Atop the warship. Ji Ninefire, Ji Yichuan, and the others all felt shock in their hearts. The Raindragon Guards had come to arrest them for interrogation? Their Ji clan had never committed any grave sins.
“This Raindragon Guard is most likely a member of Snowdragon Mountain.” Ji Truekeep sent. “Right. He came quite quickly. He hastened here in just two short hours from the main Snowdragon Mountain sect.” Ninefire nodded as well.
The only enemy they had offended was Snowdragon Mountain. And, as a major sect, it was normal for Snowdragon Mountain to have members who were also Raindragon Guards.
“A Raindragon Guard is here to deal with a case?” A gentle voice rang out, and the black-uniformed Northmont Baiwei leisurely strolled out down the stairs from the second floor, with Ning following behind him. While walking down, Baiwei glanced at the red-clothed youngster who stood in midair in the distance. “What case does the Raindragon Guard have, for you to come arrest the members of the Ji clan?”
The distant Xue Hongyi, standing upon that red cloud, saw that black-uniformed youth, and his face immediately changed. As a member of the Raindragon Guard, it could be said that his power was extremely great, almost dominatingly so, within Stillwater Commandery. However, upon encountering someone from the Marquisate of Stillwater, he had to somewhat restrain himself. An ordinary member of the Marquisate was one thing, but from the clothes of the youngster before him, Hongyi could tell at one glance that this youngster was of the main lineage of the Marquisate.
“How did I end up running into someone from the main lineage of the Marquisate of Stillwater?” Hongyi frowned slightly. He hesitated momentarily, but then still said, “I have come here on assignment to arrest the wanted criminal, ‘Kebu’. I suspect that the criminal Kebu is hiding within the territory of the Ji clan, and is being protected by them.”
“You are in pursuit of the wanted criminal, Kebu?” Baiwei said softly. “Do you have a military order?” “I do.” A black scroll appeared out of nowhere within Hongyi’s hands. He unwrapped it, and it was covered with characters that proclaimed a military order had been sent for the arrest of the wanted criminal, Kebu, and that the order had been issued to ‘Xue Hongyi’.
Baiwei glanced at it, immediately able to tell that this truly was a military order. Frowning slightly, he glanced at Xue Hongyi. He mused to himself that this Xue Hongyi truly was remarkable; upon seeing him, Baiwei had immediately understood that this person should be a member of Snowdragon Mountain, here to capture the Ji clan and take revenge upon them! To a mighty, exalted Raindragon Guard, dealing with the Ji clan would be simplicity itself. And yet, he had first gone to accept a military mission, and then find the excuse of claiming that the Ji clan was suspected of aiding and hiding a wanted criminal. This really was an airtight plan.
“What should we do?” “A military order from the Raindragon Guard?” The members of the Ji clan were all somewhat panicking. As for Ning, he stared at the distant scroll of parchment, then gave the red-clothed youngster a careful glance. “Based on what Adept Mu Xiao had told me, he had only been permitted to join the Raindragon Guard after becoming a late-stage Wanxiang Adept. I imagine that this red-clothed youngster’s strength is considerable as well. Given how young he appears…he must be a genius as well.”
The younger a person looked, the more others needed to be wary of that person. If, for example, a toddler who appeared to be only five or six years old had suddenly appeared, proclaiming that he was here on behalf of the Raindragon Guard, that would be truly terrifying.
“I am here on military orders to capture a wanted criminal. Young master, please assist me in this matter.” Xue Hongyi’s attitude was noticeably more polite now. “I only see that your military orders refer to the capture of the wanted criminal ‘Kebu’; they say nothing about seizing members of the Ji clan.” Northmont Baiwei snapped. “I think you had best depart.”
Xue Hongyi, standing atop that red cloud in the distance, grew angry. He barked, “The wanted criminal, Kebu, is hiding within the Ji clan. The Raindragon Guard has come to arrest him. Can it be, young master, that you are going to give him shelter?”
At a time like this, the reputation of Snowdragon Mountain was completely useless. Only the reputation of the Raindragon Guard would be effective!
“Bullshit!” Baiwei pointed at Xue Hongyi and cursed, “Do you know what is going on, right now? Why have I come here? Go ask the members of Snowdragon Mountain this question! Dong Fanyu, hurry up and go speak to your uncle-master.”
Dong Fanyu was nervous. “Dong Fanyu.” Atop the red cloud, Xue Hongyi gave him a glance and verified that it was indeed Dong Fanyu. Prior to coming, he naturally had familiarized himself with the appearances of the members of the Swallow Mountain branch. Earlier, when passing through Snowdragon City, he had discovered that there wasn’t even a single Zifu Disciple present. “What is going on, Fanyu? Why has this young master of the Marquisate of Stillwater come here?”
Dong Fanyu hurriedly said, “This young master of the Marquisate is the Marquisate’s envoy. He has come to sign a transfer agreement with the Ji clan.” “Transfer agreement?” Xue Hongyi frowned.
Northmont Baiwei laughed loudly. “Your fellow disciples of Snowdragon Mountain, including Adept Xu Li, all died here, because they wanted to forcibly take this elemental ore mine. However, this elemental ore mine has already been transferred to the Marquisate of Stillwater; naturally, we will protect the Ji clan.”
“Even if you came with a military order specifically specifying the Ji clan as to be apprehended, the high level members of your Raindragon Guard would need to come to an accord with the Marquisate of Stillwater on this matter.” Baiwei snapped. “In addition, carry a message from me to the Primal Daoists of your Snowdragon Mountain. The Ji clan is under the protection of the Marquisate of Stillwater! Let him be wiser in his actions!”
Xue Hongyi, hearing this, ground his teeth. “Fine.” Xue Hongyi immediately flew away atop his red cloud, transforming into a streak of red light that quickly disappeared.
If Northmont Baiwei wished to help the Ji clan due to personal reasons, he, Xue Hongyi, would’ve dared to rely on his status as a Raindragon Guard to struggle against him. But…
If this person came in the capacity of envoy, and had signed a transfer agreement, he was currently representing the entire Marquisate of Stillwater! If the Marquisate declared that someone was under their protection, then within the borders of Stillwater Commandery, not even Raindragon Guards would dare to interfere. If a truly evil and vicious criminal was within the Ji clan, they would still need to go negotiate with the Marquisate of Stillwater. Only after the Marquisate gave its blessing would the Raindragon Guard go make the arrest.
“Thank you, young master.” “Thank you, young master, for saving our Ji clan.” The members of the Ji clan watched as the red-clothed youngster departed. All of them spoke with great joy. Previously, when they had heard that this person had come on orders from the Raindragon Guard, they had been so terrified that their hearts had trembled.
Ning said hurriedly as well, “Thank you, young master Baiwei.” “I came here to sign a transfer agreement. It is my duty to guarantee your safety.” Baiwei laughed softly. “That fellow name Xue Hongyi, he dressed himself in the imperial garbs of the Raindragon Guard, but he forgot his station! How dare he act so arrogantly in front of the Marquisate of Stillwater? Hmph! Nothing more than Snowdragon Mountain!”
The Ji clan, listening, all felt envious. These words were utterly domineering. Nothing more than Snowdragon Mountain! To the Marquisate of Stillwater, Snowdragon Mountain was nothing more than one of the powers under its dominion. If the Marquisate was angered, it wouldn’t be hard for it to completely uproot the entire Snowdragon Mountain. But to the Ji clan, Snowdragon Mountain was an enormous creature, while the Marquisate was an even more unimaginably powerful behemoth.
From far away, two figures flew over. They quickly landed on the ship’s deck. They were warriors, dressed in armor. One of them said respectfully, “Reporting to the young master: We have finished our investigations. This elemental ore mine has a circumference of four thousand kilometers, and is more than three hundred kilometers deep. The quality is extremely high, and there are even quite a few high-grade elemental stones.”
“Mm.” Baiwei nodded slightly with satisfaction, then laughed as he looked towards Ning and Ninefire. “Patriarch Ninefire of the Ji clan and Ji Ning, the two of you can follow me into the main hall, where we shall sign the transfer agreement.”
“Right.” Ninefire and Ning all acknowledged as they followed Baiwei into the second floor of the hall.
There were two scrolls lying on a table within the room. The wording on both scrolls was identical; they were both transfer agreements. They described how the division would be, how the Ji clan would be protected; everything was explained in detail.
“Take out your official writ for the City of Ten Thousand Swords. Press the insignia of it against it as a seal, then sign your names.” Northmont Baiwei said. “The grand seal of the Marquisate is already there. We are simply waiting for your seals now.”
Ning and Ninefire exchanged glances. Not hesitating at all, they immediately signed their names and sealed both documents.
“One of the agreements will be left with you. The other will belong to the Marquisate.” Baiwei smiled. “This is all according to the rules.”
Ninefire immediately laughed. “Our Ji clan is boundlessly overjoyed to have survived this tribulation. 70% of this elemental ore mine shall belong to the Marquisate, but for our Ji clan, 10% is enough. The remaining 20%, our Ji clan would like to offer to you, young master, to thank you for saving our Ji clan.”
Ninefire was a sly old fellow who had lived for nearly four centuries. How crafty was he? He knew very well that although on the surface, 30% of this elemental ore mine was to belong to the Ji clan, in reality, that amount would be secretly whittled down. It was better for them to directly offer it to an important person, so as to gain that person’s favor.
“No need.” Baiwei smiled. “As soon as Ji Ning and I met each other, it felt as though we were two old friends. Don’t worry. There will be no ‘whittling down’ of your share of the elemental ore mine. Who would dare try to seize something belonging to my friend?”
Friend? Ning’s heart turned warm. Baiwei continued, “I will arrange for soldiers to take responsibility for excavating this elemental ore mine. When the time comes, your Ji clan can take responsibility for mining out the actual ore. The elemental ore you mine out can simply be sent to the soldiers.”
“Alright.” Ninefire hurriedly nodded. “Mm.” Baiwei nodded gently as well. Ninefire, seeing that this person still wished to speak with Ning, immediately said, “If there’s nothing else, I will leave.” And then, he departed.
The only ones left in the hall were Ning, Baiwei, and the two maids.
“Ji Ning,” Baiwei said, “You have had such incredible accomplishments, even within the Ji clan; your innate talent vastly surpasses that of that‘Xue Hongyi’ fellow’s. I urge you not to spend too much time in a small place such as this. The vast world is the place you truly belong. In the future, you will definitely become a momentous figure within the entire Stillwater Commandery.”
Ning said hurriedly, “Young master Baiwei, you praise me too highly. However, very soon, I will go out adventuring.”
“Mm.” Baiwei nodded slightly. Ning continued, “I have always been interested about one thing. Dare I ask, young master, how is it that you arrived at the Ji clan so quickly? It most likely would’ve taken quite some time for the news that the Ji clan has found an elemental ore mine to even make its way to the Marquisate.”
If the Marquisate of Stillwater hadn’t arrived when he did, the Ji clan most likely would’ve had no end of troubles.
“Hahaha…” Baiwei laughed. “Do you know how this elemental ore mine was formed?” Ning shook his head puzzled. “I…”
Baiwei smiled. “This elemental ore mine was formed after a magical formation was set up by a Primal Daoist who was training here in seclusion to try and make a breakthrough. The formation drew in and condensed boundless amounts of natural, elemental energy, finally resulting in the formation of this giant elemental ore mine. As for that Primal Daoist, he broke through to the Earth Immortal stage.”
“Earth Immortal?” Ning was startled. So that underground stone room was where the Earth Immortal had stayed. “That Earth Immortal is known as Immortal Firedragon.” Baiwei said. “After making his breakthrough, he was invited to join the Marquisate of Stillwater. In his welcoming banquet, my father spoke with him and quickly learned of the existence of an elemental ore mine here, and that it was within the Ji clan’s territory. Thus, I was given this mission and came to sign the transfer agreement with your Ji clan.”
Ning now understood. So it hadn’t been the Ji clan making a report; rather, it was that the Marquisate had already known of this. No wonder they had arrived so quickly!
“Alright. This matter is now at an end. I won’t stay here any longer. If you, brother Ji, have anything further that you need, you can come find me. I will definitely show the hospitality expected of a host.” Northmont Baiwei laughed.
“Definitely.” Ning responded.
Oxhorn Mountain. The Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation had been collected. The members of the Ji clan raised their heads, staring towards the distant horizon. That warship had already departed, leaving behind only eight Zifu Disciple level soldiers.
“Cough.” Ji Yichuan, who up till now had maintained a fierce aura, suddenly seemed to grow fragile. His face turned ashen, and he began to cough.
“Father.” Ning turned his head towards his father, Yichuan.