The Xia Emperor, Sovereign Hao, and the rest of the nine Pure Yang True Immortals were all staring at the distant, massive Diagram which hung in the skies. They stared at that sloppy-looking, chubby youth. Without question, this divine technique, the Grand Black Tortoise divine ability, absolutely was not something that could be recorded down in a book. It had to be transmitted through very special methods, and it had to be Grand Emperor Xuanwu himself who did the transmitting!
“Someone who was approved of by Grand Emperor Xuanwu… he cannot be a simple figure.” The Immortal Elder of the Northlands chortled. “Xiamang, who is this youth? Where is he from?”
The others all looked towards the Xia Emperor as well.
The Xia Emperor knew the details of every single one of the hundred thousand-plus attendees to this Conclave. Not trying to hide anything, he said, “This youth is a disciple of the Black-White College, which hails from the Stillwater Commandery of my Grand Xia Dynasty. His name is Zhang Qi, and his Daoist title is ‘Threefat’, but because he’s always dressed so sloppily, there are very few people in the outside world who refer to him as Adept Threefat. The majority refer to him as the Sloppy Daoist.”
“The Sloppy Daoist? His Daoist title is ‘Threefat’? This young fellow is quite amusing.” Lu Dongbin laughed. “He actually picked such a casual Daoist title. It seems as though this youth who Grand Emperor Xuanwu took a liking to really does have unusual points about him.”
“Grand Emperor Xuanwu is so majestic, and yet he actually chose such a sloppy young fellow as his disciple.”
“The Sloppy Daoist?”
They all memorized this name.
Even if this fat youth was currently nothing more than an honorary disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu, after he became a Celestial Immortal, he would most likely become a personal disciple! For him to have been taught the Grand Black Tortoise divine ability, even when he was so young and weak, was testament to how much Grand Emperor Xuanwu liked him. For a major power to care about him so much… his future would definitely be extraordinary.”
Pure Yang True Immortals had incredibly high standards. The number of Celestial Immortals that would arise from these hundred thousand-plus geniuses could be counted on one hand, and they actually didn’t care about them too much. However, the Sloppy Daoist’s status as the disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu was definitely enough to make them pay serious attention to him.
“The Grand Black Tortoise divine ability?” The Dongyan Forefather revealed a look of astonishment. “This, this Conclave actually has a disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu?”
“The Grand Black Tortoise divine ability!” A stunned look was on Patriarch Arcanum’s face as well. “This sloppily-dressed youth… who is he?! Our Grand Xia world actually has someone capable of becoming a disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu?!”
The thousand Celestial Immortals had often journeyed to other worlds as well, and some had even gone to the Heaven Realm. Thus, they were fairly experienced. In addition, the Grand Black Tortoise divine ability was an extremely recognizable one; upon seeing the massive illusion of the Turtle-Snake, and upon seeing the turtle shell-like tattoos that had suddenly emerged on the Sloppy Daoist’s skin, there was no question in their minds at all that this was the Grand Black Tortoise divine ability. More than eighty percent of the nearly one thousand Celestial Immortals present all recognized it.
And they were all amazed!
The Grand Black Tortoise divine ability… it meant that this person was the disciple of Grand Emperor Xuanwu! Grand Emperor Xuanwu was one of the hegemons of the entire Three Realms. He had been a hegemon ever since the Primordial Era, and was absolutely one of the most major of powers! Celestial Immortals like them dreamed about being able to become a personal disciple of such a major power… but alas, the vast majority of them would only be permitted to become honorary disciples at best.
There was a huge difference between honorary disciples and personal disciples. Personal disciples… to be one meant that the major power would use all of his effort in training you.
Honorary disciples, by contrast, were just honorary; you’d be qualified to go listen to the major power expound on the Dao, but it would be hard to even speak a single word to that major power in private!
Celestial Immortals were carefree Immortals who had escaped the restrictions of the Three Realms, and were able to dominate a local region. Major powers needed servants to take care of matters for them, which was why they gave appropriate Celestial Immortals a status of being ‘honorary disciples’.
But the Sloppy Daoist was different. He had been taught the Grand Black Tortoise divine ability when he was merely a Wanxiang Adept. His treatment was absolutely on par with a personal disciple’s treatment! Even though he was currently just an honorary disciple, that was merely because he was currently too weak; after becoming a Celestial Immortal, he would be immediately promoted to personal disciple.
The plaza below.
“The Patriarch has ordered us to immediately investigate who that sloppy-looking fatty is.” An azure Flood Dragon that had shrunken in size and was coiling in midair stretched out a claw, pointing towards a spot in the sky.
“We’ll investigate right away.”
“The Supreme One has ordered us to investigate that sloppy-looking fatty.”
Celestial Immortals were on too high of a level, and so they knew very little about the geniuses in this Conclave of Immortal Destiny. The Sloppy Daoist, at least, was someone which almost none of them recognized. They didn’t dare to spread out their coresense; after all, the Xia Emperor and eight other Pure Yang True Immortals were right next to him. All they could do was just to send orders to their subordinates.
More than half of the major powers of the 3600 commanderies and four seas immediately began to investigate.
Soon, they discovered… that this person was named Zhang Qi, his Daoist title was Threefat, and that most referred to him as the Sloppy Daoist. He was a disciple of the Black-White College of Stillwater Commandery!
“Stillwater Commandery… the Black-White College?”
“A small school like that actually produced a disciple that Grand Emperor Xuanwu cares about?”
The Celestial Immortals located in the main hall of the Skylight Palace all quickly received this information. They were all completely puzzled… but in their hearts, they already viewed the Sloppy Daoist as someone with status equal to theirs. The mere fact that he was someone whom Grand Emperor Xuanwu cared about was more than enough for him to be treated as an equal.
The leader of the Black-White College delegation, Immortal Fivecraze, couldn’t help but laugh delightedly as he saw all this. “I always did say that little Sloppy is extremely formidable. I understood his Dao-heart long ago… and I’ve always said that not even the Earth Immortals or Loose Immortals of the Black-White College are comparable to him in terms of his Dao-heart. He truly is formidable! But what divine ability is that? Not even I have ever seen it. It seems fairly powerful though; little Sloppy must’ve had a very lucky encounter.”
“Heh heh heh… given how formidable little Sloppy is, perhaps in this Conclave… he’ll be accepted by one of the powerful Celestial Immortals or Pure Yang True Immortals of the Three Realms as a disciple.” Immortal Fivecraze was daydreaming beautifully right now.
Time flowed on. More than a month had already passed.
The battles raging within the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers were exceptionally agonizing, because everyone understood that they were all fighting over their Immortal destiny.
However, in the eyes of the exalted Xia Emperor and the other eight True Immortals, aside from the Sloppy Daoist, who had caused them to sigh in amazement… these other geniuses could at most cause their eyes to briefly light up. In addition, it was already quite rare for a disciple of a major power to appear in the Conclave of Immortal Destiny of a major world; they didn’t believe a second would emerge!
Within the world of the Diagram. A waterfall cascaded down like a white torrent, smashing against a pool and spraying water everywhere.
Next to the pool, there was a violet-robed, thick-browed, large-eyed, massively built youth. He was seated in the lotus position. Not too far away from him another youth, also in the lotus position; this youth had a head of tousled, unruly hair, and looked almost like a barbarian. His gaze was like that of one of the eagles in the sky, filled with a savagery that could cause the heart to quiver.
“Xiamang Zishan, are you done resting? It’s time for us to go. We don’t have enough talismans yet!” [1. Zishan means ‘Violet Mountain’, which goes with his preference for violet clothes.]
“Hey, I’m talking to you!” The wild-haired barbarian youth began to get angry. But right at this moment…
Arcane ripples of power suddenly began to descend around the massively built violet-robed youth. These were the ripples of the Dao. Water and mist began to swirl around him, and in the midst of the water and mist could be seen flashes of lightning.
“…the hell? You made a breakthrough, just like that?” The barbarian youth was speechless.
The violet-robed youth slowly opened his eyes. If the barbarian youth could be described as an eagle of the heavens, then this violet-robed youth was like a primordial behemoth of the group, filled with an absolutely dominating aura. In terms of dominating auras, even the father of Northmont Baiwei, ‘Northmont Blacktiger’, was a level inferior to him.
“Cangwu Jiu.” [2. ‘Jiu’ means hawk, hence the description of him as looking like an eagle.] The azure-robed youth cracked a smile, revealing his white teeth. “I’ve mastered a fourth Dao-Path as well! I’ve caught up to you!”
“Before this, you and I were on par… and now, you punk, you are even more powerful than me?” Cangwu Jiu was amazed.
The two of them had run into each other shortly after entering this Diagram world. They had fought together, then realized neither could achieve victory over the other. Given that they had also grown up together in the imperial capital, and felt friendly towards each other to begin with... and that as soon as they had entered the Diagram world, they had both suffered repeated group attacks… they decided to join forces!
“You run too fast. If you focus on avoiding taking on my attacks head-on, there’s nothing I can do to you either.” A look of confidence was in Xiamang Zishan’s eyes. “But if you actually fight against me head-on… you naturally are no longer my match. With four Dao-Paths which have been infused into my Grand Dao of Lightning… I imagine that in this entire Diagram world, if I said that I was number two, no one would dare claim themselves to be number one!”
“Don’t go too crazy,” Cangwu Jiu sneered. “And don’t be smug. There are countless geniuses in the Diagram, and given how many times they are battling every day… these battles are tempering them and allowing them to improve at an astonishing rate. Quite a few people are most likely making breakthroughs!”
“Mm. That’s something I do need to be careful about.” Xiamang Zishan nodded. “I can’t be too overconfident. My goal in this Conclave is to come out number one!”
Cangwu Jiu shook his head. “Let’s hurry up and go.”
Xiamang Zishan and Cangwu Jiu both flew off.
The Sloppy Daoist was standing by the side of a lake. Underneath the light of the moon, it appeared illusory and dreamy. His eyes were closed. He had no idea that in the outside world, nine True Immortals and many Celestial Immortals were all focusing on him, and that he was the largest focal point for the entire Diagram right now.
The Sloppy Daoist’s body suddenly trembled slightly, and then a swirl of fire erupted in the surrounding area, billowing outwards. One circle of fire after another spread out, with the Sloppy Daoist at the center. The ripples of the Dao descended.
The Sloppy Daoist opened his eyes. “After training for all these years, and after fighting tens of times every day in the Diagram world… I’ve finally made a break through in the fourth month and mastered my third complete Dao-Path. What I need to do now is to fuse all three of these complete Daos into my Grand Dao of Taiji.” [3. This is the same Taiji as the Taiji Diagram, aka the Yin-Yang diagram, or in ‘Tai Chi’ martial arts. The concept of the Taiji is one of the most fundamental ones in Daoism.]
The Sloppy Daoist had also gained insight into a Grand Dao.
Ji Ning had gained insight into the Grand Dao of the Sword, while the Sloppy Daoist had embarked on the path of the Grand Dao of the Taiji.
After a few months, many of those who had been present in the Diagram had given up… and many of them had perished within it! But for the surviving geniuses? It was normally incredibly rare for them to be able to encounter geniuses on their same general level and fight with them… and now that they were doing so for tens of times or a even a hundred times each day, many of them began to make sudden breakthroughs.
Many of them had been trapped at bottlenecks, and now, they were all making their breakthroughs.
The sixth month of the trials within the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers.
Within a wilderness region. A black-robed youth and a black-robed woman were within the wild grass of this area.
Ning sat there in the lotus position, and not too far away was Yu Wei. Yu Wei was also seated in the lotus position, quietly looking at Ning. Earlier, Ning had said to her: “Senior apprentice-sister, I gained some insights in that previous battle. Help stand guard for me.” And then, he had set down a simple vision-obscuring formation, then closed his eyes and entered a meditative state.
Yu Wei looked at Ning, whose eyes were still closed. She carefully looked at his eyes, his nose, his lips… she looked at him very carefully and very earnestly.