Book 17, Celestial Immortal, Chapter 20 – The Four Ancestors of the River Source
True Immortal Gaudy, Fairy Deadgrass, and the others with them in the air were frozen like sculptures. They couldn’t even blink, and the Empyrean God energy or Pure Yang energy in their bodies had been completely frozen, unable to be activated in the slightest. This sort of feeling, of absolute paralysis, caused Gaudy and the others to feel amazement in their hearts.
“It must be a Daofather.”
“But, but…there’s actually a Daofather on Ji Ning’s Brightheart Island?”
None of them had imagined that their assault would result in them kicking into a steel plate like this! Their Greater Teleport had been quite a lucky one; they had teleport straight to Brightheart Island, and because Brightheart Island wasn’t that large, they had arrived very close to Ji Ning! And in fact, even if their teleportation was a bit off, the formations of Serpentwing Lake would not have been able to resist the likes of True Immortal Gaudy, who had completely mastered the Grand Dao of Qiankun.
But now they realized…they weren’t lucky at all. In fact, their luck was terrible to the extreme!
“Senior.” Both Ji Ning and Yu Wei hurriedly called out respectfully to the man.
“Mm.” The old gardener still hold those gardening shears in his hands as he lazily sauntered over. Upon hearing both Ning and Yu Wei addressing him respectfully as ‘senior’, he nodded. “Good, you know how to be respectful to the elderly.”
Ning and Yu Wei instantly felt speechless.
An exalted Daofather…had first pretended to be a gardener, and now was putting on airs as an old man. He had completely destroyed the image which Ji Ning had of Daofathers in his mind.
“You brats that are hanging up there in the air.” The old gardener raised his head, looking at the fifty-five figures frozen in midair. He immediately said, “You woke this old man up with your yammering. Anything you want to say before you die?”
As soon as he said these words, True Immortal Gaudy and the others in midair suddenly felt as though their mouths could now move.
“We offended you by accident, senior,” True Immortal Gaudy said respectfully.
“Senior, please let us leave,” Fairy Deadgrass said a very soft voice.
The forces of the Seamless Gate were all behaving in an extremely humble manner. However, they had quickly recovered from their initial shock. If this was a Daofather, he probably wouldn’t casually act in a way which might start a war. The Daofathers on both sides were still holding back for now; perhaps this Daofather they had run into might mock them for a bit, but let them live.
As far as they were concerned, the death of an incarnation or a clone wasn’t too big a deal; what really mattered was the important treasures they were carrying. In fact, they had multiple top-grade Pure Yang treasures with them! This was the reason why their incarnations and clones were capable of unleashing such tremendous power. Celestial Immortal Blackheaven had been so enraged that his clone had even brought a Protocosmic spirit-treasure!
“It seems we’ve passed through this latest crisis.” Ning and Yu Wei both let out secret sighs of relief. However…Ning knew very well that the Seamless Gate was so powerful that not even his master, Patriarch Subhuti, would casually act against their minor figures. This Daofather who apparently loved to play games probably wouldn’t act too recklessly either.
“Ji Ning, kid,” the old gardener suddenly called out.
“Senior,” Ning hurriedly said.
“Tell me, should I kill these people?” The old gardener smiled merrily at Ning. “If you say I should, then I’ll kill them. If you say I shouldn’t, I’ll release them. How’s that?”
Ning was stunned.
The fifty-five members of the Seamless Gate in midair were stunned as well.
“It is your prerogative to decide whether or not to kill them, senior,” Ning immediately said. He wouldn’t be so truly presumptuous as to instruct a Daofather in what should be done! If this Daofather was merely jesting with him but didn’t actually want to start a battle, and if Ning said the wrong thing…it would be terrible.
“It seems you still feel a bit suspicious.” The old gardener sighed. “If this old man felt the urge, I’d even kill Lu Dongbin, the precious little darling of the Daoist leader, to say nothing of these people!”
Ning was shocked.
In this instant…the faces of True Immortal Gaudy, Fairy Deadgrass, Celestial Immortal Blackheaven, Empyrean God Threesuns, Empyrean God Beastleave, and Immortal Venomfreak, all still hovering in midair, changed.
“Old Man Yuan?”
“Old Man Yuan?”
They all realized who this person was.
“Senior, are you Old Man Yuan?” True Immortal Gaudy spoke out. In the Three Realms, the only person who referred to himself as ‘this old man’ and who would dare to kill even Lu Dongbin was the low-key, mysterious Old Man Yuan.
“That I am.” The old gardener chortled merrily as he looked at them. “Now…are there any questions in your heart as to whether or not I would dare kill you?”
The forces of the Seamless Gate were stricken with terror. They were no longer able to remain calm, but in their hearts they were cursing. Exalted Old Man Yuan, if you want to kill us, just kill us. Why are you saying so much to us? It seemed as though the legends regarding this man were true; Old Man Yuan really was a crazy old man.
“Old Man Yuan?” Ning revealed a look of surprise as well.
In turn, Yu Wei had learned of some of the Daofathers of the Three Realms from Lu Dongbin.
Although Ning hadn’t gone out of his way to investigate all the True Gods and Daofathers of the Three Realms during his time at Mount Innerheart, the disciples of the Mount Innerheart League would often chit-chat about some of the most supreme True Gods and Daofathers when they were bored. This person, Old Man Yuan, was often mentioned.
Old Man Yuan was also one of the True Gods who had been born from the primordial chaos. However, his comprehension abilities were far superior to Daoist Threelives, and his status was far higher as well. He had long ago mastered a Heavenly Dao and become a Daofather of the Great Firmament! After doing so, his power had reached an utterly ridiculous level. He belonged to neither the Daoist Path, nor to the Buddhist Sangha. He had become a power unto himself, and he himself possessed power overwhelming. He was truly one of the most supreme Daofathers of the Three Realms, and he had two other Daofathers under his tutelage! In addition to that…he had three lifelong friends who were also three incredibly powerful Daofathers.
The four of them were referred to within the Three Realms as the ‘Four Ancestors of the River Source’ 1. The Four Ancestors of the River Source were extremely close friends; they always attacked and retreated in unison. All four of them were incredibly powerful Daofathers, and if one also factored in their various disciples and friends…they would be considered an incredibly powerful force of the Three Realms.
As for Old Man Yuan…he was the most powerful member of the Four Ancestors of the River Source. He was their leader!
How powerful was he, exactly?
No one knew for certain. Some said that Old Man Yuan was, logically speaking, weaker than the two leaders of the Buddhist Sangha and the Daoist Path. Others said that Old Man Yuan should be comparable to those two leaders. In short…this was a crazy, yet terrifyingly powerful old man.
“Damn…” True Immortal Gaudy and the others felt misery in their hearts.
The Three Realms were currently divided into two major alliances.
The likes of Patriarch Subhuti had long ago chosen an alliance…but the Four Ancestors of the River Source had remained neutral. In the end, nobody would be able to avoid getting drawn into the war between these two alliances, but for now, before battle had truly begun…both sides were actively courting the Four Ancestors of the River Source. They had to; the four were simply too powerful. These were not four ordinary Daofathers; all four of them had been born as True Gods of Primordial Chaos, and stood at the very top of power amongst Daofathers. Old Man Yuan, in particular, was one of the utmost supreme major powers of the Three Realms.
If Subhuti dared to kill these fifty-five, the major powers behind the Seamless Gate would probably strike back; they were enemies, after all.
But if Old Man Yuan was the one to kill them…the major powers behind the Seamless Gate definitely wouldn’t intervene. They had been working so hard to have the Four Ancestors of the River Source join them; how would they dare to offend this old man now?
“Now you should realize that I wasn’t joking with you, right?” The old gardener beamed merrily as he looked at Ning. “This old man is going to ask you again; should I kill them? If you say yes, then I’ll kill them.”
Ning no longer hesitated at all. He nodded. “You should.”
“Nice.” The old gardener nodded with satisfaction. “That’s more like it.”
The paralyzed members of the Seamless Gate, still hanging up high in the sky, were filled with terror.
“Begone.” The old gardener casually tossed out his giant gardening shears, sending it flying upwards. This was clearly a pair of ordinary gardening shears; it would probably break apart if one tried to use it to cut an ordinary rock. And yet, it now went flying towards the midair bodies of the True Immortals and Empyrean Gods. Even the clones of such figures would have bodies that were incredibly tough.
It was liking cutting through paper. The body of an Empyrean God was bisected…and then his auras vanished. He was deader than dead.
Snick! Snick! Snick!
True Immortal Gaudy, Fairy Deadgrass, and Immortal Venomfreak were utterly terrified. They repeatedly called out ‘senior!’, but snick, snick, snick…they were still cut to death by the gardening shears. In the blink of an eye, all fifty-five members of the Seamless Gate had been slain. Although the metal shears had moved quite slowly, no major powers had appeared to intervene.
Ning’s eyes lit up as he watched.
Those bastards had actually attacked Ning’s home; it was wonderful to see them killed.
“Oho, although those little minions of the Seamless Gate only sent their clones and incarnations over, they brought a few nice things with them. Three top-grade Pure Yang treasures, and a Protocosmic spirit-treasure.” The old gardener waved his hand, and the items left behind by the deceased members of the Seamless Gate flew forward to levitate in the air before Ji Ning and Yu Wei. “They don’t suit this old man. You take them.”
Yu Wei was stunned as well.
What in the…
After apprenticing himself to Patriarch Subhuti, Ning had been forced to painstakingly adventure through the Crescent world. Thanks to tremendous luck and hard work, he had acquired a single Protocosmic spirit-treasure, the Rahu Bow…and the bowstring had been broken, at that! This Old Man Yuan was even more generous than his own master!
“What, aren’t you willing to accept them?” Old Man Yuan stared.
“I am, I am, I am!” Ning was so frightened, he repeated himself three times. “How would this junior dare to refuse the gift of a senior?” He immediately waved his hand, accepting the treasures.
“That’s more like it. If you are going to do something, just do it; don’t hem and haw and dawdle about like a girl,” Old Man Yuan said with a laugh. “I’ve already spent several months living here at your Brightheart Island.”
Ning was puzzled. This gardener had been here for far longer.
“I’ve just been possessing this old gardener,” Old Man Yuan said with a merry chuckle. “I spent months here before you came back to Brightheart Island, you brat. Mm…I’ve watched you train with the sword several times now. Your sword-arts aren’t bad, but your control over heartforce is even better.”
Watched him several times?
Aside from this time…Ning couldn’t recall a time when the old gardener had been nearby. Oh, right; given Old Man Yuan’s power, he would be easily able to watch Ning train with the sword, even from a tremendous distance.
“Buuuut…” Old Man Yuan said, puzzled, “Why is it that you seem to be so stupid?”
“Stupid?” Ning was puzzled. This was the first time that anyone had called him stupid!
“You completely focus your heartforce into your sword-fingers. Why haven’t you considered applying it to your legs or the rest of your body? That way, when you use your evasive divine abilities, your speed would increase dramatically, right? In the fact of those so-called ‘True Immortals’ and ‘Empyrean Gods’, your escaping speed would improve dramatically; you would no longer be forced to just stand there like an idiot and take them head on,” Old Man Yuan said.
Ning shook his head. “It isn’t that easy to apply heartforce. It took me eighteen years of painstaking training before I was able to apply it to my sword-fingers.”
“The reason it isn’t easy is because you don’t have a good teacher. Your teacher doesn’t know a damn thing about heartforce.” Old Man Yuan chortled. “What do you think of my power?”
“Your power is incredible, of course, senior!” Ning said hurriedly.
“Then hurry up and kowtow to me as your master!” Old Man Yuan puffed his chest up.
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- The name ‘Yuan’ means source. ↩