Ji Ning led Su Youji forward, using his attunement to the painting to sense where they should go.
The bugbeast had already come to a halt, causing Ning to feel quite uneasy. Although most bugbeasts were fairly dumb, World-level bugbeasts were both powerful and rather clever. Since this one knew that Ning had a way to track it, for it to come to a halt could only mean that it had found a place it felt was very safe.
Ning and Su Youji flew past one mountain peak after another, shrouded by mist. Every so often they could thread their way past forests or deep gorges. They advanced with great caution and deliberation, and as a result spent nearly an hour before they reached their destination. The bugbeasts had come to a halt, after all; it didn’t matter too much if they were moving a bit slower than before.
“It should be up ahead.” Ning was standing atop a towering, jagged boulder as he mentally conversed with the fiery-robed Su Youji.
“Let’s take it slow,” Ning sent mentally.
He was the vanguard and Su Youji was the rearguard.
The two began to move even more slowly than before. Thanks to the mist which permeated this region, Ning was only able to see to a distance of a few hundred kilometers. As he slowly drew closer and closer to the destination, he could sense a terrifyingly powerful aura suddenly sweep towards them from afar. Both Ning and Su Youji blanched at the power of this aura.
“Where are we?” Suddenly, Ning saw something up ahead.
A few hundred kilometers up ahead, there was a single giant monolith that was roughly three hundred meters tall and surrounded by mist.
“The Grove of Monoliths?” Su Youji’s face tightened. “Master, this seems to be the Grove of Monoliths.”
“Let’s move a bit closer and check it out,” Ning replied. His heart clenched as they slowly moved closer and closer to the monolith. Soon, they were roughly ten kilometers away from the first monolith and were able to see a second monolith of similar size and shape that had been embedded into the ground.
This second monolith had a red-winged beast that lay coiled atop it which emanated an aura of tremendous savagery.
Ning frowned. They continued to advance, keeping a careful distance from the creature. One monolith after another entered their field of vision, each of which was roughly three hundred meters tall. The monoliths had all been planted deeply into the ground, and many of them had terrifying bugbeasts that lay coiled on top of them. Other monoliths were surrounded by magic treasures and weapons which had auras of tremendous power. Most of them were Dao-level weapons or treasures.
“Master…” Su Youji grew increasingly nervous. This was a terrifyingly dangerous part of the Fog Sea, the ‘Grove of Monoliths’.
“Withdraw.” Ning finally gave the other.
The two carefully, quietly, and rapidly retreated from this location, only coming to a halt after they entered a nearby copse of trees.
“It actually went into hiding within the Grove of Monoliths.” Ning frowned.
“This is all the fault of World God Foxblaze and Chaos Immortal Foxbold. They delayed us at a critical moment! Otherwise, we probably would’ve been able to catch up to that heavily injured bugbeast.” The Flamefairy couldn’t help but feel quite upset by this. She knew exactly how much her master needed that sword-ki painting, and it now seemed evident that the painting would be unobtainable.
Ning wasn’t in a very good mood right now.
He had felt rather exuberant after slaying World God Foxblaze and Chaos Immortal Foxbold, as this was the first time he had personally slain a World-level expert, and two of them at that! However, Ning now felt rather resentful at all this.
“They ruined everything!” Ning gritted his teeth.
“What should I do? What should my next plan of action be?” Ning began to ponder.
The Ten Thousand Mountains was the outer region of this world.
The Fog Sea was part of the inner region.
The Fog Sea had many dangerous areas within it, and the Grove of Monoliths was definitely ranked as one of the deadliest locations. Based on the experiences of the many cultivators who had adventured into it, this was a region that took up roughly ten thousand kilometers of space, and within this region there were many enormous monoliths that had been inserted into the ground.
For some unknown reason, bugbeasts were highly attracted to these monoliths. Thus, bugbeasts would often rest within the Grove of Monoliths, with dozens of them nesting in this region at any given time. All of these bugbeasts were World-level creatures. Bugbeasts were fairly unintelligent and did not understand the mysteries of the Dao. They had to rely on their physical strength and their innate gifts to fight, and so most of them only had the power of ordinary World Gods! A minority were comparable to elite World Gods and a tiny number of them were comparable to master-class World Gods.
Alas, they did have one advantage: they existed in overwhelmingly large numbers. The Grove of Monoliths often had around a hundred World-level bugbeasts within it at any given moment in time. There were simply too many of them! If any cultivator dared to trespass within the Grove, that cultivator would immediately suffer the attacks of every single bugbeast there! As more time passed, bugbeasts from other areas would also hurry to the Grove to reinforce their fellows, causing the situation to grow increasingly dangerous!
The Grove of Monoliths was definitely a place of incredible danger. Only supreme World Gods would be able to survive in that place, but if they were unlucky enough to encounter particularly powerful bugbeasts they might still perish!
“The Grove of Monoliths is too dangerous.” Su Youji looked at Ning. “Master, according the information we acquired regarding the Allgod Estate, only supreme World Gods have a chance of surviving a trip into the Grove of Monoliths. If we go in there, we’d probably be doomed.”
“Mm.” Ning nodded. “It’s true. We have no hope of surviving that place. I knew that damned bugbeast would pick a troublesome place to hide.” Ning continued to ponder on this matter but could find no solutions.
The place was simply too dangerous.
All bugbeasts had a fetish for collecting magic treasures. Although they couldn’t use them, they viewed those items as their spoils of combat. Thus, the hundred-plus bugbeasts in the Grove of Monoliths had a correspondingly enormous hoard of magic treasures of inestimable value.
Alas, no one dared to go and try to take the treasure from them. Even supreme World Gods only stood a fairly small chance of surviving that place. Who would dare to risk their lives in such a rash way?
“It seems I’ll have to wait for my own breakthrough to the World level. Perhaps then I’ll have a chance,” Ning mused. He was already comparable to a master-class World God; after he actually broke through to the World level, he would definitely become much more powerful than before.
As for exactly how much more powerful he could become, even Ning himself wasn’t sure. This was because the main reason he was so powerful was because of the azureflower region inside of him. It was currently of tremendous help to him, but would it continue to be effective after he reached the World level? There was no way for Ning to find out in advance.
“Let’s leave,” Ning said.
“Leave?” Su Youji looked at Ning.
“Yes. We have no choice but to give up for now!” Ning turned his head to give the distant Grove of Monoliths a final look. “The Grove of Monoliths isn’t a place which I can challenge. Not now, at least. Let’s go explore some other areas. Perhaps, after a period of time passes, that bugbeast will voluntarily depart from the Grove.”
Voluntarily leave the Grove? Even Ning himself knew that he was just daydreaming. The graymist creature had nearly lost its life. It probably would stay hidden within the Grove for a long period of time before leaving. It wouldn’t be surprising if it stayed there for at least a million years!
“Right, right. Maybe it’ll come out later,” Su Youji said supportively.
Time flowed on.
In the blink of an eye, more than five months had passed since the two had slain Foxblaze and Foxbold.
Within the core region of the Allgod Estate, the Castrum Divinitus itself.
The towering estate was an utterly dazzling sight to behold, emanating an aura of light that seemingly stretched off into infinity. Although the Allgod Estate took up nearly half of this entire chaosworld, the Castrum Divinitus itself was so high that it could be seen from the very ends of the world.
This was an utterly enormous castle that spanned trillions of kilometers! This was a place which spelled doom for even Samsara Daolords! A place none dared to enter rashly!
“We’re just one step away. Just one step.”
In front of the towering castle was an enormous plaza, and before the plaza were a flight of stairs. However, there were 108,000 steps to this flight of stairs.
Two squads of cultivators were advancing up the stairs. One squad had four World-level experts and was led by a small, skinny, blood-robed youth. This skinny youth had blood-red eyebrows, and his eyes seemed like a deep, bottomless sea of blood. Anyone who looked at him would be seized by uncontrollable fear.
The blood-robed youth walked at the head of his squad, and behind him were three World Gods with auras of tremendous power. These three World Gods all treated the youth with tremendous respect.
“Fukai! Ahahaha. You brought ten World-level servants in, but only two of them remain.” The blood-robed youth let out an ear-piercing laugh. “I think you should just surrender and commit suicide.”
“Surrender? To you?” The leader of the other squad was a golden-robed youth, and behind him were two World-level experts of tremendous power.
The golden-robed youth laughed coldly as he cast the other youth a sidelong glance. “Arroyo, you brought in ten as well but you only have three left. You aren’t that much better off.”
“I still have one more than you. One more servant means my chances are better,” the blood-robed youth snickered. His bloodsea eyes were overflowing with a desire to kill, and he didn’t disguise his intent at all as he glared at the golden-robed youth.
These two squads advanced simultaneously up the stairs, neither squad pausing to rest.
Soon, they finished the 108,000 steps and reached the very top of the stairs, arriving at the great plaza.
Both squads raised their heads to stare at the enormous castle before them, a castle so great that they could barely see the top of it clearly.