Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 29 – A Fortune
“My Yin-Yang Sword Domain is one of my best killing techniques. Let’s see how it does first.” Ji Ning wanted to use his domain to test his opponent out first.
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
The azure-armored figure suddenly manifested a total of nine arms that reached out and drew those nine blood-colored swords. The nine swords suddenly began to vibrate slightly, in doing so somehow coming together to naturally form a layer of strange sword-light which served as a rippling barrier around him. He slowly strode forwards, delving deeper and deeper into the area of effect of Ning’s domain.
The sword-light barrier formed by those nine swords were able to easily pierce through Ning’s Yin-Yang Sword Domain, almost as if they were fish moving through water.
“W-what…” Ning was in control of the domain, but he felt as though his opponent was as slippery as an eel, making it impossible for him to land a true attack against him.
“He isn’t all that strong; most likely, he’s not even at the World level of power. The problem is that he has a ridiculously high level of insight.” Ning was able to clearly make out every movement the opponent made, but Ning truly found it difficult to understand how those nine swords resonated together to form a rippling barrier of sword-light.
This was a Sword Dao of the Eternal Emperor level. It must be understood that in the Brightshore Kingdom, the Sword Palace didn’t have a single living Eternal Emperor!
“What should I do? How should I deal with him?” Ning was growing rather nervous.
He could sense his opponent wasn’t all that strong, which was what he had expected; if his opponent had the insights of an Eternal Emperor and the strength of a Daolord, there was no way Ning would be able to stand a chance against him! And yet… while Ning was as fast and as stronger as a Daolord of the First Step, he still felt as though he was completely unable to land any blows against this weaker opponent.
This was the most frustrating part of battling someone who had a higher level of insight than yourself. You might be strong, but you’d have no way of making use of that strength. As for your opponent, he would be able to make his attacks a thousand times more effective than they had any right to be.
“Your Sword Dao domain is actually able to slow me down a bit.” The azure-armored figure continued to advance calmly as he spoke. “It isn’t bad, actually. However… if this is all you have, you aren’t even close to being qualified to win Master’s treasures. Better for you to die instead.”
He clearly could’ve advanced quite quickly, but he instead chose to advance at a steady gait.
“Eh?” A flash of light went off inside Ning’s head as he stared at the rippling barrier of sword-light… but a moment later, the insight vanished.
They were ten thousand kilometers apart. Although the azure-armored figure walked rather slowly, he reached Ning in just ten short seconds.
The killing intent in his eyes exploded as all nine of his blood-colored swords began to move.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
The nine swords struck out in a consecutive, orderly fashion, carrying a beautiful but strange rhythm. As the nine swords simultaneously struck out towards Ning, they suddenly transformed into a single enormous blood-colored greatsword. Clearly, the nine had joined together to become one, resulting in them becoming dramatically more powerful as well.
Ning emptied his mind of all other thoughts as he used his six Violetjewels to executed the ‘Soleheart’ stance, transforming the six swords into six black holes which he used to defend against the attack.
Ning’s defenses were instantly splintered and destroyed by the clash. He was immediately blown backwards and sent flying, a deep gouge appearing in the earth. This gouge was tens of thousands of kilometers long and many dozens of meters deep.
Ning’s face was rather ashen. Not even Greatjoy, Solewind, or any of the others would be able to crush him in such a manner.
“Unacceptable. I have to counter-attack! If I just let him hammer away at me, I’ll definitely lose this battle.” With a swoosh, Ning transformed into a streak of light and charged forwards, his Yin-Yang Sword Domain once more covering the area.
Faced with the Yin-Yang Sword Domain, the azure-armored figure once more used the nine blood-colored swords he was wielding to form a protective barrier of sword-light that easily protected him from the domain. He raised his head, giving Ning a cold look.
Ning’s eyes actually lit up. “Although he’s able to resist my domain, he’s now moving much slower than before. I, however, am still moving at my normal speed.” Ning immediately transformed into as treak of light that once more shot out towards the azure-armored figure.
When Ning had charged to within just ninety meters of the azure-arored figure, he suddenly vanished without a trace. Even his sword had completely vanished.[Brightmoon] sword-art, Shadowless stance!
Tchtchtchtch… streaks of sword-light appeared, hidden within the Yin-Yang Sword Domain and completely undetectable. They flew out as chops, slashes, and hacks as they struck out towards the azure-armored figure.
“Mm?” The azure-armored figure raised an eyebrow as the nine swords in his hands trembled slightly.
The protective barrier of sword-light surrounding him began to oscillate, whittling away at the power of Ning’s strikes before completely dispersing them.
While defending against Ning’s attack, the azure-armored figure immediately launched an attack of his own as he once more struck out towards Ning.
“Time to run.” Ning did his best to defend while retreating.
“Hahaha…” This time, he was able to retreat with ease. Ning revealed a look of delight. “If I seize the initiative to attack him, he’ll have to focus his efforts on defending against me. When he switches to attacks, he’ll be just a hair too slow and I’ll be able to withdraw. I can’t let a foe like this seize the initiative in a battle.”
Ning began to attack furiously.
Shadowless sword-intent! It was incredibly ghostly and unpredictable, but the rippling layers of sword-light surrounding the man were still able to block all of Ning’s attacks, even though they shook while doing so.
Blood Drop sword-intent! These attacks possessed incredible penetrative power, but it was a straightforward and above-boarod attack that the opponent could prepare for.
Ning clashed against this expert repeatedly. A chance to duel someone who had an Eternal Emperor level of insight in the Dao of the Sword was incredibly valuable
For some strange reason, Ning continued to feel as though a spark of inspiration was floating deep within his mind… but alas, he remained unable to locate it no matter what he did. Now, the more he battled against the opponent, the more he felt as though he was vaguely touching upon it.
“Are these all the techniques you have?” The azure-armored man suddenly said.
Ning was slightly startled.
“How boring. You haven’t even been able to truly merge your offensive Dao into your defensive Dao.” The azure-armored figure let out a sigh.
Whoosh! He finally made his move.
This was the first time the azure-armored figure’s speed suddenly and dramatically increased. The nine blood-colored swords surrounding him transformed into a curtain of sword-light, and the man himself transformed into an enormous sword. If he previously moved through Ning’s domain like a fish moving through water, he was now like a sword that simply smashed through the domain with terrifying speed. He pounced at Ning, moving far faster than Ning himself could. There was no way Ning could dodge at all. Only now did he realize that his opponent hadn’t used anything close to his real power earlier.
“Chop!” The azure-armored man and his nine swords, in the form of an enormous greatsword, sliced downwards through the air and chopped directly towards Ning.
Ning had no other choices; all he could do was do his best to block the attack.
The world seemed to break apart.
Ning was completely blown backwards. His six Eternal weapons were completely unable to defend against this attack, and all of his stances collapsed at first contact. In fact, two of his Violetjewels were actually knocked out of his grip and sent flying.
The ground beneath him shuddered as everything within a region of several hundred thousand kilometers was reduced to dust by the shockwave ripples.
Ning lay there in the giant crater, his fingers twitching numbly. He had been able to just barely keep a hold over four of his Eternal weapons. The other two had been knocked flying.
“Receive my second chop!” The azure-armored figure said coldly.
But Ning actually had a look of delight on his face… because he had finally realized what that elusive flash of inspiration was. “The sword… in the end, you can’t hold up a house on a single pillar of wood. It needs to be part of a whole…”
“Haha… so that’s how it is! I’m most skilled in defense, but my Soleheart stance has been trapped in a bottleneck for some time now. I’ve come up with two offensive Supreme Daos, but I haven’t been able to truly upgrade my Soleheart stance. Haha…” Ning laughed. His talent for defensive techniques was extremely high, and so he had reached a bottleneck a long time ago during his journeys through the alternate universe.
His offensive techniques had improved nonstop, to the point where he had developed two Supreme Daos for them. And yet, his Soleheart stance had come to a screeching halt.
When Ning first saw his opponent utilize that barrier of sword-light, he had the vague feeling that he had stumbled into a tremendous stroke of luck. Alas, he wasn’t able to truly grasp what he was seeing. As the battle progressed, Ning finally was able to do so.
“A single chopstick can be easily snapped in half. An entire bundle of chopsticks is almost impossible to chop.” Ning couldn’t help but laugh at himself. Sometimes, this was how things worked. Once you were able to see through to the true nature of things, you couldn’t help but marvel at how simple the principle was.
The reason why Ning’s Soleheart stance wasn’t truly able to evolve into a Supreme Dao was because his Soleheart stance was a single-target defensive technique. Ning would use each of his swords to defend, and was able to use a maximum of six swords in this manner at the same time. Each of the six swords worked independently. Of course there was a limit to how much power they could unleash! True, they were cooperating to a certain extent and in the past, Ning had thought that they were working ‘as one’, but now he realized he was wrong. When he saw his opponent use that defensive sword-art, he realized what it truly meant to be working ‘as one’!
He had to do the same thing, to truly fuse everything together. His opponent’s nine blood-colored swords were able to easily merge together to form that barrier of sword-light. When his opponent chose to attack, they were able to easily merge together into an enormous greatsword.
That was what ‘working as one’ truly meant!
Ning’s hand swept out, causing the two Eternal swords that had been knocked out of his hands to come flying back to him at high speed.
The six Eternal swords moved simultaneously, each of them exerting the Soleheart stance and beginning to link together. Slowly, the six Eternal swords began to transform and harmonize little by little. Ning had personally watched his opponent use a similar technique and had clashed against him multiple times, allowing Ning to learn some of the key elements. To truly merge the stances together wasn’t as simple as to have all six swords use the exact same stance. Rather, they had to be responsible for different parts of it.
This was much like how a ‘complete’ man would have a nose, a mouth, two eyes, and other body parts.
Ning furiously pulled backwards, doing his best to stay away from his opponent as he tested this new idea out.
BOOM! Ning’s six swords suddenly transformed into a single black hole that completely surrounded Ning, and at the edges of the black hole there was something that looked like a rippling barrier.
“This is the true Soleheart stance. This is finally something worth of being described as a Supreme Dao of defense.” Ning revealed a smile. His Yin-Yang Sword Domain was superb at dealing with groups of attackers, but the Soleheart stance was much better for dealing with a single foe of tremendous power!
Ning had finally comprehended and mastered his Soleheart sword-intent, the fourth sword-intent of his five stances of [Brightmoon]!