The flying vessel was three thousand meters long, completely black, and was shaped like a weaver’s shuttle. It continuously advanced through the dark void of space towards the vast sea before them.
If Ji Ning wished to reach Vastheaven Palace, he absolutely had to pass through the Sea of Darkness! If he went around it, it would result in an incredibly long detour. What’s more, the map which Daolord Solesky had given Ning didn’t even specify the details to any such detour, instead simply telling him to go straight through the sea. This was because this was actually the safest option; the other options were even more dangerous!
Although this was safer by comparison, it was still a rather dangerous trip for World-level cultivators. If they weren’t careful, they would easily die in this place.
This was one of the reasons why very few World-level cultivators would embark on such long journeys! When Ning had been in the Badlands Territory, he had queried the Starlord of Fogstone regarding the location of Vastheaven Palace, but neither the Starlord nor his subordinates had even heard of it. This was because the distance between the two territories was utterly enormous. Even the Badlands Court, the most powerful organization within the Badlands Territory, only held a few cultivators who were aware of Vastheaven Palace.
“We’ll reach the Sea of Darkness soon,” Ning sent mentally. “I recommend you go into the golem now. Don’t stray too far from my side.”
“I know my own limits, Master.” Su Youji was quite excited. “The legendary Sea of Darkness. Actually, I’ve never even heard of it before this! To think that I’m going to be going into it just a short while from now. Wow. This trip from the Badlands Territory to the Vastheaven Territory will give me something to brag about for many, many years to come.”
Ning chuckled, then closed his eyes and focused on attuning to the sword-intent of his Violetjewels.
He was attuned to its sword-intent at all times as he continuously meditated on the Dao of the Sword.
The flying vessel continuously teleported through the emptiness of space. Roughly a day later, they finally arrived at the borders of the Sea of Darkness.
The entire vessel was completely silent as all ninety-nine cultivators stared at the distant sea of spatial chaos. Even here, at the mere borders of the sea, they could sense the spatial waves crashing against their flying vessel.
“Everyone.” World God Xiang Lu spoke out. The other cultivators turned their gazes from the Sea to him.
“According to what fellow Daoist Poisonfeather said, although this vessel is fast, it’ll still take over six hundred years to go through the Sea of Darkness. During these six hundred years, we’ll be in a state of constant danger. Thus, if anything happens I would like to ask that the more powerful experts among us to hold back. Please help out our weaker fellow Daoists. Once one of us dies, the formation will be dramatically weakened as well. The more of us die, the weaker the formation will be, making it even more difficult for us to safely traverse the Sea of Darkness,” World God Xiang Lu said.
“Since we are all on the same ship, we should all support and help each other.”
“Fellow Daoists, I hope all of us will be able to make it safely through this Sea of Darkness.”
The cultivators aboard the vessel were all quite nervous. This was the Sea of Darkness, after all. Most likely, few to none of them would dare to traverse this place all by themselves.
As for Ning, he watched quite calmly from his little corner. His original plan had been to venture into the Sea of Darkness alongside Su Youji, but that would have indeed been rather dangerous. Now that ninety-nine World-level cultivators had joined forces, if nothing went awry they would stand at least a ninety-plus percent chance of successfully traversing the Sea. If you factored in Ning’s true level of power, it could be said that they were virtually guaranteed to succeed.
The pitch-black vessel flew forward at high speed, smashing straight into the Sea of Darkness. It continuously sped up as it flew forward, quickly breaking past the limits of the Heavenly Daos and continuing to skyrocket in speed. Soon, it reached a level of speed that was roughly double the speed of light. This was the vessel’s limit, and it began to cruise forward at this speed.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Dark, turbulent waves of distorted chaos and space repeatedly crashed the sides of the vessel.
As for the ninety-nine cultivators, they all stared intently at their surroundings. Even Ning elected to draw Violetjewel from its sheath on his back.
“What a nervous feeling.” Su Youji stared at her surroundings as well.
The World Gods and Chaos Immortals present were all extraordinary figures with extraordinary vision. Take Ji Ning, for instance. Even when he merely relied on his eyes, his current visual acuity far surpassed the level he was at back when he was an Empyrean God who used the [Torch Dragon’s Eye].
“No need to be so worried, everyone. I’ve been through the Sea of Darkness before.” A pudgy, fat-faced, chubby-eared youth next to Ning let out a merry chuckle. “The most dangerous race of creatures here in the Sea of Darkness is the race of ‘Oddbats’, but they live in groups deep within the Sea of Darkness. Based on my previous experience, we’ll generally suffer just one attack every four or five days.”
“YIIIIII!” An ear-piercing screech suddenly rang out.
A strange beast that was pitch-black in color and had a pair of bat-like wings suddenly emerged out of nowhere from the spatial waves. It brandished its fierce claws as it charged straight towards one of the cultivators atop the vessel. Fortunately, that cultivator had been keeping a vigilant watch and immediately struck out with his enormous greataxe, the power of his blow causing space around him to congeal and turn almost solid.
One strange creature after began to emerge from the spatial waves, all having bat-like wings, incredibly sharp spear-like tails, and fierce claws.
“Oddbats!” Ning was wielding Violetjewel, while Su Youji had already entered her golem. She was able to control it at the same time as she controlled the many blade-like magic treasures around her.
“Kill! Kill!” One of the Oddbats flew onto the vessel and pounced straight towards Ning. Ning struck out with Violetjewel, transforming it into a streak of graceful sword-light that chopped straight towards the Oddbat’s neck. However, the Oddbat used its left claw to gracefully deflect the blow.
When the sword clashed against the claw, a clanking sound was heard.
“According to the star map records I read pertaining to the Sea of Darkness, these Oddbat creatures have incredibly tough tails and claws, which are the hardest parts on their bodies and equivalent to Dao weapons. It seems this really is the case.” Still, Ning simply spun his sword-light in a relaxed, graceful manner.
Slash! How could a dumb creature such as an Oddbat possibly be able to defend against Ning’s marvelous sword-arts? The sword chopped straight through the Oddbat’s neck, severing its head from the rest of its body. Moments later, the Oddbat’s body began to completely break apart, leaving nothing behind.
They were unique creatures that were formed from the unique environs of the Sea of Darkness. They possessed extremely low levels of intelligence, and they usually lived for only shockingly brief periods of time. Although they had World-level power, they lived for less than three centuries. Once three centuries passed, their bodies would naturally disintegrate and leave nothing behind. The only way for them to live longer was for them to undergo a fundamental evolution.
It could be said that there were three tiers of Oddbats. There were the black Oddbats, the silver Oddbats, and the golden Oddbats. The black Oddbats only lived for less than three centuries, the silver Oddbats lived for less than a chaos cycle, but the golden Oddbats could live forever.
However, every part of a golden Oddbat’s body was a precious treasure. Generally speaking, when Samsara Daolords encountered them, they would immediately kill them and collect the corpse! Thus, there were very few golden Oddbats in the Sea of Darkness.
Magic treasures flew everywhere, as did sword-light, saber-light, and divine abilities.
The cultivators aboard the flying vessel all used the various techniques they had available to quickly massacre any of the Oddbats who dared to invade their vessel. After battling for a short period of time, the remaining Oddbats all retreated.
Hundreds of Oddbats had taken part in this battle, all of black-colored ones who were fairly weak.
“That was certainly easy.”
“We beat them pretty easily.”
“I barely had a chance to even fight.”
The previously nervous cultivators all glanced at each other. Many were now much more relaxed than before.
“We were lucky this time. We only encountered black Oddbats. If a silver Oddbat had come, things would’ve been much more troublesome. I’ve heard that silver Oddbats are very nearly comparable to transcendent World Gods in power,” the chubby-faced youth chortled.
“Ol’ brother Ninehearts, can you please shut your yap? I don’t want to run into one of those silver Oddbats.” An old man next to him who had a face that looked like the withered bark of a dried tree shook his head helplessly.
“Silver Oddbats are nothing. According to the legends I heard, there are golden Oddbats as well,” the chubby-faced youth said.
Time slowly flowed on.
It was just as World God Ninehearts said. Every four or five days, they would suffer an attack. Every so often, a silver Oddbat would appear amongst the ranks of the black Oddbats!
None of the ninety-nine cultivators aboard the flying vessel were weak. Most were master-class World-level cultivators, and there were at least three supreme World-level cultivators! This was based on the amount of power they had displayed thus far.
A single supreme World-level cultivator, supported by the power of the formation, was enough to contend against one of the silver Oddbats.
“There really is strength in numbers.” Ning continued to relax in his corner of the flying vessel. Thus far, he hadn’t even used any divine abilities, much less the azureflower mist energy.
Ninety-nine World-level cultivators fighting in unison truly made for a powerful force. There was no need for Ning to fight too hard; they were able to easily defeat the repeated attacks by the Oddbats.
Three hundred and eleven years passed after their entry into the Sea of Darkness. The flying vessel continued to advance through the chaotic waves.
“Come, brother Darknorth. Drink with us!”
The vessel was filled with the sound of laughter. Everyone was drinking and chatting, but they were also ready to engage in battle at a moment’s notice. They had gotten accustomed to fighting every few days during the past three centuries.
The battles had all been quite easy. Most of the World-level cultivators on the ship, Ning included, had yet to be forced to show their true power.
Roughly ten trillion kilometers away from them, in a region of chaotic space, an incredibly dense cluster of black Oddbats and a few silver Oddbats were ‘escorting’ a completely golden Oddbat. The golden Oddbat spread out its golden wings just a bit, its intelligent eyes staring at the distant flying vessel.