Book 7, Stillwater City, Chapter 13, Northmont Blacktiger
It was already late at night. The light of the crescent moon shone down upon this giant, ancient city. Within it was a Ninestar Immortal Carriage, wreathed in fiery flames, which was entering the Northmont Blacktiger Estate.
“Young master.” “Young master.” The late night guards all called out towards the carriage respectfully. Northmont Baiwei led Ji Ning, the Whitewater Hound, and his maidservant out of the carriage, and then the Ninestar Immortal Carriage, without anyone controlling it, entered the estate on its own.
“Let’s go,” Baiwei said with a smile, leading them forward. Ning looked around carefully. The door they were entering was a side door.
“How large.” As they moved forward, the scenery continuously changed, and there were pavilions and buildings everywhere. Everything was unspeakably beautiful. “An estate more than ten kilometers in circumference…this can compare with some of the cities I saw in my past life on Earth.”
“Come into this garden. This place is where all of our guests stay.” Baiwei was striding forward atop a series of lotus petals which formed a path over a large pool of water. There were also all sorts of fishes around them, and beneath the water there were some luminous pearls. The light from them caused the entire pool to seem like a jade lake for Immortals.
Within one of the quiet, private courtyards. “Brother Ji Ning, you can rest here for a period of time. Generally speaking, schools take on new students in the twelth lunar month,” Baiwei said with a laugh. “Tomorrow, I will arrange for a book detailing the various major powers of Stillwater Commandery to be brought to you. You can choose carefully, and you can also often come out for a stroll and listen to the conversations going on in the outside world. Only then should you decide which school to join.”
Laughing, Ning nodded. Baiwei continued, “Alright, it is quite late, and I won’t disturb you any further. If there is anything you need, just instruct the servants. I will leave now.”
This residence was clearly meant for entertaining guests. It was quite large and quite roomy, and there were five buildings within this residence itself, along with twelve servants that could be summoned at any time, all of them beautiful, flower-like women.
“Young master.” The twelve maidservants all bowed. Their leader was a tall, willowy Xiantian lifeform. “Prepare my bath for me,” Ning instructed. “When bathing, I do not wish to be disturbed.” “Yes.” The tall, willowy woman acknowledged his commands.
Almost all Immortal cultivators possessed extremely good self-control. Even those who were lustful would only view women as a form of enjoyment. For example, even someone like Northmont Fox would order the Whitewitch to her death when he felt it was necessary.
A short time later. Within the room. Within an enormous bathtub made from slick, polished rock. Hot air steamed everywhere. Ning lay there within the bathtub, head resting against a pillow. By his hands was a tray of fruit and wine.
“Ning, son.” The Whitewater Hound, resting next to the bathtub, glanced at Ning. “You shocked everyone today with your exploits, and did so in the Carefree Caverns, one of the top entertainment venues of the entire Stillwater Commandery. This news will surely spread quickly. Did you do this with the intention of…?”
“Right. I intended to shock everyone today,” Ning said. “The only people I truly have grudges against belong to Snowdragon Mountain. There are no problems between myself and the various other major powers. A monstrously talented youth whom they have no grudges against, who had just reached the early Zifu stage who wishes to join a sect…they will do anything they can to get me to join their schools, or to befriend me.”
“As for my sole enemy, Snowdragon Mountain, I don’t know if they are still paying attention to me. Even if they are…I am currently within the Northmont Blacktiger Estate. There is nothing they can do to me,” Ning said.
“Right.” The Whitewater Hound nodded. “If my predictions are correct,” Ning said solemnly, “Perhaps tomorrow, Baiwei’s father, Northmont Blacktiger, will come to pay a personal visit to me.”
Ning’s divine sense was exceptionally sensitive. He knew right away that there weren’t any eavesdropping tools or monitoring tools here. This was a place for receiving guests; if guests were to discover that they were being monitored, then it would cause tremendous problems. Northmont Blacktiger naturally wouldn’t act in such a manner.
Within a dark space. A tall, muscular, bald man dressed in a black uniform was seated in the lotus position atop a fiery red boulder.
“Slither…” A giant black serpent, more than three hundred meters long, coiled around this dark region. This giant black creature looked like a serpent, but upon taking a closer glance…one would find that it was completely formed from black flames. Its scales, fangs, and body were all formed from countless black flames.
The black flames swirled around this area, and the head of the serpent was close to that of the bald man. “Eh?” The black-uniformed bald man frowned, then opened his eyes. His gaze was like thunder, striking fear into the hearts of men.
“Whoosh!” He exhaled, and instantly, the black flaming serpent around him transformed into countless black flames, wildly surged into his mouth. He swallowed it all into his stomach. “Baiwei. Come in.” The bald, black-uniformed made gave the order.
Creaaaak. A door appeared in this dark space, and Baiwei walked in. He said respectfully, “Father, I have news.”
This person was the awe-inspiring potential candidate to be the next Marquis of Stillwater – Northmont Blacktiger. Someone whose power was truly capable of shaking the heavens. “Speak,” Northmont Blacktiger glanced disdainfully out of the corner of his eyes at his son.
Baiwei instantly recounted with great clarity todays events at the Carefree Caverns. Blacktiger, hearing this, frowned. “The reincarnation of a major power?” Blacktiger mused to himself, “If he is a reincarnated Immortal, he should’ve been received by his friends from his former life long ago. Why would he choose to enter a school?” Baiwei just waited to the side quietly.
“Baiwei,” Blacktiger nodded lightly. “It is good that you can make a friend like him. Tomorrow, I will go visit him. It’s late. Go get some rest.” “Yes,” Baiwei said, then immediately left this dark space.
Within the darkness, Blacktiger continued to ponder, a considering look in his eyes. “The various schools, clans, sects, and Fiendgods…I haven’t heard of anyone entering the cycle of reincarnation in the past twenty or so years. However, for this person to have reached such a level at such a young age…even if he isn’t the reincarnation of a major figure, he must have encountered some sort of incredible stroke of karmic luck.”
“Whooosh.” Blacktiger no longer considered this matter. He opened his mouth, and countless flames charged out from it, quickly forming that enormous serpent of black flames around him once more. This giant serpent seemed to be quite comfortable within this dark region.
The next morning.
The Golden Crow hung high in the sky, its light covering the entire Stillwater City. Within Stillwater City’s Northmont Blacktiger Estate. Within the residence where Ning was currently located. He was seated in front of a table which was covered with fruits and wine. Ning’s fingers were outstretched in a plucking manner, and between them was hanging a Waterflame Lotus that was constantly swiveling.
“Water, fire, wind,” Ning mused softly to himself. “Waterflame Lotus…this is formed from three different types of the True Meaning of the Dao; that of fire, water, and wind. They condense and form it. With regards to water, I have comprehended my Rainwater Sword Domain, but am somewhat weaker in fire and wind.”
Ning stared at his fingers and the Waterflame Lotus swiveling between them. He focused on the mysteries contained within, slowly gaining greater insight into them. At his current level of insight, with but a thought, he could begin to touch the Dao.
Suddenly, a maidservant ran over from far away. “Hm?” The Waterflame Lotus between Ning’s fingers disappeared into thin air. “Young master, young master Baiwei sends word. He will immediately come to visit you, along with the master of the estate.” The maidservant’s face was filled with nervousness.
The master of the estate? Ning frowned, then immediately rose to his feet. “Alright. I understand. You can leave now.” “Yes.” The maidservant immediately left.
“The master of the estate? Northmont Blacktiger? So he really did come.” Although Ning’s will and resolve was firm, in the face of this potential next Marquis of Stillwater, he still felt an invisible pressure.
The Whitewater Hound that had been lying next to him stood up as well. “Come,” Ning said. “Let’s go welcome him.” He immediately led the Whitewater Hound towards the doorway. But as soon as he arrived at the doorway, he saw three figures appear in the distance.
The person walking in the center was a bald man in a black uniform who appeared extremely heroic and imposing. This bald man’s eyes seemed to be as deep as the abyss, and as he slowly walked over, it seemed as though he was one with the surrounding universe. An invisible, majestic presence swept towards Ning, making Ning feel as though he couldn’t even breath.
“Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous!” Ning looked at this person, but in his heart, he had an inexplicable feeling of tremendous danger impending.
Ning could tell that it wasn’t because he was in imminent danger; rather, it was that the person before him simply posed far too great of a threat to him, and was most likely capable of instantly killing him without giving him the chance to resist at all.
“So he is Northmont Blacktiger? How could his aura be so powerful and so dominating?” Ning was secretly shocked. Baiwei was a graceful, handsome young master. But his father, Blacktiger, was like an ancient Fiendgod who had been lying hidden for countless ages, filled with inexhaustible savageness and dominance. The look in his eyes…the way he walked…it was all filled with ‘savagery’. As he walked over, it was as though an ancient, primordial beast was walking over.
One’s aura was built up over the course of many years. The fact that the two of them, father and son, had such completely different auras made Ning feel puzzled.
“The two by his side…” Ning glanced at them. To one side of Blacktiger was his son, Baiwei. To his other side was a pale-faced, beardless old man. This old man had a pair of triangular-pupiled eyes. Even when smiling, he gave others a sinister, cold feeling. Upon noticing this old man, Ning immediately realized how terrifying he was as well.
If Blacktiger could be described as an ancient, primordial beast, then this old man was like an icy, sinister viper. If one didn’t focus on him, one might not even notice his presence, but upon focusing on him carefully, one would discover how frightening he was.
“Dangerous!” Ning sensed how terrifying this old man was as well.
Northmont Blacktiger. The triangular-pupiled old man. The sense of danger these two made Ning feel…was incredibly strong. Even that Xue Hongyi who he had encountered was like nothing more than a weak ant before these two.
“Such power. They are too strong, too powerful. No wonder he is someone capable of becoming the next Marquis of Stillwater,” Ning said to himself. But of course, Ning’s soul was extremely powerful, and so he was superficially able to maintain his calm.
“Hahaha…” Blacktiger laughed loudly, and his heroic, noble laughter caused the surrounding space itself to tremble. “I heard Baiwei praise his friend endlessly, but I didn’t believe him. Now that I have had a chance to see him for myself…he truly is extraordinary. A Zifu Disciple who stands before me without batting an eye? I can count such figures on a single hand.”
“I came here to take a look at you. Not bad, not bad,” Blacktiger laughed. “Today, I have other matters to attend to, so I won’t tarry. In the future, after you join a school, you must often come and visit my estate. Baiwei is lucky to have a friend such as yourself.”
“Making friends with Brother Baiwei is also the good fortune of myself, Ji Ning.” Ning acted and spoke with modesty and respect. Blacktiger laughed loudly, then departed with the triangle-pupiled old man. The old man gave Ning a long look, then nodded slightly as well.
The two of them left.
“Whew.” Baiwei let out a long breath. He half-turned, first verifying that his father had departed. Only then did he completely relax. “It’s been so many years, but I’m still so nervous whenever I am in front of my father.”