Book 20, Jindan Upgrade, Chapter 11 –Taiji-force
As the staff came smashing down, countless snowflakes swirled around it, causing its power to increase explosively!
Ji Ning just stood there quietly as Snowfiend’s blow descended towards him.
Empyrean God Roughpeak had said it himself; this was merely one of Snowfiend’s clones. If Ning could destroy this clone in one blow, Roughpeak would follow him. In his heart, Ning wished to help out this ‘senior apprentice-brother’ of his. His wife’s master, Patriarch Lu Dongbin, could actually be considered a fellow disciple of Roughpeak’s.
Lu Dongbin had once apprenticed himself to two of the major powers of the Daoist Path. One was Daoist Three Purities; the other was Exalted Celestial Carefree.
For the sake of his connection to Lu Dongbin alone, Ning would’ve been willing to give Roughpeak a hand. But of course, Roughpeak’s status was far lower than Lu Dongbin’s. Even as far back as the Primordial Era, Lu Dongbin was viewed as one of the most peerless of geniuses. But alas, his ambitions in dual-cultivating in Buddhism and Taoism were too great. It wasn’t until the Three Realms was swept into this current storm that he was finally able to make his breakthrough, but upon doing so he instantly became a elite Daofather.
Whoosh. The staff came smashing downwards.
Swish! Ning’s sword-light flashed. As soon as he used his sword, he executed the [Starseizing Hand], causing his sword to be filled with tremendous power. “This Snowfiend clone is far too slow.” The strange, unfathomable sword-light flashed, and it was about to land against Snowfiend, except…Snowfiend’s longstaff suddenly spun around, moving to block Ning’s sword.
“Eh?” Ning’s face changed slightly, and he sent the longsword forward in a stabbing motion, following the momentum of the blow.
Stab! The tip of the sword pierced straight through the skull of Snowfiend’s clone.[Brightmoon] sword-art, Blood Drop stance.
Whoosh. Snowfiend’s clone completely dispersed, transforming back into the snow that filled the skies. At the same time, Snowfiend’s voice echoed forth throughout the region. “If that’s all the power you have…you aren’t even close to being strong enough to pass. Haha…I’ll be waiting for you on the path ahead.”
Empyrean God Roughpeak walked to Ning. “What do you think?”
“I underestimated him,” Ning said. “His clone only had an ordinary amount of power and speed; I thought I’d be able to easily kill him with one blow of my sword. Who would’ve thought that his staff-techniques would be so formidable? I had to spend a little bit of effort on him after all.”
Roughpeak nodded. “The clones of the sea yaksha that were all very weak; they could be effortlessly killed. But the clones of Snowfiend are far harder to deal with. As for his true form, it’s even more powerful. His greatest strength is that he has almost no weaknesses at all. Or perhaps he does have weaknesses…but I wasn’t able to discover any.”
“Almost no weaknesses?” Ning frowned.
“Don’t worry. You don’t have to actually defeat him; so long as you have reached a certain level of power, he’ll voluntarily withdraw and let you pass.” Roughpeak chuckled, “Just now, you were able to kill Snowfiend’s clone in one exchange, and your sword-art appeared quite impressive. I’ll follow you.”
In truth, strictly speaking Ning didn’t really just use a single technique; he had first used the ‘Shadowless’ stance, then transformed it into the ‘Blood Drop’ stance. The reason why Roughpeak described it all as being ‘one exchange’ was because he truly could no longer endure the loneliness of being trapped in this place.
“Let’s go.” Ning waved his hand. Roughpeak didn’t resist, allowing himself to be drawn into Ning’s Immortal estate.
Ning himself was carrying a Pure Yang Immortal estate that held his other body within it. But of course, as the master of the estate, Ning was able to separate it into many different ‘sections’. For now, he didn’t wish to let Roughpeak know of his second body’s existence. There were very few in the Three Realms who knew this secret.
Ning boarded the Ruyi Soulsnake Shuttle, then continued to advance along the path set by the wooden bridge.
Snowflakes drifted downwards, seeming to cover the entire world.
“What a beautiful scene.” Ning smiled.
He continuously advanced. After two full hours, the Ruyi Soulsnake Shuttle came to a sudden halt, and Ning’s face changed slightly as he stared up ahead. Far off in the distance, a golden-furred ape was seated atop the bridge. In front of the golden-furred ape was placed a long staff that emanated a tremendous aura of power as well. Clearly, this was an extremely formidable treasure. At present, the golden-furred ape was seated in the lotus position, resting his jaw against his arms, waiting for Ning in an extremely bored-looking manner.
“You finally came. I waited forever for you.” The golden-furred ape rose to his feet, stretching slightly. “That flying treasure of yours is far too slow.”
With but a thought, Ning dismissed his Ruyi Soulsnake Shuttle, landing atop the wooden bridge. A pair of blood-red swords in his hands, he stared at the distant form of Snowfiend. “Although Snowfiend’s true aura is far more powerful than his clone’s aura, it feels as though his aura isn’t even as strong as the aura of the true body of the sea yaksha.”
“Heh heh heh…what’s wrong? Are you wondering why my aura seems fairly weak?” Snowfiend laughed mockingly. “Don’t compare that sea yaksha to me; that idiot isn’t even able to fully control all of his power. All he has is brute force. I, however, am in complete control of every shred of my power. Once I withdraw my aura, I can change my aura, change my appearance, change everything.”
Snowfiend’s appearance suddenly transformed into that of Roughpeak’s.
“Again!” This time he transformed into Ning. The aura was completely identical.
Ning, seeing this, was quite startled. This was equivalent to the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]!
“Thus, kid…you should understand that true experts can’t be judged based on their looks,” Snowfiend said with a laugh. “The more powerful one is, the more they will generally choose to restrain their auras. In fact, they might appear like an ordinary person, giving off no aura of danger at all.”
Ning couldn’t help but nod.
It was true. For example, when he had encountered Old Man Yuan, Old Man Yuan had transformed himself into an ordinary-looking old gardener. Ning truly had thought him to be nothing more than an ordinary mortal, and he truly had sensed no aura around him at all.
“Come. Let’s see what you’ve got. Show me what you have,” Snowfiend called out.
“Come out.” A fierce light flashed through Ning’s eyes, and a total of 729 Pure Yang swords appeared around him, hovering in the air. A large amount of Immortal energy had been pumped into them, and the energy was cycled through them, transforming into an incomparably sharp jade sword that materialized in front of Ning.
“Oh, it seems you have some skill after all.” Snowfiend hefted his golden staff, chortling merrily.
Ning’s eyelids twitched.
The jade sword instantly pierced through the skies, leaving behind a streak of light as it chopped towards Snowfiend in an unfathomable, unpredictable manner.
Boom! Snowfiend gently flicked out his golden staff, smashing it against the jade sword. The jade sword instantly shattered.
“Eh?” Ning’s face changed. “Go, go, go!” One jade sword after another materialized and soared off.
Snowfiend just lazily advanced, his golden staff casually trembling with each blow. The staff transformed into a layer of concentric circles, effortlessly smashing apart each seemingly ‘unfathomable’ jade sword. Boom! Boom! Boom! All three were broken apart in succession.
“Is this the only technique you know?!” Snowfiend stared wide-eyed, seemingly befuddled. “Then this is going to be really boring.”
After speaking, Snowfiend’s golden staff suddenly flew into the air, transforming into a golden streak of light.
“My ‘Shadowless’ stance is inscrutable and mysterious, and it was backed by the power of the ninth-stage [Greater Thousand Swords Formation]. And yet, he was able to effortless deflect it. It seems I’ll have to use heartforce.” Ning didn’t expect that he would immediately be forced to use haertforce. Yet another jade sword appeared in front of him, and yet another streak of light flashed out, chopping towards Snowfiend.
Snowfiend leapt forward, and the jade sword stabbed through the air.
The two collided.
“Die!” Ning willed it, and the heartforce within the jade sword instantly burst forth, causing the speed and power of the jade sword to increase dramatically, making it even faster and more unpredictable as it chopped towards Snowfiend.
“Eh?” For the first time, Snowfiend revealed a solemn look on his face. Prior to this, he had been holding the staff with one hand, but now he instantly switched to a two-handed grip.
Whoosh! The staff trembled, causing circles to instantly appear in the skies. Two calm streams of black energy and white energy appeared on the surface of the staff.
The staff once more smashed against Ning’s jade sword…and despite adding fourth-stage heartforce to the mix, the sword was still completely shattered.
“Interesting.” Snowfiend’s eyes lit up. “Ahahaha, let’s do it again! Again!”
Snowfiend’s body bounded forward at high speed. As he ran forward, his movements became strange and unfathomable. He occasionally moved left and occasionally moved right, advancing nonstop in a zig-zag pattern.
Clearly, Snowfiend was taking things seriously now.
“He was able to stop even fourth-stage heartforce?” Ning felt a hint of surprise. Every time he applied heartforce, he used up a good amount of his energy. He would only be able to unleash a total of ten such swords.
“Go, go, go!” Ning gritted his teeth. Once more, he shot out three jade swords. This time, only one of them was filled with fourth-stage heartforce as he mixed ‘real’ attacks with ‘fake’ attacks.
“Ahahaha…” Snowfiend roared with laughter.
Boom! Boom! Boom!!!
Three consecutive explosions. Although one of the jade swords suddenly increased dramatically in power, it was still completely smashed apart.
“What?!” Ning could instantly tell that this would be tough.
By now, Snowfiend had already closed in on Ning. With no time for anything else, Ning immediately put away his Pure Yang swords while manifesting his three-headed, six-armed form. Six swords in his hands, he charged forward to meet Snowfiend in combat.
The staff was filled with tremendous power. As soon as their attacks clashed, Ning was knocked flying backwards.
“What tremendous strength.” Ning flew backwards, his back smashing directly against the frozen sea. With a boom, the frozen sea trembled from the collision, but it remained completely undamaged. As for Ning, he rolled backwards a considerable distance before once more flying forward.
“If I don’t use the [Starseizing Hand], I probably can’t compete against him in raw strength.” Ning could feel a headache coming.
The [Starseizing Hand] used up divine power at a tremendous rate. [Three Heads, Six Arms] allowed him to increase his power significantly; given that he had six swords against the enemy’s single golden staff, he thought that he would at least be able to give the ape a run for his money, perhaps even winning. Who would’ve thought that he would be smashed backwards in their first exchange?
“Although he’s not as strong as the true form of the sea yaksha, he’s still much stronger than me. His staff-technique is also unfathomably profound, and his movement techniques are shockingly brilliant as well. He truly is virtually flawless. Senior apprentice-brother Roughpeak was actually able to escape Snowfiend through his evasion techniques…that’s quite impressive.” Only now did Ning truly understand how impressive Empyrean God Roughpeak’s evasive techniques were.
“I have to make use of my advantages.”
Ning had no choice but to engage in a bit of scheming now.
“Haha!” Snowfiend roared with laughter, charging forward onto the floating bridge and ramming straight towards Ning, who was still standing atop the frozen sea.
Ning continued to wield six swords in his three-headed, six-armed form. Once Snowfiend reached him, he moved.
Ning completely ignored the oncoming blow, sending all six of his swords smashing downwards towards Snowfiend’s body. You want to hit me? Hit all you like. Thanks to my [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], I can completely ignore your attacks. As long as my swords can chop you to death, I’ll win.
For the sake of success, Ning even used the [Starseizing Hand], allowing all six of his arms to explode with terrifying power.
The staff in Snowfiend’s hands suddenly twisted about, and the two streams of black energy and white energy once more appeared, forming an enormous vortex that trapped all six of Ning’s swords. And then, Snowfiend’s staff came smashing viciously towards Ning!
BOOM! The staff smashed away the six swords, then smashed down upon Ning’s body. Ning was once more knocked flying backwards, and he once more struck the frozen sea. This time, with a series of shattering sounds, a large number of cracks appeared on the icy surface.
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