Chapter 23 – Holyfire

“What did you say?” Chen Jin stared at Luo Qing, an incomparably terrifying look in his eyes. “Say it again!”

Luo Qing knew Chen Jin very well. She naturally could guess at what Chen Jin was currently feeling, and she immediately said with solemnity, “I said…that senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus has already chosen a Dao-Companion. She’s chosen someone else, not you.”

Chen Jin’s face was ashen, and his body swayed.

“A pity,” Luo Qing murmured to herself secretly. They had been friends for many years, and so she couldn’t bear for Chen Jin to be kept in the dark. However, she also knew exactly what a blow this was for Chen Jin to hear. “He pursued her for so many years without success. In the end, junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, who didn’t even pursue her, ended up attracting her attention.”

Chen Jin shook his head. “Impossible. Ninelotus is the future Matriarch of the Dongyan clan; she has tremendous expectations for her future. Not even the many geniuses of the Black-White College have ever attracted her attention. Soundless and silently, she suddenly selected a Dao-Companion?”

“His name is Ji Ning,” Luo Qing said. “He’s our junior apprentice-brother. His Daoist title is Darknorth.”

“Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth?” Chen Jin was stunned. Ji Ning, also known as Adept Darknorth, was quite resoundingly famous within the Black-White College. When this crazy junior apprentice-brother had first joined, in the Dao Debates, his performance had been such that the reincarnated Immortal, Rainbowflame Fairy Yu Wei, had been forced to personally intervene to overcome him. However, back then, Chen Jin had been carrying out a mission for the Raindragon Guard, and so hadn’t been in the College and hadn’t met Ning.

But he knew very well…for him to have been so powerful immediately after joining the school, and to have been selected by Immortal Diancai as a disciple, this person, Ji Ning, would definitely be one of the most supreme disciples of the Black-White College.

“Him?” Chen Jin couldn’t help but say, “How can that be? How long have they even known each other? Ninelotus is the future Matriarch of the Dongyan tribe; she’s extremely cautious by nature, and she considers all of her actions thoroughly. Even if truly she were to choose a Dao-Companion, she would be more prudent than prudence itself in doing so. It is precisely this temperament of hers that has led the various Immortals of the Dongyan clan to jointly concur on her as their choice. Even though her background is astonishing, it alone wouldn’t be enough for her to be selected as the next leader. Given her temperament…she couldn’t possibly have chosen a Dao-Companion this quickly!”

Luo Qing nodded. “You understand her very well. The choice of a Dao-Companion is a choice that will change one’s life. Indeed, she didn’t come to a decision this quickly. I’ll tell you something…she’s already spent an entire year with Ji Ning, in the secluded Serpentwing Lake of Swallow Mountain.”

“She’s spent a full year with Ji Ning in his secluded residence?” Chen Jin’s face changed. There was no man who could accept the fact that the woman he loved had been living with another man for a full year! The same was true for Immortal cultivators! In fact, the purity of an Immortal cultivator’s Dao-heart made it so that they were far more terrifyingly stubborn than most mortals.

“So what if they were together for a year?” Chen Jin suppressed the rage in his heart.

“When senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus and I first arrived there, we spent three months there, and I left,” Luo Qing said. “I’m a woman as well; I could sense what senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus was feeling. After just three months…she was already beginning to show hints of bashfulness on her face. Now that a year has passed…I can’t even guess at how far the relationship between her and Ji Ning has developed!”

Chen Jin’s face was as lifeless as steel! He was completely dazed, and his mind was in a state of chaos.. Bashfulness? Three months? Now a year? How far the relationship had developed? What had happened? Could it be that the two of them had already…

“IMPOSSIBLE!” Chen Jin let out a growl, then transformed into a streak of light, flying into the distance.

Watching him fly away, Luo Qing couldn’t help but shake her head. “He actually lost composure this badly. It seems this truly was a major blow to him. I really didn’t want to tell you, but I had to…telling you now means that you’ll have a chance to fight for her. If I were to tell you in a few years…you would probably have no hope at all.”

As far as she was personally concerned, given that she, Ninelotus, and Flowcloud had all come to Stillwater City together, she naturally felt extremely close to both of them. Between Ji Ning and Flowcloud…she naturally was biased towards Flowcloud, Chen Jin!

Chen Jin flew blindly through the skies, confusion raging in his mind. “No, no, I can’t…I can’t continue like this. I need to immediately go to the place where Ji Ning is living, to that Serpentwing Lake place in Swallow Mountain. Right now! Immediately! This very moment!”

Panic. Worry. Unease. These emotions tore at his breast.

“Flowcloud, come in.” A voice suddenly rang out in his mind, carrying a hint of meditative dhyana; it actually was able to instantly suppress the turbulent emotions in Chen Jin’s heart.

“Uncle Fire?” Chen Jin was stunned. He looked ahead of himself, towards a mountain peak and the scarlet red estate built atop it. This was the residence of one of the leaders of the third generation disciples of the Black-White College – Holyfire.

“Earlier, my mind was in a state of chaos. I actually unconsciously made my way to Uncle Fire’s place. It seems as though…my heart subconsciously felt that this was the safest, most secure place for me in the entire Black-White College?” Chen Jin immediately flew into the estate below.

Within a courtyard.

A handsome, elegant looking bald youth, dressed in a fiery red robe, was seated in the lotus position, his feet bare. He seemed almost crystalline in his incomparable purity, and yet he also seemed to blaze like a flame, causing the temperature in the surrounding area to rise.

“Uncle Fire.” Chen Jin walked in. Although both he and Holyfire were third generation disciples, in terms of age, Holyfire was more than a century older than him. When he was but a child, Holyfire had already been a prominent figure amongst the other third generation disciples of the Black-White College. Because Holyfire was on extremely good terms with his clan, the Chen clan, ever since Chen Jin had been young, he had addressed him as ‘Uncle Fire’. Even after he himself had joined the Black-White College, he continued to address Holyfire in this way.

“I can tell that your aura is disturbed, and a look of chaos and wildness is in your eyes. If this continues, your Dao-heart will be damaged.” Holyfire shook his head. “What exactly has happened?”

“Uncle Fire, I, I…” Chen Jin found it difficult to speak. Holyfire let out a calm laugh. In terms of Dao-heart and comprehension, there were actually even many Primal Daoists who were inferior to him. In terms of pure power, there were even some Primal Daoists who had been defeated by him! In addition, Holyfire had already made his preparations…in the next few years, he was going to make his breakthrough to the Primal Daoist level. In the entire Black-White College, of the third generation disciples, only the Sloppy Daoist was able to suppress him in might. This wasn’t because Holyfire wasn’t strong; it was because the Sloppy Daoist was truly too much of a monster.

Even Wanxiang Adepts who were reincarnated Immortals were completely convinced of the Sloppy Daoist’s superiority. He, and he alone, was acknowledged by all as the number one figure amongst the third generation disciples.

However, monsters like the Sloppy Daoist only came once in countless years. In addition, they had a chance at becoming Celestial Immortals. In any other era, someone like Holyfire, who was capable of defeating Primal Daoists as a Wanxiang Disciple, would have already been considered the number one figure amongst the third generation disciples.

“Speak,” Holyfire said. His voice seemed to carry a power to calm the hearts of others. Chen Jin nodded. “It is because of Ninelotus. Uncle Fire, as you know, Ninelotus and I grew up together, and our parents are good friends with each other.” Having calmed down, Chen Jin began to slowly narrate everything, but towards the end, he couldn’t help but begin to grow frantic once more. “…but she’s now spent a full year at Serpentwing Lake of Swallow Mountain! That’s Ji Ning’s place. I, I…”

“Don’t panic,” Holyfire said calmly. “Panicking won’t help solve the situation; thus, why panic? Your Dao-heart is insufficiently tempered. Romantic love between men and women can result in an emotional tribulation. If you trap yourself too deeply within it, then when you encounter the Three Calamities and Nine Tribulations, you will most likely suffer greatly for it.”

Chen Jin was shocked into awareness by these words.

“I know that you can’t possibly wait, however, so…I’ll come with you. Let me take a look and see what techniques this junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning has used to attract the attention of that child, Ninelotus,” Holyfire said with a laugh.

“Uncle Fire, you’ll come with me?” Chen Jin revealed a look of joy. Chen Jin had joined the Raindragon Guard long ago, and was extremely powerful amongst the third generation disciples of the Black-White College; he was only inferior to the most monstrous of the other disciples. The reincarnated Immortal, Yu Wei, was slightly stronger than him as well; he could be considered to be one of the top ten disciples.

This was, of course, in reference to real combat power. Thus, Chen Jin was actually quite talented…and why he was always extremely self-confident.

“Come.”

Very soon, a fiery cloud arose. Atop it stood two figures; Holyfire and Chen Jin. They rapidly soared into the skies.

Serpentwing Lake.

It was spring, now. The days were warm, and the flowers were blooming. A boat was lazily drifting atop the waters of Serpentwing Lake. Ning was lying down within the boat, sleeping blissfully. There was another person within the boat…Ninelotus, who was seated within it. Ninelotus sat there, looking quietly at the sleeping Ji Ning.

A year…

The two of them had become extremely familiar with each other, to the point where they could faintly sense the joy each felt for the other’s presence. But the selection of a Dao-Companion…both Ninelotus and Ji Ning were hesitant. Choosing a Dao-Companion was an incomparably important decision. Ninelotus was the next leader of the Dongyan clan, while Ning was the heir to the underwater estate; he had already cast his vision beyond the limits of this major world, and his goal was to roam the Three Realms and become a major power within them.

Both of these two were extremely ambitious, and their Dao-hearts were extremely resolute. Thus, neither of them would casually choose a Dao-Companion. However…for Ning to be willing to allow Ninelotus to accompany him in floating in the waters of Serpentwing Lake represented certain thoughts and feelings that Ning felt.

“Is this…truly like sleeping in the embrace of his parents?” Ninelotus mused silently to herself. Because Ning often liked to lie on that boat and drift on the waters of Serpentwing Lake, Ninelotus had asked Autumn Leaf, “Why is it that your young master often goes to lie on that boat and drift around on Serpentwing Lake for an entire day?”

“The ashes of his parents were sprinkled atop Serpentwing Lake. Serpentwing Lake is like his parents,” Autumn Leaf had said.

For some reason…Ninelotus had felt a twinge of pain in her heart.

“If I were to lose my parents?” Ninelotus thought of her own father and mother. Both of them were alive, and her elders were all tremendously powerful. “Ji Ning, he…” Ninelotus couldn’t help but stretch out her hand, gently stroking Ning’s face with it.

Ning continued to sleep.

Ninelotus gently helped Ning adjust his hair. She watched there, quietly, feeling an unusual calmness in her heart.

In midair. A fiery cloud was flying towards them at high speed, and atop it were two figures. Both of them stared downwards. As they did, they immediately saw that little boat floating atop Serpentwing Lake. Ning was lying there, within that small boat, his head next to Ninelotus, who sat next to him, helping him comb his hair.

“Ninelotus!” Chen Jin, aboard the fiery cloud, instantly turned red-eyed as he saw this.

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