Book 26, Chapter 30 - Three Months

Desolate Era

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If Ji Ning wished to take his warhammers by force, he would be dramatically weakened. Although he could still go abuse other cultivators on the first stratum and steal a few Dao weapons from them, he had brought those six warhammers with him from the outside world. They were very suitable weapons for him, and it would be quite hard for him to find similarly suitable weapons on those weaker cultivators.

“Are you serious…” Ning swept the man with his godsense. The man didn’t resist at all, allowing Ning to scan him with ease.

“You don’t even have a single bottle of chaos nectar or a single chaos jewel.” Ning shook his head.

“I used to! They took everything from me.” The pudgy youth shook his head. “Nothing I could do. They were stronger than me. I’m just happy I was able to keep my six warhammers. I used to have an Eternal treasure, but that was taken from me as well.”

As he spoke, he looked at Ning in a rather anxious, beseeching manner. “Can you leave my six warhammers alone? Please?”

“Don’t worry. I have no interest in those six warhammers whatsoever,” Ning chuckled. “I just want to ask you a few questions. Also, you have to give me that sword-arts legacy you are holding.”

“Take it.” The pudgy youth immediately tossed a sword-shaped talisman over towards Ning. This was one of the legacy treasures that formed the seventy-third ranked legacy, the sword-arts legacy. Although it was merely ranked seventy-three, it was still divided up into 108 different legacy treasures. You had to acquire the full set in order to gain access to it.

Seeing that Ning didn’t intend to kill him, the pudgy youth hurriedly said, “Ask me whatever you wish. I, Pillsaint, will tell you everything you want to know.”

“Your name is Pillsaint?” Ning asked.

“Yes, Pillsaint. This is the Daoist title which my master gave me. My master is skilled in alchemy, as am I. Who would’ve thought that I would be this unlucky? A Daolord had asked me to go help him refine some pills, but halfway on the trip back I was abducted to this place by a different Samsara Daolord, as were the ten World-level cultivators who the first Daolord had sent to invite me.” Pillsaint had a resigned look on his face as he spoke.

Ning was shocked upon hearing this. Skilled in Alchemy?

This fellow was capable of unleashing the power of a supreme World God when using mere Dao weapons… and he was actually a master of alchemy? A Daolord had asked him to go refine pills for him? That meant his skill in alchemy had to be incredibly high. Ning knew that the skilled alchemists and pill-refiners of the Endless Territories were incredibly respected.

“Ugh, but so what if I’m good at alchemy? The Brightshore Kingdom doesn’t give a damn about me. All I can do is stay here and duel other World-level cultivators.” World God Pillsaint said resignedly, “I’m skilled in controlling the empty void of space and am physically strong, but that’s just because those are necessary components of pillforging. Right now, all I can do is use my warhammers to battle against other World-level cultivators.”

Ning could tell that this World God Pillsaint had to be extremely skilled in the arts of alchemy and had an even more skilled alchemy master. In the outside world, not even ordinary Samsara Daolords would go offend someone of his status.

If Ning could, he would try to find a chance to help this man out. If World God Pillsaint was able to leave this place in the future, Ning could ask him or even his master to help him refine any special pills that he needed.

“Mm. In the future, I’ll need to acquire a few extra legacies. If I find any that I don’t need, I can just lose a set to him on purpose,” Ning mused.

The only legacies Ning himself were interested at present were the sword-arts legacy and the footwork legacy. As for the top-ranked heartforce legacy, Ning was interested in that as well.

Still, the rules were that those who acquired a complete legacy could leave, but those who acquired two were required to leave.

Thus, if Ning wanted to acquire several different legacies, he would have to lose a few battles on purpose and let his opponents acquire those legacies! Ning was definitely planning on helping out Su Youji, but if he had the chance he would also help this World God Pillsaint as well.

“I wonder which astral island Youji is now on.” There was nothing Ning could do. Only after battling someone could he find out exactly which island a specific cultivator was on. He wanted to help her out, but he currently could not. Only in the future would he be able to try to come up with a way of locating her.

“I ask you this,” Ning said, “Roughly how strong are the cultivators on each island?”

“That’s hard to say, because even the first stratum might hold a few freakishly strong individuals.” World God Pillsaint glanced at Ning, then said hurriedly, “I can just give you a rough estimate of how strong everyone is.”

Ning nodded.

“The astral islands on the first stratum generally hold master-class World-level cultivators as well as a few even weaker cultivators.

“The second stratum holds more formidable cultivators. Some have unique treasures or techniques, such as special spells or powerful golems. Others have reached at least the supreme World-level of power.

“The third stratum is generally where most supreme World-level cultivators reside, or those who possess extremely special techniques. I’m a supreme World God myself, and I’m very physically strong. I’m capable of forcing my opponents to face my attacks head-on, which is my position within the third stratum is quite secure.

“The fourth stratum is generally filled with transcendent World-level cultivators, as well as some of the freakishly strong figures who belonged to the fifth stratum but who were temporarily beaten down by other cultivators from that stratum.

“The fifth stratum… everyone capable of standing securely within that stratum is an utter monster. Most of them probably have the power of Daolords of the First Step, and many have very unique skills and abilities. Who knows what special skills or trump cards they have up their sleeves? All I know is that I’ve never run into them before. There are only twelve individuals total on the fifth stratum. Eight are Aberrants while four are cultivators.”

Ning was secretly shocked upon hearing this.

The twelve on the fifth stratum all had the power of Daolords of the First Step? How terrifying. Still, most were Aberrants. There were certain powerful races that were born with tremendous advantages over normal cultivators!

“There’s only a single cultivator on the sixth stratum. I hear that his name is Bertulu, and that he’s an absolutely freakishly strong figure.” The pudgy youth shook his head. “What a freak! He’s an Aberrant as well. Not even those other freaks on the fifth stratum can beat him. He truly is unfathomably strong.”

“Bertulu?” Ning silently memorized this name.

“Fortunately, there is a rule in the Astral Islands that anyone who makes it to the fifth level will be protected, even if they are temporarily knocked down to a lower level. That’s why the only reason why Bertulu hasn’t completely demolished all of the other freaks.” World God Pillsaint shook his head and sighed.

Ning understood the purpose of this rule. The Astral Islands existed in order to help the Brightshore Kingdom select some of the most powerful World-level cultivators to join its ranks. The three hundred thousand-plus cultivators within the Astral Islands right now included many powerful cultivators which the Brightshore Kingdom had abducted from the outside world, but it also held many cultivators which had emerged from the Brightshore Kingdom’s own territory. Ordinary World-level cultivators simply couldn’t compare to them.

Given how many powerful World-level cultivators were amongst the three hundred thousand, for a few absolute monsters to emerge was normal.

Generally speaking, anyone who could make it to the fifth stratum was a freak in some way. Any such person would be protected by the Astral Islands. Even if other cultivators defeated them, they would at most be permitted to take away their opponents’ legacy treasures. It was forbidden to kill them! It was also forbidden to seize any of their other, personal treasures!

But of course, this was just a minor form of protection. Although the Brightshore Kingdom was intrigued by these monsters, it wouldn’t necessarily go crazy over them. This was because although they were monsters now, they wouldn’t necessarily be monstrously powerful Daolords in the future.

In the Allgod Estate, the formation-spirit of the Ten Thousand Mountains had encountered quite a few freakishly talented figures over countless eons, but the only truly formidable figure to emerge was Daolord Badlands.

But of course, Bertulu was so incredibly, freakishly talented that even the most powerful kingdom in all the Endless Territories, the Brightshore Kingdom, rarely encountered his equal. He had already found his path and was capable of becoming a Samsara Daolord whenever he wished. The way they treated him was naturally different.

“It seems that I should be strong enough to make it to the fifth stratum,” Ning mused. “Only by making it to the fifth stratum will I be protected.”

Although Ning was confident in his abilities, he wasn’t confident in his abilities to defeat Bertulu of the sixth stratum. Bertulu had to have acquired the number one legacy, the heartforce legacy, a long time ago. Cultivators skilled in heartforce were quite terrifying to fight, and Ning wasn’t confident in his ability to withstand him.

“I need to seize every moment. The more time passes, the more variables might appear.”

After this first battle, Ning began to accept one challenge after another. He kept a low-profile as he dueled other cultivators on the first stratum. Some challenged him, others he challenged.

There were also times when no one challenged him and the person he challenged refused. In that case, he had no choice but to wait and rest for a day.

And so, just like that…

Ning ended up spending twelve days before advancing to the second stratum.

After spending another twenty-six days, he advanced to the third stratum.

After spending another fifty-one days, he advanced to the fourth stratum.

Ning didn’t encounter any of the freaks who had previously made it to the fifth stratum. Since everyone who had been on the fifth stratum was under protection, it was very rare for other World-level cultivators to challenge them. Thus, those freaks generally spent most of their time meditating on the powerful legacies they had acquired. It was entirely possible for them to spend a century in meditation. Ning’s sudden rise to power did attract the attention of two ‘protected’ World-level cultivators, but those two didn’t move to challenge him. Instead, they watched quietly.

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