The Desolate Era - Book 16, Chapter 7 - Half A Year Later
As the Youngflame clan was planning to send people to Stillwater City and come up with a way to verify Ning’s status…the Xia Emperor, within the imperial capital of the Grand Xia, was planning to send out his subordinate, Skyfox.
“Skyfox, pay a visit to the Black-White College. I need to know if Ji Ning is alive or not.”
“Yes, Master,” Skyfox said, accepting the order immediately.
The Xia Emperor cared deeply about whether or not Ning was alive. He had decided long ago that Ning had to be a Daofather’s disciple. Could it be that such a peerless figure had truly perished? Emotionally speaking, the Xia Emperor truly couldn’t believe this…but after hearing the report from Youngflame Freak, he had immediately dispatched his Godslayer Guards to deal with the escaped Fiendgods, then began to use his Mirror of Omniscience to watch what was happening within the Oldjade mountain range. He had personally watched the descent of the karmic sinflames through the Mirror of Omniscience!
“He’s trained for less than a century, after all. Although he is a genius the likes of which the entire major world rarely sees…in the face of the descent of karmic sinflames, he has less than a ten percent chance of surviving.” The Xia Emperor had watched Ning battle with the Youngflame clan through his Mirror of Omniscience. He wanted to be friends with Ning, while the Youngflame clan was his subordinate tribe…it truly wasn’t appropriate for him to intervene, and so all he could do was help neither side.
Stillwater City. The Black-White College.
A white-robed, white-haired man was flying towards Immortal Diancai’s residence.
“What? You want to know if Ji Ning is alive or not?” Immortal Diancai glanced at Immortal Skyfox, utter confusion on his face. “Fellow Daoist Skyfox, why would you ask such a thing?”
“Eh?” Immortal Diancai turned his head to glance outwards. As the master of this place, he had naturally set up a series of simple formations around his mountain. When the white-robed, white-haired Whitewater Hound arrived, Immortal Diancai noticed right away. Frowning, he murmured to himself, “The Whitewater Hound came as well?”
“Whitewater Hound?” Immortal Skyfox smiled. “Since Ji Ning’s spirit-beast is here…it’s best for you to ask the Whitewater Hound abouto Ji Ning, fellow Daoist Diancai. He will definitely know more than I do.”
“Brother White.” Immortal Diancai immediately called out to him.
Although Uncle White wasn’t a formal disciple of the Black-White College, he was the spirit-beast of a formal disciple and was also a Void-level Earth Immortal. His status within the Black-White College was now far higher than it had been, and he was allowed to go to almost anywhere he pleased.
“Immortal Diancai.” Uncle White walked over. Upon seeing the seated Skyfox, he immediately said, “My respects to you, Immortal Skyfox.”
“Sit,” Immortal Diancai immediately urged.
Uncle White sat down. Immortal Diancai immediately asked him, “Fellow Daoist Skyfox came to my place to ask about whether our Ji Ning is alive or not. What has happened to him?”
Uncle White couldn’t help but look towards Skyfox.
Skyfox said, “I have come on orders from the Xia Emperor to investigate this matter.”
“The Xia Emperor sent out the Godslayer Guards; he must know exactly what happened within the Oldjade mountain range. Is there really a need for me to spell everything out?” Uncle White had a rather ugly look on his face; he felt that given that the Xia Emperor had sent out the Godslayer Guards, he should’ve been able to rescue Ning…but he had not.
“The Xia Emperor only sent out the Godslayer Guards after receiving a report from the Youngflame clan that many Fiendgods had escaped into the world,” Skyfox immediately said. “At first, he didn’t know about what had happened with Ji Ning. Only when the Godslayer Guards returned to make their report did he learn that Ji Ning was present as well…and so the Xia Emperor went to query the Youngflame clan, at which point he learned what had happened. However, by then it was far too late!”
Uncle White didn’t say anything.
“What are you talking about?!” Immortal Diancai asked.
“My son Ning has an extremely deep feud with the Youngflame clan,” Uncle White said plainly. “The Youngflame clan wasn’t willing to let things rest either, and so Ning charged straight into the Youngflame clan’s headquarters. They weren’t able to do anything to him, but they played a dirty trick which caused him to kill more than ten billion ordinary mortals. Karmic sinflames instantly descended upon him.”
“He accidentally killed ten billion mortals, causing the descent of karmic sinflames?” Immortal Diancai’s face immediately changed.
He viewed Ji Ning as he might one of his own children. Upon hearing that Ning had accidentally killed ten billion mortals and caused the descent of karmic sinflames, he was instantly stupefied.
“Then where is he now?” Immortal Diancai asked.
“My son Ning was instantly assaulted and burned by karmic sinflames, but the Youngflame clan still wouldn’t let it rest. They used some sort of teleportation technique to send him far beyond the world of the Grand Xia,” Uncle White said, his face ashen.
“How long ago did the karmic sinflames begin to wreath themselves around him?” Immortal Diancai asked.
“Seven days ago,” Uncle White said. “More than seven days have passed, but I can sense that he is still alive. He’s survived the karmic sinflames.”
Immortal Diancai let out a sigh of relief.
They were utterly terrifying. Even he, Ning’s master, wouldn’t dare claim that he would definitely be able to withstand them. He felt both worried for and proud of his disciple.
“Congratulations, felicitations! He overcame the karmic sinflames tribulations.” The nearby Skyfox laughed, but his heart was still filled with utter amazement. And not just him…even the Xia Emperor had felt that Ji Ning was extremely unlikely to have survived the karmic sinflames.
“He should have finished with the karmic sinflames tribulations roughly three or four hours ago.” Uncle White continued in a low voice, “He naturally has a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal with him…he would’ve teleported back long ago, unless he was trapped within some sort of unescapable danger zone. Since he hasn’t come back…he’s clearly trapped in a place where even a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal does not work.”
Immortal Diancai’s face turned ugly again.
Skyfox nodded gently. “That makes sense. The Youngflame clan has an extremely terrifying clan-protecting treasure, a Protocosmic spirit-treasure that is known as the Worldhold Pagoda. The Worldhold Pagoda has the power to tear open space and teleport people through it. Given how much they hate Ji Ning, they definitely must have sent him into the infinite Void that lies beyond the Three Realms. They absolutely wouldn’t have sent him somewhere where he could simply use a Greater Teleportation Dao-seal to escape and return.”
“Then what should we do?” Immortal Diancai immediately asked.
“There’s nothing we can do. Some of the danger zones within the Void are so deadly that not even True Immortals or Empyrean Gods can escape from them.” Skyfox shook his head. “Diancai, although you’ve become a Celestial Immortal…you are unable to help Ji Ning in this matter. In addition, no one knows where he is right now.”
“The Youngflame clan…” A look of boundless rage was within Immortal Diancai’s eyes.
Immortal Diancai knew very well about the feud between Ji Ning and the Youngflame clan.
After all…in the past, Patriarch Arcanum of the Youngflame clan had actually gone to the Black-White College to try and force them to hand him over.
“Also…the Youngflame clan is extremely wary of Ji Ning,” Skyfox said. “Two of the Celestial Immortals of the Youngflame clan died by his hand this time. Most likely, they are going to do everything they can to investigate as to whether or not he was able to survive the karmic sinflames. Thus…they will definitely come to the Black-White College to investigate.”
“He killed two Celestial Immortals?” Immortal Diancai was surprised.
“Yes, that is why the Youngflame clan is wary of him,” Skyfox said. “This disciple of yours truly is formidable.”
Immortal Diancai quickly calmed down. Nodding, he said, “Understood. Don’t worry…the Youngflame clan can forget about learning any information regarding Ji Ning’s status from our Black-White College. Also…fellow Daoist Skyfox, I hope that your side will not leak out any information regarding his status either.”
“Don’t worry. When I return, I will make my report to the Xia Emperor, and him alone. The Xia Emperor wouldn’t act to leak this news to the Youngflame clan,” Skyfox said.
That very day, Immortal Diancai issued an order: The Starfire Palace, where all the life-tablets of the disciples of the Black-White College were located, was to be completely sealed and locked down! Nobody was permitted to go anywhere near it! Not even the Loose Immortals of the Black-White College dared to go there now. Immortal Diancai was now a Celestial Immortal; naturally, that meant he had the highest rank and authority within the Black-White College.
In addition, the sealing of a palace that contained life-tablets was a minor matter. No one opposed it.
“Completely sealed? Why has the Black-White College suddenly and completely sealed away the Starfire Palace? Can it be that Ji Ning truly has perished?” Celestial Immortals Arcanum, Deadwood, and the others were all puzzled upon hearing this news.
Time flowed onwards.
Immortal Diancai personally stood guard over the Starfire Palace.
“Disciple, it has been more than three months…” Immortal Diancai stared at the table in front of him, covered with life-tablets. One of the life-tablets represented Ji Ning. This life-tablet remained unbroken; clearly, Ji Ning remained alive despite being trapped in a distant danger zone.
At first, Immortal Diancai, Uncle White, Mu Northson, and the others all waited hopefully for his return. However, as more and more time passed, they gradually understood that it truly was hard to say when he would return, or if he would return at all. All they could do…was quietly hope.
Within the Nihilum Zone.
Ning was continuing to drift about within the infinite, dark Void. He didn’t dare to allow himself to be swept towards the Primordial Ruinworld by the currents of voidwaves.
His wandering days were filled with boredom.
This was because he could not sense the Grand Dao of the Sword, the Grand Dao of the Waterdrop, or any other Daos. There was no way for him to cultivate in the Dao at all; all he could do was occasionally train in the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens]. However, there was a limit to how much divine power he could absorb each day and a limit to how much time he could spend in training in it. He couldn’t perpetually train…and so for more than 90% of the time each day, Ning did just one thing:
Train in archery!
The Rahu Bow was pulled tight. Nint stared at the distant, impending voidwave, his heartforce completely merged into the bow and the arrow. Twang! The arrow shot out through the void.
The arrow moved with lightning speed as it traversed more than a million kilometers, striking hard against the distant voidwave. In the face of the power of the voidwave, however, the arrow was sent flying straight backwards towards Ning’s direction. When shooting an arrow against the flow of the voidwaves, the arrows would return. But if he shot towards any other direction…
Although these arrows were Immortal-ranked magic treasures which could be controlled through elemental ki, they flew too fast and too far; there was no way Ning would be able to recover them. And so, the only option for him was to shoot straight towards an impending voidwave.
Day after day. Every single day, he trained in archery.
Slowly, Ning began to get a better handle on the intricacies behind how [Houyi’s Archery] utilized divine power, especially now that he had all but reached the peak of the ‘iceheart’ level. With such powerful heartforce filling each arrow, the power of each arrow was now greater than his close combat abilities!
It was indeed a type of extremely powerful force. It was the reason why the divine archers of the Three Realms were so terrifying.
Ning had spent roughly half a year drifting about within the Nirvana Zone. He had no idea exactly how far he had flown.
“Eh? What’s that?” Ning could vaguely make out something in the distance. Because the Nirvana Zone was filled with voidwaves and voidstorms, he normally couldn’t see anything else at all.
“[Torch Dragon’s Eye].”
Ning’s two eyes instantly began to blaze with torch-fire. He stared far into the distance. Instantly, his sight range began to increase rapidly, allowing him to see a few dim strands of light that had appeared far away within the darkness. Before using this divine ability, Ning was only able to see to a few thousand kilometers, but after using it…all the light of the surrounding area began to gather within his corneas.
“That is…a continent!!!!” Ning’s face changed slightly.
That continent was actually tens of millions of kilometers away from Ning. However, because of how utterly vast it was, Ning was still able to just barely make it out with eyes. For example, although the Moon was located very far away from Earth, ordinary mortals on Earth could still see it from afar. Similarly, due to how enormous that continent was, Ning was still able to make it out within the darkness of the void.