Ji Ning and the others were very careful. However, the Nine Godstars sect had sent out dozens of Daolords of the First Step to keep watch over the place, with the goal of preventing some truly dazzlingly talented World-level cultivators from being surrounded, trapped, and killed. These Daolords had all broken through via usage of Pseudo Samsara Pills.
These Daolords of the First Step were scattered across the local territories, keeping a secret look out for particularly dazzling and talented World-level cultivators. If they found one, they would be permitted to return to the sect in advance.
When roaming, they would actively emanate their Samsara Daolord auras, making it so that the World-level cultivators would not dare to act against them. There was a significant difference in power between them and Samsara Daolords, after all! Ji Ning, for example, would probably be merely a match for Daolords of the First Step if he was relying solely on his sword-arts. It was thanks to the azureflower mist energy strengthening his body and making it comparable to a Daolord’s that he was able to rise above them in power.
Firesurge, Greatjoy, and the others had their own divine abilities and secret arts as well.
Generally speaking, it was very difficult to rely on mere divine abilities to defeat those at a completely different level. The [Fogstone Apocalypse] was a very good example of a divine ability that didn’t qualify! Only some truly, devastatingly powerful divine abilities would do the trick, such as the [Five Seals Sword Dao] of Emperor Mirrorsnow. Alas, there was no way for Ning to use it.
Mighty divine abilities, secret arts, powerful innate gifts like Skyfire’s, supportive techniques like Ning’s azureflower mist energy… this was what was needed, along with ridiculously profound insights into the Dao, for a World-level cultivator to be able to slay a Daolord of the First Step! And of course, not even the likes of Bertulu would be able to slay a Daolord of the Second Step.
Thus, it was generally quite safe for Daolords of the First Step to be used to patrol most territories.
But of course, the Nine Godstars sect naturally would keep this type of mission a secret. Those World-level cultivators all believed that the only way to succeed was by killing a thousand of their peers, which was why they remained as berserk as ever.
Sixteen years after they entered the sphere of influence of the Nine Godstars sect.
Ning and the others were in an empty part of space. They exchanged glances with each other, their faces grim.
“Greatjoy, you were a bit rash this time.” Heartlord Solewind had a rather ugly look on his face as he stared at the magic treasures and suits of armor floating in front of them.
“We had no other options! When we refused to follow that Daolord of the First Step, he tried to abduct us by force. You know that we cannot reveal our true identities.” Prince Greatjoy had an ugly look on his face as well as he spoke mentally to the other four. “We lied to him and told him that we are members of other sects, but he completely ignored us. We had no choice but to kill him!”
“We killed a Daolord of the Nine Godstars sect. Even though he was merely a Daolord of the First Step… I’m sure that the Nine Godstars sect has already found out and is sending people to investigate.” Firesurge was worried as well.
Ning and Skyfire both had solemn looks on their faces as well.
What were they to do?
The actual killing had been quite enjoyable. That Daolord of the First Step had been courting death, acting and speaking in such a dominating manner towards them. Any of the five were capable of slaughtering that Daolord! But in the end, it had been Prince Greatjoy who punched out with a fist and completely crushed him to death!
“We had no other options, but don’t worry,” Prince Greatjoy sent. “Although the Nine Godstars sect would immediately be notified of his death, it’ll take them some time for their investigators to be sent out and to arrive at this place.”
“And… they can forget about discovering anything.” Prince Greatjoy’s eyes were as cold as ice. “Give me one hour. I will completely scramble spacetime here and make it impossible for them to invert the flow of time, unless they bring someone who is ten times more skilled than myself in the Dao of Spacetime.”
“Alright.” Ning and the others felt stunned. Right. Greatjoy had reached a tremendously high level of skill in the Dao of Spacetime. If he was to scramble spacetime in the surrounding area, it would be difficult for even the Nine Godstars sect to find out what had happened here. At the very least, it would buy them some time.
Ugh. They had been doing their best to be low-key, but it was impossible for them to completely avoid showing at least part of their true power when they had to deal with so many ambushes. In addition, they had no idea that there were Daolords patrolling about in secret. In the end, one of them actually chased the five of them down. The five didn’t dare to actually go visit the Nine Godstars sect, as once their identities were revealed they would quite possibly face annihilation.
Ning’s group destroyed all the evidence at the scene and scrambled spacetime, then transformed into different appearances. They even summoned quite a few World-level retainers and servants from their estate-worlds, then continued to venture forth in a nine-cultivator squad.
Things happened just as they had predicted.
Roughly two years later, a Daolord of the Third Step from the Nine Godstars sect arrived in the place where they had slain the first Daolord. Given how powerful the Nine Godstars sect was, for them to calculate where their Daolord had died was an easy task! But of course, to actually divine the identity of the killer was virtually impossible. When World God Northrest had died, there had been no way for Vastheaven Palace to divine who had done it. They had to have more variables to work with in order to lower the difficulty of the Numerancy divination.
“Spacetime has been scrambled here.” When the Daolord of the Third Step sought to reverse the flow of time and see what had happened, all he saw was a field of completely distorted and chaotic spacetime. There was no way to investigate at all.
“Did that servant of mine offend a major power who was skilled in the Dao of Spacetime?” The Daolord murmured to himself, “Perhaps my servant offended him, resulting in my servant being killed… and yet, that major power did not wish to become an enemy of our Nine Godstars sect… and so he scrambled spacetime here?”
Daolords who walked the Dao of Spacetime were notoriously tough to deal with. When this Daolord of the Third Step realized that spacetime had been completely scrambled here, he couldn’t help but feel sour about this matter.
In the end, the Nine Godstars sect was still the most dominating force in the hundreds of nearby territories. How could they possibly just let this matter come to an end?
However, if they wanted to get to the bottom of this matter they would have to invite a true master of the Dao of Spacetime to head out from their headquarters and investigate in person. The entire sect, however, only had two Daolords who were skilled in the Dao of Spacetime. One was a Daolord of the Second Step, while the other was a venerable figure who had reached the Verge of the Daomerge and was the third most respected figure of the entire sect.
The Daolord of the Second Step wasn’t willing to take the risk, whereas there was no one capable of giving orders to the Verge-level Daolord. Thus, more than a hundred years passed before the latter finally decided to head out and take a look.
“What’s this?!” When this mighty Daolord unscrambled spacetime, he was immediately shocked and stunned by what he discovered.
“Five World-level cultivators? One of them attacked and slew a Daolord of the First Step with a single blow?” This Daolord was stunned. “Where the hell did these freaks come from? Although I wasn’t able to see how strong the other four were, this one is incredibly strong. And… judging from how he scrambled spacetime, he has to be an extremely skilled master of the Dao of Spacetime.”
“Where the hell did they come from?”
Not even the entire Nine Godstars sect had a single disciple who was this freakishly talented!
There was no way for him to know, of course, that this man was an honorary disciple of an almighty Hegemon in a different universe and one of the most elite members of the Brightshore Kingdom. The Nine Godstars sect was nothing compared to the Brightshore Kingdom! It must be understood that the Brightshore Kingdom had entire squads of freakishly strong Daolords who were comparable to Eternal Emperors.
“We have to find and recruit this person into our Nine Godstars sect. I’ll chase him down!”
He gave the order, and the entire Nine Godstars sect sprang into action. He truly would have loved to take on such a freakishly talented disciple. He himself walked the Dao of Spacetime, and it was incredibly rare for him to encounter someone of such talent who walked his Dao. Alas, by this point in time Ning’s group of five had long ago escaped from the Nine Godstars sect’s sphere of influence.
The Nine Godstars sect was extremely influential in their local cluster of several hundred territories, but beyond that their influence and power dropped rapidly.
Aside from their slaying of that Daolord of the First Step, Ning’s group encountered another extremely dangerous situation during their journey. Ning’s group accidentally ran into a nation of Aberrants that was wandering the primordial chaos. That nation of Aberrants was actually established atop the shell of an utterly enormous turtle, and the turtle-like creature was clearly in a state of hibernation, slumbering as it drifted through the void of space.
This part of the journey should’ve been a safe one. Who would’ve thought that they’d run into such an unusual nation? Ning’s group ran into this nation by accident, and they were immediately attacked by one of those Aberrants which sought to eat them alive. Ning’s group was forced to fight back, which only attracted the attention of even more of those Aberrants.
Fortunately, that giant slumbering turtle did not wake up. Ning and the others all had the feeling that the turtle’s aura was utterly terrifying. Once it woke up, it would be incredibly easy for it to kill all five of them. No matter what they would’ve tried, they still probably wouldn’t have been able to survive the slumbering turtle’s attack.
In the end, Ning and the others joined forces and managed to just barely escape. From start to finish, they didn’t dare to actually kill so much as a single one of those Aberrants, for fear of stirring the hornet’s nest and waking that giant turtle.
Aside from the Nine Godstars sect and the titanic turtle, the other problems they encountered were largely irrelevant.
“The Archaeus region. We’ve finally arrived.”
Ning’s group of five stood in the air, staring off into the distance. In front of them was a region filled with countless roiling clouds that flickered with violet light. This gigantic region covered by clouds was the Archaeus region! But of course, this was nothing more than the tip of the iceberg, a miniscule part of the massive, actual region. None of them even knew exactly how far off the Archaeus region stretched.
After journeying for 1605 years, Ning’s group had finally reached the Archaeus region.