Book 7, Stillwater City, Chapter 26, Within the Dao Repository Vault
The morning sun rose, and the light of the dawn shone upon the entire Black-White College.
Whoosh. Ji Ning, mounted atop his flying boat, was soaring through the skies. Soon, he saw a majestic, towering vault beneath him. This was the edifice which, within the Black-White College, had a status that was not inferior to the Black-White Diagram’s; the Dao Repository Vault! Whenever the disciples of the Black-White College wished to learn top-tier Ki Refining techniques, divine abilities, or secret arts, they would come here.
A large, muscular man, dressed in a beautiful set of armor, was currently seated next to a stone table, holding an exquisite goblet of wine and enjoying it.
Ning landed on the ground. “My respects to you, Uncle-Master,” Ning said with a bow. “Oh?” The large, muscular man glanced sideways at Ning. “You are the new disciple, Ji Ning?”
“Yes,” Ning said. This large, muscular man was one of the Dao-Protectors of the Vault, a position generally given to Primal Daoists. “Here are six thousand black-white pellets.” The large, muscular man waved his hand, and a black jade bottle flew out towards Ning.
Ning accepted it and filled it with his elemental ki. Within this jade bottle, there really was a veritable mass of pellets, all of which were black and white in color.
“Here are fifty kilograms of liqueified elemental essence. For disciples of the third generation, every ten years, they will receive this amount of liquefied elemental essence.” The large, muscular man tossed another jade bottle to Ning. “Alright. You’ve collected your black-white pellets and your liquefied elemental essence. You can go in now.”
Two bottles; one a dark jade color, the other an emerald jade color. They were used to store six thousand black-white pellets and fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence, respectively.
“The Black-White College lives up to its reputation,” Ning said to himself with a sigh. “Someone like me, a third generation disciple, will receive fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence each decade. Doesn’t that mean that every century, I will receive five hundred kilograms? An ordinary Earth-ranked magic treasure is only worth around a hundred taels of liquefied elemental essence, while most Heaven-ranked magic treasures are worth just ten thousand taels or so.”
The five hundred kilograms of liqueified elemental essence which disciples of the Black-White College received each century were already enough to trade for a Heaven-ranked magic treasure. But of course, no one would be so stupid as to save them all up; this liquefied elemental essence was meant to help them rise in power by allowing them to not need to waste a great amount of time in slowly absorbing energy from nature.
“Thank you, Uncle-Master.” Ning immediately strode into the Dao Repository Vault.
There were a total of three levels to the Dao Repository Vault. As soon as Ning entered the first level, he felt as though he had entered a sea of books. One enormous book shelf after another could be seen, with countless numbers of books placed on them. At first glance…Ning dared to guess that there had to be more than a million books here, and the vast majority of the books which lined the largest walls and shelves had a single large character on the sides: ‘Technique’!
“Techniques!” Ning mused to himself, “The Dao Repository Vault has three levels. The first level focuses on techniques, the second on arts, and the third on miscellaneous things.”
The word technique, in this case, referred to refining techniques, such as Ki Refining and Fiendgod Body Refining techniques.
The word arts referred to secret magic arts used by Immortals and Fiends. They included ingenious ways of using power, and included the ‘divine abilities’ of Fiendgods, the ‘sword arts’ of Sword Immortals, the ‘forbidden techniques’ which one could use in a crisis, the ‘evasion arts’ one could use when fleeing…all techniques which relied on special tricks and applications of power were classified as skills.
As for miscellaneous, they consisted of things that were not classified with the first two. Constructs, formations, venomous pests, refining magic treasure, refining magic pills, poisons…
“Master said that I absolutely must trade for the first scroll of the [Three-Foot Sword], as well as a Ki Refining technique that can be used all the way up to the Immortal level.” Ning didn’t hesitate at all, immediately beginning to search through the first level of the Dao Repository Vault.
Ki Refining techniques were divided into Immortal-rank, Heaven-rank, Earth-rank, Mortal-rank, and so on. Immortal-rank…this meant that this was a Ki Refining technique that could be used to train all the way up to the Celestial Immortal level.
“All the way up to Celestial Immortal?” Ning sighed with emotion. “Although supposedly one can use Immortal-ranked Ki Refining techniques to train all the way up to the Celestial Immortal level, even the Black-White College has only produced a single Celestial Immortal in its entire history. Even Immortal Northwalker and those other outstandingly talented figures were unable to become Celestial Immortals. The path to becoming a Celestial Immortal is indeed as difficult as Judge Cui described; the tribulations one must face are boundless.”
Ning continued to search carefully. Soon he found, deep in the depths of the Dao Repository Vault, a black, wooden table. Atop it, there were a total of twenty nine golden books arranged in a row. This table had a single character carved on its side – Immortal!
“Immortal-ranked Ki Refining techniques?” Ning hurriedly picked up a golden book. This book was named [Samgha Sutra of Ascending to Heaven]. This was just a simple, abridged tone; after all, an Immortal-ranked Ki Refining technique was definitely one of the most important, foundation-establishing texts for a school. It absolutely would not be permitted for it to be leaked to the outside world.
“This first scroll of the [Samgha Sutra of Ascending to Heaven] actually costs 1500 black-white pellets.” Ning was secretly speechless. Turning his head, he saw that atop the tall bookshelves, there were rows on rows of Earth-ranked Ki Refining techniques, and all of them were complete copies, not abridged ones…
“These are so cheap, just a hundred black-white pellets,” Ning mumbled to himself. Suddenly, a voice rang out by his side. “Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning.”
Ning turned to look. He saw, from afar, a white-robed youth who had just arrived; his junior apprentice-brother, Mu Northson. Northson was clearly quite excited. “Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, there really are very many Ki Refining techniques here.”
“The school has existed for so long. How can it not have many techniques?” Ning replied. And then, the pair of fellow disciples began to once more earnestly search for their own Ki Refining techniques.
An hour passed.
“I’ll choose this.” Ning picked up a golden book; it was the Immortal-ranked Ki Refining technique, the [Flowing Watersource]. The first volume could be purchased for 1500 black-white pellets. The Ki Refining technique which Ning had trained in since he was a child was the [Water Element Art]; after having established his Zifu, of the Five Elements, he was naturally most suited to water-attribute techniques.
“When adding the cost of the first scroll of the [Three-Foot Sword], which I have to acquire, I need to pay 3500 black-white pellets. I have another 2500 black-white pellets I can use.” Ning began to ponder to himself. He needed to acquire a technique for Uncle White. He also needed to acquire a divine ability. He also needed the later parts of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens].
“Uncle White is at the early Zifu stage; he is in urgent need of a Ki Refining technique. In addition, of the Five Elements, he too is most suited to water. This [Flowing Watersource] is very suited to him as well.” Ning continued to ponder.
Although he had just chosen a single copy of the [Flowing Watersource], if he wanted to let Uncle White train in it as well, then he would have to pay another 1500 black-white pellets! If he didn’t…then that would mean that they had stolen the technique, and an Immortal-ranked technique at that. This was a tremendously grave crime, and the Oath of Blood he had sworn to the Dao of the Heavens, by itself, would deliver a punishment that would probably shatter Ning’s soul.
“I have a thousand more black-white pellets remaining.” Ning instantly felt as though he didn’t have enough black-white pellets to spend. But what he didn’t realize was, no one else would be willing to spend such a fortune on a spirit-beast.
A short time later, within the first level of the Dao Repository Vault, Ning was able to find the books focusing on Fiendgod Body Refining. He also found the later scrolls introducing the number one Fiendgod Body Refining technique, the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens]; the so-called ‘second scroll’ to the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens].
The second scroll of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] also had nine stages to it. It consisted of the tenth, the eleventh, the twelfth…all the way to the eighteenth stage.
These levels corresponded to the Wanxiang Adept, Primal Daoist, and Void stages.
Upon reaching the eighteenth stage of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], one would undergo a tribulation. If one successfully endured that heavenly tribulation, one would become an Empyrean God!
As for Ki Refiners, once they overcame their tribulation, they would become Celestial Immortals!
Empyrean Gods and Celestial Immortals…these were two different branches.
“A hundred black-white pellets? So cheap.” Ning, upon seeing the price, couldn’t help but sigh in relief. “Although it will let you train all the way to the heavenly tribulation, it only costs a hundred black-white pellets. It really is the most easily acquired technique.”
It was the number one Fiendgod Body Refining technique. It was also the most easily acquired technique. And, in turn, it was the most difficult technique to learn.
Ning took a copy of the [Flowing Watersource] and a copy of the second scroll of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], then left the first level of the Dao Repository Vault and went to the second level. The second level was also filled with countless bookshelves.
“Arts!” Ning took a deep breath. These were the secret arts of Immortals and Fiends. They represented ways in which one could apply the Dao, divine abilities, sword arts, spells, forbidden techniques, evasion techniques, and more. All of these were classified as ‘arts’.
“Divine abilities.” The first thing Ning did was to head to the bookshelves which held the records on divine abilities. Divine abilities…these were extremely rare. Even his mother’s Yuchi clan had only been in possession of a single divine ability, the [Windwing Evasion] technique.
“So few. So expensive!” Ning finally found the shelf which contained the divine abilities, but the entire shelf only had five abridged books. In other words, despite the passage of countless years, the entire Black-White College was only in possession of five divine abilities! They were even more rare than Immortal-ranked Ki Refining techniques!
These five techniques were the [Heavenly Transformation], [Divine Thunderbolt Eye], [Myriad Hibernating Venoms], [Three Heads, Six Arms], and [Eye of the Luminous Heart].
“[Three Heads, Six Arms]?” Ning’s eyes instantly lit up. The [Heavenly Transformation] technique was the most common divine ability; generally speaking, all top-tier schools and sects had it. As for the other three divine abilities, [Divine Thunderbolt Eye], [Eye of the Luminous Heart], and [Myriad Hibernating Venoms], these were divine abilities which, according to rumor, some major powers would often use.
“[Three Heads, Six Arms]; it seems to be ordinary in effectiveness, but in reality, once one reaches the late stages of this divine ability, it grows tremendously powerful,” Ning mused to himself. Humans only had two arms; even though, by relying on their divine power or elemental Ki, they could coalesce additional arms, these arms couldn’t possibly compare to true arms.
But the [Three Heads, Six Arms] technique…once this divine ability was executed, one truly would gain four additional arms and two additional heads. The power of these four additional arms was comparable to that of one’s true arms; it would be as though three Ji Nings were linking hands against a single foe! It must be understood that just by wielding twin swords, one’s power would increase multiplicatively; with six swords joining together in an attack, the power would reach a truly ridiculous level.
Five divine abilities. After seeing them, a look of lust was in Ning’s eyes. [Three Heads, Six Arms] was extremely famous; naturally, there was a reason for that. And thus, the price of the first scroll alone was three thousand black-white pellets.
The [Heavenly Transformation] technique was the most commonly seen technique, but when trained to the later stages, it was also capable of unleashing astonishing levels of power. Its first scroll cost five hundred black-white pellets.
The [Myriad Hibernating Venoms] was also a true killer technique; the first scroll to this divine ability cost five thousand black-white pellets.
The first scroll of the [Divine Thunderbolt Eye] cost two thousand black-white pellets as well.
As for the [Eye of the Luminous Heart], the first scroll cost five thousand black-white pellets.
“This is too…” Ning had to grit his teeth and pick up the abridged version of the [Heavenly Transformations] technique. As for the other four divine abilities, there was no way for him to acquire them at all. The cost of these techniques was vastly greater than the cost of those Immortal-ranked Ki Refiner techniques. But it was only reasonable; these were divine abilities, incomparably precious.
Ning, those books in hand, continued forward through the second level in search of even more unusual ‘arts’. After searching for a long time…
“Found it.” Ning finally found, atop a bookshelf, three golden books. The entire shelf only had these three golden books atop it; apparently, the value of these books wasn’t at all inferior to those divine abilities.
Ning immediately picked up one of the golden books. Atop the cover, there were three words: “Soul” “Shaker” “Art”. [Soulshaker Art]!
This was precisely what Ning was searching for; an art which would allow him to use his soul to engage in an attack. This was an extremely rare type of art.