Su Youji’s eyes instantly reddened. She was both shocked and delighted. Her heart was filled with many complex emotions. She felt excited for Ji Ning upon realizing that he had fought his way through so many World-level cultivators to make it to the fifth stratum, and also celebrated for herself.
The exhaustion and pressure she felt was all wiped away.
“Youji.” Ning’s form blurred as he transformed into a streak of light that flew to her side. He looked at her carefully. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I’m just so happy.” Su Youji finally smiled, and her smile was absolutely incandescent. She now looked like her old self again. “If you came just a bit later, Master, you probably wouldn’t be able to find me.”
“What’s going on?” Ning was shocked. “You are on the first stratum. Those bugbeasts and golems should’ve been enough to let you hang on for quite some time.”
“Against the first stratum cultivators, I would’ve been, yes. But third stratum and fourth stratum cultivators often send me challenges.” Su Youji said helplessly, “I can’t even avoid them.”
“Third and fourth stratum? There are so many cultivators on the first stratum. Why would they single you… shit!” Ning turned pale. He realized what had happened. He had given her those bugbeasts and golems with the best of intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Here at the Astral Islands, whenever someone was discovered to be in possession of good treasures that person would often find himself targeted. What, then, of such a powerful set of golems and bugbeasts? Although it was hard for most of the cultivators here to send each other messages, there were indeed a few alliances and partnership. It made sense that word would eventually spread to the third and fourth strata.
“I screwed up.” Ning shook his head.
“It wasn’t your fault, Master. Even I didn’t realize what was going to happen. Only later on did I understand how badly they wanted my golems and bugbeasts,” Su Youji said.
“You must have been exhausted.” Ning could imagine how life had been for her recently. Those third and fourth strata cultivators had assuredly done everything they could to try and force Su Youji to fight them. Although she had struggled and fought back, how long would she be able to do so? As more time passed, most likely there would be even more powerful cultivators who would take interest in her.
“I admit defeat.” Ning suddenly spoke out in a high voice, his words echoing within the air above the volcanic island.
“Master?” Su Youji was stunned.
“I admit defeat in my duel against you.” Ning laughed. “This set of legacy treasures is for you. Don’t you need any other treasures?”
Su Youji suddenly realized what was happening.
“Hurry up. This set of legacy treasures is useless to me, and I’ve already received the protection of the Astral Islands.” Ning laughed as he waved his hand, causing the three hundred and twenty leaves filled with the Dao of Fire to float over towards Su Youji.
Su Youji immediately waved her hand to accept this legacy. She had won this battle. If she wanted to do so, she could demand that Ning hand over all of his legacy treasures. But of course, since she was going to leave the Astral Islands there was absolutely no point to acquiring more of these legacy treasures. You had to acquire a full set in order to gain a legacy, after all.
“Alright. Now that you have a full legacy, hurry up and leave the Astral Islands,” Ning instructed. “This place is far too dangerous for you.”
For someone like Su Youji, this was indeed an incredibly dangerous place. Without the bugbeasts, she was at high risk of death. With the bugbeasts and golems, she became the target of even more powerful cultivators.
“Alright.” Su Youji felt many complex emotions in her heart.
“Also. Once you leave the Astral Islands, do your best to enter the Twelve Palaces,” Ning said. “At present, you most likely aren’t strong enough to attract their interest. However, now that you have this legacy, you’ll be able to grow much more powerful. Focus on your cultivation, and if the opportunity arises you should do your best to enter the palaces. In the future, I will join the Twelve Palaces as well.”
“Twelve Palaces?” Su Youji was puzzled.
“The most powerful organization in the Brightshore Kingdom. At the very apex of the Brightshore Kingdom stands its Twelve Palaces and its imperial clan.” Ning gave her a simple explanation. “You only acquired a full legacy thanks to my assistance, and so the Twelve Palaces won’t grant you automatic entry. You’ll need to train hard and undergo many trials before being permitted to enter the Twelve Palaces.”
“Understood.” Su Youji knew her own limits. To even escape this place alive was a stroke of tremendous luck. She didn’t daydream about being granted automatic entry into the Twelve Palaces.
“This is my talisman. Keep it with you at all times, and I’ll be able to sense your location. After I leave the Astral Islands, I’ll go find you.” As Ning spoke, he handed out a jade talisman to her.
Su Youji accepted the jade talisman. It was slick and cold in her hands. She nodded slowly. “Alright.”
“Go, then. Be careful once you enter the rest of the Brightshore Kingdom,” Ning instructed.
“Don’t worry. After what happened here, I’m going to be even more careful in the future. Besides… even if the outside world is a dangerous place, it can’t possibly be as dangerous as these astral islands.” Su Youji chuckled.
These two, master and retainer, didn’t have too long to chat. In the end, they had to part once more as they were each teleported to their own astral islands.
Su Youji first memorized the entire legacy, then chose to depart.
“That bitch actually acquired a full legacy and left.”
“That freak who made it to the fifth stratum lost to her on purpose? No wonder she had such valuable bugbeasts and golems. It must’ve been that freak who gave it to her.”
“Do you think that freak who made it to the fifth stratum will take revenge on us?”
“We are in trouble now.”
The cultivators who had been eyeing Su Youji and repeatedly challenging her for her treasures all began to grow restless and uneasy. However, neither Ning nor Su Youji were interested in revenge.
Although Su Youji had been driven to the brink of despair, she didn’t feel any hatred for them. She knew that they were also struggling to survive. When they encountered anything that could help them or increase their chances of acquiring a full set of legacy treasures, it was only natural for them to do anything they could to win it.
As Su youji saw it, she had already escaped from this sea of bitterness, whereas all of her tormentors were still struggling. In all the hundreds of thousands of astral islands, only those twenty or so figures who had received the protection of the Astral Islands would be truly at ease.
“What? He made it up, then fell down again?”
“He actually lost that set of legacy treasures to a first stratum cultivator?”
All the cultivators kept a tight watch on their golden books, and they noticed whenever any changes appeared. They were able to almost instantly scan through the information pertaining to all of the islands, and they quickly realized that one particular island now contained a legacy treasure pertaining to the Dao of Fire.
Someone on the fifth stratum had lost to someone on the first stratum? And that person just so happened to now have a legacy of the Dao of Fire?
“He lost on purpose?”
“Damn, why don’t I have friends like that?”
Ning’s astral island sank from the fifth stratum to the fourth stratum once more.
Kilostar, the cultivator on the fifth stratum, was a bit irritated by this. He had sent Ji Ning a challenge, but in the end Ji Ning had actually chosen to battle Su Youji instead. “He actually avoided my challenge and delivered his legacy treasure to a cultivator on the first stratum?”
“Hmph. I’ll keep challenging him. Let’s see if he has the balls to accept. If he does, I’ll hold him in some respect.”
The next day, Kilostar once more sent Ning a challenge. This time, Ning didn’t decline.
Ning was now under the protection of the Astral Islands, after all. He was brimming with confidence and the desire to do battle. He wanted to see just how powerful the freaks of the fifth stratum were. Kilostar was also a cultivator, after all!
The two were both teleported to a black oceanic island. They stared at each other from afar.
Kilostar had the appearance of a skinny, swarthy-skinned child. His silver cape fluttered in the breeze, and as soon as the battle began Kilostar transformed into a thousand clones. This sight instantly caused Ning’s face to tighten. “That’s the [Thousand Bodies Sutra].”
“Just so. This is the [Thousand Bodies Sutra].” Kilostar’s thousand clones were capable of joining together into a strange formation akin to a Thousand Elder Gods Formation. Ning was completely surrounded by Kilostar’s clones, and an almighty domain-type effect began to apply to the area, filling it with Kilostar’s power.
Although Ning fought back with all his power, going so far as to use his Elementum Waterflame Gourd, he wasn’t able to do anything to this formation at all.
As for the thousand Kilostars, they continuously assaulted Ning. Ning’s two mighty streaks of Dao lightning blasted out with wild abandon, slowing down and restricting the actions of the many Kilostars, and Ning struck out with maximum power each time. Although Kilostar was absolutely dominating Ning in this battle, Ning’s six Eternal weapons gave him an utterly airtight defense.
“Your sword-arts aren’t that powerful, but your defenses really are tight.” Kilostar then merged with the rest of his clones into one body.
With his clones merged together, he now had a body comparable to that of a Daolord of the First Step. He was now able to use divine abilities as well!
Although Ning’s azureflower mist energy enhanced his body, there was no way for him to use that mist energy to cast divine abilities.
Kilostar wielded a single scimitar in one hand, and his saber-arts were ephemeral and unpredictable. He was incredibly strong and incredibly fast, a far more frightening foe than Sabafalle.
Ning’s swords were trembling with each collision, but fortunately he was able to use his six swords to defend in succession. He was being completely dominated in this fight, but every so often Ning would intentionally allow one of Kilostar’s blows to land upon him, resulting in the power of his aquaflect armor playing quite a few nasty tricks on his foe.
“I have an utter ocean of divine power thanks to the [Thousand Bodies Sutra], but how is it that YOU are able to keep fighting for so long?” After fighting for an extended period of time, Kilostar was completely stunned. “Screw this, I’m done! This is just an utter waste of my divine power. My name is Kilostar. What is your name? You are indeed strong enough to reside amongst us within the fifth stratum. If nothing else, you can use your divine power to keep fighting until you exhaust and defeat some of the others on our stratum.”
“My name as Darknorth.” Ning smiled as well. On this day, he became friends with Kilostar.
Still, in the end Ning acknowledged defeat in this battle. Thus, he once more fell, this time from the fourth stratum to the third stratum.