In the forbidden area of the Luo Yun Province, the Dragon Pond.
The atmosphere was starting to go dim and dark. However, it was not because it was getting late but because of the dark mist evaporating from the pond, forming the murky clouds which blocked the light of the sun.
The trees and grass of the place withered. Only a strong, nauseating stench of blood permeated the air.
But when Ning Fan inhaled it into his lungs, he felt like he had just received a good rain after a long drought and his demon power increased by a bit.
With just a single breath, one would be able to increase a tiny strand of their demon power. If an ordinary Peak Nascent Soul Realm cultivator jumps into the Dragon Pond, it would not be hard to break through to the Divine Transformation Realm within a hundred years!
However, the prerequisite was that one had to be able to remain within the pond and persist for a hundred years.
It was frequent to find dead cultivators inside the pond because of the immense demon power which crushed their bodies. Therefore, the stench of blood pervaded the pond and lasted up until now.
Ning Fan wore an austere look.
So this inky and bottomless pond before my eyes is the Dragon Pond that will cause a sensation among the demons of the Luo Yun Tribe upon hearing its name!
The Dragon Pond! If one succeeds, they could attain Divine Transformation in one attempt, but if one fails, their bodies would be crushed, being buried under the pond forever!
Invariably, risks and rewards always go hand in hand!
“The depth of this Dragon Pond is unfathomable. However, the deeper you go, the stronger the demon power of the pond. Likewise, the time needed for you to absorb the demon power and advance into the Divine Transformation Realm will become shorter. Above the depth of nine thousand zhang*, the color of the pond is black. Below that level, the pond will turn into a pond of blood. There resides the bones of the cultivators that lost their lives throughout the years. It was said that there exists a yellow spring even deeper below the blood pond where a dragon corpse was buried. The presence of the dragon corpse connected the earth veins, creating great momentum. Therefore, it was called the Dragon Pond.”
“Regarding the details, this old man does not know much. With my current Mid Divine Transformation Realm and with the help of the power of bestowal, I can at most dive under twelve thousand zhang*. As for ordinary Peak Nascent Soul Realm cultivators, they can usually only reach a thousand zhang*. At this level, they will be able to achieve the breakthrough to the Divine Transformation Realm if nothing goes wrong. Among those Peak Nascent Soul Realm cultivators who died within this pond in the past, some were too confident of themselves and dived deeper into the pond while some were stealthily killed by the ‘dark beast’ hiding in the pond… Lu Bei, be sure to remember this! The affairs of the world are ever-changing, always act according to your capability!”
Ning Fan closed his eyes. Before he came, he had already done some research about the Dragon Pond.
He did not immediately enter the pond but stood beside there with his hands clasped behind his back without moving a single muscle for three full days. Not even a breeze would be able to affect him.
Three days later, when his aura arrived at his peak condition, he took a step forward, turning into a trace of purple light and dived into the pond!
I must achieve a breakthrough in the Dragon Pond!
Ning Fan had been waiting for far too long to finally make this leap.
The purple light stopped at a thousand zhang* below the pond and slowly congealed into Ning Fan’s shadow. The viscous and stinky liquid of the pond caused his brows to be knitted tightly together. However, in order to attain greater power, enduring temporary discomfort was still possible.
At his current location, his speed of refining his demon power was nearly three times faster as compared to the outer world.
For demon cultivators in the outer world, they would need to at least meditate in seclusion for two to three hundred years in order to accumulate enough demon power to progress towards the bottleneck of the Divine Transformation Realm.
In this place, however, a demon cultivator with tolerable natural potential would be able to touch the bottleneck within just tens of years!
If one goes deeper into the pond, the speed would be even faster.
Attaining the Divine Transformation Realm within ten years was definitely not an empty promise. In order to achieve that, Ning Fan just has to dive deep enough and arrive at a more suitable level.
But this place gave him a vague sense of threat. It was faintly discernible, as if someone was watching him in the dark. Perhaps it was the ‘dark beast’ mentioned by Lu Daochen.
Ning Fan spread his spirit sense. However, even with the strength of his sword sense, the coverage of his spirit sense was confined within one hundred zhang*. It was completely unable to go any further.
The sticky liquid of the pond seemed to be able to screen one’s senses. As a matter of fact, only Ning Fan was capable of sensing the vicinity of a hundred zhang* around him. Common Peak Nascent Soul Ream cultivators could only sense three zhang* around them. Even Lu Daochen was only able to sense as far as seventy zhang*.
Well, it was because they didn’t possess sword sense.
Ning Fan frowned again.
The demon power at this level might be concentrated, but it is still far from being unbearable to me.
He made a leap, turning into a purple light and plunged further downwards.
Two thousand zhang*. Three thousand zhang*…Nine thousand zhang*!
At the level of nine thousand zhang* below the pond, the pond seemed to be divided by a distinct boundary. There was the black pond above and the blood-red pond below. The liquid of the pond above that level was black whereas it became blood-red underneath him.
The speed of refining one’s demon power at that degree of depth was almost 6 times faster compared to the outside world. If one stays here, they could possibly achieve a breakthrough within 50 years!
The demon power that gushed into Ning Fan’s body caused him to feel a little uneasy. But that feeling of uneasiness instantly dissipated as soon as he activated the Jade Green Shield which was at the Second Level of the Jade Life Body Refining Realm.
“At this place, I can only achieve Divine Transformation Realm in forty years. But if I go even deeper, the time span will be shorter than this…”
The further he went downwards, the more he felt that he was being watched by the dark beasts. Apparently, there were thousands of pairs of shadowy eyes looking at him from top to bottom. Just the thought of that would make one’s hair stand on end.
Just as he was trying to cross the boundary and enter the blood-red pond, a dark shadow which was sharp like a blade pierced right at his dantian. Eerily, it passed through the defense of his Jade Green Shield with ease.
This black light is too fast! Moreover, it seemed to be able to disregard any form of defense other than demonic techniques.
“General’s Armor, appear!”
Ning Fan’s eyes narrowed coldly. A silver general armor covered his body. When the ray of black light collided against his silver mail, it trembled violently. A massive force was delivered onto Ning Fan’s abdomen but it did not manage to shatter his armor. On the contrary, the repulsive force of the collision knocked the black creature which emanated black light unconscious.
As the light from its body ceased to glow, a black miniature beast could be seen. It had a pair of wings on its back with razor-sharp fangs that were dripping with poison.
It probably is the dark beast that was spying on me just now.
A mere tiny beast like that was actually a Nascent Soul Realm beast. Because of its capabilities of breaking through one’s defenses and its abnormally fast speed, quite a lot of cultivators were caught off guard and had been killed by them.
Obviously, the beast which tried to sneak attack Ning Fan did not expect that he had a Profound Earth Grade general armor as protection. The ferocity within its eyes diminished and it turned to its back, intending to flee.
However, just before it could move half a step away, Ning Fan had already bent his hand and gave it a slap. His demon power quaked, nearly smashing the dark beast into pieces.
He then opened his palm wide and captured the dark beast into his grasp.
Looking at this beast, Ning Fan’s eyes turned grim.
These beasts are really annoying… The dark beasts at this level might only be at the Early Nascent Soul Realm, but if I go deeper, there could be Mid, Late and Peak Nascent Soul Realm dark beasts or even dark beasts that have attained the Divine Transformation Realm. If that’s the case, I suppose my armor won’t be able to withstand their attacks anymore. With the presence of the dark beasts, it’ll be extremely dangerous for me to go deeper than nine thousand zhang* on my own.
The people whom I can call out to guard me are only the female corpse and Stone Warrior. Unfortunately, the two of them don’t possess any demon power nor demonic techniques. I’m afraid they can’t withstand the attacks of the beasts. Moreover, under the sneak-attacks of the dark beasts, they might be injured and their lives might possibly be threatened.
“As such, I suppose this is the deepest I can go… Besides, I still have to be on guard every single moment…”
Ning Fan exerted strength in his palm, making the dark beast perish.
The whole body of this small beast carried poison, including its demon blood… I don’t think I can easily assimilate such venomous blood…
Just as he was hesitating, the small and exquisite Golden Flame Chariot inside his storage pouch quivered gently, as if it was extremely excited.
“Black Dragon Tomb! This qi… It can’t be wrong. This has to be the Black Dragon Tomb! Hey, you malefic being, this brother warns you. Quickly let me out. I can sense that this is the Black Dragon Tomb, a good place for me to greatly enhance my cultivation level. If you refuse to do so, I will go all-out to fight you!”
Ning Fan’s eyes flashed with surprise. The creature which was blabbering within the storage pouch was of course the chariot spirit of the Golden Flame Chariot, the Black Dragon.
Judging by his words, he seemed to know the Dragon Pond quite well as he even called it the Black Dragon Tomb.
Speaking of which, this black dragon is a fighter which possesses demon power. Good or bad, this creature is still a Mid Divine Transformation Realm demon. If I have this dragon around me, I think I won’t have to be afraid of the dark beasts…
Translated by Tommy, edited by Roel
a. li (里) = 500 m
b. zhang(丈) = 3.13 m
c. chi(尺) = 30.7 cm
d. cun(寸) = 3.33cm
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Some phrases or expressions of the original are changed for ease of reading.
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Some terms are subject to change when better suggestions are selected.
All the internal monologues will be in italic form.