A short while later.
A stone titan was deep inside a giant pit, holding onto the edges of a giant crevice. The gray wind had dragged it inside here.
“Master, the wind is much weaker here,” the stone titan sent mentally.
“Yes.” Ji Ning let out a sigh of relief.
That had been far too dangerous.
Fortunately, he had taken on the stone golem as his servant. Otherwise, he probably would’ve lost his life just now!
“I wonder how my big brother is doing,” Ning mused to himself. “That blast of power was simply incredible. Even though the stone titan covered me and absorbed more than 90% of the force, I still suffered serious internal injuries and used up a great deal of divine power. Without it, I definitely would have died.”
Daolord Windsource’s protective spell was meant to kill other Samsara Daolords who were as powerful as he had been. It was ridiculously powerful! Just the collateral shockwave alone was enough to wipe out weaker Samsara Daolords!
Ning truly had been incredibly lucky!
The twelve islands themselves possessed strong defensive properties. The shockwave had first expended much of its power tearing apart the islands, then landed against the stone titan which had protected Ning, who was wearing a set of high grade Dao armor. All of these factors combined were why Ning managed to survive!
“Master, what should we do next?” The stone titan sent.
“Wait.” Ning sent mentally, “Let’s just wait here for my big brother to come.”
“We should be inside the Hundred Streams of the Windsource Formation,” the stone titan sent mentally. “I heard that there are many windbeasts located inside this formation, each of which has the power of a World-level expert. Once a large number of them surround us, we will be in grave danger.”
“I know.” Ning nodded. He had fought against the windbeasts before. “Don’t worry. If we just wait here quietly, it’ll be difficult for them to discover us.”
“Right,” the stone titan replied.
Time passed by slowly, one minute at a time.
Ning and the golem continued to wait within the deep abyss. “I have the talisman of welcome with me. Big brother can sense exactly where I am located. Why hasn’t he come to me yet?”
“Can it be that he…?”
A thought came to Ning’s mind. Had Daolord Solesky died?
Ning didn’t wish to believe it. Daolord Solesky had been incredibly powerful!
However, he couldn’t help but logically follow this train of thought. That last blast of power had been incredibly strong. Even the weaker shockwaves generated by it had been so strong as to wipe out all the islands. One could imagine how powerful the blast had been within the central island itself! It was entirely possible that Daolord Solesky had died in the face of such great power.
“He won’t die that easily.” Ning didn’t wish to believe it, and so he continued to wait quietly.
Ning grew more and more nervous, but he continued to wait silently.
Ning truly didn’t wish to believe it.
Suddenly, a rumbling sound could be heard from deep below them.
“Careful, Rocky.” Ning looked downwards. “It might be a windbeast.”
“A windbeast?” The stone titan was startled.
Ning felt a headache coming. He wasn’t afraid of one windbeast, but if an entire group of them attacked…
“It really is a windbeast!” Ning growled. Below them, at the very bottom of the deep abyss, he could vaguely make out the silvery-blue forms of three windbeasts. Ning instantly went on full alert...but then, he was confused. These three windbeasts were actually rolling forward.
“They…roll?” Ning was speechless.
A familiar figure suddenly appeared next to two of the rolling windbeasts, foot upraised to deliver a kick. A look of utter terror could be seen on the windbeasts’ faces.
“Ahaha, brother Ji Ning! I finally found you. I searched forever.” The figure was initially quite blurry, but it quickly appeared before Ning. It was the ragged, barefoot Daolord Solesky.
“Big brother!” Ning was delighted.
“I’m glad you are safe.” Daolord Solesky let out a sigh of relief. “The Hundred Streams of the Windsource Formation is filled with twists and turns. It really is a pain in the ass. I could sense you weren’t too far away, but I just couldn’t find the right path to you. I ended up moving farther and farther away from you! I had to spend a bit of time understanding this formation before I could find the correct tunnel.”
“All the twisting tunnels really pissed me off. I really wanted to wreck the entire damn thing, but in the end I managed to keep my temper down.” Daolord Solesky’s face was rather ashen. He waved his hand towards the nearby wall.
A giant illusory hand tore the wall open, carving out a small cave.
“I suffered a bit of an injury. I need to take a rest. We’ll leave later,” Daolord Solesky said.
“Of course. I’m in no rush,” Ning said. Ning understood that Daolord Solesky had probably rushed off to search for him without even taking the time to heal.
“This Daolord Windsource guy really is a dumbass. Even in death, he wanted to screw other people over.” Daolord Solesky entered the cave, then sat down in a rather frustrated, embarrassed manner. “Thank goodness this old man is pretty strong. Otherwise, this old man would’ve died just now.”
“Hurry up and heal,” Ning urged.
“Right.” Daolord Solesky nodded and closed his eyes.
Rumble. Rumble. Rumble. A series of illusory circles began to radiate out from Daolord Solesky, causing spacetime to twist and distort. The flow of time in the surrounding area began to speed up rapidly, making time in the area move roughly a hundred times faster than in the outside world. Streams of condensed chaos energy began to swirl around Daolord Solesky, transforming him into a black hole that devoured chaos energy.
“He’s absorbing energy from the primordial chaos even faster than I absorb energy from chaos jewels.” Ning was secretly speechless.
Nearly an entire year went by before the process came to a halt.
The streams of chaos energy vanished and spacetime in the cave went back to normal. Daolord Solesky opened his eyes. Nearly a year had gone by within the cave, while merely three days had gone by in the outside world.
“I’m fine now.” Daolord Solesky rose to his feet, a smug look on his face. “That Windsource idiot had to have spent a lot of time and effort setting up that nasty formation. A pity for him that this old man completely recovered after spending just three days.”
“Congratulations, big brother,” Ning said.
“Ahaha! Yes, I should indeed be congratulated. This journey of mine into the Windsource Ruins was a success.” Daolord Solesky looked at Ning. “How about you? Did you get that painting?”
“Yes, I acquired the sword-ki painting.” Ning nodded. “However, I can’t see anything special about it at all, aside from its aura of sword-ki.”
“Ahaha! You don’t get it. Hand it over to me, I’ll help you take a look at it,” Daolord Solesky said.
Ning waved his hand, causing the painting to appear.
Daolord Solesky accepted the painting, opening it and taking a look at it. He nodded slightly as he pointed at the mountains and rivers. “Artistically speaking, this painting really is hideous. Emperor Mirrorsnow clearly is terrible at painting, yet he still takes delight in it. If he spent just a bit of effort on the actual Dao of Painting, he would’ve immediately reached an incredibly high level of skill in painting and calligraphy. And yet, he refuses to actually train in it, instead insisting on treating it as his hobby.”
“Ning said, “That’s how hobbies work, I suppose. If he treated it as part of his cultivation, he would’ve no longer enjoyed it.”
“I suppose.” Daolord Solesky nodded. “Your words make sense. Anyhow, although this painting is quite unsightly, it definitely is as valuable as an Eternal weapon. Emperor Mirrorsnow succeeded in his Daomerge, after all. He became an ancient, eternal figure.
“A successful Daomerge means becoming eternal?” Ning was surprised.
“Yes. Eternal.” Daolord Solesky mused softly, a distant look in his eyes, “Truly eternal in every possible spacetime continuum. No matter how much time passes, they shall remain eternal and everlasting. This old man is just one step away from that level…but alas, this step is the hardest step of all.”
“Enough of that.” Daolord Solesky looked at Ning. “In short…I once had the opportunity to meet Emperor Mirrorsnow. However, roughly a thousand chaos cycles ago, Emperor Mirrorsnow departed and ventured off into unknown realms. The endless primordial chaos is simply too vast. As someone who had become a truly eternal figure, Emperor Mirrorsnow naturally would want to continue his journeys and see more things.”
“He was a fickle, restless man. He didn’t have the patience necessary to teach any disciples. However, before he left, he produced a total of forty sword-ki paintings,” Daolord Solesky said.
“Forty?” Ning was surprised. That many?
“Right.” Daolord Solesky nodded. “A total of ten sets of four paintings.”
“If you can collect an entire set and pass the trials he established within the paintings, you’ll be able to receive his legacy and become his personal disciple,” Daolord Solesky said. “Every single set can only be successfully used once, and so theoretically speaking he can take on a total of ten disciples at most.”
“But of course, Emperor Mirrorsnow scattered those forty paintings across many territories.” Daolord Solesky laughed. “To collect an entire set of four will be quite hard. This painting that you have is the third painting in the set.”
Ning immediately said, “But I didn’t discover any trials yet?”
“Haha…every single Mirrorsnow Painting actually holds an estate-world within it,” Daolord Solesky said. “Once you go inside it, you’ll be given a trial. If you master the relevant sword-art, you’ll have succeeded in passing the trial.”