Book 35, The Aeonian Race, Chapter 7 – Autarch’s Decree
Ji Ning finally saw the light, and his Heavenbreaker stance broke through to the fourth stance. Now… his Blood Drop stance, Shadowless stance, Heavenbreaker stance, Yin-Yang stance, and Soleheart stance had all broken through to the fourth stage. These five stances were linked together and reinforced each other, giving Ning a sense of perfection and completeness. However… he knew that this sense of perfection wasn’t the true apex! Only when he perfectly fused these five stances into his Omega Sword Dao – Stage Four would they undergo a qualitative breakthrough.
“I’m just one step away… once I take that step, I’ll be a Daolord of the Fourth Step! When that happens, my only consideration shall be whether or not I should engage in the Daomerge.” Ning was filled with excitement.
The Daomerge? He felt as though his chances were slim; he didn’t dare put too much hope into that! But once he became a Daolord of the Fourth Step, he’d become dramatically more powerful. As his understanding of the [Heartsword] art slowly improved, he’d probably surpass the level of the Archons of the Sacred Cities and close in on the Hegemon level! Emperor Heartsword had been inferior to Ning in his mastery of the Dao of the Sword, but thanks to his full mastery of all fifteen stances of the [Heartsword] art he had been extremely close to the Hegemon level.
Ning had a much greater grasp of the Dao of the Sword, and he had also reached an extremely high level in the [Heartsword] art; it was entirely possible for him to one day become equal to Hegemons in power!
With that level of power, he would be able to go off adventuring… and perhaps he might be able to find something that he could use to convince an Autarch to reverse the flows of spacetime and revive Yu Wei.
“Once I take that final step and become a Daolord of the Fourth Step, I’ll go and challenge the Azureflower Estate once more! The destiny which awaits me there is definitely an extraordinary one.” Ning eagerly anticipated the coming of that day… but everything had to wait for him to become a Daolord of the Fourth Step first! Although he had already reached the fourth stage in all five of his stances, he had to merge them together into his final Omega Sword Dao.
How long would this step take? It could be as fast as the next instant… but could also be as slow as a chaos cycle or even a hundred chaos cycles!
“Eh?” The airborne sea dragon peered downwards at the white-robed youth, realizing that the youth had come to a halt. It let out a rumbling shout, “Kid, you tired from all the fighting? You were fighting me head-on like crazy. I imagine you must’ve used up a great deal of your divine power and Immortal energy.”
The distant Ning smiled slightly. “Let’s do it again. If you can still withstand my strike, I’ll stop the fight.” His voice echoed throughout the air.
“Darknorth… did he…?” The distant Ninedust was truly shocked as he watched this.
“Why is this young fellow suddenly saying something so bold?”
“Did he come up with a way to gain victory?”
“Let’s see just what he’s planning.”
The two races of beasts in the two seas watched curiously from afar. They wanted to see just what technique Daolord Darknorth would use in this final clash.
Boom! Ning suddenly moved with incomparable savagery, transforming into a streak of light that shot straight towards the distant deep blue sea dragon. The three-headed, six-armed Ning once more wrapped all six hands around the hilt of the Northbow sword, filling it with an aura of overwhelming might as he transformed it into a dominating mist-formed sword.
“This technique again?”
“Isn’t that what he used previously?”
Everyone was puzzled. Even the sea dragon fighting against Ning was confused, but it didn’t hesitate; it let out an enraged howl and charged forwards. Ning’s own agility and sword-arts made it hard for it to dodge, and so it chose to meet the attack head-on.
Whoosh! As the sea dragon charged towards Ning, it suddenly swept out with its tail, using it to lash out at Ning like an enormous long whip. Crack!
Ning suddenly let out an earth-shaking howl! The ethereal, mist-formed sword in his hand suddenly exploded with power, instantly becoming millions of times brighter as it exploded against the sea dragon’s tail.
As soon as the sea dragon collided against Ning’s sword, it immediately knew that something was wrong! The power of the Omega Sword Dao – Heavenbreaker was only evident in the very last instant, when it released its stored power. A slumbering volcano was very ordinary and unremarkable; one could only understand how truly terrifying it was in the moment of its explosion. The sea dragon could sense a terrifying surge of power instantly spread out to cover his entire body.
Bang! Its entire icy carapace was only able to withstand the force for a brief instant. A heartbeat later, the entire carapace shattered apart. No… more than just the icy carapace, the body inside cracked apart as well! The entire deep blue sea dragon shattered apart like a piece of ice, instantly breaking apart into countless little pieces.
As for Ning, he stumbled just thirty meters backwards. He stared intently at the shattered bits of eyes, watching as a stream of energy flew out from the freezing ice region and gathered into a blurry figure which looked much like that of the sea dragon. The illusory sea dragon looked at Ning, then let out a laugh: “My frozen form was built up over the course of countless years, but you broke it apart just like that? Impressive, impressive. You’ve won!”
Ning let out a sigh of relief. He watched as the illusory sea dragon continued to draw upon the icy energy of the area, slowly rebuilding its body. However, the full recovery process would take at least ten thousand years. The creature continued, “Still… even though that stance of yours was useful against me, it’ll be useless against the fiery fellow over there. My forte lay in agility and unpredictability, but the fiery fellow’s skills lie in overwhelmingly fierce attacks.”
After speaking, the creature retreated into the deep blue seas, flying into it and then hovering above its surface. A large amount of watery energy swirled around its body, which it constantly drew upon and absorbed.
“He actually won.”
“That sword-strike was quite ferocious. He smashed the frozen form apart.” The hundreds of spectator beasts were all quite surprised.
Ninedust was extremely excited. He flew straight towards Ning: “Darknorth, Darknorth, you won! Haha! These two beasts should be two matching pairs; one emanates an aura of endless cold, the other is formed from endless flames. They should be on par with each other in power! Since you were able to beat one, you should be able to beat the second one as well. I can already see your victory!”
“We can’t get careless.” Ning stared at the distant flaming equine, then said in a low voice, “They might be on par with each other, but one might be much easier to defeat than the other.”
For example, defeating Ning would be extremely difficult. Anyone skilled in defense or who had extremely formidable protective divine abilities would all be quite difficult to defeat. Given that the sea dragon came first and the flaming equine was the second challenge, it seemed likely that in some way, shape, or form, the flaming equine would be even tougher to deal with.
“If you can defeat me, then our two races will no longer move to bar your path.” The flaming equine’s voice was deep and dominating. “But I’m not as easy to deal with as the frozen fellow; although those beasts have extremely hard bodies that can be used as weapons, their bodies are too easily shattered. Excessive hardness can result in brittleness. To create bodies formed from frozen ice was a fool’s choice to begin with.”
“No, you fire beasts are the true fools.” Instantly, one of the many spectating sea dragons in the air bellowed in disagreement: “Every part of our frozen bodiescan be used as weapons. We only sent out one of the most common members of our race to spar against that young fellow. If our clan leader entered the fray, his sword wouldn’t be able to leave as much as a mark behind on our leader’s body!”
“Defeat is defeat.” The flaming equine glanced sideways at the sea dragon, not even wanting to bother with him.
“No, you guys are the idiots.”
“You wanna start a fight? You wanna fight again?”
“Bitch, let’s go!” The two races quickly began to squabble against each other. Both sides were boiling with the eagerness to do battle, a sight which stupefied both Ning and Ninedust.
What Ning and Ninedust didn’t understand was that this planet had no other living beings, and so the two races which lived on it had nothing better than to do when bored than to battle against each other! They’d fight until the skies themselves turned dark and the world itself turned old. To them, fighting against each other was as normal as eating or drinking.
“Let’s not be too hasty.” An ancient voice rang out from one of the deep blue sea dragons in the skies. This sea dragon looked quite ordinary, but its aura was so reserved and stately that Ning hadn’t even noticed it earlier. The sea dragon continued, “The Autarch’s decree was that we were to live here and prevent cultivators from entering that place! If you want to fight, you can fight later; we have business to finish first.”
“Agreed. We have business to finish first.” A similar order came from a stately flaming equine on the other side of the planet.
The two races quickly calmed down and fell silent. As for Ning and Ninedust, they were intrigued; the ‘Autarch’s decree’? It seemed as though this place had also been set up in accordance with an Autarch’s plans… but why had none of it been written down on the stone stele?
“Come, then.” The flaming equine stood in the air above that narrow strip of land, its body blazing with flames so hot that the air around it was bubbling.
“Let’s.” Ning instantly transformed into a streak of light as he shot over towards the flaming equine.
The flaming equine moved as well, its four hooves galloping across the air itself as it suddenly sped up. It immediately moved more than a hundred times the speed of light… and in fact, it was even faster than the sea dragon. Its flying speed was absolutely ferocious! It lowered its head slightly, pointing its horns straight at its foe.
BOOM! Ning once more used his most savage strike, the Omega Sword Dao – Heavenbreaker. His sword shot out, smoting furiously upon the flaming equine’s skull! As for the equine, it didn’t dodge at all; it just continued its headlong charge.
An enormous explosion rang out! The flaming equine trembled slightly as it staggered more than three hundred meters backwards, while Ning was actually blasted more than a thousand kilometers away before Ning came to a halt. Ning was secretly shocked: “Just like the sea dragon said… this beast specializes in overwhelmingly ferocious attacks. It really is ferocious; it’s even stronger than my Omega Sword Dao – Heavenbreaker! Perfect! Only foes like this are strong enough for me to temper my sword-arts.”
What he needed to do was to take that one final step and become a Daolord of the Fourth Step. To do that, he needed sufficient challenges to face!