Within the towering palace in the Fifth World.
The three leaders of the Seamless Gate, Myriad Demons Cave, and Bloodcloud Hall were all gathered here, along with True Immortal Gaudy, Empyrean God Beastleave, Empyrean God Threesuns, Fairy Deadgrass, Celestial Immortal Blackheaven, and Immortal Venomfreak. They had only sent their clones or incarnations to deal with Ji Ning, but they were still watching nervously.
This was because they had brought powerful treasures, such as Empyrean God constructs and Protocosmic spirit-treasures.
“We reached Swallow Mountain.”
“We’re fairly lucky; we actually encountered Ji Ning after a single Greater Teleport.”
“Hurry up and kill Ji Ning.”
They all stared intently at the mirror in the air. The mirror was displaying images from what was happening within Brightheart Island. Fairy Deadgrass was standing close to it, and every so often she would say a few things. Then, suddenly…
“What the hell?!”
The azure-robed woman and the others all jumped to their feet. They stared intently at the old gardener holding the gardening shears who had just woken up and stood up.
“Who is that?!”
“Our clones and incarnations can’t even move. We can’t even use our elemental energy.”
“He’s terrifying…he must be a Daofather. Otherwise, there’s no way he could be this powerful.” True Immortal Gaudy, Empyrean God Beastleave, and the others all had ugly looks on their faces.
“How can there be a Daofather at Brightheart Island?!?” The azure-robed woman roared furiously.
A short while later, after the old gardener chatted with Ji Ning for a while, his identity was revealed.
“Old Man Yuan, of the Four Ancestors of the River Source?” The azure-robed woman’s face turned ashen. Everyone present was stunned.
“Ugh. I just lost my horsetail whisk.” True Immortal Gaudy had an ugly look on his face; that was a top-grade Pure Yang treasure. Although this wasn’t one of the treasures he liked the most and used the most, the loss of a top-grade Pure Yang treasure still caused him some heartache.
“Don’t say a thing. Blackheaven suffered the worst loss this time.”
They all looked towards Celestial Immortal Blackheaven.
Blackheaven had lost a Protocosmic spirit-treasure!
“Damn.” Blackheaven ground his teeth. “Ji Ning managed to escape again.” In truth, Blackheaven was angrier over having not killed Ji Ning than over his loss of a Protocosmic spirit-treasure.
“He’s acting now.” Immortal Venomfreak and the others watched as the mirror showed images of the giant gardening shears snicking through them. He said hatefully, “This Old Man Yuan really shows no mercy at all.”
“If Old Man Yuan wants to kill you, what can you do?” The fire-robed man shook his head and snickered, “Forget about clones and incarnations…even if he wanted to kill your true body, he’d do so without pause.”
After the mirror finished sending images of everyone being ‘snicked’ and killed by the giant gardening shears, the shears turned towards the sky and made one final ‘snick’. Instantly, no further images appeared in the mirror; they were no longer able to watch what was going on.
“Old Man Yuan won’t let us watch any more,” the azure-robed woman said. “Given his abilities…he must know that we were watching what was happening there. The reason why he let us watch him act was because he wanted to let our superiors, the major powers of the Seamless Gate, realize that he is going to protect Ji Ning.”
“Old Man Yuan isn’t even on our side. Does he really think he can just protect whoever he wants?” Blackheaven growled, “Right now, we’re trying to court him, but once the great storm truly erupts, no one will be able to escape it. He’ll have to make a choice. Ji Ning already has a Daofather as his master, and an enemy one at that; if Old Man Yuan chooses to join us, then in the future he’ll become an enemy to Ji Ning’s master. I refuse to believe he’ll still protect Ji Ning then! And if he doesn’t join our side…then we can completely ignore him when we move to kill Ji Ning.”
Everyone present nodded.
“However…the storm has yet to truly erupt.” The azure-robed woman shook her head. “Old Man Yuan is still standing to one side and watching. He hasn’t truly made a choice yet; it’s not appropriate for us to offend Old Man yuan.”
“You are over-thinking things.” Blackheaven let out a snicker. “Do you think that is something for you to concern yourself with?”
The azure-robed woman’s face sank. Blackheaven was acting far too impudently. Even with so many others present, he still dared to speak in such a manner.
Alas, Blackheaven wasn’t under her command, and she still wasn’t sure of his true power. In addition, the number of treasures he had was completely bizarre. When he had sent his clone to the Grand Xia, he had carried two mighty treasures with him; a top-grade Pure Yang treasure known as the ‘Yin-Yang Arcane Ki Bottle’, and a Protocosmic spirit-treasure known as the ‘Nineleaf Snowlotus’.
“That’s for the Godking and the other major powers to worry about,” Blackheaven said coldly. “I trust that the Godking will quickly send an order as to whether or not we are to kill Ji Ning, so stop worrying your little head over it.”
“Hmph.” The azure-robed woman’s face sank. She no longer said anything.
Blackheaven gave the azure-robed woman a glance, a hint of mockery in his eyes, then turned and left. He felt tremendous distaste for this Gatemaster of the Seamless Gate, Azurefox…because Violetgrass had died on her orders. As for any anger that the Gatemaster might feel towards him? He didn’t care about it at all.
The world of the Grand Xia.
Ning couldn’t be bothered to worry about the Seamless Gate right now; it was Old Man Yuan that he was faced with, and he felt a headache coming.
Take him as his master?
He could tell that since Old Man Yuan had come to personally inspect him, the old man had definitely decided that Ning was moldable talent! Today, he had first asked Ning whether or not he should kill the forces of the Seamless Gate, and then immediately killed them upon Ning giving the nod. This caused Ning to feel quite delighted; clearly, Old Man Yuan wanted Ning to feel positively towards him.
And now, the old man had gifted him with the many treasures the Seamless Gate’s forces had left behind; this, too, was to make Ji Ning feel grateful towards him.
Next, the old man had suggested that he work on applying heartforce to his legs or to his entire body; these words had indeed caused Ning to feel a desire to learn such a method.
Finally…he had asked Ning to accept him as his master.
“He’s really put effort into this.” Ning understood this. “It seems this Old Man Yuan really does want to take me as his disciple.”
“This is how the world is. Some people desperately want to become a Daofather’s disciple, yet never will. When I wanted to become Daofather Crimsonbright’s disciple, he didn’t find me worthy. Even Master Subhuti only accepted me as his disciple because he saw that I was the sole successor to the [Starseizing Hand] of his good friend, Daoist Threelives and a decent cultivator. Back then, although I was a genius, I clearly wasn’t that attractive in the eyes of the Daofathers. Now that my power has increased dramatically, and have reached the Empyrean God level of power as a Void-level cultivator…one of the supreme Daofathers of the Three Realms has come to seek me out on his own accord.
If your potential was truly astonishing, the Daofathers would seek you out on their own accord.
Ning now was qualified for a Daofather to do so.
He truly was an astonishing piece of unpolished jade!
“What should I do? What exactly should I do?” Ning hesitated.
“Is he a friend or a foe of my master, Subhuti? Or do they have no relationship at all?” This was what Ning was worrying about. “This Old Man Yuan killed the forces of the Seamless Gate, but the Seamless Gate didn’t even make a single peep about it; the major powers behind the Seamless Gate haven’t responded or reacted at all. The Three Realms are facing a great storm, and there is no way that the major powers behind the Seamless Gate can possibly be frightened by Old Man Yuan. Clearly, then, Old Man Yuan is on passable terms with the Seamless Gate, while my teacher, Subhuti, is an enemy to them.”
“What if Master Subhuti and Old Man Yuan are enemies?”
“If I were to apprentice myself to Old Man Yuan without getting Master Subhuti’s permission…then in the future, how could I possibly face Master?” This was Ning’s concern.
As the saying goes, the Dao is not to be lightly transmitted.
There was a saying regarding one who taught the Dao: One day as a teacher, a lifetime as a father. This meant that one was to revere and honor one’s master as one would one’s father. Subhuti had transmitted complete Fiendgod Body Refining techniques, Ki Refining Techniques, sword-arts manuals, and even supreme divine abilities like the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], [Houyi’s Archery], and the [Torch Dragon’s Eye] to Ning.
For Ning’s sake, he had even toiled painstakingly to create the [Obscuring Wind of the Nine Heavens] divine ability and the supreme sword-formation, the [Greater Thousand Swords Formation].
After Ning had been exiled into the Nihilum Zone, his master had come to search for him.
His master had shown him benevolence in transmitting the Dao to him and in saving his life…no matter what, if he was going to take on a new master, he first had to get the nod from Master Subhuti.
When Ning had expressed the desire to take part in the Conclave of Immortal Destiny in the hopes of being able to have a True Immortal or a Daofather as his master, Immortal Diancai was in full agreement; naturally, he hoped that Ning would have even higher accomplishments. Before becoming Subhuti’s apprentice, Ning had first spoken with the giant yellow bear, who had verified that Subhuti and Daoist Threelives had been good friends. If they had been enemies, things would’ve been tricky.
“Why are you hesitating and hemming and hawing?” The nearby Old Man Yuan frowned.
“Senior…” Ning said, “I need to get my master’s permission, first.”
Old Man Yuan suddenly seemed to have thought of something. Laughing, he waved his hand.
Someone suddenly appeared out of nowhere. It was Immortal Diancai, a winecup in his hands and a befuddled look on his face. Immortal Diancai had been seated atop his mountain, watching the dawn sun rise while drinking some Immortal wine. Who would’ve thought that he’d suddenly be teleported here?
“Disciple?” Immortal Diancai looked at Ning, then he looked at Old Man Yuan by Ning’s side. Old Man Yuan’s face changed, and his figure changed as well, becoming a bit thinner.
“MASTER!” Immortal Diancai instantly grew excited upon seeing him. Falling to his knees, he said excitedly, “Master, I’ve finally met you again!”
“Hey hey hey! Don’t overstate our relationship,” Old Man Yuan said hurriedly. “All those years ago, I saw that you were borderline suicidal, and also saw that you were decently talented, and so I took pity on you and casually transmitted a set of sword-arts to you. I have plenty of sword-arts in my possession, and so teaching you one of them didn’t really mean anything. What’s more, your talent is too mediocre and your comprehension abilities are too weak; how could you possibly be qualified to call me 'Master'? You’d cause this old man to lose all face!”
He had first praised Immortal Diancai as ‘decently talented’, then immediately described him as ‘mediocre’ and ‘weak’.
Still, everyone knew what he meant.
Clearly, Immortal Diancai would be considered decently talented when compared to the countless cultivators of the Three Realms, but he was far from being qualified to become Old Man Yuan’s disciple.
Although these words were rather unpleasant, Immortal Diancai didn’t feel the slightest bit of anger. Kneeling there, he said excitedly, “How could Diancai possibly forget the grace you have shown me by transmitting the Dao to me? I knows that my talent is poor, and that I am not qualified to become your apprentice, but I’ve always viewed you as my master in my heart.”
“You can think whatever you want, I guess. This, uh…this Ji Ning has a very close relationship with you. This old man wants to take him on as a disciple; help me persuade him,” Old Man Yuan said.
“Disciple?” Immortal Diancai instantly revealed a look of great joy. He immediately looked towards Ning. “This senior possesses world-shaking power; even though I am now a Celestial Immortal, the sword-arts he transmitted to me were so unfathomably profound that I can tell I have still only scratched the surface of it. He must be a Daofather. Go ahead and take him on as your master; there are many people in the Three Realms who have multiple masters.”
“Right, right, right! I’m a DAOFATHER!” Old Man Yuan looked at Ning, then stared at him. “I’m taking you on as my disciple! Why haven’t you knelt down already?!”
“Senior, this junior feels unspeakably proud that you wish to take me on as your disciple,” Ning said hurriedly. “But…this junior has already taken on a Daofather as a master, and many people already know this. Without his approval, it isn’t appropriate for this junior to accept you as master as well, senior.”
“Oh, you are quite respectful towards this Daofather master of yours.” Old Man Yuan laughed. “I guessed long ago that your master had to be a Daofather, and he’s probably not too shabby either. Who is your master? Tell me, and I’ll go talk to him about this. This merely the accepting of a new disciple, and I’m not asking you to betray him either. It’s a minor matter. What is the name of your Daofather master?”
The Godking behind the Seamless Gate knew the answer, but Old Man Yuan did not. Indeed…the Seamless Gate’s intelligence mechanisms were truly terrifying.
“Master’s name is taboo; this junior does not dare speak it,” Ning said honestly. Subhuti had ordered long ago that Ning was not permitted to tell others who his master was.
“You dumb cucumber! You can’t even tell me your master’s name? Is your master really that badass? Who the hell is your master, Nuwa?” Old Man Yuan stared at him with bulging eyes.
“I’m his master.”
A calm voice rang out.
The nearby natural energy began to condense, and a skinny, white-bearded old man dressed in Daoist robes appeared out of nowhere.