The two azure phoenix Godbeasts were both comparable to supreme Loose Immortals in power. Those two squads of Golden Imperials were even mightier! Even ten Immortal Floatclouds wouldn’t be able to do anything.
“What… what should I do? He’s with Princess Xiyue. How am I supposed to kill him?” Immortal Floatcloud began to briefly panic, but he quickly came back to his senses. “Princess Xiyue is a woman, and she never met Ji Ning before. This is just their first meeting; she wants to befriend him, which is why they are sharing an Immortal carriage… I imagine that in a short while, they will separate, and Ji Ning will return to his residence, while Princess Xiyue will go back to her royal residence.”
“I’ll follow them. Once they separate, I’ll kill Ji Ning.” Immortal Floatcloud immediately sent a mental order to his subordinates, ordering them to follow. He stayed far away behind them, so as to avoid being discovered.
The spies of the Youngflame clan quietly followed, only to discover that Ji Ning and Princess Xiyue actually weren’t separating.
The azure phoenixes pulled the Immortal carriage whistling through the air, all the way to King Yan’s Estate.
“Come.” Princess Xiyue disembarked from the Immortal carriage. Ning, too, led the Whitewater Hound out of the carriage, following Princess Xiyue into the royal estate.
“Senior, Ji Ning and Princess Xiyue both entered King Yan’s Estate,” the spy immediately reported back.
“What?! Entered the royal estate?! Ji Ning entered King Yan’s Estate?!” Immortal Floatcloud couldn’t even believe it. “Keep watching! I refuse to believe he won’t come out. As soon as he does, immediately report it to me.”
“Yes.” The spy resumed his watch.
King Yan’s Estate took up a large amount of space, but it was fairly cold and pristine. This was because although most kings had many friends and relatives with them, King Yan had only a single family member; Princess Xiyue. This caused the estate to feel cold and clean. Still, King Yan was a newly ascended Celestial Immortal; most likely in a thousand years or ten thousand years, this estate would become incredibly lively.
“The royal estate is quite large,” Princess Xiyue said with a laugh. “Many places are unoccupied. Later, I’ll accompany you in picking out a place.”
“Everyone says that it is hard finding a place to stay in the imperial capital, and that most Immortal cultivators can’t even afford it,” Ning laughed. “I didn’t expect that I, Ji Ning, would actually be able to pick and choose. It seems my luck isn’t bad!”
Princess Xiyue laughed as well. The two walked together, chatting and laughing. The two female soldier-servants following them were quite surprised; their princess was quite solitary and rarely made friends she could chat with. Those she did make friends with were all women. For her to chat so happily with a young man… they had never seen this before.
“Xiyue, bring Ji Ning to my place.” A voice suddenly echoed in Princess Xiyue’s mind.
“Let’s go,” Princess Xiyue said. “My Grandpa wants to see you.”
“King Yan wishes to see me?” Ning felt a surge of nervousness. He knew that King Yan was a friend and not an enemy… but he was still a Celestial Immortal! Ning had never before seen a Celestial Immortal Patriarch.
Perhaps the Lord of Cui Palace Ning had met in the Netherworld Kingdom was a Celestial Immortal, or even more powerful than a Celestial Immortal… but Ning had been a mere mortal soul, and the Lord of Cui Palace had completely hidden and suppressed his aura of power. Ning couldn’t sense the Lord of Cui Palace’s level of power at all.
Now, however, things were different. Ning was an Immortal cultivator, and his soul was comparable to a supreme Loose Immortal’s. He now understood more than ever before how powerful Celestial Immortals were.
“Let’s go.” Princess Xiyue laughed as she pulled at Ning’s hand.
“They are holding hands?!” The eyes of two female soldier-servants escorting them turned completely round. “Can the princess actually have fallen for Ji Ning?” The two were personal maidservants; although they were stunned, there was no way they would speak of what they had seen. Every single personal servant had sworn certain oaths to the Dao of the Heavens.
A very short time later. Princess Xiyue led Ning towards a graceful mountain. King Yan’s Estate spanned a thousand kilometers, and so the insides of it were naturally filled with winding mountain ranges, and even some lakes and pools.
“This place, Skygazer Mountain, is the place which Grandpa likes to come to the most,” Princess Xiyue said. “Servants are forbidden from coming up the mountain. Usually, I’m the only one who goes up.”
“Oh?” Ning nodded.
Little Qing nand Uncle White were left at the base of the mountain, not coming up; after all, King Yan had only said that he wanted to meet with Ji Ning.
At the very summit of othe mountain peak, there was an old, gnarled, twisted tree. Next to it, there was a pavilion, which had a single table, a single chair, and a single person within it! This was a tall, muscular man who was dressed in a long black robe. He quietly sat there by himself, drinking wine and staring at the vast landscape around him.
In this moment, it seemed as though the sky, the earth, and the man were all one being.
“Grandpa,” Princess Xiyue called out, her voice breaking the stillness. Only then did the man rise to his feet, turning to stare at them.
He was more than eight feet tall, and his eyebrows were crow-black and almost excessively thick. The eyes below the brows were staring straight at Ji Ning. Ning, in turn, was looking back at King Yan.
Everying in the surrounding area completely vanished. Ning could only sense an infinite, baleful aura, a baleful aura that filled the skies and covered the earth, so strong as to cause even Ning to feel fear. However, Ning’s soul was powerful and his Dao-heart was sturdy; his sword-soul quickly stabilized itself, allowing him to escape that state a short moment later. Ning looked at the man in front of him. “What a King Yan! He didn’t even try to consciously attack me; he just revealed the baleful aura contained within his body, but it was almost enough to cause me to lose myself within it.”
“Cousin said that her grandpa had only an ordinary level of talent, and wasn’t even viewed as important by the imperial clan of the Grand Xia… but he dared to use evil, demonic techniques and even strengthen the demonic mental attacks of the calamities to temper himself. This is a very crazy fellow… and because of his craziness, although his talent was clearly ordinary, he managed to force his way into becoming a Celestial Immortal.” Ning knew quite well that it was rare for even a single Celestial Immortal to emerge within the Grand Xia Empire over the span of a million years.
King Yan’s talent had been ordinary for an Earth Immortal, but he had succeeded in becoming a Celestial Immortal. He most assuredly had his own terrifying secrets. Everything else aside, that baleful aura contained within his gaze… that alone was enough to make Ning understand that this person before him had definitely undergone terrifying experiences. Otherwise, there was no way the baleful aura could be so strong.
“Ji Ning pays his respects to you, King Yan.” Ning respectfully bowed deeply.
“Not bad. You’ve only trained for thirty years, but your Dao-heart wasn’t moved by my baleful aura; you instantly threw it off.” King Yan nodded slightly, then said with a calm smile, “Formidable, formidable.”
Princess Xiyue said, surprised, “Grandpa, you just praised him as ‘formidable’ twice in a row? I’ve never seen you praise someone like that before.”
“Xiyue, can it be that you don’t know Grandpa’s nickname?” King Yan revealed a hint of smugness in his eyes.
“You mean… Yama-King?” Xiyue said. [1. In Chinese, the ‘Yan’ of King Yan and the ‘Yama’ of Yama-King are pronounced identically, although the characters are completely different.]
Ning revealed a puzzled look.
“Yama-King refers to the Yama Hell-Kings of the Netherworld Kingdom!” Xiyue explained. “Even I don’t know why Grandpa acquired a nickname like this.”
“It’s precisely because I became a Celestial Immortal through a life of slaughter that my baleful aura is this strong. Otherwise, why would others call me Yama-King?” King Yan laughed smugly. In front of his only granddaughter, he acted as if he were an ordinary person; if he wanted to laugh, he would, and if he wanted to be smug, he would. And if he wanted to be unhappy, he would.
King Yan looked at Ning. “Which is why it is quite formidable that you are able to ignore the influence of my baleful aura.”
“I know that you and Xiyue are maternal cousins.” King Yan nodded. “I also know that enmity exists between you and the Youngflame clan. Their roots, however, are deep and stable; they won’t be so easily uprooted. Xiyue hasn’t even publicly acknowledged her true surname. However, you, Ji Ning, have truly gone head-on against the Youngflame clan. You need to be careful in your day-to-day life.”
Ning nodded. “Understood.”
“Grandpa!” Princess Xiyue immediately said, “Didn’t you say that Patriarch Arcanum of the Youngflame clan doted heavily on Youngflame Nong, and would definitely take revenge for him?”
“Yes, I did say that,” King Yan nodded. “Patriarch Arcanum truly is quite an unreasonable fellow. Although I’m savage, I can be reasonable. He, however, is completely unreasonable. That’s why you have to be careful.”
“Don’t you have more Golden Imperials under your control? Divert a squad to my little brother,” Xiyue immediately pleaded.
Ning was stunned. She had never before mentioned this idea to him.
“Golden Imperials?” King Yan frowned. “Xiyue, the Golden Imperials belong to the Imperial Guard of the imperial clan of the Grand Xia. Generally speaking, only members of the imperial clan will have Imperial Guards with them. You are a princess, so it doesn’t matter that you have them with you, but if Ji Ning were also to have them… this is…”
“Grandpa!” Princess Xiyue said frantically. “His Majesty, the Emperor, bestowed the Golden Imperials to you for you to command as you see fit, right? I’m not asking you to give my little brother all the Golden Imperials as protection, just a single squad. The laws of the imperial clan have never stated that the Golden Imperials can only protect imperial clan members.”
King Yan shook his head, letting out a resigned laugh. It was true. There was no way the laws of the Grand Xia would stipulate that Golden Imperials could only protect imperial clan members. After all, even the Emperor himself had his important ministers and subjects, or formidable independent roving Immortals who he wanted to befriend. For the sake of showing his grace, he would arrange for some Golden Imperials to serve these people.
“Fine then.” King Yan nodded. “I’ll arrange for a squad of Golden Imperials. The worst thing that could happen is some people will mumble about it behind my back.”
“Thank you, Grandpa. Grandpa, you are the best.” Princess Xiyue hugged King Yan by the arm in quite the friendly manner.
“Hahaha.” King Yan laughed. Only with her, his granddaughter, would he feel the warmth of family. In front of others… he would always remain the legendary Yama-King.
“Hurry up and thank my grandpa,” Princess Xiyue said, immediately looking at Ning.
“Thank you, King Yan,” Ning said hurriedly.
“Mm.” King Yan nodded, then laughed, “Go now. You are quite cautious in front of me. Xiyue, make the arrangements for your little brother. The royal estate is quite large; let him choose a place as he pleases, then have him settle down. There will definitely be no one who will dare to barge into my estate.”
“Grandpa, we’ll leave now.” Xiyue immediately pulled Ning away, and they quickly descended from Skygazer Mountain.
King Yan watched as Princess Xiyue and Ning went down the mountain. He nodded lightly. “Xiyue clearly is much happier now. She’s suppressed her hatred in her heart for too long. In the end, it is family which will allow her to become a happier person.”
King Yan then turned and sat down again. He sat there, by himself, holding a cup of wine, staring at this vast, wide world.
They had arrived at a grassy area next to a lake. Ning nodded. “Right here. I’ll live here.”
“Here?” Princess Xiyue was flabbergasted. “But this is a barren place. There’s nothing but grass here. There’s no place to stay at all. We have plenty of residences in this royal estate… why are you going to stay in a barren grassland?”
Ning waved his hand.
Whoosh! Instantly, an enormous, beautiful Immortal estate appeared, with beautiful pavilions and residences that were decorated with paintings and sculptures. Like golden jade, they stood there, emanating natural elemental ki.
“What a fine Immortal estate.” Princess Xiyue was surprised. “You can actually carry this Immortal estate with you… it definitely can’t be a cheap one.”
“Right. This is an Immortal estate that one can carry at the Wanxiang level; it’s worth at least half a million kilograms of liquefied elemental essence,” Ning said. Actually, this Immortal estate was one which the giant yellow bear had given to Ning, free of charge; although it was a ‘gift’, Ning was absolutely forbidden from selling it. This was because within this Immortal estate worth half a million kilograms, there was a region where the underwater estate was secreted.
Within the underwater estate, inside the Immortal estate, there were layers on layers of protective formations. It was definitely a completely safe spot.
“Half a million kilograms? Nice.” Princess Xiyue said, “Is this Youngflame Nong’s as well?”
“No. I acquired it by luck,” Ning said.
“I knew it. For you to be able to kill Youngflame Nong and a Primal-level Fiendgod means that you definitely must have had some tremendous strokes of fortune.” Princess Xiyue laughed, “Alright, go inside and get some rest. When night comes, I’ll prepare a dinner banquet for you.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
“Get a good rest. You haven’t had a chance to rest at all after arriving at the imperial capital.” Princess Xiyue then led her two female soldier-servants away. As for Ning, he led Uncle White and Little Qing into his own Immortal estate.