The Desolate Era - Book 13, Chapter 28 - Returning to Mount Innerheart
There was someone else here?
Ji Ning was startled. He hurriedly retreated several meters, causing the striking lightning bolts to weaken slightly. Only now did he dare divide his attention to look around carefully.
“Eh?” Ning frowned. From the crevices between the bolts of lightning that continued to hammer towards him, Ning saw a black-robed youth was standing far away at the entrance to the distant gorge.
Swoosh! Ning hurriedly retreated, leaving from the thunder field region. All of the lightning bolts vanished, allowing Ning to clearly see the figure at the entrance to the gorge. The black-robed youth was similar to Mu Northson in height, and even skinnier than Ning himself. However, Ning could sense that this black-robed youth had been alive for a long, long time.
The black-robed youth’s gaze was both sharp and terrifying. His face was expressionless; he was most likely the type that was born arrogant and aloof.
“Who are you?” Ning asked.
“Me?” The black-robed youth’s voice was shrill. He looked thoughtfully towards Ning. “Even if I told you my name, kid, you wouldn’t recognize it. You should be at the early Void stage, but you actually broke through the first forbidden zone, and were even able to advance three hundred meters in the second zone, the lightning zone. You just barely qualify as having the power of a Celestial Immortal. For someone to have such power at the early Void stage…which school do you belong to? Who is your master?”
Ning was secretly surprised. Celestial Immortal?
Since the black-robed youth had already arrived at the entrance to the gorge, he clearly should’ve already made it past the lightning zone. This meant he was far more powerful than Ning. Ning’s Primaltwin at full power would be just barely at the average Celestial Immortal level; some particularly formidable and monstrously talented Celestial Immortals were far more powerful than him.
“My master’s name is not for the likes of you to learn,” Ning said.
“Oh, is he a True Immortal or Empyrean God?” The black-robed youth chuckled softly as he carefully scrutinized Ning’s face. Ning, however, remained calm.
The black-robed youth shook his head. “Leave, hurry up and leave. Even I am unable to acquire the treasure within. Even if you were a hundred times stronger than you are now, it wouldn’t suffice.”
“A hundred times?” Ning frowned, not believing it.
“You don’t believe it? Then listen to this; this treasure trove is divided into three forbidden zones. The first zone simply uses pressure and repulsive force! It is quite safe. The second zone is the lightning zone, and it is 540 meters long in total. As for the third forbidden zone, it forbids the usage of all magic treasures. Even I am unable to break through it.”
The black-robed youth looked disdainfully at Ning. “And you? You haven’t even overcome a Celestial Tribulation. You might be a peerless genius, but you are unable to advance past three hundred meters of the lightning zone. You must know by now that with each step forward, the power in the lightning zone increases dramatically. Only if your power increases tenfold will you be able to break through the second zone…but the third zone is even more terrifying. I imagine not even many Celestial Immortals are capable of breaking through it.”
“What is in the third forbidden zone?” Ning couldn’t help but ask.
“That’s not for you to worry about,” the black-robed youth said.
“Why haven’t you left?” Ning asked.
“I’m a Celestial Immortal with an infinite lifespan. Since the treasure is here, I will slowly train here. Perhaps a chance will present itself and I’ll be able to acquire it,” the black-robed youth said.
Hearing this, Ning instantly felt irritated. He could sense the faint ripples of power coming from within the valley; the ripples were extremely old yet very powerful. “The Thousandbull Sword is almost at the level of Pure Yang treasures in power, but its ripples are vastly inferior. The treasure within must have be an extremely powerful one that was left behind from Pangu’s World.”
“However…I can’t even make it through the second forbidden zone. How am I suppose to pass all three?”
Ning stood there by the creek outside the lightning zone. He pondered quietly for a moment, then gritted his teeth, turned, and left.
Ning quickly re-entered the invisible pressure zone, slowly forcing his way outwards.
“He’s gone?” The black-robed youth shook his head. “A young kid who was far too weak. Given his talent, though, he might have a shot at becoming a Celestial Immortal.” And then, the black-robed youth once more walked into the gorge.
“Immortal Darknorth, you returned?” On the way back, Ning once more encountered the Goldfur Bearking. The Goldfur Bearking was advancing again, but he had only traversed a kilometer beyond his earlier point.
“I’m not strong enough. Naturally, I have to return.”
Ning, in his three-headed, six-armed form, wielded six Immortal swords and chopped a path through the pressure pulses as he left.
“Not strong enough?” The Goldfur Bearking muttered to himself, “Is it possible that this Darknorth has already acquired the treasures? Still, from the look on his face, I’d say he isn’t lying.” Although he secretly mumbled and muttered to himself, the Goldfur Bearking wasn’t confident in being able to wrest any treasures from Ning’s grasp.
Ning exited the Riverfang Mountains.
Turning his head, he gave the mountain ranges, perpetually shrouded by fog and clouds, a glance. He murmured softly, “Wait for me to train in the arcane art…I’ll give you another try then.”
Whoosh. A spatial ripple appeared, and Ning disappeared into it. He reappeared in the sky above the mountain peak of Mount Innerheart, a cloud beneath his feet.
“Come out.” Ning willed it, and instantly a white-robed maiden appeared by his side. This was Ning’s disciple, Bluecliff Xiaoyu.
“Master.” Xiaoyu stood atop the cloud, staring at her surroundings. “Where are we now?”
Ning looked at his disciple, then turned to stare at the levitating Mount Innerheart. It had only been a month, but he had already accepted a disciple and killed ten great sinners. Bluecliff Xiaoyu’s golden glow of karmic virtue stretched to more than nine hundred meters…and now, Ning’s own clean aura of holiness had also transformed into the golden glow of karmic virtue!
However, his divine sense told him that his own golden light of karmic virtue merely stretched to be three feet long.
Actually, the process of accepting a disciple and killing the monster kings had already caused his clean aura of holiness to become quite dense; after he killed the wicked Patriarch, it suddenly transformed into the golden light of karmic virtue.
“Three feet of golden karmic light, compared to nine hundred meters for my disciple.” Ning laughed, then pulled Xiaoyu by the hand as he flew upwards.
“Xiaoyu, the mountain up ahead is Mount Innerheart. This is the place where Master’s school is located,” Ning said with a laugh.
Xiaoyu stared at the massive levitating mountain, then lowered her head to look at the endless world beneath them. “Master’s school?” She felt rather stunned.
They flew into Mount Innerheart, went up the mountain road, and soon arrived at the gates. Xiaoyu was only Ning’s disciple, and so Ning didn’t take her to see the eldest apprentice-brother.
At the gates were those two azure-robed Dao-novitiates. When they saw Ning, they immediately bowed and said with great respect, “Patriarch.”
“Mm.” Ning nodded.
Still stunned, Xiaoyu let Ning tug her forward by the arm. After passing through the gates, Xiaoyu came back to her senses. She whispered, “Master, it seems as though those two novitiates at the gates were very powerful?”
“Both were Void-level Earth Immortals,” Ning said casually.
Just as Ning’s words came out, two extremely ancient and powerful Void-level Fiendgods walked over. Both of them called out with tremendous courtesy, “Patriarch?”
The feeling these two ancient Fiendgods gave Xiaoyu…was that they were even more terrifying than the monster kings. They caused her to quiver and shake! And yet, they referred to her master as ‘Patriarch’?!
They continued walking up the mountain path of the Tristar Crescent Abode. As they did so, they encountered humans, monsters, and even Fiendgods, all of whom had powerful auras and many of whom were even more terrifying than the monster kings. And yet, upon seeing Ning, they all showed extreme respect, addressing him as either ‘Patriarch’ or ‘Uncle-Master’.
“It seems as though my master has a very high status in his school. On our way over…it seems everyone we ran into had a lower status than him. I haven’t even met a single person on his level,” Xiaoyu murmured to herself.
“The Divinities Palace is up ahead,” Ning said.
“Divinities Palace?” Xiaoyu looked curiously at the nine-storied Divinities Palace. Many disciples of Mount Innerheart were congregating outside of it, and they all respectfully bowed towards Ning and addressed him as uncle-master or as Patriarch. Little Qing and Uncle White ran straight towards him; they were spiritually connected to Ning and knew exactly where he was.
Both Little Qing and Uncle White ran over.
Right at this moment, a handsome, white-robed man walked over from the entrance to the Divinities Palace. This was naturally the controller of the Divinities Palace, Silvermoon. Silvermoon smiled as he walked over. “I heard, junior apprentice-brother, that you accepted a disciple and subdued viledoers in the world below us. This would be the apprentice you took on, yes? What a pretty little lass.”
“I’ve finally met someone of the same generation as Master…and they seem quite friendly. He doesn’t have any frightening aura at all,” Xiaoyu mused silently to herself.
“Xiaoyu, hurry up and pay respects to your uncle-master,” Ning instructed.
“Greetings, uncle-master,” Xiaoyu said as she hurriedly bowed with respect.
“Since you’ve addressed me as uncle-master, I need to prepare a gift for you.” Silvermoon shook his head and laughed. “It’ll be hard for a little girl like you to make proper use of a good treasure. Mmm…keep this little toy with you. Even if a Celestial Immortal wants to kill you, it’ll be able to protect you for the time needed to boil a kettle of tea.”
As he spoke, he tossed a jade brooch towards Xiaoyu.
Xiaoyu was rather stunned. A Celestial Immortal’s attacks? Able to withstand them for a short period of time? This tiny little brooch? Not even the treasure which her master had given her was this incredible.
“But…but…” Xiaoyu couldn’t help but feel awkward at the ‘pricelessness’ of this treasure.
“Hurry up and take it,” Ning chortled. “This jade brooch is nothing to your uncle-master. He kills Celestial Immortals as easily as killing chickens.”
“Junior apprentice-brother, you…fine, I admit that I did indeed make this jade brooch in a rather casual manner. I’ll also give you another gift then, a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal. I’m not capable of forging them; I used treasures to trade for it.” Silvermoon handed over a Dao-seal to her.
Ning’s smile became incandescent. His senior apprentice-brother was an Empyrean God; although a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal was a treasure to Ning, it wasn’t much to Silvermoon. It was only fair for him to seize this opportunity to milk Silvermoon for a few things.
Xiaoyu blinked repeatedly.
Two treasures? Given away so casually? Kill Celestial Immortals as easily as chickens? This…what the hell type of school had she been recruited into?!
“Little Qing, show Xiaoyu around the Tristar Crescent Abode and help her familiarize herself with this place. Chat with her a bit as well; she still doesn’t know what sort of a school the Tristar Crescent Abode is,” Ning said with a laugh.
“Yes, Master.” Little Qing immediately responded with excitement.
Ning immediately said, “Senior apprentice-brother, I am going to go to the Three Realms Palace.”
“Go, go,” Silvermoon said, nodding his head and smiling. “It seems you are going to leave our master’s tutelage soon.”
The Three Realms Palace.
Second apprentice-brother Crazy Ji was beaming merrily here as he waited for Ning.
“Senior apprentice-brother.” Ning bowed.
“Master told me that you passed the trial. This is the full copy of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]. You can learn it now.” Crazy Ji held his fan in one hand and used the other to hand over a scrolled bamboo book.
Ning’s eyes instantly lit up. The [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]? After he gained a basic level of expertise in it, his body would be like an Immortal-ranked magic treasure. He would definitely be able to give the Riverfang Mountains another try by then.
“Thank you, senior apprentice-brother.” Ning immediately accepted the bamboo book. He sent his divine sense into it, and instantly an utterly prodigious amount of information began to flow into his soul.