Ji Ning and Xiamang Zishan both walked towards the outside of the main hall.
Within the main hall of the Skylight Palace. The nine Pure Yang True Immortals and nearly one thousand Celestial Immortals were all gazing towards these two young men. Two of the top three had been determined; Adept Woodpass and Adept Blackstone. Now, only the last one remained…
“Which of them will win?” Lu Dongbin said softly.
The Xia Emperor and the others were all silent. Only after a long moment did Truelord Chiji say slowly, “Their power is comparable, and both are extremely skilled in close combat. The end of this battle will most likely come when one side runs out of divine power and admits defeat.”
“Right.” Lu Dongbin nodded gently as well.
“Zishan has a better chance,” the Xia Emperor said.
Yu Wei looked quietly at Ning. She knew very well that Ning wanted to seize this chance to become a Daofather’s apprentice and thus soar into the heavens. She was eager for his success…but she hoped even more that Ning would be safe.
“Ji Ning, be careful.” Yu Wei watched him nervously.
“One last step before entering the top three.” Ninelotus was seated behind the Dongyan Forefather. In this moment, she was quietly hoping to herself, “Ji Ning, I hope you succeed.”
Although they had broken up, in her heart, Ji Ning would forever be a peerless genius. She didn’t want to see him discouraged and defeated.
“Master.” Little Qing raised her head, staring at the massive curtain of water and the scene within it.
“Ning, son…” The Whitewater Hound was even more restless.
“Senior apprentice-brother, you have to win!” Mu Northson called out in a high voice.
Atop the clouds, within the grand sealing formation.
Ning and Xiaman Zishan stared at each other from afar. Both of them just stood there with seeming tranquility. However, underneath the tranquility, there was a savage self-confidence…they had to win! Both of them felt incomparable desire for entering the top three, but to do so, they had to defeat the opponent before them.
One of them was a young man dressed in violet; the other was a youth dressed in furs.
Their auras were completely different. The violet-robed young man was born with a dominating aura, as well as an air of nobility that came from being born into an imperial clan.
By contrast, due to Ji Ning’s sufferings in his former life as well as this life, Ning looked like just an ordinary, bumpkin-like youth…but due to having come from a world of peace, he showed neither subservience nor arrogance.
“We meet again.” Xiamang Zishan’s voice boomed out heroically. “Last time, you were defeated by me. This time, you will be defeated again.”
“I have only trained for a bit more than thirty years,” Ning said calmly. “It has only been ten or so years since I became a Zifu Disciple…and during these ten years, I’ve reached my current level. That year of nonstop battling in the world of the Diagram was definitely equivalent to ten years of hard training in the outside world. The battle between us was more than half a year ago…and during that half a year, my power has vastly surpassed your imagination.”
Xiamang Zishan’s pupils shrank. Indeed. Ji Ning’s short period of training truly did cause astonishment.
“You improved during the past half year. So did I.” Xiamang Zishan’s natural, inborn aura of arrogance caused him to release an angered laugh. “If you have any techniques to show, go ahead and show them. Otherwise…when you are defeated, you won’t be thoroughly convinced.”
“Come.” Ning looked calmly towards Xiamang Zishan. This sort of calmness…masked an even more berserk desire for battle!
Xiamang Zishan’s body instantly flickered as he transformed into a 60-meter tall giant that had three heads and six arms.
With regards to the [Heavenly Transformation], it was true that Ning had spent several fewer centuries training in this technique compared to Xiamang Zishan. However, unlike other divine abilities such as the [Myriad Hibernating Venoms], the amount of power the early stages of the [Heavenly Transformation] granted significantly weaker. In the early stages, other divine abilities were better than the [Heavenly Transformation].
However, the latter stages of [Heavenly Transformation], especially during the Empyrean God stage, were truly and terrifyingly formidable.
As for now?
Ning used the second Cycle of the [Starseizing Hand]; thus, [Heavenly Transformation] didn’t increase the power of his hands in even the slightest.
“Taste my staf!” Xiamang Zishan bellowed with incomparable savagery.
Three black steel staffs simultaneously smashed through the air, carrying an invincible aura as they slammed towards Ning.
Staves were heavy weapons. Only powerful experts with truly great strength would be able to unleash the advantages of staves. Compared to sabers and swords, staves were inferior in terms of agility. Compared to spears, which were also long weapons and even had sharp tips, staves naturally were naturally inferior in terms of piercing power.
But staves had a tremendous advantage as well. This was…in smashing as one pleased! In the Three Realms, especially amongst Empyrean Gods who were famed for their strength, there were very many people who used staves! The power of a single staff blow could pierce through the heavens…and could smash apart the earth!
These two were the same in terms of strength, level of cultivation, and divine abilities. A staff-wielder was naturally much more savage and overbearing than a sword-wielder; this was due to the differences in the weapons. The ‘best’ type of weapon was the weapon that was most suited to you…and clearly, Xiamang Zishan was best-suited for wielding staves.
The staves cleaved through the skies, causing the world to change in color.
Ning wielded six Immortal swords in his hands. Although it wasn’t too suitable for him to brashly use Immortal swords to block head-on, Ning wanted to give it a try, given the power of his divine abilities. He blocked the attacks head on!
The three staves thundered forth with the power of a flood!
They were met by six dazzling sword-lights!
They smashed directly onto each other. They caused the surrounding area to tremble with the terrifying force of the collision…and the result of this head-on strike was that the two were actually on par with each other!
“We’re actually on par.” Ning was startled. “Last time, I was at an absolute disadvantage. I’ve made repeated breakthroughs…but this Xiamang Zishan has made some breakthroughs as well. It seems there’s no hope of defeating him in a head-on fight. In addition, the amount of divine power my [Starseizing Hand] uses up is quite astonishing; it can’t be used for prolonged combat!”
Ning knew exactly what his own weakness was. Although he was very powerful in the Grand Dao of the Sword, with regards to ‘ordinary’ Daos, he had mastered only two Dao-Paths.
Xiamang Zishan’s ‘Grand Dao of Lightning’ might be a bit weaker than Ning’s own ‘Grand Dao of the Sword’, but he had mastered four complete ‘normal’ Dao-Paths! In addition, after spending the past half year constantly infusing all four Daos into his staff technique, his staves had become increasingly powerful.
The power of Ning’s divine ability compensated for this weakness…but the power of his divine ability resulted in a similarly astonishing rate of using divine power. After fighting for a prolonged period of time, his divine power would probably be exhausted.
“I am a Sword Immortal; why should I fight him head-on?” Ning’s swordplay began to change. Previously, his six streaks of sword-light had flown out in straight lines, but they now changed. Ning’s sword-light became like an unending flow of water, constantly striking in a steady stream towards Xiamang Zishan. Xiamang Zishan continued to do as he normally did, releasing his staff strikes as he pleased, either smashing down, lashing out, or suddenly sweeping forth.
Ning’s swordplay was like water, flowing without an end. Xiamang Zishan’s staff techniques were unable to accomplish anything at all…but in turn, Ning was unable to leave even a single wound on Xiamang Zishan’s body.
“There’s no chance at all. It seems I’ll have to use that unfinished sword technique,” Ning mused to himself.
Ning’s sword changed once again. Of Ning’s six Immortal swords…some of them suddenly blazed like fire, containing the fierce sharpness of the Dao of the Sword! Others flowed like an unbroken stream of water, continuously moving to entangle and hinder his foe! The rest fluctuated unpredictably with tremendous speed!
After, this sort of sword technique placed a great deal of strain on Ning’s mind and spirit upon execution.
This sort of combat technique was something Ning had thought up when he had watched the Sloppy Daoist battle with his ‘wavefolding’ technique. The Sloppy Daoist used four arms to defend and two arms to attack, and then formed a ‘folding’, circular wave of power…although Ning didn’t understand it, he had still been stimulated by the Sloppy Daoist’s combat method.
“The sword can be used as a spear, but it doesn’t have as much penetrative power as the spear. It can be used as a warblade, but it doesn’t have a warblade’s savage chopping power. It can be used as a staff, but it isn’t as heavy as a staff…”
“Swords have two edges; they are incomparably agile, and can be used in many different manners of battle. After using the [Three Heads, Six Arms] divine ability, if I were to use the six arms to fight in different manners…perhaps they might affect each other and cause a loss of power, but it’s also possible that just like with the Sloppy Daoist, the power will actually join together increase.”
Prior to this battle, Ning had been constantly visualizing and hypothesizing regarding this technique in his mind. Earlier, during the previous battle, he had been completely silent, partially because he had been spending part of his attention in pondering the [Lesser Five Elements Sword] that he had learned back at the Black-White College. Within the manual, there was a combination technique that used the Five Elements. Ning carefully reflected on these things, and had already come up with a vague technique in his mind. In this moment, he unleashed it.
Sword-light like water, sword-light like fire, and sword-light that fluctuated unpredictably…
Ji Ning was incomparably agile and graceful, occasionally advancing and occasionally retreating. His swordplay became similarly illusory and fluctuating as large amounts of sword-light howled everywhere. Suddenly, all sorts of different types of sword-light appeared…it was like a melody that was occasionally soft, occasionally bright, sometimes flowing, and sometimes explosive…
The Daos of Water, Fire, Wind, Space, and the Sword.
He infused all of his insights into the Dao of the Sword and into his hands. Ning had a wonderful feeling, as though many different types of sword techniques were cooperating together and supporting each other. It was all so natural that he didn’t even have to intentionally come up with next sword techniques; everything came out naturally, in accordance with this marvelous feeling.
He didn’t want to disrupt this sort of feeling; he wanted to flow with it and let it unleash what it could!
“So swordplay can actually become this beautiful!” The nearly one thousand Celestial Immortal Patriarchs within the main hall of the Summerlight Palace all felt a carefree, relaxed feeling in their heart as they watched. Ning’s three-headed, six-armed form executed various different sword techniques. It was just like he was painting a beautiful watercolor painting. The watercolor splashed everywhere, but it had a beauty that moved the heart.
In this moment, Ning’s form was like the wind. His six Immortal swords were graceful and agile, putting the exquisite essence of the sword on complete display.
The sword was by nature incomparably complicated. Even the most simple of sword techniques could be divided into thirteen different basic movements, which was far more complicated than the spear, the staff, and the saber. This sort of complicatedness…to a true expert, it represented many materials to work with, allowing him to produce a consummately beautiful product. For a weakling, however, too much complicated was actually a bad thing.
“Genius!” Lu Dongbin, within the main hall of the Skylight Palace, couldn’t help but sigh in amazement. “He’s actually able to enter such a deep state during such a crucial battle. If my judgement is correct, he is currently in a state of no-thought, where everything simply flows from the heart…when executing swordplay in this state, the power is naturally going to be extraordinary. In addition, he will also firmly memorize these extraordinary sword techniques. After this battle ends, his insight into the Dao and into swordplay will both rise dramatically.”
“He is indeed a rare genius of the Dao of the Sword,” Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta couldn’t help but say. “We Buddhists are willing to accept this sort of genius.”
“He has only mastered two ordinary Daos, but his Dao of the Sword is at such a high level that he is absolutely the number one genius Sword Immortal of the Conclave.” Lu Dongbin couldn’t help but say, “He was indeed born to be a Sword Immortal. His talent in the Dao of the Sword is absolutely inconceivable. Xiamang…if you don’t accept this Ji Ning, can I take him on as my disciple?”
“Eastflower, is your heart feeling itchy?”
“Even the Buddhists are feeling itchy. Why can’t I?” Lu Dongbin looked back at the Xia Emperor.
The Xia Emperor shook his head. “All of the top six in this Conclave must first be given to my master and his many disciples for choosing! If no one picks Ji Ning, then you, Lu Dongbin, can be his master. What do you say?”
“Bullshit! Are you telling me that you guys won’t choose a potential peerless Sword Immortal like him?” Lu Dongbin immediately shook his head.