Daoist Jadesea sat on high in the headmaster’s seat, staring downwards towards the Primal Daoists, who had lined up into two rows. Beneath the palace was a group of Wanxiang Adepts and Zifu Disciples.
Within the Black-White College, the various disciples were primarily divided into three generations of status. The Zifu Disciples and Wanxiang Adepts were considered to be of the same generation of status, and could refer to each other as junior or senior fellow disciples. This was because it was extremely easy for any of these Zifu Disciples to reach the Wanxiang Adept level.
Primal Daoists were on a higher level. Immortals, in turn, had the highest status. Generally speaking, when disciples like Ji Ning met with an Immortal, they would address them as ‘Patriarch’, while when they met with a Primal Daoist, they would address them as ‘Uncle-Master’. But of course, if one was able to take on an Immortal as one’s master, they would naturally refer to that Immortal as ‘Master’. Still, in addressing other Immortals, one would still use the term ‘Patriarch’.
Generally speaking, status amongst Immortal practitioners was determined by strength and power, and they each befriended people on the same level of power.
“Everyone,” Daoist Jadesea said, seated atop his high chair, his voice echoing throughout the hall. “Our Black-White College has taken on two new disciples. The skinny, fur-clad one on the left is Ji Ning.”
Ning gaped. Skinny? Well, it made sense; it wouldn’t be appropriate to refer to him as the ‘youth’ either.
“The one on the right, the even skinnier one who is dressed in white robes, is named Mu Northson,” Daoist Jadesea said.
Northson blinked as well. Even skinnier?
The hundred-plus disciples within the palace all began to laugh, and looks of amusement had appeared on the faces of the Primal Daoists as well. Clearly, they all knew what sort of a character their headmaster, Daoist Jadesea, was.
Daoist Jadesea grinned as he looked towards Ning and Northson as well. “The people present within this palace today consist of a portion of the disciples of our Black-White College. Many are either in closed-door meditation or wandering the world. In the future, you will meet them all. From today onwards, you are all members of the Black-White College. We must be of one mind and one heart; it is forbidden for members of the college to engage in fratricide.”
“Understood.” Ning and Northson both immediately acknowledged these words. Daoist Jadesea continued, “Mm. Then let us begin the Oath of Blood.”
Ning and Northson glanced at each other. They immediately stretched out one finger from their right hands, and a drop of fresh blood emerged from their fingers.
“Let our heart’s blood bear testament, and let the Dao of the Heavens stand witness. I, Ji Ning (Mu Northson), willingly and freely join the Black-White College. As disciples of the Black-White College, I shall obey the rules of the Black-White College…”
A nameless, ancient aura began to circulate throughout the hall. Nobody else said a word; the only ones speaking were Ning and Northson, and their voices echoed within the grand palace.
An Oath of Blood, sworn to the Dao of the Heavens!
This was a mighty oath that absolutely could not be foresworn. This was also the reason why it was extremely rare for someone to betray their school in the Grand Xia Dynasty. If one did betray one’s school, even before the school came to punish them, the punishment of the Dao of Heaven would have already slain the traitor. But of course, if the school had wronged the disciple, or if it had expelled the disciple, then it would no longer be the disciple’s fault.
Since every single disciple was willing to swear an oath to the Dao of the Heavens, it was still quite fair.
After hearing the swearing of the Oath of Blood to the Dao of the Heavens, Daoist Jadesea nodded in satisfaction. “Excellent. You have now formally joined our school. Since you have joined us, you need to choose your Daoist titles. Each of you can choose a title you like.”
Ning and Northson both began to ponder this. A Daoist title…for example, Daoist Jadesea’s Daoist title was ‘Jadesea’, and Immortal Firedragon’s Daoist title was ‘Firedragon’.
“If you don’t wish to choose a Daoist title, you can use your own given name as your Daoist title,” Daoist Jadesea said with a laugh. “There are some disciples who are accustomed to using their own names and unaccustomed to Daoist titles. There are thus quite a few who use their own names.”
“My Daoist title shall be ‘Twinwood’,” Northson suddenly said. Daoist Jadesea nodded lightly. “Twinwood? Very well.” He looked towards the nearby Ning next. “Ji Ning, what about you?”
Ning said slowly, “My Daoist title…let it be Darknorth.”
“Very well.” Daoist Jadesea nodded. “Since your Daoist titles have been chosen, let the elders of our Black-White College discuss amongst themselves who will take you as their student. If you aren’t willing, you can speak out at this time.”
“Understood,” Ning and Northson both said. Unwilling? What sort of a joke was this? As long as there was no enmity between them, generally speaking, as long as an elder was willing to be their master, the disciple would not refuse to be their student.
“Mu Northson.” Suddenly, from amidst the crowd of Primal Daoists near Daoist Jadesea, a white-haired, baby-faced old lady suddenly spoke out. She looked at Northson, a hint of benevolent love in her eyes. “I heard that you walk the Dao of Constructs. I, Jadefine, have also gained quite a few insights into the Dao of Constructs. I wonder if you would be willing to accept me as your master.”
Ning’s heart thumped. Jadefine? According to the intelligence report which Northmont Baiwei had provided him, Daoist Jadefine had the highest degree of understanding of the Dao of Constructs in the entire Black-White College.
“Your disciple is willing.” Northson respectfully fell to his knees. “Your disciple pays his respects to you, Master.” Daoist Jadefine smiled, then nodded. “Mm.”
Ning turned to look at the various Primal Daoists up ahead. Which one of them would become his master? Which one? But Daoist Jadesea and the other Primal Daoists didn’t say a single word.
“Hrm. Strange. Why aren’t any of them accepting junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning as their disciple?”
“Right. None of our uncle-masters are saying a thing.”
The other disciples were secretly chatting amongst themselves. But Daoist Jadesea, seated above them, suddenly turned to stare towards the outside of the palace. A figure had appeared within the doorway to the palace; a black-haired, black-robed man was walking in. His gaze was both stately and fierce, and as soon as he stepped into the palace, it was as though the entire palace had been steeped into darkness. All of the disciples turned to stare at this man.
“My respects to you, Patriarch.” Many of the disciples quickly spoke out. A few of the others were a bit lost; clearly, they didn’t recognize this man. Still, they hurriedly imitated the other disciples in bowing respectfully. As for Ning and Northson, they followed the crowd in bowing as well.
“My respects to you, Uncle-Master.” The Primal Daoists in front all called out respectfully as well. “Uncle-Master.” Daoist Jadesea rose as well.
The black-robed, black-haired man’s figure had instantly become the center for the entire palace. It was as though the entire world was revolving around him.
“Ji Ning.” The black-robed, black-haired man looked towards Ning. “Are you willing to become the senior disciple under my tutelage?” Ning was shocked. As soon as this man had spoken, Ning had immediately realized who he was.
The intelligence report Baiwei had provided had very little information on the various Immortals in the palace, with just a few lines of information for each; after all, the information on the Immortals was very highly classified, while the report Baiwei had provided him consisted of fairly open secrets. Thus, there was just a very simple introduction regarding Immortal Diancai..
Immortal Diancai: An Earth Immortal of the Black-White College. Highly specialized in swordplay. No disciples to his name.
Of the living Immortals of the Black-White College, Immortal Diancai was the only one who had never accepted any disciples. Upon hearing the words, ‘senior disciple under my tutelage’, Ning immediately understood who the person before him was.
If he didn’t apprentice himself to this man, then who?
“Your disciple is willing.” Ning fell to his knees, respectfully kowtowing in a ritual manner. “Your disciple, Ji Ning, pays his respect to you, Master.”
“Mm. Folllow me.” A rare hint of a smile was on Immortal Diancai’s stern face. Nodding to the others and saying a few words, he immediately left the hall, and Ning hurriedly followed after him.
As for the other disciples in the hall, they all stared in astonishment. An Immortal had taken a direct disciple? This was extremely rare. Only the most monstrously talented of their generation had been accepted by one of the Immortals as a disciple, and all of these monsters were rumored to actually be reincarnated Immortals.
The clouds swirled about Immortal Diancai and Ning as they flew at high speed towards an estate. They entered the estate, then into the main hall.
Immortal Diancai sat down atop his jade bed. As for Ning, he stood there to one side, incomparably respectful. He could tell that Immortal Diancai was normally quite a stern, taciturn person.
“In my entire life, the person I hold the most admiration for is senior Northwalker,” Immortal Diancai said. “I once swore that I would not accept any disciple who did not receive the sword-intent transmission from senior Northwalker. As for you, not only did you receive his sword-intent transmission, you even inherited his legacy, the complete [Three-Foot Sword]. Even I don’t know anything at all regarding the final three stances of this technique.”
Ning just listened respectfully. Given that even the headmaster knew about this matter, for his own master to know of this was only natural.
“The only ones who know that you inherited the complete legacy of the [Three-Foot Sword] are myself, Jadesea, and the other Immortals,” Immortal Diancai said. “Thus, you cannot reveal it either.”
Ning said respectfully, “Your disciple understands.”
Immortal Diancai looked towards Ji Ning. “You should know that in our Black-White College, if you wish to gain a top-tier Ki Refining technique or top-tier divine ability, you have to use black-white pellets to trade for them.” Ning nodded. The black-and-white book he had read earlier had described these things.
If one wished to acquire the divine ability, ‘Heavenly Transformation’, one needed a certain number of black-white pellets. If one wanted to gain a certain Ki Refining technique, one would also need a certain number of black-white pellets. If one wished to acquire a technique for their spirit-beast, one would still need to use black-white pellets to trade for it!
Black-white pellets were rewarded to disciples by the school. For example, if one reached the Dao Domain level, one would be rewarded with black-white pellets. If one became a Wanxiang Adept, one would also be rewarded with black-white pellets. Upon becoming a Primal Daoist, one would receive still further black-white pellets. If one joined the Raindragon Guard, one would be bestowed black-white pellets…
In short, the better one’s performance was, the more black-white pellets the school would bestow. Naturally, this would allow one to gain access to ever more profound techniques owned by the school.
“Has your soul reached the ‘divine sense’ level?” Immortal Diancai asked. Ning couldn’t help but feel shocked; he had never revealed this before.
“Receiving the complete [Three-Foot Sword] legacy places enormous strains on the soul. In the past, virtually every single person who ever acquired the complete [Three-Foot Sword] legacy was a reincarnated Immortal whose soul was at least at the ‘divine sense’ level,” Immortal Diancai explained.
Ning said respectfully, “Your disciple’s soul has indeed reached the ‘divine sense’ level, but as for being a reincarnated Immortal…it seems your disciple…’
“After having drank Granny Meng’s Elixir, you naturally will have forgotten the memories from your previous life.” Immortal Diancai shook his head. “However, given how powerful your soul is, even if you aren’t a reincarnated Immortal, you must have encountered a tremendously great karmic event.”
Immortal Diancai fell silent for a moment, then started to muse to himself. “You’ve just entered the school, so you can receive the basic reward of a thousand black-white pellets. You have reached the Dao Domain realm, so you can be rewarded with another thousand black-white pellets. Your soul is at the divine sense level, and so you can be awarded two thousand black-white pellets. As your master, I can bestow you with another two thousand black-white pellets. Thus, you have a total of six thousand black-white pellets.”
Immortal Diancai said seriously, “Since you have already received the complete legacy of the [Three-Foot Sword], in the future, you will definitely be forced to use it. Thus, when you go to the Dao Repository Vault, you must trade for the first scroll of the [Three-Foot Sword]. The [Three-Foot Sword] is the swordplay which has secured the foundations of our Black-White College; thus, even the first scroll will cost you two thousand black-white pellets.”
Ning was speechless. He clearly had inherited the entire legacy of the [Three-Foot Sword], but in order to hide it, he would actually have to go trade for the first scroll of the [Three-Foot Sword]? And the price was two thousand black-white pellets! So this was the reason why his master had bestowed him two thousand black-white pellets.
“As for your Ki Refining technique…remember, you absolutely must select a Ki Refining technique that you can use to train all the way to the Immortal level,” Immortal Diancai said. “As for divine abilities and sword techniques…choose as you see fit.”
“You can go now. Go directly to the Dao Repository Vault and withdraw your black-white pellets and your liquefied elemental essence. Afterwards, go choose your Ki Refining techniques, sword techniques, divine abilities, and what-not.” Immortal Diancai concluded, “If there is something you cannot comprehend, come ask me.”
“Yes.” Ning bowed with respect. And then, he departed, heading directly to the Dao Repository Vault.