Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 30 – Stop Him!
“Chop!” The azure-armored youth transformed into an enormous streak of sword-light, forcibly shattering a path through Ji Ning’s Yin-Yang Sword Domain. Ning couldn’t help but feel a sense of despair when he gazed upon the sword-light. This was what happened when there was a tremendous disparity in insight and comprehension. The sword-intent of an Eternal Emperor… this really was completely unfair.
Although Ning was mentally shaken, he was still able to stay calm and alert as he unleashed his six swords into the Soleheart sword-intent he had just developed.
It was like a peacock spreading its feathers, or like leaves swirling in the wind. The six swords moved in unison like a perfect whole, naturally coming together to form a terrifying black hole, with each of the swords playing a specific role in the black hole’s creation.
The azure-armored figure’s terrifying sword-light chopped directly against that black hole. Tchtchtch!!! Ning poured all of his power, comparable to that of a Daolord of the First Step, into his new Soleheart sword-intent, allowing it to unleash a simply terrifying level of force that furiously ground away at his opponent’s stance.
His opponent’s sword-light began to shudder and twist as it immediately began to fall in power, causing the azure-armored figure to become visible once more. At this moment, the azure-armored figure didn’t hesitate at all, immediately choosing to retreat at high speeds.
The figure stood there in the distance, staring at Ning with some surprise.
“I succeeded. This… this is the true Soleheart stance.” Ning’s heart was filled with joy. This was the true Soleheart stance he had wanted all along. Six swords striking out in unison, as if they were a part of a single, indivisible whole. If he fought anyone on the same level of power as him, he would be able to completely shut down their attacks.
Even those who were stronger than him and who had a higher level of insight into the Dao would see their attacks dramatically weakened by this defensive technique.
“Hmph.” The distant azure-armored figure let out a cold snort. “Don’t get too smug. You were only able to block me once thus far. Now… take a look at my third chop!”
Although the azure-armored figure was quite physically weak, his sword-arts were at a terrifyingly high level. Ning had to use all of his power to deal with every single strike, and as a result he was able to increasingly perfect his Soleheart stance.
The two battled for the amount of time needed to boil a kettle of tea, but the azure-armored figure was still unable to do anything to Ning.
“Hey kid. Tell me your name.” The distant azure-armored figure suddenly spoke out in an icy voice.
“I am Darknorth.” Ning smiled as he spoke. He was naturally in a wonderful mood, now that he had developed a new sword-intent.
“Darknorth? Mm. You’ve reached the apex of perfection when it comes to defensive prowess,” the azure-armored figure said. “When you have that sword-intent domain active and spread out, I have to first endure its power if I wish to attack you. This distracts me, resulting in me only being able to unleash 60%-70% of my full power.”
His Yin-Yang Sword Domain was highly suited for dealing with group attacks! However, if Ning was dealing with just a single opponent, it would also be highly effective in entrapping and slowing that opponent down, making it so that the opponent’s power lessened! The azure-armored figure needed to constantly ward off the domain via his sword-arts, and so in battle he was completely unable to unleash his full, peak power.
“And your close-combat defensive skills are also quite formidable. When you combine the two… even I am not able to defeat you.” The azure-armored figure nodded. “I can’t kill you. You may leave now.”
“Leave?” Ning was startled.
The azure-armored figure glanced sideways at Ning, his cold eyes the only thing visible behind that mask he wore. ‘I can’t stop you, which means you can proceed to the next level.”
“Then what about the nine swords which your master left behind, senior?” Ning couldn’t help but ask this question. These were the swords left behind by an Eternal Emperor! Ning had witnessed for himself the terrible power which each sword contained; there was no way any ordinary Eternal weapon could possibly be a match for them. Moreover, when used together they would probably gain certain other special powers as well.
“You actually plan on taking my master’s nine swords?” The azure-armored figure smirked.
“I certainly wouldn’t decline them if you were willing to give them to me,” Ning said with a laugh.
“As I said, if you kill me you will win the nine swords which Master left behind.” The azure-armored figure continued coldly, “Although I can’t kill you, you can’t kill me either. This naturally means you are not worthy of acquiring Master’s nine swords.”
After speaking, the azure-armored figure dove into the ground, disappearing without a trace.
“That was fast.” Ning couldn’t help but laugh. “Was it really necessary for him to run away that fast? It’s not like I’m able to take those swords away from him by force.”
The azure-armored figure had truly been quite terrifying. His attacks were much stronger than Ning’s, and he was significantly faster as well. Thankfully, Ning had the Yin-Yang Sword Domain and his Soleheart stance, two exceedingly strong defensive techniques, which he was able to use to ward off this tough foe. This was the reason why Ning had survived this trial.
“Time to go.” Ning drilled the ground as well, passing through it to the next, deeper level and the abyss-world it contained.
Ning continued to go downwards through the levels of the Abyss of Fiends. The next few levels were quite simple, as he only had to deal with a few fiendlords. And so, just like that, he made it to the twenty-fourth level.
On the twenty-fourth level, he saw a prominently placed blood-colored estate. Before the estate stood the azure-armored figure, and there was an entire group of fiendlords which surrounded the estate, all of whom appeared to revere the azure-armored figure greatly.
“Greetings again, senior.” Ning flew over then bowed towards the azure-armored figure.
“Mm.” The azure-armored figure nodded, then pointed to an enormous vortex off in the distance. “That over there is the exit tunnel. You can pass through it to reach the outside world. For you to have made it to the twenty-fourth level is already quite impressive. If you choose to leave now, you’ll earn one of my master’s treasures as well as one of his sword-art legacies.”
“A treasure?” Ning asked, “Is it one of the swords?”
“It is not.” The azure-armored figure glanced sideways at Ning. “Those nine swords were my master’s most important treasures, and they will be given to his true successor. You? I suppose you could just barely qualify as an honorary disciple. I’ll give you one of the various random treasures which Master had on him.”
Ning asked, “Senior, isn’t it true that the Abyss of Fiends has a total of thirty-six levels? I’m only at the twenty-fourth level.”
“What, you want to keep going downwards?” The azure-armored figure smiled coldly. “The lower levels are far more dangerous. Be satisfied with one of my master’s treasures and a sword-art legacy.”
Ning shook his head. He had experienced many hardships in order to travel to this alternate universe, including ten thousand years of wandering before even reaching the Genesi Lands! Was he supposed to just leave after merely becoming an honorary disciple of an Eternal Emperor? Ning would have agreed if the man had been willing to give him those nine swords, as a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, but for one of the random treasures the Eternal Emperor had been carrying?
Ning had acquired an enormous amount of darkspace flamestones. He really didn’t care about other treasures. In addition, Emperor Mirrorsnow had given Ning four incredibly valuable golems! The ‘random’ treasures of this deceased Eternal Emperor probably wouldn’t be worth that much.
“I choose to continue,” Ning said. “I’ll head downwards now, senior.”
Whoosh. Ning transformed into a streak of light and disappeared without a trace. His Shadowless evasion skill allowed him to easily pass downwards to the next level.
“This kid…” The azure-armored figure frowned as he watched Ning drill downwards. “He’s too self-confident. He insists on going down a path of no return, and I can’t even stop him.”
Swoosh. The azure-armored figure immediately disappeared as well, moving far faster than Ning had.
The thirty-first level of the Abyss of Fiends.
This place was a place of incredible beauty, filled with singing birds and fragrant flowers. There were no devils here.
A white-robed man was seated at the peak of a towering mountain, a triad of gold-hilted, white-hilted, and violet-hilted swords on his back. He sat there in the lotus position, gazing upon this vast, beautiful world.
“Second brother.” A voice rang out. Moments later, the azure-armored figure appeared out of nowhere.
“Third brother. Long time no see.” The white-robed man smiled. “Why have you suddenly come to visit me?”
“I met this kid. He really is quite talented in the Dao of the Sword, and I did exactly as Master instructed. I held nothing back, but I still wasn’t able to kill him.” The azure-armored figure shook his head. “I had a good opinion of him. I felt the kid had a lot of potential, and was good enough to become one of my master’s honorary disciples.”
“Not even you could kill him?” The white-robed man revealed a smile. “Not bad! It is rare for us to encounter such a talented figure.”
“But he insists on going deeper,” the azure-armored man said impatiently. “He obviously doesn’t care about becoming my master’s honorary disciple!”
“I bet he’d listen to you if you were willing to give him those nine swords,” the white-robed man teased.
The azure-armored figure said angrily, “All Master really had were those nine swords. I absolutely won’t give them to anyone until I find the perfect successor for him. This kid isn’t bad, but he’s not even close to being the ideal candidate I’ve been hoping for.”
The white-robed man shook his head. “Well, if he insists on going downwards… what am I supposed to do?”
“Stop him, second brother. Stop him and make him go back,” the azure-armored figure said immediately. “The thirty-sixth level was left behind by the Hegemon personally, just before he died. You know how terrifyingly dangerous it is! Over the course of countless years, there have been a number of self-confident geniuses who refused to listen to me and insisted on going all the way down… and all of them died there.”
When the white-robed man thought of the thirty-sixth level, he couldn’t help but frown.
Their Hegemon had personally created that place. It was the most mysterious and most terrifying place in the entire Abyss.
Their Hegemon was such an incredibly strong figure that even their masters, those two Eternal Emperors of the Dao of the Sword, were willing to serve as his retainers.
“Ugh. I’ll do my best to stop him, but if I fail… there’ll be nothing else I can do,” the white-robed man said.