Chapter 28 – Negotiations

The eldest disciple of their league, the low-key woodcutter who always spent his time chopping down trees at Mount Innerheart…was actually Houyi?

When Ji Ning had first started to train in [Houyi’s Archery], the woodcutter had walked past him a few times, hatchet over his shoulders. He had even given Ning a few critical words of enlightenment when Ning was at a bottleneck. Ning hadn’t thought much of it back then, as he thought it was normal for someone as powerful as the eldest apprentice-brother to be able to provide him with some guidance. Who would’ve thought that the man was actually the creator of [Houyi’s Archery], Houyi himself!

“Junior apprentice-brother.” Crazy Ji fanned himself, smiling as he called out.

“Junior apprentice-brother.” A streak of light flew towards him from far away, landing on the ground next to him. It was the Monkey King, dressed in dazzling golden armor.

“Second apprentice-brother. Sixth apprentice-brother.” Ning hurriedly called out to the two of them. As he did so, he couldn’t help but take a close look at his sixth apprentice-brother. There were many legends of the Primordial Era that circulated amongst the nations of Earth. Although some of them weren’t quite accurate, his sixth apprentice-brother Sun Wukong was a tremendously famous figure on Earth. But of course, by now Ning had met with many major powers.

Lu Dongbin, Daoist Three Purities, Patriarch Subhuti, Lord Tathagata the Buddha…he had met them all. Thus, Ning was quite calm when meeting with his sixth apprentice-brother for the first time. He was just a bit curious about the man.

“Heh heh…I didn’t expect my eldest apprentice-brother to actually be Houyi.” Sun Wukong chortled merrily. “When I first went to apprentice myself to Master, he actually gave me directions. I had thought him to be an ordinary woodcutter. Only later did I realize that he was actually our eldest apprentice-brother! Even back then, I mumbled to ourself that he was really good at hiding his abilities…but only today do I know he is actually the great divinity Houyi of the Primordial Era. His level of subterfuge is quite extraordinary!”

Houyi had become famous very, very early on. When he had slain the Golden Crows, Sun Wukong hadn’t even been born into the world!

“I became apprenticed to Master very early on, but even I didn’t know of his true history.” Crazy Ji chortled merrily, “When I became apprenticed to Master, our eldest apprentice-brother was already there by his side. However, even back then he spent his days as a woodcutter chopping trees. Honestly, I was quite puzzled back then; he was clearly Master’s disciple, but why was it that I never saw him asking Master for guidance? But Master told me that our eldest apprentice-brother already had the power of a True God and Daofather, and that there was no way to ‘teach’ him; he needed to gain his own insights. Thus, I didn’t think too much on it.”

“I heard that long ago, because of Chang’e, our eldest apprentice-brother actually slaughtered a path to the Lunar Star, planning to chop down the osmanthus tree on the Lunar Star. However, whenever he struck at the tree, it would immediately reheal. No matter what he did, he couldn’t chop the tree down. At Mount Innerheart, our eldest apprentice-brother spends all his days chopping down trees…is it because he plans to once more pay a visit to the Moon Palace of the Lunar Star?” The Monkey King lowered his voice and even went so far as to block out sound from the surrounding area.

“Damned monkey, do you think that our eldest apprentice-brother’s affairs are something for you to pry into?” Crazy Ji hurriedly reprimanded him. “You can’t talk about this matter.”

“Eldest apprentice-brother can’t hear me. I’d only ever discuss it behind his back.” Sun Wukong blinked a few times.

Even Ji Ning knew that the affair between Houyi and Chang’e had been a scarring one for Houyi! Picking at another’s scars and scabs was not a good idea.

“Let’s go. Buddha, Three Purities, and the others are negotiating with those of the Seamless Chaosworld. Let’s take a break for now.” Crazy Ji gave Sun Wukong a hard stare. “Don’t cause trouble, you monkey. If you piss off our eldest apprentice-brother, none of us would be able to save you.”

“Right.” The Monkey King shivered slightly, nodding repeatedly. “During the Primordial Era, he roamed the world with his archery skills. Now, even his hatchet skills have become so incredibly powerful. Daomother Devilhand is an awe-inspiringly famous figure on the level of the leaders of Buddhism and Daoism, but our eldest apprentice-brother was actually able to sever her arm with a single blow of his hatchet.”

“That was because Daomother Devilhand was too proud and overconfident,” Crazy Ji said. “Our eldest apprentice-brother was incredibly powerful even during the Primordial Era; even the leaders of Buddhism and Daoism were forced to use all their might when facing him. For Daomother Devilhand to actually try to face him with a single arm…hmph, it would’ve been shocking if she didn’t suffer for it.”

Ning laughed. He was about to put away the Envoy of All Things, but he suddenly then thought of how Daomother Devilhand had struck him with a blow, causing him to uncontrollably fall to the ground. Ning took a careful look at the Envoy.

“Eh?” Ning’s face changed. “What’s this?” Ning immediately noticed that the energy core of the Envoy, located at its waist, had actually cracked open.

Ning hurriedly tried to use the Envoy’s power, only to discover that it was now completely inoperable. It was as though the cracks here had severed the Envoy’s ability to send energy around its body. The Envoy had suddenly become useless.

“It’s been made useless? How?!” Ning was stunned.

The Envoy of All Things.

B-but…this was the most powerful tool he had at his disposal! When using it, he would be able to unleash a level of power close to that of the overlord Daofathers, on the same level as Subhuti and Daofather Shadowless. Just like that, the Envoy had suddenly been rendered useless?! It must be understood that even full-force blows from the leaders of Buddhism and Daoism would barely be able to damage the thing!

Daomother Devilhand had landed a gentle blow on the Envoy’s waist…and just like that, the Envoy had been ruined? Still, it had been quite strange; a single blow had been all it took to cause the Envoy-Ning to collapse.

“Second apprentice-brother, sixth apprentice-brother.” Ning said in a low voice, “The Envoy of All Things has been ruined.”

“What?” Crazy Ji and the Monkey King were both shocked.

Ning nodded solemnly. “It should’ve been ruined by Daomother Devilhand. I don’t know how she accomplished it.”

The Monkey King gnashed his teeth. As for Crazy Ji, he frowned and said in a soft voice, “Mm…this Envoy golem was created by the Seamless Gate. They probably put in certain mechanisms to prevent us from being able to take them over, such as a self-destruct mechanism that would cripple it. However, activating such mechanisms probably isn’t easy. During the war for karmic luck, your opponents have all been Empyrean Gods and True Immortals; they wouldn’t have the ability to ruin your Envoy. Daomother Devilhand, however, is an overlord-class major power. Given that she knows exactly how the Envoy is structurally composed and where its weaknesses are, it makes sense that she would be able to easily destroy it.”

“Right. I heard that when the Lord of All Things died, all of his Envoys were rendered completely inoperable as well.” The Monkey King nodded in agreement.

“In contrast, the Envoys of the Seamless Gate can only be destroyed by the personal touch of someone like Daomother Devilhand. Comparatively speaking, they still aren’t a match for the Envoys of the Lord of All Things,” Crazy Ji said.

Crazy Ji suddenly added, “Report this to Master right away.”

“Right, tell Master right away,” the Monkey King agreed.

Only the most supreme figures took part in the negotiations between the Nuwa Alliance and the Seamless Gate.

Time slowly trickled forward.

The other major powers continued to wait quietly at the Deerchaser world for the results of their negotiations. Ji Ning, Crazy Ji, the Monkey King, and the other members of the Mount Innerheart League all waited patiently as well.

A long amount of time passed. The skies were slowly beginning to turn bright. Only now did the major powers of the Seamless Gate leave the Deerchaser world.

“Master. Eldest apprentice-brother.”

Ji Ning, Crazy Ji, and the Monkey King had been seated, but now all three of them hurriedly rose to their feet. Patriarch Subhuti and Houyi were walking shoulder-to-shoulder towards their residence from afar.

“How did it go, Master?” The Monkey King asked hurriedly.

“Your junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning suffered a heavy loss. Our Nuwa Alliance as a whole didn’t do that badly,” Patriarch Subhuti said.

“For me to suffer a loss is nothing. Our side gaining an advantage in this war is what really matters,” Ning said.

Subhuti looked at Ning. “Myself, Houyi, and the other major powers discussed this in secret. Our main concern is that for the Seamless Gate to suddenly act against you in such a manner, they must have made many careful preparations for the possible consequences. They are prepared, but we are not…and we currently hold the upper hand in the war for karmic luck. Thus, although we were infuriated, we still would not choose to rashly launch the Endwar right away.”

Houyi nodded as well. “But of course, if the Seamless Gate insists on starting the Endwar, then so be it.”

“Clearly, your eldest apprentice-brother’s sudden appearance and power has caught them rather off-guard,” Subhuti said. “The negotiations ended up being fairly beneficial for our Nuwa Alliance.”

“What were the results?” The Monkey King asked hurriedly.

“The Seamless Gate had only one request. Ji Ning is not permitted to take part in the war for karmic luck,” Subhuti said.

Ning’s face changed.

“WHAT?! But that’s…!” The Monkey King was instantly enraged.

Subhuti continued to talk. “We accepted. Our request…was that not a single one of the Seamless Gate’s Envoys are to be permitted to take part in the war for karmic luck either. Although the Seamless Gate has lost one of them, they still have nine more! If all of them were activated, even my disciple Ji Ning would have to clone himself several times over to deal with them.”

“Right.” Ning nodded. It was true. He needed time to deal with even a single Envoy, to first destabilize it and then knock it to the ground. If there were two Envoys working together, there would be nothing Ning could do against him. The other seven Envoys would be free to fight and kill as they pleased.

“Ji Ning suffered a heavy loss, after all; they had to pay a price for what they did. As for Swordfather Darklight, he died for nothing; his death wasn’t taken into account.” Subhuti looked towards Ning. “Disciple, there’s no way you can take part in the rest of the war for karmic luck, but none of their Envoys will be allowed to take part as well. You really have accomplished something tremendous for our side. If there’s anything you need, just tell me.”

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