If they wished to leave the Sacred Immortal Realm, they had to first enter the Daolord’s estate.
Ji Ning and the rest of the five transformed into streaks of light that flew into the air. Space rippled around them as they then disappeared.
Only now did these countless cultivators who had just been freed from torture, from their doom of eternal torment, finally come back to their senses. They had been too stunned by the death of that ‘lord of the devils’.
“Thank you, five Exalted Immortals, for sparing our lives!”
“Thank you, Grand Immortals, for saving us from an eternity of suffering!”
“Thank you, seniors!”
Countless cultivators fell to their knees in gratitude. Tears streamed down their faces as they cried out their praises. Aside from the hundreds of millions of cultivators who had just recently been taken prisoner, there were the countless cultivators who had been imprisoned here long ago. They had suffered endless torment, and only the hope of ascension and escape had kept them alive. However… whenever those million-plus golems noticed anyone breaking through to the late Apotheosis stage, they would immediately kill that person! Thus, every century there was just a very small number of cultivators who managed to overcome their tribulations and ascend. The rest all died miserable, tormented deaths.
Now, they finally had release.
They would all be able to survive. The boundless hatred and rage which had built up over the course of countless years began to transform into gratitude towards Ning and the rest of the five.
Ning’s group of five void-blinked straight to the location of the spacetime transfer array.
“These golems.” Heartlord Solewind waved his hand, easily binding the hundred-plus Elder God golems present here, then split them into five lots and gave each person a lot.
“Does this mean…”
The tens of millions of cultivators who were bound to the stone pillars all raised their heads towards the skies, staring at Ning’s group of five. Those terrifying devils had been dealt with, as easily as that?
“From this day forth.” Heartlord Solewind swept them with his gaze as he summon his heartworld projection, smashing apart all the chains on every single cultivator. “You are no longer prisoners. You and the countless cultivators who were imprisoned in that jail were all free now. I hope you will all train hard and build up this ‘Sacred Immortal Realm’ into a place which is truly worthy of that name.”
“Freedom?” The tens of millions of cultivators were all stunned for a moment. Then, they began to tremble in excitement.
“Let’s go.” Ning’s group of five quickly departed. As far as they were concerned, helping out these mortal cultivators was nothing more than a casual act in passing. They naturally weren’t opposed to helping out.
The tens of millions of cultivators watched as those five airborne figures all disappeared. Only then did they come back to their senses and hurriedly kowtow, pressing their foreheads against the ground. “Thank you, Exalted Immortals!”
“Thank you for rescuing us, Exalted Immortals!”
“Finally, Immortals from the Heavens have come to deliver us!”
The cultivators cried out with hoarse sobs of excitement and gratitude.
The towering Daolord’s estate emanated an aura of faint green energy, and the estate itself seemed ethereal as well, as though it didn’t quite exist at all.
Ning’s group of five stared at it from afar quite cautiously.
“Eh?” Suddenly, a surge of strange power swept through the air and descended upon the bodies of Ning and the others. Apparently, faint layers of golden light were continuously descending upon them.
“What’s this?” Ning and the others exchanged glances.
“Karmic merit,” Solewind said softly. “What an enormous amount of karmic merit. All the karmic merit I’ve ever gained since I started cultivation isn’t as much as this.”
“This really is a lot of karmic merit,” Prince Greatjoy said. “I once battled against an evil cult and rescued more than three hundred chaosworlds from their grasp, but I still didn’t get as much karmic merit as I am right now.”
Ning was quite shocked as well.
At their level of power, the effect of karmic merit was negligible, just icing on the cake. They might have slightly better luck while adventuring, but that was it. Still… this amount of karmic merit was simply ridiculous in size and scope. If others knew that rescuing these cultivators would result in such a reward of karmic merit, it was likely that many Daolords would run around seeking opportunities to rescue people.
Once your karmic merit reached a certain level, your luck would become better and better. Although it wouldn’t be of much use to you in the Daomerge, it would still be of assistance when adventuring. In truth, however, you could run around rescuing chaosworld after chaosworld and you generally wouldn’t gain as much as one-thousandth as much karmic merit as right now.
“Earlier, we all saw how the aura of hatred above in the prison had reached utterly shocking proportions,” Solewind said. “This place had a simply ridiculous amount of hatred. It makes sense that the reward for rescuing them is a similarly ridiculous amount of karmic merit. It goes without saying that the number of cultivators who were tortured to death by them over the years was simply unimaginable. Even though they died, their ‘echoes’ sent down karmic merit to us.”
“Mm.” Ning nodded.
The cultivators they had saved were mostly captured within the past few thousand years. The earlier cultivators had almost all been tortured to death. Compared to the number of cultivators they had saved, the number that had perished was far higher.
“The Daolord’s estate…” Prince Greatjoy stared at the towering estate, hidden deep within the shadows of the faint green mist. “I feel as though it won’t be an easy place to go through. Let us first try and see if we can destroy it.”
“Mm. Worth a shot.”
“If we can destroy it, we can then hopefully destroy the core of the formation which covers this entire Sacred Immortal Realm. That would be perfect.” Ning and the others were all hoping for this outcome.
An estate which was being controlled by its master would possess incredibly strong defensive powers, but now the Daolord was dead. Ning’s group did indeed stand a good chance of destroying it.
“I’ll go first.” Ning smiled as he walked through the air towards the distant Daolord’s estate. As he moved forwards, his seven mighty streaks of Dao lightning and Dao water all flooded out as well, forming an enormous Yin-Yang Sword Domain. A dark and terrifyingly powerful domain appeared around him, completely annihilating all of the faint green mist as it furiously swept towards the estate-world.
“Break for me.” Heartlord Solewind immediately summoned his heartworld projection, causing an entire world to come crashing down upon the estate.
“Shatter!” Prince Greatjoy flew over as well as he stretched out his giant golden palms. His palms were capable of unleashing the most savage attacks amongst the five. Although Ning’s own Blood Drop sword-intent was also a Supreme Dao, its advantage lay in its penetrating power. Prince Greatjoy, however, specialized in overwhelming, brutalizing power.
Two enormous, heaven-covering golden palms came crashing down like a pair of titanic golden clouds. The golden palms came crashing downwards repeatedly, striking heavily upon the Daolord’s estate. The air pressure generated by the blows was so great that an enormous palm-size imprint appeared in the ground around the estate.
“GWRAAAR!” Skyfire Brightshore transformed into his true form of a flame-bathed beast. His hooves kicked at the ground as his fiery tail lashed out in an aura of absolutely power.
As for Waterlord Firesurge, he charged forwards and launched attacks from all around the estate as well.
The entrance to the Daolord’s estate was open, and so Ning’s Dao lightning and Dao thunder flooded straight through it, smashing through all obstacles in their path.
After causing absolute havoc for a brief period of time, it finally came to a halt.
“Eh? But the door to the estate is clearing open.” The blazing beast once more transformed into a fiery-haired youth. “Brother Darknorth’s lightning and water, as well as my lifeblood fire… and that heartworld projection of brother Solewind… it all flooded into the estate to cause damage. Why, then, is the formation covering this realm completely undisturbed?”
“Mm.” Ning raised his head to stare into the skies as well. Golden runes could still be vaguely seen high up in the air. Clearly, the enormous formation hadn’t been impacted at all.
“We probably haven’t destroyed the core of the formation yet,” Ning said. “Perhaps the core of the formation is located in some secret, hidden location inside the estate.”
“Then what should we do now?” Solewind swept the area with his gaze.
“What can we do? Go inside!” Prince Greatjoy said coldly.
“Mm.” A murderous look flashed through Firesurge’s eyes as well.
Ning and the others all felt quite cautious about this Daolord’s estate. An estate was essentially a foe’s lair! If there really was another Daolord inside… fighting within the estate would be incredibly disadvantageous to Ning and the others.
But right now… there really was no way to tell whether or not there was a Daolord inside. If a Daolord truly decided to hide inside there and refused to come out, then Ning’s group would still have to go inside the estate and wreck the formation’s core in order to leave this Sacred Immortal Realm.
“Brother Darknorth, let us join forces to set up a defensive perimeter,” Solewind said.
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
Solewind’s heartworld projection was an excellent detection and warning system, whereas Ning’s Yin-Yang Sword Domain was a Supreme Dao of defense.
For now, the group of five was guarded by a chaotic domain of sword-intent as well as countless world-shadows.
Ning’s group went straight to the entrance of the Daolord’s estate. Although they had hammered against the estate for quite some time, it remained completely undamaged.
They entered the estate through the main gate.
The estate was actually quite large inside, and its internal layout was quite complicated. There were quite a few dismembered and shattered golems located inside of it as well, all destroyed by the water, lightning, flames, and other attacks which the group had unleashed.
“What a large estate.” It was built almost like a maze. Ning’s group spent a full hour wandering inside of it, jointly defeating the various formations and restrictive spells as they extensively searched the place.
At the deepest reaches of the Daolord’s estate, there was hovering passageway that was lined with fiery red stones.
Whooooosh. A blazing wind howled through the air above the hovering passageway.
There was a cave entrance located amongst the many boulders present in this place. Within this cave there was a black-robed Daolord who was seated in the lotus position. His aura was incredibly ancient, and he was unfathomably more powerful than the Daolord which Ning’s group had just slain. Images of Ning and the others wandering through the estate could be seen reflected off his eyes. “So these five World-level cultivators really did enter my estate! For World-level cultivators to be comparable to Daolords of the Second Step, and for five of them to appear at once… they have to have a truly incredible school behind them. Their master might be an extremely important member of the Church of Annihilation. Although they killed one of my retainers, I’d really rather not fight them unless absolutely necessary.”
“But… Master’s orders were clear. I am to guard this place diligently, and I am to slay any outsiders who invade this place.” The black-robed Daolord slowly shook his head.