Chapter 5 – Ancient Rites

The old black bull looked at Ji Ning, head covered in sweat, and said in praise, “Formidable, formidable. Child Ji Ning, at such a young age, you are already able to utilize the fifth level of the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]. Compared to you, that Rampart is nothing worth mentioning at all! I didn’t expect that after the Immortal estate has waited for so many years, an unpolished jade like you would appear!”

Ning murmured to himself, ‘unpolished jade’? He himself had the experiences of his previous life, the [Nuwa Painting], and had been training hard since he was young. All these factors combined were what led to the old black bull praising him as being a piece of ‘unpolished jade’.

“Senior, right now, I find it difficult to utilize the fifth level.” Ning repeatedly shook his head. “I’m only able to use the fourth level freely.”

“Using it freely is more important.” The old black bull sighed. “Have you discovered that although the fourth level of this [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] only allows you to control three hundred or so flying swords, in terms of power, it is already greater than when you wildly controlled thousands of magic treasures!”

Ning revealed a hint of amazement. “Even more powerful than the combined attack of thousands of swords from earlier? Although I was able to feel that the sword light I created was done so in a free manner and that it held great power, I didn’t know exactly how much power it had.”

The old black bull said, “The fourth level of the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] will allow you to kill most peak Xiantian lifeforms as easily as you wish.”

Ning was delighted upon hearing this.

“Senior.” Ning hurriedly asked, “Dare I ask, how is my current power? How does it compare to a Zifu Disciple?”

“Right now, you have two primary types of battle tactics. The first relies on your Fiendgod body and your close-combat sword techniques.” The old black bull said. “Your swordplay already carries within it a hint of the True Meaning of the Dao. Most Xiantian lifeforms aren’t at such a high level of comprehension; most peak Xiantian lifeforms are at the ‘one with the world’ stage. Just based on this alone, you are at an advantage compared to most peak Xiantian lifeforms! But of course, I’m just talking about ‘ordinary’ Xiantian lifeforms. If your enemy is as much of a freak as you are, whose swordplay is not inferior to you, then it would be hard to say who would win.”

Ning nodded.

He understood. For example, his father, Ji Yichuan. His swordplay was most likely still inferior to that of his father; after all, Father had long ago reached the peak Xiantian level. Ning naturally wouldn’t be a match for his father.

“If you relied on your [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]…” The old black bull continued, “Given your powerful Fiendgod body, if you use hundreds of flying swords to form into a [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation], the power will indeed be very formidable. In terms of strength, it will be far beyond that of peak Xiantian lifeforms. It should have reached the power level of most early Zifu Disciples.”

“Just early Zifu?” Ning felt that his improvement should be larger than this.

The old black bull shook his head. “Don’t underestimate Zifu Disciples. Once Zifu Disciples internally establish their Zifu, the ‘Violet Palace’, their bodies will begin to generate elemental power! Even simple attacks such as punches and kicks will be far greater than that of the Xiantian level. These are two fundamentally different levels! In addition, more importantly, Zifu Disciples are capable of using ranked magic treasures.”

“Ranked magic treasures are extremely powerful. Zifu Disciples, when using them, are far more powerful than you Xiantians can imagine. The difference between a peak Xiantian and a Zifu Disciple is like that of an infant and an adult.” The old black bull sighed in praise.

Ning understood.

Right. From the Xiantian level to the Zifu level was a fundamental change. It allowed one to be able to use ranked magic treasures. It was much like how a Xiantian lifeform could kill a peak Houtian expert as easily as chopping vegetables. Zifu Disciples could kill Xiantian lifeforms just as easily.

“Remember.” The old black bull shook his head. “No matter what, do not underestimate Zifu Disciples. Every single Zifu Disciple has bizarre, strange abilities. Some are skilled at formations, others are skilled at venomous pests, still others at controlling souls or creating golems, or even sorcery…there’s no way to describe them in ‘general’. If you run into someone who is a bad matchup for you, you will definitely die.”

“The weak can overcome the strong.”

“If a bad matchup happens, an early Zifu expert can slay a late Zifu expert.” The old black bull sighed. “The path of Immortality includes everything in existence. There are too many techniques…a Zifu Disciple might be weak, but if he had raised millions of terrifying venomous insects, even a Wanxiang Adept might be devoured alive!”

Ning swallowed a cold breath of air.

“But it’s rare.” The old black bull said hurriedly. “It’s quite rare for someone of a lower rank to kill someone of a higher rank. For example, someone like you who has such an incredibly powerful soul as well as hundreds of flying swords, and the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]…many factors combined to give you this sort of combat potential. I’m just warning you not to underestimate any opponent. Even Xiantian lifeforms.”

Ning nodded gently. “Understood.”

Upon reaching the Zifu Disciple level in particular, no one was easy to deal with.

——————————–

In his heart, Ning was still quite joyful. On this trip to the underground estate, he had acquired a killing attack; the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]!

“Child Ji Ning.” The old black bull continued, “Before this, when I watched you attempt the trials, I discovered that the power of your swords is fairly average. Can it be that you aren’t aware of the ‘Fiendgod Bloodforging’ technique?

“Fiendgod Bloodforging technique?” Ning blinked. “What’s that?”

The old black bull couldn’t help but say, “In the Fiendgod Era, virtually all people with a bit of power or clans of a decent size would know about this. This is because every single Fiendgod knew it, and this was something which every single Fiendgod had to learn. I saw that you are clearly a Fiendgod Body Refiner, but you it seemed as though you didn’t know the Bloodforging technique. Naturally, that made me curious.”

“Senior, please instruct me.” Ning asked hurriedly.

Having an old person at home was like having a treasure.

This sort of old man who had lived since the Fiendgod era knew so many things.

“Fiendgods are not the same as we humans.” The old black bull said. “They don’t train in Ki, and are unable to use magic treasures. However, they need weapons as well. As their strength increased in power, however, how could they find a suitable weapon for them? Thus…the great powers amongst the Fiendgods developed the Fiendgod Bloodforging technique!”

“First, find a weapon, and then utilize the complicated Rites of Bloodforging! After the bloodforging is completed the weapon will be able to absorb various auras, such as a baleful aura, an evil aura, a killing aura, and other auras. The more enemies you kill, the more powerful the enemies you kill, the more the weapon will naturally strengthen. It can change in size and weight as you please.”

“This sort of weapon is often referred to as a ‘divine weapon’, a ‘demonic weapon’, or a ‘slaying weapon’.” The old black bull said. “As the strength of the master increases, and as the master kills more and more powerful opponents, the strength of the weapon will increase as well, to the point where in the Fiendgod era, some divine weapons and demonic weapons were even more powerful than Immortal-level magic treasures.”

Ning’s eyes were shining.

Right. The heavens were always fair. The Fiendgods were completely unable to use magic weapons, but thus they had some techniques to make weapons for themselves. So it was through absorbing baleful auras and other auras; causing their divine weapons to increase in power through slaughter.

“Senior, please teach me.” Ning said hurriedly.

“Since I’ve mentioned this to you, of course I will teach you.” The old black bull said. “The Rites of Bloodforging are very complicated. Listen carefully.”

The old black bull stood there, expounding on the process of the Rites of Bloodforging, while at the same time drawing down some diagrams on occasion. Ning just listened and memorized.

Why was it known as the Rites of Bloodforging?

The primary required ingredient was the blood of Fiendgods. For a human Fiendgod Body Refiner, only the blood of one who had naturally developed divine tattoos while reaching the Xiantian level would suffice, as only then would they have been reborn into the body of a Fiendgod. Only such a person would be able to use the Fiendgod Bloodforging technique. Some of the lower-class Fiendgod Body Refiners were unable to use this bloodforging technique.

“Huahuahua…” Ning took out a gourd. This gourd was originally used to store wine. It didn’t look large, but it was able to contain ten thousand kilograms of wine. Ning poured out all of the remaining wine in the gourd, not leaving a single drop behind, and then placed his finger into the gourd.

Blood dripped out from his finger, flowing into the gourd.

A long time later.

“A thousand kilograms of blood is enough.” The old black bull said to the side. “This bloodforging technique is only usable by Fiendgods. Normal Ki Refiners who lose this much blood will definitely die.”

Ning sat there in the lotus position. Immediately after having released the blood, the powerful life force in his body naturally began to regenerate his blood. The only thing which was used up was divine power. When the divine power in Ning’s body was reduced to just half, roughly a thousand kilograms of blood had entered the gourd.

“There are seven steps to the rites. You must be sincere.” The old black bull warned.

Ning respectfully knelt down and kowtowed three times, and then stood up before kneeling down and kowtowing three more times. He did this eight times, in all eight directions!

“Hua…” Ning suddenly overturned the gourd in his hand. From within the gourd flowed out a large amount of fresh blood. As soon as it flowed out, it was wrapped up by Ning’s divine will and quickly scattered in an area of roughly two hundred and fifty meters around him. The countless droplets of blood formed into a massive diagram, a diagram of a head with disheveled hair.

The diagram completed.

Boom! Instantly, a bloody aura that was visible to the naked eye began to shine.

“The descendant kneels in supplication to the Ancestor God.” Ning called out in a loud voice.

The first step of the bloodforging rites – Begging the Ancestor God!

————————

The complicated Rites of Bloodforging continued for nearly half a day. The bloody light in the area had already formed into a bizarre character. According to what the old black bull had said…this sort of character was known as Fiendgod characters! It was a type of writing which the heavens had naturally given birth to. Although he had never learned it before, the first time he had seen the characters, he understood it.

The meaning of this Fiendgod character was…‘KILL’!

“Huahuahua…” Three Darknorth swords appeared in mid-air. As soon as they appeared, they began to hover there. The weapons which Ning was planning to use the Rites of Bloodforging on were these Darknorth swords! Because, according to what the old black bull had said, although the Fiendgod Bloodforging technique didn’t have very high standards necessary towards weapons, the better the base material was, the better the results would be. Those unranked magic treasures were simply too inferior.

Based on the judgment of that old black bull, the Darknorth swords should have previously been Heaven-level magic treasures. Although the runes atop them had been destroyed, the only thing that matter for bloodforging was the physical material components. As for the runes, those were meaningless.

“Hua!” “Hua!” “Hua!”

The ‘Kill’ character formed by the nearby blood began to shoot shadows out from itself, entering the three swords. That enormous ‘Kill’ character hovering in mid-air began to dim, and then disappeared. The entire hall once more returned to its usual calm.

Ning let out a long breath.

“Senior.” Ning couldn’t help but say. “Just then, I sensed an awesome presence that seemed even higher than that of the ‘Dao’…” He had meditated on the Dao before, and had gained a hint of an insight into the aura of the Dao. However, just now, when undergoing the Rites of Bloodforging, that ancient, natural aura that had emanated forth made him feel as though he had touched a powerful, mighty existence which was even more ancient than the Dao.

The old black bull sighed. “I didn’t dare to say a word during the Rites of Bloodforging. I was completely stunned. Take a look and see how your weapon seems.”

With a wave of his hand, the three Darknorth swords landed in Ning’s grasp. Picking one up with his divine will, he sliced it against his arm. Chi! The skin on his arm, seemingly as tough as leather, began to emit sparks, then finally cracked apart into a wound.

“Much sharper.” Ning was shocked.

“Your Darknorth swords were made from good materials.” The old black bull said. “Right now, your close combat abilities have increased dramatically. Most peak Xiantian experts won’t be a match for you. In close combat, you are only one or two levels lower in power than when using the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]. However, you must understand that you are training in the number one Fiendgod Body Refining technique. Your close combat strength will increase at a monstrous rate. For example, when you train to the sixth stage, your close combat power should completely eclipise the power of the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]! Once you then learn a close-combat type ‘divine ability’, it will become effortless for you to do battle against those at a higher level.”

Ning’s eyes lit up. “Elder, do you know any divine abilities?”

“Divine abilities? Those are the secrets of the great powers amongst Fiendgods, which are not taught to outsiders.” The old black bull shook his head. “Immortal Juhua only knew a single divine ability; the ‘Heavenly Transformation’ technique. Unfortunately, I never asked him about it. Alright…given your potential, in the future, you will definitely have the chance to learn a ‘divine ability’. Once you do, it will be normal for you to fight those at a higher level. That is the power of a true Fiendgod!”

Ning nodded.

He understood. As an Fiendgod Body Refiner, he had a good foundation. In a few years, he would reach the sixth stage. His [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] would also strengthen alongside his soul, and he was very talented. The only problem was that the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] had very high requirements with regards to magic treasures. When he became a Zifu Disciple, he would have to get hundreds of ranked magic treasures…his head hurt just thinking about it.

“Enough. You can go back now.” The old black bull said.

“Thank you so much, Senior.” Ning naturally had packed away the scrolls of the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] and the [Inner Visualization of the Shining Sun-Moon Buddha]. Although he himself didn’t need the visualization technique for himself, he could still leave it for his parents or the Ji clan.

“You can go.” The old black bull said.

Hua!

Ning only felt an enormous illusory grizzly head appear, swallowing him within its maw. Spacetime around him once more distorted. He understood that he was about to return to Serpentwing Lake.

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