Although the deceased Sword Hegemon had left him fifty million cubes, he had left ten million of them back in the Three Realms! The Three Realms would need that money for its development. As for the money he had gained from Patriarch Clearwind, that was reserved for the creation of his avatar. The total amount of chaos nectar and chaos jewels Ji Ning had totaled roughly thirty million cubes or so… and he had already promised up to five million for Su Youji and Pillsaint for them to purchase what they needed. Thus, Ning was lacking quite a bit; he’d have to throw in his darkspace flamestone ore.
“Darkspace flamestone ore? Of course Plumesoar Hall would be willing to purchase it. Follow me. A different Daolord is designated as the purchaser for special items and valuable treasures,” the silver-robed Daolord.
“Alright.” Ning followed behind the silver-robed Daolord and began to move deeper into Plumesoar Hall. They travelled through a wide passageway, and a short while later a thin, gray-robed man emerged from another part of the passageway. He glanced sideways at the two of them, then walked past them.
When the gray-robed man exited Plumesoar Hall, a hint of avarice appeared in his eyes. “That Daolord of the Second Step was actually being invited into the important parts of Plumesoar Hall?” The gray-robed man pondered to himself, “That place is used for selling valuable treasures that are worth more than ten million cubes.” He had been to Plumesoar Hall on multiple occasions, and so he was quickly able to deduce what was happening.
“I never would’ve imagined that a puny little Daolord of the Second Step would have more than ten million cubes worth of treasure.” The skinny gray-robed man narrowed his eyes, both greed and violence filling his thoughts. “I’ve followed Master for countless years and gone into many dangerous locations, but I only have a few million cubes worth of treasure. If I can kill him, all of his treasures will be mine.”
“But the problem is… if he has that much treasure, he definitely must have experienced extraordinary events. Should I attack him or not?” The gray-robed man pondered for a while, then made up his mind. “The path of cultivation is a dangerous path by nature. I am a Daolord of the Third Step, while he’s merely a Daolord of the Second Step. How strong could he possibly be? I’ll attack him. If I win, his treasures will be mine. If I lose, I should still be able to escape.”
After having pondered for aw hile, the gray-robed man decided to give it a try. As he saw it, even if this Daolord of the Second Step was a freakishly talented genius, he should be able to retreat unscathed. The gray-robed man immediately flew towards a nearby cloud-shrouded palace, preparing to keep watch from there. He didn’t plan on asking anyone else for assistance. Asking someone weaker to help out was pointless, while someone stronger than him would probably demand the lion’s share of the loot. He certainly didn’t wish to let that happen.
This was the nature of cultivation. Some cultivators focused on the Dao, tempering themselves through dangerous experiences. Others, however, preferred to plunder the possessions of their fellows. This was the fastest way of accumulating treasures, after all! But this path was a very dangerous path, because you never knew what secret killing techniques or trump cards your target might be holding. There are tradeoffs in all things. Plundering offered great rewards, and so there were still many Daolords willing to engage in such activities. A single successful kill might result in astonishing rewards, after all.
There were a few who were able to keep true to their own hearts and not engage in murder or robbery, with Ning being one of them. If other Daolords didn’t cause him problems, he wouldn’t antagonize them either.
Ning had no idea that he had just become a target. He was happily selling off his stockpile of darkspace flamestone for the princely sum of 9.2 million cubes of chaos nectar, and he then purchased a number of things for Pillsaint and Su Youji.
“Now that I have this ‘Heartspiral’, I am much stronger than I was before.” Su Youji happily held the white shell-shaped treasure in her hands, then looked at Ning. “Thank you, Master.”
“Whee hee hee!” Pillsaint was celebrating his new treasures as well. As for Ning, he felt both happy and resigned. The Heartspiral was extremely powerful, and it was a perfect fit someone who walked the path of charm like Su Youji. However, it had cost him 5.8 million cubes of chaos nectar! Su Youji had lingered over the Heartspiral for quite some time, wanting to buy it but knowing that it cost more than the five million cube limit. In the end, after Ning had finished buying the materials he needed for his nine novessence arts, he saw her staring at the Heartspiral and agreed to buy it for her. As for Pillsaint, he had purchased a good furnace and various alchemical materials, which cost a total of around two million cubes.
“Ugh. I only have a few hundred thousand left.” Ning couldn’t help but sigh to himself. It really did seem as though he never had enough money on him.
For example, he really wanted to study the full copy of Emperor Heartsword’s [Heartsword] technique, but it was far too expensive. The cost of that technique was many times higher than the nine novessence arts; there was no way he could afford it. In addition, Ning had already acquired the first ten stances of the [Heartsword] stance long ago. The truly valuable aspect of [Heartsword] lay in teaching its wielders the mysteries of how to truly merge one’s heartforce with one’s sword-arts. The first ten stances would already be plenty for Ning to research, especially given that Ning still wasn’t a full Heartforce Cultivator yet. There was no rush.
In the future, as he continued to grow more powerful in his path of cultivation, he would definitely need to perfectly merge his heartforce techniques with his Dao of the Sword. Only then would he grow more powerful. Sooner or later, he would have to acquire the full [Heartsword] manual.
“Time to leave,” Ning said with a smile.
“Right.” Su Youji held the Heartspiral in her hands very happily.
“Where are we going, Master?” Pillsaint asked.
“First, let’s go rent out an estate within the Skywood Sect,” Ning said. Skywood City had more than a hundred thousand estates for rent that were made available to local cultivators; all one needed to do was spent a bit of chaos nectar for them. This really didn’t amount to much; the several hundred thousand cubes of chaos nectar which Ning had on hand was enough for him to stay here for more than ten chaos cycles. All Ning really wanted to do was to just reside within the estates, giving him a safe place to master all nine novessence arts.
He now had his techniques and his treasures. It was time to master the nine novessence arts!
“He came out.” The skinny, gray-robed man was staring intently at Plumesoar Hall from his distant palace perch.
Ning’s group of three had just flown out of Plumesoar Hall, smiles on their faces. They were chatting as they flew through the clouds. Ning was in an excellent mood, because he had come here precisely for the sake of those nine novessence arts! Although he had all but depleted his store of chaos nectar, he had done everything he wanted to do.
“Eh?” Ning suddenly frowned. A thin, gray-robed Daolord was flying straight towards him. It was normal to encounter Daolords in Skywood City, a Sacred City of the Dao Alliance, but what caused Ning to go on his guard was the fact that this Daolord was the one he had encountered earlier in Plumesoar Palace.
Although he was immediately put on high alert, on the surface he continued to smile as he lead Su Youji and Pillsaint forwards.
A black mist suddenly spread outwards, so thick that one couldn’t see through it with the naked eye. It instantly covered an area of tens of thousands of kilometers around them, and as it did an invisible surge of power swept across Ning. As for Ning, as soon as he saw the black mist coming he immediately drew Su Youji and Pillsaint into his estate-treasure.
The surge of invisible power struck directly at Ning’s soul. If Ning really was just an ordinary Daolord of the Second Step, he would’ve fallen prey to this trick… but unfortunately, the gray-robed Daolord’s opponent was Ji Ning.
“A soul-shaking technique? It doesn’t even match up to Youji’s.” Although Ning didn’t really worry about the attack too much, he was still prepared to unleash his full power in his counter. When a lion hunted a rabbit, it would still strike with full force!
“DIE!” The gray-robed man manifested a total of six arms, each wielding a curved scimitar. The light of his scimitars howled through the air as he chopped towards Ning with them. The area around Ning began to crack and shatter as saber-light appeared everywhere.
“First a secret art to shake my heart, then close combat to ensure my death. What a nasty fellow.” Ning waved his right hand, causing a Northbow sword to appear.
“Break.” Ning stabbed out with his sword. His strike seemed ordinary in every respect. And yet, although the gray-robed man had clearly been the first to strike, Ning’s sword had stabbed through his forehead before his saber-light had even gotten close to Ning.
Fast. Indescribably fast. This was the Blood Drop stance of Ning’s Omega Sword Dao! Of Ning’s five Supreme Daos, the only one which had made further breakthroughs thus far was his Blood Drop sword-intent, and so his Blood Drop stance of his Omega Sword Dao was currently his most powerful strike. He was now a bit more powerful than he had been when he fought Patriarch Clearwind, and the power of this strike was close to Patriarch Clearwind’s killer attack.
“H-how can…” A look of horror and shock appeared in the gray-robed man’s eyes. How could it be that his six scimitars weren’t even able to touch or block this person’s sword? How could his opponent be this fast?
Bang! The Blood Drop stance’s full, penetrating power stabbed deep into the gray-robed man’s body, instantly reducing it into dust. The man died on the spot! It must be remembered that Patriarch Clearwind’s killer attack was able to kill weaker Daolords of the Fourth Step. This attack of Ning’s wasn’t much weaker!
“I never would’ve imagined that I’d be attacked as soon as I left Plumesoar Hall.” Ning waved his hand, collecting the treasures which the gray-robed man had left behind. “Not even cultivators are immune to the allure of treasures…”
Suddenly, a surge of terrifying black mist shot out of one of the hundred thousand-plus estates off in the distance. Ning turned to look, only to see a pair of eyes emerge from the mist and stare towards him with a murderous look.
“Seal!” An invisible ripple of power spread out from afar. Although this attack came from a great distance, the region which Ning was in was almost instantly locked.
Ning’s subconscious immediately began warning him that a terrifying threat was approaching, and the level of the threat was every bit the equal of the one posed by the Eternal Emperors Ning had encountered in the Azureflower Estate. Ning’s heart began to tremble. He knew that the situation was dire, and could vaguely sense that the Daolord of the Third Step he had just slain had to have had some sort of connection to a truly major power.
“What the hell is going on?!” Ning had been in a wonderful mood just a few moments ago, but now his face immediately turned pale.
“Hide!” Ning was out of options. He immediately transformed into a streak of light, moving ten times faster than the limits of the Heavenly Daos as he charged right back into the nearby Plumesoar Hall.