Daoist Snowplume, as someone capable of reaching the Primal Daoist level, was no fool. He knew very well…that given Ji Ning’s monstrous rate of improvement, this was someone that he absolutely could not be enemies with. Ning had only been alive for thirty short years, but he was already comparable to Daoist Snowplume, who had trained for a thousand years!
“All of you, listen clearly.” Daoist Snowplume swept the crowd with his gaze. “You are absolutely not permitted to antagonize Ji Ning! If you do, even my Snowdragon Mountain will find it difficult to protect you!”
All of them assented. Nobody who had witnessed the earlier battle had the courage to go antagonize Ji Ning.
News of this battle spread with astonishing speed. Daoist Snowplume didn’t issue an order of silence to his subordinates, because he knew that even if Snowdragon Mountain didn’t spread the news, the Ji clan would. Given the situation, it was best for them to pretend to ignore it all and allow the news to spread.
“Given this Ji Ning’s rate of improvement, I imagine that very soon, he will become even more illustrious and famous. For me to be the stepping-stone to fame for someone like him…it’s not that embarrassing…” This was how Daoist Snowplume tried to console himself.
The news quickly spread to the center of the entire Stillwater Commandery; Stillwater City. Amongst Ning’s friends, the first to receive word was, naturally, Northmont Baiwei.
“Hahaha, good, good, good!” Baiwei excitedly slapped his desk, causing the fruit platters and wine bottles atop it to rattle, then tumble to the floor. The nearby musicians were badly startled by this sudden act.
“Piao An.” Baiwei looked at the messenger servant, who was kneeling before him. He immediately beamed and said, “You have rendered a great merit by delivering this report. I shall award you ten taels of liquefied elemental essence.” He immediately tossed a jade bottle over.
The servant before him, who had just reached the Zifu Disciple level, accepted it with great excitement. This was an intelligence report that came from the spy network of Northmont Blacktiger’s estate; he was nothing more than a messenger boy. And yet, just like that, he had acquired ten taels of liquefied elemental essence; clearly, young master Baiwei was exceedingly delighted.
“My brother, Ji Ning, truly is formidable. Formidable. Formidable!” Baiwei excitedly stalked back and forth within his hall. “How long has it been? Just ten years since he entered the Black-White College? He’s only a peak Wanxiang Adept, and yet he’s already capable of forcing Daoist Snowplume into a retreat and to relocate his local Snowdragon Mountain branch. Clearly, Daoist Snowplume has lowered his head!”
“Amongst the third generation disciples of the Black-White College, I imagine that only the likes of the Sloppy Daoist and Holyfire are capable of matching my brother Ji Ning.”
“But the Sloppy Daoist and Holyfire have all trained for at least two centuries, while Ji Ning has only trained for thirty years.” Baiwei was delighted for his friend…and he felt all the more convinced that he had truly hit the jackpot when he had decided to become friends with Ji Ning.
The excited Baiwei suddenly saw, out of the corner of his eye, the pole-axed, stupefied group of musicians. Only now did he remember that he was actually listening to a private concert.
“Out, out, all of you.” Baiwei waved his hand. The musicians, including his maidservant, all bowed and departed.
Baiwei’s eyes were filled with anticipation. “I hope that Brother Ji Ning isn’t going to trip and fall on his Immortal path…given his rate of improvement, which is vastly superior to that of the Sloppy Daoist and Holyfire, and even vastly superior to most reincarnated Immortals…as long as he doesn’t die, when he becomes an Immortal, he will definitely become a top-tier Immortal. By then…I’ll truly have a powerful supporter by my side.”
The news also quickly made its way to the Black-White College. Daoist Flowcloud, also known as Chen Jin, had just returned from a relaxing trip to the Carefree Caverns. He was feeling quite rested and relaxed, and had just flown back into and landed within his own mountain estate.
“Senior apprentice-brother, senior apprentice-brother.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Flowcloud.”
Two of his ten retainers, both female, immediately came to greet him.
“What is it?” Chen Jin gave these two retainers a glance.
“Senior apprentice-brother Flowcloud, you wanted us to keep track of any information regarding senior apprentice-brother Darknorth, right?” One of the female retainers, the slightly skinnier one, hurriedly said, “We just heard…that senior apprentice-brother Darknorth, Ji Ning, engaged in a battle with one of the three Patriarchs of Snowdragon Mountain, Daoist Snowplume, at Serpentwing Lake. Ji Ning’s power filled the heavens, and in the end, he forced Daoist Snowplume to retreat and even voluntarily relocate the local Snowdragon Mountain branch.
“What?!” Chen Jin’s good mood instantly and completely evaporated. His face was ashen. “Did you perhaps mishear things? Ji Ning was actually able to force Daoist Snowplume into retreating? He has this level of power?”
“We didn’t mishear. This news just made its way to the Black-White College, and it has been spread throughout the College.”
“Right. Everyone is talking about it right now.”
Both of the female retainers answered together.
Chen Jin’s face was utterly pale. Ning had become the shadow over his heart long ago; for Ning to become even more dazzling naturally caused him to feel even more enraged. He barked angrily, “Describe the information you heard in detail.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Flowcloud, this event originated from a dispute between the Ji clan of Swallow Mountain and the local branch of Snowdragon Mountain…” The skinnier female retainer began to speak.
“Little Sloppy, Ji Ning, by the look of things, seems to have improved quite a bit. He’s already reached the same level as Holyfire and the others, and might even be comparable with you.” Within a spacious, lavish hall, a short old man who was dressed in beggar’s clothes was seated on the ground. In front of him were a number of bowls, filled with various types of meat and other food. He stretched out a grubby, greasy hand and snatched a chunk of meat from a bowl while using his other hand to pour wine into his mouth from a gourd.
In front of him was a fat and similarly sloppy-looking youth. He, too, was using one hand to grab at the food and eating with abandon, while using his other hand to drink from a gourd of wine.
“So what if he is comparable to me?” The fat youth didn’t seem to be concerned at all, continuing to eat and drink.
“Little Sloppy, that means that your reputation as being the number one figure amongst the third generation disciples of the Black-White College might be taken away,” the short elder hurriedly warned.
The fat youth shook his head. “When I first joined the Black-White College, I was completely unremarkable. Back then, there were countless senior fellow disciples who were stronger than me. But in the end, I surpassed them all…and that’s when I became the ‘number one figure’ amongst the third generation disciples. But has that reputation ever done anything for me in terms of helping me improve in power?”
“Nope, not at all!” The fat youth seemed completely unconcerned. “In the Black-White College, I can rank at the very top, but if we look at the entire Grand Xia Dynasty and the major world they have unified…given how there are thousands on thousands of reincarnated Immortals at the Wanxiang level, I imagine that there are far more people that are more powerful than me!”
“That’s why it doesn’t matter at all what my ranking is within the Black-White College. I only have one opponent; myself. As long as I continue to surpass myself and improve…that’ll be enough.” The fat youth shook his head. “This is also the reason why I won’t go to the imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty.”
“Oh, right. This time, the imperial capital of the Grand Xia has attracted interest from the most powerful geniuses of virtually every commandery city in this boundless world. In fact, even some of the supreme talents who live in the seas beyond are heading towards the capital! This is an event that will only occur every three centuries! Only those who are below the Primal Daoist level are allowed to attend. This is a chance that only comes in three hundred years! Once you defeat the various reincarnated Immortals and geniuses of the other parts of the world, then you’ll truly soar to the heavens!” The short elder said hurriedly.
“I’m afraid of death.” The fat youth shook his head.
“You sloppy bastard!” The short elder was so angry, he began to curse. “How can you be so lazy in pursuing your Immortal path?”
“I’m in no rush. I’m going to train slowly. If there’s good wine, I’ll drink it; if there’s tasty meat, I’ll eat it. I’ll live a wonderfully happy life. Whatever level I’ll end up training to, that’ll be the level I’ll train to. I’m not going to go risk my life.” The fat youth shook his head.
The short elder was completely helpless.
Still..he felt great admiration for this fat youth. In fact, he even began to wonder…if perhaps, in terms of Dao-heart alone, this fat youth might be stronger than all of the Primal Daoists and Immortals of the entire Black-White College! Still…there was no way one could tell from the surface if another had a powerful Dao-heart or not. To this very day, he was the only one who believed that this fat youth had the strongest Dao-heart of anyone in the entire Black-White College.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning truly is formidable. We haven’t seen him in ten years, but he’s grown so powerful.” Mu Northson, who had completely absorbed himself into the art of constructs during recent years, was exceptionally excited upon hearing this news. “It’s been so many years since I’ve seen him…it’s time for me to pay a visit.”
Given how powerful Ning had shown himself to be during this battle, there truly were quite a few who wanted to go pay a visit to him now.
Northson just made some casual inquiries, and soon, a large group of people gathered.
“Let’s go to Serpentwing Lake.”
“It’s been years since we’ve seen junior apprentice-brother Darknorth. He has grown so powerful.” More than ten people had decided to go visit Ning, most of whom were on extremely good terms with him. There were even two reincarnated Immortals amongst them.
Once one’s power reached a certain level, one would naturally be acknowledged by others. Soon, this group of ten-plus fellow disciples left the Black-White College and headed towards Serpentwing Lake.
The black-robed Immortal Diancai, seated on his jade bed, opened his eyes, revealing a smile within them.
“So many young fellows have gone to visit Ji Ning. It seems my apprentice’s strength has been acknowledged by his fellow disciples. In fact, come to think of it…if he was able to force Daoist Snowplume to retreat, then my apprentice’s [Three-Foot Sword] must have reached an extremely deep level of expertise. Is he at the fourth stance, or the fifth stance? Ugh, this kid…he didn’t visit me a single time in ten years,” Immortal Diancai mused to himself. Because only six stances of the [Three-Foot Sword] were made public within the Black-White College, even Immortal Diancai himself had only learned those first six stances.
But naturally, Immortal Diancai’s most powerful sword technique wasn’t the [Three-Foot Sword]; it was the one he had established for himself.
This battle had truly brought fame to Ji Ning. His name was spread throughout the entire Stillwater Commandery. His friends, his seniors, his elders, and even other large clans and sects began to pay close attention to him. From this day onward, Ji Ning had become one of the notable, well-known figures of the Stillwater Commandery region.
In the distant Highwater Commandery. The Dongyan Mountains. Within a quiet, secluded cave.
A snowy white-robed Ninelotus was seated in the lotus position atop a boulder. She had been trapped within this Myriad Lotuses Cave for nearly nine years now. Almost every day, she came to try and break through the formation, but the formation set down by the Forefather of the Dongyan clan was a reflection of one’s Dao-heart; to break the formation, one had to thoroughly comprehend one’s own Dao-heart and to thoroughly understand one’s self!
Ninelotus had never been successful.
“Mistress, mistress.” A voice rang out from outside.
Ninelotus opened her eyes. “What is it?” Although she couldn’t leave, her servants could still bring her news from the outside world through the most simplest of methods; by standing outside the cave and shouting towards her.
“Mistress, we just received word that the Ji clan of Swallow Mountain has forced the local branch of Snowdragon Mountain to leave. This caused one of the three Patriarchs of Snowdragon Mountain, Daoist Snowplume, to be angered and personally make a trip to Serpentwing Lake. However, that Ji Ning wasn’t willing to lower his head at all, and so he and Daoist Snowplume got into a battle,” the servant said.
Ninelotus was instantly furious, frantic, and concerned. “That idiot! How could he be so forceful about it? That’s a peak Primal Daoist!”
“Daost Snowplume used his supreme techniques with the Binary Diffraction Swords to battle against Ji Ning, but Ji Ning used his divine ability to transform into a thirty meter tall giant. He unleashed an incomparably astonishing sword technique…and was actually able to force Daoist Snowplume to voluntarily retreat, and even lower his head and have the Swallow Mountain branch leave,” the servant said.
“What?!” Ninelotus was astonished.