Ji Ning and Su Youji followed Daolord Fudan in flying through a mountainous forest grove.
Every so often, one would be able to see the residences of cultivators spread out throughout the mountains. Daolord Fudan suddenly pointed off into the distance towards a distant valley. “That place is known as Armaments Gorge. That’s another one of the very important places in the Sword Palace. It is just as important as the Ancient Library.”
“Armaments Gorge?” Ning stared off into the distance, as did the nearby Su Youji. None of this really had anything to do with her, but it was a chance for her to learn a few things.
Distant buildings could be seen hidden throughout the gorge, with some located deep in the very bottom.
“Armaments Gorge is filled with many weapons, magic treasures, and unique artifacts,” Daolord Fudan said. “The weapons here are primarily swords of all shapes and sizes, but there are also many types of other magic treasures, including pills. All treasures are stored here.”
Ning’s eyes lit up. All treasures were stored here? Would perhaps Mirrorsnow Paintings be stored here as well?
“What must be done if I wish to acquire some of those treasures?” Ning said.
“The treasures inside Armaments Gorge were accumulated by the Sword Palace over the course of countless years. They cannot be taken away without paying a cost,” Daolord Fudan said. “If everyone just took away treasures as they pleased, the gorge would soon be completely emptied. When you are free, you can go and take a look. The Armaments Gorge has certain rules that govern it. Still, in the outside world, many of these treasures are completely unobtainable no matter what price you are willing to pay. At least they are available in the Armaments Gorge.”
Ning nodded. The more valuable a treasure was, the harder it would be to acquire it. Daolord Solesky had been willing to risk his own life and pay a heavy price in order to get Daolord Badlands to help him in his quest to obtain a certain treasure. It seemed as though the Armaments Gorge had many priceless treasures within it.
“The Ancient Library is filled with sword-arts, while this place is filled with treasures.” Ning nodded. These two places truly were on par with each other.
“Next, I shall take you to the third-most important place we have.” Daolord Fudan continued to fly forwards, leading Ning higher and higher into the skies.
“Look over there.” Daolord Fudan pointed at the tallest building in the entire Sword Palace. It was a strangely shaped building that was shaped like a towering pillar of cloud layers. Each layer was thirty thousand meters tall. The first layer was formed of black clouds, the second layer was formed of azure clouds, the third layer was formed of silvery-white clouds, and the highest layer was formed from golden clouds.
The four layers of clouds came together to form this towering edifice that was at the heart of the entire Sword Palace.
“This is the Daolord Cloudworld.” Daolord Fudan sighed. “This is one of the most important places in the entire Sword Palace, ranking within the top three.”
“What is it for?” Ning was puzzled.
“The Daolord Cloudworld is filled with many powerful golem opponents, and more than 90% of them wield swords. They will use different types of sword-arts, with the strongest ones being comparable to the sword-arts used by Daolords of the Third Step.” Daolord Fudan sighed. “Sword cultivators need combat more than anything else, and battles against other supremely skilled swordsmen help more than anything else.”
Ning absolutely agreed with this comment. One of the reasons why his sword-arts had improved so quickly was because he had been able to duel those three powerful swordsmen within the three Mirrorsnow Paintings. That had been of tremendous benefit to him.
“When you battle against other supremely skilled swordsmen, not only will you have a chance to discover the flaws in your own sword-arts, you’ll also learn from the sword-arts they used.” Daolord Fudan sighed. “However, battling against such powerful swordsmen in the outside world carries the risk of death. In the Daolord Cloudworld, however, you won’t be at any risk of dying. The Daolord Cloudworld has many golems because the entire Sword Palace has put tremendous resources into it over the course of countless years. That’s why it has so many golems of such incredible power.”
Ning nodded. There were quite a few cultivators who had sword-arts on the level of most Daolords of the Third Step, but creating a golem that possessed the same level of sword-arts would carry a tremendous price that even Eternal Emperors would feel pain upon paying. Generally speaking, powerful golems relied on using overwhelming speed and power, with their weakness being their insights into the Dao. This was even true for golems who could battle Verge-level Daolords.
Golems weren’t cultivators, after all. They were innately weak in this respect.
“There are many powerful expert swordsmen there who all use different types of sword-arts, some of which are comparable to Daolords of the Third Step.” Daolord Fudan sighed. “Which cultivator of the sword wouldn’t dream of gaining access to such a place as we have here in the Palace of the Sword?”
Ning was growing even more excited. No wonder the Sword Palace was able to give birth to six freakishly strong World-level cultivators like the six Swordlords!
“And there’s more! Remember, the Daolord Cloudworld has a total of four layers,” Daolord Fudan said. “The Blackcloud World is the first layer; if you overcome it, you will be awarded a set of black armor. This black armor is merely a top-grade Dao armor. The Azurecloud World is the second layer, and if you overcome it you’ll be given azure armor. The Silvercloud World is the third layer, and if you overcome it you’ll be awarded silver armor. The highest layer is the Goldcloud World, and if you overcome it you will be awarded golden armor. The azure armor, silver armor, and gold armor are all Eternal treasures of different levels of power. The suits of golden armor are top-grade Eternal treasures, and they possess many marvelous properties.
“Being able to acquire the black armor means you have reached the threshold of a Daolord of the First Step.
“Being able to acquire the azure armor means you have reached the threshold of a Daolord of the Second Step.
“Silver armor is for those who have reached the threshold of Daolords of the Third Step.
“Golden armor belongs to those who have reached the threshold for Daolords of the Fourth Step.”
Daolord Fudan explained the stages one by one.
Ning nodded. ‘Reached the threshold’ simply meant that you were at the minimum level of power for that level. When Ning had first broken through to the World-level, he had reached the threshold of a Daolord of the First Step. As for right now? He was comparable to an average Daolord of the First Step.
“In the Sword Palace, we have eight World-level cultivators who have won azure armor,” Daolord Fudan said softly.
“What?” Ning was shocked.
Although he was fairly powerful, he didn’t think he had reached the threshold of a Daolord of the Second Step. But the Sword Palace had eight such figures?
“Five of them are Aberrants while three of them were cultivators, but even the cultivators have freakishly powerful divine abilities or secret arts,” Daolord Fudan explained. “In challenging the Daolord Cloudworld, you can use all abilities and techniques that you have available, such as divine abilities and secret arts. But of course, you can’t use certain single-use treasures, Dao-seals, bugbeasts, golems, or other similar treasures.”
“Don’t be too surprised. Divine abilities and secrets are can be tremendously powerful,” Daolord Fudan said. “I’ll take you to another place now.”
Daolord Fudan led him to a bamboo hall erected at the peak of a mountain which was wreathed in clouds and mist.
“This is the Pavilion of Mysteries.” Daolord Fudan pointed at the bamboo hall. “It is filled with many divine abilities, secret arts, and a few legacies left behind by ancient powers of the Dao of the Sword. Divine abilities can increase your strength a hundredfold, while secret arts are even more difficult to gauge. The strongest secret arts can unleash utterly terrifying levels of power,” Daolord Fudan said.
Ning nodded. His own [Novessence Thunder] technique was classified as a secret art! Certain incredibly powerful secret arts truly could allow the wielder to challenge cultivators who were at a higher level of power. If some of the freakishly strong World-level cultivators like Kilostar gained access to some of the terrifyingly strong secret arts or treasures the Twelve Palaces had to offer, it was entirely possible that he would be able to battle his way through the second layer of the Daolord Cloudworld and earn the azure armor.
However, if you had merely reached the threshold of the Second Step as a Daolord, you would probably be defeated in one blow by a true Daolord of the Second Step. Still, you would probably be strong enough to kill most Daolords of the First Step.
“Many of the divine abilities and secret arts stored in this place were left behind by Daolords who were comparable to Eternal Emperors in might. Some were left behind by actual Eternal Emperors. The same is true for the full legacies,” Daolord Fudan said. “However, the full legacies are fewer in number.”
Legacies were completely different from the sword-arts held within the Ancient Library.
To have a legacy was to essentially have a master. Not only did a legacy include many sword-arts and detailed instructions on learning them, it would often include a detailed analysis and explanation of every single stance from the Daolord who had left the legacy behind. To have a Samsara Daolord guide you step by step on your path… true legacies were thousands of times more valuable than mere sword-arts.
Take the [Nameless] sword-art which World God Northrest had transmitted to Ning. Its first five stances all had their own sword-intents, but Northrest himself had never learned the sixth or seventh stance. All he had been able to do was to leave behind a record of the stances.
This was the flaw of the Ancient Library. Its sword-arts consisted of nothing more than movements and techniques; there was no sword-intent for the cultivator to attune to.
“Every newcomer is permitted to choose a single thing from the Pavilion of Mysteries,” Daolord Fudan said. “The Daolord Cloudworld and the Pavilion of Mysteries are two of the top three sacred areas here in the Sword Palace. Now… I am going to take you to the most important place of all, the indisputably most sacred place.”
They continued to fly forwards, moving towards the very rear of the Sword Palace.
“There. Right there.” Daolord Fudan pointed off into the distance, towards a place which was covered in darkness. The black earth was filled with erect towers, and the towers filled the landscape like a forest or like a sea. Every single tower emanated an aura of incredible sword-intent which filled the entire region.
A million chaos cycles or even longer might go by… but the sword-intent here would never dissipate.
“Ever since the Sword Palace was established, every single person whose sword-arts are acknowledged by the Sword Pagodas shall leave behind a Sword Pagoda of his own,” Daolord Fudan said softly. “To be acknowledged by the Sword Pagodas, you have to at least reach the level of the six Swordlords. Over the course of countless years, every single true Samsara Daolord or Eternal Emperor has left behind a Sword Pagoda that belongs to them. Every single Sword Pagoda holds the sword-arts they learned and developed. They personally recorded those sword-arts down and left them here, infusing their pagoda with their sword-intent.
“Countless Daolords have died since the Sword Palace was founded, and even Eternal Emperors have disappeared into the endless darkness as they went out exploring parts unknown. Their Sword Pagodas, however, have been kept safe.
“There are a total of 83612 Sword Pagodas here!
“This place represents the greatest wealth, the greatest fortune the Sword Palace possesses. This is the most sacred place in the entire palace.” A look of awe and veneration was in Daolord Fudan’s eyes.
Ning could sense that the sword-intents here were incredibly ancient, having existed for countless chaos cycles. In fact, some of the sword-intents were absolutely lawless and dominating. These sword-intents had all been left behind by some of the most supremely talented cultivators of the Endless Territories, many of whom were capable of battling Eternal Emperors or actually were Eternal Emperors. All of them had been gathered here… and every single Sword Pagoda represented an ancient power.
Samsara Daolords. With each step they took, they walked the tightrope which existed between life and death. Daolords had to eventually succeed in the Daomerge, as they would otherwise die one day. Some of the earliest Daolords had already perished, but their sword-arts and their sword-intents had been left behind and would forever exist.
“The most sacred place of the Sword Palace… the Forest of Sword Pagodas.” Daolord Fudan’s voice was trembling slightly. He dreamed of one day being able to leave behind a Sword Pagoda of his own… but alas, his sword-arts were not good enough.