The Desolate Era - Book 15, Chapter 5 - Who Will Give Me My Freedom?
The black cloud was filled with a resilient power that covered the entire region below. The hundred top-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords were unable to penetrate the black cloud, but…Ji Ning’s attack was simply too fast. Prior to the black cloud appearing, he had killed more than twenty of the black-robed Loose Immortals.
The silver-armored youth’s face grew even grimmer.
“Break.” Ning took back his Immortal swords, then began to condense a streak of sword-light generated from the second stage of the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation]. This blindingly bright sword-light transformed into a divine black dragon which ripped apart the black clouds, soaring forward with arrogant abandon.
“Hmph.” The silver-armored youth waved his hand, summoning the black cloud back. He glanced downwards, seeing that the black-robed figures had already fled by now.
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
One bronze-armored Fiendguard after another began to arrive, coming to gather in the air behind the bronze-armored youth.
“Fiendguards, join into formation and launch a combined attack!” The silver-armored youth pointed downwards, then shouted, “You are not to attack separately.”
“Yes.” Instantly, the Fiendguards began to organize into squads of nine, joining into formations that transformed into Godbeasts that were three hundred meters long. This type of Godbeast appeared to be a tiger, but had even sharper claws and even longer fangs, while its fur was shaggier. Their eyes were filled a cold azure light.
“A Bi’an Godbeast tiger?” Ning was startled. “Last time, I encountered Bloodcloud Hall’s Ba-Serpent Formation; I didn’t expect to encounter a Bi’an Formation this time. This organization really is quite formidable.” [1. Note; back in Book 2, Chapter 10, Ning encountered and killed a Bi’an Tiger, but that was a ‘normal’ one that was not a Godbeast; it was called an ‘An Beast’, whereas this one is called a ‘Bi’an Godbeast’.]
Countless ages ago, the Ancestor Dragon was born from the primordial chaos. It was the most ancient of divine dragons, the first to be born from the chaos. It was even older than the Torch-Dragon! As the first dragon, it became known as the Ancestor Dragon.
The Ancestor Dragon had nine sons. [2. This is based on real Chinese mythology, the ‘nine sons of the dragon’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_sons_of_the_dragon.]
Every single one of the Nine Sons of the Dragon possessed tremendous power…and the Bi’an Tiger was one of them.
The three Bi’an Godbeast tigers charged downwards from midair. Ning raised his head, staring up at those three Bi’an Godbeasts. He suddenly sensed the castle behind him beginning to shake. Turning his head, he glanced backwards, only to see another Bi’an Godbeast charging from him from the castle gates as well.
There had also been some bronze-armored Fiendguards within the castle. Because Ning had attacked so unexpectedly, they hadn’t had the chance to join together into a formation yet.
“This white-robed man’s Immortal swords are quite formidable; he should be a powerful Sword Immortal who is a Ki Refiner. Although Ki Refining Sword Immortals are formidable…they hate close combat. If we attack en masse, and if one of our claws land on him…he’s dead.”
“Kill him. Otherwise, both the general and us shall be doomed.”
They all harbored murderous thoughts in their mind.
None of them wanted to let Ning leave alive. This was because the fact that the Eastwoods mountain range was being used to manufacture golems was a matter of the utmost secrecy. Once this location was exposed…the Grand Xia Dynasty would probably begin a frantic investigation. Now that they had a specific target, they’d probably be able to uncover even more gathering spots.
It must be understood…that up till now, not a single one of the gathering points had been exposed yet! Although the Grand Xia Dynasty had discovered that a few places were rather ‘strange’, they weren’t sure what the places were doing, and so the Dynasty hadn’t made any rash decisions yet.
The Eastwoods mountain range gathering point was damnably unlucky. After all…the only person in the entire world of the Grand Xia who trained in the Seventy-Two Transformations was Ji Ning. Only he had the ability to stealthily infiltrate this place! Anyone else would have been completely unable to enter the area and discover the secrets within.
“We can’t let him escape!” The silver-armored youth’s eyes flashed with cold light as he stared down from the skies towards Ning. “If he flees, we’ll be in big trouble. The Master will definitely blame me for this!”
The four Bi’an Godbeast tigers all possessed auras of tremendous power and majesty. Every single one of them was comparable to the Ba-Serpent of Bloodcloud Hall which had attempted to assassinate Ji Ning…but this Ji Ning was no longer the Ji Ning of the past. After reaching the sixteenth stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], his power had skyrocketed once more.
An enormous palm, also three hundred meters long, swatted down towards one of the Bi’an Tigers. The Bi’an Godbeast howled and swept out with its sharp paws, making full use of its extremely long and knife-sharp claws.
The giant palm, covered with golden light, completely knocked this Bi’an Godbeast flying. The other three Bi’an Tigers attacked wildly en masse, but Ning began to brandish his other palm as well. As he did so, this palm also instantly increased to a size of three hundred meters, and it too swatted a Bi’an Godbeast away.
“Three Heads, Six Arms.” Ning transformed into his three-headed, six-armed form. Now, six utterly enormous palms were slapping and swatting in every direction.
His palm-strikes all possessed the power of a Pure Yang treasure; they were far superior to Immortal swords. In addition, using Immortal swords required the use of elemental ki, whereas his [Starseizing Hand]-enhanced hands had been transformed into magic treasures long ago; just like the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], his palms didn’t need to use any divine power at all. However, actively using the [Starseizing Hand] to unleash tremendous strength did require the use of divine power.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Six giant palms, each flashing with a sharp golden light, struck out like a series of sharp swords, either chopping or thrusting or swatting.
The four Bi’an Godbeast tigers had intended on launching a group assault, but they were instead knocked flying backwards, one after the other.
“General, this man is a fiendgod! And his divine body is extremely powerful; his body seems to be as unbreakable as a vajra. He’s actually able to block our attacks just using his hands.”
The bronze-armored Fiendguards all sent hurried mental messages to the silver-armored youth.
The silver-armored youth, upon seeing this happen from his position in midair, had an unsightly look on his face. “I didn’t expect that his close combat abilities would be even more formidable than his sword-formation abilities.” In truth, if Ning had to use Immortal swords, his close combat abilities truly would be a bit weaker…but by relying on the power of his palms, he was actually slightly more powerful than the second stage of the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation].
“Ahahah! ‘General’…do you wish to keep fighting? You aren’t able to do anything to me, while I can leave whenever I want.” Ning’s laughter rang out from below.
“Halt!” The silver-armored youth barked.
Instantly, all four of the Bi’an Godbeast tigers hurriedly retreated, coming to hover in the air to each side of the silver-armored youth. They stared at the distant, white-robed Ning. All of them were rather shocked…the thirty-six of them, all Fiendguards, were actually unable to do anything to this person, even when fighting together. No wonder he had been able to so effortlessly slaughter them in the castle earlier.
“Given your power, you should’ve been able to use a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal to leave long ago, when you were still inside the castle,” the silver-armored man said coldly. “But you didn’t. This was for the sake of Mu Northson, right?”
Ning was startled. He had used the Seventy-Two Transformations to completely change his aura; why was it that this general immediately mentioned Mu Northson?
“Ji Ning.” The silver-armored youth looked downwards. He said coldly, “Did you think I wouldn’t be able to guess that it was you? In the entire world of the Grand Xia, the only ability that could allow someone to so stealthily infiltrate this castle is probably you, after using your Seventy-Two Transformations. When I also noticed that the only grandmaster within the castle who vanished was Mu Northson…the only person I could think of who would come to save him would be you, Ji Ning.”
“Previously, I wasn’t completely certain that you trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], but now…I am.” The silver-armored man let out a cold laugh.
The white-robed youth below let out a loud laugh as well. His body flickered, then transformed into that of the fur-clad Ji Ning.
“Correct. It is indeed me. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hide the fact that I trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] for too much longer…after all, last time, I ended up trapped in your Eastwoods mountain range for quite some time. I didn’t expect you to be able to guess it right away this time,” Ning said. “I know that this Fiendgod Golem of yours is quite important. I can give it back to you, but you have to release my junior apprentice-brother, Mu Northson, and give him back his freedom.”
“I trust that reobtaining a golem like this, comparable to a top-grade Pure Yang treasure, in exchange for just giving me my junior apprentice-brother is actually quite a decent bargain,” Ning said.
“A decent bargain? No. This is nothing more than a half-finished golem; it’s not even finished. It isn’t actually worth that much,” the silver-armored youth said.
“Perhaps not to outsiders, but to you, it is extremely valuable. You can work on it and complete it.” Ning raised his head to stare at the silver-armored youth. “I have only one request. Give my junior apprentice-brother his freedom back.”
“Hahahaha…freedom?!” The silver-armored youth was so enraged, he began to laugh. “If I give Mu Northson his freedom, who will give me my freedom?”
Ning was startled. Who would give him his freedom?
“You’ve discovered this forbidden region, which means its secret has been revealed. If I don’t kill you…how can I escape punishment?” A savage look was on the silver-armored man’s face. “Both you and your junior apprentice-brother can die.”
Ning instantly understood. Given that the mysterious power divided up its forces into ‘Fiendslaves’, ‘Fiendserfs’, ‘Fiendguards’, and ‘Fiendlords’, they undoubtedly held their Fiendlords to very high standards. Ning had barged into this location…once he exposed its secrets, the mysterious power would be put on a very bad position.
“Wait a moment,” Ning said hurriedly. “I’m willing to swear an oath to the Dao of the Heavens that I will not reveal what is happening here within the Eastwoods mountain range to anyone, and I will also return your Fiendgod Golem to you. You, in exchange, will release my junior apprentice-brother.”
“Even if you swear an oath to the Dao of the Heavens, I will still be punished. Thus…only if you die will I be safe.” The silver-armored youth let out a lowl growl. “Do you think that just because you’ve trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] that I am unable to do anything to you? Hmph. Hmph! Many Celestial Immortals have perished before me, much less you, a mere Void-level.”
As his words came out, an azure serpent that was more than ten kilometers long suddenly appeared in midair. This azure serpent was extremely slender, and it came coiling towards Ning.
“A rope?” Ning was startled.
The [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] divine ability feared restrictive magic treasures the most. For example, if he ended up being bound by this rope, there would be no way he could use any Dao-seals or enter his Immortal estate. That would be very bad indeed.
Thus…he absolutely could not let himself be bound.
“All I’m asking is that you let my junior apprentice-brother go free.” Immortal swords clustered around Ning as a sharp golden sword-light began to form in front of him.
“Only if I kill you will I be able to live comfortably,” the silver-armored youth bellowed back.
The golden sword-light collided against the enormous azure serpent in midair. The power of that rope, in the shape of the azure serpent, was truly tremendous. A single collision with it was enough to completely blast apart the divine black dragon which Ning’s golden sword-light had transformed into.
“If you don’t agree…then I’ll beat you until you do!” Ning had grown angry now as well. A black-robed Ning suddenly appeared out of nowhere next to him.
The two Ji Nings stood there, shoulder to shoulder.
A total of 324 top-grade Immortal-ranked magic treasures appeared in midair. His true body and his Primaltwin each controlled 162 of these Immortal swords! It must be understood that the memories and minds of the two bodies were completely linked and synced, and both of them trained in the [Darknorth Sutra] as Ki Refiners…and in fact, both were ate the late Void level!
The power of the [Darknorth Sutra] filled every single one of the top-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords. Although his true body and his Primaltwin controlled the swords separately, it was as though a single person was controlling them!
And thus, a total of more than three hundred top-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords were able to completely join together in formation!
A golden Immortal sword, carrying a terrifying aura of majesty, manifested before Ning’s true body and Primaltwin.
[Greater Thousand Swords Formation] – Stage Four!
This was Ning’s true maximum combat power as a Ki Refiner! Power that was even greater than his true body’s close combat abilities!
The fur-clad Ning and the black-robed Ning simultaneously let out an enraged roar.