The Desolate Era - Book 7, Chapter 36 - Junior Apprentice-Brother Ji Ning Welcomes All Challengers
The winter wind was quite refreshing. Ji Ning stood atop his boat, soaring through the skies, and in his mind, he continued to think back to the scenes of his master, Immortal Diancai, displaying sword arts for him to see.
“Master’s sword arts have truly reached an inconceivable level,” Ning sighed to himself Diancai has often referred to as the ‘second coming of Immortal Northwalker’, and also as the disciple of the Black-White College with the greatest chances of becoming a Celestial Immortal. Immortal Diancai’s sword arts vastly surpassed the level which Ning was able to comprehend.
“Hm? Someone’s here?” As his flying boat reached the air above Darknorth Peak, Ning saw that there were currently two people standing outside the gates to his estate. It was a white-robed Mu Northson and Winterain, dressed in white cotton clothes.
Swoosh. Ning landed on the ground. “Master.” The ordinary mortals standing at the gate immediately saluted.
“Junior apprentice-brother Northson, senior apprentice-sister Winterain, why are you here?” After landing, Ning smiled towards them. Only now did Winterain let out a long sigh of relief. “Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth, can it be that you don’t know about today’s matters?”
Of course Ning knew. “Senior apprentice-sister Winterain, are you referring to the challenges at the Dao Debate Palace?”
“Of course.” Winterain nodded. “Today, many of our fellow disciples have hurried over there. Even some of our fellow disciples who were not present in the college, upon hearing this news, have hurried back. I’ve came to invite you to the Dao Debate Palace, junior apprentice-brother Darknorth.”
Ning nodded. Winterain continued, “Let’s hurry. I imagine many of our fellow disciples are growing impatient.”
“Alright.” Ning looked towards the nearby Northson. “Junior apprentice-brother Northson, why didn’t you go to the Dao Debate Palace, and instead came to find me?”
“Need you ask?” Northson stared. “The entire Black-White College only has two new disciples; you and me. The two of us are on one side. All those people at the Dao Debate Palace are older, more senior disciples. If I go there, what am I supposed to do? Just stand there like an idiot and be stared at by everyone?”
Ning laughed. “Let’s go.” There was no way to back off now. If he backed off, he would be looked down upon by everyone. He might as well openly go welcome the challenges.
Whoosh. The three rode atop their respective magic treasures or construct, quickly disappearing into the skies as three rays of light which sped towards the Dao Debate Palace.
It was rare for so many fellow disciples to be gathered here at the Dao Debate Palace. Every single one of the disciples present today could be described as truly heroic figures.
“Why hasn’t that junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning arrived yet?”
“That young junior apprentice-brother, Ji Ning…he wouldn’t be afraid, would he?”
The fellow disciples were all chatting in small groups amongst themselves as they waited. It was, however, almost noon. Some of those who had come earlier had been waiting for nearly four hours. Naturally, they were growing rather impatient.
Suddenly…three figures flew towards them from afar, then landed at the gates to the Dao Debate Palace. This instantly attracted the attention of many of their fellow disciples.
“Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning came.”
“That’s junior apprentice-brothers Ji Ning and Northson. Next to them is junior apprentice-sister Winterain.” Ji Ning and Northson had appeared at the grand ceremony of initiation, after all; most of the people were still able to recognize them with one glance.
Senior apprentice-brother Holyfire, seated in the center, glanced at them then said softly, “That fur-clad one is Ji Ning?” Northmont Blackcurrent, seated next to him, immediately said hurriedly, “Right, he is Ji Ning.”
“Just from the look in his eyes, I can tell that his Dao-heart is very resolute,” Holyfire said softly. Blackcurrent replied, “If junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning knew that you were praising him like this, senior apprentice-brother, I imagine he would be endlessly overjoyed.”
After entering the Dao Debate Palace, Ning went directly to the side room where he had previously activated the Thousandswords golem, and then brought the golem to return to the hall.. He stood there, in the hall, sweeping everyone with his gaze.
There were familiar figures, such as Ninelotus and the others. There were several figures he didn’t recognize, but who the other fellow disciples surrounded; clearly, these were extremely high-ranking figures of the College, such as that bald, fiery-robed youth, that black-robed maiden, or that sloppy-looking fat youth, or that large, muscular youth whose entire body gleamed with magic treasures but whose skin was jade-white…
“Those people being surrounded by others are probably the most supreme members of the third generation. They have probably either comprehended an entire Dao Path or are reincarnated Immortals,” Ning mused to himself.
Swoosh. Ning leapt forward like a streak of light, moving three hundred meters and landing on a distant stone pillar. Staring at his surroundings, he said in a clear voice, “My senior fellow disciples.”
Instantly, the entire Dao Debate Palace grew silent.
“Yesterday, I was lucky enough to defeat two senior apprentice-brothers,” Ning said in a high voice. “Thus, today I have come again. Any of my senior fellow disciples who wishes to discuss the Dao with me can come up and do so. As for the wager…I’ve recently joined the school, and can’t afford too large a wager, and so we’ll just go with the smallest wager of a hundred black-white pellets and five kilograms of liquefied elemental essence. I will wait here. Anyone who wishes to discourse on the Dao with me can come up.”
His words concluded. The entire Dao Debate Palace remained quiet for a moment of time.
That seemingly sloppy-looking, pudgy youth who was surrounded by many others laughed, his face covered with delight, as he looked towards Ji Ning, who stood there in the distance atop the stone pillar. “This junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning really is straightforward and passionate. I like him.”
This sloppy-looking, pudgy youth…was, awe-inspiringly enough, the undisputed number one figure of the third generation of Black-White College disciples. In the outside world, he was often referred to as the ‘Sloppy Daoist’, but his actual Daoist title was ‘Threefat’. Although he was not a reincarnated Immortal, Daoist Threefat was able to suppress the two reincarnated Immortals in might, and so became known as the number one figure amongst the third generation. One truly couldn’t judge by looks alone.
“Hear that? Even little Sloppy likes this Ji Ning.” In a corner of the Dao Debate Palace, the similarly sloppy-looking short elder chortled. Next to him, the black-haired, black-robed Immortal Diancai said resignedly, “Senior apprentice-brother Fivecraze, why did we have to come here to the Dao Debate Palace? We could’ve stayed in our own estate and used a water-scrying technique; wouldn’t we still be able to see everything going on here? Our apprentice-nephews such as the headmaster are definitely all watching this in their own estates through a water-scrying technique.”
The short elder glanced sideways at Immortal Diancai. “When we watch here, we can also hear the conversations going on between the third generation disciples. That’s so much more fun. As for little Sloppy, he really is the disciple I love the most; even his thoughts are identical to mine. Don’t worry; we’ll watch here secretly, and those third generation disciples won’t notice a thing.”
“Alas.” Immortal Diancai shook his head helplessly. This old fellow really was getting crazier and crazier.
Birds of a feather flock together; ‘Sloppy’ had even given himself the Daoist title ‘Threefat’, and was incredibly sloppily dressed. Immortal Diancai was an extremely strict person; naturally, he disliked this tremendously. But there was nothing he could do…’Old Crazy’ was the oldest of the Loose Immortals of the Black-White College, while ‘Young Crazy’ was the most talented disciple the Black-White College had to offer.
“I hope that I can live to witness little Sloppy become an Earth Immortal. If I can witness him become a Celestial Immortal, I’ll die with no regrets.” The short elder suddenly turned somber and serious.
“Senior apprentice-brother?” Immortal Diancai was startled. The short elder stared at the fat, sloppy-looking youth who was surrounded by many other disciples. “Just you wait and see. Little Sloppy will definitely be more powerful than me.”
Immortal Diancai’s gaze fell towards the distant stone pillar, and towards Ji Ning who was seated atop it. This was the only disciple under his tutelage.
“It’s about to begin.” The short elder’s eyes lit up. “It’s the fellow called Qinghe.”
There were very many third generation disciples gathered here at the Dao Debate Palace. The first to stand out was Qinghe, the man who was publicly acknowledged as the strongest of the Zifu Disciple students.
Swoosh. An azure-robed figure moved forward like a blur, flying directly towards the distant stone pillar before coming to a halt atop it. The golem he controlled moved with him, landing on the arena below.
“Junior apprentice-brother Ji Ning.” The azure-robed figure stared at the distant Ning. “My name is Qinghe. I joined a few years before you did, and would like to discuss the Dao with you.”
“Alright.” Ning nodded.
“Begin.” The white-haired elder let out a loud shout, and the grand sealing formation instantly covered the entire arena. Ning sat down calmly in the lotus position, and senior apprentice-brother Qinghe did the same.
“Be careful, junior apprentice-brother. I am going to use a secret art which I discovered when adventuring in the outside world; it is an art which a dying senior left behind, which allows for the control of many flying needles. This isn’t a technique which our school has records about,” Qinghe said.
“Senior apprentice-brother, feel free to use it,” Ning replied clearly. The territory controlled by the Grand Xia Dynasty was too vast. Over the course of countless years, there were quite a few legacies left behind by Fiendgods or various major powers. As for legacies left behind by senior Immortal cultivators…those were countless beyond counting. Only, these relic sites also involved tremendous levels of danger. Without having enough ability, one could not rashly enter them.
“Watch carefully.” Qinghe appeared quite relaxed, but suddenly, his gaze sharpened.
Swish swish swish swish swish. Countless flying needles suddenly flew out of the body of the golem below him. Those countless jade-green flying needles spun in midair, resonating with each other and actually forming an enormous green scorpion. This giant jade-green scorpion’s eyes were flashing with a ferocious intent.
For some reason, this caused Ning to feel alarmed. “Not easy to deal with.” He had been planning to once more use his [Duality Azureflame Sword], but he instantly decided to use his current most powerful technique; the [Neo-Tripartite Lotus Sword].
What he didn’t know was that Qinghe, as the publicly acknowledged number one expert of the Zifu Disciples, had a level of insight into the Dao that was comparable to that of most Wanxiang Adepts already. He, too, had reached the Dao Domain level. In terms of insight, he definitely was not inferior to Ning. In addition, he had spent many years analyzing this ‘Scorpic Godneedles’ technique. Given his power, if Ning didn’t fight back at full strength, he would probably be crushed instantly.
Three swords suddenly lit up. One transformed into a watery light, the second into a fiery glow, and the third into an azure aura. The three flying swords formed into a tripartite formation, and as they flew forward, suddenly transformed into an enormous lotus flower, which had an incomparably sharp and fierce sword light within the blossom.
“He wins.” The short elder in the corner of the Dao Debate Palace sighed. “This sword art was born from the [Tripartite Lotus Sword], but is more heavily focused towards the water-element of the Five Elements. However, this power really is quite something! Ji Ning just entered the College, and yet was already able to learn such a powerful technique. He’s definitely not weaker than any ordinary Wanxiang Adept disciples. Sword Immortals…they are famous for their combat abilities. With the heart of a Sword Immortal and a sword art such as this…if he encounters someone at the same level of insight, he will win for sure.”
As the short elder was speaking, the sword light in the form of a lotus flower was clashing repeatedly in midair against the giant, jade-green scorpion. With each clash, a few of the needles would be knocked loose. After six consecutive clashes, the giant, jade-green scorpion completely shattered, transforming back into countless flying needles.
“Slash.” The protective armor of the Godneedles Golem was pierced by that sword light as well.
The entire Dao Debate Palace instantly fell silent. He had lost? The most powerful of the Zifu Disciples, Qinghe, had actually lost? If even he had lost…could it be that one of their senior apprentice-brothers at the Wanxiang Adept level would enter the fray? For the sake of a new disciple, they were going to have a Wanxiang Adept do battle?
“Ji Ning wins.” The white-haired old man spoke out, and his voice echoed within the Dao Debate Palace.