Daofather Shadowless, in terms of power, was slightly superior to Swordfather Darklight, but that was primarily because of his divine abilities. In terms of raw technique and skill, Swordfather Darklight was actually superior.
His sword-arts were the strongest sword-arts the Seamless Gate had, and his assassination techniques were second to none. Alas…he had died under Houyi’s hatchet.
Ji Ning pondered over Swordfather Darklight’s sword-arts in close detail, replaying every single sword-stroke in his mind and learning much from them. Daomother Devilhand’s palm-arts…although there was no way for Ning to understand them, he had been able to see some of the underlying mysteries behind them. As quietly reflected on them now, he was able to discover more and more of their secrets.
By the time Ning opened his eyes, nine days had gone past.
The white-robed Ning left the jade shrine. With a wave of his finger, he materialized a longsword before him.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Sword-light flickered in a light, graceful manner. It was occasionally sharp and valiant, occasionally strange and mysterious, and occasionally brutal and dominating.
“I can clearly sense that I’m just a tiny step away…but why is it that I’m just not able to break through?” Ning shook his head, murmuring to himself. He had thought that the insights he had gained from this fight would allow him to reach the fifth stage of swordforce. Daomother Devilhand was an overlord-class expert, after all, and she had mastered four of the Heavenly Daos of the Seamless Chaosworld: Earth, Fire, Water, Wind. A chance to face her in a life-and-death battle was a rare opportunity indeed.
When Ning had been meditating, he could sense that his improvements had been quite remarkable. And yet, he was still unable to reach the fifth stage of swordforce.
“To advance from the fourth stage of swordforce to the fifth stage really is extraordinarily difficult.” Ning had a sudden thought, and he immediately waved his hand. Boom! Boom! Boom! One enormous goldstar bead after another came crashing down upon the flat plains, falling down around the scattered stone steles. After all 3600 goldstar beads landed, the Nine Chaos Seals began to manifest atop them.
Ning stood there, carefully staring at the giant goldstar beads and the stone steles covered in sword-arts.
The stone steles had been left behind by World God Northrest for his successors. As for the Nine Chaos Seals of the goldstar beads, they were even more arcane.
He spent half a day staring at them. Then, Ning shook his head. “Come back.” He waved his hand, instantly causing the jade shrine, the ninety-eight stone steles, and 3600 goldstar beads to all be collected.
“In the end, life-and-death battles are what truly matter.”
Swoosh. The white-robed Ning instantly transformed into a lightning serpent, speeding off into the distance at high speed.
A short while later…
“Eh?” A skinny, short man with horns on his forehead was seated in the lotus position in the desert. He raised his golden eyes, staring intently at Ning. He laughed coldly, “Overseer, why have you come again? Last time, you used a pile of Protocosmic spirit-treasures to threaten me. What are you planning to do this time? Try everything you have. You want me to submit to you, a trifling True Immortal? You are absolutely dreaming! You-…eh? This time, you’ve completely suppressed and withdrawn your aura to the point where even I cannot sense it. Did the other True Gods and True Immortals berate you so much that you ended up deciding to hide that puny little aura of yours?”
The white-robed Ning stared at the skinny, short man.
For the sake of conducting more soulscours and acquiring more Protocosmic spirit-treasures, Ning had taken all of his spoils of war and used them to threaten all of the True Gods and True Immortals of the prisonworld, one at a time. All of those True Gods and True Immortals understood that if they continued to fight against Ning, they would eventually die. When they saw how many Protocosmic spirit-treasures Ning had, they knew that it was true that some True Gods and True Immortals had eventually lowered their heads.
However, only about twenty True Gods and True Immortals in the entire prisonworld had been willing to surrender without even fighting back. The others would not lower their heads so easily! Only when they truly sensed death impending would they be willing to bow their heads towards Jindan, a puny True Immortal with a third-tier Jindan.
“Puny?” Ning’s aura suddenly soared to the heavens, so powerful as to cause the smirking man’s face to instantly change.
“Y-you…” The skinny man stared at Ning in shock.
Ning’s current aura was no weaker than his.
“Have a fight with me.” Ning wielded a Darknorth sword in each hand, and with a swish he transformed into a streak of light that flew towards the skinny man.
“He actually dares to fight me in close combat?” The skinny man licked his lips. “Although he’s grown much more powerful, that’s only in terms of the Immortal energy in his body. His divine body shouldn’t be as strong as mine yet. Since he dares to fight me in close combat…fine. To be able to kill an Overseer before dying will be worth it.”
The skinny man’s heart was filled with a desire to do battle. A pair of enormous axes appeared in his hands, and his body rapidly began to increase in size as well. He had been incredibly skinny, all skin and bones, but now his muscles rapidly began to grow out. His emaciated body instantly became tall and strong, and his golden eyes became filled with a dominating, savage aura.
Twin axes in his hands, he let out a wild laugh. “Since you seek death, let me send you on your way!”
The two instantly collided.
Clang! The True God actually stumbled two steps back. Clutching at his axes, he stared in absolute shock at Ning, who had been knocked flying backwards as well. He said disbelievingly, “You’ve surpassed the limits of the Heavenly Daos? Y-your sword arts…where did you learn them from?”
Every single technique that surpassed the Heavenly Daos in some way was incomparably priceless. Even he hadn’t had the chance to learn one of them.
Just now, he had very nearly been chopped in half by Ning’s sword-strike. Fortunately, his reaction speed was fast and his axe was large, allowing him to use it almost like a shield. This was the reason why he had been able to block that strange, bizarre sword-art.
“That’s not something for the likes of you to find out about.” Ning narrowed his eyes, staring at his foe. How formidable! Although his foe’s axe-arts were ordinary, he was still a True God. Ning was just a half-step True God! In power, speed, and every other aspect, he was on a slightly lower level. The only reason why he could even pose a threat was because he had the number one sword-arts of the Three Realms.
However…that’s what made it fun!
Only when he was under enough pressure in a true life-and-death battle would he be able to truly temper his sword-arts. Although battling against the prisoners of the prisonworld did carry some degree of risk, the [Ninehorn Lightning Serpent] technique ensured that he’d have a very good chance of successfully escaping any dangerous situation.
By comparison, in similar a battle in the outside world, he would be in much more danger than he was here.
“Be careful. Don’t end up letting yourself be killed by me,” Ning said.
“Hmph. You? Even though you have a sword-art that surpasses the Heavenly Daos, you aren’t a match for me.” This True God prisoner was quite proud and arrogant. His foe was clearly not a True God. How could he possibly lose?
The two clashed against each other repeatedly in close combat.
This sort of close combat was far more dangerous than a fight in which both sides used magic treasures to attack from afar. In addition, after having being put at a disadvantage in their first clash, the True God prisoner had become much more wary of Ning’s sword-arts.
Ning’s sword showed absolutely no mercy at all.
The True God prisoner wanted to seize this opportunity to annihilate Ji Ning, the current Overseer. Perhaps in Ning’s relics, he would be able to find the technique which had allowed Ning to surpass the limits of the Heavenly Daos.
This sort of battle…it was exactly what Ning needed right now.
Clang! Swish! Slash! Ning’s sword-light and the True God’s axe clashed again and again against each other.
Their battle grew longer and longer. One hour. Two hours. What truly astonished the True God prisoners was…he could vaguely sense that this Overseer’s sword-arts were actually slowly rising in power. What he didn’t realize was that ever since Ning had left Undermoon Lake, he had had very few chances to engage in true life-and-death battles; the only real fight he had thus far was against Daomother Devilhand and the others.
As for his capture of the Envoy, that was an act of utter domination.
This fight against the True God prisoner was the first time Ning had truly been able to go all-out in a sustained battle. The insights he had gained over the course of six hundred years in Undermoon Lake, combined with the new ideas he had gained while battling Daomother Devilheart, were all being brought to the surface. In fact, as they continued to fight, he began to suddenly gain insight into some of the intricacies of the sword-arts left behind by World God Northrest that he previously didn’t understand.
Swish! Sword-light flashed.
The True God prisoner’s body was split in half.
Ning put away his sword, standing quietly to one side and watching as the prisoner’s divine body merged together and healed.
The True God stared at Ning, a complicated look on his face. From the way in which Ning had continuously increased the power of his sword-arts, he could sense that Ning was far more talented and gifted than he was. In truth, every single person who was successfully in mastering a technique that surpassed the Heavenly Daos in some way was an absolutely peerless genius.
The True God prisoner said in a low voice, “I lost.”
Ning felt a surge of joy in his heart.
Some of the mysteries of the sword couldn’t be understood simply through meditation. Only true life-and-death battles would allow one to truly understand how those mysteries were to be used and applied.
“A pity that this True God’s axe-arts aren’t strong enough. It would’ve been better if he was stronger,” Ning mused to himself. “A single life-and-death battle like this is worth more than a year’s worth of meditation. Mm. Time to go seek out the next True God.”
Of course, prior to finding the next True God, he would have to take away this prisoner’s treasures. His Violetjewel sword was in desperate need of Five Elements essence.
In the past, he had to use some Protocosmic spirit-treasures to slowly grind away at the energy reserves of a True God or True Immortal in order to beat them. He would then tell them, ‘So-and-so has already submitted to me. All those who resist me will die.’ He would use words to threaten them and bully them. Although he was occasionally successful, those successes made up just a tiny portion of the total number of True Gods and True Immortals in the prisonworld. The more powerful one was, the less likely they would be willing to lower their heads.
To rely on slowly exhausting his foes required him to spend decades for each True God and True Immortal.
But now, he could fight them head-on! Things would be much faster than before.
“Are you willing to submit?” Ning looked at the True God prisoner.
The True God prisoner returned to his emaciated, skinny form. Lowering his head, he gritted out the words, “I am willing.”