After entering the main hall, Ji Ning felt as though he had entered a completely different world. He had heard nothing when he was outside the hall, but upon entering it he could clearly hear the sound of music reverberating throughout it.
Ning swept the hall with his gaze.
There were female Immortals dancing within the hall, as well as musicians who were playing all sorts of various instruments. There were nine separate musical groups spread throughout the hall, each separated by curtains of brocade cloth. There had to be several hundred musicians present as well as several hundred dancing female Immortals. All of them merely fluttered about at the margins, providing just a bit of extra festivity.
“Greetings to you, senior Blackmist,” Ancestral Immortal Imperius said respectfully. “Master, I’ve brought Elder God Darknorth.”
Ning glanced upwards. There were two tables placed at the front of the great hall. On the left sat a white-haired elder dressed in loose white robes, while on the right sat a black-haired man who looked rather sloppy and poorly dressed. Both of them emanated ripples of power that were so great, they felt as though they were the ripples that would emanate from entire chaosworlds.
“World God. Chaos Immortal.” Ning could sense that these two posed a deadly threat to him.
Although he had just barely reached the World God threshold when using Violetjewel, the difference in power between him and these two figures who had long ago crossed that threshold was still quite apparent.
“Respectful greetings to you, seniors.” Ning and Fushe both spoke out with respect. As Elder Gods, they had enough status to speak while remaining on their feet, as opposed to True Gods and True Immortals who had to kneel.
“So you are Darknorth?” The old man dressed in loose white robes spoke out slowly. He was Chaos Immortal Abyssus.
“I am,” Ning said respectfully.
“You seem quite confident in your skills. You asked for a World-level expert to attest to your strength as soon as you joined the Fogstone Army.” Chaos Immortal Abyssus smiled gently. “You’ve made an impression on all nine of the World-level experts of Fogstone.”
Island Master Fushe had made the report to all nine of the World-level experts, including the Starlord of Fogstone. Immortal Abyssus was the first to respond, but all nine of them knew about this matter.
“Mmhmm.” World God Blackmist glanced downwards as well while sipping from his winecup.
“Master.” A red-lipped, red-robed standing off to one side suddenly spoke out loudly. “We don’t even know where this Elder God Darknorth came from. Are we supposed to trouble you with every random Elder God or Ancestral Immortal, master? Your disciple is willing to test him out first and see how much power he actually has. If he can’t even beat me, there’s no need whatsoever for you to intervene.”
Immortal Abyssus chuckled.
World God Blackmist played with his wineup, a drunken look in his eyes. “Brother Abyssus, this disciple of yours is pretty strong. You can let him have the first go with this Darknorth fellow.”
“Might as well.” Immortal Abyssus nodded, then instructed, “Disciple, have a little contest with Darknorth. Neither of you are to kill the other.”
“Understood,” the red-robed youth said respectfully.
“Understood,” Ning said as well.
Two World-level experts had made their wishes known. How could he possibly disagree?
Both Immortal Abyssus and World God Blackmist were watching the proceedings from their tables.
“What’s your impression of Darknorth?” Immortal Abyssus asked with a smile.
“He seems quite calm and confident,” World God Blackmist said. “He should have a bit of strength.”
Immortal Abyssus nodded in agreement. “Then who do you think will win, Abyssus?”
“Let’s watch and see.” World God Abyssus had a look of curiosity on his face.
Restrictive spells automatically sprang into place within the hall, completely covering both Ji Ning and the red-robed youth.
Ning and the red-robed youth stared at each other from within.
“Listen up. My name is Shadesoar.” The red-robed youth produced a pair of swords within his two hands. “My area of expertise is sword-arts.”
“My area of expertise is also sword-arts.” Ning also produced a pair of Darknorth swords. Previously, he had merely used his palms and the [Starseizing Hand] to crush Elder God Blackpeak. Now that he was performing in front of a pair of World-level experts, Ning felt it was best to be cautious. He was still able to perform sword-arts better with his swords, after all.
The sword was both sharper and faster.
“His area of expertise is sword-arts?” Ancestral Immortal Imperius and Island Master Fushe were both surprised. Ji Ning had fought in a tyrannical, dominating fashion earlier. He was actually a sword-user as well?
“He also uses the sword?” World God Blackmist let out a laugh. There were two World-level experts on Fogstone who were extremely skilled in using the sword. One was the Starlord of Fogstone, who had devised and was willing to sell his ‘Skystar Sword’ manual to those who were willing to pay the right price. The second was World God Blackmist. World God Blackmist was very good friends with the Starlord of Fogstone; it could be said the he had watched as the Starlord of Fogstone slowly grew up and rose to power.
World God Blackmist had actually taught the Starlord of Fogstone his sword-arts. But of course, Fogstone was now far more powerful than Blackmist by now.
“A competition between two swordsmen. This will be interesting.” Immortal Abyssus smiled. “Blackmist, if Darknorth is skilled you can choose him as your disciple.”
“I told you, I’ll never accept a disciple,” World God Blackmist said.
Immortal Abyssus secretly shook his head.
Long ago, World God Blackmist had a disciple. After that disciple died, Blackmist refused to accept any more disciples.
Suddenly, both Ning and the red-robed youth made their moves as they charged towards each other.
Both had reached extremely high levels of expertise in sword-arts and were able to control their divine power freely, letting none of it leak out or go to waste.
“Fifth-stage swordforce? His sword-arts are quite impressive as well.” Ning immediately felt a hint of pressure as he started to fight against the red-robed youth. The youth’s sword-arts were nimbler and more agile than his, like an antelope galloping through the woods or a pegasus flying the skies. Every single strike of the sword moved faster than the limits of the Heavenly Daos; clearly, he had also learned and mastered a technique similar to the [Five Treasures].
None of this surprised Ning. This was a disciple of a Chaos Immortal, after all; it made sense for him to possess this type of technique.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
By comparison, Ning’s sword-arts were more unpredictable and formless.
Ning was using the ‘Shadowless’ stance of the [Brightmoon] sword-art. The red-robed youth found that this stance was extremely difficult to block.
“Your sword-arts aren’t bad, but if this is all you have, you aren’t qualified to exchange blows with my master,” the red-robed youth barked out while fighting.
“Then you had best be careful!” Ning let out a loud roar.
Ning’s two fluttering swords suddenly exploded with might. His swords had previously moved in strange, unpredictable ways. All of a sudden, they grew dramatically more powerful than before. Prior to this, Ning hadn’t been using the [Starseizing Hand], while the red-robed youth had actually already used his own divine abilities. Only by doing so was he able to match Ning, a half-step World God, in might. Now that Ning was using the [Starseizing Hand], the power of his blows increased dramatically.
Fast, strong, bizarre…
Ning’s sword-light brought such tremendous pressure upon the youth that his face changed. His body blurred as he manifested a total of six arms, but Ning immediately manifested six arms of his own as he continued to press the assault.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Ning’s sword-light struck with incredible weight and savagery, causing the nimble sword-arts of the red-robed youth to be completely disrupted.
A streak of sword-light slammed against the red-robed youth’s body. The youth was knocked flying backwards and fell to the ground, causing even the palace hall itself trembled slightly. The red-robed youth couldn’t help but vomit out a mouthful of blood.
“He’s just a bit stronger than me, that’s all.” The red-robed youth didn’t want to accept the loss and wished to charge towards Ning once more.
A voice rang out from on high. “If you lost, you lost.”
“Yes, Master.” Rather embarrassed, the red-robed youth assented in a respectful voice. He had wanted to defeat this unknown Elder God, but instead he himself had been defeated. In terms of sword-arts, he was actually one of the top three Fogstone soldiers…and yet, he had been defeated by this Darknorth.
“What do you think?” Immortal Abyssus looked towards World God Blackmist. “You are more qualified to judge him than I am.”
World God Blackmist looked downwards at Ning, a hint of praise in his eyes. “This Darknorth has reached a very high level of skill in sword-arts. It seemed as though the two were on par with each other, with Shadesoar only losing because he was a bit weaker, but…in this fight, Darknorth’s techniques came out in a steady, unbroken stream. His techniques were very well-rounded and perfected, allowing him to battle in a very natural, unrestrained manner. If my guess is correct, Darknorth has revealed just a hint of his true prowess with the sword. He hasn’t shown his most formidable techniques yet.”
“Oh?” Immortal Abyssus was rather surprised.
World God Blackmist had long ago reached the ‘Sword World’ level in the sword. He was better equipped to evaluate sword-arts than almost anyone else.
“Although he hasn’t revealed his most formidable techniques yet, he isn’t able to hide the slick perfection of the techniques he has revealed.” World God Blackmist smiled. “It is very hard for a weakling to pretend to be an expert of the sword, but it is also very hard for an expert of the sword to pretend to be a weakling. Every single stance he uses is extraordinary, as is his sword-intent. Abyssus, I have a rather unreasonable request to make.”
“Oh? What is it?” Immortal Abyssus asked.
“Let me be the one to compete with him instead.” World God Blackmist put down his cup of wine. “Only when I personally test him out will I be sure as to exactly how strong he is.”
“Haha, my attainments in the Dao of the Sword are quite average. You are actually the best choice possible.” Immortal Abyssus nodded in agreement.