Within a grassy area in the Tristar Crescent Abode. This was the location of Ji Ning’s Immortal estate.
Within a courtyard inside the Immortal estate.
Ning was seated in the lotus position on the ground, eyes shut, completely unmoving. Next to him lay a large, snowy-white hound.
An azure-robed maiden appeared out of nowhere. It was Little Qing.
“Don’t make a sound.” The Whitewater Hound opened his eyes, hurriedly sending her a mental message.
“What is it, Uncle White?” Little Qing looked puzzledly at Ning, seated in the lotus position with shut eyes. She sent mentally back, “Master is training? But doesn’t he usually go into his private room when meditating? Why is he sitting here on the ground?”
When training, Ning actually spent most of his time within the Still Room in the underwater estate. This was a training room built by Daoist Threelives which truly did allow one to gain insights into the Dao at an astonishing rate. But of course, the very existence of the underwater estate was a huge secret; Patriarch Subhuti had also reminded Ning that he absolutely could not reveal its existence. Thus, not even Little Qing or Uncle White knew about it.
“He was taking a stroll in the courtyard but suddenly had a flash of insight, and so he immediately sat down in the lotus position to meditate on it,” the Whitewater Hound sent back. “This flash of insight came suddenly; he didn’t have any time to waste on running back to his private room.”
“Oh.” Little Qing nodded. This was how sudden flashes of insights often worked; when they came, they had to be seized right away.
“During the past thirty years, Master’s sword-arts have improved at an astonishing rate. He’s even defeated the eighth golem nine times. He’s now gained a sudden flash of insight…his power is definitely going to improve dramatically!” Little Qing said excitedly, “He might even be able to beat the ninth golem!”
The ninth golem…even many Void-level Diremonsters and Fiendgods were helpless before it! From this, one could tell how utterly astonishing Ning’s rate of improvement had been during the past thirty years.
“My child Ning’s talent is extremely high, and his affinity for the Dao of the Sword is particularly exceptional,” the Whitewater Hound said. “When in the Grand Xia world, he had to divide up his attention amongst multiple types of techniques as well as engage in all sorts of battles! Here at Mount Innerheart, however, there is no infighting at all. In addition, Ning has completely focused his attention on his sword-arts for more than thirty years. His sword-arts have already exceeded an utterly inconceivable level.”
“Right. Truly inconceivable.” Little Qing nodded as well. During the past thirty years, Little Qing had improved dramatically as well, having mastered Greater Teleportation. The Whitewater Hound was more intelligent than Little Qing, with superb comprehension ability; thus, he had become a true grandmaster of formations.
But Ning’s improvement outstripped both of theirs!
Originally, the ordinary disciples of Mount Innerheart murmured amongst themselves about the strength of this new disciple, not feeling much respect for Ning. Afterwards, however, Ning began to focus all his heart and efforts on sword-arts, and his abilities began to dramatically rise without pause. He defeated the fifth, sixth, seventh, and even the eighth golem…causing all of the disciples of Mount Innerheart to be completely tongue-tied in shock.
Even the controller of the Divinities Palace, the old demon Silvermoon, had said with an emotional sigh, “Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning truly is a peerless future Sword Immortal. His improvement in his sword-arts has been utterly terrifying.”
Although Patriarch Subhuti helped by expounding on the Dao, as the saying went, the master might open the door, but cultivation depends on the self. The Patriarch could give some advice at critical moments, but most of Ning’s cultivation and insights came from himself. Clearly, he was extremely well-suited to the Dao of the Sword! Even the similarly peerless Sword Immortal, Lu Dongbin, had felt the desire to recruit him, and had made repeated requests to take him as his disciple.
Unfortunately, the Grand Xia Emperor had steadfastly refused! However, thanks to this ‘setback’, Ning had ended up arriving at Mount Innerheart and becoming apprenticed to Patriarch Subhuti.
On the twelfth day of Ning sitting in the lotus position in meditation, sword-ki suddenly began to fill the pavilion area around Ning.
Little Qing and Uncle White both hurriedly stepped back, moving to a distant pathway to watch from afar. They saw that more and more streaks of sword-ki began to appear in the area around Ning. Suddenly, Ning opened his eyes as well.
“Is this…the realm which senior Northwalker had reached in the past?” Ning murmured gently to himself as the countless streaks of sword-ki around him began to gather together, becoming extremely solid and dense and forming into a single, dazzling Immortal sword that glowed with white light.
“Chop,” Ning said.
The sword-ki that had formed into a sharp Immortal sword of light sliced through the air, and as it did so, the illusion of an enormous black dragon actually appeared above it! This illusory black dragon coiled around the flying sword of light, and in the eyes of the black dragon a look of wanton arrogance could be seen. The flying sword of white light sliced through the air, and the surrounding space completely exploded.
“The ninth stance of the [Three-Foot Sword]…” Ning murmured to himself, “Sword Roaming the Three Realms!”
“The most powerful sword technique left behind by senior Northwalker…I’ve finally mastered it. However, I feel as though this sword technique of senior Northwalker’s, this ‘Sword Roaming the Three Realms’, is too flamboyant and brash. It isn’t stately enough. If this technique could be altered to be slightly more reserved and not so brash, its power might rise even more.”
Ning’s own level of judgement was now extremely high.
It must be understood that the sword-arts manuals on the fourth floor of the Divinities Palace were already on the level of the complete [Three-Foot Sword].
The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth floors…although Ning hadn’t chosen certain techniques that overlapped with techniques he had already chosen, he had still analyzed a total of more than a hundred sword-arts manuals! Ning had even chosen nine books from the eighth floor of the Divinities Palace, each of which had been written by major powers of the Three Realms. Although they were written rather casually, they were still unfathomably profound.
Given that Ning already had so many sword-arts for his perusing, how could he not have superb judgement by now?
Immortal Northwalker had roamed the world by himself and painstakingly taught himself. Ning, however, had become an apprentice to Patriarch Subhuti, and had the chance to analyze countless sword-arts that had been collected from throughout the Three Realms. Given that he was incomparably suited to be a Sword Immortal, how could he not be extremely astute in judging these types of techniques?
“I have now completely mastered all nine stances of the [Three-Foot Sword].” Ning nodded to himself. “However, I’ve modified the first eight stances to make them more suited to me. As for this ninth stance…I will need to modify it as well.”
With so many peerless sword-arts manuals available to him, Ning’s foundation in the Dao of the Sword was indeed at an inconceivably sturdy level.
“Master, Master.” Little Qing flew over. “That sword technique just now…it seemed to be unfathomably profound. Did you make a breakthrough?”
“Yes. I’ve already mastered the ninth stance of the [Three-Foot Sword].” Ning nodded.
The nine complete stances of the [Three-Foot Sword] were: Lustrous Sword-Heart, Manifold Thistlethorns, Sudden Sword-Light, Sun in the Sky, Moonlight Hiding the Sword, Grand Dao Domain, Horizontal Sword Execution, Immortal-Devil, and Sword Roaming the Three Realms!
The nearby Uncle White also said with amazement and excitement, “Ning, child, I heard that by using this [Three-Foot Sword], Immortal Northwalker was comparable to a Celestial Immortal in power. There are even Celestial Immortals whose sword-arts are not as profound as this [Three-Foot Sword]. Your sword-arts are already now comparable to that of some Celestial Immortals?”
“Immortal Northwalker was comparable to a Celestial Immortal…but that was a bit of a misleading saying.” Ning had often chatted with his fellow disciples here at Mount Innerheart, and he now naturally knew much more than he had in the past. “It is extremely hard for a person to overcome the Celestial Tribulation and become a Celestial Immortal. Some Void-level Earth Immortals have fairly simple tribulations, while others might have tribulations that are hundreds or even thousands of times harder. In fact, I’ve even heard that for some Void-level Earth Immortals, the Celestial Tribulation didn’t even descend at all; it just dissipated. In addition, Celestial Immortals have trained for varying amounts of time, and some are unaffiliated individuals who train on their own while others are apprenticed to major powers. Naturally, they will all be at different levels of power.”
“Thus, Immortal Northwalker being ‘comparable to a Celestial Immortal’ was only in reference to the most ordinary type of Celestial Immortals.
“For example, Loose Immortal Juhua had lived for many millions of years and was also referred to as being ‘comparable to Celestial Immortals’, just like senior Northwalker who had lived for a million years,” Ning said with a laugh. “There are great differences in power between Celestial Immortals. Things are quite tricky. It’s possible that monstrously powerful Loose Immortals who have lived for millions of years or ten million years might be able to kill weak Celestial Immortals, but the most powerful Celestial Immortals…I hear that some of them have already completely mastered the Grand Dao of the Sword or other Grand Daos, and are extremely close to becoming Pure Yang True Immortals. These are the geniuses of Celestial Immortals, and some are even able to compete against Pure Yang True Immortals.”
“Thus, even amongst Celestial Immortals, there are still many varying levels of power. This thing about being ‘comparable to Celestial Immortals’…haha, that’s just a form of praise and flattery,” Ning said.
At present, Ning has already reached the fifteenth level of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] as a Fiendgod Body Refiner, which was comparable to an early-stage Void-level Fiendgod Body Refiner! Upon using his [Starseizing Hand], and his terrifyingly powerful sword-arts…he was definitely no weaker than the former Immortal Northwalker by now!
When Ning had first entered the Black-White College, he had felt incomparable veneration for Immortal Northwalker. Naturally, at the time, he had felt nothing amiss about the saying that he was comparable to a Celestial Immortal.
But now that Ning himself had already reached Immortal Northwalker’s level, he felt a bit embarrassed upon hearing himself being praised as ‘comparable to Celestial Immortals’. After all, Ning knew very well that he was currently merely on par with ordinary Celestial Immortals. If he were to run into slightly more powerful Celestial Immortals, they would probably be able to defeat and even kill him!
But Little Qing still said excitedly, “Master, stop being so modest. No matter what, your sword-arts are definitely at the level of a Celestial Immortal by now! In fact, you are even superior to ordinary Celestial Immortals, right?”
Ning was startled for a moment, then let out a resigned laugh and said, “True. But Little Qing, I’m still just a minor figure in the Three Realms; it’s best for me to be a bit more low-key at my current level of power.”
“Master, it can be said that at your current level of power, you are utterly invincible against anyone below the Celestial Immortal level.” Little Qing didn’t show the slightest hint of modesty at all.
Ning smiled. Invincible against anyone below the Celestial Immortal?
Most likely even monstrously powerful Loose Immortals who had lived for millions of years wouldn’t be that much more powerful than the current Ning. It could indeed be said that he was at the very peak of power for those below the Celestial Immortal level. However…in the Three Realms, Loose Immortals were still just minor figures; only Celestial Immortals had some status. As Ning was the Old Patriarch’s disciple, he had higher standards for himself.
“I haven’t even accessed the ninth floor of the Divinities Palace or the Three Realms Palace,” Ning mused to himself. “After I go to the ninth floor and to the Three Realms Palace…especially the Three Realms Palace…mm. My fellow disciples have all said that so long as I can acquire a single technique from the Three Realms Palace, I can rely on it to roam the entire Three Realms. By then, I’ll probably be much more powerful than I currently am; I’ll no longer be on Immortal Northwalker’s level, and will probably be on Immortal Juhua’s level. Even against fairly formidable Celestial Immortals, I should still be able to keep myself alive.”
Ning was quite eager to see the Three Realms Palace.
“Little Qing, Uncle White,” Ning instructed, “I am going to go into secluded meditation to further perfect my [Three-Foot Sword]. For now, continue to handle your own affairs; there’s no need to pay me any attention.”
“Alright.” The Whitewater Hound nodded.
“Master, you are going into seclusion right after making a breakthrough? The gap in power between you and me is growing greater and greater,” Little Qing said helplessly. But then she chortled, “Fortunately, I have Greater Teleportation. It will probably be a long, long time before you can do this, right Master?”
Ning shook his head. A ‘long time’? He was a human; he had to completely master the Grand Dao of Qiankun before he could use Greater Teleportation. He was still extremely far away from mastering his Grand Dao of the Sword, much less the Grand Dao of Qiankun!
The stone door slid shut as Ning entered his private room. A rippling ‘wall’ could be seen in this private room, and as Ning stepped into the ripples, he arrived within the underwater estate.
“Ji Ning, you have finally mastered the ninth stance of the [Three-Foot Sword].” Within the underwater estate, the giant yellow bear was waiting with a smile on his face.
“Senior, will I now be capable of challenging the eighth level of the Wargod Hall?” Ning asked. More than ten years ago, he had already passed the seventh level of the Wargod Hall and chosen an Immortal-ranked magic treasure.