The Sage was in the Academy.
That fact alone rendered Ning Chen speechless; a thousand years had passed and yet he was still alive?
But he had never heard of someone living for over a thousand years, not even the Xiantian.
While he wasn’t sure how long the Xiantian of this world could live, 300, 400 or perhaps even 500, but it definitely wasn’t a thousand.
Furthermore, there were no indications of the Sage ever cultivating. No matter what era he appeared in, there were no signs of him ever doing so, not a thousand ago and not a thousand years later.
On the other hand, the Sage was horrifically old, so old he seemed like a candle that could be blown out by the tiniest of whispers.
That foot in the grave feeling he got from the Sage wasn’t false. In fact, he could sense that the elder had at most ten more years to live.
Even so, he still couldn’t figure out ,assuming the old sage was really the Sage, how did he survive for all those years?
He could tell from a simple glance that living through each day was extremely difficult for the elder. It was as if he was an ordinary old man who was in his last battle with time but still refused to give up.
Exactly what was it that made him hold out so desperately and for so long?
Ning Chen simply couldn’t figure it out. He tried to pick up the paper on the table but just as he touched it, it promptly turned to dust.
Even though the Sage’s ink and writing allowed the paper to withstand the ravages of time, it was at its limits now. At the end of the day, man’s body was just too corrupted by influences of the mortal world; a single touch from Ning Chen was enough to push that paper past its limits.
Sighing lightly to himself, he turned around to leave,
Looks like there was a need for him to visit the academy and ask the Sage himself.
Suddenly, a drawn out screech pierced ,which brought a haunted look onto Ning Chen’s face, pierced the horizons. Silhouette flickering, he rushed off at top speed towards the area where he dropped off little Ming Yue.
Within the blink of an eye, the distance of a hundred zhang was traversed. Upon arriving mere seconds later, he found the giant ape tossing a gigantic rock at the sky. Amidst the blackened canvas, Ning Chen could barely make out the silhouette of the rock impacting with a monstrous bird. There was a pained screech followed closely by a rain of feathers.
However, there were simply too many of these monsters and they were all too sturdy as well. This simply wasn’t a matter that could be resolved by a couple of rock tosses.
“That’s enough, you’ve done well protecting little Ming Yue thus far, leave the rest to me.” As he said that, he looked at the pitch black sky, eyes narrowing as he did so.
“Wooo.” The ape replied shakingly.
“Show some backbone, to think the Sage actually wasted ten years teaching you!”
Having said that, he kicked off with one feet and transformed into a silvery ray of light that sliced across the black sky an instant later. Like a murderous painter, his Ink Sword painted an inky stroke across the nine heavens and immediately the skies erupted in a shower of blood.
Before reaching the realm of the Xiantian, martial practitioners weren’t able to take to the skies. However, that didn’t mean he was helpless in an aerial fight either. Using one of the monstrous birds as a springboard, he kicked off into the air once more and rushed at the bird lurking around at the highest point.
That was the same monster bird he injured some time ago. Even now, its feathers were still stained with blood. However, its injuries had healed up by now and with that, it recovered its astonishing speed as well.
The head of the monster birds screeched from the nine heavens. Hearing that, four of the nearest birds around it immediately dove at the ascending human.
“A Feather’s Flight, The One Sword of the Heavens and Earth”
One became a million and a million became one. Amidst a blinding silvery radiance, Ning Chen’s body transformed into a silvery giant sword and in one stab, penetrated two monster birds. Ink Sword radiating with frost, he sliced across the heavens with a sword flash that lit up the entire horizon.
*Slice* Amidst a frightening howl, one of the wings of the head monster bird was thoroughly sliced apart by the Ink Sword in an explosion of fresh blood that rained upon the earth.
Now that it had lost its wings, the head monster bird was no longer able to maintain its flight path and promptly fell amidst a tortured screech. The remaining birds immediately panicked and flocked towards the head bird in a bid to support the latter.
Yet, it was at that moment that Ning Chen struck once more, stepping onto the bird’s body, he swung his sword and sliced off its remaining wing.
Instantly, blood gushed out of the neatly sliced off stump and drenched the dozen birds below. At that, the screeches below grew even more panicked as their gigantic wings now furiously flapped away to escape.
Eyes devoid of any compassion, a burst of dark yellow erupted from his body and his Qi of dense earth exploded. With an immeasurably heavy stomp, he violently forced the bird down.
Below it, the flock of birds buckled under the sudden burden and amidst a cacophony of screeches, fell helplessly to the ground crushed beneath the wingless body of the head bird.
“It’s your turn now.”
Ning Chen coldly harrumphed as he launched himself off another flying bird platform and stabbed at a bird monster from above its back. Swinging the Ink Sword, he completely bifurcated the four zhang wide bird in one fell stroke.
Seeing that grisly sight, the remaining birds finally couldn’t withstand the terror in their hearts and flew off in a frenzy as if leaving a second later might cause them to be cut in half.
Standing nearby, he chose not to give chase seeing as the message had already been sent. It wasn’t like he could finish all of them off anyway and neither did he need to.
By his sword, he injured one monster bird and killed another. The injured one was basically in its death throes now after surviving that fall.
Back at the ancient pool, little Ming Yue had gotten off unscathed without even a single drop of blood dirtying her clothes thanks to the protection of the giant ape; that pleased the teen greatly.
Gazing at terrifying human approach it, a look of submission crossed its eyes, yet at the same time, there was a hint of hesitation within them as well.
However, the giant ape was simply too tall so Ning Chen didn’t notice it. Hands held together, he prepared to leave with little Ming Yue.
Its wild desires finally triumphing over its fear, the giant ape anxiously stepped forward to block the two of them after which it swept its eyes over the distant bird corpse and put on a pleading expression.
Stopping for a moment, he raised his eyebrows in confusion.
Little Ming Yue on the other hand seemed to understand what the ape was saying. Tugging on the sleeves of the teen, she then pointed at the monster bird, “I think he wants something from the corpse of the monster bird.”
“Woo woo.” It nodded its head.
Thinking about it for a moment, he raised his head and asked, “Where is it.”
The giant ape pointed at the head section of the bird, the intensity in its eyes grew as it did so.
“Ming Yue, step back for a moment.”
Ning Chen reached out and tapped the head section of the monster bird with his True Qi. A moment later, his eyes narrowed. There was a spiritual energy signature within it.
Ink Sword readied, he chopped apart the giant head.
A second later, a cyan pearl the size of a walnut flew out amidst an eruption of fresh blood. Extending his arms, Ning Chen promptly caught it and gave it a careful look. He found nothing of interest so he merely tossed it to the big lug.
“You can have it.”
The tension in its eyes immediately dissipated and only elation remained behind. Catching the pearl, it immediately swallowed the pearl without wasting another word.
“What was that?” Asked little Ming Yue, face slightly scrunched up in disgust.
“I have no idea as well.” Ning Chen shook his head in response. He wasn’t able to detect anything unusual about the pearl but from the looks of it, it was some kind of crystallized spiritual energy. He had never heard of such a thing before and most probably it was a rather rare item as well.
No wonder that monster bird’s body was so sturdy, it was clearly about to reach perfection.
It was at that moment that the giant ape suddenly roared into the heavens and a brilliant cyan radiance burst forth from its body before rapidly shrinking back in.
Ten zhang, eight zhang, five zhang…
The radiance grew brighter but the giant ape grew smaller with every passing second. Its shrinking only began to slow down when it was about the size of little Ming Yue.
Looking at the shrunken version of the giant ape, Ning Chen found it no longer as ugly as before. In fact, its comical face made it significantly cuter.
As for little Ming Yue, her eyes practically shone with delight as she reached out and patted its tiny little noggin.
Ning Chen was a little bewildered by what he saw but he chose not to pay anymore attention to it. After all, the Sage was even able to live for a thousand years, compared to that, this nonsense really wasn’t all that shocking.
He grabbed her hands and prepared to leave once more. They had wasted a lot of time already and they still had a long road ahead.
At that, a look of unwillingness flashed across her eyes but in the end, she quietly followed the lead of the teen.
The ape grabbed onto the sleeves of the girl and promptly caught up as well.
Seeing that, Ning Chen stopped for a moment and asked, eyebrows furrowed as he did so: “You want to follow us?”
“Woo.” It nodded, eyes slightly unsteady.
Ning Chen turned to look at little Ming Yue and after seeing her expectant gaze, he sighed softly. Raising a monkey wasn’t really a big deal so as long as she was happy…
“If you want to follow us then go ahead.”
Having said that, Ning Chen held onto Ming Yue’s hands and continued on his way. Behind him, the ape wooed in happiness and promptly followed the pair.
By now, Ming Yue was in a jubilant mood. “How about we give it a name?” She asked in an adorable voice.
Hearing that, she pouted, clearly dissatisfied by the name. At the end of the day however, she accepted the name. Little Yellow it was then, it was a horrible sounding name but at least it was easy to remember.
Thus two humans and an ape left the picturesque waterfalls. Some distance away, the stone house finally crumbled into pieces after succumbing to those recent tremors. With a thunderous crash, the traces of the Sage were now completely buried underneath a layer of stone.
The nights in the mountains were chilly as always. As the radiant moon hung high above, its silvery rays gently sparkled in the damp moistness. Circling around the giant waterfall, the three of them entered a rolling mountain range.
The Qizhou Mountain Range was a massive natural barrier. In order to pass through it, one had to at least scale two peaks. As of right now, they had barely finished half of their journey.
Given how much time had passed, there should be a couple of hours left before dawn. Having walked for so long, little Ming Yue was beginning to feel a little sleepy so Ning Chen decided to piggyback her while she slept.
Not pausing for a second, Ning Chen then continued rushing through what was left of the night. Behind him, the ape practically tiptoed as it followed the pair. The last thing it wanted to do was awaken the slumbering girl and anger the terrifying human.
The second mountain peak was a lot larger than the first. Furthermore, while they were scaling it, Ning Chen was constantly beset by a sense of unease.
A martial practitioner’s instincts were several times more sensitive than an ordinary person’s. Right now, those instincts gave off the sensation of being stalked by something terrifying.
He was at the peak of eighth grade now. For something to make him feel uneasy, it had to at least be the equivalent of a eighth-grade human or perhaps even higher.
Behind him, the little ape was just as unsettled as well. Swivelling its head left and right, it tried to locate the source but was unable to do so.
And yet in spite of that unease, Ning Chen continued on his way as before though he kept his guard up even higher than before. With little Ming Yue by his side, he didn’t dare to slip up one tiny bit.
Within his Dantian, his silver and golden Qi whirlpools began to simultaneously rotate. Soon after, strands after strands of True Qi rushed forth from his body and spread out like an invisible net over his vicinity.
It was then that the little ape finally calmed down and closely stuck to the surveillance range of that Qi net.
An hour later, the moon began to set and the first rays of dawn burst over the horizon. Yet, in that instant when day and night changed, the surroundings changed as well.
Amidst a terrible shaking, the earth suddenly tore open as if it was the mouth of some giant beast and swallowed the three of them whole.
A second later, the rift closed up and the heavens and earth regained their composure once more. As the cold winds blew through and the leaves danced in the air, all traces of them were wiped out in an instant as if nothing had ever happened…