Ji Ning and Ninedust clearly surpass the six warriors in power, but the six warriors had bodies comparable to top-tier Eternal treasures. Each time they were knocked backwards, they would quickly regroup and charge towards the two once again.
“Why the hell are they continuing to attack?” Ninedust sent mentally.
“We’re clearly overpowering them, but they continue to press the assault.” Ning frowned as well. “Let’s just keep advancing. Forget about them.”
“Alright.” Ning and Ninedust clearly held the upper hand, and so they smashed their way through and continued the advance. As they did, however, six more rays of light shone down from that golden globe above them. Instantly, six more warriors opened their golden eyes and began to charge towards them. The six original warriors didn’t let up the pursuit either, continuing to press the assault. Now, there were a total of twelve warriors assaulting them.
“That’s not good.” Ning and Ninedust both turned pale. “We’re clearly stronger than them, but they aren’t even alive. Their bodies can’t be damaged in the slightest. If they continue to harass us like this, if we advance we’ll have to face eighteen of them, then twenty four of them. More and more of them will come to life and start attacking us.” Ninedust began to grow anxious. “Even if we work together, we won’t be able to last for very long if a hundred of these things attack us.”
“Agreed.” Ning was worried about the same thing.
Boom! Ning attacked in a ghostly manner, his six arms striking out with six Northbow swords and striking one of the warriors. That warrior was knocked flying backwards until it flew outside the dimensional walkway. Its golden eyes instantly dimmed. Moments later, some sort of invisible string seemed to jerk it back into the dimensional walkway where it rejoined the other warriors. This time, however, it no longer attacked.
“Aha!” Ning’s eyes lit up. “Knock them off the walkway. That’s all we need to do!”
“Oh, is that it?” Ninedust was delighted as well.
Boom! Boom! Boom! The two of them were clearly much stronger. Now that they knew what to do, they began to focus on knocking the armored warriors out of the dimensional walkway. In each case, the eyes of the warriors would go dim before they were pulled back into the ranks of the other warriors, now completely immobile.
Ning and the others continued to press the advance. Each time, they faced a total of six warriors! Some specialized in sword-arts, some specialized in whip-arts, some specialized in staff-arts, some specialized in axe-arts, some specialized in long-distance attacks… Ning and Ninedust were faced with all sorts of varied attacks.
Ning and Ninedust continued to press the assault for more than three days. Finally… from this day forth, they had to fight seven warriors each time!
Seven warriors… eight warriors… the number slowly began to rise. Each warrior continued to merely have the power of a second-tier Daolord, but the way they worked together became increasingly intricate and marvelous! Knocking them off the dimensional walkway became harder and harder, especially given how incredibly large the walkway was. The width alone was roughly a million kilometers! Each time, Ning and Ninedust had to fight with their full power.
Nine months later.
Twenty-six of the armored warriors were surrounding and assaulting the two of them in perfect concert. Their bodies were completely invulnerable, allowing them to focus on attacks without needing to defend at all. Ning and Ninedust worked together as well, slowly driving one warrior after another to the ends of the dimensional walkway. They fought for more than two hours before finally sending the last one flying.
“I’m so done right now. I’m exhausted.” Ninedust slumped to the ground. “I need a break. I can’t take any more, I really can’t.”
Ning sat down as well, staring at what lay ahead of them. They had only traversed roughly half of the dimensional walkway, and the further they advanced the more difficult it would be.
“This is torture.” Ninedust shook his head. “We’ve been fighting nonstop for nine full months, and I’ve been using chaos jewels to replenish my energy. Sure, I have plenty of them, but fighting at full power for this long is mentally exhausting. I’m more tired right now than I ever have been in my entire life. How about you, Darknorth?”
“I’m kind of tired as well,” Ning said. In truth, he wasn’t nearly as bad off. He was a Heartforce Cultivator, after all, and his close combat skills were exquisite. This was why he wasn’t as exhausted as Ninedust was. Still, Ning elected to rest alongside Ninedust for a time, as the two were able to advance faster when fighting together. If he tried to fight by himself, he’d move much more slowly.
“Hahaha…” Suddenly, a deep, rumbling laugh rang out from the distant black soil. Ning and Ninedust sat up straight in surprise as they turned to stare at the black soil off in the distance.
Suddenly, the black, earthy ground began to slowly bulge upwards, forming into a humanoid figure of dark soil. The black earth golem was the size of a mountain, and he cracked his mouth into a grin. “Haha! Tired already, kids? Honestly, the two of you really don’t know your limits. Why have you come to attempt this pathway by yourselves? You should work in groups of four or five. Wouldn’t that be much faster?”
“Who are you, senior?” Ninedust called out.
“Me? I was manufactured by the Sithe. I’ve been here my entire life, taking care of these trees. The Sithe called me the ‘Grovekeeper’.” The black earth golem boomed with laughter. “But the Sithe were wiped out long ago, and my current master is Emperor Waveshift. Of course, my mission remains the same – to take care of these trees. The nine regions within Crimsonwave Temple have a total of nine Grovekeepers, and I’m one of them.”
Ning and Ninedust both nodded slightly.
“Senior,” Ning called out, “Who were the Sithe, exactly? They seem to have been quite powerful.”
“Powerful? Hah! Of course they were powerful! Their war encompassed countless realms. I don’t even know how many of you cultivators died as a result of it.” The black earth golem continued, “But of course, the Sithe were still defeated in the end. They were wiped out! The Crimsonwave Temple experienced quite a few things before ending up in Emperor Waveshift’s hands.”
Ning and Ninedust were intrigued. So the great battle in the Terror Starsea known as the ‘Dawn War’ had been fought against the Sithe race?
“The Sithe paid an unbelievable price to create Crimsonwave Temple,” the black earth golem said. “Crimsonwave Temple holds more marvels than you can imagine, and it was used to plant all of these divine trees around us! The nine regions here represent nine different types of divine trees, and each type is incredibly useful. The Sithe were completely wiped out, with their most powerful experts being completely slaughtered and their treasures taken away. That was also what happened to Crimsonwave Temple.”
“Their most powerful experts were all wiped out?” Ning and Ninedust couldn’t help but sigh. The Sithe had been incredibly powerful, so powerful that they were able to create Hegemon-level guardians and locations like Crimsonwave Temple! And yet, all of their supreme experts had been wiped out, essentially driving their race to extinction. In the end, for any race, what truly mattered was the presence and existence of their supreme experts.
“Did Emperor Waveshift set down the dimensional walkway, or did the Sithe?” Ning asked.
“The Sithe, of course.” The black earth golem explained, “Emperor Waveshift certainly doesn’t have the ability to do so! The Sithe used these dimensional walkways to train and temper their Daolords. All of these varied golems here provide an excellent source of combat experience, after all.”
Ning and Ninedust were startled. Right. It made sense. This place was indeed a superb place to train. Ning had only recently become a Daolord of the Third Step, but he was lacking in actual combat experience. As he fought against all of these warriors, Ning had accumulated more and more actual battle experience and as a result was able to discover some of the weaknesses still inherent to his sword-arts. Upon discovering those weaknesses, he was able to find a way to improve his sword-arts and thus more quickly move towards becoming a Daolord of the Fourth Step.
As for Ninedust, he would be able to come up with even more powerful techniques. Daolord Shaka, the Radiant King… these ‘supreme Daolords’ all had reached the same level of enlightenment into the Dao, so why was it that they varied so much in power? It was because they all had developed different attacks!
Ning’s Dao was that of the Omega, and thus it represented the true apex of what was possible. This was why, whenever he wanted to truly upgrade his technique, he would have to first reach a higher level of enlightenment. This wasn’t true for the others.
“I believe the Sithe had many similar locations which they used to train Daolords,” the black earth golem said. “Their Daolords were all extremely powerful, with many reaching the ‘supreme’ level of power. Unfortunately, their ambitions were too vast. They sought to enslave all cultivators and take control over the destinies of all living things.”
“And so, in the end they had to be wiped out.” The black earth golem shook his head. “Let me give you another word of advice. It’ll be virtually impossible for the two of you to fight through to the third world by yourselves. I urge you to work together with a few more supreme Daolords.”
“Alright. Thank you.” Both Ning and Ninedust nodded. At present, what they really cared about was the Voidsea Jadeseal in the second world. The command seals in the third world were of secondary concern.
“The various fruit trees within the nine major regions all ripen at different intervals, going from every 30,000 chaos cycles to every 100,000 chaos cycles,” the black earth golem said. “This is why Crimsonwave Temple will only be opened up once every 30,000 chaos cycles at most! However, this is the first time Crimsonwave Temple has been opened up in a very long time, and so all of the fruits in all nine regions are ripe for the harvesting. Seize the opportunity! If you miss it, you’ll have to wait another 30,000 chaos cycles… and by then, you’ll only have access to the fruits in two of the regions.”