“Not good.” Last time, when Ji Ning had sparred with his master, his master hadn’t used this technique. Faced with the sudden attack of a thousand star-like bursts of sword-light, Ning knew that his ‘Tripartite Millstone’ wouldn’t be able to withstand the assault.
The sword-intent radiating from Ning’s body compressed itself to the utmost. “Pierce!” Ning’s sword suddenly shout out. It was as though even if there were infinitely great impediments standing in front of Ning and wrapping around him, as though ropes were bound about him, causing his sword to frantically struggle to pierce forward. It moved incomparably slowly…and yet, in reality, that was just a misperception, as the sword itself had reached an incredibly great speed.
Swish! The sword shot out like a meteor! It tore through the boundless darkness, ripped through all impediments, and completely shattered the thousand-plus bolts of starry sword-light. With part of it having been destroyed, all the surrounding bolts of starry sword-light vanished and dispersed.
As for Ning himself, moving like a phantom, he charged towards his master, the sword in his right hand having stabbed forward and broken those thousand stars of sword-light. At the same time, the sword in his left hand had already stabbed towards his master, Immortal Diancai.
“Break!” Immortal Diancai revealed a smile as he rapped out this word. A formless sword energy instantly clashed with Ning’s Darknorth sword. It was not only powerful, but backed with a seemingly endless momentum of energy, causing Ning to be pushed back many meters before finding his footing.
Immortal Diancai, still seated on his jade bed, nodded slowly. “The ‘Manifold Thistlethorns’. You’ve finally comprehended this technique.”
This was the attack Ning had just demonstrated, the second stance of the [Three-Foot Sword] – ‘Manifold Thistlethorns’. This technique represented the highest level of comprehension regarding the Dao of the Sword which Ning had ever reached. “Thanks to your guidance, Master,” Ning said respectfully, “Your foolish disciple was able to finally comprehend this technique today.”
“Hahaha. You only spend three years to comprehend the second stance of the [Three-Foot Sword]. If this performance of yours is to be described as ‘foolish’, then your master would have to be described with the word ‘idiot’,” Immortal Diancai laughed. “After I comprehended the first stance, it took me ten years before I comprehended the second one. Your talent is, indeed, far superior to mine.”
Ning said respectfully, “My talent is at most comparable to those reincarnated Immortals. Our Black-White College has had reincarnated Immortals in every generation, and even in the current Black-White College, there are several reincarnated Immortals. You, Master, despite not being a reincarnated Immortal, are able to surprass those who are in power, and are universally acknowledged as being the Immortal with the greatest chances of becoming a Celestial Immortal. Similarly, the Sloppy Daoist is also the undisputed number one figure amongst the third generation disciples.”
Immortal Diancai nodded in satisfaction. “It is good that you are always humble and vigilant. Now…you can leave the school and go out wandering.” Immortal Diancai smiled as he looked at Ning. Finally, he had said these words.
“I can go out adventuring now?” Ning couldn’t help but feel excitement in his heart. Each time he had made a breakthrough, he felt that he should be able to receive his master’s acknowledgment, but in reality…he had been disappointed time and time again. For example, when he had reached the Dao Domain level in the ‘Dao of the Inferno’, or when he had developed increasingly powerful sword arts, including his own perfected and highly suitable ‘Tripartite Millstone Sword’ attack, he had felt incomparably proud and vigorous.
However, his master had not nodded in approval. Not until today! After he had mastered the second stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], he had finally gained his master’s acknowledgment. Finally, he was going to be able to wander the outside world, filled with both dangers and opportunities. The vast, endless outside world.
“Ji Ning.” Immortal Diancai looked at Ning. “Master.” Ning tamped down the excitement in his heart.
“Accept these two protective items.” Two items appeared out of nowhere in Immortal Diancai’s hands. One appeared to be a brooch which was covered with carvings that appeared to be of a beautiful Immortal palace. As for the other, it was a fiery red jade bottle. “This pendant is something I personally created. After refining it, carry it with you at all times. With but a thought, you can release the sword-energy within it to protect yourself. With that sword-energy protecting you…you will be able to resist the attack of even a Loose Immortal or an Earth Immortal for one breath’s worth of time.”
“As for this jade bottle…you must be extremely careful within it. Within it there is a single ‘Polar Aurora Thunderflame Pearl’. It’s power is tremendous. Once you throw it out, it does not distinguish between friend or foe. Everything within a radius of thirty meters will be reduced into powder. Even Loose Immortals or Earth Immortals will most likely be heavily wounded, while almost all Primal Daoists will perish.”
“Of these two items, one is meant for offense, while the other is meant for defense. However, each can only be used a single time. Thus, you must consider carefully when to use them.” Immortal Diancai looked at Ning, his eyes filled with anticipation and solemnity.
As the saying went, when a child travelled a thousand kilometers away, the parents would be filled with worry. He only had a single disciple under his tutelage, and this disciple was about to go adventuring in distant lands…as his master, how could Immortal Diancai not be worried? After all, no matter how powerful a peerless genius was, if he didn’t have the chance to grow in power, he still wouldn’t be able to overcome some older, more powerful figures. For example, if Ning encountered a Primal Daoist opponent, he would still be crushed without being able to fight back at all.
“You must remember to be cautious in all matters. Think thrice before acting…but once you decide, act decisively.” Immortal Diancai looked at Ning. Suddenly, Ning felt an aching feeling in his heart. That look…
In the past, when he had left West Prefecture City to go adventuring, his father and his mother had looked at him with those exact same eyes. Eyes filled with worry, but also anticipation. Although his master was powerful, he couldn’t take on all the risks of life for his disciple. Every disciple needed to truly test themselves…only then would they be successful.’
“Don’t worry, Master. Your disciple will definitely be careful,” Ning said hurriedly.
“The only things which Master can give you are these two items.” Immortal Diancai looked towards Ning. “Remember. Everything else will be up to your own efforts.”
“Alright.” Ning accepted the items respectfully. These two items were both truly priceless items; in fact, they vastly outstripped the value of the presents which Northmont Blacktiger had given.
The defensive pendant was able to defend against the attack of an Earth Immortal or Loose Immortal for a full breath’s worth of time. In a life-and-death attack, death would sometimes come in an instant. To Immortal practitioners, the amount of time one needed to take a breath was enough for them to fly countless kilometers away.
As for the Polaris Aurora Thunderflame Pearl, it could badly injure Immortals and kill almost all Primal Daoists. It could be described as a true killer item.
“When next you return to the College, come seek me out. You can go now.” Immortal Diancai waved his hand as he spoke, then closed his eyes.
“Alright.” Ning bowed, then immediately departed.
After leaving his master, Ning boarded his flying boat and flew into the skies. He felt an aching feeling in his heart. He could sense that his master’s heart was filled with concern for him, and that concern was not unreasonable; the path of an Immortal practitioner was a path which was against the heavens, a path that was filled with pitfalls. Even the heavens themselves would, intentionally or unintentionally, create numerous traps and barriers for Immortal practitioners.
Far too many disciples of the Black-White College had died in the outside world. It must be understood…so long as the disciples of the Black-White College did not perish, the vast majority would become Primal Daoists! But there were hundreds of third generation disciples, while only thirty or so second generation Primal Daoists. Why? The reason was…the rest died!
They died while testing themselves, while roaming the outside world! As the saying goes, if jade isn’t polished, it cannot be carved, but during the carving process, how many pieces of unpolished jade would end up being destroyed? The ‘jade-carving knife’ of the ‘tempering’ process was truly a vicious one. To embark on the path of Immortals…this was embarking on a path that was filled with countless pitfalls and snares.
“Master. I will definitely return to you alive,” Ning murmured in his heart. And then, his flying boat went directly to the residence of his junior apprentice-brother, the mountain peak of Mu Northson.
Twinwood Peak. Ning flew into the air above it, then called out directly, “Junior apprentice-brother Northson.” His voice echoed out in waves, reaching the estate below. Soon, a figure appeared in the courtyard below, who quickly called back, “Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, quick, come in.”
Ning descended to the ground. Compared to three years ago, although Northson still had the appearance of a immature youth, in terms of both power and Dao-heart, he had grown considerably. After all, he had been able to join the Black-White College at the age of fourteen, and had been able to spend so much time in meditation in front of the Black-White Diagram…his talent was, without question, extremely high.
The reason why he had lost at the Dao Debates was because he was simply too young, and because he hadn’t had as great a stroke of karmic luck as Ning had, who had acquired the underwater estate.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, why did you decide to come here to my place?” Northson laughed. “Normally, it’s quite rare to see you come out.”
“I was just approved by master to go out adventuring in the outside world.” Ning revealed a smile.
“Really? Wonderful!” Northson instantly began to celebrate. “I’ve waited for this day for over a year now. Two years after I joined, my master gave me permission to go out adventuring. You are so strong, senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, but you spent three years in training. Immortal Diancai really is extremely exacting towards you.”
Ning laughed. After receiving the nod from his master, Daoist Jadefine, Northson had immediately come to find Ning. But Ning hadn’t been able to leave…and so Northson had tamped down his impatience. He didn’t want to go out wandering all by his lonely self; he wanted a companion. If two brothers went out adventuring together, at least they wouldn’t be too lonely.
And so, he had waited…all the way until today.
“Oh, oh, I need to go to my master and bid her farewell,” Northson said hurriedly. “Go, go,” Ning said. “Your master dotes on you so much, you really should have a good chat with her before leaving.”
The master of Northson, Daoist Jadefine, did indeed dote on him. First of all, the entire Black-White College had very, very few people who focused on the Dao of Constructs; it was rare for her to find such a wonderful disciple. And secondly, Daoist Jadefine had been stuck at the Primal Daoist level for many years. The assaults of the Three Calamities and Nine Tribulations had grown increasingly difficult for her to withstand, and she was close to her limit. A person close to the end of her years, upon suddenly taking on such a talented disciple who was so young…Daoist Jadefine naturally doted fiercely on this disciple of hers.
After he had entered her tutelage, Daoist Jadefine had given Northson five hundred kilograms of liquefied elemental essence. Thus, Northson had, at one go, trained all the way to the middle Wanxiang stage. Even in the Black-White College, this was incredibly rare!
The unspoken rule of the Black-White College was that masters would not give their disciples too many treasures; instead, they would provide guidance to them. The College would place those special Ki Refining techniques and divine abilities in the vault, and as the disciples rose in power, for example reaching the ‘Dao Domain’ level, they would then be able to go acquire those techniques.
Even though a mountain of gold or a silver was right there in front of them, the disciples were to go dig for them themselves. Only then would they acquire them. Divine abilities, secret arts; they were all there. However, had to train in earnest and make improvements before acquiring them.
If one didn’t have to work hard and didn’t make any improvements, and yet still received everything one wanted? This would result in a useless, hedonistic son of rich parents. Thus, the unspoken rule.
A master could help, could guide, could lead by the hand. But the disciple had to go out and struggle for himself! It was extremely rare for someone like Daoist Jadefine to give five hundred kilograms of liquefied elemental essence to a disciple. However, that was also the limit of Daoist Jadefine’s doting on Northson; in other aspects, such as in handing out black-white pellets, she didn’t wantonly give him things.
“Right.” Northson nodded. “Senior apprentice-brother, go back to your own place for now. I’ll go visit Master, then make some preparations…tomorrow, I’ll come seek you out, senior apprentice-brother. We’ll head out tomorrow morning and leave the Black-White College.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded. Northson immediately produced the Azure Dragon construct out of nowhere. Boarding it, he rapidly soared into the skies and disappeared.
“Junior apprentice-brother Northson has gone to visit his master.” Ning boarded his own flying boat, soaring into the skies. As he did so, he turned to glance towards Immortal Diancai’s residence.
“Master. Your disciple definitely will not let you down.”