Ning felt a ripple pass through the area around him. When he had been teleported from Serpentwing Lake to the underwater estate, it had been a similar feeling.
“Eh?” Everything before him suddenly grew clear. Mu Northson was standing next to him, and other Immortal cultivators were around them as well. “We made it?” Northson stared, wide-eyed, at the surrounding area. “That really was fast.”
Ning carefully weighed the surroundings as well. They were currently in a teleportation array that was three hundred meters tall; clearly, it was a size smaller than the one by the Crimson Dragon Mountains. Off in the distance…there were wild marshes, mountains, lakes, and wilderness all about them, as far as the eye cold see.
“Two million kilometers in the blink of an eye.” Ning had known what was going to happen, but after experiencing it for himself, he couldn’t help but sigh in amazement. “I heard that some Immortals can instantly teleport a million kilometers. I wonder how long it will be before I have that ability.”
“All of you, come out.” “Hurry up.” Two ancient voices rang out, and two plainly dressed elders outside the teleportation array waved towards them. Only now did the Immortal practitioners walk out from the teleportation array.
“All of you, listen closely,” one of the white-haired, slightly-pudgy elders barked. “These are the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains. As far as you should be concerned, the only safe spot in the entirety of the wild marshes is this spot, right here! There are always Raindragon Guards stationed here, and a grand formation has been laid down which no one dares to trespass through.”
Ning and Northson all looked over carefully. They, too, had discovered that this teleportation formation was built atop a mountain peak, which was ringed with Immortal cavern estates. Most likely, quite a few people were stationed here.
“There are a few other things to remind you of,” the fat elder said. “The first is that for three months, you are not permitted to come here. If you come here to avoid danger, you will have failed.”
“The second is that while you are adventuring in the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains, you must be extremely careful; do not stay in any single place for too long, such as for a month or longer. You must know that there are far more monsters here in the wild marshes than there are humans, and they are far more familiar with the Gaol Mountains than you are. If you stay in one place for too long…you will make it easy for the monsters to join forces against you and attack you en-masse. However, staying in one place to rest for a day or two every so often is fine.”
Ning and the others were listening carefully. This was all potentially life-saving advice.
“The third is that although the monsters of the wild marshes are dangerous, the natural environment of the Gaol Mountains is even more dangerous. Some places might be filled with shattered space…if you aren’t careful, you might exit our world, at which point, given your current level of power, you will all die.”
“The fourth is that due to environmental issues, getting one’s bearings is quite difficult in the Gaol Mountains region. Don’t just rely on your senses to judge directions! You need to judge the directions in accordance with the movement of the sun, the moon, and the stars in the skies. Otherwise, if you simply rely on your own senses…you will never be able to return, and will forever be spinning in circles within the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains.”
“Alright. The four most important points have already been provided to you. Go. I hope that in three months time, I’ll be able to see you all return,” the fat elder said.
Finally, the skinny elder spoke out as well. “If you discover that it is too dangerous and that you are unable to handle it, you’d best head back in a hurry. Although you will have failed, you will have at least preserved your life.”
“Go, go.” The fat elder waved his hand. “Go,” the skinny elder said as well. Ning and the rest of the Immortal disciples all stared towards those hazy outlines of Immortal cavern estates ringing the mountain. They could all sense the surge of powerful energy surrounding this entire mountain peak. This was the power of that formation.
And then…swish! Swish! One streak of light after another flew out from the peak at high speed, flying towards the outside. Some moved alone, while others moved in pairs or triplets.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, where shall we go?” Northson asked. “Every direction is the same,” Ning said. Sweeping the area with his gaze, he pointed towards the North. “There are many mountains over there. Let’s go over there.”
“Alright.” Northson nodded. Whoosh! A dragon-headed ship suddenly appeared before them, and Ning and Northson boarded the ship. This dragon-headed ship was only thirty meters long; clearly, it was sized appropriately for roaming the wild marshes. If they made it too large…it would just make it easier for monsters to find them.
Soon, the hundred Immortal cultivators had all spread out in each direction. The two elders responsible for guarding the formation had very complicated looks in their eyes. The skinny one sighed, “I really envy them. I can sense the vitality and energy just oozing from them. Clearly, all of them are very young. Youth is a form of wealth, you know; they have plenty of time to go fight, to struggle, and to go farther along their Immortal paths. As for us…we won’t have these opportunities.”
“But at least we’ve lived a few hundred years,” the fat elder laughed. The skinny elder stared into the distance. “I wonder how many of this batch will make it back alive.”
“If half can make it back, that’ll be pretty good,” the fat elder said. “However…this group knew exactly how dangerous things would be, and they still elected to go adventure. If they can become Raindragon Guards…they’ll be able to benefit from the vast Dao repositories and magic treasures which the Guard possesses, and their Immortal paths will become more surefooted ones. The particularly outstanding ones will even have the chance to go to the imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty, where they will be trained at our Raindragon Guard’s headquarters!”
The dragon-headed boat flew through the clouds in the sky. “These high clouds are actually the safest places, here within the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains.” Northson was standing at the helm of the ship.
Ning nodded. “However, we still need to be careful. Once we discover any spatial ripples, we need to immediately avoid them.” “I know,” Northson said. “The warship is flying quite slowly, actually.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded. “Look.” Northson stared down through the thin clouds below at a large mountain. This mountain was particularly majestic in a queer way; it pierced straight through the clouds. In addition, one could see with the naked eye countless monsters atop the mountain. Some were monsters that were in human form. They appeared to be moving about in a manner reminiscent of an army.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, there must be Wanxiang-level monsters in that great mountain,” Northson said.
“Based on what I know…Wanxiang-level monsters are extremely common in the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains, and Zifu-level monsters can be seen everywhere. As for Primal monsters…they are quite rare,” Ning said. “Some monsters have taken over a mountain and have proclaimed themselves the local king, while others travel by themselves. Those who have taken over a mountain are all extremely strong.”
“It’s quite hard to run into one of the Wanxiang-level monsters who are wandering about by themselves,” Ning said reflectively. “So, our target should be the monsters who have crowned themselves ‘kings’ of a mountain. But from far away, we aren’t able to tell exactly how strong those ‘king’ monsters are. If we are unlucky, we might run into a Primal monster.”
“Then what should we do?” Northson asked. Ning had come up with an idea long ago. However, he looked at Northson. “Junior apprentice-brother Northson, do you have any ideas?”
“I do have a few,” Northson said with a frown. “The first is to follow other Immortal practitioners about and let them be the ones to investigate. When the battle begins…after verifying that the target is a Wanxiang monster, we’ll attack.”
“Not bad.” Ning nodded in praise. Northson continued, “The second method is to search for a mountain with monsters that don’t seem too strong. Nine out of ten, that mountain would be the territory of a Wanxiang monster.”
“And the third idea?” Ning prompted. Northson’s eyes lit up. “As Master said, the hearts of men are difficult to fathom. Since that’s the case, I imagine that there will be cases where Immortal cultivators will attack other cultivators. Generally speaking, this would involve several of them joining forces. If several of them join forces against us…I refuse to believe that not a single one of them will have acquired the corpse or the head of a Wanxiang monster. We can set up a trap…so if anyone comes to ambush us, we’ll counter-ambush and kill them.”
“However, all three plans have their own flaws. I’m not confident in any of them.” Northson was quite irritated. “Still, we have three months. That should be enough.”
Ning laughed. “Your methods are good, but I have an even simpler one.” Northson looked expectantly towards Ning. “What method?”
“Search for a seemingly ordinary-looking mountain of monsters,” Ning said with a laugh. Northson stared. “Isn’t that my idea?”
“After we find an ordinary mountain…I’ll sweep it with my divine sense!” Ning laughed. “If the opponent can sense my sweep, then it will most likely be a Primal monster. If they aren’t able to…then they will be Wanxiang monsters. Even if we are so unlucky as to run into one of the incomparably rare Primal monsters, we can immediately use our evasive techniques to instantly flee.”
Northson said, startled, “Divine sense? Senior apprentice-brother, your soul has truly reached the divine sense level?” Ning nodded. “You really…” Northson was shocked. “When you joined and defeated senior apprentice-brother Bloodshadow and the others, you demonstrated the ability to use multiple sword arts. Many of our senior fellow disciples suspected that your soul must be extremely powerful, perhaps at the divine sense level. Even more of them suspected that you were actually a reincarnated Immortal. So you actually have reached the divine sense level? In the past three years, you’ve never mentioned it!”
“You never asked,” Ning grinned.
“Then are you a reincarnated Immortal as well?” Northson’s eyes were shining. “I heard that as reincarnated Immortals grow older, they will gradually reawaken their memories.”
Ning shook his head. “No clue. I haven’t awakened any Immortal memories, at least.” What a joke. Ning’s memories of his past life were perfectly clear; he wasn’t an Immortal at all.
“Oh.” Northson nodded, then said excitedly, “This is wonderful. Joining the Raindragon Guards poses a great test to others, but for you, senior apprentice-brother, it’s far too simple. We can use your divine sense to run a test from far away…and after verifying things, can immediately act. If we are so unlucky as to run into a Primal monster, we can immediately flee with evasion techniques. This really is simple.”
Ning laughed. “If even someone with a divine sense is unable to join the Raindragon Guard, that’d be quite bizarre, wouldn’t it?”
“Badass,” Northson grinned widely. “Then I, your junior apprentice-brother, shall benefit from your strength, senior apprentice-brother.”
“Junior apprentice-brother, no need to be so polite.” Ning turned his gaze downwards, beginning to search for mountains with monsters.
Just one hour later. Ning and Northston were standing within a desolate area, staring towards a towering mountain before them. Given Ning’s visual acuity, he was able to see that there were some monstrous figures within this mountain.
“This one. Let me search it,” Ning said. “Alright.” Northson had already taken out a Dao-seal.
Although the two of them were both capable of simple evasion techniques, and were able to move multiple kilometers away with a single movement, with the aid of a Dao-seal, they would be able to move a thousand kilometers away. Ning knew that even a Primal monster would find it hard to search a thousand kilometers with divine sense.
“Whoosh!” With but a thought, Ning instantly sent a surge of power divine sense forward, enveloping this entire mountain.