Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 24

24 Final Hear
The streaming torrent of light which came in became a raging tide. With a world shaking metallic and fleshy tearing noise, the entire head of the False Water Serpent was torn off as more and more holes were punched. A deep sonorous booming could be heard every few seconds as tremendous amounts of air were displaced.

Whoomph, Whoomph, Whoomph

The serpents decapitated body had been punctured in so many places that the stomach juices inside had leaked out into empty air. It was clear that rather than falling back down into the lake, something had caught the beast in midair and torn it apart. As the stomach juices drained out from no less than ten separate holes, Lineir fainted on the fleshy sides of the rapidly emptying stomach. He quickly found himself in that mental space with the incredibly beautiful Mei.

"Wake up, wake up! This is not the time to be sleeping! You need to wake up before you're eaten along with the serpent, then you'll be in the same position as before!" Mei rushed forward and frantically began to shake Lineir. However, he simply stood there and said,

"I don't think I can... no matter how I try I'm still here. Until I recover some strength, I think I'm stuck in here." So saying, he sat down on the colorless floor and waited. Mei hesitated for a moment, and realizing that there was nothing for it, sat down with him. Lineir cast his mind about for some topic, he hadn't been back here since his first meeting, and while he heard Mei's voice in his head all the time, it was quite different face to face with such a beauty. He had to keep reminding himself,

"Incomparably powerful...will stop my heart... I'm her disciple." Eventually, he thought,

"So I remember you said you aren't an immortal sword. But everything I've heard of tells me that you must be. What exactly are you?" Lineir quickly blurted out. This was an excellent time to learn more about Mei, provided he didn't get digested or eaten while he was learning. Mei responded freely,

"On your continent, you call every strong sword an immortal sword. However, this is not the case. In reality, there is far more to the path of cultivation than the broken fragments left here. To answer your question, I am a spirit in a sword. You could say I am the sword, but I'm really just using it as a home to help me stay tethered to this plane. As for the sword I'm in, I had better explain to you how swords of power are classified." She shifted a little closer, Lineir however was too engrossed in this explanation to care anymore.

"Immortal swords, are the lowest category of swords. Indeed, when a cultivator begins to reach the first stages of real cultivation, a step which you are very close to reaching, provided you don't die before you wake up, his or her sword can be classified as an immortal sword. Why is this? This is because through channeling his or her energy into a sword, it will naturally begin to become refined and gain a connection with the Heavens and Hell itself. This transformation creates a sort of link between the sword and its user. The user can almost control the sword as if it is part of them. But that is just the beginning of the way of the sword. True users of the way of the sword will actually store in their sword large portions of their own power. There are numerous advantages to this which you will learn about later when you reach this stage. This is why the lost swords of fallen warriors are so treasured and revered by cultivators. If they are found, and the cultivator can bind them to their will, the power inside will become theirs and one can rapidly become far stronger than they should be simply from the sword they carry." Lineir nodded thoughtfully. This made sense, but it still didn't explain his question,

"So what are you?"

Mei sighed,

"Patience, I was getting to that. As I said, immortal swords are but the first step, before true power is even infused into the blade. Beyond that step...are Deathblades. These swords have been infused with the power of a cultivator who has completely stepped out of the realm of mortality. That is to say, someone who has become so powerful as to defy the Heavens and live forever, not aging unless they choose to. True immortals. Don't get me wrong, while I say that these are immortals, that is only in the sense that they will not die of natural causes, they can still be killed by injury, or strong maladies. However...the path of immortality is not something to be walked by the weak or weak-willed. Up till this point, the main source of acquiring energy has been meditation and natural absorption. But there is a reason these swords are called Deathblades. Can you guess?" Lineir frowned. He had a feeling he already knew what Mei was going to say.

"The fastest way to progress past the immortal sword stage and reach immortality is to absorb the cultivation of others. That slaughter and slaughter and claim other's Second Hearts. Thus...the immortal swords become weapons of countless murders and gain the name Deathblade when the user leaves behind his last shred of mortality. This is one of the the true paths of cultivation and it is rent with the blood and dying shivers of others. If you manage to survive this stage there is more though. Eventually, when a sword has been imbued with enough power, remember that frequently among those who truly walk the sword a good deal of their power is stored in the sword, it can be said to have gained the title of Final Heart. That is to say, so much power has accumulated in the blade that it has gained the ability to absorb power on its own. Remember, power attracts power, the reason your Second Heart can attract the energy of the elements is because of the laws laid down by the Heavens and Fates, but if a large enough mass of power were to gather together, the attractive force would be so great as to become self sustaining. Few have ever reached this stage, through slaughter, or meditation, but those who achieve the stage of the Final Heart have escaped the bounds of the laws laid down by Fate and have power to change worlds on a whim. That is... I did, until my body died. That is what you hold in your unworthy hands disciple. A Final Heart, my Final Heart."
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