Book 14, Return to the Grand Xia, Chapter 23 – Celestial Immortal
Ji Ning stared at the black, foggy cave entrance in front of him for a moment, hesitating. This clearly was no ordinary cave. Neither his divine sense nor his [Torch-Dragon’s Eye] and other senses were able to discover anything about the cave at all! However…Ning truly wanted to know who it was who was trying to kill him!
“The world of the Grand Xia is currently filled with dangerous undercurrents; it’s best to be cautious. It’s best if I don’t go into unknown places.” The reason why Ning had acted so arrogantly and brashly earlier was because everything was under control…but the depths of this black cave were beyond his understanding.
Ning instantly departed from this region, but he was still surrounded by layers of formations.
Ning casually chose a mountain peak at random, sitting down in the lotus position atop it, then laughed loudly, “If you have any other abilities, use them to your heart’s content! If you don’t attack me…I’m going to use my Greater Teleportation Dao-seal to leave now.”
His voice echoed within the skies, but no one came to attack him.
“It isn’t the time to leave yet,” Ning mused to himself. “Master is still undergoing his tribulation in that minor world. If the assassins wish to continue to assault me and lose track of me, they’ll probably go back to that minor world. I might as well stay here then!”
“Master, he didn’t go in,” the black-robed youngster said.
“Because he’s not an idiot,” the silver-armored youth said, shaking his head. “The Celestial Immortals who went in previously were all overconfident; they felt that their power was more than enough to ensure that they would survive. But how could they have known…that the tunnel leads to one of our true headquarters. Even True Immortals or Empyrean Gods would at most be able to escape with their lives from that place.”
Both the black-robed youth and Big Han nodded. They had both been there before; they naturally knew exactly how terrifying that place was. As their headquarters…it was naturally far more dangerous than this Eastwoods mountain range.
“Master, Ji Ning is in our formation. Shall we attack him?” Big Han asked.
“What’s the point of attacking him?” The silver-armored youth looked towards him.
Big Han laughed awkwardly. “There’s no point to us attacking him, but if you were to attack, Master, wouldn’t you be able to easily capture him?”
“Stop flattering me,” the silver-armored youth snickered. “I, your master, know my own limits. This Ji Ning is quite mysterious; his protective abilities alone are enough to ensure that all of you weren’t able to do anything to him with your many frenzied attacks. Even the Divine Venomflame of the Nine Heavens was unable to injure him. Although I dislike Bloodcloud Hall, they aren’t weak…and yet even squad Earthnine in their Ba-Serpent Formation was unable to harm him in the slightest! I’m not able to kill him.”
Big Han just chortled. He knew that his master tended to be very low-key…but that his master was in truth enormously powerful. More than ten Celestial Immortals had died to his master’s hand!
The silver-armored youth quietly stared at the distant Ning, speculating internally, “This Ji Ning’s background must be significant. If he trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]…then his background must be utterly shocking! I wonder whose disciple he is?”
“When divinities battle, mortals suffer. Compared to those major powers…people like me are like mortals, while they are divinities.”
“Low-key. Stay low-key.” The silver-armored youth had lived for a very long time, and had experienced very many things. Thus, he knew very well…
That Celestial Immortals might seem to be very powerful, but in the context of the entire Three Realms, they were actually nothing more than chess pieces. There were many danger zones that could cause Celestial Immortals to perish. Someone like Ji Ning, who had such a terrifying background…
True, if he killed Ji Ning, any Daofather behind Ji Ning most likely wouldn’t lower himself to act against a Celestial Immortal like the silver-armored man. After all, for a Celestial Immortal to kill someone like Ji Ning wouldn’t be considered a strong person bullying a much weaker person. But there were some madmen in the Three Realms who were wholly unreasonable, and who would fly into a rage and seek vengeance for any slain disciples!
“Although there are very few such madmen…perhaps one of Ji Ning’s uncle-masters or fellow apprentices number such a madman amongst them,” the silver-armored youth mumbled to himself. “It wasn’t easy for me to stay alive for so long; I endured countless dangers before becoming a Celestial Immortal. I plan to survive this storm. Careful. Have to be careful; that’s more important than anything else!”
“Master, then are we going to just let Ji Ning stay in the formation? Should we…?” Big Han looked towards the silver-armored youth.
“Just keep him trapped within the formation. If Bloodcloud Hall wishes to continue their assassination, let them. We won’t participate any further,” the silver-armored man said calmly. “If he wants to use a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal to leave, there’s nothing we can do about that! As for attacking him? Forget it. Attacking him is a waste of elemental ki.”
“Yes,” Big Han assented respectfully.
Time passed, one day after the other.
The third day after the failure of the assassination attempt. Patriarch Arcanum was once more invited to Bloodcloud Hall. He was brought to that secluded garden once more, and it was still that same silver-robed maiden who welcomed him.
“How’d it go?” Patriarch Arcanum sat down, looking at the silver-robed youth facing him. “Did you kill Ji Ning?”
“No.” The silver-robed maiden shook her head.
“No?!” Patriarch Arcanum was shocked…and then enraged. “I’ve already given you the treasures, so you should go and kill him. If you weren’t able to kill him in your first wave of attacks, you should send out a second wave. In short…you should do what you promised and ensure that you kill him within the year. As for how you accomplish it? I don’t give a damn. But you need to do what you promised! This was a deal! My Youngflame clan has paid the price; you need to hold up to your end of the bargain.”
The silver-robed maiden nodded. “Your words are correct.”
Patriarch Arcanum was startled.
“Per our contract, if Bloodcloud Hall is unable to accomplish the mission, then we are to return your treasures to you.” The silver-robed maiden produced a storage ring. “This is what you gave to me previously; everything is here. Bloodcloud Hall lost money on this deal, but we’re still giving you everything back.”
“You…you…” Patriarch Arcanum couldn’t believe it.
A contract was a contract. If the assassination couldn’t be carried out, then the treasures would have to be repaid! This was something Bloodcloud Hall prided themselves on…but they rarely actually did this.
“Is Ji Ning very hard to kill?” Patriarch Arcanum frowned.
“If we truly had to kill him, Bloodcloud Hall could indeed do it.” The silver-robed maiden nodded.
“Then why don’t you?!” Patriarch Arcanum asked.
“The price isn’t high enough.” The silver-robed maiden looked towards Patriarch Arcanum.
“What’s the needed price?”
“Twenty top-grade Immortal-ranked magic treasures,” the silver-robed maiden said. “If you pay this price in treasures, Bloodcloud Hall will go and kill Ji Ning. We erred in our estimation of his power, and so we set too low a price last time.”
Patriarch Arcanum’s face turned completely crimson with rage. “Why don’t you just go ahead and rob me?! You dare to name a price of twenty top-grade Immortal-ranked treasures? That’s equivalent to two Pure Yang treasures! That’s enough to invite even a True Immortal or Empyrean God to come and help out! How dare you name such a price?!” This price was indeed quite excessive; it would pose an enormous burden towards the Youngflame clan.
“Invite a True Immortal or Empyrean God?” The silver-robed maiden chuckled. “Go ahead and give it a try. Let’s see who would be willing to kill Ji Ning for you.”
Patriarch Arcanum gritted his teeth.
He knew very well that the more powerful an expert was, the more cautious they tended to be. Perhaps a Celestial Immortal killing Ji Ning wouldn’t be considered a strong person bullying a much weaker person, but a True Immortal or Empyrean God killing him definitely would be. If there truly was a Daofather standing behind Ji Ning…
If the Daofather was able to discover what was happening and was able to rescue Ji Ning before he died, things wouldn’t be too bad; the Daofather would at most teach the offender a lesson! But if the Daofather didn’t make it in time, or if he found out only after Ji Ning died…in his rage, the Daofather might truly go and slaughter the True Immortal or Empyrean God in question!
How many True Immortals or Empyrean Gods would be willing to risk their lives for the sake of two low-grade Pure Yang treasures?
“There should be some powerful Celestial Immortals that can kill Ji Ning, right?” Patriarch Arcanum growled.
“If you wish to invite Bloodcloud Hall to assassinate Ji Ning, then please hand over twenty top-grade Immortal-ranked magic treasures, or treasures of an equivalent value. If you aren’t willing, then please leave. Our business is concluded,” the silver-robed maiden said.
Patriarch Arcanum ground his teeth. Twenty…
Suppressing his anger, Patriarch Arcanum asked in a growl, “How powerful is Ji Ning?”
“You want to know?” The silver-robed maiden said, “This is a bit of valuable intelligence. If you are willing to return the storage ring and its contents to me, I can tell you.”
“Hmph!” Angered, Patriarch Arcanum rose to his feet, turned, and left.
What a joke.
An intelligence report worth three top-grade Immortal-ranked magic treasures?
After watching Patriarch Arcanum leave, the silver-robed maiden shook her head. “You idiotic fool. If you ask Bloodcloud Hall to kill Ji Ning, all you need to do was pay us enough treasures. But if you want to do it yourselves? Even if you were to summon your ancient Patriarch who first arose in the Fiendgod Era, and even if he was able to kill Ji Ning when using all his power…the price you would pay would be a price vastly beyond what your clan is capable of withstanding.”
“Master wouldn’t lie to me. He’s suspected of having learned the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]! Not even Master was qualified to learn such a technique.” The silver-robed maiden was stunned by this bit of news.
From the detailed intelligence report they had gained from their assassination attempt, Ji Ning either had an unearthly powerful protective item or had trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]! Either possibility had tremendous, extraordinary implications.
Bloodcloud Hall specialized in carrying out extraordinary tasks. If the price was high enough, they would still dare to kill Ji Ning!
Time passed, one day after the other.
Within the minor world. The scorched, cracked, barren earth here would cause any who saw it to feel despair towards life.
“Why hasn’t Master woken up yet?” The black-robed Ning stared at the nearby Immortal Diancai.
“The demonheart tribulation will last for at least seven days, but at most…it’s hard to say.” Immortal Fivecraze shook his head. “Your master has only spent ten days in the demonheart tribulation. Don’t be impatient.”
“Right.” The black-robed Ning nodded.
“And how is your true body doing? Is it in any danger?” Immortal Fivecraze asked, worried. The nearby Whitewater Hound looked towards Ning as well.
The black-robed Ning laughed helplessly. “Don’t worry. I really am not in any danger at all.”
But Immortal Fivecraze and Uncle White couldn’t help but worry. If Ning’s true body truly was completely safe, it would’ve already returned to this minor world. And yet, it hadn’t. What they didn’t realize…was that Ning was intentionally keeping his true body in the Eastwoods mountain range, so as to draw the attention of his foes and prevent disaster from befalling his master.
“Let me out. Ji Ning, Fivecraze, just let me out. You won’t be able to kill me; what’s the point of keeping me trapped here?” Trapped within the formation, the Scion of the Blood God, still within his little black ship, was calling out loudly. He truly felt regret for coming here. Although by relying on his ship, he made it impossible for them to harm him…he was trapped within this formation and unable to escape. He had no idea that the enemy included such a formidable formations expert.
The black-robed Ning, Immortal Fivecraze, and Uncle White couldn’t even be bothered to look at the Scion.
They were just going to keep him locked up in here!
If he was permitted to leave, he might stir up more trouble. It was best to keep him trapped here! That way, they wouldn’t worry about him disrupting Immortal Diancai’s tribulation later.
“Eh?” Suddenly, the black-robed Ning, Fivecraze, and Uncle White all turned their heads to stare at Immortal Diancai, still seated in the lotus position.
Immortal Diancai had already opened his eyes. Within them could be seen two things; infinite ancientness, and a hint of tears.
“Master!” The black-robed Ning called out excitedly.
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