The Desolate Era - Book 14, Chapter 9 - Laying Down the Formations
“Cousin, no need to send me off.”
Ji Ning was bidding Princess Xiyue farewell in midair.
“Didn’t you say earlier that you were going to stay at King Yan’s Estate for an extended period of time? Why are you leaving after shopping at the Heavenly Treasures Mountain?” Princess Xiyue truly didn’t wish to part with him. Her grandfather, King Yan, had just recently become a Celestial Immortal; thus, he spent much of his time in secluded meditation, and rarely had time to accompany her. In addition, Ji Ning was of a similar age to her; there were many topics she could discuss with him but not her grandfather. Naturally, she wanted him to stay longer by her side.
“Given that the Grand Xia world is now filled with dangerous undercurrents, I need to go back as soon as possible and set up layers of formations around the Ji clan’s Swallow Mountain region,” Ning said. “I will permanently stay in the Swallow Mountain region. If you are free, you can come visit me there.”
“Permanently?” Princess Xiyue was surprised.
“Right.” Ning nodded.
He had acquired many techniques at Mount Innerheart, be it Ki Refining, Fiendgod Body Refining, or sword-arts manuals. All of them provided guidance towards the level of Daofather of the Great Firmament. He also had the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], the [Starseizing Hand], [Houyi’s Archery], and the [Torch Dragon’s Eye], some of the most supreme divine abilities of the Three Realms. He needed to spend time on training these techniques.
Given that the Three Realms were about to be engulfed by a storm…Ning did indeed plan to permanently live at Serpentwing Lake as he awaited Yu Wei’s return.
“That’s good. I’ll be able to find you there whenever I want. You need to be careful; my grandfather also told me that the world has been quite chaotic lately. Even multiple Celestial Immortals have perished,” Princess Xiyue said.
“I know. Don’t worry. Others might be able to kill Celestial Immortals, but killing me will be very difficult,” Ning said.
“Oh?” Princess Xiyue revealed a look of surprise.
Ning laughed. “Don’t forget that I just returned after studying with my master. Alright, enough talk; I need to go now.”
And then, Ning led Little Qing and Uncle White in using a spatial teleportation to vanish from the air above the imperial capital of the Grand Xia.
“This little brother of mine…it seems as though these thirty-plus years have been extraordinary for him.” Princess Xiyue let out a relieved sigh. The more powerful Ning became, the more relaxed she would be. “However…his words were a bit too much. ‘Others might be able to kill Celestial Immortals, but killing him will be very difficult’? It’s like he’s implying he’s more powerful than Celestial Immortals. I imagine that his master probably bestowed some sort of protective item upon him.”
Princess Xiyue charged downwards towards her residence, flying back into King Yan’s Estate.
This time, Princess Xiyue’s guess was wrong. In terms of power, Ning truly was on the level of a Celestial Immortal Patriarch by now. Most importantly of all, Ning had trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]; it would be extremely difficult for others to injure him. And through the ‘Seventy-Two Transformations’ the arcane art permitted…if he transformed into the Grand Xia Emperor, even King Yan probably wouldn’t be able to tell any difference at all.
This was why, generally speaking, those who trained in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art] were incredibly talented in staying alive. Ning’s training in the arcane art was the reason why Patriarch Subhuti had permitted Ning to depart from his tutelage.
“Master, Ji Ning suddenly left Stillwater City and headed towards the imperial capital.”
“The imperial capital remains the most dangerous place in the Grand Xia world for us. That’s not the place for the assassination. Continue to watch over him.”
After using a spatial teleport to return here from the imperial capital of the Grand Xia, Ning immediately summoned the high-level Ji clansmen. The latest generation of Wanxiang Adepts and Zifu Disciples were all clustered together in one hall, including the likes of Ji Mo and the others who had been provided guidance by Ning. Now that the clan had a stable footing, all of their talents received good resources for cultivation; their situation was far better than the situation had been in the past for Ji Ninefire, Ji Truekeep, and the others. Thus Ji Mo, for example, had already become a Wanxiang Adept.
Only upon being summoned here did they learn that Ji Ning had returned! All of them were utterly overcome with joy. The younger generation of Ji clansmen had long ago begun to idolize Ning; after all, becoming the champion of the Conclave was something out of legends! That was an event where the geniuses of the entire world came together in a competition!
“I agree! Of course I agree. Stillwater Commandery is in a chaotic state right now; if Uncle Ji Ning plans to set down layers of mighty formations around Swallow Mountain, then that means that our Ji clan shall have a foundation that will flourish for countless generations!”
“Right. With these grand formations, we will no longer need to fear the Youngflame clan.”
“I agree as well.”
Not a single Ji clansmen was in opposition. Ning’s words were like music to their ears! Ning had told them that once the formations were established, even Celestial Immortal Patriarchs could forget about barging through them. Only individuals who surpassed the power of Celestial Immortals had a chance of making it through!
It must be understood that in the entire world of the Grand Xia…even for the likes of ancient clans that had existed since the Fiendgod Era, such as the Northmont clan of Stillwater or the Youngflame clan, Celestial Immortals represented the height of their power.
With these grand formations protecting it, Swallow Mountain would become an absolutely secure location; the Ji clan could safely and stably flourish within this place!
A truly powerful clan had to have an extremely safe base. Some of them even hid their headquarters within unknown minor worlds! Naturally, the Ji clan wished for such a secure base as well.
And Ning wasn’t lying when he had told them these things!
The three supremely ferocious formations also included a ‘sealing’ component; this sort of grand sealing formation couldn’t be broken through technique, they had to be destroyed through raw force! Unless one had the power of a True Immortal or Empyrean God, there was no way whatsoever to break through.
A snowy white hound was standing in the sky. Behind him, a series of glistening, gem-like rocks appeared out of nowhere. There were a total of 108 such rocks.
The snowy white hound stared far away, towards the peak of a mountain.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! Instantly, the stones hovering around him shot out like meteors, piercing deep into various parts of the mountain. Immediately afterwards…the mountain peak itself vanished, and circles of blurry light began to manifest around the mountain peak with the appearance of clouds.
“The final formation-base of the ‘Eighteen Hypnotic Illusions’ has been established.” The snowy white hound let out a relieved sigh.
As he activated the formation, every part of the Swallow Mountain region, including the mountain peaks, the rivers, the lakes, and the wildernesses all began to summon the elemental power of heaven and earth. At the same time, the various formation-bases began to resonate with each other, joining together into an enormous combination formation. Every single part of the formation came together in a marvelous, perfect manner.
Soon, the entire hundred thousand kilometer region of Swallow Mountain seemed to have been transformed into a truly hypnotic, illusory area. Unless one had a talisman issued by the Ji clan, anyone who entered would immediately become forever lost within.
Serpentwing Lake. Ordinary mosquitoes were flying about, and some would often fly into Brightheart Island.
In wild areas, mosquitoes were extremely common. However, these were very ordinary mosquitoes; they couldn’t even be considered monsters. Even Ning’s divine sense could find nothing strange about them at all. However…the core of this ‘Eighteen Hypnotic Illusions’ formation was Serpentwing Lake. After the formation was activated, although its core location of Serpentwing Lake appeared as ordinary as usual…there was now no way at all for these ordinary mosquitoes to fly towards Brightheart Island.
An ordinary commandery city of the Grand Xia. Within an estate.
A skinny man whose eyes glowed with green light suddenly appeared within the courtyard. In the courtyard, there was a black-robed man who was leisurely sipping tea. The man had long, unbound black hair, and in his forehead there was a vertical slit.
“Master,” the skinny man said respectfully.
“Mm?” The long-haired, black-robed man looked over. “What is it??”
“The entire Swallow Mountain region has become covered by a strange illusory formation. Even my little ones are completely unable to penetrate it; they have become completely lost within it, and they aren’t even able to return.” A hint of resentment was in the green, glowing eyes of the skinny man. Those mosquitoes were indeed extremely ordinary, but they were linked to his mind; this was no easy task!
“Oh?” The long-haired, black-robed man frowned. “An illusory formation? It seems as though Ji Ning has returned to Swallow Mountain to set down formations for it. It is fine; since the Ji clan wishes to establish Swallow Mountain as their foundation for flourishment, they will naturally need to maintain contact with the outside world. That means merchant caravans will be sent to and from it, and the Ji clan will guide them through the formations, ensuring them that they won’t be lost. You no longer have to worry about this matter any further; I will arrange for others to go keep a watch on things. Rest and build up your strength; I imagine that you won’t be able to recover your ‘little ones’.”
After all, even if someone else was sent into Swallow Mountain, they wouldn’t be able to recognize which of the mosquitoes were ‘special’.
“Alright,” the skinny man assented in a low voice, and then he departed.
The long-haired, black-robed man quickly began to give instructions a different subordinate. This seemingly ordinary commandery city of the Grand Xia was, in reality, one of the important bases for Bloodcloud Hall.
Time flowed out.
Bloodcloud Hall used all sorts of tools to investigate. Mosquitoes, merchant caravans, scrying arts…even possession arts! They began to use every method they had to infiltrate Swallow Mountain!
But as each of the great formations of the Whitewater Hound began to be erected, especially in the Serpentwing Lake region, it became rare for even the Ji clansmen to encounter Ji Ning. Only Ji Truekeep, Granny Shadow, and a few others could go directly to see him. Even the likes of Ji Mo and the others had to first request a meeting. Thus, it became extremely hard for even Bloodcloud Hall to determine whether or not Ji Ning was actually staying at Serpentwing Lake.
The same ordinary commandery city as before. A white-haired elder said in a lowered voice, “Swallow Mountain is now surrounded by layers of grand formations. One of my clones was accompanying a merchant caravan in investigating the place, and the number of formations that I’ve already uncovered is enough to cause even Celestial Immortals to become lost after entering it. One has to use a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal to flee the place. Now, it seems, Swallow Mountain is completely under Ji Ning’s control. Within this region, Ning can use the formations to his advantage; killing him there is extremely unlikely. Just investigating the various formations, especially the dangerous ones, is essentially suicide. I imagine a large number of Loose Immortals would have to die in the process.”
“Right.” The long-haired, black-robed man nodded. “Since even you feel this way, Elder Chu, then it seems Swallow Mountain truly is not an appropriate place for assassination. Then…let us wait. Wait for Ji Ning to leave Swallow Mountain.”
The very same day in which Elder Chu was making a report to Bloodcloud Hall. The skies above Brightheart Island was filled with plumes of snow.
“After tirelessly working day and night for forty-nine days, I’ve finally set up the first of the three supremely lethal formations.” The white-robed Uncle White let out a laugh, but his gaze was filled with exhaustion. “I really didn’t dare to be slightest bit careless. If I was even slightly careless, everything would’ve gone wrong, and most likely some of those ingredients would’ve been imploded and destroyed by elemental energy.”
“Sorry for the trouble, Uncle White.” Ning had an understanding of formations as well; he knew very well that even being able to merely set up these three supreme formations required one to have the ability of a grandmaster of formations. This was because even Ning felt his head grow dizzy when he simply looked at the arcane mysteries contained within the formations, to say nothing of actually laying them down.
“It wasn’t so bad. I’ve already set up one of the three supreme formations; the entire Swallow Mountain region is already stabilized. I can take it a bit slower for the other two,” Uncle White said with a smile.
As they were chatting.
“Ji Ning.” A voice rang out from far away.
Ning immediately arose and turned around; it was the voice of the clan leader, Ji Truekeep.
“Ji Ning, Immortal Fivecraze of the Black-White College has arrived.” Truekeep walked over, Immortal Fivecraze by his side.
“Big brother Fivecraze.” Ning immediately went forward to welcome him. Because he was now a Void-level Earth Immortal, according to the rules of the Black-White College, the two of them had to refer to each other as they would equals of the same generation.
“Ji Ning, your master has left his secluded meditation. He is preparing to undergo his Celestial Tribulation in nine days!” Immortal Fivecraze said solemnly.
“Nine days?!” Ning was instantly stunned.