“Haha, done.” Ji Ning understood what his friend was trying to do; Ninedust didn’t feel comfortable accepting the Voidsea Jadeseal without doing anything for Ning in return. At their level, Daolords were unwilling to do actions that went against their basic nature and caused them to feel guilty. They would strive to repay any favors that were owed.
But of course, there were some truly vile Daolords whose Dao-hearts were as vile as they were. Backstabbing, betrayal, robbery, deceit… they could do anything, because this was the nature of their Dao-heart! As a result, these evil Daolords generally had few to no truly good friends. Timedream was a good example; he had relied on applying heartforce techniques to the Kingfreak when the later was young and weak, slowly guiding the Kingfreak into being utterly devoted to him.
“We’ll probably spend quite a bit of time here in the third world,” Ning said. “You can spend a month using up the Voidsea Jadeseal first. That way, you can publicly swear a lifeblood oath that you’ve already used it and thus will no longer be pursued or attacked by the other Daolords.”
“Right.” Ninedust nodded. “Understood. I’ll be leaving now.” Whoosh. Ninedust flew towards a different passageway, with Ning watching as he left.
Ning then turned towards his own passageway. This was what mattered the most to him; he had to walk to the end of this passageway and acquire the ninth command talisman.
“That stone pillar…?” Ning stared at a rhomboid-shaped pillar at the edges of the abyss. The pillar was covered with many dense runes. These runes didn’t seem nearly as profound as the Dreamdust script, the azureflower runes, or the ‘Crimson Wave Temple’ runes, but they were still unlike any script that Ning had ever seen before. Despite that, Ning immediately understood what they meant.
“If I wish to pass through the first abyss, I must first learn the [Vitalis] technique…” Ning was dazed by what he read.
All living creatures had their own, distinct life auras. These auras came from the distinctive characteristics of their souls and truesouls. No type of divine ability or transformation could truly disguise this. The likes of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] and other similar techniques could mask or simulate certain aura ‘leaks’, but the intrinsic life aura itself could not be changed! The aura each soul and truesoul had was the best way of verifying or attesting to who a person was.
“B-b-b-but… this [Vitalis] technique can actually change a truesoul’s life aura?” Ning could hardly believe this. “If even a truesoul’s life aura can be changed… then they could use a casual disguise and I would be completely unable to recognize them!”
Terrifying, utterly terrifying. For example, if someone transformed into Patriarch Subhuti and appeared in front of Ning, if even the truesoul life aura was imitated then Ning would be tricked. If caught off-guard in such a manner, Ning could very well fall for a sneak attack!
“The Sithe were utterly terrifying. How could they have come up with a technique like this? I’ve never even heard of such techniques in the Endless Territories, but the Sithe put it within the third world. Clearly, many of their supreme Daolords must’ve known this technique.” Ning was secretly terrified. If even their Daolords were this terrifying, how deadly had their Eternal Emperors had been?
No wonder the Sithe had once sought to conquer and enslave all other cultivators. Apparently, even the Terror Starsea was nothing more than one of many battlefields where the Dawn War had occurred.
“Whew.” Ning quickly read and memorized the [Vitalis] technique. Only then did he let out a sigh of relief. The [Vitalis] technique wasn’t completely flawless; for example, close friends and loved ones could often tell what their counterparts were thinking from a single glance or gesture. If someone else had merely transformed and used the [Vitalis] technique, that person would be unable to duplicate that sort of tacit understanding. This was one of the most basic flaws.
However, if one wasn’t aware of the [Vitalis] technique and also sensed that the truesoul life aura was that of a loved one’s, one generally wouldn’t think too much of it even if their counterpart was acting rather oddly. They’d think that their counterpart was probably worried or frustrated about something and thus was acting rather differently. This wasn’t that big of a flaw.
The true, major flaw with the [Vitalis] technique was that of karma!
Karma was a system of cause and effect that linked all things! This was one of the highest level and yet most understated webs that tied and bound all individuals. There were some who were so skilled in karma that when they slew a foe, they would be able to use their karmic senses to trace down that enemy’s Primaltwin and avatars and wipe them out as well!
Anyone you had befriended or even so much as spoken to would be connected to you by karma. Ning, for example, was very tightly bound to his friends and loved ones by karmic threads. He was even connected by karma to the Brightshore Hegemon and Emperor Goldisle of the Dao Alliance, as he had met and spoken with both separately.
If anyone dared to imitate Ning and appear before Hegemon Brightshore… given how strong Hegemon Brightshore was, he was probably able of karmic scrying! He would be able to instantly tell that there were no pre-existing karmic ties between him and the person in front of him and thus could be certain that it definitely was not Ji Ning.
“There are almost no Daolords capable of sensing and scrying karma.” Ning shook his head. “Not even the majority of Eternal Emperors are capable of this. You have to be a specialist in karma or have reached an incredible level of power.”
All Daos shared certain commonalities. Ning didn’t specifically study the Dao of Time or the Dao of Space, but he had reached such inconceivable heights in the Dao of the Sword that he was able to transcend both space and time. Similarly, the power within the Sword Hegemon’s Dao-seal was so great that it could freeze and suppress both spacetime as well as karmic scrying.
“This [Vitalis] technique is still an incredible technique,” Ning mused to himself. If he managed to learn this technique, he could for example imitate someone else and go pay a visit to Hegemon Netherlily of the Ancient cultivators! Since Hegemon Netherlily had never seen him before and there were no karmic ties between them, Ning probably would be able to deceive her.
Thus, this technique was a superb and terrifying technique for disguising one’s self and infiltrating other organizations.
“The Sithe probably relied on this technique to arrange for many Daolord spies to be sent into the various cultivator organizations,” Ning mused. “However, the Sithe have already been destroyed. Even their techniques have fallen into the hands of us cultivators.”
Each of the seven colors of the rainbow chains which stretched across the first abyss represented a type of truesoul life aura! One had to be able to transform one’s life aura to match those chains in order to safely traverse them. If the truesoul aura was not imitated perfectly, then one would be swept into that endless abyss and perish!
The Sithe used very brutal methods to train their Daolords.
“[Vitalis]…” After learning this technique, Ning felt more and more certain that the Sithe had reached truly inconceivable heights in certain areas. For example, their mastery of truesoul-relaetd techniques clearly surpassed that of the Endless Territories by a significant amount. Otherwise, they would never have been able to create a technique such as this.
What Ning didn’t know was that although the Sithe had been exterminated, the many treasures and techniques they had left behind were furiously fought over in countless places. Crimsonwave Temple was nothing more than one of the many relic sites left behind by the Sithe.
“Focus.” Ning made use of his temporal acceleration treasure. Years passed inside although just half a month or so had gone by outside. He was now able to use a tiny amount of his truesoul and godsense to form a ‘lifecloak’ around him, with the lifecloak capable of simulating any truesoul aura Ning had met before.
This amount of his truesoul and godsense was of neglible impact to Ning. He was a heartforce cultivator, after all, and a very high-level one at that. Learning this technique was thus quite easy for him.
“Success.” Ning put away the spacetime cabin and turned to stare at the stone pillar. He sighed silently, “Their abilities were utterly unearthly, but their ambitions were simply too vast. In the end, they were wiped out!”
Ning understood that the little he knew about the Sithe came from what Realmsoul Polo and the Grovekeeper had told him. He realized that this was nothing more than the tip of an iceberg, and that he still knew very little as to what the truth was.
The Grovekeeper had merely been an artificial construct created by the Sithe race in order to take care of the trees here in Crimsonwave Temple. He had never been able to leave this place. As for Realmsoul Polo, he was nothing more than a servant of Emperor Waveshift’s.
Ning stood there atop the seven-colored chains, every single colored chain containing a different truesoul aura. The different colors all stretched out across several meters, allowing the Daolords enough time to falsify their truesoul auras.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
Ning continuously transformed. First he was a terrifying demon, then he became a suave and graceful cultivator. If they closed their eyes, not even Brightmoon or Patriarch Subhuti would be able to recognize that this aura came from Ji Ning.
Soon, Ning traversed the entire set of chains and reached the giant rocky island on the other side.
“The first command talisman.” Ning stared at the octahedral black-gold command talisman levitating in the air, then reached out to grab it. The command talisman’s surface was warm on one side but cool on the other, and the temperatures on each side continuously alternated. This first command talisman, along with the second command talisman, were amongst the least valuable of the command talismans. However, the fruit they gave access to only ripened once every 30,000 chaos cycles. Given that the Sithe were willing to place such valuable trees here in Crimsonwave Palace, the fruit would definitely still be extraordinary.
“One talisman down. Keep going.” Ning stared off into the distance towards the tri-colored chains leading across the second abyss. At the end of the tri-colored chains was the altar which held the fourth command talisman at the bottom! At the very top of the altar was the ninth command talisman.
“Eh?” Ning stared at the stone pillar which stood deep at the ends of the second abyss. “If I wish to pass through the second abyss, I must master the [Daoheart] technique…” This stone pillar was also covered with dense runic script that explained yet another mysterious, ancient technique of the Sithe race.
He had been stunned when he saw the [Vitalis] technique. This time, he had already mentally fortified himself, but upon seeing the [Daoheart] technique he was still completely dumbfounded.