The Desolate Era - Book 12, Chapter 5 - Life in the Diagram
The other Pure Yang True Immortals all turned their gazes towards the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers as well. The Xia Emperor felt resigned. He mused to himself, “It seems it truly is the time for a cataclysm to befall the Three Realms. All the major powers are beginning to make their preparations. My Master, Daofather Crimsonbright, has previously provided some tutelage to Lu Dongbin in the past as well. In his past life, Lu Dongbin had a very close relationship with me. He’s not an issue, nor are the others… but that bodhisattva, Mahasthamaprapta!”
The Xia Emperor knew very well that the supreme powers of the Three Realms were divided into many different organizations.
Fortunately, all of the eight Pure Yang True Immortals who had arrived today had major powers backing them who were on good terms with his own master, Daofather Crimsonbright. The only exception was Mahasthamaprapta, who was of the Buddhist path. It couldn’t be said that he was on good terms with Daofather Crimsonbright… but they weren’t enemies either.
“I have to be careful. If he takes a fancy to one of the individuals in this Conclave, Mahasthamaprapta might actually plot to abduct the person in secret,” the Xia Emperor pondered to himself.
Within the Diagram.
Ning was atop a dwarf mountan, his body covered by trees and shrubs.
“Before killing Immortal Floatcloud, I was a very ordinary, unremarkable figure in the intelligence reports of the Heavenly Treasures Mountain who was casually mentioned in them. After killing him, however, my name became widespread throughout the Grand Xia Empire. Even the intelligence reports praise me tremendously, claiming that I have the power to rank in the top hundred.” Ning felt helpless.
The Heavenly Treasures Mountain had to have some margin for error, and so in truth, they had only ranked thirty-two individuals as having the power to rank in the top hundred! The thirty-two the Heavenly Treasures Mountain ranked as being in the top hundred were all but guaranteed to truly have that power… and Ning was one of those thirty-two!
From this, one could imagine how within the Diagram, the top thirty-two such as Xiamang Zishan, Cangwu Jiu, and Ji Ning would instantly be attacked by groups upon them being discovered! The other Immortal cultivators all believed that the likes of Ji Ning had a very high chance of winning, and so they needed to eliminate them as soon as possible. Only then would they themselves have a chance to pass this trial.
“I need to change myself slightly.” Ning had just suffered an attack from more than a hundred individuals. Fortunately, his treasured ship had been able to flee fast enough.
Ning’s magic robes transformed into ordinary black robes, no longer appearing like furs.
“There should be quite a few black-robed youths,” Ning mused to himself. “I won’t be recognized on sight, at least.”
“Time go to.”
From a fur-clad youth to a black-robed youth. Ning quietly began to wander the world of the Diagram. Every so often, he would spread out his divine sense to scan the ten surrounding kilometers.
Within this short distance, Ning could instantly move to a location… and that way, he wouldn’t startle too many with his divine sense.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! He spread out his divine sense repeatedly. On the eighteenth time, Ning immediately discovered a white-robed maiden who suddenly turned her head towards him, having noticed him.
Swoosh! Ning seemed to have transformed into a giant Roc, howling through the air as he moved at lightning speed and charged down from his mountain peak. In a flash, he appeared in front of the white-robed maiden.
“Do you want to die?” The white-robed maiden’s face turned cold, and a pair of short sticks appeared in her hands, flashing with electric light.
As Ning attacked, the first thing he did was will an enormous Waterflame Lotus to appear. After developing the Lotusflower Swordland, he had gained insights into both this technique and his Waterflame Lotus due to their commonalities. During the past year at the imperial capital of the Grand Xia, Ning had carefully worked to further refine his technique, making the Waterflame Lotus technique even more perfect!
In addition, after a full year of cultivation, the earthfire and dire-ice in Ning’s body had already risen to the first grade as well!
The earthfire and dire-ice of the first grade served as the foundation, and the True Lunar Tattoo and the True Solar Tattoo within his divine body activated fire and water of the natural world in support. The Dao of the Sword, the Dao of Rainwater, the Dao of the Inferno, the Dao of the Gale, and the Dao of Space were all joined together as well… to finally form into this Waterflame Lotus, which now had reached a ridiculous level of power.
“Eh?” The white-robed maiden was completely shocked. This enormous Waterflame Lotus was at least three thousand meters, completely surrounding her.
“A technique?” The white-robed maiden laughed coldly. Her body suddenly expanded dramatically in size as she transformed into a thirty-six meter tall giant. The giant white-robed maiden also activated the [Three Heads, Six Arms] divine ability. In her hands, she now wielded six of the short sticks, each of which flashed with electric light. The sticks in her hand howled through the air as she smashed downwards towards the layers of Waterflame Lotus petals binding her.
It was as though two mountains had collided. The six short sticks carried the majestic, divine power of lightning. Given the power of this woman, a Fiendgod Body Refiner, when she smashed down upon the flower, a layer of leaves cracked… but new leaves were then born from the Waterflame Lotus.
“What?!” The white-robed maiden was shocked. Per her predictions, she should’ve been able to smash through this technique like rotting wood, but in reality, the breaking process was very slow. The enemy’s technique could continue to be maintained indefinitely.
“What a fellow. This white-robed maiden is probably even a bit more powerful than Daoist Snowplume was.” Ning was shocked as well. “Fortunately, my earthfire and dire-ice have both reached the first grade, and I’ve further perfected this technique. If this was a year ago… she probably would’ve broken through it. However… since you can’t break through my Waterflame Lotus, then you have lost.”
More than seven hundred flying swords immediately appeared in the air around Ning, with the Nethercold swords serving as the core. All of them were Earth-ranked flying swords.
“Go!” Ning pointed, and instantly, a golden flying sword that had formed in front of his chest howled forth as it flew out, striking towards the white-robed maiden. The golden flying sword carried a terrifying sword-intent that struck directly at the opponent’s soul. This was the terrifying sword-intent which only Sword Immortals possessed.
“You are Adept Darknorth… Ji Ning!” The white-robed maiden called out in shock. Lotus-type techniques were fairly common, but upon seeing those seven hundred-plus flying swords? If she wasn’t able to put two and two together and recognize Ning from this, it would have been bizarre.
Clang! In the face of the attack of the sword light from Ning’s [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation], the white-robed maiden hurriedly used all six short sticks to block.
The power of Ning’s [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] was far greater than the Waterflame Lotus; the Waterflame Lotus was primarily meant to bind and grind an opponent, whereas the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] was a purely offensive technique. Ning was using nearly ninety percent of his spiritual energy on maintaining the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]. The white-robed maiden was knocked flying backwards, and two of the short sticks flew out of her hands. She was, however, blocked from behind by the Waterflame Lotus once more.
The killing, grinding power of the Waterflame Lotus was constantly pressing down on the white-robed maiden’s body.
“Damn you.” The white-robed maiden gritted her teeth, staring viciously at Ning. “Ji Ning, you are a piece of work.”
She tossed out her talisman.
Rumble! An invisible power instantly covered her body, and then she was teleported away.
“How powerful.” Ning waved his hand, collecting the talisman. “A random person I encountered was already this powerful… fortunately, I was able to use the Waterflame Lotus to bind her. Otherwise, she would’ve fled upon realizing she couldn’t beat me.”
The intelligence reports of the Heavenly Treasures Mountain stated quite clearly that Ji Ning’s true body was skilled in close combat. Next was his flying swords formation, which was significantly weaker than Ji Ning’s close combat ability.
The white-robed woman had realized that Ning was capable of using just his sword formation to completely suppress her, and would most likely be able to kill her in just ten exchanges or so! If he closed in to engage in close quarters combat… he might be able to kill her in just one or two exchanges. With the Waterflame Lotus binding her and preventing her from fleeing, she had no choice but to admit defeat. That way, she would at least stay alive.
Ning carefully advanced, continuing to be very cautious for fear of suffering another group attack. There was a reason why his power was such that the Heavenly Treasures Mountain ranked him as being within the top hundred.
After all, Ning’s true body relied on his divine abilities to do battle, and had been able to stay alive against the assault of a Whitebone Immortal Slaying Needle! This was enough to ensure that the Heavenly Treasures Mountain viewed Ning’s true body as definitely being extremely formidable in close combat.
One against one…
It was true that within the Diagram, Ning was indeed one of the supreme fighters.
Against ordinary foes, the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] and the Waterflame Lotus was already enough to suppress them.
Against powerful foes, he would have to use both the Waterflame Lotus and close quarters combat.
But of course… that was in one-on-one fights.
“All of the fairly famous individuals are beginning to slowly display their might.” The Xia Emperor accompanied the eight Pure Yang True Immortals in drinking as he watched.
Previously, Xiamang Zishan, Cangwu Jiu, and the others had all suffered quite a bit. However, they quickly hid their tracks and began to act with great caution. Whether through killing their foes or forcing them to voluntarily give up, they began to slowly accumulate more and more talismans. Still… things were quite early. Thus, with each kill, they only acquired one or two talismans.
“That dirty-looking maiden, she’s quite formidable.” The Xia Emperor’s eyes lit up.
The Xia Emperor suddenly looked towards the nearby Lu Dongbin. Lu Dongbin had left behind many legacies throughout the Three Realms, and liked to take on new disciples. Amongst Pure Yang True Immortals, he was one of the most powerful; naturally, he had quite an astute gaze. The Xia Emperor couldn’t help but laugh and say, “Lu Dongbin, which of these youths do you view as having the most luck surrounding them?”
“The most luck?” Lu Dongbin half-lay there, sipping his wine. He glanced out of the corner of his eyes at the Diagram, then shook his head and said, “How can you tell just by looking? Luck is unfathomable and ever-changing to begin with… even someone with tremendous luck can still be killed.”
The Xia Emperor felt resigned. Of course he knew that lucky individuals could be killed as well. Those blessed by luck would just have more lucky encounters and have the assistance of the heavens. They could still, however, be killed! In fact, the person who killed them might even be able to steal their luck… but it was also possible that their own luck would lessen as a result.
For example, let’s say an individual was the only child of a major power. Killing this person would cause the major power to feel great hatred, and perhaps even personally intervene; in this case, one’s luck would naturally lessen.
For another example, if one person had a tremendous stroke of fortune and acquired a huge treasure repository, this person could be said to have had great luck. But if he were to be killed by another and his treasure repository stolen, then his luck would now be the killer’s.
Luck was something which could neither be seen or felt; it could only be hypothesized based on numerous factors. This required astute judgement. Clearly, Lu Dongbin was a person with incredibly astute judgement.
“You alcoholic! I asked you to tell me, but you refused to.” The Xia Emperor felt resigned. “Of course I know that lucky individuals can be killed, but lucky individuals will still have a higher chance of becoming powerful figures of the Three Realms, right?”
“But what if I told you, then you picked that person?” Lu Dongbin glanced sideways at him. “Pick your own. I told you that I’ll definitely let you and your Daofather pick first. I’ll pick from whoever is left.”
The Xia Emperor felt resigned. What could he do against such a shameless person?
Within the Diagram. More than five days had passed. Ning was currently resting within a cavern estate. There was a cold pool of water here. When washing his face in it, Ning felt incomparably refreshed.
“Five days. I’ve acquired a total of fifty talismans,” Ning mused to himself. “However… at the beginning, there will be many Wanxiang Adepts within the Diagram, and I would often encounter them. Later on, however, the number will begin to drop and it will be more rare to run into someone. In addition, those who survive until the end will be extremely powerful and hard to deal with.”
“Still, there’s a benefit to that as well; those who survive for longer will also have more talismans on them.” Ning’s eyes suddenly flickered.
A vague, trembling ripple was sweeping towards him from far away.
“A battle? And it seems it’s quite a big one.” Ning immediately transformed into a streak of light, leaving the cavern and carefully moving closer.