The door to the refined room closed once more.
“You can stop worrying now.” Northmont Baiwei sat down, then picked up the exquisitely made wine flask and poured Ji Ning a cup of wine. “With Zhou Li’s assistance, after you enter the Skysplitter Sword Sect, you won’t suffer much.”
“Suffer much?” Ning raised an eyebrow. Baiwei shook his head. “It’s a major sect, after all, with more than ten thousand Zifu Disciples. Given how many disciples it holds, I imagine you can guess for yourself how frenetic its internal struggles can be. The disciples are all divided into various levels. As a new disciple, if there is no one there to help you, I imagine that you will be treated worse than any of the others.”
Ning nodded gently. It was true. Wherever there were people, there would be competition. A major sect with more than ten thousand disciples…its internal struggles would indeed be quite fierce.
“With Zhou Li’s assistance, it will be a bit easier for you to rise.” Baiwei continued, “But afterwards, you’ll still have to rely on yourself and to fight for yourself! Remember; opportunity comes to those who fight for them. Don’t show any mercy. Although I don’t know the details of the situation, this sort of major sect surely must run internal competitions so as to divide up its disciples into various levels. In these competitions, do your best to be number one and become one of the most core disciples of the Skysplitter Sword Sect.”
“Definitely!” Ning understood this principle. In the Ji clan, he would be given the best of everything, but in an outside school, he would have to fight for whatever he wanted.
“When you are free, please come visit Stillwater City often. I can introduce some friends to you.” Northmont Baiwei smiled. “The path of Immortals is an incomparably difficult one. With powerful friends by your side, things will become much easier. Look…take a look at this person who just came in.” Ning turned to look through the window.
Miss Ziyi had personally gone to greet this person. The person she had gone to greet was an extremely handsome young lord, who had more than ten people in his entourage behind him.
“His bearing is extraordinary,” Ning said with praise. “This person’s name is Hun Wuji.” Baiwei said solemnly, “He is a formidable fellow. As for his clan, the Hun clan, it is an enormous merchant clan.”
Ning was startled. Enormous merchant clan? A merchant? Generally speaking, most of the major powers were sects, schools, or tribes; there were very few organizations solely dedicated to trade.
“The Hun clan is no ordinary merchant clan.” Baiwei continued, “Their business is spread throughout virtually the entire Grand Xia Dynasty. Although they can’t be considered to stand at the very top-tier of the Grand Xia Dynasty, here in Stillwater Commandery, they are one of the top two major merchant clans! And this clan rose to power only a few short millennia ago.”
Ning said, startled, “Just a few thousand years ago?” Baiwei smiled. “The founder of the Hun clan was named Hun Tianyou. He’s still alive. You tell me; how long ago was this clan established?”
Ning was shocked. Only a few thousand years had passed since the clan had been established, and yet it was already one of the top two major merchant clans of the entire Stillwater Commandery, and had spread its trade throughout the entire Grand Xia Dynasty. This was indeed astonishing.
“This founder and Patriarch of the Hun clan, Hun Tianyou, was originally an orphan and a gangster.” Baiwei laughed as he spoke. “He himself gave himself the surname of ‘Hun’, symbolizing his original status as a gangster. He then gave himself the name ‘Tianyou’, meaning ‘protected by heaven’, as he was born as an orphan and kept alive through the grace of the heavens.”
“This Patriarch of the Hun clan…he wasn’t that talented in the path of cultivation. He became a Zifu Disciple early on, and then began to truly focus his attention on building up his business. Who would have imagined that he truly would rise to such heights?” Baiwei sighed, moved. “Audacius yet prudent, and viciously decisive…this person truly is a towering, heroic figure. In fact, when he was merely a Wanxiang Adept, he managed to employ three Immortals to have them kill his enemies.”
“He employed three Immortals?” Ning was speechless. Baiwei continued, “This Patriarch of the Hun clan relied on his tremendous wealth to forcibly increase his power to his current level, that of a Primal Daoist. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the entire Hun clan only has a total of two Primal Daoists. The amount of wealth they possess…compared to your enemy, Snowdragon Mountain, they are unfathomably more powerful.”
Ning nodded. For someone at the Wanxiang Adept level to be able to employ three Immortals…one could imagine how wealthy he now was.
“The Hun clan is one of the most supreme clans within our Stillwater Commandery.” Baiwei continued, “For them to reach such a level in just a thousand years…how formidable! As for that Hun Wuji who just entered? He’s the most prominent person in the younger generation of the Hun clan. He is viewed with great favor by the Patriarch of the Hun clan. Naturally, we need to be friends with people like this.”
“Within the borders of our Stillwater Commandery, the Hun clan is like the embodiment of the God of Wealth.” Baiwei continued, “On the path of Immortals, wealth is very important as well.”
Ning nodded. He understood; magic treasures, unique items, and even spirit-pills were all important. “Borrow from the strengths of those around you,” Baiwei continued, “And make the strengths of others your own strengths. Only then will you be able to walk further along the path of Immortals!” Ning nodded.
“Ji Ning, I trust that in the future, you will definitely become a towering figure somewhere.” Baiwei seemed to speak with great confidence. Ning replied, “Brother Baiwei, you treat me so well that I truly don’t know how to repay you.”
Baiwei immediately waved his hand. “This is what my father taught me; when you encounter someone you view as worth making friends with, you must treat them with sincerity! As for those not worthy of being your friends? I, Northmont Baiwei, wouldn’t even glance at them.” Ning laughed.
“You must be sincere to your friends. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make any true friends. Then, when a critical time comes, none of those ‘friends’ will help you,” Baiwei said. “Well-spoken,” Ning concurred. Only when you treated others with sincerity would they treat you with sincerity.
“If you make friends everywhere, you will naturally build up your own strength. Ji Ning, make some powerful friends. Within, you will rely on your own power; without, you will have your friends to assist you. In the end, you might end up becoming the leader of the Skysplitter Sword Sect,” Baiwei laughed.
Suddenly, laughter rang out from outside. “Hahaha…” The laughter was quite loud, and it echoed throughout the giant main hall of many kilometers. Upon hearing this laughter, the face of Northmont Baiwei, who had been chatting happily with Ning, immediately sank.
“Northmont Baiwei.” That deep voice echoed in the main hall, filling every corner of it. Quite a few of the guests within the various luxurious rooms at the ends of the corridors that hung in midair were listening with curiosity.
“You want for your good friend, ‘Ji Ning’, to enter the Skysplitter Sword Sect?” That deep voice continued to laugh wildly. “Hahaha, unfortunately, I can tell you something right now…and in fact, I can tell this Ji Ning kid directly. Ji Ning, kid, forget about ever being permitted into joining the Skysplitter Sword Sect!”
“Northmont Fox!” Baiwei suddenly roared out with anger. “What is it?” That deep voice let out a chuckle. “Are you upset?” Baiwei growled and cursed, “You shameless thing!”
“You do seem quite pissed.” That deep voice chuckled with delight. “Unfortunately, your good friend won’t be able to enter the Skysplitter Sword Sect.” “Hmph.” Baiwei no longer paid the outside world any attention. That deep voice said a few more mocking lines, but upon seeing that Baiwei was no longer responding, it fell silent as well.
Ning frowned, then said in a soft voice, “Brother Baiwei, who was that?” Baiwei’s face was exceedingly ugly to behold right now. He hurriedly said, “Ji Ning, I truly apologize. I didn’t expect that your affairs would be disrupted because of me. That person is named Northmont Fox. He, too, is a member of our Northmont clan.” Ning nodded.
“My father is Northmont Blacktiger. His father is Northmont Yin.” Baiwei shook his head. “His father and my father are competing to become the next Marquis of Stillwater.”
Ning sucked in a cold breath of air. The next Marquis of Stillwater? It seemed Northmont Blacktiger’s status was incredibly high. No wonder, as soon as Baiwei camed to the Carefree Caverns, Wanxiang Adept-level cultivators and monsters had come to greet him in such a grand fashion.
“His father and mine have always been opposing each other. Thus, this kid always is struggling against me as well.” Baiwei let out a snicker. “His father, Northmont Yin, truly is a heroic, towering figure, as a crafty as a fox. Northmont Yin gave his son the name ‘Fox’, but all his son is capable of is petty scheming.”
“I truly do have to apologize. Because of me, you won’t be able to enter the Skysplitter Sword Sect,” Baiwei said. “For Northmont Fox to proclaim it so boldly means that he definitely must be confident of being able to ensure it.”
Ning felt resignation in his heart. Just now, he was fantasizing about how viciously he would ‘compete’, but in the blink of an eye, it had all disappeared. He immediately said, “This is just a small matter. Stillwater Commandery is such a large place, and there are so many schools here. There are many different places I can choose from.”
“Right.” Baiwei continued, “How about this. Later, I’ll arrange for information regarding the various schools of Stillwater Commandery to be brought over. You can choose for yourself. When the twelth lunar month comes, the various schools will all be accepting new disciples. You can go by yourself. If I don’t go with you, I can’t cause any problems. Given your abilities, it will be very easy for you to join a school. To be honest, my actions just now were unnecessary to begin with.”
Ning laughed, “We were just a bit unlucky to have encountered this Northmont Fox.”
So what if he didn’t enter the Skysplitter Sword Sect? Even the ancient spirit of the underwater estate, after seeing that Ning had mastered the Rainwater Sword Domain, had treated him in a markedly different way. Ning felt certain that it would definitely be simple for him to choose any other schools.
Knock, knock, knock. A knocking sound at the door. “Brother Baiwei. I am Hun Wuji.” A voice rang out from outside. “Wuji, please, come in. Why even knock?” Baiwei hurriedly called out. The door opened.
A handsome, refined young man entered. This Hun Wuji had a smile which made anyone who saw him instantly feel well-disposed towards him. He immediately said, “If you were the only one here, Baiwei, of course I would’ve just entered. But Brother Ji Ning is here as well; I didn’t wish to be discourteous.”
“Ji Ning, come, this is my good friend, Hun Wuji.” Baiwei said. “Young master Wuji.” Ning clasped his hands in salute. “Brother Ji Ning. I heard your name just now.” Hun Wuji clasped his hands in response. “Then you heard me being made a fool out of.” Baiwei felt resigned.
“Just now, shortly after I sat down nearby, I heard what was going on between you, Baiwei, and with Fox.” Wuji sat down as he spoke. “Northmont Fox truly is a fool. How many schools does Stillwater Commandery have? He has a bit of a relationship with the Skysplitter Sword Sect and might be able to prevent Brother Ji Ning from entering that sect, but what about the other sects? For a school, accepting new disciples is a major matter. There are so many schools in Stillwater Commandery that are seeking new disciples, and he’s only able to affect a few of them. In the end, Brother Ji Ning is still going to be able to enter a school.”
“Thus, as you said, he is a fool. He always jumps at any opportunity to make trouble for me.” Baiwei shook his head. “It is as though by doing so, he can demonstrate superiority over me.”
Suddenly, the extravagant music from outside changed. The sound of a zither suddenly rang out. The gentle, watery strumming sounds were soul-stirring to the extreme.
“Eh?” Ning, Baiwei, and Wuji all looked towards the outside. Ning stared down into the wide hall. He immediately sat a green-clothed woman who was seated in front of a zither, plucking at its strings. For a moment, the entire hall seemed to have grown quiet. Only the sound of the zither could be heard.
Such a beautiful zither song.
Such a beautiful person.
Ning, upon seeing the green-clothed woman, instantly felt that she must be one of the fairy maidens of legend. The sound of her zither made Ning’s soul feel incomparably comfortable. Her skill in the Dao of the zither had clearly reached a level of mastery.
After the song was finished, the hall remained quiet for quite some time.
“So it’s actually Zither Fairy.” Baiwei sighed in praise as he spoke, then instructed the servant waiting outside, “Go, have Zither Fairy come over.” “Yes.” The attendant outside replied.
“You are actually going to invite Zither Fairy to come accompany us? The price you will pay won’t be a light one.” Hun Wuji glanced towards Baiwei in surprise, but Baiwei simply said, “Earlier, because of me, Brother Ji Ning’s chance to enter the Skysplitter Sword Sect was ruined. I wish to make sure that Brother Ji Ning will be happy today.”
Ning was quite surprised as well. He was inviting Zither Fairy over, just for him? And from the sound of it, the price would be significant. “Brother Baiwei, you truly are too courteous,” Ning said hurriedly. “That was just a minor matter, not worthy of discussing.”
“Hahahaha…” That deep voice rang out yet again. “Zither Fairy’s skill in the zither is truly at an incomparably miraculous level. Zither Fairy, would you be willing to accept an invitation to come to the room of myself, Northmont Fox?” This voice echoed throughout the hall.
Within Ning’s room. Bang! Baiwei, in his anger, smashed his beastskull goblet against the ground. Grinding his teeth, he said, “What sort of an unlucky day is this? I’m stepping in dogshit repeatedly.”