Book 9, Chapter 19 - Nethercold

Desolate Era

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The Treasures Hall was the same as it had always been. Hanging in the air at the top of the hall were many powerful magic treasures and curious artifacts, all emanating powerful ripples…if it weren’t for the fact that they were separated from the bottom by restrictive spells, those powerful ripples would easily annihilate Ji Ning if he were to interact with them! Ning felt no doubt about this whatsoever.

The giant yellow bear and Ning were within the Treasures Hall. “Ji Ning, you may now begin to select Earth-ranked magic treasures from the Treasures Hall,” the giant yellow bear said, looking at Ning. “You must be even more careful than in the past, when you chose a Mortal-ranked magic treasure. This is because although you moved quite quickly from the Zifu level to the Wanxiang level, you will most likely take far more time to move to the Primal level. As for going from the Primal level to the Void level, the amount of time that will consume is even greater.”

Ning nodded. The farther along the path one went, the longer it would take to reach the next stage.

“The same is true as well in selecting magic treasures.” The giant yellow bear said, “It is guaranteed that you will only be using Mortal-ranked magic treasures for a short period of time; the three that you chose previously, for example, are most likely already of limited use to you.”

Ning chuckled. Of the three he had chosen, he had sold off the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation at Stillwater City’s Carefree Caverns long ago! As for the Nine Yang Swords Formation, he had replaced them with the superior Northriver Sword Formation which he had acquired at the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains.

Only the Evanescent Demonslayer Sword, which he could use for sneak attacks, was still being regularly used. However…this sword had its flaws as well. It was most suited for underground sneak attacks; in other situations, such as when battling in midair in the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains, as soon as it moved close to the enemy, it would be easily discovered, at which point in time it could no longer used for a sneak attack.

“You’ve passed through the third level of the Wargod Hall, and soon, you’ll be able to overcome the fourth level. Once your Fiendgod body reaches the Wanxiang level…you’ll have had a total of three chances to obtain Earth-ranked magic treasures, or artifacts of an equivalent value.” The giant yellow bear looked at Ning. “Choose carefully. Some of the top-grade magic artifacts present are most likely only owned by the most powerful of organizations in this major world of the Grand Xia Dynasty’s. It will be incredibly difficult to purchase or trade for them.”

Ning nodded. There were very few top-grade Mortal-ranked magic treasures, and top-grade Earth-ranked treasures were even more incomparably rare. They were almost never seen, and to find one suitable for one’s self was even less likely. He, however, now had a chance to choose amongst the top-grade Earth-ranked magic treasures of the underwater estate for one he liked.

“Choose.” The giant yellow bear produced a golden book out of nowhere, and the book was covered with two Fiendgod characters for ‘Precious Treasures’.

“Why is it that this book looks identical to the Mortal-ranked magic treasures book?” Ning couldn’t help but ask this question. The giant yellow bear looked at Ning. “Not just Earth-ranked; the Heaven-ranked, Immortal-ranked, and Pure Yang-ranked magic treasures book are the same as well, because I personally compile these books. This is your first time choosing an Earth-ranked magic treasure, and so I will only show you a portion of the items available. The second time, you’ll have more options, and the third time, you’ll be able to go through any of the items in the book.”

Ning asked hurriedly, “Senior, which is the most suited to me?” The treasures to be chosen from were simply too dazzling. Only the giant yellow bear would know which were the best. Last time, for example, the giant yellow bear had advised him to choose the Nine Yang Sword Formation, and the third time, he had indeed chosen it.

“There are plenty of precious artifacts, quite a few of which are suited to you,” the giant yellow bear said. “I think you should read through it slowly.” Resigned, Ning began to flip through the book.

“Wow, this really is…!” Ning’s gaze instantly grew heated. He had gone to the Heavenly Treasures Mountain before, and had seen the Earth-ranked magic treasures there, and had also seen some Earth-ranked treasures that were only for display and not for sale; these were some of the most precious, top-quality magic treasures of that local branch of the Heavenly Treasures Mountain. Without having a few treasures like this to display, how could the Heavenly Treasures Mountain awe the masses? But Ning couldn’t help but think to himself, “All of these treasures are comparable to those items at the Heavenly Treasures Mountain." His heartrate sped up.

Xuanwu’s Goldscale Ship; a top-grade Earth-ranked flying treasure. While flying, it could transform into a goldscale fish that could soar into the heavens or burrow into the ground. It was incomparably quick when flying, and was as incomparably nimble in the skies as a fish was in the water. Upon entering the ground, it would become even more agile, comparable to many Heaven-ranked flying treasures.

In addition, given that it was named after Xuanwu, the Black Tortoise, it was also incomparably sturdy. When hiding within the Xuanwu Goldscale Ship, even a Primal Daoist’s attacks would find it difficult to do anything to it.

“What an item,” Ning murmured to himself. “In the Heavenly Treasures Mountain, I saw an item on display, the ‘Ruyi Godspeed Boat’, which was comparable to this item in speed but far weaker in defense. And yet, that was enough for it to be considered one of their not-for-sale items.”

It was indeed an excellent item. However, since it was guaranteed that Ning would at most have three chances to choose Earth-ranked magic treasures, he wasn’t willing to waste one of the three chances on a flying magic treasure.

Earthfire Heartlamp, a strange artifact. The Earthfire Heartlamp was a unique sort of rock that was formed from the natural world. It was naturally formed into the shape of the lamp, and within it there was something akin to the extracted essence of fire…this extract was incomparably, shockingly effective in nurturing earthfire, and if Ning were to often place his earthfire within it and absorb from that essence, in ten short years, his earthfire would rise to be of the first grade! If other types of supportive treasures were used, the amount of time it would take for earthfire to be nourished to the first rank would be even less.

“Earthfire Heartlamp!” Ning was truly intrigued. Although many of the previous items had caused his heartrate to speed up, this was the first time he was truly filled with a powerful urge. “This is what I’ll choose, I imagine.”

“Should I choose it?” Ning began to ponder. “Earthfire, at the first grade, is capable of threatening even Primal Daoists. But this will take roughly ten years.” Ning thought about it, shaking his head in the end. “In ten years, my [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] will probably have increased dramatically in power, and my swordplay as well; earthfire of the first grade won’t be as helpful then as it would be now.”

It had only been four years since he had joined the Black-White College! And yet, he had already developed the third stance of the [Three-Foot Sword]! He had truly improved tremendously during the past four years. Ten years ago, he had been fighting with the Azure Skysnake, and had just arrived at the Eastmount Marshes after having left West Prefecture City. Now, ten years later, he was capable of effortlessly killing Wanxiang Adepts.

Although it was true that the further along one went, the slower one improved, ten years…Ning felt confident that he would improve dramatically in this period of time.

“It’s very good item.” Ning pondered a bit more. “However, it’s guaranteed that the goldflame earthfire will never be my most powerful attack; in addition, my body has both earthfire and dire-ice. When using the Waterflame Lotus, ideally, the dire-ice and earthfire should be balanced. If the earthfire is too powerful or the dire-ice too weak, that will not be good for my Waterflame Lotus.

“Even without this Earthfire Heartlamp, I’ll still have the ancient glacial ice, the firelotus pith, and other treasures. Although they are a bit slower, and will only be able to improve my earthfire and dire-ice to the fourth or fifth grade, at least the power will be matched.” Ning persuaded himself to forget it, then began to continue reading.

One magic treasure after another. In the past, any Earth-ranked magic treasures were very alluring, but that was before Ning had truly gone out adventuring. Now that he was a disciple of the Black-White College, a Raindragon Guard, and had visited the Heavenly Treasures Mountain…his horizons had been broaded, and only now did he understand how precious and rare the priceless items which Daoist Threelives had left behind were. Most likely, not even the treasures of the entire Grand Xia Dynasty were comparable to the items here. Unfortunately, he was only allowed to choose three items from each level.

The Brocade-Cloud Miasma, a top-grade Earth-ranked protective item…

A Hundred Venoms Immortal-Lock Formation…an Earth-ranked formation…

A Dire-Ice Mirror…a precious item capable of improving dire-ice to the first grade in ten years.

One precious item after another. Ning’s eyes were turning red from desire. “Senior, you should treat the Dire-Ice Mirror and the Earthfire Heartlamp as one treasure,” Ning said, raising his head to look at the giant yellow bear. “If you did, I’d pick it.”

“As one treasure?” The giant yellow bear stared at him. “Are you not aware that many different types of earthfire and dire-ice are only capable of being improved to the third or second grades? Although some have the potential to be improved to the first grade, that’s just potential! How hard would it be for one to truly improve it to the first grade? Upon doing so, once it is further upgraded to skyfire, its potential and its power will become even greater. Are you aware of all this? I refuse to believe that in the entirety of the Grand Xia Dynasty, you’ll be able to find a single place which is willing to sell Earthfire Heartlamps or Dire-Ice Mirrors to outsiders!”

Ning was speechless. Sell it to outsiders? In the Heavenly Treasures Mountain and the Carefree Caverns, he truly had never seen these items for sale before.

These rare artifacts were all formed naturally by the natural world, and were not magic treasures which would be created or forged. Thus, there was a very limited number of them in the world. Given that there were thousands of Heavenly Treasures Mountains, one in each commandery, how could they possibly sell Earthfire Heartlamps to outsiders?

“The only reason I brought out the Earthfire Heartlamp and Dire-Ice Mirror out for your first selection is because I saw that you, kid, have dire-ice and earthfire in your body.” The giant yellow bear looked at Ning. “I’m taking special care of you, which is why I expanded the range of choices a bit. To tell you the truth, there are three items that are the most suited for you in this selection.”

“The Earthfire Heartlamp and the Dire-Ice Mirror are two of them. There is a third, however, on the third to last page.” As soon as the giant yellow bear’s words came out, Ning immediately flipped to the third to the last page, looking at it carefully.

The Nethercold Sword Formation. The Nethercold Sword Formation was made up of nine top-grade Earth-ranked flying swords, each of which was made from an extremely precious material known as the nethercold lunar metal.

“All nine are top-grade Earth-ranked flying swords?” Ning was so shocked, his eyes bulged out. These so-called ‘top-grade’ items were not graded by the Heavenly Treasures Mountain; they were graded by Daoist Threelives!

These were on completely different levels; Daoist Threelieves was far more strict in grading these magic treasures. There were some items he had left behind, such as the Nine Yang Swords Formation which Ning had chosen previously, which he had ranked as nine high-grade items, but which the Heavenly Treasures Mountain would rank as nine top-grade items!

“How can all nine be top-grade Earth-ranked swords?” Ning stared in shock at the giant yellow bear.

“Originally, I planned on separating the nine of them and just putting in a record for a ‘Nethercold Sword, a top-grade Earth-ranked flying sword’.” The giant yellow bear shook his head. “But afterwards, I reconsidered; if I were to split them apart, I would probably go through dozens or even hundreds of masters without any of them choosing a Nethercold Sword. So, I decided I might as well list them here together, as a sword formation. Because these nine swords form a complete sword formation…logically speaking, I shouldn’t have shown it to you until your third selection. However, I don’t want for you to die early on in the outside world, kid. So, I decided to just forget it, and let you see it in advance.”

“Earthfire Heartlamp, Dire-Ice Mirror, Nethercold Sword Formation. These are the most suited for you.” The giant yellow bear looked at Ning. “Choose.”

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