“Junior apprentice-brother, how long have you been training for?” Silvermoon asked.
“More than thirty years,” Ji Ning said.
Silvermoon instantly began to laugh. “Ah, no wonder! That explains it. So you’ve only been training for around thirty years. For you to be able to defeat the fourth golem despite having trained for such a short period of time…I trust that in the future, here at Mount Innerheart, your rate of improvement will be similarly astonishing.”
Ning smiled. “Thank you for your kind words, senior apprentice-brother.”
Under the gazes of the many humans, monsters, and Fiendgods, Ji Ning and Silvermoon stepped into the fourth floor of the Divinities Palace. The profoundness of any of the sword-arts manuals located on the fourth floor was comparable to the complete nine stances of the [Three-Foot Sword]!
“This truly is a blessed land for learning the Dao.” Ning flipped through the abridged versions of the sword-arts manuals, which included some of the preliminary parts to each technique. His eyes and eyebrows danced expressively as he read. “So many sword-arts…this place represents the collective enlightenment gained by countless Sword Immortals of the Three Realms. My own sword-arts will definitely improve dramatically after I draw from the wisdom of so many other Sword Immortals.”
And so, Ning’s life of learning the Dao at Mount Innerheart had begun.
If he wanted to leave his master’s tutelage, he had to at least be able to defeat the ninth golem and acquire a ninth-level technique from the Divinities Palace. Only then could he enter the Three Realms Palace, and only then could he leave. This was a prerequisite! He had to be trained as a personal disciple would be trained, which meant that he had to be able to enter the Three Realms Palace and learn the truly powerful divine abilities located within it. This was the most fundamental of expectations which Patriarch Subhuti had for Ning as his apprentice; Ning understood this quite well.
Ning and Yu Wei had agreed that they would reunite in the future in the Grand Xia world. And so…he had to enter the Three Realms Palace as soon as he could!
Ning didn’t want to spend centuries or millennia here at Mount Innerheart; if he truly did spend thousands of years here, then what in the world would happen to the people he cared about in the Grand Xia such as Yu Wei, Autumn Leaf, Mu Northson, or Yuchi Xiyue?
“I have to defeat the ninth golem as soon as I can, ideally within a few decades.” This was Ning’s goal for himself, but he knew very well how incredibly difficult this goal would be. “I can’t allow myself to be distracted whatsoever during this period of time at Mount Innerheart. Lotus techniques, divine will techniques…I’ll put them all to one side for now. Here in the Divinities Palace, I will exclusively focus on sword-arts manuals!”
Sword-arts, focused on attacks! This was Ning’s decision!
Time slowly flowed on.
Ning, the Whitewater Hound, and Little Qing all spent their time training on Mount Innerheart. And in fact, the Whitewater Hound and Little Qing were even more excited than Ning to be here!
“What should I do? The third golem defeats us with utter ease,” Little Qing said helplessly.
“It seems that we might not even be able to beat the second golem,” the Whitewater Hound said helplessly as well.
The disciples of Mount Innerheart were almost all incomparably talented monsters who came from throughout the Three Realms. Some of the others were spirit-beasts of Celestial Immortals who had trained for a very long time. By comparison, the Whitewater Hound and Little Qing had trained for a very short period of time.
“There’s nothing we can do. Let’s go do manual labor,” the Whitewater Hound said.
“That’s our only option.” Little Qing nodded as well.
And so, both of them went to accept the manual labor ‘trials’. They spent nearly a full month manually deweeding the surrounding hundred kilometers of land. Only then were they allowed to choose a third level technique from the Divinities Palace.
The techniques on the third floor of the Divinities Palace…any one of them when placed within the Black-White College would become the most treasured technique of the College!
“Hahaha, so someone like me can actually acquire a technique like this!” Little Qing snatched up a copy of the [Qiankun Sword Song] with absolute excitement. “I can now finally, truly train on the Grand Dao of Qiankun.”
“These are the writings of a Celestial Immortal on formations?” The Whitewater Hound was holding a book on formations. He, too, was incomparably excited.
Both of them were actually extremely gifted. Uncle White was a Whitewater Hound; although in other aspects he was rather ordinary for a Godbeast, in one aspect, he was exceptional – his intelligence!
Little Qing, in turn, had absolutely astonishing talent in the Grand Dao of Qiankun. She was even able to use the Void Blink (spatial teleportation) technique at the Xiantian level! Although at that point in time, there was no way Little Qing could actually understand the profound mysteries and principles behind spatial teleportation, this was her innate ability as a Godbeast. All she had to do was be able to touch upon just the slightest bit of this Grand Dao and she would be able to teleport. She didn’t need to actually understand it; just brushing against the Grand Dao of Qiankun allowed it!
However, neither of two had ever had a truly good teacher! Ning had the help of the Stellar Hall of the underwater estate, and also had the guidance of Immortal Diancai. Uncle White and Little Qing, however, had to work hard to study on their own!
Having arrived at Mount Innerheart, however, everything had changed! They had a chance to interact with so many talented humans, monsters, and Fiendgods. The Void-level Fiendgods in particular had lived extremely long lives, and their level of experience was definitely not inferior to Immortal Diancai’s. For the sake of giving Ning face, they would often give pointers to Little Qing and Uncle White. And occasionally, the two would even have a chance to ask the likes of the white-robed Lord Jiang or the old demon Silvermoon for some advice as well!
But most importantly of all…
Patriarch Subhuti had begun to lecture on the Dao!
Patriarch Subhuti rarely expounded on the Dao; sometimes, ten thousand years would pass without a single lecture. However, ever since he had taken on Ning as a disciple, Patriarch Subhuti immediately began to give far more open lectures on the Dao than before; in fact, he would expound on the Dao almost every month! This was a habit for Patriarch Subhuti; generally speaking, after taking in a new disciple, he would often expound on the Dao with great frequency for a time. But if he didn’t take in a new disciple? He would only expound on the Dao when he was in the mood for it.
After all, the Old Patriarch only truly valued his personal disciples enough to do it. As for the other disciples…they generally didn’t even have a chance to meet or speak with the Old Patriarch.
Thus, all of the disciples of Mount Innerheart were in a state of collective excitement. Even several True Immortals or Empyrean Gods would occasionally come over to listen.
“The Daofather lives up to his reputation.” The Whitewater Hound was currently filled with the utmost of excitement. “Listening to the Daofather expound on the Dao once is more helpful than me ruminating by myself for a century. So many of the questions in my mind have been explained, and I have now mastered a Dao-Path!”
“The Daofather must have completely mastered the Grand Dao of Qiankun. His casual mentions regarding it have caused me to comprehend so much. I can now even teleport out of a spacelocked region!” Little Qing was excited as well.
One year after another passed. The two of them had spent another half year doing manual tasks and had acquired a technique from the fourth floor of the Divinities Palace.
These manual tasks just took up time; they didn’t need to actually use up too much of their mental energy on them. They were able to completely focus on training in the Dao while carrying out the menial jobs!
They then spent another three years carrying out menial jobs, thus acquiring a fifth level technique from the Divinities Palace.
And then they spent another twenty years before finally acquiring a sixth level technique from the Divinities Palace!
The sixth level techniques would be considered amongst the most supreme of techniques in the Grand Xia Dynasty! Almost all of them were created by Celestial Immortals, and some were even created by Pure Yang True Immortals.
The twenty-sixth year at Mount Innerheart.
“AHAHAHA! I’m invincible! INVINCIBLE!” As rain poured down from the skies, Little Qing ran around wildly in circles around Ning’s Immortal estate, her body flickering and flashing about. Her figure was very blurry as she repeatedly teleported about with high speed.
“Little Qing. Little Qing!” Ning stood there at the entrance to his Immortal estate. Just by standing there, he gave off the aura of an Immortal sword, causing others to feel an uncontrollable desure to submit to him. “How are you now ‘invincible’? Can’t you see it’s raining? Stop running around like that!” Ning laughed.
“Little Qing.” The Whitewater Hound spoke in the human tongue as well. “What is going on? Why are you so excited?!”
“Ahahaha…” Continuing to laugh, Little Qing suddenly appeared in front of Ning with a swish. “Master. Master!” Little Qing’s eyes were filled with excitement. “I’m now able to use Greater Teleportation! I’m finally able to use Greater Teleportation!”
“What?! Greater Teleportation?” Ning revealed a look of surprise. When he had killed Youngflame Nong, he had once acquired a Dao-seal of Greater Teleportation. In the underwater estate, he had also acquired one as a protective item. Normal ‘Void Blink’ techniques or ‘spatial teleportation’ techniques…they were all classified as ‘Lesser Teleportation’. They only allowed one to teleport around within a single region; at most, they would allow one to move a certain distance.
As one gained more and more insights into space, one would be able to teleport greater and greater distances, and even spacelock techniques would begin to become ineffective.
But upon completely mastering the complete Grand Dao of Qiankun, one would be able to use Greater Teleportation. Greater Teleportation…it could allow you to teleport from one world to another world.
For example, one might be located in the Netherworld Kingdom, but with a single Greater Teleportation, one could move straight back to Serpentwing Lake of the Grand Xia world!
This was why Youngflame Nong had been so confident despite having been trapped within the Witchriver Immortal Estate. He knew that no matter how dangerous things became, all he had to do was use the Greater Teleportation Dao-seal and he would be able to immediately flee back to his clan’s headquarters in the Grand Xia world. But unfortunately, he had viewed Ning with complete contempt, and had believed Ning to pose no threat to him at all. By the time Ning released that black loop…there was no longer a chance for Youngflame Nong to escape!
“I’ve reached the Grand Dao Domain level of the Grand Dao of Qiankun!” Little Qing said excitedly, “I’m already capable of Greater Teleportation. Ahahaha…I’m now invincible. Who can kill me? Who can kill me?! Ahahaha, I can now escape from any formation, no matter how formidable.”
Ning and the Whitewater Hound both laughed.
Azure Skysnakes possessed astounding talent and affinity for space. Upon reaching the Grand Dao Domain level, they could become as one with the Grand Dao, and thus they would be able to utilize Greater Teleportation. There was no point in even feeling jealous about it.
“Master, teach me some more about the sword. I now have a greater understanding of the Grand Dao of Qiankun, and my ability to improve my sword-arts will improve as well,” Little Qing immediately said. She wanted for Ning to be able to teach her, and so she had chosen to learn the sword as well, fusing her Grand Dao of Qiankun into her sword-arts.
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
Little Qing was improving, but his own rate of improvement was even more astonishing. After all…from the time when Ning established his Zifu region in the Grand Xia world to the day he entered Mount Innerheart, only roughly twenty years had passed!
Now he was training at Mount Innerheart, and he even had the chance to listen to his master, Patriarch Subhuti, lecture on the Dao. He also often went to meditate in the Stellar Hall, and also fought constantly against the golems, so as to further sharpen and refine his sword-arts. He also had countless exquisite sword-arts to analyze! How could his rate of improvement be slow?
With each defeat of a golem, Ning was allowed to choose a new technique. But with each fight, the golems would change as well. For example, during the first battle, the fourth golem had used overbearing, powerful sword-arts; during the second, third, and fourth battle, however, the golem had used different techniques. At the start, the golem only changed between different sword-arts styles, but afterwards it even began to use sabres, longspears, staves, and even flying swords, magic treasures, or formations to assist it. This made the fourth golem increasingly difficult to defeat.
However, Ning’s own power was improving at an astonishing rate as well!
He had now analyzed more than a hundred sword-arts from the fourth level of the Divinities Palace, all of which were comparable to the complete [Three-Foot Sword].
Next, Ning had defeated the fifth golem more than thirty times and analyzed more than thirty sword-arts manuals from the fifth floor!
After that, Ning defeated the sixth golem more than twenty times and acquired more than twenty sword-arts manuals from the sixth floor.
And then, Ning had defeated the seventh golem eighteen times, acquiring eighteen sword-arts manuals from the seventh floor!
Although he had read and analyzed multiple sword-arts manuals, many of which had been written by Empyrean Gods or True Immortals and some of which had been written by Daofathers…Ning continued to spend most of his efforts on the [Three-Foot Sword], keeping it at the heart of his sword-arts. He infused the strengths and excellences of the other sword techniques in the [Three-Foot Sword], causing it to be continuously improved and perfected. There were now more and more differences between the current [Three-Foot Sword] and the one which Immortal Northwalker had originally created. In fact, it had now transformed into an even more formidable sword-art that belonged to Ning and Ning alone.
And so, completely focusing on his training, Ning spent more than thirty years here within Mount Innerheart.