Ning stared at his surroundings. During the past month, all of the Immortal cultivators had remained in their own stone or wooden houses, training quietly. To them…training and waiting for a month was a very simple matter. Thus, during the past month, he hadn’t really gotten to know any of them!
“A hundred!” Ning’s gaze swept past them, and he realized that the total number of figures who had emerged numbered exactly a hundred people. Ning then turned his gaze to the front.
Up ahead, there were three figures who were staring at Ning and the other 99 who wished to join the Raindragon Guard. These three were led by a silver-haired, black-robed elder who carried a desolate, killing aura about him. When he swept his gaze past the prospective recruits, everyone, Ning included, felt an invisible pressure bear down upon them. It was as though a black dragon was staring at a crowd of ants.
“An Immortal!” Ning said silently to himself. The gaze of the silver-haired, black-robed elder flashed like the gleam of a weapon, causing them all to feel shock in their hearts. He suddenly spoke out. “Your batch of a hundred Immortal cultivators has been completed. Now, you can go to the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains.”
Ning and the rest of the hundred all listened carefully.
“You are not yet Raindragon Guards,” the silver-haired, black-robed elder continued coldly. “Thus, you were assigned to live in this desolate, backwater part of the mountain. Once you become true Raindragon Guards…you will naturally be permitted to enter the depths of the Crimson Dragon Mountains.”
As he spoke, he pointed towards the distance, to a peak of the Crimson Dragon Moungains. “That place is the place where true Raindragon Guards reside. The Crimson Dragon Mountains aren’t a place for pleasure, and it isn’t as bustling as Stillwater City. The only thing we have here is the endless quiet.” The silver-haired elder continued calmly, “Those who focus on training quietly will generally take over one of the cave estates of the Crimson Dragon Mountains and train within. The number of Immortals who are currently training within the Crimson Dragon Mountains…is greater than twenty!”
Once these words came out, Ning and the rest of the hundred Immortal cultivators all felt their hearts clench tightly. The Raindragon Guard really did live up to its reputation as being one of the two titans of Stillwater Commandery! More than twenty Immortals?!
Ning and Northson were from the Black-White College, which was ranked as the third greatest power. And yet, they now understood what a tremendous difference in power there was. Although the College had quite a few Immortals…just the ones training in at the Raindragon Guard’s base numbered over twenty, much less the ones out on assignment or in the other branches spread throughout the Xia Dynasty.
“In fact, some Celestial Immortals will occasionally come from the imperial capital to expound on the Dao for the Raindragon Guards present.” The silver-haired elder swept his gaze forward. “In terms of power, our division of the Raindragon Guard is comparable to the Northmont clan of Stillwater. In terms of our roots and background, however, the Raindragon Guard vastly outstrips them.”
“So long as you can enter the Raindragon Guard, divine abilities, secret arts, and even the chance to head to the core of the Xia Dynasty, the imperial capital…all these are possible. You might even have a chance to go to the main headquarters of the Raindragon Guard to learn and be trained.”
“All of this…requires you to first join the Raindragon Guard!” The silver-haired, black-robed elder stood there, waist as straight as a mountain, his voice reverberating sonorously in each person’s inner heart. “Now, each of you shall tell me of your history and your power. If you wish to join the Raindragon Guard…you must meet the minimum requirements of our Raindragon Guard. If you aren’t even able to fulfill the minimum requirements, then there is no need for you to go to the Gaol Mountains’s wild marshes; you can just go back right now.”
Whoosh! Instantly, a bronze mirror floated up into the skies, hanging there. “All of you, fully explain your histories and your level of strength. If you dare to lie at all, you will be killed without mercy. You.” The silver-haired elder pointed towards a black-bearded youth, and the bronze mirror turned towards him.
The black-bearded youth immediately said, “Skysplitter Sword Sect, Ki Refiner, middle-stage Wanxiang Adept, Bu Violetsun!”
“Alright.” The silver-haired elder nodded. “Next.”
“Eastriver Clan, Ki Refiner. Late-stage Wanxiang Adept, Eastriver Cloudsoar!”
One practitioner after another began to reveal their histories. The Raindragon Guard would naturally want to learn about the backgrounds of those who came to join. After learning their backgrounds and names…given the intelligence networks of the Raindragon Guard, they would quickly be able to obtain detailed reports.
Not a single person dared to lie. To lie in front of an Immortal of the Raindragon Guard would be suicidal.
“You.” The silver-haired elder pointed towards Northson. Northson answered, “Black-White College, Ki Refiner. Middle-stage Wanxiang Adept, Mu Northson.”
“The Black-White College?”
“Someone from the Black-White College came as well.”
Instantly, quite a few Immortal cultivators began to pay attention to Northson. Although they also came from extremely top-tier schools, sects, and extremely large clans that were on the same tier as the Black-White College, those tribes and clans had many disciples and descendants. Every single member of the Black-White College, however, was definitely a peerless genius. Not a single one of them was easily offended.
“You.” The silver-haired elder looked towards Ning.
“Black-White College, Ki and Fiendgod Body dual refiner. Ninth stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens]. Ji Ning.” Ning gave his response.
The silver-haired elder gave Ning a surprised glance. For even an Immortal to be surprised, the reactions of the other Immortal practitioners went without saying. All of them were filled with boundless amazement and curiousity. To join the Raindragon Guard…generally speaking, the early Wanxiang Adept stage was a minimum requirement, but of course, if one trained in the legendary, number one Fiendgod Body Refining Technique, the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], one would be an exception. Being at the Zifu Disciple level would suffice.
This situation, however, was extremely rare. Unexpectedly, today they managed to encounter someone who had trained to the ninth stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens].
“The ninth stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] is comparable to an ordinary early stage Fiendgod Wanxiang Adept. Upon using a divine ability, the power will definitely be significant; after all, he came from the Black-White College.”
“He’s too rash. No matter what, he’s only an early stage Wanxiang Adept. Since he didn’t discuss his power as a Ki Refiner, he hasn’t reached the Wanxiang level in it either. He’s a weak Ki Refiner, and just barely qualifies as a Fiendgod Body Refiner…upon encountering a group of enemies, they will trample him to death.” The Immortal practitioners were all thinking this to themselves.
Those who dared join the Raindragon Guard were all quite self-confident, and could be considered elites amongst their peers.
“Mm…” The silver-haired, black-robed elder looked towards Ning’s reflection in the bronze mirror, then nodded slowly. “You are indeed at the ninth stage. Next.” The silver-haired, black-robed elder looked towards the next person. But, right at this moment…
A voice suddenly echoed in Ning’s mind. “Your name is Ji Ning? The [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] has been publicly acclaimed since the Fiendgod Era as the number one technique, and it has quite a few special aspects. Once you join the Raindragon Guard, you’ll learn how to better unleash your battle power as a Fiendgod. You must return from the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains alive…and actually, it’d be better if you waited until you reached the tenth stage or the eleventh stage before going to the wild marshes. Then, you will definitely be incomparably safe.”
The silver-haired, black-robed elder even gave Ning a sidelong glance. Ning understood…this Immortal of the Raindragon Guard was the one who had mentally sent him this message. Ning smiled towards this Immortal of the Raindragon Guard, but he didn’t hesitate at all. Clearly, his mind was set.
“Special?” Ning pondered this statement. “When I was in the underwater estate, the giant yellow bear also said that my Fiendgod body can be described as ‘perfect’, and capable of learning the [Starseizing Hand] which Daoist Threelives left behind. In addition, even in the Fiendgod Era, the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] was publicly acclaimed as the number one Fiendgod Body Refining Technique. It has spread so far…I imagine that it is quite easy to acquire. Even our Ji clan has a complete copy of the first scroll and the first nine stages of it!”
Ning had the feeling…as though there must be a tremendously powerful force which was propagating the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens]. In addition, this technique had been publicly acknowledged long ago. The Xia Dynasty itself had only been established during the later periods of the Fiendgod Era. This technique had existed even before the Xia Dynasty’s founding…and yet, the Xia Dynasty actively propagated it.
“There must be some reason for this,” Ning mused to himself. “However, without question, this technique, as one which even the giant yellow bear praised, shouldn’t have any problems. Since the technique itself has no problems…then for now, a kid like myself has no need to worry about the other reasons.”
“This Immortal of the Raindragon Guard said that there are some special aspects to it, and that after joining the Raindragon Guard, I’ll learn how to truly unleash the combat potential of my divine body?” Ning instantly grew rather eager. The Raindragon Guard was the most powerful military force of the entire Xia Dynasty. It only made sense that it had some special secret arts.
In terms of its roots and its background…the Raindragon Guard was naturally countless times superior to the Black-White College. Not even the Marquis of Stillwater could compare to the entire Raindragon Guard.
“You.” The silver-haired elder pointed to the final Immortal cultivator. This man was dressed in a beautiful golden robe, and he said with respect, “Snowdragon Mountain, Ki Refiner, peak Wanxiang Adept, Dong One!”
Ning’s ears twitched. He turned to look over towards him, and that Immortal cultivator just so happened to be looking at Ning as well. Their gazes intersected.
“He knows me.” Ning instantly realized this, when their gazes cross. The Immortal cultivator named Dong One had a smile on his face, and he even nodded towards Ning. Ning just gave him a calm look, not smiling at all. His parents and uncle, in a way, had all died due to the disciples of Snowdragon Mountain. How could Ning possibly smile when facing a disciple of Snowdragon Mountain?
Ning began to ponder in his heart. “Why has this Wanxiang Adept of Snowdragon Mountain come here? Did he accidentally encounter me, or was he chasing after me deliberately?”
Previously, he had remained in Stillwater City this entire time, and so Snowdragon Mountain didn’t have any chance to take revenge on him. Was Snowdragon Mountain pursuing him as soon as he had emerged?
“Their intelligence networks shouldn’t be this good,” Ning mused. “In addition, I’m a disciple of the Black-White College, and the personal disciple of an Immortal. Snowdragon Mountain shouldn’t be so bold as to act in this way. It’s possible that this is all just a chance meeting.”
Each person had finished describing their histories and strengths. The silver-haired, black-robed elder waved his hand. Instantly, streaks of light flew out towards each person. Ning stretched out his hand, clasping it; it was a talisman.
“This is a talisman,” the silver-haired, black-robed elder said. “Bind it. Only then will you be able to enter the inner regions of the Crimson Dragon Mountains. The teleportation array within the inner region leads to the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains. If you haven’t bound any talismans, the protective formation around the Crimson Dragon Mountains will not permit you to enter.”
Ning and the others didn’t hesitate at all, as they all immediately bound the talismans. “Go.” The silver-haired, black-robed elder’s body suddenly became shrouded by clouds which appeared out of nowhere, and the clouds lifted up and dragged Ning and the others away. However, the spirit-beasts which some Immortal cultivators had brought were all left behind.
“The test for entering the Raindragon Guard is a personal test. These spirit-beasts are not to enter the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains,” the silver-haired, black-robed elder said. “Have them stay here for now. If you come back alive, you can seek them out.”
Ning stood there atop the clouds. He turned to look downwards towards the Whitewater Hound. “Uncle White, wait for me,” Ning sent mentally. “Be careful,” the Whitewater Hound sent back, looking towards Ning.
And then, the silver-haired, black-robed elder led the group of Immortal cultivators atop his clouds. They quickly flew away, moving deeper into the distant inner regions of the Crimson Dragon Mountains.