Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 26 – Shadowless Sword-Intent
Time flowed on.
Ji Ning continued his journey through the world of the Prime Reaches, going through the various battlefields and scars that had been left upon the land.
While doing so, Ning came to realize that there were actually thirty-nine different types of scars! It must be understood that even Eternal Emperors who had gained eternity through the Dao of the Sword would all have followed different paths and interpreted their Daos in unique, special ways. Thus, there were differences in the ‘Dao vestiges’ they left behind through their attacks, making it fairly simple to differentiate the scars and markings into multiple ‘types’.
“Thirty-nine? There are thirty-five deceased major powers, and they match up to thirty-five of the Dao vestiges left behind. But there are four types of scars which don’t match up to anyone.” Ning was rather amazed by this, as he had discovered something else as well. “The Daos of those three leaders are all awesome and overwhelming, filled with inconceivable force. But one of the four types of Dao vestiges can be found everywhere, even though it seems plain and unremarkable. I spent more than three hundred years inspecting this place before I realized how terrifying it is.”
Most likely, that particular Dao vestige belonged to the Dao of Primordial Chaos. It seemed very ordinary, but when you truly delved deep into it you would realize that it had surpassed the level which those three leaders were at.
“In the battle that was fought, there was someone who was even more powerful than those three leaders.” Ning was truly stunned. He could sense that those three leaders should have been on par with the almighty Hegemon himself; even if they were weaker, they wouldn’t have been weaker by much. But this fourth figure… Ning had the feeling that he had actually surpassed the almighty Hegemon.
“There’s always a mountain taller than the ‘tallest’ you’ve seen.”
Ning shook his head. “But what in the world happened here, within the Genesis Lands of this universe?” Ning couldn’t help but sigh. Moments later, his eyes lit up. “Still… as far as I’m concerned, this is an enormous present for me!”
Ning had spent quite a bit of his time and energy on attuning to the various different Dao vestiges that had been left behind, especially the strongest vestige of a Dao of Primordial Chaos. Every so often, he would nap at the top of a mountain. At other times, he would sit down in the lotus position next to a river, listening to its waters gurgle. He would walk through an icy land of snow, then occasionally drift within the waters of a lake… and just like that, 6913 years went past.
“There’s a certain type of a sword in this world. It is unfathomable and inscrutable, traceless and untrackable. The moment it appears is the moment when the enemy shall perish.”
Ning revealed a smile as he drew out Violetjewel, then struck out with it.
Both Ning and his sword both completely vanished, becoming truly traceless and untrackable.
It wasn’t a spatial teleportation. It wasn’t a secret art of some sort. Just like that… Ning vanished.
Pop! Three thousand meters away, Ning suddenly reappeared as his sword chopped downwards towards a mental target.
“What type of a sword can truly be described as traceless and untrackable? An invisible sword, a sword you cannot see or sense at all. This type of sword is the most difficult sword to defend against.” A smile was on Ning’s face as he turned his gaze towards the corpses of the ancient powers that were off in the distance, then bowed deeply in gratitude and respect. “Thank you, seniors. I have finally developed the sword-intent of my ‘Shadowless’ stance.”[Brightmoon] sword-art, Shadowless stance.
In the past, when Ning used this stance, he would use various omnipresent Daos to greatly enhance the speed of his strikes. For example, if he was in a windy area he would borrow the power of the wind itself, while if he was in a sunny area he would borrow the power of light. He could even borrow the power of the spatial ripples which filled almost every place.
Because this was a technique which borrowed the power of various different Daos, Ning’s Shadowless stance was truly ghostly and inscrutable, allowing it to fluctuate and speed up in odd ways, giving it tremendous power.
However… his stance had never been able to improve to reach the same level which his Yin-Yang sword-intent and his Blood Drop sword-intent were at.
Only after coming to the inner reaches and seeing all the Dao vestiges left behind by many Eternal Emperors, especially the vestiges related to the deceptively simple and yet overwhelmingly powerful Dao of Primordial Chaos, had Ning suddenly realized the truth.
“What does ‘Shadowless’ even mean? It isn’t about borrowing from the power of all things around it; it means to truly become one with all things.
“There’s no way a sword can truly ‘vanish’, but when it becomes one with all things around it will become completely indetectable to any enemies.
“When the weather is windy, it can transform into a gust of wind.
“When it is bright, it can transform into a streak of light.
“When it is in space, it can transform into a spatial ripple.
“Every single part of a universe, no matter where, is subject to the influence and power of the prime essences of that universe. If my sword can completely merge into those things, it’ll naturally become truly shadowless and invisible.” Ning finally realized what his true goal for his ‘Shadowless’ stance should be.
And so, after having spent 6913 years in the inner reaches meditating on the various different Dao vestiges, he was finally able to develop a completely new Shadowless stance.
Ning’s body was as tough as a magic treasure. Just like his sword, it could also merge into all things. After both he and his sword did so, his attacks became even faster and even more ghostly than before.
“At present, I can just barely merge my sword into its surroundings. Although it cannot be seen, it can still be detected through godsense,” Ning mused to himself. “As my skill in this stance improves, I’ll be able to truly make it one with all things, making it so that not even godsense will be able to detect it. Only then will this stance be truly deadly.”
The Dao was present in all places. One day, his Shadowless stance would also be in all places.
A sword which not even godsense could detect, a sword which you would only see when it suddenly plunged into your skull… how terrifying such a sword would be! But of course, actually reaching this level would be very difficult.
“If I can train this technique to the apex, it will become truly shadowless and formless, capable of appearing anywhere. Alas… I’m still far, far away from that stage.” Ning knew how far he still had to go. In fact, he had actually witnessed someone else who had succeeded in this goal – the major power who wielded the Dao of Primordial Chaos. The primordial chaos encompassed all Daos. The reason why it had taken Ning so long to discover that this major power was even stronger than those three leaders was precisely because this power’s Dao of Primordial Dao was nigh-invisible, having seamlessly integrated all the other Dao vestiges into it.
Only after carefully inspecting the inner reaches for many years did he come to this shocking realization!
As for that major power… he had infused all things into his Dao, making it almost indetectable by even godsense or heartforce. One could only discover it through other means.
Of the [Brightmoon] sword-art, Ning now had three complete sword-intents; the Blood Drop sword-intent, the Yin-Yang sword-intent, and the new Shadowless sword-intent.
Although the Shadowless sword-intent had a weakness in that it could be detectable through godsense, strictly speaking this wasn’t really a weakness. How many Daolords could make themselves undetectable to godsense, after all? Because the Shadowless sword-intent could be merged into all things and all Daos, it was now even faster and even more inscrutable than before. This made it far more powerful, and it had been fundamentally transformed, allowing it to skyrocket to the same level as that of the Blood Drop sword-intent.
“Whew.” As Ning walked through the world of the inner reaches, he’d occasionally disappear without a single sound, then reappear a few hundred thousand kilometers away.
This was how he ‘walked’. He had incorporated his training in the Shadowless stance into his way of walking.
“If I didn’t have the chance to meditate on the Dao vestiges left behind by so many Eternal Emperors, it would’ve taken me at least a hundred million years to master this stance,” Ning mused. The other four of the five stances of [Brightmoon] required meditation and sudden epiphanies, while the Shadowless stance required Ning to broaden his horizons and gain many new experiences. Thanks to the many Dao vestiges left behind by the Eternal Emperors in this world, Ning managed to comprehend his enhanced stance far more quickly than before.
Every single Dao which Ning possessed would become a Supreme Dao. For instance, his attacking Daos included the Blood Drop sword-intent and the Shadowless sword-intent.
The Blood Drop sword-intent, at its peak, would allow Ning to annihilate all obstacles in his path. Space… time… nothing would be able to par his sword, which would reach incalculable levels of power.
The Shadowless sword-intent, at its peak, would make it so that the enemy would be completely incapable of locating Ning before dying.
“I’ve now developed three of the five true stances of [Brightmoon]. The Soleheart stance and the Heavenbreaker stance are left,” Ning mused. The Soleheart stance would be a defensive Dao, whereas the Heavenbreaker stance would be another offensive Dao. Each of the stances would be fundamentally different from the three which had come before.
“Here I am.” Ning continuously disappearing and reappeared as he advanced at high speeds. He was now moving even faster than his previous maximum speed.
This movement skill of his could be described as the ‘Shadowless’ evasion skill. Most likely, the large majority of Daolords would be unable to catch up to Ning in pure speed. This was why Supreme Daos were so terrifying! Each and every Supreme Dao was utterly unearthly in power. Even if you only came up with one of them, you would definitely become a truly terrifying Daolord in the future.
“The leaders?” Ning stood there, head upraised as he stared at the three sword-wielding figures off in the distance.
In front was the muscular man who was gripping that enormous deep blue greatsword. Behind him was the white-robed man who was carrying a violet sword, a golden sword, and a white sword on his back, and to the side of the white-robed man was the terrifying man who had plunged nine blood-colored swords into the ground before him.
These were the only three experts of the Dao of the Sword who were within the Inner Reaches.
“Three seniors.” Ning bowed respectfully. He felt tremendous veneration towards these experts who had reached such heights in the Dao of the Sword.
Ning began to move forwards. Soon, he could sense a series of invisible ripples spread over his body. If he advanced any further, he would be swept away and taken to the trial grounds. Many dazzling geniuses and Daolords had perished within these trials.
“My opportunity is right before me. How can I possibly shrink back from it?” Ning didn’t hesitate at all as he took one more step forwards.
He was completely enveloped by those invisible ripples. This time, Ning didn’t use his Shadowless evasion-art. Instead, he truly disappeared into thin air, having been teleported into the trial-world which had been left behind by these three powers.