The Desolate Era - Book 8, Chapter 1 - Jadesea
The temperament of the black-robed maiden, Yu Wei, was something Ji Ning couldn’t quite get a grasp on. However, when he thought about how many times the white-haired elder had accepted the black-white pellets and liquefied elemental essence on his behalf, Ning felt absolutely delighted. In addition, this series of Dao Debates had also served as a form of baptism. He could sense that he had evolved, somehow.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning!” A voice rang out in celebration. Ning turned to look, only to see the skinny, small, white-robed Mu Northson charging over with incomparable excitement. He hurriedly howled, “Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, you are way too powerful. You consecutively defeated so many Wanxiang Adepts, and even that seemingly powerful Northmont Blackcurrent was defeated by you. Just now, I asked senior apprentice-sister Winterain; that senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei who defeated you is a reincarnated Immortal, and one who has trained for ten years more than we have, and entered the school long before us.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not upset,” Ning laughed. Northson was still incomparably excited. “In short, you are way too powerful. I heard senior apprentice-sister Winterain say that it is extremely rare to see someone like you, and that even in the Black-White College, you can be considered a supreme genius. Perhaps, in a few thousand years or a few tens of thousands of years, the entire Black-White College will have firmly memorized your name.”
Ning shook his head. “You praise me over-much.” Suddenly…he heard voices ring out from the side. “Uncle-Master Headmaster.” “Uncle-Master Headmaster.” A chorus of voices called out.
The group of Primal Daoists, who had arrived soundlessly and without announcement and who had been hiding themselves, all walked over at this point in time.
“All of you can go back now.” Daoist Jadesea, who was walking at the head of the group, said calmly, “Ji Ning, stay behind!”
“Yes.” Quite a few members of the third generation still wanted to converse with Ning, and at least ensure that Ning knew their names. This was because everyone understood something: Given how powerful he had shown himself to be, so shortly after entering the school…so long as he didn’t die, he would definitely be a truly influential figure of Stillwater Commandery. However, since the headmaster had given the order, they all naturally departed.
“Ji Ning?” Senior apprentice-brother Holyfire gave Ning a deep look, memorizing him.
“Intriguing, intriguing. More and more intriguing.” The fat, sloppy-looking youth had a look of delight on his face. He lazily ambled away.
Ning said to the nearby Northson, “Junior apprentice-brother Northson, you go back as well.” Northson nodded. “Alright.” He immediately departed alongside Winterain. Soon, no one was left in the entire Dao Debate Palace aside from the Primal Daoists and Ji Ning, as well as the Immortals who had hidden themselves in the corner.
“Ji Ning.” Daoist Jadesea looked at Ning, and the Primal Daoists next to him looked at Ning as well, their eyes filled with curiosity. “Uncle-Master Headmaster,” Ning acknowledged respectfully.
“Do you know what a Sword Immortal is?” Daoist Jadesea asked. Ning replied, startled, “Sword Immortals? Some Immortals who use flying swords in extremely powerful ways are addressed respectfully by others in this manner, I believe. Can it be that this term has a special meaning?” Even up till now, Ning still wasn’t quite sure as to what the term ‘Sword Immortal’ truly meant.
“Uncle-Master Diancai didn’t tell you?” Daoist Jadesea seemed to have thought of something as he spoke. Ning replied, “Master didn’t discuss Sword Immortals with me in detail. He only provided me with guidance regarding sword arts. He told me to finish mastering the [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Sword] and the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], then to seek him out again.”
Daoist Jadesea nodded. “That explains it, then. If one is capable of executing the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], then one has already become a Sword Immortal. You should know that this world is filled with many Daos, yes?”
“Yes, I do.” Ning nodded. In his heart, he added…that he also knew that the most supreme figure of the Three Realms, Mother Nuwa, had comprehended eighty four thousand different Daos! But of course, this was according to what he had heard in the past from the Lord of Cui Palace.
“The Daos are numerous beyond counting.” Daoist Jadesea looked at Ning. “In addition, there are different levels of Dao as well.” Ning’s ears twitched. “Different levels of Dao?”
“Right.” Daoist Jadesea nodded. “The Dao is divided into the supreme ‘Heavenly Daos’, the extremely exalted ‘Grand Daos’, and the ordinary ‘Daos’.”
“The Heavenly Daos, the Grand Daos, and Dao?” Ning held his breath. Not even his master had discussed these things with him in detail.
“The Heavenly Daos are the most fundamental of Daos, and they are the underpinning of the functioning of the cosmos. They are incomparably supreme. For example, the Five Elements! After Pangu established the universe, the universe was formed from the most basic of particles, the Five Elements. Normally, when we talk about ‘swearing an oath by the Dao of the Heavens’, or making a ‘Oath of Blood to the Dao of the Heavens’, we are swearing an oath to the Heavenly Daos. The Heavenly Daos uphold the functioning of the universe, and once we violate an oath sworn to them, they will naturally punish us. No one can escape the punishment of the Daos of the Heavens. This is the most supreme of Daos.”
Ning was shocked and stunned.
“According to the legends, so long as one can comprehend a Heavenly Dao, then one will become one of the most incomparably exalted figures of the Three Realms.” Daoist Jadesea’s eyes were filled with a boundless eagerness as well, and the gazes of the Primal Daoists next to him became lost and dreamy as well. To them, the Heavenly Daos were legends and myths.
“But of course, I’ve never even heard of anyone who comprehended a Heavenly Dao.” Daoist Jadesea laughed as he looked at Ning. “Never, not even in any of the legends or stories.”
Ning sighed to himself. Right. Heavenly Daos. When Immortal practitioners swore an oath, they would do so towards the Dao of the Heavens. It was the Daos of the Heavens which upheld the functioning of the entire Three Realms. It was naturally incomparably exalted.
“One level lower than the Heavenly Daos are the Grand Daos!” Daoist Jadesea looked towards Ji Ning. “Every single Grand Dao is also extremely exalted, and it is extremely difficult to even gain an initial insight into them.”
“On a level lower than the Grand Daos are the most numerous, ordinary Daos.” Daoist Jadesea looked at Ji Ning. “Your Dao of Rainwater, and the Daos of Freezing Ice, Mystic Ice, and the like…these are all ordinary Daos.”
Ning nodded. He now understood that Daos were divided into levels as well! Heavenly Daos were the most supreme, the fundamental Daos which underpinned the cosmos!
“The Dao of the Sword, however, is one of the Grand Daos!” Daoist Jadesea looked towards Ning. “Everyone who has embarked upon the Dao of the Sword is known as a Sword Immortal!”
“Ah?!” Ning stared. The Dao of the Sword was one of the Grand Daos? He had actually embarked onto the path of a Grand Dao?
“To gain an initial insight into the Dao of the Sword, one must clearly develop and comprehend one’s sword-heart and make it lustrous.” Daoist Jadesea looked towards Ji Ning. “This is also the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword]. You need to have a heart which is supremely, sincerely devoted to the sword, and you need to make that sword-heart of yours lustrous…the difficulty of doing this is even greater than reaching the Dao Domain level of your Dao of Rainwater.”
Ning nodded in acknowledgement. It was, indeed, a bit harder to reach the ‘Lustrous Sword-Heart’ level than to develop his Rainwater Sword Domain.
“This is the difference in Daos. It is even harder to gain an initial insight into a Grand Dao than it is to reach the Dao Domain level in an ordinary Dao.” Daoist Jadesea stared at Ning, his gaze blazing.
“This is also why you were able to defeat even Northmont Blackcurrent, who has reached the level of possessing five Dao Domains. It is because the Dao you comprehended is a Grand Dao! Although he has comprehended many, they are all lesser Daos! In addition…the Dao of the Sword, even amongst the Grand Daos, is known as the Grand Dao with the greatest offensive combat potential. Sword Immortals are legendary for their combat power as well.”
“In our Black-White College…including you, we only have a total of two Sword Immortals,” Daoist Jadesea said. “One is you, with the other being your master, Uncle-Master Diancai.” Ning nodded.
“Because you have gained an insight into the Grand Dao of the Sword, our Black-White College shall bestow upon you two thousand black-white pellets.” Daoist Jadesea took out a jade bottle, handing it over to Ning.
Ning was instantly overjoyed. Two thousand black-white pellets? When his master had bestowed him with black-white pellets, he had informed Ning that he would receive a thousand black-white pellets for reaching the Dao Domain level, and just two thousand black-white pellets for his soul reaching the ‘divine sense’ level. Generally speaking, only Primal Daoists would have a soul at the ‘divine sense’ level. And yet, just gaining an initial insight into a Grand Dao merited a similar award of two thousand black-white pellets!
“Why are there no records of this within the black-and-white book?” Ning hurriedly asked. “The black-and-white book has quite a few records regarding various rewards of black-white pellets, such as for joining the Raindragon Guard, becoming a two-clawed Raindragon Guard, a three-clawed Raindragon Guard…why aren’t there any records regarding becoming a Sword Immortal?”
“Heavenly Daos. Grand Daos. Ordinary Daos. The fact that there are these differences is not something which is to be carelessly exposed.” Daoist Jadesea looked towards Ning. “If you hadn’t comprehended them for yourself and we told you of them, it would actually harm you by affecting your Dao-heart. You would be unwilling to go comprehend an ordinary Dao, and would focus on trying to master a Grand Dao. But do you think a Grand Dao is so easily comprehended? If you aren’t already at that level, letting you know about the levels will harm you for no benefit.”
Ning now understood.
“Even us.” Daoist Jadesea looked at the crowd of Primal Daoists. “Even we only learned about this matter after we finished comprehending a complete Dao Path. Now that we have mastered a complete Dao Path, the next step for us is to comprehend a Grand Dao!”
Ning now understood.
“Grand Daos are extremely hard to understand. Even in our Black-White College, and even for the likes of senior Northwalker, there has never been anyone who has completely and thoroughly mastered a Grand Dao.” Daoist Jadesea looked towards Ning. “The path of mastering a Grand Dao is incomparably more difficult than the path of mastering an ordinary Dao; thousands of times more difficult. However, the power of a Grand Dao is also countless times greater. You must diligently train and not slacken off in the slightest.”
“Yes.” Ning nodded with solemnity.
“Alright. With regards to Sword Immortals…if you have any questions, go ask your master. In the entire Black-White College, only your master is capable of truly teaching you.” Daoist Jadesea laughed, then turned and left.
“Ji Ning, it is quite rare for me to officiate over a recruitment ceremony, and yet when I did, I ended up taking you in, hahaha.” Daoist Wu Xiu and the others all chatted for a bit with Ning as well. Every single one of them spoke with Ning for a bit. Clearly, as they saw it…in a few decades, or perhaps in a century, Ning would be on a completely equal level to them. Shortly afterwards, the Primal Daoists all departed.
Only now did Ning let out a sigh of relief. “Heavenly Daos? Grand Daos? Daos?” Ning suddenly thought of something. “The creator of the underwater estate even had many Immortal-ranked magic treasures and Pure Yang magic treasures. I also heard that he was a Fiendgod who was born during the era of primal chaos, before the creation of the universe, and that he was one of the major powers of the Three Realms. Even the [Starseizing Hand] he developed was so powerful…he most assuredly must have comprehended a Grand Dao. Only, I wonder if Daoist Threelives was able to comprehend a Heavenly Dao.”
“Well, enough of that. Two thousand black-white pellets!” Ning looked at the jade bottle in his hands. “And I earned quite a few black-white pellets during the Dao Debates as well. Should I go to the Dao Repository Vault to exchange them for techniques?” Ning began to ponder. “For divine abilities? Or for the [Soulshaker Art]?”
Right at this moment, a voice was transmitted towards him. “Ji Ning.” This voice echoed in his mind. “Master.” Ning hurriedly looked around.
“Go back and calm your mind and focus on your training. You must solidify your foundation to fully reap the gains from these Dao Debates. I trust you will make even more advancements if you do. Three days later, come and see me.” Immortal Diancai’s voice rang out in Ning’s mind. As for the four Immortals in the corner of the room, Immortal Diancai, the short elder, the juvenile child, and the crowned, bearded elder all gave Ning a final look before disappearing into thin air.
Ning stared around within the Dao Debate Palace, but saw no one else present. Still, he acknowledged respectfully, “Yes, Master.”
Ning immediately boarded his flying boat. Transforming into a streak of light, he flew out of the Dao Debate Palace and returned to his Darknorth Peak. He was going to calm his heart and solidify the gains he had recently reaped.