“What?” King Paleos, Fiendqueen Dustrain, and the others were all shocked. Things were turning out completely contrary to what they had expected. Not even Winesage had put them in such dire straits! Although Winesage was able to crush any supreme Daolord in a head-on fight, when the twelve of them worked together they were able to dominate him. Faced with their combined attacks, even Winesage was in rather bad shape.
But Daolord Darknorth was actually beating them silly? Was Darknorth even more powerful than Winesage?
What they didn’t realize was that Ji Ning was indeed better than Winesage in dealing with group attacks! Ning’s sword-arts were more perfect and flawless, allowing him a truly airtight defense against mass attacks! His Shadowless sword-arts allowed him to vanish without a trace, making it so that his enemies couldn’t focus their fire against him while he was able to launch counter-attacks as he pleased.
All of these factors combined to ensure that at any given moment, no more than five supreme Daolords were able to fight against Ning! This was why Ning had the advantage and held the initiative. These supreme Daolords were all so frightened that they began to cluster closer to each other, no longer daring to launch attacks.
“Darknorth, let’s call it off,” King Paleos roared mentally.
“Call it off?” Ning rebutted coldly, “Acceptable, but you need to get the fuck out of this passageway.” Ning knew that not even Winesage would be able to kill these twelve Daolords now that they were working together, much less himself.
“By what right are you denying us entry to this passageway? You can already harvest the fruit you need; this passageway is meaningless to you. If we want to force our way in, you won’t be able to stop us!” King Paleos said furiously.
“Hmph.” Ning came to a halt as well. He just stood there, the area around him covered by his heartworld projection as the nine energy dragons coiled around him in accordance with his Yin-Yang sword-intent. “I cannot enter this passageway, true, but if you wish to enter it you must first master the [Vitalis] art… and so long as I am here, you can forget about quietly meditating on it and mastering it.”
“King Paleos, Darknorth is telling the truth. The rhomboid stone pillar does indeed say that one has to master the [Vitalis] art and learn how to disguise one’s truesoul aura before one can safely pass through those seven-colored chains.”
“Darknorth isn’t going to let us train in peace.”
“Damn.” The twelve supreme Daolords all felt resigned. Ning wasn’t able to kill them, but he was entirely capable of disrupting them while they attempted to train, making it impossible for them to master this technique.
“Let’s go.” King Paleos gritted his teeth. He had no choice but to retreat.
“Go.” Although the other supreme Daolords felt insulted and humiliated, they all ended up retreating. In truth, these Daolords were all ranked towards the bottom of the first-tier, which was why they agreed to fight under King Paleos’ banner in a group of twelve. In the past, Fiendqueen Dustrain might’ve ranked in the top ten… but now? So many powerful, low-key supreme Daolords had emerged that she had long ago been shoved out of the top ten.
“Hmph.” Ning watched as the supreme Daolords flew away, then dispelled his heartworld projection and his secret arts. He continued to silently stand guard over this region.
He had to help Ninedust… or to be precise, he had to help himself. Ninedust had said early on that he would give Ning all of the command talismans he acquired! Thus, Ning naturally had to do his best to prevent any of the other Daolords from entering this passageway.
“Darknorth has reached an incredible level of power. He and Winesage have clearly surpassed the rest of us by a tremendous amount.” King Paleos’ group of supreme Daolords quickly arrived at a new passageway. This was the passageway which Ning had already traversed.
“Are we going to give up, just like that?” Fiendqueen Dustrain sent mentally. She was the second-in-command of this squad.
“Hmph…” King Paleos let out a cold snort. His eyes suddenly lit up when he stared at the rhomboid stone pillar. “The [Vitalis] art.”
Fiendqueen glanced at it as well, then shook her head. “The command talismans in this passageway have already been taken. It must have been Darknorth who did it.”
“Doesn’t matter. The [Vitalis] art can be learned here.” King Paleos pointed at the rhomboid pillar. “Let’s memorize the technique then begin to train! Once we master it, we’ll head to the passageway the Ninedust Sectlord took. So long as we can make it past the rainbow chains, Darknorth won’t be able to attack us.”
“King Paleos speaks the truth.”
All of them agreed with this plan. They could learn the technique but decline to actually enter the passageway. Later on, they could choose to challenge the Ninedust Sectlord’s passageway or perhaps a different one.
Three passageways. More than thirty supreme Daolords.
Because Ning’s original passageway had already been cleaned out, everyone’s attention turned towards the other two passageways.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Four figures came flying over.
On the stone island, Ning raised his head to look at them. His eyes narrowed. The new arrivals were Daolord Dreamlore, Daolord Tigrone, Daolord Skyshatter, and Daolord Owlblack.
“The four of them?” Ning didn’t dare to feel the slightest bit of arrogance. All four of them were ranked in the top ten, and the current top ten was much stronger than the previous top ten. Many Daolords who had been previously low-key had emerged, and every single one was difficult to deal with.
Dreamlore was ranked number three and was second only to Ning himself. Both Dawnstar and the Radiant King had been defeated by him, a testament to his power.
“You wish to stop us and to assist your good friend Ninedust?” Daolord Dreamlore smirked as he glanced at Ning. “Darknorth, you’ve already helped him acquire a Voidsea Jadeseal; are you going to help him again? What a selfless man you are.”
“I’m actually helping myself,” Ning said calmly.
“What, you actually plan on stopping the four of us?” the heavily-armored and muscular Daolord Tigrone spoke in a deep, rumbling voice.
“Heh heh heh…” Daolord Owlblack laughed, his voice grating and piercing to the ear. “He really doesn’t know his own limits.”
“There’s one of me and four of you… but you still won’t be able to do anything to me,” Ning said icily.
Dreamlore and the others frowned. The four of them could suppress even Winesage in a frontal attack, but they had to admit that if Ning wished to hide they wouldn’t even be able to track him down. He had a heartworld projection, his nine novessence arts, and even that assassination art.
“So long as I am here, there’s no way you’ll be able to train in the [Vitalis] art in peace,” Ning said. “Leave. Go somewhere else.”
“Nice one,” Daolord Owlblack smiled coldly.
“That’s a nasty move.” Daolord Skyshatter ground his teeth.
There really was nothing the four of them could do. Cultivation required silence and focus; if Ning was causing trouble for them, how could they possibly train?
“Darknorth, there are only three passageways in total. You’ve already cleaned out one of them, so there really are only two left. The other is current being challenged by Winesage, Dawnstar, Ninestone, and Cloudwalker, and the others. The other Daolords probably won’t be able to catch up to them and so many of them will come here instead. They’ll master the [Vitalis] art and then charge through in mass. I want to see how many of them you can stop!” Daolord Dreamlore said coldly, “We’re leaving now.”
The four of them smiled coldly as they flew away.
Ning knew that a ‘one man army’ like himself wouldn’t be able to hold everyone off forever. However, every moment he held them off for was an extra moment for Ninedust. Ninedust was helping him out, after all; the more command talismans he acquired, the more fruit he would be able to harvest and the better his chances of reviving his wife were.
“Hmph.” Ning radiated an eager desire to do battle.
Time continued to flow on, with Ning standing a silent guard. As for the Ninedust Sectlord, he was still stuck on the [Daoheart] technique. More than a month went by.
Whoooosh. An awe-inspiring group of figures flew over from afar.
Ning raised his head, his face tightening. The arrivals were Daolord Dreamlore’s group of four and King Paleos’ group of twelve.
“Charge onto the seven-colored chains!”
The sixteen supreme Daolords charged forwards, executing their secret arts and sending out a flood of magic items to attack. Ning’s face had turned solemn long ago, and he hurriedly used his heartworld projection and his nine novessence arts to attack while using his Shadowless evasion art to vanish without a trace. In the face of such a gathering of power, he didn’t dare to fight head-on.
“Tigrone, Skyshatter, the two of you stand guard for now while the two of us charge through the chains. As agreed, the four of us will evenly split any fruit we acquire,” Dalord Dreamlore sent mentally. He knew very well that he himself wouldn’t be able to keep a command talisman safe by himself. The four of them would have to continue to work together.
“Agreed.” Daolord Tigrone and Daolord Skyshatter both nodded as Owlblack and Dreamlore both charged towards the seven-colored chains.
“Stop right there!” Ning’s heartworld projection and nine novessence arts were compressed to a smaller region, serving as a ‘bottleneck’ in front of the seven-colored chains. If anyone wished to cross through the chains, they would have to first cross this region.
Ning revealed himself, six Northbow swords at the ready within the ‘bottleneck’.
“You wish to block all of us?” Dreamlore smiled coldly. “King Paleos!”
“Let’s attack!” King Paleos’ led six of his supreme Daolords to press the assault as well. It had only been a month or so, after all. Even though they had temporal acceleration treasures, only some of them had mastered the [Vitalis] art.
“You won’t be able to stop us.” King Paleos led the six supreme Daolords, joining Daolord Dreamlore and Daolord Owlblack as they charged towards Ning.