The Desolate Era - Book 9, Chapter 32 - Daoist Snowplume
“They aren’t even leaving the words behind?” Xu Fang, of the Swallow Mountain branch of Snowdragon Mountain, and the other three Zifu Disciples were so furious that they gritted their teeth. When they looked at the characters on the leather parchment, they had sensed the sword-intent surge towards them, and had been so frightened that their legs had turned soft. They understood that they were at too low of a level, and that they were unable to comprehend the level of insight the sword-intent within the characters indicated.
However, if the high-level members of Snowdragon Mountain were to see the parchment, they should be capable of deducing Ji Ning’s level of strength. Clearly, Ji Ning was extremely cautious and didn’t plan on giving them that chance.
“The young master’s letter has been delivered. I won’t tarry!” The envoy of the Ji clan turned, openly and unabashedly walking away. As for Xu Fang and the other members of Snowdragon Moutain, they could only watch as the envoy walked away.
“What should we do?”
“Ji Ning of Serpentwing Lake has made his threat. What should we do?”
They looked at each other, their gazes filled with fear and unease. Upon seeing the characters on the scroll, they immediately knew…that Ji Ning’s power had reached a level that was vastly beyond their’s. He was most likely capable of annihilating them with one blow. This massive gap in power which they faced made them feel tremendous pressure.
“No matter what…this person isn’t someone the likes of us can deal with. Ji Ning of Serpentwing Lake…he is someone who is able to effortlessly kill Wanxiang Adepts. We have to report this to the main sect.”
“Right. We must report this to the main sect.”
“Third Brother, we are simply too far from the main Snowdragon Mountain sect. In ten short days…we won’t even be able to make it back to the sect. There’s no way to report this at all.”
Xu Fang and the other three exchanged glances, their eyes filled with helplessness and bitterness. Right. Ji Ning had only given them ten days, but they were only Zifu Disciples; they wouldn’t be able to make it back to Snowdragon Mountain in just ten days. They wouldn’t be able to alert the main sect of the letter and the threat which Ji Ning had made.
“There’s no other options. I’ll have to use the talisman,” Xu Fang said, shaking his head. “Although there’s no way to let the main sect know of the details, at least we’ll be able to let them know that something happened.”
“Right. Break the talisman.”
“That’s our only choice.”
All four men were in accord.
The leader of the Swallow Mountain branch was Adept Xu Ke, but because Adept Xu Ke was terrified of Ji Ning, he had hidden himself within the main sect. Before leaving, he had left three talismans, then gave these instructions: “These three talismans are different in size. When you break then, I’ll be able to sense it. If you break the smallest talisman…that means that the Ji clan’s attack is imminent! If you break the middle one, that means Ji Ning’s attack is imminent! And if you break the largest one, that means that the local branch has already been shattered. Remember – only when a true emergency occurs are you to break these talismans.”
These three talismans represented three different danger levels.
An attack from the Ji clan?
This meant that the situation wasn’t that bad; after all, in terms of their relative power bases, the local branch of Snowdragon Mountain truly wasn’t afraid of the Ji clan. But if Ji Ning were to attack…then things really would turn grim. There was no way the Swallow Mountain branch could possibly resist the monster-like ‘Ji Ning of Serpentwing Lake’.
Xu Fang waved his hand, and three talismans of different sizes appeared within it.
“Ji Ning is going to personally attack…there is nothing we can do.”
“We have to hope that the main sect will send experts to come negotiate with Ji Ning.”
In their hearts, they didn’t believe that the main sect would truly choose to engage in a battle with Ji Ning. After all, he was a disciple of the Black-White College, and he had an Immortal behind him! Compared with the Black-White College, Snowdragon Mountain was unfathomably weaker. Although it was on good terms with the Northmont clan of Stillwater Commandery, the Black-White College was actually located inside Stillwater City, and its relationship with the Northmont clan was incomparably close.
It could be said that the Northmont clan viewed the Black-White College as its hands and arms, while Snowdragon Mountain was nothing more than a lackey.
“Crack.” Xu Fang shattered the second, pitch-black talisman.
The distant Snowdragon Mountain. This was a place of unending winter, of eternal snow. Peaks of various heights towered here, with Immortal cultivators living with them. Within one such peak, the master was Adept Xu Zhen.
Adept Xu Zhen had pale, beardless face. He appeared quite handsome. He sat in the lotus position on his jade bed. The white-robed Adept Xu Zhen’s eyes were closed in relaxation, and he appeared quite rested. Next to him, there were two young apprentices waiting on his instructions and his needs.
“Eh?” Adept Xu Zhen’s face suddenly changed slightly. With a wave of his hand, he produced a black talisman. This talisman had already shattered.
This talisman had originally come in a pair. If one was shattered, the other would crumble as well.
“This talisman is…” Adept Xu Zhen thought back to what he had said, and then his face changed. “This is the second talisman. It represents that Ji Ning is going to act against the Swallow Mountain branch!”
“Ji Ning…he has quietly slumbered for nine years. Is he finally going to attack?” Adept Xu Zhen was rather panicked.
When the Xu clan had volunteered to be stationed within the Swallow Mountain region, they had done so for two reasons. First, they had been angered by the fact that Adept Xu Li had died there. Secondly, they wanted to expand the territory of their own clan. But how could they have imagined that soon after they had taken over, news would come…that Ji Ning had joined the Black-White College?! This caused the Xu clan to be filled with boundless regret. This assignment had become a hot potato that they couldn’t discard, because…the prestige of Snowdragon Mountain meant that the Xu clan was absolutely not permitted to retreat or fold up.
But as time passed, Ji Ning’s fame only grew greater and greater! Adept Xu Ke had been so terrified that he had hidden himself back within the main sect, leaving behind only those four Zifu Disciples. Even if the four of them died, it wouldn’t represent too much of a loss for the Xu clan.
“Ji Ning has finally revealed himself. What should we do next? My Xu clan has multiple Wanxiang Adepts, but I’m afraid that even if we join forces, we won’t be able to overcome Ji Ning. He’s a monster that was capable of killing even Adept Poisondove!” Adept Xu Ke frantically pondered what to do next. “I have no other options…I’ll have to go visit Master.”
Snowdragon Mountain had a total of three Primal Daoists; they were Daoist Snowplume,Daoist Coldsun, and Daoist Blackdragon. They each took up one of the three highest mountain peaks in the region. The master of Adept Xu Ke, in turn, was Daoist Snowplume.
For a school of elites like the Black-White College, the Primal Daoists of the second generation disciples, when interacting with the Wanxiang Adepts and Zifu Disciples of the third generation disciples, would be fairly courteous. They wouldn’t act arrogantly or show off! However, in schools with many disciples, where dragons swam alongside minnows, the more powerful one was, the more high-and-mighty one would behave. In the case of Snowdragon Mountain, to be one of only three Primal Daoists meant that one really would put on a show of grandeur.
“Senior apprentice-brother Xu Ke requests an audience.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Xu Ke requests an audience.”
First, the junior disciples guarding the gates to the mountain would make the announcement. Next, one of the 99 male Zifu Disciples or 99 female Zifu Disciples would go to report this to one of the Wanxiang Adepts servants, who would then personally inform Daoist Snowplume.
“Master, junior apprentice-brother Xu Ke requests an audience,” a gray-robed man said, standing respectfully outside a private room.
“Granted.” A calm voice came out from the private room.
This response was once more passed out in multiple layers, and in the end, Adept Xu Ke was finally allowed to come to the private room. Generally speaking, Daoist Snowplume would only permit disciples which the school valued greatly to remain by his side. For the likes of Adept Xu Ke, who had no chance at all of breaking through to become Primal Daoists, they had all been sent out long ago. They would only be permitted to make an occasional visit if they had something important to discuss.
“Your disciple greets you, Master.” Adept Xu Ke respectfully knelt outside the private room. The outside area was covered in piles of snow. The white-robed Adept Xu Ke, kneeling there within the pristine white snow, actually made for quite a beautiful sight.
The door swung open.
A handsome Daoist, dressed in a feathered robe, walked out. He had a head full of long, unbound black hair, and a hint of amusement could be seen in his long, slender eyes.
He was one of the three titans of Snowdragon Mountain; Daoist Snowplume!
Daoist Snowplume’s disciples all shared one commonality; they had to be handsome. He himself was an extremely handsome man, and the same was true for his disciples. The kneeling Xu Ke, the gray-robed man by the door…all of them were exceptionally attractive in their looks.
“What is it?” Daoist Snowplume said calmly.
“Respected master,” Adept Xu Ke said, still kneeling, “Years ago, our Swallow Mountain branch, because of the Ji clan, was nearly annihilated. At that time, I went along with some of my fellow disciples and took up station there, helping to steady and firm up that branch. However, by now, Ji Ning’s level of power has reached unearthly levels. Relying on his prestige, the Ji clan has shown us no consideration at all. This very day, I received word that Ji Ning is about to attack our Swallow Mountain branch in person! I truly am unable to do anything about him, so I have come to request an audience with you, Master. I beseech you, Master, tell me what I should do with regards to this Ji Ning.”
“Ji Ning?” Daoist Snowplume frowned slightly. “He is going to personally attack? How did you receive this news? We are quite far from Swallow Mountain; I imagine that by now, our branch has already been destroyed.”
“It shouldn’t be,” Adept Xu Ke said respectfully. “When I left Swallow Mountain, I left behind three talismans to my clansmen. The destruction of different talismans represented different types of news! The talisman they destroyed…represented that Ji Ning would be attacking personally! As soon as they destroyed it, I became aware of this news, and so I immediately came to visit you, Master.”
Daoist Snowplume nodded. “I have heard of the affairs between Ji Ning and the Swallow Mountain branch. Ji Ning is perhaps too arrogant; our Snowdragon Mountain has always been accommodating and unwilling to create true enmity between our two sides, and we even chose to pretend as though the death of Adept XuLi didn’t happen. After all, in truth, that year, it was our Snowdragon Mountain which suffered a loss, not their Ji clan.”
“But he views this as being insufficient; he even wants to expel our entire Swallow Mountain branch?” A hint of anger had appeared in Daoist Snowplume’s eyes.
How could anyone capable of becoming a Primal Daoist be a pushover?
“Hmph! No matter what, he is merely a Wanxiang Adept; he’s not yet qualified to try and force Snowdragon Mountain into avoiding him!” Daoist Snowplume said coldly, “Let’s go. Accompany me to Swallow Mountain.”
Adept Xu Ke and the gray-robed man were both greatly shocked. The master was going to go in person? They had originally assumed that an envoy would be sent to negotiate.
“He is a mere Wanxiang Adept,” Adept Snowplume said coldly. Snowplume was a cultivator who had trained for more than a thousand years, and was now at the peak of the Primal stage! Although some truly monstrous Wanxiang Adepts were capable of giving Primal Daoists a good fight, there were differences between early, middle, late, and peak-stage Primal Daoists.
How could he possibly fear Ji Ning?
“The Black-White College has a large number of Wanxiang Adepts; the most monstrous of them are the truly genius disciples such as Holyfire. Every few centuries, they will produce another ‘genius’, but in the end, the Black-White College still only has a few Immortals.” Daoist Snowplume mused to himself that becoming an Immortal was no easy feat! “Even if Ji Ning is a monster, it will still be hard for him to become an Immortal! And even if he does become an Immortal…he will still be under the control of the Marquis of Stillwater. What can he do to us!”
“Come, let’s go take a look at this Ji Ning and see how much of a ‘genius’ he is and how much of a ‘monster’ he is, for him to show such disregard for our Snowdragon Mountain,” Daoist Snowplume said calmly.
“Yes.” Adept Xu Ke and the other all immediately bowed in acknowledgment.
Shortly afterwards, a large warship, under their control, began to soar through the skies, departing from Snowdragon Mountain.