There was no one within the hall, only the black-haired, black-robed Immortal Diancai. The Immortal was seated in the lotus position atop his jade bed. Ning stepped into the room, then immediately bowed with respect. “Master.”
Immortal Diancai nodded slightly. He looked at Ning, a hint of amusement visible on his face. “Ji Ning, I heard that yesterday, you defeated two of your senior apprentice-brothers?”
“Yes,” Ning said. “Only, I’m afraid my fellow disciples won’t let the matter rest. Today, they will probably come challenge me again. Thus, I have come to you, Master, in the hope that you can provide me with some guidance.”
“Mm. At least you are grounded. You didn’t grow arrogant just because you defeated two Zifu Disciples.” Immortal Diancai nodded. “Everyone who has been accepted to the Black-White College is a supreme genius. The third generation is primarily divided into Zifu Disciples and Wanxiang Adepts.” Ning listened carefully.
“My Black-White College has more than a hundred Zifu Disciples, and more than two hundred Wanxiang Adepts. Why?” Immortal Diancai continued, “These disciples are all at fairly high levels of comprehension; if they wanted to enter the Wanxiang Adept level, I imagine that all of them would be able to do so. The reason why there are still a hundred-plus Zifu Disciples is for several reasons; firsts of all, they want to solidify their bases of power and prepare an ‘Immortal foundation’. The second is because they wish to increase their level of insight and comprehension; that way, when they encounter the Three Calamities and Nine Tribulations, they will naturally have a greater chance of surviving them.”
Ning nodded. Three Calamities, Nine Tribulations…as an Immortal practitioner, Ning naturally knew of them. The power of these trials was something that was related to time; the more time passed, the more powerful they would become. In addition, they were also related to one’s karmic merits or sins. The greater the sin, the more difficult the tribulation. Finally, they were also related to one’s level of power. If they had trained for the same period of time, the tribulation for a Primal Daoist would be more dangerous than the tribulation for a Wanxiang Adept….
But of course, there were many other variables. It was difficult to predict the power of the Three Calamities and Nine Tribulations, and in the end, it was the guillotine held over the necks of all Immortal practitioners.
However, there was one commonality: Strengthen one’s level of comprehension! Strengthen one’s soul! Strengthen one’s Dao-heart! The more stable one’s foundation was, the greater one’s chances at overcoming the tribulations would be.
“It is precisely because they wish to prepare for the Three Calamities and Nine Tribulations, and because they wish to establish a foundation to become a Celestial Immortal, that none of them are in a hurry to make their breakthrough,” Immortal Diancai explained. “Generally speaking, new disciples will remain at the Zifu stage for ten or so years. But of course, those who are slightly weaker in terms of comprehension might stay at that level for fifty or sixty years. As for the extremely talented ones, they’ll stay at that level for half a year before making their breakthrough.”
“This is why the Wanxiang Disciples represent the true elites of the third generation.” Immortal Diancai looked at Ning. Ning nodded. He understood.
“The Wanxiang Adepts of our Black-White College are different from the Wanxiang Adepts of other schools. They are true geniuses amongst Wanxiang Adepts!” Immortal Diancai said. “For other schools, every so often, they might have one or two Wanxiang Adepts who reach the ‘Dao Domain’ level…but for our Black-White College, almost every single Wanxiang Adept is at the Dao Domain level.”
Hearing this, Ning felt shock in his heart.
“There are some who are even more formidable. They have an incredibly deep comprehension of their chosen Dao, and perhaps even many insights into other Daos as well. They are able to reach the ‘Dao Domain’ level in multiple, different Daos!”
“There are some who are even more monstrous. While at the Wanxiang Adept level, they have completely understand an entire ‘Dao Path’.”
Hearing this, Ning’s face instantly changed. A complete Dao Path?
“In other schools, generally speaking, only Immortals will comprehend an entire, complete Dao Path. But in our Black-White College, every single Primal Daoist has comprehended an entire Dao Path, and amongst the Wanxiang Adepts, a few of the most talented, most monstrous of the Adepts have comprehended an entire Dao Path as well.”
“However, Ji Ning, you have no need to feel embarrassed. These geniuses who were able to comprehend an entire Dao Path? Two of them are reincarnated Immortals, while the other three have been training for more than two hundred years. They might break through to the Primal Daoist level at any moment.”
“If you stay at the Black-White College for a bit longer, you’ll understand a few things. One of them is this; our Black-White College has an unspoken rule that only after one has comprehended a complete Dao Path will one make a breakthrough to the Primal Daoist level.” Immortal Diancai looked towards Ji Ning.
Wanxiang Adepts were the true elites amongst the crowd. For example, Ning himself; once his Zifu Lake expanded to the limit, he probably wouldn’t hesitate at all and break through to the Wanxiang Adept level. Thus, those who remained behind at the Zifu Disciple level were, generally speaking, the average-to-below-average bunch amongst these supreme geniuses.
“Wanxiang Adepts can be divided into three levels. The first level has only reached the Dao Domain level. The second has reached the Dao Domain level in multiple Daos. The third level has comprehended a complete Dao Path.”
Immortal Diancai looked towards Ji Ning. “Don’t worry. This time, your fellow disciples amongst the Wanxiang Adepts level won’t interfere too casually; they’ll first have the most powerful Zifu Disciples make their attempt. But if even they are unable to defeat you, only then will the Wanxiang Adepts make their moves! No matter what, however, those supreme few who have comprehended a complete Dao Path will not interfere. If they did, that would be going a bit far.”
Ning nodded. “Master, how many reincarnated Immortals are there amongst the Wanxiang Adepts?” Ning was curious.
Immortal Diancai laughed. “You disciples are always curious about the reincarnated Immortals. Actually, it’s even possible that you yourself might be a reincarnated Immortal. Amongst the Wanxiang Adepts, there are three who have been verified to be reincarnated Immortals. Two of them spent eighty years in training and have comprehended a complete Dao Path, while the other one has trained for twenty or so years.”
“After having heard me say so many things, you should now understand the situation.” Immortal Diancai sighed. “You’ve only defeated two of the Zifu Disciples, and they aren’t even two of the strongest Zifu Disciples, much less the Wanxiang Adepts.”
“Your student understands,” Ning nodded. Immortal Diancai concluded, “Alright. Time to display your sword arts to me. Show me everything without holding back anything; you won’t be able to damage this hall.”
“Alright.” Ning didn’t hesitate at all. He immediately executed his most powerful sword attack…the [Tripartite Lotus Sword]. The Darknorth sword in his hand shot out, and as it did, it divided into three colors. Lotus flowers began to bloom with incomparable beauty, but within the beauty, there was a sword light with astonishing power.
“The [Tripartite Lotus Sword]?” Immortal Diancai laughed. “The [Lesser Five Elements Sword]. I, your master, have also studied the [Lesser Five Elements Sword]. This sword attack you just displayed can be considered to have a tenth of its grace and charm.”
“A tenth?” Ning blinked. “Just a tenth?”
Immortal Diancai shook his head. “What do you expect? The [Tripartite Lotus Sword] focuses on it being ‘Tripartite’; it requires balance! Your comprehension into these three Daos, however, clearly shows that your understanding of the Dao of Rainwater is much stronger, while the other two are much weaker.”
Ning was speechless.
“You’ve only developed your Rainwater Sword Domain. If you were to develop two other Dao Domains, then at that point in time, you would be able to display the true [Tripartite Lotus Sword],” Immortal Diancai said.
Ning nodded in acknowledgement. He had to admit, it was true that the [Tripartite Lotus Sword] required balance. His comprehension into the various Daos, however, was unbalanced.
“Your comprehension of the Dao of Rainwater is stronger,” Immortal Diancai said. “Since that’s the case, then I’ll help you retrofit your [Tripartite Lotus Sword] into a [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Sword].”
Immortal Diancai immediately waved out a sword-finger. Slash! A sword light instantly flashed, and wherever it passed, flowers began to bloom. Only, the green color within the flowerbuds was noticeably stronger, while the other two colors served to accentuate it.
Four hours later, Immortal Diancai’s guidance came to an end.
“I’ve already explained as much as I can regarding the mysteries and secrets of the [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Sword] and the [Three-Foot Sword]’s first stance,” Immortal Diancai said. “Given your current level of understanding, you should completely focus your attention on analyzing these two sword arts. When the day comes where you are able to release the power of both sword arts, come find me again.”
“Yes.” Ning bowed with gratitude. The saying was true; listening to a master say a few words was superior to training by one’s self for a year.
The [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Sword] was something which he had already begun to vaguely grasp; most likely, he would soon be able to unleash its power. As for unleashing the true power of the original [Tripartite Lotus Sword], he would have to wait until he comprehended three Dao Domains. When the three became one, he would be able to unleash the most power possible from the [Tripartite Lotus Sword]. What he was able to unleash right now was nothing more than some scraps.
As for the first stance of the [Three-Foot Sword], that was simply unfathomably profound. The [Three-Foot Sword] focused more on the heart; training in the sword was also training in the heart.
Ning immediately boarded his flying boat and departed from his master’s residence.
The Golden Crow hung high in the sky. The Dao Debate Palace, atop the Dao Debate Peak. Today, this place was incomparably lively. One streak of light after another flew towards here, riding on flying swords, flying boats, flying chains, flying gourds, flying red banners, flying leaves, and all sorts of curious magic treasures. One after another, they flew into the Dao Debate Palace.
“Senior apprentice-brother Icezen, weren’t you wandering outside?”
“I just so happened to be over at the Raindragon Guards’ place, and I heard that one of our new disciples, Ji Ning, defeated two of his Zifu Disciple colleagues in sequence. I’m quite curious, so I came over to take a look.”
“Quite a few fellow disciples have come today. It has been a long time since our Black-White College has been so lively.”
The two figures chatted amongst themselves as they flew to the Dao Debate Palace.
The battle arena was at the heart of the Dao Debate Palace. At the sides of the arena were many chairs. The higher-ranking disciples of the College sat down, while the Zifu Disciples remained standing to the side, chatting amongst themselves and in no rush to sit. After all, who knew how many fellow disciples would come today?
“Senior apprentice-brother Northmont Blackcurrent came as well.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Gatherform came as well.”
One Wanxiang Adept after another arrived, all quite well-known. One high-ranking leader after another arrived; naturally, these junior fellow disciples all had blazing looks in their eyes. As latecomers, they naturally had limited experience in adventuring in the outside world. But these fellow disciples who had joined more than a century ago already had shocking stories and legends about them that circulated in the outside world. It was actually quite a frequent occurrence for the Wanxiang Adepts of the Black-White College to be able to battle at a higher level and combat even Primal Daoists.
“It’s senior apprentice-brother Holyfire.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Holyfire!”
“Even senior apprentice-brother Holyfire came as well.”
The entire Dao Debate Palace was now filled with disciples. All of them, Zifu Disciples or Wanxiang Adepts, turned to look. A bald, barefoot, handsome youth who was dressed in fiery red robes came walking in. His forehead had a svastika symbol in the middle, and wherever he passed, it was as though a sea of flame moved with him, as the temperature of the surrounding area instantly skyrocketed.
He was an absolute leader amongst the third generation disciples of the Black-White College. Although he wasn’t a reincarnated Immortal, he had still comprehended an entire, complete Dao Path. He could become a Primal Daoist of the College at any moment.
“Senior apprentice-brother Holyfire.” Blackcurrent was the first to draw close to him.. “Blackcurrent.” Holyfire glanced at Blackcurrent, then said calmly, “Has the new disciple, junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, arrived yet?”
“Not yet. There was a junior apprentice-brother who went quite some time ago to junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning’s Darknorth Peak, but he hasn’t come yet,” Blackcurrent explained.
Holyfire nodded, then strode forward, taking a seat atop one of the centermost stone seats. The fellow disciples seated around Holyfire were all formidable figures within the College. For the likes of the Zifu Disciples, they could only stare at him from afar; after all, they didn’t have a relationship with him.