After a long period of time passed, another sixteen figures appeared atop the clouds. Most of these sixteen appeared to be in quite the sorry shape, and most of them were heavily wounded.
“Everyone is present.” The crowned attendant wave his arm, and instantly a rainbow-colored drizzle descended from the heavens onto Ning and the rest of the ninety-six. The rainbow raindrops quickly merged into their bodies, and the heavily wounded all saw their injuries immediately repaired, leaving them in perfect condition. Even those who had exhausted much of their divine power and elemental ki due to having battled for a long period of time saw their energy replenished. This caused Ning and the others to all feel stunned.
“Remember. The main hall of the Skylight Palace currently has nearly a thousand Celestial Immortals, his Imperial Majesty the Emperor, and Pure Yang True Immortals who have gathered from various places throughout the Three Realms. You absolutely must not be careless. If you anger a true True Immortal who takes your life on the spot, don’t say I didn’t warn you!” The crowned attendant swept his gaze past the ninety-six, pausing very slightly as he glanced at the Sloppy Daoist, whom he actually revealed a hint of a smile towards.
“Obey my commands. Let’s move,” the crowned attendant ordered.
He led the way up ahead. Ning and the other ninety-six followed from behind, walking through the clouds. They quickly arrived at a wide, spacious palace hall. The main hall of the Skylight Palace had no ceiling; above it was the infinitely vast firmament.
“So many Celestial Immortals.” Ning immediately saw the two rows of Celestial Immortals. They stretched all the way to the deepest parts of the main hall; there truly were nearly a thousand.
“In Stillwater Commandery, I didn’t even see a single Celestial Immortal Patriarch, but today I’ve seen so many. I imagine that the entire Grand Xia Empire must have several thousand Celestial Immortals. No wonder it is said that the emperor of a major world is capable of sitting down and speaking with the Celestial Emperor as equals.” Ning could sense the ripples of power coming from around him. The ripples that emanated from a Celestial Immortal, even when they were not actively flaring their power, was still enough to cause a Wanxiang Adept like Ning to feel tremendous pressure.
“Hmph!” Patriarch Arcanum was seated there. Upon seeing Ning walk past him, his long, narrow eyes flashed with a hint of coldness. He let out a cold snort, not disguising his hostility towards Ning at all.
“Halt.” The crowned attendant sent a mental message to Ning and the others, who all immediately came to a halt.
Right in front of them, not too far away, were the eight Pure Yang True Immortals and the Emperor of the Grand Xia. Ning and the others could tell that the auras emanating from those eight figures next to the Emperor of the Grand Xia were simply too terrifying. In addition, the tables and Immortal nectar placed before them were completely different from those given to the Celestial Immortals. They could immediately tell who these eight were.
“They are all Pure Yang True Immortals!” Ning and the rest of the ninety-six all felt as though they were looking up at unfathomably exalted figures.
“All of you, kneel,” the crowned attendant sent mentally.
Ning and the rest of the ninety-six all fell to their knees, calling out at the same time, “We prostrate ourselves before you, your Imperial Majesty.”
The Emperor of the Grand Xia looked downwards towards them, and his gaze along with the gazes of the eight Pure Yang True Immortals all landed upon the Sloppy Daoist. To these nine Pure Yang True Immortals, the only person worth them paying serious attention to was the Sloppy Daoist. This was because he was the disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu.
As for the others?
The nine of them didn’t hold them in too much regard. The only reason they paid even a slight bit of attention to them was because the Three Realms was entering turbulent times. During one of the ‘normal’ Conclaves of Immortal Destiny, they wouldn’t even be bothered to come attend and watch, nor would the Emperor of the Grand Xia come to officiate. The officiator would at most record down the most exciting scenes of the battles through a scryer technique and deliver it to some of the major figures of the three realms. On occasion, someone might be lucky and end up becoming an apprentice to one of those True Immortals!
“It would be impressive if even three or four out of these ninety-six became Celestial Immortals. As for Pure Yang True Immortals? If a true expert of the Three Realms really was to emerge from this Conclave, it will probably be this disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu.” This was what the Immortal Elder of the Northlands and the others were thinking. This was what even Lu Dongbin believed as well.
For two Pure Yang True Immortals to emerge from a group of ninety-six? That was a bit too unrealistic.
“Arise!” The Grand Xia Emperor commanded.
Ning and the other ninety-six all arose, each acting with complete decorum.
The Grand Xia Emperor looked down upon them, then said calmly, “You have all passed the trial of the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers. You have thus passed the preliminary sorting out process. From today onwards, I will arrange for the ninety-six of you to engage in duels with each other. The losers will be eliminated, while the winners will remain.”
“The ninety-six of you will engage in a round of duels. After the first round, forty-eight will remain. All forty-eight of you will each receive an Immortal-ranked magic item.”
The voice of the Grand Xia Emperor echoed throughout the entire main hall.
Everyone below was stunned. Even the near-thousand Celestial Immortals were stunned. All forty-eight would receive an Immortal-ranked magic treasure? In the past, only the top three figures in the Conclave would receive such a treasure. This was more than ten times as extravagant as the past; it represented forty-eight Immortal-ranked treasures!
“The forty-eight will go through two rounds of elimination duels, resulting in twelve remaining. These twelve will each receive five million kilograms of liquefied elemental essence!” the Grand Xia Emperor said calmly.
The Celestial Immortals were all surprised… and Ning and the rest of the ninety-six were all stunned. Their eyes turned red with desire. Even Ning, despite his tremendous wealth, felt a surge of desire. Five million kilograms… even if Ning sold off all of Youngflame Nong’s treasures and everything he had acquired from the Witchriver Immortal Estate, it would still be far less than five million kilograms. Five million kilograms was a sum that would cause even many Celestial Immortals to turn red-eyed with envy. Only the Grand Xia Emperor could afford to be so generous.
“Why is his Imperial Majesty being so generous? Five million kilograms to each person? Twelve people… how many kilograms is that?!”
“His Imperial Majesty has never been so generous when bestowing even the likes of us with gifts.”
The Celestial Immortals were speechless.
The Grand Xia Emperor, still speaking in a very calm manner, continued: “The twelve will engage in another series of duels, resulting in six remaining. These six will fight until only three remain! The three final winners… will be permitted to go into the imperial treasure vault of my Grand Xia Dynasty and choose out any divine ability or secret art of their choosing.”
Ning and the others turned berserk with desire. The accumulated knowledge of an entire major world… it vastly surpassed the Dao Repository of the Black-White College by countless times! The techniques which the local Raindragon Guard branches possessed were already enough to cause Ning to turn red-eyed with desire, to say nothing of the main Raindragon Guard headquarters! And the imperial treasure vault of the Grand Xia Dynasty? It most assuredly had even more than the main Raindragon Guard headquarters!
“How can they be allowed to choose?! Divine abilities and secret arts are the foundation of a powerful tribe.” Even King Qi, King Yan, and the other Kings were completedly stunned. “That vault is the foundation of our Xiamang clan. How can they be allowed to choose from it as they see fit?! They will definitely choose the strongest techniques. How can the most powerful divine abilities and secret arts we possess be disseminated to outsiders?!”
However, the leader of the Xiamang clan, the Emperor of the Grand Xia, held unquestioned authority and power.
“In addition… per the orders of my venerable master...!” the Grand Xia Emperor spoke in an extremely solemn voice.
All of the Pure Yang True Immortals next to him, be it Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta, Lu Dongbin, or the Immortal Elder of the Northlands, all felt their hearts clench.
“Amongst the final three victors… my venerable master will choose a person to become his own honorary disciple. After said person breaks through to become a Celestial Immortal, said person shall become my venerable master’s personal disciple.” The Grand Xia Emperor’s voice rang out clearly, echoing throughout the entire main hall. All the Celestial Immortals within the main hall fell completely silent. Even the Pure Yang True Immortals had fallen silent.
The eight Pure Yang True Immortals were all in a state of shock; they had no idea that this was going to happen.
“What boldness and spirit! Daofather Crimsonbright truly is bold and spirited; he’s actually going to accept a disciple from this Conclave!” Lu Dongbin sighed mentally to himself. “Still… it makes sense. Amongst the tens of major worlds under the command of Daofather Crimsonbright, the world of the Grand Xia is number one in terms of luck and karma. The Three Realms are in a state of upheaval and facing turbulent undercurrents. It has only been a few decades since the collapse of the Six Paths of Reincarnation… it is indeed true that one of the future heroes of the Three Realms will emerge in the first Conclave of Immortal Destiny to be held here after the collapse. It is worth him taking on a new disciple.”
“One of them will become the disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright?”
Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta and the others all stared at Ning’s group.
“Clearly, Grand Emperor Xuanwu has taken a fancy to that sloppy-looking fatty, and has even taught him his Grand Black Tortoise divine ability. There’s no way Daofather Crimsonbright would disgrace himself by trying to steal him! Then of the other ninety-five… which one shall become the disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright?” All of them were now guessing.
“The disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright?”
The eyes of the near-thousand Celestial Immortals below all turned red.
They were the Celestial Immortals of the world of the Grand Xia; thus, they were all naturally under the command of Daofather Crimsonbright! Daofather Crimsonbright had an exalted status far above theirs; he was a major power of the Three Realms who commanded dozens of major worlds. The Celestial Immortals under his command were as numerous as the clouds. Almost all of these Celestial Immortals were his honorary disciples… but most of them had never even said a single word to Daofather Crimsonbright!
They dreamed about becoming a personal disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright, but alas, they had no chance. In fact… not a single one of these near-thousand Celestial Immortals was a personal disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright!
“None of us will become a personal disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright, but one of them will actually become the Daofather’s personal disciple.”
“That Sloppy Daoist is the personal disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu… as for the other six, one of them will become the personal disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright.”
“This is really too insane.”
The Celestial Immortals present found it hard to accept this.
Someone who was capable of controlling a Heavenly Dao. The personal disciples they took on were innately endowed with astonishing potential and comprehension ability; after spending enough effort and paying enough of a price, they would generally all become Celestial Immortals! This was why, even though the likes of Daofather Crimsonbright and Grand Emperor Xuanwu nominally took on weak Wanxiang Disciples as mere ‘honorary disciples’, in the future it was all but guaranteed that they would be upgraded to ‘personal disciples’.
The eight Pure Yang True Immortals were surprised… and the nearly-thousand Celestial Immortals were filled with disbelief and envy. As for Ning and the others, they were completely stunned silly. Most of them didn’t even know who the master of the Emperor of the Grand Xia was! But since the Emperor of the Grand Xia was the emperor of this major world, someone capable of casually tossing out dozens of Immortal-ranked magic treasures… how formidable was his master?!
The Grand Xia Emperor was someone who could speak with the Celestial Emperor of the Celestial Court as equals. Then his master…?
The ninety-six could all guess the answer, and they were naturally both stunned and filled with wild desire.
Was this like manna from the heavens?
“The place where you shall engage in your duels shall be atop the clouds outside the palace.” The Grand Xia Emperor pointed to the distant clouds outside the hall. Whoosh. Instantly, an enormous grand sealing barrier that was ten kilometers in size appeared atop the cloud. “You shall battle there, within the grand sealing formation. When one side dies or admits defeat, then the battle will conclude.”
“The first battle shall be Cangwu Jiu of the Cangwu clan against Dragonmatch of the Myriad Beasts School!” The Grand Xia Emperor continued, “The others can rest off to the side.”
“Ji Ning, little Sloppy, come over here.” Ning immediately heard someone call out. Turning his head, he saw that it was King Yan. Behind King Yan was his cousin, Yuchi Xiyue, along with Yu Wei. Ning immediately went over. As for the Sloppy Daoist, upon seeing this he immediately followed; they were all of the Black-White College, after all.
The others who had Celestial Immortal Patriarchs of their various schools or clans present all went to the sides of those Celestial Immortals. As for those who didn’t have any Celestial Immortals behind them, as long as there was even a hint of a relationship with them, a Celestial Immortal would call them over.
“Zhan, child!” Patriarch Arcanum’s long, slanted eyes were filled with savagery. He sent mentally, “This is a chance that rarely comes once in even ten thousand reincarnations. You absolutely must use all your power to fight into the top three! If you can become the disciple of Daofather Crimsonbright, then you shall have done more for our Youngflame clan than anyone else in our entire history. Even the Celestial Immortal Patriarchs of our Youngflame clan shall obey your command!”
Youngflame Zhan couldn’t help but send mentally, “Who is Daofather Crimsonbright?”
“The teacher of his Imperial Majesty!” Patriarch Arcanum explained, “He is one of the true major powers of the Three Realms… someone who can determine whether our Youngflame clan will flourish or decay with but a single word!”