Ji Ning continued to flee. On the way, he encountered multiple squads of Daolords, but none of them dared to engage him! Everyone knew how he had been able to fight against four supreme Daolords and kill two of them; this meant that Daolord Darknorth definitely was far too strong for them to compete against.
“It’ll all be up to Winesage.” This was what countless Daolords were thinking.
Palace Lord Dawnstar’s ranking was now second only to Ning and Winesage’s. He was carrying his giant machete on his back while seated in the lotus position at the peak of a mountain, staring off into the distance as a streak of light flew past. It was Ji Ning. Ning even cast a glance at Dawnstar.
“Be careful, Darknorth.” Dawnstar smiled at him.
“Thank you,” Ning said, then continued to flee.
Dawnstar smiled as he watched Ning depart. He was a member of the Brightshore Kingdom; there was no way he would stop Ning.
“The Palace of Immortals has actually ranked Darknorth above me. I want to see just how tough he is.” Dawnstar transformed into a streak of light that stayed a respectable distance behind Ning. “Winesage was just barely able to defeat me. Now that he has a Universe treasure, I wonder what level of power he has reached.”
Dawnstar was quite eager to see what the results of Ning’s battle against Winesage would be. It must be understood that the ranking given by the Palace of Immortals did contain certain unspoken rules. For example, if you defeated someone in open combat you would take their rank, such as when Daolord Dreamlore defeated the Radiant King!
Another way to gain a ranking was to be acknowledged by countless other Daolords. Ning’s feat of fighting against four supreme Daolords at once and even killing Timedream and Kingfreak was something which Palace Lord Dawnstar and the others would not have been able to do. Thus, the many other Daolords all acknowledged that Ning was second only to Winesage and as such he was ranked number two on the list.
Generally speaking, without a ‘real’ resolution to a fight one wouldn’t be given a ranking. The Ninedust Sectlord and Daolord Snowjoy were both extremely strong, but thus far neither of them had actually defeated one of the top-ranked Daolords! Ninedust had been surrounded by Kingfreak, Snowjoy, and Shaka; he hadn’t actually been able to beat any of them, while his fight with Fiendqueen Dustrain had also been inconclusive. Where should he be ranked at? Eight? Nine? Ten? This was a matter of dispute.
You had to either be publicly acknowledged by the other Daolords, or defeat a ranked Daolord in an open battle!
“He’s publicly acknowledged to be superior to me,” Dawnstar mused to himself. “Given my Dao-heart, his heartforce shouldn’t be able to shake me at all. As for close combat… I really do not fear Darknorth at all! They’ve actually ranked him above me? I’ll have to find a chance to spar with him, then beat him.”
Palace Lord Dawnstar was an incredibly proud person. He naturally didn’t want to accept the results of this new ranking at all.
“Winesage and Dawnstar were already ranked above me. Now, even Darknorth is ranked above me.” A red-robed youth clutching a blood-colored blade was glaring off into the distance, a desire to do battle radiating from him. “I actually beat the Radiant King. The only problem is, I haven’t actually run into Dawnstar or Darknorth yet!”
Daolord Dreamlore was very conceited. He didn’t want to bother with challenging ordinary Daolords; the first one he challenged was the Radiant King, despite the fact that none of the treasures of the Waveshift Realm had even appeared! In the end, he had actually won!
Right now, he wanted to challenge Dawnstar and Darknorth! If he won, he would then go on to challenge Winesage!
“No one can stop my saber.” Daolord Dreamlore was filled with the urge to do battle.
Whoosh. He flew through the skies at high speed, but he was still quite a distance aways from Ning and Dawnstar. Right now, Ning and Dawnstar were located close to each other, while Winesage was just two days away from Ning’s position. As for Daolord Dreamlore, he was still more than ten days away.
Winesage knew exactly where Ning was, but Ning didn’t know where Winesage was. More than twenty second-tier Heartforce Daolords were using their heartworld projection to suppress his, forcing him to keep it smaller in size and making it impossible for him to actually locate Winesage.
Whoosh. Ning was flying just a few meters above the waters of a vast, turbid river. “Eh?” Ning’s face suddenly tightened slightly. He came to a halt, staring off into the distance.
Another figure had appeared above the surface of the river. This was a man dressed in ancient black robes that were covered with certain diagrams. The man’s hair was rather tousled, and his eyes looked rather bleary. He looked very unkempt, but just by standing there he somehow became the center of this vast world. It was as though he was the hegemon of this land.
“Winesage,” Ning murmured softly.
“Darknorth.” Winesage smiled, his gaze slowly sharpening. “You won’t be able to escape this fight.”
“Interesting. The top seed against the second seed.” The Brightshore Hegemon and the horned youth continued to watch things play out from their position atop that frozen planet.
“Winesage is approaching the end of his lifespan. He doesn’t have much time left. Once he dies, Darknorth will be ranked number one. A chance to watch the two of them fight is a rare opportunity indeed.” The bald, gold-furred alien and the black-robed, black-haired elder within the Palace of Immortals of the Dao Alliance were watching eagerly as well.
In the Endless Territories, everyone from Daolords to Hegemons were paying attention to this fight. Of course, the Daolords wouldn’t be able to actually watch the fight in person or know the details of it, but they were still waiting to see what the results would be.
The top Daolord against the second Daolord! The former had stood atop the rankings for countless years and now was in possession of a Universe treasure. The other had trained for a very brief period of time and had risen to sudden prominence, and had just slain the Kingfreak and Timedream just a short while ago. His momentum seemed unstoppable!
Above that vast river. Ning and Winesage stared at each other from afar, neither daring to underestimate the other.
“It has been a long, long time since I have lost to anyone. Dawnstar and the Radiant King were very close to me in power, but they are still a bit weaker.” A desire to do battle burned in Winesage’s eyes. Although his voice was quite calm, it still echoed in the air above this river. “The reason they are weaker is because neither of them are Heartforce Cultivators! You, however, are a Heartforce Cultivator. You stand a chance at beating me.”
“But of course… that’s only in the event that I decline to use my Universe treasure.” Winesage laughed calmly. “Don’t worry. For now, I won’t use it! If you can’t even beat me when I don’t use my Universe treasure, you should just go ahead and hand the seal over. It’s rare for me to encounter a worthy opponent. I don’t want to kill you.”
Winesage’s words were calm but filled with arrogance and invincible pride. Even without his Universe treasure, he was still invincible amongst his fellow Daolords! Now that he had one, he truly did look down upon all of his so-called peers. He now generally spent his time with ancient Eternal Emperors and rarely interacted with Daolords.
“Haha, you don’t want to kill me? We haven’t even fought yet. What makes you so sure you can kill me? Even if you use your Universe treasure, you still won’t be able to do anything to me.” Ning let out a cold snort. “Let’s cut the crap. Take this!”
Whoosh. Ning vanished into thin air.
“That’s the assassination art?” Winesage’s face tightened slightly. Boom! Instantly, an awesome aura of bloody light swept out from Winesage, as well as a heartworld projection that was filled with the essence of darkness and death. The two joined together.
Boom! Boom! Boom! A series of explosive sounds rang out.
Ning had merged his nine novessence arts with his heartworld projection, while Winesage had merged his bloodlight arts with his heartworld projection. The two clashed against each other, with Ning holding the slight advantage. However, the bloody halo of light around Winesage was still able to maintain a diameter of roughly ten thousand kilometers.
Ning’s silhouette suddenly appeared outside of that field of bloody light. “Your secret arts are pretty strong,” Ning praised. The energy of the bloodlight art and the heartworld projection worked together seamlessly to destroy all within their path. If Ning was to enter its range, he would be attacked by it. His past opponents, such as Timedream and Shaka, had weaker secret arts and heartworld projections than Ning. As a result, they had suffered for it in battle.
“You secret arts are even stronger, but its auxiliary effects are inferior to mine.” Winesage nodded. “This secret art of mine is known as the Asura Domain, and my heartforce and perfectly join together with it. Foes that clash against me not only have to deal with the pressure from my heartworld projection and the Asura Domain, they also have to endure heartforce attacks from me.”
“Asura Domain?” Ning nodded. He had heard of some of Winesage’s supreme attacks before. When Heartforce Cultivators were unable to effectively use either brute-force attacks or illusions, they would need to use softer and more insidious methods. Winesage’s Asura Domain was a good example of this. This was a technique that combined both secret arts and heartforce, giving it both a terrifyingly strong suppressive effect as well as a corrosive, soul-invading effect. Any cultivator caught within it would grow increasingly irritable as the fight went on. This impact on their emotions would make it difficult for them to stay in top fighting shape and unleash their full power, resulting in them losing.
Ning’s own plan was to master the [Heartsword] technique and do the same. He had gained a basic level of insight into it long ago, but the later stages were extremely difficult. To date, he hadn’t spent enough time on it.
It would take him very, very long to advance from the third step to the fourth step as a Daolord. He would have plenty of time to work on the [Heartsword] art.
“Talk is cheap. All the talk in the world won’t make you one whit stronger. Show me what you actually have.” Ning immediately manifested [Three Heads, Six Arms] and held six Northbow swords in his hands.
Boom! Ning unleashed his nine novessence arts and his heartworld projection at the same time. Ning and Winesage quickly began to move closer and closer to each other, their secret arts and heartworld projections crashing against each other like two worlds colliding.
“Fuck off!” Ning was incomparably valiant as he charged straight towards Winesage, immediately using his Omega Sword Dao – Heavenbreaker. His six Northbow swords were filled with seemingly inexhaustible power, and all of that power exploded like a series of volcano towards Winesage.