Book 14, Return to the Grand Xia, Chapter 22 – The Curtain Call?
Ji Ning stood there in midair, commanding the flows of his Nightriver.
“Eh?” Ning’s face suddenly changed. He saw mountain peaks begin to levitate into the air in every direction. A total of nine mountains levitated upwards, each one covered with colossal, fiery red runes. Ning’s pupils contracted as he stared at them. “Using mountain peaks as formation-foundations…refining entire mountains into magic treasures…then joining them together into a formation?”
Ning wasn’t completely ignorant of formations. He understood them, and he knew that given how much effort had gone into this formation, this one was definitely an absolutely top-notch formation. Perhaps it was slightly weaker than the supremely ferocious killing formations of Swallow Mountain, but it was still most likely capable of threatening the lives of Celestial Immortals. As to exactly how strong it was…he would only know when he personally experienced it.
“Where did these assassins come from, for them to possess such powerful tools?” Ning still had no idea who exactly was trying to kill him.
He had some suspicions, but he wasn’t completely confident.
The nine levitating mountains that lined the horizons were suddenly connected by a streak of runic light. It was as though chain links were joining the mountain peaks together. Soon, the countless fiery runes began to flow together into a cycle, causing the nine mountain peaks to join together into one.
The Ba-Serpent, which had been battling against Ning this entire time, suddenly retreated and attempted to flee.
“You want to leave?” Ning, who had been battling in close combat against the Ba-Serpent for quite some time now, immediately let out a loud roar. “If I’m going to be attacked by this formation, then you can forget about leaving!” Ning immediately used the [Obscuring Wind of the Nine Heavens], moving at a much faster speed and instantly catching up to the Ba-Serpent. Ning immediately transformed into a three hundred meter tall giant, then plopped his butt down directly down onto the body of Ba-Serpent while grabbing onto its body.
No matter how the Ba-Serpent tried to struggle, and no matter how it tried to swing its tail, Ning kept a firm lock on it.
“If this grand formation is going to attack me, then I insist on us getting a taste of it together.” Ning roared loudly with arrogant laughter, his hair wild and unbound.
“This is troublesome.”
“Captain, this Ji Ning is too fast; the Ba-Serpent isn’t able to shake him off. He’s now seated firmly atop the Ba-Serpent’s body. When the formation attacks, we’ll probably be hit as well.”
“This killing formation the Eastwoods Sect is using is the ‘Divine Venomflame of the Nine Heavens Cauldron’; there’s no way we can withstand that.”
“Don’t panic. The general won’t act recklessly; he’ll definitely perfectly control the Cauldron and focus its power on Ji Ning. Just a small amount might end up hitting the Ba-Serpent,” the captain sent back.
Just as the members of Bloodcloud Hall were chatting amongst themselves, a vortex of flame began to appear in the air.
This flame was composed of two different colors. The flames were jade-green in color, but at the center was a violet flame!
Rumble…the flames continuously swirled, and the more they swirled, the more enormous they became. Soon, they reached the maximum size that could be supported by this formation, having become an enormous, mountain-sized conflagration. Crackling sounds could be heard within this conflagration; the sound came from the violet flames in the center, where flashing lightning could be seen.
Ning rode atop the Ba-Serpent, controlling the river while doing so. He raised his head. “So it is the Divine Venomflame of the Nine Heavens…”
He was of the Mount Innerheart League, after all; after having spent so much time on the mountain, he had naturally reviewed all of the publicly available ‘common knowledge’. He knew what the Divine Venomflame of the Nine Heavens was…it was a type of fire that was on the level of ‘truefire’ in terms of power. However…because it was too evil and chaotic, mixing too many different types of energy, there was no way an Immortal could nurture and cultivate this sort of fire within the body.
The mountain-sized conflagration began to crash downwards.
The Ba-Serpent struggled frantically, but Ning rode atop the Ba-Serpent’s back, not letting it escape at all.
The flames of the conflagration completely enveloped Ning. However, the flames were extremely agile; under the control of the nine Fiendguards, they only surrounded Ning, allowing the Ba-Serpent to escape virtually unscathed. But of course, Ning was striving against the Ba-Serpent, trying to pull it into contact with the flames.
“Hahaha, this Divine Venomflame of the Nine Heavens is quite hot, quite scorching. It feels just like taking a nice, warm bath in hot water.” Ning, bathed in flames, looked just like a Fiendgod. Roaring with laughter, the Ba-Serpent still in his clutches, he said, “Come, come, come, let’s bathe together!”
“How can this be?!”
Both the forces of Bloodcloud Hall and the silver-armored general were all completely stupefied.
The silver-armored general was truly stunned. “He is actually using his body to resist it…he didn’t dodge or hide into his Immortal estate?” He had thought that Ning would hide within his Immortal estate; upon Ning doing so, Bloodcloud Hall’s forces would instantly tear apart space, immediately delivering it to a rather ‘dangerous location’. Within the Three Realms, there were naturally some extremely terrifying places; thus, after hiding into a mobile Immortal estate, one had to immediately use a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal. Otherwise, once one was shoved into one of the danger zones of the Three Realms, one would almost assuredly perish.
“Not even the Divine Venomflame of the Nine Heavens can harm him?” The nearby black-robed youngster was stunned as well. “How can this be? That’s the Divine Venomflame of the Nine Heavens!”
“Why can’t it be?” The silver-armored youth said in a low voice, “Don’t you see it happening before your very eyes?”
The nearby Big Han and the Eastwoods sect leader were both similarly stunned.
The Eastwoods sect leader gave an envious glance towards Ji Ning, who appeared like one of the invincible Fiendgods of legend. To him, both the Ba-Serpent and the terrifying Venomflame both seemed like naught but toys; they weren’t able to do anything to him.
“Is it a protective treasure? Or a protective divine ability?” The silver-armored youth stared into the flames, towards Ning, who was covered by faint golden light. “It is almost inconceivable for a protective item to be able to last for this long…but then again, perhaps a Daofather has given him a particularly unique treasure. But if he’s using a divine ability…I imagine the only possibility is the legendary [Eight-Nine Arcane Art].”
“If it’s the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]…the implications are terrifying. Only very, very few True Gods and Daofathers of the Three Realms possess it…and they will generally only transmit it to their personal disciples.” The silver-armored youth was secretly rather shocked.
Within the Three Realms, the True Gods and Daofathers were all scattered into various regions where they ruled like local hegemons. But even amongst their ranks, only very, very few were in possession of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]. The vast majority of True Gods and Daofathers, such as Grand Emperor Xuanwu or Daofather Crimsonbright, simply didn’t have the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], much less teach it to disciples. Thus, very few individuals in the Three Realms were in possession of this divine ability.
Only a personal disciple of a supreme Daofather could possibly possess this divine ability!
“Even if it is ‘just’ a protective treasure…someone capable of giving away a marvelous treasure such as this must have a terrifyingly great background,” the silver-armored youth mused to himself.
“Fiendguards, since you are unable to injure Ji Ning, then go ahead and disperse the Venomflame!” The silver-armored youth immediately sent the mental order.
“Yes.” The nine Fiendguards instantly assented to the order.
Right away, the nine mountains that were hovering in the skies began to call back their runes as they began to sink downwards to their original location.
“Earthnine,” the silver-armored youth sent mentally.
“General,” Earthnine sent back.
“Even this killing formation of mine is unable to do anything to Ji Ning. I’m giving up. As to whatever Bloodcloud Hall plans to do, I can’t be bothered to interfere,” the silver-armored youth sent.
Earthnine immediately sent back, “Understood. This mission is nowhere close to being worth a mere three top-grade Immortal-ranked magic treasures. Even ten wouldn’t be enough. I won’t bother you with this matter anymore, General. I have no other choices left, just the final option.”
“Mm.” The silver-armored youth assented.
Ning rode atop the body of the Ba-Serpent, watching as the Divine Venomflames of the Nine Heavens dissipated. He couldn’t help but laugh; he knew long ago how powerful the flames were, and knew that his physical body was absolutely capable of ignoring those flames.
“Tell me, who are you people? Who told you to come assassinate me?” Ning barked. “If you tell me, I’ll release you. Otherwise…I’ll keep messing around with you. Although it’s hard for me to escape this formation, you’ll be trapped here alongside me.”
“Ji Ning, I admit that you are formidable, but…threaten us? Hmph!”
The Ba-Serpent spoke out in the human tongue, then suddenly flew off into the distance.
Ning rode atop the body of the Ba-Serpent, following its movements.
Trapped within this formation, Ning would probably have to rely on a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal to escape. However, if he kept a firm grip on the Ba-Serpent…unless the Ba-Serpent was willing to remain within the formation as well, once it left, Ning would be able to go out with it. This was the reason why Ning kept such a firm grip on the serpent.
Whooosh. The Ba-Serpent flew forward, flying through mountain forests as many formations automatically parted before it.
The massive Ba-Serpent suddenly disappeared into nowhere as the twelve white-robed figures re-appeared. The leader, the white-robed man with a bloody scar, waved his hand to collect all of the other eleven, then immediately flew towards a nearby location in front of him, his movements lightning-fast. On the ground in front of him, there was a pitch-black, fog-covered cave.
When the Ba-Serpent disappeared, the white-robed man was already quite close to the entrance of the cave, and so he instantly charged into it.
Swoosh. Ning charged after the white-robed man, but a few meters away from the cavern entrance, he came to a sudden halt.
“Eh?” Ning stared at the black, foggy cavern entrance before him.
The entrance wasn’t that large, and it appeared quite ordinary. However…there was no way he could tell exactly what was within the cave. He couldn’t sense the aura of the white-robed man within it at all either.
“It seems…this cave is rather mysterious.” Ning stood in front of the cave, hesitating. Because he couldn’t sense any auras at all from the entrance, he had no idea what was inside.
The Ba-Serpent had fled, but Ji Ning had remained atop the Ba-Serpent’s back. After the Ba-Serpent was dispersed, the forces of Bloodcloud Hall had all fled into the black cave. All of these things were seen by the silver-armored youth, the black-robed youngster, Big Han, and the others.
“So the forces of Bloodcloud Hall truly did use their ‘final option’.” The black-robed youngster had used a divine ability, causing spots of starlight to appear within his eyes. He could clearly see to a great distance. “I wonder if this Ji Ning will enter or not. If he enters, then he will definitely die.”
“True Immortals or Empyrean Gods might survive if they go in, but as for this Ji Ning…no matter how powerful his protective treasure is and no matter how formidable he is, he’ll definitely die,” the silver-armored youth said. “Of the Celestial Immortals who were killed by Bloodcloud Hall, quite a few died after they foolishly chased the Bloodcloud Hall assassins all the way into the cave.”
This cave entrance…
Was in reality a portal.
It led to a very mysterious place, a place that was countless times more dangerous than the Eastwoods mountain range.
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