Ji Ning took things slowly and steadily. He began to challenge the other cultivators on the fourth level. Out of an abundance of caution, Ning didn’t challenge anyone who had made it to the fifth stratum in the past. Ning’s plan was to wait until he himself made it to the fifth stratum before challenging them.
Here in the Brightshore Kingdom, a single mistake could result in a cascade of errors. There were many freakishly strong cultivators in the Endless Territories who had ended up perishing midway through their journeys. If he was too arrogant, he would probably join them.
Every single opponent on the fourth stratum was incredibly strong, at least as strong as a transcendent World God. They all had their own special skills, and Ning would spend time after each battle meditating on his experiences.
Within one of the astral islands levitating within the fourth stratum.
There was a strange building here that looked round from the outside but was box-shaped on the inside. This was the finest temporal acceleration treasure which Ning had acquired from Arroyo, a treasure which was far better than the Heavengazer Tower. It could easily maintain a rate of time that was fifty times faster than normal, and if you were willing to use up your Immortal energy it could go up to two hundred times the normal rate! But of course, this would use up an absolutely astonishing amount of energy.
Ning was currently maintaining a rate equivalent to a hundred times the normal rate of time. He was reflecting on his previous battle and the new insights it had brought him, using them to perfect his sword-arts. That last battle had been his sixth battle on the fourth stratum, and he had won it as he had all his previous battles!
While meditating on his sword-arts, Ning was in constant resonance with the infinitely distant prime essence of the sword.
The prime essence of the sword was one of the true essences and sources of the endless primordial chaos. It was where the Dao of the Sword itself originated from! It constantly emanated mysterious ripples pertaining to the Dao of the Sword, allowing cultivators to understand more of itself.
“After cultivating for more than a hundred thousand years, I finally understand.” Ning suddenly smiled.
The towering Dao-tree within his Jindan chaos region had already reached a height of of more than 105,000 meters tall. In this instant it once more grew upwards, reaching a height of precisely 108,000 meters tall!
In this moment, power began to flow throughout his entire Jindan chaos region, causing it to become even more stable than before.
Boom! Ning’s divine body suddenly transformed into a large number of godgems. Chaos energy flowed through him and transformed into more and more godgems, causing a total of 36,000 godgems to emerge and hover in midair. Moments later, they reconverged to form a single figure, Ji Ning’s figure.
“I’ve seen through and comprehended all the foundational insights regarding the Dao of the Sword. Finally, I have reached the level of full mastery.” Ning was in a superb mood today.
Although it seemed as though Ning had only been cultivating for a few thousand years, if you factored in all the temporal acceleration he had spent more than a hundred thousand years meditating on the Dao of the Sword! When he had emerged from the Allgod Estate, his Dao-tree had already been more than sixty thousand meters tall. He had then engaged in many battles as well as repeatedly dueled the three experts of the sword in the Mirrorsnow Paintings, resulting in Ning’s Dao-tree quickly growing to become more than ninety thousand meters high.
He had spent hundreds of years battling in the Sea of Darkness as well. Although he had spent less than half a year in this place, the temporal acceleration meant that dozens of years had gone past for Ning. In addition, Ning had been battling against all sorts of powerful World-level cultivators. Thanks to all of these factors, he had finally understood some of the fundamental principles of the prime essence of the sword.
In that instant, he finally understood why it was that this level as known as the level of ‘full mastery’ and why World Gods at this level were referred to as ‘master-class’ World Gods.
“Full mastery of the World level… so this is nothing more than the outermost level of understanding the prime essence of the sword.” Ning couldn’t help but sigh.
The prime essence of the sword…
From it originated the entire Dao of the Sword within the endless primordial chaos. It was naturally unfathomable and profound, and many of its most profound mysteries were actually hidden within the prime essence itself. There was no way to even sense those mysteries, much less meditate on them.
Only the outermost mysteries of the Dao of the Sword which emanated from it like a halo could be meditated on. In recent years, Ning had merely been meditating on those outermost mysteries.
Every single World-level cultivator of the Dao of the Sword would strive hard to comprehend these mysteries. And now… Ning had gained a complete understanding of this outermost layer of the prime essence of the sword!
From this day forth, his Dao-tree would be 108,00 meters tall and his godgems would be 36,000 in number!
From this day forth…
The prime essence of the sword within the endless primordial chaos would no longer be of any use to Ning, because there was no way he could meditate on any of the mysteries that were contained deeper inside of it. Forget about Ji Ning; not even Samsara Daolords or Eternal Emperors were capable of entering the prime essence heart of the endless primordial chaos. This place was the very core of the entire primordial chaos, a place which cultivators could not possibly enter.
In truth, it wasn’t just the Dao of the Sword that existed in that place. All Daos originated from that place!
The prime essence of metal, wood, water, fire, earth, lightning, light, slaughter, the saber, the sword… all prime essences radiated some of its outermost mysteries, allowing cultivators to train in them, but held their deeper mysteries inside of themselves. There was no way those mysteries could be cultivated in at all.
Thus, no matter what path you trained it, you would at most be able to reach the level of full mastery in a fairly easy manner.
Once you gained full mastery…
Your insights would come to an end. You had gained full mastery of what there was to master.
If you wanted to make any further advancements, you would have to rely solely on yourself! In the past, you would be able to continue to attune to the prime essence of a Dao. Now, however, you would have no one to rely on but yourself. You would have to find a unique path belonging to yourself, creating your own Dao out of nowhere and use it to step into the Samsara Daolord level.
Because this Dao would be a completely self-created Dao, this was an incredibly dangerous prospect. The Dao you created might be a heterodox Dao that was wrong. That Dao might allow you to step onto the Samsara Daolord level, but it was entirely possible that soon after embarking on this path your Dao would suddenly crumble, causing you to perish.
This was the reason why it was said that with each step, Samsara Daolords tread the line between life and death! Every single step they took, they would create an ever-deeper level of the Dao for themselves. If the Dao you created was an erroneous Dao, then once you attempted to use it to improve yourself your divine power and truesoul would become to collapse. You would perish.
With each step, they tread the line between life and death. Some would finally reach the Verge of the Daomerge, becoming incredibly powerful figures even amongst their Samsara Daolord fellows. Daolord Solesky was one good example. If his Daomerge succeeded, it meant that his Dao was a perfect one which could gain true eternity. Their path would allow them to live forever within the primordial chaos, with the ravages of time no longer having any effect upon them!
But of course, some of those Daolords on the Verge had incorrect Daos. That did not, however, mean that they were weak. There were some Verge-level Daolords who were capable of battling Eternal Emperors, even though they themselves would never reach that level.
“I previously was able to advance at a rapid pace. Now that I have reached the level of full mastery, I’ll have to find my own path for myself.” Ning understood exactly how difficult it would be for him to find a path that would let him enter the Samsara Daolord level.
An astral island on the fifth stratum.
“My dear Wildgloom, in the Twelve Palaces our Palace of Thunder is ranked as one of the top palaces. You are quite talented in the Dao of Lightning. If you join our Thunder Palace, your future prospects will definitely be limitless.” An old man dressed in azure armor chortled as he spoke.
Seated facing him was a tall, muscular metallic creature whose entire body was formed by strange metals and wreathed in lightning.
World God Wildgloom was an Aberrant who was born with great power over lightning. He had now reached an incredible level in the Dao of Lightning. Once he became a Samsara Daolord, he would reach even more astonishing heights.
“I can train in thunder in any of the Twelve Palaces of Brightshore.” Wildgloom’s voice was slightly jarring to the ear. “Senior Flameflow, please give me some more time to think this matter through.”
“No rush, no rush.” The azure-armored elder nodded and smiled.
Anyone capable of residing permanently on the fifth stratum was more than strong enough to easily acquire a complete legacy. They could’ve left the astral islands long ago, but most of them were in no rush. There were legacies here, as well as powerful opponents for them to battle against. Most importantly, they still had to decide which palace they were going to join.
The Twelve Palaces of Brightshore were all incredibly powerful, but the best palace would always be the one which suited them the most. They had to decide what their future path would be before deciding on which palace they would join.
“You have my message-talisman. Once you decide, just break it and I’ll come find you.” The silver-armored elder smiled as he rose to his feet. “I won’t disturb you any further.”
World God Wildgloom hurriedly rose to his feet to send his guest off. Although this person had come to invite him, he was still a Samsara Daolord. He was not, however, one of those black-armored Daolords. Those black-armored Daolords were the weakest Daolords.
The azure-armored Daolord, Daolord Flameflow, flew out of this astral island. He pulled out an enormous book and began to casually flip through it. The members of the Twelve Palaces were permitted to go through the information which the kingdom possessed regarding all of the World-level cultivators here.
“Eh? This fellow has been here less than half a year, but he’s made it to the fourth stratum already? He’s also defeated six consecutive foes on the fourth stratum? He’s undefeated thus far?” As Daolord Flameflow flipped through the pages of the book, he couldn’t help be startled by something he read.
If someone defeated ten foes in a row on the fourth stratum, that person would be promoted to the fifth stratum. This man had defeated six foes in a row without being defeated a single time. Given this, it was very likely that he would make it to the fifth stratum in the future.
“Skilled in both the sword as well as lightning? His skill in lightning alone allows him to suppress his foes, and he is quite talented in the Dao of Lightning? This guy looks like he would be a great fit for my Thunder Palace. Mm, I should go take a look.” The azure-armored elder quickly decided to go visit this astral island on the fourth stratum. He quickly began to stride through the air as he walked towards that island.
This was, of course, the astral island which Ning was residing on.