The white-robed youth laughed as he spoke. “Young friend Ji Ning, you are a bit too nervous. You don’t even know who I am, but you are asking me what I’m doing here. Aren’t you being a bit too impatient?”
Ning muttered to himself. Nervous? A Pure Yang True Immortal had just sat down in front of him. How could he not be nervous? After this Conclave, Ning had come to understand quite well that unless a True Immortal or an Empyrean God had taken a fancy to you, they wouldn’t pay you any heed, even if you were a so-called genius. After all, there were far too many ‘geniuses’, but how many would be able to overcome the Celestial Tribulation to become a Celestial Immortal? Much less become a Pure Yang True Immortal.
“Dare I ask who you are, senior?” Ning asked.
“A carefree figure of the Three Realms, born in the era of the ancient Primordial World, where I gained my Dao. I am Lord Jiang.” The white-robed youth said with a sigh, “I rarely roam the outside world, and even when I do I rarely use my own name. Thus, there are very, very few people who know of me.”
He then winked towards Ning. “I just told you my real name.”
Ning relaxed a little bit. It seemed as though this person bore him no ill-will.
“Also, don’t addresss me as senior this and senior that. You can just address me as brother Jiang,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said.
Ning was startled. Brother Jiang? For a Pure Yang True Immortal to tell him to refer to him as just ‘brother’…Ning was no fool. He naturally understood the meaning hidden within these words.
“But it seems if I don’t spell things out, you won’t be able to calm down.” The white-robed Lord Jiang glanced sideways at Little Qing and the Whitewater Hound. “Have your two spirit-beasts step back for now.”
“Alright,” Ning immediately said. He had Uncle White and Little Qing temporarily leave. A Pure Yang True Immortal could crush him to death; Ning was naturally going to listen to his instructions with obedience.
Within the courtyard, only Ji Ning and Lord Jiang were present. They were seated facing each other.
“I imagine that you have already guessed that I have come today per the orders of my master to receive you,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said with a smile. “In other words, my master wishes to take you on as a disciple, and you shall become my junior apprentice-brother.”
Ning could barely breathe. He couldn’t help but ask, “Then brother Jiang, your master is…?”
“He is naturally one of the most supreme major powers of the Three Realms, a Daofather-level figure,” the white-robed Lord Jiang said.
Ning’s eyes lit up. It was as he had thought. When this person had instructed him to refer to himself as ‘brother Jiang’, Ning had already been able to guess at what this was about. But upon hearing the full explanation, he still couldn’t help but feel that this was inconceivable.
He had fought and clawed to become the champion of this Conclave, but in the end, Daofather Crimsonbright still did not choose him to be his disciple. The Sloppy Daoist, in turn, was chosen as a disciple by Grand Emperor Xuanwu. There was nothing Ning could do about these things, and he had already resigned himself to becoming the disciple of a lower-ranked Pure Yang True Immortal. But now, a Pure Yang True Immortal named Lord Jiang had appeared, saying that he represented his master!
“Ji Ning.” The giant yellow bear’s voice suddenly rang out in Ning’s mind. “Lord Jiang said that he was born in the Primordial Era, and gained his Dao in that era as well! But…I’ve never even heard of him. And he says his master is a Daofather…you need to figure out exactly which Daofather it is. Some of the Daofathers of the Three Realms were good friends of my master, Daoist Threelives…but some of them were his mortal enemies! Don’t end up becoming an apprentice to one of his mortal enemies. Given a Daofather’s vision, if you learn the Dao from him, he will sooner or later see hints of the truth and discover that there is a relationship between you and Daoist Threelives. If you become apprenticed to one of his mortal enemies, then you’ll be throwing yourself up for capture.”
Ning instantly came to his senses. He felt as though someone had just poured a bucket of ice water over him!
“Dare I ask which Daofather it is?” Ning asked.
Lord Jiang’s eyes had a look of reverence in them as he spoke.
“Master was born from the primordial chaos, and was good friends with Pangu and Nuwa.”
“He became famous in the Primordial Era, and has killed many Fiendgod Daofathers.”
“His name is known throughout the Three Realms, but very few have ever seen him.”
“The Buddhist Sangha, the Daoist Path; he is a master of both. With but a dream, he knows of all the affairs of the Three Realms.”
“He has many disciples, but very few know this.”
“In terms of who is the most mysterious figure in the Three Realms…it is my master!”
The white-robed Lord Jiang nodded as he spoke.
Ning, hearing this, was stunned. “Who on earth is he?”
“Mount Innerheart [1. In Chinese, this was ‘fangcun’, which literally means a square inch, but metaphorically refers to the workings of a person’s inner heart.], the Tristar Crescent Abode…Patriarch Subhuti!” [2. Subhuti is not only a famous disciple of Gautama Buddha in real history, he is also extremely famous as being the teacher of Sun Wukong, the person who taught Sun Wukong Daoist magic and his legendary 72 Transformations.] The white-robed Lord Jiang’s eyes lit up, and he smiled as he looked at Ning.
“It’s him. It’s him! The Tristar Crescent Abode…the most mysterious Daofather…the most secretive Daofather! Ji Ning, you’ve hit the jackpot. I…ahahaha…you really hit the jackpot! Patriarch Subhuti actually knows about you. He actually knows about your existence. How in the world does he know?!” The voice of the giant yellow bear rang out within Ning’s mind. Clearly, he was incomparably excited.
“…is it really necessary for you to be so worked up?” Ning asked mentally.
“Of course! You have no idea how mighty he is! Ji Ning, let me put it to you this way…in terms of teaching disciples, Patriarch Subhuti is definitely one of the absolute most peerless figures of the Three Realms. What this Lord Jiang said earlier was absolutely correct; Patriarch Subhuti truly has produced many formidable disciples. However, Patriarch Subhuti has a rule; whenever the disciples he has taught leaves his side, unless he gives permission, they are forbidden from telling others that he is their master. Thus, even back in the Primordial Era, there were already many powerful and seemingly unaffiliated wandering Immortals who were actually under the command of Patriarch Subhuti!” [3. This is a play off what happened in Journey to the West. When Sun Wukong left Subhuti’s tutelage, Subhuti ordered him not to tell anyone that he had been Sun Wukong’s master; he knew how unruly this monkey was and was afraid he would lose face/be implicated if others realized that he was the one who had taught Sun Wukong.]
“Ordinary people don’t know about this, but my master, Daofather Threelives, did. He knew exactly how formidable Patriarch Subhuti is.” The giant yellow bear was extremely excited right now.
“Oh.” Ning asked, “Why is he the most mysterious, then?”
“Right, he really is the most mysterious Daofather!” The giant yellow bear said with absolute certainty, “In the Three Realms, not even Pangu or Nuwa were as mysterious as him! In fact, to this very day, no one even knows where his estate is located. Without his permission, no one can even find his estate.”
“The estates of the other major powers of the Three Realms are all findable; after all, major powers often interact with other figures of the world, and they will often invite their good friends into their estate.”
“Patriarch Subhuti has taken in many disciples, and also invites his friends over to his estate. But be it disciples or friends…upon leaving his estate, they’ll never be able to find it again. You must understand that all of his friends are also at the True God level. After having entered the estate once, how is it that they cannot locate it again? Isn’t this completely bizarre? Isn’t this very mysterious?”
“He’s that mysterious?” Ning was amazed.
Daofathers were major powers of the Three Realms who controlled a Heavenly Dao. For a Daofather to visit a place, then be unable to find it again afterwards? How bizarre!
“No one knows where his estate is. Even his disciples who have trained within the estate for many years are still unable to find it upon leaving. Unless Patriarch Subhuti nods and permits it, none of them can return.” The giant yellow bear sighed emotionally. “In the past, my master Daoist Threelives once said…in the entire Primordial World, of all the major powers, Mother Nuwa would be ranked number one in terms of survival abilities, but right after her was the legendarily mysterious Patriarch Subhuti.”
“Patriarch Subhuti. He’s so secretive that other major powers can’t even find his estate. You tell me; how formidable are his survival skills?” The giant yellow bear sighed, “If Master had Patriarch Subhuti’s survival skills, he would definitely still be alive to this very day.”
Ning was speechless as he heard these things. This was an absolute bizarro amongst the major powers of the Three Realms. No one could even find his estate, and his survival abilities were second only to Mother Nuwa.
“Patriarch Subhuti trains in both Buddhism and Daoism. [3. This historical Subhuti was a Buddhist figure. Because he taught Sun Wukong Daoist magic in Journey to the West, he is often conflated as both a Buddhist and Daoist figure.] With a single dream, he learns of all the matters of the Three Realms. His power is simply unfathomable. This Lord Jiang said earlier that Patriarch Subhuti has slaughtered many Fiendgod Daofathers. Although I don’t know much about this, it should be true. There should have been Daofathers and True Gods who had fallen to him, and not just one,” the giant yellow bear said.
“What a formidable figure.” Ji Ning felt stunned.
“Most importantly of all, your master Daoist Threelives and Patriarch Subhuti were true lifelong friends who went through life and death together!” The giant yellow bear was extremely excited. “They were true lifelong friends! The relationship between Master and him was even closer than the relationship Master had with Daofather Crimsonbright. When Master forged this underwater estate, he even asked Patriarch Subhuti to come help out!”
“Ah?!” Ning now understood exactly how close the relationship between Daoist Threelives and Patriarch Subhuti was.
“Given Patriarch Subhuti’s status, he definitely won’t harm you at all,” the giant yellow bear said.
Ji Ning was mentally speaking with the giant yellow bear. Gradually, traces of unbearable excitement and astonishment appeared on his face.
The white-robed Lord Jiang laughed as he watched. “My master learns of the matters of the Three Realms in a single dream. In his dream, he saw the Conclave in your world of the Grand Xia. It was as though he watched in person. During this Conclave, Master took no interest in anyone else; just you.”
“He watched personally?” Ning instantly understood. Perhaps True Immortals and Empyrean Gods would find it hard to discover his [Starseizing Hand], but greater powers could, especially one who was such an incredibly good friend with Daoist Threelives.
“In addition, Master instructed me to deliver a message. He told me to say: ‘Little yellow-furred bear, how have you been’?” Lord Jiang continued, “He said that after I delivered this message, you would agree to leave with me.”
Ning’s pulse began to speed up. Little yellow-furred bear? He was speaking of the spirit of the underwater estate!
“Ji Ning, Patriarch Subhuti must have discovered your [Starseizing Hand] through his ‘Dream of the Three Realms’. He must have guessed that you are Master’s heir. That’s why he personally ordered someone to receive you.” The giant yellow bear’s voice was filled with excitement. “Hurry, hurry and go! So long as you go to Patriarch Subhuti, we can learn about what has happened to Master.”
The spirit of the underwater estate…he truly wanted to know if his master was alive or dead.
As Ning and the white-robed Lord Jiang were chatting, King Qi had arrived at King Yan’s estate.
“This Conclave of Immortal Destiny has concluded. Why have you come to my place?” King Yan said with a laugh.
“Because of Ji Ning, of course,” King Qi laughed as well. “His Imperial Majesty personally went to visit uncle-master Evergreen. You know what sort of a temper he has; he doesn’t like to teach students, and is an extremely solitary person. Still…since this was the Daofather’s order, uncle-master Evergreen nodded and agreed to accept Ji Ning as his disciple.”
“Oh. Uncle-master Evergreen is a Sword Immortal, while Ning was born to be a Sword Immortal. He is quite suited for teaching Ji Ning. However, I’m just worried that uncle-master Evergreen…” King Yan was rather worried.
“That’s not for you to worry about.” King Qi shook his head. “I’m here on his Imperial Majesty’s orders to give uncle-master Evergreen’s talisman to Ji Ning.”
“It seems as though Ji Ning really is going to become uncle-master Evergreen’s disciple,” King Yan said.
Because of his granddaughter, King Yan had actually been hoping for Ji Ning to be apprenticed to a better teacher. However…of the Pure Yang True Immortals under Daofather Crimsonbright’s command, the only Sword Immortal was Sword Immortal Evergreen.
The two chatted and laughed as they walked to Ning’s Immortal estate.
“Ji Ning,” King Yan called out.