Book 27, Chapter 5 - Hope

Desolate Era

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A divine ability? Ji Ning’s greatest advantage was his azureflower mist energy, but there was no way to use it to execute divine abilities. For now, his [Golden Idol] and [Three Heads, Six Arms] were enough.

A legacy? He was still missing the fourth Mirrorsnow Painting for the legacy of Emperor Mirrorsnow.

“Senior apprentice-brother Woodflower,” Ning said.

“Have you made your decision?” Lord Woodflower looked at Ning. “There’s no need to choose right away. Think it over. You’ll only have one opportunity to pick something of your choosing. After that, you’ll have to pay a heavy price.”

“I actually want to ask a question. Is it possible for the Twelve Palaces to acquire a copy of the fourth Mirrorsnow Painting?” Ning asked.

“You already have the first three?” Lord Woodflower was surprised.

“Yes.” Ning nodded. There was no need to hide this; the Sword Palace had many legacies, and Lord Woodflower himself was a supremely strong Daolord who was comparable to Eternal Emperors in power.

“I don’t think the Sword Palace has a copy.” Lord Woodflower pondered for a moment, then let out a laugh. “Later, you should go to the Armaments Gorge and take a look for yourself. If they really don’t have a copy, you can ask them to help out. They’ll help you find a fourth copy in the Endless Territories. Given the might of the Twelve Palaces, I trust that they shouldn’t find this to be an overly difficult task. But of course, you’ll need to pay for it.”

“Understood.” Ning relaxed slightly.

“Emperor Mirrorsnow was an extremely powerful Eternal Emperor, and he’s still alive.” Lord Woodflower let out a sigh. “His legacy is an excellent one.”

Ning suddenly gave voice to something which had been puzzling him. “Senior apprentice-brother Woodflower, there’s something which has been bothering me. Advancing from the Samsara Daolord level to the Eternal Emperor level should represent an incredible increase in power… and I would imagine that anyone capable of becoming an Eternal Emperor should be have been an extraordinary Daolord as well. Why, then, do I often hear about Daolords slaying Emperors?”

Lord Woodflower was startled, and a complicated look appeared on his face.

“You were going to be told about this eventually.” Lord Woodflower looked at Ning. “Samsara Daolords all have their own paths, and different paths will result in different levels of difficulty in becoming Eternal Emperors.

“If you choose a simple path, you will be fairly weak amongst your peers. As a Daolord of the Fourth Step, you probably won’t be as strong as I was when I was a Daolord of the Third Step. However… that will also make it somewhat easier for you on your road to gaining eternity.

“If you choose a difficult path, you will be extremely powerful. As a Daolord of the Fourth Step, you might even be able to slay some of the weaker Eternal Emperors. However… to succeed in your Daomerge on this difficult path and gain eternity will be even more difficult.”

Lord Woodflower looked at Ning. “That is why there’s an old axiom that has rung true for countless chaos cycles… the more powerful the Daolord, the less likely he will be successful in his Daomerge.”

“The many freakishly strong Daolords that have appeared over the course of countless years have almost all failed in their Daomerge. Thus, junior apprentice-brother Darknorth… you need to think over what path you would like to take. Shall you choose a path that is a simple one? Or a path that is a difficult one?” Lord Woodflower looked at Ning. “The difficult path means that it is guaranteed that every single step you take as a Daolord will be very dangerous, and your Daomerge will be even more difficult! However, you’ll also be incredibly powerful and will be a dazzling figure amongst your peers. The simple path will be easier to walk, and in the end you will have a slightly larger chance of completing your Daomerge and gaining eternity.”

Ning was stunned by this revelation.

Still… it made sense. He himself had already found the direction in which his Dao of the Sword would lead. His path involved analyzing and dissecting all sword-arts he encountered in order to better understand the fundamental essence of the sword. His goal was to infuse all of the mysteries of all sword-arts into his own Dao of the Sword.

This path was an insanely ambitious one. To understand the fundamental essence of the sword and to absorb all of its mysteries meant that in the end, he would have developed what could be described as an ‘ultimate’, perfect sword-art.

Perfection was not so easily achieved.

Ning had chosen an extremely difficult path. In truth, Ning could’ve chosen to walk a simpler path. For example, right now Ning was extremely skilled in defensive techniques. If he focused all his efforts on defense, things would be much easier for him.

“Why should cultivators fear difficulties?” Ning laughed. “Even if you choose the simpler path, perhaps less than one in a hundred thousand Samsara Daolords shall gain eternity. It is best to follow your own heart and embark upon a path which is hard but glorious. That way, if you do become an Eternal Emperor, you’ll be truly invincible and will have nothing and no one to be afraid of.”

“Right!” Lord Woodflower laughed loudly. “In the Endless Territories, there are three almighty Hegemons. All three were freakishly powerful Daolords who were capable of slaying Eternal Emperors, and they eventually were successful in breaking through to become Eternal Emperors. After they made their breakthroughs, no one has ever been able to shake them and their positions. To show our respect for them and in order to differentiate them from ordinary Emperors, we revere with them the title of ‘Hegemon’. The almighty Hegemony of our own Brightshore Kingdom is one of the three, and he has been alive for far longer than our Twelve Palaces have existed.”

Ning nodded. A thought suddenly flashed through his mind, causing him to take a deep breath before asking the question which he cared about more than all other questions. “Senior apprentice-brother Woodflower… if a truesoul is destroyed, is the almighty Hegemon capable of reversing time to save it?”

In terms of mastery over spacetime, it was possible that the almighty Hegemon was second to none in all the Endless Territories. Would it be possible for him to reverse the flow of spacetime and rescue Yu Wei?

Lord Woodflower was startled. He gave Ning a hard look. “In the Endless Territories, there is indeed a legend that says it is possible to invert spacetime itself, allowing you to reach out into the distant past and bring back to life a person whose truesoul has already been destroyed in the present day. However, I’ve heard that the person who uses this technique would have to pay an utterly ruinous price. I don’t know if the almighty Hegemon can accomplish this task, but even if he truly can he wouldn’t make it public. To invert spacetime and rescue a truesoul from the distant past is something which would probably cause him to suffer heavy injuries. There’s no way he would make something like this public.”

Lord Woodflower continued to look at Ning. “Still… it is indeed true that if you can reach a profound enough level of insight, you can invert spacetime and bring someone back to life. However, it will be so difficult that very few of the ancient powers capable of doing it would actually be willing to carry it out.”

“Understood.” Ning felt excited.


He finally saw some hope!

Ning had always clung onto a dream which even he knew was unlikely. He had felt that theoretically, someone who had reached certain incredible heights in the manipulation of spacetime should be able to invert it and reach into the past to save a deceased truesoul. However, there was no proof backing up this theory of his… but today, Lord Woodflower had personally verified that this was indeed possible. And in fact, the almighty Hegemon might be someone who was capable of such a thing.

But of course, if Ning wasn’t able to offer enough of an incentive and pay enough of a price, there was no way he would be able to convince the almighty Hegemon to do such a thing.

“Senior apprentice-sister. We will definitely be able to meet each other once again. I don’t care how long it takes. I’m going to work hard until the day I see you again.”

Ning closed his eyes. When he imagined that day in the distant future, he felt as though he could see Yu Wei smiling at him from afar. Ning felt a warmth spread into his heart, filling him with strength and resolve.

Ning opened his eyes. “Thank you, senior apprentice-brother Woodflower.”

Lord Woodflower nodded. “Take some time and consider your choices. If you have any questions regarding the Dao of the Sword, you can go find me in my estate.”

“Thank you, senior apprentice-brother Woodflower.” Ning could sense Lord Woodflower’s goodwill and felt quite grateful towards the man.

Lord Woodflower left, allowing Ning to search through the Pavilion of Mysteries by himself.

“The Windsmoke secret art. The normal price is five hundred thousand cubes of chaos nectar, and it involves…

“The Endless Dark divine ability. The normal price is three hundred thousand cubes of chaos nectar…”

These divine abilities and secret arts all had a simple explanation regarding how much one had to pay in chaos nectar in order to purchase them. The cheapest started off at a hundred thousand cubes, while the most expensive was as high as three million cubes. Even for Daolords, these techniques were truly consummate, killer techniques. Only in a place like the Sword Palace could one easily gain access to them. In the outside world? Acquiring such techniques would be far more difficult.

“Eh?” Ning was stunned.

“Novessence Fire, a million cubes of chaos nectar. This secret art was developed by Daolord Allgod…

“Novessence Water, a million cubes of chaos nectar…

Ning found five consecutive secret arts which had been developed by Daolord Allgod.

“They even have Daolord Allgod’s techniques?” Ning was rather surprised. The five secret arts he found were the [Novessence Fire], [Novessence Water], [Novessence Earth], [Novessence Wood], and [Novessence Metal] techniques.

Ning carefully read through the other secrets arts following them, only to find nothing else.

Curious, Ning hurriedly ran over to the entrance to the Pavilion of Mysteries.

“Have you chosen, Darknorth?” The guardian golem, Swordthree, looked at Ning.

“I saw five of the secret arts left behind by Daolord Allgod,” Ning said. “But I heard that Daolord Allgod actually had nine in total?”

“Right. Daolord Allgod was an astonishingly talented man who was skilled in alchemy, artificing, rearing bugbeasts, and more. He was a master of many different skills, and so he was an exceptional developer of secret arts as well. He created nine mighty secret arts, and when those nine secret arts came together they were able to unleash utterly shocking levels of power. Unfortunately, the Dao Alliance completely refuses to give us the entire thing.” Swordthree shook his head. “The almighty Hegemon made a personal appearance and paid a considerable price, but was still only able to convince the Dao Alliance to give us five of the secret arts belonging to Daolord Allgod. The four remaining secret arts were even more powerful, but we weren’t able to acquire them.”

Now Ning understood.

Ning had already come to a decision, but to be careful he still reviewed the basic descriptions of all the divine abilities and secret arts in the entire Pavilion of Mysteries.

Each of the five secret arts of Daolord Allgod cost a million cubes of chaos nectar, and every single one of those secret arts was enough to slay weak Daolords of the Fourth Step. These were terrifying killer techniques.

“Aside from the Dao of the Sword, I have some affinity for lightning, water, and space. Lightning and water resonate with each other and can support each other.” These were two naturally aligned elements.

“The nine secret arts of Daolord Allgod were meant to be used together in a combination. I shall choose the [Novessence Water] secret art.” Ning quickly made up his mind.

“Are you certain you wish to choose the [Novessence Water] secret art?” Swordthree looked at Ning. “To tell you the truth, legacies are more important for World-level cultivators.”

“I am certain.” Ning nodded.

“Alright.” Swordthree easily dispersed the restrictive spell covering the jade slip. “Go ahead and learn it.”

Ning sent his senses into the slip, immediately swearing the relevant lifeblood oath and beginning to study the technique.

Although the [Novessence Water] was very powerful, it was more of a soft, subtle technique. By contrast, the [Novessence Thunder] was a more dominating, destructive technique.

Of the nine secret arts, the five pertaining to metal, wood, water, fire, and earth were slightly weaker, whereas the [Novessence Thunder], [Novessence Light], and the other two were slightly stronger.

“Time to go to the Armaments Gorge.” After learning the secret art, Ning departed from the Pavilion of Mysteries and headed towards the Armaments Gorge. He had to acquire the fourth Mirrorsnow Painting as soon as possible.

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