The stone passageways branched out like a spiderweb’s web, with some being merely a few hundred kilometers wide and others being tens of thousands of kilometers wide. The widest were as much as a million kilometers wide.
They were in one of the widest stone passageways right now. Flames were blazing everywhere, and there were many of those flaming creatures living in this area. Ji Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord were able to sense from afar that these creatures would pose a lethal danger to them. They didn’t even dare to move close to them, instead choosing to fly into a more narrower passageway.
A flying black vessel was advancing at high speed through the air, throwing behind the fiery creatures behind them. Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord stood at the very prow of the ship, and neither of them dared to relax at all as they vigilantly scanned the horizons.
“They’re coming.” The Ninedust Sectlord gripped his longstaff, readying himself for the assault. As for Ning, he was in his three-headed, six-armed form and wielded all six Northbow swords in his hands. The two stood shoulder-to-shoulder, staring towards the front.
Roughly ten million kilometers up ahead, more than six flaming creatures were waiting for them at the turn of the stone passageway. Their numbers were continuing to grow. Clearly, these flaming creatures had some method of communicating to each other, and they knew that if they didn’t gather in sufficient numbers there would be no way for them to stop these two invaders.
Although they were ten million kilometers away, the flying black vessel moved at a hundred times the speed of light and so passed through that distance in an instant.
“Freeze.” Ning’s nine novessence arts were already activated, and nine enormous dragons of power were surging through the area around him. They transformed into a domain of sword-intent, suppressing and binding the flaming creatures around them. It must be understood that these flaming creatures were extremely tough; the Ninedust Sectlord had been unable to shatter the first one with a half-power blow, and Ning’s nine novessence arts were similarly unable to wipe them out.
Still, the nine novessence arts definitely caused the flaming creatures to slow down substantially.
“Die!” The Ninedust Sectlord let out a low growl as he swept out from left to right with his longstaff, striking with the force of a thunderbolt. Boom! Boom! Boom! One flaming creature after another was blown up.
Slash! Slash! Slash! Silently and soundless, six of the flaming creatures were chopped through in quick succession as the tips of Ning’s Northbow swords were suddenly revealed.
Omega Sword Dao – Shadowless!
“Darknorth, flee immediately! We have to escape this stone passageway as soon as we can,” the Ninedust Sectlord sent mentally. “We can’t afford to waste any more time here. We’ll be in serious trouble if we do!”
“Alright.” Ning agreed with his assessment. After so many battles, they both knew some of the habits these flaming creatures had. They generally kept to the specific passageway they were in, and they had a special way of communicating with each other within the passageway! If they spent too much time in any specific passageway, more and more of the creatures would accumulate until finally, a veritable army of them would be on the attack.
The most disastrous battle they had been in involved more than three hundred of the flaming creatures surrounding and attacking them, three of which were nearly as powerful as the two of them. Ning had been forced to rely on the power of his nine novessence arts and the perfection of his Omega Sword Dao to just barely fend them off. The Ninedust Sectlord’s staff-arts weren’t as defensively powerful as Ning’s sword-arts, and so he had to rely on his forbidden technique instead.
The two had escaped by the skin of their teeth.
The two of them grew increasingly crafty as time went on. They’d rely on Ning’s Shadowless evasion technique to avoid discovery for as long as possible, and they’d end or escape any battles they found themselves trapped in immediately, not wasting any time. And yet, they would still occasionally run into some trouble. These flaming creatures truly seemed to be immortal; no matter how hard they hit the creatures, they just wouldn’t die.
“There’s a tunnel over there. Hide inside it.” They flew into a new, untouched stone passageway via the flying vessel and Ning’s Shadowless evasion technique, then quickly dove into a cave opening on the stone walls.
“We can rest here for a short while.” Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord both relaxed slightly. They had been lucky enough to find a cave right after they had fled into a new passageway but before any of the flaming creatures had discovered them. This meant they could rest for a time! Still, they could only spend a few hours, as there would be flaming creatures patrolling the entire area.
“It’s been fifteen days. Fifteen full days of nonstop running.” The Ninedust Sectlord shook his head. “These stone passageways are without end. They seem to be limitless! Every single one of them is filled with countless flaming creatures, and every single one of them is completely unkillable. The weakest ones are still comparable to Daolords of the Fourth Step! Considering how many stone passageways we’ve gone through, the number of flaming creatures we’ve fought is simply ridiculous. Why are there so many of them? Logically speaking, there should be very few creatures which have the power of Daolords of the Fourth Step.”
Ning shook his head. “They probably aren’t actual living creatures.”
“Right.” The Ninedust Sectlord nodded. “I was about to say the same thing. They seem to be part of the omnipresent flames of this regioin, as well as the stone walls of the various stone passageways.”
“Right.” Ning nodded as well.
They had once personally witnessed the flaming creatures disappear into the stone walls like water flowing into a desert, leaving behind no trace of its passing. It must be understood that neither Ning nor the Ninedust Sectlord were able to damage the walls at all despite launching repeated full-strength attacks against them.
“Darknorth, do you have any Thousand Origins pills or other similar types of spirit-pills?” The Ninedust Sectlord looked at Ning. “If you do, sell them to me. Judging from the way you fight and how stable you are, it doesn’t look like you are relying on some sort of forbidden technique or divine ability that explosively increases your power for brief periods of time.”
Ning chuckled. Thousand Origins pills were used to replenish Immortal energy and divine power. Using extremely powerful divine abilities or forbidden arts in battle consumed divine power a hundred times faster than normal; if the battle went on for too long, one would have to rely on spirit-pills to replenish one’s energy. The rate at which one absorbed energy from chaos jewels was simply too slow, and while chaos nectar was quite fast, using it in this matter was extremely wasteful.
Ning was primarily relying on the azureflower mist energy in battle; at most, he would also use the [Three Heads, Six Arms] divine ability, and so very little of his divine ability was used up. As for the azureflower mist energy, it was also consumed very slowly, allowing him to replenish it with chaos jewels alone. As a result, he didn’t need to rely on using spirit-pills to replenish his energy.
But of course, when the Ninedust Sectlord unleashed his full power he remained a bit stronger than Ning. There was nothing Ning could do about this; the azureflower mist energy simply couldn’t be used to execute divine abilities.
“Are you jealous of my Sword Dao?” Ning smirked.
“Your Sword Dao is indeed formidable; it can be all but described as flawless and perfect. We encountered several dangerous situations earlier, but you were able to perfectly defend against all of them. I, however, was forced to rely on my divine abilities and forbidden arts.” The Ninedust Sectlord looked at Ning. For once, he was willing to give up a bit of his face. “I imagine you’ve used up very few of your spirit-pills. Sell some to me. Il’l pay double the normal price.”
Ning shook his head.
“Five times the normal price!” The Ninedust Sectlord said hurriedly.
Ning just looked at him.
“Ten times!” The Ninedust Sectlord gritted his teeth. “Darknorth, don’t go too far.”
“Ah, forget it. I’ll sell it to you for ten times the normal price them. I was planning to wait until you were really panicking, then sell them to you at a hundred times the normal price.” Ning let out a teasing smile. To sell a spirit-pill at a hundred times the normal price when the buyer was in mortal danger was quite common.
Ning actually had more than ten thousand Thousand Origins pills and Chaos Spirit pills. He had acquired all of them from the deceased Daolord Kongsan, as Ning himself had never used them before.
The Thousand Origins pills were somewhat cheap; each of them were normally worth around a thousand cubes of chaos nectar. As for Chaos Spirit pills, they were worth ten times as much.
The two completed their trade. The Ninedust Sectlord spent thirty million cubes of chaos nectar to buy some of Ning’s spirit-pills. Finally, he let out a sigh of relief. With these spirit-pills on him, he would be able to use his powerful divine abilities without fear. In truth, he still had a good number of spirit-pills on him, but who knew how long they would be stuck in this place for? These flaming creatures really did seem to be all but endless, and he was forced to use his forbidden arts whenever they ran into a bit of trouble. Otherwise, they’d be swarmed and overwhelmed by the things.
Ning was different. Although he couldn’t use any divine abilities, the unscrutableness of his Omega Sword Dao allowed him to easily escape his foes, and the Soleheart stance of his Omega Sword Dao ensured that the creatures found it nearly impossible to actually reach Ning.
“Oh, right. Ninedust, you haven’t told anything me about yourself yet,” Ning said. “All I know is that you are the sectlord of the Ninedust Sect, and a new one at that. But what did you do before becoming the Ninedust Sectlord? I’ve never heard of you before. It’s odd that such a powerful Daolord as you suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and you don’t exactly seem to be the low-key type.”
“You want to know more about me?” The Ninedust Sectlord glanced sideways at Ning, then said smugly, “I’ll tell you the truth. I’m actually just a Daolord of the Third Step.”
“A Daolord of the Third Step?” Ning was surprised. How could a Daolord of the Third Step be this strong? Didn’t that mean that it was all but guaranteed he would be the equal of Daolord Dawnstar once he reached the fourth step?
“But your divine body…?” Ning frowned. The Ninedust Sectlord’s divine body had an aura of tremendous power, and it was far stronger than the bodies of most Daolords of the Fourth Step. It was highly unusual for a Daolord of the Third Step to have a divine body with such a powerful aura. “Are you some sort of Aberrant, or…?”
“Hmph. Those Aberrant special lifeforms are nothing. I am an Ancient cultivator, the most perfect type of creature to ever exist,” the Ninedust Sectlord said.
Ning was surprised. Although the Ancient cultivators were one of the six major organizations in the Endless Territories, they were incredibly few and rare in number, on par with the Brightshore Imperials of the Brightshore Kingdom. He didn’t expect that the Ninedust Sectlord would turn out to be an Ancient cultivator.
“As you’ll find out soon enough, this is one of the ancestral sites left behind by the ancestors of my race.” The Ninedust Sectlord looked at Ning. “I’m afraid, Darknorth, that you won’t be able to gain anything at all from this place, given that it was left by my ancestors for members of my Ancient race.”