The Badlands Court. Flower petals could be seen everywhere, drifting to and fro.
Daolord Badlands and his wife were seated opposite a cyclopean man with a single horn on his head.
“I didn’t expect that you would be assigned to personally escort this mission, big brother Fusu.” Daolord Badlands smiled as he spoke.
“I was planning to visit the Triclopean Thundersea anyhow, which was why the Dao Alliance asked me to help escort these treasures.” Daolord Fusu smiled. “The treasures you requested included the [Golden Idol] divine ability, a few Eternal weapons that are merely middle-grade, and the Mirrorsnow Painting. I imagine you must be purchasing them for one of your disciples, yes? You know, you really should make them go out and seek their fortunes. No matter how much you favor a disciple, you can’t spoil him to this extent.”
“Big brother Fusu, you think too highly of me. How could I possibly be willing to spend this much money just to help one disciple?” Daolord Badlands shook his head. “You’ll have to forgive me for not being at liberty to disclose the reason why I have requested these items.”
“Oh…” Daolord Fusu dropped this line of conversation. He let out a laugh. “Oh, right. I heard that old man Solesky of Vastheaven Palace has begun to furiously scour the realms for important treasures. He’ll be planning to start his Daomerge soon. I heard that he’s actually come to your Badlands Territory. He probably went to Waveshift Realm, right?”
“Yes.” Daolord Badlands nodded. This was no secret. Many Samsara Daolords had already guessed at the truth, and a little bit of divination would be enough to show that this very likely the case.
“That old fellow is finally willing to start his Daomerge.” Daolord Fusu let out a sigh. “Still, it makes sense. Their Vastheaven Palace has just given birth to a new Samsara Daolord, and Daolord Warlord has reached the fourth step as well. Even if old man Solesky fails his Daomerge, he’ll still be able to protect Vastheaven Palace for a period of time before he perishes and his Dao vanishes. Vastheaven Palace will be able to grow considerably more powerful during this timeframe.”
Daolord Badlands nodded slowly. When one failed in the Daomerge, one’s truesoul would slowly begin to dissipate. However, given how formidable Daolords who were at the Verge of the Daomerge generally were, it would generally take an extremely long period of time for the truesoul to actually crumble away. It must be understood that even World God Northrest was able to endure for nearly a full chaos cycle before he truly died from the crumbling of his truesoul. Those ancient powers who were at the Verge would be able to last much longer.
But of course, if they went crazy and started attacking everyone around them, they would die much more quickly. Still… Daolords who had failed their Daomerge were destined to die, which make them incredibly fearsome foes to face. Some would engage in wild massacres and do things which they normally wouldn’t have dared to do, for whatever reason. Who would dare to antagonize madmen like them?
“I envy him. I wonder how long it will be before I, too, can set my burdens aside and go to my Daomerge?” Daolord Fusu sighed. “My entire race’s prosperity rests upon my shoulders. Although my race does have another Samsara Daolord, he’s still at the first step despite an entire chaos cycle having gone by since his ascension. He still hasn’t been able to reach the second step. I fear that his potential is limited and that he won’t have the power to protect our race.”
“Big brother Fusu, perhaps you will make a sudden breakthrough that will allow you to naturally and easily succeed in your Daomerge. When that happens, you will gain eternity,” Daolord Badlands said.
“Gain eternity? The number of Eternal Emperors in the entire Dao Alliance can be counted on two hands.” Daolord Fusu shook his head. “Enough of that. Let me give you the treasures which I escorted here. The price the Dao Alliance requested was a total of 1.81 million cubes of chaos nectar.”
“1.81 million cubes?” Daolord Badlands nodded. Chaos nectar instantly began to flow out of his estate-world, automatically separating themselves into a total of 1.81 million cubes before flying towards Daolord Fusu.
Daolord Fusu left that very day as he headed off to the Triclopean Thundersea.
Late that night, Daolord Badlands paid a personal visit to the Water Curtain Home to visit Ji Ning.
“Daolord.” Ning was shocked. “Daolord, if there’s anything you need, all you had to do was have someone send word to me.”
“I’ve pretty much finished the process of finding those treasures you sought,” Daolord Badlands said. “I have the [Golden Idol], an Elementum Waterflame Gourd, and five Violetjewels. The Mirrorsnow Paintings were a bit harder to find, as very few are willing to sell them once acquired. I was only able to buy a copy of the second painting for you.”
“That’s more than enough!” Ning said hurriedly.
Ning had predicted early on that most Violetjewels had probably fallen into the hands of Samsara Daolords. To them, being able to sell a middle-grade Eternal weapon for nearly two hundred thousand cubes of chaos nectar was an absolutely wonderful bargain. They would easily be able to purchase another powerful sword as well as other treasures they needed. Ning wasn’t surprised at all that they had been able to find the five copies that he needed.
Alas, the Mirrorsnow Painting was different. It was generally in the hands of World-level cultivators, and to those cultivators the paintings represented a priceless opportunity. Very few would be willing to sell off an opportunity to become a personal disciple of an Eternal Emperor. In fact, the Dao Alliance wasn’t even sure as to who was in possession of most of the paintings, as most World-level cultivators would keep their ownership secret.
“If we just round it off, the total cost is roughly 1.8 million cubes,” Daolord Badlands said. “I already gave you a million cubes previously. Let me give you another two hundred thousand cubes now, as well as these treasures.”
As Daolord Badlands spoke, he handed Ning a smooth disc of jade that held an estate-world within it.
“Thank you, senior.” Ning was very grateful.
The [Golden Idol] had cost two hundred thousand cubes while the Elementum Waterflame Gourd had cost five hundred thousand cubes. Daolord Badlands had been very clear about the price of these items, and so the total cost was around seven hundred thousand cubes.
In other words, the Mirrorsnow Painting and the five Violetjewels cost a total of 1.1 million cubes. Ning was actually quite happy with this price. Honestly, even if Daolord Badlands upped the cost a little bit, Ning wouldn’t have been able to find out.
Within a private study. The six Violetjewels were all placed atop a desk, and they each emanated absolutely identical auras of sharpness and bloodlust.
“Six Violetjewels.” Ning nodded slightly. They would be of enormous use to him and make him stronger. “With these six swords, I’ll be several times more powerful than I currently am. I should be able to give a decent fight to a Samsara Daolord of the First Step. Even if I can’t beat them, I should still be strong enough to escape.”
When Ning had battled against the fisherman in the third estate-world of the Mirrorsnow Painting, he had eventually been unable to defend against the fisherman’s rod.
However, Ning knew that one of the main reasons for this was that he had only been using a single sword. If he had six swords… it could be said that he could defend against even sixteen swords, preventing them from landing attacks upon him.
With just a single sword, Ning had been able to create an almost airtight defense. With six swords working in unison, it would be as though he was surrounded and protected by enormous bucklers. Given Ning’s absolute control over the Soleheart stance, he would have no flaws in his defenses at all.
“The Elementum Waterflame Gourd.” A gourd suddenly appeared out of nowhere in front of Ning. This was a red-black gourd which saw black lines intertwining and mixing together with red lines on the surface of the gourd, making it look mysterious and beautiful.
After Ning bound the treasure, he was immediately able to sense the explosive, terrifying power of the Dao lightning within it. The two types of Dao lightning within the gourd were the Watersmoke Lightning and the Firecloud Lightning. Both were filled with absolute savagery, and it made sense. All lightning was explosive and aggressive by nature, making them incredibly difficult to control.”
“It really will be thousands of times more difficult to refine them than the chaos lightning.” Ning couldn’t help but sigh to himself.
“Let me take a look at the lower portion of the [Golden Idol].” Ning picked up a jade slip then sent his divine power into it. He could immediately sense the lifeblood oath covering the technique, as well as the various rules and regulations which the Dao Alliance had set down. Ning carefully read through everything. Once he decided there were no problems, he immediately swore the oath.
Instantly, the information regarding the lower portion of the [Golden Idol] began to fill Ning’s mind…
Three days later.
“You are going to leave?” Daolord Badlands looked at Ning, who had come to pay respects to him.
“This junior needs to return to Vastheaven Palace,” Ning said. “I regret having disturbed you so often in recent days, Daolord. This junior will definitely remember all the assistance you provided.”
“Mm. Sooner or later, you do indeed have to return to Vastheaven Palace. However, to go from my Badlands Territory to the Vastheaven Territory is an extremely long journey, and you will encounter quite a few dangers and ancient powers on the way. It is difficult for me to divine exactly what you shall encounter on this journey.” Daolord Badlands shook his head. “Just remember one thing: caution above all else.”
“This junior understands.” Ning nodded.
Vastheaven Palace was very, very far away from the Badlands Territory, and the journey was quite a perilous one. Even World-level cultivators would find such a sojourn to be filled with dangers. Still, Ning felt confident that he wasn’t too much weaker than most Samsara Daolords of the First Step, which meant that he should at least be strong enough to keep himself safe and survive the trip.
“Go, then.” Daolord Badlands nodded.
A reflective look was in Daolord Badlands eyes as he stared at Ning’s back as Ning left. “According to what Dragonbinder said, when Ji Ning was an Elder God he was capable of matching master-class World Gods in power. He can be considered a freakishly talented figure. Still… the path of cultivation is a path filled with countless dangers. I wonder how far he will make it on his path.”
Freakishly talented? That didn’t count for much. Daolord Badlands himself was a freakishly talented figure, and over the course of many chaos cycles he had seen quite a few other freakishly talented figures as well. However, the vast majority of them ended up dying on their path.
If Ji Ning was his own disciple he probably would’ve been willing to pay almost any price, up to and including suffering severe injuries, in order to carefully divine what would happen to Ning on this journey. However, Ji Ning was just a disciple of Vastheaven Palace. There was naturally no reason for Daolord Badlands to act in such a selfless manner.
The spacetime transfer array of the Badlands Everworld.
“First, we’ll go to the Azuresky Territory.” Ning led Su Youji into the transfer array.
“These two are requesting for the array to be activated just for them?” The Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals responsible for protecting the array were all secretly speechless. The distance from here to the Azuresky Territory was incredibly vast. The cost of activating the array just for the two of them wouldn’t’ be a mere hundred bottles; it would be a full cube of chaos nectar!
Still, Ning truly didn’t care about the cost. Going from the Badlands Territory to the Vastheaven Territory would at most cost him roughly a thousand cubes of chaos nectar! There were also many places where there were no connecting spacetime transfer arrays. He would have to personally fly to the closest array, often through many dangerous regions.
“The Badlands Territory…” Su Youji stared towards the outside of the array. “So I, Su Youji, am actually going to have a chance to see and explore other territories.” Being powerful enough to voyage through other territories was a testament to her strength.
“The Badlands Territory!” Ning stared at the skies far above them. This was the place where he had gotten his first start after departing from the Three Realms.
Spacetime began to twist and distort.
The entire array began to shine with blinding light as it tore through the fabric of space and time, teleporting the two of them to a distant place in the spacetime continuum. When the light faded away, the two figures had vanished from within the array.