The old man looked at the golden-robed man. His voice was rather shrill, and his gaze was filled with grief. “My child Nong died?”
“Patriarch, Youngflame Nong’s spirit-tablet has shattered,” the golden-robed man said respectfully, not daring to show the slightest bit of discourtesy.
“Lishui, your master has failed you.” Patriarch Arcanum shut his eyes, tears appearing at the corner. Immortal Lishui was the female disciple who he had loved the dearest; the two had identical dispositions, and Patriarch Arcanum had all but viewed her as he would his own daughter. Unfortunately, Immortal Lishui had been too arrogant when facing her Celestial Tribulation, and in the end, her spirit had been destroyed!
The Celestial Tribulation was the greatest tribulation in any individual’s life. Overcoming it meant becoming a carefree Celestial Immortal; failing it, for the lucky, meant becoming a Loose Immortal, while the unlucky would have their souls destroyed.
Immortal Lishui had simply been too arrogant. At the last stage, she refused to give up, and had chosen to continue to fight head on! And so… she died!
Patriarch Arcanum had been griefstricken by this for an extremely long period of time. Fortunately, Immortal Lishui had a son named Youngflame Nong. Patriarch Arcanum had supported him from an early age, wanting to make up for his failure with Immortal Lishui by taking care of Youngflame Nong. He had given Youngflame Nong his full support this entire time, and had insisted on pushing Youngflame Nong onto the position of Godplume Duke.
Unfortunately… Youngflame Nong had died! Died at the Wanxiang level!
“I arranged a Fiendgod to protect him. That Fiendgod should’ve been able to withstand even a supreme Loose Immortal. How could he have died? How? Who killed him?” Patriarch Arcanum revealed a look of explosive, incomparably terrifying savagery in his eyes. “He was also carrying the Greater Teleportation Dao-seal I gave him; even in a completely different world, he would’ve been able to teleport straight back.”
The golden-robed man said hurriedly, “Patriarch, Youngflame Nong should have died within the Witchriver Immortal Estate.”
“Witchriver Immortal Estate?” Patriarch Arcanum was instantly enraged. “Tests, tests, always the stupid tests. What’s the big deal about becoming Godplume Duke?!”
Although he was angry, Patriarch Arcanum knew that this was in accordance with the rules of the clan; they couldn’t be easily discarded.
“Where is the Witchriver Immortal Estate?” Patriarch Arcanum asked.
“Within Stillwater Commandery. I’ll lead the way for you, Patriarch,” the golden-robed man said respectfully.
“Fine. Let’s go.” Patriarch Arcanum gave the order.
Soon, the nine Flood Dragons flew out, with that Immortal carriage behind them. Patriarch Arcanum remained seated within, while the golden-robed man sat in the front, in the position normally reserved for servants, carriage drivers, and bodyguards.
The Immortal carriage soared into the skies, flying out off the volcano.
The Immortal estate had been hidden in a separate world which was only connected to the Grand Xia Dynasty’s world by a single corridor. If one did not know where the connection point was, there would be no way to find the exact location of the corridor, even if one was a Celestial Immortal. Thus, one would naturally be unable to enter that world.
Since the Youngflame clan had arranged for Youngflame Nong to take his trials there, they naturally had, early on, sent clan elders bearing the key to the Immortal estate into the estate. They had done a quick surveillance, assuring themselves that the ‘Witchriver Immortal Estate’ was a place which would pose something of a challenge to Youngflame Nong, but which absolutely couldn’t put him in mortal danger. Only then did they bestow the key onto Youngflame Nong and have him come.
This was why the Youngflame clan had the precise location of the Witchriver Immortal Estate.
In the air above the Skyrove Mountains, there appeared an Immortal carriage that was pulled by nine Flood Dragons.
The golden-robed man at the front of the carriage pulled out and unfurled a scroll while saying, “This scroll is of the Skyrove Mountains, and it also marks the location where the Skyrove Mountains connects to the Witchriver Immortal Estate. It’s right in front of us.”
They gave it a careful glance and did a quick comparison. Soon, the Immortal carriage arrived within the gorge. “Right there, on the walls of the gorge,” the golden-robed man said.
Patriarch Arcanum, seated within the carriage, had a very sinister look on his face. He barked, “This cliff wall is enormous. Where, exactly, is the connection point? The Witchriver Immortal Estate is in a separate dimension; unless you can find the exact point, there’s no way to enter it.”
“Patriarch, please wait a moment.” The golden-robed man immediately executed a secret art, causing a golden, glowing rune to appear in his palm.
A golden rune began to glow somewhere on the cliff wall as well.
“Right there. That’s the place where the Witchriver Immortal Estate connects to our world,” the golden-robed man said, pointing forward. “The clan elders set a secret mark there long ago. That’s the mark.”
“Open up.” Patriarch Arcanum’s gaze turned incredibly sharp as he released his full power. To forcibly break through the defenses of an Immortal estate was no easy task. Spots of starlight began to appear in the surrounding area. The countless specks of starlight seemed dreamlike and illusory. At the same time, two giant hands of starlight began to coalesce, then tore towards the front.
Riiiiiip. Space itself tore apart, a corridor appearing. One could vaguely see through the corridor that there was an Immortal estate world on the other side.
If one had not known the exact connection location, however, the only result of this rip would have been the void.
“The Witchriver Immortal Estate? So it truly is here.” Patriarch Arcanum said coldly, “Wait here then.”
“Alright.” The golden-robed man responded with respect.
Swish. Patriarch Arcanum rose to his feet, then took a single step which carried him straight through the torn-open corridor and into the Immortal estate world.
The Immortal estate world was completely empty. With but a thought, Patriarch Arcanum spread his sense out to cover the entire world, capable of discovering everything within it.
“There isn’t a single living thing here?” Patriarch Arcanum was startled. But of course, how could he know that when Ning fled, he had told the monstrous races that there was a high chance a Celestial Immortal would come. The monsters had been so terrified that the monstrous Dao-soldiers had seized all of their kinsmen and pulled them onto warships in quite a brutal and ruthless fashion, using all sorts of cultivation techniques to quickly drag and send away one batch after another. In but the time needed to boil a cup of tea, the entire population of monsters had completely fled.
“But those items in those monstrous mountain lairs… those lake lairs… those estates… there’s fruit and wine placed out in the open. Clearly, they just left a short time ago.” Patriarch Arcanum turned his gaze towards a nearby Skypillar of golden light. “The five palaces of Immortal Witchriver. After my child Nong came, he definitely would’ve entered one of these five palaces. Most likely, he died within one of them!”
With a single step, Patriarch Arcanum appeared before the Dao Repository Palace. He then stretched out his finger and pointed towards the distance. “Temporal Inversion!”
The ‘Temporal Inversion’ technique was an incomparably powerful technique. Generally speaking, only Earth Immortals and Loose Immortals who had incredibly profound insights into the Dao of Time were capable of using it. If their insights were insufficient, then they would have to wait until they surpassed the restrictions of the Three Realms and became Celestial Immortals before they would be able to use this art.
The scenery in the area began to change as time began to rapidly flow backwards. It flowed all the way back to the point where Youngflame Nong used the Wildcore and the ‘Lock’ scroll before just barely bypassing the monstrous Dao-soldiers and entering the Dao Repository Palace. And then, time began to progress forward at a normal pace. Soon, Youngflame Nong led Ning and the others out of the Dao Repository Palace.
“My boy Nong entered this palace, then left this palace; he didn’t die here.” Patriarch Arcanum followed Youngflame Nong’s warship as it flew forward. As he did so, the scene in the second location began to replay once more.
Youngflame Nong, Xue Hongyi, Ji Ning, and the others rode the warship all the way to the fifth palace, the Witchriver Palace, where the monsters had set up a tight guard. Patriarch Arcanum just flew behind them.
Youngflame Nong used the black and white disc, then immediately entered the fifth palace.
“All of the monsters were gathered here, rather than being dispersed in the other palaces. My boy Nong, in turn, was willing to pay any price to enter this palace. This should have been the final palace he entered.” Patriarch Arcanum’s figure turned blurry for a moment, and then he reappeared within the fifth palace, the Witchriver Palace.
Within the Witchriver Palace.
Patriarch Arcanum once more used the Temporal Inversion technique, replaying the scene in front of him, starting from when Youngflame Nong and the others entered the palace.
The breaking of the illusory formation… the entering of the main hall… the celebratory banquet… Ninelotus’ dance… Ji Ning’s anger… the attack of many golems… Ji Ning using the Windwing Evasion… one scene after another appeared. Even the dialogue was repeated.
“Eh?” Patriarch Arcanum suddenly frowned. “That’s the Windwing Evasion!”
In the past, for the sake of completing and perfecting their copy of this divine ability, Patriarch Arcanum had personally soul-scoured some members of the Yuchi clan; he naturally was quite familiar with the Windwing Evasion. He immediately recognized that Ji Ning used the Windwing Evasion.
The scenes continued to change at high speed. Youngflame Nong tried to force Ji Ning to cuff himself with the godlock chains; Xue Hongyi then suddenly called out that Ji Ning’s mother was named Yuchi Snow. Instantly, a major battle began!
Xiangliu Fang, by himself, was able to block Mu Northson, Ninelotus, Yu Wei, and Adept Vastriver.
Xue Hongyi went to fight Ji Ning. However… Ji Ning’s power suddenly increased explosively, causing the entire hall to be filled with countless swords. A single, dazzling sword-light executed Xue Hongyi.
“Grand Dao Domain?” Patriarch Arcanum continued to watch, and as he did, his magical power continued to rapidly deplete; Temporal Inversion, after all, was no ordinary technique. “This kid named Ji Ning who knows the Windwing Evasion, he’s only at the Wanxiang level. Even if he comprehended a Grand Dao Domain, he should’ve been far from being a match for the Fiendgod bodyguard my boy Nong had.”
Indeed, Ning was defeated by a single palm blow from Xiangliu Fang. But right at that moment… that black loop had flown out.
The souls of Youngflame Nong, Xiangliu Fang, and the Redscale Salamander were all devoured and extinguished.
“This, this, this is…” Patriarch Arcanum’s eyes were filled with shock and rage. “A Soulslayer Loop? How could this kid have possibly procured such a treasure? Can it be that a major power died during one of the huge, chaotic battles of the Fiendgod Era, and the Soulslayer Sphere ended up as a relic somewhere, where the kid found it?”
Luck. It was hard to say what luck might bring.
A backwater bumpkin might be lucky enough to acquire a heaven-defying treasure! In fact, a lucky kid who offered an old man a bowl of water might end up finding that the old man was one of the major powers of the Three Realms.
“My child Nong didn’t have bad luck, but he actually ended up dying to this Ji Ning of the Black-White College. For this Ji Ning to have procured such a treasure… it seems he must have been blessed with tremendous luck. However, no matter how lucky he might be, he won’t be able to overcome my divine abilities.” Patriarch Arcanum’s eyes became filled with a cold light. “Those survivors were Yu Wei, Mu Northson, Vastriver, and Ninelotus; all of them are disciples of the Black-White College.”
Patriarch Arcanum turned, once more ripping a corridor through space, at the point where the estate was linked with the outside world of the Grand Xia Empire.
Within the Skyrove Mountains. The golden-robed man had been waiting here the entire time, only to see Patriarch Arcanum tear a corridor through space and emerge through it.
“Patriarch,” the golden-robed man said.
“The culprit was Ji Ning of the Black-White College.” Patriarch Arcanum looked at him. “Do you know him?”
The golden-robed man was the Godplume Duke; how could he possibly know about one particular genius within Stillwater Commandery? He immediately shook his head. “I do not.”
“Then let’s go straight to Stillwater City. First, we’ll do a thorough investigation regarding Ji Ning at the Heavenly Treasures Mountain; then, we shall go to the Black-White College! Those other disciples are most likely still within the Black-White College,” Patriarch Arcanum instructed coldly.
“Yes.” The golden-robed man immediately commanded the Immortal carriage to leave.
The nine Flood Dragons pulled the Immortal carriage, quickly departing from the Skyrove Mountains. They flew through the skies, heading towards Stillwater City.