Book 6, Breaking Through the Cocoon, Becoming a Butterfly, Chapter 1 – The Four Palaces of the Aquatic Manor
The tall, wide, ancient hall was the same as it had been for countless years. Many enormous prayer mats were placed throughout the hall, and an old black ox had appeared, smiling as he looked at the suddenly arrived Ji Ning.
“The main hall.” Ning looked at the great hall.
“Congratulations.” The old black bull walked over, filled with joy. “It’s only been a few years, but you’ve already reached the Zifu level. It was faster than I anticipated.”
Ning was still worrying about the impending arrival of a large group of experts from Snowdragon Mountain, and so he said without too much joy, “I was simply lucky.”
“The fact that you made it through those three trials earlier wasn’t a matter of luck.” The old black bull sighed. “You bound the control talisman…and you are now able to go to the most important places within the Aquatic Manor. With access to these places, you will now have the capital to truly rise to sudden prominence. Ji Ning, I feel as though I can already see into the future, with you as being one of the supreme experts of the Grand Xia Dynasty.”
Ning was stunned. He hadn’t imagined that this old black bull, the spirit of a magic treasure, would be so good at flattery.
“I’m not lying.” The old black bull said. “Immortal Juhua’s decision to accept a disciple caused countless people throughout the Grand Xia Dynasty to go wild. If they knew that Immortal Juhua was merely the third master of this Aquatic Manor, most likely, a true storm would have erupted in the world.”
“What exactly is so special about this Aquatic Manor?” Ning hurriedly asked.
What he cared the most about was if this Aquatic Manor would be able to increase his power or not, and if he would be able to have a greater chance of success in the upcoming battle.
“The Aquatic Manor has many secrets.” The old black bull said. “Immortal Juhua and I stayed here for a very long time. If my predictions are correct…this manor should have been designed for training future generations of Fiendgods.”
“Training future generations of Fiendgods?” Ning was stunned.
“Right.” The old black bull nodded his large head. “The first master of this Aquatic Manor should have been an extremely powerful Fiendgod! Just look at the prayer mats throughout the main hall, and you will understand…originally, quite a few Fiendgods would have sat here, waiting for his command and listening to him expound on the correct way of training.”
Ning stared at the enormous nearby prayer mats, as well as that solitary prayer mat seated at the front of the hall. He nodded gently.
“The first master’s method for accepting disciples was through two corridors; one for Xiantian-level Fiendgod Body Refiners, while the other was for Zifu-level Fiendgod Body Refiners.” The old black bull said. “Ordinary Fiendgod practitioners wouldn’t suffice. Only those whose bodies had transformed and become like the bodies of Fiendgods would qualify. Wouldn’t this be, essentially, true Fiendgods?”
His own body had been birthed from fire and water that had descended from the heavens. He did indeed have the body of a Xiantian Fiendgod.
“In addition, clearly the various halls of the Aquatic Manor are meant for cultivating later Fiendgods.” The old black bull said. “Unfortunately, the path of Fiendgods is simply too difficult. Although Immortal Juhua originally started on the path of Fiendgod Body Refining as well, slowly, that path became more and more difficult for him. He advanced more rapidly as a Ki Refiner, but in the end, he failed his tribulation and became a Loose Immortal.”
Ning understood. For example, although he himself focused almost all of his effort on training as a Fiendgod Body Refiner, he had first established his Zifu as a Ki Refiner!
Ki Refining was simple. Body Refining was hard.
Perhaps in the future, he would become an Earth Immortal as a Ki Refiner while he was only at the Primordial Daoist level as a Fiendgod Body Refiner…or even just a Wanxiang Adept! Perhaps he, too, would face the tribulation as a Ki Refiner, and end up failing and becoming a Loose Immortal…it was completely possible that he would end up tracing the path of Immortal Juhua.”
“Let me give you a warning.” The old black bull looked at Ning. “This is what Immortal Juhua once said to his disciple, Rampart.”
“Please speak.” Ning immediately said.
“This Aquatic Manor is meant for cultivating Fiendgods. Thus, do your best to walk the path of the Fiendgods.” The old black bull said. “Even if you are at the very verge of the Void stage and becoming an Earth Immortal, Ji Ning, you should halt your training in Ki. No matter what, do not go face the tribulation! Work hard as a Fiendgod Body Refiner and undergo the tribulation as a Fiendgod first.”
“According to the hypotheses of Immortal Juhua, the farther along you go on the path of the Fiendgods, the greater assistance this Aquatic Manor will be for you. Immortal Juhua sensed that this Aquatic Manor had some secrets he still didn’t know! They should have been secrets passed down by the first master…but unfortunately, Immortal Juhua was unable to divine them.” The old black bull said.
“Thank you, senior, for your warning. Ji Ning will remember it.” Ning said hurriedly.
“The first owner possessed incredible, divine powers, and he far eclipsed Immortal Juhua.” The old black bull said. “Wait until you go to the Stellar Hall. Then you will understand.”
“Stellar Hall?” Ning was puzzled.
An illusion suddenly began to form in empty space. It quickly solidified into a tall, powerful bear. The bear’s entire body was covered with yellow fur, and it was staring towards Ning…and as it did, Ning felt as though it was a sort of eternal, ancient existence. This was the same feeling he had when he visualized the painting of Mother Nuwa in his mind.
No matter how much time passed, it would be eternally present! This was the feeling that the giant bear gave Ning; only, the feeling was murkier, not as powerful as the one which the Nuwa Painting gave him.
“Elder Brother.” The old black bull hurriedly lowered his face and called out. Ning could sense the bull’s mouth trembling, and the old black bull hurriedly said to Ning, “This is the spirit of the aquatic manor.”
“The spirit of the manor?” Ning sensed how the head of this enormous bear before him…seemed very similar to the giant illusion of a bear head which transported him here.
“Ji Ning greets you, senior.” Ning said respectfully.
The giant yellow bear glanced at him. “Yet another who reached the Zifu level as a Ki Refiner first. You train in the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], the number one Fiendgod Body Refining technique in the world. You possess a strong Fiendgod lineage. Work hard as a Fiendgod Body Refiner. Don’t waste your natural talent and potential.”
“Yes.” Ning could feel the invisible aura emanating forward from the giant yellow bear.
That ancient, eternal presence alone…made Ning feel as though this wasn’t something which ordinary practitioners would be capable of. The fact that the spirit of the manor was capable of teleporting people was, in an of itself, incredible and mysterious.
Immortal Juhua was an expert during the latter stages of the Fiendgod Era.
And the spirit of the manor? It had followed the very first master. How ancient was it? How powerful was it? It was best to be humble when facing it.
“Follow me.” The giant yellow bear walked in front.
“Hurry, follow.” The old black bull urged, hurriedly following as well.
Ning followed from behind as the giant yellow bear led the way, into a corridor on the right side of the main hall that was three thousand meters tall.
The giant yellow bear said while walking, “After having bound the control talisman, you can be considered a master-in-training. Aside from the main hall, you can also enter this corridor, which had four major secondary halls. These four major secondary halls are open to you…but of course, right now, you are limited to them. If you want to enter more halls, you’ll have to become a Primordial Daoist.”
Becoming a Zifu Disciple and binding the control talisman was only the first step.
Becoming a Primordial Daoist and binding the entire estate was just the second step.
Most likely, even the second step would be just a simple binding, allowing one to carry it with him at all times. Most likely, the Aquatic Manor still would not be under complete control, as otherwise, Immortal Juhua wouldn’t have said that he suspected there were more mysteries within.
“Look.” The giant yellow bear pointed into the distance. An ancient, azure bronze gate was there, which was open.
Ning hurriedly walked over, looking through the bronze gate….
Ning’s eyes were round He saw an enormous hall past the gate, in the middle of which floated one magic treasure after another, each of them emanating a powerful, ancient aura. Ning saw a large warhammer which glittered with tricolored light that made Ning’s heart pound frantically just staring at it, as though it were about to explode.
There were also four formation flags of different colors. When he looked at it, he felt as though he was being drawn into a boundless separate world.
“This is the Treasure Hall, one of the four major secondary halls you can currently enter.” The giant yellow bear said. “The Treasure Hall is the place where Master stored his countless treasures, ranging from unique mortal items to items from the time of Primordial Chaos, when Pangu split the heavens and created the universe. Master set down a rule for all of these treasures; as long as you can satisfy the requirements the Master set down, you can acquire them.”
Ning held his breath.
Items of Primordial Chaos, from when Pangu split the heavens? What were they? But Ning knew that Fiendgods were naturally birthed from the heavens, and that after Pang split the heavens, there were many Fiendgods.
Now, it seemed as though this Aquatic Manor truly had been left behind by an extremely ancient, powerful Fiendgod.
“What do I need to do to acquire these treasures? What are the requirements?” Ning asked.
“After you enter the Treasure Hall and slowly look through it, you’ll see the rules which Master left behind.” The giant yellow bear said.
Ning nodded slightly.
The first master had created the two corridors that had to be traversed for future disciples to be accepted. The rules of the Treasure Hall were also set by the first master…clearly, the first master had the greatest influence on the Aquatic Manor, while Immortal Juhua was just a passerby.
“Continue walking.” The giant yellow bear said while walking. “The next secondary hall…is the Divine Abilities Hall that you are now able to enter.”
“Divine Abilities Hall?” Ning was stunned.
He had only acquired a single divine ability, the [Windwing Evasion]. Ning knew exactly how precious divine abilities were. They weren’t things which just anyone could acquire.
“Here we are.” After having walked momentarily, the giant yellow bear pointed to another nearby giant bronze door. That ancient bronze door had a single bronze palm above it, and the palm emanated boundless might, carrying the power to seal the heavens and block out the sun.
“This is the Divine Abilities Hall.” The giant yellow bear said. “Only Fiendgods who fulfill two requirements are allowed to enter. The first is that the Fiendgod Body Refiner reaches the level of Blood-Drop Rebirth. The second is that it must be done within ten years; at most, ten years.”
Ning was stunned.
Blood-Drop Rebirth? That meant being at the Zifu-level as a Fiendgod Body Refiner. He hadn’t reached that yet.
He was already more than ten years old.
“In the past, Immortal Juhua was more than ten years old, so he wasn’t permitted to enter the Divine Abilities Hall.” The giant yellow bear said. “If he had been able to enter it, Immortal Juhua probably would’ve been able to walk a longer path and his power should have been even greater. Perhaps…he wouldn’t have ended up becoming a Loose Immortal.” The giant yellow bear was clearly rather sentimental towards Immortal Juhua, who had controlled the estate for millions of years, after all.
The old black bull sighed as well. “My master always felt regret for the fact that he wasn’t able to enter the Divine Abilities Hall. Every single one of these four secondary halls are important. Master was able to enter the other three, but he wasn’t able to enter this Divine Abilities Hall, and when he passed through the challenge corridors, he was more than ten years old.”
Ning felt bitterness in his heart.
No matter how you calculated it, he was more than ten years old! Could it be that he, too, had lost the chance to enter the Divine Abilities Hall?
“Fortunately, you are lucky. You are only five years old.” The giant yellow bear glanced at Ning.
“Five years old?” Ning stared.
The old black bull understood what Ning was thinking. “Fiendgods are born at the Xiantian level. You are indeed only five years old.”
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