Book 27, Chapter 15 - Preparations

Desolate Era

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Ji Ning was delighted to hear this. Finally, he was going to learn about the history of the [Nameless] sword-art.

Lord Woodflower continued, “This Eternal Emperor was known as Emperor Heartsword. His rise to power was sudden, and for a brief period of time he was the most dazzling, celebrated figure of the Endless Territories. However, shortly after he revealed his brilliance he elected to disappear as he adventured through parts unknown. He was so strong that he was most likely the Eternal Emperor who was closest to the three Hegemons in power.”

“Ah.” Ning nodded.

After mastering the seventh stance of the [Nameless] sword-art, he realized that although the sword-art itself was on the same level of profundity as Emperor Mirrorsnow’s, Emperor Heartsword’s strength lay in the fact that he was able to perfectly fuse his heartforce into his sword-arts. It made the power of his sword-arts increase dramatically to a point where he was unquestionably much more powerful than Emperor Mirrorsnow had been. It made sense for him to be comparable to the three almighty Hegemons.

It wasn’t that Emperor Mirrorsnow was weak. He had developed the Reincarnation stance at the World level and used it to break through to become a Daolord. If he had been at the Forest of Sword Pagodas, his self-created Reincarnation stance would’ve been acknowledged by the Sword Pagodas! Someone who relied on this sword-art as the base of his breakthrough to Daolord would be able to immediately battle ordinary Daolords of the Second Step.

But of course, Bertulu and Eastcult were even more freakishly talented. Once they broke through, they would be able to match Daolords of the Third Step! However, the harder one’s path was, the more difficult it would be for one to become an Eternal Emperor! The more freakishly talented you were, the harder it would be for you to become an Eternal Emperor. This was why, despite the passage of countless years, there were only three Hegemons.

“What were his sword-arts named?” Ning asked.

“Prior to disappearing, he left behind a complete copy of his sword-arts with the Dao Alliance. He named it the [Heartsword].” Lord Woodflower continued, “Only the Dao Alliance has a complete copy of this sword-art.”

“Only the Dao Alliance?” Ning was rather disappointed.

“Yes, because this is the one and only sword-art which allows Heartforce Cultivators to completely merge their power with Fiendgod Body Refiners and Ki Refiners and then gain eternity,” Lord Woodflower said.

Fiendgod Refiners would be able to perfectly merge the heartforce into their sword-arts and then enter close combat.

Ki Refiners would be able to perfectly merge the heartforce into their flying swords as well.

“A sword-art which can rival Hegemons, with only one complete copy… its only natural that the Dao Alliance would never transmit it to outsiders. No matter what price our Brightshore Kingdom offered to pay, they refused to let us have a copy. Something like this sword-art isn’t something which mere treasures can be used to trade for. A sword-art like that is one of the fundamental pillars on which entire organizations rest.” Lord Woodflower continued, “The outside world only has incomplete, fragmentary records. How many stances do you have?”

“Just seven,” Ning said.

Lord Woodflower looked rather disappointed. “The first seven stances were created by Eternal Emperor Heartsword before he was a Daolord, and they are the seven most commonly known stances. I was hoping that you might’ve encountered something special. Oh, right. Have you gone to the Ancient Library? The library holds a fragmentary record that includes the first ten stances of the [Heartsword] manual.”

“The Ancient Library has it?” Ning was instantly delighted. The Ancient Library simply had far too many sword-arts within it, including tens of millions of fragmentary sword-arts. Each one could only be read through the usage of godsense. Even if you could fully review a thousand scrolls a day, it would still take over a hundred years for you to go through everything.

“Our Brightshore Kingdom had to pay a hefty price in order to purchase these ten stances, and we’re allowed to teach them to others,” Lord Woodflower said. “You are a cultivator, after all. I’m sure you’ll have some connections to the Dao Alliance and eventually be able to gain entry into it. At that point in time, if you spent a bit of chaos nectar you’ll be able to purchase the complete [Heartsword] sutra.”

Ning nodded. He was a member of Vastheaven Palace, which meant that he actually had quite a deep connection to the Dao Alliance.

“Make your preparations. You have a hundred years, at which point the Twelve Palaces will choose select just the four strongest World-level experts for this opportunity.” Lord Woodflower smiled as he delivered this message.


After parting with Lord Woodflower, Ning immediately headed towards the Ancient Library. The Ancient Library was filled with tens of millions of sword-arts. Ning scanned the place with his godsense and was quickly able to discover a jade slip that had the words ‘Heartsword Sutra’ atop it. In the past, Ning didn’t realize what it was, but now he realized that this [Heartsword] tome contained the ‘nameless’ sword-art he trained in.

“It really is the same.” As Ning picked up the jade slip and sent his godsense into it, a large amount of information flooded into his memories. This really did contain the first ten stances, as well as some explanations regarding this sword-art.

The complete version of this sword-art contained fifteen stances. The first seven stances had been created by Emperor Heartsword prior to becoming a Daolord, and he used the seventh stance to reach the Samsara Daolord level. Afterwards, he used his fifteenth stance to become an Eternal Emperor.

“It is even more profound than I believed it to be.” After Ning viewed the ‘final’ three stances, he couldn’t help but sigh. Actually, anyone could tell that they were the same technique. The very first stance of this sword-art was named the Heartsword stance, after all!

The Heartsword stance had exceedingly high requirements with regard’s to one’s mind and heart. The user had to make his mind one with both the sword and the world around it, gaining absolute mastery over the sword.

The various later stances also had very high requirements with regards to both the sword and the heart.

The sixth stance, ‘Unicorn’s Heart’, was even more profound and abstruse than the Heartsword stance. One had to find that ephemeral feeling which was so difficult to grasp.

The seventh stance was even better. The Cosmic Heart allowed for one to perfectly activate and infuse one’s heartforce into the sword-art. When the sword struck out, it was like a tear shed for a person you loved.

“His sword-arts actually aren’t that profound, compared to the most supreme major powers of the Dao of the Sword.” Ning had seen many things in the Forest of Sword Pagodas, and his horizons had been correspondingly expanded. “However, the mysteries of how he merged his heartforce with his sword-arts are worthy of further exploration.”


The Twelve Palaces. The Palace of Fire.

“Have you heard? Just today, a World God in the Sword Palace named Ji Ning was acknowledged by the pagodas.”

“Ah? A World-level cultivator was acknowledged? What a freak.”

“He would be the seventh Swordlord of the Sword Palace, right?”

Some of the black-armored Daolords who were on patrol were chatting with each other. News spread throughout the Twelve Palaces quite quickly. It must be understood that there were only around sixty World-level cultivators who had been acknowledged by the ancient pagodas. Generally speaking, only one such cultivator would appear every trillion years. Anyone acknowledged by the pagodas was destined to be a truly extraordinary Daolord.

“What a freak. I can’t even get into the Fire Palace, but those freaks are actually able to receive the acknowledgment of the ancient pagodas.” Some of the World-level cultivators in front of the Fire Palace began to discuss this matter as well, and many of them sighed with frustration and envy.

“Fellow Daoist, what do you mean by ‘acknowledgment of the pagodas’?” A tall, skinny, jade-haired youth spoke out.

“Let me explain. Joining the Twelve Palaces isn’t that impressive, as some of their members aren’t even able to become Daolords! Even if your insights into the Dao are so profound that you can become a Daolord whenever you wish, you still aren’t that impressive! Only those who reach truly incredible heights are acknowledged by the resonance of the pagodas. From what I’ve heard, those World-level cultivators who are acknowledged by the pagodas can not only break through whenever they wish, once they do so they will immediately be comparable to Daolords of the Second Step in power.”

“What? They are able to break through whenever they wish, and will immediately be comparable to Daolords of the Second Step?” Quite a few World-level cultivators were stunned by this, and they all began to chat amongst themselves.



Outside the Fire Palace was a large group of cultivators who wished to take the trials to join the Fire Palace, and two of them were individuals who Ning was quite familiar with. One was Su Youji the Flamefairy while the other was World God Pillsaint. They had tried many times in recent years but were still unable to enter the Palace of Fire.

“Master was acknowledged by the ancient pagodas?” Su Youji was instantly overjoyed to hear this. “Incredible. Master is simply incredible.” All other thoughts flew out of Su Youji’s mind as she immediately turned and ran towards the Fire Palace’s spacetime transfer array. She was going to go back to the Sword Palace. Her master had achieved such a great thing. How could she, his retainer, not be there to congratulate him?

“Is that brother Darknorth?” The chubby World God Pillsaint was stunned. “The Sword Palace? It has to be the Darknorth that I know. He once told me that he is going to join the Sword Palace. The Sword Palace doesn’t have that many World-level cultivators in it. There’s no way someone else will have the same Daoist title as him. Ugh, I’ve been training for years but still am not able to enter the Fire Palace. I might as well join brother Darknorth instead.”

World God Pillsaint quickly made up his mind, then turned and began to hasten towards the spacetime transfer array. Even assuming he didn’t wish to become Ji Ning’s retainer, he still would’ve gone to congratulate Ning on his success. Ning had shown him kindness, after all.


Whoosh. A few hours later Su Youji and World God Pillsaint, along with a few other cultivators, rode the spacetime transfer array from the Fire Palace to the Sword Palace.

Su Youji rushed straight into the Sword Palace. As Ji Ning’s retainer, she was permitted to go straight into the Sword Palace.

As for World God Pillsaint, he informed the black-armored Daolord who sought to bar his path, “Senior, I wish to meet with Swordlord Darknorth. I am his good friend.”

“He wishes to meet Swordlord Darknorth?” Su Youji, who had rushed on ahead, couldn’t help but turn back and glance at the chubby World God Pillsaint.


A short while later.

Within an Immortal estate located at the peak of a mountain. Ji Ning, Su Youji, and Pillsaint were all seated facing each other.

“Youji, this gentleman is the World God Pillsaint who I mentioned to you before.” Ning laughed. “In the Astral Islands, he was my very first competitor.”

World God Pillsaint looked rather embarrassed. He hurriedly said, “I really didn’t know my own limits. Thankfully, you showed mercy to me, Daoist brother Darknorth. Otherwise, I’d be dead.”

Ning chuckled. “It was a sign that destiny binds the two of us.”

“Right, right. Bound by destiny!” World God Pillsaint grinned at Ning. “Daoist brother Darknorth, I have nowhere to go in the Brightshore Kingdom. I’ve tried a few times to enter the Palace of Fire, but I’ve failed each time. And so, I’m planning to give up and join you instead. Am I lucky enough to be accepted?”

“Follow me?” Ning was startled, but he then said with a laugh, “If you don’t mind joining me, I’d naturally be willing to welcome you. Others would beg for the chance to take such a master alchemist as a retainer.”

“Then it is settled!” World God Pillsaint immediately and straightforwardly swore a lifeblood oath. His oath was one of the fairly common retainer oaths that were sworn in the Endless Territories. Generally speaking, retainer oaths were fairly relaxed. Ning was able to break through to become a Daolord whenever he wished, and would be an extraordinary Daolord at that. Someone like him was definitely qualified to take on World God Pillsaint as a retainer.

“Pillsaint greets you, Master.” World God Pillsaint bowed respectfully.

“Enough, enough. There’s no need for the two of you to go through these pointless courtesies.” Ning smiled. The very first time he saw World God Pillsaint, he had a good feeling about the man. Now, the chubby-cheeked, rosy-faced youth who wore all his feelings on his sleeve had become his retainer. Quite frankly, World-level cultivators who were so genuine and guieleless were quite rare.

“Whew. I finally have a backer now. Life in the Brightshore Kingdom really has pissed me off lately.” World God Pillsaint let out a sigh.

“Flamefairy, we didn’t know each other when we first met, but now we follow and serve the same master.” World God Pillsaint glanced towards the nearby Su Youji as he spoke.

“Uh huh.” The Flamefairy nodded.

“Can’t you be a bit more talkative?” World God Pillsaint felt speechless. The Flamefairy glanced at him and chuckled, but she didn’t say anything else.

As for Ning, he said, “Right. There’s something I need you two to do for me.”

“Please instruct us, Master.” World God Pillsaint and Su Youji both spoke out at the same time. Su Youji felt rather excited. It was quite rare for Ning to assign her any tasks.

“A great opportunity is coming, and I have a small shot at getting it. I have to do everything I can to prepare for it,” Ning said. “I’m planning to sell a treasure known as the Bloodfire Cloudfruit. It’ll be up to you to help me sell it.”

The Bloodfire Cloudfruit was the most valuable treasure he had on him.

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