The Desolate Era - Book 8, Chapter 3 - Our Master, Ji Ning
“Meng Roch?” Ning’s eyes lit up. Although he had only known Roch for a few days when they met on the way to Stillwater City, he felt extremely well-disposed towards Roch. In addition, the fact that he was willing to sacrifice his own life for others meant that he was someone worthy of Ning’s assistance.
“Cloudship!” Ning called out in a high voice. Cloudship soon hurried over, bowing and saying with respect, “Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, you wanted me?”
Ning nodded, then pointed to the nearby Northmont Baiwei. “Baiwei, in a short while, lead this Cloudship and arrange for someone to send Cloudship to Meng Roch’s place. Let Cloudship bring Roch back to the Black-White College.”
“Alright.” Baiwei nodded. Ning looked towards Cloudship. “Cloudship, do you hear and understand?” The reason why he wanted Cloudship to go was because he could tell that Cloudship was a lively fellow who was able to make snap decisions based on the actual situation. Whatever Ning asked him to do, he would definitely do perfectly well.
Cloudship immediately nodded. “Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, don’t worry. I will definitely invite Meng Roch over.” “Good.” Only now did Ning nod.
Baiwei laughed. “I’ve carried out my father’s tasks as well. Next are the gifts that I personally prepared for you.” “Baiwei, what are you…” Ning hurriedly moved to refuse, but Baiwei immediately interjected, “Don’t decline. You and I are brothers. You have entered the Black-White College, and had a glorious performance at the Dao Debate. As your brother, how can I not prepare a congratulatory gift? Don’t worry; because of the restrictions which Father placed on me, I’m not as wealthy or as generous as Father, and my gift isn’t that valuable.”
Ning let out a laugh. If Baiwei had already put things this way, what else could he, Ning, do? Baiwei waved his hand, and a thick, seemingly ordinary-looking book appeared. Although this book seemed to be made from excellent materials, Ning couldn’t notice anything special about it at first glance.
“I imagine that quite soon, you’ll be going out to do some adventuring. Immortal practitioners all must be tempered by countless life-and-death experiences. Only then will we be able to walk farther on our Immortal paths.” Baiwei laughed and continued, “Thus, I prepared a map for you! This is a map of the entire Xia Dynasty.”
Ning called out in shock, “The entire Xia Dynasty?” The Xia Dynasty was unimaginably vast! “Don’t get too excited. The Xia Dynasty is enormous, and this map only goes into detail regarding our Stillwater Commandery. It only has some rough information regarding the distant places of the vast Xia Dynasty, which is thousands of times larger than our commandery. At least, however, you won’t get lost.” Baiwei was a bit resigned. “A detailed map of the entire Xia Dynasty is something which even I don’t have access to.”
Ning sighed inwardly. To Immortal practitioners who went out adventuring, the importance of a good map was unquestionable. This was because there were simply far too many mysteries, dangers, and terrifying locations in this vast world. If one moved about blindly and ignorantly, one might accidentally charge into a fatal area. If that happened, one really would die a miserable death.
“Now that I’ve done what I need to, it’s time for me to leave.” Baiwei rose and laughed, “I know that for a genius like you, your training time is quite precious.” Ning rose to his feet as well and asked, “Leaving so soon?”
“Your Black-White College is within Stillwater City. I can come any time.” Baiwei led his servants and Cloudship, then quickly departed.
Ning watched as Baiwei and the others transformed into streaks of light and departed. Only now did he lower his head to stare at the six jade platters of treasures that were before him.
“My [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] just so happened to be lacking in swords, and now I’ve received two sets of them.” Ning stared at the two sets of flying swords; one a set of 72, the other a set of 18. The set of 18 swords in particular appeared to be all exceptionally fine flying swords. “Although I haven’t used the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] many times, Northmont Blacktiger clearly knew long ago that I need a large number of flying swords. He really lives up to his reputation as being a potential candidate for the next Marquis of Stillwater. His information really is reliable.”
“As a Zifu Disciple, it should’t be too hard for me to cobble together seven hundred or so Mortal-ranked flying swords. But once I reach the Wanxiang Adept level, I’ll need seven hundred or so Earth-ranked flying swords. As a Primal Daoist, I’ll need Heaven-ranked flying swords.”
Ning sighed to himself. The [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] was something which caused even Immortal Juhua concern. Ning also possessed the [Nuwa Painting], and walked the path of the Sword Immortal. Indeed, the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] was extremely well suited for him. Most likely, the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation], in his hands, would be even more effective than it had been for the Thousand Swords Immortal.
Ning continued to view the treasures. “Wings?” Ning looked at the black wings atop the jade platter. “They are much better than the wings I acquired after killing the disciples of Snowdragon Mountain.” The wings weren’t that useful for Ning, as he primarily used them to cover-up the fact that he used the [Windwing Evasion].
This was a divine ability which the ancestor of the Yuchi clan had only acquired after rescuing a Celestial Immortal, who in his gratitude had bestowed it upon the clan. It was abundantly clear from the fact that even the entire Black-White College only had five divine abilities that divine abilities were incomparably precious. No wonder the Yuchi clan insisted on using wing-type magic treasures to disguise themselves.
“The flying boat!” Ning stared at the fourth present, then laughed. “A top-grade Mortal-ranked magic treasure. In the future, I’ll be able to travel much more quickly.” Ning stretched his hands out, effortlessly binding both the wings and the boat-type magic treasures.
“The miasma gas magic treasure.” Ning stared at the fifth treasure. He picked up that white jade bottle. After easily binding it, he discovered that within, there was a white pearl, surrounded by an extremely dense foggy white miasma gas.
“Step back. Go far away.” Ning swept the surrounding area with his gaze, and the nearby Cloudjade hurriedly retreated all the way out of the courtyard. “Activate.” Ning willed it.
Instantly, a large amount of white miasma gas filled the courtyard. The white miasma gas covered an area of many tens of meters, and the density of it was such that even Ning’s Fiendgod-enhanced eyes were only just barely able to view his own fingers. In fact, it even influenced the surrounding elemental ki flow, causing Ning to be unable to sense what was around him.
“According to what I hear, miasma gas magic treasures are extremely suited for fleeing, precisely because they prevent both vision with the naked eye as well as sensing one’s surroundings.” Ning nodded lightly. “So it really is the case. Even I, the person who released the miasma gas, am unable to see the surrounding area. Once I release this miasma gas…for a short period of time, my foe will be unable to find me. I can choose a direction and immediately flee.”
Miasma gases were unable to distinguish from friend or foe. What Ning bound was the jade bottle and the pearl within it; that miasma gas simply existed within the pearl itself.
“I wonder if my divine sense can see through it.” Ning willed it, and suddenly…whoosh! His divine sense spread out, instantly encompassing the entire courtyard. “Eh?” Ning revealed a hint of delight. Although the miasma gas was so powerful as to be able to disturb the flow of natural elemental energy, under Ning’s divine sense…everything still appeared.
“Excellent.” Ning was overjoyed. “To others, miasma gas magic-treasures are only for fleeing, but for me…I can release the miasma gas to befuddle my foes, then engage them and kill them in close quarters.” This combat tactic instantly flashed through Ning’s mind. Given that his own divine sense was not affected by the gas, in the future, it would be much easier for him to deal with Wanxiang Adepts.
“Yet another killer move,” Ning laughed. Ning then looked towards the sixth jade platter. Five hundred kilograms of liquefied elemental essence! This was an astonishing fortune; ordinary Earth-ranked magic treasures were worth merely five kilograms, which was to say that this gift was the equivalent of a hundred Earth-ranked magic treasures! Even if he wanted powerful Earth-ranked magic treasures, he would still be able to trade for eight or ten of them.
Even when Baiwei and Fox had been betting frantically against each other, the stakes had only gone up to forty or fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence.
“Northmont Blacktiger really is quite generous.” Ning no longer hesitated; he collected the treasures, picked up the jade bottles, and headed for his private training room.
Within the private room. The jade flask was placed in front of him, and the stopper had been pulled open. Ning sat in the lotus position atop the jade bed, calming himself down. He opened his mouth, and the liquefied elemental essence within the jade bottle instantly began to fly out and be absorbed by Ning’s body.
The enormous Zifu Lake within the illusory space of the Zifu Violet Palace. The watersource suddenly began to surge with large amounts of pure elemental energy. The entire Zifu Lake began to swirl about expand in an incomparably rapid pace.
The outer regions of the Zifu Lake were constantly expanding towards every direction. The lake was growing to take up a larger and larger amount of the illusory space, and began to surge towards the deepest recesses of it.
Expanding! It was still expanding! Fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence. A hundred. A hundred fifty…Ning didn’t hesitate at all, constantly refining and absorbing it all. His base was solid, and his comprehension of the Dao was quite high. His divine soul was very strong, and his sword-heart was lustrous…he absolutely could surge all the way to the early Wanxiang Adept stage if he so chose.
The Zifu Lake continued to expand. It now covered a truly shocking amount of space, and could even be said to have expanded from a ‘lake’ to a ‘sea’. A Zifu Sea!
Three hundred kilograms. Three hundred fifty kilograms!
“Last time, I used forty or so kilograms of liquefied elemental essence. This time, if I use another 360 kilograms, it’ll be about enough,” Ning mused to himself. According to the [Flowing Watersource], if one refined four hundred kilograms of liquefied elemental essence as a Zifu Disciple, then the foundation that one would establish would be the so-called ‘foundation for a Celestial Immortal’. The Manifestation one would later have would also be the best of Manifestations.
“Rumble…” 355 kilograms. 360 kilograms. 365 kilograms.
“Why doesn’t my Zifu Lake feel as though it has reached its maximum capacity yet?” Ning was feeling rather puzzled, and he slowed down the rate at which he was refining liquefied elemental essence as well. Some of the weaker Ki Refining techniques made it so that the practitioner’s Zifu Lake would at best be able to withstand fifty kilograms of liquefied elemental essence. But Ning had already been able to withstand more than four hundred kilograms.
370 kilograms…390 kilograms…400 kilograms! Ning opened his eyes, halting his training.
“Last time, I used forty kilograms, and this time, I used four hundred. And yet, my Violet Palace is able to continue to accumulate more?” Ning frowned. Although the [Waterstream Source] hadn’t described an upper limit in detail, and there were small differences in each person’s capacity, generally speaking, four hundred kilograms should be quite close to the limit.
“I’ll halt for now. In two days, when I meet Master, I’ll ask him.” Ning halted his training.
As Ning was training. In a quite, secluded courtyard within East Stillwater City. Roch was seated in the lotus position on his bed, quietly nourishing his own Zifu Violet Palace. His Violet Palace had been damaged; naturally, he had to carefully cultivate it and heal it.
“Rocky, Rocky, come out, quick!” A frantic voice rang out. “Uncle Ming?” Roch came to an immediate halt, leaving the bed and walking out. “Uncle Ming, what is it?”
Roch pushed the door opened, then saw the bald, middle-aged man, his entire face covered with urgency. Roch felt extremely grateful towards Uncle Ming; at least Uncle Ming had let him stay here this entire time.
“Did you cause trouble or offend someone? A guard of Stillwater Commandery has come in search of you.” The bald-headed, middle-aged Uncle Ming was utterly frantic right now.
“Ah?!” Roch shook his head. “I haven’t.” Uncle Ming hurriedly said, “Enough talk. Hurry, go see him.” Although he had safely secured this quiet, secluded little residence for himself in Stillwater City, compared to the exalted Marquisate of Stillwater…he was like an ant in front of a divine dragon. No – he wasn’t even an ant. He was nothing more than a speck of sand.
Roch, his face covered with puzzlement and unease, quickly appeared before the gates of the estate. In front of the gates, there were two armored Zifu Disciple guards, and next to them was a white-robed youth. The two guards were standing behind this white-robed youth.
Upon seeing this, although he felt terror in his heart, Roch also felt a hint of bitterness. “To be able to have guards of the Marquis of Stillwater stand behind me…how long will it be before I can be at this level?” Roch felt sourness in his heart. “I’m not even able to join a school right now. Not a single school wants me. How long will it be before I am able to continue walking down my Immortal path!?”
The tall, skinny, white-robed man, upon seeing Roch, immediately revealed a smile. “Are you Brother Meng Roch?” “Brother…Meng Roch?” Roch stared. The bald Uncle Ming, by his side, was astonished as well. He hurriedly said, “Yes, he’s Meng Roch.”
The tall, skinny, white-robed man laughed. “My name is Cloudship. I have come on the orders of my master, Ji Ning, to invite you, Brother Meng Roch, to the Black-White College.”