Chapter 16 – Crossing Swords

Ji Ninefire, Granny Shadow, and the others had long ago come to view Ji Ning as the future pillar of the Ji clan! They naturally had long ago allowed Ning to view the intelligence reports the clan had regarding the various ancient monsters and Zifu Disciples of the various forces spread throughout Swallow Mountain. Ning knew very well…that this Dong Ziqi was a peak Zifu Disciple, one who had come from the main sect, whose abilities were far more powerful than those available to the local tribes of the Swallow Mountain Region. Dong Ziqi’s most powerful ability was the ‘Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation’!

This was different from other great formations, which generally needed to be set up in advance. This ‘Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation’ was rather similar to the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]; one could activate it with a thought. Perhaps it wasn’t as high level and as formidable as the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation], but this was a peak Zifu Disciple. When such a man used this formation, he probably would be able to fight a new Wanxiang Adept to a standstill. This wasn’t something which could be compared the likes of Bei Zishan, who had to rely on the Myriad Wraiths Banner.

“It’s quite rare for us to be able to see you, fellow Daoist Dong.” Ninefire’s attitude was very humble. “Fellow Daoist Dong, might I ask why you have come?”

“Ji Ninefire.”

The five Zifu Disciples atop the banner landed on the ground. They swept the Ji clansmen with their gaze. Their eyes were filled with lofty arrogance; clearly, they held the Ji clan in no regard. This caused Ning and the others to feel a hint of rage in their hearts, but they understood…they had to suppress it.

“The land which your Ji clan controls really is a blessed area. It actually has an elemental ore mine.” Ziqi’s cold, sinister eyes stared at Ninefire. “If it wasn’t for the elemental energy vibrations which emanated from here two days ago, we wouldn’t have had any idea. Hmph. I imagine that your Ji clan has secretly mined out quite a few elemental stones. You really are quite bold.”

Looks of anger couldn’t help but appear in the eyes of the Ji clansmen, but Ninefire used his ki to bark at them mentally, “All of you, endure it!”

“My Ji clan just discovered it as well.” Ninefire maintained a smiling face towards Ziqi.

“Just discovered it?” Ziqi swept the Ji clansmen with his gaze. “Have you investigated the size and scale of this elemental mine?”

“Not yet.” Ninefire shook his head. “All we know is that this is a rich vein of elemental ore.”

Ziqi said in a cold voice, “Since you don’t know, then I’ll tell you. Not only is this a rich vein, it stretches to a circumference of four thousand kilometers, and is three hundred kilometers deep as well! Your tiny little Ji clan is completely unable to try and swallow such an enormous elemental ore mine; if you tried, it would choke you to death!”

“That’s fine.” Ninefire laughed. “In the end, my Ji clan can just offer this elemental ore mine to the Grand Xia Dynasty. By then, our Ji clan will obtain 30% of it, while the Grand Xia Dynasty will obtain 70%. In addition, our Ji clan will also receive the protection of the Grand Xia Dynasty, at which point we won’t fear anyone.”

Ziqi’s pupils contracted.

These locals!

Although they didn’t come from any sects, and thus remained Zifu Disciples despite having trained for nearly four centuries, after having lived so long, these people had become incomparably crafty. Just now, he had been so arrogant, but Ninefire had remained all smiles. However, at the critical point in their negotiations, Ninefire had directly given voice to what Snowdragon Mountain feared the most.

“Listen up!” Dong Ziqi’s voice was incomparably cold. “This elemental ore mine is being taken over by Snowdragon Mountain! Don’t threaten me. If you threaten me…the only result will be the destruction of the Ji clan!”

Ninefire’s face changed.

The others, such as Granny Shadow, were all both angry and agitated when they heard this. Ning felt a smoldering rage burn in his heart as well. Clearly, according to the laws of the Grand Xia Dynasty, this elemental ore mine belonged to the Ji clan! But Snowdragon Mountain’s people wanted to just take it from them, and in such a domineering manner?

“Fellow Daoist Dong.” Ninefire suppressed his rage.

Just now, he had just decided to bring out the strongest ‘threat’ he could must…so as to cause the opponents to feel nervous, and then engage in negotiations. He didn’t expect that these people didn’t want to negotiate at all; they acted with completely tyranny, wanting to take advantage of the Ji clan in their weakness!

“This is Swallow Mountain.” Ninefire said solemnly. “The main Snowdragon Mountain Sect is millions of kilometers away, but once my Ji clan makes the report, in just a few days, the Celestial Envoy of the Grand Xia Dynasty will arrive. By then, we will just directly sign a transfer agreement. Actually, our Ji clan doesn’t have that much ambition; the only thing we desire is to survive!”

“Survive?” Ziqi laughed coldly. “At least you know your own limits!”

Ninefire said, “Snowdragon Mountain can arrange for people to mine this quarry. Our Ji clan definitely will not disturb you during the mining process. After you have completed your mining…all we ask is that you remove all of your forces from the Ji clan’s territory. As for the ore in this elemental ore mine, my Ji clan will not ask for a single stone of it! My Ji clan is willing to set up an Oath of Heavenly Law with your Snowdragon Mountain!”

Oath of Heavenly Law…

This was useless for ordinary mortals, but no one who had stepped onto the path of Immortal cultivation would dare to violate an Oath of Heavenly Law.

“Oh?” Ziqi hesitated.

“Elder apprentice-brother Ziqi.” The nearby muscular man sent mentally through his Ki. “These conditions aren’t bad. We don’t care about the territory the Ji clan controls anyhow. What really matters is that elemental ore mine. Since the Ji clan is willing to allow us to harvest all of the ore within the elemental ore mine…if they are willing to set up an Oath of Heavenly Law, then they won’t dare violate it.”

“Idiot.” The green-haired woman to the side sent mentally as well. “This is just a delaying tactic of the Ji clan! The Ji clan is going to set up an Oath of Heavenly Law with ‘us’, but not with those of us here. Even if we fellow disciples swear to an Oath of Heavenly Law, the high level members of the main sect can still decide to just cast us aside and exterminate the Ji clan. They definitely want us to have a high-level member of the main sect to come here and swear the oath. But we would first need to send work back, and by the time the high-level member of the main sect comes…more than enough time will have passed for the Ji clan and the Grand Xia Dynasty to have signed an agreement.”

“Younger apprentice-sister, your words have merit.” The gray-robed man sent mentally as well.

Dong Ziqi nodded slightly.

The Ji clansmen were still awaiting their response.

“Your Ji clan wishes to swear an Oath of Heavenly Law with Snowdragon Mountain…might I ask, which member of Snowdragon Mountain do you wish to come swear the oath with you?” Ziqi looked at Ninefire.

Ninefire laughed. “Any Wanxiang Adept is acceptable. The fate of our Ji clan rests on this agreement; naturally, we must be cautious. The weight of an oath of a Zifu Disciple of Snowdragon Mountain isn’t quite enough…and we don’t dare trust fully in it either. I imagine that you, fellow Daoist Dong, also understand that the oath of a Zifu Disciple doesn’t have much binding power over the main Snowdragon Mountain Sect.”

Dong Ziqi narrowed his eyes.

A single Zifu Disciple? The main sect could sacrifice one with but a word.

But a Wanxiang Adept was different. The main sect only had a limited number of them, and when they swore an oath, it represented the main sect swearing an oath! If the main sect dared to sacrifice even a Wanxiang Adept, wouldn’t it cause the other Wanxiang Adepts and Zifu Disciples to have an icy feeling in their hearts? To cause the Wanxiang Adepts of the clan to all have lessened loyalty, for the sake of an elemental ore mine, wasn’t worth it. Thus, it was most appropriate for a Wanxiang Adept to come and swear the oath.

“Ji Ninefire!” Ziqi said in a freezing voice. “You want a Wanxiang Adept to come and swear an Oath of Heavenly Law with you? They are high level members of my main sect, which is over a million kilometers away! After we send the message, it will take at least ten days or half a month for a Wanxiang Adept to come! Within ten day’s time, your Ji clan would most likely have secretly signed an agreement with the Grand Xia Dynasty long ago!”

“Then…” Ninefire hesitated.

“As I see it, you had best hand over the official writ!” Ziqi shouted. “Hand over the official writ for the City of Ten Thousand Swords to us! Snowdragon Mountain will continue to permit you to live within the City of Ten Thousand Swords, and everything will remain unchanged for the Ji clan…after we have completely excavated the elemental ore mine, we will return the official writ to you!”

Ninefire was frantic. “How can that be acceptable?”

“No way.” Granny Shadow said angrily as well. “The official writ is the very foundation of the Ji clan.”

Ning just watched.

These people of Snowdragon Mountain…you gave them an inch, and they attempted to take a mile! They made it sound so nice and simple; they would return the official writ after finishing the excavation? What if they didn’t? In addition, the Ji clan had already made a huge concession in being willing to offer the entire mine to Snowdragon Mountain. How could it be that Snowdragon Mountain now desired to take away the official writ as well, and ‘give it back’ in the future?

“Hmph.” Ning’s face was ugly to behold, and the same was true for the other members of the Ji clan.

“Do you think that our Snowdragon Mountain clan will lie to a petty little clan like the Ji clan?” Ziqi shouted.

“It seems as though Snowdragon Mountain has taken advantage of quite a few clans.” Ninefire was enraged as well. “Otherwise, why would a branch of Snowdragon Mountain have come to Swallow Mountain!”

Ziqi’s face changed.

Outrageous!

Ninefire actually had become harder and more forceful! Zifi swept the Ji clansmen with his gaze, noticing that youngest, solitary figure, the fur-clad youth. He immediately sent through his Ki, “Junior apprentice-brother Muse, the Ji clan only has a few Zifu Disciples. The one with the most potential is this Ji Ning; he is the one who, according to the stories, killed Zishan.”

“Ji Ning.” The gray-robed man noticed the fur-clad youth in front of them as well.

That battle he had with Bei Zishan that year…

Ning’s reputation had been spread throughout the various forces of Swallow Mountain long ago. After all, at that time, quite a few Xiantian lifeforms of the various clans had all been sent back to their own clans, causing them to become aware of how terrifying Ji Ning was, and that Ji Ning should be a Zifu Disciple! A Zifu Disciple at age eleven or twelve…how terrifying would he be in the future? The various powers had taken notice of Ning long ago, and the intelligence reports regarding Ning were thus incomparably detailed.

Everything which had happened to him since he was young, as well as his appearance and his habits…they had all been collected and compiled.

Dong Ziqi didn’t care about anyone else in the entire Ji clan; the only one he cared about was this Ji Ning! He didn’t fear the current Ji Ning; what he feared was the future Ji Ning! Given Ji Ning’s talent…in the future, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for him to become a Wanxiang Adept.

“Junior apprentice-brother Muse, the member of the Ji clan with the most potential and who poses the greatest threat is this Ji Ning. The entire Ji clan treats him as their treasure.” Ziqi sent mentally. “He is still fairly young, however, and at present, he shouldn’t be too powerful. Zishan, that fool…aside from being able to forge that Myriad Wraiths Banner, which was fairly powerful, his own level of ability wasn’t that great. In addition, the results of that battle probably had something to do with that Wanxiang Adept. Ji Ning’s own level of power is most likely not that great.”

“Junior apprentice-brother, make a sudden attack and capture Ji Ning! By then, with Ji Ning in our hands, do you think the Ji clan will dare to disobey the orders of our Snowdragon Mountain?” Ziqi sent mentally. “Even in the extremely unlikely circumstance that they don’t care about Ji Ning’s life, we will then simply kill Ji Ning. Without him, the Ji clan won’t pose a threat to us at all in the future.”

“Right.” The gray-robed man nodded.

Ning was indeed a threat to them. Nobody feared Ning right now, but they feared the future Ning.

“Junior apprentice-brother, if you suddenly use your magic technique to attack, even I will have some trouble fending it off. You shouldn’t have any problems in subduing Ji Ning.” Ziqi sent mentally. Although his power was greater than that of Muse’s, he had to first activate his Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation. By the time he did so, the Ji clan would probably be at maximum vigilance.

Thus, they had to make a sudden attack, and succeed in an instant! For this, Muse was the best choice.

“Leave it to me. I made a breakthrough in this technique of mine not long ago.” Muse sent back mentally with great confidence.

“Then we’ll just wait for you. Once you take down Ji Ning…we will have the upper hand.” Ziqi said.

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