Cloudwater Manor. It was built over the massive Ninesun Lake. Wreathed by clouds and mist, it appeared like an abode for Immortals, built amidst the clouds.
A large, plain, ancient-looking warship came cruising forward, flying towards the Cloudwater Manor.
“Is this young master Ji Ning?” An attendant had been waiting for quite some time, outside the Cloudwater Manor.
Ning, leading a group of Golden Imperials, disembarked from the warship. With a wave of his hand, he collected it, then walked to the long-awaiting, white-robed, youthful-looking Primal Daoist. He said, “I am Ji Ning.”
“Per orders from my young master, I have been here awaiting you, young master Ji Ning. Young master Ji Ning, please follow me.” The white-robed youth gave the Golden Imperials behind Ning a glance. His eyelids couldn’t help but twitch. Someone who could summon a troop of Golden Imperials when travelling… was definitely no ordinary person. He was absolutely someone with a background, with a backer!
For those important officials and senior ministers, the backer was the Emperor of the Grand Xia himself; that was why they would be bestowed with a squad of Golden Imperials. In turn, only the important figures of the imperial clan would be bestowed with Golden Imperials. The only reason Ning had a troop of Golden Imperials was because behind him stood King Yan!
“This Cloudwater Manor is quite awe-inspiringly majestic.” A little azure serpent was wrapped around Ning’s arm, while by his side was a large, snowy white dog. Behind him was a large group of Golden Imperials. This impressive troop moved through the Cloudwater Manor, moving swiftly and unopposed as they glided many kilometers each moment.
The white-robed youth who was leading the way said with a laugh, “Cloudwater Manor was only completed after our Kindwater clan spent countless treasures and three years of time. After its initial creation, countless years of time were spent to carefully carve and sculpt it. Only after all these efforts did the Cloudwater Manor before you come into being.”
“The Kindwater clan lives up to its name. Formidable, formidable,” Ning said in praise.
This was a mighty tribe which had once been able to struggle against even the imperial Xiamang clan over control of the world, a clan that absolutely ranked amongst the top three clans of this major world. Its roots were unfathomably deep. One could tell this just by looking at the many restrictive formations set up on a building like Cloudwater Manor, which was most likely on par with some of the main headquarters of other supreme clans. The Kindwater clan had indeed spent boundless effort on Cloudwater Manor, as the largest business building the Kindwater clan owned within the imperial capital. Ning’s praise for it truly came from the heart.
The white-robed youth, hearing Ning’s praise, couldn’t help but smile. He then said, “The young master is right up ahead. He’s prepared a banquet long ago, and is awaiting you, young master Ji Ning.”
“It seems I am late,” Ning laughed.
Soon, they arrived at a long pathway that hung in the air. As they walked through the pathway, they could look down and see the rippling waves of the lake, as well as the mist that filled the entire place…
This corridor led to an enormous building that was at least three thousand meters high. This building was standalone, and the Cloudwater Manor had only a single corridor that led to it.
In front of the doors to the building, there were two servants standing guard. These servants were both Wanxiang Adepts. Upon seeing the white-robed youth, they immediately pushed the door open with tremendous courtesy.
“The young master is right inside,” the white-robed youth laughed. “This place is fairly secluded, and it has a wonderful view of the beautiful scenery of the Ninesuns Lake.”
Ning led his troop of Golden Imperials in, and the door closed behind them.
“Hahaha, brother Ji Ning truly is extraordinary. Just a short while ago, you spent 2.5 million kilograms of liquefied elemental essence to purchase the peacock plumes, causing your name to be spread throughout the imperial capital. Now, shortly after entering King Yan’s Estate, you actually re-emerged with a squad of Golden Imperials. I have no choice but to be in awe of you, so much so that I might prostrate myself before you. Songspear, how about you?” A slightly frivolous voice spoke out.
A youth dressed in loose white-robes walked over barefooted, his long hair casually unbound. His eyes had a seemingly drunk look in them, appearing to be quite hazy. His face, however, was covered with a warm smile as he came to welcome them.
Next to his side was a tall, muscular, black-robed youth. This tall youth nodded as well. “I am in awe as well. King Yan is notorious for being unapproachable. He’s quite cold and grim. There are truly very few youngsters who he views with importance. For brother Ji Ning to be able to emerge in just two short days with a squad of Golden Imperials…he truly is formidable.”
Of the two, the white-robed, barefoot youth appeared to be a bit more of a dandy, and he seemed to be quite free and relaxed. As for the other, the tall, muscular, black-robed youth, he emanated a sharp, fierce aura.
Behind the two was a man and a woman, who followed them.
“You praise me too much,” Ning laughed. His invitation to the Cloudwater Manor had come from Kindwater Xiaolou. Ning naturally knew of Kindwater Xiaolou, one of the Four Dukelings of the imperial capital. The white-robed, barefooted youth was Kindwater Xiaolou. Although he and Youngflame Nong shared the same reputation of being one of the ‘Four Dukelings’ of the imperial capital, their clans were mortal enemies, and so the two naturally had been on extremely tense terms.
Normally, they struggled quite viciously against each other. Still, in turns of resources, personal ability, connections, or tribal strength, Kindwater Xiaolou was superior to Youngflame Nong.
“Brother Ji Ning.” The white-robed, barefoot Kindwater Xiaolou warmly took Ning by the hand. “Come, let me make some introductions.”
Kindwater Xiaolou pointed towards the tall, muscular, black-robed youth. “This person is the truly peerless genius of the younger generation of the Skyfarmer clan – Skyfarmer Songspear! Songspear isn’t like me; I often go out and party, but Songspear is quite low-key. He focuses on his training, and often goes out to temper himself through adventuring. In fact, he’s almost never in the imperial capital. The only reason he’s here right now is the Conclave of Immortal Destiny. Since he just so happened to hear about your matters as well, Ji Ning, and was curious about you, he told me that he wanted to meet with you.”
“Skyfarmer Songspear?” Ning was secretly surprised. Amongst those who were believed to have a good chance of ranking number one in the Conclave of Immortal Destiny were the likes of Xiamang Zishan, Cangwu Jiu, Adept Woodpass, and some other exceedingly famous people. Although Skyfarmer Songspear was comparatively speaking much more low-key, he was still the most outstanding figure amongst the younger generation members of the Skyfarmer clan, and was believed to definitely rank in the top hundred, and in fact was a genius likely to be able to explode forth with tremendous power. He was too low-key, causing others to be unable to be certain of his current level of power.
“Brother Ji Ning.” Songspear laughed.
“Brother Songspear.” Since the man had warmly greeted him as ‘brother Ji Ning’, Ning naturally wouldn’t treat him coldly. If he were to foolishly respond to him as ‘fellow Daoist Songspear’, then the man would probably think Ning was not giving him face.
“Come, come, come. Let me introduce you to another person who is taking part in the Conclave of Immortal Destiny.” Xiaolou pointed to a man behind him. This man was dressed in violet robes, and his skin was pure white and incomparably beautiful. His eyes even seemed to have a hint of devilishness to them. “This is a good friend which I met many years ago; Xiao Lang. He’s definitely one of the most famous of playboys; in the imperial capital, quite a few maidens are completely smitten with him, wanting to marry him.”
“So he is Xiao Lang?” Ning said to himself. Xiao Lang was recorded in his intelligence records as well. He was quite dissolute, and his temperament was a bit bizarre. Still, in the Heavenly Treasures Mountain’s reports, he was a figure who was only mentioned; there was no way he could compare with Skyfarmer Songspear.
“My respects to you, fellow Daoist Ji Ning.” Xiao Lang looked at Ning, clasping his hands in greeting, a smile that wasn’t a smile on his face.
“Fellow Daoist Xiao Lang.” Ning nodded as well.
The nearby Songspear said with a laugh, “I have a good friend as well. I met her while adventuring in the outside world, and she came back with me to the imperial capital on this trip. She is also going to participate in the Conclave.” As he spoke, the alluring, red-robed woman behind him walked forward. “Wavecolor greets you, fellow Daoist Ji Ning.”
“Fellow Daoist Wavecolor,” Ning greeted her as well.
Kindwater Xiaolou, Skyfarmer Songspear, Xiao Lang, Wavecolor. Ning secretly sighed in amazement; all four of these figures were extraordinary.
Xiao Lang was a dissolute figure with a strange personality and a bizarre temperament.
Wavecolor was a figure who was quite famous in the Northern Seas. However, her fame came primarily due to her beauty.
“Come, let’s sit over there,” Kindwater Xiaolou said.
The Golden Imperials, Little Qing, and Uncle White sat down to one side. There were sitting mats specially prepared for them as well. As for Xiaolou, Songspear, Xiao Lang, Wavecolor, and Ji Ning, they walked to another place.
There, all five of them sat down.
“I had originally planned to invite you, brother Ji Ning, to go stay with me at the Kindwater Estate. I didn’t expect that you would have ended up staying at King Yan’s Estate so quickly.” Xiaolou let out a very regretful sigh, then laughed, “If you ever are dissatisfied with your accommodations, you can move out and come stay at my Kindwater Estate.”
“King Yan treats me with great kindness, and he cares greatly about me. He’s also bestowed Golden Imperials onto me; how can I possibly disappoint him like that?” Ning laughed.
This was what he and his cousin had decided on as their cover story. To the outside world, they would only say that King Yan cared about Ji Ning!
“It’s true.” Xiaolou nodded. He didn’t truly expect to be able to pull Ning over to his side; he was just speaking casually.
“Glug.” Xiao Lang, seated to one side, drained his cup of wine. He thought to himself, “This Ji Ning’s only trained for thirty years. How formidable can he be? He simply managed to kill Youngflame Nong and acquire many treasures, then spent 2.5 million kilograms of liquefied elemental essence to purchase the peacock plumes. That’s the only reason why he’s famous in the imperial capital. His luck really is good, though; Princess Xiyue took a liking to him and brought him to King Yan’s Estate. Given how much King Yan’s temperament and how much he dotes on Princess Xiyue…I imagine that it was she who asked King Yan to send a squad of Golden Imperials to follow Ji Ning around.”
Xiao Lang looked down on Ji Ning. He had been adventuring for many years, and he was much more famous than Ning! This time, he wanted to truly shine during the Conclave of Immortal Destiny!
Ji Ning? A little fellow who only grew famous through killing Youngflame Nong, and who relied on a woman to make King Yan care about him.
Actually, in his heart, Xiao Lang felt some jealousy…because Ning was able to produce 2.5 million kilograms, while he, Xiao Lang, wasn’t even close to be able to doing that. Ning was also able to command a squad of Golden Imperials; how majestic and awe-inspiring as that? Although Xiao Lang was now living in the Kindwater Estate, how could he move about in as majestic a manner as Ning?
“Lucky punk. You aren’t strong enough. When enough time passes, others will discover that you are nothing more than lead covered by gold paint.” Xiao Lang drank there by himself. He couldn’t be bothered to even chat with Ning.
Xiao Lang was a strange, eccentric figure to begin with. Others didn’t think anything of this; amongst Immortal cultivators, there were many with far more bizarre temperaments than him.
Ning, Xiaolou, Songspear, and Wavecolor were chatting quite happily amongst themselves.
“Ji Ning, Cloudwater Manor just recently purchased some strange creatures, all of which came from one of the lesser worlds. This lesser world is quite unique; there are thousands of types of bizarre lifeforms within it. These two can be considered some exceptionally powerful creatures of this lesser world; each of them are comparable to peak Wanxiang Adepts in power.”
Kindwater Xiaolou pointed towards the large arena, more than three hundred meters in diameter, up ahead. There were people carrying enormous metal cages towards it. Within one of the two metal cages was a golden-haired giant who was more than ten meters tall, while in the other was and a strange creature with the lower body of a lion and the upper body of a human.
“Let’s watch these creatures fight each other. It can be considered someone amusing.” Xiaolou clapped his hands.
Instantly, a rumbling sound could be heard. A grand sealing formation instantly covered the entire arena. Within it, with clanking sounds, the cages were automatically unlocked. The golden-haired giant, clad only in beast furs, came charging out from his cage, with the sphinx charging out of the other.