Book 21, The Bloodlotus Blooms, Chapter 10 – The Return
Although the core of the blazing star was incredibly hot, the flames on its surface were at most capable of harming Void-level Earth Immortals and Loose Immortals.
The white-robed youth stood there, not moving at all. Six hundred years worth of memories were fusing together nonstop.
It could be said that in Undermoon Lake, Ji Ning was completely and utterly infatuated with and devoted to the sword. All of his efforts had been spent on it, and his heart had barely changed at all. But in the outside world, Ning’s heart had changed on a fundamental level. He had spent six hundred years dominating and soulscouring the prisoners of the prisonworld and had seen so many memories. Memories of darkness, of madness, of love, of betrayal…
Every time he soulscoured someone, the memories he saw would affect him slightly. If an ordinary person was to see someone else’s memories, it was entirely possible that the memories would all bleed into each other and intermingle. Of course, this wouldn’t happen for someone on Ning’s level, but generally speaking it wasn’t uncommon for shadows to be cast over one’s mind. If one could endure it, however, it would serve as a form of tempering.
For someone like Ning, the backlash caused by soulscouring really wasn’t worth mentioning. However, his heart had still slowly evolved, becoming as bottomless as an endless abyss, capable of holding anything within its depths.
As for the time he spent wandering the Three Realms and meditating on the Nine Chaos Seals, it had continuously tempered and refined Ning’s heart even further.
One side had reached an astonishing level in the sword.
The other had seen a transformation of the heart.
Even mortals had the saying, ‘put your heart into it’. Two experts might be at the exact same level of sword-arts, but they would be able to produce completely different results based on the level of their heart.
“My sword was always a bit too excessively sharp; it wasn’t quite stable and steady enough. In Undermoon Lake, I was never quite able to make a breakthrough in this regard,” the white-robed youth mumbled. He suddenly pointed forward with his finger. At the tip of his finger suddenly appeared a swirling whirlpool that was formed from diametrically opposed types of power. Swish! The Void itself was pierced through.
“Now…I’ve finally made a bit of a breakthrough.” Ning nodded slowly.
During the past six hundred years in Undermoon Lake, Ning had almost completely focused on the sword. This became even more the case after he had viewed the ninety-eight stone steles which World God Northrest had left behind. They revealed a brand new path for Ning. Ning had wanted to reach the fifth level of swordforce very much, but going from the fourth level to the fifth level was as hard as ascending to the heavens. It was much like how only the great divinity Houyi had ever managed to reach the fifth level of heartforce; the number of fifth-level swordforce experts in the Three Realms could be counted on one hand.
To break through and reach the fifth stage of swordforce with just a few short centuries of training was simply far too difficult. Ning had always worked very hard, and although he hadn’t made a breakthrough in swordforce, he had learned much and actually been able to embark upon a different path. He had slowly gained insight into yinforce and yangforce, and had even been able to join them together into infiniforce. Ning was able to infuse many of his insights regarding World God Northrest’s sword-arts into his infiniforce technique.
World God Northrest’s sword-arts actually contained many different types of force, including swordforce, infiniforce, spacetime-force…
But clearly, when training with the sword, Ning had gained more insights into Yin and Yang, resulting in him comprehending the essence of infiniforce. In truth, during his early years at Swallow Mountain, Ning had simultaneously trained in two mighty sword techniques, one of fire, the other of ice. When he trained in using ice and fire at the same time, he was unconsciously training in the basics of Yin and Yang as well. However, Ning had only spent so many years training, and most of those years had been focused on the Dao of the Sword and the Grand Dao of the Waterdrop. He was completely unwilling to divide his attention towards other Daos.
In Undermoon Lake, Ning didn’t train in any other Daos at all, only training in the sword.
And so…in the end, had gained insight into infiniforce.
After three years, he had gained a basic level of insight into infiniforce. Srictly speaking, in the outside world it could be said that he had already gained insight into the Grand Dao of Infinity.
After twenty years, his infiniforce had reached the second level.
After less than a century, it had reached the third level.
And yet…he had yet to be able to reach the fourth level.
However, upon leaving Undermoon Lake and reconnecting with the memories from the outside world, his heart began to change. He drew upon the many insights regarding the sword he had gained during six centuries of roaming the Three Realms…and so, naturally and unconsciously, Ning reached the fourth level of infiniforce as well. But most importantly of all, because Ning’s insights were derived from World God Northrest’s sword-arts, his infiniforce and his swordforce began to join together into a perfect, flawless whole.
“The fifth stage of swordforce…” Ning could sense it much more clearly now than before.
“It seems the experiences of my predecessors were correct.” Ning nodded mentally to himself.
World God Northrest had left behind many bamboo scrolls. Aside from containing techniques, some contained knowledge and guidance for training in general, as well as information regarding the endless primordial chaos. Alas, World God Northrest had fled in a blind panic, and so even he wasn’t certain how many different regions and dimensions of spacetime he had traversed before reaching the Three Realms. Thus, the few maps he had regarding the primordial chaos were all useless to Ning.
The knowledge and guidance for training in general, however, was very useful.
According to what World God Northrest had said, if one wished to reach the fifth stage of swordforce, one would ideally come up with ways of infusing other types of force into one’s sword-arts, producing sword-arts of greater power. The more powerful one’s sword-arts were, the closer one would be to the fifth stage of swordforce. To reach the sixth stage of swordforce would be to reach the stage known as the true ‘World of the Sword’. This was the stage of World Gods, a stage that completely eclipsed the Heavenly Daos. The best way to reach this level was to train in sword-arts that surpassed the Heavenly Daos!
This was because the World God level, in and of itself, surpassed the Heavenly Daos. Thus, training in sword-arts that surpassed the Heavenly Daos, even in just one aspect such as the [Five Treasures] and speed, would still help tear a small ‘crack’ in the barrier the Heavenly Daos presented. This would allow Ning to move closer to that level.
“Following the guidance of my predecessors is akin to standing on their shoulders.” Ning wouldn’t be so arrogant as to disregard their guidance.
What he needed to do was constantly improve himself until he reached a point where he surpassed even his predecessors.
When he had been forced to personally consign Yu Wei into the Infinity Hells, Ning had suddenly comprehended many things. He had murmured to himself: ‘Though I come from the mortal dust, my heart still soars towards the heavens.’
“Eh? I just mastered the Dao of Rainwater.”
The white-robed youth stood there on the surface of the blazing star, stunned.
Because of his mastery over the [Five Treasures], he was finally able to comprehend other Daos again. Within just a few breaths of time, he completely mastered the Dao of Rainwater!
This was primarily because Ning was at simply far too high a level of understanding right now. When his ninth apprentice-brother, Junwu, was still just a mortal child, a single word of guidance from Subhuti had caused him to suddenly master an entire Dao overnight. What level of enlightenment had Ning reached? His sword-arts had surpassed the Heavenly Daos, and his swordforce and infiniforce had joined together perfectly. He had also absorbed the essence of the elite sword-arts left behind by World God Northrest, and his self-created [Brightmoon] sword-art was already definitely the number one sword-art of the Three Realms.
He possessed a incredibly high level of insight, and also possessed an incredibly high level of heartforce.
Comprehending the various Daos he already had an affinity towards? It was just a matter of time.
“Time to pay the prisonworld a visit.” The white-robed youth entered a boat-type treasure, shuttling through the Void.
Upon reaching the icy star and entering the prisonworld…
“Eh? I just mastered the Dao of the Thunderclap?” As soon as Ning entered the prisonworld, he was shocked by this revelation. He was surprised because prior to training in the [Five Treasures], he had no talent for lightning-affinity Daos at all. But now, he had suddenly mastered it with tremendous speed. It was second only to the Dao of Rainwater; he hadn’t even regained his other previous Daos, such as the Dao of the Inferno. Instead, it was the Dao of the Thunderclap which had come first.
Still, it made sense.
His divine body had long ago become baptized by lightning, becoming a lightning-attribute divine body. In terms of his body’s affinity for lightning, he was actually on an even higher level than Exalted Celestial Thundergod, who had been born out of the primordial chaos itself. His body was able to completely become one with the Ninehorn Lightning Serpent, just as perfectly as a Golden Crow would be able to become one with the flames of the sun.
In truth, at this point in time, Ning’s affinity for and talent in lightning actually surpassed even his talent for water! However, he had focused on the Grand Dao of the Waterdrop in the past. Even though his memories of it were lost, he would instinctively gain insights into it much faster than in other Daos, allowing him to quickly master the Dao of Rainwater.
The Dao of the Inferno and the Dao of the Gale all revealed themselves as well. He even began to gain insights into the Dao of Space once more.
“The more solid a foundation, the more one shall comprehend.” Ning was quite calm.
According to what World God Northrest had said, different chaosworlds all had different Heavenly Daos! For example, the Pangu Chaosworld and the Seamless Chaosworld both had Heavenly Daos of Earth, but although they were extremely similar, there were still a number of differences. 1
For true experts, however, what really mattered was a solid foundation of fundamental forces such as swordforce, infiniforce, taiji-force, or chaosforce. Once one reached a sufficiently high level of insight into these fundamental forces, then no matter what chaosworld one entered, one would be able to rapidly gain insights into the many local Daos. By now…Ning had gained a very stable foundation.
“In the past, my vision was far too limited. Or perhaps it would be more fair to say that the True Gods and True Immortals of Pangaea had limited vision.” Ning was quite moved.
A series of white-robed youths stood there atop a grassy area within the prisonworld. There were a total of eighteen of them, and they were scattered throughout the region. In front of them was placed a large amount of Protocosmic spirit-treasures and unique treasures. The most powerful aura came from a sword…a Darknorth sword.
After six centuries of sweeping through the prisonworld, more than twenty True Gods and True Immortals had died by his hands! All the baleful aura released by those deaths had allowed one of Ning’s six Darknorth swords to finally break through and evolve to become a Chaos treasure, thanks to the ‘Armaments of Sin’ technique.
“Thankfully, World God Northrest left behind certain techniques to me, allowing me to recognize how these treasures are meant to be used.”
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- In the original Chinese, the character for ‘Earth’ used in Pangu and Seamless were different. ↩