Within the estate-world of the first Mirrorsnow Painting.
There was a towering palace here that was absolutely beautiful. A figure slowly materialized atop the royal throne at the front of the hall. It was the golden-robed emperor.
“You’ve come again.” The golden-robed emperor stared downwards.
Ji Ning nodded from his position below the throne. “Be careful this time. If you are overconfident, you might end up being defeated by me.”
“This is the first time I’ve heard you say such a thing.” The golden-robed emperor’s eyes lit up as he produced that wide golden greatsword. He rose to his feet and began to walk down the stairs from his throne. “Come, come! Don’t disappoint me.”
Ning produced one of his Frostice Swords as well.
Ning stood there without moving. As for the golden-robed emperor, he slowly walked down the steps. Although the two had yet to engage, their auras were beginning to surge and press against each other. Both were carefully inspecting their foe. Although the golden-robed emperor had won every match, he himself was aware that Ning was posing an increasingly great threat to him.
“Something’s off.” The golden-robed emperor suddenly sensed something strange. Although Ning stood a distance away from him, he gave the emperor a sensation of unpredictable fluctuation. This was something he had never sensed before in his previous battles.
“Forget him. I’ll smash it all to smithereens.” The golden-robed emperor’s path was a Dao of righteous valor and honor. He raised his golden greatsword up high, then sent it crashing downwards towards Ning.
Boom! A terrifying aura of power blasted out as the greatsword chopped down furiously towards Ning, seeming to carry such great power that it could hack any foe to death. This terrifying aura alone was enough to freeze the hearts of many World-level cultivators.
Sniiiiick. Ning’s frozen sword flashed out like a streak of azure mist as it scraped upwards towards the golden greatsword.
Although he was just using the flat of his blade to push at and scrape at the sword, this actually made things harder for the golden-robed emperor than a frontal clash would have! The strange power held within Ning’s sword caused the emperor’s golden greatsword to change directions, causing it to completely miss Ning.
If you couldn’t hit your opponent, it didn’t matter how powerful your sword-arts were.
“So his technique really has changed.” The golden-robed emperor was startled.
“The [Nameless] sword-art truly is marvelous.” Ning was overjoyed. Although he had just learned this sixth stance of the [Nameless] sword-art, he hadn’t actually employed it yet. This battle against the golden-robed emperor was his first time actually using it in battle.
This clash had resulted in him easily defeating the valiant, killing blow of the emperor. Although Ning had been able to withstand this strike in the past, it had always been incredibly taxing for him. In fact, he would stumble backwards after each block.
This time, he didn’t have to use too much strength. He was able to effortlessly use a single strike to block this attack without even having to face it head-on.
“Again.” The golden-robed emperor let out an angry roar. Suddenly, a golden streak of crescent sword-light appeared high in the air of the palace, then chopped down horizontally towards Ning.
Crack! Once again, Ning unleashed that seemingly casual strike in response. He sent his sword scraping against the edge of that golden crescent. As their weapons collided, the power of each person’s sword-arts began to clash against each other. The golden-robed emperor’s sword-art were more dominating whereas Ning’s sword-art was more ephemeral and unpredictable. However, for some reason Ning was able to change the direction of the emperor’s sword yet again.
The golden greatsword had been sweeping directly towards Ning, but as Ning sent his own sword scraping and pushing down upon the greatsword, the sword-light ended up slashing into the ground in front of Ning’s feet. It completely missed Ning.
“How can this be? This is impossible.”
The golden-robed emperor was angry now. He launched one attack after another, and each sword was filled with truly valiant and dominating power.
Each strike of Ning’s seemed to be very casual and relaxed, but in truth he had focused all of his concentration into each strike. He had unleashed his sword-arts to maximum effect, and during this battle he began to gain a better and better understanding of the application of this sixth stance of the [Nameless] sword-art. He began to better understand how to actually use it in battle, and as this battle proceeded Ning began to relax.
Snick! Snick! Clank!
Sword-light clashed over and over.
It was very strange. Generally speaking, when two experts battled their weapons would produce sonorous explosions, as though the heavens were about to collapse. However, whenever Ning’s sword collided with his opponent’s sword, it merely produced a very gentle sound. It was as though Ning was using a brush to write words on parchment. He seemed quite relaxed and at ease.
Ning’s fluctuating sword-light once more scraped against the golden sword-light. This time, it scraped straight past it and stabbed straight into the golden-robed emperor’s throat.
The sword went straight through the emperor’s throat. Everything went still.
The golden-robed emperor came to a halt, and Ning withdrew his Frostice Sword.
“You’ve won.” The golden-robed emperor had a strange smile on his face. “Your sword-arts have been improving for years now. I knew that sooner or later, you would be able to defeat me. Still, even I didn’t expect that it would happen this quickly. Can you tell me what your sword-art is named?”
“This is a sword-art created by a major power. This the sixth stance, and its name is the ‘Unicorn’s Heart’,” Ning said.
“The Unicorn’s Heart?” The golden-robed emperor nodded slowly. “Your sword truly is ephemeral and unpredictable. It makes things quite uncomfortable for your foe.”
“Senior, your sword-art is honorable, direct, and dominating. I had to fight for very long before I was able to win through one fortunate strike,” Ning said. In truth, when he had first started fighting he hadn’t been very familiar with the Unicorn’s Heart. Naturally, it was very hard for him to win. However, as he slowly began to grow increasingly familiar with this technique, he had improved to the point of being able to stab through the emperor’s throat with one blow.
The [Nameless] sword-art was very interesting.
The first stance was the Heartsword stance. It required the wielder possess absolute control over his his sword, allowing his heart to be in control of the sword and the world around it.
The second stance was the Killsword stance. It was an utterly dominating and powerful stance.
The third stance was the Great Firmament stance. It allowed the user to create a world unto itself. In truth, this was the upgrade version of the Heartsword stance. It perfected the technique, giving it even more perfect defensive powers and making its attacks even tighter.
The fourth stance was the Horizon’s Edge stance. It could be described with one word – fast!
The fifth stance was the Silent World stance. It could be described with one word – savage! The fourth stance and fifth stance were both attacking stances that were meant to be used against different types of foes. Some foes could only be dispatched with speed, others required dominating and savage sword-arts.
The sixth stance was the Unicorn’s Heart stance. This represented an evolutionary transformation of the Great Firmament stance. It was much brighter than the Heartsword stance; the Heartsword stance only gave absolute control over the sword, whereas the Unicorn’s Heart was able to produce all sorts of marvelous effects.
It could easily block, deflect, and redirect attacks. It could also kill foes!
This sword-art was ephemeral, unpredictable, and incredibly abstruse. It was extremely hard to comprehend. Fortunately, Daolord Shipstream’s legacy and the book he had left behind were highly focused on defense. Once a defensive technique reached the later stages, it would also gain something akin to the flavor of the Unicorn’s Heart. After all, truly powerful sword-arts all had things in common.
Thus, after five hundred years Ning was able to master this sixth stance.
“The first stance, Heartsword stance. The third stance, Great Firmament stance. The sixth stance, the Unicorn’s Heart stance. All of them are highly defensive techniques that can also be used to slay my foes.” Ning knew quite clearly that these three stances were fundamentally the same. All of them focused on tightly controlled sword-arts that sought out flaws to use for sure-fire kills.
The Killsword stance, Horizon’s Edge stance, and Silent World stance were stances that were completely focused on attacking while holding nothing back.
“You have defeated me and passed my trial. However, you must defeat the other three as well,” the golden-robed emperor said. “Only then shall you gain the legacy of the Eternal Emperor and become his personal disciple! Emperor Mirrorsnow’s sword-arts were some of the most terrifying sword-arts of all the Endless Territories. If you become his disciple, your future prospects shall be limitless.”
“Understood.” Ning nodded.
Ning currently had a total of three Mirrorsnow Paintings. The first held the golden-robed emperor, the second held the assassin, and the third held the fisherman.
The assassin’s sword was a bizarre sword that was focused on murder and death. In a world of darkness, the assassin would suddenly appear and disappear out of nowhere, his sword-light flashing as he stabbed at Ning.
Ning would be forced to stand there, Frostice Sword in hand, blocking each and every strike from the assassin. The assassin’s sword-arts were on the exact same level as the golden-robed emperor’r sword-arts, but they had completely different styles. They provided different insights to Ning, allowing Ning to gain many new insights into the Unicorn’s Heart. At first, he still found himself unaccustomed to dealing with the assassin’s fighting style. However, he slowly became accustomed to it and found it increasingly easy to deal with.
Sword-light flashed as it stabbed straight through the assassin’s throat.
The assassin was incredibly slender. His face was covered with scales, and his eyes glowed with green light. This was the first time Ning had caught a clear glimpse of the assassin’s face.
“You won. Defeat the other three and you shall receive the Eternal Emperor’s legacy.” The assassin spoke in a hoarse voice, then disappeared once more.
The estate-world within the third painting. This was the world of the fisherman.
The two clashed for quite some time. The fisherman no longer seemed as relaxed and carefree as he had been in previous battles. This time, he fought with full intensity and deadly seriousness. Ning’s expressions were similarly solemn, and the two battled for more than two hours. This high-intensity battle gradually began to wear both of them down.
It must be understood that Ning’s battles against the other two had lasted for less than one hour.
“The fisherman’s sword is unpredictable and fluctuating, and he uses that fishing pole of his to fight me. That pole is sometimes rigid but sometimes flexible, whereas my sword is incredibly sharp and resilient… and yet, I’m still unable to breach his defenses.” Ning was beginning to understand.
The fisherman’s sword was quite similar to his own Unicorn’s Heart. Both were unpredictable, fluctuating sword-arts that sought out a chance to deliver a single lethal strike.
By comparison, the fisherman’s sword had a ‘softer’ defense, but once he reached an opponent who was a match for him the fisherman unleashed virtually all of the potential within his sword-arts, resulting in Ning being completely unable to harm him.
Finally, the two came to a halt.
“Your sword-art is incredibly profound and mysterious. It truly is one of the most profound sword-arts of all the Endless Territories. However, my own sword-arts were passed down by the Eternal Emperor himself. If you wish to defeat me, you’ll need to improve a little bit more.” The fisherman calmly walked back to his pool and began to fish again. “You can leave now.”
Ning wasn’t disappointed. Instead, his heart was filled with joy. This battle with the fisherman had resulted in him improving dramatically in his Unicorn’s Heart.