The Conclave of Immortal Destiny had concluded.
The Skylight Palace. The various Celestial Immortals were all beginning to leave.
“It’s rare that I’m allowed out, but I have to go back now.” Empyrean God Seatopple opened his mouth, and all of the platters of delicacies on his table flew into his mouth. He then rubbed his belly, then said in satisfaction, “Xiamang, Eastflower, everyone, I’m going to take my junior apprentice-brother back now.”
And then, he pulled the Sloppy Daoist by the arm. Whoosh! He flew onto a cloud and disappeared deep into the depths of the sky.
“Time to go, apprentice,” Lu Dongbin said as he looked towards Yu Wei, who was next to Ji Ning in the distance.
Yu Wei and Ning were speaking to each other. Upon hearing Lu Dongbin urge her to leave, she couldn’t help but feel even more reluctant to part from Ning. She gave him a tight hug, and Ning held her in his arms.
He could sense Yu Wei’s heart. This was a woman with a cold exterior but a scorchingly hot heart. Upon becoming Dao-companions with her, he could sense the warmth of her heart.
“Wait for me,” Yu Wei said softly.
Ning pressed his face against Yu Wei’s, feeling the warmth of her skin. He whispered back gently, “Gotta. I swear it.”
“No need for oaths.” Yu Wei released Ning, tears appearing in her eyes. “I believe you.” And then, she turned and ran to Lu Dongbin’s side.
“Sorry for making you wait so long, Master,” Yu Wei said hurriedly.
“Silly child, silly child.” Lu Dongbin shook his head and sighed. A cloud appeared beneath their feet, and they too quickly flew into the skies and disappeared.
Ning raised his head to watch.
Atop the cloud, Yu Wei lowered her head to look at him.
Their gazes met…but soon afterwards, the cloud completely disappeared.
After this departure…they had no idea how long it would be before they met again.
“Senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei and Ji Ning…they are very suited to each other.” Ninelotus looked at Ning and Yu Wei, at the looks in their eyes as they parted. Their gazes were filled with longing and a reluctance to part. “The feelings between them are deeper than the feelings between myself and Ji Ning had been. My heart and Ji Ning’s heart…they were never so close.”
“We should leave as well.”
Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta, the Immortal Elder of the Northlands, and the others all flew away gracefully as well.
“Junior apprentice-brother Woodpass, come with me to meet Master.” The Xia Emperor left alongside Adept Woodpass.
Instantly, the nearly thousand Celestial Immortals present all began to depart as well. Ji Ning and Yuchi Xiyue departed alongside King Yan, while Ninelotus left alongside the Dongyan Forefather.
Per King Qi’s command, the delegations from the 3600 commanderies and Four Seas began to leave in an orderly fashion. As for Ji Ning, he flew back to return to the Stillwater Commandery’s delegation.
“Ji Ning! The champion of the Conclave!”
“Adept Darknorth!” The delegates of Stillwater Commandery saw Ji Ning fly down from the skies. Instantly, they began to call out in celebration.
They didn’t know about the matter of the Daofather accepting a disciple. All they knew was that Ji Ning was the champion of this entire Conclave! This was an incomparable glory, a proud moment for the entire Stillwater Commandery.
“Master.” Little Qing transformed into a streak of light that flew towards Ning, then wrapped herself around Ning’s arm.
“Ning, child.” The Whitewater Hound flew to Ning’s side as well.
“Little Qing. Uncle White.” Ji Ning was feeling rather miserable due to Yu Wei’s temporary departure. He immediately felt much better; at least Little Qing and Uncle White would continue to accompany him.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, you are too awesome.” Mu Northson called out excitedly, “The champion of the Conclave. The champion! The entire world of the Grand Xia has 3600 commanderies, as well as countless islands in the Four Seas. You’ve only trained for thirty years, but you actually seized the championship. You are too awesome. The person I admire most in the world is you, senior apprentice-brother!”
“Congratulations, junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning,” Adept Vastriver said as he and others came over as well.
“Ji Ning.” Northmont Baiwei walked over as well, delight on his face. He pounded Ji Ning on the chest. “What a fellow. When you first said you were participating in the Conclave, I actually tried to stop you. It seems I underestimated you! You are so formidable that you actually were able to become the champion of this Conclave. You are now a truly major figure in our Stillwater Commandery; in fact, your name will be ringing throughout the entire Grand Xia Dynasty.”
Ning could only laugh.
If this Conclave of Immortal Destiny had only been an ordinary one, then he would indeed feel quite delighted. But the most important part of this Conclave had been the Daofather’s choice of a disciple. As for the empty title of ‘champion’, it wasn’t that important. Sadly…he wasn’t able to be apprenticed to the Daofather.
“Ji Ning, our Black-White College has really gained a lot of face this time,” Immortal Fivecraze said in a gratified manner. “Both you and little Sloppy entered the top six, and you even became champion. Haha…our Black-White College has to memorialize this occasion. Even after a million years, even after a hundred million years…so long as our Black-White College still exists, we’ll make sure that those who come after us know of this matter. This is the pride of our Black-White College!”
“Where is eldest apprentice-brother?”
“Where is senior apprentice-brother Sloppy?”
“And senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei, where is senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei?” One question after another.
Ning sent mentally to Immortal Fivecraze, “Eldest apprentice-brother was accepted as a disciple by a Daofather, Grand Emperor Xuanwu, while Yu Wei was accepted as a disciple by a Pure Yang True Immortal, Lu Dongbin. They have all been taken away from this major world.”
“What…” Immortal Fivecraze was greatly shocked.
Grand Emperor Xuanwu?
Fivecraze was the longest living Loose Immortal the Black-White College currently had. He had met Celestial Immortals before, and had a vague understanding of the Three Realms. He knew what it meant for a person to become a Daofather’s disciple. Lu Dongbin accepting Yu Wei as a disciple was also an earth-shaking matter for the Black-White College.
“Understood. Don’t let anyone learn of this,” Immortal Fivecraze said.
“Right.” Ning nodded.
“And you?” Immortal Fivecraze sent mentally.
“I should be arranged to be apprenticed to a Pure Yang True Immortal,” Ning sent. “The Xia Emperor told me to spend three days in the imperial capital to await word.”
Upon the conclusion of this Conclave, the various Celestial Immortals all departed. A long time later.
Whoooosh. In the air above the imperial capital. Deep within the void. A tunnel was ripped in space.
A white-robed youth with long, unbound hair leisurely strolled out from this corridor. He stared downwards, his gaze passing through space and seeing the vast imperial capital of the Grand Xia before him.
“Grand Xia?” The white-robed youth nodded gently. He quickly moved through the void, descending into the imperial capital.
He walked forward in a very relaxed manner. A short time later, he arrived outside King Yan’s Estate.
“Junior apprentice-brother.” Outside King Yan’s Estate, Ning gave Northson a hug, then separated. “Both myself and your senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei will be apprenticed to a Pure Yang True Immortal. Once the Xia Emperor’s notification comes, I trust that I will soon follow the True Immortal to leave this major world of the Grand Xia. After this departure, it may be decades or a century before I return. It will be many years before we two brothers shall meet again.”
Of his fellow disciples, Ning had the closest relationship with Northson. They were true, lifelong brothers.
“Senior apprentice-brother, you are following a Pure Yang True Immortal in order to overcome the Celestial Tribulation and become a Celestial Immortal. This is a good thing.” Northson’s eyes were turning slightly red. “However…I really can’t bear to part from you, senior apprentice-brother.”
“Hahaha, we two brothers will still meet again,” Ning said.
“Although you will be following a Pure Yang True Immortal, don’t get too cocky. I, Mu Northson, will also train hard. If you get lazy, upon your return, our big Champion of the Conclave might end up be weaker than me, Mu Northson. Ahaha, that would be a huge joke,” Northson laughed.
Ning laughed as well.
“Alright, no need to send me off! When you return to the world of the Grand Xia, come find me,” Northson said.
“Definitely. I’ll definitely seek you out.” Ning nodded.
“Right.” Northson turned and left, riding an azure dragon and soaring into the skies. The other disciples had bid farewell to Ning long ago, after they left the imperial citadel. Only Northson, who was closest to Ning, had escorted Ning all the way to King Yan’s Estate.
Ning watched him fly away atop the azure dragon. He watched for a long moment, then turned and led Little Qing and the Whitewater Hound into King Yan’s Estate.
“Hm!” The white-robed youth who had been quietly watching from afar shook his head. “It seems this Ji Ning is a fellow who cares quite a bit about relationships. Not bad, no bad.” As he spoke, he leisurely sauntered towards King Yan’s Estate.
King Yan’s Estate had many guards watching the gate, but when the white-robed youth leisurely sauntered through it, none of them seemed to notice a thing.
“The restrictive spells covering King Yan’s Estate have a bit of power behind them. This new Celestial Immortal, King Yan…he’s not too shabby.” As the white-robed youth walked forward, he encountered quite a few maids and soldiers on his path. None of them, however, noticed a thing. It was as though he was invisible, as though he didn’t exist.
The royal estate was very tightly guarded, and it was protected by restrictive spells. It was no weaker than any major sect. Logically speaking, as soon as someone entered, the master of this royal estate, King Yan, would have immediately noticed.
But the white-robed youth walked in without a single person noticing him!
By the side of a creek, there was an Immortal estate. This was the place where Ning was living.
“Ji Ning is just a Wanxiang Adept, but he’s not doing too bad for himself.” The white-robed youth walked to the door of the Immortal estate, then entered it. Not a single one of the spells covering the Immortal estate activated.
Within the Immortal estate. Ning, who had just returned to the estate, quietly sat down within a pavilion. Yu Wei had already left along with her master, Lu Dongbin. This caused Ning to feel a melancholy feeling in his heart.
“Ji Ning, someone entered. Someone entered your Immortal estate.” The giant yellow bear’s voice rang out in Ning’s mind.
“Entered my Immortal estate? I’m the master of this Immortal estate; how could I not have noticed?” Ning’s face changed.
“He’s very powerful. Even I can only vaguely sense him; I don’t dare to really go test him,” the giant yellow bear said urgently. “This person is very powerful; he should be on the level of a True Immortal or an Empyrean God. Your Immortal estate is merely an ordinary residence-type magic treasure, and the door to your estate was open. How could you possibly notice someone like him?”
Ning was shocked. A True Immortal or an Empyrean God? This was someone comparable to the Grand Xia Emperor. They were quite rare in the Three Realms, and were very powerful.
“You became the champion of the Conclave, but not only do you not celebrate with friends, you actually sit here by yourself, drinking wine unhappily? Strange, quite strange.” An airy voice rang out, and a white-robed, long-haired youth strolled forward into the spacious courtyard.
Within the courtyard, Ning hurriedly rose to his feet.
“A friend has come from afar; is this not a wonderful affair?” The white-robed youth said with a smile, “Young friend Ji Ning, I’ve made quite a long and arduous journey to come to your place. Aren’t you going to at least invite me to have a cup of wine?”
“Senior, please do!”
Ning waved his arm, and the table before him became filled with Immortal nectar and spirit-fruit.
“Although the wine and the fruit are a bit lacking, I suppose they are edible.” The white-robed youth took a step forward and sat down in front of Ning. Picking up a gourd of wine, he took two sips.
“Senior, might I ask why you have come to see me?” Ning asked nervously.