The waves of the vast Viledragon River crashed down like the stampede of ten thousand stallions.
Aboard the giant ship. After chatting for a period of time, Ning felt as though his mind had been settled. The little lass named Qi Xiaoyu had very little experience; she was as pure as a sheet of white paper. In addition, she was clearly quite respectful towards the young man and the two sisters; she continuously watched for the young man’s signals before acting.
“Based on what she said, she’s only trained for twenty years. Those blessed by great karmic virtue are indeed talented. And…she isn’t a bad person.” Ning nodded lightly.
He didn’t require that his disciples be perfect; however, they couldn’t be evildoers. Given his current level of enlightenment, it was very simple for him to judge and assess a mere Zifu Disciple.
“I like Xiaoyu very much,” Ning said. “Since Xiaoyu’s former master has already perished…I wonder, Shi Feng, if you would be willing to give her up and let her become my disciple.”
The waves of the vast Viledragon River continued to crash down resoundingly…but within the ship, things had fallen silent.
Qi Xiaoyu was completely speechless. She hurriedly shook her head repeatedly as she looked towards the crown prince.
The crown prince and the princesses had changed looks on their faces.
“This Darknorth really thinks too highly of himself,” the violet-robed princess sent angrily. “He actually wants to take Xiaoyu as his disciple. Xiaoyu is blessed by karmic virtue; she can provide karmic luck to our entire imperial clan. How can we give her away to a random Primal Daoist?! Hmph, even if an Earth Immortal or Loose Immortal wants to take away Xiaoyu, we still shouldn’t agree hastily, to say nothing of this Darknorth!”
“Big brother,” the black-robed princess sent mentally as well, “What should we do? We definitely can’t let Xiaoyu just be taken away, but this Darknorth wishes to take her as a disciple…what should we do?”
The crown prince was frowning. The roots of their imperial clan were very deep, and in the past, they had Primal Daoists of their own! A simple sweep of divine sense had allowed them to know that ‘Qi Xiaoyu’ had an utterly astonishing level of karmic virtue. Thus, they had done everything they could to take Qi Xiaoyu into their fold, and had even bestowed her with the imperial surname of ‘Qi’. They had shown her incomparable favor, causing her to feel incomparably grateful.
“Xiaoyu is an important chess piece. This Darknorth is just a Primal Daoist…we absolutely cannot give her to him,” the crown prince sent mentally.
As the crown prince and the princesses were conversing mentally, Qi Xiaoyu said hurriedly, “Senior Darknorth, I received great benevolence from Master and cannot betray…”
Ning said, “So long as you are willing to allow Xiaoyu to be my disciple, then I will repay you with magic treasures.” As he spoke, he suddenly produced ten Heaven-ranked flying swords that emanated watery ripples of power. The strength of these ripples caused everyone present to feel a sense of pressure.
“Ten high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords. What do you say?” Ning asked.
“It seems this seemingly rustic Daoist Darknorth is actually quite wealthy,” the violet-robed princess sent mentally.
“Heaven-ranked magic treasures are very important to Primal Daoists. It isn’t easy for one of them to produce ten. It seems he truly does want to take Xiaoyu as his disciple. Unfortunately for him, as far our imperial Qi clan is concerned, ten high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords are nothing,” the crown prince sent back.
Although the three feigned looks of amazement, in their hearts they remained quite calm.
Seeing this, Ning frowned slightly. “How about a hundred high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords?”
Instantly, a dense cluster of a hundred Heaven-ranked flying swords appeared in the air above the ship. The ripples emanating from each Heaven-ranked flying sword were enough to cause the Wanxiang Adept and eight Zifu Disciples present to feel an enormous sense of pressure.
Qi Xiaoyu was completely stunned. A hundred high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords? To take her on as disciple, this man was willing to take out this many magic treasures? Although she wasn’t willing to betray the clan, the actions of this ‘senior’ Darknorth who looked like a youth still caused her to feel a hint of delight. For this senior Darknorth to be willing to offer such a high price was testament to how much he valued her.
“A hundred!” The crown prince and the princesses felt desire now. Although they had quite a few treasures on them, over the course of decades of pursuit after the destruction of their country, with so many of their experts having perished and their treasures having been taken…the total number of treasures they had was now limited.
A hundred high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords was worth five hundred thousand kilograms of liquefied elemental essence!
“This Primal Daoist has actually taken out this many Heaven-ranked flying swords.” The violet-robed princess’s eyes were blazing. “Big brother…”
“The three of you!” Ning controlled the hundred Heaven-ranked flying swords which hovered above them as he frowned and barked, “This is enough. Don’t go too far!”
The crown prince naturally wanted these items. But he knew quite well that these hundred Heaven-ranked flying swords would be of almost no use to them in their flight. Even if they went to a city and traded it for some elemental essence, what good would that be? They already had some protective, fleeing items; if they bought a few more copies, that wouldn’t make a huge difference.
“Senior Darknorth,” the crown prince said respectfully, “For you to give up a hundred high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords in exchange for having Xiaoyu follow you as her disciple is of course acceptable. However…it isn’t that we aren’t willing, it is that after Xiaoyu became a Zifu Disciple, she swore an oath to the Dao of the Heavens to be loyal to my clan. For you to force her to leave would be to cause her to violate her oath. She will immediately perish.”
Ning frowned. “The oaths a servant swears to the Dao of the Heavens…but the master can generally gift the servants to others.”
It was extremely common for major clans to give away Deathsworn, for example. Thus, when servants swore an oath to the Dao of the Heavens, they would generally say that they would follow the clan leader’s orders in all things.
“That is true. However, that requires the clan leader of my Stone clan to agree. I cannot agree in his stead,” the crown prince said.
Ning’s face instantly sank. As it did, the hearts of the crown prince and the others all clenched.
Ning waved his hand. The hundred high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords in the sky all vanished, and he gave the crown prince a cold look. “You are lying.”
“Lying?” The crown prince was flabbergasted. “I didn’t lie…”
“You say that you are Shi Feng? That was a lie! You said that you are unable to permit Xiaoyu to be my disciple and that you need the clan leader to agree; this, too, was a lie!” Ning said coldly.
The crown prince was startled. The two princesses were shocked as well. Indeed, the crown prince’s name was not Shi Feng; rather, it was Qi Rufeng! His surname was ‘Qi’.
The only members of the imperial Qi clan left were the three of them; thus, the crown prince Qi Rufeng was the leader of the clan. As long as he agreed, he could give Qi Xiaoyu to Ning.
“I didn’t lie.” The crown prince wanted to keep up his false front.
“Would you dare swear an oath to the Dao of the Heavens stating that you didn’t lie? So long as you dare to swear this oath, I will gift you with those hundred high-grade Heaven-ranked flying swords and leave on the spot.” Ning’s face sank even further.
Qi Rufeng and his two sisters both felt pressure now.
“Since Darknorth won’t accept a soft refusal, let’s give him a hard one. Ten years ago, back when the old servants were alive, he would’ve been killed long ago by now.” The violet-robed princess sent an angry mental message to the other two.
Right at this moment…
“Eh?” Ning suddenly turned his head.
“Huh?” The crown prince and the others turned their head as well.
A group of figures had appeared on the distant shores of the Viledragon River. There were a total of twelve figures, all dressed in black armor and staring in their direction. On their bracers were emblazoned the logo of a flaming wing.
These twelve warriors stared in their direction. Their captain, the massively muscular black-armored man, was holding a flamewing bug in his hands, a cold smile on his face. He pointed towards the distance. “The survivors of the Qi Empire are over there. Do it!”
All of them emanated incomparably savage auras. The twelve soldiers instantly transformed their shape. One became an enormous horned rhino, another into a three-tailed fox, a third into a coiling serpent, a fourth into a white-furred bear…but they all shared a single commonality. All of them wore black armor. With the giant horned rhino at the center, the other soldiers spread out, filling and cycling their elemental ki through their Dao-armor and joining together into a whole.
An enormous venomous bug that had fiery wings suddenly appeared in the skies.
“The Flamewing Guard.” The faces of the crown prince and the others changed dramatically. They had suffered miserably for the past few decades under the pursuit of the Flamewing Guard; the Flamewing Guard was their nightmare, a nightmare they had never been able to escape. The Loose Immortals and Earth Immortals of their clan had all perished; even all of their Primal Daoists had perished.
They were the only ones left. How could they resist the Flamewing Guard?
Although this was just a small squad of the Guard, the imperial clansmen knew quite well that each squad of the Flamewing Guard was led by a Primal Diremonster as well as eleven Wanxiang Diremonsters who were capable of joining together into a Dao-soldier formation. After they assumed the formation…even peak Primal Daoists would probably find it hard to do anything to these Diremonsters.
“What should we do?” The black-robed woman frantically sent mentally.
“There’s no way to use evasive techniques here on the Viledragon River, and there’s no way to fly. We have to rely on the ship.” The crown prince was panicking as well.
“Have this Darknorth go block them. He is a peak Primal Daoist; he can definitely buy us some time,” the violet-robed princess sent mentally.
Right at this moment, the enormous bug with flaming wing charged straight into the Viledragon River. It flew through the river, moving as fast as lightning. It was about to arrive.
“Hurry up and die!” An enraged bellow rang out from the enormous flamewing bug.
“This is my ship.” Ning stood on the prow of the ship, staring at the enormous flamewing bug that was flying towards him. “Hurry up and beat it.”
The crown prince and the others instantly felt overjoyed.
“Wonderful. This Darknorth has actively gone out to engage it.”
“Let him help us block them.”
“Ideally, this Darknorth and the Flamewing Guard will kill each other. We can then acquire all of Darknorth’s treasures.”
The Flamewing Guard were famous for their savagery. Local cultivators and monsters would’ve fled long ago in the face of their arrival. They didn’t expect that today, they would run into someone who didn’t fear them at all. Behind them stood the fearsome Flamewing King! What they didn’t realize…was that behind Ning stood Patriarch Subhuti.
“Since you dare to try and stop the Flamewing Guard, you can die with them!” The green eyes of the enormous flamewing were filled with viciousness as it let out a shrill, enraged screech.
Whoosh. The flamewing bug soared towards the boat, and a blurry green fog appeared around it, causing the crown prince’s group to be filled with terror. They hurriedly retreated, setting down a formation in the surrounding area to defend. The hideous insectoid head of the massive flamewing bug shot outwards through the mist, attacking Ning atop the board of the ship.
Ning shook his head. “You truly are seeking death!”
Aboard the ship, the formerly ordinary-looking Ji Ning suddenly exploded forth with a terrifyingly powerful presence. The world itself seemed to instantly grow silent, and even the powerful, turbid waves of the Viledragon River went still. In fact, the waves and even sea spray suddenly froze mid-motion. The enormous flamewing bug was paralyzed in its attacking posture as well.
The imperial Qi clansmen who were hiding behind their formation were all frozen as well. Some had frozen looks of astonishment on their faces, others had mouths open, while still others were mid-step. They were all frozen.
The entire world had turned still.
The wind had stopped. The water had stopped. The people had stopped. The monsters had stopped. Everything had stopped.
That vast, terrifying presence caused everyone present to feel terrified. The crown prince and the others couldn’t even change their facial expressions…but shock and terror could be seen in their eyes.
In this region, only Ning alone was the same as he had been before. He stood there atop the prow of his ship, staring at the giant flamewing bug before him. He shook his head and sighed. “It was you who sought death. You have no one else to blame.”