The entire Dao Debate Palace once more fell silent. Everyone turned to look at their neighbors. Since Ji Ning was even able to defeat Bloodshadow in a Dao Debate, defeating him would be no easy task. Who would be the next?
“His heart…it has changed!” In that quiet corner, the short elder suddenly spoke out. “This last Dao Debate was a form of baptism for your disciple.” Immortal Diancai turned to look towards Ning as well. There was no hesitating in Ning’s eyes at all; instead, there was a frightening desire for battle.
“Right.” Immortal Diancai nodded lightly. “His heart has indeed changed. It is purer now. Before this, he had many miscellaneous thoughts in his heart, but right now, all he desires is the next battle. This is indeed a rare baptism for his Dao-heart.”
Ning had only one thought in his heart right now; to engage in the next battle! If he was going to fight, he was going to fight to the very end!
The entire Dao Debate Palace was silent for three breaths. Finally, an azure-robed woman walked out.
“It is senior apprentice-sister Whitesnow.”
“Senior apprentice-sister Whitesnow’s [Celestial Silknet Formation] is extremely powerful. In terms of just the Dao, not even senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow is a match for senior apprentice-sister Whitesnow.”
“Right. I wonder if this junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning has anything else left up his sleeve. If he does not, he is probably going to lose.” Conversations were going on everywhere.
As for senior apprentice-brother Holyfire, surrounded by many fellow disciples, he stared into the distance, then said softly, “If my guess is correct, that was the limit of junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning’s power. This next battle…junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning is going to lose.”
“When he encounters junior apprentice-sister Whitesnow’s [Celestial Silknet Formation], this junior apprentice-brother is going to lose.” This was the soft comment by the fat, sloppy-looking youth as well.
“Senior apprentice-sister. Will junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning win?” Ninelotus was next to the black-robed maiden, who stared into the distance. “Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning is probably at his limit. This should be his final battle.”
The short elder, standing in the corner of the room, nodded as well. “It’s about time. This series of Dao Debates should be coming to a conclusion. Your disciple is at his limit.”
“Right.” Immortal Diancai nodded lightly, continuing to stare towards his disciple…
On the pillar. Ning stood there, waiting quietly.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, win. Win! I believe in you. You will definitely win.” Mu Northson’s fists were clenched tightly, and he called out in a high voice in the distance. Ning smiled towards him.
The azure-robed woman stepped out from the side-door, leaping gracefully atop the opposing stone pillar. She looked towards the distant Ning, her gaze bringing a cold, quiet feeling. Looking at her was like looking at a sickly, yet beautiful woman. She finally spoke out. “Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, I have chosen the Skynet Golem. Be careful.”
“Senior apprentice-sister, please feel free!” Ning sat down in the lotus position, and the azure-robed woman did the same. The two stared at each other.
“Begin!” The white-haired elder let out a loud shout. Rumble…the grand sealing barrier once more covered the entire battle arena.
“Go!” The gaze of the azure-robed woman, seated in the lotus position, was cold and dim. The Skynet Golem beneath her instantly began to emit one line of silk after another, transforming into streaks of light.
“[Neo-Tripartite Lotus Sword]!” A sharp look flashed through Ning’s eyes. Not hesitating at all, he immediately, consecutively released fifteen flying swords from the Thousandswords Golem, creating five [Tripartite Lotus Swords]. These five flashes of sword-light…they blossomed into lotus flowers, streaking forward to greet the flashing lines of silk.
The silken rays of light suddenly slashed out in arious arcs. Instantly, the entire world seemed to change, as these silken ribbons of light actually formed a giant, completely sealed spherical region, trapping Ning’s five [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Swords] within them. The five flashes of sword-light wildly struck at one location, and a large bulge appeared on the side of the silken ribbons of light, but it still successfully kept the sword-light trapped within.
“Constrict!” The azure-robed woman, seated in the lotus position, shouted softly. The silken ribbons of light, in the shape of that giant sphere, began to swivel and shrink, beginning to crush down upon the five flashes of sword-light within it.
Although Ning could release these fifteen flying swords and control new ones…if he wasn’t able to defeat this technique, even if he unleashed more flying swords, the end result would simply be that they would be trapped.
“Break!” Ning strove to control his swords to break through.
“Go.” The azure-robed woman once more pointed. Whoosh! Yet another silken ribbon of light flew out from the golem, this one moving directly towards Ning’s Thousandswords Golem.
“Hmph.” Ning’s gaze turned cold. Three more flying swords flew out from the Thousandswords Golem’s back, transforming to yet another [Tripartite Lotus Sword] and intercepting the ribbon.
There were six [Tripartite Lotus Swords] that had been unleashed, and Ning’s eyes were now completely bloodshot. Taxing. This was incredibly taxing. But Ning didn’t think of anything else. In his heart, there was only one thought; to use all of his power and fight to the bitter end! To force his flying swords to unleash the greatest amount of power possible!
In this moment, the only thing in Ning’s heart…was the sword!
Within the arena.
Ning and the azure-robed woman stared at each other, the golems they were controlling clashing against each other time and time again. Clearly, the azure-robed woman held the upper hand…but no matter what, she wasn’t able to defeat Ji Ning. In particular, with that giant, spherical region, one enormous bulge after another would appear. Clearly, the five rays of sword light within were still struggling, and with greater and greater power. The azure-robed woman couldn’t help but focus a great deal of her attention on that sphere.
In the corner of the Dao Debate Palace. The short elder’s eyes suddenly lit up, and he murmured to himself, “My heart holds only the sword?”
Immortal Diancai stared at his disciple as well. He, too, had noticed Ning’s change. “My heart holds only the sword!” Immortal Diancai said softly, “Finally, his sword-heart has finally begun to reach this level.”
“Now things are unclear,” the short old man sighed. “This disciple of yours truly is a rare talent. This Dao Debate Palace is currently filled with the disciples of our Black-White College. So many geniuses are present…this disciple of yours is welcoming all challengers, and so in the end, he will definitely be defeated. And yet, this process has caused his sword-heart to grow brighter and brighter.”
“It’s still early. Let’s see if he can actually comprehend it thoroughly.” Immortal Diancai stared at Ji Ning. Stared at him without blinking.
Simultaneously executing six [Tripartite Lotus Swords] was Ning at his absolute limit, and he even felt his head going dizzy. But Ning didn’t think of anything else; the only thing he wanted to do was fight! Fight with all his power!
His heart was completely focused on those flying swords of his. In this moment…Ning, who had gained insight into the heart of a Sword Immortal long ago, was currently seeing his own Sword Immortal’s heart grow brighter and brighter. In fact, one memory after another began to flit up through his mind.
“Ji Ning, I am going to demonstrate the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword] to you – the Lustrous Sword-Heart!” Prior to this series of Dao Debates, Ning had gone to see Immortal Diancai, who had carefully explained the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword] to him.
“This is the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword]!”
Sword-light flashed like fire, slashing through the air but not dissipating.
“This, too, is the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword]!”
A ray of sword-light flashed like water, circling and spinning in the air, as though the sky itself had been parted from the world by this layer of water..
“This, too, is the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword]!”
A cyan light that tore open the skies themselves.
One sword technique another another…they were clearly different sword techniques. Some were average in power, while others were incredibly powerful. But according to Immortal Diancai, all of these techniques were the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword].
“The [Three-Foot Sword] is a supreme sword technique which leads to one of the Grand Daos, the Dao of the Sword. In order to become a true Sword Immortal who has comprehended the Grand Dao of the Sword, the first thing you need is a sword-heart. Over many years of training, you have long ago unconsciously developed the heart of a Sword Immortal, but the so called sword-heart requires one to truly have supreme loyalty to the ‘sword’. You must understand your own sword-heart.”
“Once you truly comprehend your sword-heart and learn what it means to be a Sword Immortal…only then will you have opened the gates to actually becoming a Sword Immortal. That will be the moment when you will naturally learn how to execute the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword].”
“The first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword] – Lustrous Sword-Heart!”
“After your sword-heart becomes lustrous and bright, you will be able to see the true path a Sword Immortal must follow.”
The scenes of Immortal Diancai displaying the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], the ‘Lustrous Sword-Heart’, played over and over in his mind. Some of the attacks were extremely weak, while others were extremely strong. However, all of them were flashing through Ning’s mind, and Ning felt vaguely moved; he began to dimly understand something, although he didn’t fully comprehend yet. However, he knew that he had already begun to gain a few insights.
Whoosh! Sword-light continued to flash and dance. The [Tripartite Lotus Sword] continued to flash in the air, and the sword-light grew sharper and sharper, the more growing mightier and mightier, to the point where they began to press down on the silken ribbons of light.
“Rumble…” The five [Tripartite Lotus Swords] within the enormous spherical region were beginning to struggle more and more forcefully as well. One giant bulge after another appeared on the surface of the sphere of silken light, each bulge greater than the last.
Whitesnow, the distant azure-robed woman who was seated in the lotus position, began to sweat.
“What?!” Holyfire, watching from afar, had a changed look on his face.
The fat, sloppy-looking youth’s eyes instantly turned round. “How the hell…he actually, he actually made a breakthrough in comprehending the sword.”
The black-robed woman’s face, formerly as cold as frost, suddenly had a look of shock appear on it. “A Sword Immortal?”
A sudden explosion rang out. The sphere of silken light, which had been stretched to its limits, finally exploded. Silk ribbons scattered everywhere, and the six [Tripartite Lotus Swords] once more rose into the skies with incomparable sharpness. The power of the swords was clearly much greater than before, and they charged directly towards the Skynet Golem. Soon, the protective armor of the Skynet Golem was shattered.
“Ji Ning wins!” The white-haired elder called out in a high voice.
A look of disbelief filled the face of the azure-robed woman. Someone had actually made a breakthrough mid-battle? She couldn’t help but mumble to herself, “A monster, he really is a monster of the Dao of the Sword.”
Ning rose to his feet, turning his gaze towards the entire hall. He called out in a high voice, “Are there any other senior fellow disciples who wish to exchange pointers with me?”
The short elder in the corner couldn’t help but say, “A true genius of the Dao of the Sword. He really is a genius of the Dao of the Sword. This Ji Ning was born to walk the path of the Sword Immortals! His innate affinity towards the sword surpasses that of others; in fact, we can use the word ‘monstrous’ to describe it. In addition, he has a heart which is supremely devoted to the sword.”
“Right.” Immortal Diancai stared at the distant Ji Ning. “He was meant to be a Sword Immortal.”
“Yet another disciple has gone up.” The short elder nodded. “It’s good that he did. What Ji Ning needs right now is battle experience. The greater a pressure is brought to bear on him, the more lustrous his sword-heart will become.”
“Perhaps…through these battles…he might even comprehend the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword] – Lustrous Sword-Heart!” Immortal Diancai mused to himself.
Ning stood there atop the stone pillar. On the other stone pillar was a black-robed youth. Ning’s eyes seemed to be filled with the light of the sword, and he said in a clear voice, “Senior apprentice-brother, please make your move!”