The Desolate Era - Book 9, Chapter 28 - Taken Away
“Bring Little Yun back here!” An unfathomably old and reclusive patriarch of the Dongyan clan gave the order personally.
“Yes, Forefather.” A Loose Immortal, ‘Immortal Norshok’, responded with great respect. That very day, he led a group of Loose Immortals in an awe-inspiring display as they left the Dongyan Mountains of the Highwater Commandery.
The warm spring had come, and the flowers had bloomed. A leaf-shaped boat was lazily floating about on the surface of Serpentwing Lake. Atop the boat were only two people; Ji Ning and Ninelotus. In the past, the two had never made their feelings clear to each other, but upon both of them acknowledging each other as Dao-companions, upon acknowledging that they would continue to accompany each other as companions for the rest of their long life on the Immortal path…their hearts only grew closer.
The two sat there, facing each other atop the boat. In front of them was a table, and on the table was some Immortal wine. This Immortal wine had naturally been provided by Ninelotus. Ninelotus had an extraordinary background, and the cups, wine, and various other items she carried with her were all things which Ning had never seen before.
“What sort of wine is this?” Ning held an exquisite jade wine cup in his hand, lightly tasting the wine. Instantly, his entire body became filled with a pleasurable feeling, while his heartrate began to quicken.
“This is known as ‘Immortal Dong’s Wine’.” Ninelotus held a cup of her own. “This wine actually has quite a history to it. In another one of the major worlds, one which is comparable in size and scope to this world of ours which is under the control of the Grand Xia Dynasty, an Immortal maiden from the Heaven Realm descended upon it. By a chance encounter, she met with an ordinary Immortal cultivator of that world, ‘Dong You’…the two entered into a secret relationship, wishing to accompany each other forever. Unfortunately, that Immortal maiden had an extremely exalted status in the Heaven Realm; the elders behind her would absolutely not permit her, an exalted Celestial Immortal, to become Dao-companions with an ordinary Immortal cultivator. Thus, they forced them apart.”
Ning immediately let out a moved sigh. An Immortal maiden of the Heaven Realm? A cultivator of the mortal realm?
“Afterwards, this Dong You swore an oath that he would ascend to the Heaven Realm and take back his Dao-companion.” Ninelotus said softly, “A mortal cultivator actually dared to claim he would go to the Heaven Realm and take his Dao-companion back…this was simply inconceivable. But Dong You actually managed to overcome all of his difficulties, conquer the Heavenly tribulation, and become a carefree, eternal Celestial Immortal. He even became one of the leading figures of his major world, and then…he led the many Immortals of his major world to charge towards and attack the Heaven Realm. In the end…the powers behind the Immortal maiden lowered their heads. He took her back…and their legend became known throughout the Three Realms.”
Ning sighed in amazement. He had become a Celestial Immortal, then led a group of Immortals from his major world to assault the Heavens themselves?
“Dong You is also known as Immortal Eastroam, and has become an awe-inspiringly famous figure in the Three Realms. Even I, as a child, heard stories of him.” Ninelotus sighed with emotion, “And this Immortal wine was the wine concoted by Immortal Eastroam, Dong You. Many Immortals of many major worlds love this wine, and my Dongyan clan managed to acquire a bit. I carry three canteens of it with me, but have never tasted it before.” After speaking, Ninelotus cast Ning a glance.
There was something she left out; the reason she had never tasted it was because she had always planned to one day enjoy it with her own Dao-companion. This Immortal Dong’s Wine was a sort of testament to fidelity in love, and so maidens of the royal Xia clan, the Dongyan clan, and other supreme clans liked to collect this wine and enjoy it with their Dao-companions.
Ning, in turn, understood what Ninelotus was thinking. He took another small sip of this Immortal wine. The rousing feeling in his heart brought by the wine did indeed feel similar to the feeling one might have upon seeing one’s beloved woman.
“Eh?” Ning suddenly frowned, raising his head. Ninelotus did the same.
In the formerly completely empty sky, an enormous, completely black warship had appeared. The warship was extremely wide, and it was covered with fluttering flags with two characters atop it; ‘Dong’ and ‘Yan’. The warship emanated an aura of might, as though it were capable of battling the heavens and the earth.
Rows of armored Dao-soldiers stood atop the desk of the warship, and the eyes of these Immortal cultivators were both cold and dominating. Each of them was at least at the Wanxiang Adept level, and they were trained to a high level.
Waves of wind crushed outward from the warship as it soared towards Serpentwing Lake. The invisible ripples of wind caused the surface of the distant Serpentwing Lake to generate massive waves, and the little boat Ning and Ninelotus were seated on were lifted up as well.
“In you go.” Ning immediately collected the little boat. He and Ninelotus stood on the surface of Serpentwing Lake. The lakewater around them immediately grew calm. Although awe-inspiringly massive waves crashed down nearby, the area immediately next to them was completely calm and placid.
“What’s going on?” Ning sent to the nearby Ninelotus, “Senior apprentice-sister, this is a warship of your Dongyan clan, but it seems they come with ill intentions.”
“It must be that the clan has learned of our affairs. But…very few know about you and me. Luo Qing knew more than a year ago; if she notified the clan, the clan would’ve come long ago…for them to only come today means that it was most likely Chen Jin who told them.” A hint of worry appeared on Ninelotus’ face. “The day I worried the most about has finally come…”
Ning looked at Ninelotus. “Senior apprentice-sister,” he said softly.
“I’m the next leader of the Dongyan clan. I refuse to believe that I won’t even be permitted to decide upon my own Dao-companion.” Ninelotus looked at Ning. “Don’t worry.”
Ning, however, suddenly felt an invisible pressure descend upon him. In this moment, he finally, suddenly understood the meaning of Ninelotus preparing Immortal Dong’s Wine for them. “So she was telling me to be steadfast…”
The enormous warship slowly descended, landing atop the surface of Serpentwing Lake. It came to a halt directly in front of Ning and Ninelotus. In the face of this massive, three thousand meter long warship, Ning and Ninelotus seemed so small, so puny.
An opening appeared at the head of the warship, and a wide plank automatically descended, landing on the surface of the lake. A man dressed in golden Daoist robes walked out, and behind him were nine Primal Daoists whose auras filled the skies. Behind the nine were a group of armored Wanxiang Adepts. This group of Immortal cultivators caused both the heavens and the earth to shudder; a martial force like this would be able to annihilate a sect like Snowdragon Mountain without any problems at all.
“The leader is Immortal Norshok of our Dongyan clan. Behind him are his nine Primal Daoist disciples, and behind them is the Darkane Guard of our Dongyan clan; all of them are at the Wanxiang Adept level,” Ninelotus sent to him. Right at this moment, she saw that Ning’s face had turned rather white. “Ji Ning, what’s wrong?”
“I’m fine,” Ning said softly.
Surges of terrifyingly powerful divine will were crashing against his soul.
Immortal Norshok and the nine Primal Daoists behind him had simultaneously launched divine will attacks against him; even Ning felt it incredibly hard to endure against an attack like this. His mind was focused on silently visualizing the painting of Mother Nuwa, and as it did, an image of Mother Nuwa appeared in his skull, emanating golden light and causing Ning’s soul to grow calm and steady, allowing him to endure the repeatedly clashes.
“Eh?” The golden-robed Immortal Norshok’s forehead creased slightly. He had led such a large group over for the express purpose of shocking and awing this kid from a backwater clan, and this divine will clash was meant to teach him a long-lasting lesson. However, this young man named Ji Ning, who was just barely twenty years of age, had actually been able to withstand the divine will attacks of himself and his nine mighty disciples.
“Master, this Ji Ning’s soul is quite powerful…can it be that he’s a reincarnated Immortal?”
“Even if he is a reincarnated Immortal, of what use is he to our Dongyan clan?” Immortal Noshok sent a calm message back mentally.
Even the Black-White College had quite a few reincarnated Immortals within it. What were reincarnated Immortals? They were individuals who, at the Earth Immortal or Loose Immortal stage, had despaired of making any further advancements and thus had chosen to reincarnate! After reincarnating, although it would be fairly easy for them to once more train to become Earth Immortals…if they didn’t succeed in becoming Celestial Immortals in their past life, it was very possible that they also wouldn’t be successful in this life!
After withstanding the divine will clash and sending the enemy divine wills off, Ning understood that these people had definitely come with ill intentions!
“Little Yun.” Immortal Norshok didn’t even look at Ning, just looking at Ninelotus. “It’s time to go back.”
“Wasn’t I only supposed to go back after becoming a Primal Daoist?” Ninelotus frowned. “Why must I go back so early? On whose authority?” Her status in the clan was very high; even Immortals didn’t have the authority to order her around.
“The Forefather personally gave the order for me to bring you back,” Immortal Norshok said solemnly.
“The Forefather?” Ninelotus was stunned.
In some clans, on occasion, an extremely powerful person would appear, whose status was far more exalted than even that of the clan leader. Ning’s status in the Ji clan was one such example! His status surpassed the Patriarch’s; although he wasn’t the titular clan leader, he was the true leader of the clan.
And for the Dongyan clan…the Forefather of the Dongyan clan was the true leader of the clan. He was an ancient presence that had existed for an unfathomably long period of time; his lifespan was measured in hundreds of millions of years. Anyone capable of living this long was, very naturally, not a Loose Immortal! The high level members of the Dongyan clan were all certain that the Forefather was a Celestial Immortal, but the Forefather himself had never admitted to it or publicized his status.
His true power was also a mystery; however, those few times he did display it, those so-called Loose Immortals were completely unable to even try and resist his might.
No one in the clan could go against his decrees. He was always in seclusion, and almost never interfered in clan matters, but once he gave an order, everyone would obey. Removing a clan leader from power, for the Forefather of the Dongyan clan, took nothing more than a single sentence. From this, one could see how exalted his status was!
“The Forefather? I, I…” Ninelotus gritted her teeth. One of the reasons why she had been selected as the next clan leader was because of the Forefather; the Forefather loved her and doted on her dearly.
“I’ll go back with you,” Ninelotus said.
Immortal Norshok nodded gently. He had never even thought about Ninelotus resisting; in the Dongyan clan, there was no one who would dare to disobey the Forefather’s orders! Unless, that is, they were truly about to betray the clan.
Ninelotus looked at the nearby Ning. She sent mentally to him, “Wait for me.”
Ning nodded gently. “Right.”
“Let’s go,” Immortal Norshok urged. Ninelotus immediately walked towards Immortal Norshok; those nine Primal Daoists and the Darkane Guard all clustered around her, escorting her onto the warship.
Immortal Norshok turned his head, giving Ning a glance. He sent a direct mental message. “Your name is Ji Ning? I think you had best wake up and understand that Little Yun is not an ordinary disciple of an ordinary clan. If she was an ordinary woman of the Dongyan clan, becoming Dao-companions with her would be fine, but she has been chosen to be the next leader of our Dongyan clan. And you…you aren’t worthy of her.” After speaking, he gave Ning a cold glance, then followed Ninelotus into the warship.
Ninelotus looked down from the warship.
Ning looked up from the lake.
Their gazes intersected in the air.
“Rumble…” The air around them began to roil about, then the enormous warship vanished into thin air.
Ning watched Ninelotus and the warship disappear. For a moment, he felt empty inside.
“Not worthy?” Ning murmured these words to himself. The resolve in his eyes only grew stronger.
From afar, a green leaf-type magic treasure flew over. Atop it was Autumn Leaf, the Whitewater Hound, and Qingqing; they had seen these events occur from far away, but due to the distance, they hadn’t been able to overhear what had been said. Still, they clearly saw that Ninelotus had been taken away.
“Young master, are you alright?” Autumn Leaf was extremely nervous.
“It’s fine. The elders of her clan miss her and want to see her, that’s all,” Ning said.