Book 7, Stillwater City, Chapter 19, The Final Guardian
As one of the managers of this recruitment effort, Fairy Hua Yun naturally knew how difficult the final test would be. This junior of her clan, Hua Chong, had no chance of success at all.
“The eight of you, follow me,” the black-haired, middle-aged man said. The six Primal Daoists began to walk in front, while Ji Ning and the rest of the eight followed from behind.
Ning glanced sideways at the nearby black-clothed youth. The youth’s eyes were filled with defiance and madness. His aunt was Fairy Hua Yun…her status in the Hua clan was extremely high, and although the Hua clan had an Immortal guarding it, since Fairy Hua Yun was a Primal Daoist of the Black-White College, her combat prowess was definitely comparable to an Immortal’s.
He had to honor and respect the words of Fairy Hua Yun. But…he also had to enter the Black-White College. He, too, wished to be like his aunt and be a member of the Black-White College! “I have to enter. The Dao of the Heavens ensures that one will always have a chance.” The black-clothed youth gritted his teeth.
After walking through the dark, gloomy caves for a period of time, they arrived at an exit. Up ahead, there were nine different entrances.
“Halt,” the black-haired man said. Ning and the other seven all came to a halt. “These nine entrances are each guarded by a Zifu Disciple of our Black-White College.” The black-haired, middle-aged man swept Ning and the others with his gaze. “The eight of you shall each choose a passageway.”
The faces of Ning and the rest of the eight all changed. What?! Guarded by full disciples of the Black-White College? These were people who trained in supreme techniques and arts, while the eight of them were all only early Zifu Ki Refiners.
“After you each enter your chosen corridors, you will encounter these guardian disciples. As long as you are able to charge through out of cave while they are guarding it, you will become a disciple of our Black-White College.” A smile was on the face of the man. “Don’t worry. These Zifu Disciples on guard are only permitted to use a single type of technique, while all of you can go all out. In addition, there is no need for you to defeat the guardian disciple; you only need to charge out of the cave. Afterwards, we shall all reunite at the peak of this mountain.”
“Alright.” Ning and the rest of the eight all nodded. “Go, then,” the black-haired, middle-aged man instructed.
They quickly each selected a corridor. Ning pondered slightly, then chose one for himself as well. Only the black-haired youth hesitated for a period of time…and then, gritting his teeth, he entered a corridor as well. All of them entered their corridors.
“Wu Xiu.” The short, pudgy, bald man laughed. “You are in charge of this disciple recruitment, and are managing it from start to finish. Tell me, of the eight, which will be able to become disciples of our Black-White College?”
The black-haired, middle-aged man hesitated. “If I have to choose…of the eight, I’d say Ji Ning will definitely succeed!”
“Yes, he’ll definitely succeed.”
“Everyone knows that Ji Ning will succeed, old Daoist Wu Xiu. What about the other seven?” All of the others were laughing while speaking.
The black-haired, middle-aged man pondered for a bit longer, then said, “Of these eight, only Ji Ning will definitely succeed. It will be hard for all of the other seven. If you insist on me choosing someone…that fourteen year old kid who controls the Azure Dragon construct, Mu Northson. There’s a chance for him as well.”
“Right. Aside from Ji Ning, the others will all find it quite difficult, especially that clansman of Fairy Hua Yun. He found it rather difficult to even make it through the lightning construct array; he definitely won’t make it past this one.”
“Everyone knows how smart you are.” The white-robed woman gave the bearded, middle-aged man who just spoke a hard look.
While the Primal Daoists were chatting amongst themselves, they were also using their divine senses to investigate what was going on within each of the mountain tunnels.
“Oh, it’s Bloodrinker Bladask.”
“The corridor which Ji Ning chose is guarded by that kid, Bladask? He’s quite arrogant. He definitely won’t make it easy for Ji Ning to pass through.” The Primal Daoists all leisurely watched the events going on through the eight corridors.
Within the corridor Ning had chosen. Roughly a hundred meters past the entrance, there was a white-robed youth. This youth had three bloodstains on the side of his chest. A white vest, with three drops of blood on the chest…only the genius disciples who had acquired the legacy of the Bloodrinker clan were qualified to wear this.
The Bloodrinker clan…was one of the supreme tribes that was located outside of Stillwater Commandery.
“They had me stand guard?” The white-robed youth, Bladask, just stood there, a flying sword hovering around his body. He gently stretched out a finger and tapped it. Rumble…a sword hymn instantly filled the cave. He couldn’t help but close his eyes, revealing a look of enjoyment on his face. “No matter how much of a genius you are, you can forget about successfully passing through the tunnel I have chosen.”
Bloodrinker Bladask’s arrogance made it so that he definitely would not permit any juniors of the early Zifu Disciple stage to successfully pass through his cave.
“A single sword…they only permitted me to use this single sword. Still, it will be enough.” The white-robed youth tapped the sword again, and the sword hummed out in response, as though it were behaving coquettishly towards him. He couldn’t help but smile.
Since the day he was born, he had held a wooden sword as he slept. His parents had named him ‘Bladask’, and in the past thirty years, he had focused all of his efforts on his blade. He was at the point where he was his blade, and the blade was him. Although he was in possession of the consummate skills of the Bloodrinker clan, the clan had still sent him to the Black-White College of Stillwater Commandery. He had lived up to their expectations and had entered the Black-White College.
“He’s coming.” The white-clothed youth sensed the impending ripples. Suddenly, he heard a resigned voice ring out from outside. “Nine corridors, eight contestants. Mine ends up being the only one with no selectee…my fellow disciples, I hope that none of you will let these juniors make it through.”
“Don’t worry, senior apprentice-brother Ox.”
“Junior apprentice-brother Ox, how sad for you.”
“You’ve waited all this time for nothing.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Ox, although I’m only permitted a single magic treasure, these juniors definitely won’t be able to pass through.”
One voice after another rang out in response. Bladask also shouted back, “Junior apprentice-brother Ox, please wait just a moment. After I turn back this kid, we’ll go back together.”
Footsteps rang out. Bladask immediately stared forward carefully. He saw, from afar, a figure emerge from the depths of the tunnel. A youth with delicate, handsome features emerged, holding a sword in each hand, dressed in furs, and a smile on his face.
“Junior.” Bloodrinker Bladask tapped the flying sword in front of him, and the sword hummed in response. Bladask said calmly, “In the future, remember this clearly – the one who prevented you from entering the Black-White College is me, Bloodrinker Bladask.”
“I am…” Ning was about to say something, but Bladask interrupted calmly, “No need to tell me. We won’t meet again. You don’t need to give me your name.”
Ning frowned. How arrogant. Since this was the case…then he might as well just go ahead and win this quickly and cleanly.
“Let the lightning descend!” Bladask called out softly, and as soon as he did, that flying sword in front of him began to emit a thundering sound. One bolt of lightning actually appeared in the surrounding area, all swirling around that flying sword, then flooding towards Ning with shocking power.
The strength of this blow alone was far superior to the power of Adept Xu Li and the Monoceros. The sword seemed to have transformed into countless bolts of lightning, striking at an astonishing speed.
“Let the lotus flower bloom.” Ning had a faint smile on his face. Instantly, Waterflame Lotuses appeared around him. One layer after another of the flower bloomed; a total of six layers of flowers appeared.
Crackle crackle crackle…
The sword of lightning cut directly through all six layers, but its speed had clearly dropped somewhat. Ning’s Darknorth swords swept out in a deceivingly simple manner, deflecting that powerful, vicious sword blow to one side.
“Such power.” Ning frowned slightly. It had appeared as though he had received that blow with ease, but in reality, his hand had cracked slightly at the point between his thumb and index finger.
“So you do have some ability. It is useless, however!” Bladask suddenly let out a loud roar. “Thundergod’s Hell!”
The flying sword continued to hang there in midair, but around it, one violet bolt of lightning after another appeared. These bolts of serpentine lightning zigzagged into the shape of a prison, and a powerful pressure filled the entire caverns.
“Feel proud that you were defeated by this technique of mine,” Bladask said coldly. “Go.”
The Thundergod Prison technique flew rapidly towards Ning.
“The Black-White College’s disciples live up to their reputation. With but a single flying sword, he’s still able to unleash such power and activate so much of the energy of the world.” Ning mentally sighed in praise as made one flying sword after another appear in the area around him. In total, 729 flying swords emerged.
“A sword formation!” The distant Bladask’s face changed. Anything that had to do with the word ‘formation’ could not be belittled, and there were many swords in this one. If one could perfectly focus all of the energy into a whole, then the power of that one blow would be explosive! As a disciple of the Black-White College, Bladask naturally also was in possession of sword formation techniques, but for the purposes of this assignment, he was only able to use a single sword.
The 729 flying swords hung there in the air. Amongst them, there were eighty one Mortal-ranked flying swords; they included the Nine Yang Sword Formation swords that Ning had acquired from the underwater estate, and the seventy two flying swords Ning had acquired after killing Adept Xu Li. Although he had some other other Mortal-ranked flying swords as well, there weren’t enough of them, and they were all varied and different in nature. Thus, Ning didn’t use them.
The nine flying swords of the Nine Yang Swords served as the core formation base, while the other seventy two Mortal-ranked flying swords, all of which came from the same origin, swirled around them, forming a grand formation of eighty one flying swords. They, in turn, guided the six hundred-plus unranked flying swords.
“Rumble…” Ning’s elemental ki filled those flying swords and was transformed by them. His divine soul, which was at the divine sense level, was completely capable of controlling all of these swords, and soon, in front of his chest, a shocking, awe-inspiringly powerful sword light appeared.
The power of this technique was now truly astonishing. The reason why it was so strong was primarily because of those nine incredibly rare flying swords he had acquired from the underwater estate. Every single one of them was comparable to an Earth-ranked magic treasure, and they all came from the same source, which was even rarer.
“Kill!” Ning willed the attack. Swish! The sword light, now completely in the shape of a real flying sword, shot out through the air, forcibly slashing open the impending prison of lightning.
BOOM! Moments later, the lightning prison detonated in awe-inspiring fashion.
“Go, go, go.” Ning hurriedly executed three more attacks of sword light, striking out in succession.
“Not good.” Bladask’s face changed dramatically. He was a peak Zifu Disciple, after all, while Ning, by controlling and transforming his ki through the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] and forming it into his sword light, had a purity of ki that was comparable to a Wanxiang Adept’s. In terms of sword techniques…Bladask was of the Bloodrinker clan and was an elite member of the Black-White College; naturally, he was formidable. But in terms of true insight and comprehension, Ning was on an even higher level. Thus, when Ning activated his [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation], Bladask actually was at a disadvantage.
“Polaris.” Bladask had no other choice. In an instant, seven flying swords appeared, flashing with lightning. The seven flying swords swirled around him, forming into the pattern of an enormous constellation; it was the Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper.
“Down!” Bladask growled. Bang! Bang! Bang! Ning’s three flashes of sword light were all shattered by the slowly revolving Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper.
“Hmph.” Bladask turned his head, collected his flying swords, then transformed into a ray of light and departed. Per the rules, he was only permitted to use a single flying sword…since he had been forced to bring out his other magic treasures, he had naturally lost.
“How formidable.” Ning watched as that disciple of Black-White College, ‘Bloodrinker Bladask’, departed. He couldn’t help but sigh in amazement. “The school should have limited him to using just a single flying sword. As soon as he showed his real power…he instantly suppressed my [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation]. He’s a peak Zifu Disciple, after all, while I am an early stage Zifu Disciple. The difference in elemental ki strength…when I encounter another unparalleled genius, the difference is clear.”
What Ning didn’t realize…was that actually, all he had to do was fly out of the cave. And yet, he had insisted on forcing the guardian to show his real power instead.
“The Black-White College.” Ning slowly strolled forward, walking out of the cave. He stepped onto a flying boat, then stared at the boundless, beautiful mountain scenery around him. From this day forward, he would truly be a member of the Black-White College.
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