Every branch of the titanic Dao-tree luxuriated with foliage and stretched skywards like a dragon in flight. They had previously been 156,000 meters high, but now they began to climb once more. The tree trunk grew thicker and thicker, soon climbing to the awesome span of 252,000 meters!
252,000 meters was a limit for Daolords of the Second Step. Ordinary Daolords, when they made their cultivation breakthroughs to the second step, would generally only reach at most a height of 210,000 metres. Only after they slowly gained more insights and further perfected their Dao would they reach 252,000 meters.
Ji Ning, however, was different. His Omega Sword Dao truly was the omega; it would always be at the apex of power for any level he was at, and going past that would represent a fundamental, qualitative change! Similarly, there were some Daolords of the Fourth Step who would need to train for countless years before reaching the Verge, but some would be at the Verge of the Daomerge as soon as they reached the fourth step.
“However… it is much harder for me to train in my Omega Sword Dao. It took forever for me to go from being a Daolord of the First Step to being a Daolord of the Second Step,” Ning sighed.
Su Youji had reached the second step long ago. As for Pillsaint, he had buried himself in his study of alchemy and broken through in a very natural manner. This was the case for most Daolords; moving from the first step to the second step was very, very easy. There were no bottlenecks involved for the vast majority of them… but Ning had technically been trainng for over a million years of accelerated time!
“Still, by comparison breaking through to the second step was fairly simple. Becoming a Daolord of the Third Step will be a hundred times more difficult. As for reaching the fourth step… that’ll be even tougher.” Ning understood that the more difficult a Dao was, the harder it would be for him to break through while training in it. Take Numerancy for example! Even someone who was as incredibly talented in this dao as Daolord Badlands was still just a Daolord of the Third Step! Ning’s Omega Sword Dao was far more powerful than Badlands’ Dao.
Whoosh. As the Dao-tree grew, the Jindan chaos region began to expand as well. Because Ning was using chaos jewels to make his breakthrough, no commotion was caused and no fluctuations in the surrounding primordial chaos could be observed.
Ning’s attention was completely focused upon making the necessary breakthroughs, and he spared just a bit of energy on maintaining his nine novessence arts and having them attack the Ninedust Sectlord.
“Damn. Why have these secret arts suddenly become so much more powerful?” The Ninedust Sectlord spun the longstaff in his hands, his body constantly flickering as he swept his weapon out in every direction to block the endless sea of small golden snakes and the nine mighty novessence arts.
“That’s the direction, over there. I can sense the whispers of fate growing louder and louder.” On the surface, it looked like the Ninedust Sectlord was able to fight back against the nine novessence arts and the little golden snakes, but in reality he was ‘accidentally’ moving further and further in a certain direction while dodging. He’d sometimes go left, sometimes go right, sometimes advance, sometimes retreat… but on the whole, he was moving closer and closer to the place which was calling out to him.
“That’s where my destiny lies. I’ve worked so hard to follow the Emperor’s guidance. I’ve taken over the Ninedust Sect and used it to explore all of the surrounding territories… and now, I’ve finally verified that my destiny lies within the Eastroad Sect. I’m going to grasp it, no matter what.” While it looked like the Ninedust Sectlord was being pressed quite hard, in reality everything was still under his control.
Although the formations of the Eastroad Sect and the nine novessence arts were all extremely powerful, they shared a common flaw; both were domain-type attacks. There were simply too many of those little golden serpents, and they had primarily been designed to entrap and encumber a foe, allowing Daolord Eastroad himself to deliver the actual fatal blow.
As for Ning’s nine novessence arts, they were also meant to be used as a domain-type attack. Daolord Allgod had devised this technique to entrap Emperor Melobo! They were meant to serve as a domain for trapping and surrounding an enemy. They would be able to easily smash through weaker Daolords, but only have a restrictive effect on a truly powerful one.
Whoosh. Whoosh. The Ninedust Sectlord continued to silently advance at a glacial pace, afraid of attracting the attention of Daolord Thunderheat or Ji Ning.
“Success.” Ning revealed a look of delight within his black flying vessel. He had finally made his breakthrough. His aura was now markedly stronger than before, and his divine power and Immortal energy had both reached a fundamentally higher level than they had before. Ning quickly began to enhance the six Northbow swords on his back, guiding them in improving their quintessence cores of Sword Dao. This was what was good about Lifeblood weapons; you could continuously perfect and upgrade their quintessence cores, allowing them to grow alongside you.
Still… the requirements for the creation of a Lifeblood weapon were quite stringent. None of the treasures left behind by Daolord Kongsan were suitable for conversion into a Lifeblood weapon.
“Next, time for me to upgrade my azureflower mist energy.” Ning’s combat prowess was primarily thanks to the azureflower mist energy. He rapidly poured his divine power and his Immortal energy into the azureflower region, replenishing both with his chaos jewels as necessary. However, his azureflower region was now far larger than before, and so more time was needed to ‘fill it up’ with azureflower mist energy than had been needed for Ning to upgrade his divine body and his Jindan chaos region.
“I can sense that it is within a hundred kilometers of me.” A hint of delight flashed through the Ninedust Sectlord’s eyes. “No need to delay any further. Let’s do this!”
The Ninedust Sectlord suddenly struck out with the longstaff in his hands, sweeping aside the domain attacks as though he was parting the waters with them, then charged at full speed towards a certain direction. To someone like him, a hundred meters was nothing.
BOOM! He had reached a courtyard which was protected by a restrictive barrier. The Ninedust Sectlord’s aura once more burst forth; clearly, he was going all-out now. The staff in his hands struck out, piercing straight through the formation and into the courtyard. It struck against a decorative ‘mountain’ in the courtyard which had the carving of a stone door atop it.
“There it is! So it was a treasure of the ancestors.” The Ninedust Sectlord didn’t hesitate at all; by now, the call from the statue was so strong that it made his heart tremble. He immediately charged over, pressing his hand against the stone door. Whoosh! The stone door immediately swung open, revealing the passageway within it.
Swoosh. The Ninedust Sectlord immediately dove into the passageway.
“Not good.” Daolord Thunderheat was far off in the distance, controlling the formations which protected the base. His face turned grim as soon the Ninedust Sectlord suddenly charged towards the courtyard which held the Void Pathway hidden within it. When the Ninedust Sectlord broke through the formation and charged into the Void Pathway without hesitating, Daolord Thunderheat’s face turned bone-white.
“Fellow Daoist Darknoth!” Unable to stop the Ninedust Sectlord, Daolord Thunderheat had no choice but to call out to Ning.
“On it.” Ning had no time to accumulate any more azureflower mist energy. He only had three drops of it inside his body, but he could sense that something was wrong. The decorative ‘mountain’ hiding the Void Pathway truly was an ordinary object with no aura at all, but the Ninedust Sectlord had actually charged straight towards it as though he knew the secrets which lay hidden inside it… then entered the Void Pathway.
Even though Ning had his nine novessence arts, he had been unable to stop the man. “I’ll go deal with him.” Ning immediately charged forwards, arriving in front of the artificial mountain with a whoosh. He then dove into the Void Pathway. Although it had taken him quite some effort to build up those three drops of azureflower mist energy, they were used up fairly slowly during battle and so three drops probably would be enough. Ning had been planning to build up more, but who would’ve thought that the Ninedust Sectlord would suddenly dive into the Void Pathway? Even in the Eastroad Sect, the secrets of the Void Pathway were only known to Daolord-level experts.
Although Ning was in hot pursuit of the Ninedust Sectlord, he continued to build up more of that azureflower mist energy, hoping to store as much as he could.
Within the Void Pathway.
As soon as the Ninedust Sectlord enterd this place, he immediately saw that pathway as well as the thirty thousand soldiers who stood in two lines on each side of it. Their ancient armors, their solemn auras, and that carving of a throne off in the distance… it all caused the Ninedust Sectlord to quiver in excitement.
“That’s one of the treasures of the ancestors! Of the ancestors! I never thought that I, Redwater, would actually have a chance to come to a place set up by the ancestors. All those years of hard work were worth it, completely worth it! Haha…” The Ninedust Sectlord put away his mask, revealing a cold, grim-looking male face. This face was currently covered with excitement as he carefully reached out with his senses to scan this place’s aura.
“What secrets does this ancestral site hold within it?”
The Ninedust Sectlord’s gaze swiftly turned to that distant golden throne, because it was the throne which was issuing the strongest karmic call to him. “I’ll head there first to take a look.” Longstaff in hand, the Ninedust Sectlord charged straight towards the golden throne.
BOOM! As soon as he stepped onto the golden pathway, an enormous globe of light suddenly appeared in the void above it. The golden globe of light shot out two streaks of light into two of the nearby armored soldiers, causing them to immediately charge towards the Ninedust Sectlord.
“Break!” The Ninedust Sectlord didn’t even pause as he struck out with his longstaff, sending both of the soldiers flying far away.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! The golden globe of light shot down more and more rays of golden light, causing a continuous stream of soldiers to charge towards the Ninedust Sectlord. However, the sectlord continued to advance at high speed, smashing through all of his opposition.
Swoosh. Right at this moment, another figure appeared within the Void Pathway as well. It was a white-robed youth who bore black swords on his back.
“Ninedust Sectlord!” Ning let out a furious roar, causing all nine of his novessence arts to instantly surge outwards and attempt to constrict the Ninedust Sectlord. They shot out like Flood Dragons, moving with incredible speed and power as they almost instantly caught up to the sectlord, then coiled around him.
“You wish to stop me? I’m at the very end of a long journey. No one will stop me!” The Ninedust Sectlord’s hair flew in the air as azure light flashed within his eyes. It seemed as though he had used some sort of secret art, as he was now even stronger than he had been when battling Ning earlier. Layers of water curtains appeared around him as well, weakening the effects of the nine novessence arts and allowing him to endure all the blows aimed at him as he continued his headlong charge.
“He’s gone berserk.” Ning understood this right away, and so he flew forwards at high speed as well. As for the golden globe of light, it shot out more rays of golden light, causing more and more soldiers to appear in front of Ning and block his path as well.