Book 14, Return to the Grand Xia, Chapter 5 – The Number One Assassin’s Guild of the Grand Xia
At the very peak of a grand mountain, there lay an ancient tower.
A gray-robed figure was advancing towards the toward at high speed, like a streak of light.
The entrance to the tower was guarded by a pair of black-armored guards. These two guards stretched out their arms, barring the entrance. One of them growled, “This is a restricted area. No access permitted.”
“I’ve come per the orders of the clan leader. I have important news to report to the Patriarch.” The gray-robed man respectfully handed forward a hidebound scroll.
“Mm.” One of the guards accepted the scroll, then entered the tower. As for the gray-robed man, he respectfully, quietly departed.
The first floor of the tower. A tall, skinny elder with long, narrow eyes was seated silently in the lotus position; it was Celestial Immortal Arcanum of the Youngflame clan.
“Patriarch.” The black-armored warrior entered, saluted respectfully, then offered the scroll with both hands.
Patriarch Arcanum opened his eyes. Waving his hand, he caused the hidebound scroll to fly to him, then calmly instructed, “Leave me.”
“Yes.” The black-armored guard hurriedly departed, once more taking up silent guard outside the entrance to the tower. He had been standing outside this tower for more than a hundred million years now; ever since he had been created, he had spent the majority of his life guarding this tower.
Whoosh. Patriarch Arcanum unfurled the scroll, calmly looking at its contents.
“Mm?” Patriarch Arcanum frowned. “That brat, Ji Ning, has returned? And not just him; even his spirit-beasts have returned, and both have actually reached the early Void level.”
No one doubted that Ning had the ability to reach the Void level. After all, even before the Conclave had begun, Ning’s Primaltwin, at the peak Primal Daoist level, had been able to kill a Loose Immortal. It was very normal for Ning to become an Earth Immortal after thirty years. But for both his spirit-beasts to reach the Void level and become Earth Immortals…this was very abnormal.
This was because humans had a much higher level of comprehension than monsters. For the two spirit-beasts to both become Void-level Earth Immortals clearly meant that they had already surpassed the level of comprehension necessary of Earth Immortals! Even though Whitewater Hounds and Azure Skysnakes were Godbeasts, logically speaking, they shouldn’t be able to train at such a pace! Monsters were innately slow at training. For them to train so quickly…they must have encountered some sort of unique fortune!
“It seems that during his thirty-year disappearance, this Ji Ning must have had a stroke of luck.” Cold light flashed through Patriarch Arcanum’s long, narrow eyes.
“Everyone.” Patriarch Arcanum suddenly called out, his voice passing through the void and entering another space.
His voice echoed within this other space.
A black fog door appeared not too far away from Patriarch Arcanum. Four figures emerged from the black fog door. There was a handsome youth, an ancient elder, a big fellow who carried a large clock with one hand, and a wizened, white-haired elder whose eyes were shut.
The four walked over, then sat down in the lotus position.
“Arcanum, why have you called for us?” The handsome youth asked calmly.
“What important matter has occurred, for you to call the four of us over?” The man holding the golden clock said in a low voice.
The other two were silent.
All of them were Celestial Immortal Patriarchs; they were the true pillars of the Youngflame clan! Because of the dangerous undercurrents currently flowing within the world of the Grand Xia, even Celestial Immortals like them were being very cautious. All five of them, Patriarch Arcanum included, were stationed here and guarding this divine tower.
“Everyone, take a look.” Patriarch Arcanum waved his hand, and the hidebound scroll flew out to levitate in midair.
The four Celestial Immortals all took a look, and the wizened elder with closed eyes swept it within his coresense as well.
“That Ji Ning is back?”
All of them frowned.
Naturally, they all knew Ji Ning’s name. During the previous Conclave of Immortal Destiny, they weren’t yet aware of how special it was, but after its conclusion…the Grand Xia world began to be filled with dangerous undercurrents. In fact, a storm was about to burst upon the entire Three Realms…and so they understood that a great tribulation was about to come to pass.
As they saw it, an enormous storm like this might be easily overcome by True Gods or Daofathers, but things would be dangerous for Celestial Immortals like them. During every single previous storm, large numbers of Celestial Immortals had perished.
“The Three Realms are in a turbulent state. That previous Conclave will most likely have given birth to future major powers of the Three Realms. Two competitors in that Conclave became disciples of Daofathers!” Patriarch Arcanum growled, “And this Ji Ning; he became the champion of that Conclave. He disappeared in a mysterious fashion for thirty years, but didn’t become apprenticed to any of the Immortals or Fiends of the Crimsonbright League. And now, even his two spirit-beasts have both become Void-level Earth Immortals! Without question…during the past thirty years, this Ji Ning has had a tremendous stroke of luck!”
“He probably became apprenticed to one of the major forces of the Three Realms.”
The other four Patriarchs all nodded in agreement.
“He is a survivor of the Yuchi clan. Our Youngflame clan wiped out their entire lineage. His mother was named Yuchi Snow; all of Yuchi Snow’s kinsmen died in the hands of our Youngflame clansmen. This Ji Ning hates our Youngflame clan, without question,” Patriarch Arcanum said. “What’s more, our Youngflame clan even sent a Loose Immortal Deathsworn to assassinate him. It is most likely going to be very hard to resolve this enmity between us!”
“I had originally thought that he would become apprenticed to a True Immortal or Empyrean God under the command of Daofather Crimsonbright, but unexpectedly he did not.” Patriarch Arcanum said excitedly, “If he had become apprenticed to Sword Immortal Evergreen, then for the sake of giving the Sword Immortal face, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to act. Now, however, we have nothing to worry about. Even if he became apprenticed to an expert of the Three Realms…that expert is not a member of the Crimsonbright League! He has no authority over us!”
“Thus, I feel…that we need to eradicate him as soon as possible! While he is merely a Void-level Earth Immortal, we need to eradicate him!” Patriarch Arcanum was extremely forceful in his words.
“A pity we don’t know who his master is.”
“Who cares who his master is? As long as he isn’t of our Crimsonbright League, what have we to worry about?”
The various major powers of the Three Realms were like local hegemons that dominated a specific region. It was very sommon for the Fiends and Immortals under their command to fight against and slaught each other…and generally, the major powers wouldn’t intervene, so long as other major powers also didn’t intervene. The major powers would generally all be quite calm in watching those of the younger generation do battle.
Even when disciples died…the only thing that could be said was that their skills were insufficient.
Struggles and battles within the Three Realms were very common! Thus, as Patriarch Arcanum and the others saw it, Ning joining the Crimsonbright League would actually be much more troublesome; after all, that would mean they were all on the same side, and Ning’s master would be able to easily deal with them.
Since Ning had not joined the Crimsonbright League…things had become much easier for Patriarch Arcanum and the others.
“We have nothing to worry about, but it’s best to be cautious. I feel as though we need to figure out who his master is! The Three Realms have a number of madmen who are extremely protective of their disciples, and quite a few have even assaulted the Celestial Court in the past. One of them might just be willing to take revenge upon us for killing his disciple,” the handsome youth said.
“Sunfish’s words are reasonable.”
“Ji Ning’s master dared to abscond with him, giving our Crimsonbright League no face. I imagine his master…truly is an extremely audacious fellow.”
Patriarch Arcanum, hearing the words of his peers, couldn’t help but frown. “What are you afraid of? First of all, there’s very few madmen who would be truly willing to assault the territory of our Crimsonbright League; I refuse to believe that one of them just so happens to be his master. Secondly…even if one of them is, given the state of chaos the Three Realms are in, who would dare to act rashly in a time like this, even if they would do so normally?”
“Arcanum’s words are reasonable, but as I see it, we should invite the Bloodcloud Hall to do it,” said the wizened elder whose eyes remained closed this entire time.
Instantly, the room fell silent.
“Ask the Bloodcloud Hall?”
“That’s going to cost quite a price.”
“I imagine the Bloodcloud Hall will ask quite a bit.”
Patriarch Arcanum, on the other hand, actually nodded. “Drywood’s words are correct. Since everyone is worried about the mysterious master behind Ji Ning, then let us have the Bloodcloud Hall act instead. When they take on missions, they swear oaths to the Dao of the Heavens not to reveal anything; they won’t let anyone know that it was us who asked them to do it. Spending a bit of treasure to buy some peace of mind…I feel that it is worth it!”
“Fine. I agree.”
“Right. It’s best to invite the Bloodcloud Hall; we can just consider it as us using some treasure to purchase Ji Ning’s life.”
“It’s settled, then.”
“Patriarch, you handle this matter.”
Patriarch Arcanum nodded lightly. Naturally, he wouldn’t decline. That very day, he quietly left this tower and headed to the Bloodcloud Hall.
Deep within an enormous mountain that stretched hundreds of thousands of kilometers.
Patriarch Arcanum arrived within a mountain gorge, holding an insignia. The mist within the gorge swirled everywhere, but deep within it, a large, tall teleportation tower could be seen.
“This way, please.” There was a member of the Bloodcloud Hall standing there, looking at Patriarch Arcanum.
With a single step, Patriarch Arcanum entered the grand teleportation array. The teleportation tower then lit up, and swoosh! Patriarch Arcanum disappeared.
“Eh?” Patriarch Arcanum stood atop the clouds. Here, atop the clouds, there was another towering teleportation array.
Patriarch Arcanum stared into the distance. He saw a vast, endless sea of blood-colored clouds, and the faint outlines of a building hidden deep within it.
“That’s the Bloodcloud Hall?” Patriarch Arcanum felt startled.
The Bloodcloud Hall…
This was an extremely mysterious power. It had suddenly appeared thirty years ago, and it had handed these insignias to all of the major powers of the Grand Xia world. Only supreme powers of the likes of the Northmont clan of Stillwater or the Youngflame clan were qualified to receive these insignias. As for powers on the level the Black-White College, they weren’t even qualified to know about the Bloodcloud Hall’s existence.
By relying on the insignia, one could go to some mysterious places, then be teleported to a completely different world. Bloodcloud Hall was within this mysterious world.
No one knew there the Bloodcloud Hall was actually located!
“As long as one is willing to pay the price, any Immortal or Fiend in the world of the Grand Xia aside from the Xia Emperor can be assassinated by our Bloodcloud Hall!” These were the bold words issued forth by the Bloodcloud Hall. And indeed, they truly did have tremendous, terrifying power; during the past thirty short years, they had already assassinated more than ten Celestial Immortal Patriarchs!
Bloodcloud Hall had thus become acknowledged by all the supreme powers as the ‘numer one assassin’s guild of the Grand Xia’.
Bloodcloud Hall also protected its customers’ information, to the point of even swearing oaths to the Dao of the Heavens to not leak any of it at all.
Patriarch Arcanum was quickly led to a quiet flower garden. Although he was led here, Patriarch Arcanum wasn’t sure about the path he had taken. “This Bloodcloud Hall must be an enormous, powerful estate-type magic treasure. Space within it is in a state of flux, and so I cannot determine the true pattern within it.”
Within theflower garden.
A silver-robed maiden was seated opposite of Patriarch Arcanum. Between the two of them lay a stone table, with a scroll placed atop it. The scroll was their contract.
“Kill Ji Ning?” The silver-robed maiden said softly, “He was the champion of the Conclave of Immortal Destiny. He disappeared for thirty years; he was most likely taken by a True Immortal or Empyrean God as a disciple. In fact, there’s a sliver of a chance that it was a Daofather who took on a genius like him for a disciple. His Primaltwin was able to defeat a Loose Immortal all those years ago; I imagine his power must be much, much higher now. He might even be comparable to a Loose Immortal who has lived for a million years.”
“Are you taking the mission or not?” Patriarch Arcanum growled.
“We are. Of course we are.” The silver-robed woman laughed calmly. “As long as you are willing to pay the price.”
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