The black-robed Emperor, seated at the highest point of the main hall of the Skylight Palace, spoke out. “King Qi.”
“Your Imperial Majesty,” King Qi immediately acknowledged.
“Announce the rules for this Conclave,” the black-robed Emperor instructed.
King Qi immediately flew out of the main hall. He stood atop a cloud, staring downwards as his voice echoed out within the heavens. “This Conclave of Immortal Destiny has a total of 109,362 participants!”
His voice rang out clearly, echoing in skies. More than nine thousand kilometers below him, the Wanxiang Adepts of the Grand Xia Empire as well as other major worlds all listened carefully.
“More than 109,000?” Ning’s eyebrows twitched. Although he could clearly calculate the number of people present through a simple sweep of his divine sense…this was the imperial citadel, and the Grand Xia Empire was seated directly above them. No one dared to wildly spread out their divine sense to investigate the place.
The voice above them continued to speak. “Wanxiang Adepts, each of you shall receive a talisman. All of you shall enter the magic treasure which his Imperial Majesty shall use; the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers! This painting is capable of holding the cosmos, of holding qian and kun; it forms an independent world of its own. Within the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers, you can battle each other and seize each other’s talismans without any restrictions. If you feel that you are not strong enough, you can discard your talisman, which will cause you to immediately be teleported out from the Diagram. Although this will represent defeat, you will at least be able to stay alive.”
“Those who choose to give up…”
“Those who are killed…”
“Your talismans will be taken away by the victor of your battle. The length of time you are to remain within the Diagram is at most one year; after a year, the eighty competitors with the most talismans will have passed the trial of the Diagram. If, however, before the year is up… if, for example, after three months, only eighty of you are still alive… then the trial of the Diagram will be stopped early, and the eighty lucky survivors will have passed.”
“If after a year has passed and eighty victors are selected, but other Wanxiang Adepts remain alive within the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers, then the remaining survivors will be put together in one place and engage in a final battle. You shall fight until only sixteen of you remain. Those sixteen will receive chances as well.”
“In other words, the trial of the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers will have at least eighty victors, and at most ninety-six.”
“Remember – within the Diagram, you are forbidden from using any Dao-seals, golems, or strange treasures! This trial is meant to test your personal ability. All of your actions within the Diagram shall be under the gaze of his Imperial Majesty, as well as the gazes of the Celestial Immortals present. You absolutely cannot act improperly; those who disobey shall be slain without exception!”
Slain without exception!
These final three words caused the hearts of all of the competitors to quiver.
“At least eighty? At most ninety-six?” Ning, Yu Wei, and the Sloppy Daoist exchanged glances. They all could sense how bloody the upcoming battles would be.
This was absolutely insane.
All of these hundred thousand-plus individuals were peerless geniuses who were at least at Holyfire’s level! A hundred thousand-plus peerless geniuses, many of whom would most likely have a high chance of becoming Earth Immortals or Loose Immortals… but because of the Conclave of Immortal Destiny, they had to engage in a bloody battle against each other. Although it was said that one could give up, in the heat of a battle, it was very likely that many would end up perishing.
“At most ninety-six… and the world has 3600 commanderies, as well as four vast seas. On average, there will only be a single victor for every few dozen commanderies.” The Sloppy Daoist let out a sigh. “This is crazy.”
“I wonder if the three of us will be able to overcome this trial.” Yu Wei’s gaze was much more solemn now as well.
Ning, too, felt the pressure.
In the past, the Conclave had generally not been this bloody; in the past, there were usually only twenty or thirty thousand Wanxiang Adepts, all of whom would go through several rounds of selection, resulting in the top hundred, then top fifty, then slowly a top ten and top three.
But this time, more than a hundred thousand of them were going to be sent directly into the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers, with this competition intended to produce between eighty to ninety-six victors.
The main hall of the Skylight Palace.
King Qi walked back, bowing respectfully. “Reporting to your Imperial Majesty: The proclamation has been made.”
“Mm.” The black-robed Emperor nodded lightly. His gaze pierced past the blocking hall and clouds, landing upon the bodies of the hundred thousand-plus youths. He wanted to watch… watch and see which of them would rise up to become truly powerful figures within this upcoming storm for the Three Realms.
“There are more than a hundred who are surrounded by the golden light of karmic virtue.” The black-robed Emperor reflected silently on this. “The more karmic merits one has rendered, the better one’s luck shall be. But it is also possible for those who have ordinary karmic merits to be tremendously lucky as well, and sometimes even astonishingly so.”
Karmic luck and karmic virtue weren’t identical. If one had a high level of karmic virtue, then one would naturally be blessed with additional luck. But, for example, if one apprenticed one’s self to a major power of the Three Realms, one would also be blessed by karmic luck. If one’s parents were major powers of the Three Realms, one would similarly be blessed.
Or perhaps, because of a tremendous stroke of fortune, one would suddenly have the blessing of luck.
One could tell at a glance if a person had high or low karmic virtue, but luck… this was unfathomable and invisible.
Whoosh. The black-robed Emperor suddenly produced a wrapped diagram in his hand. He unfurled the diagram, and atop it, one could vaguely make out a painting of a bright moon, hanging over a mountain and a river.
The eyes of the Celestial Immortals all lit up. The Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers…
This was a Pure Yang magic treasure. It was a tremendously intriguing artifact for them… but at the same time, these Celestial Immortals were all pondering nonstop. Today, the Grand Xia Emperor had barely said anything to these Celestial Immortals before immediately beginning the initial selection tournament for the Conclave of Immortal Destiny. From this, they could tell how much importance this Conclave held for the Grand Xia Emperor. In fact, the very fact of him taking out the Diagram and using it as the place for the competition was proof of how seriously he took this.
Ning and the others all raised their heads, looking towards the skies. The delegations from the 3600 commanderies and the four seas all raised their heads to stare as well.
In the air above them, an utterly enormous painting, at least ten thousand kilometers long, had suddenly appeared. It blocked out the skies, and one could even vaguely make out the world within the diagram.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish!
Ning, Yu Wei, the Sloppy Daoist, and the rest of the 109,362 individuals, who had all been just standing there, were suddenly and involuntarily pulled into the skies. All of them were sucked inwards as the surface of the vast painting began to undulate. When each of them touched the painting, their bodies also began to undulate; it was as though they were drops of rainwater that had landed on a lake.
In just the blink of an eye, all of them had completely disappeared.
The main hall of the Skylight Palace. The black-robed Emperor finally revealed a smile as he said calmly, “This trial within the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers shall most likely go on for a year. Everyone, watch at your leisure. Prepare the banquet!”
Instantly, a large number of maids immediately moved over. They placed down long tables, then delivere pitchers of Immortal nectar and platters of Immortal fruit.
All of the Celestial Immortals sat down in the lotus position. As for the followers that had come alongside them, they sat down in the lotus position to the side of and slightly behind the Celestial Immortals.
“You can watch everything which is going on within the Diagram.” The black-robed Emperor pointed towards the clouds outside the main hall. The vast, ten thousand kilometer long diagram hung there amidst the clouds. The world within the diagram was clearly visible; within it, there were mountains, rivers, a bright moon, and more than a hundred thousand Wanxiang Adepts who were scattered in different areas.
“Dongyan, tell me, why do you think his Imperial Majesty cares so much about this Conclave of Immortal Destiny?” a scabby-looking old man seated next to the Dongyan Forefather spoke out. “He’s personally hosting it, and even commanded people to participate. Although so many of us Celestial Immortals have arrived, he is still mostly paying attention to the Conclave. Can it be that this Conclave is very special? Does it involve the reincarnation of someone exceptionally powerful? As I recall, a few decades back, the Netherworld Kingdom suffered a sudden attack, and the Six Paths of Reincarnation collapsed, right? Can this have something to do with it?”
“How am I supposed to know? However, the collapse of the Six Paths of Reincarnation is an absolutely world-changing event. The mysteries behind its collapse must definitely be quite shocking. We should just stay in our own major world and not go running around wildly; otherwise, something might happen and we might even fall. In addition, although the Six Paths of Reincarnation collapsed, the venerable Daofather has re-established the cycle of reincarnation for us and several dozen other major worlds. We have the protection of the venerable Daofather; there’s no need for us to panic,” the Dongyan Forefather sent back.
The scabby-looking old man nodded as well.
While the Dongyan Forefather and Patriarch Riverbridge were discussing their worries regarding the impending storm, Ninelotus, seated behind the Dongyan Forefather, was carefully watching the ten thousand kilometer long painting.
The painting was truly enormous, so much so that the individual figures within it could be seen clearly.
“Where is Ji Ning?” Ninelotus couldn’t help but search for him.
“Where is Ji Ning?” Yuchi Xiyue was seated behind King Yan in the lotus position. She, too, was carefully staring at the enormous painting. “Little brother, you have to be careful. Be careful!”
“Where is Master?”
In the plaza below the painting, amidst the delegation led by the Marquis of Stillwater, Mu Northson was standing next to a large, snowy white hound and an azure-robed maiden. Ning had gone out to battle, but spirit-beasts were forbidden from participating. Thus, Uncle White and Little Qing had to stay with Northson for now as they watched the battle.
“Don’t worry. Senior apprentice-brother is a truly monstrous genius; back in the Witchriver Immortal Estate, he was in such dire straits, but in the end he was still able to kill Youngflame Nong and that Fiendgod. He absolutely will not easily die or easily give up.” Northson’s eyes were shining as he stared at the skies above him, and at the massive, illusory world that had appeared there.
This illusory world was an image of the situation within the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers. One could clearly see every single figure located within the mountains, the rivers, the grasslands, and the forests of the world.
The Whitewater Hound, Little Qing, and Northson quickly scanned the massive painting with their gaze, flashing past one figure after another.
“Look.” Uncle White suddenly spoke out as he stared at one location. Northson and Little Qing followed Uncle White’s gaze, looking over as well. Indeed; within one particular corner of that world, there was a fur-clad youth within a mountain gorge.
“Senior apprentice-brother.” Northson’s eyes lit up.
“Master.” Little Qing watched with excitement as well.
The nearby Immortal Fivecraze quickly discovered Ning as well. His eyes were also filled with excitement.
The people of this plaza, filled with delegations from the 3600 commanderies and four seas, were all staring upwards, trying to find the people they cared about within the painting. They quickly were able to find them, and they began to watch eagerly, quietly praying for the people they cared about to end up as one of the final 96 survivors.
Within the world of the Diagram.
Ning had suddenly felt the world change as soon as he touched the diagram. He had suddenly appeared within a mountain gorge.
“A gorge?” The Darknorth swords instantly appeared in Ning’s hands. He carefully scanned his surroundings, so cautious that he didn’t even use divine sense. This was because, upon using divine sense, the enemy would locate him as soon as he found them. A solid majority of the participants of this Conclave all possessed divine sense, after all.
Swoosh. Suddenly, a light flashed past Ning’s eyes, and a green talisman appeared before him.
“Each of you shall have a talisman. If you no longer wish to fight and wish to give up, you only need to throw the talisman away, and I will immediately throw you out of the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers.” The voice of the Grand Xia Emperor rang out in the minds of the hundred thousand-plus individuals.
Ning immediately reached out to grasp the talisman.