DEHAAreYouReady?

Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 38 – The Night Before the Daomerge

Back down on the vast ice continent, Daoist Towerdawn and Daoist Fireflame stared with heads raised as the realmship rapidly advanced into the great tempest high up in the skies.

“Big brother, do you think he will succeed in the Daomerge?” Daoist Fireflame asked.

“He trains in one of the legendary Omega Daos. His Daomerge will be very difficult.” Daoist Towerdawn shook his head. During the many chaos cycles Ji Ning had spent in the Icewind Sea, the two had naturally discussed the Dao with each other. “He is the only Daolord friend I have ever made. I hope he succeeds in his Daomerge.”

……

Ning’s group spent more than a hundred million years in slowly flying through the tempest layer, then began to hasten back to his homeland.

The Daomerge Firecloud Flower was the most important treasure Ning had acquired in the Icewind Sea. However, he had also acquired fifteen Incense Spirit-Fruits on top of that!

……

The Flamedragon Realmverse. Vastheaven Territory. Vastheaven Palace.

Whoosh. A realmship passed through the barriers protecting the palace, then descended upon the Darknorth Estate. Usually, the only people in the Darknorth Estate were Su Youji and Pillsaint. Ning’s disciples generally didn’t dare to come disturb them.

“Ji Ning.”

“Master.” Emperor Solesky, Su Youji, and Pillsaint all came out to greet him.

Ning and the others flew out of the realmship. Ning stored the realmship away, then turned and smiled. “Big brother. Youji. Pillsaint.”

“You succeeded?” Emperor Solesky asked expectantly.

“I found the Daomerge Firecloud Flower,” Ning said. “I’m planning to spend the next year preparing for it. I’ll also remake the formations and barriers protecting Vastheaven Palace! After that, I plan to initiate the Daomerge.”

“The Daomerge?” Solesky, Su Youji, and Pillsaint were all shocked.

“Master, you are going to attempt the Daomerge this soon?” Su Youji said frantically, “Master, you aren’t even close to your lifespan limits yet. There’s no need for you to rush! You can wait another hundred thousand chaos cycles before attempting the Daomerge.”

“What you don’t realize is that the Firecloud Daomerge Flower must be used within a thousand years of harvesting it,” Ning said. “More importantly… even if I delayed for a while longer, it wouldn’t be of any benefit to me in the Daomerge.”

There were literally no improvements he could make. He couldn’t even get a hint of a new insight with regards to the Omega Sword Dao. Waiting would be a pure waste of time. In addition, Ning knew just how difficult the Daomerge for the Omega Sword Dao would be. He had to be completely decisive and resolute in facing it; he couldn’t show the slightest bit of cowardice. His only chance was in charging through remorselessly and then succeeding!

“Master, you…” Su Youji’s eyes were filled with concern. “Be careful.” She had wanted to attempt the Daomerge alongside Ning, but she herself had just recently become a Daolord of the Fourth Step. Her Dao wasn’t all that strong, and as a result she hadn’t even reached the Verge of the Daomerge yet. Pillsaint was also a Daolord of the Fourth Step, but he also needed a great deal of time to prepare for it.

“Don’t worry.” Ning looked at Su Youji. “Youji, let me know when you are planning to engage in the Daomerge. I’ll have a present waiting for you.”

Ning could sense who truly cared about him. This was even more true now that he had reached such great heights in the Dao of Karma. Of the three present (Solesky, Pillsaint, Su Youji), without a doubt Su Youji cared about Ning the most, and the karmic lines binding the two of them were extremely deep. She probably wouldn’t even hesitate to sacrifice her own life to protect him, and so Ning naturally felt closer to Su Youji.

“Ji Ning, should we tell Hegemon Brightshore and the others that you are attempting the Daomerge?” Solesky asked. “All three Hegemons have requested me to inform them in advance if you are planning to engage in the Daomerge.”

“No need to tell them.” Ning shook his head. “I don’t want to cause too much of a fuss.”

“Fine. It’ll be as you choose.” Solesky nodded. Solesky knew that there were two reasons why Hegemon Brightshore and the others wished to be notified of Ning’s Daomerge attempt. The first reason was because Realmslord Windgrace had requested it. The second was because they wanted a chance to prepare themselves! Once a Daolord failed his Daomerge, his truesoul would begin to disintegrate, but this was a fairly slow process. The more powerful a truesoul was, the more time would be needed before it fully disintegrated.

It must be remembered that even World God Northrest’s truesoul managed to survive for nearly a chaos cycle before disintegrating. Given Ning’s current level of insight, even if his truesoul did disintegrate it would probably be able to last for an extremely long period of time. Given that he was guaranteed to die and given how much time he had, who knew what he might do? Would he cause any trouble?

Many Samsara Daolords who failed the Daomerge would lose themselves and do as they pleased, doing some things which they normally would never dare to do. Some would become so crazy that they would massacre people in great numbers.

It must be remembered that Ning had the Flamewing God on his side. The more powerful a Daolord was, the more terrifying that Daolord could be when he went crazy. If Ning failed the Daomerge and truly became a demonic figure, then led the Flamewing God on a rampage… who could possibly stop him?

“All I wish for during my Daomerge is peace and quiet,” Ning said calmly. “I know exactly what Realmslord Windgrace is attempting, as well as the ‘Lonely King’ of the Icepeak Army who has been slowly biding his time. However… I shall be the one to decide who I will give Flamewing to, if I give it to anyone at all.”

Ning knew that both were waiting for him to fail his Daomerge and then die! In truth, in his heart, Ning wasn’t willing to actually force Flamewing to serve someone else in the event that he failed his Daomerged and died. He wanted for Flamewing to be able to make a choice for itself.

“We’ll wait and see.” Ning had made some decisions regarding this long ago. If he failed his Daomerge and began to die, he would become an object of terrors to others. If he succeeded? The results would go without saying.

“I don’t need to worry about any of that. I only need to do one thing… complete the Daomerge!” Ning was filled with a terrifying degree of focus on the Daomerge.

……

Ning had mastered many different Daos during the chaos cycles he had spent in the Icewind Sea, including the Dao of Numerancy. He had also spent a great deal of time further perfecting the Dao of Formations for the sake of the Three Realms and Vastheaven Palace. He had studied many formations from both the Sithe as well as the cultivator civilizations, then used them as references in order to perfect a terrifying complicated grand formation.

This grand formation was formed by a total of fifty-two separate formations. Ning was preparing to set it up in both Vastheaven Palace as well as the Three Realms. This grand formation was incredibly profound; most likely, even a Hegemon who had reached that level via the Dao of Formations would find not find it easy to reach this formation. This was because this was a formation that combined the essences of many ancient grandmasters; Ning was just setting them up in accordance with their wisdom, then using his own insights to merge all fifty-two of them together.

These two different schools of formations were like Yin and Yang, merging together to form a whole. Even a Hegemon of the Dao of Formations who wished to technically solve and then breach it would find it to be quite difficult; most likely, he would need an extremely long period of time before succeeding.

As for using raw force to overpower it? Ning had so many treasures that he was certainly using only the finest energy sources for these formations. These tremendously powerful energy sources, when matched with these mighty formations, would ensure that not even ten Hegemons working together would be able to shake this formation. Ning himself was at the Hegemonic level of power, and so he knew just how strong this formation was.

However, Ning wasn’t confident in his formation being able to stand up to Realmslord Windgrace’s legendary ‘Blacksun’ weapon. The Blacksun was able to easily connect two extremely distant places together and was also able to unleash attacks of incredible power.

“The location and existence of the Three Realms has always been a secret. Everyone who knows of it has long ago sworn a lifeblood oath not to divulge its location,” Ning mused. “If I fail the Daomerge, I’ll do my best to leave behind something else for the Three Realms. However, there’s a limit to what I can do. The rest will be up to future generations.”

Ning felt quite calm and relaxed about this. He had seen both great joy and great sorrow. If he failed the Daomerge, he would die. The future of the Three Realms would indeed be up to the cultivators of the Three Realms themselves.

……

Time flowed on, one day after another. Ning established formations in both Vastheaven Palace and the Three Realms, with the materials and energy sources he used being equivalent in value to the networths of three Hegemons! To Ning, however, these things weren’t really all that important.

The atmosphere within the Darknorth Estate in Vastheaven Palace was extremely quiet and peaceful. Su Youji, Pillsaint, Hegemon Azurefiend, and even the normally-rambunction Flamewing were all exceptionally quiet. All of them knew that Ji Ning was going to attempt the Daomerge the following day.

“Tomorrow…” Ning raised his head to stare into the night sky. “Flamewing.”

“Master.” The chubby Flamewing immediately walked over.

“Tomorrow, I shall attempt the Daomerge. If anything happens or if anyone comes to interrupt me, take me into your estate-world treasure,” Ning said.

“Understood.” Flamewing immediately said, “Don’t worry. I’ll eat anyone who tries to cause trouble.”

Ning smiled. This was nothing more than a backup plan. In truth, it was his Primaltwin which would be the most important part of his Daomerge, as it was in the Azureflower Estate and would be completely safe. It also had the Autarch’s stone dais and the Stonefire Pearl; that meant its chances at the Daomerge would be the highest. Ning had even sent over the Daomerge Firecloud Flower to his Primaltwin. Since his Primaltwin and his true body were all part of one whole, they would both engage in the Daomerge together. Thus, if anyone came to bother Ning’s true body it actually wouldn’t make much of a difference.

“Alright.” Ning stared into the night sky, his heart feeling exceptionally at peace. After his experiences in the Icewind Sea as well as the year he had spent quietly preparing formations, he had focused his entire Dao-heart upon the Daomerge.

Suddenly, a certain desire flashed through his heart; before he began the Daomerge, he wanted to take a look at the Three Realms. He decided to follow through on this desire.

“I’m going on a small trip. No need for you to follow me,” Ning said. He then took a single step forwards and vanished without a trace.


Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 39 – Seclusion

Ji Ning arrived at the Three Realms by himself. Given his mastery over the Dao of Karma and the Numerancy, it was virtually impossible for anyone to see him if he did not wish to be seen.

“The Three Realms.” The white-robed Ning sat there within the void in the lotus position, staring off into the distant emptiness of the primordial chaos. Long, long ago, the original ‘Three Realms’ had been located here. However, the ‘new’ Three Realms had been destroyed and reborn numerous times by now as a complete chaosworld. It was never again divided into the Celestial Realm, Mortal Realm, and Netherworld Kingdom, or the three thousand major worlds and trillion minor worlds.

Ning sat there in the lotus position, staring silently into the void. His spirit, however, was pulsing rapidly. He felt as though he could see the Three Realms of old. Countless scenes flashed through his mind.

His thoughts turned to how the Netherworld Kingdom had suffered an attack from the Seamless Alliance, resulting in Ning being reborn into the world without having drunk from Granny Meng’s soup. He had been born into the Ji clan…

He had been born to his father Ji Yichuan and his mother Yuchi Snow. He had then become apprenticed to the Black-White College, met his first master Immortal Diancai, befriended Mu Northson, then met Ninelotus and Yu Wei.

Ninelotus was a straightforward person who dared to choose the person she loved for herself, but she was also a person who was extremely decisive. The problems with the Youngflame clan had resulted in them separating, while Yu Wei had always silently supported him.

During the Conclave of Immortal Destiny, Lu Dongbin and the Xia Emperor, along with countless other Immortals and Fiendgods, all watched as Ning and Yu Wei finally ended up being together.

Alas, shortly afterwards Ning had been taken to the Tristar Crescent Abode of Mount Innerheart, where he had entered the tutelage of Patriarch Subhuti. By the time they next met, the Seamless Alliance and the Nuwa Alliance had already launched a furious war against each other…

“Yu Wei.” Ning continued to reminisce on the past. He truly did feel great sorrow and pity for his departed wife.

Those days, Ning had roamed and dominated the Three Realms. During the Endwar, he had personally reversed the entire outcome of the war, then departed the Three Realms to continue his adventures elsewhere. He had now reached such heights within the vast Chaosverse that even Hegemons felt dread towards him. Not only had he taken on a Hegemonic retainer, he had even tamed a Chaos Primordial and had Hegemonic power as a Samsara Daolord.

Given all of this, Ning could truly be described as a dazzling figure. He was far more dazzling than Emperor Heartsword or even Hegemon Brightshore had ever been!

But his wife? Her destiny had been far more calamitous and pitiful. During her previous life, she had been born into a minor grasslands tribe. Calamity had descended upon that tribe, resulting in her suffering endless torments which had transformed her into a female asura-demon. She had lived a hellish existence, with the Godking secretly manipulating her from afar. Although she was reborn as an Immortal in her next life, her soul had remained under the Godking’s control. She had been his pain, and as a result her heart had been filled with such worry and fear that she initially had been afraid to even confess her love to Ning.

In the end, Ning had come to her. Yu Wei had decided that she would rather accept her soul being shattered than bring harm to him, and so the two had ended up together.

Alas, the Godking had continued to threaten and coerce her. Yu Wei knew that she would eventually be exposed, and so she had a child with Ning. Soon after that child had been born, Yu Wei had been consigned to the hells and eventually had her truesoul extinguished.

Her life had been a calamitous, miserable one. The only bright spot in her life had been the time she had spent with Ning and her giving birth to a daughter for him. Unfortunately, that moment of happiness had been a brief one.

……

Ning spent that night seated by himself within the emptiness of space, quietly thinking back to days past. His thoughts were chiefly of the time he had spent with his wife, Yu Wei.

As a powerful cultivator, he was able to remember every single one of his previous memories with perfect clarity. Not even the passage of time could dim them in the slightest.

He didn’t feel too many complicated or mixed emotions. All he felt was a tinge of heartache for his wife.

Whoosh. Ning rose to his feet, then turned to stare at the enormous flaming ball off in the distance. This was the Solar Star, and its light illuminated Ning’s face.

“Senior apprentice-sister… I have already come this far on my path of cultivation. Today, I shall begin my Daomerge. This shall be my last gambit. Wait for me. One way or another, we will be together again,” Ning murmured softly.

His Dao-heart, the entirety of his soul and truesoul… all of it was waiting in peak condition. The night he had just spent in solitary, silent reflection had caused them all to reach the greatest apex possible.

Riiiiip. Ning tore through spacetime and took a single step forwards, disappearing from the Three Realms.

……

Dawn. Vastheaven Palace. The Darknorth Estate.

Emperor Solesky, Hegemon Azurefiend, the Flamewing God, Su Youji, Pillsaint, and Whitethaw were all up. None of them had rested the previous night. All of them were waiting, and the more the waited the more nervous and impatient they became. All sorts of mixed emotions filled their hearts, as all of them knew what the Daomerge represented for any Daolord.

Whoosh. Ning appeared out of thin air, manifesting within the Darknorth Estate.

“Ji Ning.”

“Master.”

“Darknorth.” All of them rose to greet him.

Ning swept them with his gaze, then revealed a smile: “All of came? What’s with all the long faces? It’s like I already failed the Daomerge!”

“Master, you’ll definitely succeed in the Daomerge!” Flamewing was rather teary-eyed. Of the people present, it had the least amount of control over its emotions. It emotionally relied on Ning much like how a child would rely upon a parent. It hurriedly said, “Master, you are much more powerful than any and every Daolord I’ve ever encountered, and more of a genius than any of those Hegemons. An Omega Sword Dao is nothing to you. You’ll definitely succeed!”

“Flamewing.” Ning walked over, patting Flamewing on the head. When he had first tamed Flamewing, his only thought had been to acquire a powerful servant. However, as time had passed and as the two got to know each other over the course of many chaos cycles, Ning had realized how implicitly the beast trusted him. Flamewing truly was like a child and was incapable of complex schemes. After so much time, Ning felt a deep sense of affection for Flamewing… and as a result, he felt a degree of revulsion towards Realmslord Windgrace and the Lonely King for harboring designs on Flamewing.

“Darknorth, you must succeed in the Daomerge! I swore an oath to follow you for a thousand chaos cycles. It has only been a hundred! We’re not even close to being done with each other.” Hegemon Azurefiend’s wizened old face smiled, causing even more wrinkles to appear.

“Don’t worry. Once the thousand chaos cycles are over, you’ll probably be begging and crying for the chance to continue following me,” Ning said with a laugh. “When the time comes, I’ll have to think long and hard on whether or not I want you.”

Ning turned to look at Emperor Solesky, Su Youji, Pillsaint, and Whitethaw. He smiled once more. “Alright, no need to waste time on words. I’m going to go into seclusion and initiate the Daomerge,” Ning said.

“You are much more formidable than me. You’ll definitely succeed,” Emperor Solesky said immediately.

“Master…” Su Youji said hurriedly, “I want you to be by my side when I attempt my own Daomerge in the future.”

Ning nodded. He then patted Pillsaint and Protector Whitethaw on their shoulders, then turned and entered his estate. Pillsaint didn’t know what to say, while Whitethaw just watched silently. Although he was just a golem, he was sentient and extremely intelligent.

All of them watched as Ning’s figure disappeared past the great gates of the estate. Rumble! The gates to the estate swung shut, sealing it completely.

Flamewing transformed back into its true form, that of an enormous, flaming, winged ursine: the ‘Flamewing God’. It lay down in front of the estate, continuously sweeping the area with an icy cold look in its eyes. Clearly, it had chosen to immediately carry out Ning’s order to protect the estate! Starting from this moment, it wouldn’t permit anyone to disturb Ning’s Daomerge.

“Youji, relax a little. Being nervous isn’t going to help Master at all,” Pillsaint said consolingly. “It’ll all be up to him now. Supposedly, a Daomerge can last for a total of nine years.”

“Yes. It’ll all be up to Master now.” Su Youji sat down in the lotus position, closing her eyes and taking up a silent vigil.

Solesky, Whitethaw, and Whitethaw all began to wait as well. To them, waiting for nine years was an extremely short period of time.

……

Within the estate.

The white-robed Ning was seated in the lotus position atop a golden altar. This magic altar was something which Ning had poured all of his efforts into after researching the Autarch’s stone dais to the best of his ability. It was all thanks to Ning’s mastery of the Dao of Formations that he was able to emulate the stone dais as much as he had, and he had paid a fortune in treasures as well. Despite his efforts, success in the Daomerge would still primarily be up to his Primaltwin.

His Primaltwin had the original stone dais, the Stonefire Pearl, and even the Daomerge Firecloud Flower. It was far better resourced than Ning’s true body, but of course Ning did his best to outfit his true body as well. That way, his chances at the Daomerge might be slightly improved. He had given his true body some valuable spirit-pills, as well as the Stone Censer of Reunion. Perhaps his true body was only going to be 0.1% as effective as his Primaltwin, but every little bit helped.

But of course, once the Daomerge actually began the insights and experiences shared by the two sides would be identical. The two were two parts of a whole, and their souls, truesouls, and memories were all as one. As far as the Daomerge concerned, there was no difference between a true body and a Primaltwin.

If he succeeded in the Daomerge, his true body and his Primaltwin would both gain eternity at the same time. If he failed, his truesoul would begin to crumble.

The white-robed Ning sat there atop his altar, while the black-robed Primaltwin Ning sat upon the Autarch’s stone dais in the distant Azureflower Estate. As for Ning’s two avatars, they went into silent seclusion as well. An avatar contained part of the truesoul and godsense as well; if the Daomerge failed, the godsense within the avatars would quickly begin to crumble, causing the avatars to perish. However, since the true body and the Primaltwin both had complete souls and truesouls, they were able to ensure that the process of decay was dramatically lessened.

“Let it begin,” the white-robed Ning and the black-robed Ning both said at the same time.