her smile, however, was like the blooming of a flower.
“It was my master who created the [Five Treasures]. How could I not know of it?” The smile on the warlady’s face had a hint of pride to it.
“Your master created it?” Ning was stunned. Right. Although Daofather Fuju had claimed to others in the Three Realms that he was the one to create it, after soulscouring the memories of the prisoners of Prisonworld 17, Ning had come to understand how truly impressive it was for a sword-art to exceed the limits of the Heavenly Daos. It definitely wasn’t something that the likes of a Daofather such as Fuju would’ve been able to create. So…it had actually been created by World God Northrest.
However, Ning was puzzled as well. “Even prior to ‘developing’ the [Five Treasures], Daofather Fuju had been a elite Daofather. Given his power and ability, why would he need to lie? Did he lie to keep some sort of secret hidden?”
“Do you know Daofather Fuju?” Ning asked.
Daofather Fuju’s death was a mystery. Countless major powers in the Three Realms had wished to investigate it and understand it, but none had been able to discover anything.
“Daofather Fuju?” The golden-armored warlady blinked. She then looked at Ning with a smile on her face that wasn’t really a smile. “Of course. After you listen to what I say, you’ll understand.”
“Speak.” Ning nodded.
“Many years ago, the shattered remnants of my master’s soul borrowed from the power of Violetjewel in order to frantically flee, eventually arriving within your Three Realms. Upon reaching this place, he was no longer able to flee any further. Oh; back then, your ‘Three Realms’ didn’t exist. It was still the Primordial Era, so the world was the Pangu Chaosworld back then,” the warlady said.
“Fortunately, Master had fled so frantically that those three Wujiao Godbeasts were unable to catch up to him. Upon arriving, Master could sense that there was an Elder God in the Three Realms who could potentially pose a threat to him…the person you all refer to as Mother Nuwa! Although back then she was still just an Elder God, she had already reached the very peak of power possible for an Elder God. She was far more powerful than the other Elder Gods back during the Primordial Era, so powerful that even Master felt a faint sense of danger emanating from her. If they really were to go all-out in a fight…it’s hard to say if he would’ve been able to slay Nuwa, but he himself definitely would’ve died.”
Ning continued to listen with curiosity.
“If Master was at full power, he wouldn’t have worried about Nuwa at all, of course. But back then, he had only a tiny shred of his soul left! Although he would still be able to unleash the power of a World God, he wouldn’t be able to sustain it for long; naturally, he didn’t wish to take the risk of battling Nuwa. Thus, Master created this world, Undermoon Lake, within the vast primordial chaos.”
The golden-armored warlady continued, “Master’s injuries were simply too heavy. His divine body had completely crumbled apart, and he had only a shred of his soul left. Even his truesoul was beginning to break apart. The only thing Master could do was to slow the rate at which his truesoul was disintegrating, because once it completely broke apart he would’ve died.”
“Master established Undermoon Lake for the purpose of enticing Empyrean Gods to come to this place. He didn’t want to let those three Godbeasts continue to live carefree lives, to let them get away with what they had done. Thus, he wanted to arrange for someone to go deliver a message to Vastheaven Palace.”
“Master wasn’t going to be able to live long enough to deliver the message himself. He had to train someone else, an Empyrean God, to do it for him.”
“Eventually, one day…Daofather Fuju wandered into the primordial chaos and was discovered by my master. And so…my master took possession of his body,” the golden-armored warlady said.
Ning’s eyes widened as he stared at her.
“P-possessed?” He was completely stunned.
“Right.” The golden-armored warlady nodded. “After establishing Undermoon Lake, Master’s top priority was slowing the speed at which his truesoul decayed, or perhaps even stop and reverse the process! Master still wanted to live, after all, and so he came up with a method to use the physical body to nourish the truesoul. Upon wandering the primordial chaos, he just so happened to run into Daofather Fuju.”
“Master wouldn’t have been confident in his chances of possessing Nuwa, but Daofather Fuju…he was nothing more than an ordinary Daofather. Master was naturally able to possess him with ease.”
“After possessing him, Master entered the Pangu Chaosworld. He revealed just a bit of his power, showing off fifth-stage swordforce, resulting in his status within the Pangu Chaosworld skyrocketing,” the golden-armored warlady explained.
Ning felt a twinge of fear. So even back during the Primordial Era, Daofather Fuju had been possessed.
“Master had no desire to teach any students; all he cared about was coming up with a way that would halt the collapse of his truesoul, and perhaps even heal it. But…no matter what he tried, no matter how much effort he expended, he was unable to stop his truesoul from crumbling. He was only able to rely on the energy of his fleshly body to slow the rate of decay. Thus, during the war that destroyed the Primordial Era, Master didn’t really try all that hard, precisely because he didn’t want to get into a serious fight with tough experts like the Lord of All Things, the Lord of the Demonheart, or the Lord of All Fiends. If he did, he would’ve died even faster.”
Finally, Ning understood.
No wonder. No wonder Daofather Fuju was the undisputed number one Sword Immortal of the Three Realms, but was quite ineffective in teaching disciples, producing not even a single powerful student. By contrast, the likes of Old Man Yuan and Daofather Subhuti had multiple students who became Daofathers. So it was all because World God Northrest had no real interest in teaching disciples at all.
“The Primordial Era ended. The Three Realms were born.” The golden-armored warlady continued. “Master finally gave up. He understood that there was no way he could prevent his truesoul from disintegrating. And so, prior to his death, he made the final arrangements.”
“He left behind five mountain peaks within Sword Immortal world, then left behind the complete [Five Treasures] within those mountain peaks, all for the sake of training a successor, someone who could go and send a message to Vastheaven Palace for him, or perhaps even take revenge on his behalf,” the golden-armored warlady said. “Master was a Fiendgod refiner, and so he required that his successor be a Fiendgod refiner as well. Back then, Master didn’t really care if his successor was an Empyrean God or a True God. Any Fiendgod refiner who mastered the [Five Treasures] would be allowed into the fifth mountain…and in truth, the so-called ‘legacy’ within the fifth mountain was actually a spatial corridor that led to this place.”
Ning was stunned. So the fifth mountain led to this place?
“Master understood that few-to-no Empyrean Gods who were truly, outstandingly talented would elect to enter Undermoon Lake, which was why he left behind the fifth mountain and allowed all of the geniuses of the Three Realms to view it,” the golden-armored warlady said. “Master wished to find a good successor.”
“He left behind the [Five Treasures] and the five mountains, then left. All by himself, he entered the primordial chaos to wait for death to come to him. His truesoul completed its disintegration…and Master died a true death.”
Ning couldn’t help but sigh upon hearing this. An almighty World God had struggled and fled, unwilling to give up…but in the end, there had been nothing he could do. And so, he had left behind the [Five Treasures] and other things, then peacefully went to wait for death to descend.
“No wonder Daofather Fuju’s body was discovered in the primordial chaos, but it was impossible to tell how or why he had died.” Ning sighed. Such a powerful figure had died, just like that…and Fuju himself had been possessed during the Primordial Era.
This was indeed a mystery that was impossible for the Three Realms to solve.
If this golden-armored warlady hadn’t exposed it all, who would’ve found out? Not even Mother Nuwa would’ve been able to find out.
“And so, after countless years…you’ve arrived.” The golden-armored warlady looked at Ning.