The Desolate Era - Book 13, Chapter 12 - The Choice Within the Three Realms Palace
“The [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] is the number one divine ability in the Three Realms for those below the True God level.” This line of characters on the abridged version instantly drew Ji Ning’s attention.
Number one in the three realms?
Ning had never before heard anyone bold enough to claim that a particular divine ability was number one in the Three Realms. This claim couldn’t even be made regarding the [Starseizing Hand] or [Houyi’s Archery]. But this [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] actually dared to claim itself the number one divine ability in the Three Realms for those below the True God level!”
“The [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], also known as the [Nine Cycles Arcane Art] or the [Seventy-Two Transformations][1. The Seventy-Two Transformations is the name of the legendary ability which Sun Wukong learned from Patriarch Subhuti and which made him into the badass that he was.]. This divine ability allows one to completely and perfectly control one’s Fiendgod body. A basic level of skill in this art allows one to transform into anything in the world; this is why this divine ability is also referred to as the [Seventy-Two Transformations].”
Ning understood that this didn’t mean that the technique was really just limited to seventy-two transformations; rather, ‘seventy-two’ was another way of referring to the original name of ‘Eight-Nine’. It was a figurative number!
“This divine ability allows one’s divine body to become akin to a magic treasure, to the point of being like an unbreakable vajra! At its peak of power, the user can allow Pure Yang magic treasures or even supreme Protocosmic spirit-treasures to chop against the user’s body. At most, there might be a few sparks; the body itself won’t be harmed at all!”
Ning’s gaze turned heated as he read. Even Pure Yang magic treasures and Protocosmic magic treasures would only be able to cause a few sparks to fly? This was insane!
“This divine ability places tremendous stress on the body. Thus, only Fiendgod Body Refiners can train in it. You have to at least have reached the Primal level as a Fiendgod before you can train in the First Cycle.”
“At the Primal level, you can train in the First, Second, and Third Cycles.”
“At the Void level, you can train in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Cycles.”
“At the Empyrean God level, you train in the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Cycle.”
“Once the Third Cycle is mastered, then the body will be comparable to an Immortal-ranked magic treasure! Even ordinary Celestial Immortals would find it difficult to wound you.”
“Once the Sixth Cycle is mastered, then the body will be comparable to a Pure Yang magic treasure! By relying on it, one can become truly famous in the Three Realms!”
“Once the Ninth Cycle is mastered, the body will be comparable to the most supreme of Pure Yang magic treasures, comparable to a Protocosmic spirit-treasure! It can truly be described as an unbreakable vajra at that point, and one can truly roam about the Three Realms without fear. Aside from major powers, no one can harm you at all. Even major powers will have to use special techniques in order to break your vajra-like body.”
The description on the manual caused Ning to pant in excitement. This was far too formidable. Manmade magic treasures were divided into Mortal-rank, Earth-rank, Heaven-rank, Immortal-rank, and Pure Yang rank, with the Pure Yang rank being the limit. Above Pure Yang magic treasures were Protocosmic spirit-treasures!
Protocosmic spirit-treasures were born from the natural universe itself. However, this didn’t necessarily mean that all Protocosmic spirit-treasures were superior to all Pure Yang magic treasures. After all, amongst manmade Pure Yang magic treasures, there were treasures which truly possessed insane levels of power. In fact, some were created by fusing the extracted essence of multiple Protocosmic spirit-treasures, such as the Starseizing Manor itself, which had used quite a few Protocosmis spirit-treasures in the forging!
Thus, there were grades of Protocosmic spirit-treasures as well. They were also divided into low-grade, middle-grade, high-grade, and top-grade.
Supreme Pure Yang treasures were generally comparable to middle-grade Protocosmic spirit-treasures!
Ning couldn’t help but sigh in amazement. “Protocosmic treasures!” To make one’s body comparable to a Protocosmic spirit-treasure! No wonder one’s body could be described as unbreakable as a vajra, and why even major powers of the Three Realms would have to use special methods in order to break past this divine ability.
Whoosh! Ning continued to flip through the pages and read.
“This divine ability was jointly developed by the spiritual leaders of both Buddhism and Daoism, who wished to create a divine body that was comparable to that of the great god Pangu’s.”
“Per the predictions of the spiritual leaders of Buddhism and Daoism, this arcane art should have a total of Twelve Cycles.”
“The first three were for the Primal level; the next three were for the Void-level, and the Seventh to Ninth Cycles were for the Empyrean God level, while True Gods would train in the Tenth to Twelve Cycles. The True Gods of the Three Realms, when using this divine ability, should theoretically have divine bodies that were comparable to Pangu’s. Unfortunately, although their predictions were idealistic, despite spending countless amounts of effort and time on this technique, they were still unable to come up with anything past the Ninth Cycle…”
“And so, this divine ability only has Nine Cycles!”
Upon seeing the description within the tome, Ning couldn’t help but sigh in amazement yet again. So the [Seventy-Two Transformations] had such an illustrious history. It had been jointly developed by the spiritual leaders of Buddhism and Daoism!
“Pangu…the same Pangu who established the universe?” Ning sighed in amazement. If one could use a divine ability to strengthen one’s body to Pangu’s level, that would be utterly insane. However…even the most supreme of experts in the Three Realms were only able to develop a total of nine of these Cycles. Mm…it truly can be described as the number one divine ability in the Three Realms for those below the True God level.” Ning couldn’t help but nod to himself.
It lived up to its reputation!
After reading the description, Ning noticed that the [Seventy-Two Transformations] was quite similar to his own [Starseizing Hand].
The Second Cycle of the [Starseizing Hand] made one’s hands comparable to Immortal-ranked magic treasures.
The Third Cycle, Pure Yang magic treasures.
The Fourth Cycle, supreme Pure Yang magic treasures or middle-grade Protocosmic spirit-treasures.
The Fifth Cycle, supreme Protocosmic spirit-treasures.
The Sixth Cycle…it allowed a pair of hands to effortless seize and crush stars! One truly could use one’s bare hands to annihilate an entire world. As far as the major powers of the Three Realms were concerned, the reason why Daoist Threelives had become so famous and powerful was only because he had managed to develop the Sixth Cycle of his [Starseizing Hand]; only then had he been able to kill so many Fiendgod Daofathers during that great tribulation!
“My [Starseizing Hand] only focuses on a pair of hands, while the [Seventy-Two Transformations] trains the entire body.” Ning realized what the difference was.
Because the [Seventy-Two Transformations] was only designed for the Empyrean God level, it could only be described as the number one divine ability in the Three Realms for those below the True God level.
The [Starseizing Hand], however, had a level meant for True Gods. Thus, it could be described as one of the top ten divine abilities in the Three Realms.
After reading this [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] tome, Ning set it aside and began to flip through the other books.
[Xingtian’s World-Destroying Axe] [2. Xingtian is one of the early gods in Chinese mythology. He was decapitated by the Yellow Emperor, the legendary forefather of the Chinese race, but he remained alive and continue to fight with axe and shield, transforming his nipples into eyes and his navel into his mouth – seriously.]
This was an axe-technique developed by one of the major powers of the Three Realms known as Xingtian, the Castigator of Heaven. However, it was ranked as a divine ability, because just like [Houyi’s Archery], it largely involved profound and arcane ways to apply divine power. This complicated way of applying divine power, when matched with the axe technique, would produce the true power of [Xingtian’s World-Destroying Axe]!
This divine ability was ranked as one of the top hundred in the Three Realms.
[Vairocana Guardian Halo].
This was a protective divine ability developed by the spiritual leader of Buddhism, Lord Buddha. It was extremely powerful, and at the True God level it was even slightly more powerful than the [Seventy-Two Transformations]. However, the [Seventy-Two Transformations] required a large amount of magic artifacts, and so the number of people who had ever trained in the [Seventy-Two Transformations] all the way to the Ninth Cycle was very low. Although at the same level, this [Vairocana Guardian Halo] was a bit weaker in power, it didn’t require as many magic treasures; one only need to focus on comprehending and mastering it.
This divine ability attracted Ning’s attention as well. This was because Ning had previously trained in the [Divine Thunderbolt Eye], which was a simplified version of the [Thundergod’s Eye]. Upon training in the [Thundergod’s Eye], when the user unleashed the eye, it could be used to see even the ghosts in the Netherworld Kingdom. Nothing could escape the gaze of this divine eye, and when mastered to an extremely high level, one could unleash ‘Divine Lightning of the Violet Skies’. Not even someone with an unbreakable, vajra-like body would dare to take a blow from this divine lightning!
But of course…just like the other supreme divine abilities, to train in this one to the point of unleashing the ‘Divine Lightning of the Violet Skies’ was harder than hard.
[Buddha-Realm Within the Palm].
This was a truly powerful divine ability of Buddhism, which could be trained all the way up to the True God level. If one mastered it, then an entire major world could be stored on one’s palm! When one struck out with one’s palm, one would be striking out with the entire power of a major world. If any enemy were to land atop the massive palm, even if they flew for an extremely long time, they would still find it difficult to fly out from this palm. [3. This is yet another reference to Journey to the West and Sun Wukong; when fighting with Lord Buddha, Sun Wukong and Buddha made a bet where Buddha bet him that Sun Wukong would be unable to jump out from his already quite large-looking palm in a single leap. Sun Wukong, capable of leaping 108,000 kilometers in a single bound, accepted the bet…and lost. Buddha then transformed his massive hand into a mountain, trapping Sun Wukong beneath it until his future master, the Tang Monk, came to rescue him.]
This was because the palm itself was the size of an entire major world!
But of course, compared to the [Starseizing Hand], it was still a bit weaker. The [Starseizing Hand], when trained to its limit, could effortless annihilate an entire major world.
[Heavenslayer Sword Formation].
This was a true sword-formation technique. The [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] was also a true sword-formation technique, but compared to this [Heavenslayer Sword Formation], it was much weaker. The [Heavenslayer Sword Formation] was incredibly complicated, and it required the forging of a Heavenslayer sword-diagram, as well as a total of eighty-one Immortal swords…but it was extremely powerful, ranked as one of the supreme skills of the Three Realms. However…only someone with the power of a Daofather could produce the required sword-diagram.
Ning’s gaze burned hotter and hotter as he continue to read.
There were a total of nine divine abilities: [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], [Houyi’s Archery], [Xingtian’s World-Destroying Axe], [Vairocana Guardian Halo], [Thundergod’s Eye], [Buddha-Realm Within the Palm], [Torch Dragon’s Eye], and two more.
There were also a total of ten secret arts, formations, and other varied techniques.
“Eh? There are actually no manuals focused exclusively on sword-arts, saber-arts, archery, axecraft…” Ning was surprised by this. For example, [Houyi’s Archery] wasn’t purely archery; it also included a very complicated way of activating and transforming divine power. This was why [Houyi’s Archery] was considered a divine ability! The same was true for [Xingtian’s World-Destroying Axe].
If the unique methods of employing divine power were stripped from these divine abilities, then [Houyi’s Archery] and [Xingtian’s World-Destroying Axe] would most likely only be placed on the ninth level of the Divinities Palace.
Crazy Ji beamed merrily as he watched. He could tell that Ning had been completely captivated by these techniques.
There were five techniques Ning wanted: [Buddha-Realm Within the Palm], [Thundergod’s Eye], [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], [Houyi’s Archery], and [Torch Dragon’s Eye]!
For one’s palm to be able to encompass an entire major world, a major world that completely belonged to him and him alone…how could Ning not feel desire for this technique?
[Thundergod’s Eye]…Ning had long ago started to train in the elementary version of this divine ability.
The [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] was even critical! After all, the path of Immortal cultivation was a difficult and dangerous one. To reach the Empyrean God level meant that one would be comparable to figures like Lu Dongbin and be an expert of the Three Realms. It was far too difficult to reach the True God level and become a major power like Daoist Threelives.
Thus, this number one divine ability for those below the True God level, this [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], was absolutely necessary.
“Junior apprentice-brother,” Crazy Ji said.
“Second senior apprentice-brother.” Ning turned to look at him.
“Are you aware that you are not permitted to simply learn as many techniques within the Three Realms Palace as you please? Every single fellow disciple is limited to just a few,” Crazy Ji said.
“I know.” Ning nodded. “Silvermoon and Lord Jiang both spoke to me of this.”
Generally speaking, each person could only learn two or three divine abilities or secret arts from the Three Realms Palace before Patriarch Subhuti would forbid them from learning more!
“Right. To be greedy is unwise!” Crazy Ji nodded. “Any one of these techniques, when trained to the peak, will allow you to roam and dominate the Three Realms. Even the seemingly unremarkable [Thundergod’s Eye], when trained to the limit, will allow you to control ‘Divine Lightning of the Violet Skies’ . Thus, if you are too greedy, the end result will be that you will be unable to train any technique to its limit and end up an ordinary figure. If you focus on training in one, however, you will be able to train to the limit and dominate the Three Realms.”
Ning nodded. He understood this principle.
Ning pondered for a time…then picked up an abridged version. “This is my choice from the Three Realms Palace.” This book was of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]!
The number one technique for those below the True God level. Ning had to choose it!
Crazy Ji laughed and nodded. “Alright. Look at the trial first.”
“Right.” Ning immediately flipped to the first page of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], carefully looking at the trial details. Ning immediately frowned upon doing so. This trial was many times more difficult than the trial for the [Torch Dragon’s Eye]; after all, that trial was just to sweep the mountain paths.