Chapter 36 – Sparring With the Sword Again

Ji Ning and the other generals each accepted a set of formations, then left. Because Ning didn’t have his own estate on the planet of Fogstone, the Starlord of Fogstone arranged special accommodations for him.

The estate Ning was given was roughly a hundred kilometers in size. It was once filled with gardens and pools, but all of those things had been flattened as a military drill grounds had been established here.

“General.” A throng of Elder Gods were standing on the drill ground, watching Ning.

“Nine captains!” Ning called out.

“Present!” Instantly, nine goldenscale Elder Gods responded to Ning’s call.

“Each of you shall command a total of 110 Elder Gods. Spend some time getting familiarized with this formation and getting better control over it.” Ning waved his hand, causing nine dark-golden discs to fly out towards those nine captains. The entire Fogstone Army had undergone a significant revamping, with some of the personal servants of the World-level experts having been sent to join as well to make sure that each team had enough men!

The nine captains accepted the dark-golden discs, quickly binding them and attuning themselves to the mysteries within them.

“As for the rest of you…” Ning looked at the other Elder Gods, then waved his hand again, causing a large number of slightly smaller formation-discs to appear in the air. The divine runes covering these formation-discs were slightly less complicated as well. “You need to work hard as well. Cooperate with your captains. Your formation-discs will be a bit simpler; I trust that in four or five days, you should have mastered them.”

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. The nine hundred-plus discs all flew towards the Elder Gods, with each Elder God receiving one.

“As for me?” Ning explained, “I’ll be at the core of the formation, leading the nine captains.”

“I imagine you have already have an inkling as to what this is. Correct…this is a ‘Minor Thousand Elder Gods Formation’!” Ning could see the curious looks on the faces of the Elder Gods. Most of them were probably secretly exchanging mental whispers, and so Ning just went straight to the point.

All of the Elder Gods present fell silent upon hearing this.

A Minor Thousand Elder Gods Formation?

A formation which would allow a thousand Elder Gods to perfectly join their strength together and unleash it? Supposedly, even weak World Gods who were trapped within such a formation would be slain by it. They were actually going to have a chance to use such a legendarily powerful formation?

Hundred Elder Gods Formation. Minor Thousand Elder Gods Formation. Major Thousand Elder Gods Formation.

These formations weren’t developed by any single power or any single Daolord. They had been developed and refined by many generations of major powers over the course of countless years. By now, they had reached the point of utmost perfection! It could be said that there was no way to improve these formations any further at all. They had become perfectly standardized and refined, and so all ‘Minor Thousand Elder Gods Formations’ were identical to each other, capable of allowing a thousand Elder Gods to unleash the full might of their combined power.

“From this day forth.” Ning swept the Elder Gods with his gaze. “You will have just one assignment. You are to master this formation as quickly as possible! You can practice with your captains and comrades in small groups. Every three days, all of us will come together for a joint practice session.”

“Alright. Go and meditate on the formation,” Ning commanded.

“Yes, General.” The Elder God soldiers all responded in unison.

Ning’s own formation-disc was the most complicated disc of all. He would be at the center of the formation and responsible for harmonizing it, and so Ning actually entered the Heavengazer Tower to meditate on it in detail. After spending six days inside the Heavengazer Tower, Ning completely mastered the formation.

Three days passed in the outside world.

The planet of Fogstone. The drill grounds at the front of Ning’s estate.

“Assemble the formation!” Ning issued the order.

Rumble…

Instantly, the thousand formation-discs joined together, causing countless streams of light to spring up and form a web that covered every single Elder God. The entire region seemed to be completely encompassed by this net of light.

“What a strange feeling.” Ning stood there, head raised towards the skies. “I feel as though I’ve become one with the heavens and the earth of this area.”

Once the formation was established, the users would become one with this dimension, forming a world unto themselves. This was the reason why they were able to fight evenly against even World-level experts.

“Eh?” Ning glanced sideways towards a fairly muscular Elder God captain. The formation in his region was trembling slightly.

“I’m still not that accustomed to this formation.” The captain sent a rather ashamed mental message.

Ning sent back, “Get accustomed, fast.”

“Yes.” The muscular captain himself realized that the eight other captains were in complete control of their parts; he was the only one who was falling behind. As for the ordinary Elder God soldiers, quite a few of them were rather unstable as well. However, because those soldiers served ancillary roles, their instability wouldn’t make much of a difference. They were like the twigs, while the nine captains were like the branches! As for Ning, he was the trunk of the tree!

If anything happened to Ning, the entire formation would collapse.

“A world unto ourselves…once we strike, we’ll strike with not just the power of all the Elder Gods, but also with the power of the world itself.” Ning nodded to himself. An enemy attack on any single Elder God would be dispersed across the entire formation, as well as the world which the formation had created. Most likely, 99% of the power would be dispersed into the world.

Only a tiny amount of power would actually land upon the thousand Elder Gods!

Thus, most World-level experts would be unable to do anything to a thousand Elder Gods who had joined together in such a formation. Weaker ones would actually be killed.

“Alright. Most of our Elder Gods have already mastered the technique. Go back and spend some more time on it. I hope that three days from now, our formation will be even more perfect,” Ning said.

“Yes, General.” The Elder God soldiers were all rather excited.

This was their first time being part of such a tremendously mighty force. Even though they were merely the twigs of this mighty formation, they were still supposed by the world which this formation created, allowing each of them to reach the World God threshold of power. As for the nine captains, they would be even more powerful. As the center of the formation, Ning was the most powerful of them all! He was now far more powerful than when he was by himself and using the azureflower mist energy.

Whoooooosh. The Elder God soldiers quickly departed and the drill grounds fell silent.

“Eh?” Just as Ning turned to leave, he suddenly saw a figure appear.

A black-robed man with tousled hair had appeared on the drill grounds. He had a smile on his face as he strolled towards Ning in a leisurely fashion.

Ning was surprised. World God Blackmist? Why had he come to this place?

“Greetings, senior.” Ning immediately called out respectfully to him.

“I could sense you assembling the formation so I took a look. Your forces have been pretty fast. The formation is more or less ready, and your control over it is excellent.” World God Blackmist chuckled. “The core formation-disc is the most complicated disc. To be able to master it within three days is impressive.”

Ning hurriedly said, “I actually spent a total of six days. I relied on the assistance of a temporal treasure to speed time up for myself.”

“Oh…”

World God Blackmist couldn’t help but let out a surprised laugh. This Darknorth really was quite an honest fellow.

“The Starlord gave you a month, primarily because the core-disc is extremely hard to master. Six days is still impressive.” World God Blackmist continued, “Last time, when you sparred against me, I could see that that your sword-arts were on the verge of making a great breakthrough. Have you succeeded?”

“I did indeed make a breakthrough,” Ning said.

“Oh?” World God Blackmist’s eyes lit up. He couldn’t help it; of the Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals on Fogstone, the only one who was truly an expert in the Dao of the Sword was Ji Ning.

“Come on, then. Let’s spar a bit!” World God Blackmist said.

“Yes.” Ning was growing excited as well.

Whoosh. Ning produced a longsword that seemed to flow with the waters of autumn. It was the flexible Dao sword he had acquired. Since they were merely sparring and testing out each other’s sword-arts, there was no need to take out an Eternal weapon.

“Be careful.” World God Blackmist waved his hand, causing an ordinary-looking longsword to appear. He naturally wouldn’t use his most powerful weapon in a sparring match against a junior.

A smile on his face, World God Blackmist struck out with the sword in his hand.

When the sword-light flashed, it instantly seemed to fill the heavens and the earth with its light. The surrounding area seemed to have been transformed into an endless haze of black mist…and suddenly, a bizarre but dominating streak of sword-light stabbed out from within the mist.

Ning remained quite calm. He knew that this was the ‘Sword World’ of World God Blackmist.

“Break!” Ning struck out with an exceedingly savage stab as well.

When his sword shot out, it was like a stream of light.

This was the fastest and most penetrative stance of the [Brightmoon] sword-art, the ‘Blood Drop stance’. By now, this stance had been completely infused with the essence of the ‘Killsword stance’ of the [Nameless] sword-art. The [Nameless] sword-art actually represented a certain realm of comprehension regarding the sword. After absorbing the essence of its techniques, Ning had completely incorporated them into [Brightmoon].

When the Killsword stance struck, it held nothing back at all! Once the sword struck out, it carried an aura of grim resolve with it.

Boom!

Ning’s sword-light clashed against Blackmist’s strange sword-light, smashing it apart.

“Eh? This sword-art is quite clever. Last time, your sword-arts focused around complete control and perfect flawlessness. This time, it’s the opposite…you ignore all else in favor of an attack that holds nothing back at all, filling it with savage resolve. In savagery alone, you are quite close to the average ‘Sword World’ level.” World God Blackmist’s voice rang out. “Fortunately, I’m not new to the Sword World level.”

The power of Ning’s sword-art was quite tremendous.

The essence of the Killsword stance was to be vicious to the enemy and merciless to the self. It ignored all defense and held nothing back, sending forth a strike of utterly incomparable might that was close in power to that of an ordinary Sword World’s might.

Only someone who had already mastered the Heartsword stance would be able to use this technique without injuring himself. If someone who didn’t master the Heartsword stance was to train in this technique, they wouldn’t have the flawless control necessary to ensure that there would be no openings. The end result would be that if you were unable to kill your opponent, your opponent would be able to seize upon your flaws and kill you instead!

Only when the Heartsword stance was mastered could one use such a dangerous, ruinous stance.

The longer Blackmist fought, the more excited he became. This Darknorth truly was talented in sword-arts. He had improved so dramatically since their last fight! Aside from the savage and violent ‘Killsword stance’, Ning actually had another sword-art that was even more shocking to Blackmist. This was something Ning had come up with based on Violetjewel’s quintessence core. Although it hadn’t truly taken shape, it was still enough to make Blackmist’s heart clench.

“Enough, enough.” World God Blackmist laughed. “I’m using a Chaos weapon and the strength of an Elder God, but I’m at the verge of being beaten.”

“I’m using a Dao weapon,” Ning hurriedly explained.

“Oh, so that’s how it is.” World God Blackmist once more let out a surprised laugh as he glanced at Ning’s flexible sword. “That explains it. My sword-arts are clearly more profound than yours, and yet I wasn’t able to suppress you when I used a Chaos weapon and the strength of an Elder God.”

Ning felt tremendous gratitude in his heart.

They had sparred for quite a long period of time just now. Only when Ning was unable to gain anything further had Blackmist brought things to a halt. This sparring match allowed Ning to test and verify all the many insights he had gained during the past few centuries, which translated into thousands of years in the Heavengazer Tower. His sword-arts had improved by quite a bit.

“It’s rare for Fogstone to produce such an expert in the Dao of the Sword.” World God Blackmist looked at Ning. “I can sense that your talent in the sword is no lower than the Starlord’s was. Train hard. Oh, right. Be careful on this trip to the Blacklotus Empire. Staying alive is what matters the most.”

“Alright.” Ning nodded.

“Also…this is a sword-art I personally devised. It has a simple name: [Blackmist] sword-art. You are already so talented with the sword that this sword-art of mine won’t be of much use to you, but if you read through it you might gain a few ideas.” World God Blackmist waved his hand, producing a jade slip which he tossed to Ning.

Ning immediately caught it, then said gratefully, “Thank you, senior.”

“To be honest, I was thinking about taking you on as my disciple. However, judging by your performance today, I can tell that you’ll soon catch up to me and perhaps even surpass me.” Blackmist smiled. “Alright. Continue with your preparations for the war.”

“Right,” Ning said.

World God Blackmist departed in as leisurely a fashion as he had arrived. His hair still tousled and mussled, he casually sauntered off before slowly disappearing into thin air.

Ning felt tremendous gratitude towards the man. The very first time Ning had arrived on Fogstone and met with World God Blackmist, Blackmist had personally sparred with him and guided him as well.

Time continued to pass, and Ning spent his days analyzing World God Blackmist’s sword-arts. Soon, a full month had gone past. It was time for the grand army to go on campaign!

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