The journey from Serpentwing Lake to the Blacktooth Tribe was a long one. Even with the black beasts travelling all day and only resting at night, three days time was needed.
The campfire was blazing. Ji Ning and Autumn Leaf were by the side of the campfire, while Mowu was on watch, so as to not allow any impudent wild beasts to interrupt his young master.
“I haven’t had the chance to take a good look at the miscellaneous items I acquired in the Aquatic Manor.” Ning suddenly remembered that although he had gone through all those magic treasures he had acquired during the first and second trials, of the thousands of magic treasures and miscellaneous items he had acquired at the third trial, he had bound them then immediately battled that black-furred golem, then met with that old black bull. He hadn’t had any time to flip through them at all.
“One of the miscellaneous items I found in the first or second trial was a secret manual that is nearly as good as the [Raindrop Sutra]. The number of miscellaneous items in the third trial was several times greater than in the first two.” With a wave of his hand, Ning brought out one item after another, which he then made disappear afterwards.
Autumn Leaf just watched to the side, curious.
A long time later…
“Yet another secret manual, the [Clearwind Manual]?” Ning flipped through it, and was instantly delighted. “It’s actually a swordplay manual, and it directly instructs one in how to utilize the True Meaning of the Dao. It is comparable to the [Raindrop Sutra].”
Ning’s judgment and vision was much keener than before. After all, he had gained insights into the True Meaning of the Dao, and as he carefully read the contents, he quickly could vaguely sense that the ultimate goal of this type of swordplay was to develop the ‘True Meaning of the Clearwind’.
Actually, the deceased people in the corridor were all only at the Xiantian level, so how powerful or profound could the manuals they were carrying on them possibly be? Actually, a consummate skill such as the [Clearwind Manual], logically speaking, shouldn’t even be in there. For example, Ning hadn’t brought the [Raindrop Sutra] or the [Thunderflame Sword] with him. From this, one could tell that the previous master of this manual most likely came from an even more powerful, top-tier clan who didn’t restrict manuals on this level too tightly.
There really were many miscellaneous items in the third trials, and plenty of treasures as well. Ning found as many as three powerful techniques! After flipping through these manuals, Ning began to carefully inspect the other miscellaneous items, the ones that didn’t look like manuals.
“Huh?” Ning suddenly flipped out a jade carving!
This was two foot long square piece of jade, and on the jade there was carved an image of an old man with a long beard.
“Wait!” Ning’s eyes lit up, and he carefully inspected it. At first glance, he had thought that this was just a carving, but as he took a closer look…he felt as though the square jade piece was actually covered with countless small characters that formed some small images. These characters were the characters used in the Grand Xia Dynasty.
The characters were tiny! If an ordinary person saw it, they probably wouldn’t even notice it, but Ning was no ordinary person. His visual acuity was astonishing, and he could see a housefly from a distance of ten kilometers! With such visual acuity, naturally he could read the dense, tiny characters on the jade carving.
“This piece of jade has hundreds of thousands of words carved onto it, and the countless works actually formed the image of a long-bearded elder.” Ning first exhaled in amazement, and then he began to search for the place where these characters originated. Soon, he found that in the leftmost upper corner, there were four prominent characters…
[Nine Scrolls on Formations]!
Ning’s eyes lit up as he carefully continued to read.
“I, Wu Daoyan, have focused exclusively on formation techniques for over eighty thousand years. I was lucky enough to survive the last tribulation, but I think that the next great tribulation in nine hundred years time, I will not be able to survive. I am unwilling for the essence of my formation techniques to be lost, and so I have recorded down the knowledge of my formation techniques within these nine scrolls! I hope that someone with the right karmic fortune will carefully learn and comprehend it!” The opening words caused Ning to feel delighted. Anyone who was capable of living eighty thousand years and yet still be subject to the Three Calamities and Nine Tribulations was almost certainly a Loose Immortal.
Immortal Juhua was able to live for millions of years, but most Loose Immortals weren’t able to live that long. Three Calamities, Nine Tribulations; the calamities were easy to avoid, but the tribulations were hard to escape. A great tribulation every nine hundred years! Each tribulation more powerful than the last, continuously accumulating until even a Loose Immortal like of Immortal Juhua, on par with a Celestial Immortal, would not be able to withstand it.
“The knowledge of a Loose Immortal regarding formation techniques. This is something that is no less valuable than the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] or the [Windwing Evasion].” Ning immediately understood how valuable this was. “With this knowledge regarding formations, someone actually went to enter the trials of the underground estate’s corridors. Jeeze…”
The person who acquired this knowledge on formations was most likely someone who was unskilled in formations. After all, the abstruse mysteries of formations were very hard to comprehend. Generally speaking, Immortal practitioners only knew how to set up formations; they didn’t understand the principles behind the formations. For example, Ning only knew how to set up and control the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]. Immortal practitioners would generally prefer to spend their time in binding more powerful magic treasures, or more powerful magic techniques. Those who would lower their heads and study formations were indeed very rare!
And what’s more, formations were extremely abstruse and hard to understand, making researchers in formations even rarer!
Most likely, the person who received this didn’t understand it. Even up until the point of his death, he still hadn’t had any accomplishments, and thus he had gone to attempt the underground estate.
There was another possibility as well, that it was someone like Ning…someone who accidentally entered Serpentwing Lake and thus was forcibly teleported into the Aquatic Manor, then died within.
“No matter what happened, this [Nine Scrolls on Formations] is now mine. And here I was, wondering how it could be possible that, given there were thousands of storage treasures, signifying thousands of people, how could not a single one of them been carrying something truly valuable?” Ning said to himself joyfully. “I finally acquired a valuable treasure. Time to take a good look.”
He immediately lowered his head and began to read this [Nine Scrolls on Formations].
Formations could be set up using all sorts of things, and some truly miraculous, large-scale formations could even make the world itself part of the formation!
“Interesting.” Many people felt that the [Nine Scrolls on Formations] were dry and boring, but Ning began to smile as he read them. Formations required a high ability to compute and understand. One had to be able to calculate! Ning, in his previous life, was exceedingly smart. Because of his illness, he was unable to go to school, so he had to teach himself everything! He had taught himself through reading books online, and his knowledge had far outstripped those of the same age as him, especially in the sciences. Despite his young age, he had earned a vast fortune!
In this life, he had acquired the [Nuwa Painting] and was able to divide his mind, thus making his mental computational abilities even nimbler!
In the previous life, on Earth, the education system had taught Ning how to think. Although Earth was just one of trillions of little worlds, its educational system was far superior to this world’s, where, for example, Swallow Mountain was still at a tribal era of development…even the descendants of the Ji clan would generally only be able to read, while the members of lesser tribes wouldn’t even be able to recognize any characters.
Given this sort of level of education, it was only natural for everyone here to find it incredibly hard to analyze formations.
It can be said that although perhaps the skilled scientists of Earth wouldn’t necessarily all become formation experts, they would at least be very promising prospects in this regard.
The education Ning had received in his past life was like ‘software’. In this life, Ning had an extremely powerful soul, which was like ‘hardware’!
Naturally, he was very well suited for training in formations!
“So that’s how it is.” Ning revealed a smile while reading. “That Yin Yang Twin Energy Formation and other formations like it truly are crude. They completely rely on activating the power of the world. There’s no skill at all in them.”
The more he read, the more Ning appreciated it.
But slowly, the smile on Ning’s face disappeared, and it was replaced by a frowning concentration, mixed with occasional stupefaction.
“Formation techniques really can’t be underestimated.” Ning nodded. “The way of formations is as vast and boundless as the seas. I’m only able to understand the most basic principles, but as soon as I see some slightly more abstruse, complex parts, I am completely lost. It makes sense. Although in this boundless world, most people are a bit stupid, there are still many geniuses as well. Upon focusing on something for hundreds or thousands of years, they will of course vastly exceed those of us on Earth.”
“Young master, the sun is up. We should head out.” Autumn Leaf suddenly called.
“Ah?” Ning suddenly discovered that it was already day.
Formation techniques were as boundless as the seas. Upon understanding the first scroll of the [Nine Scrolls on Formations], one could be considered a formations expert. Unfortunately, Ning wasn’t able to completely understand even that first scroll. This caused him to become more humble and not feel so self-delighted.
“Through analyzing formations, I will have more options and more tactics available to me.”
“Also, when I use the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation], I can make it more nimble and won’t have to use it in such a static manner.” Although Ning was just a basic student of this field, he now had a basic understanding of the way of formations, with the essence of it being ‘guidance’! For example, at first, when he stupidly just simultaneously controlled hundreds of flying swords, he had to spend effort controlling every one minutely, which was simply too mentally exhausting.
Fortunately, his soul was very powerful, and so he was easily able to execute the fourth level of the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation].
But if he were an expert on formations, he would be able to have some of the critical swords ‘guide’ the other swords, which would greatly reduce the amount of load on his soul, and allow him to easily execute more powerful levels of the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation].
“Young master, the Blacktooth Tribe is up ahead.” Autumn Leaf called out.
Only now did Ning halt his pondering on formations. Raising his head, he saw that in the distance, the sentries of the Blacktooth Tribe had noticed them.
“It is young master Ji.”
“Quick, hurry and report this to the leader.”
The tribesmen of the Blacktooth Tribe had seen Ji Ning last time. This time, the three of them were once again travelling together, mounted on the three black beasts. They were quickly recognized.
As Ning and the other two arrived at the gates to the tribe, Blacktooth was there to personally welcome them.
“My respects to you, young master.” Blacktooth had a large group of tribesmen behind him, all of them kneeling in unison.
“Mm.” Ning nodded. “Take me to Spring Grass’ place.”
“Alright.” Blacktooth said hurriedly. The only person in the Blacktooth Tribe who had any sort of a connection to Ji Ning was Spring Grass.
Ning suddenly looked sideways, glancing a skinny toddler standing behind Blacktooth whose face was rather sickly, yet seemed similar to Spring Grass. Ning remembered seeing this toddler last time, and thus he spoke out. “What is your name?”
The toddler was stunned.
Blacktooth, following Ning’s gaze, turned to look at his son. He hurriedly said, “Quick, response to the young master’s words.”
Only now did the toddler stutter out, “My name is Bluestone!”
“Bluestone, Bluestone…” Ning gently murmured to himself.