The black vessel finally came to a halt outside the star. Ji Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord stood on the prow of the vessel, able to see the planet clearly.
“What a beautiful star,” Ning praised. The planet was protected by layers of defenses, almost like the yolk of an egg being protected by a shell.
“But also dangerous,” the Ninedust Sectlord warned solemnly.
“Let’s go.” Ning glanced at the Ninedust Sectlord, who did not respond. Whoosh! The black vessel began a slow advance, soon arriving in front of the first barrier protecting the star.
This was a gaseous barrier that was pitch-black in color and extremely solid. When the black vessel sought to advance through it, the two could both sense the first barrier resisting the vessel mightily. The black vessel had to use all of its power in order to just barely advance through the barrier, crackling all the way. After advancing for roughly a hundred thousand kilometers, they left the region of black mist and appeared in front of a region of deep azure mist.
“I imagine that most Daolords of the Fourth Step wouldn’t be able to make it past this,” Ning said softly. “If my judgment is correct, there’s no way this protective membrane could’ve been naturally created. It has to have been man-made.”
“Agreed. Nine out of ten says it was created by a major power that vastly outstrips us in might.” The Ninedust Sectlord nodded.
Swoosh! The vessel continued to advance, passing through one layer of gas after another. There were nine of these gas layers, and they were colored black, deep azure, azure, light azure… the colors continuously lightened until the final layer, which was composed of completely white mist.
By now, the white mist posed almost negligibly low levels of resistance for the black vessel. Starting from the azure layer, a few special lifeforms began to appear. They lived within the gas itself, and were like gaseous entities. They could transform into any shape, with some being strong and others being weak. The most powerful were roughly on par with Daolords of the Fourth Step, while the weakest were on par with ordinary World-level cultivators.
Whoosh. After passing through the ninth layer of mist, Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord saw a brand new open world appear in front of them. This was a vast and beautiful world, filled with cities, villages, and many ordinary mortals as well.
“So this place actually holds living creatures.” Ning let out a moved sigh. “The endless primordial chaos truly is filled with endless marvels. Life can survive in even a dangerous place like this.”
“I suspect that the major power who created those nine layers of protective mist did so for the sake of these mortals.” The Ninedust Sectlord carefully sent out his senses, then said in a soft voice, “This region is filled with invisible laws, preventing ordinary cultivators from being able to fly at all. Only Daolords are able to fly here.”
“The skies are sealed?” Ning frowned. “Can it be that this planet holds an Eternal Emperor within it?”
Upon gaining eternity, your very words became edicts of law. You could issue certain edicts that all within a certain region had to follow! However, sufficiently powerful Daolords were capable of completely ignoring these edicts. It must be understood that certain supremely powerful Daolords were capable of suppressing even the might of the prime essences of the Dao, located at the heart of the universe. In comparison, mere edicts issued by Eternal Emperors were nothing.
“Right. This place might have an ancestor of my Ancient race.” The Ninedust Sectlord swept the area with his gaze. “Darknorth, I’m sure you’ve sensed it as well. This vast world gives me an incredibly strong sense of danger. If we aren’t careful, we could easily die here.”
“Yes, I can sense it.” Ning nodded. As soon as he had seen this planet from afar, he had sensed a terrifying danger emanating from it. Now that they had truly entered it, that sense only grew stronger.
A total of eight strange-looking four-legged beasts were pulling a giant carriage through the grassy plains directly below Ning. Surrounding the carriage there were three hundred valiant knights, all of whom were advancing at high speeds. The carriage was protected by formations which faintly flickered around it, ensuring it didn’t bump or jostle at all.
The carriage itself was thirty meters long and twenty-four meters wide. Within the carriage sat a young man who was casually dressed in sleek silk clothes, as well as two bewitching women who were cuddling against him while feeding him.
The youth casually ran his hands across the two women, toying with them. His eyes, however, had a faraway look in them.
“Your Highness, Dragonwing City is up ahead. Should we pay a visit to the governor?” The voice of a knight rang out from outside the carriage. Although their lord had already informed them as to which experts they would visit on this journey, the young master wasn’t the type to just do as he was told. There were two experts who he had declined to meet with thus far.
“The governor of Dragonwing is one of my seniors and has always treated me very well. We certainly must visit him,” the youth chuckled.
“Acknowledged,” the knight said from outside.
The youth inside the carriage caressed one of the women by his side, a dreamy look in his eyes. He murmured softly, “So this is the path which Father has arranged for me? I can already see what the rest of my life will be like. I really am not happy with it.”
Whoosh. Whoosh. Suddenly, two figures appeared out of nowhere. One was a white-robed youth who bore a black sheath on his back, while the second was an icy-faced man. However, neither the two women in the carriage nor the noble youth noticed them at all. The youth remained lost in his thoughts and pensively pondering his own future.
“This kid is one of the highest status figures without a million kilometers of this place. He actually has three Elder Gods and five Ancestral Immortals guarding him, while he himself is also an Elder God. And, judging from the way they address him, he should be a prince of some sort,” the Ninedust Sectlord said. “He probably knows more about this world than most. Darknorth, shall you do the honors or shall I?”
“I’ll ask,” Ning said with a smile.
No one in the area was able to overhear their conversation. They were simply beings on completely different levels of existence. Although Ning had merely been an Elder God when he left the Three Realms, he could now wipe out untold multitudes of Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals with but a single breath.
The two of them remained quite cautious. They didn’t randomly start sending their godsense out to investigate, as this world was simply too dangerous for them. It must be understood that not even those innumerable flaming creatures dared to approach this region. If they were too rash, they’d probably die here. Thus, caution was the best decision. This was a principle which all Daolords followed when they were out adventuring.
Both Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord stood at the very precipice of power amongst Daolords; they could be considered second-tier Daolords of the Fourth Step by now, comparable to ordinary Eternal Emperors in might. They naturally had to be cautious. The stronger you were, the more careful you had to be.
In a place deep within the underground of this world. This was a place where ancient formations could be seen everywhere.
Roughly 190 million kilometers below the ground, there was a beautiful underground palace. The palace was extremely quiet, and although a few Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals and even World Gods could be seen walking through it, they were all silent and solemn. None of them dared to speak too loudly, as they felt a natural sense of dread.
Within an ancient, quiet room inside the underground palace. A white-robed old man was seated in the lotus position, his aura comparable to that of a Daolord of the Fourth Step. In front of him was an enormous mirror.
The mirror contained within it images of a black vessel flying through layers of misty barriers before finally descending upon the vast world up above. This scene was playing on a loop over and over within the mirror.
“Elder.” Suddnely, a violet-robed man walked over from afar, emanating the aura of a Daolord of the Second Step. He called out respectfully to the old man, but when he accidentally saw the images being played in the mirror his face turned ashen. He stuttered, “A-a-are those Prophets?”
“Yes.” The white-robed elder let out a sigh. “Prophets! After a million chaos cycles, yet another group of Prophets have descended upon our world.”
“Prophets have descended? Prophets?!” The violet-robed man was shocked and panicked. “B-but… what should we do? Elder, what should we do?”
The white-robed elder waved his hand, causing a black tome to appear before him. The tome opened on its own, and it was filled with the history of this continent.
“Don’t panic.” The white-robed elder said softly, “In the ancient annals of our continent, it is said that Prophets have descended on three separate occasions! The first Prophet taught us cultivation, allowing us to escape our fetters of ignorance and enter the era of Immortal cultivation. This was the First Era of our continent. The second Prophet did even more; he established a foundation for us, setting up the nine sky barriers to protect us and thus ensure that those flamefiends wouldn’t dare to encroach upon our territory. These days, only the most crazed of flamefiends would dare to attack, and they no longer pose much of a threat. As a result, our homeland was able to grow truly powerful. This was the Second Era.”
“But the third Prophet and the Third Era he brought…” The violet-robed man said nervously, “That was the darkest era of our history.”
The white-robed elder nodded. The descent of the third Prophet… that Prophet had simply been too greedy, and he had caused a huge war.
“The third time, we were ultimately forced to unleash the power of the Eighteen Heavens and Hells Mutual Apocalypse Formation. We summoned the enormous power inherent within this land and in the end were able to slay that Prophet… but countless living beings in our world were slain as well, with just the few who hid within the sacred lands surviving.” The violet-robed man was extremely nervous. That battle had been a dire one. The entire world had been completely devastated! It had taken them a million chaos cycles to recover to their current state.
“Whether this is a blessing or a catastrophe, we still have to face it,” the white-robed elder said. “No matter what, the descent of the Prophets means that the Fourth Era has already begun. Inkmind, the task of making initial contact with those two Prophets shall be yours.”