Ji Ning was looking forward to battling Bertulu. After fighting with him, he could leave the Astral Islands with no regrets. However, he had to wait for Bertulu to finish challenging the old timers first.
The number of astral islands in the fifth stratum continued to decreased. Eight. Seven. Six. Five.
Only five were left! These were the five newcomers.
“I lost.” The handsome, devilish-looking silver-haired youth stared at the white-robed, white-haired youth in the distance. Both had extraordinary auras. The former had a more devilish aura while the latter had an aura of warmth and calm.
“Gorho, it seems as though you have already found your own path to becoming a Samsara Daolord.” Bertulu smiled as he spoke.
“Yes.” It was very rare for Gorho to feel admiration towards someone else. Although Darknorth and Kilostar had defeated him, he didn’t really care too much. This was because he could tell that Kilostar had mainly succeeded due to having a thousand clones, while Darknorth had a body just as tough as Kilostar’s and most likely had a similar technique he relied on. In terms of actual insights into the Dao, neither Darknorth nor Kilostar were up to his level.
However, Bertulu gave Gorho a sense of tremendous pressure! This was the first time he had encountered someone who completely outclassed him in terms of enlightenment and insights.
“What path do you plan to walk?” Bertulu asked with curiosity.
“If I have the chance, I will walk the path of spacetime,” Gorho said.
“Spacetime? Isn’t your strongest Dao the Dao of Fire?” Bertulu was puzzled. From the battle they had just engaged in, he was able to tell that Gorho had reached incredible heights in the Dao of Fire. In fact, he had reached the level of being able to use it to become a Samsara Daolord whenever he wished.
“I like it, I guess.” This was Gorho’s response, but in his heart he mused to himself…
My true talent actually lies in spacetime. My strongest Dao isn’t necessarily my best Dao.
He was the most powerful descendant of an almighty Aeonian, King Gorsch. He naturally was extremely skilled in the Dao of Fire… but he was even more skilled in spacetime! However, he was personally trained in the mysteries of fire by King Gorsch, whereas he had to study the art of spacetime by himself. This was why his Dao of Fire was slightly superior to his Dao of Spacetime.
However, by comparison he had to put twice as much effort into his Dao of Fire, only to get half the results. Prior to him being abducted, his father King Gorsch had told Gorho that he was planning to help Gorho find a master who was skilled in the Dao of Spacetime to teach him.
“But how could any major power possibly be a match for the almighty Hegemon of the Brightshore Kingdom?” After years of painstaking work, Gorho had finally managed to acquire a complete spacetime legacy roughly two years ago. “According to the notes on that legacy, if I reach a high enough level of skill I will be able to receive personal guidance from the Hegemon himself.”
“Once I become a Daolord and Awaken my bloodline, I’ll become even more powerful. By then, not even Bertulu would necessarily be a match for me.” Gorho’s heart was filled with tremendous pride and self-confidence.
Prior to their Awakening, Aeonians were quite similar to cultivators. After being Awakened, however, they would explode with power and would view other Samsara Daolords as prey for them to feed out. They truly were terrifyingly powerful.
Yet another astral island descended from the fifth stratum. Now, only four remained.
“My techniques were completely ineffective against you.” The Aberrant known as Daoist Fish let out a sigh. His face was covered with fish scales and his eyes gleamed with golden light.
“You have too many techniques. You need to focus a bit more.” Bertulu was gleaming with light, as dazzling as any sun. Slowly, he began to retract his aura of radiance.
“I know that, but… I can’t help it. I like them all.” Daoist Fish let out a sigh. “Ugh. I can play around with any of those individuals on the third and fourth strata as I please, but each time I fight someone else on the fifth level I’m beaten.”
Daoist Fish was one of the last to join the fifth stratum, and he was the only one who was in the fourth stratum at the time of this challenge.
“How can this be?” This was a bald woman who was dazzlingly beautiful but who had a demeanor as cold as ice. Right now, a look of absolute shock was on her face. “How could you have…”
“Fairy Brightheart, your defensive techniques are indeed quite formidable, and I am filled with admiration towards you. But that heart of yours… it really is a major weakness. Any World-level Heartforce Cultivator would be able to easily defeat you, to say nothing of me.” Bertulu let out a soft sigh.
Fairy Brightheart’s face turned slightly pale.
Deep within her innermost heart there lay a nightmare that she had never been able to forget. However, it was also thanks to this nightmare that she had been able to persevere and reach her current heights in cultivation.
“I understand.” Fairy Brightheart nodded slowly.
The four islands became three islands.
“Fighting with you was a wonderful experience. You forced me to go all out.” Bertulu looked at the jade-haired woman before him. This was the Empress.
Empress was dressed in semi-translucent gauze and looked quite bewitching. She let out a soft laugh. “Bertulu, everyone knows that although you are skilled in the Dao of Light, you are even more skilled in heartforce. Just now, you didn’t use your heartforce at all. You were able to defeat me merely through employing your Dao of Light.”
“In close combat abilities, at least, I was forced to use my full power,” Bertulu said. “Your are extremely talented. However, you are a bit lacking in terms of your insights into the Dao. If you were to reach a higher level in this regard, perhaps to Gorho’s level, then I would be forced to use my heartforce techniques in order to defeat you.”
The three islands became two islands.
“How incredibly powerful.” Waterwalker stared at Bertulu, his eyes filled with shock and awe. “I fell asleep before we even started our fight?”
“You should’ve been born just a short while ago, right?” Bertulu looked at Waterwalker.
“Yes. The almighty Hegemon captured me just moments after I woke up.” Waterwalker nodded.
“Your innate abilities are amongst the most supreme abilities any race of Aberrants possess. Most likely, even the Empress is a bit inferior to you in this regard. Your innate abilities are so strong that I imagine you are close to being on par with even the legendary Ancient cultivators or the Brightshore Imperials.” Bertulu continued, “By relying on your innate abilities, you can ensure that the other geniuses here are completely unable to injure you. That alone ensures that you can defeat cultivators on the fourth and fifth strata.”
“However… the problem with you is that you simply haven’t been alive for long enough. Spend some extra time here in the Astral Islands. I recommend you spend a chaos cycle here, then spend another chaos cycle wandering the Brightshore Kingdom,” Bertulu said. “Only then should you join the Twelve Palaces.”
“Although I don’t really understand why I have to stay here that long, I can sense that you have nothing but the best of intentions in mind for me.” Waterwalker looked at Bertulu. “From this day forth, you are one of my friends.”
“Haha, good!” Bertulu nodded.
When he looked at Waterwalker, he felt as though he was looking at himself all those years ago. The only difference was that Waterwalker had been abducted shortly after being born, whereas Bertulu himself had wandered the primordial chaos for countless years and had experienced many, many things. He had experienced both grief and joy, gatherings and partings. All of these things had come together to allow him to walk the path of heartforce.
The two islands became one.
Only a single astral island was now left within the fifth stratum. Ji Ning’s astral island.
“Am I the last one?” The white-robed Ning was seated in the lotus position atop a grassy area within his astral island, Violetjewel resting across his knees. He had been waiting here for quite some time now, but Bertulu had unexpectedly chosen to save him for last.
“Here it comes.” Ning’s gaze turned towards the golden book next to him.
A challenge had finally appeared within his golden book, a challenge that came from the sixth stratum. This was a challenge Ning had never received before.
“I’ve spent a thousand years in the Astral Islands waiting for this battle.” Ning sent out a strand of his will, shattering the message of challenge. Challenge accepted!
“That guy in the sixth stratum is truly invincible.”
“He’s way too powerful.”
All the islands of the Astral Islands had been in a state of breathless excitement for the past fifteen days. They had watched as one island after another descended from the fifth stratum. Every single person within the fifth stratum was a freak of a genius, no matter what path they walked or what Dao they were skilled yet. And yet, Bertulu had crushed and defeated all of them!
Only a single island remained within the fifth stratum. Once this island was also defeated, there would be no islands in the fifth stratum at all.
At this moment in time, all of the hundreds of thousands of cultivators present here were completely focused on what was going to happen. They were awaiting the final resolution to this momentous event.
At the very bottom of the dark abyss below the Astral Islands.
At this moment there were more than ten figures gathered here, including that of the muscular man with tousled black hair who was dressed in simple combat garbs. Their auras were as profound as that of the endless sea of stars.
“Bertulu truly is formidable in heartforce.”
“This should be his final battle in the Astral Islands.”
“After he finishes sweeping through all his opponents, he will probably leave.”
“He still has yet to tell us if he will be joining the Palace of Radiance or the Palace of Heartforce.”
These ancient powers were all chatting amongst themselves. All of them had been keeping an eye on Bertulu for quite some time now. In fact, even the almighty Hegemon had been paying attention to him.
The path of cultivation had three main branches; Fiendgod Body Refining, Ki Refining, and Heartforce Cultivating. Ji Ning was a dual refiner who trained both as a Fiendgod and as a Ki Refiner! However, it was actually possible to be a triple refiner who trained in heartforce as well! Bertulu was one such cultivator, and people like him were the most terrifying opponents one could face. If Bertulu could use his heartforce to even slightly affect his opponent, he would then be able to easily dominate that person through his terrifying close combat skills. In fact, there were many who Bertulu could defeat without even having to lift a finger!
“Oh, just one battle is left?” A voice rang out.
A white-bearded elder dressed in snowy robes who had six curved horns on his head suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
The ten-plus ancient powers gathered here were all shocked. They hastily bowed with respect. “Hegemon!”