“I’ve never heard of him. Bu You, you tell me; what is so special about this person?” Youngflame Nong asked with curiosity.
Xue Hongyi stood to one side. Although he wasn’t happy, he could only hide his resentment in his heart.
“This person is a genius of the art of the sword. When he first entered the Black-White College, he defeated several of his senior fellow disciples in Dao Debates. In the end, it was a reincarnated Immortal, the Rainbowflame Fairy Yu Wei who defeated him. And now, he has only grown even more formidable! Not too long ago, he even defeated one of the three Primal Daoists of Snowdragon Mountain, Daoist Snowplume!” Adept Bu You said.
“Snowdragon Mountain?” Youngflame Nong looked at the nearby Xue Hongyi. “Hongyi, you are of Snowdragon Mountain, yes? Did this happen?”
Xue Hongyi felt extremely stifled, but in the end, he said in a low voice, “It did.”
“What level is Daoist Snowplume at?” Youngflame Nong asked. He lived in the imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty; how could he possibly know about the Primal Daoists of a small sect in Stillwater, such as Snowdragon Mountain?
Xue Hongyi said in a low voice, “Peak Primal.”
“Hahaha… this Ji Ning is worth paying a visit to.” Youngflame Nong laughed and nodded. This trip was an important trial the clan had assigned him, and in fact, they wouldn’t even provide him with much support. The only person he brought out from the clan was the old servant, Xiangliu Fang, who had protected him since he was a child. As for any other subordinates, he had to have others ‘volunteer’ them to him.
This trial was actually quite a difficult one.
The old servant had to stay next to him and protect him, and so he still needed formidable subordinates. To invite a Primal Daoist or an Immortal? Youngflame Nong didn’t feel safe doing so, because some powerful Primal Daoists and Immortals, given their combat ability, could instantly kill him! He absolutely would not permit this sort of a threat to exist.
Thus, he would only ask Wanxiang Adepts. No matter how powerful a Wanxiang Adept was… their power was within the realm of what he could handle.
However, some extremely powerful Primal Daoists were outside of that realm.
It is impossible to tell how powerful a person is just by looking at them. Even if a Primal Daoist might be little-known, no one could know how many secret arts he might actually be hiding. It was best to invite Wanxiang Adepts! It was safer, and within his realm of control. However, the more powerful a Wanxiang Adept, the harder it would be to invite them to come.
“Young master Youngflame, this Ji Ning has trained for less than thirty years. I imagine he might be quite hard to invite,” Xue Hongyi said hurriedly. “In addition, he’s also very arrogant. He didn’t even show my Snowdragon Mountain any face at all. If we just go and ask him, he might be discourteous…”
“Hahaha, he wouldn’t give your Snowdragon Mountain face, so you think he won’t give me face?” Youngflame Nong gave him a glance. “Hongyi, I can tell that there are some grudges between your clan and him. However, since you’ve come to assist me, then you don’t need to think about those things for now.”
Xue Hongyi had no choice but to lower his head and say, “Understood.”
“Come, let’s take a look at this Ji Ning.” Youngflame Nong smiled, filled with anticipation.
Serpentwing Lake. Brightheart Island. Within a study.
Ning was currently writing calligraphy, one character at a time. Autumn Leaf was by his side, accompanying him and grinding ink for him. Ninelotus stood to one side, watching.
Ning put down his brush, revealing a hint of a smile. Writing calligraphy truly was a form of enjoyment for him, especially when he incorporated his insights into the sword into them. This sort of feeling was truly pleasurable.
“Autumn Leaf, take it and burn it,” Ning said.
“Yes, young master.” Autumn Leaf immediately began to roll up the scroll.
“Autumn Leaf,” Ninelotus said, “Take it and burn it in a nearby room. I have some things to discuss with Ji Ning.”
Autumn Leaf nodded, then obediently left. In the room, only Ji Ning and Ninelotus were left.
“What secrets do you wish to discuss, that you need to avoid Autumn Leaf?” Ning hung the brush in its holder, then glanced at Ninelotus.
Ninelotus looked at Ning. “Ji Ning, don’t you feel as though… you are a bit too friendly and intimate with Autumn Leaf?”
Ning was stunned.
“As I see it, there’s not much of a difference between the way you treat Autumn Leaf and the way you treat me.” Ninelotus looked at Ji Ning. “I’m your Dao-companion. She’s just your maid.”
“Hahaha…” Ning began to laugh. “You are over-thinking things.”
“I’m not,” Ninelotus said quickly. “I’m not as jealous and small-minded as you are thinking. However, in the future, it is guaranteed that you will become more and more powerful, and your status will become higher and higher. More and more people will follow you as well. With so many subordinates… how are you going to properly manage them? With rules, that’s how. How can you go without rules? There must be a clear distinction between those with high status and those with low status. Autumn Leaf is a maid? Then she’s a maid! If you don’t distinguish between those of high and low status, then everything will be a mess!”
Everything she had learned within the Dongyan clan caused Ninelotus to believe that one had to clearly distinguish between exalted and humble statuses.
Servants were servants!
Even if you doted on a particular servant, a servant still had to act the part of a servant!
“What are you trying to say?” Ning began to frown.
“I just want to tell you that in the future, as you grow increasingly powerful, the Ji clan will also slowly grow powerful. A major clan needs to look like and operate like a major clan. As the supreme power behind this major power… you need to be even more careful in distinguishing between the statuses of those by your side!” Ninelotus said. “And you? Enough about Autumn Leaf for now; you even converse with those ordinary servants? You chit-chat with them? Those are just ordinary mortal servants. Why pay them any attention at all?”
Ning suddenly snapped, “Enough!”
Ninelotus was stunned.
“Everyone has their own way of handling their affairs. As for Autumn Leaf, although she is a maid, in my heart, she’s my older sister!” Ning looked at Ninelotus.
Ninelotus gritted her teeth.
The two had lived in different environments, and Ning, in his previous life, had come from Earth. Naturally, there would be major differences in the ways they viewed and handled things.
“In the future, people are going to laugh at you if you act this way!” Ninelotus said with a frown.
“Laugh at me? Who will laugh at me?” Ning looked at Ninelotus. “In fact, why should I even care about if others laugh at me? I’m me. When my fame truly reaches the point of shaking the entire Grand Xia Dynasty, others will most likely revere every single word I say and thing I do. Ninelotus, can it be that you still haven’t seen through these things? A True Immortal, even one of low and despicable moral character… in the end, the various tribes will all lower their heads to lap at his feet. If, however, he was nothing but an ordinary mortal, even if his every word and action was keeping in accord with the rules of your so-called ‘major clans’, in the end, he’ll be nothing more than a joke.”
“Expand your horizons to include the entire Three Realms!”
“Personal power is the most important fundament! Only when you have power, will you become a major power!” Ning stared at Ninelotus.
Ninelotus could sense the powerful determination and the wild ambition in Ning’s eyes. She lowered her head.
“Alright. I won’t speak of this anymore. In the future, you’ll understand.” Ninelotus turned her head, moving to walk outside. But right at this moment…
A powerful ripple spread out from far away.
“Eh?” Ning and Ninelotus both turned their heads, staring towards the distant skies. They could both sense the ripple. Although they had just had an argument, they still flew together towards the skies.
In midair. Ning, Ninelotus, Northson, Yu Wei, and Adept Vastriver had all flown here.
“Who is it?” Ning saw the ancient, plain-looking warship hanging in the skies far away. Atop the warship, a flag was fluttering with two characters on it – ‘Young’ ‘Flame’.
“Youngflame Nong!” Ninelotus was shocked.
“The Youngflame clan?” Adept Vastriver was similarly shocked.
As for Ning, Northson, and Yu Wei, they hadn’t even heard of this clan before. Clearly, they were befuddled.
Adept Vastriver hurriedly sent to them, “Be careful, fellow disciples. This Youngflame clan ranks amongst the top ten powerful clans in the entire Grand Xia Dynasty. Many of their clansmen are officials serving the Grand Xia Dynasty, and they are extremely influential in this major world. Within their clan, there are three Marquisates, and these three marquisdoms vastly outstrip Stillwater Commandery in size.
Ninelotus hurriedly sent as well, “The Youngflame clan’s territory, in terms of size, is nearly a hundred times that of Stillwater Commandery! Their roots are incredibly deep; supposedly, shortly after this major world was created, the Youngflame clan had already begun to grow and prosper. In the incomparably distant Fiendgod Era, the Youngflame clan was an incomparably mighty force.
Ning, Northson, and Yu Wei were stunned upon hearing this.
“That’s too badass…” Northson blinked.
“Three marquisdoms in a single tribe?” Ning had reviewed a map of the entire Grand Xia Dynasty; amongst them, there were indeed three marquisdoms that were marked with ‘Youngflame clan’. These three marquisdoms were spread out in different areas, but each of them were vast; they were all extremely large marquisdoms.
“Why has the warship of such a powerful clan appeared at my Serpentwing Lake?” Ning was completely puzzled.
At this moment, a long corridor suddenly opened up from within that ancient, plain warship. An azure-robed man emerged, followed by a swarthy, tall, slender-eyed middle-aged man. Behind them was Xue Hongyi, Bu You, and a group of Wanxiang Adepts and Zifu Disciples.
“Xue Hongyi?” Ning immediately recognized him. Xue Hongyi gave Ning a glance as well.
“Everyone, be careful,” Ninelotus hurriedly sent. “This azure-robed youth… he’s one of the Four Dukelings of the imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty, ‘Youngflame Nong’. Youngflame Nong’s status is extraordinary; unless something unexpected happens, he’ll be the next leader of the Youngflame clan, the next Godplume Duke.”
Ning, Northson, Adept Vastriver, and Yu Wei were all secretly tongue-tied. The next leader of the Youngflame clan? He was this incredible?
“Dongyan Yun greets you, young master Youngflame,” Ninelotus said with a smile.
“You know me?” Youngflame Nong said, surprised, “Dongyan Yun? Can it be that you are ‘Ninelotus’ of the Dongyan clan?”
“Precisely so.” Ninelotus nodded.
Youngflame Nong smiled and nodded. He had been carefully reared since young, and was quite familiar with some of the most important figures of the supreme powers of this the Grand Xia Dynasty’s world. Ninelotus was the next leader of the Dongyan clan; naturally, he was familiar with her. Although he had learned of her long ago, after reflecting slightly, he remembered everything about her.
“Ninelotus, you are far more beautiful than the painting I saw. In the painting, you were far more youthful,” Youngflame Nong said with a laugh.
Ninelotus laughed, then said, “Let me make the introductions for you, young master Youngflame. This is my Dao-companion, Ji Ning.”
“Dao-companion?” Youngflame Nong was startled, and then he nodded. “A perfect pairing, to be sure.”
“This is my senior apprentice-sister, the Rainbowflame Fairy, Yu Wei. She is also a reincarnated Immortal.” Ninelotus next pointed to the black-robed Yu Wei.
Youngflame Nong’s eyes immediately lit up. Ninelotus could be said to be an extremely beautiful and graceful woman, but the Rainbowflame Fairy, Yu Wei, was even superior to her. She caused even the eyes of Youngflame Nong, who usually stayed in the imperial capital, to light up.
“This is my senior apprentice-brother, Adept Vastriver, also a reincarnated Immortal. And this is my junior apprentice-brother, Mu Northson,” Ninelotus said.
As soon as Ninelotus finished her words…
“Greetings to you, young master Youngflame,” Ning, Northson, Yu Wei, and Adept Vastriver said in unison.
Youngflame Nong nodded as well. He could tell that this group was an extraordinary one. Next to him, Adept Bu You secretly sent him a mental message. “Congratulations, young master Youngflame. The Rainbowflame Fairy and Adept Vastriver are amongst the most supreme geniuses of the Black-White College; they are easily comparable to Ji Ning.”
Youngflame Nong looked towards their group, then said with a smile, “Come to think of it, I actually do have something to ask you to help out with.”
Ning’s group exchanged glances.
“Young master Youngflame, please speak,” Ning said.