“According to what the Purgatory God said, this island is named ‘Myriad Mountains Island’.” Ji Ning smiled, the Seven Dragon Gods and Empyrean God Roughpeak by his side.
“Myriad Mountains Island? Not bad, not bad.” Empyrean God Tyranodragon stared with his large bronze eyes towards the surrounding area. “These mountains are like spears that are jabbing towards the heavens. Interesting, interesting. Myriad Mountains Island…a fine name!”
Roughpeak had returned to his normal, relaxed, graceful demeanor. Looking at his surroundings, he said with delight, “I didn’t expect that I’d be able to see the third island so soon. I had thought that I would be satisfied with just seeing the second island. Haha…perhaps, junior apprentice-brother Darknorth, you’ll be able to make it all the way out in one try.”
“He just might.”
“Brother Darknorth, we believe in you.”
They all chortled with laughter.
Ning, however, didn’t dare to make any boasts. The nine of them walked forward together. Although the island was quite large, they were able to advance through it at tremendous speed, thanks to spatial compression techniques they used. After walking for just a short while, they had already travelled millions of kilometers. They could vaguely make out the sound of laughter and jesting in the distance.
This caused Ning and the rest of the nine to exchange curious looks.
“It seems as though there are quite a few people here.”
“Let’s go take a look.”
They immediately headed towards the direction of the voices, and as they drew nearer the voices became clearer.
“Excellent, excellent! Big brother Feiyou, your song was excellent. Let me sing as well!”
“Undermoon Lake, how truly carefree,
Drinking fine wine, how truly sublime,
No worries at all, no worries at all,
A nap I’ll take, and I’ll sleep till I wake!”
The coarse, rough voice boomed out like thunder, carrying a certain cadence and tempo to it. Upon hearing this, Ning couldn’t help but blink. This was ‘singing’? What a perfectly awful song!
Soon, Ning and the rest of the nine reached the region where the voices were coming from. They saw a bonfire blazing in the midst of a desolate, wild area, and skinned haunches of animal meat were currently being roasted above the bonfire. A large amount of glistening oil dripped down from the meat, falling into the flames and emitting crackling sounds. The fragrance of the meat had long ago wafted out to the nine.
Dozens of animals were being roasted in unison, and around the bonfire there were men and women who were either sitting or standing and singing. Most of them were dressed in furs, and they all looked quite relaxed and content. There were also some dressed in robes, but they looked similarly casual and relaxed. They were all either holding wine gourds or wine bottles in their arms as they gulped down wine and chomped away at their meat, laughing and shouting with abandon.
“Ahaha, you guys truly do have it sublime. You even have meat to eat!” Empyrean God Witherdragon laughed loudly and charged towards them.
“I knew that it had to be big brother Feiyou over there. All of you who followed big brother Feiyou have had meat to eat and wine to drink. I, on the other hand, have been starving!” Empyrean God Tyranodragon charged over as well.
All of the Seven Dragon Gods ran over, with Ning and Roughpeak following behind them.
“Why are there so many Empyrean Gods here?” Ning was secretly shocked. He saw nearly a hundred Empyrean Gods present!
“The Seven Dragon Gods? You’ve all finally arrived!”
“The seven of you insisted on waiting at Volcano Island for so long, saying that you were going to rely on yourselves to make it here. What, have you finally succeeded?”
“Ahahaha, brother Witherdragon! Come, eat!”
The lively Empyrean Gods joyfully welcomed the seven. The Seven Dragon Gods had been on Volcano Island for a very long period of time, nearly an entire chaos cycle. Thus, all of the Empyrean Gods present knew the seven of them! More than half recognized Empyrean God Roughpeak as well. As for Ji Ning…none here knew him!
“Let me make the introductions,” Witherdragon said in a loud voice. “This is my good friend, Darknorth! I’m quite ashamed to say this, but we relied on brother Darknorth to make it here from Volcano Island. As soon as he entered Undermoon Lake, he charged straight through all impediments to make it to this location, battling through all three guardians.”
“Come, brother Darknorth! Let me toast you!”
“You were able to battle your way to Myriad Mountains Island in one try? Admirable!” Instantly, the many Empyrean Gods all turned to look towards Ning. They all had a different look in their eyes, and each of them voluntarily offered Ning a toast.
Ning began to drink and chat with these Empyrean Gods. Slowly, he began to understand what was going on here. Aside from the nine of them who had just entered, there had been a total of ninety-eight Empyrean God present. However, the vast majority of them had followed other Empyrean Gods to this location. They had all given up their hopes of making it through Undermoon Lake on their own, which was why they had chosen to follow others.
Only nine of the ninety-eight had truly relied on their own power to make it to this place.
These nine were ‘Skyriver’, ‘Oddwitch’, ‘Cloudscar’, ‘Feiyou’, ‘Eastvoid’, ‘Seasonstep’, ‘Coppersong’, ‘Zhenbu’, and ‘Autumnwing’. These nine Empyrean Gods had all mastered the likes of taiji-force, infiniforce, thunderforce, sharpforce, and other forces to the fourth level. They were powerful enough to make it past the Purgatory God, which was why quite a few Empyrean Gods were willing to follow them.
“This is my old friend Feiyou.” Witherdragon led Ning over to meet with Feiyou.
“Brother Darknorth, you truly are formidable. You actually made it here on your very first try. This is incredibly rare! Even I had to spend tens of thousands of years on Volcano Island before I made a breakthrough that allowed me to reach this place,” Feiyou said with a laugh.
“Brother Darknorth,” Witherdragon said with a laugh, “This old friend of mine, Feiyou, can’t live without meat or wine. Thus, he always carries an estate-world treasure with him that he fills up with many wild beasts to feast upon. Wine can be distilled from the natural energy of Heaven and Earth, but meat can only come from rearing livestock. Thus, the Empyrean Gods around my old friend Feiyou will always have quite the comfortable life. Just look at them. All of them are drinking wine and eating meat. I can’t even describe how content they look! By contrast, I don’t even remember when was the last time the seven of us tasted meat on Volcano Island.”
Ning laughed as well. This Feiyou truly was a remarkable figure. The Empyrean Gods had all come to Undermoon Lake to adventure, and all of them were filled with heroic aspirations. Thus, even if they were to bring some wine and meat, they would only bring a little bit, as it would all eventually spoil and rot away. There was no way to keep meat from spoiling over the course of ten million years. Thus, after spending enough time in Undermoon Lake, the only way to find meat to eat was to do what Feiyou did; prepare an entire minor world full of livestock and wild beasts to eat. Only then would there be a steady source of meat.
“Brother Darknorth, don’t laugh at me, I beg,” Feiyou said with a laugh. “My willpower is weak, and I delight in wine and meat. I can endure being unable to make any progress in my cultivation, but I simply can’t be without wine and meat. Nothing to eat, nothing to drink…what’s the point of Immortality if that’s the case?!”
“Even in the Three Realms, I’ve heard of your famous name, big brother Feiyou. In fact…you have a nickname these days: ‘Relentless Until Dead’,” Ning said with a laugh.
“Relentless Until Dead?” Feiyou stared, then began to roar with laughter.
“Right, Relentless Until Dead.” The nearby Witherdragon nodded. “This kid did indeed say that he would only stop drinking wine and eating meat when he died. This is why he was nicknamed ‘Relentless Until Dead’.”
After drinking and eating for quite some time, the Empyrean Gods ended up splitting off into two groups. One group was formed from the ten who had made it here on their own power, Ji Ning included, and the second group was formed of all the rest.
Ning looked at the nine before him. Of the nine, seven belonged to the Nuwa Alliance, while the other two most likely were of the Seamless Gate.
Everyone who entered during the Primordial Era belonged to the Nuwa Alliance. It wasn’t until later on during the era of the Three Realms, when the Lord of All Fiends came back after Mother Nuwa departed, that the Seamless Gate’s Immortals and Fiends began to enter this place as well. Thus, there were naturally far fewer Seamless Gate members in Undermoon Lake.
“They all seem to be extremely good friends with each other.” Ning mused to himself, “If they knew of the storm going on outside…there would probably be no way for them to remain as friendly as they are now. They treat each other as brothers, holding nothing back at all.”
Because of how friendly the Nuwa Alliance members and Seamless Gate members on the third island were to each other, Ning, Roughpeak, and the Seven Dragon Gods decided to temporarily withhold information regarding the war outside. None of the others knew of the war, and here in Undermoon Lake, there was no need for them to be made aware of it right away.
“Brother Darknorth.” The winged Empyrean God Autumnwing said, “The nine of us sought you out because we need to tell you something.”
“Eh?” Ning was puzzled. He immediately began to listen carefully.
“The path to the next island is incredibly dangerous, and it is filled with terrors. Myriad Mountains Island, however, is much safer, and there’s no ‘millenial invasions’ like on the first two islands.” Autumnwing looked at Ning. “But Undermoon Lake won’t let us just live here forever in peace and relaxation. Undermoon Lake isn’t meant to serve as a place for rearing useless people, after all.”
“Normally, Myriad Mountains Island is completely safe; it’s rare for a single dangerous event to happen in even a hundred million years. But…whenever a new Empyrean God enters the island…” Autumnwing looked at Ning. “Then a terrifying calamity will descend upon Undermoon Lake.”
“A calamity?” Ning was puzzled.
The nearby Empyrean God Oddwitch narrowed his eyes. He said in a gravelly voice, “Right. A calamity! Whenever a new Empyrean God arrives, the calamity will soon come as well. A short period of time from now, an army of demons will descend upon Undermoon Lake. When that happens, the only choice will be for the ten of us to meet them in battle. As for the other Empyrean Gods, they aren’t qualified to take part because we brought them here. If they take part in battle, they will enrage Undermoon Lake…and they will all die.”
Ning nodded, then asked curiously, “An army of demons?”
“Prior this this, you encountered a yaksha and Snowfiend; they are all considered ‘demons’. What we will encounter, however, is an entire army composed of such demons.” Oddwitch continued, “An army will attack, and only the ten of us are permitted to defend. It will be a truly life-threatening battle, and in the past, there have generally been deaths amongst our ranks. In fact, on one occasion four Empyrean Gods ended up dying! There’s only been a single time where none of us died.”
“Thus…if things unfold as they normally do, one or two of the ten of us will die.” Feiyou looked towards Ning. “We’re telling you this now so that you will mentally prepare yourself.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
“In truth, the invading army is Undermoon Lake’s way of forcing us to remain vigilant and not be too lazy and relaxed here on Myriad Mountains Island. We must often go visit the wooden bridge and temper ourselves.” Empyrean God Cloudscar sighed. “Only by constantly tempering ourselves and constantly growing stronger will we have a chance to survive once new Empyrean Gods arrive and bring calamity with them.”
Cloudscar looked at Ning. “Brother Darknorth, because all ten of us have to work together to fight against our many foes, teamwork is absolutely critical. Before we can work together, we need to understand how strong you are and what you are skilled in. Only then can we come up with a good strategy.”
“Understood.” Ning nodded.
“The most powerful of us nine is big brother Feiyou. We’ll let him spar with you first. You don’t need to hold back at all. Only by understanding what areas you are strong in and what areas you are weak in will we be able to work together,” Cloudscar said.
“Hahaha…I’m not really the strongest. Cloudscar is the most agile, while Zhenbu is the most ferocious. I simply have the most stable frontal attacks.” Feiyou let out a laugh. “Brother Darknorth, are you ready? Once you are ready, I’m going to attack.”