Chapter 21, [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] – Stage Seven

“Adept Xu Li?” Nong Zidao was shocked. As a valued, intensively trained disciple of Snowdragon Mountain, Nong Zidao naturally was quite familiar with Adept Xu. He knew that Adept Xu wasn’t too skilled in the Dao of formations. Actually, the vast majority of Immortal practitioners with great potential were unskilled in formations; they would focus their efforts on training, on gaining insights into the Dao, on magic treasures, and on magic spells.

“How long ago did the Adept head there?” Nong Zidao hurriedly asked.

“Just a while ago, in less than the amount of time needed to brew tea. Adept Xu left just before you arrived, senior apprentice-brother Zidao.” Dong Fanyu said hurriedly.

Nong Zidao, shocked, immediately instructed: “Remember, if there are any other Zifu Disciples who arrive here, they can go to Oxhorn Mountain, but you must warn them…they are definitely not permitted to casually enter the grand formation of Oxhorn Mountain. That is the place where senior apprentice-brother Jadechild perished.”

“I will definitely inform the other fellow disciples.” Dong Fanyu immediately said.

“Right.” Nong Zidao had no time to speak any further; he immediately boarded his flying ship and flew through the skies, heading once more to Oxhorn Mountain.

……….

Oxhorn Mountain.

Ji Ninefire and the others paid attention to the region outside the grand formation while simultaneously binding the magic treasures. From their viewpoint on up high, they were able to see through the thin mist to the distant, desolate wilderness.

“All of the Zifu Disciples from the earlier group, aside from Nong Zidao, have perished. Our Ji clan even ended up acquiring two additional Zifu-level spirit-beasts.” Ji Truekeep was currently working on binding a flying sword, then said with a satisfied look on his face, “The Swallow Mountain branch of Snowdragon Mountain only had a few Zifu Disciples to begin with. With so many dead, I imagine there won’t be any other formidable figures who will come.”

“Yes.” Ninefire nodded with a satisfied smile as well.

“Our Ji clan now has hope.” Granny Shadow sighed in her hoarse voice as well.

From a logical standpoint, their expectations were correct.

The Celestial Envoy of the Grand Xia Dynasty would be able to arrive in two days. The Swallow Mountain branch of Snowdragon Mountain simply wouldn’t be able to invite some more distant branches to assist in time. In addition, at most, forty or fifty Zifu Disciples could be invited over from the surrounding areas, and amongst them, the most powerful and famous were Jadechild and Nong Zidao! One had perished, while the other had fled; who else would dare to enter?

The only choice was to report back to the main sect, but the main sect was too far away. Most likely, the Ji clan would receive protection from the Grand Xia Dynasty well before the main sect had even received word of this matter.

“We are fortunate to have Ji Ning.” Ninefire sighed as he glanced at the nearby Ji Yichuan. “Yichuan. You have a good son.”

Yichuan couldn’t help but smile as well. With a son like Ning, how could he not be proud?

“Once this tribulation is over,” Granny Shadow said hoarsely, “Ji Ning will definitely leave our Ji clan and go out to adventure. Give his monstrous talents…I imagine that he should be able to take refuge within one of the great powers. By then, why would we need to fear Snowdragon Mountain?”

“Ji Ning’s future is unlimited!” Ji Truekeep sighed emotionally as well.

These were all the elites of the Ji clan, but compared to Ning…they felt a vast gap between them.

“Someone is coming.” Ninefire suddenly shouted.

“What?!”

Instantly, a great commotion. All of them turned to stare through the sparse black fog, only to see a boat sail through the skies towards their direction, with quite a few Immortal practitioners gathered together atop it.

“Who is it?”

“I haven’t seen any of them. Don’t recognize them.”

“I recognize one of them. That short old fellow is an Immortal practitioner of the Huan clan. The two of us have met once, but I don’t know his name.” Ninefire and the others could see a total of eight Zifu Disciples atop the boat, but they didn’t know the names of any of them. Only Ninefire was able to recognize a single one of them.

Truekeep immediately asked, “What should we do? Should we go call for Ji Ning?”

“Ji Ning is currently training within the formation.” Ninefire shook his head. “In addition, only eight have come. No need to be impatient.”

……..

The flying boat descended towards the ground, the vanished. The eight figures atop the boat disembarked. Not too far away, they saw a wood golem standing atop the ground. The eyes of the wood golem flashed with a green light as it looked towards them with curiosity.

“A golem.” Lu Huang said hurriedly. “Master-uncle, I will go take a look.”

Lu Huang immediately moved forward a few steps, but before he said anything, the wood golem spoke out: “Are you disciples of Snowdragon Mountain?”

“Yes.” Lu Huang nodded as he spoke, while Adept Xu and the others walked over as well. The wood golem said, quite obediently, “Per the orders of my master, Nong Zidao, I am here awaiting the arrival of disciples of Snowdragon Mountain. I am here to let you all know that my master, Nong Zidao, along with Jadechild, eighteen other Zifu Disciples, and two Zifu-level spirit-beasts have all entered the grand formation.”

“Do you have any other information?” Adept Xu Li asked.

“I know nothing else.” The wood golem shook its head.

“Has anyone emerged?” Adept Xu Li frowned as he spoke. “Did you feel the ground shake?”

The wood golem said, “Nobody has emerged. Prior to this, I felt the ground shake multiple times, but now, I don’t feel the ground shaking whatsoever.”

The faces of Adept Xu Li and the rest of the eight all changed. Some formations were able to completely block out sound, but it was extremely hard to block out the vibrations created from a battle, which would pass through the earth and the mud to the outside world. It was unheard of, at least, for Mortal-ranked formations to be able to block out ground vibrations.

“The first few ground vibrations indicate that they battled multiple times. But for there to be no further vibrations at all…and given that based on the information we received, the life-tablets of many Zifu Disciples, including Dong Ziqi, are shattered…” Adept Xu Li said in a soft voice, “The most likely possibility is that all of them are dead.”

“Adept, what should we do?” The others all looked towards Adept Xu Li.

Of the seven, some had run into Adept Xu Li on the road, while others had been waiting at Snowdragon City.

Prior to this, nineteen Zifu Disciples and two Zifu-level spirit-beasts had silently, soundlessly disappeared within this formation.

“We can’t enter it casually.” Adept Xu Li said in a soft voice. “Nong Zidao is extremely skilled in formations. Even I am inferior to him. As for Jadechild, he has a divine ability and thus astonishingly great combat power, as well as tremendously strong lifeforce as a Fiendgod Body Refiner…the two of them joined forces to enter, and yet there is no word of them. No matter what, we cannot enter the formation casually.”

The other seven all nodded in agreement.

“Let me try to forcibly break the formation first and see if I can destroy it.” Adept Xu Li glanced at the distant Oxhorn Mountain. He waved his hand, and a large seal appeared within his palm. This large seal flew out from his palm, then rapidly increased in size, quickly becoming an enormous seal that was more than three hundred meters long. It hung there, high above Oxhorn Mountain.

“Descend!”

Adept Xu Li pointed into the distance.

Instantly, the surrounding world seemed to change colors. The brilliant sunlight seemed to instantly disappear as the surrounding world turned pitch-black. Within the pitch-black skies, there were even many flashing stars, and amongst the stars there was an enormous, brilliant moon. Within the moon, a giant palm formed from moonlight emerged, which clasped that giant, three hundred meter seal.

And then, it smashed that seal downwards to the ground!

Bang!

It smashed directly atop the black fog surrounding the base of Oxhorn Mountain. The surrounding earth trembled violently, and then the giant moonlight hand lifted up again, raising the enormous seal once more.

……..

When Ninefire and the others saw the world itself change through the Manifestation, the looks on their faces changed as well. The brilliant light of the sun had been transformed into a constellation of stars in the night sky. They all called out in shock, “A Wanxiang Adept!”

“How could a Wanxiang Adept be here? The Swallow Mountain branch of Snowdragon Mountain is nothing more than a branch. These branches only have Zifu Disciples. How could a Wanxiang Adept have come? Wanxiang Adepts are the core of Snowdragon Mountain. How could they have appeared here?” Truekeep stared, wide-eyed.

Every member of the Ji clan was completely shocked.

They didn’t dare believe it.

“Quick, everyone, go to your locations in your sub-formations.” Ninefire hurriedly ordered. “If that Wanxiang Adept thinks he can destroy our formation from outside just by using a giant seal, he is dreaming. At such a great distance…even a Wanxiang Adept is only able to at most unleash a tenth of his full power. Against power at this level, if we join forces and rely on the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation, we can definitely fight back.”

“Should we call for Ji Ning?” Granny Shadow asked.

“No need. Landwyrm, follow my orders and head towards the north.” Ninefire gave the order. “For now, you will temporarily serve as the center for the Dragontail Formation of our Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation.”

“Yes.” The azure-armored warrior replied.

Monsters initially trained in monstrous power, but upon establishing their Zifu, the body in their energy would also become the elemental energy of the Zifu. This Landwyrm was at the peak Zifu-level…his elemental energy was even more powerful than Ji Ning’s!”

………

“Descend!” From far away, Adept Xu Li pointed yet again.

The giant moonlight hand, clutching that great seal, once more smashed downwards towards Oxhorn Mountain. But this time, a draconic roar suddenly rang out, and an enormous black draconic tail swept out. The draconic tail was tremendous in size as well, and as it emerged from the black fog, it clashed directly against the downwards smashing seal.

Bang!

The giant seal smashed against the giant draconic tail. The draconic tail trembled slightly, but was able to hold on.

“A black draconic tail?” Adept Xu Li frowned. “And it’s actually able to block my Manifestation…”

There were limits to the distance at which an Immortal practitioner could use magic treasures to attack. The farther away they attacked from, the lower the power would be. Wanxiang Adepts could rely on their ‘Myriad Manifestations’ to launch long-distance attacks, but naturally, the power would be much lower than if they attacked in close-quarters combat. For example, when Adept Mu Xiao had wanted to prevent Bei Zishan from escaping, he had been able to, from an extremely great distance, generate his Manifestation to capture the bug-body of Bei Zishan.

“What formation is this?” Adept Xu Li frowned. “A few mere Zifu Disciples, by relying on this formation, are able to block my Manifestation. This formation…”

Despite his knowledge, even he wasn’t able to recognize this formation.

The seven nearby Zifu Disciples had looks of confusion and nervousness on their faces. That draconic tail that had emerged from the fog…what formation was this?

…..

Ninefire and the others, by relying on the Netherwyrm created by the formation, had resisted the smashing blow of the giant seal. Still, they felt that doing so was quite an onerous task.

“I wonder how Ji Ning’s training is progressing. He might be at a critical moment.” Ninefire, frantic, wanted to summon Ning, but he was also worried that he would disrupt Ning’s meditations.

……

Within the formation. Dark energy was flowing everywhere.

Ning sat there in the lotus position, completely absorbed in the intricate mysteries of Yin and Yang transforming. He continuously experimented, gaining a greater and greater comprehension, having reached a level of completely losing himself in his training. He didn’t even notice the tremors caused earlier by the giant seal smashing against the ground. As for Ninefire and the others, the giant Netherwyrm they were controlling was in the area surrounding Ning, protecting him.

“Yin cannot be without Yang.”

“Yang cannot be without Yin.”

“Even the most powerful of dragons has regrets. After every peak, there is a valley…”

“Only when Yin and Yang transform into each other can they endlessly engender each other in a cycle.” Ning suddenly understood.

The Divine Sun Tattoo and the Divine Moon Tattoo on his back suddenly lit up. He could sense, from an unfathomably distance, separated by untold numbers of planes, those two giant stars. The Lunar Star and the Solar Star. They each immediately sent down surges of Lunar Truewater and Solar Truefire, which pierced through countless planes and countless voids, descending directly upon Ning.

“Rumble…” “Rumble…” The surrounding area instantly became transformed into a world of fire and water.

Enormous petals of fire and water transformed into the bud of a flower, completely covering Ning within. With the Lunar Truewater and Solar Truefire as the core, a tremendous amount of fire and water appeared, forming a gigantic flower that completely surrounded Ning, who was now like the stamen within the flower.

Even the distant Adept Xu Li and his group of Zifu Disciples could see, from far away, an enormous flower emerge from within the dark fog, as the tips of the petals just barely stretched out above the black fog.

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