Book 7, Stillwater City, Chapter 24, The Grand Admissions Ceremony
It was late at night.
There were only two disciples of the Black-White College located in the plaza which held the Black-White Diagram. Ji Ning slowly opened his eyes. Although it was a late night in the twelfth lunar month, and it was extremely cold, Ning’s heart was filled with a scorching heat. He stared at the words left behind by Immortal Northwalker, hidden amongst the countless words left behind on the stone wall, and his emotions continued to fluctuate for a time.
“My sword is the joyous sword, the sword of passion, the sword which exterminates all injustices! It is better to live passionately for a day, than to live a century while stifled.”
Ning still remembered with perfect clarity that vision of that silver-haired old figure, who seemed to be as exalted as the heavens themselves. He clearly remembered that heaven-surging sword-intent, clearly remembered that sword technique. All of these things had been deeply engraved in his heart!
“What level of swordcraft is this? Comparing my swordcraft to it would truly be like comparing the light of a firefly to the brilliance of the full moon.” Ning’s heart was surging with emotions, and his eyes were filled with boundless admiration.
Suddenly…Ning’s ear twitched. He immediately turned, only to see a white-robed figure walk over from afar.
“Eh?” Ning was startled. Today, the only two new students should have been himself and Mu Northson. Aside from the two of them, who else would come here in the dead of night?
The white-robed youth walked over from afar, and as he did, Ning felt as though endless, boundless waves were slowly surging towards him in a crushing flow. The entire world seemed to have transformed into waves…but when they reached Ning, things grew clear once more. There were no waves at all…just that white-robed youth walking towards him.
“How terrifying.” Ning felt alarm in his heart. Although there was no oppressive, dominating aura, the sense of danger which this white-robed youth had given him wasn’t one whit inferior to that which Northmont Blacktiger had given him. In addition, this white-robed youth was handsome to the point of being devilish.
Ning clasped his hands in a salute. “This junior, Ji Ning, pays his respects to you, senior.” Before coming, Ning had already received an intelligence report from Northmont Baiwei regarding the school. Based on the information in that report, Ning already had an idea as to who this person was.
“My Daoist title is ‘Jadesea’,” the white-robed youth said. “I am fortunate enough to hold the position of headmaster for now.” Ning responded with respect, “Greetings, Headmaster.”
The headmaster of the Black-White College, ‘Daoist Jadesea’, was naturally a truly influential and powerful figure within Stillwater Commandery.
“Headmaster, junior apprentice-brother Northson is…” Ning looked towards Northson, who was still absorbed in meditation in front of the Black-White Diagram, seeming to be drunken or dazed.
“No need to disturb him,” the headmaster, Daoist Jadesea, said while shaking his head. “You are the one I’ve come to visit.” As he spoke, a scroll appeared in front of Daoist Jadesea. He then extended his arm, even more pure and jade-white than most women’s, and the scroll floated towards Ning. Ning respectfully accepted it.
“After reading it, you will understand.” Daoist Jadesea looked towards Ning. “As the Epochal Heir of Immortal Northwalker, you must not be indolent. Remember. After finishing reading this scroll, destroy it.” After speaking, Headmaster Daoist Jadesea turned and departed, quickly disappearing from Ning’s field of vision.
Ning stood there, stunned. Epochal Heir? Could not be indolent? Ning immediately unfurled the hide-bound scroll; this scroll was made from the hide of an ordinary animal, but the words and information atop it instantly drew Ning’s attention.
“Immortal Northwalker?” A look of delight appeared on Ning’s face. He had been wanting to learn more regarding this Immortal Northwalker. The upper part of this hide-bound scroll described Immortal Northwalker’s experiences as he grew in power, as well as some notable events he had been involved in. Ning was completely engrossed and mesmerized by the information within.
This was a true legend. The legend which the entire Black-White College held in the greatest respect. “In acting, one should act as senior Northwalker did,” Ning murmured softly to himself.
When senior Northwalker acted, he did so in a manner which could be described in two words; ‘straightforward’ and ‘passionate’! That was the only thing he cared about, to the point where, when he saw the disciples of a supreme clan acting in sinful, wicked ways, he annihilated them all in his anger and even destroyed their souls. This resulted in him being pursued and attacked by this supreme clan, a pursuit which lasted for centuries. Immortal Northwalker had even been forced to flee from this major world, but over the course of this pursuit, he had grown more and more powerful. Afterwards, when he had returned, many of the powerful experts of that supreme clan were killed or injured, and in the end, they had been forced to lower their heads and admit defeat, paying reparations and reconciling themselves to him.
“I wonder which supreme clan it was,” Ning mused to himself. “This scroll didn’t record their name; clearly, they don’t want for this matter to become public. Most likely, this was part of the reconciliation process that occurred.”
Given what a massive battle this had been, clearly, that supreme clan was truly incredible as well. At the same time, it also demonstrated how straightforward and passionate Immortal Northwalker’s actions were. He truly did act to exterminate all injustice!
The middle of the scroll recorded a dialogue. A junior disciple posed a query to Immortal Northwalker: “Countless vile actions were being carried out in this vast world; if one always went to exterminate evildoers, how could one possibly ever kill them all?”
Immortal Northwalker had responded thusly: “The number of sins and wicked deeds carried out in this vast world are numerous beyond count, and I can’t be bothered to take charge of all matters in this world. Any injustices that I personally encounter, however, I will naturally exterminate, and so return joy and passion to myself.”
His meaning was simple and clear. If he didn’t personally encounter injustice, he couldn’t be bothered with it. But if he did? That would ruin his mood…and he would exterminate it.
“He truly did live a carefree live, where he did as he pleased.” Ning felt admiration for the man.
After reading through the records of Immortal Northwalker, Ning turned to the bottom part of the scroll, which began to introduce the [Three-Foot Sword]. The [Three-Foot Sword] had a total of nine stances, and was the supreme technique which Immortal Northwalker had used to stun the entire Grand Xia Dynasty. It was the distilled essence of his million-plus years of experience, and it was so powerful that even Immortal Northwalker himself was unable to completely record down this technique in a manuscript for transmission to later descendants.
The Dao Repository Vault of the Black-White College only held the first six stances of the [Three-Foot Sword]. To this very day, no one was capable of recording down the final three stances in written form.
However, those words left behind on the stone wall had been personally penned by Immortal Northwalker. Only when there was a sword-intent resonance would an Epochal Transmission occur, and could the [Three-Foot Sword] be transmitted.
“So that’s how it works. Occasionally, a later disciple of the Black-White College will receive an Epochal Transmission, but even if they do, it’s quite rare for them to obtain the complete sword technique. The last time a complete sword technique was transmitted was more than thirty million years ago.” Upon reading this, Ning finally understood how astonishing a gain he had just reaped.
Ning also now understood why Headmaster Daoist Jadesea had given him this scroll. It was precisely because of how important the [Three-Foot Sword] was; if some of the enemy powers were to learn that the Black-White College had produced yet another genius who had gained the complete legacy of the [Three-Foot Sword], they would probably use any means at their disposal to ensure that this genius would fall early on.
Thus, this news absolutely could not be publicized. But of course, he could still use the [Three-Foot Sword]; after all, the Dao Repository Vault had the secret manuals for the first six stances of the [Three-Foot Sword]. As for using the seventh stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], if the situation called for it…then there was no need to keep the secret any longer. Once one possessed the power of the seventh stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], then one would already be standing at a peak of power. After all, the seventh stance was already something which even Immortal Northwalker was unable to commit to paper; from this, one could imagine how powerful it was.
Two more hours passed. Only now did Northson completely come to his senses.
“Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.” Northson’s eyes were blazing as he turned to look at the nearby Ning. He immediately called out in excitement, “Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, this Black-White Diagram is simply too helpful in training. I feel as though I have made tremendous, tremendous progress in the Dao of Constructs.”
But immediately afterwards, Northson realized something; Ning had awoken before he did. Most likely, he hadn’t gained as much from the Black-White Diagram as Northson himself did. This made Northson feel rather embarrassed.
“Indeed, I’ve gained much,” Ning said with a laugh. “It’s late. I imagine that it will be dawn soon. Junior apprentice-brother Northson, it’s time to get some rest. Two days later, we’ll go to the Headmaster’s Palace.”
“Right.” Northson nodded.
“Also,” Ning warned, “These words left behind by Immortals all have quite a history and are worthy of you viewing.” Northson walked the Dao of Constructs; naturally, he wouldn’t have the heart of a Sword Immortal and wouldn’t be able to receive the legacy of the Immortal Northwalker. However, although Ning had received the Epochal Transmission of Immortal Northwalker, it could very well be that there were other legacies left behind by other ancestors of the school on the stone wall.
“Right. It’s almost dawn. I’ll come here in the future and read through them slowly,” Northson said with a laugh.
Whoosh! Whoosh! The two left, one on a wooden boat, the other on an Azure Dragon construct. They each headed towards their own abodes.
In the blink of an eye, two days passed. As had been predicted, on the second and third days, there were no applicants who were qualified to become formal disciples of the Black-White College! Thus, this year, the only new disciples of the Black-White College were Ji Ning and Mu Northson.
Ning and Northson were streaking through the air above the Black-White College like two streaks of light, moving directly towards the Headmaster’s Palace.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning.” Northson’s eyes were filled with eagerness. “Today, we will receive black-white pellets. We’ll be able to enter the Dao Repository Vault and exchange it for Ki Refining techniques or secret Immortal techniques. In addition…we will be paying our respects to our masters. We don’t even know who they will be yet.”
“Right. I wonder who will be my master,” Ning mused in a soft voice. Master. For an Immortal practitioner to acknowledge a master was completely different from how he had acknowledged Blindfish to be his master when learning archery as a child. Archery was just the technique of an ordinary mortal, but your master on the Immortal path…what they passed down to you would help you on your road to becoming an Immortal. The value of this benevolence shown was far greater, and most likely the relationship between a master and apprentice would persist for centuries or even millennia.
Swoosh! Swoosh! Ning and Northson landed in front of the Headmaster’s Hall. Quite a few formal disciples had already gathered together within the Headmaster’s Hall, at least a hundred or more. They were casually chatting amongst themselves, and all of them had extraordinary demeanors.
When Ning and Northson entered the palace, quite a few of the formal disciples turned to glance at them. Most of them had kind looks in their eyes, and they nodded slightly, signifying greetings.
“It seems only part of the formal disciples of the Black-White College have come,” Ning mused to himself. “It makes sense. Immortal practitioners can’t always be staying within the school; I imagine many are outside.”
Each year, there would be a grand ceremony for admitting new disciples. But sometimes Immortal practitioners would enter closed-door meditation for decades; thus, attendance at this sort of ceremony was not too important. Those who could come would; if one couldn’t, it didn’t matter much. Still…for most, as long as they weren’t engaged in any pressing matters within the school, they would still come and pay their respects at the Headmaster’s Palace.
“The Headmaster is coming,” someone suddenly called out. Ning and the others immediately turned to look. A white-robed youth was descending from midair, and there were multiple figures behind him. All of them were Primal Daoists of the Black-White College; this entire group of Primal Daoists descended en masse.
“According to the normal customs of the Black-White College, new disciples of the College will generally take on Primal Daoists as masters,” Ning mused to himself. The Primal Daoists of the Black-White College were not like those of ordinary schools; some of them had such astonishing power that they were comparable to ordinary Immortals. Thus, being able to become a disciple of a Primal Daoist of the Black-White College was quite a fortunate affair.
“I wonder which one of them will be my master?” Ning swept his gaze past all of the Primal Daoists, including the headmaster, Daoist Jadesea. He began to privately guess at which of them it would be.