Within the City of Ten Thousand Swords. Inside a large, secluded, palace.
“What? A tribe even more powerful than the Northmont clan of Stillwater?” Ji Ninefire, Ji Truekeep, and Granny Shadow were completely petrified.
“This is Immortal Duohe, while this is Immortal Witchsui; both are extremely powerful Loose Immortals.” After describing the dangerous situation, Ji Ning moved to introduce the two by his side.
Ninfire and the others felt dazed. Legendary, exalted Loose Immortals were before them…and two of them at that.
“They will command thirty thousand monstrous Dao-soldiers to protect our City of Ten Thousand Swords,” Ning said. “They are all wearing Dao-armors, and so with these two Loose Immortals in command of thirty thousand monstrous Dao-soldiers…even if tens of Loose Immortals come, they should be able to withstand them. They will protect our city for a thousand years. Unless a Celestial Immortal or someone with a Celestial Immortal’s power attacks us, our city should be completely safe.”
Ninefire, Truekeep, and Granny Shadow were cultivators, after all; despite still being stunned, they quickly regained their equilibrium.
“You three can decide what arrangements need to be made for the tribe,” Ning said. “You know more about these things than me anyhow.”
“Don’t worry.” Truekeep nodded. “With such a powerful army of Dao-soldiers stationed here, and with this being a commandery city of the Grand Xia Empire that is under special protection from the Raindragon Guard as well…anyone who dares attack will be pursued throughout the entire Grand Xia Dynasty! No matter how powerful the Youngflame clan is, they wouldn’t possibly be willing to have one of their legendary Celestial Immortals become a wanted criminal.”
Celestial Immortals were figures of legends. It wasn’t even known for certain whether or not the Northmont clan of Stillwater had a Celestial Immortal. As for the Black-White College, in its countless years of existence, it had produced countless Loose Immortals, but only a single Celestial Immortal.
“Little Qing, Uncle White, the two of you shall stay here for now. Here is a talisman.” Ning handed a talisman to the human-shaped Uncle White. “If you notice that the talisman has shattered, then teleport directly towards Serpentwing Lake and reunite with me. If the talisman remains whole, then you are absolutely not permitted to come.”
“Right.” Little Qing and Uncle White both nodded. At a critical moment like this, they wouldn’t let him down.
“Ning, son, be careful,” Uncle White instructed.
Ning nodded and smiled.
“I’ll leave now. After this departure, I probably won’t be able to return for a very long period of time.” Ning looked towards Ninefire, Truekeep, and Granny shadow. “It was I who brought this calamity upon the tribe. In the future, I’ll make up for it.”
“Don’t say such things!” Ninefire scolded in a low voice. “Remember, you have to protect yourself. Only if you are alive shall our Ji clan have a chance to flourish.” For a tribe to produce a genius like Ning was completely a matter of luck.
“I’m leaving now.” Ning immediately used a Lesser Teleportation Dao-seal. Whoosh. He disappeared from within the hall.
In the air above Brightheart Island of Serpentwing Lake. A ripple in the air could be seen, and then Ning emerged.
“Autumn Leaf.” Upon landing, Ning immediately sent his voice out, calling towards Autumn Leaf. Soon, a light gray-robed Autumn Leaf emerged. She looked at Ning in surprise and delight. “Young master.”
“You can no longer stay on Brightheart Island. Hurry up and have everyone on the island move away to the City of Ten Thousand Swords. As for you, you need to leave immediately,” Ning instructed.
Autumn Leaf was stunned. “What, what happened?” Brightheart Island had long ago become her home; she had poured her heart out in developing this place.
“Don’t ask. I don’t have time to explain in detail. When you arrive in the City of Ten Thousand Swords, you can ask Uncle White and the others, and they will let you know. Right now, you need to make the arrangements right away, then immediately leave. This is a Lesser Teleportation Dao-seal; you can use it to teleport up to ten thousand kilometers away. Teleport straight to the city.” Ning handed her a Dao-seal.
Autumn Leaf immediately understood how grave the situation was.
Actually, even if a Celestial Immortal of the Youngflame clan was to personally investigate, he would have to first go into the Witchriver Immortal Estate, find the ‘Witchriver Palace’ in which Youngflame Nong had been killed, then utilize a temporal inversion technique. Even if, through the usage of such a technique, he discovered that Ning was the killer, he would probably need a bit of time before finding out about Ning’s background.
This entire process would take time, and in truth, by the time that Celestial Immortal might have made his way to Swallow Mountain, much time would have passed. And even if he came, he wouldn’t recognize Autumn Leaf, nor know about the relationship between her and Ning; thus, there was absolutely no need at all for Autumn Leaf to use the Lesser Teleportation Dao-seal. Ning, however, was uneasy. In order to prevent any unknown variables from arising, he thus instructed Autumn Leaf to use the Dao-seal.
After making the arrangements, Autumn Leaf, per Ning’s request, was forced to use this Lesser Teleportation Dao-seal.
“Whew.” Ning let out a sigh of relief. “Alright.” He pushed open the door to the private room he normally stayed in, entered, then shut the door. With but a thought, he caused the illusion of a giant grizzly head to appear within the room. The grizzly head swallowed Ning within its mouth, and Ning disappeared from Serpentwing Lake, entering the underwater estate in another world.
The imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty. This was the administrative heart of this entire major world. There were many Loose Immortals and Primal Daoists here, as well as various supreme tribes, schools, and sects as well! In fact, even some of the most powerful forces from other major worlds would arrange for spies and intelligence agents to be placed here. This was truly a place where the fish swam with the dragons. Immortals were as common as the clouds, and unfathomable in their power!
The Youngflame clan’s estate in this place took up a thousand kilometers. It was incomparably luxurious.
Within a quiet study inside their estate.
A golden-robed man with a crown on his head was seated before a desk, reading various intelligence reports. He was the leader of the Youngflame clan, the current Godplume Duke!
“The Kindwater clan is becoming increasingly excessive in their actions!” The golden-robed man frowned and muttered to himself.
“Clan leader, clan leader.” Suddenly, a panicked voice rang out. Upon hearing this voice, the golden-robed man’s face sunk. He hated it when his subordinates lost their bearings and grew panicked. However, this particular subordinate was his personal attendant, and one who should have known the rules.
The door was pushed open, and a middle-aged man dressed in blue robes charged in, then knelt down and said in sobbing voice, “Clan leader, young master Youngflame Nong, he, he…”
“Youngflame Nong? What about him?” The golden-robed man frowned.
“He died!” The blue-robed middle-aged servant spoke out in a terrified, frantic voice.
“What?!” The golden-robed man rose to his feet, revealing a look of astonishment. “How did he die? How do you know he died? You can’t say such things unless you are absolutely certain.”
“His life-tablet in the ancestral hall has shattered,” the blue-robed servant called out.
The golden-robed man stood there in the study. After a few moments of silence, he said in a low voice, “Investigate. Send out my orders; within the time needed to boil a kettle of tea, Youngflame Nong’s whereabouts needs to be discovered.”
“Yes,” the blue-robed servant said hurriedly.
“Youngflame Nong actually died? He should have gone to the Witchriver Immortal Estate. How could he have died? Even if he wasn’t able to bind the Witchriver Immortal Estate, he had a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal on him…even within the Immortal estate, he would’ve been able to teleport out to the Grand Xia Dynasty’s world. And he had that Fiendgod with him, Xiangliu Fang.” The golden-robed man was pondering to himself.
Youngflame Nong was one of his juniors; they weren’t exactly on close terms with each other, and in fact, he didn’t really like Youngflame Nong. But Youngflame Nong had a Celestial Immortal supporting him!
Although on the surface, the most powerful figure in a clan was its titular clan leader, compared to the Celestial Immortals who were the Patriarchs of the clan, the clan leader was far inferior. These Celestial Immortal Patriarchs who had lived countless years were the true foundation of a clan. The birth of every Celestial Immortal would cause the entire clan to celebrate, and the fall of every Celestial Immortal would be hidden for as long as possible.
This was why no one was certain as to how many Celestial Immortals a clan had. For example, the Northmont clan of Stillwater; did it have any surviving Celestial Immortals or not? This was a mystery.
How many Celestial Immortal Patriarchs did the Youngflame clan have? This, too, was a mystery.
Even the Godplume Duke himself only knew of three Celestial Immortal Patriarchs within the clan; as for Youngflame Nong, he only knew of one! But even the Godplume Duke wasn’t certain as to exactly how many Celestial Immortals his clan had.
“Clan leader.” The blue-robed servant returned, saying hurriedly with respect, “Three days ago, Young master Youngflame Nong used a teleportation array to go to Stillwater Commandery, then headed towards the Witchriver Immortal Estate. I’m not capable of locating the exact location of the estate.”
“Right.” The golden-robed man nodded. “I need to go on a visit. For now, you are not to inform any outsiders of Youngflame Nong’s death.”
Soon, nine golden Flood Dragons, pulling an Immortal carriage behind them, soared out from within the Youngflame clan’s estate. They howled through the air, departing from the imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty and entering the azure void of the skies.
At the peak of a tall volcano which stretched through the clouds. The nine golden Flood Dragons, pulling the Immortal carriage, descended from the skies, then flew into the mouth of the volcano. The last time this volcano had erupted was hundreds of thousands of years ago.
They continued to fly down through the opening.
Bubbling streams of lava could be seen in the depths below. In the center of the lava flows, a towering, red-haired giant could be seen, reclining in the lava. This red-haired giant lay there as though lying within a personal bathtub. His head was supported by a ‘pillow’ of stone, and his feet pressed against another stone. His eyes were even larger than the Immortal carriage.
“Senior Bafire.” The golden-robed man stood in front of the Immortal carriage and called out.
“Oh?” The red-haired giant opened his eyes and looked at the golden-robed man. After pondering a moment, he said slowly, “You are…Youngflame Fujun, the current clan leader and Godplume Duke?”
“I am.” The golden-robed man was still quite humble.
This was because he knew who the Fiendgod in front of him was. This Fiendgod was surnamed Bafire, and was an incomparably powerful warrior who had belonged to an extremely mighty Fiendgod tribe, back in the Fiendgod Era. He was a Void-level Fiendgod! However, although he was ‘only’ a Void-level Fiendgod, his true combat power was absolutely on the level of Celestial Immortals. In the past, it had been one of the most brilliant, outstanding Patriarchs of the Youngflame clan who had subdued and tamed him. Unfortunately, that Patriarch had already fallen over the passage of countless years.
“What is it?” The red-haired giant asked.
“Are the three Patriarchs still within this major world?” The golden-robed man asked.
The red-haired giant said slowly, “Patriarch Infatuation left this major world more than ten thousand years ago. Where he went, and when he shall return…is unknown. Patriarch Sunfish, just a few decades, went to meet with friends in the Deva realm; generally speaking, he will spend a century in the Deva realm when meeting with friends. Only Patriarch Arcanum remains here, in secluded meditation.”
“Youngflame Nong just died. This is a matter of grave import; I’d like to trouble you, senior Bafire, to make a report to Patriarch Arcanum,” the golden-robed man said hurriedly.
“Youngflame Nong? The next clan leader of your clan?” The red-haired giant laughed. “Your next clan leader actually died? What a joke. I’ll go help you make the report.”
The red-haired giant closed his eyes. Moments later, he opened them again. “Patriarch Arcanum will arrive right away.”
The location of the place where Patriarch Arcanum was secluded was a mystery; only some of Patriarch Arcanum’s closest confidantes knew. Not even the Godplume Duke knew.
In the air above the lava, spots of stellar light suddenly appeared. The brilliant spots of stellar light began to link together, seemingly forming a mysterious, arcane formation. Suddenly, a tall, skinny, narrow-eyed elder stepped out from within that swirl of countless stars. In this moment, it seemed as though the entire world was bowing towards him, as though he and he alone was the only master of the world.
“Patriarch Arcanum.” The golden-robed man hurriedly bowed with respect.