Book 4, Chapter 16 – Clansmen
“Senior apprentice-brother, within the formation with our revered master set up, an enemy who secretly entered has been trapped. He looks just like a youth.” That handsome youth addressed as ‘Little Seven’ immediately said. “But his power is astonishingly great. Even one of Master’s spirit-beasts, ‘Blackneedle’, was killed, and I almost lost my life as well.”
The black-clothed man frowned. “Oh? He’s that powerful?”
“Very powerful. That enemy is also both a Ki Refiner and a Body Refiner. He should be a peak Xiantian expert. Only you, senior apprentice-brother, will be able to kill him.”
“Once senior apprentice-brother uses his ‘Intoxicating Dragonspit’ technique, no matter how powerful he is, he will definitely faint and be easily captured.”
All of them were boasting and praising him.
The black-clothed man looked at the fellow disciples. “Just a single intruder causes all of you to feel helpless! Hmph, Master is currently busy forging his magic treasure and cannot spare any attention. Since the six of you aren’t able to do anything else competently, then you can go personally torment those Xiantian lifeforms. At least you’ll be helping Master with his magic treasure.”
“Yes, senior apprentice-brother.” The six men and women all responded in unison, and then all of them picked up the various tools on the floor and began to walk towards those Xiantian lifeforms.
Those bound Xiantian lifeforms who had their dantians destroyed were virtually all from the Swallow Mountain region. As for the other Xiantian lifeforms, they were extremely rare, because most had been tortured to death long ago. Even the few dozen who didn’t die yet were at the verge of death.
“Both a ki and a Body Refiner? Peak Xiantian? Let’s take a look.” The black-clothed man snorted, then walked out.
“The Three Powers [Heaven, Earth, Man] as the foundation.” Ji Ning, surrounded and protected by his Waterflame Lotus, was seated in the lotus position, quietly chanting while looking at the formation around himself. “The Five Elements, with water and earth making up the majority…the variables lie in these areas.”
In his mind, a model of this enormous formation naturally came into being. He was currently thoroughly investigating the secrets of this formation.
Ning suddenly rose to his feet.
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
Instantly, he transformed into blur and repeatedly changed directions several times. The faster he moved, the greater the amount of pressure he would place on the formation, giving him a chance to test where the strengths and weaknesses of the formation lay.
“It is even more profound and intricate than the formation I just envisioned.” Ning shook his head. “If I had a chance to see the formation flags or formation marks, I would quickly understand the secrets of this formation.” He knew that this was a formation controlled by a Zifu Disciple. Perhaps because the Zifu Disciple, for some special reasons, was busy, he had been unable to come and deal with Ning personally.
But Ning knew that this was just a temporary situation. Once the Zifu Disciple attacked, given how powerful a Zifu Disciple naturally was, given that Ning was trapped within this confusing formation, he would definitely die.
“I must break this formation.”
Time was of the essence. Under this invisible pressure, Ning whole-heartedly was analyzing this formation, and his understanding of formations was constantly increasing. Fortunately, his previous life had given him a good foundation, while in this life, his soul was incredibly powerful, and he also had the guide to formations left behind by that Loose Immortal. Only because he had these three aspects combined did he have such an astonishing rate of improvement. However, to break this formation by this Zifu Disciple…he was still quite a ways off.
The great formation of this Zifu Disciple, if one wanted to destroy it through strength, would have to use tremendous force! Power at the same level naturally wouldn’t be enough. Perhaps even a Wanxiang Adept would find it difficult to destroy it forcibly. As for Ning, without question, he had to defeat the formation through understanding its secrets. Only then would he be able to easily defeat it. Break through it by raw force? He was far from being able to.
“Wu!” The black fog in front of him seemed to grow slightly dimmer. A dark figure could faintly be seen in the distance, which was currently looking at Ning, seated in the lotus position, with curiosity. “Control over water and fire? That protective lotus seems to be rather extraordinary.”
The black-clothed man was currently holding a bottle in his hand. He pulled the stopper out, and the bottle began to release gusts of a mind-intoxicating scent. This bottle contained within it ‘Intoxicating Dragonspit’. If one directly drank this thing, perhaps even a Wanxiang Adept would immediately faint. But of course, it would be quite hard to get a Wanxiang Adept to drink it. After all, as soon as he smelled it, he would know not to drink it.
The scent of Intoxicating Dragonspit alone, when smelled, was enough to cause virtually all Xiantian lifeforms to faint and collapse. As the senior apprentice, he had been bestowed this Intoxicating Dragonspit by his revered master, which was why he was able to stealthily capture so many Xiantian lifeforms.
“Fall, fall, fall!” The black-clothed figure looked expectantly at Ning.
The lotus-position seated Ning felt a fragrance assault his nostrils. Immediately, his body went soft and his head grew dizzy. However, by relying on the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] and the Fiendgod body it had given him, which was incomparably stronger than that of normal Fiendgods, although Ning felt slightly dizzy, the divine power in his body, when activated, quickly blocked this feeling.
“Which scoundrel is using tricks from hiding!” Ning hurriedly stood up and shouted loudly!
“Hahaha. You are indeed a Xiantian-level Fiendgod, and thus very hard to make faint.” The distant black-clothed man walked over. “A Xiantian-level Fiendgod Body Refiner whose body is akin to a Fiendgod’s. To make you faint is as hard as making a Zifu-level Ki Refiner faint. This is why all of the people I have been capturing in Swallow Mountain have been Xiantian Ki Refiners.”
“Xiantian Ki Refiners, upon smelling this, will immediately collapse. After destroying their dantian, they won’t be able to resist at all. Fiendgod practitioners, however, will be able to regrow their dantian after it is destroyed. They are quite hard to control. In addition, torturing a Xiantian Body Refiner to death is too hard.” The black-clothed man mumbled to himself.
Ning stared at the distant, black-clothed figure. His swords were in his hands, and he was incomparably cautious, because the distant man, when walking over, gave off an invisible pressure…the tyrannical aura which only a Xiantian Fiendgod gave off. Clearly, the man had already activated the divine power in his body. Once his power was fully activated, he would attack.
“You said you captured Xiantian lifeforms?” Ning stared at him.
The black-clothed man didn’t answer the question. A look on his face that seemed like a smile and yet wasn’t, he said to Ning, “If my guess is correct, you should be young master ‘Ji Ning’ of the Ji clan.”
“Eh?” Ji Ning was startled.
In this era, communication was only possible through shouting to others, while distant communication was through running between tribes. Thus, only the high level members of some tribes knew of Ji Ning’s name. Even if they knew his name, however, they wouldn’t be able to recognize him…
“It seems I didn’t guess wrongly.” The black-clothed man sighed. “In the entire Swallow Mountain area, there can only be one person who is so young in appearance, and yet is a Xiantian lifeform who is even capable of making my fellow apprentices think he is a peak Xiantian expert. The only person capable of this must be the one who kicked down the city walls with three kicks and sent River Sansi flying with one kick. Young master Ji Ning.”
“You know quite a lot.” Ning looked at him.
The black-clothed man sighed. “Of course. I have to. In accordance with the orders from my master, I had to go capture a large number of Xiantian lifeforms throughout the Swallow Mountain region. Naturally, I need a good understanding of the intelligence reports regarding the various Xiantian experts of the Swallow Mountain area. If I didn’t prepare in advance and ended up accidentally ‘kicking an iron board’, I would be in trouble! For example, your father, Ji Yichuan…he had become a peak Xiantian long ago, and I even suspect that he is already a Zifu Disciple. I definitely wouldn’t go capture a person like him.”
“Only after getting a good understanding of a person would I go capture him. That is why so many Xiantian lifeforms went missing in the Swallow Mountain area, and yet no one knows who did it.” The black-clothed man looked at Ning. “So young, and yet so astonishingly strong. In the entire Swallow Mountain area, only you fit the criteria. In addition, this is the territory of the Ji clan of the West Prefecture, and you yourself are of the Ji clan of the West Prefecture.”
Ning was stunned.
Many Xiantian lifeforms had gone missing in the Swallow Mountain area? Why was it that he hadn’t heard of this?
Actually, this was something which had only recently occurred. The capture of Xiantian lifeforms had to be done quickly. By the time the disappearance was noticed, perhaps days would have passed, and it also took time for the entire tribe to make a decision on what to do. Thus, he had to frantically seize the opportunity to capture as many as he could. He couldn’t capture them slowly. Once the major powers of the various forces of Swallow Mountain reacted and began to set traps, it would be dangerous.
“Nearly a hundred Xiantian experts have ‘gone missing’ in Swallow Mountain.” The black-robed man looked at Ning. “Because this place is near the Ji clan, many of the Ji clan have gone missing, twenty four in total. There are some who directly belong to your Ji clan, while others belong to the tribes of your Ji clan. The Ji clan controls so much territory that I imagine up till now, your Ji clan still hasn’t gotten a full picture of how many Xiantian lifeforms have gone missing.”
Ning was astonished.
The Ji clan…had actually…had actually lost many Xiantian lifeforms?
“Some have gone ‘missing’ from your Ji clan of the West Prefecture as well. Let me report a few names. I imagine you recognize them.” The black-clothed man said. “Ji Jadewich. Ji Shan. Poortile. Earthshaker. Blindfish. These five all directly belong to your Ji clan of the West Prefecture. You should know them, right?”
Ning’s face instantly turned white.
Ji Jadewich…that was the son of Ji Lee, his most talented son. In the past, during the fierce struggle between Ji Lee’s lienage and the current line in control of the Prefecture Lord position, Jadewich had been one of the most fiercest in the struggle. Ning had once deeply disliked this man.
Ji Shan was a Xiantian lifeform of a younger generation of the Ji clan. Although he wasn’t a Commander, the Ji clan of the West Prefecture had very great expectations for him. After all, his surname was ‘Ji’, and he also belonged to the primary line of descent.
Poortile was a newly promoted Xiantian lifeform which had been trained and recruited by the Ji clan of the West Prefecture. In Western Prefecture City, Ning had seen him quite a few times. Each time when Poortile saw him, he would bow slightly and call out, “Young master Ji Ning!”
Earthshaker was one of the twelve Commanders of the Ji clan!
“Master Blindfish!” Ning’s heart was trembling.
Master Blindfish had taught him archery. To Ning, he was the closest, most familiar figure of the five.
All of them were familiar figures. After all, ever since he was young, he had grown up in Western Prefecture City. He had met with all of the Xiantian lifeforms of Western Prefecture City. Each year, at the gathering at Snowfall Palace, he would see this group of people. He was very familiar with them all. These people were his clansmen! Some of them had grudges against him, some of them were of the same lineage as him, while some were friends of him. One of them as the master archer who had taught him archery!
“You…” Ning’s face turned pale.
“You know them all, right? Haha.” The black-clothed man suddenly shouted loudly, “Ji Jadewich, Ji Shan, Poortile, Earthshaker, Blindfish, your young master Ji Ning of the Ji clan of the West Prefecture is within the formation. Your young master Ji Ning will soon accompany you! Hahaha…”
The voice was very loud, and it transmitted directly into the distant tunnel midway up the mountain.