With a sinister look on his face, Lee returned to his estate. Behind him was the four-hooved beast. The two entered his estate, and those servants and house guards all knelt down or lowered their heads when seeing him. None of them dared to even breathe too loudly. They could all tell that their master, Lee, was in an extremely foul mood. Someone who upset him might be slapped to death.
“Father.” A sound from afar, and a middle-aged man clad in beast fur with dozens of braids in his hair came out.
Lee glanced at him. The person was his most competent son, and also one who had become a Xiantian lifeform; Ji Jadewich. Frowning, he said, “Jadewich, is this true? I just went out hunting, and shortly afterwards, I received news that Yichuan’s little animal has reached the ‘advanced’ stage of swordplay, ‘one with the sword’?”
“It is, father.” Jadewich shook his head and sighed. “Today, Ji Ning and nine Ninefang Warriors were sparring. He made a breakthrough in swordplay while sparring. There’s no doubt about this at all.”
“Argh!” Lee let out an angry sound. “The Heavens have set themselves against me, Ji Lee. My elder brother, Ji Young, was inferior to me, but due to my arrogance, I allowed him to seize the position of Prefecture Lord. He produced an outstanding descendant, Ji Yichuan, making his lineage even more stable. But now, an even more outstanding Ji Ning has been produced, who in six years managed to reach the ‘one with the sword’ level!”
“Reaching the ‘one with the sword’ level in just six years. Those three geniuses we selected from those countless tribes are far inferior to him by comparison.” Jadewich shook his head as well.
For the sake of blocking Ning’s progression, they had specially selected three outstandingly talented children near Ning’s age, and began to teach them from a young age. But they were still inferior to Ning.
“Just a bit off. If Grizzly was just three years younger…” Jadewich sighed.
“Grizzly?” Lee was startled.
Grizzly was his foster son.
In the past, when he had led the army to punish one of the larger tribes for a transgression, he had encountered a Diremonster, a ‘Golden Grizzly Bear’. After a vicious, terrifying battle, the Golden Grizzly Bear had finally fled in defeat. Lee then raided the Golden Grizzly Bear’s lair, and found inside the lair an infant child. The infant wasn’t a year old, but was born with tremendous strength… and was very much to Lee’s liking. He had said, “Kid, you were snatched by a Golden Grizzly Bear but weren’t killed. Instead, it raised you? Hahaha… from today onwards, you will be the adopted son of myself, Ji Lee. I’ll name you… Grizzly!”
It was common for someone to raise an adopted son who possessed extraordinary abilities.
When Grizzly was brought back home, it was determined that he was one year old. He was now thirteen years old. Lee treated and raised Grizzly as a terrifying monstrous beast, having him engage beasts in battle since he was an infant, and sometimes even with monstrous beasts. Naturally, he also taught Grizzly the most suitable training methods…
In the middle of all that combat, last year, Grizzly had reached the stage of ‘one with the saber’.
“The Ceremony of the Golden Sword is held every four years. There will be one this year.” Jadewich narrowed his eyes. “Four years from now, there will be another one. In another four years… Grizzly will be seventeen. Only those sixteen and younger can participate in the Ceremony of the Golden Sword. Four years from now, Grizzly won’t even be able to participate, much less stop Ning!”
“The only hope we have right now is that the three little brats I took in will be able to become a Xiantian lifeform within these next four years,” Lee muttered.
“Right.” Jadewich nodded. “I personally selected the three of them out of all of the tribes as the most suited for Ki Refining. They’ve reached the peak of the Houtian level long ago. If a single one of them can advance to the Xiantian level, then our victory is assured.”
Lee nodded as well. “A Xiantian Ki Refiner is capable of using magical treasures and would definitely win. Only, it is simply too hard to become a Xiantian lifeform…”
“All we can do is wait and see what Fate has to offer,” Jadewich said softly.
Lee nodded lightly.
Although they were struggling over the Prefecture Lord position, Ji Lee and Ji Jadewich never even thought about killing Ji Ning. In this vast world, for a clan to be able to survive… they had to be unified, and fratricide was definitely forbidden! In addition, Ning had already been selected as a potential heir. If someone dared to try and use a wicked method to kill Ji Ning, most likely everyone in the Five Prefectures of the Ji Clan would join forces to punish the murderer!
The thick, large candle lit up the hall. Yichuan was seated in the primary seat, while Snow and Ning sat close to him.
The three of them were eating the meal in front of them on the table.
“Yichuan.” Snow looked at her son, his hands and mouth greasy from the meat he was eating. Her eyes were filled with pride. “Our son Ning mastered the basics in three years, and in three more years became ‘one with the sword’! It seems it will be easy for him to gain the position of Prefecture Lord.”
Holding a ramshorn goblet, Yichuan nodded lightly. “When Ning sparred with the others, he only used his internal force. He didn’t use any of the power of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], the number one Fiendgod Body Refining method. And in addition, when sparring with outsiders, Ning has only used a single sword.”
Others didn’t know how powerful Ning was, but Yichuan and his wife knew exactly how capable their son was.
Seizing the golden sword?
As easy as picking something out of his pocket!
“Ning, at his current level of power, is already easily capable of seizing the golden sword. In four more years, even Xiantian lifeforms won’t be able to stop him.” Yichuan poured himself another cup of wine.
Ning continued to simply sit there, eating and drinking prodigious amounts of food.
Because he trained in the number one Fiendgod Body Refining, the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens], he possessed the appetite of a Fiendgod as well. He could easily eat dozens of pounds of the meat of monstrous beasts in every meal. He had reached the third level of the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] two years ago. He was at a bottleneck now, but with one more step, he would reach the fourth level!
The fourth level would let him become a Xiantian lifeform, and one which belonged to the number one Fiendgod Body Refining technique. His battle ability would far outstrip that of normal Xiantian lifeforms by a hundred times or a thousand times.
“Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.” Ning drank large mouthfuls of hot water, pouring it all down his mouth, then rubbed his stomach as he put it down. “That feels good.”
“Ning.” Snow looked at her son with a laugh.
“Mother.” Ning was very obedient. He could sense that his father cherished him but also valued the clan, while his mother had placed virtually all of her hopes and concerns in him. In her mother’s eyes, perhaps even the rise and fall of the entire Ji clan wasn’t nearly as important as her son.
Snow looked at her son. “When your father taught you the [108 Swords of the Gods and Demons], it was the most complicated level of sword techniques you could learn, and it was the most suitable set of sword techniques for you to reach the ‘one with the sword’ level. However, now that you have already reached that level, the [108 Swords of the Gods and Demons] technique is no longer of much use to you.”
“Right.” Yichuan looked at his son. “Now, Ning! When I had you prepare your ‘body’ and your ‘mind’, I needed you to make all of your attacks as fast as lightning and incomparably accurate. I needed you to imprint those things in your bones. Only then did I teach you the [108 Swords of the Gods and Demons], and the purpose of that was… to let you go from something simple to complicated!”
“The path of sword training first goes from simple to complicated, and then from complicated back to simple. Only then can one be considered to have mastered the sword.” Yichuan looked at his son. “You have become ‘one with the sword’, and you can wield it as easily as your own hands. You can be considered to have gone from complicated back to simple.”
He understood this logic. If he was so stupid as to just constantly use those thirteen basic stances, he could still be considered an expert swordsman, but without having truly experienced ‘going from simple to complicated, then from complicated to simple’, it would be very hard for one to reach the ‘one with the sword’ level.
“Next, you will need to reach the level of being ‘one with the world’.” Yichuan sighed. “This step is an extremely hard step.”
“One with the world…” Ning was filled with anticipation.
“The previous sword techniques you’ve learned are now useless to you.” Yichuan looked at his son. “Your current level is enough to qualify you to learn the highest level swordplay of the Ji clan.”
Ning’s eyes lit up. The highest level swordplay of the Ji clan?
“Our Ji clan is famous because of our swordplay.” Yichuan sighed with emotion. “In turn, the city of the Ji clan of the Main Prefecture, the ‘City of Ten Thousand Swords’, was named because the ancestors of the Ji clan rose to fame due to the [Melody of Ten Thousand Swords], which they used to establish themselves here.”
“After thousands of years, the Ji clan now has five highest level sword arts. They are the [Melody of Ten Thousand Swords], [Thunderflame Sword], [Illusion Sutra], [Raindrop Sutra], and the [Polaris Secret Manual]. Every single technique is extremely profound and is beyond what the ‘one with the sword’ level is capable of. If you can make accomplishments in any of them, you will find that their power is boundless.” Yichuan looked at his son. “I trained in the [Raindrop Sutra]. Most people, even after reaching the ‘one with the sword’ level, is at most able to select a single one of the arts to train in. This is because dividing the mind is simply too difficult. But Ning, since you are able to divide your mind in two, you would be able to choose two arts to train in.”
In Yichuan’s hand, five books suddenly appeared. He casually tossed them out, and they flew straight over, landing in a neat stack on a nearby table, not touching any of the cups or plates.
“The highest level swordplay?” Ning looked at the five books. He understood that these were just abridged versions. Only after he made his choice would he receive the ‘full versions’.
“Make your choice.”
Yichuan looked at his son and said solemnly, “Once you have chosen, your choice will be recorded for the Ji clan of the Five Prefectures to review! If it isn’t recorded down, you will be considered to have learned in secret. Anyone who does that will be exterminated by the combined forces of the Five Prefectures.”
“Ah!” Ji Ning understood this, but he still couldn’t help but feel surprised. “Then why is it that there was no such restriction on the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] technique that I learned?”
“Although the [Crimsonbright Diagram of the Nine Heavens] technique is the number one Fiendgod Body Refining, it is extremely widespread. Virtually all of the tribes on the level of the Ji clan possesses a copy. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if our copy is leaked.” Yichuan looked at his son. “Most Ki Refining methods and Fiendgod Body Refining methods aren’t very valuable. Only the ultimate techniques of each clan are tightly restricted, like these five sword techniques here. In the area around Swallow Mountain, four of these techniques are possessed only by our Ji clan. Only the [Polaris Secret Manual] is also in the possession of another entity, the Blackflame Sect.”
He knew that in the area around Swallow Mountain, aside from the armies of the Grand Xia Dynasty that were stationed here, there were in total, five other hegemonic powers. The Ji clan was also one of them.
These six hegemons engaged in constant battle, but none of them dared to offend the armies of the Grand Xia Dynasty!
“Right.” Ning immediately lowered his head and began to read, flipping through these five top-class sword techniques. If a person was at the ‘one with the sword’ level and then also possessed this sort of top-class sword technique, his power would definitely multiply.
“Raindrop Sutra…” This was the first one Ning looked at. This was the top-class technique which had made his father famous.
His father’s nickname, after all, was the ‘Raindrop Sword’!