According to what JiNing and the others had planned, the four ‘protectors’ would first make their attempts, followed by Skyfire Brightshore. Only then would the retainers Su Youji, World Goddess Skywolf, and Chaos Immortal Swallowback make their attempts.
“I’ll go next. I’m still quite confident in my chances.” Firesurge revealed a smile. Because he had a cold and forbidding aura to begin with, his smile looked rather sinister.
“Alright.” Ning and Greatjoy nodded, then watched as Firesurge walked over towards the chains, then stepped onto them.
The gazes of Ji Ning, Greatjoy, Skyfire, the retainers, Daolord Owlbath, and the twelve other World-level cultivators were all focused on this youth dressed in deep blue robes as he advanced through the chains.
“The Prime Reaches. I have to enter them.” A terrifying, baleful aura could be seen in Firesurge’s eyes. “Nothing and no one will stop me.”
Firesurge’s path of cultivation had been a path filled with many setbacks and pitfalls. When he had been a weak mortal cultivator, he had lived in a world that had been controlled by ten mighty demonic sects! The demonic sects were filled with guile, treachery, and internecine murder. Every single powerful expert rose to power by trampling across the corpses of others… and Firesurge became the most powerful cultivator of this entire mortal world.
He had continued his path without remorse, eventually entering the greater primordial chaos and then being recruited into the Palace of Kindwater of the Twelve Palaces of Brightshore.
And now, he had been given the chance to join Ning and the others and adventure through the Genesis Lands of this Archaeus region in this alternate universe.
“I had to use every scrap of power I had, but was just barely able to claw my way into fourth place.” Firesurge strode forwards as waves buffeted the area around him. “Solewind, Greatjoy, Darknorth… all three of them are somewhat stronger than me, to say nothing of the most dazzling figures of the Brightshore Kingdom, Bertulu and Eastcult!”
“I’m going to surpass them. I’m going to surpass all cultivators!”
Firesurge felt a certain degree of urgency in this regard. Prince Greatjoy was the strongest of the four, Solewind was the most unfathomable and mysterious, and Darknorth’s sword-intent domain was incredibly tough to deal with. Even worse, Darknorth’s offensive sword-arts had become so powerful that even Firesurge shivered when he saw them.
Why had the gap between him and his colleagues grown so large?
Firesurge advanced through the thousand kilometer long primessence chains, crushing his way through all of the wraiths that tried to oppose him.
“He’s plowing through them in an even more brutal manner than Solewind did.”
Ning, Greatjoy, and the others all smiled as they praised him. As for Daolord Owlbath and the other twelve, they just stared intently.
Four hundred kilometers. Five hundred. Six hundred…
Firesurge had experienced numerous setbacks in life in order to reach his current level, and he thus possessed an incredible mind and heart. He was also very close to the others in combat power, and thus he was able to forcibly disperse the wraiths with his attacks.
Just past the seven hundred kilometer mark, Firesurge suddenly slowed down dramatically. The smiles quickly disappeared from the faces of Ji Ning and Greatjoy.
“Not good!” Ning was rather worried.
The distant Waterlord Firesurge was now moving slower and slower. He was still wiping out the attacking wraiths, but Ning and the others could clearly tell that something was hampering his combat performance. It seemed as though he was struggling to maintain focus.
“AAARGH!” Waterlord Firesurge let out a frustrated yell, then turned and left. He retreated at high speeds, needing only a few seconds to escape the chains.
He had an ugly, savage look on his face, and his eyes were filled with rage and resentment.
“Brother Firesurge,” Ning called out.
“Firesurge, if we fail the first time, we can try a second or a third time,” Greatjoy said consolingly.
Firesurge took a deep breath, taking control of his emotions. He nodded towards Ning and the others.
In truth, Ning and Greatjoy understand why Firesurge was so unhappy right now. If you failed the first time, you would probably fail the next hundred times as well unless you made significant gains in power or in mental fortitude. Firesurge hadn’t even been able to make it to the eight hundred kilometer mark! He had more than two hundred kilometers to go if he wished to make it to the Prime Reaches. His chances were extremely low.
“Be careful, the two of you. The primessence chains are extremely difficult to deal with,” Firesurge said.
“I’m amazed at how nettlesome they are.”
Ning and Greatjoy both felt a great sense of pressure. Firesurge was still the fourth strongest World-level cultivator of the Twelve Kingdoms of Brightshore, if one excluded Bertulu and Eastcult; he definitely was a monstrously talented man! For him to have failed meant the primessence chains were far more difficult to deal with than any of them had expected.
“Your performance was incredible, my young friend Firesurge.” Daolord Owlbath was still eating and drinking in a leisurely fashion, and he grinned as he called out, “To be able to make it nearly eight hundred kilometers on the primessence chains is an absolutely incredible feat. Although all of the World-level cultivators here in the Genesis Lands are quite formidable, the vast majority are stymied at the five hundred kilometer mark.”
Firesurge’s failure worried not just Ning and Greatjoy, it worried Skyfire Brightshore even more. This prince of the Brightshore Kingdom was comparable to Firesurge in power, but as for his heart and his willpower? He was probably a bit inferior to even those three retainers. Even the invisible willpower trial which was applied to all entrants into the Genesis Lands had made him feel quite miserable.
“Darknorth, let me give it a try next.” Greatjoy’s eyes were filled with a terrifying desire to do battle. He walked straight towards the primessence chains then began to advance forwards. Ning and the others simply watched silently from behind.
Solewind had drifted through the chains like a calm, unflappable spring breeze.
Firesurge had fought his way through the chains while radiating a powerful aura of murder.
As for Greatjoy, he crushed his way through with absolute power as he advanced in a truly imposing fashion.
“These young fellows are all quite incredible.” Daolord Owlbath blinked. “This Greatjoy guy has already made it past the eight hundred kilometer mark. Uh… and that’s the nine hundred kilometer mark.”
Prince Greatjoy was clearly performing better than Firesurge had as he cruised through the first nine hundred kilometers. However, at this point he gradually began to slow down as well, and a solemn look appeared on his face. His entire body began to radiate with golden light as he continued to advance in a stable manner.
Ning and the others began to grow nervous as they watched.
“Master.” The armor-clad World Goddess Skywolf normally had a perpetually icy look on her fair features, but now a look of worry had appeared.
Although the wraiths were quite powerful, Prince Greatjoy still found it quite easy to deal with them. And yet… his movements were growing slower and slower.
Finally, at the nine hundred and twenty kilometer mark, he came to a halt. He stood there, easily deflecting the wraiths but unable to advance any further.
“Ugh.” A soft sigh… then Prince Greatjoy also turned and left, not hesitating in the slightest.
Peerless geniuses like them knew when they had to go all-out and when they had to be cautious! If you tried to force yourself past your limits in a place like this, you would most likely fall into that abyss and be destroyed in body and truesoul alike.
Prince Greatjoy walked back with his forehead creased into a slight frown, as though he was lost in thought.
“Heh heh.” Prince Greatjoy glanced at the cultivators in front of him, then began to chuckle . “When Solewind made it across, I figured the the primessence chains couldn’t be that tough. Who would’ve thought that the next two would both fail, myself included?”
“Brother Greatjoy, you made it much farther than I did,” Firesurge said.
“A failure is still just a failure.” Prince Greatjoy shook his head, then looked at Ning. “Darknorth, these primessence chains are incredibly strange. You have to be careful not to let yourself be ensnared in those illusions. The reason why I didn’t dare to advance any further was because I realized that I had already reached my limits. If I advanced any further, I would’ve been ensnared by those illusions and would’ve been completely unable to deal with the other dangers facing me.”
Solewind was a Heartforce Cultivator and thus was the best-equipped to deal with this issue. That was why he had been able to cruise through with ease. Alas, Firesurge and Greatjoy had both failed despite being incredibly talented figures.
As for Daolord Owlbath and the other twelve World-level cultivators, they sighed with amazement. Although Greatjoy and Firesurge had both failed, they had both made it incredibly far.
“Firesurge and I will probably wander through the various places in the outer reaches of the Genesis Lands. We’ll only come back here if we are able to grow significantly more powerful.” Greatjoy looked at Ning. “Darknorth, I wouldn’t mind having you by my side as we wander through the outer reaches.”
“You might not mind, but I sure as hell would.” Ning laughed. “I still want to wander the Prime Reaches alongside Solewind. The poor guy will be lonely if he has to go through that place by himself.”
Laughing, Ning strode confidently towards the primessence chains.
“Be careful, Master.” The Flamefairy Su Youji was quite worried. She knew her own limits and knew that she probably stood no chance of making it into the inner reaches, but she truly hoped that Ji Ning would.
The Prime Reaches was a place which even the Eternal Emperors of this universe wished to enter, and it was also the place which had completely transformed the master of the Church of Annihilation.
Ning advanced through the primessence chains as electric light and watery light surged out of his body. The seven types of Dao lightning and Dao water formed an awe-inspiring Yin-Yang Sword Domain around him which furiously repelled and slew all enemies in range of him. The attacking wraiths were all ground to dust before even getting close to him.
The way in which Ning was advancing through the chains was even more lofty and imposing than Solewind’s. His Yin-Yang Sword Domain truly was the perfect weapon for dealing with group attacks!
“The Prime Reaches…” Ning stared forwards at the other end of the chains, where the inner reaches lay.
He had fought so hard for this chance, and in the end he had been able to make it into the Genesis Lands of this alternate universe. Was he going to fail now, at the very last moment?
There was a huge difference between the outer reaches and the inner reaches!
“Brother Solewind, just wait a moment for me,” Ning called out, his eyes brimming with the intent to do battle. His Yin-Yang Sword Domain swirled around him as he continuously advanced through the long primessence chains.