Time continued to flow on. Ji Ning kept the Shadowless evasion art active the entire time and patiently waited outside for more than fifty thousand years. When it came to acquiring a Sithe treasury, he had patience in abundance.
Within the Nonti clan.
Creaaak. A stone door swung open and a grim-faced Daolord of the Third Step walked out from within it.
“Daolord!” The armored soldier outside the door said respectfully, “The clan leader has send orders. All Daolords must immediately head to the ancestral grounds whenever they leave their secluded meditations.”
“Oh?” This Daolord of the Third Step, Daolord Joyquill, narrowed his eyes. “What’s with the urgency? Don’t you normally have to become a Daolord of the Fourth Step before being able to visit the ancestral grounds?”
“Daolord, the clan leader has now changed the rules. Even Daolords of the Second Step are allowed entry,” the armored soldier said hurriedly.
“Even Daolords of the Second Step are allowed in?” Daolord Joyquill was shocked. “How can this be? The ancestral grounds are incredibly dangerous. Success brings great rewards, but the weak will most likely perish. Although some Daolords of the Second Step have succeeded in the past, this is just too dangerous.”
“Daolord, you’ve been in secluded meditation for many years so you don’t know what has happened. Our three great clans have encountered a deadly opponent,” the armored soldier said. “Over fifty thousand years ago, a Daolord named Darknorth suddenly rose to power. His might was unmatched and he challenged our three clans all by himself. The Emperor-class golems we sent out were all defeated, with him capturing three of them. The three clan leaders then led a force of eight golems to attack him, but in the end they still weren’t able to subdue him.”
“What?!” Daolord Joyquill was astonished. “Impossible.”
“Daolord Darknorth then established the Darknorth Palace. By now, he is in control of quite a few clans. He has set himself up in opposition to our three clans!” The armored soldier continued, “The three clan leaders have already sent word that we are to charge deep into the ancestral grounds, regardless of the risk! We need to find as many treasures as we can from the ancestral lands, so that we can deal with Daolord Darknorth.”
After gaining a more thorough understanding of what had happened recently, Daolord Joyquill felt even more stunned. He never would’ve imagined that the clan would’ve fallen into such dire straits during this session of secluded meditation.
Rumble… Daolord Joyquill stood there within a spacetime transfer array. He mumbled to himself with a frown as the array started to light up, “Where the hell did this Daolord Darknorth come from? How did he become this powerful?”
Whoosh. Space and time twisted around him. By the time everything was clear, he found himself within the ancestral lands.
“The ancestral lands.” Daolord Joyquill stared at the area around him. Next to him was a great garrison, while outside was the vast emptiness of space. Beyond even that was the great forest in the real world outside.
“Daolord Joyquill, you came as well?” The six Daolords stationed here walked out to welcome him.
“Yes.” Daolord Joyquill nodded. “I received the order right after I left my meditations and so I immediately came here.”
“Ugh. I wonder how Daolord Darknorth trained and how he became so powerful. All of the Daolords of the three great clans are now risking their lives inside.” The six Daolords in charge of the garrison sighed.
“Most of them will probably end up dead soon.”
“How could someone like Daolord Darknorth have suddenly emerged from those other lowly clans?”
They all shook their heads. They had grown accustomed to feeling superior to all others, and they didn’t even hold the other six ‘great clans’ in any regard. As they saw it, all others who were not members of the three great clans were lowly figures. They were the absolute rulers of this world, and they had ruled it fearlessly since time immemorial. How could they not feel enraged at how Daolord Darknorth had suddenly shaken their positions?
However, they could do nothing but sigh and lament at his appearance. The difference in power between them was simply too great; they weren’t capable of doing anything to him at all.
“I’ll head on in,” Daolord Joyquill said.
“Be careful, brother Joyquill.”
“Hopefully, brother Joyquill will reap great rewards from this.” The six Daolords all said a few words of encouragement.
Swoosh! A silent figure moved close towards Daolord Joyquill.
“Finally, a new Daolord has arrived. And, from the looks of things, he’s about to enter the inner regions.” Ning watched as Daolord Joyquill moved towards the mountain cave. Ning quickly moved closer to Joyquill, with no one discovering his presence.
“Soulthrall.” By now, even the Kingfreak would be affected by his soul-mesmerizing abilities, to say nothing of a weak Daolord of the Third Step like this. Joyquill was instantly swept into a state of unconsciousness.
While doing this, Ning set up a thirty meter barrier around them which warped and distorted light. If anyone glanced towards them, they would see Daolord Joyquill continuing to walk normally.
“Get in here.” Ning instantly drew Daolord Joyquill into his estate-world. “And… here I go.” Ning appeared out of nowhere, but he now looked just like Daolord Joyquill. No… not just looked alike. Even his soul and truesoul were identical to Joyquill’s.
Ning immediately released the barrier around the surrounding area, then glanced around him before letting out a sigh of relief. The process of setting up the barrier, catching Daolord Joyquill, then replacing him had happened almost instantaneously, but if there was a Daolord specifically keeping a careful watch on this area then it would’ve still been possible for his actions to be noticed. Thankfully, he hadn’t been.
After having put away Daolord Joyquill, Ning immediately released a small amount of his energy into his estate-world to question the man. Alas, Daolord Joyquill had long ago sworn a lifeblood oath regarding this ‘secret place’; even though his soul had been mesmerized, he wasn’t able to say a thing.
Ning questioned Joyquill for quite some time but didn’t gain much from it. “There’s nothing for it.” He had no choice but to grit his teeth and walk forwards! Ning quickly reached the region covered by layers of barriers.
“Brother Joyquill, I’ve already taken control over the Sithe disk. You can come in,” a voice rang out from behind the layers of blue barriers of light.
The ‘Sithe disk’? Ning silently memorized this term. On the surface, he just nodded slightly as he continued forwards. Indeed, the layers of blue light were like curtains of water. Ning was able to easily walk in without the slightest disturbance at all. This barrier-filled region was tens of thousands of kilometers long, but Ning walked incredibly fast and was able to quickly bypass it.
“Daolord Joyquill has arrived.”
“It is Daolord Joyquill.”
The three Daolords in charge of the Sithe disk all laughed. They carefully inspected every person who came in, but they did so primarily through inspection of the truesoul aura. They weren’t worried about Daolord Joyquill secretly bringing anyone else inside, because every single Daolord of the three great clans had long ago sworn lengthy lifeblood oaths. The part of the oath pertaining to the ancestral lands were particularly severe and exacting.
For example, even though Ning had used a soul-mesmerizing technique on the man, he still wasn’t able to learn any secrets regarding this place!
“Daolord Joyquill.” The three seated Daolords looked at him. One of them, an old man with a large beard, called out in a loud voice, “Be careful after you go inside. This place is filled with danger, and many of the golems are filled with enmity towards our clans. All of them are Emperor-class golems; if they manage to ambush you, you’ll be doomed.”
“Thank you.” Ning nodded, many thoughts flashing through his mind. He absolutely had to acquire the Sithe treasury! However, it seemed as though there was only one way inside this mountain… and it had been protected by layers of barriers.
“If I wish to take the treasury for myself, I’ll probably end up revealing myself! They will be able to use these barriers to ensure that I’m unable to leave.” Ning stared at the three Daolords who were controlling the distant Sithe disk. “I won’t feel secure unless and until I get rid of them first.”
“Daolord Songfloat,” Ning said while walking towards the three. As the lord of Darknorth Palace, he held a very high status and thus knew almost all of the Daolords within this world.
“What is it?” The bearded elder smiled as Ning walked towards him, completely unafraid.
Whoosh. Ning cracked a smile as well, sending an invisible wave of power towards them. Instantly, the three seated Daolords felt a wave of pressure come crashing down towards them, causing them to go dizzy. Their bodies slumped to the ground, powerless. Ning instantly moved to stand next to them, grabbing the strange disk which had been rotating around the three. The round disk was a deep brown color and covered with many extremely complex runes.
The ripples emanating from the disk spread out to cover tens of thousands of kilometers. The surrounding formations and barriers all had this Sithe disk as their core.
“Arise.” Ning reached out to take a firm grip over the round disk, clasping his hands around it. Rumble… instantly, the layers of formations and barriers for tens of thousands of kilometers around them began to rumble.
The guards stationed at the garrison outside the cave couldn’t help but turn their heads to look backwards.
“What’s going on?” Some of the Daolords stationed inside the mountain were able to sense the ripple as well.
“That was the Sithe disk!” The three silver men immediately transformed into streaks of light that shot out from the mountain and charged towards Ning.
Ning had grabbed at the Sithe disk twice without being able to pull it to him. He immediately waved his hand and produced the Northbow sword, executing his Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop. This was his most penetrating attack, and it was the best attack he had for disrupting formations. Slash! Slash! Slash! It was hard to defeat a formation from the outside, but breaking it through when you were already inside it was much easier.
One streak of mist-formed sword energy after another stabbed into the Sithe disk, causing some of the supportive formations to immediately break apart.
Rumble… Ning finally managed to dislodge the Sithe disk from its orbit, breaking it free from the many mysterious formation-runes that had been binding it. Ning then sent the Northbow sword in his hands to deliver furious chops towards the world around him, destroying all the formations one by one.
“Get in here.” When Ning saw the three silver men fly towards him, he immediately drew the Sithe disk into his estate-world.