Noon. The Golden Crow [the Sun] hung high in the sky.
While Ji Ninefire, Ji Ning, and the others were setting up and familiarizing themselves with this grand formation, Snowdragon City of the Swallow Mountain area had already summoned quite a few Zifu Disciples of Snowdragon Mountain. In the air above Snowdragon Mountain, there was a giant carpet, upon which was placed a number of chairs, fruit platters, wine, and more.
All of the cultivators were seated in the lotus position, clinking glasses and exchanging toasts. They were quite at ease.
“Junior apprentice-brother Dong Ziqi really has invited quite a few people this time. He invited all of our fellow apprentices in the areas surrounding Swallow Mountain.” A bearded elder held a beastskull cup of wine in his hands, chatting with a silver-haired cultivator who sat next to him. “It’s only been a short while, but more than ten Zifu Disciples have already arrived.”
“The more Zifu Disciples arrive, the better it will be for us when we use the combination techniques off Snowdragon Mountain!” The silver-haired man laughed. “With so many people, no matter how many tricks that puny little Ji clan have, when we join forces against them…we will sweep them effortlessly.”
“How can we possibly need this many Zifu Disciples to deal with a puny little Ji clan?” The long-bearded elder shook his head. He came just for the purpose of earning some merits; after they captured the elemental ore mine, the main sect would undoubtedly reward those who had played a part in it. Participants like them would be awarded merits, based on the size of their contributions. Unfortunately, with so many cultivators present, each person would have slightly less merits to earn.
While they were discussing this…
Dong Ziqi, as the host, was naturally walking around with a glass of wine in hand, chatting with everyone. Amongst his fellow apprentices, he was considered quite famous and formidable, and could be considered an exceptional character. Everyone would give him face. Still, Dong Ziqi spent most of his time with Jadechild.
Jadechild’s face was glowing with golden light. Seated there in the lotus position, he had his own unique, domineering aura. The nearby Landwyrm shrank to a size of just a few dozen meters and lay there, gorging itself on meat.
Next to Dong Ziqi were three fairly strong fellow disciples.
“Now that senior apprentice-brother Jadechild is here, no matter what tricks the Ji clan uses, it will be useless. Actually, all we have to do is collect some military merits.”
“The last time I saw you, senior apprentice-brother, was more than thirty years ago.”
All of them chatted, beginning to flatter and praise each other.
After all, this person in front of them, Jadechild, in terms of power, was strong enough to fight head on with an ordinary Wanxiang Adept! By relying on his divine ability, he was able to kill Zifu Disciples as easily as chickens. In addition, they had all heard of how Jadechild had secluded himself in the hopes of making a breakthrough. If he didn’t make a breakthrough, that was one thing, but if he did, then he would become a Fiendgod practitioner at the Wanxiang Adept.
By then, Jadechild’s status would skyrocket, and he would become a major figure of the main sect. Naturally, they had to befriend him early on.
“Hm?” Dong Ziqi suddenly turned to look into the skies.
From afar, a fur-clad man could be seen, riding on a winged beast. The winged beast was an ordinary one, not a Xiantian-level Diremonster. The fur-clad man called out, “Cultivators of Snowdragon Mountain, I have come to deliver a message on the orders of my Patriarch. The Patriarch of our Ji clan, as well as the other Zifu Disciples, have set down a grand formation at Oxhorn Mountain, eight hundred kilometers outside of the City of Ten Thousand Swords. We are waiting for you, Snowdragon Mountain, to break it!”
After speaking, the fur-clad man flew away atop that winged beast.
“Arrogant little fellow. Watch me deal with him.” A Zifu Disciple with triangular pupils immediately said in a cold voice, preparing to act.
“Stay your hand.” A calm voice rang out.
The Zifu Disciple turned to look. The speaker was senior apprentice-brother Jadechild, who was seated in the position of honor. He immediately no longer dared to attack.
“We are all people who have embarked on the path of Immortal practitioners, while he, a messenger, is merely a mortal. If you lower yourself to kill him, wouldn’t you be tarnishing the reputation of our Snowdragon Mountain?” Jadechild said calmly. “Their puny little Ji clan dares to brazenly set up a grand formation and ask us to go break it? Then our Snowdragon Mountain will display our overwhelming power and smash them all to death in an awe-inspiring display.”
“Senior apprentice-brother is correct.”
“Senior apprentice-brother’s words are reasonable.”
“Our power far exceeds the Ji clan’s. For us to act openly and above-the-board is the correct path.” All of the Zifu Disciples hurriedly said a few words of praise.
Jadechild continued, “However, for the Ji clan to directly notify us means that they definitely have some tricks up their sleeves. These clans have been rooted here for thousands of years…they might have some powerful techniques available to them. Fellow apprentices, don’t be careless. Be careful and vigilant…if we are vigilant, then given our power, eradicating the Ji clan will not be an issue at all.”
“Right.” All of them nodded, as though having been lectured. Actually, who amongst them didn’t know this already? Only, since Jadechild was speaking, they had no choice to obediently listen.
Another four hours or so passed, and another series of Zifu Disciples arrived, three more in total. These three new Zifu Disciples who had rushed here, upon seeing so many fellow apprentices present, and upon seeing senior apprentice-brother Jadechild in particular, naturally also accepted Jadechild as their leader. Although quite a few Zifu Disciples went forward to say a few words to Jadechild, Jadechild just gave a few casual replies.
“Hrm?” Jadechild’s eyes lit up as he looked towards the distant skies. He even put down the beastskull goblet in his hand.
In the distant skies, a white Fairy Crane was descending. There were two Zifu Disciples seated atop it. One was Muse, who had gone out to deliver the invitations to the other apprentices of Snowdragon Mountain; as for the other, this man was dressed in ordinary fur clothes. This practitioner had unbound hair, and his eyes gleamed like the stars. Just looking at him made people unconsciously feel calmer.
“Senior apprentice-brother Zidao has arrived.” Dong Ziqi hurriedly rose.
“Come. Let’s go greet junior apprentice-brother Zidao.” Jadechild rose to his feet.
Jadechild rose to welcome Zidao, naturally causing the surrounding Zifu Disciples to all rise as well. They also behaved in a very warm, welcoming manner.
This was an awe-inspiring figure known throughout the Swallow Mountain region. Jadechild himself was merely a rogue practitioner who eventually joined Snowdragon Mountain! As for Zidao, he had been trained at Snowdragon Mountain as a child, and was a member of the extremely powerful ‘Nong’ lineage of Snowdragon Mountain! Amongst the younger members of Snowdragon Member, he was quite famous for his prowess in formations, and the Ki Refining technique he trained in was an exquisite one as well. In the future, he would have a chance at becoming a Wanxiang Adept.
Logically speaking, it should have been quite hard to invite such a figure to attend.
“I didn’t expect that Dong Ziqi would be able to invite even Nong Zidao to come.” The Zifu Disciples were all quite surprised.
“Junior apprentice-brother Zidao.” Jadechild laughed as he went forward to welcome him. “I thought it would be quite some time, junior apprentice-brother, before you arrived. I didn’t imagine you’d arrive so soon.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Jadechild.” The celestial goose landed on the carpet, and Nong Zidao descended. “After hearing that you were inviting me and giving me a chance of earning some merits, senior apprentice-brother Jadechild, of course I wouldn’t dare be slow. I had Crane leading the way, and so I moved much more quickly than our other fellow apprentices.”
The two of them chatted, paying no attention to anyone else, but the other Zifu Disciples felt that this was only proper.
“Junior apprentice-brother Ziqi.” Nong Zidao looked at the nearby Dong Ziqi. “This time, you’ve accomplished a great deed.”
“With you present, senior apprentice-brother Zidao, I now feel much more confident.” Dong Ziqi said hurriedly. “Prior to this, senior apprentice-brother Jadechild and I were both concerned about those formations…although the Ji clan is a puny little clan, they have a history of thousands of years. For the sake of the survival of their clan, the formations they are setting down will definitely be extraordinary. Before this, I was worried, but with your arrival, senior apprentice-brother Zidao, everything will be simple.”
“With senior apprentice-brother Zidao here, the puny Ji clan’s formations will quickly be broken.”
“Quickly and easily.”
The Zifu Disciples all began to laugh and sigh in praise.
Nong Zidao nodded gently. The main sect actually cared quite deeply about his expertise in formations, but he was still, after all, a mere Zifu Disciple, not yet a Wanxiang Adept…and thus, his status wasn’t able to rise too much. As for Jadechild, however, by relying on his divine ability, he was able to fight with the strength of a Wanxiang Adept. Given that Jadechild wasn’t too old, and was capable of making a breakthrough, of course Zidao wanted to make friends with Jadechild. This mission was absolutely a simple one, but with great potential rewards. Of course he had to come.
“Junior apprentice-brother Zidao, with you being here, we have a total of nineteen Zifu Disciples.” Jadechild glanced at the surrounding people. “If we include my Landwyrm and that Fairy Crane of yours, we actually can be said to have twenty one Zifu Disciples.”
They all nodded.
Jadechild then gave another glance at Nong Zidao. Their gazes intersected, and they made the decision simultaneously.
“We have an absolute advantage in power, and for the formation-breaking, we have junior apprentice-brother Zidao.” Jadechild said. “Since this is the case, there is no need for us to delay any further. Let us head out for Oxhorn Mountain now! As for the fellow apprentices who will arrive later, junior apprentice-brother Ziqi, you arrange for someone to welcome them, then tell them that we have already gone to Oxhorn Mountain.”
“Alright.” Dong Ziqi hurriedly responded. Since Jadechild and Zidao had made their decisions, most likely the latecomers wouldn’t dare say much.
“Fine, let’s go.”
“With so many colleagues present, we have enough power to annihilate the Ji clan.”
“We even have senior apprentice-brothers Jadechild and Zidao. Everything is set.” The Zifu Disciples all spoke out in praise and approval. The more Zifu Disciples came, the more people would divide the merits earned. If they headed out now, and immediately destroyed the Ji clan, then they would earn the majority of the merits, with the latecomers at most getting a few scraps.
Dong Ziqi directly reached out to his clansmen within Snowdragon City: “Wait here within the city. Once our colleagues arrive, just say…that senior apprentice-brothers Jadechild and Zidao have led the rest of us to Oxhorn Mountain.”
“Yes, Patriarch.” The Xiantian lifeforms within the city began to make their preparations for welcoming the latercomer Zifu Disciples.
“Let’s go.” Dong Ziqi laughed.
The carpet immediately flew into the distance.
This group of Zifu Disciples remained seated on it, continuing to nurse their drinks. They were quite at ease. To them, this trip to Oxhorn Mountain was nothing more than an excursion tour, incomparably relaxed.
The sun had already begun to set, having reached the western mountains. The sunlight bathed the world in its glow, causing the desolate wilderness and Oxhorn Mountain to be covered with a layer of red gauze.
The Ji clan’s experts had already finished familiarizing themselves with the formation and were now resting. Their eyes were all filled with confidence and anticipation. If before this, they were prepared to fight to the death, or perhaps even had mentally prepared to die…then they now could be said to have confidence in their ability to give Snowdragon Mountain a fight. Ninefire said, “Unless a few dozen of their Zifu Disciples perish, they can forget about breaking this formation.” His words were filled with an eagerness for the coming battle.
This powerful formation…it would definitely ensure that a large group of Zifu Disciples of Snowdragon Mountain would perish within.
“This bottle of liquefied elemental essence.” Ning was holding the jade bottle while speaking to his clansmen. “Prior to this, when training, I only used thirty percent. Quite a bit of it remains. In this battle against Snowdragon Mountain, our Ji clan cannot be the slightest bit careless. This bottle of liquefied elemental essence will be of great use. Patriarch, please accept it.”
Just as Ning was speaking, Truekeep suddenly shouted, “Look, look north!”
“Hrm?” All of them turned to look.
Standing at the tip of Oxhorn Mountain, they were able to see that in the distant skies, an enormous carpet was flying over. Atop the carpet was tables and chairs, as well as one Zifu Disciple after another, either seated in the lotus position or reclining while drinking wine, seeming quite relaxed. One of them stood at the very front of the carpet.
From the looks of it, it was Dong Ziqi!