Ji Ning nodded gently. “I won’t go fight.”
“Good.” Ji Ninefire swept them with his gaze. “Everyone, return to your positions. Landwyrm, for now, you will assume Ji Ning’s position in the center of the Dragontail Formation. We will control the Netherwyrm and attack!”
The Landwyrm, Granny Shadow, Ah Xing, and Truekeep all immediately left to their own positions.
The nether fog billowed.
A sinuous, coiling, snowy white Flood Dragon lay there, with Adept Xu and the others within the dragon’s body, clearly quite cautious. Quite obviously, Ning’s earlier prowess had caused Adept Xu to privately feel surprised. Still, the other Zifu Disciples were quite relaxed.
“Although Ji Ning is a monster, he’s still just a Zifu Disciple. He’s no match for the Adept.”
“Compared to master-uncle, Ji Ning is far weaker.”
“The Ji clan is doomed.”
All of the Zifu Disciples chatted amongst each other in quite a relaxed manner.
As for Nong Zidao, his eyes were closed as he focused on analyzing the formation. Suddenly, amidst the distant, dense nether fog, a massive thunderclap could be heard!
“Whoosh!” An enormous draconic tail, covered with black draconic scales, came sweeping towards them.
The sweeping attack landed on the coiled body of the snowy white Flood Dragon, causing the entire dragon to be knocked backwards by the blow. Adept Xu, Nong Zidao, and the others, however, naturally remained within the dragon’s body.
“Yet another ambush.”
“Even Ji Ning lost. The Ji clan dares to ambush us again?” All of them were enraged. Given how even the Flood Dragon had been knocked flying, Nong Zidao, who had been focused on analyzing the formation, naturally was startled awake as well.
Adept Xu stood there at the draconic head of the snowy white Flood Dragon. He shouted loudly, “You are asking for death!”
The grand seal in his hands suddenly flew into the air, rapidly expanding to a size of three hundred meters, smashing directly against that impudent, enormous draconic tail.
“Boom…” An enormous, explosive sound. Draconic scales blew apart, and the draconic tail itself was torn apart, with the dispersed energy quickly vanishing into the nether fog.
“Master-uncle.” Nong Zidao frowned as he stared towards the distant nether fog. “Even Ji Ning was no match for you, master-uncle. The Ji clan has already run out of options. Thus, all they are trying to do now is to waste time and impede me from breaking their formation.”
Adept Xu nodded. “Zidao, just focus on analyzing how to break the formation. Just now, I was caught offguard. Now that I am prepared, I definitely won’t let the Ji clan’s ambushes affect you.”
Adept Xu waved his hand, and a black cord rapidly expanded to a length of hundreds of meters. It swirled around the snowy white Flood Dragon, while the grand seal returned to Adept Xu.
“As long as that Netherwyrm dares to appear, I will instantly shatter it.” Adept Xu said.
Just moments later.
A blur suddenly appeared. It was the draconic tail, once more striking.
“Boom…” The black cord suddenly lashed out. The whipping strike from an Earth-ranked magic treasure that a Wanxiang Adept was personally directing was enough to cause the draconic tail to instantly crumble.
Nong Zidao, within the snowy white Flood Dragon, finally let out a relieved sigh. He closed his eyes, once more focusing on analyzing the formation. The simple sounds and ruckuses of the outside battles didn’t have much of an impact on him.
Halfway up the mountain.
Ninefire, Ning, Yichuan, the Fairy Crane, and the Whitewater Hound were all present.
“Just relying on the Netherwyrm won’t do.” Ninefire shook his head. “Adept Xu, by himself, is enough to cause the Netherwyrm to disperse. There’s no way to impact Nong Zidao. We still have to rely on everyone going all out.”
The Netherwyrm was just an energy construct, after all. As for monsters and humans, they were living creatures; they could use certain tricks, such as releasing Dao-seals, etc…
Ninefire sent mentally. “Go!”
The Landwyrm, in the shape of that azure-armored man, glanced at the corridor that had appeared in the nether fog before him. A hint of bitterness was in his eyes.
When he thought back to what he had experienced in his life, his heart was filled with grief.
Upon becoming tamed as a spirit-beast, one’s only hope was to encounter a kind owner. Otherwise, life would be miserable. For example, after Jadechild died, he had been forced to submit yet again, and now he was being forced to go to his death.
But even though he was being sent to his death, he didn’t dare to resist at all. This was because, if he died here, he would still go to the Netherworld Kingdom. Given the power of his soul, as a Zifu-level Diremonster, he would definitely be a powerful ghost that would find it easy to join the army of ghosts. But if he were to resist…his soul would be destroyed.
The azure-armored man immediately transformed into his true form, an enormous, clawed Landwyrm. The enormous body of the Landwyrm moved across the mountain, rapidly passing through the corridor within the nether fog and moving towards Adept Xu.
The Landwyrm could vaguely see, through the corridor, the faint contours of a snowy white Flood Dragon, as well as the figures within the Flood Dragon’s body.
The Landwyrm suddenly flew forwards.
He instantly charged forward. Nong Zidao was within the snowy white Flood Dragon, analyzing the formation. The other Zifu Disciples were staring at the surrounding areas, while Adept Xu was riding atop his magic treasure, prepared to attack at any moment.
The Zifu Disciples all immediately recognized it.
“Roaaaaaar!” The Landwyrm charged forward, but before Adept Xu even had a chance to attack with his magic treasure, it raised its head, letting out a grieving, furious howl which shook the heavens.
And immediately afterwards, a terrifyingly powerful energy blast exploded forth from the body of the Landwyrm, causing Adept Xu’s face to change.
As a peak Zifu-level Godbeast, its Zifu lake was far vaster than the Zifu lake of a human Zifu-level practitioner. The amount of elemental ki it contained was also boundless and deep. In terms of amount of elemental ki, this Godbeast’s Zifu lake was not inferior to an early Wanxiang Adept’s.
All of the elemental ki that it had accumulated over so many years suddenly exploded, causing an incomparably powerful blast to instantly ripped out, tearing the Landwyrm’s body to pieces and wildly shooting in every direction.
“Block.” Adept Xu hurriedly controlled that grand seal to serve like a rampart, blocking in front of him.
The terrifying explosion blasted out in every direction, blowing aside that Earth-ranked magic treasure, ‘Earth Garrison Seal’. But after it sent the seal flying, the remaining amount that struck against the ‘body’ of the snowy white Flood Dragon was greatly reduced, causing the snowy white dragon to roll over a few times, but be completely undamaged.
“What’s going on?” Nong Zidao opened his eyes.
“It was a Landwyrm which blew itself up.” The Zifu Disciples said.
Nong Zidao said, astonished, “Landwyrm? That was senior apprentice-brother Jadechild’s Landwyrm.”
Adept Xu’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the enormous crater in the ground. HE said in a low voice, “This Landwyrm was a Godbeast amongst monsters. The amount of elemental ki in its Zifu lake was incomparably vast. This self-detonation…truly was astonishingly powerful.”
Halfway up the mountain. Ninefire looked at the Fairy Crane, currently in the form of a white-robed maiden. “The Landwyrm is dead. Fairy Crane, your turn.”
The Fairy Crane didn’t hesitate at all, immediately departing towards the tunnel through the nether fog that had appeared in front of her.
But just a few moments after she had left…
A rumbling explosion which they seemed to be able to feel.
“That fast?” Yichuan frowned.
“She didn’t go to Adept Xu.” Ninefire growled. “That Fairy Crane…she was formerly the mount for Nong Zidao. Most likely, she had a deep relationship with Nong Zidao. I forced her to go blow herself up, and so she blew herself up midway, not disturbing Nong Zidao in the slightest.”
Ning shook his head gently.
Upon accepting an owner…
In the spirit-beast’s heart, it would naturally feel very obedient to it’s owner. For the Fairy Crane to act in such a way was a testament to how deep the affection she bore for Nong Zidao was.
“Nong Zidao.” Ninefire bellowed loudly. “Your former spirit-beast mount, the Fairy Crane. I ordered her to go attack you, but she actually blew herself up midway, before she had even reached out. It seems as though the relationship between you and the spirit-beast was quite close.”
His voice transmitted far away.
Adept Xu and the others all fell silent. They looked towards Nong Zidao, who opened his eyes, staring into the distance with a pained look. “Crane…child…Crane…”
Previously, when he chose to flee, he had only a single Lesser Teleportation Dao-seal, and so he hadn’t taken his Fairy Crane.
He had released her from his bond, in the hopes that the Fairy Crane would be able to continue to live…but now, his Crane had actually blown herself up in the distance, for the sake of not disturbing him.
“Crane.” Nong Zidao wanted to forget about her, but images from the past welled up, causing his mind to be unable to calm down.
“Apprentice-nephew Zidao.” Adept Xu barked. “This is a psychological ploy of the Ji clan. You cannot be affected by it. Hurry up and focus on breaking the formation; that’s what matters.”
Nong Zidao nodded. “Right.”
Although he understood this principle, how could he so easily discard and forget about the hundreds of years of friendship between him and the Fairy Crane? How could he truly calm down? The impact the Fairy Crane’s self-detonation had on him was far greater than the impact which Ji Ning had when he had attacked earlier.
Halfway up Oxhorn Mountain.
Ning was incomparably nervous. He stared at his father. Based on the Patriarch’s original plan, after the Landwyrm and the Fairy Crane perished, it would be his father who would go!
“The amount of time needed to brew a pot of tea has passed.” Ninefire suddenly said. “The Fairy Crane’s self-detonation had a major impact on Nong Zidao. But now that some time has passed, I imagine that Nong Zidao has calmed down. Yichuan…your turn now.”
“You need to come up with a way to disturb Nong Zidao and prevent him from concentrating on analyzing of the formation.” Ninefire said. “The Landwyrm and the Fairy Crane were only recently tamed, after all; they weren’t fully loyal to our Ji clan. Thus, both of them were used to self-detonate, the simplest, fastest method to disturb the enemy. There was a limit to how long those two were able to delay. In the end, we mainly have to rely on our own people, of the Ji clan.”
“I know.” Yichuan nodded. “Leave it to me. But before this. Ji Ning!”
Yichuan looked at his son.
Ning raised his head, looking at his father.
“You can leave now.” Yichuan looked at his son, then said, “You are useless here. If you wait too long, more variables might come into place. Leave, now.”
“I should leave now?” Ning stared, wide-eyed. His father was about to go risk his life in battle. He was supposed to leave now?
“Go.” Yichuan barked.
Ning, looking at his father’s facial expressions, understood. His father, in his heart, had always been a proud, arrogant person. Even as he went to welcome death, he wouldn’t want to let his son see it.
“Ji Ning.” The nearby Ninefire understood Yichuan’s intent as well. He immediately said, “Go, hurry and go.”
The nearby Whitewater Hound walked over as well, raising its head and looking towards Ji Ning, eyes filled with longing and love.
“Uncle White.” Ning moved forward to embrace the Whitewater Hound.
The others, including Uncle White, were unable to leave. This was because there was a grand sealing formation outside! Only Ning would be able to escape.
“Father. Uncle White.” Ning held Uncle White, looking at his father, his eyes filled with rare tears.
“Go!!!” Yichuan barked furiously.
Ning was in agony.
He didn’t want to go! He truly didn’t want to go!
He wanted to stay, to battle to the death by their sides!
“It takes courage to fight to the death.” Ninefire looked towards Ning. “But to choose to leave on one’s own requires even greater courage! Ji Ning…don’t disappoint us!”
The Whitewater Hound gently raised its head to look at Ning as well, also urging Ning to leave.
Ning looked at his father, looked at the Whitewater Hound, looked at his Patriarch…
“I’ll go!” Ning said hoarsely.
He turned and walked out through a corridor that had appeared through the nether fog.
In his heart, he was howling to himself that he truly didn’t want to leave. That he wanted to stay here with his father, with his Uncle White, and fight with them.
But his rationale mind told him that he had to go. Otherwise, the Patriarch and the others would all die with their eyes open, filled with resentment.
The light of the sealing formation was everywhere, and it rippled like water, locking the entire region in.
Ning utilized his [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] and his Darknorth swords, but wasn’t able to damage the sealing formation at all.
“Why. Why.” Ning was howling in agony in his heart. If he was able to break this grand sealing formation, he would be able to lead his father, the Patriarch, and the Whitewater Hound in a retreat! But there was some distance between the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation and this sealing formation; Ning was without the assistance of the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation, and so the power of his [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] immediately decreased to a lower level. He wouldn’t even be able to fight against Jadechild right now.
Although the Darknorth swords were somewhat more powerful, they were still far from being able to break through this grand sealing formation.
“Xu Li! Nong Zidao! Snowdragon Mountain!” Ning turned to look at the coiling Netherwyrm, hidden within the vast, endless nether fog. “I, Ji Ning, swear that in my lifetime, I will eradicate you all!”
The Traceless Talisman appeared in Ji Ning’s hands.
The space around him rippled, and Ji Ning disappeared, having gone far away.