Throughout the history of the Black-White College, whenever a disciple came to view the Black-White Diagram for the first time, they would gain from it. The experience they had accumulated normally, the insights they had gained normally…upon viewing the Black-White Diagram, they would gain corresponding enlightenment.
Rustle, rustle, rustle…
Ning sat there in the lotus position, meditating as Waterflame Lotuses began to form around him. One petal after another blossomed, slowly swiveling about him.
A total of six layers of petals had formed…but suddenly, all six layers vanished, reforming into four layers which appeared even more real and solid than the six.
Time flowed on. In the blink of an eye, an hour passed.
Whooosh. The four quite solid-seeming layers of petals vanished as well, reforming into a total of two layers of petals. One of two layers of lotus petals was formed from red petals, while the other was formed from green petals. The two looked identical to the lotus petals of a real lotus flower.
The lotus flower slowly swiveled, and the grinding, killing power of the two layers of lotus petals grew increasingly powerful. The lotus petals became increasingly clear and lifelike, especially the green lotus petals; slowly, it continued to grow so lifelike that one could see the plant veins as well. Even at close range, most would probably take it to be a naturally grown lotus petal.
“Eh?” Ning suddenly woke up, then nodded gently. “I gained from my previously accumulated experiences. It seems as though my understanding of the Dao has reached a bottleneck in terms of being able to combine water, fire, and wind.”
He looked towards the nearby Mu Northson. Northson was still absorbed in his trance, appearing either drunk or mesmerized. “I have the Stellar Hall in my underwater estate. Although the Black-White Diagram is of use to me, it isn’t as useful as it was to Northson.” Ning turned to walk to the stone wall on the other side. This wall was covered with words left behind by countless generations of Immortals.
One row after another of words.
“The path of Immortal cultivation is the Dao of the grand struggle. These are the words of Five Disgraces!” The powerful intent that surged forth from these characters made Ning feel as though he could see an Immortal cultivator who was constantly advancing, struggling against the heavens, against the earth, against other men, against monsters…
“Consider all things carefully, but act with bravery and resoluteness.” An invisible, grim callousness radiated from these words.
“Where my heart leads me is where I shall go.” A confident, prideful aura radiated from these words, as though no one could block him from moving forward on the path which his Dao-heart had decided upon. Any who tried would be slaughtered.
“All mortal and worldly things shall decay; I ask for just two words; Immortal Life.”
The words left behind by the Immortals of the Black-White Diagram caused Ning’s Dao-heart to be baptized time and time again. He felt as though he could look past time itself to ages past; as though he could watch as these Immortal cultivators held firm to their own Dao-hearts and embarked on their own paths.
“Such powerful, resolved, and untainted Dao-hearts,” Ning murmured to himself. Power. Resolve. Purity. These were the things Ning sensed from the words left behind by these Immortals. Anyone capable of becoming an Immortal had understood his or her own heart long ago, and knew what their heart’s desire was! In addition, their Dao-hearts would be incomparably pure and resolved; they wouldn’t succumb to temptations or let themselves be led astray. The passage of countless years had caused their Dao-hearts to grow incomparably strong.
But if the Dao-hearts of these Immortals somehow grew bewildered, then their faith in themselves would collapse, and they might lose everything they had built up over a thousand years! In fact, in the worst case scenarios, they might not even be able to control the incomparably powerful elemental ki in their bodies, resulting in death.
From this, one could see that the path of Immortal cultivation was an extremely difficult path; it was the path of challenging destiny.
“The only desire in my heart is to be carefree, to be able to do as I please. I only ask that my destiny be in my own hands.” As Ning continued to read, his own Dao-heart grew increasingly pure as well.
The pain and agony he had suffered in his previous life made it so that he was not willing to submit to fate. Not willing to allow his destiny to be controlled by others. In this life, his parents had both died; this caused Ning to feel an even greater desire for the ability to not be controlled by destiny.
However, if one wished to surpass the bonds of fate, then one would have to gain tremendous power! Only by being powerful would one truly be carefree and be able to act as one pleased!
Ning read the words of one Immortal after another. Although Immortal cultivators read very quickly, by the time he finished reading that section of the wall, it was already very late at night.
“Eh?” Ning turned to look at Northson. Northson continued to sit there in the lotus position, staring at the Black-White Diagram. Around him were various parts and pieces that were formed from natural, elemental energy. The countless parts and pieces sometimes joined together and sometimes split apart, forming dragons, tigers, serpents, turtles…all sorts of monstrous beasts and strange creatures appeared, constantly forming and reforming.
“He’s making a breakthrough. Junior apprentice-brother Northson’s insights have reached a tipping point.” Ning felt secret admiration; he had spent less than two hours in meditation, but his junior apprentice-brother Northson had spent far more time than he had in comprehending the Black-White Diagram.
“The other stone wall.” Ning turned to look at the final, third stone wall. The words left behind by the various Immortals were actually meant to help refine the Dao-hearts of their successors. For juniors whose Dao-hearts were not sufficiently stable, it could have the effect of helping them to constantly train and test their hearts. Thus, although the Black-White Diagram served as the foundation of the Black-White College, the words left behind by these Immortals to train the Dao-hearts of their successors could also be considered one of the important things which this supreme, top-tier school relied upon as it passed down its traditions over the course of countless years.
This, too, was their foundation!
The night sky.
A short old man, dressed in ragged beggar’s clothes, stood atop the clouds, holding a calabash of wine and appearing quite at ease.
He seemed to be the very center of the world around him, as though everything would obey his commands. This natural feeling of dominance, of power…it gave the short old man an aura that was definitely not inferior to Northmont Blacktiger’s, and perhaps even more astonishing and terrifying. However, as long as one was not too close to him, one couldn’t sense his majestic presence at all.
“I’ve overcome the ninth-century tribulation… what a wonderful, wonderful feeling.” The short old man shook his head, seeming completely delighted with himself. “I’ll have nine hundred more years of good living.” Raising his head, he gargled in a large mouthful of Immortal wine.
“Uh?” The short old man suddenly halted, staring down at the Black-White Diagram below him. “Two youngsters?” The short old man nodded slightly. “Come to think of it, today is the day in which our Black-White College is accepting new recruits. It seems these two are new disciples. This old Daoist wants to take a good look at them.”
“That white-robed kid…he walks the Dao of Constructs? And he seems quite impressive; quite talented, in fact. It seems as though although I have been in seclusion for many years, the quality of the disciples of our Black-White College hasn’t dropped in the slightest.” The old man nodded in satisfaction, then turned his gaze towards Ji Ning, who was staring at the the stone wall with writing atop it. “That kid dressed in furs; he’s actually reading those words that were left behind? Can it be that he has finished viewing the Black-White Diagram? I wonder how long that kid viewed the Black-White Diagram for, and how his potential is.”
The longer one was able to view the Black-White Diagram, the more one would gain from it.
Ning continued to read the words left behind by the Immortals on the wall. Every single character was a representation of the path an Immortal had followed. Amongst these Immortals, there was only a single Celestial Immortal; the rest were all Loose Immortals or Earth Immortals. From this, one could tell how difficult it was for someone to truly escape the confines of the Three Realms and no longer be bound by the Five Elements.
Ning looked towards a new line of words, but as soon as his gaze fell upon it, he suddenly felt as though a sword was being pointed at his eyes.
“My three-foot sword in hand, I shall exterminate all injustices! These are the words of Northwalker!”
A very simple line of words. Ning stared at this line of words, left behind by Immortal Northwalker, and could vaguely sense the powerful energy emanating from these words. As Ning carefully sensed and probed it with his own soul, instantly, a powerful aura instantly sprang out from these words, completely filling his consciousness.
A silver-haired old man stood in the void, a sword in his hand. Hua! His entire body became filled with a heaven-towering sword ki, as though he himself had transformed into an enormous sword.
“What a sharp sword.” When Ning saw the silver-haired elder, he had the feeling as though the elder himself was a sword as well, and the most indestructible, the toughest, the most overbearing sword in existence at that. In fact, Ning even felt as though nothing could possibly withstand this silver-haired elder.
Ning trained in the sword ever since he was young. The sword was the weapon of his choice, and his father had personally taught him. By now, Ning had the heart of a true swordsman. When he saw this figure, who appeared to be the utmost embodiment of that which swordsmen aspired to become…the desire Ning felt in his heart and the sincerity he felt towards the sword slowly began to transform, causing that aura that had filled him to begin to resonate with him..
“Eh? That fur-clad little…” The short old man in the clouds above stared down in shock. “Is this…?”
Ning, in the plaza below, was standing next to one of the giant stone wall, and on that stone wall, a certain line of characters was slowly beginning to glow and radiate light. The characters were, ‘My three-foot sword in hand, I shall exterminate all injustices! These are the words of Northwalker!’. Every single character was lighting up, and a powerful sword-intent completely filled each and every one of them.
Ning just stood there, his entire body faintly radiating a sword intent as well. The two had actually begun to resonate with each other. The sword-intent radiating from Ning was far from being able to compare to the heaven-shaking profoundness of the line of characters, but without question, the sword-intent radiating from him was resonating with that of the wall.
“He actually…he actually managed to activate the sword-intent ripples left behind by senior Northwalker?” The short elder stared downwards in astonishment. Although Immortal Northwalker was a Loose Immortal, it could be said that within the Black-White College, his status was comparable to that Celestial Immortal’s, and in fact, his influence was even a bit greater. He had lived for over a million years before finally perishing under the weight of the increasingly powerful heaven-sent Three Calamities and Nine Tribulations.
A Loose Immortal who had survived for a million years? This was something out of the legends. Loose Immortals capable of surviving for a hundred thousand years were already incredibly powerful figures; afterwards, surviving for another hundred thousand would be very difficult. Loose Immortals that had survived for two hundred thousand years and three hundred thousand years…they were all completely different, but the longer they lived, the more terrifying their power was.
Loose Immortals who crossed the threshold of one million years were absolutely comparable to Celestial Immortals. However, in terms of the foundation of their elemental ki, they were clearly weaker than Celestial Immortals; the reason they were said to be comparable was because in terms of their comprehension of the Dao, their degree of enlightenment, and their techniques, they were superior to Celestial Immortals! This was why, despite being mere Loose Immortals, they were comparable to Celestial Immortals!
“Sword-intent? The sword-intent ripples are this strong?” The short old man stared, wide-eyed, at the scene below.
Within Ning’s consciousness. The sword-intents of himself and the words had reached an astonishing level of resonance. The figure of that silver-haired elder in his mind…suddenly began to move and display sword techniques. At the same time, he began to chant out the words to a song.
“What is the purpose of a life lived?”
“All I ask for is to be joyful.”
“Kill, kill, kill.”
“Exterminate all injustices!”
“Exterminate all those who deserve killing!”
“Only then will I be exultant.”
“As Loose Immortals, there is no path to immortality.”
“Better to live passionately for a day, than to live a century while stifled.”
“My sword is the joyous sword, the sword of passion, the sword which exterminates all injustices. The name of this sword technique is the [Three-Foot Sword].”
The voice of the old man echoed within the vast, empty void of Ning’s consciousness.