Book 21, The Bloodlotus Blooms, Chapter 12 – Wishful Thinking
The world of the Grand Xia. An island atop the great Darknorth Sea.
Ji Ning was viewing the scenery before him. Although it was winter, the innate heat within this island kept it in perpetual spring. The island blossomed with flowers and was quite beautiful to behold.
“We’re going to meet again soon. Our family will be reunited.” Ning still remembered how she looked, all those years ago, when she stroked her belly as she watched him train in the sword. That warm, loving environment…ever since the destruction of Shennong’s medicine and the shattering her soul, it had completely disappeared. For the sake of getting it back, Ning had risked his life and had done everything he could possibly do. Thankfully, he had been lucky enough to acquire the [Ninehorn Lightning Serpent] evasion technique, had been lucky enough to possess powerful heartforce, and had been lucky enough that senior Fuxi had created the Rahu Formation for him. This was the reason why he had been able to force the Seamless Gate to bow its head.
Finally…he and his daughter was going to be reunited with his wife. The three of them would be reunited once more, as a family.
A ripple of power descended. Startled, Ning turned his head to look.
A black-robed man was standing at the end of an upraised path in the distance. The black-robed man sauntered towards him, a smile on his face. “This island isn’t bad. It’s quite beautiful. Your Primaltwin remains on the Deerchaser world, but your true body has appeared. It seems you have emerged from Undermoon Lake.”
“Yes.” Ning nodded.
“Formidable, formidable.” The black-robed Godking nodded, letting out a sigh of praise. “To tell you the truth, Ji Ning…although the two of us are on enemy sides, I admit I’m quite shocked and impressed that you were able to emerge from Undermoon Lake in just six hundred short years. Jueming entered during the Primordial Era and was only able to escape during the Three Realms era.”
Ning said, “I’ve emerged. Isn’t it time for you to hold to your promise?”
“Did you bring the treasures I asked for?” The black-robed Godking laughed, “Per what I originally said, I would only release Yu Wei’s soul to you once you gave the treasures to me.”
“I brought them.” Ning’s heartrate began to speed up uncontrollably, but he was able to remain calm.
“I trust that you have the other two treasures…but what of the Iceheart Leaf?” The black-robed Godking laughed.
Ning waved his hand. A semi-transparent, crystalline Iceheart Leaf suddenly appeared, levitating above his hands.
“It really is an Iceheart Leaf.” The black-robed Godking inspected it carefully, a slightly intoxicated look in his eyes. “It really is quite beautiful, just as the legends said it to be. This is my first time to see an Iceheart Leaf in person. Mmm…alright. You can destroy it now.”
“Destroy it?” Ning’s heart sank. What was the meaning of this? Why was he being told to bring, then destroy the Iceheart Leaf?
“Now that I’ve seen it, it’s of no further use to me.” The black-robed Godking looked at Ning. “I just wanted the chance to look at it, that’s all.”
“I brought you the treasures that you asked for. Please give my senior apprentice-sister’s soul back to me,” Ning immediately said.
“Ahaha….” The black-robed Godking let out an ear-piercing laugh, an uproarious laugh, a crazy laugh. He laughed so hard, tears nearly came out of his eyes. His entire body trembled from laughter as he pointed a quavering hand at Ning. “Oh, Ji Ning, Ji Ning…and to think that you are a ‘peerless genius of this age’. Haven’t you understood yet? When I told you to get me Iceheart Leaf, I simply wanted to force you into Undermoon Lake. The leaf, the other treasures…although they are of some use to me as a Daofather, they are meaningless to the Seamless Gate as a whole. Did you really think I would care about those three treasures?”
“All I wanted was for you to enter Undermoon Lake!”
“Although you managed to emerge after six hundred years…it was enough. It was enough. Our ‘Three Realms infiltration phase’ is complete. Our Seamless Gate is battling against your Nuwa Alliance on the Deerchaser world, and soon the entire war for karmic luck will be at an end. The infiltration phase is over. It no longer matters.” The black-robed Godking roared with laughter. “If you came out after just one or two centuries, I’d probably have to come up with something else, but six hundred years? You are no longer a threat.”
“No threat at all.”
“Nowadays, our Seamless Gate’s forces are sent out in massive armies. You, a mere True Immortal with that feeble Rahu-something formation…what can you possibly do?” The black-robed Godking continued to roar with ear-piercing laughter like a madman.
Years ago, the Godking had been forced by Ning to bow his head. The Godking had been enraged to the point of wanting to kill Ning, but it wasn’t appropriate for him to personally act. However, the chance to see Ning enraged, see Ning feel despair…that would be even more delightful than simply killing him.
As the black-robed Godking laughed with abandon, he kept a careful watch over Ning, noting every single change in expression. He wanted to see Ning’s face become filled with panic and despair. Only then would the demon in his heart be satisfied! Other Immortal cultivators might be afraid of their dark side, but the Godking was a cultivator of Lord Demonheart’s arts. He himself was the veritable incarnation of a mental devil, while his master was the Lord of the Demonheart.
But…he was disappointed.
Ning just stood there. Stood there, not reacting at all.
Crack. Something suddenly seemed to shatter.
That woman who had quietly, blissfully watched with a smile on her face as Ning had trained in the sword…she was never coming back.
Ning felt agonizing pain in his heart. Pain that made him feel nauseous. Pain that was about to drive him insane. He wanted to laugh…he wanted to roar…but he couldn’t make any sound at all. For many years now, the karmic sinflames had been constantly burning against his body, but Ning had never cared about the pain they brought. In this moment, however…the pain he felt was ten thousand times greater than the pain from the karmic sinflames.
Suddenly, a dry laugh rattled out from Ning’s mouth.
He sounded almost like a toddler who had just learned how to speak.
“Aha…ahaha…ahahaha….” Ning began to laugh wildly. He finally began to laugh, and his tears finally began to fall as well.
Upon seeing this, the black-robed Godking finally let out a satisfied smile. This was more like it. This was the reaction he had expected. For a brief moment, just now, the man hadn’t been reacting at all.
“Ahahaha…I knew all along that you weren’t worthy of my trust…” Ning’s eyes were completely bloodshot now. He laughed wildly, “I knew it all along. You, ‘Godking’, you toy with the hearts of men, causing chaos throughout the Three Realms. How could your promises be worth believing? But I still chose to believe, and I even entered Undermoon Lake, doing everything I could to return as soon as possible.”
“I even impatiently ran over here to hand those three treasures over to you. I knew that your promises were as worthless as dogshit…but I still came. I held onto hope. A tiny shred of hope…hope…hope that she would be able to come back.”
“I hoped that she would be able to come back.”
“Brightmoon and I…we miss her. I want our family to be together again. That’s all I want. My family to be together.”
“But you…finally…you have finally destroyed my last bit of hope. You destroyed it.” Ning laughed so madly, he was shaking. “Ahaha…it was all just wishful thinking…I was just dreaming. I was lying to myself this entire time. Lying to myself. Telling myself that we could still be together. What a joke. I am such a joke. A joke!”
The black-robed Godking could sense how the heart of the youth before him had shattered. Could sense his agony. His despair. The destruction of that last shred of hope.
The Godking…was satisfied.
This was more like it. This was true agony. This was true heartbreak.
The Godking looked at Ning. “It is time for you to wake up. You need to understand that at this current stage of the war, a single Empyrean God like you cannot have any impact at all. By now, only a large number of Empyrean Gods and True Immortals joined together will have any effect. Still…I’m a man who appreciates talent.”
“I’ll once more invite you to join the Seamless Gate. So long as you are willing to join us, you’ll immediately be able to reunite with your wife. Don’t you wish to be with her? Don’t you wish for your daughter to reunite with her mother? If you join the Seamless Gate, it will all happen. As a member of the Seamless Gate, you’ll be one of us…and I’ll naturally stop plotting against you. In fact, I’ll be quite good to you. You are a true expert amongst Empyrean Gods and True Immortals, after all. Although you won’t be able to change the course of the entire war for karmic luck, you’ll still be of some use.”
“If you join the Seamless Gate now, you’ll be able to reunite with your wife. But if you refuse…well. She’ll be of no further use to me. I’ll kill her. I’ll shatter her soul. Ahahaha…”
“You have no other choices.” The black-robed Godking looked at Ning.
Ning…was still bent over with laughter. “Joke. I’m a joke.”
“Thank you.” Ning straightened his back, raising his head to stare unblinkingly at the black-robed Godking.
The black-robed Godking’s heart skipped a beat.
What sort of a look was that? Such powerful heartforce…such a terrible gaze. If this was the gaze of an ordinary mortal, the Godking wouldn’t care at all, but this was Ji Ning, who had reached the fourth stage of heartforce. The black-robed Godking could sense that behind that gaze, there was an endless, blazing, burning hatred that not all the waters of the Three Realms would suffice to quench.
A desire to kill that had seeped into his spirit…his very truesoul itself.
“Thank you for destroying my hopes. Thank you for bringing my wishful thoughts to an end. Thank you…for freeing me from all my doubts.”
“Let’s take it slow, you and I. The day is still young. Soon…I will make sure to properly thank you for all you have done.”
After speaking, Ning turned and left, transforming into a streak of light.
“If you refuse, your wife will be useless to me. I will kill her,” the black-robed Godking immediately howled after him.
“My wife is already dead. I killed her!” Ning’s voice echoed in the air, but he himself had already departed from the Grand Xia.
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