Book 35, The Aeonian Race, Chapter 8 – Daolord Coldsky
“Gwaaaaaar!” The flaming equine’s entire body was covered in flames as it galloped across the skies towards Ji Ning with frenetic momentum.
BOOM! Ning transformed into a streak of light, clashing against the flaming equine time and time again in midair. Sometimes he fought it head-on, sometimes he used unpredictable movements, and sometimes he completely disappeared into thin air… but once he moved closer to the creature, he was forced to show himself by its blazing flames!
This was an incredibly exciting battle. The shockwaves generated by the repeated collisions blasted out in every direction, causing Ninedust to repeatedly move backwards as he watched.
“Such power! Darknorth is growing stronger and stronger.” Ninedust was excited by what he saw.
“They’ve fought to a standstill?”
“The flame beast holds an advantage in power, while the kid holds an advantage in unpredictability. Still… based on what I can tell, this battle should be depleting quite a bit of the kid’s divine power and Immortal energy. Once a bit more time passes, it’ll be hard for the kid to stay in top fighting form, whereas his opponent can draw from the energy of the endless sea of flames. It’d be easy for him to stay in battle for ten years or even a hundred years without resting. If things proceed like this, the kid’s probably going to die.”
“Yes, if the young fellow wishes to win, he needs to win as soon as possible. The longer this drags out, the greater his chances of losing will be.” The two races of beasts watching from the sidelines all commented with interest.
One day… two days… three days… Ning continued to battle against the flaming equine in midair, the two landing on the ground every so often to continue the battle there.
“He’s definitely going to lose.”
“Look! His sword-arts aren’t able to maintain that mist-form from before.”
“He probably has depleted too much divine power and Immortal energy. He’s unable to maintain it.”
“It’s been too long. He’s lost.” The majority of the watching beasts all came to this conclusion.
The battle between Ning and the flaming equine lasted for an extremely long period of time. By the third day, Ning gave up on using the [Heartsword] art! This was because the [Heartsword] art allowed Ning to fight the flaming equine to a standstill… and Ning had quickly discovered the flaming equine’s flaws! Whenever Ning wished it, he would be able to quickly defeat the creature.
However… Ning’s greatest goal was to break through to become a Daolord of the Fourth Step. What he needed was a good opponent to temper himself against! This was why, after the third day, he pretended to be exhausted and stopped using the [Heartsword] art. Without it strengthening him, his power instantly dropped by half! This caused him to immediately be at a disadvantage and be suppressed by the flaming equine.
“This is perfect. Now, I can truly test out my sword-arts. Mm… yes, I see many more flaws in my sword-arts that I previously had not discovered. I need to perfectly master and merge the mysteries of these five stances into a whole. Only then will my sword-arts be truly flawless and complete.”
Ning was being dominated and beaten down, but this only showed him more clearly the weaknesses in his sword-arts. His mind was now filled with many new insights… but these insights weren’t enough! He would need far more if he wished to merge his five stances into the fourth stage of the Omega Sword Dao and then become a Daolord of the Fourth Step.
In the blink of an eye, nineteen days had passed with Ning and the flaming equine locked in combat. This caused the many watching beasts to feel puzzled: “The kid’s actually been able to hang on for nineteen days?”
“That couldn’t have been easy. He’s clearly much weaker now, but he’s still been able to hold on… not bad at all.”
“This will end in defeat, but an honorable one.”
Ning continued to dodge and stumble about while defending with his six swords. Suddenly, his movements changed as a sharp light flashed through his eyes. “Time to bring it to an end.”
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
The sword-light once more formed into streams of mist as the power of his strikes increased twofold! With a boom, Ning’s strikes collided against the flaming equine, catching it off-guard and sending it stumbling.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Slash! Slash! Slash! Ning’s six swords suddenly disappeared without a trace, reappearing much closer to the equine when its flames forced them to manifest. The six swords were like a peacock unfurling its plumage. They were absolutely incandescent yet completely ghostly in their movements.
Although the flaming equine was quite valiant and doughty, Ning had used the Heavenbreaker stance and the Blood Drop stance to break through its guard, then used the Shadowless stance to quickly wrap his swords around its bodies. The divine swords transformed to become long and flexible, coiling around the flaming beast and quickly tying the entire thing up securely.
“Impossible.” The trussled flame beast had a look of disbelief on its face. “How could this have happened?”
It clearly recalled what had just happened. It had endured the Omega Sword Dao – Blood Drop, Heavenbreaker, and Shadowless multiple times by now; those techniques were of no threat to it. How was it that this time, it had been defeated?
In truth, if Ning had merely used those three stances by themselves, he wouldn’t have been able to pose a threat to the creature at all. However, when he used all three together in a manner where they reinforced each other, he was able to capitalize on a weakness in the flaming equine’s movements and thus capture and bind it.
An effective combination of attacks could cause one to become quite a bit more dangerous.
“Again! Let’s do it again! I can’t accept this outcome.” The flaming equine was furiously struggling against its bonds, twisting and turning while it roared angrily, “You got lucky just now! I was over-confident. Let’s fight again!”
“Hmph.” When Ning saw the uncowed look on the flaming equine’s face, Ning silently muttered to himself, “If I didn’t want to use you to temper my sword-arts, I would’ve captured you on the very first day.”
“A defeat is a defeat,” an ancient voice rang out. The stately clan leader flew out from within the ranks of the hundred or so flaming equines.
“Clan leader.” The tied-up equine was still rather unwilling to accept this outcome. “I-I…”
“Just look at yourself. You’ve been tied up like a baby.” The flaming equine turned to look at Ning. “This young fellow’s sword-arts can switch between being supremely hard and supremely soft, between being fast and being slow, and is defensively impenetrable. It truly has no weaknesses at all. As soon as he unleashed his full power, he instantly captured you. Although it was partially because of your own over-confidence, even if you were careful you still probably wouldn’t have been able to hold out too long.”
Ning was secretly startled. The clan leader really had good judgment. It was true that part of the reason why he had been able to instantly capture the flaming equine was because he hadn’t used the [Heartsword] art during the past ten-plus days. His sudden usage of it and the corresponding increase in power had caught the flaming equine off-guard, allowing him to catch it with ease. If his foe was prepared, Ning still would’ve been able to capture him, but it wouldn’t have been nearly this easy.
“Alright.” The captured equine nodded submissively. The clan leader’s prestige was quite high and had a suppressive effect on it.
“Young fellow, you won. From this moment forth, our two clans will no longer stand in your path.” The flaming equine leader looked at Ning.
Ning waved his hand, retracting the Northbow swords which had been wrapped around the flaming equine and drawing them back into his hands.
“These two battles have benefited me tremendously,” Ning said with a respectful bow.
Whoosh. The similarly stately and reserved leader of the sea dragons flew out of deep blue sea and towards Ning. It landed next to Ning, then let out a laugh: “Hah! It has been a very, very long time since a Daolord has passed the trials.”
“When was the last time a Daolord passed the trials?” Ning asked curiously.
“Very long ago, more than nine hundred thousand chaos cycles ago.” The sea dragon leader peered at Ning. “I think his name was Daolord Coldsky.”
“Coldsky?” Ning was puzzled.
“Daolord Coldsky? Who?” Ninedust was puzzled as well.
Anyone capable of passing this trial had to be just as strong as the current Ning. By all rights, he should’ve been an incredibly famous figure. Even though nearly a million chaos cycles had gone by and very few would’ve remembered him, people like Ning and Ninedust who had access to many historical records and secrets should’ve heard of him. They knew all of the most dazzling and most talented Daolords in history. Neither, however, had ever heard of an incredibly talented Daolord by the name of Daolord Coldsky.
“Back then, Daolord Coldsky said that he belonged to a different branch of the Aeonian race. He had been invited here to help out the Flamedragon branch,” the sea dragon leader said.
“A different branch?” Ning and Ninedust were both shocked.
“Other realmverses also have Aeonians?” Ning was puzzled.
“The Aeonian race has quite an extraordinary background.” The sea dragon leader smiled. “The ones in the Flamedragon Realmverse represent nothing more than a single branch of that race. Otherwise, how could they possibly have acquired a treasure like this ‘Aeonian Kingdom’?”
Ning and Ninedust were both enlightened. Indeed, the Aeonian Kingdom was a place which not even Hegemons dared to trespass within. It really wasn’t a treasure which the local Aeonians, a race which merely had a few Eternal Emperors, would’fe been able to create on their own. Ning had always believed that the Aeonians must’ve acquired it somewhere when adventuring. Now, it seemed, it was actually created.
“Daolord Coldsky had already failed his Daomerge, but before his death he was invited to come here to the Flamedragon Realmverse. Ignoring the cost to his vitality, he consecutively defeated two of the younger members of our two races. By the time the battles concluded, his truesoul’s collapsed had been hastened to the point where he only had less than a hundred thousand years to live.” The sea dragon leader shook its head and sighed. “The more monstrously talented a Daolord, the more difficult the Daomerge. A pity, what a pity.”
Ning felt mixed emotions in his heart. If he failed his Daomerge, he would probably do everything he could to help the Three Realms.
Once the Daomerge was failed, one’s truesoul would slowly crumble apart. If one actively avoided using divine power and Immortal energy, one might be able to live for a bit longer… but engaging in combat would result in hastening the truesoul’s collapse! The more times one fought, the more quickly one’s truesoul would decay and the shorter one’s lifespan would become. When the truesoul finally, truly collapsed… one would die.