“Prophet.” Daolord Inkmind’s true body had been here this entire time, attending to their needs. Upon seeing Ji Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord halt their cultivation, he hurriedly spoke out to them.
“Fellow Daoist Inkmind.” Ning smiled. “The time has now come for me and Ninedust to enter this place and search for worldsplitter stones. Sorry for making you go to the trouble of watching over us.”
“It was no trouble at all. Are the two of you truly unwilling to wait any longer?” Daolord Inkmind couldn’t help but try to dissuade them: “If you want a few hundred thousand years, the density of the earth devils might drop by a half, and the danger will drop to roughly 10% of what it is right now…”
The Ninedust Sectlord said calmly, “No need to wait any further. Darknorth, let’s go.”
The Ninedust Sectlord and Ning simultaneously transformed into streaks of light, flying towards that enormous rainbow-lit region that led deeper underground. There were a number of those humanoid figures flying through that rainbow region. Each of them had tall, muscular bodies, wore black armor, and had faces that were dark yellow in color. They looked like towering mountains, and they emanated an aura of the world’s ponderance. This was a type of strange creature that possessed the power of the vast earth itself.
They were different from the flame demons. The flame demons were more violent and had more powerful attacks, while the earth devils always stayed within their own domain without proactively leaving to launch attacks on the world at large. However, anyone who dared to trespass into their homeland would suffer their merciless reprisals.
“Eh?” As Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord flew into the home of the earth devils, the creatures suddenly turned alert. Moments ago, they had been quite relaxed; now, they all turned to glare towards the two intruders.
“Annihilate the intruders!”
Virtually all the earth devils in the area began to move in unison, transforming into streaks of light that shot towards the two of them.
“We can’t waste any time.. Let’s shake them off as soon as possible,” the Ninedust Sectlord suggested.
“Agreed.” As soon as the two entered, they had both sensed the dense and heavy earth energy which permeated this entire region and which applied enormous pressure to them. However, both were able to resist the pressure with ease! They also saw that there were many different stone passageways that led from this region to other places. The core of the world seemed almost like a spiderweb lattice of tunnels with countless short passageways that could be taken.
The passageways were so short that there was no way Ning could rely on his black vessel to flee. In this place, it wasn’t speed which mattered; it was agility! The countless short tunnels forced them to repeatedly change directions.
Boom! Ning didn’t hesitate at all, immediately unleashing his nine novessence arts and letting them crush outwards towards the encroaching earth devils.
“We Ancient cultivators also have certain secret arts of tremendous power, but the more powerful they are the harder it is to cultivate them.” The Ninedust Sectlord couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous when he saw Ning use the nine novessence arts. Both the Dao Alliance and the Ancient cultivators had many secret arts of incredible power. As for the terrifying secret arts Ning had acquired from the deceased Sword Hegemon, they were far more powerful than these nine novessence arts. However, the more powerful a secret art was, the higher its requirements were!
These secret arts would all require incredibly rare and valuable magic treasures which were almost never sold to outsiders. The bloodfruit which Ning had acquired was a good example; there was no way Skywood City would ever sell sacred bloodfruit. After slaying Daolord Kongsan, Ning had become much wealthier than he had been… but alas, he hadn’t been able to use that wealth to purchase any of the rare treasures he needed to train in the Hegemon’s secret art.
Just gaining a basic level of skill in the Hegemon’s secret art required three exceedingly valuable treasures. To master it, twelve were needed. Thus far, Ning hadn’t found even one!
The same was true for the Ninedust Sectlord. Although he had been alive for far longer than Ning had and knew more secret arts, he hadn’t been able to master even one secret art of tremendous power.
In truth, Daolord Allgod’s nine novesence arts didn’t rely that much on rare treasures; Dao lightning and Dao water were fairly weak and cheap. The true ingenuity of the nine arts lay in the way Daolord Allgod had mixed them together in an alchemical fashion, allowing him to perfectly control the [Novessence Thunder] and the [Novessence Water]. This was a type of secret art which possessed tremendous power while having fairly low material requirements… but actually training in it was incredibly difficult. Not only did it require one to be fairly proficient in those nine different types of Dao, it also required you to have reached the grandmaster level in alchemy.
“Break!” Ning manifested three heads and six arms, taking his six Northbow swords into his hands. He seemed to completely transform into a black hole, making it very difficult for the attacking earth devils to do anything to him.
Slash! Sword-light sliced through the chest of one of the earth devils. Moments later, the earth devil’s body suddenly exploded with a giant boom. The shattered bits of its body were quickly ground into dust by the power of the nine novessence arts.
“Darknorth, your sword-arts have actually improved.” The distant Ninedust Sectlord still had the presence of mind to jest with Ning. This was mainly because they had been through far more dangerous situations when they had been fighting against the countless flame demons in the outlands.
“Just a little bit,” Ning said. Ning had used his temporal acceleration treasure for the past twelve thousand years, which he had spent almost exclusively in cultivation. However, aside from the Blood Drop sword-intent which he had broken through in quite some time ago, his other four types of sword-intent hadn’t improved in the slightest. As a result, he wasn’t much stronger than he had been in the past, even though his Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop was now twice as powerful as before. If he wanted to improve overall, he would need for all five sword-intents to make breakthroughs, then merge together into his third-stage Omega Sword Dao.
Boom! Boom! Boom! The earth devils utilized heavy weapons like greataxes, warhammers, and heavy poles. They struck out with brutish power, and although Ning held the upper hand he still found each clash quite difficult to endure.
After getting a basic understanding of how the earth devils fought, the two felt their hearts grow heavy. They were able to temporarily destroy the earth devils, but just like the flame demons they had invulnerable forms! Fighting them head-on would severely slow down the two cultivators, and these creatures were even more dangerous than the flame demons when massed together. Fortunately, they were comparatively fewer in number.
Whoooosh. The two used agility techniques to flee while blocking, and they quickly darted through the countless web-like tunnels. Both of them were faster than the flame demons, and so they were significantly faster than the slower earth devils.
“Kill!” As they continued to flee, more earth devils were attracted by the sounds of combat and came charging straight towards them. Each time, the two cultivators had no choice but to end the battle as soon as possible as they delved deeper and deeper into the earth’s core.
The two were very experienced and very powerful, and they were working in concert. They were able to ‘wander’ through the underground lattice of tunnels for roughly an hour with ease.
“Over there.” Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord immediately saw the slick black stone that was hovering in the air off in the distance. It looked extremely smooth and glossy, and seemed to be filled with endless power, almost as though it held an entire massive world within it. Although this was the first time they had seen this stone, they immediately recognized it as a worldsplitter stone based on the descriptions Daolord Inkmind had given them.
“A worldsplitter stone.” The Ninedust Sectlord was closer to it, and so he immediately waved his arm to collect it. He then grinned at Ning. “I’ll hold onto this one for now. Let’s keep exploring until we find a second one.”
“Fine.” Ning didn’t really mind. The two had sworn lifeblood oaths long ago and thus both trusted each other quite a bit by now.
The worldsplitter stones had been birthed from the core of this planet. Although some could be found hovering around in outer regions like this place, most were located far deeper and closer to the heart of the world. Thus, the farther down they went the better their chances would be… but the more dangerous it would be as well, of course. It would also be a longer way back.
More time passed. Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord continued to battle and charge their way closer and closer to the planet’s core.
“That’s…” Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord’s faces both turned pale. Off in the distance, they saw streaks of light flying about happily. There were a total of four streaks, and they each possessed strange vitality and life energy. All four were of different colors, and their auras were completely different as well. However, they flew together in unison and ‘chased’ after each other.
“Four of the five types of Dragonfish Ki?” Ning immediately recognized recognized those four streaks of light. They were incredibly famous treasures that were absolutely priceless, far more valuable than Dao lightning or Dao water. They were incredibly rare and simply couldn’t be bought on any market. Even if a major power was lucky enough to encounter them, he’d generally only trade it for other treasures of similar value rather than sell them. A single stream of Dragonfish Ki would be worth roughly eighty million cubes of chaos nectar; these things were even more valuable than sacred bloodfruit! One could imagine how rare they were.
“Darknorth, I only need one of those four.” The Ninedust Sectlord was so excited his entire body was shaking. If he acquired the Dragonfish Ki, then even if he found nothing else from this ancestral site he would still be completely satisfied. “This thing is extremely important to me. Brother Darknorth, please assist me. I can promise that the other three will be yours.”