Seeing this major formation that was could be used to guard an entire clan or sect, Ji Ning managed to suppress his excitement and continue reading, despite the fact that he was mentally howling in excitement.
Perhaps there would be something even better!
Ji Ning continued to flip through this golden book, and one magic treasure after another appeared, causing Ning’s heart to clench repeatedly! It was really…really breathtaking. Unfortunately, he couldn’t acquire them all! He only could choose a single item.
“[Soaring Serpent Formation Loop of the Nine Heavens!]” Ning’s eyes lit up as he carefully inspected the descriptions within. “This formation is even more complicated than the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation, and the power is actually even greater. Still, it seems it needs nine users who are at least be at the Zifu Disciple level.”
Ning shook his head.
“Whew.” Ning closed the golden book. The item which was most suitable for the current Ji clan was naturally a formation technique! There were several that were comparable to the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation, and two that were even better than it. But from the current situation, the most suitable, realistic choie was still the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation!
The Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation was formed from five component formations, each of which a single Zifu Disciple could control. However, if five Zifu Disciples joined forces…the power of the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation would reach the maximum level!
As for the Ji clan, including Ning’s father, it had six Zifu Disciples! But his father would have to use a forbidden technique to release enough power. Strictly speaking, the Ji clan only had five Zifu Disciples. Given this…the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation was the best choice.
“Have you chosen?” The giant yellow bear said.
“I have.” Ning nodded. “The Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation!”
The giant yellow bear stared at Ning in astonishment. “Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation? Did you make a mistake? That is a grand formation suitable for protecting a clan; once you set it down, you cannot move. Even if you choose to fight…you still have to set the formation up in advance! In the future, you will definitely go adventuring outside. If you suddenly encounter any danger, you won’t have time to set up a formation, and what’s more, the power of this grand formation when a single person is controlling is very ordinary. You need five people working together to reach a high level of power! I urge you to reconsider. You will have very, very few chances to select an item from the Treasure Hall. Once you make the choice, there’s no way to change it!”
“I choose it.” Ning didn’t hesitate at all.
“Fine.” The giant yellow bear said nothing further.
The giant yellow bear pointed at a spot in the air far above them, and in the tightly clustered mass of treasures and artifacts, a ray of light flew out from an unassuming dark corner that couldn’t even be seen with the naked eye. It was like a meteor, quickly passing through all obstructions and landing on the ground.
Ning looked at it. He saw four black scales that surrounded a central black pearl.
“This is a dragon pearl.” The giant yellow bear waved his hand, and the black pearl immediately levitated into the air. The black pearl was covered with a large amount of runes, and the faint image of a dragon’s shadow could be seen swimming within it. The complicated runes atop it seemed to be exceedingly beautiful, completely different from the crude scrawlings atop ordinary Mortal-rank magic treasures.
“The Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation has five parts to it. The core is the dragon pearl! And then, there is the dragon’s head, the dragon’s body, the dragon’s claw, and the dragon’s tail. Four secondary parts!” The giant yellow bear waved his hand again, and those four scales flew over as well. “They are formed from the scales on the dragon’s body, which were forged into four formation disks. One dragon pearl, four formation disks. This forms the complete, five-part Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation. As for the mysteries within, after you bind it and carefully analyze it, you’ll understand.”
He stretched his hand out, accepting the dragon pearl and four formation disks.
“You’ve already entered the Wargod Hall, Treasure Hall, and Stellar Hall. Only the Divine Abilities Hall remains.” The giant yellow bear said. “Work hard to make your breakthrough. At the latest, make your breakthrough at age ten. By then, you can challenge the Divine Abilities Hall.”
“Understood.” Ning nodded.
“Then now…?” The giant yellow bear looked at Ning.
“I’m heading out.” Ning didn’t hesitate.
The giant yellow bear nodded slightly. Whoosh! The bear’s head dramatically increased and became illusory, swallowing Ning within it. Ning disappeared.
Serpentwing Lake. Beneath a courtyard within Brightheart Island. There was a lantern hanging nearby, casting a faint light on the surrounding area. It was already late at night.
“Why hasn’t the young master returned?” Autumn Leaf held a flask of wine, standing behind Ji Yichuan. Yichuan sat down, and behind him was lying a big white dog, the Godbeast, ‘Whitewater Hound’. Autumn Leaf’s eyes had a hint of worry within them as well, because Yichuan had been waiting very long already. “The young master said that others were not permitted to disturb him, and that his room was to be completely sealed.”
There was nothing Autumn Leaf could do. She knew Ning’s temper; if he said he was not to be disturbed, others absolutely would not dare disturb him.
The only choice was to wait.
“Don’t be impatient. There is enough time.” Yichuan held a cup of wine and spoke softly. He was very calm, because the coming battle would be the most glorious moment of his life.
“Rumble…” The ground vibrated faintly from far away, and instantly, Autumn Leaf revealed a look of delight. “The young master should be leaving his closed quarters.”
And then, a creaaaak.
From afar, a door to a room opened, and a youth clast in beast furs stepped out.
Yichuan stood up, frowning slightly as he looked at Ning. He had watched Ning grow up, and so he could sense any changes Ning went through. He noticed that the current Ning…seemed to be less ‘sharp’ than before, but in possession of a hint of the calmness of the water.
“You were training?” Yichuan asked.
Ning nodded slightly. “I had a breakthrough!”
A look of delight and satisfaction appeared in Yichuan’s eyes. This was his final battle, and he believed that he would die in it! To be able to, before his death, see his son increase in power yet again…naturally, he was incomparably delighted. For his son to be such a monstrous talent…he could already see the sight of his son’s name being spread throughout the vast world.
“Good.” Yichuan just said a single word.
“Uncle White is going as well?” Ning looked towards the nearby Whitewater Hound.
The Whitewater Hound nodded towards Ning.
Yichuan glanced a side at the nearby Whitewater Hound. “Your Uncle White and I are lifelong brothers. I am prepared to die in this battle; even if I survive, I will be left a cripple. Before this, I released your Uncle White and Uncle Black, giving them their freedom…your Uncle Black has already returned to his mountain forests, but your Uncle White has chosen to accompany me. Even if he dies, he wishes to die by my side. I am unable to force him to leave. I simply cannot. For me, Yichuan, to have a brother like this…even in death, I will feel proud.”
Ning’s heart trembled. He saw the tears brimming in his father’s eyes, and the steely, unrelenting look of eternal companionship in his Uncle White’s eyes.
“Good. Let’s go together.” Ning walked over, embracing the Whitewater Hound, much like he had always done when he was young and would go out to train archery. “Uncle White, let’s go together.” The Whitewater Hound looked back at Ning, and deep love could be seen in his eyes. He had watched Ning grow up from an infant into an adult. This was the only son of his lifelong friend, Ji Yichuan. Naturally, he viewed Ning as a younger family member.
A boat appeared out of nowhere. Hovering there in midair, it quickly expanded until it reached a size of more than thirty meters. Ning, Yichuan, and the Whitewater Hound boarded it.
“Let’s go.” Ning willed it.
The boat quickly began to fly through the skies, rapidly advancing through the dark night towards the north.
Back at that desolate mountain forest.
Ji Ninefire, Granny Shadow, the old servant Ah Xing, Ji Truekeep. These four had already arrived, and had already set up a bewildering formation nearby. Ning had spent quite a bit of time meditating in the Stellar Hall. The others had taken care of their matters, then returned. Given the speed a Zifu Disciple could move at, they had naturally already taken care of everything.
“Why did you bring your spirit-beast as well?” Granny Shadow said in a hoarse voice.
Truekeep stroked the head of a black eagle. “I didn’t want it to come, but it insisted. It followed me since it was a chick. All these years, it has never left me. This time, it refused to leave no matter what…forget it. We’ve known each other all our lives. The relationship between the two of us is closer and more familiar than even the relationship between myself and my wife and children.
Ninefire and the others just looked at him, then nodded gently.
For a spirit-beast to willingly accompany a person in braving danger; this was rare indeed.
“Yichuan hasn’t returned yet?” Truekeep stroked the eagle while raising his head to look. The bewildering formation hadn’t been activated yet; naturally, his vision was not impacted. Even in the darkness, the faint light of the moon was more than enough to allow Zifu Disciples to see to a great distance with the naked eye.
“Don’t be impatient.” Ninefire said. “We still have quite a bit of time.”
“It’d be best if that kid Ji Ning doesn’t come.” Granny Shadow sighed, speaking in her hoarse voice. “He insists on coming. He is the true hope of our Ji clan. Given his latent talent and potential, it shouldn’t be hard for him to become a Wanxiang Adept, but his temper is too stubborn.”
Ninefire laughed, then said consolingly, “Don’t worry. He has the Traceless Talisman. When true danger comes, even if he doesn’t leave, we will force him to.”
“Right. We will force him.” Granny Shadow nodded. “If he doesn’t leave at the critical moment, I’ll commit suicide right in front of him.”
“Enough. He knows what is important.” Ninefire’s eyes lit up. “They are coming.”
All of them raised their heads to look.
From afar, in the air, they saw a ray of light fly over. Only when it began to slow as it descended could they see clearly what it was; it was a boat. This boat swiftly descended from the skies, and then, roughly thirty meters away from the ground, vanished. Ning, Yichuan, and the Whitewater Hound all landed on the ground.
“You brought your Whitewater Hound as well?” Truekeep laughed.
Yichuan glanced over in surprise as well. “Your Snow Eagle came as well?”
The two glanced at each other, then both laughed. They both understood why.
“Alright. We are all here.” Ninefire said. “We should prepare to deal with Snowdragon Mountain.”
“Right.” Everyone’s faces grew a hint more solemn.
Ninefire spoke out. “Earlier, I made a special trip to Swallow Mountain City, to pay a visit to General Dong, who is in charge of the forces stationed here!”
“How did it go?” All of them asked with anticipation.
A hint of fury was in Ninefire’s eyes. “Everyone knows General Dong. He is one of the members of that large, far away clan; the Dong clan! That’s the reason why he was able to become the commanding general of the Grand Xia Dynasty’s forces here.”
Ning nodded. They knew these things long ago; becoming a general in the Grand Xia Dynasty’s military…wasn’t something which someone in a small clan like the Ji clan could hope for. After all, that was, without question, a wonderful assignment. Once you put on the ‘tiger garb’ of serving the Grand Xia Dynasty, who would dare offend you?
“I didn’t want to offend this General Dong.” Ninefire said. “Unfortunately, when I wanted to make the report, I was told that General Dong was in closed door meditation and unable to receive visitors. I went to see the Deputy General, but I was told the Deputy General had left Swallow Mountain City and wasn’t here at present.”
They all grew frantic.
“Definitely a delaying tactic. They didn’t want to meet with us.”
“Snowdragon Mountain must have done something.” Ning was frantic as well. The point of them setting the formation was to delay until the Grand Xia Dynasty's Celestial Envoy arrived. But if there was no report filed…how could the Celestial Envoy come?
Ninefire said, “I couldn’t be bothered with anything else. This matter involves the fate of our Ji clan. Thus, I no longer cared about whether or not I was offending General Dong. Thus, I began to shout, sending my voice echoing throughout the entire Swallow Mountain City…I said that my Ji clan was willing to offer to the Grand Xia Dynasty an enormous elemental ore mine! My voice naturally flooded the entire Swallow Mountain City, and everyone within it, along with all of the soldiers, all heard my voice. General Dong thus no longer dared to delay, and so he hurriedly came to see me, his face as black as thunderclouds, and then angrily shooed me away.”