The Crimson Dragon Mountains. The local branch of the Raindragon Guard. The enormous, tower-shaped teleportation array. There was a white-robed elder seated in the lotus position next to it, quietly waiting.
“It seems as the Youngflame clan’s hatred for Ji Ning is truly bone-deep. They instructed me long ago to help keep an eye out, and to immediately inform them upon discovering him.” Ten servants near the teleportation array were whispering and laughing amongst themselves. “And yet, they also sent one of the Raindragon Guards belonging to their clan to stay here permanently and keep watch.”
“It’s been over a year. Ji Ning definitely left Stillwater Commandery long ago, but this Raindragon Guard of the Youngflame clan is still waiting here like an idiot.”
“Everyone says that Ji Ning killed that young master ‘Youngflame Nong’; how could the Youngflame clan not be enraged? Stillwater Commandery is Ji Ning’s homeland, and this teleportation array of ours is the largest one within Stillwater Commandery, capable of sending someone to any place in the Grand Xia Empire. They are definitely going to stay on watch here permanently.”
Just as the two servants were chatting, the teleportation array suddenly lit up.
“Someone is coming.” The ten servants all turned their heads to look. As for the white-robed elder who had been in the lotus position this entire time, he opened his eyes out of habit. He had been on watch here for far too long, but each time the teleportation array lit up or someone used the array to leave, he would still pay attention.
A fur-clad youth appeared within the teleportation array. On his arm was a little azure serpent, while by his side was a large, snowy white dog.
“Ji Ning!” The ten servants responsible for maintaining the teleportation array, as well as the distant, lotus-seated white-robed elder, all called out in shock.
A fur-clad youth? An azure snake? A large, snowy white dog? This was…a perfect match! And he looked identical to Ji Ning as well!
“He, is he Ji Ning?” The white-robed elder couldn’t help but look towards those ten servants of the array. What his thinking was, even if Ji Ning was going to use the teleportation array, he would most likely do it in secret! For example, he might change his appearance, change his clothes, and temporarily hide his spirit-beasts, making others unable to see that it was him. For Ji Ning to suddenly appear without any disguises at all…this actually made it so that he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“Could it be a fake?” The white-robed elder suddenly had this thought.
“That’s him. He’s Ji Ning.” Those ten servants of the array all spoke out. “We met him several times before. There’s no mistake.”
“Yes. I am Ji Ning.”
The fur-clad youth stood there within the formation, sweeping those ten with his gaze. The ten were so frightened, they hurriedly took several steps back. This was a branch of the Raindragon Guard; if Ji Ning dared to kill someone, he would become a wanted criminal and be pursued! They all knew that the chances of him attacking were very low, but when they thought about the fact that he was already being pursued by the Youngflame clan, they felt that he might be capable of doing anything. Naturally, these ten servants felt a bit of dread.
“Everyone,” Ning said. “I am going to the imperial capital. Please activate the teleportation array.”
“The imperial capital?” The ten servants were amazed. He wasn’t going to flee to a distant place; instead, he was going to the very heart of the Grand Xia Empire?
“Are you going to activate it or not?” Ning barked.
“Alright.” After a brief moment of surprise, the ten calmed down. No matter what, the grudge between the Youngflame clan and Ji Ning was a private matter. Ji Ning was still nominally a Raindragon Guard; they could not bar his way to the imperial capital. The ten immediately began to make minor adjustments to the teleportation array.
“Wait a moment. I’m going to the imperial capital as well.” The white-robed elder immediately walked over, stepping into the teleportation array.
Within the array.
Ning and the white-robed elder exchanged glances.
“You are quite bold,” the white-robed elder said in a low voice. “It’s been more than a year, but you actually have dared to return in Stillwater Commandery!”
“This is my homeland. Why wouldn’t I dare to return?” Ning gave him a sidelong glance. “Did you actually wait here for me this entire time? Poor bastard.” This man’s strength was ordinary; after scanning him with divine sense, Ning estimated that he probably should be a Wanxiang Adept. It was also possible that he vastly surpassed Ning, causing Ning to be completely unable to tell how terrifyingly strong he was.
Given the attunement towards the Dao which Ning’s divine sense now had, to make it so that even he couldn’t discover anything at all…the man would have to be at least at the Celestial Immortal level.
But clearly, there was no way this watchman could have been a Celestial Immortal.
“You’ve returned to Stillwater Commandery. And now, after revealing your whereabouts, you plan to go straight to the imperial capital? Hmph, hmph. Ji Ning, you won’t be able to escape. Those who my Youngflame clan wish to kill will definitely die,” the white-robed elder said.
“Oh, is that so? Then hurry up and kill me,” Ning smirked.
“The two of you, we’ve finished our adjustments to the teleportation array. We will send you to the imperial capital now.” The ten servants, while speaking, stepped back and activated the array.
Soon, the teleportation array lit up.
The array was now empty. Everything inside had vanished.
The imperial capital of the Grand Xia. This was the very core of this entire major world. It was truly a place where the fish swam with the dragons, where experts were as common as the clouds. In terms of size of commandery cities or number of experts, compared to the imperial capital…Stillwater Commandery was nothing more than a backwater.
Within a tall, towering mountain within the imperial capital. This was the tallest mountain within the imperial capital, and its name…was Raindragon Godpeak.
The Raindragon Godpeak was the most towering edifice present. Even the tallest building of the imperial citadel, the Skylight Palace, was slightly lower.
Raindragon Godpeak was ten thousand kilometers high, while the Skylight Palace of the imperial citadel was 9999 kilometers high! These were the two most towering structures of the imperial capital…and in fact, there were no buildings in the entire Grand Xia Empire which were taller than these two. Correct – buildings! In truth, the Raindragon Godpeak, while nominally a ‘mountain’, was actually an enormous magic treasure building!
Halfway up Raindragon Godpeak, there were numerous, enormous teleportation arrays. This was the center of this major world, and in fact, it was to here where those from other major worlds would come!
In one of the many teleportation arrays halfway up the mountain. Suddenly, a number of people appeared. There was a white-robed elder, a fur-clad youth, a little azure snake, and a large snowy white dog.
“He’s Ji Ning. Hurry up and make the report.” As soon as the white-robed elder appeared, he turned his gaze to two armored men in a higher part of the mountain and sent a mental message to them. These two armored men were on permanent station here, and were responsible for welcoming the guests of the Youngflame clan.
“Ji Ning?” The two armored warriors were shocked. They exchanged a glance, and then one of them immediately flew down from his position.
Ning, with Little Qing and Uncle White by his side, leisurely strolled over towards the edge of the cliff. From this position, he could stare down and marvel at the vast, endless imperial city. As he stared down…there was actually not a cloud to be seen. Although he was more than three thousand kilometers in the air, when he looked downwards, he didn’t see any clouds at all, nor was there any smoke or dust; nothing hindered his vision.
From their vantage point, an enormous, awe-inspiring commandery city could be seen, a city that seemed to have no end. Far away, there was a towering, massive Immortal palace that was as large as this mountain. This was the place the Emperor of the Grand Xia normally resided; the Skylight Palace. The Skylight Palace, 9999 kilometers tall, was a single massive magic treasure. It emanated all sorts of brilliant, blinding light; golden light, silver light, red light, azure light, violet light…
The streams of light shone over the entire imperial capital.
At the highers point of the Skylight Palace, starting at roughly six thousand kilometers or so, fog and mist could be seen, as well as a layer of incomparably beautiful red clouds.
“It is said that the Skylight Palace of the imperial capital of the Grand Xia is 9999 kilometers high. At 6000 kilometers, there is a layer of red clouds, with multiple other layers of clouds beyond that, for a total of nine layers! In terms of power and prestige…it can absolutely compare to the Sacred Palace of the Skies [1. This is where the Jade Emperor of Chinese mythology resides in Heaven] of the Heaven Realm. That’s what is said…and today, I can see that it truly is extraordinary.” Ning sighed in amazement.
“They are so high. Everyone says that both the Skylight Palace and Raindragon Godpeak are magic treasures,” Little Qing called out in amazement. “Look at the infinite light the Skylight Palace is giving off…that power and might…if such a massive palace is actually a magic treasure, what level of magic treasure is it?!”
“Immortal-ranked at the very least, and most likely Pure Yang-ranked,” Ning said softly.
“Let’s go down.”
Ning led Little Qing and Uncle White, flying down from the mountain. Whoosh! They flew along the wind, staring down at the seemingly endless imperial capital and feeling completely stunned. This was no mortal city…this was a city which should only exist in the Heaven Realm.
“According to legend, Immortal Eastroam, ‘Dong You’, once led the Immortals and Fiendgods of a major world to assault the Heaven Realm, forcing that power of the Heaven Realm to lower their heads and allow him to reunite with his beloved.” Ning sighed, moved. “As I look at the power of the imperial capital of the Grand Xia…I now believe that an emperor of a major world does indeed have this level of power.”
Ning had realized some time ago that in the books regarding the Heaven Realm and the Netherworld Kingdom, it seemed as though the Celestial Emperor wasn’t viewed as being tremendously important. It seemed as though the emperors of major worlds were completely qualified to sit down and chat with the Celestial Emperor as equals. This was the feeling which Ning had after reading those books.
They flew down Raindragon Godpeak, landing on a long street that seemed to be made from clouds. They saw, atop this massive street, countless people either flying on magic treasures, riding flying carriages, or mounted on spirit-beasts. Not a single mortal could be seen.
Ning turned his head to look backwards; behind him was the seemingly infinitely tall Raindragon Godpeak. “Raindragon Godpeak is actually slightly taller than even the Skylight Palace. The Skylight Palace is the place where the Emperor of the Grand Xia resides, whereas Raindragon Godpeak is nothing more than the headquarters of the Raindragon Guard. Why have they been raised to such an exalted status?
Ning was secretly puzzled. The height of a building had to conform to exacting requirements; for the Skylight Palace to be 9999 kilometers tall meant that no one in any of the other commandery cities would dare to construct a building of such heights. But Raindragon Godpeak was actually slightly higher…
“The imperial capital lives up to its reputation,” Ning said. “Come, let’s go wander about the city.”
Ning no longer pondered this matter. He immediately produced a construct-carriage. It appeared, surrounded by mist, with a black dragon construct pulling it. This carriage had been left behind by Youngflame Nong! Although Immortal Juhua had left behind far more treasures than Youngflame Nong, including fine Immortal carriages as well, Ning decided it was best to be a bit low-key.
Whoosh. The black dragon carriage flew forward, with Ning seated in the carriage, an azure snake on one side and the Whitewater Hound on the other. Soon, the carriage reached the walls of the imperial city.
The imperial city was surrounded by a wall that was more than thirty thousand meters high. It had an enormous gate, and the gate was guarded by four human-shaped Fiendgods that were also thirty thousand meters tall. Of the four Fiendgods, the first had red skin and flames coming out of his nostrils, the second had azure skin and was surrounded by watery mist, the third gleamed with golden light and had a sharp golden gaze, while the fourth was completely pitch-black and had a giant snake wrapped around its body.
These four Fiendgods guarded the city gate. Regardless of entry or exit, they had to first give permission.
“My God.” Ning stared at these four titanic Fiendgods. He couldn’t help but shake in amazement.
“Master, those four Fiendgods, it, it feels as though each of them are comparable to that one from the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains.” Little Qing and Uncle White sighed in amazement as well.