The Desolate Era - Book 12, Chapter 14 - The Final Month
Yu Wei said with envy, “They are the true favored children of the heavens. Ki Refiners revere Golden Immortal Daofathers of the Great Firmament, whereas Fiendgod Refiners revere True Gods of Primordial Chaos. Daofathers or True Gods; ever since Pangu established the heavens, they have been the most supreme of existences in the Three Realms. They are the ones who truly determine the destiny of the Three Realms. Even the Celestial Emperor is chosen by these major powers.”
Ning suddenly felt many thoughts flood his mind.
Daoist Threelives was born in primordial chaos and had mastered a Grand Dao. Clearly, Daoist Threelives was a True God of Primordial Chaos!
However, according to what the giant yellow bear had said, Daoist Threelives had once suffered a catastrophic defeat, losing an arm in it. The proud Daoist Threelives elected not to regrow his arm, continuing to only have one arm. Thanks to his constant research and meditation, he had developed one of the ten most terrifying divine abilities of the Three Realms… the [Starseizing Hand]!
“Ji Ning.” The giant yellow bear’s voice suddenly echoed in Ning’s mind.
“Senior,” Ning immediately said.
“Amongst Empyrean Gods, there are those with powerful divine abilities and those with weak ones. Amongst True Gods, there are those with formidable divine abilities and ordinary ones. How can they all possibly be on par?” The giant yellow bear clearly felt displeased on behalf of his master. “In addition… if Master was still alive, I imagine that he would have long ago mastered a Heavenly Dao. Only… despite the passage of ages, Master has never come to seek me out…”
The giant yellow bear’s voice suddenly faded away. He didn’t know if Daoist Threelives was still alive or not either.
After this conversation with Yu Wei, Ning’s vision had been greatly broadened.
At the most exalted, venerable positions were the Daofathers of the Great Firmament and the True Gods of Primordial Chaos. The Three Realms were their chessboard, and they controlled everything in it.
The Celestial Emperor and the Yama-Kings of Hell were jointly decided upon and appointed by them.
“However… I wonder what Daoist Threelives encountered in the past, which caused even him to feel that he had no confidence in being able to survive,” Ning pondered to himself. When Daoist Threelives had left behind the underwater estate, he had gone to deal with a so-called ‘tremendous calamity’. Afterwards, all word of him had been lost, and he had never returned to the underwater estate.
Daoist Threelives was a major power. Something that could cause even him to feel uncertain regarding his chances of survival… what sort of calamity was that?!
“The Three Realms…”
“I imagine that senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei doesn’t know the true face of the Three Realms either.” Ning continued to feel as though a layer of gauze was preventing him from understanding the truth of things. For example, in the Netherworld Kingdom, he had encountered a terrifyingly strong power which had assaulted the Six Paths of Reincarnation. Fortunately, Ning had leapt into the Six Paths and been reincarnated; otherwise, he would’ve died permanently on the spot.
“Who attacked the Six Paths of Reincarnation?” The more Ning’s horizons were broadened, the more he was amazed… because the Six Paths of Reincarnation were the most important, central region for the functioning of the Three Realms. Most likely, even major powers wouldn’t dare to act rashly there. Otherwise, the other major powers would be enraged and join forces to deal with them.
“I’m nothing but an ant; this matter isn’t for me to worry about. If the heavens fall, the tall fellows will hold it up.” Ning quickly discarded these thoughts for now.
Time passed in the blink of an eye. It was already the twelfth month within the trial of the Diagram. This was the final month!
A dirty-looking maiden and a violet-robed youth were walking forward, shoulder-to-shoulder.
“Where the hell did this Adept Ninedeaths come from?” The violet-robed youth glanced sideways at the maiden, secretly muttering to himself. He, Xiamang Qi, was one of the most outstanding young members of the imperial Xiamang clan, second only to Xiamang Zishan! In addition, he had never been convinced of his inferiority; he always wanted to be able to overcome Zishan with his power.
During this Conclave, Xiamang Qi had revealed his magnificence as well. His strength was formidable… but upon encounter this girl, this so-called ‘Adept Ninedeaths’, he had felt deflated.
“This girl is too powerful. No matter how I hit her, I couldn’t injure her. Her body is just like a magic treasure.” The violet-robed youth was very resigned. “Adept Ninedeaths? More like Adept Nodeath!”
The dirty maiden had said to him back then, “I have enough talismans already. The more time passes in the Diagram, the more powerful the survivors are. Many of them have already formed into small teams. Kid, you seem pretty powerful; shall we join into a team of our own? That will make the final two months easier.”
“If we encounter any enemies and kill them, can I have the talismans?” Xiamang Qi listed his requirement.
“Fine.” The dirty maiden nodded, and so Xiamang Qi and Adept Ninedeaths joined forces.
“Eh?” The two suddenly came to a halt. They stared into the distance, where four figures had appeared, some male and some female.
There was a wild, black-haired youth who was very skinny, a silver-haired maiden, a woman who was so beautiful she looked like a fairy from the legendary Moon Palace, and a bald, black-skinned youth. The black-skinned youth was actually barefoot, and he wielded a gnarled black staff in his hands.
“Kindwater Qi? Second brother, why is it that you are travelling alongside Adept Danzhu?” Xiamang Qi laughed.
“Big brother?!” the skinny, black-haired youth called out in surprise.
These two were known as the ‘Two Qis’ of the imperial capital. This was because both of them had strange, rather wicked personalities. However, the two just so happened to take a liking to each other, and they had become sworn brothers. Xiamang Qi was the elder brother, while Kindwater Qi was the younger brother. [1. Qi can mean bizarre/strange/wondrous.]
“The more time passes, the more dangerous it gets; I no longer dare to travel alone.” Kindwater Qi said with resignation, “I feel confident in my power, but even Xiamang Zishan and Cangwu Jiu have formed an alliance long ago. We have to do the same! The four of us even fought against those two. Fortunately, thanks to Blackstone’s presence, the two were frightened into immediately fleeing.”
“Oh?” Xiamang Qi was surprised, and the dirty maiden by his side, Adept Ninedeaths, revealed a look of surprise as well.
Someone had caused Xiamang Zishan and Cangwu Jiu to flee?
“Introduce us,” Xiamang Qi said with a laugh.
“You already know Adept Danzhu of the East Seas.” The black-haired Kindwater Qi pointed at the beautiful maiden who looked like a fairy from the Moon Palace. Adept Danzhu smiled and nodded at them.
Kindwater Qi then pointed at the silver-haired maiden. “This is Adept Snowfly; her magic arts are extremely powerful.”
He then pointed at the barefoot, black-skinned youth with a gnarled black staff. “This is Adept Blackstone. Adept Blackstone is exceptionally skilled in the Fuxi Formation Staffs, and a true grandmaster of the art of formations… with him present, we can flee when we wish and attack when we wish. Adept Blackstone is also extremely powerful in close combat. With a single blow, he was able to block an attack from Xiamang Zishan… as I see it, Adept Blackstone absolutely has a chance to become number one in this Conclave.”
Xiamang Qi and Adept Nindeaths both looked towards the bald, staff-wielding, black-skinned youth.
It was quite curious. When they faced this bald, black-skinned youth, they felt as though they were facing the vast heavens themselves…
“A grandmaster of formations? Capable of withstanding Xiamang Zishan in close combat?” Xiamang Qi was secretly shocked.
“Hm…” The dirty maiden looked towards the bald, black-skinned youth with curiosity as well. He, in turn, was looking back at her. The two of them both had an indescribable feeling… that the other was quite terrifying!
“How about it? Shall we travel together?” Xiamang Qi asked.
Kindwater Qi looked towards the black-skinned youth.
The black-skinned youth gave the dirty maiden a glance, then revealed an extremely thin smile. “Fine.”
“Fine,” the dirty maiden spoke out as well.
The six of them joined into a squad.
In this squad, Adepts Blackstone, Ninedeaths, and Danzhu had already acquired more than 1400 talismans. As for the other three, Xiamang Qi, Kindwater Qi, and Adept Snowfly still needed a bit more.
Ji Ning and Yu Wei were wandering the mountains as well. They moved as fast as the wind, instantly moving across the peaks. As they walked, they released their divine sense to scan up to a thousand kilometers away.
Although it was the twelfth month already, nothing had changed between the two. Ji Ning and Yu Wei acted like a pair of normal fellow disciples.
“Senior apprentice-sister, how many talismans do you have? How many more do you need?” Ning asked.
“Do you have enough?” Yu Wei asked.
“I have 1200 or so,” Ning said. “Actually, since everyone is going to have different amounts of talismans, I should have a 99% chance of ranking in the top eighty.”
“Better to be safe. Only if you have 1370 will you be absolutely certain to be qualified of passing the trial,” Yu Wei said. “I have slightly fewer talismans than you; I have nearly eight hundred.”
Ning nodded. The two had continued to split talismans based on who had killed the foe. Although Ning had been trying to hold back for her sake, ever since he had reached the twelfth level of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], his power had simply grown too great. Upon encountering some powerful foes, Ning had to explode forth with full power. Naturally, he would thus be the one to kill them, and so the talismans would go to him.
“In the final month, I imagine that all of the remaining survivors have hundreds of talismans on them. As long as we just kill two or three, we’ll have enough,” Ning said.
“But killing those final two or three will be very hard.” Yu Wei spoke with great solemnity as well.
There were now fewer and fewer people present. It was quite hard to run into someone, and in each battle, if the enemy felt that the situation was bad, they would immediately flee! To kill them or force them to give up their talismans… it was far too difficult!
“We still have plenty of time. We have more than half a month,” Ning said.
The two continued to advance, and in the blink of an eye, they had passed more than a thousand kilometers. Their divine sense continued to sweep out to a thousand kilometers as well.
“Eh?” Ning and Yu Wei suddenly raised their heads, staring towards the sky. A ship was charging downwards at high speed towards them.
“That ship is covered with restrictive spells, making it unable to be scanned by divine sense. They come with ill intentions. Be careful.” Yu Wei mentally messaged Ning, but the two were bold due to their power; they wouldn’t easily retreat or flee.
A thousand kilometers was passed in an instant. The ship vanished, and six figures appeared on the grassy ground.
Ning and Yu Wei’s pupils contracted.
“Xiamang Qi, a genius of the imperial Xiamang clan. Kindwater Qi, a genius of the Kindwater clan. And Adept Danzhu!” Ning and Yu Wei’s glances fell upon the figure of the beautiful Adept Danzhu, who looked like a fairy maiden from the Moon Palace. Of the six before them, the most famous one was Adept Danzhu.
The main hall of the Skylight Palace.
“For the Ji Ning – Yu Wei pair, their earlier encounter with Xiamang Zishan and Cangwu Jiu was a tribulation.” Lu Dongbin said with a sigh, “That time, they only escaped because Yu Wei awakened her former memories. This time… these six are even more powerful. That dirty maiden has mastered five complete Daos! That bald, bare-foot, black-skinned youth is an expert in formations. Both of these two are capable of fighting to be the number one competitor in this Conclave. Upon encounter this six-person squad… Ji Ning’s duo is in huge trouble.”
“Within the world of the Brightmoon Diagram of the Mountains and Rivers, how many have died in the past year? Each battle was a life-and-death trial for them. For your precious little pair of Dao-companions… this is nothing more than a slightly tougher trial,” Truelord Chiji said calmly. [1. Chiji literally means crimson taiji; this is most likely the person with the blood-taiji robes mentioned earlier.]
“This battle is going to be interesting,” the Xia Emperor laughed.
There were roughly twenty or so that had a chance at the top spot in this Conclave.
Adept Ninedeaths, Adept Blackstone, and Ji Ning, after his recent breakthrough… they all had a chance at becoming number one in this Conclave.