Book 33, Crimsonwave Temple, Chapter 7 – Heartsword Art
“It’s them.” Ji Ning’s face tightened slightly.
“Darknorth, this will be troublesome. Daolord Dreamlore’s power is unfathomable, while Daolord Tigrone’s defenses are superior to any I’ve ever seen. As for Daolord Skyshatter, he’s a Daolord of the Dark Kingdom but was accepted by Daolord Dreamlore and Daolord Tigrone as a partner. He must be incredibly strong as well.” The Ninedust Sectlord frowned.
“Don’t worry about them. They were a full year behind us. It won’t be that easy for them to catch up to us,” Ning said. “Seize every moment and do your best to push as many of the warriors out of the dimensional walkway.”
“Alright.” Ninedust nodded.
The two paid no more heed to the three Daolords behind them and began to focus on attacking the warriors up ahead.
“The Voidsea Jadeseals are in the second world, while the command seals needed to harvest the fruit are in the third world.” Realmsoul Polo once more gave detailed instructions to the new arrivals. These supreme Daolords were amongst the most incredibly talented figures alive in the endless Territories; it was important for him to give them good guidance. His master, Emperor Waveshift, was doing this for the sake of tempering these supreme Daolords and make them even better. The realmsoul naturally had to keep them fully informed.
Daolord Tigrone, Daolord Dreamlore, and Daolord Skyshatter began to advance as well, and they immediately began to suffer the attacks of the armored warriors in front of them.
“Hmph. Darknorth and Ninedust are fools. Why aren’t they using their secret arts or a heartworld projection? Are they trying to use this as a training exercise?” Daolord Skyshatter frowned. Instantly, he sent a tri-colored surge of energy sweeping out to surround the area, wrapping itself around the warriors around him. However, the golden light covering the entire dimensional walkway immediately swirled forwards to cover it.
In raw power alone, Daolord Skyshatter’s secret arts were actually slightly stronger than even Ning’s nine novessence arts!
“What? My secret arts were nullified?” Daolord Skyshatter was shocked.
Ning and Ninedust ignored the three behind them. They were very experienced in fighting against these warriors, and were able to work together perfectly. Ninedust was responsible for tying down and slowing the warriors, while Ning was responsible for delivering the final blow that knocked them off the walkway.
Time continued to flow on. Another year passed in the blink of an eye, with Ning’s team slowly advancing. The further they advanced, the more warriors assaulted them. Knocking the warriors off the dimensional walkway became increasingly powerful, as there was now a total of thirty-two warriors assaulting Ning’s team. This represented a force of thirty-two second-tier Daolords who were able to work together perfectly and who were invulnerable to all harm!
Just beating them wasn’t enough. You had to knock them off the dimensional walkway. It was simply too difficult! By now, Ning’s team needed to spend five or six days in battle before defeating a ‘wave’..
Whoosh! Ninedust transformed into a massive wave, but the upper half of his body was still visible. He continued to wield his longstaff, sending it smashing through the waves and knocking one enemy aside after another, doing his best to give Ning enough space to work in. As for Ning, he was even fiercer than he had been in the past, with each of his six Northbow swords containing astonishing amounts of power.
“Haha, Darknorth, these warriors are becoming increasingly difficult to defeat, but this process has been quite beneficial to my staff-arts. I’ve come up with a supreme technique of my own!” The Ninedust Sectlord let out a loud laugh as he swept out his longstaff. Whoosh! The water around him instantly formed into a whirlpool that was centered around his longstaff, causing layers of spatial illusions to appear around it.
Crimsonwave Temple placed extremely tight restrictions on spacetime techniques, but Ninedust was still able to cause spatial illusions to appear. In the outside world, the power of this strike would’ve been inconceivable!
BOOM! The staff smashed against an armored warrior, sending it flying away as if it was nothing more than a tiny little shrimp.
“Come up with a few more ‘supreme techniques’ like that,” Ning said with a laugh. “Later on, you can let these other Daolords get a taste of them.”
“Right. I’ll make sure they know that I’m not easy to deal with.” Ninedust had been intoxicated by this life of battle. These fights were helping him to discover many of his flaws and allowed him to perfect them. When he was able to reach a certain level of perfection, he was naturally able to come up with a new supreme technique.
“The other supreme Daolords have either fused two Supreme Daos or three Supreme Daos…” Ning mused silently to himself, “But they still have room for improvement. They can gain new insights and thus come up with more and better supreme techniques. I, however, have already reached the apex! It’ll be very hard for me to improve in the near future.”
“Mm. I suppose I should focus on the [Heartsword] for now.” Ning was beginning to realize how hard it would be for him to upgrade his Omega Sword Dao any further. None of his five stances had been able to reach the fourth stage, and so he immediately chose to work on the [Heartsword] sword-art instead.”
“The [Heartsword]…” A complete copy of the full [Heartsword] sutra appeared within Ning’s mind. The golden-furred alien had given it to Ning’s avatar during his visit to Vastheaven Palace, and Ning’s avatar had immediately studied it.
The [Heartsword] art was an incredibly marvelous and miraculous sword-art! In importance, it actually succeeded the legacies of Hegemons! Although it was ‘merely’ a sword-art, the Dao Alliance absolutely refused to transmit it to any other organizations. Even the Brightshore Kingdom was only able to procure the first ten stances after paying an utterly enormous price. If you wished to learn the full thing, you had to be a member of the Dao Alliance and pay an incredible price for it.
Ning’s performance in the Waveshift Realm had been simply dazzling. He had risen to prominence by slaughtering Sectlord Timedream and the Kingfreak, and his power was second only to Winesage! The Dao Alliance was naturally going to invest its resources in him. Given that they also had a favor to ask of Ning, they chose to just go ahead and gift the entire [Heartsword] to Ning! But of course, Ning was not permitted to transmit this to any others.
“How marvelous.” The more Ning learned regarding the [Heartsword] art, the more stunned he felt. The [Heartsword] art was a supreme sword-art that represented the perfect combination of Ki Refining principles, Fiendgod Refining principles, and Heartforce Cultivation principles.
Emperor Heartsword’s sword-arts, on a stand-alone basis, were merely on the same level as Emperor Mirrorsnow’s! However, this perfect combination of all three paths of cultivation made it so that his rather unremarkable sword-arts were able to unleash astonishing levels of power that surpassed even the likes of the eight lords of the Sacred Cities, putting him incredibly close to the Hegemon level! He was known as the Emperor who was closest to the Hegemons in power! How terrifying a concept was this?
“My current sword-arts have already transcended both space and time, putting me on par with Emperor Mirrorsnow’s level,” Ning mused. “If I can master the fifteenth stance of the [Heartsword], I’ll have eclipsed the eight lords of the Sacred Cities and be very close to the Hegemons as well.”
Moments later, Ning chuckled. That was nothing more than a fantasy. Ever since Emperor Heartsword had departed, there had never been a second cultivator capable of mastering the fifteenth stance of the [Heartsword]! This was because this sword-art was simply too arcane and abstruse.
The first stance was known as the ‘Heartsword’ stance. The second stance, the ‘Killsword’ stance. The third stance, the ‘Great Firmament’ stance. The fourth stance, the ‘Horizon’s Edge’ stance. The fifth stance, the ‘Silent World’ stance. The sixth stance, the ‘Unicorn’s Heart’ stance. The seventh stance, the ‘Cosmic Heart’ stance.
The first six stances were at least understandable. Starting from the seventh stance, however, the technique became increasingly abstruse. Thankfully, Ning was incredibly talented in sword-arts and thus he mastered the seventh stance in the Sword Palace of the Brightshore Kingdom. It could be said that he had gained an elementary level of mastery in the [Heartsword].
However, this was still nothing more than an elementary level of mastery. The later stances were even more difficult to comprehend!
The eighth stance was named ‘Ineffable’.
The ninth stance was named ‘Blissheart’.
The tenth stance was named ‘Killheart’.
The eleventh stance was named ‘Teardrop’.
The twelfth stance was named ‘Swordtide’.
The thirteenth stance was named ‘Snowland Blood’.
The fourteenth stance was named ‘Remorseless Unto Death’.
The fifteenth stance was named ‘One Sword, One World’.
These stances were all incredibly abstruse, but they could be divided into several different tiers. The eighth stance to the tenth stance represented the first ‘tier’! Most cultivators skilled in the [Heartsword] were stuck here in the first tier, unable to advance any further.
The eleventh and twelfth stances represented the second tier. Supposedly, cultivators who reached this level would see the power of the [Heartsword] technique skyrocket, but in every generation the number of cultivators who could reach this level could be counted on one hand.
The thirteenth and fourteenth stances represented the third tier. According to the records, only a single major power aside from Emperor Mirrorsnow had ever reached this level, but his name was a mystery! The records stated that at this level, one’s level of power would skyrocket by such a level that using the [Heartsword] art provided an even greater boost in power than using a Universe treasure!
The fifteenth and final stance! Only Emperor Heartsword, the creator of this technique, had ever reached this level! By relying on this stance, he had been able to unleash quasi-Hegemon levels of power from his fairly mundane sword-arts.
“If I can even reach the third tier, I might be able to give Hegemons a good fight once I become a Daolord of the Fourth Step,” Ning mused. This truly was an unearthly, incredible set of sword-arts, but it was also the hardest of all sword-arts to train in. The actual movements to each stance were not that important; what really mattered was the ‘heart’.
“Time to begin.”
Even the tallest of buildings have to start from the ground floor. Ning held all six Northbow swords as he fought, occasionally injecting some of the ‘Cosmic Heart’ elements into his stances. At other times, he’d attempt to replicate the eighth stance, ‘Ineffable’. The [Heartsword] art focused on the heart, not on the actual stances, and so it was incredibly difficult to train in. Ning was incredibly talented in heartforce and had the largest heartworld of all the supreme Daolords in the Endless Territories, but he still found training in this technique to be extremely laborious. Despite that, he was still able to at least generate part of the ‘feeling’ of the eighth ‘Ineffable’ stance.
The ‘Ineffable’ stance couldn’t be manufactured intentionally. One had to follow one’s own heart and completely infuse it into one’s sword-arts. Everything had to follow the natural flow… and when you were able to sense it, it would have been completed.
The eighth stance actually wasn’t that bad. The later ones were even more abstruse and more difficult to study.