The Desolate Era - Book 7, Chapter 30 - The Battle at the Dao Debate Palace
Ji Ning’s group of three landed at the gates to the Dao Debate Palace. As they looked inwards, they saw that although it was night, the insides of the Dao Debate Palace were brightly lit, and the sound of calm laughter rang out from within.
“Senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus, I’ll accept these hundred black-white pellets and five kilograms of liquefied elemental essence.” The speaker was a white-robed man, who had a blood-drop pattern atop his white robes. It was Bloodrinker Bladask. Bladask had a hint of delight on his face; clearly, he was quite happy at having won a victory in the Dao Debate.
In front of him, seated in the lotus position, was a long-haired maiden dressed in water-blue robes. She arose and flew over, landing nearby and shaking her head. “Three years ago, I was able to beat you by a hair, junior apprentice-brother Bladask. I didn’t expect that this time, I’d be defeated by you.”
“Your junior apprentice-brother had to work very hard to just barely eke out a victory.” Bladask, normally quite prideful, was currently quite humble.
“Senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus, when sparring, it’s all about that hint of a chance at victory. You and junior apprentice-brother Bladask are comparable; only, junior apprentice-brother Bladask’s attacks are just a hair sharper than yours.”
“Senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus…” The various men and women were chatting amongst themselves. At this moment, Ji Ning, Mu Northson, and Bu Ying entered the Dao Debate Hall, and they all turned to look towards them.
“Ninelotus?” Ning’s gaze instantly turned towards that woman who had been referred to everyone as ‘Ninelotus’. She was dressed in casual, water-blue robes, and had long, black hair. Although her face could be considered beautiful, she was slightly less attractive than even Meng Xin. Only, this senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus had a certain graceful aura about her. She was like a fairy lotus, causing the fellow male disciples around her to unconsciously be drawn to her.
“Given her aura and demeanor, I imagine she must have an extraordinary background,” Ning mused to himself.
“Senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus.” Upon seeing Ninelotus, Bu Ying’s voice went slightly higher. A smile on his face, he hurriedly said, “These two are the new disciples that just joined our Black-White College. This is Mu Northson, and this is Ji Ning.”
Ninelotus turned her gaze towards them, a hint of a smile on her lips. “I heard that during the day, junior apprentice-brother Mu Northson was defeated twice while sparring here at the Dao Debate Palace, and was so angry that he left.”
Northson was rather bashful to begin with. A hint of awkwardness immediately appeared on his face. “That’s only because he just entered the school, and has never before suffered a setback like that,” Ning spoke out.
Ninelotus looked towards Ning. “So you are Ji Ning, who Patriarch Diancai took on as his senior apprentice.” Ning nodded. “I am.”
The nearby Pu Yinig hurriedly said, “Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth, you are the disciple of Immortal Diancai. Senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus, however, is the disciple of Immortal Fivecraze.”
“The disciple of Immortal Fivecraze?” Ning was surprised. “I just arrived back at the College tonight, and so I wasn’t able to attend the grand ceremony earlier,” Ninelotus said softly. “Now that you’ve arrived, junior apprentice-brother, are you willing to begin a Dao Debate?”
Laughing, Ning nodded. “I would very much like to spar against my senior fellow disciples.” Ninelotus laughed. “Then you have to be careful. I just lost a round myself, just now.”
“Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning!” A cold voice rang out. Ning turned to look. The speaker was the white-robed Bloodrinker Bladask. Bladask’s purpose for coming was to defeat Ning, and thus vent the anger in his heart. He hadn’t expected to encounter Ninelotus, whom he had always admired very much. He had gone all out to defeat Ninelotus, in the hopes that this senior apprentice-sister would remember him in the future. Who would have imagined that after Ning arrived, he would immediately get into such an involved conversation with senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus.
“Senior apprentice-brother Bladask,” Ning laughed. Bladask responded in a cold voice, “Do you remember our battle at the cave?” Ning nodded. “I do. That time, I wished to tell you my name, but you, senior apprentice-brother Bladask, refused to let me do so. You said that we’d never meet again.”
The look on Bladask’s face changed as he heard this. Ning laughed and continued, “I didn’t even tell you my name, but it appears you already know it, senior apprentice-brother. Might I ask why you are calling for me?”
Bladask’s gaze was filled with a cold light. “Dare you go onto the dais and debate the Dao with me?” Ning turned his head to look towards the giant Dao Debate Palace. “Go onto the dais and debate the Dao?” The giant palace was quite similar to a giant dining room from his past life. There were quite a few seats nearby, and in the center, there was an enormous battle arena. At the same time, at each side of the arena, there was a tall stone pillar. The Dao debaters would seat themselves atop the stone pillars and rely on golems to engage in a battle!
Ninelotus, standing to the side, said, “Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, you must be careful. The person I just lost to was junior apprentice-brother Bladask.” Bladask, hearing this, felt all the more jealous, and the cold light in his eyes grew increasingly sharp. “Dare you, or dare you not?”
“I’ve come here precisely to spar with my fellow disciples. Why wouldn’t I dare?” Ning shook his head and laughed. “It’s just a hundred black-white pellets and five kilograms of liquefied elemental essence.”
“Haha, a hundred black-white pellets and five kilograms of liquefied elemental essence is just the smallest wager possible.” Bladask laughed coldly. “Black-white pellets are gifted to us by the College and are extremely rare. I’m willing to wager fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence. Do you dare accept?”
Ning frowned. Bladask continued in his cold voice, “Oh, right. As a new disciple, you only have fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence. I imagine that you probably wouldn’t be able to produce so much, junior apprentice-brother.” As he spoke, he waved his hand and produced an insignia. “This is an elemental mark from the Heavenly Treasures Mountain. It represents a thousand taels of liquefied elemental essence, which is to say, fifty kilograms. If you take it to the Heavenly Treasures Mountain, you can trade it for fifty kilograms!”
“Dare you accept my wager?” Bladask looked towards Ning.
The atmosphere instantly turned stiff. The other disciples immediately understood that there was something not quite right between Bladask and Ning. Previously, when they had battled Northson, they had only made the smallest of wagers; after all, nobody wanted to generate enmity and strife amongst their fellow disciples. For Bladask to increase the wager was a clear sign that he wanted to mistreat Ning.
If a new disciple were forced to take out fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence, wouldn’t that mean they wouldn’t have anything to train with?
But of course, they had no idea….that although Bladask originally did want to fight against Ning, he hadn’t planned on being so nasty. Only, he had noticed how engaged Ninelotus had been in her conversation with Ning. Ninelotus normally would say just a few meaningless phrases to him when he spoke to her, but towards Ning, she voluntarily spoke out to him. This made Bladask feel quite mistreated.
“How am I inferior to this Ji Ning? Why is it that senior apprentice-sister Ninelotus seems to treat him differently, from the very moment they met each other? In terms of treasures, family heritage, power, or clan, this Ji Ning is inferior to me!” The look in Bladask’s eyes grew still colder.
“Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning,” Ninelotus said. “You just joined the school. Let me lend you fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence.” When he heard these words, the angry aura emanating from Bladask grew only more terrifying.
But Ning only laughed. “No need. Since senior apprentice-brother Bladask wishes to wager fifty kilograms, then I will accept.” Ning waved his hand, and several insignias appeared as well. “These are elemental marks of the Heavenly Treasures Mountain. They can be traded for a thousand taels as well.”
“Eh?” “Elemental marks of the Heavenly Treasures Mountain?” All of them stared at the elemental marks. Bladask had entered the school long ago, and had gone adventuring in the outside world; it was normal for him to have acquired some treasures and traded them to the Heavenly Treasures Mountain for elemental marks! But Ji Ning had just entered the school, and yet he was able to casually bring out a thousand taels as well…this was quite extraordinary. What none of them realized was that Ning had won these marks at the duel at the Carefree Caverns.
Although news regarding the battle at the Carefree Caverns had spread out, these disciples of the Black-White College knew very little about it. Of the Primal Daoists, only Wu Xiu knew a bit more about these matters.
“A hundred black-white pellets and fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essences.” An old voice rang out. A white-haired old man who stood at the side of the Dao Debate Palace had spoken out. “Since you both accept, then let this be the wager.”
“Now, I’m going to ask the two disciples to each select their golem.” The white-haired elder continued to speak. He was a golem as well; he was responsible for some of the matters here in the Dao Debate Palace.
Ning and Bladask both immediately headed towards a side door; there were many golems placed within this side door to the Dao Debate Palace.
They entered a small hall. The white-haired elder pointed to the many golems; there were at least hundreds of them present. These golems were black, and looked like stone sculptures. “These golems have identical elemental ki cores. The energy they release will all be at the early Wanxiang Adept level. That way, those reincarnated Immortals who are within our school who are in possession of a divine sense won’t be able to use it to influence the battle significantly.”
Ning nodded. Divine sense was slightly superior to peak Zifu level power, but roughly the same as the early Wanxiang level. Even if it was used to control weapons, it wouldn’t impact the battle too much.
“These golems all come with their own weapons,” the white-haired elder continued. “They include flying swords, flying needles, giant warhammers…in short, all types of magic treasures are present! Choose a golem based on the type of weapon you prefer.”
Bladask was very quick to make his choice. He immediately walked towards a golem, placing it on the golem’s body and quickly binding it.
“I’ll go now. You can take your time in choosing.” Bladask gave Ning a glance, then immediately left. As for that golem, it transformed into a blur as it followed after him.
The spectating disciples within the Dao Debate Palace, Northson and Ninelotus included, numbered eight.
“The wager is actually this large. A hundred black-white pellets is one thing, but fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence! Junior apprentice-brother Bladask is going a bit too far. Hazing the new disciples is one thing, but you can’t do it like this.”
“It is a bit much, I agree.” The fellow disciples were all chatting amongst themselves. Right at this moment, Bladask walked back from the side door, then leapt directly forward by more than three hundred meters before landing atop a stone pillar that was thirty meters tall. He took a seat atop the stone pillar. Swoosh! That golem also leapt up and landed within the battle arena, then quietly waited there.
“He chose the Polaris Golem.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Bladask really is being quite vicious; he actually chose the Polaris Golem which he is the most proficient with.”
“I wonder which golem junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning will choose.”
There were no differences in quality in the golems; the only question was whether or not one was accustomed to using them. If, for example, Ning were to choose a golem that used a giant warhammer, he wouldn’t be able to unleash much of his power.
“He’s coming out.”
“Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning is coming out.” They all looked over. Northson’s eyes were filled with worry. As for Ninelotus, she stared carefully at Ning, her eyes filled with curiosity.
Ning walked out, a golem following him. Swoosh! Swoosh! Ning and the golem, in quick succession, leapt up then landed; Ning landed atop a stone pillar, sitting down, while the golem landed in the battle arena below, causing the arena to shudder slightly.
The two sat on their stone pillars, staring at each other from afar. Ning and Bladask’s gazes crossed. They were roughly three hundred meters away from each other. The golems below them were roughly three hundred meters away from each other as well.
“Begin!” The white-haired old man barked.
Rumble…instantly, a barrier of clear water immediately appeared. It was an enormous, barrier-type grand sealing formation that completely sealed the entire arena. Northson and the others were all outside of it, while Ning and Bladask were within it.
“The Thousandswords Golem!” Bladask, seated in the lotus position on the distant stone pillar, gave it a glance, then snorted coldly. “He doesn’t know his own limits.”
“I’d like to ask you for some guidance, senior apprentice-brother,” Ning called out in a high voice.
“Please.” Bladask shouted back.
The surrounding disciples all watched with bated breath. The newcomer who had been accepted by Immortal Diancai as his disciple, Ji Ning. Senior apprentice-brother Bladask, who had entered the school many years ago. Which of the two was the stronger?