On the distant stone pillar, Qinghe rose to his feet, then clasped his hands. “I lost. I whole-heartedly acknowledge my defeat.”
Ji Ning rose as well, also clasping his hands, and then he swept the entire palace with his gaze, looking towards each of his fellow disciples. In a clear voice, he said, “Are there any other fellow disciples who wish to exchange pointers with me?”
His voice echoed within the entire palace.
“Alas.” Qinghe shook his head, then leapt three hundred meters and landed next to the white-haired elder. He took out two jade bottles, then placed them in front of the elder. This was the wager he had lost. Turning his head, he left.
For a period of time, the Dao Debate Palace was silent. Nobody took up the challenge.
“Even junior apprentice-brother Qinghe lost.”
“The Dao Debates are a competition of one’s comprehension of the Dao, as well as one’s skills. It doesn’t have much to do with one’s elemental ki. Even many of the Wanxiang Adepts amongst us are only on par with junior apprentice-brother Qinghe.”
“I imagine that only those who have comprehended multiple Dao Domains are capable of defeating junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning.”
Of course there were people who could defeat Ning! In addition, there were quite a few. For example, those three reincarnated Immortals who were at the Wanxiang Adept level. Anyone who had comprehended a complete Dao Path could effortless crush Ning. There were also a pile of disciples who had comprehended multiple Dao Domains. But which one of them would stand out?
“Which of my senior fellow disciples wishes to provide me with some guidance?” Ning stood there atop the stone pillar, speaking in a clear voice. “If no one else comes, then I shall retire.”
In this moment, Ning felt filled with a heroic aura. How joyous. He faced a group of supreme geniuses, and he, a newly recruited disciple, was challenging them. This really was a wonderful feeling.
“Since my other fellow disciples aren’t going to participate, then I’ll embarrass myself by volunteering.” A clear, cold voice rang out and a white-robed, white-haired youth strode forward. With a single step, he transformed into a streak of light which entered the side room. Soon, he returned with a golem by his side.
“That’s senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow!”
“Senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow is skilled as a Fiendgod Body Refiner and at close combat; he isn’t skilled in a golem-based Dao Debate!”
“I heard that senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow is already a two-clawed Raindragon Guard. In a real battle, he probably isn’t one whit inferior to an ordinary Primal Daoist. But senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow’s power primarily stems from his various divine abilities, his Bloodforged weapons, as well as his Fiendgod Body Refining Technique, the [Indestructible Bloodshadow Body]! In terms of controlling golems, though, he’s a bit weaker.”
As the white-robed, white-haired youth appeared, a buzz of conversation swept the entire palace. Ning’s ears twitched. He couldn’t help but feel secretly surprised. What a tremendous background this senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow had. The Rites of Bloodforging…although the likes of the Ji clan had never heard of it, the Black-White College had. Only, one needed five hundred black-white pellets to trade for the technique.
“And he’s actually a two-clawed Raindragon Guard as well!” Ning was privately shocked. After entering the Raindragon Guard, one would become an ordinary one-clawed Raindragon Guard, and the Black-White College would reward you with a thousand black-white pellets. If you became a two-clawed Raindragon Guard, you would be rewarded with five thousand black-white pellets. Upon becoming a three-clawed Raindragon Guard, the reward would be increased to fifteen thousand black-white pellets…
However, it was very difficult to become a two-clawed Raindragon Guard. Generally speaking, only someone at the Primal Daoist level of power could become one. Only a very few, exceptionally monstrous Wanxiang Adepts were able to reach that level. As for that so-called ‘genius’ of Snowdragon Mountain, Xue Hongyi, by comparison, he was far inferior to this senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow.
“Swoosh!” The white-haired, white-robed Bloodshadow’s body flickered, and he appeared on the opposite stone pillar. “Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning.” Bloodshadow stared towards Ning. “I’m more used to engaging in close combat. I’m not that skilled in controlling magic treasures to attack. However, I’m still a bit stronger than junior apprentice-brother Qinghe. You must be careful.”
“I await your instructions, senior apprentice-brother,” Ning said solemnly.
This was no joke. A freak capable of becoming a two-clawed Raindragon Guard, even one who was primarily a Fiendgod Body Refiner, definitely wouldn’t be weak when controlling magic treasures. Fortunately, he would be doing so through the golems…and so his divine body and divine abilities would be of no use. Otherwise, there would be no need to compete at all. Ning would simply admit defeat.
“Begin!” The white-haired elder called out in a high voice. Rumble…the grand sealing barrier once more covered the entire arena.
Ning sat down in the lotus position. Bloodshadow did the same. “Junior apprentice-brother, be careful!” Bloodshadow called out in a cold voice. Instantly, the strange flying swords on the back of the Nineswords Golem began to fly out. Nine of the queer flying swords flew through the air, beginning to emit a dense, bloody light. The flying swords were all connected by the bloody light, and they quickly formed into an enormous…
Something. It had enormous cicada wings, a head with three horns, a mouth that was as long and sharp as a blade, and a savage, flashing gaze. In fact, the killing aura coming from this creature was even more terrifying than that of the Direwolf which Bloodeater Bladask had summoned.
“Mosquito?” Ning, staring the beast that had appeared, couldn’t help but feel astonished. This was a titanic mosquito.
Swoosh! That sinister-looking, baleful giant mosquito of blood suddenly charged forward, howling through the air, its blade-mouth formed from one of the flying swords. The power and invisible pressure from this creature caused Ning’s heart to clench.
“[Neo-Tripartite Lotus Sword]!” Ning didn’t hesitate at all, immediately executing his most powerful sword art. Instantly, three flying swords flew out from the back of his Thousandswords Golem. They soon formed an enormous, blooming lotus flower of sword light which stabbed directly towards that baleful, heaven-defying mosquito of blood.
“Bang!” The two attacks were both as fast as lightning, and they instantly crisscrossed in the sky. The blooming lotus flower’s sword-light trembled, beginning to grow unstable.
“It’s going to collapse.”
“Although senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow is not skilled in using flying swords, it isn’t too hard for him to suppress a young, newly recruited disciple.”
Quite a few fellow apprentices nodded musingly to themselves. As for Northson, he clenched his fists nervously as he watched, his heart filled with worry. It was as though he himself wanted to personally charge up. “You must win. You must win.”
“Not good.” As soon as he began fighting, Ning began to sense how terrifying the penetrative power of the blood mosquito’s blade-mouth was. “Bang!” The blood mosquito moved as fast as a shadow, quickly smashing yet again against the lotus flower. Instantly, the blooming lotus flower crumbled, and the three flying swords were scattered to one side.
However, Ning had expected this long ago. He had already prepared six more flying swords, which shot out from the back of the Thousandswords Golem.
“Go, go, go.” A savage look was in Ning’s eyes. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Every three flying swords formed a blooming lotus of sword-light, and even the three original scattered swords once more reformed into a giant lotus of sword-light. All of a sudden, the air was filled with three enormous flashes of sword light, each of which bloomed into giant loti. They flew out in a straight row, simultaneously striking towards the blood mosquito. Meanwhile, Ning’s eyes were filled with savagery as he controlled them in attacking.
“He’s actually able to simultaneously unleash three of those [Tripartite Lotus Swords]?”
“How can this be?”
The spectating disciples were all speechless. Using top-tier sword arts was tremendously taxing on one’s mental faculties. For something like the [Tripartite Lotus Sword]…most would be able to unleash just a single one at most. To unleash three at the same time was rather ridiculous.
At the corner of the Dao Debate Palace. Immortal Diancai nodded gently.
“He simultaneously executed multiple sword arts.” The nearby short elder shook his head repeatedly. “There’s only two possibilities. The first is that his current comprehension of the Dao is far beyond the level of this sword art, and so it is simplicity itself for him to use it; only then can one simultaneously use multiple sword arts. The second is that his soul is incomparably powerful, and so he can easily withstand the pressure this sword art creates, allowing him to use it multiple times simultaneously.”
Either one had a high level of insight, or one had an extremely powerful soul.
“Your disciple’s soul…is at the divine sense level?” The short elder looked towards Immortal Diancai, who nodded. “Right.”
“As I thought,” the short elder said softly. “If he has a ‘divine soul’ at the divine sense level…I imagine he can execute two or three more sword-lights. This battle…your disciple is probably going to win.”
The giant blood mosquito blurred, then transformed into three smaller blood mosquitoes, simultaneously defending against the three [Tripartite Lotus Swords].
Boom! Boom! Boom! There, in midair, the three [Tripartite Lotus Swords] battled against the three smaller blood mosquitoes. Everything was a blur as they clashed and battled against each other repeatedly. Each side wanted to break through the protective armor of the other’s golem, but they also wanted to block the enemy attacks…for now, they were battling to a standstill.
“Go, go!” Ning’s eyes were bloodshot, and the veins on his forehead were protruding. Clearly, he was now going all out. Instantly, six more flying swords flew out from the back of the Thousandswords Golem. The sky was soon filled with two more [Tripartite Lotus Sword] attacks. A total of five [Tripartite Lotus Swords] were surrounding and attacking the blood mosquitoes.
“Eh?” Seated in the distance, Bloodshadow’s face changed. He immediately willed the three blood mosquitoes to once more transform into a giant blood mosquito. The cicada-like wings of the giant blood mosquito fluttered, wrapping around that Nineswords Golem while the blade-beak struck repeatedly against those [Tripartite Lotus Swords].
The five [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Swords] attacked wildly in unison.
“Five [Tripartite Lotus Swords]?”
The spectating disciples were all rather stunned. They knew exactly how much stress would be placed on the soul when one executed five powerful sword arts simultaneously. To an ordinary person, dividing their mind to carry out just two tasks simultaneously was already very difficult. Dividing one’s mind to execute multiple supreme sword arts…and five in total, at that!
“Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning’s comprehension must be at a very high level, or his soul must be very strong.”
“He cannot be underestimated.”
“It seems as though senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow is about to suffer from it.”
If one remains perpetually on the defense, one will eventually lose. Under the repeated strikes of Ning’s five [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Swords], in the end, the blood mosquito wasn’t able to block an attack, and the protective armor of the golem was breached.
“Ji Ning wins!” The white-haired elder called out in high voice. Only now did Ning finally relax.
He had won.
He had actually defeated a two-clawed Raindragon Guard! Although this Raindragon Guard was more skilled as a Fiendgod Body Refiner and in using divine abilities, and although this was just a competition of the arts one could use based on their comprehension of the Dao…the fact that he had defeated a two-clawed Raindragon Guard still filled Ning’s heart with incomparable joy.
“I lost.” Seated atop the distant stone pillar, Bloodshadow rose to his feet. Shaking his head, he laughed. “Junior apprentice-brother, you are already so impressive after entering our school. In the future, you will definitely not be any weaker than me.”
“Senior apprentice-brother, you praise me too much.” Ning rose as well. “If we were in a real life-and-death battle, I probably wouldn’t have been able to withstand a single blow from you.”
Bloodshadow laughed. This junior apprentice-brother of his was incredibly talented, and yet clear-minded and modest. He hadn’t turned smug from his victory in the Dao Debate. Most likely, in the future, this youth would have astonishing accomplishments. He was worth befriending.
“Haha…” Bloodshadow laughed, then with a flicker, disappeared from the arena, reappearing before the white-haired elder, who he gave two jade bottles to.
Ning took a deep breath. He had gone all out in his earlier battle against Bloodshadow. The sword art he had used was the strongest one available to him, and by relying on the power of his soul, he had gone all out to generate five of those [Tripartite Lotus Swords]! This was his limit. He had nothing further up his sleeve…and would probably lose the next match.
However, if he was going to fight, he was going to fight to the bitter end.
“Are there any other senior fellow disciples who would like to exchange pointers with me?” Ning looked about the room and spoke in a clear voice. His voice echoed in every corner of the palace.