The Desolate Era - Book 8, Chapter 27 - Harvesting Dire-Ice
Dong One had been training for hundreds of years now, and had adventured in many places. He had his own share of fortuitous encounters, and even had the chance to cultivate dire-ice in his body. Previously, when he had battled Ji Ning, he had put that dire-ice on display.
“This is…” Done One looked carefully towards that wisp of golden fire that was swirling in the crack in the ground up ahead. This crack was roughly six meters wide, and if one looked down into it…one would able to barely make out the frothing lava below.
“This earthfire…has some gold mixed into it? And it is both pure and dazzling…” Dong One nodded slightly as he noted all these things. “Given that it was born atop a river of lava, this earthfire should be the ‘goldflame earthfire’.”
There were more than a hundred types of earthfire. Some were actually insidiously, bone-piercingly cold, while others exploded with uncontrollable wildness. As for goldflame earthfire…it was famous for being ‘scorching’, and was an extremely fine type of earthfire.
“What a pity. I train in freezing-attribute arts.” Dong One shook his head. “In addition, my body is already nourishing dire-ice, and is completely unsuited for nourishing earthfire as well. Once the dire-ice and earthfire clash…most likely, I’ll transform into dust.”
It was extremely rare for one to be able to simultaneously nourish both earthfire and dire-ice. Doing so was extremely difficult, and one had to meet extremely exacting standards in terms of talent and technique. Ning, however, clearly fulfilled these requirements.
“I can’t use it, but others can.” Dong One had a sudden thought, a natural thought; he could trade this goldflame earthfire to another Wanxiang Adept. This sort of naturally occurring earthfire vein was something one could only dream of; naturally, he had to sell it for a high price.
“I’ll leave for now.” With a flash, Dong One quietly slipped away.
The dragon-headed warship was rapidly advancing towards the north through the clouds. Mu Northson was constantly scanning the ground through the sparse clouds. “Qingqing, are we there yet?”
Ning sat there to the side, a small azure snake wrapped around his wrist. The little azure snake suddenly raised its head, staring downwards, then spoke out in the human tongue. “Not yet. I’ll tell you when we get there. We’ll definitely arrive today, so stop worrying.”
“That’s dire-ice! How can I not be impatient?” Northson mumbled, “If we’re too slow, someone else might end up seizing it.”
“If that really happens, you’ll just have to consider yourself unlucky.” After saying a few things, the little azure snake once more wrapped itself around Ning’s arm, leisurely closing its eyes and falling asleep.
Perhaps because she knew Ning from in the past…
Perhaps because they were from the same homeland…
Perhaps because Ning saved her life…
But for some reason, she very much liked to snuggle up to Ning. She felt quite comfortable when doing so.
“Senior apprentice-brother, she’s not even looking outside. Is it possible that we might’ve flown past without her even knowing about it?” Northson said, worried. “Well, we’ll just fly back if that’s the case,” Ning said with a smirk.
“Right. I wonder what sort of dire-ice it is,” Northson mumbled. “I’ve never had a stroke of luck like this before.” And in truth, Ning was very curious as well. What sort of dire-ice was this? Was it suitable for him? His divine body was formed from Lunar Truewater and Solar Truefire; thus, this dire-ice would hopefully, ideally be able to connect with Lunar Truewater. Some types of dire-ice actually weren’t able to really merge with Lunar Truewater, such as the ‘sinblood dire-ice’. But of course, aside from those extremely rare cases, the vast majority would be suitable for him.
“Eh?” The little azure snake suddenly transformed into a mist, then reformed into human shape. “Almost there.” Qingqing stood at the ship’s rails, staring downward. “Hey, Woody, hurry up and change directions. Curve towards the east a bit.”
“My Daoist title is Twinwood, not Woody.” Northson gave her a glare. “Not even my senior apprentice-brother addresses me as ‘Woody’.”
Qingqing stared back at him. “So what if I call you Woody? Ji Ning is my master, but you aren’t…you’ve gotten such a great benefit from me in the form of dire-ice, and you are going to get upset at me just because I call you ‘Woody’?”
Northson said, resigned, “Fine, call away.”
Ning had to laugh. This junior apprentice-brother of his really was easy to pick on; even Qingqing was able to effortless pick on him.
“Uh, we’re there.” Qingqing pointed downwards. “It’s that giant lake, down there.”
The dragon-headed warship quickly shrank in size, and as it did so, the surface of the warship quickly changed to become one with the color of the sky as well, so as to avoid attracting attention. Soon, the warship arrived in the air above this vast lake. And then, after storing the warship away, Ning, Northson, and Qingqing moved to stand atop the lake’s surface.
“Where is it?” Northson looked around. “This lake is thousands of kilometers wide.” “At the bottom,” Qingqing quietly sent mentally to them. “I have an innate affinity for water, and I entered this lake and accidentally discovered that a secret, hidden area at the bottom. Don’t worry…there are quite a few dangerous zones in the bottom of this lake, so there are few monsters present, and no Wanxiang monsters. Follow me and don’t worry.”
“Let’s go, into the water.” Qingqing led the way, immediately entering the water. The elemental ki surrounding their body kept the water away, allowing them to effortlessly dive deeper.
“It really is deep,” Northson sent mentally. Ning nodded as well. “It’s many kilometers deep.” They were now able to see the bottom of the lake. At this depth, despite their visual acuity, even they could just barely make out the sights around here. Although they occasionally encountered some lesser monsters, the powerful aura which Qingqing intentionally spread out instantly terrified them into staying far away.
Qingqing pointed towards a dark abyss below. “Follow that underwater gorge and keep going down!”
After entering the underwater gorge, the temperature of the water began to fall more and more, and pieces of ice began to appear around them. And then, at the very bottom of this lake gorge, an extremely thick layer of sturdy ice appeared. Ning, Northson, and Qingqing came to a halt, standing atop this layer of sturdy ice.
“Previously, I relied on the ‘Void Blink’ technique to pass through this wall of ice to go play around,” Qingqing sent mentally. “Roughly three thousand meters beneath this layer of ice, there’s a hidden dire-ice vein. Without me guiding you, you wouldn’t have been able to find this place at all, just barging around randomly.”
“Three thousand meters?” With but a thought, Ning sent his divine sense sweeping downwards. Deep within this incomparably enormous piece of ice, there was indeed a vein of dire-ice; just a single one.
To be cautious, Ning and Northson both used agility techniques to charge forward by three hundred meters each time. As they charged forcefully in, they effortlessly smashed a tunnel through the ice. Although this ice was as tough as a rock, to a Wanxiang Adept…it was naturally easily parted. The coldness of the ice, in turn, was nothing to them at all.
Moments later…Ning’s group arrived at the location of the dire-ice vein. “This is…?” Ning and Northson both stared at the vein of dire-ice. This vein of dire-ice was completely formed from various pieces of dire-ice. It was tens of meters long, and the pieces of dire-ice even had human-shaped elemental spirits playing around in them, causing the dire-ice to be filled with something akin to sentience.
“Snowspirit dire-ice?” Ning revealed a look of delight. “It really is snowspirit dire-ice!” Northson was overjoyed as well. As for the nearby Qingqing, she immediately asked, “Well, how is this dire-ice? I swallowed a piece of it as well and am cultivating it inside my body.”
“This is known as snowspirit dire-ice,” Ning said. After having spent three years at the Black-White College, he naturally knew far more now than he had in the past. “Even amongst dire-ice, this is a top-grade type; it is innately filled with sentience. You should know that dire-ice can be divided into nine grades, right?”
“Yes, I know, I know.” Qingqing nodded. “I know this much. I hear that if one absorbs in a first grade piece of dire-ice, one will possess incomparably astonishing power.”
“Right. But some types of dire-ice are almost impossible to nourish to the first grade,” Ning said. “Dire-ice is divided into nine grades; the ninth, eight, and seventh are the ‘low-grades’, the sixth, fifth, and fourth are the ‘middle-grades’, while the third, second, and first are the ‘high-grades’. Generally speaking, it’s quite impressive for dire-ice to be nurtured to the third grade; dire-ice of the second grade is extremely rare, and the first grade is even less common.”
“Snowspirit dire-ice is extremely fine dire-ice, with tremendous potential. It can be nourished to the first grade,” Ning said.
“Looks like my luck isn’t bad,” Qingqing called out in delight. The nearby Northson said, “And it looks as though quite a few people can use this vein of dire-ice. Let’s immediately begin the harvesting.”
“Qingqing, I’ll leave the protecting to you.” Ning waved his hand, producing six formation flags. “This is a bewildering formation that is extremely strong. Unless one is skilled in formations, there is no chance of being able to break through. While my junior apprentice-brother and I are implanting the dire-ice into our bodies, help us stand watch. This process is extremely dangerous, and we cannot stop it midway. You must be very vigilant..”
“Alright,” Qingqing nodded. “Don’t worry, Master.” Of course she understood. Dire-ice was, intrinsically, an extremely damaging, harmful thing; otherwise, Immortal cultivators wouldn’t value it so much. This sort of natural dire-ice was even more savage. During the implanting process, one had to absorb the dire-ice into the Zifu of one’s own body; if one was interrupted midway, the dire-ice might rupture within the Zifu, and could even damage it. It was even possible that this might result in death.
Ning possessed the body of a Fiendgod, so he wouldn’t actually die, but he still was worried about his Zifu being damaged.
Deep within the freezing gorge at the bottom of the lake. Ning’s group had quickly dug out a room of freezing ice, which became merged with this vein of dire-ice. Outside, the bewildering formation had been set, with Qingqing managing it!
As for Ning and Northson, they sat down in the lotus position atop the ice, facing the vein of dire-ice. “Junior apprentice-brother, you must be careful,” Ning warned solemnly. Harvesting dire-ice…at most, Ning might damage his Zifu and would need to spend several years healing. His junior apprentice-brother, however…if things went badly, he might die.
Ning had already come to a decision that if something truly amiss happened during this process…even if he had to injure himself and halt his implanting process to protect his junior apprentice-brother, he would do so.
“Don’t worry,” Northson laughed. “The Dao of Constructs is a Dao of using countless strange materials to begin with. Harvesting dire-ice…as long as I’m careful about it, it’ll be simplicity itself.”
Ning laughed. Then, he turned his head to look towards his piece of dire-ice, filled with sentience. He immediately opened his mouth lightly, and began to absorb! A pincer of elemental ki surged out, and a wisp of the dire-ice in front of him began to be absorbed into Ning’s body.
“So cold.” As soon as the dire-ice entered his body, he instantly felt his entire body grow cold. As a Fiendgod Body Refiner, Ning naturally didn’t mind. However, the nearby Northson was suffering quite a bit.
Within Ning’s mind began to float the memories of how to use the [Flowing Watersource] technique to harvest dire-ice, earthfire, direwind, direlight, and other materials.
Within the skies of the Zifu region, there were thousands of stars, a luminous moon, and a blazing sun. They simultaneously shone down rays of light. This was all pure Wanxiang elemental ki, and they quickly formed a small, rather nondescript island atop the boundless sea of elemental energy.
As Ning absorbed that wisp of dire-ice into his body, it departed from the outside world and emerged here, within the Zifu region. And, as it did…Ning felt his entire Zifu turn cold, almost stabbingly so. Not hesitating at all, Ning instantly guided that piece of dire-ice to fly towards that small island.
Like a tree being driven into the ground, the piece of dire-ice was driven straight through this small island.