After calculating that the mysterious mountain range had been the Eastwoods mountain range, Ji Ning didn’t immediately go to verify it. Instead, he used a spatial teleportation to return to Stillwater City. His master had just broken through to become a Celestial Immortal, after all; he had to be present for the announcement. If his true body wasn’t, his master and Immortal Fivecraze would probably still feel uneasy.
Stillwater City. The Black-White College.
Although it was noon, and although there had just been a big blizzard, the Headmaster’s Hall of the Black-White College was a place of joy right now.
“I am going to tell everyone a piece of earth-shatteringly good news. Our Black-White College…has given birth to a Celestial Immortal! This is the second Celestial Immortal our Black-White College has had since our founding!” Immortal Fivecraze spoke out loudly from the front of the hall, his voice echoing within it. The entire hall suddenly turned silent, a queer, shocked silence. All of the Void-level Earth Immortals and Loose Immortals were staring at Immortal Fivecraze in disbelief.
“Ten days ago, Ji Ning and I guarded junior apprentice-brother Diancai as he underwent the wind tribulation, the fire tribulation, the thunder tribulation, and the demonheart tribulation. After overcoming these four great tribulations, junior apprentice-brother Diancai has become a Celestial Immortal.” Immortal Fivecraze’s voice continued to echo out within the hall.
“Junior apprentice-brother Diancai!”
“Senior apprentice-brother Diancai!”
“Ji Ning, has your master truly become a Celestial Immortal?”
“You idiots! Do you think I’d lie to you about something like this?!”
“Everyone, I have indeed become a Celestial Immortal, thanks to the protection of Ji Ning and senior apprentice-brother Fivecraze.”
Instantly, the entire Headmaster’s Hall turned into a storm of joy. Everyone called out in celebration, especially after Immortal Diancai personally released his aura of might. After everyone felt the aura of a Celestial Immortal coming from him, they began to rejoice even more!
To become a Celestial Immortal…the implications were extraordinary.
It must be understood that back in the annals of history, when the Black-White College gave birth to a Celestial Immortal, its status had risen to become equivalent to the Northmont clan of Stillwater and the local branch of the Raindragon Guard. Celestial Immortals were truly unaging. They would live for a very long time, and so long as they were alive, the entire sect would have a firm foundation..
As all the Loose Immortals and Earth Immortals were celebrating with wild agitation and excitement, Immortal Fivecraze sent Immortal Jadesea to the Northmont clan of Stillwater. He personally went to request a meeting with Celestial Immortal Hunchmont to notify him of this matter.
“Did you just say that Immortal Diancai has become a Celestial Immortal?” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont was very stable and solid, but even so he revealed a look of astonishment.
Celestial Immortals were far too rare.
Normally speaking, it was extremely rare for even a single one to appear in a million years within the world of the Grand Xia Dynasty. Even now, with the Three Realms in a state of chaos, they still were very, very rare.
“Senior Hunchmont, I wouldn’t dare lie about something like this,” the former headmaster, Immortal Jadesea, said with a laugh. “When senior apprentice-brother Diancai underwent his tribulation, he had Ji Ning and senior apprentice-brother Fivecraze protecting him.”
“Good, good, good.” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont leaned on his wooden staff, laughing as he spoke. “This is good news for the entire Stillwater Commandery. Go back now; I’ll make some preparations, then head to your Black-White College.”
“Yes. I’ll leave now.” Immortal Jadesea bowed respectfully, then immediately departed.
Celestial Immortal Hunchmont hesitated slightly within the room, then quickly departed, moving to a palace that the Northmont clan usually used for discussing major affairs. As he did, he barked, “Shut the palace doors. Everyone, depart.”
“Yes.” The guards all respectfully acknowledged the order.
After the palace door was shut, the enormous palace became shrouded within darkness.
Celestial Immortal Hunchmont waved his hand, and eight enormous candles suddenly began to blaze, lighting up the palace.
“Elder brother,” Hunchmont called out.
Instantly, the eyes of a sculpture of a strange beast that was located above the throne at the front of the hall suddenly lit up. It glanced towards him, and then the beast sculpture’s mouth moved as well. “Hunchmont. What is it?”
“Elder brother, our Stillwater Commandery has given birth to a Celestial Immortal,” Hunchmont said hurriedly.
“Who?” The strange beast sculpture asked.
“Immortal Diancai of the Black-White College,” Hunchmont replied.
The strange beast sculpture said, “The Black-White College has the closest of relationships with our Stillwater Commandery. This has been true for countless years. After becoming a Celestial Immortal, Immortal Diancai will naturally stand on the side of our Northmont clan of Stillwater. Especially during a time like this…the more powerful the Northmont clan’s forces are, the better. This is absolutely wonderful news.”
“Right.” Hunchmont nodded. “That’s what I thought as well. But elder brother, Diancai has just made his breakthrough; what sort of gift should we give him? His sword-arts are based on the Five Elements; he is most suited for using five Immortal swords. Why don’t we give him a gift of five high-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords?”
“Do you remember how, back in the Fiendgod Era,” the strange beast sculpture said, “I battled against Patriarch Fiveghosts at the Yuchang River, then slew him? I acquired a set of five Immortal swords from that battle. I still have them. Give them to this Immortal Diancai.”
“But those are five top-grade Immortal-ranked swords!” Hunchmont was shocked.
“Times are changing,” the strange beast sculpture said. “In a normal era, a gift of five high-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords would already be quite an incredible gift…but you know as well as I do that the entire world of the Grand Xia is shaking right now. Even I can vaguely sense in my subconscious that a storm is coming…and it is very possible that our Northmont clan of Stillwater shall perish within it. Thus, it is important that we not be stingy at a time like this. Only when you are willing to give some things up are you able to gain even more important things!”
“After we give him a set of five top-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords, he will naturally feel grateful towards us…and thus we will have firmly pulled this Celestial Immortal Diancai under the Northmont clan’s war-banners. The Northmont clan of Stillwater currently only has two Celestial Immortals; if we count in Diancai, then we shall have three! That will make the foundations of the clan to be even more secure.”
“Elder brother, your plans are far-sighted,” Hunchmont said respectfully.
This elder brother of his had lived for far longer than he had.
In truth, this ‘elder brother’ was born unfathomably many generations before he had been. However, because both were Celestial Immortals, they considered themselves to be of the same generation in addressing each other. Still…Celestial Immortal Hunchmont revered this person greatly, because this person was the true foundation for the strength and prosperity of the Northmont clan.
“When you bring those five Immortal-ranked flying swords over, invite Celestial Immortal Diancai and that Ji Ning to come. I wish to see them both,” the strange beast sculpture said.
“Elder brother, you wish to see them?” Hunchmont was amazed; even within the Northmont clan, the vast majority of the many generations of marquises had no idea that there was such a powerful Patriarch who was still alive. This was the reason why the generations of marquises were so cautious and reserved, not causing any trouble; they didn’t know exactly how powerful their clan was.
“I certainly have to see Celestial Immortal Diancai; after all, in the future, when the storm truly erupts, he will be fighting alongside us, shoulder-to-shoulder. As for Ji Ning? His background is extraordinary, and in the end, he might prove to be even more important to us than Celestial Immortal Diancai,” the strange beast sculpture said.
The Headmaster’s Hall of the Black-White College.
The many Loose Immortals and Earth Immortals, along with Immortal Diancai, were all gathered here. There was a feast ongoing. Just as the feast was halfway through and as everyone was celebrating, a hunchbacked old man entered the hall, leaning on a wooden staff.
Everyone immediately rose to their feet. Even Ning rose.
“Congratulations, fellow Daoist Diancai,” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont laughed. “You’ve overcome the four tribulations of wind, fire, thunder, and demonheart; you are now a Celestial Immortal.”
“I’ve only brought one thing with me. I’ve heard, fellow Daoist Diancai, that you are skilled in a Five Elements sword-art. Our Northmont clan just so happened to have a set of five top-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords in our treasury, and so I brought them to give them to you, fellow Daoist. Fellow Daoist Diancai, you absolutely must not decline.”
“Five of them?”
“Am I hearing things?”
The Loose Immortals and Earth Immortals of the Black-White College began to sent mental messages to each other. They had all guessed that the Northmont clan would bring congratulatory gifts, but they hadn’t expected that the gifts would be so valuable.
Ning was shocked upon hearing this as well. He had guessed that the gift would be five high-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords, not top-grade! The Northmont clan truly was generous!
Immortal Diancai was similarly shocked. Naturally, he hurriedly moved to refuse; this gift was far too valuable, bringing great pressure to bear down upon him.
“Diancai, don’t refuse!” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont feigned anger. “If you keep refusing, I’m going to turn and leave!”
Only then did Immortal Diancai accept the gift.
The celebratory banquet continued until past midnight, when it finally concluded. Celestial Immortal Hunchmont stealthily sent a mental message to both Ji Ning and Immortal Diancai, and so after the banquet, the two of them both headed towards the Marquisate of Stillwater.
The Marquisate of Stillwater.
Ji Ning, Immortal Diancai, and Celestial Immortal Hunchmont were walking together.
“Senior Hunchmont,” Ning laughed, “We’ve arrived at the Marquisate. Senior, you can tell us what this is about now, right?”
Celestial Immortal Hunchmont laughed. “Patriarch Unity of our Northmont clan wishes to see you two.”
“Patriarch Unity of the Northmont clan?” Ji Ning and Immortal Diancai were both startled; where did this additional Northmont clan Patriarch come from?! When Ning had been weak, he had even thought that perhaps the Northmont clan didn’t have so much as a single Celestial Immortal; it was only later on that he learned of Hunchmont’s existence. He hadn’t expected them to have a second one!
Ning couldn’t help but sigh in amazement. The roots of an ancient clan such as this one truly were extremely deep.
“Can it be…the Supreme Sword Immortal, Celestial Immortal Unity?” Immortal Diancai cried out in shock.
“Right.” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont chortled.
“Master, who is this ‘Supreme Sword Immortal’, this ‘Celestial Immortal Unity’?” Ning asked, puzzled. Immortal Diancai explained, “I learned about him by accident. The Northmont clan of Stillwater has had quite a few Celestial Immortals in its history, but over the course of countless ages, most are presumed deceased. The most dazzling one of them all was this Supreme Sword Immortal! He existed back during the Fiendgod Era, and he submitted himself to the Xia Emperor’s rule, battling and fighting on the Xia Emperor’s behalf. Countless Fiendgods and countless Immortals died to his sword, and in the end, he won a marquisdom for the Northmont clan; the marquisdom of Stillwater Commandery. However…according to the legends, he perished during the Milky Way War. How is it that he is still alive?”
Ning, upon hearing this, was stunned. This old fellow had existed as far back as the Fiendgod Era, and had won the marquisdom for the Northmont clan?
“Haha, Patriarch Unity was indeed badly wounded during the Milky Way War, but he didn’t actually die. Still…that battle was a major blow for the Old Patriarch. The Old Patriarch felt so much grief, it was as though he had died. He never showed his face in the world again. Countless years have passed, but there has never been any word regarding the Old Patriarch as far as the outside world has been concerned, and so that’s why everyone believed him to have perished,” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont explained.
Immortal Diancai now understood.
“The five Immortal swords gifted to you came from Patriarch Fiveghosts, who Patriarch Unity slew back during the Fiendgod Era.” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont laughed. “It was the Old Patriarch who personally instructed for those swords to be given to you.”
Immortal Diancai nodded, then said to Ji Ning, “Ji Ning, when you see senior Unity, you must not behave improperly.”
He felt tremendous curiosity towards this Patriarch Unity; this was a truly legendary figure, one who had led his clan to rove the world in the Fiendgod Era, fighting and conquering countless foes before suddenly vanishing for seemingly all eternity. It must be understood that for a person to hide himself so thoroughly as to completely sever all contact with all other Celestial Immortals was quite a painful choice. Not everyone had an ability like Ning’s ‘Seventy-Two Transformations’, after all.
“Here we are. My elder brother is right inside.” Celestial Immortal Hunchmont stood outside a seemingly ordinary courtyard.