Ji Ning and Mu Northson continued to bind the storage treasures to see what items the four Wanxiang Adepts they had killed had left behind. Immortal cultivators would often carry their most important treasures with them! This was because it would be safest when they were holding onto them personally. And, of course, if they were to die, the treasures would become of no value to them. Thus, cultivators generally carried their treasures with them.
“We’ve bound them all.” Northson let out a long sigh. “All of them were quite ‘fat’,” Ning said with a laugh. “Killing a single cultivator really is far more rewarding than killing a Wanxiang monster.” Although Wanxiang monsters also relied on formations and alliances to occasionally killed cultivators, they would generally trade those magic treasures of the slain cultivators for liquefied elemental essence and some particular items they needed. Thus, when Ning’s group had killed those three Wanxiang monsters, they hadn’t acquired that much from them.
“Northriver Zhou, Xu Manquan, Nongsan, Jihe.” Northson sighed. “Most of them had formation-type treasures. Those nine Earth-ranked flying swords of Northriver Zhou…I imagine those are all Earth-ranked high-grade flying swords.”
“Right.” Ning nodded. “These were all fairly formidable figures amongst Wanxiang Adepts. Their magic treasures are extraordinary.” The Adept Xu Li who Ning had killed in the past had carried quite ordinary Earth-ranked magic treasures. He was merely a low-level figure amongst Wanxiang Adepts; by contrast, Northriver Zhou and the others were top-level figures.
“In total, 33 Earth-ranked magic treasures. No need to count the Mortal-ranked ones. These treasures are most likely worth around 1000 or 1500 kilograms of liquefied elemental essence.” Northson was quite excited. “They also have Dao-seals like these Lesser Teleportation Dao-seals, and some formations, spirit-pills…and liquefied elemental essence! These four Wanxiang Adepts have, in total, 900 kilograms of it! Senior apprentice-brother, you are still at the peak Zifu level; the liquefied elemental essence will be yours. With them, I imagine you will be able to smash through to the early Wanxiang stage at one blow. By then, your power will increase dramatically.”
Ning said, “No rush. Junior apprentice-brother, you need to increase your power as well.” But Northson shook his head, then said resignedly, “Even if you gave me all 900 kilograms, it’s hard to say whether or not I’d be able to break through to the late Wanxiang stage.”
Ning was startled, but after thinking over it, he nodded slightly. Indeed, it would be hard to say. When Immortal cultivators rose in power to a completely new stage, the amount of elemental ki they would have to absorb would also increase tenfold, or perhaps even tens of times. Although it might only take 500 kilograms to go from the early Zifu stage to the early Wanxiang stage, from the early Wanxiang stage, it might take tens of thousands of kilograms to reach the early Primal Daoist stage!
The early Primal Daoist stage, in turn, would probably need hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of kilograms in order to reach the early Earth Immortal stage!
Tens of thousands vs hundreds of thousands? How incredible was this? Even major schools or sects would at most be willing to squander a bit of liquefied elemental essence on powerful Zifu-stage disciples. Once they reached the Wanxiang Adept or Primal Daoist stages…one had to simply train slowly. Even some truly supreme, monstrous geniuses would at most be given a bit of help by their clans. It would be incredible for the clans to be willing to part with a few tens of thousands of kilograms. Hundreds of thousands of kilograms? Not even Immortals would be able to bring out that much!
“Senior apprentice-brother, hurry up and make your breakthrough,” Northson urged. “Once you break through to the early Wanxiang stage, the rate at which you are able to absorb elemental ki will explosively increase by tens of times. By then, a single year’s worth of training would probably be equivalent to using hundreds of kilograms of liquefied elemental essence.”
“Fine, then.” Ning nodded. “I’ll accept the liquefied elemental essence, but you take the magic treasures, junior apprentice-brother.” Northson said, delighted, “Fine, fine, fine. I won’t refuse.”
The two made a simple division; the various magic treasures would go to Northson, while the liquefied elemental essence went to Ning. As for the Dao-seals, spirit-pills, and other items, the two divided them equally.
Although it seemed as though Northson was at a bit of advantage in terms of value, these were the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains, after all; if he was to trade for liquefied elemental essence, he would first have to go back to the Crimson Dragon Mountains. Thus…comparatively speaking, Ning was a bit better off. Ning understood this, and he quietly memorized this event.
“Up ahead is the place where the Raindragon Guard is stationed.” Ning walked to the helm of the warship, staring through the sparse clouds to the distant lands below. “After we deliver these slaves to them, we’ll find a place where I can quietly absorb this liquefied elemental essence.”
“Alright.” Northson nodded.
The Raindragon Guard encampment within the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains. This was a towering mountain, and there were estates erected throughout it. Quite a few Raindragon Guards were present here.
The dragon-headed warship hovered there in midair, slowly drawing closer to the mountain peak.
“Hurry and depart.” A black-robed elder stood there in midair, appearing in front of the dragon-headed warship. He said furiously, “The two of you have come here to participate in the trial to join the Raindragon Guard. You are forbidden from entering. After you enter this encampment, you will have failed the test.”
Ning and Northson immediately saluted with respect. They could sense that this black-robed elder’s aura…seemed quite similar to the aura the Primal Daoists of the Black-White College possessed.
“Ji Ning [Mu Northson] greets you, senior,” the two said respectfully.
“No point in being respectful. Hurry up and depart.” The black-robed elder waved his arm.
Ning persisted in saying, “Senior, we haven’t come here to enter the encampment. We’ve come because earlier, when we two brothers went to deal with Wanxiang monsters atop a monster mountain, we discovered a group of pitiable humans who were being raised as livestock. Thus, we delivered them here in the hopes that the Raindragon Guard will take pity on and care of them.”
The black-robed elder was startled. A look of rage appeared on his face. “These monsters…they never learn the error of their ways.” He looked towards Ning and Northson with a slightly kinder look in his eyes now. “Bring these slaves out. Release them and let me look at them.”
“Yes,” Ning and Northson said respectfully. Instantly, they opened the doors to the warship, and the group of slaves that had been eating and drinking within the warm cabins stared outwards in terror.
The look on the black-robed elder’s face grew even uglier to behold, upon seeing those human slaves clad in leaves and in bark, who had terrified looks in their eyes. He let out a soft sigh. “There is no hope for most of these slaves. Some of the children, perhaps. These humans who were treated as meat by the monsters…their lives are incomparably terrible, generation after generation. Now that they have escaped their tribulations, the Raindragon Guard will naturally take care of them. Hand them over to me. The two of you shall continue within the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains. After three months time, you may return.”
“Yes.” Ning and Northson were both overjoyed. Previously, they were afraid that the Raindragon Guard wouldn’t take care of them, but now, it seemed, the Raindragon Guard was quite benevolent towards these human slaves who had been reared as livestock by the monsters.
A short time later. The black-robed Primal Daoist elder had led away all the human slaves. The child who Ning and Northson was the most familiar with, the one called ‘Ironboy’, had stared at the two of them the entire time, as though wanting to completely memorize their faces.
“I wonder what will happen to him in the future,” Northson said softly, a complicated look in his eyes. “Everyone has their own destiny,” Ning said. “Let’s go.”
“Alright.” Northson nodded.
The two disciples once more boarded the dragon-headed warship, quickly departing the encampment region and beginning to once more head deep into the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains.
Half a day later. It was already night.
Ning and Northson had chosen a desolate mountain with no monsters present. Ning’s divine sense had inspected the entire mountain, but hadn’t found any monsters at all. Thus, they entered a cave which was deep within the mountain.
Within the cave, there was a flowing underground river. The two set up a grand alarm formation, and Northson also arranged for some constructs to stand guard alongside himself.
“Senior apprentice-brother, focus on your training. Leave everything here to me. I won’t even let an ant crawl in,” Northson chortled. Ning laughed. “Sorry for the trouble, junior apprentice-brother.”
Then, no longer thinking about anything else, Ning immediately sat down into the lotus position atop a flat rock he had chopped apart with his Darknorth sword. A jade bottle appeared next to him. Within this jade bottle was the liquefied elemental essence of all four Wanxiang Adepts; a total of 900 kilograms of it.
“Whew!” Ning opened his mouth, and the liquefied elemental essence began to flow out, directly entering Ning’s mouth.
Within Ning’s Zifu Violet Palace region. The liquefied elemental essence began to frantically transform. His entire Zifu Sea was swiveling slightly, because at the very base of the Zifu Sea large amount of pure elemental ki was flowing out from the Watersource. The Zifu Sea…it continuously expanded in each direction, taking up more and more of the space in this region.
50 kilograms. 150 kilograms. 250 kilograms. 300 kilograms!
Ning continued to absorb more and more.
“Eh? Previously, in the Black-White College, I absorbed 405 kilograms. Afterwards, I spent three years in training. Those three years should be roughly equivalent to fifty or a hundred kilograms as well. In other words, my body should’ve had nearly 500 kilograms.” Ning pondered to himself. “And now, I’ve absorbed 300 more, but I still haven’t reached my limit.”
“Let’s wait and see. I want to see exactly how much my Zifu Lake can expand to.” Ning didn’t hesitate at all, continuing to ceaselessly absorb liquefied elemental essence. The Zifu Sea within his body was constantly expanding, taking up more of the space of the void. The entire Zifu Violet Palace region was growing sturdier and sturdier as well.
350 kilograms. 400 kilograms. 450 kilograms…
“Master’s previous guess was that I would roughly need to absorb around 800 to 850 kilograms or so, but I’ve already…wow, a thousand kilograms.” Ning’s former Zifu Sea had held roughly 500 kilograms worth of liquefied elemental essence, but now he had absorbed 500 more. And yet, Ning still didn’t feel as though he had reached his limit.
Slowly, the rate at which his Zifu Sea expanded began to slow down, as though it was beginning to reach its limits. The surrounding void had begun to generate a shocking resistive power, preventing the Zifu Sea from expanding much more.
The entire Violet Palace was beginning to tremble. The Zifu Lake was no longer able to expand by another inch. The entire Violet Palace region was now incomparably sturdy.
Ning understood that his Zifu Sea had finally reached its limits. Factoring in his previous accumulated energy and this time’s absorption…he had actually taken in the equivalent of 1250 kilograms of liquefied elemental essence!
“No matter what, my peak Zifu stage is definitely at a true peak now,” Ning mused silently to himself. “I can now break through to the early Wanxiang stage.” Actually, he could’ve broken through three years ago, but his base wasn’t stable and solid enough. Ning was a person of great ambition; naturally, he had insisted on waiting until today.
Ning began to mentally recite the words from the [Flowing Watersource] describing the process of breaking through to the Wanxiang Adept stage.
With but a thought…his entire Zifu Sea began to change…