“The Diremonster, Serpentwing?” Ji Ning frowned. “What happened? Our Ji clan of the West Prefecture should have people stationed at Serpentwing Lake, with multiple Xiantian experts present. Could it be that Serpentwing has escaped Serpentwing Lake?”
Wanfang shook his head. “If he had simply escaped from Serpentwing Lake, that would be a minor affair! Alas, our Ji clan of the West Prefecture actually ended up helping out Serpentwing. Our Xiantian experts stationed at Serpentwing Lake constantly tried to kill him whenever possible, causing Serpentwing’s every day to be filled with danger. There were several major battles as well! Under that pressure…Serpentwing actually reached the peak of the Xiantian level!”
“What?! Peak Xiantian level?!” Ning was shocked.
A peak Xiantian level Diremonster was truly dangerous. Even Eastmount Marsh had only a single peak Xiantian level Diremonster, that Ancient Snow Toad!
“The Xiantian level experts of our Ji clan of the West Prefecture were only able to just barely survive through relying on their magic treasures. They had to just watch as Serpentwing disappeared!” Wanfang sighed. “As soon as he heard this news, Master immediately went in pursuit!”
“Father went in pursuit?” Ning nodded.
Wanfang nodded as well. “But that Serpentwing can both soar in the skies as well as dive into the seas. His speed is now much faster than before, and as soon as he enters the deep water, even a Zifu Disciple would find it hard to kill him. Master understood this as well, and this pursuit of his ended in failure. Thus, he ordered me to tell you of this affair and to make sure that you are careful. After all, previously, you killed his child.”
“Understood.” Ning nodded solemnly. “It seems I need to leave this Metalstone Tribe now. Serpentwing, hrmph, I didn’t expect he’d survive this long, much less make a breakthrough!”
“This sort of old monster who has been training for thousands of years has accumulated significant experience. It isn’t strange for him to make a breakthrough at last.” Wanfang then said, “That’s all there is to report. My mission is now complete.”
Ning hurriedly advised him, “Apprentice brother Wanfang, those people you executed earlier belong to the Blackmount Tribe, located not far from here. Go help me rap their knuckles a bit!”
“Just leave this sort of minor task to me.” Wanfang nodded.
That very day, Ning led Autumn Leaf and Mowu out of the Metalstone Tribe. As to where he was headed…Ning didn’t inform anyone. Only by acting in such a way would he make it harder for Serpentwing to find him.
A month after the Serpentwing Disaster, everything was calm again.
Originally, after Serpentwing broke through to the peak Xiantian level, he charged out of Serpentwing Lake, beginning to vent his fury upon the area, causing great harm to the nearby tribes and devouring many humans, filling countless tribesmen with fear. He boldly went out in search of Ning, but the news that Ning was adventuring was a secret which few knew. Given that Ning himself was extremely vigilant as well, Serpentwing naturally couldn’t find him!
After half a month, Serpentwing encountered Ji Yichuan. Relying on his vastly increased strength, Serpentwing confidently did battle with him, but he didn’t expect that once again, he would be badly injured. Still, his flying speed was much faster than before, and when he fled for his life, even Yichuan wasn’t able to do anything to him. This battle resulted in Serpentwing coming to a decision; he never wanted to fight against Yichuan ever again. If he saw Yichuan, he would immediately run far away.
Another month later, Poisondove Ridge stepped in!
The Five Prefectures of the Ji clan negotiated with Poisondove Ridge, and the end result was…‘The Diremonster, Serpentwing, is forbidden to leave Serpentwing Lake for a hundred years!’
Time passed. In the blink of an eye, summer arrived.
Within Eastmount Marsh.
Two figures lay hidden within the aquatic grass. One was a half-red, half-white man with a vile aura and braided hair, while the other was a muscular man dressed in black.
“The information you have is correct?” The vile-looking man said softly. “We’ve waited here for three days now.”
The black-clothed man nodded. “Recently, there is a youngster who often comes to fight against the Azure Skysnake King. Every ten or fifteen days, they’ll do battle. In addition, their battles are generally in the area around here. Don’t worry, Master. When the time comes, the Azure Skysnake King will definitely emerge from the depths, and once he enters our formation, he won’t be able to escape!”
“Alright.” The vile man nodded. “For the sake of this day, I have prepared for so long, and also spent an incredible price in order to acquire this Yin and Yang Twin Energy Formation. This time, we must capture the Azure Skysnake King alive and let it become my spirit beast!”
“Once the Azure Skysnake King enters the formation, its life and death will be entirely determined by you, Master.” The black clothed man said.
“Hahaha…” The vile man laughed gently. “Right. That youth who often fights against the Azure Skysnake King, do you know who he is?”
“I’ve never seen him.” The black clothed man shook his head. “I know all of the young geniuses of our Ironwood clan, and he isn’t one of them. It seems as though this youngster’s sword techniques are based on the Ji clan’s [Raindrop Sutra].”
“Ji clan?” A fierce look flashed through the vile man’s eyes. “For him to be able to fight equally at such a young age with the Azure Skysnake King means that when he grows up, he’ll most likely become yet another Yichuan…since that’s the case, then I, Ironwood Zhan, will give the Ji clan a hand and help them send their genius straight to the Yellow Springs of Hell.”
Another half day went by. It was now sunset, and in the distance, a fur-clad youngster appeared, walking atop of the waves.
“Master, he’s here!” The black clothed man hurriedly shouted.
Zhan turned and looked. Seeing that Ning was walking on water as though it were flat ground, his pupils shrank. “One with the world!”
“He must die.” Zhan’s heart was now filled with a killing urge. At such a young age, this person was able to reach the ‘one with the world’ level. Once this terrifying youngster grew up…he would be far more powerful than even the Raindrop Sword, Ji Yichuan. He might even become the most powerful figure in the Five Prefectures of the Ji clan!”
“Brother An!” Ironwood Zhan hurriedly instructed. “Afterwards, you go deal with that youth. Even if you can’t kill him, don’t let him get away. After I subdue the Azure Skysnake King, I’ll immediately hurry over.”
“Yes.” The black clothed man said respectfully.
Ironwood Zhan stared grimly into the distance.
To be able to reach the ‘one with the world’ level as a youth…this sort of monstrous talent was countless times more talented than him, Ironwood Zhan. Fortunately, he, Zhan, had been training for over a hundred years. Relying on his years of accumulated strength, it would still be simplicity itself for him to slay this little child.
Zhan was hiding within the aquatic grasses, and had secretly set up a formation in the area around this location. Neither their auras nor their voices would penetrate through it. If even their auras couldn’t pass through…then of course, there was no way to sense them. Ning, thus, also didn’t sense their presence either.
“Little snakey-snake.” Ning stood on the surface of the water as he called out. “Still not coming out?”
His voice transmitted directly into the depths of the water.
A moment later.
An enormous emerald serpent erupted forth from the waves, and then its body rapidly shrank to a length of around ten meters, while its head stared, swaying, at Ning while emitting a disdainful snort. Actually, over the course of his multiple battles against Ning, the Azure Skysnake King had gained some insights as well. The Azure Skysnake King had the feeling that he too was about to reach the ‘one with the world’ level. Although his battle ability was astonishing, he primarily relied on his natural gifts. In terms of skill level, he was inferior to Ji Ning.
This sort of utterly ruthless battles against an opponent, with both using deadly, lethal blows, was the best way for an individual to improve!
“Once I also reach the ‘one with the world’ level, you will definitely die.” The Azure Skysnake King secretly said to himself.
‘Haha, c’mere, little snakey-snake.” Two swords appeared out of nowhere in Ning’s hands.
The Azure Skysnake King flashed towards him like a bolt of green lightning, while Ning went forward to welcome him.
Zhan, hiding in the distant aquatic grass, felt even more astonished. “His swordplay is also at the ‘one with the world’ level! And he uses twin swords to such a perfect degree! It seems he isn’t even a Xiantian lifeform yet, but he is able to fight head on with a Xiantian level Godbeast…this sort of talent is absolutely terrifying! He must be destroyed as soon as possible!”
“Why haven’t they entered yet?”
“Almost.” Ironwood Zhan grew frantic with impatience.
He had laid down his formation in advance. Although the formation took up a large amount of space, there was some distance between the formation and Ning’s battle with the Azure Skysnake King.
Ironwood Zhan’s heart was frantic, but he had to suppress his impatience. Because he knew that once he revealed himself…the frightened Azure Skysnake King would instantly dive into the water, at which point he wouldn’t have any chance at all to deal with him.
All he could do was watch as the distant battle continued.
Sometimes, Ning would be sent flying, while at other times, a wound would appear on the body of the Azure Skysnake King. The two battled amidst the waves, with Ning constantly gliding atop the waves, sometimes charging forward, other times dodging. On multiple occasions, they almost entered the formation, but the end, they didn’t…this truly was nerve wracking.
On one exchange of blows…
“They’re in!” Zhan’s eyes were red. At this moment, Ning and the Azure Skysnake King had just barely entered the formation. They were at the very edges of it. But Zhan no longer dared to wait any longer. Perhaps in the next moment, Ning and the Azure Skysnake King would once more leave the area of the formation.
Zhan’s face was fierce.
“Huh?” Ning, at the borders of the formation, suddenly felt a thrill race through his mind. This was because Ning’s soul was already extremely powerful, so much so that he could unconsciously sense any deadly dangers nearby. An invisible terror suddenly filled Ning’s head, and he had the feeling that if he didn’t move, he might really die!
“Retreat!” Ning glided backwards at maximum speed, and as he did so, he just so happened to leave the edges of the formation.
As Ning retreated past the edges of the formation, he saw that the surface of the water in front of him suddenly transformed into a scene of chaos. One enormous white energy wave after another appeared, intersecting with enormous black energy waves, creating countless ‘nets’ covering the area in front of him. The power of this enormous formation made Ning’s heart shake.
This was something set up by a late stage Xiantian Ki Refiner, who then suddenly released all the terrifying power he had previously placed in the surrounding area.
“The Azure Skysnake King is within the formation!” Ning’s heart clenched. After having battled with this old opponent so many times, seeing that the opponent had fallen into the formation, Ning felt worry for him as well.
A black human figure suddenly flew into the air, transforming into a black Bi’an Tiger that was over thirty meters long. The furry mane around its neck was spread out like an enormous fan, rising up to the heads. Its jade eyes were filled with savage fury, and it pounced directly towards Ning.
“A Bi’an Tiger?!” Ning instantly understood who it was that had set up the massive formation. “The only Xiantian lifeform who has a Bi’an Tiger as his spirit-beast is Ironwood Zhan, of the Ironwood clan! A late-stage Xiantian expert!”
Ning knew very well the difference in power between the two of them. Ironwood Zhan was extremely famous, and was legendary for how sinister he was. When he used his magic treasures, even the Azure Skysnake King was far from being his match!
Suddenly, a black light shot towards Ning.
With a quick sword stroke and a ‘clang’ sound, Ning sent the black light flying back towards that Xiantian level Bi’an Tiger. The Bi’an Tiger roared, “Child of the Ji clan, today, shall be the day of your death!”
A sharp, ear-piercing scream of pain shook the heavens, emanating from within that formation. Ning couldn’t help but feel his heart shudder as well. He knew that this was the desolate cry of the Azure Skysnake King. Despite having fought with Ning for so long, the Azure Skysnake King had never before let out such a miserable sound. Clearly, it truly was in dire straits this time.
“Little green snake, I hope you’ll be able to survive this affair.” Ning could only silently pray. Not daring to hesitate at all, he immediately began to flee across the surface of the lake while blocking the furious attacks of that Xiantian level Bi’an Tiger.