“This is your master’s own decision,” Immortal Fivecraze said.
Ji Ning immediately understood. The Celestial Tribulation was the most important event a cultivator would encounter in his life; generally speaking, they would choose to attempt it at a time whispered to them by their subconscious. Since his master had chosen to attempt it nine days hence, then that meant that his master would have the greatest chance of success nine days from now.
But even though that would be the ‘greatest chance’…the chance was still comparatively slim. After all, the Grand Xia world had countless Void-level Earth Immortals, but often more than a million years would pass without a single Celestial immortal arising! Only in a time like this, when the Three Realms were in a state of upheaval, did the Grand Xia see multiple Earth Immortals overcome the tribulation during the past twenty, thirty years. But even then, only a few had succeeded. Spread out across 3600 commanderies and four seas…the chances were still extremely low!”
“Very few people know that your master is attempting the Celestial Tribulation nine days from now. You can’t tell anyone,” Immortal Fivecraze instructed.
“I understand.” Ning looked at the nearby Ji Truekeep. Truekeep nodded. “Don’t worry; I won’t tell anyone. Right…the two of you can chat in private.” Truekeep knew exactly how major a matter this was, and so he immediately departed.
Within the hall, only Ji Ning, Immortal Fivecraze, and the Whitewater Hound were left.
“Your master is going to attempt the Celestial Tribulation, but his chances are less than one in ten thousand. The tribulation is simply too hard. Thus…we need to ensure that no one disturbs him,” Immortal Fivecraze said seriously. “That is why your master will definitely need protectors during his tribulation.”
“Protectors?” Ning nodded. “I will naturally serve as a guardian for my master.”
“I discussed this matter with your master already. This time, the only people protecting him shall be you and me; just the two of us,” Immortal Fivecraze said.
“Two?” Ning was surprised.
“Your master has gained new insights after perusing the Dao-repositories you brought back to the Black-White College. His power has advanced exquisitely!” Immortal Fivecraze said. “I have gained insights as well, and my power is comparable to a Loose Immortal who has lived for six or seven hundred thousand years. The other Loose Immortals of the Black-White College, by comparison, are a bit weaker.”
“Your Primaltwin was able to kill Loose Immortals all those years ago, when it was merely a peak Primal Daoist. Given your training speed, I imagine it must now be at the late Void-level; after thirty years, you are probably no weaker than me,” Immortal Fivecraze said with a laugh. “There’s no need to be modest at a time like this; the more powerful you are, the more confident your master will feel during his tribulation.”
Ning nodded. “I should…be no weaker than Immortal Northwalker was in the past!”
Immortal Fivecraze was instantly startled. It must be understood that the Immortal path grew increasingly difficult as one progressed through it, and that the chances of becoming a Celestial Immortal were extremely low. The chances of becoming a True Immortal or Empyrean God? That was even rare, even if one’s vision spanned the entirety of the Three Realms. Every single commandery had Loose Immortals at the five hundred thousand year power level, but there were very few in the entire Grand Xia Dynasty who were at the level of a million year old Loose Immortal. As for Loose Immortals who had lived for millions of years…it was rare for the entire Grand Xia Dynasty to have a single such person!
“You?” Immortal Fivecraze could hardly believe it.
“My child Ning has long ago mastered the full nine stances of the [Three-Foot Sword]. He’s even improved on it,” the nearby Whitewater Hound said.
“Excellent!” A look of wild joy appeared on Immortal Fivecraze’s face. He said jubilantly, “Wonderful, wonderful, absolutely wonderful! Ji Ning, in terms of sword-arts alone, you are probably the most powerful figure our Black-White College has ever seen!”
Immortal Fivecraze sighed in absolute amazement.
This Ji Ning who stood before him…
He himself was like a sword! Swords were objects that were used to charge forward, to cut with incomparable sharpness! Ji Ning was like a sword who chopped through all the bushes and thorns that lay in his path. Years ago, as a youth, he had become the champion of the entire Conclave of Immortal Destiny! After the past thirty-plus years…he had mastered and even perfected the [Three-Foot Sword] of Immortal Northwalker, customizing it for his own use!
What sort of talent was this? After a few more decades or a century, how powerful would he become?
“The sword is my body.”
“The sword is my life.”
“The sword is my path.”
Immortal Fivecraze nodded as he looked at Ning. “When every Sword Immortal embarks on the Dao of the Sword, they will understand their own sword-hearts and these principles. But understanding is easy; action is hard! There are very, very few who can truly reach this level, and in this vast world, countless Sword Immortals have fallen. I can sense, however, the towering sword-intent radiating from you, a sword-heart that is simply inconceivable. You truly were born to be a Sword Immortal.”
In truth, many years ago, the likes of Lu Dongbin had already felt certain that Ning was born to be a peerless Sword Immortal.
The reason for his current success was partially because of his experiences from his past life, but also because of his parents in this life.
His father had given him a sword.
His mother had given him a heart.
After chatting for a short while, Ning asked, “Is master in a rush? If he isn’t in a rush, I’ll stay one more day here at Serpentwing Lake; I’ll reunite with all of you at the Black-White College tomorrow.”
“We are planning to leave the Black-White College in three days and head to the chosen tribulation area,” Immortal Fivecraze said. “We have a day to spare. You can make your preparations here at Serpentwing Lake.”
“What will be the tribulation area?” Ning couldn’t help but ask.
“That is a secret for now,” Immortal Fivecraze said. “Once your master’s enemies learn of it, they will immediately head to that location to attempt to ruin your master’s tribulation. Thus, the tribulation area is something which only your master knows at present. Even I don’t know. After we head arrive there, we shall know.”
Ning laughed. “That’s for the best. If only master himself knows, there’s no fear of it leaking.”
“Alright. Make your preparations; I’m leaving now.” Immortal Fivecraze left right away.
Within the hall.
Soon, Little Qing was called back by Ji Ning. Within the courtyard was Ji Ning, Uncle White, and Little Qing.
“Master is about to undergo his Celestial Tribulation. This matter is extremely important; we can’t be reckless in preparing for it,” Ning said with absolute solemnity. “That’s why both I and Uncle White are leaving…and we’ll leave Swallow Mountain in your hands, Little Qing.”
The formations of Swallow Mountain were too numerous and too complicated.
Even those lower-class formations required experts who were at least at the Primal Daoist level to completely control them. But right now, aside from Ning, the most powerful members of the Ji clan were only at the Wanxiang stage! As for the supreme formations…just activating them would require the power of a Void-level Earth Immortal, but there was no way Ning would teach the secrets of these formations to the monsters of the Witchriver Immortal Estate.
“Actually, I really want to go as well. The Celestial Tribulation…I’ve never even…” Little Qing stopped midway through her words as Ning gave her a look.
“Master, I know what really matters,” Little Qing hurriedly said with a laugh.
“Uncle White, Little Qing…both of you, hurry up and raise your power to the late Void-level today,” Ning said. “These two jade bottles each contain 2.5 million kilograms of liquefied elemental essence.”
Ning trained in the [Darknorth Sutra], which allowed one to train all the way to the Daofather level, and yet his Primaltwin had only needed 2.5 million kilograms to go from the peak Primal stage to the late Void-level. Uncle White and Little Qing had both already reached the early Void-level; 2.5 million kilograms of liquefied elemental essence would be more than enough to let them reach the late Void-level.”
“Remember, don’t train to the peak of the Void-level, no matter what,” Ning warned.
“Don’t worry. We aren’t anywhere close to being prepared for the Celestial Tribulation.”
While Uncle White and Little Qing trained, Ning’s true body entered the Still Room of the underwater estate. For the sake of his master’s tribulation, Ning was going to raise his power to the highest level possible as well! Fortunately, he had acquired 15 million kilograms at the main headquarters of the Heavenly Treasures Mountain; although he had spent some of it to purchase a few treasures, he still had more than ten million kilograms left!
The handsome, delicate-looking fur-clad youth seated himself atop the netherwater jade bed.
In front of him was a tiny jade bottle.
A torrent of liquefied elemental essence flooded out from the jade bottle, forming an awe-inspiring lake within the Still Room. Around Ning, a dark vortex appeared, and the limitless amount of essence began to disappear as it drew near the dark vortex, having been sucked into Ning’s Zifu Region.
Within the Zifu Region.
His golden lotus, after absorbing an enormous amount of essence, began to shudder and grow out from within that scorching sea of Primal Fire. The golden lotus was constantly growing taller, and both its petals and its stem began to quickly increase in thickness. The elemental ki within the golden lotus grew increasingly pure as well, so pure that it would cause one’s heart to tremble. At the same time, that adorable little lotus seedpod at the very top of the golden lotus began to slowly increase in size, and within the heart of the lotus seedpod, an unripe lotus seed took form.
“The late Void level!” Everything came to a halt.
The now-enormous golden lotus swayed within the Primal Fire that blazed atop the back of the continent-sized Turtle-Snake. This golden lotus was now the absolute most dazzling ‘location’ within the entire Zifu region.
Upon reaching the late Void level, the ‘Goldlotus Primal’ was already extremely powerful; it was just a hair away from complete perfection.
The next day.
Ning, Uncle White, and Little Qing gathered together for a meal. They had all increased in power to the late Void-level the previous night. After the meal, Little Qing was left behind to protect Serpentwing Lake, while Ning led Uncle White towards the Black-White College.
The Black-White College. Immortal Diancai’s abode.
“Ji Ning, you came.” The black-robed Immortal Diancai was seated in the lotus position atop a jade bed, a calm look on his face. “Sit.”
Next to him was a prayer mat, seated atop which was Immortal Fivecraze.
Ning nodded, then sat down on another prayer mat while the Whitewater Hound lay down behind Ning.
“I heard senior apprentice-brother Fivecraze say that you’ve already mastered the complete nine stances of the [Three-Foot Sword], and that you have perfected it?” Immortal Diancai said with a laugh.
“Yes.” Ning nodded.
Immortal Diancai smiled. “Good. With you having reached such a level in the sword…even if I fail my tribulation, I’ll still feel satisfied.”
“Master, how can you say such things?” Ning said frantically.
“I’m just making conversation. It seems you aren’t even as calm about this as I am,” Immortal Diancai said.
Ning was silent.
He was indeed nervous; after all, the chances of success were simply far, far too low. If his master were to fail…
Immortal Diancai, seeing this, simply laughed. He understood Ning’s temperament very well; Ning was a passionate man who cared deeply about his feelings and his relationships! For the sake of his relationships, he could even give up his life! It was precisely because he had come to understand Ning’s personality over their many years of knowing each other that Immortal Diancai felt so extremely fond of this disciple of his. That was why he treated him with such sincerity.
“This Whitewater Hound is coming as well?” Immortal Diancai asked.
Ning nodded. “Master, don’t underestimate Uncle White. He is extremely talented in formations, and when I went to study from my master, Uncle White learned some extremely profound formations as well; he can be described as a grandmaster of formations. I wouldn’t dare proclaim him as being the best in the entire Grand Xia Dynasty…but here within Stillwater Commandery at least, he would be one of the top two.”
“Oh?” Both Immortal Diancai and Immortal Fivecraze revealed looks of delight.
Anyone who dared refer to himself as a grandmaster of formations would definitely be an extraordinary person.
Ning laughed confidently. In terms of the Dao of Formations, Uncle White was indeed a grandmaster. In addition, however, Uncle White knew how to set up some extremely rare and exceedingly powerful formations, and so even other grandmasters of formations would lose to him in a competition of formations! That supremely ferocious formation that he had set up around Swallow Mountain, for example; most likely, there were extremely few people in the entire Grand Xia Dynasty who could set up such a powerful formation.
But of course, the Grand Xia Dynasty definitely had individuals who were superior to Uncle White in formations; for example, that formation surrounding the imperial palace of the Grand Xia was something that only a truly major power could set up! It was several levels higher in power than the formations around Swallow Mountain.