Ji Ning stood within his astral island by himself, staring at the emptiness around his island. The island which had represented Bertulu had already descended into the dark abyss, because Bertulu had already left.
A streak of light suddenly flew towards him from afar.
Ning immediately turned to look. The person who had flown over was an azure-armored alien Daolord. This man was fairly ugly, and his skin was a coarse, dark-red color. Although he looked rather frightening, Ning knew that this man, Daolord Grayvast, was actually a very good man who was easy to get along with.
“Brother Darknorth.” The azure-armored, muscular-looking Daolord Grayvast landed on the island, then laughed. “You are planning to leave so soon?”
“Yes.” Ning nodded. “My sword-arts have reached a bottleneck. It’ll probably be quite some time before I can improve any further. In addition, I understand more than half of the more powerful experts are planning to leave as well.”
Bertulu had left, Kilostar was leaving, and many of the old timers were leaving as well.
“You might as well. The Sword Palace is a much better place than this place.” Daolord Grayvast laughed. “Even in the Endless Territories, our Palace of the Sword is considered a holy land for those who train in the Dao of the Sword.”
Ning nodded in agreement. Brightshore Kingdom was an organization on the same general level of power as the Dao Alliance and the Aeonian Kingdom. Almost all of its elite cultivators in the Dao of the Sword were gathered within the Palace of the Sword. One could imagine what an accumulation of wealth, talent, and legacies it had accumulated over the course of countless ages.
“Oh, right. Senior Grayvast, please have a seat first.” Ning hurriedly produced some Immortal wine, personally filling Daolord Grayvast’s cup. He asked curiously, “Bertulu’s astral island has already sank into that dark abyss. That means he should’ve left already. Senior, do you know which palace he chose?”
“You aren’t the only one curious about this. Many of the Daolords have been paying attention to him as well.” Daolord Grayvast sat down, then picked up a cup of wine and gave it a sip. “In the end, he chose the Palace of Radiance.”
“The Radiant Palace?” Ning was startled. “He plans to walk the Dao of Light?”
Heartforce Cultivators were incredibly powerful. Daolord Featherdress, who had left behind the heartforce legacy, was publicly acknowledged as the most powerful Daolord in the Endless Territories during his era! After gaining this legacy, Ning came to understand that once a heartworld reached truly massive proportions, a simple heartworld projection would be enough to crush an opponent to death. Even if it didn’t directly kill one’s opponent, it could still suppress and restrict them, causing them to be limited to a mere twenty percent of their true power.
And Heartforce Cultivators had more tricks up their sleeves than just that…
“Choosing the Dao of Light is the most stable, appropriate path.” Daolord Grayvast let out a sigh. “Everyone knows how powerful and inscrutable Heartforce Cultivators are, but training in heartforce is simply too difficult. There are incredibly few World-level Heartforce Cultivators. As for Daolords who are Heartforce Cultivators… very few of them exist in the Endless Territories. The Heartforce Palace is one of the Twelve Palaces, but it has a total of less than ten Daolords!”
Daolord Grayvast shook his head. “The Dao of Light is actually a fairly normal Dao in comparison. Bertulu can focus on the Dao of Light while spending some time in heartforce as well.”
“Now that I think about it…” Ning said softly, “When I fought against him, he only used his heartworld projection to suppress me, then engaged me in close combat. He didn’t really use a lot of heartforce techniques. It seems as though he decided long ago that he would use heartforce as a supporting skill. His main focus is on fighting in close combat.”
“A very solid choice.” Daolord Grayvast sighed. “This solid choice means that we can already imagine how dazzlingly powerful he will be in the future. In fact, if he successfully walks down the path he has started on, he will become either the Palace Lord or a vice Palace Lord.”
Ning chatted and drank with Daolord Grayvast, learning much more about the Twelve Palaces. Soon, the wine was all finished.
“Time to go.” Ning rose to his feet.
“There is a teleportation array within the Astral Islands. It can send you straight to the Sword Palace.” Daolord Grayvast rose to his feet as well.
“No need.” Ning shook his head. “I have a good friend who came with me to the Brightshore Kingdom. She is currently somewhere in the Brightshore Kingdom. I plan to find her first, then I’ll go to the Sword Palace.”
“Oh?” Daolord Grayvast frowned slightly, then solemnly handed over a medallion. This medallion looked illusory and translucent, but one could vaguely make out the word ‘sword’ on the medallion. Daolord Grayvast handed the medallion over to Ning. “Technically speaking, you should only be given this medallion after you go to the Sword Palace and become one of our formal members. However, since you need to find your friend first, I’ll let you bind this medallion right now. Once you bind it, you’ll be one of our formal members.”
Ning was startled. “You are going to give it to me in advance?”
“The Brightshore Kingdom is a dangerous place,” Daolord Grayvast explained. “If I didn’t give it to you… you might end up dying while traveling to the Sword Palace.”
“Ah?!” Ning was shocked.
“The Brightshore Kingdom is an extremely large place with countless living beings within it. The almighty Hegemon actually went out of his way to personally create many dangers, hiding many legacies within those dangers,” Daolord Grayvast explained. “He wishes for the countless living beings within the Brightshore Kingdom to be filled with energy and courage. If everything is too peaceful and everyone lives in peace, the kingdom will produce far, far fewer major powers.”
Ning understood this principle. A peaceful life sapped one’s willpower. Even chaosworlds were filled with battle, to say nothing of the Endless Territories.
“Anyone who becomes a Daolord is required to join the Twelve Palaces,” Daolord Grayvast said. “Within the Twelve Palaces, all internal strife is forbidden. Even if you do hold a grudge against someone, we would encourage you to do your best to resolve things peacefully through mediation. If the mediation fails, you will still have to get advance permission before entering into a life-and-death duel. If you dare to kill one of your colleagues without getting that permission, you will be devoured by your lifeblood oath and killed on the spot.”
“Many of the Daolords will leave the Brightshore Kingdom to adventure through the outside lands.” Daolord Grayvast laughed. “If you want to kill people, do it outside. Don’t kill other Daolords of the Brightshore Kingdom.”
“Once you bind this medallion, none of the Daolords of the Brightshore Kingdom will dare to lay a finger on you,” Daolord Grayvast said. “That will make things much safer for you! To physically travel from this place to the Sword Palace means crossing more than half of the entire Brightshore Kingdom. There will be many Daolords on the way, including some Aberrants who have bad tempers or strange dispositions. There are some who will slaughter anyone who crosses their path…”
Ning was speechless upon hearing all this.
“So… hurry up and bind it,” Daolord Grayvast urged.
Ning immediately sent his senses into the medallion. This medallion did indeed hold a lifeblood oath within it that was quite similar to the one which Daolord Grayvast had just described. The Twelve Palaces forbade its members from engaging in internal combat. In addition, if the Brightshore Imperials or the Twelve Palaces fell into danger, the members of the palaces would have to do their utmost to rescue them. But of course, if one of the Imperials sought to kill you then you would be permitted to fight back; there would be no need to defend them.
“The Twelve Palaces must protect the imperial clan?” Ning raised his head to look at Daolord Grayvast.
Protecting the imperial clan was actually part of the charter of the lifeblood oath. But of course, in order to ensure that the experts of the Twelve Palaces were sincere in their loyalty, the Brightshore Imperials also had to swear oaths that they absolutely would not attack any members of the Twelve Palaces. If they did, they would no logner be protected and they could instead be counter-attacked and killed!
“Yes.” Daolord Grayvast nodded. “The Brightshore Kingdom was established by the almighty Hegemon. He created the Brightshore Kingdom for the sake of protecting his imperial clan. Although the Imperials are very powerful, they are extremely few in number.”
“Alright.” Ning understood.
Ning could also sense what an extraordinary aura this medallion had. Most likely, it was the almighty Hegemon himself who had created this medallion as well as the lifeblood oath. But of course, the Twelve Palaces had to agree with the wording of the oath. Only then would such a mighty organization have staying power.
“I suppose I can accept that.” Ning immediately swore the lifeblood oath. The medallion was instantly and easily bound as well.
“Eh?” As soon as he bound the medallion, Ning could sense ten ripples of power coming from the Astral Islands region. These were ripples emanating from other similar medallions.
“The Twelve Palaces and the Brightshore Imperials all have similar medallions. The ripples coming from those medallions will testify to their identity, ensuring that we won’t get into accidental fights against our fellows without realizing it,” Daolord Grayvast said. “Now, no Daolord will dare to act against you here in the Brightshore Kingdom. As for World-level cultivators? I’m confident that you should be able to easily defeat any World-level cultivators. Oh – here is a star map of the Brightshore Kingdom.”
Daolord Grayvast handed Ning a furled star map.
Ning accepted it. “Thank you, senior Grayvast. I’ll be leaving now.”
“I’ll see you in the Sword Palace,” Daolord Grayvast said. “Be careful on your journey.”
“I will.” Ning immediately transformed into a streak of light and flew away.
Daolord Grayvast watched as the sword-carrying white-robed youth flew away, then turned to leave as well.
The astral island which Ning had been on began to sink downwards into that dark abyss below. As for the random legacy treasures which Ning had left behind, they all scattered and began to fly towards the various other islands.
All the legacy treasures of the ninety-nine legacies would forever remain within the Astral Islands.