Book 41, Chapter 23 - Dire Straits

Ji Ning remained seated in the lotus position. Gusts of wind howled past him, occasionally coming together into a mighty storm which was filled with flickers of lightning.

Time passed, one year after the other. The Emperors and Hegemons in the palace complex were all beginning to grow rather anxious and impatient.

“Why hasn’t the Daolord attacked yet?”

“I can’t believe he’s actually in the mood to train.” The Hegemons and Emperors were all panicking. The calmer Ning was, the more panicked they felt. It wasn’t that their Dao-hearts were weak, it was that Ning’s performance in battle had been absolutely terrifying.

“Gentlemen, will our formations be capable of stopping this Daolord? The castle was also Apocalypse-class, but the Daolord managed to defeat it with ease. Although these formations seem quite profound and powerful to us, this Daolord might be able to solve them with ease. If that happens, we’ll be in serious trouble.” Many Emperors were worried.

“Relax. The Exalt himself bestowed it upon us. I imagine he did so for a very good reason.”

“But the Exalt bestowed the Apocalypse-class castle as well, right?”

“Enough, enough. It’s far too late for worrying about things like this. Either we’ll win or we’ll die in battle. There are no other options! Besides, as all of you are aware, the castle was something meant for head-on battles, while we are relying on profound formations. If he can’t solve the formations, he’ll be trapped and perish.”

“You aren’t him. Who knows what tricks he might have up his sleeve?”

“Even if he DOES manage to solve the formations, it isn’t as though you have better ones that can be used! Remember, we’re exiles! This might be extremely dangerous, but it is also our only hope of survival.”

……

This was absolute torture for the Hegemons and Emperors, and the Sithe Exalt in the Sacred Realm wasn’t feeling much better. Ning, however, focused all of his efforts on his training. This time, he meditated for an extremely long period of time. Over half a chaos cycle went past before he finished.

BOOM!

One day, the anxiously waiting Hegemons and Emperors suddenly heard a loud, rumbling sound appear in the area around the seated white-robed youth. Lightning howled like wind through the skies, while the wind itself flickered with crackling electricity. This awesome storm of lightning and wind possessed incredible momentum and ferocity.

Under the watchful gazes of the nervous Hegemons and Emperors, the white-robed youth finally opened his eyes.

“The Storm Sword Dao.” Ning nodded in understanding. It had been easier than he had expected to master his Storm Sword Dao, even easier than it had been to simply master the individual Wind Sword Dao and Lightning Sword Dao. “Perhaps they are innately meant to be used together,” Ning mused.

The Dao of Space and the Dao of Time were naturally meant to be together. When used simultaneously, they would easily and naturally come together to form the Dao of Spacetime. This was because time and space were indelibly linked together like two spokes on a wheel that fit together perfectly.

The Dao of Lightning, the Dao of Metal, the Dao of Water, the Dao of Space, and Ning’s Eternal Omega Sword Dao were all completely irrelevant to each other. There wasn’t really a good way to link them together, making it extremely difficult to join them together.

However, the Five Elements, the Storm, and Spacetime were all ‘sets’ that contained highly compatible Daos.

“It is time.” Ning rose to his feet and stared at the distant palace complex. The entire palace complex was absolutely teeming with formations that were both complex and abstruse, but Ning held no fear of them.

Clink! He reached out to draw a Northbow sword from the sheath on his back, then began to walk towards the distant palace complex.

“He’s coming!”

“He’s headed straight for us.”

“That white-robed Daolord is coming. Quick! Everyone, make your preparations! When he’s trapped in our formations, we need to immediately launch all of our attacks against him and hold nothing back. If we give him enough time to breach our formations, we’ll be finished.”

“It’ll definitely take him some time to defeat this formation. We need to do our best to kill him.” The Hegemons and Emperors all stared at the white-robed Daolord walking towards them, sword in hand. It was as though they were looking at an absolutely terrifying monster. The only thing giving them some confidence was the fact that they were protected by an ancient and powerful Apocalypse-class formation.

Ning slowly sauntered forwards, the power of his Sword Dao Domain on full display as he used it to cover the region before him. It quickly spread out to cover the entire palace complex, which was hardened into a single entity. Ning’s Sword Dao Domain alone wouldn’t be enough to shake it in the slightest. The smaller palaces remained quietly rooted in place, not releasing any of their power at all.

“I want to see just how powerful they are.” Ning suddenly moved, transforming into an illusory shadow that shot towards a pathway which he felt was critical.

BOOM! As soon as Ning stepped into the palace complex, the earth began to shake beneath his feet while the skies began to change. The awesome might of the complex was fully unleashed, and the scenery in front of him completely transformed into a field of blurry light.

Ning was the only person flying through the region of blurry light. Whoosh! He instantly accelerated to fly ten billion kilometers through the light, but found himself still trapped within it.

“Hm. I feel as though I’m flying in place, as though I haven’t actually moved at all.” Ning unleashed his Sword Dao Domain, sending out countless streaks of sword-light but was only able to extend them to a distance of a million kilometers. Beyond this distance, there was no way for them to advance any further!

“What an incredible formation. It actually created its own spacetime continuum.” Ning began to ponder on his next step. Given his mastery over the Space Sword Dao, he was able to see some traces of how spacetime worked here but wasn’t even close to actually being able to solve it.

This place was already a spacetime continuum unto itself, and he was trapped inside it, unable to leave. “So they plan to simply trap me here?” Ning shook his head and chuckled. “If the Sithe truly wished to just trap me, they would’ve kept me locked within the dimensional realm-seam. There would’ve been no way for me to escape on my own.”

Thus, there was no way the Sithe would simply leave him trapped here. If they wanted to do that, they had plenty of other tools at their disposal.

“Eh?” Ning turned his gaze to one side. He could sense that spacetime was changing a bit there.

Boom! A streak of dense and dark astral light shot out, filled with malice and wickedness. It was as though endless amounts of sin had been concentrated in this attack, and it was flying towards Ning at terrifying speeds. Ning could sense that this dark astral light posed a threat to him. If he wanted to actually block it, he would have to use his sword.

The black astral light was simply too fast. Ning’s form suddenly flickered, emitting a thunderous boom as a wild storm was created behind him which almost instantly pushed him out of the trajectory of the dark astral light aside. The astral light flew past Ning, burying itself deep into the edge of this spacetime continuum and then completely disappearing.

Swoosh. Ning immediately charged towards the place where the black astral light had come from, which was also the place he had sensed spacetime changing.

“Spacetime was temporarily parted there.” Ning charged towards that area with his Northbow sword at the ready, but halfway there he came to a halt because spacetime had gone back to normal. No further fluctuations could be seen.

Just one heartbeat later… riiiiip! Another spacetime ripple appeared somewhere else, followed by yet another attack. This time, the attack was an extremely gentle-looking alabaster finger that shot straight towards Ning, almost instantly appearing right in front of him. Ning once more used his Storm Sword Dao to evade the attack, moving with almost ghostly speed.

“Damn!” Ning’s face paled slightly. He knew what his opponents were intending. He was trapped within this tiny spacetime continuum and unable to escape, while his Sithe opponents were able to use their many powerful weapons to assault him time and time again at extremely close range. His only choice was to use his divine power to execute evasion-arts to dodge these attacks! Thankfully, he had just mastered the Storm Sword Dao, which specialized in speed and agility. As a result, he was able to dodge while using just a tiny amount of energy… but it would still add up.

If this continued, his energy supply would continuously deplete while his truesoul began to crumble apart at an increasingly fast rate. Each time he used any of his power, the cracks across his truesoul would widen and his lifespan would grow shorter!

“How should I handle this? What’s the best way to break through this continuum?” Ning was beginning to grow anxious. He scanned the area around him, but it remained a blur of light. There were no flaws or openings at all for this spacetime continuum. An opening might appear when an attack was launched from the outside world, but that opening would quickly close up and be sealed away. Each time, just a single attack was launched, and so the opening was extremely small in size. The Hegemons and Emperors in the outside world could simply wait for the right moment to attack, giving Ning no chance to flee through the openings at all.

All sorts of attacks began to fly at Ning from within this spacetime continuum, and each time they launched from far away. Ning was forced to repeatedly use his evasion-arts to dodge. This was the most conservative use of his energy possible.

His power continued to deplete. Ning couldn’t help but feel a sense of urgency as he pondered over the solution for breaking apart this formation. He never would’ve imagined that Purgatory would be enough to force him into such dire straits.

Just like that, Ning was actually in mortal danger.

“Ahahaha! He has no answer for our formation! He can’t solve it!”

“If he can’t solve it, he’s doomed.” The exiles were overjoyed, all their earlier concerns having vanished like the wind. Apocalypse-class formations truly were incredible. The white-robed Daolord was completely unable to overcome this formation, which meant that killing him would be simplicity itself.




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