Book 26, Chapter 32 - The Twelve Palaces of Brightshore

Desolate Era

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Ji Ning was meditating on sword-arts by himself within his astral island, using the top-grade temporal acceleration Dao treasure, the Luminous Room.

Ning was seated in the lotus position. Before him was a table that had a flagon of wine, a scroll of parchment, a brush, and a brush holder. Every so often, he’d pick up the brush and spend a bit of time painting on the scroll.

“The fifth stance of the [Nameless] sword-art, the Silent World. I still need to spend a bit more time on it.” Ning was close to mastering the fifth stance of the [Nameless] sword-art, which was the highest level stance which World God Northrest himself had been able to master!

They were both World-level cultivators and had both reached the level of full mastery in the Dao of the Sword, but there were still differences in their sword-arts!

Northrest had only been a supreme World God due to his Eternal weapon, but some of the truly peerless geniuses which the Brightshore Kingdom had abducted and brought to this place were capable of that level of power even when they used mere Dao weapons. Some were even more terrifyingly strong!

This was what a difference in sword-arts could make.

In terms of profundity of sword-arts, there were quite a few people on the Astral Islands who were superior to Ning! Ning himself understood this quite well. In short, he simply hadn’t been training for long enough, and he had broken through to the World level just recently. If these people knew that he had reached the level of full mastery a mere thousand years after reaching the World level, they would probably be completely stupefied.

“Others won’t care about how long you have been cultivating. They will only care about how strong you are. My advantage lies in the strength and speed which the azureflower mist energy has imbued me with. It gives me the speed and strength of a Daolord of the First Step! But my weakness is my sword-arts…”

“I need to hurry up and collect a set of the sword-arts legacy. That will be of use to my sword-arts as well,” Ning mused.

Anything referred to as a ‘legacy’ would include extremely detailed, step-by-step instructions for cultivators to use. The [Nameless] sword-art which Ning had acquired was just a fragmentary record; it couldn’t really be referred to as a true legacy.

On the other hand, the many stone sword-steles which World God Northrest had painstakingly erected in order to help his successor better understand the first stance of the [Nameless] sword-art, the Heartsword stance, would qualify as a legacy. It contained detailed instructions and provided true guidance to the learner.

It was the legacy which World God Northrest had prepared for his successor.

As for the ninety-nine legacies on the Astral Islands, two of them were sword-arts. However, these sword-arts had been left behind by Samsara Daolords. It must be understood that ever since Ning had left the Three Realms, he hadn’t encountered any formidable Daolord-level experts of the sword who could provide him with tutelage. He had been working hard all by himself.

“Eh?” Ning was suddenly disturbed from his meditations. “Someone came?”

He had bound this astral island long ago and thus was easily able to sense the presence of an outsider.

“Even I am restricted from leaving my astral island. For someone to come to my island means that this is probably a citizen of the Brightshore Kingdom.” Ning placed his brush on the brush stand, then immediately left the Luminous Room.

After putting his treasure away, Ning emerged from his private room and then walked into his courtyard where he saw a figure standing outside.

It was an old man dressed in azure armor who had his hands clasped behind his back. As Ning pushed open the doors to his courtyard, the old man turned around and smiled at Ning. “I am Flameflow. I am from the Thunder Palace of the Twelve Palaces.”

Ning was startled. This old man was a Samsara Daolord? He immediately said, “Darknorth greets you, senior Flameflow.”

“Darknorth?” The azure-armored man nodded slightly, then let out a praising sigh. “My dear Darknorth, you are an impressive figure. Just three months after coming to the Astral Islands, you have already ascended to the fourth stratum, then won six consecutive battles here.”

“I’m not quite where I need to be yet. I need ten consecutive victories before I can make it to the fifth stratum,” Ning said.

“Generally speaking, the newcomers to the Astral Islands will have to undergo many battles and acquire a few legacies, allowing them to improve and grow before they are able to ascend to the fifth stratum.” The azure-armored old man said, “As soon as you came here, you won six battles in a row here on the fourth stratum. I trust that it won’t be too hard for you to ascend to the fifth stratum.”

Ning understood this as well. There was one particularly valuable part of being here on the Astral Islands: there were many dazzlingly talented cultivators here. In the rest of the Endless Territories, it would be quite hard for Ning to encounter suitable foes. For a transcendent World God to encounter another transcendent World God was an incredibly rare experience.

But here on the Astral Islands, a large number of formidable World-level cultivators had been brought together. It was entirely possible and quite easy for a person to seek out opponents who were roughly on par with him in strength, or perhaps someone slightly stronger or weaker. Since losing a duel might very well result in death, everyone was motivated to fight to their fullest potential. As a result, all the surviving cultivators were generally able to grow stronger and stronger.

Only by making it to the fifth stratum would you receive protection… but how many would ever be able to ascend to that stratum?

“Please sit, senior.” Ning gestured towards the wooden table and seats nearby. Ning had placed them here, as he often enjoyed sitting down and enjoying some wine as he stared at the many astral islands hovering outside.

Daolord Flameflow sat down.

“Please.” Ning sat down on the other side and helped pour some wine.

“I know you are skilled in lightning,” Daolord Flameflow said.

“You know, senior?” Ning was surprised. Although he had fought quite a few times in the Astral Islands, it was only during his two most recent battles that he had used thunder and lightning. His previous opponents had been so weak that he hadn’t felt the need.

“I have full records of all the battles you engaged in here in the Astral Islands.” Daolord Flameflow chuckled. “Only by watching your battles and learning where your specialties lie shall the Twelve Palaces be in a good position to judge and choose from amongst you.”

“The Twelve Palaces?” Ning was puzzled.

Daolord Flameflow smiled. “You were abducted to this place by the almighty Hegemon, but you probably don’t know much right now. For weaker cultivators, being brought here was a calamity, but for someone like you it is a blessing. The almighty Hegemon… he is an incomparably powerful figure that is one of the few that truly stands at the very apex of the Endless Territories. He has been alive for an extremely long period of time and was the founder of our Brightshore Kingdom.”

Daolord Flameflow asked, “Have you heard of the Dao Alliance?”

“I have.” Ning nodded.

“The Dao Alliance spans an incredibly vast area and virtually all cultivators belong to the Dao Alliance. Compared to the Dao Alliance, our Brightshore Kingdom is more aloof and more secretive.” Daolord Flameflow said, “The Brightshore Kingdom almost never gets involved in any wars, and so we are on fairly good terms with the Dao Alliance.”

On good terms with the Dao Alliance? Ning let out a sigh of relief. Vastheaven Palace was part of the Dao Alliance; if the Brightshore Kingdom was on bad terms with the Dao Alliance, Ning would’ve been in trouble. But if they were on good terms… why would this almighty Hegemon abduct so many of the World-level cultivators belonging to the Dao Alliance?

“The Brightshore Kingdom is primarily divided up into twelve palaces,” Daolord Flameflow said. “There is also an imperial clan of individuals who are of the same race as the almighty Hegemon. Although they are few in number, they are extremely powerful.”

“They are of the same race as the almighty Hegemon?” Ning suddenly thought back to that enormous, terrifying behemoth that had abducted him to this place.

Of the same race as that behemoth?

“Yes. The members of the imperial clan are extremely few in number, but every single one of them possesses incredible strength and power. But of course, the almighty Hegemon is the mightiest of them all,” Daolord Flameflow said. “The imperial clan rarely shows itself, while the Twelve Palaces of Brightshore comprises virtually all of the cultivators, Aeonians, Aberrants, and other powerful experts of the Brightshore Kingdom.”

Daolord Flameflow continued, “The Twelve Palaces are very powerful. They are divided into the Palace of the Saber, the Palace of the Sword, the Palace of Radiance, the Palace of Mortality, the Palace of Thunder, the Palace of Flames, the Palace of the Heart, the Palace of Kindwater, the Palace of Woodform, the Palace of Skymetal, the Palace of Deepearth, and the Palace of Spacetime. My palace, the Thunder Palace, holds almost all of the Brightshore Kingdom’s experts in the Dao of Lightning. We have the accumulated legacies of countless generations of lightning-attribute experts and many Daolords! If you were to join us, you will definitely be able to make great strides on this path.”

Only now did Ning truly understand. At the top of the Brightshore Kingdom stood the Twelve Palaces. As for the almighty Hegemon and the imperial clan… the almighty Hegemon was of course quite powerful, but his imperial clansmen were simply too few in number.

As for the Twelve Palaces, a steady flow of new people would constantly join them. Just look at the cultivators and Aberrants currently within the Astral Islands. The most skillful members would all be brought into the Twelve Palaces in the future.

“Once you acquire a full legacy, you’ll be qualified to leave this place. If you wish to join the Thunder Palace, you can just shatter this message-talisman of mine.” As Daolord Flameflow spoke, he produced a deep azure talisman that was brimming with flickers of electricity. He handed the talisman straight to Ning. “Once you shatter this, I’ll sense it and immediately come receive you.”

Ning blinked. The Thunder Palace? It was destined that he would walk the path of the Dao of the Sword! His mastery over lightning was far weaker than his mastery of the sword. The entire reason why he had some skill in this area was all thanks to one of the nine secret-arts of Daolord Allgod, the [Novessence Thunder].

Daolord Flameflow continued, “I know that you are also skilled in sword-arts, and I imagine that in the future you shall have to choose between the Sword Palace and the Thunder Palace. None of the Twelve Palaces will give you any pressure; you can choose whichever palace you so desire.”

“Oh, right.” Ning’s eyes suddenly lit up. “Senior, you said just now that you know the results of every battle?”

“Yes. That way, the Twelve Palaces can more easily choose our new members,” Daolord Flameflow said.

“Then have you received word of a female Chaos Immortal who is skilled in the element of fire? She has fifty-one bugbeasts that are comparable to master-class World Gods as well as a full set of eighteen powerful golems that are also comparable to master-class World Gods.” Ning continued hurriedly, “This is what she looks like. She came here by my side.” As Ning spoke, he waved his finger in the air and caused an image of Su Youji to appear out of nowhere.

“I don’t know what she looks like, but as for a female Chaos Immortal skilled in fire who has bugbeasts and eighteen golems…” Daolord Flameflow laughed. “There is indeed someone amongst the new arrivals who fits these criteria.”

Ning let out a sigh of relief. He found her. Finally, he had found Su Youji!

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