DEADBTJN 22-23

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Book 27, Twelve Palaces, Chapter 22 – A Dao Belonging to Ji Ning

“Omnipresent?” Surrounded and exhausted by the endless attacks from these many golems, the light of inspiration suddenly flickered in Ji Ning’s mind.

“Right. Their attacks are omnipresent. Some cast spells from afar, others close in on me and attack in melee using claws and palms. I only have six arms after using [Three Heads, Six Arms]; how can I possibly withstand so many attacks?” Ning was mumbling to himself as many different sword-arts went through his mind, with many insights regarding the Yin-Yang stance in particular coming to the forefront.

It was as though a thread was linking many small beads together, forming a true collective whole.

“Omnipresent…

“The true Yin-Yang stance shouldn’t result in me defending in such an exhausting manner. So what if I have six arms? Even if I had ten or eighteen arms, so what? There’s still a limit to what I can do!” Ning was beginning to awaken to the truth. “The true Yin-Yang stance should allow me to defend against all oncoming attacks, which means it needs to be omnipresent as well. It should envelope everything in its path, and any attacks that come forth should be blocked by it.

“That means… for the Yin-Yang stance to be truly powerful, it should be a domain! I need to transform this stance into a domain!”

Every single cultivator had a path that was most suited to them. Over the course of countless years, many major powers had chosen many different paths. At their level, there was no way they could imitate others any longer. If they did, it would actually have a negative influence on their own future insights. If you wished to draw a painting, it was best to start with a fresh, blank scroll of paper. The path of cultivation was best expressed through following one’s own heart, through slowly understanding and upgrading one’s insights to the point of fundamentally transforming them.

“Let my seven Dao lightnings and my seven Dao waters be my sword,” Ning murmured softly.

Rumble…

The Dao water and Dao lightning that had been in the surrounding area constricting the foes suddenly began to rumble. Although they were elemental lightning and water by nature, true experts of the Dao of the Sword could use anything as a sword. Flower petals, water drops, a single water drop… they could all be used as a sword. Now, Ning was using Dao water and Dao lightning as his blade.

“Dao lightning and Dao water, form my Yin-Yang stance and create my Yin-Yang Sword Domain.”

In recent years, Ning’s greatest achievements lay in the field of defense. All of his insights into the Yin-Yang stance, including some which he had previously felt to be rather unimportant, all came together in this stance as he generated a domain of sword-intent. He infused it with all of his insights, causing the power of this stance to instantly transform.

Rumble…

Every single streak of Dao lightning transformed into a sword! The ‘insides’ of the swords were made of lightning, but on the outside they had already been shaped and condensed into the form of a sword! The powerful sword-intent controlling the lightning was naturally giving birth to swordforce.

Every single stream of Dao water had also transformed into the shape of a sword.

They began to circle around Ning like an enormous whirlpool, but if one looked closely one would see that some of the streaks were swirling clockwise while others were swirling counter-clockwise. The mighty sword-intent controlling this technique caused parts of it to flow forwards and parts of it to flow backwards, creating an incredibly powerful tearing force!

What made white stand out? Only when the rest of a piece of parchment was completely covered in black ink would a spot of blank whiteness in the center be dazzling to behold.

Ning’s sword-intent was strong to begin with. Now that he had formed this technique with forward and reverse flows, the ripping, tearing power of his domain grew exponentially greater.

Yin-Yang Polarity!

The concept of Yin and Yang was reinforcing this technique as well! The Yang-attribute Dao lightning and the Yin-attribute Dao water mutually reinforced each other, resulting in both being strengthened. Every so often, compatible streaks of lightning or water would brush against each other, resulting in even more terrifying force.

Both forwards and backwards, both gentle and violent.

An enormous domain had formed around Ning, covering an area of ten thousand kilometers. This domain was formed of sword-shaped lightning and water, but what made it truly terrifying was the sword-intent which Ning’s Yin-Yang stance had manifested.

The sword-intent of the Yin-Yang stance had already undergone a fundamental transformation. Lightning and water flowed together, sometimes calm and sometimes explosive as it blasted at any foes which dared trespass!

“From this day forth, my Yin-Yang stance shall be the Yin-Yang Sword Domain.” Ning smiled. Finally, one of his five stances of [Brightmoon] had truly transformed. In this moment, Ning clearly understood that the Yin-Yang Sword Domain was a path he would absolutely have to take in the region of defense as he became a Samsara Daolord.

“Careful.”

“Quick!”

These golems were sentient. Once Ning formed that enormous Yin-Yang Sword Domain, the golems who were fighting within the reach of that domain instantly sensed multiple layers of force appear in the area. Sometimes, the force simply followed their movements; other times, the force exploded against them with great violence. There was even the occasional sensation of being brutally ripped apart by layers of power!

The entire domain was filled with countless attacks that alternated between Yin and Yang. The attacks constantly changed and transformed, making it harder and harder for them to defend. The golems had to use roughly 90% of their power in defending against the Yin-Yang Sword Domain.

Boom! Ning charged forwards, sweeping out with his sword-light and sending a golem flying. The golems were so focused on defending against the domain that they were now extremely vulnerable to Ning. He was able to defeat them all with one strike.

Ning continued to advance.

603. 604. 605…

Ning slowly advanced, wielding six swords while keeping [Three Heads, Six Arms] active. His enormous Yin-Yang Sword Domain covered an area of ten thousand kilometers around him, but in truth its size was variable. He could easily expand it to make it a hundred million kilometers in size, but the ten thousand kilometer range was the range at which he could maintain peak levels of power. Beyond that range, the power of the domain would slowly begin to decay.

The Yin-Yang Sword Domain could also be used through flying swords and other magic treasures, or even Dao fire. Anything could be used to generate it. However, Ning had access to incredibly powerful Dao lightning and Dao water, which was why he used them to generate the domain.

A simple tree branch controlled by Ning’s mighty sword-intent was now able to slay a Daolord of the First Step. The Dao lightning and Dao water were extraordinary elemental powers, and when they were used by the Yin-Yang Sword Domain they were able to produce truly enormous amounts of power.

……

The imperial palace. The almighty Hegemon and the twelve golden-armored powers were seated on their thirteen thrones, staring at this sight.

After Ning’s Yin-Yang stance transformed into the Yin-Yang Sword Domain, Ning was able to easily advance through the upcoming stages. However, none of the golden-armored powers cared about the fact that the almighty Hegemon’s evaluation had been wrong! Instead, they simply watched in astonishment as Ning unleashed his sword-intent domain because they knew what this portended.

“He… has finally taken that first step,” the almighty Hegemon said softly.

“Swordlord Darknorth is guaranteed to become one of the most supreme members of our Twelve Palaces.” Daolord Thousand Waves nodded.

“For someone like him to end up in the Sword Palace instead of mine… what a pity, what a pity!” Daolord Yinwind shook his head.

Daolord Woodflower glanced sideways at him, then began to laugh in a very contented manner.

“Although Swordlord Darknorth’s sword-intent domain is defensive in nature, every part of it is infused with terrifyingly strong attacks. If any enemies enter his domain, they will suffer attacks nonstop. Even the most powerful of foes will eventually be whittled down, making it so that they will be greatly weakened before even drawing close to him. A domain like this is guaranteed to be a terrifying thing to face. If he can become a Daolord of the Fourth Step… this sword-intent domain is powerful enough to allow him to suppress Eternal Emperors.” A golden-armored power whose eyes were like two black vortices of darkness let out a soft sigh.

“Agreed.”

The almighty Hegemon nodded. “He’ll be able to suppress ordinary Eternal Emperors! For Swordlord Darknorth to take this step forward means that he has already discovered an Supreme Dao of defense for himself!”

“It is guaranteed that he will be a monster of a Daolord.” Everyone present nodded.

There were differences in personal Daos. Some Samsara Daolords walked a path of simple Daos and would be very weak. As Daolords of the First Step, they would merely have ordinary levels of power.

Emperor Mirrorsnow’s Dao and his seventh stance, the Reincarnation stance, would have been enough for him to be acknowledged by the ancient pagodas. He used this path to become a Samsara Daolord, and his Dao was fairly formidable. As a Daolord of the First Step, he could match Daolords of the Second Step. However, a Dao like this just barely cleared the threshold of the ancient pagodas.

Prince Greatjoy, Heartlord Solewind, Ji Ning… their Daos were on a higher level! Ning had just created his Yin-Yang Sword Domain, but it was a level of power above the Reincarnation stance and much more profound.

“An Supreme Dao of defense.” Daolord Thousand Waves let out a sigh. “The Sword Palace really hasn’t had many individuals who have ever been able to come up with an Supreme Dao.”

“Absolutely true.” Lord Woodflower nodded. Every single major power would have an individual Dao that was best suited to them. Ning was able to develop his Yin-Yang Sword Domain, but others might come up with similarly strong sword-arts. So long as they were at the same general level, they would all be classified as an ‘Ultimate’-class defensive Dao.

“If he follows this Dao to its conclusion, he definitely will be able to trample over Eternal Emperors once he becomes a Daolord of the Fourth Step.” Daolord Thousand Waves laughed.

“He’s still a bit lacking compared to Palace Lord Dawnstar,” Daolord Yinwind said. “Lord Dawnstar, at the World level, developed three Supreme Daos and then merged them together perfectly! After he became a Daolord of the Fourth Step, he was able to slay an Eternal Emperor with just three strokes of his blade. Although Swordlord Darknorth is impressive, he will only be able to suppress Eternal Emperors. Killing them will be a matter of luck.”

“True.” Everyone present agreed.

“But Bertulu and Eastcult do have a chance of reaching Lord Dawnstar’s level.” The almighty Hegemon agreed with this assessment as well. “Still… given that Darknorth has come up with an Ultimate-class defensive Dao, he’ll still be able to withstand them in an actual battle. He should be classified as someone on the same level as them.”

Eastcult had come up with Supreme Daos for both offense and defense, and had been able to merge them perfectly. This was why he was a match for Bertulu.

“True. Him having taken this step means he is guaranteed to be a monster of a Daolord.” Lord Woodflower was in a splendid mood.

Previously, these golden-armored figures had all referred to Ji Ning as ‘this kid’. Now that Ning had taken this step, they all referred to him as ‘Darknorth’ or ‘Swordlord Darknorth’, because in their hearts they viewed Ning as someone who would be a true equal!

“However… Supreme Daos are also the most difficult Daos for gaining eternity.” The almighty Hegemon let out a soft sigh.

“They are indeed hard, but to choose this path means he will definitely be an extraordinary figure,” Daolord Thousand Waves said.

Daolord Allgod, Daolord Featherdress, Palace Lord Dawnstar… they had all chosen the path of an Ultimate-class Dao. As a result, becoming an Eternal Empero would be incredibly difficult. Still… while they were alive, they were amongst the most illustrious, distinguished figures of all the Endless Territories.

The almighty Hegemon and the others were sighing in amazement over Ning’s prowess, but they had no idea that this was merely the evolution of the Yin-Yang stance, one of five stances in Ning’s [Brightmoon] sword-art. Ning’s plan was to reach the apex with his other four stances as well! He was going to find suitable Daos for his other four stances, then infuse all of their mysteries into his own sword-arts. This was Ning’s true goal.

Right now, he had developed an Supreme Dao of defense, the Yin-Yang Sword Domain… but this was just the beginning!

“Six hundred sixty. Six hundred seventy. Six hundred eighty…” Daolord Woodflower watched as Ning continuously advanced up the steps of the altar, and the smile on his face continued to widen.


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Book 27, Twelve Palaces, Chapter 23 – The Dust Settles

As Daolord Yinwind watched Ji Ning advanced past level six hundred and eighty, he couldn’t help but feel resigned. Even the best performing member of his Saber Palace, Saberlord Redsnow, had only made it to level 680. “For Heartlord Solewind to give such an impressive performance was expected, but Greatjoy’s improvements were truly shocking. He was even better than Solewind! And now, this Darknorth fellow has appeared as well.”

Ning continued to advance past multiple floors.

“Kill!”

Boom!

The attacks of the ancient golems were strong enough to sunder Heaven and Earth, and they came at Ning from all directions.

As Ning walked forwards, his Yin-Yang Sword Domain formed a region of wild, dark chaos around him. One could vaguely see the flickering of lightning and water within this region, and the region itself stretched out to be more than ten thousand kilometers wide. All enemies who sought to move close to Ning had to be able to first withstand the assaults of the Yin-Yang Sword Domain.

“Break!”

“Go.”

Ning’s swords were sometimes ephemeral and unpredictable, sometimes as heavy and weighty as a mountain. However, the speed at which he walked began to slow down. Clearly, the pressure was starting to increase.

“Six hundred ninety. Six hundred ninety-five. Six hundred ninety-six…” Daolord Woodflower had a look of delight on his face.

“He broke through level seven hundred!”

Ning continued to advance, albeit with great difficulty as he began to move slower and slower. Even though the Yin-Yang Sword Domain was helping him out, he was finding it harder and harder to deal with the increasingly powerful golems.

Boom!

Ning’s sword-arts were finally breached on level 705. Although they came out in a perfect, flawless cycle, they still crumbled when faced with the overwhelming power that had been brought to bear upon them.

Outside the Daolord Cloudworld. A white-robed, rather bedraggled-looking Ning suddenly appeared, a look of worry in his eyes. “I wonder if I made it into the top four.”

“However… I have to say that my performance was better than I expected. I actually ended up developing a defensive Dao.” Ning felt both content and worried. His sword-arts had reached an extremely high level, but his opponents were the greatest World-level geniuses of the Twelve Palaces. He couldn’t help but think nback to that time when he had sparred against Bertulu. Only now did realize what a truly profound level Bertulu had reached!

This was because… Bertulu was at a level of insight that was most likely one level higher than the current Ji Ning’s! Only when Ning himself improved did he truly understand how great the distance had been between the two of them. Back when he had been at the Astral Islands, Ning only had the vague sense that the man had a higher level of understanding than he did. As to how much higher, exactly? He couldn’t say for sure. Bertulu hadn’t even used his true form, after all; he had merely used his human form to spar against Ning.

“However… now, even if Bertulu was to attack me with all his power, I would not need to be afraid of him,” Ning mused.

His Yin-Yang Sword Domain was an extremely defensive skill! Even if Ning faced opponents who were stronger than him, he would still be able to defend against them.

“Darknorth.” Suddenly, a voice rang out within Ning’s mind.

“Eh?” Ning turned to look towards the direction of Lord Woodflower’s estate.

“Come here immediately,” Lord Woodflower sent.

“Yes.” Ning immediately transformed into a streak of light and flew towards the estate. Soon, he reached Lord Woodflower’s estate, and Lord Woodflower himself was standing at the entrance, a smile on his face as he looked at Ning. “Come in, Darknorth.”

“What is it, senior apprentice-brother?” Ning was a bit nervous. He didn’t know if he had made it into the top four or not.

“Damned impressive. The almighty Hegemon and the others all saw you use that sword-intent domain of yours.” Lord Woodflower was in such a delightful mood that he was positively beaming. For his Sword Palace to completely crush the Saber Palace in such a way was absolutely wonderful!

The two palaces had been at loggerheads and competing against each other since time immemorial.

“That was something I just came up with it. I call it the Yin-Yang Sword Domain.” Ning laughed. “I was just lucky. I had already prepared seven types of Dao lightning and Dao water, and I was able to use them to create my Yin-Yang Sword Domain. If I had been using any other types of treasures, the power of my domain would’ve been much weaker.”

“The Dao lightning and the Dao water aren’t that impressive. It is your sword-intent which truly impresses.” Lord Woodflower couldn’t help but praise Ning.

Ning chuckled.

Even if he merely used a single, ordinary flying sword, his Yin-Yang Sword Domain would still cause it to naturally emanate an aura of swordforce. The power of the domain would still have twenty to thirty percent of the power of a domain formed through using Dao lightning and Dao water. At this level, even if he merely used his Immortal energy to manifest a sword and swordforce, he would still be able to create an extremely powerful domain with it.

“Without the Dao water and the Dao lightning, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make it much farther past level six hundred and ninety,” Ning said. He couldn’t help but ask, “Senior apprentice-brother, do I have a shot at the top four?”

Only the top four would be granted the ‘opportunity’.

“You do.” Lord Woodflower nodded. “A very good shot, in fact. But of course, the three days haven’t ended and there are still World-level cultivators challenging the Daolord Cloudworld. Nothing is certain until the final cultivator concludes his attempts.”

“Oh.” Ning nodded. “Then how is my ranking?”

“Right now, you are ranked second,” Lord Woodflower said. “Prince Greatjoy is ranked first, and he made it to floor seven hundred and nineteen. Heartlord Solewind is ranked third, and he made it to floor six hundred and ninety-two. Fourth is Saberlord Redsnow, who stopped on floor six hundred and eighty.”

“Redsnow?” Ning stared.

“Something wrong?” Lord Woodflower asked.

“Nothing, nothing.” Ning immediately shook his head. “I just thought of an old friend, that’s all.”

Daoist Threelives’ most powerful general had been Redsnow. Redsnow had eventually chosen to follow Ning as well, then had become apprenticed to Subhuti as well. He shared the exact same Daoist title as this Saberlord Redsnow. Still, it was quite common to encounter cultivators with the same or similar nicknames. There were countless people in every chaosworld who shared the same name, and for a few of the more powerful cultivators to also share the same Daoist title wasn’t that surprising.

“Wasn’t the Saber Palace bragging a lot about how well they would do?” Ning asked.

“Ahaha, their boasting skills were quite profound, yes.” Lord Woodflower let out a laugh, but then he couldn’t help but sigh as well. “To be honest, they were qualified to boast. The fourth, fifth, and sixth-ranked experts all belong to the Saber Palace. We all knew that Heartlord Solewind would be formidable, but you and Prince Greatjoy caught everyone offguard.”

“Prince Greatjoy?” Ning listened attentively. He was quite curious about this man who had made it even farther within the Silvercloud World than he himself had.

“He’s also been improving quite rapidly. He actually managed to come up with two Supreme Daos.” Lord Woodflower let out a sigh. “If he can link his two Supreme Daos, he’ll probably be on par with Eastcult and Bertulu.”

Ning nodded. It was necessary to fuse Supreme Daos together in some manner.

For example, the five stances of Ning’s [Brightmoon[ sword-art were all linked together thanks to his Reincarnation sword-intent. If you weren’t able to perfectly join your sword-arts together, you would have flaws when you fought in battle.

True experts had to have powerful defenses. Only then would they be able to survive for a long time. But of course, their attacks had to be strong as well; only then would they be able to slay foes! If Ning’s attacks had been just a bit stronger, he would’ve been able to advance quite a bit further up the altar within the Silvercloud World.

“Ah!” A look of shock suddenly appeared on Lord Woodflower’s face.

“What’s wrong?” Ning looked at Lord Woodflower.

“I’ll tell you in a moment.” Lord Woodflower didn’t explain in detail. Clearly, his incarnation was watching something happen within the imperial palace.

Ning was incredibly curious as to what Lord Woodflower was watching, but he had no choice but to tamp down his curiosity. A long while later, Lord Woodflower suddenly began to laugh. “Ahaha. Pride really does cometh before a fall.”

“Senior apprentice-brother?” Ning was puzzled.

“A World-level cultivator belonging to the Palace of Kindwater, a fellow named Waterlord Firesurge, actually made it all the way to level six hundred and eighty-seven,” Lord Woodflower said.

“In other words, even farther than Saberlord Redsnow?” Ning stared.

“Right. The Saber Palace didn’t get a single slot in the top four!” Lord Woodflower roared with laughter. “Oh, this is just wonderful! When I saw that ugly look on Yinwind’s ugly face… oh, that was simply delightful. Hah! That fellow usually loves to strut about and put on airs in front of me.”

Ning felt amazed as well. In the end, the most famous Saber Palace had actually been completely defeated. Then again… the geniuses of the Twelve Palaces couldn’t be evaluated using common measures. Greatjoy, Darknorth, and Firesurge… these three had only displayed their true brilliance during this competition.

“He’s a member of the Kindwater Palace. Why is his Daoist title ‘Firesurge’?” Ning was puzzled.

“He’s another person who started off as a mortal cultivator. I heard that he originally was primarily a cultivator in the Dao of Fire. However, due to some trouble he apparently ran into within the sect he was in as a mortal, he ended up choosing the Dao of Water instead. However, by then his Daoist title had already been chosen, and so he simply continued to use it,” Lord Woodflower explained. The Twelve Palaces didn’t have that many World-level cultivators, and so he obviously was familiar with the vast majority of them.

Ning nodded.

Some cultivators would change their Daoist titles once they reached a certain level of power. Ning was another example of a person who had chosen his Daoist title, ‘Darknorth’, a long time ago. He had never changed it.

“Let’s wait for just another moment. There is one final World-level cultivator attempting the trials,” Lord Woodflower said.

A short while later…

“Alright, all done. The results are in. Prince Geratjoy, yourself, Heartlord Solewind, and Waterlord Firesurge will be the ones to partake in this opportunity,” Lord Woodflower said.

“And what opportunity is this, exactly?” Although Ning felt quite excited, he also felt quite curious as to what this was all about. All he knew was that this was an ‘incredible’ opportunity, one which no one seemed to know much about.

“Don’t ask. When you meet the almighty Hegemon, you’ll know,” Lord Woodflower said.

“Meet the almighty Hegemon?” Ning was stunned.

“Right. The almighty Hegemon has already issued a summons to the four of you. Hurry over to the place where the Imperials reside,” Lord Woodflower said.


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