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After Si Wuxie’s clone was gone, Ning Fan stood on the reef of the South Sea.
A huge reef beside him was carved with two graceful words that were of the small plum blossom calligraphy style. They should be the words that Si Wuxie carved on it when she was waiting for Ning Fan.
Apparently, these two words that Si Wuxie left behind expressed her intention to bid farewell to Ning Fan.
Unfortunately, Ning Fan stubbornly embraced her, vowing to become her tribulation. Probably, he was not going to give her a chance to bid farewell to him…
Looking at the flowing sea water, Ning Fan’s eyes gradually turned deep.
The waves splashing on the shores had their ebbs and flows. At the end of the day, they would need to return to the vast ocean.
She’s left… At the end of the day, she still belongs to Kunlun Jade Pool.
“So after fifty years have passed, I still feel slightly reluctant…”
Ning Fan sighed gently.
He remembered the promise he made to Si Wuxie. Fifty years later, he would head to the Ancient Heavenly Court to search for the Undying Tree. Today, however, he must return to Seven Apricot City.
Just as he was about to leave, a message-transmitting flying sword suddenly appeared in the sky, flying toward him by tracking his qi.
Ning Fan made a wave with an open palm, catching the flying sword into his hand and broke it as soon as he caught it.
A voice immediately echoed into Ning Fan’s ears. It was Xu Qiuling’s voice.
“If you’ve successfully attained the Void Inquiry Stage, return as soon as possible. There are guests in Seven Apricot City - the Qiu and Han companions from the Southeastern Cultivator Union.”
Ten years had passed. Xu Qiuling had already broken through to the Mid Divine Transformation Realm and had the ability to send out message-transmitting flying swords.
Zhi He, Lan Mei, Bai Lu and others had also achieved the Gold Core Realm. Even Bai Su had already advanced to the Harmonious Spirit Realm.
Yue Lingkong, on the other hand, had a huge improvement in her magic power under the help of the moonlight gemstone that Ning Fan gave to her. However, she was still far away from advancing to the Void Pierce Stage. That moonlight gemstone was none other than the gemstone Ning Fan obtained from the auction in the Mist Horn Clan in the past.
After hearing Xu Qiuling’s voice, Ning Fan’s face looked as if he was deep in thought.
Some guests had visited Seven Apricot City. They were the Qiu and Han companions, who were members of the Southeastern Cultivator Union of the Rain World.
One hundred plus cultivation countries including Yue Country were all located at the southeastern continent of the Rain World. Before the rise of Seven Apricot City, the largest force on the continent was none other than the Southeastern Cultivator Union.
It was a union of rogue cultivators and it was led by the Qu and Han companions who were husband and wife.
The husband, Yang Qiu, was a Void Pierce Stage sword cultivator whereas the wife, Sun Han, was a Void Inquiry Stage zither cultivator.
Countless thoughts ran across Ning Fan’s mind. However, he could not figure out what brought them to Seven Apricot City.
The only thing about the Southeastern Cultivator Union that concerned him was Yun Ruowei. When he parted ways with Yun Ruowei in Great Jin in the past, she said that she wanted to leave the Rain Palace and join the Southeastern Cultivator Union.
“Yun Ruowei… In Great Jin, I’d seen Ning Qian and Yun Tianjue in her dreams… According to rumors, the reason why she could join the Rain Palace despite her demon body was because of Yun Tianjue’s recommendation…”
“If I am not mistaken, the winged demon in her dream, Ning Qian, is my mum… Yun Tianjue has lost his memories and he can’t remember who Ning Qian is. Hence, I can’t ascertain the relationship between him and Ning Q ian. Yun Ruowei, however, must know it. With her help, I might be able to find Ning Qian…”
“Ning Qian… My mother… I was born without a parent. If I can find my mother, it’ll really make me at a loss of what to do…”
“Dong Xu once helped me perform divination on my mother in the past and found out that she isn’t dead yet. She’s still in the Rain World… As a son, I have to find her whereabouts in order to put my mind at rest…”
Ning Fan shook his head and smiled. Speaking of Old Ancestor Dong Xu, he once promised to help him achieve the Void Refinement Realm.
Ten years have already passed. I guess he probably is already fully prepared for that breakthrough. If I have time, I’ll help him to advance to the Void Refinement Realm in the Sovereign’s Tomb.
With Ning Fan’s current understanding of the ‘void’, it should not be difficult for him to aid Dong Xu in achieving that breakthrough.
As Ning Fan turned around, his body transformed into a ray of travelling light and returned to Yue Country.
The Flying Snow Palace of the western part of Seven Apricot City was a newly-built palace that was meant for receiving all visitors.
In the Flying Snow Palace, Su Yan, Yue Lingkong, Ming Que, Xu Qiuling and the other women were sitting on the main seats, welcoming their guests.
On the guest’s seating, there was a man in green robes and a lady in pink robes. Forty plus Nascent Soul Realm cultivators and six Divine Transformation Realm experts were standing behind them in attendance.
That pink-robed lady was called Sun Han. She looked like she was in her late twenties. Her appearance was not peerlessly beautiful but she looked extremely dignified and decorous.
That green-robed man was called Yang Qiu. The way he spoke was rather refined and gentle. Unfortunately, there were a few scars on his face which made him look like a rough bandit.
The two of them were none other than the leaders of the Southeastern Cultivator Union - the Han and Qiu companions.
As for the cultivators who were standing behind them, all of them were rogue cultivators they brought from the union.
Su Yan was once the leader of a clan while Yue Lingkong was once the master of a sect. Therefore, it was an easy task for them to receive the guests.
When the Qiu and Han companions arrived at Seven Apricot City, they never mentioned anything about their intention of their visit. They only said that they would tell them about it after Ning Fan returns.
“What exactly is the intention for the members of the Southeast Cultivator Union to come to Seven Apricot City?” Yue Lingkong asked Su Yan via telepathy.
“I have no idea. However, I heard that the Qiu and Han companions are rogue cultivators and they actually have already joined the Rain Palace. They even carry the identities as the feudal ranking elders of the Rain Palace and always help the Rain Sovereign pass a secret order. Perhaps the reason why they came is because they want to convey a secret message to Ning Fan…” Su Yan guessed.
At the rooftop outside the Flying Snow Palace, a small black sable was yawning lazily while guarding Seven Apricot City. It seemed like she was being wary of the Qiu and Han companions in case they bore malice toward the city.
All of a sudden, a ray of light flew into the city.
The little sable raised her head lazily and took a glimpse at the travelling light. Then, she snorted lightly and turned around to leave.
“Humph. This stinky man is finally back. It seems like he has successfully attained the Void Inquiry Stage. His luck is quite good…”
That travelling light was publicly exposing the Void Inquiry Stage aura force. It descended outside the Flying Snow Palace and turned into a young man in white robes. He was Ning Fan.
He slowly walked into the Flying Snow Palace. When the women in the palace sensed the Void Inquiry Stage aura force from Ning Fan, their faces were filled with joy. Apparently, Ning Fan had already achieved the Void Inquiry Stage with success.
The Qiu and Han companions were slightly stunned upon seeing Ning Fan enter the Flying Snow Palace. The two of them immediately rose to their feet. The man cupped his fists while the lady curtsied. Together, they said, “The Qiu and Han companions from the Fallen Autumn Country greet Marquis White Robe!”
“Fellow Daoist are being too polite. So what’s the matter that brought the two of you to visit my Seven Apricot City?” Ning Fan cupped his fists toward both of them and went to the main seat of the palace. His eyes unintentionally glimpsed at the group of Nascent Soul Realm and Divine Transformation Realm cultivators behind them.
When he saw no sign of Yun Ruowei among those cultivators, he could not help but feel slightly dispirited.
“The reason why we headed to Seven Apricot City is to pass an imperial order from the Rain Sovereign to you. Marquis White Robe, please have a look at this jade slip.”
Yang Qiu took out a jade box which contained a golden jade slip. As he flicked his finger, the jade box flew toward Ning Fan.
Ning Fan took out the golden jade slip and inserted his spirit sense into it. There was only one order from the Rain Sovereign inside the jade slip. After Ning Fan had read it, it instantly burned itself without fire and disintegrated into ashes.
The Rain Sovereign’s order was simple. He was just hoping that Ning Fan could head to the Rain Palace in the Middle State as soon as possible as he had something to discuss with him.
The reason why the Rain Sovereign made Ning Fan as a revered elder of the Rain Palace and even appointed him as the palace lord of the Scarlet Heaven Palace eventually was solely because Ning Fan’s ‘Indestructible Fire Body’ was of great use to him. He needed Ning Fan’s help to retrieve something from an abyss of flames.
He now found that it was about time to borrow Ning Fan’s power.
There was a formation technique that was set up on the golden jade slip that would make the jade slip disintegrate after it was read once. Doubtlessly, the Qiu and Han companions completely had no idea about its content.
Since the Rain Sovereign passed this message to Ning Fan in such a secretive manner, the thing that he was up to did not seem to be something small. Without a doubt, the thing he wanted Ning Fan to get must be something extraordinary.
“Have Fellow Daoist read the secret order?” Yang Qiu asked with a faint smile.
“Mm. I’ve already received the order and I’ll head to the Middle State within the next few days.”
“Hehe. It’s good then. In this case, the two of us will excuse ourselves.”
“Wait a minute. I wish to ask about someone from the two of you.”
“Oh? Who does Marquis White Robe want to know about?”
“I have a friend called Yun Ruowei. I heard that she has joined the Southeast Cultivator Union. May I know where she is currently at?”
“Yun Ruowei?” Yang Qiu was rather surprised and held his stare at Ning Fan.
“I’ve long heard that Marquis White Robe is a genuine and sentimental man with an unconventional and frivolous bearing and has countless beauties. When I met you personally today, it seems that the rumors are true… Hehe. Yun Ruowei indeed is within my Southeastern Cultivator Union. However, she has a quite significant background. She is the blood younger sister of the White-Robe Sword God. It’s better that Marquis White Robe doesn’t mess with that lady in order to avoid getting yourself into big trouble…”
It was already extremely polite of Yang Qiu to describe Ning Fan as a frivolous man. After all, Ning Fan’s name that was widely known in the Rain World was all about his notoriety and infamy.
Well, all of it was built on the countless people he had killed and the human cauldrons he had plucked.
When Yang Qiu came to Seven Apricot City today and saw Ning Fan have countless wives and concubines, he naturally was more convinced that Ning Fan was a lustful man.
However, it was none of his business how Ning Fan behaved. When Ning Fan asked him about Yun Ruowei, he just thought that Ning Fan had his eye on her. That was why he gave him a warning out of kindness.
Ning Fan shook his head helplessly. He did not expect that his name would actually have been ruined to such a point where he just talked about women and others would think that he was hatching a sinister plan in his mind…
“Rest assured, Fellow Daoist Yang. Yun Ruowei and I have already known each other. Both of them have a friendly relationship. The reason why I’m looking for her is because I have some questions that I need to ask her in person. I certainly don’t harbor any malicious intentions…”
“Hehe. I see. It seems like I’ve misunderstood you… Since Fellow Daoist just wants to ask her some questions, I naturally can tell you where she is. However, I have one condition…”
“Oh? What condition does Fellow Daoist Yang have?” Ning Fan already figured out what Yang Qiu was asking after seeing a rising battle intent in Yang Qiu’s eyes that was itching the latter for a try.
“I’d like to have a fight with Marquis White Robe!” Yang Qiu’s eyes flashed with battle intent. Then, he continued, “After the battle of the one hundred sects in the Endless Sea, Marquis White Robe has established a great name. I’ve admired you for a long time. According to rumors, during that battle, Marquis White Robe was already famous far and wide despite just being a Half-Step Void Refinement Realm cultivator. And, during the great assembly in Song Country, Fellow Daoist fought the vice sect master of the Serene Heaven Palace, Fang Si, and won. At that time, you are just at the Void Glimpse Stage… Today, judging from your qi, you should have already broken through to the Void Inquiry Stage. I suppose your power has increased again… Therefore, I wish to have a chance to fight you!”
It was impossible to tell that Yang Qiu, who spoke with a gentle and refined outward bearing, was actually a belligerent person.
That was why there were scars on his face. Without a doubt, he must have gotten them when having fights with others…
“As long as Marquis White Robe is willing to exchange a single move with me, I will tell you where Yun Ruowei is, no matter if I win or lose in the end!”
Upon hearing Yang Qiu intended to fight Ning Fan, worries filled the faces of Xu Qiuling and the others.
“Big Brother, you have just broken through to the Void Inquiry Stage and your cultivation realm is still unstable. It’s inappropriate to engage in a fight…”
“It doesn’t matter. I have captured a few blind human cauldrons in the South Gazing Sea. After plucking them, my cultivation base has already been stabilized. I completely have no problem engaging in a battle now.”
Ning Fan gave his women a confident smile, hinting to them that they could set their minds at ease.
Then, he took a step forward and said to Yang Qiu, “Where does Fellow Daoist Yang want to fight? When Void Refinement Realm experts like us battle, the fluctuations of power aren’t small.”
“Hehe. Fellow Daoist can follow me into this heavenly dwelling. We’ll just fight inside it.”
Yang Qiu stroked his jade thumb ring and a green light portal immediately emerged before him. Without hesitation, he took a step into the portal.
Ning Fan spread out his spirit sense to inspect the portal. After he had made sure that there was not anything strange within the portal, he also went inside the portal.
He was not worried about Yang Qiu trying to harm him as the mere heavenly dwelling space could not trap him at all.
“*Sigh* According to hearsay, Yang Qiu is incredibly strong. Only a few among the Void Pierce Stage experts are his match… Little Cucumber has just attained the Void Inquiry Stage. Nothing bad is going to happen, isn’t it…” Yue Lingkong muttered with a concerned tone.
Of course, she was not worried about Ning Fan losing the fight. Instead, she was worried that Ning Fan might not have a proper grasp of his power as he had just reached the Void Inquiry Stage. Without a doubt, he certainly could not show mercy and must go all-out when fighting someone like Yang Qiu. However, if he uses too much of his power and completely eliminates Yang Qiu, then he will just draw trouble to himself for nothing…
“*chuckle* Younger Sister Yue Er, don’t have to worry. Even though my husband is strong, Marquis White Robe isn’t weak. Even if he loses to my husband, it won’t be very ugly. He at most will get some light injuries…”
Sun Han chuckled and tried to console Yue Lingkong. The words she spoke showed her infinite confidence she had for Yang Qiu in winning.
“Fallen Leaf Sword”, Yang Qiu. He became famous across the Rain World depending on his Fallen Leaf Sword Style. Even all Absolute Void Stage experts dreaded him a lot.
Sun Yan naturally did not think that her husband would lose to Ning Fan who had just achieved the Void Inquiry Stage even though his notorious name had been around for quite a while.
As soon as Sun Han’s voice fell, the Flying Snow Palace suddenly trembled with a deafening explosion sound blasting the area. The heavenly dwelling space was shattered to pieces!
Yang Qiu was completely bathed in blood and his robes were tattered. He appeared in the Flying Snow Palace in a panicked state. His face was filled with intense terror. Even though he was not grievously injured, he looked extremely battered and worn-out!
Terrifying! It was too terrifying! After both he and Ning Fan entered the heavenly dwelling space, he displayed his Fallen Leaf Style Sword Technique. However, just as he used that technique, Ning Fan instantly countered it using the Myriad Sword Style, destroying his attacks and even cutting the heavenly dwelling magic treasure in pieces…
Ning Fan, on the other hand, appeared in the Flying Snow Palace with the Separation Slayer Sword in his hand. Not even one corner of his sleeve was wrinkled.
Those with discerning eyes could tell that Ning Fan had won the fight and Yang Qiu had lost…
Sun Han was so shocked that her jaw dropped slightly. It had only been six to seven breaths from the time they entered the heavenly dwelling space until Yang Qiu came out defeated with the broken heavenly dwelling space.
She was certain that her husband would win in the start. However, her husband whom she was proud of had lost to Ning Fan in just a few breaths!
How was this possible?! This literally was impossible! Her husband was a dignified expert whom even Absolute Void Stage cultivators would have to treat with respect!
“*Cough*… The esteemed reputation is truly genuine. Marquis White Robe’s name is widely known across the Rain Word. I’ve been admiring you for a long time. However, I didn’t expect that you would be so strong… I’m afraid even if you face an Absolute Void Stage expert, you can also put up a fight against them.” Yang Qiu smiled bitterly. If he had known that Ning Fan was so powerful, he definitely would not ask for humiliation by asking for a fight with him.
“I’m sorry… I’ve just broken through to the Void Inquiry Stage and I’m still not used to controlling my current power…” Ning Fan also smiled wryly.
When they had entered the heavenly dwelling space, the first move that Yang Qiu used was the Fallen Leaf Style Sword Technique.
Ning Fan saw that the technique was extremely powerful as it was nearly comparable to an Absolute Void Stage attack. Thus, he did not dare to belittle it. However, since he did not have a deep grudge against Yang Qiu, he certainly would not display the Void Ignition Technique to kill him.
His original idea was to display the Myriad Sword Style Sword Technique to win against Yang Qiu slightly and save him some face.
However, he miscalculated it. The Myriad Sword Style was a Void Fragmentation Realm sword technique in the first place. As Ning Fan’s magic power increased, the power of the sword technique became even more terrifying and it almost killed Yang Qiu.
If it was not because Ning Fan commanded the sword light to divert at the critical moment which destroyed the heavenly dwelling space, perhaps Yang Qiu would have already died under his Myriad Sword Style…
It seemed like Ning Fan would need some time to get accustomed to his Void Inquiry Stage magic power…
“Fellow Daoist’s technique is truly frightening. I’m really ashamed of my inferiority… *Sigh* I’ve met countless people. However, it’s difficult for me to meet someone like Fellow Daoist. I’m afraid even White-Robed Sword God might not necessarily be as strong as you when he was young. I’m truly impressed… Since Fellow Daoist wants to know where Yun Ruowei is, I’ll tell you the truth. Actually, Yun Ruowei was supposed to follow us to come to Seven Apricot City. However, she suddenly said that she wanted to find a blue jade pendant and went to another place…” Yang Qiu’s tone was unusually polite. Well, Ning Fan had really struck fear into him during the exchange just now.
“A blue jade pendant? I wonder what that is… Where did she go?” Ning Fan felt slightly curious.
“She is in Hai Ning of Wu Country… *Cough* I’m sorry. Wu Country has already been integrated into Yue Country now. It should be called Hai Ning of Yue Country.”
“Hai Ning? Could it be that she went to the Ning Family? Why…?” A strange feeling rose within Ning Fan’ heart.
He had some guesses in mind but he could not be sure of them.
Perhaps I should drop by the Ning Family before heading to the Middle State…
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