DEHAHuntForFruityPebbles

Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 25 – The Dao of Karma

“Let’s go.” Ji Ning rose to his feet, departing the teahouse with Azurefiend, Whitethaw, and Flamewing by his side. As they walked, their forms gradually dissipated into nothingness. None of the ordinary mortals in the teahouse noticed a thing at all. They continued to live their ordinary lives.

Whoosh. Ning and the other three appeared out of nowhere in the void outside this chaosworld.

“So it’s all over? You don’t need to train any further?” Azurefiend asked.

“Yes.” Ning nodded. “I’ve already succeeded in training in the Dao of Karma. Everything has been completed, and at my current level of mastery of the Dao of Karma I can subconsciously sense that even if I trained in other Daos, it would be of no use in attempting the Daomerge for my Omega Dao.”

Ning had trained for nearly 38 chaos cycles after acquiring the Stonefire Pearl. Given that his Primaltwin had constantly been under 100x temporal acceleration, he had actually spent over 3000 chaos cycles training.

The Dao of Wind had been completed incredibly fast, while the Dao of Time had cost him over 300 chaos cycles. The rest of the 3000-plus chaos cycles had all been spent on the Dao of Karma.

The Dao of Karma was legendary for its complexity. Generally speaking, Eternal Emperors would at most learn how to follow karma lines to slay all of an enemy’s clones and avatars. Their mastery of karma would be limited to simply that. Of all the Hegemons and Emperors which Ning had met, Emperor Waveshift had reached the highest level of insight into ‘karma’. Emperor Waveshift had organized all of the karma lines surrounding him in a very neat and orderly way, ensuring that he was no longer bound by it and instead was in control of it and able to make use of it. However, Emperor Waveshift had actually merely reached the Archon level of mastery in the Dao of Karma.

Ning had the Autarch’s stone dais and the Stonefire Pearl, as well as incredible powers of comprehension, but it had still taken him nearly 3000 chaos cycles in order to reach the Archon level. This was a testament to how difficult this Dao was.

Once one mastered the Dao of Karma, one would surpass even Hegemons in understanding how all living things were connected to each other.

“Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth… the Five Elements. They are supported by the Storm of wind and thunder, while Spacetime envelopes them all. Formations and Illusions merge them into one whole, while Karma serves as the heart.” Ning nodded. Nine represented the apex of numbers, while ten represented perfection. After mastering the Dao of Karma, Ning understood this concept. Now that he had reached the apex in these ten paths, he had already reached the level of full perfection.

He could train more in other Daos, such as the Dao of the Saber, Dao of Snow, or the Dao of Ice, but it would be of no use. They wouldn’t allow Ning to gain any more fragmentary insights into the Omega Sword Dao at all.

……

“Karma.” Ning stood there in the void outside the chaosworld, gazing at everything around him. He had just mastered the Dao of Karma, and he was attuning to the many new insights into the universe it was bringing him. He was gaining many new ideas into the Omega Sword Dao. Although they weren’t systemized, they would be of use to him when the Daomerge came.

Ning turned to scan the surrounding area. Spacetime could no longer bar his gaze, and he saw countless distant chaosworlds, planets, and even everworlds. He was able to see through over a hundred territories around them.

He saw the grass emerge from the dirt of a distant world…

He saw how a mortal lived for a hundred years, then returned to the embrace of the earth…

He saw a mortal embark upon the path of cultivation, completely focused on becoming an Immortal…

He saw monsters struggling in terror, fearing that they would be found and slain by cultivators…

He saw Diremonsters claim hegemony over a region, devouring and massacring countless humans within it…

He saw aliens propagate to become legion in number, becoming the rulers of a land…

These were all things which Ning had personally experienced and witnessed at close range during the past twenty chaos cycles.

He had seen many powerful Fiendgods and Immortals wander the lands unimpeded. He had seen ‘mighty’ World-level cultivators who rose to dominate their respective chaosworlds and become the undisputed overlords of them. He also saw them battle against other World-level cultivators for supremacy, with some dying in those battles.

He saw World-level cultivators focus on their cultivation. He saw Samsara Daolords experience all sorts of tempering experiences. Some fearlessly went out adventuring and finally attempted the Daomerge. Even though they all perished, they continued to charge towards the Daomerge like moths towards the flame. Every so often, a few would succeed and gain Eternity for themselves, but perhaps 99,999 out of every 100,000 would fail the Daomerge and perish.

“Everyone from ordinary mortals to Samsara Daolords have their own paths,” Ning murmured softly. “This is the nature of the cultivator civilizations.”

“How wonderful.” This was how Ning summarized it all. He liked how the cultivator civilizations worked. Thank goodness they had won the Dawn War! Otherwise, all living beings would’ve been enslaved by the Sithe.

“All living beings within the cultivator civilizations should feel gratitude towards the Autarchs.” When Ning thought of this, he could immediately but subconsciously sense that all living beings were connected to the Autarchs by karma. They all owed the Autarchs. However, the Autarchs were so overwhelmingly powerful that karma had no power over them any longer.

“I hope the cultivator civilizations will be able to survive and thrive unto eternity. I hope we won’t be destroyed by the Sithe or other similarly terrifying groups.” Ning then smiled. “Not really for me to worry about, though. I’m not even as strong as Flamewing right now.”

Ning put this out of his mind and began to make the karma lines around him more orderly. He hadn’t been alive for too long, and so although the karma lines around him seemed complicated he was able to realign them and smooth them out in short order.

“Eh? Two knots?” Ning frowned upon realizing that there were two ‘knots’ in his karma. If he didn’t solve these knots, he would definitely fail his Daomerge!

The first knot was the lifeblood oath he had once sworn. Prior to attempting his Daomerge, he had to accept ten honorary disciples on behalf of Emperor Mirrorsnow. This was something he was bound to do by his lifeblood oath, and Ning knew of it.

The second knot was what truly surprised Ning. It was his promise to slay Emperor Melobo.

When Ning had first left the Three Realms and was merely an Elder God, he had visited the Allgod Estate. He had been bestowed with the [Novessence Thunder] technique by the formation-spirit, which was one of the nine novessence arts. As the formation-spirit had put it, it was ‘sowing the seeds of good karma’ with Ning. It had said to Ning: “I won’t force you to do it; I merely hope that you can help,” and had also said that “I’m just planting seeds to sprout in the future. I don’t expect all of them to blossom.”

Back then, the formation-spirit would never have dared to imagine that one of its many seeds would blossom in such a manner. It only hoped that if Ning did become powerful in the future, that he would slay Emperor Melobo.

Ning had felt this to be an impossible and impossibly distant task, but he had still been rewarded the [Novessence Thunder] technique.

“I’ve now reached the Hegemonic level of power; killing Emperor Melobo would be extremely simple,” Ning mused. “Indeed, now that I think back to it, I do owe both the formation-spirit and Daolord Allgod! During my Daomerge, even the slightest of karmic debts can cause me to be negatively impacted. An Omega Daomerge cannot accept even the slightest of such impacts. It would definitely cause me to fail.”

“Right. I absolutely must complete these two tasks before the Daomerge.” Ning nodded. “It’ll take time for me to track down Emperor Melobo, and it’ll also take time for me to accept ten honorary disciples,” Ning mused. “I’ll go visit Realmslord Windgrace first, then take care of these two matters.”

……

“Sorry for the trouble, Hegemon Brightshore.” Ning had come to ask Hegemon Brightshore to assist him in tracking down Emperor Melobo. Hegemon Brightshore was the number one Hegemon of the Flamedragon Realmverse, after all, and he was skilled in the Dao of Spacetime. He also had a strong web of relationships. It would be easy for him to locate Melobo.

“A minor matter,” Hegemon Brightshore replied casually.

“Please keep this secret. Don’t let Melobo find out and then flee the realmverse,” Ning said.

“Don’t worry. I’ll handle this matter personally and will ensure that no mistakes happen. If you don’t mind, I can help you kill him,” Hegemon Brightshore said.

“It would be best if I did it personally,” Ning said.

“Mm, very well. Go ahead and visit Realmslord Windgrace. By the time you are back, I’ll have handled everything.” Hegemon Brightshore was quite confident. He knew that Emperor Melobo was definitely within the Flamedragon Realmverse. Where, exactly? He didn’t know, as it was difficult to find where an Emperor was hiding… but if Hegemon Brightshore personally investigated this matter, he would definitely be able to find Melobo within a hundred thousand years.

……

After having asked Hegemon Brightshore for help, Ning, Flamewing, Azurefiend, and Whitethaw rode the realmship out of the Flamedragon Realmverse and towards the Hiddenfiend Realmverse.

These two realmverses were fairly far away from each other. The realmship needed to engage in extremely long-distance spacetime teleports, and it needed as much time as was needed to boil a kettle of tea in order to build up energy between each teleport.

Sixty thousand years later. Whoosh. A realmship suddenly appeared from a spatial tear within the void outside the Hiddenfiend Realmverse.

“And here we are.” Ning stared at the world outside the realmship, his eyes lighting up. This was his first time visiting another realmverse. In contrast, Whitethaw, Azurefiend, and Flamewing were all quite calm. They had all visited many places; Ning was the only inexperienced one present.

“Mm. This place is fairly close to the Blacksun. A single teleport will take us there.” Ning had already acquired a star map of the Hiddenfiend Realmverse prior to arriving.

One more spacetime teleport later, Ning found himself staring at a beautiful and distant star. To be precise, it was an absolutely enormous war machine that was riddled with channels and canals that made up complicated rune-paths. The Blacksun was a terrifying war machine that was capable of changing the destiny of entire realmverse sectors. Just by looking at it, Ning felt an ancient aura of power sweep across him, pressing down upon him like an invisible threat.

“Fellow Daoist Darknorth.” A voice rang out, followed by a chubby youth appearing on the Blacksun who stared in Ning’s direction. Although they were over a hundred billion kilometers away, the two were able to see each other with ease.

“Hegemon Wuye.” Ning put away his realmship.


Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 26 – Jade Slip

Prior to visiting Realmslord Windgrace, Ji Ning had long ago sent word via the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance that he would be coming. Realmslord Windgrace was quite willing to meet with Ning as well.

The Blacksun. Ning’s group of four was led to a courtyard within it.

Hegemon Wuye smiled: “Master has been waiting for quite some time. When he heard that you were coming, he was quite excited. I felt quite eager as well. I’ve heard of your illustrious reputation long ago, Darknorth, and I’ve also heard of Flamewing God the Chaos Primordial. Today, I’ve finally met you two.” He was unable to disguise his interested glance towards the nearby Flamewing.

Flamewing was quite chubby, but was much larger than Wuye. When he saw Wuye, he mumbled, “He looks yummy.”

Hegemon Wuye’s face turned pale and he hurriedly pushed the door open and called, “Master!”

There was a withered tree inside the courtyard. Below it was a prayer mat, with a disheveled-looking old man seated atop it. The old man’s eyebrows looked quite messy, but his gaze was extremely calm. He had a smile on his face, and he pointed to the prayer mats next to him. “Darknorth, my young friend. Sit.”

“Thank you, Realmslord Windgrace.” Ning walked over and sat down on a prayer mat. Azurefiend and Whitethaw did the same, while Flamewing lazily sauntered over to a boulder and lay down on it while shaking his rump.

“Chaos Primordials truly are extraordinary,” Realmslord Windgrace praised. He then glanced at Ning. “Darknorth, my young friend… I’m sure you didn’t come to visit me just to show off your Chaos Primordial.”

“There is indeed something I wish for you to help me with, Realmslord,” Ning said.

“Go ahead and explain.” Realmslord Windgrace was quite willing to help Ning out; the more he helped Ning out, the greater his chances of acquiring the Flamewing God after Ning failed the Daomerge would be.

“I’ve heard legends of two marvelous items that are of tremendous use during the Daomerge. One is known as the Daomerge Firecloud Flower, while the other is known as the Incense Spirit-Fruit,” Ning said. “Are you aware of them, Realmslord?”

Realmslord Windgrace looked at Ning in astonishment, then sighed. “Impressive, truly impressive. Daolord Darknorth, how is it that you know of such incredibly rare items? Even I only learned of them due to a lucky encounter.”

Ning was delighted. He immediately asked, “Realmslord, do you know where they can be found?”

“Daomerge Firecloud Flowers and Incense Spirit-Fruits should be considered legendary treasures for Daolords attempting the Daomerge,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “When I served Autarch Titanos, we once discussed Daomerge treasures, with the topic focusing on the treasures that provided incredibly marvelous effects for short periods of time. Autarch Titanos praised the Daomerge Firecloud Flower as being best, with the Incense Spirit-Fruit being second.”

“Both of these two items vastly surpass the Voidsea Jadeseals. During the Daomerge, someone who has eaten an Incense Spirit-Fruit will enter a truly profound state where his body is divided into nine different incarnations. All nine of them can test out a simulated Daomerge while the true body undergoes the real Daomerge. So long as one of the nine incarnations succeeds, the true body can succeed in the Daomerge as well,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “As for the Daomerge Firecloud Flower, it’s even more remarkable. It can allow for the creation of eighty-one incarnations that will all simulate the Daomerge at the same time!”

“But of course, what I’m saying only stands true for ordinary Daolords. The more talented a Daolord is, the more energy each incarnation consumes from an Incense Spirit-Fruit or a Daomerge Firecloud Flower. Those who have fused multiple Supreme Daos will only be able to create a single incarnation after eating an Incense Spirit-Fruit, while a Daomerge Firecloud Flower can at most maintain a total of nine incarnations. These two treasures have a similar function, which means you can only choose to use one of them. You can’t mix and match… and they only have these marvelous effects when you use them during your actual Daomerge.”

Realmslord Windgrace looked at Ning and smiled. “What, Darknorth… do you need the Daomerge Firecloud Flower?”

Ning was amazed. So this was the effect these items had? The Voidsea Jadeseal allowed for just a single simulated Daomerge, but it didn’t have to be used during the actual Daomerge! The problem with it was that it just wasn’t all that powerful in comparison. For supreme Daolords who had fused multiple Supreme Daos, it would only allow for a small part of the Daomerge to be simulated.

In comparison, the Incense Spirit-Fruit was clearly far more powerful, while the Daomerge Firecloud Flower was ridiculously effective. The problem was, they could only be used during the actual Daomerge!

“So someone who has fused multiple Supreme Daos can have nine incarnations assisting him when he uses the Daomerge Firecloud Flower?” Ning mused to himself, “Then my Omega Dao… I wonder if I’ll have even a single incarnation.” As for the Incense Spirit-Fruit, Ning had already mentally discarded it.

“You train in an Omega Dao, yes?” Realmslord Windgrace asked.

“Yes.” Ning acknowledged it.

“Daomerges for Omega Daos are incredibly difficult. I imagine only the top Daomerge treasure, the Daomerge Firecloud Flower, will be of some use to you.” Realmslord Windgrace shook his head. “And its use will probably be highly limited. I’ve heard of Omega Daolords who have used it but still failed. There has just never been anyone successful in an Omega Daomerge.” Realmslord Windgrace let out a sigh.

Every single realmverse had a few Hegemons, which meant that the vast Chaosverse had a large number of them… but it had never seen so much as a single successful Omega Daomerge!

“As long as it helps out, I’ll take it.” Ning laughed. “Anything that can increase my chances by even a sliver is a good thing. Perhaps that’ll be the sliver that pushes me over to success during the Daomerge.”

“That’s a nice way to view it. You need that sort of attitude when you attempt the Daomerge. If you are panicking, you’ll have lost half the battle before it even starts,” Realmslord Windgrace said.

“Realmslord, do you know where Daomerge Firecloud Flowers can be found?” Ning asked.

“I do. They can be found in several places,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “Daomerge Firecloud Flowers are incredibly valuable to Daolords, but to us they are nothing more than fairly unusual treasures that are generally used to create pills.”

Ning was overjoyed. His eyes lit up as he asked, “If the Daomerge Firecloud Flowers are used to create pills, will they perhaps be of even greater assistance during the Daomerge?”

“No, no! If you use them to make pills, you’ll actually waste the special effect they have during the Daomerge,” Realmslord Windgrace said hurriedly. “Daomerge Firecloud Flowers are naturally endowed with those unique properties, but once you use it to create a pill the properties are lost. In addition, they can only be used within a thousand years after they first bloom! After a thousand years go by, their aura will completely vanish and their medicinal value will drop by over 90% as well.”

Ning nodded. “Then where can they be harvested?”

Realmslord Windgrace frowned. “Are you still going to go for one? The place they are located is incredibly dangerous. I know where they can be found, but even I wouldn’t dare to go there without a good reason. Generally speaking, several of my friends would join forces in venturing there.”

“The place is that dangerous?” Ning was surprised.

“The Chaosverse is filled with countless marvels as well as many incredibly dangerous places. However, the Chaosverse is so fast that it’s hard to even locate those places unless you know exactly where they are,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “Ordinary realmverses and otherverses would never be able to give birth to something like a Daomerge Firecloud Flower. Only some of the truly marvelous places of the Chaosverse, places which gather together countless different types of universal essence, can possibly give birth to such remarkable treasures.”

“All of these places, however, are tightly protected by the prime essences of the Chaosverse,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “The Sithe attempted to invade and conquer many of these places and take their contents by force, but the result was that they suffered tremendously heavy casualties.”

“So what type of dangers do those places hold?” Ning asked.

“A type of being known as a ‘Sourcewalker’,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “Let me put it to you like this. Normally, the Chaosverse can give birth to two extremely perfect types of beings. The first are known as the ‘Chaos Godbeasts’, while the second are known as the ‘Ancients’.”

Ning nodded slowly. Hegemon Brightshore was a Chaos Godbeast, while Ninedust was a member of the Ancients. They were born at the World level and had incredibly perfect divine bodies.

“Chaos Godbeasts have comparatively lower levels of comprehension, while Ancients take human form and have much higher comprehension skills,” Realmslord Windgrace said.

Ning smiled. The only member of the Brightshore Imperials to succeed in the Daomerge was Hegemon Brightshore himself. It was incredibly difficult for Chaos Godbeasts as a race to succeed in the Daomerge. Azurefiend and Welkin were both Chaos Godbeasts, but they were the only Hegemons to have ever arisen from their race. They had no colleagues at all. They were unable or unwilling to spend their entire lives taking care of weaker Chaos Godbeasts as Hegemon Brightshore did, and so they wandered by themselves through the Chaosverse. This was something they had been accustomed to since youth. In contrast, Ancients were far more intelligent and thus had far more Eternal Emperors in comparison.

“Chaos Godbeasts and Ancients… they are present in virtually every realmverse. They are quite common,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “However… two types of living beings are born within the prime essences of the Chaosverse, and they are even more elite. One type is fairly unintelligent, and they are known as the ‘Chaos Primordials’. The other is fairly intelligent and also has human form, and they are known as ‘Chaos Essence Walkers’, or ‘Sourcewalkers’ for short.”

“Chaos Godbeasts and Sourcewalkers are born with far more exalted bloodlines than Chaos Godbeasts and Ancients,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “However… they represent even greater extremes as well.”

“Chaos Godbeasts are as unintelligent as mortal children, but are born with virtually indestructible bodies. In contrast, Sourcewalkers are very intelligent and have incredible comprehension skills. They are incredibly solitary and proud figures who do not dwell in ordinary places. They delight in dwelling in treasured places where countless streams of essence from the Chaosverse gather together, and they treat those places as their own territories,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “Unlike Chaos Godbeasts, they cannot be ‘tamed’; they are simply far too intelligent. There is no way one can force them to submit.”

“If you wish to go to one of those sacred places where Daomerge Firecloud Flowers can be harvested, that means you are going to steal treasures from a Sourcewalker’s territory. You will enrage them.” Realmslord Windgrace shook his head.

Ning pondered this matter. He wasn’t surprised at all. Although this was his first time hearing of ‘Sourcewalkers’, he had already heard of strange beings that were on par with the Autarchs themselves. Why would he be shocked to hear that there were certain creatures on par with Chaos Primordials in might?

“Sourcewalkers are all extremely intelligent, which means they do have a weakness; their bodies aren’t nearly as indestructible as that of the Chaos Primordials, and they are born with much lower levels of strength. However, they can slowly cultivate and grow with time! Thus, there are varying levels of power amongst Sourcewalkers. The weaker ones are perhaps merely at the Hegemonic level, while the most powerful were supposedly on par with the Sithe Exalts, capable of killing us in an instant,” Realmslord Windgrace said.

Ning relaxed slightly. If even the most powerful were ‘merely’ on par with Sith Exalts, that meant they were still much weaker than the Autarchs. It must be remembered that it took three Sithe Exalts working together to capture the Flamewing God; a single one wasn’t able to do the trick. Plus, he wouldn’t be so unlucky as to run into literally the most powerful type of Sourcewalker in existence, right?

“When the Sithe furiously invaded those sacred places to loot the treasures, they enraged the prime essences of the Chaosverse with their greed. The prime essences allowed the Sourcewalkers to borrow from the inherent power of those sacred places, resulting in them becoming much more powerful. This was why the Sithe suffered greatly for their actions,” Realmslord Windgrace said. “However… you must be cautious if you do go.”

Realmslord Windgrace suddenly waved his hand, causing a jade slip to appear. He then filled it with his godsense, imprinting it with a great deal of information.

“This is one of the closer locations. If you ride on your realmship, you should reach it in just a few hundred thousand years. As I recall, this place has Daomerge Firecloud Flowers within it. This slip now contains all of the information I know regarding that place.” As Realmslord Windgrace spoke, he delivered the jade slip to Ning. “Remember, the information I provided covers just the vast majority of situations, not all situations. I didn’t delve too deeply into that place either. You really must be careful.”

“Thank you, Realmslord.” Ning accepted the slip.

……

After having received the intelligence he needed, that very day Ning bade Realmslord Windgrace farewell and embarked on a return journey.

He had to first deal with Emperor Melobo, then take on ten honorary disciples for Emperor Mirrorsnow. Only then could he go adventuring with a calm heart. Anything was possible while out adventuring, after all. He might be forced to initiate the Daomerge for some reason, which would be disastrous if these karmic knots were not resolved.