As Ji Ning walked across the tri-colored chains, he could sense throbs of pain reach out to him from his feet and then spread throughout his body. He continued to advance one step at a time, but his body began to quiver. He gritted his teeth, enduring the pain.
“For these chains to be able to cause so much pain for so many years to so many people… they must be valuable treasures.” Although Ning was agonized, he maintained enough clarity of mind to murmur softly to himself.
Finally, he finished traversing the tri-colored chains.
“The fourth command talisman.” Ning stared at the ancient black-gold talisman, then reached out and grabbed it. Ning raised his head to stare upwards at the steps that led to the top of the altar. At the very top levitated the extremely precious ninth command talisman.
Ning strode forward towards, beginning to move up the various steps. There were a total of 8003 steps to this great altar. Rainbow light suddenly manifested at the very top of the altar, resolving into a white-robed figure. Realmsoul Polo smiled as he walked downwards towards Ning.
“Realmsoul Polo?” Ning was startled.
The realmsoul glanced at Ning, then smiled. “Darknorth, you are quite fast. You were able to master both [Vitalis] and [Daoheart] quite quickly.”
“Are there any other new techniques in this altar?” Ning asked.
“None.” The realmsoul shook his head. “You should celebrate the fact that you learned two such exquisite techniques. How numerous do you take them for? As for the altar… this altar has a total of 9000 wards and barriers. If you can defeat all 9000 of them, you’ll be able to acquire the incredibly precious ninth command talisman.”
As he spoke, he waved his sleeves. Swoosh! Triangular motes of golden light immediately appeared at the top of the altar. The light spread out to form multiple layers of barriers that repeatedly folded in on each other, forming a dazzling golden barrier. Ning could immediately tell that there were indeed thousands of layers to this formation; although he couldn’t count the exact number, 9000 was a distinct possibility.
“Will the barriers automatically regenerate?” Ning asked. If they were to immediately regenerate, then he would have to break through all 9000 in a single strike.
“Hahaha, if they automatically regenerated, you could be ten times as strong as you currently are and still fail to break through.” Realmsoul Polo relaxed off to one side as he watched.
“Good.” Ning immediately manifested three heads and six arms. All six of the golden swords on his back came flying out and landed within his hands.
“Let’s go.” Ning willed it, and a barrier immediately appeared next to him which quickly expanded to cover the entire altar.
Temporal acceleration… 100x acceleration!
The altar was not alive and thus it didn’t cause too much energy to be used up to accelerate time for it.
“Oh, quite clever.” Realmsoul Polo smiled as he watched from the side.
“This is the final challenge in the third world, after all. I’ll wager it won’t be that easy to beat,” Ning said. Moments later, a sharp light flashed through his eyes. “Suppress!”
Ning willed his massive heartworld projection to come crashing down. A heartbeat later, his nine novessence arts came out in the form of energy dragons, coiling together to form a Yin-Yang Chaos Domain in accordance with the principles of the Omega Sword Dao – Yin Yang which furiously pressed down against the altar. Even though the altar was now suffering the combined pressures of the heartworld projection and the nine novessence arts, the 9000 barriers were still able to easily endure.
“Break!” Ning immediately executed his Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop while applying the [Heartsword] technique.
Sword-light flashed through the air as Ning’s mist-formed sword stabbed against the barrier, moving faster than a hundred times the speed of light. The first barrier was pierced through like paper, but the power of the strike was greatly reduced. In the end, the mist-formed sword was unable to stab through the second barrier.
“Eh, just so-so. This speed indicates that it’ll take me perhaps one day to break through all 9000 barriers. It seems setting up a temporal acceleration field was overkill.” Ning spoke in an intentionally arrogant manner while giving Realmsoul Polo a meaningful glance.
“Don’t get cocky.” Realmsoul Polo watched from afar, an amused smile on his face. “The ninth command seal won’t be so easily acquired.”
Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash! Ning struck out repeatedly against the barriers, piercing through a total of 151 barriers. The next time Ning struck out, he wasn’t able to break through the barrier.
“The barriers are increasing in strength.” Ning frowned, then revealed a smile. “Still, at least the barriers weaken each time I attack them. They don’t regenerate even when they are weakened but not breached.” For example, although the 152nd barrier was not destroyed by Ning’s full-strength strike, it had dimmed and was clearly much weaker than it had been previously.
So long as the barrier didn’t recover its energy, then he would eventually be able to break through the 9000 barriers given enough time.
“Break! Break! Break!” Ning quickly struck out with his six Northbow swords, applying the Blood Drop stance each time. The Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop’s greatest strength lay in its penetrative power!
When dealing with barriers, this sort of penetrating attack was the best type of attack to use. In addition, the Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop was Ning’s most powerful attack! This naturally made the breaching process quite fast.
Slash! Slash! Slash! The six Northbow swords continuously struck out as fast as illusions. One mist-formed sword after another struck out against the barriers, causing the barriers to quickly disperse under the weight of the barrage of attacks.
After roughly half a day, Ning broke through the 1000th barrier.
After roughly six days, Ning broke through the 2000th barrier.
After roughly half a month, Ning broke through the 3000th barrier.
After roughly nine months, Ning broke through the 4000th barrier.
After nearly half a year, Ning broke through the 5000th barrier.
“I underestimated these 9000 barriers.” Ning was furiously assaulting the 5001st barrier with his six Northbow swords. This barrier was extremely tough; when Ning first assaulted it, he felt as though he couldn’t breach it at all, that the barrier wasn’t even weakening in the slightest. Only after more than ten thousand strikes did the barrier slowly begin to weaken, and once it did it began to weaken at a very fast rate. In the end, it finally collapsed.
“These barriers… they are strong enough that not even a full-strength blow from the eight lords of the Sacred Cities would be able to breach them,” Ning mused.
The barriers were so much more powerful than his attacks that his strikes were like drops of water sprinkled across stones, having virtually no impact at all. However, given enough time the wind and the rain could wear down even the mightiest of mountains! When the barrier finally dropped down close to Ning’s level of power, Ning would naturally be able to sense it begin to weaken and break down.
“I still haven’t been able to master the eleventh stance of the [Heartsword].” In recent days, Ning had been working on the eleventh stance of the [Heartsword] technique, the ‘Teardrop’ strike.
The eighth to tenth stances of the [Heartsword] represented a tier, while the eleventh to twelfth stances represented a different tier. Each tier represented a qualitative transformation!
Ning was so incredibly talented that in just a few short decades he was able to go from the eighth stance to the tenth stance, but these three stances belonged to the same tier. The difficulty of the eleventh stance, however, was on a completely different level from the tenth.
“I was over-confident. No wonder the records regarding the [Heartsword] stated that the number of people in each generation who could master the eleventh or twelfth stances could be counted on one hand! Even the most talented of swordsmen who have been alive for 108,000 chaos cycles find it hard to reach this level, while I’ve spent just ten or so years on it.” Ning regained his normal calm, then smiled. “In recent years, I’ve been focusing on my Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop. I feel as though I’ve gained quite a few insights into it. Perhaps I’ll break through with it.”
In the past five years, Ning had unleashed countless strikes with the Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop. By now, he had more insights into the Blood Drop stance than any of the other four stances, and so it stood the best chance of reaching the fourth stage. If he could reach the fourth stage with his Blood Drop stance, then the power of his Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop would increase yet again.
“Continue.” Ning continued to furiously strike out with his sword, even though he felt almost like an ant trying to move a mountain.
After nearly twenty years, Ning broke through the 6000th barrier.
After nearly a century, Ning broke through the 7000th barrier.
After nearly three centuries, Ning broke through the 8000th barrier.
Ning’s [Heartsword] and his Blood Drop stance had yet to make any breakthroughs. Although he had gained some insights, especially after having used the Blood Drop stance so many times and after having spent so much time working on upgrading it, he still hadn’t been able to reach the fourth stage. His improvements were rapid, but it still wasn’t enough. This was a sign as to how hard it would be to reach the fourth stage with all five stances. As for fusing them together into a fourth-stage Omega Sword Dao? How difficult would that be?”
Slash! Slash! Slash! A furious barrage of mist-formed sword energy lashed out in an illusory fashion, stabbing against the final barrier. Finally, an explosion boomed out!
After more than 900 years here at the altar, Ning had finally managed to defeat the final barrier.
“I finally breached it.” Ning revealed a delighted look. He had spent over 900 years furiously assaulting the barrier nonstop. Ning had never done something like this before!
“The ninth command talisman.” Ning walked to the ninth command talisman, then reached out and grabbed it.
“Hahaha…” Realmsoul Polo began laughing from up high, his voice echoing throughout every inch of Crimsonwave Temple. “Daolords, the ninth command talisman for harvesting fruit has already been acquired by Daolord Darknorth! The rest of you need to hurry up!”
“You actually…” Ning raised his head to stare at Realmsoul Polo, shocked.
“The command talismans won’t be won that easily.” Realmsoul Polo looked down at Ning, a smile playing on his lips. “You can rob others of them, but others can rob you of them as well.”