The Desolate Era - Book 10, Chapter 1 - Youngflame Clan
Just shortly after Ninelotus reached Serpentwing Lake, in the distant Crimson Dragon Mountains of Stillwater Commandery, a large group of people were gathered around the tall, large teleportation array.
All of them had powerful auras. Clearly, none of them were ordinary.
Northmont Fox was standing behind a tall, skinny man. He sent to him, “Father, who did you pull me over here to meet? You didn’t even permit me to ask about this while we were in Stillwater City; you insisted on bringing me to the Raindragon Guard branch before telling me.”
The tall, skinny man was dressed in a black uniform. He wore a crown on his forehead, and his eyes were sunken and deep. However, his pupils seemed to carry a cold light that would bring fear to many.
This man was Northmont Fox’s father… Northmont Yin!
The two most likely candidates to become the next Marquis of Stillwater were Northmont Blacktiger and Northmont Yin. They had completely different temperaments. Northmont Blacktiger was like an enormous, primordial beast who was born with a dominating aura; anyone who looked at him would feel terror. In acting, he was incomparably dominating as well, and so he had many followers.
As for Northmont Yin, he was a truly ambitious and ruthless figure who was particularly skilled at biding his time. Nobody could see through Yin’s thoughts; he was a mystery to all.
“If I told you in Stillwater City, given your temperament, you might have leaked this information, which would be disastrous.” Yin shook his head. “This matter is extremely important, and very few know of it. Look at Immortal Eastrock of the local Raindragon Guard branch; he’s waiting, just like us. Although he’s brought a group of subordinates, I imagine that only he himself knows exactly who it is that we are waiting for.”
Fox instantly felt an itchy feeling in his heart. Someone capable of making even Immortal Eastrock and Yin come in person to wait for him, and to act so secretively as for Yin to not even tell Fox, his own son, who it was?
“Who is it?” Fox was extremely anxious to know.
“This person is Youngflame Nong, of the Youngflame lineage,” Yin sent mentally.
Fox’s face instantly changed. He revealed a look of shock and amazement as he yelped back mentally, “Young master Youngflame Nong? One of the Four Dukelings of the imperial capital? Why has he come to Stillwater Commandery? This, this… how can this be?”
“Now do you understand why I didn’t tell you?” Northmont Yin cast his son a glance.
Northmont Fox hurriedly nodded. He understood. Of course he understood.
Although the Northmont clan of Stillwater held a marquisdom and was incomparably ancient and large, if they were compared to the rest of the Grand Xia Dynasty… there were still powers that were even mightier than the Northmont clan. For example, the almighty imperial clan of the Grand Xia Dynasty, the Xiamang clan, or some of the most powerful clans that had helped the Xiamang clan unify the world.
The Youngflame clan was one of the faithful ministers that served the imperial clan of the Grand Xia Dynasty!
Supposedly, during the Fiendgod era, the Youngflame clan was a clan that was as old and as powerful as the Xiamang clan. In fact, their history stretched to the most ancient of eras of this major world.
In the end, the Youngflame clan had submitted to the Xiamang lineage! They had followed the Xiamang clan in conquering the world, and had been one of the most powerful clans under the Xiamang clan’s control. As for the the Northmont clan and the other clans, they had all slowly begun to join the Xiamang clan later on, and in terms of power, they were vastly inferior to the Youngflame clan.
The Youngflame clan’s leader had the revered title of the ‘Godplume Duke’, and the clan itself held three marquisdoms! The three commanderies it ruled over were all extremely vast ones, far larger than Stillwater Commandery. After all, the 3600 commanderies of the Grand Xia Dynasty were all different in size; Stillwater Commandery could only be described as an ordinary one. Some extremely large commanderies were comparable in size to dozens of Stillwater Commanderies.
As for this Youngflame Nong who was about to arrive, he was one of the leaders of the younger generation of Youngflame nobles. Unless something went amiss, the next clan leader of the Youngflame clan, the ‘Godplume Duke’, would be this Youngflame Nong!
But of course, the Youngflame clan’s next leader had not been 100% set in stone; the selectees would still be tested and tried. Generally, however, the trials would be easily passed. It could be said that Youngflame Nong’s status in the Youngflame clan was comparable to Ji Ning’s status, when he had been a child, in the West Prefecture City of the Ji clan!
Internally, it had all but been decided that he would be the next Godplume Duke.
He would be a powerful figure, capable of influencing the entire Grand Xia Dynasty. The arrival of someone like him… it now made perfect sense as to why Northmont Yin and Immortal Eastrock had come in person and been so secretive about it, not letting anyone else know what was happening.
Their eyes all lit up. The teleportation array once more began to glow, and then a group of people appeared within it.
The leader was dressed in azure robes. He seemed quite plainly dressed, but upon a close examination… one would discover that the threads of his azure robe were actually the draconic whiskers of the ‘divine dragons of the East Sea’. The man’s face had a calm smile on it, but the welcomers could all sense the natural, noble aura emanating from him!
It was a true, noble aura which only someone like him, who an ancient clan like the Youngflame clan had trained to be their next leader, would possess!
Youngflame Nong’s status was such that even in the imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty, he was called one of the ‘Four Dukelings’. Even imperial scions of the Xiamang clan had to have enough status within their clan to be able to treat with them on an equal footing. There were some members of the clan who borrowed the Xiamang clan’s prestige but had no real status within it; these people weren’t even qualified to become friends with Youngflame Nong.
“Young master Youngflame,” Northmont Yin laughed and saluted with clasped hands.
“Young master Youngflame.” Immortal Eastrock also clasped his hands.
Youngflame Nong looked at the two of them, then nodded. “Northmont Yin, Eastrock. I saw the two of you last time at the imperial capital. So much time has passed, as though in the blink of an eye. I have to trouble the two of you on this trip of mine to Stillwater City; I truly am guilty for doing so.”
“It is our honor to be able to assist you, young master Youngflame,” Immortal Eastrock and Northmont Yin both spoke out together.
The two of them couldn’t help but glance at the person slightly behind Youngflame Nong. There was a tall, skinny, narrow-eyed, middle-aged man standing there, his skin pitch-black. The aura this man was emanating caused even Northmont Yin and Immortal Eastrock to feel secretly astonished.
Both of them quickly came to this realization.
However, for an ancient clan like the Youngflame clan, raising Fiendgods wasn’t too difficult. After all, these ancient clans had been flourishing since shortly after the major world was created. They had long ago captured countless Fiendgods. Although Fiendgods were arrogant, in the face of certain death, many would still be willing to submit.
“Young master Youngflame.” Immortal Eastrock pointed at the group of people behind him. “I’ve already given them their instructions. They are absolutely reliable. There are two peak Wanxiang Adepts and a hundred Zifu Disciples. Young master Youngflame, if there is anything you need, just give them their instructions. Oh, and both of the Wanxiang Adepts are two-clawed Raindragon Guards.”
“Two-clawed Raindragon Guards?” Youngflame Nong nodded after hearing this. Someone capable of becoming a two-clawed Raindragon Guard had to at least be comparable to Primal Daoists; they could be considered useful. As for the hundred Zifu Disciples? They’d be nothing more than cannon fodder.
“Bu You pays his respects to you, young master Youngflame,” a messy-haired youth said respectfully.
“Xue Hongyi pays his respects to you, young master Youngflame,” a red-robed youth saluted respectfully.
Youngflame Nong nodded lightly. “I’ll have to trouble the two of you this time.”
“It is our honor to be able to toil in your service, young master Youngflame,” Xue Hongyi and Adept Bu You both responded with modesty.
Northmont Yin, on the other side, spoke out as well. “I’ve also arranged for ten Wanxiang Adepts and a hundred Zifu Disciples. They are all Deathsworn and completely loyal. Perhaps the ten Wanxiang Adepts are not comparable to Xue Hongyi and Bu You, but if they join forces… generally speaking, even Primal Daoists would have to give them a wide berth.”
“Deathsworn?” Youngflame Nong’s eyes instantly lit up and he revealed a smile. Generally speaking, it was extremely hard to make an Immortal cultivator become a suicide soldier, a Deathsworn; generally speaking, one would first train a normal person into becoming a Deathsworn, and then teach them cultivation! However, given the mindset of a Deathsworn, it would be very hard for them to advance very far on the path of Immortal cultivation… and thus, for Northmont Yin to be able to deliver ten Wanxiang-level Deathsworn was a major gift.
After all, although Immortal Eastrock had arranged for Xue Hongyi and Bu You to assist, they were clearly there to assist him, not to be suicide soldiers.
“This is my son, Northmont Fox. He’s never met you, young master Youngflame, but he’s long heard of your great fame. This time, he repeatedly begged me to let him come and let him see you in person, young master Youngflame,” Northmont Yin said with a smile.
“My respects to you, young master Youngflame.” Northmont Fox was incomparably excited and he quickly spoke his respects.
Youngflame Nong nodded gently. “Northmont Fox. Mm. I’ll remember your name.”
A simple phrase, but it caused Fox to feel incomparably excited.
“This trip of mine to Stillwater Commandery is part of a small test the clan has arranged for me.” Youngflame Nong looked towards Immortal Eastrock and Northmont Yin. “Thus, it isn’t appropriate for me to cause too much of a stir here. With these helpers you two have given me, my chances of success are now increased. I can’t be too slack in addressing this trial; thus, I won’t stay here any longer. There’s no need for the rest of you to send me off.”
“Then we will wait to congratulate you on your triumphant return, young master Youngflame, and then celebrate with you.” Northmont Yin and Immortal Eastrock both watched as Youngflame Nong’s group departed.
Only Northmont Yin, Northmont Fox, and Immortal Eastrock were left by this teleportation array.
Of course, those old servants who were in charge of maintaining the teleport array were present as well. However, when they were chatting, Immortal Eastrock had naturally used elemental energy to block out all sound, and so the old servants had no idea who had arrived.
“Father, we gifted him with Deathsworn… he’s just going to leave like that?” Fox gave his father a glance.
Yin glanced back at his son. “Consider yourself lucky that he accepted them. He is currently in the middle of his trials and just so happens to need helpers, and so he’ll accept them. In the future, when he becomes the next Godplume Duke, he’ll become a person capable of easily impacting the entire Grand Xia Dynasty. By then, he’d view our gift with contempt. Gifting him with a group of Deathsworn now is worth more than sending a hundred groups or a thousand groups in the future!
Fox seemed to understand.
“Let’s go back,” Yin instructed.
An enormous, completely dark-red warship. It seemed ancient and plain, and it soared through the skies.
Within the warship, there were a total of six hundred Zifu Disciples and ten-plus Wanxiang Adepts. Youngflame Nong and the skinny, black-skinned man next to him both stood at the railing of the warship, staring at the vast world before them.
“Xue Hongyi, Bu You,” Youngflame Nong asked, “Who are some of the formidable figures in Stillwater Commandery? Aside from Primal Daoists and Immortals.”
“Aside from Immortals and Primal Daoists…” Xue Hongyi said, “In our Stillwater Commandery, the most powerful of the Wanxiang Adepts would definitely include the most powerful geniuses that are gathered at the Black-White College. Of course the Skysplitter Sword Sect, the Bluewood tribe, and the Dragonhunter clan also have their own elites. I am afraid that being able to convince these true core members of these forces to risk their lives would be quite hard.”
Youngflame Nong nodded lightly.
Xue Hongyi was one of the most talented younger members of Snowdragon Mountain. However, because Snowdragon Mountain, in the grand scheme of things, was a small sect, Xue Hongyi was willing to serve as a servant in front of noble carriage.
Those even more talented geniuses, however, wouldn’t necessarily be able to do so.
“Oh?” The nearby Adept Bu You’s eyes lit up. “It seems we’ve reached Swallow Mountain. There is a peerless genius in Swallow Mountain, one of the truly top-tier Wanxiang members of the Black-White College. He is Adept Darknorth, Ji Ning.”
Hearing Ji Ning’s name, Xue Hongyi frowned.
“Ji Ning?” Youngflame Nong revealed a look of curiosity as well.