“Mm.” Violetgrass nodded lightly.
Patriarch Arcanum secretly inspected her. This young female envoy before him wore golden clothes that were embroidered with eye-catching violet flowers; clearly, she was an extraordinary figure. The Celestial Immortals behind here were all dressed in more ordinary golden clothes; this clearly reflected their lower status.
“Celestial Immortal Arcanum of the Youngflame clan…do you know why I have come looking for you?” Violetgrass said with a laugh.
“Arcanum is unable to guess at your motives, Envoy.” Patriarch Arcanum’s attitude was quite humble.
Violetgrass laughed. “Hahaha…in recent years, our Seamless Gate has helped your Youngflame clan out quite a few times. I trust that by now, you can sense our sincerity. As for our power…although we’ve only revealed a hint of it, you should have sensed how powerful we are. Our Seamless Gate goes where we please and does as we please within the world of the Grand Xia, and what does the imperial Xiamang clan do about it? Just stare at us and watch.”
“Indeed,” Patriarch Arcanum said.
Given how powerful the Seamless Gate was, they definitely knew how mighty the imperial Xiamang clan was, but they still dared to act with such abandon. Without confidence in themselves, would they dare to act this way? None of the Celestial Immortals under their command were fools; the response, or lack thereof, from the imperial Xia clan reflected how powerful the Seamless Gate truly was.
“I can tell you this. In the world of the Grand Xia, many powers have already thrown their support to our Seamless Gate,” Violetgrass said with a sigh. “Their tribes have only grown more powerful after doing so. I can promise you that so long as your Youngflame clan is willing to throw your support to us as well, your power will instantly increase many times over.”
Patriarch Arcanum simply continued to smile.
What a joke.
The only ones throwing their support were lesser powers like the Eastwoods Sect or the Blood God Church. Most likely, very, very few marquises had turned traitor. After all, upon doing so, that meant one would become true enemies with the imperial Xia clan. Behind the imperial Xia clan was Daofather Raindragon and Daofather Crimsonbright! It wouldn’t be easy to deal with them! The two Daofathers could probably wipe them out with a wave of the hand.
“I trust that you can tell how sincere our Seamless Gate is, given that I’ve come in person,” Violetgrass said, looking at Arcanum.
“Arcanum is indeed grateful that you have come in person, Envoy. However, this is a matter that could involve the annihilation of my clan. Arcanum does not dare to make this decision without consulting others. Upon my return, I shall definitely inform my other clansmen, and we shall discuss this in detail,” Patriarch Arcanum said.
Violetgrass shook her head. “To show our sincerity…I’ll tell you something else.”
“Pray tell.” Patriarch Arcanum’s eyes lit up; the Seamless Gate had indeed helped out the Youngflame clan several times recently.
“I heard that your Youngflame clan has a major headache named Ji Ning,” Violetgrass said.
“Yes.” Patriarch Arcanum admitted it right away. His eyes lit up. “Can it be that you, Envoy, are willing to get rid of Ji Ning for our Youngflame clan? If you get rid of him, we will be endlessly grateful to you.”
“Get rid of Ji Ning? That’s not impossible. If your Youngflame clan is willing to subordinate yourselves to our Seamless Gate, then within a single day, the Seamless Gate will take his life, regardless of who his backer is.” Violetgrass was filled with complete self-confidence. And then, with a half-smile on her face, she said, “If your Youngflame clan isn’t willing to support us…then our Seamless Gate can’t possibly act on your behalf.”
Patriarch Arcanum was laughing coldly in his heart.
Ji Ning was a disaster, true.
But supporting the Seamless Gate would run the risk of true annihilation for the entire clan.
“This Ji Ning has several important friends and family members,” Violetgrass said calmly. “If you want to act against him, all you need to do is keep an eye on them; you’ll be able to find him eventually.”
“But his master, Immortal Diancai, is already a Celestial Immortal.” Patriarch Arcanum frowned. “In addition, he’s at Stillwater City. As for the important clansmen of the Ji clan, they are few in number and are all in Swallow Mountain. Our Youngflame clan has no chance at all.”
“No. He has a junior apprentice-brother named Mu Northson,” Violetgrass said. “The two of them are lifelong friends who went through life and death together.”
“But Mu Northson has been missing for twenty-plus year.” Patriarch Arcanum shook his head.
Violetgrass smiled. “Ji Ning’s already rescued him.”
Patriarch Arcanum was startled.
The Youngflame clan had already investigated Ji Ning in detail. They had even investigated the likes of Mu Northson and Immortal Diancai in detail. They knew long ago about Immortal Diancai becoming a Celestial Immortal, but they hadn’t found any information regarding Northson’s return. From this, one could see that the Seamless Gate’s intelligence network was much superior to theirs.
“In addition, Mu Northson isn’t at Swallow Mountain. Nor is he in Stillwater City.” Violetgrass waved her hand, and a leather scroll appeared. She tossed it to Patriarch Arcanum, who hurriedly accepted it.
“Mu Northson’s exact location is here on this map,” Violetgrass said. “As long as you keep an eye on him, within a short period of time you shall probably see Ji Ning going to visit him! In fact, if you are in a hurry…you can even kidnap Mu Northson and force Ji Ning to show himself. It’s entirely up to you how your Youngflame clan wishes to proceed.”
“Thank you, Envoy.” Patriarch Arcanum was overjoyed as he stared at this leather-bound scroll.
“Our Seamless Gate has helped your Youngflame clan once again,” Violetgrass said calmly. “Although our Seamless Gate is patient…our patience has a limit. If you continue to refuse to support us…then we will be forced to view you as loyal to the death to the imperial Xia clan. In the future, when we act against the imperial Xia clan…we might very well strike first against your Youngflame clan.”
Patriarch Arcanum’s face changed. He said hurriedly, “Don’t worry, Envoy. I can sense how sincere the Seamless Gate is. There is a good deal of debate within our Youngflame clan about what to do, but of one thing you can be assured; we are definitely not loyal to the death to the imperial Xia clan. Definitely now.”
“What wonderful words.” Violetgrass waved her hand. “Go.”
Only now did Patriarch Arcanum depart.
Soon, the only figures left on that solitary, icy mountain peak were Violetgrass and the ten Celestial Immortals.
“Milord, to have the Youngflame clan deal with Ji Ning…are they strong enough? He’s trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art],” a golden-robed Celestial Immortal whispered.
“Don’t underestimate the Youngflame clan.” Violetgrass shook her head. “The Youngflame clan has existed since the era of Pangu’s World, eventually migrating here to the world of the Grand Xia. Ancient clan like this all have extremely formidable tools at their disposal. Consider this; in the past, the Kindwater clan fought with the Xiamang clan over the Emperorship of the Grand Xia. The Kindwater clan is a branch of a major clan of Pangu’s World which had a group of True Immortals and Empyrean Gods backing them. And yet, although the Kindwater clan and the Youngflame clan have been struggling against each other for so many years, the Youngflame clan has never been wiped out, even though they’ve suffered a bit. In fact, on the whole, the Youngflame clan has been full of vigor. How can you underestimate the Youngflame clan?”
“Mm.” The many Celestial Immortals all nodded.
“Watch and see,” Violetgrass said calmly. “We’ll let the Youngflame clan use their resources to fight first, while we’ll keep watch from the shadows, learning more about Ji Ning’s powers and tools. If the Youngflame clan truly is unable to wipe out this Ji Ning, then by then we will still have a high level of information regarding him. Naturally, at that point, we can lay a trap for him, then wipe him out with a single lightning-fast strike.”
“If my belief is correct…given that the Youngflame clan is willing to fight against the Kindwater clan to such a degree, they must have an astonishingly formidable background. So long as the Daofather behind Ji Ning doesn’t interfere, it shouldn’t be hard for them to kill him,” Violetgrass said with a laugh.
The Youngflame clan began to deliberate in secret, coming up with numerous scenarios for killing Ji Ning, in accordance with the intelligence reports they had received.
“This time…let the four of us join forces. Arcanum, Deadwood, Goldclock, and myself, Infatuation, shall fight together.” The ancient elder swept the others with his gaze. “The three of you shall be under my command.”
“Alright.” Patriarch Arcanum nodded.
“Infatuation, we trust you,” the man who held a large clock in his hand agreed.
“Right.” The white-haired Patriarch Deadwood nodded as well.
Patriarch Infatuation was an ancient man who had a look of hidden grief within his eyes…but his power was truly enormous. Celestial Immortal Infatuation was fairly famous within the Three Realms, and was one of the truly top-tier Celestial Immortals.
“Sunfish, I’ll leave you to protect this tower,” Patriarch Infatuation instructed.
“Fine.” Patriarch Sunfish nodded.
“Let’s go,” Patriarch Infatuation said.
Instantly, Patriarchs Arcanum, Deadwood, and Goldclock followed him in departing.
It was nighttime. These four Celestial Immortals stealthily made their way to Stillwater Commandery. All four of them were extremely powerful, with Patriarch Infatuation being the strongest. Patriarch Deadwood possessed powerful spells, while Patriarch Goldclock had a powerful magical item; the two were roughly on par with each other. Patriarch Arcanum was actually ranked as the weakest, but he was still quite an excellent Celestial Immortal.
Within Stillwater Commandery. A wild region. Four figures stealthily appeared in the air above a lake.
“Look. Over there.” Patriarch Arcanum pointed towards the distance, where a wooden house could be seen next to a lake. Outside the wooden house, a white-robed youth with some white hair was seated on the stairs, head raised as he stared at the bright moon. He was holding a jade globe in his hands. “Little Xia, today is the sixteenth, right? The moon is actually even rounder than it was yesterday.”
“It really is round. According to the legends, the Fairy of the Moon Palace, Chang’e, lives upon the Lunar Star which is located outside of the Three Realms.” The maiden in the jade globe spoke with some envy. [1. Chang’e was the wife of the legendary archer, Houyi. Their story is a famous myth in China, with her in most stories (accidentally) betraying her husband by eating/overdosing on the pill of Immortality and thus floating away to the moon, leaving her husband behind.]
“Right. In the future, when I grow powerful, I’ll take you, Little Xia, to pay a visit to the Lunar Star. We’ll see for ourselves if there really is a Moon Palace, and if there really is a Chang’e,” the white-robed youth said, nodding his head.
The four distant Celestial Immortals had hidden themselves long ago.
“It really is Mu Northson.”
“The Seamless Gate’s information is accurate.”
“Prepare the formations now. After preparing everything, leave the formations un-activated; after Ji Ning arrives, we’ll activate them,” Patriarch Infatuation immediately ordered.
“Actually, why do we even need formations? Once this greatclock of mine is unleashed, he will perish,” the man holding the greatclock said confidently.
“Although this golden clock of yours was transported to this world of the Grand Xia long ago by our Youngflame clan from Pangu’s World, and although it is extremely powerful and a top-grade Pure Yang treasure…this Ji Ning was was able to escape from even Bloodcloud Hall’s assassination attempt. We absolutely must not be careless. We have to prepare everything perfectly,” Patriarch Infatuation instructed.
And so, the four Celestial Immortals began to prepare their ambush by this lake. Given their abilities, Northson was completely unable to detect them.
Celestial Immortals possessed infinite lifespans, and so they possessed exceptional patience.
The imperial capital of the Grand Xia. King Yan’s Estate.
The second day after Ning took up residence within King Yan’s Estate. He was accompanying his cousin, Yuchi Xiyue, in strolling about the streets of the estate.
“Leaving? So soon?” Yuchi Xiyue was rather reluctant to let him go. “Didn’t you say that Swallow Mountain is protected by layers of formations, and that it is like an impregnable fortress? Isn’t it very safe?”
“I’m going to go see my junior apprentice-brother. I feel uneasy,” Ning said.
“What do you feel uneasy about?” A voice suddenly rang out.
From around the corner of the stone path, a tall, muscular figure appeared, dressed in loose robes.
“Respectful greetings to you, King Yan,” Ning said hurriedly.
“You came to my place, but you plan to leave without even coming to see me?” King Yan said with a laugh. “Come, let’s take a walk and have a talk.”
Ning and Xiyue both moved to accompany King Yan on the walk, chatting about various important current affairs regarding the Grand Xia as they did. Ning suddenly said, “Senior King Yan, I heard that Daofather Crimsonbright has set up a miniature cycle of reincarnation for his major worlds. Do you know of this matter, senior?” Ning had been wanting to learn more about his parents this entire time.
King Yan was of the imperial clan; he naturally should know about the miniature cycle of reincarnation.
“Of course I do.” King Yan nodded, then suddenly said with a chortle, “Could it be that you have forgotten my nickname?”
“Nickname?” Ning was startled.
King Yan’s nickname was ‘Yama-King’. [2. As explained in Book 11, Chapter 22, in Chinese myth, the Ten Yama Hell-Kings ruled over the netherworld and judged the dead, sending them on their way in the cycle of reincarnation.]
“After the Daofather rebuilt the cycle of reincarnation, he set it to encompass tens of major worlds and countless minor worlds,” King Yan said with a laugh. “His cycle also has ten Yama-Kings, and I am one of them, the Ten Yama-Kings of Hell.”