In all honesty, Gatemaster Azurefox couldn’t be blamed for this matter. All the members of the Seamless Gate were risking their lives in their ventures; when the time came, even the Gatemaster herself would go into battle! This battle against Celestial Immortal Unity wasn’t that dangerous a mission either; Violetgrass had only died due to bad luck. The Three Realms were being rocked by a storm; who would dare say for certain that one person would definitely survive?
However, Gatemaster Azurefox could tell that Celestial Immortal Blackheaven was truly enraged, and so she didn’t bother to explain.
Blackheaven was on their side. Logically speaking, as a Celestial Immortal, he should be forced to obey the orders that came from his superiors. Only major powers, those linked to major powers like Fairy Deadgrass, and the most supreme of Empyrean Gods and True Immortals were able to left alone to their own devices without being assigned any missions. Blackheaven, however, was also left alone and unburdened. This was truly quite strange, and this caused many of their Celestial Immortals to address him reverently as ‘Exalted Immortal Blackheaven’. This also caused Gatemaster Azurefox to feel some nervousness. For an inexplicable reason, she felt as though if she were to truly go fight against Blackheaven, the results would be…poor.
“Blackheaven, don’t blame Azurefox. She had no idea that Ji Ning was this much of a monster.” The nearby Fairy Deadgrass sighed. “When I learned that Violetgrass had died, I immediately rushed over here. I imagine that you, too, came here for the purpose of getting vengeance for her, Blackheaven. Azurefox, as the Gatemaster of her Seamless Gate, wants to kill Ji Ning more than any of us. We all share a common goal, to kill Ji Ning.”
“Ji Ning…of course we have to kill him,” Blackheaven growled.
“Even if only for the sake of our subjugation of the Grand Xia alone, Ji Ning must die.” Gatemaster Azurefox hurriedly agreed.
“How to kill him?” Blackheaven asked, “If he could be easily killed, Gaudy would’ve killed him long ago. He’s currently within the world of the Grand Xia. That’s the territory of the Xia Emperor. Both of you know exactly how deep the Xia Emperor’s roots are…”
In truth, they didn’t care as much about the Daofather behind Ji Ning. If they were truly worried, they wouldn’t even dare to say the word ‘kill’. The reason why they weren’t afraid was because the Three Realms were now divided into two major opposing camps. These two camps had come to a common agreement; the major powers were not to casually intervene, because if they did, the other side would probably release even more and even more powerful major powers.
“The Xia Emperor’s roots go deep. If we don’t go all out against him…there’s no way we’ll have a chance to kill Ji Ning,” Gatemaster Azurefox said. “The price of doing that, however, is too great. The best plan of action right now is to have the marquises of the Grand Xia assault the Xia Emperor first.”
This was what the Seamless Gate usually did.
They would recruit some of the marquises, then use them to assault the other marquises. A full frontal assault…if the Seamless Gate truly had enough of an advantage to carry out such an assault, why would they have worked so furtively all these years? They would’ve forcibly swept through and conquered the Three Realms long ago. However…clearly, the Seamless Gate wasn’t that powerful yet.
Celestial Immortal Blackheaven, Gatemaster Azurefox, and Fairy Deadgrass couldn’t come up with any ideas for acting against Ning.
Just as Blackheaven was about to turn and leave with a belly full of fire…
“Eh?” Gatemaster Azurefox suddenly rose to her feet.
Puzzled, Blackheaven gave her a glance.
Fairy Deadgrass was puzzled as well.
“Our chance just came.” Azurefox revealed a smile as she looked towards Fairy Deadgrass and Blackheaven. “Our chance to kill Ji Ning just came.”
“What’s the chance?” Fairy Deadgrass was puzzled, while Blackheaven immediately went to the point.
Azurefox smiled. “I just received word that Ji Ning is about to undergo his tribulation. It should be his Primaltwin that is going to undergo the Celestial Tribulation.”
“Tribulation?” Fairy Deadgrass and Celestial Immortal Blackheaven were both surprised…and then both revealed looks of delight.
“This is indeed a wonderful opportunity.” Fairy Deadgrass laughed as well. “Once his tribulation begins, especially when the final demonheart tribulation begins…since a Primaltwin shares the same memories and thoughts with the true body, the true body will also be trapped in the demonheart world. Ji Ning will be at his weakest; he won’t be able to fight back at all.”
“Right. He’ll be unable to fight back, and the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] will be useless against the demonheart tribulation.” Blackheaven revealed a look of delight.
The azure-robed woman felt quite excited for this stroke of luck.
It was incredibly hard to subjugate a major world. One had to remove multiple impediments, and Ji Ning had become one such impediment that she had to resolve.
That very day, True Immortal Gaudy, Fairy Deadgrass, Celestial Immortal Blackheaven, Immortal Venomfreak, and the three leaders of the Seamless Gate, the Myriad Demons Cave, and Bloodcloud Hall gathered together for a meeting.
“We’ll primarily be relying on you this time, Exalted Immortals.” Immortal Venomfreak had a very humble attitude, and his ingratiating smile caused his ugly face to look even more savage. “If there’s anything you need me, Venomfreak, to carry out, just tell me. I’m prepared to give my life up over there if needed.”
The others all chuckled. Immortal Venomfreak’s ‘life’ was spent cheaply; he had already died countless times! There was no value in killing his clones.
“I’ll bring six of my aberrations as well. I’ve been nurturing them since the Primordial Era, and they are amongst the most powerful of my children.” Immortal Venomfreak had a delighted look on his face, and the other Immortals present all nodded and smiled. Immortal Venomfreak had many clones spread throughout the universe, and was quite famous within the Three Realms for his abilities in cultivating venomous bug-aberrations. All of them were thick and muscular, and could be used in many ways.
“When we go to the Grand Xia, we are all risking our lives,” Fairy Deadgrass said. “I’m only going to have one of my incarnations to go.”
“Right. I’ll send an incarnation as well, and it’ll carry some of my powerful magic treasures. It should have a tenth of my full power,” True Immortal Gaudy said.
Celestial Immortal Blackheaven let out a cold snort.
However…even though he wanted to take revenge for Violetgrass more than anyone else, he too was merely going to send a clone over. This was because his specialties lay in his varied, heterodox skills; it didn’t make too much of a difference whether he sent his true body or if he sent his clone. However, when True Immortal Gaudy and Fairy Deadgrass sent over their incarnations, those incarnations would most likely only have at most a tenth of their full power, no matter how powerful those clones were.
Their incarnations and clones were created through Celestial Immortal techniques; if they died, it wouldn’t impact their strength that much. Their true bodies, however, could not die; they would truly perish if their true bodies were slain.
Immortal Venomfreak was different. In truth, he didn’t even really have a ‘true body’; he had many clones, each of which could be considered his ‘true body’. Thus, one had to wipe out all of his clones before he would die; otherwise, if so much as a single clone survived, he would be able to quickly recover.
“Our Seamless Gate shall send the clones of two Empyrean Gods as well,” the azure-robed woman said.
“Our Bloodcloud Hall will send out a team of Hellsworn,” the skinny elder said with a smile.
“I will provide a construct to that team of Hellsworn,” the fire-robed man said.
The addition of these three organizations had caused the power of this team to increase significantly.
“Now…the only question is, where is Ji Ning undergoing his tribulation,” Blackheaven mused softly.
“If he ends up running to the Daofather master behind him, there will be nothing we can do. Otherwise…even if though Xia Emperor is protecting him, during the tribulation itself Ji Ning will be helpless. We only need a short period of time to kill him when we attack.” Azurefox said confidently, “Celestial Immortal Blackheaven’s ‘Yin-Yang Arcane Ki Bottle’ will be able to kill Ji Ning effortlessly.”
Blackheaven nodded. “I’ll bring the Yin-Yang Arcane Ki Bottle, of course.”
The others couldn’t help but give Blackheaven a glance.
Blackheaven really did have far too many treasures.
Some were Protocosmic spirit-treasures, while others were rather unique treasures with extraordinary powers. Once, Blackheaven had set up a trap that caused an Empyrean God of the Celestial Court to accidentally become ensnared within the Yin-Yang Arcane Ki Bottle. He had nearly died within that battle, and in the end had only survived because their respective major powers had negotiated, resulting in that Empyrean God being released.
The imperial capital of the Grand Xia. The Skylight Palace.
“Imperial Majesty, Ji Ning requests an audience,” the white-faced elder said respectfully.
“Ji Ning? Let him enter.” The black-robed Xia Emperor, seated in the lotus position atop his jade bed, opened his eyes.
Soon, a youth entered the room.
“Imperial Majesty.” Ning saluted respectfully.
“Ji Ning, why have you come to speak to me in the middle of the night?” The Xia Emperor laughed.
Ji Ning said, “To be honest, there’s something I would ask of you, your Imperial Majesty.”
“Oh?” The Xia Emperor listened.
“Nine days from now, I’m preparing to have my Primaltwin undergo the Celestial Tribulation,” Ning said. “However…I imagine that the Seamless Gate has had their sights set on me for quite some time now, and they seem to have perfect knowledge regarding the location of every Void-level individual’s tribulation. I believe that no matter how careful I am, they will still be able to find out where my tribulation is. During the tribulation, when the demonheart tribulation begins, even my true body will be unable to fight back. I will be at my weakest at this period of time, and the Seamless Gate definitely won’t give up that opportunity. Thus…I’ve come to ask you to help, your Imperial Majesty.”
The Xia Emperor laughed. “Haha, don’t worry about this. Undergoing the Celestial Tribulation is an important matter; I’ll naturally protect you with all my might.”
In truth, Ning felt rather resigned. Unless his master, Patriarch Subhuti, actively reached out to him, there was no way for Ning to contact him, much less return to the world of the Crescent. If that wasn’t the case, he would’ve returned to the Crescent world for his tribulation, which would’ve been much safer. After all, the other major powers were unable to even locate the Crescent world.
The Starseizing world left behind by Daoist Threelives was also very safe, but until he was acknowledged as the true heir, he wouldn’t be able to enter at all.
And so, in the end, he had come to ask the Xia Emperor for help.
One of the reasons why Ji Ning had revealed his sharpness last time was for this.
“However…it probably won’t be enough for me to guard you during your tribulation.” The Xia Emperor frowned. “When you undergo your tribulation, you will be completely defenseless. Although the Seamless Gate won’t be strong enough to defeat me…they still might be capable of some other tricks, such as tearing through space to arrive at your tribulation area, resisting my forces for a short period of time, then killing you.”
There were figures within the Three Realms capable of killing him. For example, magic treasures that contained and was able to unleash extremely powerful truefire or truewater would be capable of completely annihilating him. However…under normal circumstances, he would be able to fight back; he wouldn’t be so foolish as to allow himself to be trapped within those treasures.
“How about this…I’ll take you to the ‘seat of awakening' [1. A seat of awakening, aka Bodhimanda, is the place where a Buddhist or a Daoist gains enlightenment.] of my master,” the Xia Emperor said with a laugh. “You definitely won’t encounter any problems while undergoing your tribulation at my master’s place.”
Ning was both surprised and delighted.
The Xia Emperor’s master? Daofather Crimsonbright?
If he could receive protection from a Daofather, his tribulation would become far safer. Having a powerful backer really did make a difference! As for his own master, Patriarch Subhuti…sheesh. He was the ultimate arbiter of whether or not his disciples would even be allowed to return to the Crescent world. By contrast, Daofather Crimsonbright had openly taken control over dozens of major worlds and countless minor worlds.
However, it was precisely because of how secretive he was that Patriarch Subhuti had become known as the most mysterious Daofather of the Three Realms.
“But, but…would the Daofather permit me to enter?” Ning hesitated slightly.
“Let me report this matter to my master, first. If his place won’t work, then I’ll take you to my big brother’s place,” the Xia Emperor laughed.
Ji Ning instantly thought of the Xia Emperor’s lifelong friend…Daofather Raindragon! Yet another Daofather!