Three days passed by in a flash and a Gold Core Realm cultivator in tattered clothes arrived at the inn.
Although he dressed shabbily, he carried an air of indifference with him. All the cultivators from the inn followed his lead to the forbidden area of Quwo City, Liang Bao Palace.
When the thought of meeting Old Ancestor Jie Xiu flashed across their minds, even cultivators like Jing Zhuo who had the title of “Old Ancestor” felt slightly excited. The only person who remained as calm as a still pond was Ning Fan.
He was lost in his thoughts, figuring out how to deal with Jie Xiu…
Jie Xiu might only be an Early Nascent Soul Realm cultivator without any forged divine intent, but he was given more attention by Ning Fan compared to the Old Scholar, Song Yi.
This man had been spying on me for three days straight. And for the past three days, his spirit sense didn’t even waver. Besides, if I didn’t cultivate the Divine Art Chant which increases the sharpness of my sense earlier, there’s no way for me to discover his spirit sense.
His spirit sense was similar to a cold flame, just like sword sense…
For Ning Fan, he was unable to maintain his spirit sense constantly for three consecutive days.
His current state of mind wasn’t good enough to do that. When comparing Ning Fan and Jie Xiu’s mental states, it was as though the latter’s heart was already dead.
In order to reach that level of mentality, one had to give up all of their thoughts. Before being able to let go of all thoughts, one must go through all the hardships in life.
Liang Bao Palace.
Its name certainly carried a unique meaning. It was said that the old ancestor of Han Yi Sect, Jie Zi Tui, dedicated himself in assisting Jin’s Ancestor to build the country but he was then neglected. In the end, he was even burned to death by Jin’s Ancestor himself.
The world was cold and merciless, just like Jin’s Ancestor. Currently, Great Jin was in despair, just like Han Yi. (Han Yi Sect)
Giving up all thoughts… These words could be the main reason why Jie Xiu’s spirit sense was hard to detect. Ning Fan was still in the process of comprehending the true meaning behind it as he had yet to truly grasp it.
While he was still pondering about it, all of them passed by the noisy city and silence began to fill their surroundings. The temperature also began to drop with the weather getting colder and harsher as they went deeper into the restricted area.
Flashes of formation light came into sight and each of the Han Yi Sect’s disciples came and go separately. For every ten li deeper into the area, the cold wind grew a little stronger. At the deepest part, an iceberg emerged and looked strange.
The ice emanated dark blue light. The middle of the mountain was excavated in order to build the rooms of a palace, namely Liang Bao.
Other than a few elders of Han Yi Sect, no one else was allowed to enter the palace! Even the disciples who led the way to the palace didn’t dare enter!
“You may leave!” A raucous voice resounded from within the palace.
Upon hearing that voice, a feeling of being observed could be felt by all the Gold Core Realm cultivators.
Suqiu, Jing Zhuo and the others who were entitled “old ancestors” jolted for a second and their cultivation realms were found out stealthily. Everyone experienced the same situation except for Ning Fan.
As for the Half-Step Nascent Soul Realm Jing Zhuo who was a fire-based cultivator, he was surprised by the cold flame spirit sense.
“ ‘Cold sense’… What a strange sense?! I have heard rumours that Han Yi Sect’s cultivators are permitted to cultivate Cold Sense after breaking through the Nascent Soul Realm. In the past, one of their old ancestors had invented the ‘Cold Consciousness’ while he was just at the Late Nascent Soul Realm.”
Cold Consciousness was one of the many types of Sea of Consciousness. That time, that cultivator was blessed with great luck to be able to develop something like the Cold Consciousness. With that, he could battle against Peak Nascent Soul Realm cultivators using only his Cold Sense!
On the other hand, Ning Fan wasn’t surprised at all as he had already witnessed Jie Xiu’s ability.
After gaining the invitation from an unknown person in the palace, everyone entered Liang Bao Palace.
Nothing was inside the palace. Only a bald old man dressed in ragged garments could be seen standing. Judging from the sunken eyes on his face, he was estimated to be thousands of years old.
He seemed to be blind, but when his eye sockets turned towards the group of cultivators, anxiety pervaded their hearts except for Ning Fan. That was the fear when facing against superior senior!
Ning Fan held a greater understanding about the old man’s hollow eyes. At that moment, an illusion appeared in front of him. He felt that it wasn’t the old man staring at him but the whole ice palace!
That person was the master of Han Yi Sect, Jie Xiu!
His gaze fixed on Ning Fan after glancing at all of them. He didn’t manage to see through Ning Fan in the past three days. Today, although he borrowed the power of coldness from the Liang Bao Palace, he was still unable to gain an insight on him.
As such, I have no choice but to wait for him to come personally.
“Nice to meet you, Fellow Daoist Zhou Ming!” Jie Xiu greeted Ning Fan with cupped fists. However, what came after his greeting was more Cold Sense, trying to study Ning Fan.
“It’s my pleasure to meet you! I’ve join the army. Hopefully fellow Daoist can provide me some support!” Ning Fan replied with a gentle smile. Meanwhile, he unleashed all his Sword Sense and dark colour sense and crushed the Cold Sense!
It might appear to be an insignificant blow but in actuality Jie Xiu and Ning Fan had already engaged in an all out battle of senses!
The fact was that Jie Xiu’s Cold Sense was weaker than Ning Fan’s Sword Sense.
The others didn’t even realize what had happened other than seeing the flashes of dark colour.
Jie Xiu was inwardly astonished. However, he concealed that feeling by putting up an unperturbed expression as if nothing had happened. He then started to arrange the army.
As a matter of fact, he achieved Nascent Formation when he was nine hundred years old. The period of cultivating Cold Sense was already more than a thousand years. However, his Cold Sense was crushed instantaneously when facing against Ning Fan’s dark Sword Sense.
It’s beyond my expectations that this “Zhou Ming” would have Sword Sense. Furthermore, the sword qi within the Sword Sense was extremely terrifying…
“Dear fellow Daoists, I am truly grateful for your willingness to help eliminate the demon tide for Great Jin. As per tradition, all of you will have your cultivation methods evaluated on the Spirit Evaluation Stone. After that, everyone has to make the Great Oath of Heart’s Devil and swallow a Location Tracking Pill. Upon finishing all of the tasks, I’ll assign you all to the War Division or the Defense Division. At your respective departments, you may start to carry out duties and earn your battle points.”
With just a single touch in the air using his fingertip, the floor turned frozen whereupon a hole with a diameter of a zhang cracked open. A three zhang tall stone-liked ice rose from the ground, covered in cold mist.
It was the Spirit Evaluation Stone. It radiated a ray of light that could determine the actual cultivation base and cultivation methods of Gold Core Realm cultivators and above. This stone was in a totally different level from the stone used for determining Vein Opening Realm cultivators, let alone its quality.
The backgrounds of foreign cultivators were difficult to check. It was even harder to find out their true identities. Therefore, Jie Xiu never insisted on knowing their backgrounds and intentions.
It was because by evaluating one’s cultivation realm and cultivation base, he could find out more information including the elusive details that one was trying to hide.
Moreover, if one tries to go against Great Jin after making the Great Oath of Heart’s Devil, they would suffer from the awakening of the Heart’s Devil.
As for Location Tracking Pills, they were Three Revolutions Pills. After consuming it, the location of the cultivators could be tracked using a special disk formation linked to the pills. As such, the foreign cultivators wouldn’t be able to hide their trails wherever they go in the country.
The reason a lot of cultivators rejected to join the army when they were given such offer at this country’s boundary wasn’t only because they feared the demon tide. Some of them might have been plotting schemes aimed towards Great Jin. As such, they would neither make the Great Oath of Heart’s Devil nor swallow the Location Tracking Pills.
Since Ning Fan and his friends agreed to join the army, they wouldn’t object the safety precautions taken by them.
When it was Ning Fan’s turn to be tested, each of the old monsters as well as Jie Xiu raised their necks and focused on the stone, looking forward to the result. A trace of nervousness filled Jie Xiu while awaiting for the answer to appear on the stone.
He appeared in person at the palace to find out more about Ning Fan as his earlier attempts had all failed. He was left with no choice but to rely on the Spirit Evaluation Stone to discover more about him.
Anxiety surfaced on Jing Zhuo and Suqiu’s expressions. In fact, Suqiu was particularly worried about Ning Fan. Her main concern wasn’t about the revelation of Ning Fan’s true cultivation base. Nothing would happen if he’s only revealed to be a Half-Step Gold Core Realm cultivator.
Her main worry was Ning Fan’s cultivation method. Ning Fan cultivated Dual Cultivation Devil Technique. If he was known to cultivate devil techniques, it would be more difficult for him to join the army. Besides, will Jie Xiu turn hostile against him after knowing about his shameless way of cultivation? Jie Xiu, the sect master of Han Yi Sect, was an old ancestor of the righteous path.
However, their concerns seemed to be unnecessary. Even if Ning Fan’s cultivation method was exposed, Jie Xiu would only turn a blind eye to it. He wouldn’t decline Ning Fan’s help. It would be impossible for him to play the role of “eliminating the devil to protect the righteous path” in the current circumstances.
Although the King of Great Jin had already deployed fourteen Nascent Soul Realm cultivators while the Rain Palace also sent seventeen cultivators of the same realm to deal with the demon tide, it has yet to be stopped. Thus, the king decided to recruit the foreign cultivators for help. Currently, Ning Fan could be regarded as one of the key players of the current war. So what if he was a devil cultivator? So what if he adopted a shameless cultivation method?
Ning Fan’s palm pressed on the stone and he slowly closed his eyelids.
Although revealing his cultivation method wasn’t a problem at all, it would still bring him troubles.
Inside the Yin Yang Devil Veins within his body, the incantation of Snow Treading Art was activated. Cold light began to emanate from the stone ceaselessly.
He then secretly fused the power of his sense into the art, and in turn, a trace of dark colour formed on the cold light. Now, the light glowed even more brightly, signifying the power of an Early Nascent Soul Realm.
“How did he…” Yin Suqiu’s lips widened a little, with confusion all over her thoughts. On the other hand, Jie Xiu breathed a sigh of relief.
“Ice Element Cultivation Method. Early Nascent Soul Realm. Fellow Daoist seemed to have achieved Nascent Formation not long ago as your cultivation realm is still unstable. However, I didn’t expect you to be an ice element cultivator. I apologize for overlooking that!”
Jie Xiu cupped his fist to greet Ning Fan once more. This time, he let some of his guard down.
As for the dark colour appearing in the cold light, Jie Xiu regarded it as the cause of Ning Fan’s Sword Sense.
Once the concern was lifted off from Jie Xiu’s heart, he let out a smile and supervised the groups of Gold Core Realm cultivators to swear the Great Oath of Heart’s Devil. Later, he distributed the Location Tracking Pills to each and every one of them. Upon seeing Ning Fan swallowing the pill without any hesitation, he became a little more relaxed.
Since the Great Oath was sworn and the pill was consumed, I can now know his next move. If he really tries to cause harm towards Great Jin, he will suffer a counterattack from the Heart’s Devil. Finally, I can stop worrying about him.
The last thing to do was distributing the Jades of Achievement to all of them. The Jade of Achievement was a jade plate used to record battle points.
With the jade plate in hand, everyone headed to their respective divisions.
Currently, the invasion of the demons had plunged the people of Great Jin into misery and suffering. The demons were based in a place called “Dragon Vision Pond”. They expanded their area of control to millions of li from their base. At the northwest of Great Jin, one third of the country’s territory had already been occupied by the demons.
A demon tide would be created when demons build strongholds on multiple places and transform the birds and animals into demons using their secret arts. Consequently, demons amounting to one hundred thousand were born within a short period of time, causing countless disasters in the country.
For that reason, the War Division was established to initiate attacks instead rather than just having a Defense Division to wait and resist the demons’ attacks. The War Division’s main objective was to destroy the demons’ strongholds and stop them from breeding more demons.
1. Measurements :
a. li(里) = 500 m
b. zhang(丈) = 3.13 m
c. chi(尺) = 30.7 cm
This translation originated from Liberspark.
If a mistake or mistakes were found in this chapter, feel free to comment below.
Certain name of skills will not be capitalized but italicized.
Some terms are subject to change when better suggestions are selected.