The Desolate Era - Book 9, Chapter 14 - Return to Serpentwing Lake
“Not good.” Shui Yi was secretly shocked; he could sense that both the fur-clad youth and the white-robed steward by his side both posed a serious threat to him.
This sensation came from the killing intent that filled the hearts of Ning and Uncle White. Shui Yi could sense it, and thus his heart was filled with dread.
“I am Shui Yi. Given that the two of you have stopped me, I imagine that you already know who I am.” Shui Yi looked at the two of them. “I imagine that you two also expected that I would hurry back here from the distant Dong clan. Our Shui tribe is a small one, and it isn’t overly ambitious; if there’s anything you want, just go ahead and tell me. As long as I can accomplish it…naturally, I won’t decline.”
His words were simple, but at the same time, he not only issued a threat via his backers, the Dong clan, he also assumed a humble attitude. In an ordinary power struggle, this would be enough for the two sides to enter a negotiation. However…this wasn’t a power struggle. This was revenge!
“I want you…” Ning suddenly moved as he executed the Windwing Evasion, and a flashing sword-light stabbed directly through Shui Yi’s chest. Shui Yi wanted to dodge, and in fact, he even sent a few flying swords in front of him, but the difference in power between them was too great…in terms of power or in terms of the Dao, the difference was too great. In a single exchange, Shui Yi’s chest was pierced through.
“You…you!” Shui Yi stared. His flying swords fell down from midair, and multiple magic treasures spilled out next to him. Although his storage-type magic treasure remained with him, it was now an ownerless item, because his Zifu had been completely destroyed.
“You destroyed my Zifu…” Shui Yi couldn’t believe it.
“I’ll take these.” Ning waved his hand, collecting all of the magic treasures, then turned to stare coldly at Shui Yi. Although his Zifu had been destroyed, Shui Yi still stood there in midair, not sinking down at all…because an enormous Waterflame Lotus had bloomed beneath him, and Shui Yi was standing right on top of it, at its center. The lotus wasn’t swiveling; naturally, it contained no killing power.
“Why did you destroy my Zifu. I…I don’t even know you.” Shui Yi was stupefied. This sudden calamity was beyond his ability to comprehend. “Who exactly are you? Who are you!!!” Shui Yi’s face began to twist and distort. With his Zifu destroyed, his Immortal path had been severed; he would have no more hopes for advancement.
“Shui Yi, do you recognize me?” The nearby Uncle White transformed into mist, and then reformed into a snowy white dog.
“A Godbeast, Whitewater Hound?” When Shui Yi saw it, memories from twenty-plus years ago suddenly flooded his mind. These were memories from back when he followed young master Dong Seven. Back then, he had done all sorts of dastardly deeds with Dong Seven, but he had been completely fearless, because the young master would be able to deal with any repercussions. That truly was an enjoyable period of time for him.
Back then, he and Yu Dong had received orders to go capture a woman…but that woman’s elder brother and husband had used forbidden arts, frantically trying to block them. At that time, a snowy white dog had carried the woman away and fled.
“You…you are that Whitewater Hound?” Shui Yi looked at Ji Ning. “And you, you are…?”
“Those people you acted against were my uncle, my father, and my mother!” Ning stared at him, the cold look in his eyes causing Shui Yi’s heart to tremble.
“You are that child the woman was pregnant with?” Shui Yi stared. Good heavens. It was only twenty or so years. The child that woman was pregnant with had become this powerful? Could it be that the woman was pregnant with a reincarnated Immortal?
“Hmph.” With but a thought, Ning sent the elemental ki surging from his body, forming into a glowing rune that appeared in front of him. It was the Heartburner Art. The shining runic seal instantly merged into Shui Yi’s body.
“Enjoy this,” Ning said with cold emotionlessness. Shui Yi instantly let out an agonized scream. His flesh and his bones began to twist and distort, and his skin turned completely red. The agony was causing him to scream in pain.
“Kill me, kill me!” Heartrending roars rang out from Shui Yi’s mouth, but Ning just watched him calmly. “KILL ME!” Shui Yi bellowed. “Make it clean and fast!”
“Clean and fast? If I granted you your wish, who would come and grant me mine? Can you let my parents come back to life? Let my uncle come back to life?” Ning stared at him coldly. Shui Yi’s flesh was beginning to char, and his eyes had turned completely red. This was hell itself.
“I curse you, I curse you. You’ll die a miserable death, a miserable death!” Utterly agonized, Shui Yi stared death at Ning, filled with a towering rage.
Crackle, crackle, crackle…his body began to actually flicker with flames as it began to burn…
Ning produced the incense burner magic treasure. “In you go!” A soul was directly absorbed into the incense burner, then was corroded and destroyed. Ning then waved his hand, collecting all of the magic treasures that remained in the surrounding area.
Ning, previously incomparably icy, suddenly turned calm. Only, a very complicated look remained in his eyes. “Two are dead,” Ning said softly.
“Ning, son, your father and your mother never would have imagined that two out of the three culprits would have died in your hands so quickly.” Uncle White stood there to one side, gently patting Ning on the shoulders. “If they knew, they would definitely feel very gratified.”
“The last one, Dong Seven, remains. However, he’s at Snowdragon Mountain. That’s the headquarters of a school; even Loose Immortals would be cautious about charging into it. I have no chance at all, right now,” Ning said softly. “I’ll wait. I’ll let Dong Seven live for a bit longer, but when the time comes, I’ll destroy his soul as well!”
Revenge. Naturally, he wouldn’t give them a chance at all. These enemies were all Immortal cultivators with extremely powerful souls. Generally speaking, after they died and went to the Netherworld Kingdom, they could cooperate and become ghost soldiers, and eventually train to become Ghost Immortals. Ning wouldn’t permit this to occur.
“Let’s go. The others have been waiting quite a while,” Uncle White said. Ning turned his head and saw the distant Mu Northson and Little Qing. They clearly didn’t want to disturb Ning as he was taking revenge, and so simply had watched from far away.
“Right. It’s time to go back.” Next, Ning released Shui Tianyi. They were no grudges between them; given Ning’s proud disposition, he wouldn’t stoop to massacring this man. However, with Shui Yi’s death, in the future, the entire Shui clan would definitely begin to decay.
At the Crimson Dragon Mountains, the headquarters of the Raindragon Guard, not too far away from Stillwater City.
Ning and Northson both handed in their missions. “With these ten karmic points, we’ll have a hundred years of leisure.” Northson looked towards Ning. “Senior apprentice-brother, where are you planning to go?”
“I plan to go home,” Ning said. “I will probably stay permanently at Serpentwing Lake in my homeland, Swallow Mountain. I’ll occasionally go out and do some adventuring, but most of the time, I’ll be staying at Swallow Mountain.”
That place was his home.
That place had the people he was most familiar with.
That place had the underwater estate which would be of great use to him.
And similarly…it had been a long, long time since he had drifted about on a small boat on Serpentwing Lake, and enjoyed that feeling, that truly warm sensation, of being in the embrace of his father and his mother. He missed that sort of feeling.
“Back to Serpentwing Lake?” Northson paused for a moment, then said, “Senior apprentice-brother, then I’ll part with you for a time. I want to focus on analyzing the Dao of Constructs…I am going to return to the school. My master has reached an extremely deep level of understanding regarding the Dao of Constructs, and being with her is of great help to me. In addition, Master is close to the end of her life; I want to spend some time with her.”
Ning could sense that this junior apprentice-brother of his truly viewed Daoist Jadefine with affection, almost like the affection a son felt for a mother. After all, his actual mother had long since passed away.
“Alright.” Ning nodded. “Let’s split up for now. If you are free in the future, you can come to Serpentwing Lake of Swallow Mountain.”
“Right. When the time comes, I’ll definitely go to visit you, senior apprentice-brother,” Northson said with a nod. And then, Northson rode his dragon-headed warship into the skies, flying straight towards Stillwater City.
As for Ning, he just watched as his junior apprentice-brother left. Then, he turned to Little Qing and Uncle White. “Let’s go.” They walked towards the Crimson Dragon Mountain’s teleportation array. This place was rather far away from Swallow Mountain, and going through the array would be somewhat faster.
Swallow Mountain. The mountains were the same mountains; the water was the same water. A ship was soaring through its skies, and aboard it was a fur-clad youth, a large, snowy white hound, and also a little azure snake, the latest addition to the party.
“We’re back.” As Ning stared at the sight of his homeland, he revealed a hint of a smile on his face. “When I left, it was winter, and white snow covered the entire place. Upon my return…it is still the cold winter.”
When he had left the Black-White College and joined the Raindragon Guard, it had been the middle of summer. However, after the trials at the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains, the pursuit of criminal suspects, and the killing of Yu Dong and Shui Yi, it was already the middle of winter. The ground below was covered with silver-white decorations of snow. Swallow Mountain was a cold place to begin with, and in the winter, it was almost completely covered in snow. When Ning was born, the world was covered in snow as well.
“Serpentwing Lake.” The Whitewater Hound suddenly spoke in the human tongue. “We’re here.” Ning, too, stared at the vast Serpentwing Lake. Although snow had built up on the banks of the lake, the waters of the seemingly endless lake continued to flow forth in waves. A lake of this size…even in the coldest of temperatures, it would very rarely be completely frozen over.
“Serpentwing Lake.” Upon seeing the lake, Ning felt a surge of warmth. His mother’s ashes…his father’s ashes…they had all been sprinkled into the waters of this lake. The boat drifted downwards from the skies, landing in the middle of the lake.
“Father. Mother.” Ning looked towards the lake, then revealed a smile. “I’m back. Of our three enemies, your son was only strong enough to kill two of them for now. One of them is awaiting his turn. He, too, will die.”
“Uncle White. I’m going to sleep for a time,” Ning said. The Whitewater Hound nodded. Ning then lay down on the boat, feeling incomparably relaxed and comfortable. The boat drifted atop the surface of the lake. It felt so very wonderful, far more so than sleeping on a bed. The gentle rocking movements of the boat stop the waters of the lake…it felt like how, when he was an infant, his mother had constantly cradled him in her arms.
The boat slowly rocked forward, a Whitewater Hound lying on one side of it, and with a little azure serpent wrapped around Ning’s wrist, snuggly nestled against him.
Slowly, the boat floated towards the center, towards Brightheart Island.
Sundown. Only now did the boat draw close to the shores of Brightheart Island. Ning could sense the auras of the many people living on the island, and he naturally rose to his feet. As he rose to his feet, he saw the distant snowbanks, and a white-robed woman standing within them, staring towards him, unable to disguise the tears within her eyes.
“Autumn Leaf!” Ji Ning revealed a smile on his face. “I’m back.”