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The Desolate Era is a web novel produced by I Eat Tomatoes, Wo Chi Xi Hong Shi, 我吃西红柿. This webnovel is currently ongoing.
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Book 31, Starflow River, Chapter 4 – Heartworld Projection, Descend!
This was the most frightening aspect of supreme Heartforce Cultivators! Their attacks were silent, fast, and incredibly deadly. Worse, not even Universe treasures were useful in defending against heartforce attacks. You could only rely on your Dao-heart, your soul, and your mental fort.i.tude! There was no way to counterfeit any of these things. Even if you were incredibly strong in combat, if you had mental flaws then you would still die at the hands of a Heartforce Cultivator.
Long ago Ji Ning, Prince Greatjoy, Heartlord Solewind, and Waterlord Firesurge had journeyed to the Genesis Lands of the alternate universe. Together, they had tested themselves against the primessence chains that led to the heart of that universe. Although all four of them were very similar in power, Firesurge was noticeably much weaker than the others mentally.
This was why Heartforce Cultivators had very special statuses. Even when they were slightly weaker than others, they would still be afforded with the utmost of respect by even the most powerful of Daolords!
“Die, outsider!” Yet another azure scaled beast emerged. A second later, many thousands of illusions appeared around it. This was their standard, innate attack. But Ning just glanced at all of them, then swept out with his heartforce like a sword. Whoos.h.!.+ They all dissipated like smoke as a single corpse fell down.
The first twelve days in Dreamdust Way were extremely relaxed. Sometimes they encountered ten of those Dreamdust lifeforms at the same time, but in each case Ning was able to wipe them out with a single glance. None of them were able to resist Ning’s [Heartforce Eradicator] at all.
On the thirteenth day, they finally encountered a Dreamdust lifeform that was capable of withstanding the [Heartforce Eradicator] and not peris.h.i.+ng. This beast was noticeably larger than the previous ones that they had fought. Although it was able to survive the heartforce attack, it clearly was rather dazed by it, giving Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord a chance to charge forwards and slay it in close combat.
On the sixteenth day, they encountered an extremely tough-to-deal-with beast that was able to ignore the [Heartforce Eradicator]! It was also on the same general level of power as Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord in close combat. In the end the two had to join forces, with Ning finis.h.i.+ng it off with a blow from his Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop.
The two continued to advance on their black vessel, but after the seventeenth day they begin to grow puzzled. “Odd. Why haven’t we seen a single Dreamdust lifeform?” Life had suddenly become quite tranquil, and they didn’t run into any of the beasts at all.
“This is odd. Extremely odd. According to Patriarch Vulturas’ notes, Dreamdust Way should only grow in danger as we move deeper into it, with the Dreamdust lifeforms increasing in number and power.” The Ninedust Sectlord frowned. “It should take us roughly a month to traverse the entire Dreamdust Way. We should be at the very center of it right now. Why don’t we see so much as a single one?”
The eighteenth day. The nineteenth day. The twentieth day…
Everything was very calm. No Dreamdust lifeforms appeared. Twenty-six days had gone by in the blink of an eye, and they were close to exiting Dreamdust way.
Whoooosh. The black vessel continued to advance at a hundred time’s the speed of light. Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord stood alongside each other at the prow, staring off into the distance. Neither relaxed in the slightest. It had been ten days since they had encountered any Dreamdust lifeforms. Something was very wrong.
“Not good.” Ning’s face suddenly tightened.
“Stop!” the Ninedust Sectlord immediately called out.
The black vessel came to an immediate halt in the darkness of the void. The two of them stared off into the distance, where an entire host of azure scaled beasts had gathered. These creatures all had stooped figures, scaled wings, and protruding golden eyes. In front of them was the largest Dreamdust beast the two had seen thus far, a creature that was at least thirty meters tall. The beast at the very back was the smallest, merely fifteen meters tall.
“This looks like trouble.” The Ninedust Sectlord murmured, “Darknorth, the scaled beasts we saw previously were eighteen meters tall at best. This group is led by one that is thirty meters tall, and there are five beasts that are twenty-seven meters tall and twelve that are twenty-four meters tall. Even the weakest one is fifteen meters tall. In total, there are twenty-one of them.”
“Fifteen meters is the cutoff for surviving my [Heartforce Eradicator],” Ning sent mentally. “Clearly, the Dreamdust beasts have come prepared.”
The two sides stared at each other from afar. Off in the distance, more than a hundred more scaled beasts also stared at Ning’s group, their protruding golden eyes seemingly to hold boundless worlds within them.
“Wonderful… absolutely beautiful…” The Ninedust Sectlord suddenly had a sappy, stupid grin on his face.
“Eh?” Ning’s face tightened. He immediately sent out a surge of heartforce smas.h.i.+ng outwards like a ripple-wave that blocked all outside sources of power, allowing the Ninedust Sectlord to immediately regain his clarity of mind.
“I-I was actually trapped by an illusion.” The Ninedust Sectlord immediately came back to his senses, a cold thrill of fear going down his shrine. He stared at the distant beast leader. “I was caught in an illusion without even realizing it. No wonder the Patriarch said Dreamdust Way was dangerous and that I might die here. He told me to be prepared at all times.”
“Prepared?” Ning glanced at him.
“Yes. My original plan was to engage in a continuous mental conversation with my retainers; whenever I stopped talking, that would be a sign that I had been trapped inside an illusion and my retainer would immediately use a Dao-seal to wake me up!” The Ninedust Sectlord continued, “But since I knew that you were a Heartforce Cultivator, I didn’t go through the trouble.”
Ning couldn’t help but nod upon hearing this. This wasn’t a bad idea at all.
“Cultivators…” An ancient voice rang out from afar. “I’m impressed that you were able to resist my illusions. No wonder you were able to slay so many of my compatriots with ease… but the end result of trespa.s.sing onto Dreamdust Way will still be death.”
The largest beast’s aura washed out like a tidal wave as it pointed at the two of them. “Kill.”
“Kill!” All of the Dreamdust lifeforms let out enraged howls as tens of thousands of illusions appeared around them. All of a sudden, there over a million of the howling figures, and all of them charged straight towards the two.
“Use your secret art,” Ning sent mentally to the Ninedust Sectlord.
“Agreed.” The Ninedust Sectlord nodded.
BOO!M Nine energy dragons immediately flooded out of Ning’s body. These were his nine novessence arts.
WHOOs.h.!.+ Curtains of rippling water appeared around the Ninedust Sectlord that quickly surged off into the distance.
It took time for secret arts to attack. Generally speaking, even the most supreme of secret arts would still only be able to fly at a hundred times the speed of light. This was a major bottleneck for cultivators and attacks alike. There were many Eternal Emperors who were unable to breach this limit.
The nine awesome secret arts and the waves of water swirled around each other, forming a perfect whole as they smashed towards the million-plus figures charging towards them.
Instantly, the many figures caught within the secret arts began to move much slower than before. However, all of them appeared completely unharmed. This was what made them so terrifying; there was no way to tell which one was real and which one was false.
Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord’s decision to join forces with their secret arts caused the fifteen meter beast and the eighteen meter beast to be completely locked in place, unable to move at all. The body of the fifteen meter beast actually began to shudder and slowly crumble apart. These two secret arts were simply too powerful. As for the other Dreamdust beasts, their speed dropped sharply as well.
“Die!” Ning focused his gaze upon them. Suddenly, an absolutely enormous world appeared in the void above the bluestone path. This world held tall mountains, deep canyons, and flowing rivers within it. At the very center of this world, there was an absolutely t.i.tanic mountain that was shaped like a giant sword. This enormous world was Ning’s heartworld!
Ning’s heartworld projection descended upon the bluestone road.
Heartworld projections were different from secret arts. Secret arts needed time to fly out and strike foes, but heartworld projections required no time at all. They were illusory projections and thus could descend instantly. Ning’s heartworld was absolutely enormous, on the same level as that of Daolord Soleman’s. His heartworld projection was thus just as powerful as his nine novessence arts.
When the nine novessence arts and the water curtain joined together, it had be done in a careful way to prevent them from interfering with each other. The illusory heartworld projection, however, was able to overlap over them perfectly!
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The fifteen meter beast was already at the verge of breaking apart, while the eighteen meter beasts had been completely frozen. Both were instantly annihilated when the heartworld projection came cras.h.i.+ng down. The twenty-one meter beasts were now completely locked in place, while even the twenty-four meter beasts were dramatically slowed down.
“Let’s flee.” Ning immediately sent the black vessel fleeing at high speeds. There were simply too many of the remaining Dreamdust lifeforms, after all, and there was no way to tell which ones were real. There really was no way for them to kill the creatures.
“d.a.m.n. They are forcing me to use some of my own primal essence.” The beast leader had been at the front of its pack. Its tens of thousands of clones all vanished, leaving only it behind. It raised his head, letting out a bellow as a third eye suddenly appeared in its forehead. This was a completely azure light that glowed with blue light, and it stared directly at Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord.
Both of the cultivators immediately sensed that they were in mortal danger.
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