Book 13, Tristar Crescent Abode, Chapter 1 – The Senior Apprentice of the Daofather
Distorted rainbow light could be seen coming from within the torn-open void corridor. The white-robed Lord Jiang led Ji Ning, the Whitewater Hound, and Little Qing in moving through this void corridor.
“Eh?” Ning suddenly revealed a look of surprise, and the nearby Whitewater Hound and Little Qing stared in shock as well. This was because this void corridor’s colors were fluctuating from fiery red that made it look like a tunnel of fire to a watery blue that made it seem as though they were moving through a tunnel of water…and despite flying through this corridor for enough time to boil a kettle of tea, they were still flying.
“Brother Jiang,” Ning immediately asked, “Why have we been flying through this void corridor for so long? Can it be that it normally takes this long to fly through a torn open void tunnel?”
“No.” The white-robed Lord Jiang shook his head. “Normally, to leave a major world, after you rip open the fabric of space you can easily leave the world and enter the infinite void, then use a Greater Teleport and easily arrive at your destination. But the place we are headed to is Master’s Tristar Crescent Abode, the most mysterious place in the entire Three Realms. Ordinary techniques are completely useless in going to Master’s place.”
“Oh.” Ning nodded slightly.
“I’m not the person controlling this void tunnel right now; it is Master who is guiding us in,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said. “Through this void tunnel, we can directly access the Tristar Crescent Abode.”
“How much longer?” Ning look at the void tunnel surrounding him; it had just turned into a completely pitch-black color. The pitch-black tunnel was twisted and distorted as it spiraled forward, causing Ning to feel a vague sense of fear.
He felt as though if he were to be wrapped up into the distorted space, he would be ground to death.
“Soon, soon,” Lord Jiang said with a laugh. Just as his words came out…
Whoosh! A misty world suddenly appeared in front of the void tunnel. The white-robed Lord Jiang, Ji Ning, and the others flew out into the world.
“Here we are!” Lord Jiang stood there in midair, a look of delight on his face. He smiled as he swept the misty world with his gaze.
“This…this is the Tristar Crescent Abode?” Ji Ning stared downwards. What he saw was an infinitely vast world with many cities. He could tell just by looking downwards how vast this world was.
Lord Jiang said, “This is the world which Master established. In terms of size, it’s comparable to the world of the Grand Xia.”
“Comparable to the Grand Xia?” Ning, the Whitewater Hound, and Little Qing all nodded to themselves.
Ning asked, “So the Patriarch personally established this world? According to the legends, formidable figures of the Three Realms are able to establish some smaller worlds of a few tens of thousands of kilometers…but it’s actually possible to establish a world comparable to the world of the Grand Xia in size as well?”
“Haha…the world of the Primordial Era was established by Pangu. Compared to the various ‘major worlds’, it was unfathomably larger,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said, shaking his head and laughing. “Although Master cannot do as Pangu did, he’s still able to establish an estate-world that is comparable to the Grand Xia in size.”
“This estate-world is completely separate from the outside world. It has its own cycle of reincarnation, and a miniature Netherworld Kingdom. After dying, the souls of the world will be reborn into this world anew,” Lord Jiang said with a laugh. “This estate world is actually a miniature version of the Primordial World of Pangu; it is completely outside the structure of the Three Realms. Thus, not even other major powers can enter it.”
Ning, the Whitewater Hound, and Little Qing were all secretly stunned. Completely outside the structure of the Three Realms…a completely stand-alone cycle of reincarnation…
Major powers truly were incredible!
“Mount Innerheart is at the very center of this estate-world.” Lord Jiang pointed towards the distance. “Right over there.”
Ning, the Whitewater Hound, and Little Qing all raised their heads to look. Indeed, they could vaguely make out the outlines of a mountain that was hovering in the skies.
“Let’s go.” The white-robed Lord Jiang led Ning and the others to fly out. The hovering mountains grew closer and closer, and one could even make out the fairy cranes and running beasts around it.
Whoosh. Lord Jiang, Ji Ning, and the others flew to the very top of the mountain, landing atop a mountain path. “If we follow this path to the very top, we shall reach the place where Master trains in the Dao and teaches his disciples,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said. Ning and the others followed him upwards.
The mountain path winded up the mountain, but fortunately there were stone steps to walk on.
After walking a short while, the white-robed Lord Jiang turned and moved onto a well-trodden pathway that led into a mountain forest. “Ji Ning, come with me to meet our eldest apprentice-brother.”
“Eldest apprentice-brother?” Ning felt slightly puzzled, but he followed the white-robed Lord Jiang deep into the forest.
“He was the very first to follow Master. You absolutely must not be disrespectful to him,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said.
“Right.” Ning nodded. As he walked forward, he could just barely make out a voice speaking out.
“A one, a two, a three and a four. A five and a six, a seven and an eight, a nine and a ten…now fall down!” As the bright voice rang out, a ‘crunch’ sound could be heard, followed by a rumble…
The white-robed Lord Jiang and Ning moved quite quickly. As they moved closer to the sound of the voice, they saw an enormous tree fall down. Through the other trees, Ning could just barely make out the figure of a woodcutter dressed in grass shoes and a grass hat. The woodcutter’s skin was swarthy and dark, but he was dressed quite simply.
The white-robed Lord Jiang walked over. “Eldest-apprentice brother.”
“Eldest apprentice-brother?” Ning was flabbergasted. This woodcutter? He was their eldest apprentice-brother?
The woodcutter in front of him appeared very ordinary and was dressed in a very ordinary manner as well. Ning’s judgment was quite astute by now, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t see anything special about the tattered grass shoes or raggedy clothes; they seemed to be ordinary clothes, not magic treasures.
And…no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t sense any presence or aura stemming from this woodcutter at all. In fact, Ning didn’t even feel the slightest hint of danger emanating from him. No matter from what angle Ning inspected him, this woodcutter seemed like an ordinary mortal!
“Whew.” The woodcutter rested his hatchet over his shoulder, straightened his waist, then turned and said with a laugh, “Haha, so it’s Lord Jiang. Why have you come to my place?”
“Per Master’s orders, I went to the world of the Grand Xia to bring our junior apprentice-brother. I’m back now, and I thought I’d bring him over to see you, senior apprentice-brother,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said.
“Junior apprentice-brother?” The woodcutter looked at Ning, looked at him quite carefully. His gaze, however, seemed quite ordinary. It didn’t seem to be the slightest bit penetrating.
“He’s our junior apprentice-brother. His name is Ji Ning, and he is currently just a Wanxiang Adept,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said. “Ji Ning, hurry up and pay your respects to our eldest apprentice-brother.”
“Greetings, eldest apprentice-brother,” Ning said while bowing.
The woodcutter laughed. “I’m just a chopper of firewood. Still, for you to be accepted by Master at such a young age means that Master must value you highly. Master is very good-natured, but you still need to work hard and not disappoint him.”
“Right.” Ning nodded.
“Alright, you can go now, Lord Jiang. Take this Ji Ning to meet Master,” the woodcutter said.
“Alright.” The white-robed Lord Jiang immediately led Ning away.
Back on the main mountain road.
Ning said, puzzled, “Eldest apprentice-brother…he isn’t a mortal, is he?”
When he saw the likes of Lu Dongbin and the Xia Emperor, he could clearly tell how incredible they were. But of course, it was also possible that this was because Lu Dongbin and the others hadn’t retracted their auras! But this woodcutter…no matter how hard Ning tried, he couldn’t sense even the slightest hint of cultivation about him. In fact, the woodcutter even had calluses on his hands, and there was some white hair on his head.
“Of course not,” Lord Jiang said. “From the Primordial Era to the present day, Master has taken in many disciples, and there are even quite a few True Immortals and Empyrean Gods. But in terms of power, eldest apprentice-brother is the undisputed number one! He’s far more powerful than the rest of us.”
“The undisputed number one?” Ning was stunned.
“Right. Only, ever since the destruction of the Primordial World, eldest apprentice-brother has never left this world of the Tristar Crescent Abode,” Lord Jiang said. “This is why there are very, very few people in the Three Realms who know of him.”
Ning couldn’t help but feel stunned. It was only after the destruction of the Primordial World that the three thousand major worlds and the trillion minor worlds were born. An unfathomably long period of time had passed since the creation of the three thousand major worlds, but this eldest apprentice-brother actually had the patience and temperament to never roam the Three Realms? Generally speaking, powerful experts would like to stroll about many of the places of the Three Realms. After all, each of the trillion minor worlds had their own unique aspects, and were quite exciting.
Lu Dongbin, for example, liked to play around in the mortal world. He had left behind his legacy in countless worlds.
The names of many formidable figures had been spread throughout the Three Realms. But eldest apprentice-brother had never left after the destruction of the Primordial World?
“What is his name?” Ning asked.
“Woodcutter,” Lord Jiang said.
“I meant his real name. Or his Daoist title,” Ning said.
“Real name, Daoist title…all I know is that eldest apprentice-brother is referred to as the woodcutter.” Lord Jiang shook his head. “I don’t know anything else. When you are training in the Dao on the mountain, you can come to this mountain forest to train. Perhaps he will see you and be willing to guide you.”
Ning nodded. So the senior disciple under Patriarch Subhuti’s tutelage was actually such a mysterious figure. Ning was quite curious as well.
Soon, Lord Jiang brought Ning to the entrance to the cavern. The entrance had a large stone in front of it, which had three words on it: Tristar Crescent Abode!
By each side of the entrance, there were two azure-robed Dao novitiates. For these two to be assigned to Mount Innerheart meant that they were monstrously talented figures themselves. However, here at Mount Innerheart, they were only viewed as ordinary figures. They were already quite delighted to be chosen as entrance guards.
The two novices respectfully bowed towards Lord Jiang. Lord Jiang was a Pure Yang True Immortal. His rank was extremely high!
“Mm.” Lord Jiang nodded, then brought Ning, the Whitewater Hound, and Little Qing through the entrance. The two novices naturally did not bar his way.
They continued to walk forward into the cavern.
The insides of this Tristar Crescent Abode was quite beautiful and graceful. It had all sorts of fairy cranes and animals. Their auras were all retracted and hidden, but despite that Ning could still sense a tremendous degree of threat and power emanating from them.
The aura of the Tristar Crescent Abode itself was quite calm and peaceful. The various beasts and Diremonsters didn’t have even a hint of a baleful, savage aura at all. They seemed extraordinary docile.
“When the Patriarch takes on disciples, he doesn’t care about their birth or lineage. Thus, aside from humans, even many monsters and Fiendgods have come to learn the Dao from him,” Lord Jiang said with a laugh. “The Patriarch has a particular rule; anyone who comes to Mount Innerheart is forbidden from fighting with the other disciples. If any disciple dares to assault another, the Patriarch will immediately intervene to suppress the fight and shatter his soul!”
“No matter who! Even I am not permitted to act against those various younger generation disciples. If I do, then Master will kill me as well,” Lord Jiang said. “This is an iron rule that no one can violate.”
Ning nodded. No wonder the aura here was so peaceful. So all types of battle were completely forbidden. The Patriarch himself was at the top of the mountain. Who would dare act wildly?
They continued to walk forward. On the path upwards, they heard various greetings, such as ‘Patriarch’, ‘uncle-master’, ‘uncle-master’, ‘Patriarch’, and more. Clearly, Lord Jiang’s status was very high.
“Master is inside.” Lord Jiang pointed to an ordinary-looking Daoist monastery up ahead. There were two more Dao novitiates standing in front of the monastery.
“Uncle-master, the Patriarch instructed us long ago that Ji Ning can be brought straight to him. There’s no need for any report to be made,” one of the novitiates said with a smile.
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