“Big brother.” The Eastsmoke leader had a befuddled look on his face as he stared at his elder brother. He was to lower his head and admit that he was in the wrong?
“I told you, apologize to this fellow Daoist immediately!” Rage blazed in Daolord Batdragon’s eyes. His voice was very deep, and he growled out one word at a time.
The Eastsmoke leader felt unhappy with this. So what if this white-robed kid really was a member of the Twelve Palaces? His big brother was a member as well. It was forbidden for members of the Twelve Palaces to kill each other; why should he apologize? But judging from the way in which Daolord Batdragon had just spoken, the Eastsmoke leader could sense that his big brother was truly upset this time. He had long ago grown accustomed to obeying his big brother in all things.
“I was in the wrong.” The Eastsmoke leader bowed his head towards Ning. “Please pardon me, fellow Daoist.”
“I am Batdragon.” Daolord Batdragon looked at Ning and spoke in a very courteous manner. “I knew that this good-for-nothing little brother of mine must have done something to offend you, fellow Daoist. I’m willing to offer you fifty thousand cubes of chaos nectar in compensation. I hope that you can spare my little brother, fellow Daoist.” As he spoke, he produced a circular bracelet.
“This contains ten thousand cubes of chaos nectar and two Eternal weapons. The total value here is fifty thousand cubes. I hope you are willing to accept this, fellow Daoist.” As Daolord Batdragon spoke, the bracelet flew straight towards Ning.
Ning was stunned. An immediate apology, followed by fifty thousand cubes of chaos nectar?
Ning knew that this person was a black-armored Daolord, one who had reached that level only thanks to a Pseudo Samsara Pill. The man wasn’t exactly wealthy. The fifty thousand cubes probably didn’t represent all of his wealth, but it definitely would sting.
Ning glanced at the bracelet, in no hurry to accept it.
This branch leader had first tried to kill Su Youji, then tried to kill Ning himself. Even though Ning had dominated so many World-level cultivators and nearly breached the main palace, the man had refused to bow his head and insisted on keeping the grand restrictive formation active, preventing Ning from leaving in the hopes that his big brother would arrive. By now, Ning had an extremely deep urge to kill. Was he supposed to just write it all off due to a small token of compensation?
Although Ning wasn’t able to do anything to the branch leader now that Daolord Batdragon was here, Ning wasn’t willing to accept the bracelet. Accepting it meant accepting that this matter was resolved.
The rage that had built up in Ning’s breast after a full day of combat was not going to be quenched so easily.
“Swear a lifeblood oath right now.” After delivering the bracelet, Daolord Batdragon turned to glare at the Eastsmoke leader. “Within a thousand years, you must travel to Hydragon Mountain and spend a hundred chaos cycles there as a miner. I can see that you’ve completely let being the Eastsmoke leader go to your head. You’ve completely forgotten the proper way to behave. Go mine and get your thoughts straight!”
“Mine for a hundred chaos cycles?” The Eastsmoke leader was instantly furious. “Big brother!” A look of rage and resentment was on his face.
“Didn’t you hear what I just said? Swear the lifeblood oath right away!” Daolord Batdragon roared.
The Eastsmoke leader was furious as well. “Big brother, why should we be afraid of this brat? So what if he is a member of the Twelve-”
Daolord Batdragon delivered another heavy slap. This time, the Eastsmoke leader was injured even more heavily than last time. He was smashed into the nearby wall by this palm, completely staining it in his blood. The Eastbranch leader slowly slid down the wall. He stared at his big brother.
Daolord Batdragon, seeing the look on his face, instantly sent a furious mental message. “Do you think I would ever do anything to hurt you?!”
The Eastsmoke leader slowly began to come to his senses, but he truly didn’t understand. He sent back, “But big brother, why?! He’s just a World-level cultivator. Giving him fifty thousand cubes of chaos nectar is already giving him more face than he deserves. And you are going to send me off to mine for a hundred chaos cycles? Mining in Hydragon Mountain is an extremely arduous, boring life. Although it is fairly safe, it will sometimes be dangerous.”
As the Eastsmoke branch leader, he knew a great deal about the legendary Hydragon Mountain.
Hydragon Mountain wasn’t located in the Brightshore Kingdom. It was one of the dangerous zones that was located elsewhere in the Endless Territories. However, the Brightshore Kingdom had taken complete control over it! Combat was forbidden within Hydragon Mountain, making it an extremely safe place, but Hydragon Mountain itself would occasionally give birth to some dangerous things and places. Even when that happened, the miners would still have to go mine. Thus, there were occasionally a few casualties, albeit extremely rare.
“And with you here, big brother, he’s not able to do a damn thing to me. You also belong to the Twelve Palaces!” The Eastsmoke leader sent mentally.
“You idiot.” Daolord Batdragon explained, “Yes, both of us are members of the Twelve Palaces, but… it isn’t the same.”
Daolord Batdragon looked at his little brother. “Look. I made my breakthrough because I used a Pseudo Samsara Pill. I’m a black-armored Daolord, the lowest-ranked type of Daolord in the Twelve Palaces.” Daolord Batdragon began to mentally explain some of the hidden secrets pertaining to the Twelve Palaces. “The Twelve Palaces have some truly horrifying Daolords who are so strong that many of the other organizations in the Endless Territories are terrified of them. Do you think they have the same level of status as me, someone who relied on a Pseudo Samsara Pill to become a Daolord of the First Step and who will never make any more advancements?”
“But he’s still not able to do anything to you, big brother.” The Eastsmoke leader was beginning to understand, but he remained a bit stubborn.
“Wrong.” Daolord Batdragon sent mentally, “You don’t get it. Members of the Twelve Palaces are forbidden from fighting amongst each other, but if an enormous grudge somehow results from something, palace members are generally expected to go through mediation first! If the mediation fails, then the result will be a duel to the death!”
“Ah!” The Eastsmoke leader instantly grew excited. He sent mentally, “Then he should be afraid of you, right? How could he be a match for you in a duel to the death?”
“Wrong again. I’m a black-armored Daolord who only reached this level due to a Pseudo Samsara Pill. How can I be qualified to force him into a duel to the death?” Daolord Batdragon sent mentally, “Generally speaking, the Palace Lords or Vice Palace Lords of the Twelve Palaces are the ones responsible for mediation. Do you think I would dare to reject what their ruling is? I have no future prospects and my position is low… but this Darknorth was given direct entry to the Twelve Palaces at the World level. His future prospects are unlimited! Once he makes his breakthrough, he will quickly reach the power level of a Daolord of the Second Step. In fact, he might become even stronger than that.”
Daolord Batdragon shook his head. “People like me generally end up was retainers to more powerful Daolords. All we are… are servants.” Daolord Batdragon sighed. “Little brother, you need to understand that in the Twelve Palaces, people like me are looked down upon due to having used Pseudo Samsara Pills. The only reason the other Daolords are somewhat courteous to me is because I am Daolord Bluegrace’s retainer, and they wish to give him face.”
“Ah?!” The Eastsmoke leader was amazed. He knew none of this, because his big brother rarely discussed matters pertaining to the Twelve Palaces with him.
“It makes sense. People like us will never make any more breakthroughs, which is why we chose to use Pseudo Samsara Pills. To then advance from the First Step to the Second Step as a Daolord? Absolutely impossible.” Daolord Batdragon sent mentally, “That’s why I wanted to try and resolve matters between you and him. Otherwise… even though he can’t kill you, once he becomes a Daolord he’ll have plenty of ways to deal with you.”
Daolord Batdragon suddenly asked, “Oh, right. What exactly is the problem between the two of you?”
“To be honest, it is because he has a retainer known as the Flamefairy…” The Eastsmoke leader didn’t dare to lie to his big brother. He honestly revealed the entire affair to him.
“You imbecile. He was actually able to use his godsense to crush the godsenses of more than three hundred World-level cultivators? Even the Twelve Palaces are rarely able to recruit World-level cultivators of such power. How could you possibly be so reckless as to offend a freak like him?” Daolord Batdragon was once again enraged by what he was hearing. “But let’s put that aside from now. He furiously attacked the formation and was able to break through seven of the eight barriers protecting the main palace. Given how strong he was, what you should’ve done was just cancel the restrictive formation and let him leave! But you insisted on forcing him to fight with you for a full day and night. Also… did he really attack for a full day and night without resting?”
“Yes. He didn’t rest at all.” The Eastsmoke leader was beginning to feel scared.
“He was able to attack at maximum power for that long?” Daolord Batdragon was growing angrier and angrier. “No wonder he’s emanating such a murderous aura! As soon as I arrived here, I could sense his desire to kill. When I offered him that bracelet, he didn’t accept it. Ugh! Ever since I became a Daolord and let you become the Eastsmoke leader, you became completely full of yourself! If you continue to act so rashly… even if you survive this time, you’ll have a very short life ahead of you!”
“I-I… what should I do?” The Eastsmoke leader looked at his big brother.
“My worry is that this Darknorth is a man who holds grudges,” Daolord Batdragon explains. “Swear a lifeblood oath right away that you’ll go to Hydragon Mountain. Hydragon Mountain is an important place to the Hegemon, as that’s where his mines are. No one will dare to attack you there. A hundred chaos cycles from now, this matter will be ancient history. If he still holds a grudge after a hundred chaos cycles, it’ll obviously be a problem with him. I would have an excuse to ask Daolord Bluegrace to intervene and help out.”
The Eastsmoke branch leader now completely understood. He now realized that even his big brother was nothing more than a small pawn in the Twelve Palaces. If this Darknorth was the vengeful type, he really would be in trouble in the future.
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth, I was in the wrong and let greed blacken my heart.” The Eastsmoke leader looked at Ning. He bowed respectfully, then immediately swore a solemn oath. “I swear on my very life itself that I, Mythdragon, will go to Hydragon Mountain within a thousand years. I will spend a hundred chaos cycles there as a miner in order to expiate my sins towards fellow Daoist Darknorth. If I violate this oath, let my truesoul shatter and let my Dao vanish.”
Ning was flabbergasted.
Actually, he wasn’t really worried about Daolord Batdragon as Ning himself already had the power of a black-armored Daolord. The two were already on par with each other, but Ning was merely at the World level.
Still… Ning understood that with Daolord Batdragon here, it would be extremely hard for Ning to do anything to the Eastsmoke leader. For the Daolord to offer a gift and an apology was one thing, but the branch leader was now swearing to spend a hundred chaos cycles mining at Hydragon Mountain? A hundred chaos cycles was an extremely long period of time. There were many cultivators who wouldn’t even live to be that old. Ning could sense that Daolord Batdragon truly did care about this little brother of his.
“Then let this matter come to an end.” Ning accepted the bracelet, in effect accepting the proposed resolution. “I won’t stay here any longer. Farewell.”
Ning immediately left the main palace.
Daolord Batdragon let out a sigh of relief as he watched Ning accept the bracelet and Ning. Finally, this matter had been included.
Outside the main palace. Ning looked at Fairy Qingfan.
“Fairy Qingfan.” Ning looked at her, then waved his hand and sent a message-talisman towards her.
Fairy Qingfan stared blankly at the message talisman.
“This matter has been concluded, and I trust Daolord Batdragon won’t pursue this matter any further. Still… if you encounter any problems in the future, you can shatter this talisman and I’ll immediately hasten to your side,” Ning said. Fairy Qingfan truly had helped the Flamefairy out this time.
“Alright.” Fairy Qingfan nodded as she slipped her fingers over the talisman.
Ning soared into the skies, transforming into a streak of light as he flew off into the distance. The grand restrictive formation had long ago been lifted, and Ning soon disappeared into the clouds in the horizon.
Fairy Qingfan watched as Ning left, her fingers unconsciously tightening over the talisman. She murmured to herself, “Just now, if I told him that I wished to become his retainer, he probably would’ve agreed, right? Perhaps my path of cultivation and my destiny would both completely change…”
The path of cultivation was a path which one would have to choose for one’s self. No one else could make these choices for you, and different choices would result in different results.
Daolord Batdragon stood at the entrance to the main palace, letting out a second sigh of relief upon seeing Ji Ning disappear. He then turned to stare at his little brother. He immediately said, “Hurry up and make your preparations. I’m going to send you away from this place today. You are going to Hydragon Mountain right now.”
“Today?” The Eastsmoke leader hesitated a moment, then nodded. “Alright. I’ll go make the preparations.” As he spoke, he immediately turned and left to gather his things.
Daolord Batdragon mused to himself, “This Darknorth fellow doesn’t look like the evil, backstabbing type. This matter probably has truly come to an end. Still…” Daolord Batdragon glanced in his little brother’s direction. “It is all for the best. Hydragon Mountain will help to temper his disposition. Still, it is true that the place can be dangerous sometimes. Mm… I’ll go and request to become one of the overseers. I’ll take care of him in secret.”
There were overseers who were charged with overseeing the mining operations in Hydragon Mountain. This sort of boring job was almost always carried out by black-robed Daolords. The stronger Daolords would all be out adventuring. None of them would be willing to do this job.
“But I have to help him out in secret. I can’t let him know.” Daolord Batdragon made his decision.
Now that the matter had been resolved, Ning and Su Youji began to advance in their flying vessel. They spent five months flying before finally reaching the Twelve Palaces.
“So beautiful.” Su Youji stared at the surroundings from within the flying vessel.
Ning stared off into the distance as well.
At the edges of the horizon, twelve enormous palaces could be seen hovering there in midair. In their center was a dim black cavern. Those twelve palaces were the actual Twelve Palaces. They looked quite close to each other, but in reality the palaces were all separated by many layers of space. They were actually many trillions of kilometers away from each other, but the almighty Hegemon was so powerful that he was able to make them look as though they were located right next to each other. Together, these Twelve Palaces formed the most supremely powerful formation the Brightshore Kingdom had to offer.
Even Eternal Emperors would not dare to enter the Twelve Palaces without permission.
“To the Sword Palace.” Ning laughed.
The flying vessel quickly began to move towards the direction of the Palace of the Sword.