Escorted by a ring of Golden Imperials, the azure phoenixes pulled the Immortal carriage to the main Heavenly Treasures Mountain. As they arrived, the Heavenly Treasures Mountain proactively sent someone out to welcome them; after all, this was the exalted Princess Xiyue of King Yan’s estate.
“Little sister Xiyue.” A white-robed, fairy-like maiden with an extraordinary aura that stuck out from the crowd went to welcome her.
“Elder sister Azurewillow.” Princess Xiyue emerged from the Immortal carriage, revealing a smile.
“Little sister Xiyue, why have you come to the Heavenly Treasures Mountain? You come here quite rarely. I was planning to go visit you in a few days,” the white-robed maiden, Azurewillow, laughed. Fairy Azurewillow… she was a reincarnated female Immortal, and in the past, she had been a Loose Immortal of the Skyfarmer clan. After reincarnating, she had once more been reborn into the Skyfarmer clan!
Azurewillow, a Primal Daoist, was an extremely high ranking member of the main headquarters of the Heavenly Treasures Mountain, and a very close friend of Princess Xiyue’s.
“I wanted to come and take a look, so I did.” Princess Xiyue and Azurewillow linked arms together. Clouds emerged beneath their feet, leading them forward towards a particularly wide hallway. Most ordinary guests, such as Ning, entered through an ordinary hallway.
“You should’ve come a long time ago. You always stay cooped up within the king’s estate. Don’t you feel stifled there? I feel stifled for you!” Azurewillow felt that this good friend of hers, Princess Xiyue, was excellent in all areas save for one; she was a bit too solitary. When the younger generation members of the various major clans located in the imperial capital of the Grand Xia met together, they would often discuss Princess Xiyue.
There were simply too many imperial descendants, and so ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’ had varying levels of status. King Yan, however, only had a single family member, Princess Xiyue, and so he doted heavily on her. Thus, her own status naturally became extremely high as well.
Many people believed… that the reason why Princess Xiyue was so solitary was because of her childhood. This was because no one knew about what she had experienced as a child; all they knew was that when King Yan brought Princess Xiyue back, she was already a grown woman.
“Right. Help me look into something,” Princess Xiyue said. “Someone named Ji Ning should’ve come to your Heavenly Treasures Mountain. Help me investigate and see where this Ji Ning is currently located? He should still be within your Heavenly Treasures Mountain.”
“Fine.” Azurewillow smiled, then stretched her divine sense out a few hundred kilometers, giving the instructions to a subordinate.
“It seems, Xiyue, that you came because of this Ji Ning. Ji Ning… the only person of this name that I can think of is that disciple of the Black-White College of Stillwater Province, who killed Youngflame Nong,” Azurewillow said.
“That’s the one.” Princess Xiyue revealed a smile as well. “I’m quite curious about him. He actually dared to kill Youngflame Nong.”
“I’m quite intrigued by him as well,” Azurewillow said.
“Found him.” Azurewillow said, “Ji Ning is at Fortunes Peak.”
“Fortunes Peak? Then let’s go to Fortunes Peak,” Princess Xiyue said directly.
The main Heavenly Treasures Mountain took up an extremely large amount of space. There were many mountain peaks within it, and the top of the mountain peaks appeared like the scales of an enormous kirin. Amongst them, there were nine peaks that were jointly referred to as the Fortunes Peaks. Every single one of them had hundreds of estates floating around them, all of which were surrounded by clouds. The dense clouds were more than thirty meters thick, forming into streets and traversed by carriages and maidservants.
Ning was seated in the lotus position atop one particular cloudbank, eating delicacies with Uncle White and Little Qing by his side, along with a maidservant who was awaiting his instructions.
A ripple in the air above the mountain peak. Azurewillow and Princess Xiyue flew out together, landing atop a cloud. Both sat down, and instantly, maidservants came to deliver delicacies to them.
“Look. That’s Ji Ning, right over there.” Azurewillow gave Ning a glance.
Princess Xiyue followed Azurewillow’s gaze, quickly discovering that in that direction, there were quite a few clouds at various different levels, upon which were seated various guests. In fact, some of them were extremely respected, high-status members of the Grand Xia Dynasty, and they voluntarily smiled towards Azurewillow and Princess Xiyue.
“Eh?” Princess Xiyue quickly discovered that amongst the guests, there was a very ordinary-looking fur-clad youth. This youth was almost completely absorbed in his eating, and by his side was a snowy white hound and an azure serpent, both of whom were eating as well while chatting about how ‘this one tastes great’ or ‘the imperial capital lives up to its reputation’ or ‘I never tasted this in Stillwater Commandery’ or ‘we certainly came to the right place, master!’
“Ji Ning.” Princess Xiyue looked towards the distant Ning, a warm feeling in her heart. “They look so similar. He looks just like father!” Princess Xiyue murmured quietly to herself.
Ning’s appearance was more like that of his mother, Yuchi Snow. Yuchi Snow and Yuchi Mount, in turn, were actual siblings… as the saying goes, a boy will look more like his maternal uncles. Ning did indeed have many facial similarities to his uncle, Yuchi Mount. However, because Ning broke through to the Xiantian level quite early on, he had always looked just as he had when he was a youth. If he had made his breakthrough a few years later… given how tall he already was at age eleven, by age sixteen, he would’ve been quite massive and muscular.
“Little brother.” Princess Xiyue felt warmth in her heart, and her eyes couldn’t help but begin to glisten.
It had been far too long.
She had always been by herself. Even after her grandfather had found her and brought her back to the imperial capital of the Grand Xia, she was still very lonely. She dearly missed her departed mother, and her father, who would never return… every night, in her dreams, she would return to the warm, happy days she had spent with her parents on that island.
She wanted to return to that island, to go back to the life of a fisherman’s daughter. Unfortunately… there was no way to ever go back.
Her father’s life-tablet had already shattered. She had thought that she would never have any other family members… but Youngflame Nong’s death was discovered to have involved a youth, a youth whose mother was named Yuchi Snow, a youth who was supposedly a ‘spawn of the Yuchi clan’. Yuchi Snow…although she had never met this woman, she had heard her father speak of her. That was the one and only surviving little sister of her father’s.
“Little brother.” Princess Xiyue had been quite frantic earlier, but upon seeing that youth, seated atop the clouds, be eating and chatting with his two spirit-beasts, the Whitewater Hound and the Azure Skysnake, she no longer felt frantic.
“Xiyue. Tonight is the night of the monthly Treasure Auction,” Fairy Azurewillow said with a laugh. “And I heard some news regarding this Ji Ning.”
“What is it?” Princess Xiyue, upon hearing the words ‘Ji Ning’, instantly felt curious.
Azurewillow said, “Ji Ning originally wasn’t very interested in the Treasure Auction, but upon hearing that the forces of the Youngflame clan would also be present, he came.”
“Ah?!” Princess Xiyue was amazed. “What’s he going to do?”
“Ji Ning came without changing his appearance. He also brought his spirit-beasts and rode on the carriage Youngflame Nong had owned, straight into the Heavenly Treasures Mountain. It’s as though he was afraid the Youngflame clan wouldn’t realize he was here.” Azurewillow sighed, “In fact, upon hearing that the Youngflame clan would attend, he insisted on attending as well. I feel as though he is setting himself directly against the Youngflame clan. I must say, he truly is quite audacious.”
“Isn’t he in great danger?” Princess Xiyue said hurriedly.
“This Ji Ning has acquired the treasures of the Youngflame clan; he definitely must have quite a few protective treasures,” Azurewillow said. “And… for him to be capable of killing Youngflame Nong means that he is an extraordinary figure. Given his power, it will actually be quite hard for the Youngflame to kill him in the imperial capital.”
Princess Xiyue quickly returned to a clear-minded state. She nodded. “Right. The Imperial Guard maintain a constant watch over the entire imperial capital. Once battle begins, they’ll quickly teleport over.”
“Right. So, if the Youngflame clan wishes to kill Ji Ning, they’ll probably have to send Deathsworn, and a Deathsworn capable of killing him in a single breath at that. Finding this sort of Deathsworn…” Azurewillow shook her head. “Hard. Very hard. He’d have to be a supreme Loose Immortal at the very least, but most likely, even a supreme Loose Immortal wouldn’t necessarily be able to kill him within a single breath. After all, Ji Ning has already displayed prowess in battle sufficient to kill Youngflame Nong and a Primal-level Fiendgod.”
Princess Xiyue laughed as well. She suddenly felt a sense of pride for this cousin of her’s; her cousin truly was formidable.
It was already late at night. Stars had appeared in the night sky. The starlight linked together, creating rays of starlight. A tall, thin, narrow-eyed old man was taking a stroll through the skies, surrounded by starlight. It was Patriarch Arcanum.
Beneath him was a quiet, secluded mountain range.
“Floatcloud.” Patriarch Arcanum spoke out, and his voice instantly echoed out, passing through the mountains.
Soon, a figure emerged from within the mountains. It was a bald old man. Upon seeing Patriarch Arcanum, the bald old man immediately bowed with respect. “Floatcloud pays his respects to the Patriarch.”
“Mmm. How many years have you trained for?” Patriarch Arcanum asked calmly.
“It has already been 128,113 years,” the bald elder said respectfully.
“Not bad. Every hundred thousand years constitutes a major accomplishment; many Loose Immortals are unable to make it past a hundred thousand years,” Patriarch Arcanum said.
The bald elder said hurriedly, “When I faced the tribulation that year, my Primal base was damaged. It was all thanks to the help of the tribe that I was able to restore my base quickly, which allowed me to survive until now. However… I’m almost at my limit. Each trial and tribulation poses a major threat to me. I want to reincarnate, but I’m afraid that I will fail in doing so.”
Reincarnation wouldn’t necessarily be successful; if one was lucky, one might succeed, but there were also those who would fail. The Netherworld Kingdom, after all, was not a kind, gentle place.
“I can bestow a dharmic decree of reincarnation unto you,” Patriarch Arcanum said.
“A dharmic decree of reincarnation?” The bald elder instantly revealed a look of surprise and joy.
Dharmic decrees were decrees which were issued by major powers of the Three Realms. Even the Netherwold Kingdom would give face to the dharmic decrees of major powers. Even for the Youngflame clan, such decrees were extremely precious. After all, there were far too many Loose Immortals; the entire Youngflame clan had in excess of a thousand Loose Immortals.
“I need you to accomplish something,” Patriarch Arcanum said.
“Please instruct me, Patriarch,” the bald elder said hurriedly. He had begged the clan repeatedly in the past, but the clan had not given him a dharmic decree of reincarnation. Now that the Patriarch had come in person and said that he would bestow a dharmic decree of reincarnation… this must involve a major affair.
“You know that Ji Ning killed my child, Nong?” Patriarch Arcanum said calmly.
“I do,” the bald elder said hurriedly. How could he not know? Youngflame Nong had been all but guaranteed to be the next Godplume Duke, and had a Fiendgod bodyguard. In the Patriarch’s heart, his status had been far higher than that of a Loose Immortal whose life was nearing its end.
“That Ji Ning is currently in the imperial capital of the Grand Xia.” Patriarch Arcanum instructed, “You are to go there and kill Ji Ning, then go reincarnate.”
“The imperial capital?” The bald elder’s face changed. Kill someone in the imperial capital? Kill Ji Ning?
This was no simple task. After all, Ji Ning was someone who had even managed to kill both Youngflame Nong and a Primal-level Fiendgod. Killing Ji Ning was very difficult, and to kill someone in the imperial capital was incredibly troublesome. If he wasn’t careful, even his soul would be captured and taken away by the Imperial Guard. Most likely, the end result would be that his soul would be shattered.
“I’ll give you time to prepare. Buy or trade for whatever treasures you need. However, I want you to kill Ji Ning within three days,” Patriarch Arcanum said coldly. At the same time, he produced a golden scroll in his hand. “This is the dharmic decree of reincarnation. If you swear an oath to the Dao of the Heavens, I’ll give it to you.”
The bald elder hesitated, looking at the golden dharmic decree. He thought about the fact that he had quite a few treasures; he could sell them off and purchase a few particularly powerful items.
And… since Patriarch Arcanum had personally come, most likely, he had no choice but to accept.
“Let the Dao of the Heavens bear witness! I, Floatcloud, shall kill Ji Ning within three days, and will not reveal any information regarding the Youngflame clan. If I violate this oath, let my soul be shattered.” The bald elder gritted his teeth, then swore the oath.
“Very good.” Patriarch Arcanum nodded, then casually waved his hand, sending the golden scroll flying forward. The bald elder immediately caught it.
“I’ll give you three days… but the sooner the better.” After saying his part, Patriarch Arcanum took a single step, then disappeared within the countless stars of the night sky.