“Junior apprentice-brother, for you to gain sudden enlightenment regarding the sword in a moment of battle means that you truly are a marvelous talent for training in the sword. No wonder Immortal Diancai took you on as his disciple.” The black-robed youth said calmly, “Junior apprentice-brother, my techniques are far more vicious than senior apprentice-sister Whitesnow. You must be careful.”
“Senior apprentice-brother, feel free to use everything you have!” Ning sat down in the lotus position, and the black-robed man did so as well. The two stared at each other from afar.
The surrounding area was silent once again. Previously, the two Wanxiang Adepts, Bloodshadow and Whitesnow, had been defeated consecutively. The person who had now joined the fray, Venomblood, was naturally even more formidable than the two of them in a discourse on the Dao. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have come.
“Go! Go! Go!” The black-robed youth’s eyes flashed with cold light. Instantly, oily-jade hooks began to fly out from the back of the golem he was controlling in the arena below. Eighteen oily-green poisoned hooks slashed through the air, and while flying over, the tips of these eighteen poisoned hooks began to faintly glow with a venomous, tricolor light. The eighteen poisoned hooks flew straight towards the Thousandswords Golem which Ning was controlling.
It seemed as though the power of this attack was compressed; he didn’t sense any danger at all.
“Eh?” Ning’s face changed slightly. A tricolored poisonous light? Previously, he had fought against Bloodshadow and Whitesnow. Bloodshadow was apparently someone who focused on a single Dao, and had mixed in his insights into other Daos into his techniques; much like Ning, he had reached the Dao Domain level in just a single Dao, and not in the others. However, Bloodshadow had reached an extremely deep level of understanding into that Dao, most likely far surpassing Ning’s understanding of his own. Ning had to rely on the power of his ‘divine soul’ to defeat Bloodshadow.
As for Whitesnow, she should have mastered two different Dao Domains! And this Venomblood…should have mastered three different Dao Domains!
Immortal Diancai had told him that after he reached the level of having three Dao Domains, he would be able to unleash the true power of his [Tripartite Lotus Sword]. But this Venomblood had already reached this level.
“So what if you have gained three Dao Domains? Go!” A fierce sword-light flashed in Ning’s eyes, and eighteen flying swords instantly flew out from the back of his Thousandswords Golem.
The eighteen flying swords slashed through the air, instantly booming into lotus flowers and transforming into eighteen flashing sword-lights of the [Tripartite Lotus Swords]. Although a sword-light formed from three swords was very powerful…when dealing with a foe who shot out eighteen attacks, Ning naturally would use eighteen of his own to deal with it!
A competition on quantity? Ji Ning had never feared anyone in this regard!
“Cling!” “Clang!” “Swish!”
Eighteen blooming lotuses of sword-light on one side, and eighteen venomous tricolored hooks on the other. It was as though eighteen Immortal practitioners were controlling them; they clashed in midair time and time again.
Those eighteen venomous tricolored hooks possessed shocking power and were able to completely suppress Ning’s attacks, but Ning’s sword-light attacks were aligned with water, and possessed tremendous resilience and elasticity. In addition, the tremendous pressure caused Ning to once more enter that earlier battle-mode; to enter the mindset of discarding everything, leaving behind only the sword in his heart!
My heart holds only the sword!
“Kill! Kill! Kill!” The lotuses of sword-light flew about, growing sharper and sharper, to the point where even the distant, spectating disciples could visibly notice that the power with which Ning controlled his [Tripartite Lotus Swords] was slowly growing. The sword-lights seemed to be growing ‘sharper’, to the point where they were slowly taking on a life of their own.
They were continuing to grow more powerful! The might of the lotus sword-lights continuously rose!
“He’s still in a prajna-state of comprehending the sword.” Holyfire stared into the distance. “This junior apprentice-brother possesses truly terrifying potential. He truly is a marvelous student of the sword.”
“The power of the sword-light is continuously rising. Can it be that this junior apprentice-brother is really going to enter the first stage of the Sword Immortal today?” The fat, sloppy-looking youth watched quietly. On the path of Immortals, where were many subtle, varying branches of enlightenment, such as the ‘Yin-Yang branch’, the ‘Taiji branch’, the ‘Sword Immortal branch’, and more.
Sword Immortals traversed the Grand Dao of the Sword! Sword Immortals had always been famous for their combat power, and could be described as the branch most suited for combat. For example, Immortal Diancai, or Immortal Northwalker, the most famous figure in the entire history of the Black-White College. They were all Sword Immortals!
“Formidable.” The black-robed maiden let out a soft exclamation of praise as well. As for Ninelotus, upon hearing this, she immediately stared towards Ning in the arena, her eyes filled with curiosity.
In the corner of the Dao Debate Palace, the short elder was leisurely holding a calabash of wine. Taking a mouthful of the Immortal wine, he glanced sideways at Immortal Diancai, who was staring at the battle without blinking. Fivecraze let out a snickering, strange laugh. “Junior apprentice-brother Diancai, don’t worry. Judging from the situation…this disciple of yours is almost there. Soon, he shall truly understand what his sword-heart is.”
“Mm.” Immortal Diancai’s lips moved slightly, but his eyes continued to focus unblinkingly on the battle going on. This was, after all, his very first disciple.
The black-robed youth, Venomblood, continued to sit there in the lotus position, the look on his face growing increasingly ugly. “How can it be like this? A prajna-state of enlightenment should have a limit; how it is that his sword-light is continuously rising in power? At first, he was at a disadvantage, but now he’s slowly beginning to gain the upper hand. When exactly will there be a limit to this prajna-state?”
“What the hell is he gaining insights into?” The black-robed youth gritted his teeth.
For the likes of the Sloppy Daoist and the other supreme disciples, they were able to tell at a single glance that Ning was walking onto the path of Sword Immortals. However, Venomblood’s experience was clearly a bit lacking; all he knew was that Ning was in the middle of a prajna-state of enlightenment, but he had no idea that Ning was embarking onto the path of Sword Immortals.
In midair, those eighteen lotus flowers of sword-light clashed more and more frenetically against those eighteen venomous tricolored hooks. Those venomous hooks were struggling as much as they could…but they were clearly at a disadvantage.
“Grr!” The black-robed youth’s gaze flashed with a fierce light, and a berserk feeling filled his heart. Those eighteen venomous hooks instantly began to transform, forming an enormous venomous tricolored hook that was more than thirty meters long. The entire venomous tricolored hook glowed with a hazy light, and it swept directly towards Ning’s Thousandswords Golem.
“Break!” The eighteen lotus flowers of sword-light instantly transformed as well. With six flying swords forming a formation base, they instantly changed into an enormous [Tripartite Lotus Sword] which went to welcome the attack.
“BANG!” An explosive collision. The venomous hook was instantly blown apart. The enormous [Tripartite Lotus Sword] howled through the air, piercing directly through the protective armor over the body of the Venomhook Golem.
“Ji Ning wins!” The white-haired elder’s voice rang out once more, and at the same time, the grand sealing barrier began to disappear.
“I lost.” A gloomy look was in the eyes of the black-robed youth, who had struggled for so long and yet had still lost. He gave the fur-clad youth seated atop the other stone pillar a glance from the corner of his eyes. Then, he leapt forward, transforming into a streak of light as he left the battlefield. He handed the two jade bottles to the white-haired elder, then turned and left.
The entire Dao Debate Palace was completely silent for a moment. And then, all sorts of discussions rang out.
“Senior apprentice-brother Venomblood lost. Senior apprentice-brother Venomblood has gained three Dao Domains.”
“Even senior apprentice-brother Venomblood lost. What should we do next?”
Variations on this conversation filled the entire Dao Debate Palace. Many of the disciples were saying the same thing; if even Venomblood had lost, which of them should go up next?
“Well done! Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, well done!” Northson resolutely supported Ning. He was the only person who called out in support of Ning…and he and Ning were the only members in the new disciples ‘faction’.
The other fellow disciples were all chatting amongst themselves, and also discussing who amongst them should be the next to go up. Only, none of them noticed that something unusual was happening to Ji Ning right now.
In fact, not even the Primal Daoists that were watching this through a water-scrying technique were able to notice. After all, they weren’t actually present and able to witness things firsthand. Only two did – Immortal Fivecraze and Immortal Diancai. They noticed something unusual about Ning.
After defeating the black-robed youth, Venomblood, Ning hadn’t risen to his feet as he had in the past. Instead, he continued to stay seated in the lotus position.
“Sense his aura.” Immortal Fivecraze’s eyes were growing brighter and brighter. “Ji Ning’s aura…his aura is sharpening and intensifying.”
“Right.” Immortal Diancai’s eyes were shining as well. He stared fixedly at Ning, seated in the lotus position atop the stone pillar. For a powerful Sword Immortal like Diancai, he could feel that the distant Ji Ning was also beginning to emit a similar sword aura as Diancai himself had. Although it was incredibly weak, it was slowly beginning to manifest.
“He’s growing more and more powerful.” Immortal Fivecraze couldn’t even be bothered to drink wine. He stared excitedly at the distant Ning. “I feel as though he has completely changed into a sword.”
“He made the breakthrough.” A smile appeared on the face of Immortal Diancai as well.
As soon as his words came out…the distant Ning arose from the lotus position, coming to his feet.
When he had been battling against Whitesnow, Ning’s mind had become filled with the scenes of his master, Immortal Diancai, teaching him about the sword. At that time, he had gained a vague feeling for what the ‘Lustrous Sword-Heart’ was. Now that he had battled Venomblood, his insights had grown even deeper, and the power of his sword-light was growing increasingly great as well.
In the instant he had defeated Venomblood, he felt as though he were a bubble that had stretched to its limit, then instantly exploded. All of those doubts and questions in his heart had vanished. Ning’s heart had become truly lustrous!
“If you wish to become a Sword Immortal, you must have the utmost sincerity owards the sword! The sword, and the sword in your heart. If you have the sword in your heart, then even with a rock, a throwing hammer, or a wooden stick, you’ll still be able to execute sword arts.”
“For a Sword Immortal, everything is part of the Dao of the Sword. The Rainwater Dao, the Daos of Wind, Fire, and other Daos…they will all be merged into the Dao of the Sword.”
“The sword is my body. The sword is my life. The sword is my path.”
Ning opened his eyes. His eyes, his entire body…every single part of him seemed to be brimming with sword-ki! It was as though Ning himself was a peerless sword!
The sword of a Sword Immortal was the Sword Immortal himself. He was the sword, and he could use any magic treasures in executing sword arts.
The sword of a Sword Immortal was his Dao. This Dao, when taken to its absolute peak, led one to supremacy amongst the Three Realms.
The sword of a Sword Immortal was what he relied on. On his path as an Immortal cultivator, only by using the sword…would he be able to carve a path to the very top. If Gods blocked him, he would kill Gods; if Buddhas blocked him, he would slay the Buddhas. He would carve a path through all which would oppose him, and he would rely on his sword to do this!
“I want for my mother and father to be able to live forever.”
“I want my loved ones to be able to live joyful lives.”
“I want for tragedies to never befall me.”
“I want to never again be controlled by the hands of fate!”
Ning’s sword-heart was now completely shining and translucent; all of his hopes, his desires, his dreams, they were all embodied within his sword! His body, his life, even his future hopes and aspirations; they were all entrusted to the sword. The sword was what he would rely on to carve out his future and his path.
“The first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], the Lustrous Sword-Heart.” Ning instantly comprehended the very first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword].
There were many different ways in which the first stance could be executed. What one needed to do was to release the technique in accordance with the insight one had gained into one’s own sword-heart. That would be enough.
Ning rose to his feet. Standing there, atop the stone pillar, he stared at his fellow disciples in the Dao Debate Palace, then once more spoke out.
“Are there any other fellow disciples who wish to provide me with guidance?”