Even Ji Ning had to sigh in amazement at the aura which the four golems off in the distance emanated. All those years ago, he had been forced to fight with all his power to just barely tie down one of them, and by relying on defensive sword-arts at that! Every single one of the four golems brought him a tremendous sense of pressure, even though they were slightly weaker than Archon Silksnow.
Back then, that had been more than enough power to truly crush Ning.
“Darknorth, you actually dare to return? Do you have a new trick up your sleeve or a powerful helper?” The four golems flew over, actually feeling quite excited inside. Life without any opponents to fight was truly boring and lonely, and they were never permitted to leave the restricted area they were guarding.
“No helpers. I just wanted to invite you to come out with me.” Ning waved his hands, causing two of his Northbow swords to fly out from the sheath and into his palms. Ning then strolled forwards, almost like he was taking a walk through a park.
“Let’s go.” The four golems exchanged a glance, then immediately charged towards Ning.
Ning’s twin swords transformed into two streams of water, easily piercing past his enemy’s scimitars and defenses. The Northbow swords became extremely soft and flexible, easily wrapping around and completely tying up one of the golems. Ning murmured softly, “In you go.” The golem was drawn into his estate-world.
This caused the other three golems to immediately feel shocked. One against four, Darknorth was able to capture one of the golems with ease? The difference in power between them was enormous!
It must be remembered that Ning was able to defeat even Archon Silksnow with a single blow! When faced with these four golems who had weaker techniques and weaker insights into the Dao, gaining victory was simplicity itself.
Ning fought for the amount of time needed to boil a kettle of tea before finally capturing the last of the four golems. The reason it took this long was because two of the golems had transformed into invulnerable forms, making them quite difficult to catch. Ning was forced to use his secret arts and his heartworld projection to furiously deplete their energy stores. Only when their energy stores were depleted was he able to capture them.
Ning bound all four of the golems to himself, making himself their master.
“Master, you aren’t going to wipe out our golem-spirits, are you?”
“Haha, no need to worry. The three great clan leaders of this world were worried about their secrets leaking out, which was why they wiped out those golem-spirits in the past. I’ve already wiped these ruins clean; what would be the point of doing that? And, if I did, the new golem-spirits would start at a very low level of intelligence and insight. It would take forever for them to reach your current level of power.” Ning smiled. “I’m not going to cause trouble for myself like that.”
Only then did the four golems calm down. In truth, they were indeed willing to accompany Ning. That way, they wouldn’t be forever trapped within this tiny little area! However, they had to obey the orders of their masters to resist any intruders with all their might. To be able to leave would be absolutely blissful! However, it would be a tragedy if their golem-spirits were erased; to them, this was the equivalent of a cultivator losing his truesoul.
“Master, when can we leave?” the tall, skinny golem asked.
“Soon. I’m going to do an in-depth sweep of this place and take away all of the Emperor-class golems. After that, I’ll go with you,” Ning said with a laugh. “Ninedust and I already swept through all of the treasures in the ruins, including the various corpses. There probably isn’t much left.”
Last time, Ning and Ninedust had done a fast sweep of the area before leaving. This time, they were planning to do a more thorough inspection.
“Master, this warship was named Tigerhill. It was an extremely powerful weapon of war which the Sithe used in their conquests. However, the main systems of the warship have been completely destroyed, and many of its critical components have been takean away,” the axe-bearing golem said. “Although not many valuable treasures are left, based on what we know there should be one of exceeding importance.”
“Exceeding importance?” Ning’s eyes lit up. These four golems were responsible for guarding the restricted areas; they naturally knew quite a bit.
“Yes. Master, as you may know this place used to house over thirty thousand Sithe. There were many barriers protecting it, but the barriers stretched out to cover a great amount of area and were extremely strong. They had to have energy sources, right?” The tall, thin golem continued, “The energy source is located below the entire palace complex.”
Ning revealed a look of delight. “Lead the way!” Ning instructed.
“Yes.” Golems were absolutely loyal and devoted to their masters. They previously were completely devoted to the Sithe. Now that Ning had bound them, they were completely devoted to Ning.
“Master, the energy sources for the barriers consisted of a total of eight ‘sparrowfiend gems’. They are located in eight different parts of the palace complex. This place here is the very first one.” The tall, skinny golem pointed to a tattered palace off in the distance. “If you dig through the ground, you should be able to find a sparrowfiend gem somewhere within a hundred kilometer radius.”
“Ah.” Ning nodded.
“Let me do the digging.” The spear-wielding golem looked at Ning, who nodded. The spear-wielding golem immediately plunged his spear into the ground, breaking through the layers of stone and tearing through the ground. The palace had already been in very bad shape. Soon, an enormous crater had been dug in its foundation, revealing a sparrowfiend gem at the bottom.
The giant crater held a black altar which was covered by countless runes, and the runes all led to a completely blood-red gem. The vague outline of a bird could be seen flying within it.
“When Autarch Bolin wrecked this place, he destroyed all of the formations, making the energy sources irrelevant.” Ning nodded slowly. “Right. Tell me more about the sparrowfiend gems. Are they very valuable?”
“Highly valuable,” the spear-wielding golem said. “The Tigerhill was divided into a ‘combat zone’ and a ‘habitation zone’. We are currently within the habitation zone, and it was powered by this sparrowfiend gem! The outer layer was the ‘combat zone’ and it was more important, meant for combating against opponents. Thus, it used the even more powerful ‘dragonprime stones’. A single dragonprime stone is worth more than ten sparrowfiend gems, and the combat zone had a total of ten of them. They made the Tigerhill completely invulnerable, allowing it to easily travel between realmverses and slaughter countless foes.”
“Dragonprime stones?” Ning’s eyes lit up.
“I imagine the dragonprime stones were taken long ago. They are simply too obvious and eye-catching. Amongst the Sithe, a single dragonprime stone is enough to trade for a Black Emperor body,” the spear-wielding golem said. “However, it is probably impossible for cultivators to unleash the true power of a dragonprime stone. All you can do is perhaps plant them into some of the Sithe warships and vessels which the Sithe left behind.”
Ning nodded slowly. He couldn’t help but ask, “Why are the Sithe so much more advanced than us cultivators in so many areas?”
“The Sithe had an extremely stable foundation. Artificing, construct-making, blacksmithing… they vastly surpassed the cultivator civilizations in all these areas. They created countless golems on our level! However, the ‘Autarchs’ of the cultivators were simply too powerful. Although the Sithe did have supreme powers who were capable of battling Autarchs, they were still weaker… and the cultivator civilizations continued to give birth to more and more experts. One batch would die, followed by the rise of another batch. If the war dragged on for long enough, the Sithe would invariably be the ones to lose.” The greataxe-wielding golem chuckled. “This is what we conjectured when we chatted amongst ourselves. To be honest, the Tigerhill was wrecked long ago by one of those Autarchs, and so we aren’t sure why or how the Sithe ended up losing. All we know is that the Sithe feared the Autarchs very much, and they also feared how quickly the cultivator civilizations propagated.”
Ning nodded. Every planet and star was capable of giving birth to extremely large numbers of cultivators. If one chose to transmit the best legacies and techniques to them while holding nothing back, it would definitely be possible to allow a large number of powerful cultivators to arise from each world.
Now that the cultivator civilizations had actually won, they became stingy and miserly in transmitting techniques to others! Acquiring supreme legacies was extremely difficult, which was why the rate at which powerful cultivators rose had slowed down dramatically compared to before.
The barriers here had long ago been destroyed, making it quite easy for Ning to take away the sparrowfiend gems. Six of them were acquired in rapid order, with the seventh taking a bit more time. As for the eighth, the barriers protecting it were in fairly good shape, and they had the ‘damage reflection’ property. Ning had his most powerful servant, the Sithe Protector Whitethaw, personally attack the barriers. Whitethaw was sent flying back from the explosion, but had of course managed to endure the damage with ease.
“There we go.” After six hours of hard work, all eight sparrowfiend gems were in Ning’s hands. Ning revealed a look of delight. This was the greatest fortune he had acquired within the Stone Hellephant Wall. The eight sparrowfiend gems were probably close to a Black Emperor in value.
“An unexpected windfall.” Ning was very happy. He then had his Sithe Protector and the four other golems to work together and quickly capture the various Emperor-class golems who were hiding throughout the runes. The Emperor-class golems were simply too weak. Ning didn’t even want to bother with them himself… but he still cared about them.
After spending over half a month destroying quite a few barriers, Ning managed to capture a total of eighty-six Emperor-class golems. There were only six places within the ruins that he was unable to destroy, and the few remaining golems were all hiding within these final six places of refuge.
“Haha, what a fortune.” Ning was jubilant. Virtually every single Sith ruin was a treasure trove. Ning’s gains from this one were perhaps just a bit less than what Daoist Bluestone had gained from his, since there was no ‘Black Emperor body’ here. Yes, the sparrowfiend gems were quite valuable, but that was in the eyes of the Sithe. In the eyes of cultivators, Black Emperors were more valuable. Still… he had gained quite a bit.
“Mm. Now, it’s time to head off to the Azureflower Estate. If I can gain another fortune from there, I might just be able to ask an Autarch to help out.” Ning was filled with eagerness.
The Azureflower Estate was definitely another treasure trove. However, whether or not he would actually be able to take any treasures out of it was up to his own abilities. The natives of the three great clans had long ago discovered the Sithe ruins here, but they had been unable to take much from it. Ning himself had only acquired these four Archon-level golems and the eight sparrowfiend gems because of his dramatic increase in power.
“Let’s go.” Ning once more silently departed from the Stone Hellephant Wall. It would be a very long time before he would ever return to this place. As for the internal struggles within this place… he would leave it to them to resolve.
He tore through spacetime repeatedly as he headed back to the Three Realms.
Outside the Three Realms. The white-robed Ning and the black-robed Primaltwin Ning were facing each other. Ning waved his hand, tossing out a mirror. This was an estate-world treasure that held the four Archon-class golems as well as many Emperor-class golems and Sithe disks, as well as other treasures. Ning was leaving them here for the Three Realms. Ning gave the four Archon-class golems permission to wander through the Three Realms. If he was to perish, these four Archon-class golems would serve as a hidden trump card for the Three Realms.
The Three Realms held far too many friends and family who he cared about. His parents and his daughter were incredibly important to Ning. He naturally had to leave some treasures behind in the Three Realms to protect it. Only then would he feel confident in going out adventuring.
“The Azureflower Estate.” Ning stared off into the primordial chaos of the void, his eyes filled with the desire to do battle.