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Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 28 – Daolord Darknorth’s Era

“I-I…” Emperor Melobo really did begin to cry. Begging was useless. What was he to do?

Ji Ning continued, “The reason why I’m going to kill you… is because of Daolord Allgod.”

“Daolord Allgod?” Emperor Melobo’s already-pale face turned completely ashen. Of course he remembered that madman! Daolord Allgod had been willing to pay any price in his efforts to kill Melobo, and he had nearly succeeded. Emperor Melobo had only been able to escape by the skin of his teeth.

“He died! He died long ago! There’s no way you could’ve ever met him.” Emperor Melobo was panicking.

“True. I never met him. When I was an Elder God, however, I received a bit of kindness from him. His formation-spirit bestowed me with a secret art,” Ning said, “And then expressed the hope that if I ever grew strong enough, I would help Daolord Allgod exact revenge upon you and kill you. Although this was nothing more than the dying will of a man who had already lost himself to despair… since I have benefited from him, I’m naturally going to help him carry out his wishes.”

“The reason I’m telling you this is so that you’ll understand that you… are now dying because of Daolord Allgod,” Ning said.

“I-I…” Emperor Melobo now understood everything, and his mind was in a state of chaos. Daolord Allgod had once been an extraordinarily talented figure, and he and his Dao-companion had been like a pair of truly divine lovers. Alas, Emperor Melobo’s devouring of his Dao-companion had driven him completely mad. Daolord Allgod had been filled with resentment and hatred until the day he died, and even when he died his eyes remained open and filled with rage.

Neither Emperor Melobo nor Allgod ever would’ve imagined that the Allgod Estate he casually set up before dying would result in an Elder God, Ji Ning, owing him a debt… and then coming to repay it. Today, Emperor Melobo would die!

Slash. Ning waved his hand, causing a streak of sword-light to appear in the air. The sword-light was ephemeral and indistinct, hard to see with the naked eye. It instantly slashed across Emperor Melobo’s body, and as it did so it spread out alongside the Aeonian’s karma lines. Everything which had any of his soul or truesoul within it was completely severed!

Emperor Melobo’s gaze grew dim. His soul was shattered, and he perished on the part. Now that Ning had reached such incredible heights in the Dao of Karma, he had learned some new and truly terrifying ways of killing people.

“Fine sword-arts,” Hegemon Brightshore said in praise.

“A pity.” Ning glanced at Emperor Melobo’s corpse, then murmured softly, “Daolord Allgod was a true genius, but he spent most of his life a madman because of this Aeonian. Not even death was an escape for him.”

“If Daolord Allgod knew what you did for him, he would feel relieved,” Hegemon Brightshore said.

“But he has died and his Dao has vanished. There’s no way for him to know.” Ning sighed, then turned to leave.

Daolord Yu continued to stare at Ning, her eyes shining. Ning gently waved a finger at her, causing a stream of Immortal energy to fly into his body. It easily undid the seals that were inside of her. Given Ning’s current level of mastery of the Dao of Formations, unlocking seals like these was incredibly simple.

“Let’s go,” Ning said. Hegemon Brightshore and Hegemon Azurefiend both glanced at Daolord Yu, and then they followed Ning in stepping into the void and vanishing.

Daolord Yu stared as Ning vanished before her very eyes. “Daolord Darknorth… Daolord Darknorth…” she murmured repeatedly. He had appeared in her hour of need, when she had been gripped by complete despair. Then, with unbelievable power, he had killed Emperor Melobo as easily as squishing an ant. All of this had intoxicated her. Even Hegemon Brightshore and Hegemon Azurefiend, two mighty Hegemons, had clearly accepted Ning as their leader in this affair.

His power, his voice, his sword-light… all of these things stirred her heart. However, she also knew that this was nothing more than a bit of infatuation. “It feels like a dream.” Daolord Yu smiled. A dream was enough for her.

She suddenly turned and saw the various treasures which Emperor Melobo had left behind. A long-lived Emperor like Melobo had many treasures, but Daolord Darknorth and the others had left without touching them. Clearly, they had left the treasures for her.

“For me?” Daolord Yu rose to her feet. “Daolord Darknorth left them behind for me?” She felt a surge of joy in her heart.

In truth, Ning had already swept through the Jadefire Realm’s prisons and possessed an incredible amount of treasures. Emperor Melobo wasn’t even at the Archon level; how could Ning feel any interest towards his treasures? Ning didn’t even want to bother going through them, and the same was doubly true for Azurefiend and Brightshore.

……

Within the Aeonian Kingdom. An avatar was lying within an ancient palace. This was Emperor Melobo’s avatar. Moments ago, he had been begging for help. Now, his aura had vanished.

Emperor Anchen, Emperor Islehide, and Emperor Duug all stared at his avatar’s corpse. “It was Daolord Darknorth who did the deed,” Emperor Islehide said softly.

“What can we do?” Emperor Duug said helplessly.

“Nothing but just stare.” Emperor Anchen laughed bitterly. “We should feel thankful that Daolord Darknorth has chosen not to cause trouble for us Aeonians. There’s no way we would ever dare to go find him! All we can do is hide here in the Aeonian Kingdom and keep ourselves alive.”

All three of them felt quite resigned. Emperor Melobo had begged them for help, but who were they supposed to beg? It was Daolord Darknorth who had killed Melobo! Who in the entire Sixteen Realmverses Alliance would dare stand in his path? Realmslord Windgrace, perhaps… but if he knew of this matter, he’d probably come help Darknorth out!

All of the Hegemons and Emperors were quite intelligent. By now, they could all guess that Realmslord Windgrace and the Lonely King, two truly terrifying figures, were both waiting for the day Daolord Darknorth failed his Daomerge! Neither of them wished to make an enemy out of Darknorth at a time like this. If they pressed him too hard, it would be of no benefit to them but could possibly bring disaster upon themselves. Nobody could stop a rampaging Flamewing, after all!

“I told them all long ago, given that we aren’t on good terms with Daolord Darknorth, we Aeonians need to stay low-key during this era, the era of Daolord Darknorth. Don’t cause trouble!” Emperor Anchen muttered, “Melobo actually dared to secretly infiltrate the Dao Alliance. He has no one to blame for his death but himself. Send word once more to all the elders that they need to be good boys! Daolord Darknorth isn’t as reasonable as the other major powers, and there’s no one who can stop him if he attacks.”

“Agreed.” All of them understood that so long as Daolord Darknorth was alive, this era would belong to him. He was the most dazzling figure in all the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance, and even Realmslord Windgrace would stand on his side.

……

“Darknorth, if my visions serves, that female Daolord seems to be a bit smitten with you.” After leaving the Orchidfall Everworld, Hegemon Brightshore began to tease Ning a bit.

“Haha…” Ning laughed. “Nothing more than a bit of infatuation. It doesn’t count for much.” By now, the only person in all the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance who was on par with Ning in the Dao of Karma was Emperor Waveshift himself. Ning had naturally been able to discern Daolord Yu’s interest in him through his mastery of karma. But it was nothing more than a bit of interest; it wouldn’t have any true impact on her at all.

“Hegemon Brightshore, next I plan to scour the entire Flamedragon Realmverse to accept disciples on behalf of my master,” Ning said.

“Accept disciples on behalf of your master?” Hegemon Brightshore was puzzled.

“Yes, on behalf of my master, Emperor Mirrorsnow,” Ning said. “I need to accept ten! Although I’m technically accepting on his behalf, given that he is adventuring in the outside world I’ll naturally have to teach them myself.” He would be their senior apprentice-brother in name, but their teacher in truth.

“I might be taking on disciples on his behalf, but I still cannot be casual about this,” Ning said. “I’m planning to divide the Flamedragon Realmverse into nine ‘regions’, and will pick out ten World-level cultivators from each region. I’ll then select ten disciples from those ninety World-level cultivators. If I meet a few I’m truly interested in, I might even accept them as my own personal disciple.”

Only after this concluded would he go out adventuring. He would be fully prepared for the Daomerge by then, and so he would also have to select a few more heirs in the event of his failure.

The Three Realms was simply too small of a place. Although he was leaving his Omega Sword Dao behind in the Three Realms, he had yet to find anyone he felt truly worthy of passing his technique down to.

“You accepting a disciple would be a momentous occasion.” Hegemon Brightshore grew a bit excited. “Haha, a Daolord who has the power of a Hegemon… this is truly unprecedented. Your Dao has to be far stronger than ours! Perhaps I’ll send a few geniuses from the Brightshore Kingdom to take part as well.”

“That’s fine.” Ning nodded. “Everyone in the Flamedragon Realmverse is invited, save for the Aeonians.”

Ning didn’t feel any enmity towards the Dark Kingdom. In truth, it consisted of cultivators who had escaped a destroyed realmverse. There was no need to truly treat them as enemies. As Ning had grown more powerful, his view of the universe had changed as well. The only ones he continued to harbor enmity towards were the Aeonians.

Aeonians treated cultivators as food. Ning felt a tremendous amount of distaste towards them. However, since he knew that Autarch Bolin had been the one to create the Aeonians, Ning elected to simply ignore them. There was no way he would go accept one of them as his disciple.

……

Ning also told Hegemon Windrain, Hegemon Netherlily, and the Dao Alliance about his plans to accept disciples on behalf of his master! He informed them that he would be accepting ten disciples and could possibly even choose a few personal disciples. However, all candidates had to be skilled in the sword and be at the World level of cultivation!

The entire Flamedragon Realmverse was thrown into a state of chaos by this news. It must be understood that Ning would never casually transmit his Omega Sword Dao to others; to date, the only one he had shown it to was Daoist Bluestone. Everyone knew how incredibly powerful Ning was, and every organization hoped that one of their geniuses of the Dao of the Sword would have the chance to inherit Daolord Darknorth’s supreme technique.

And so, word of how the Flamedragon Realmverse was being divided into nine ‘regions’ quickly began to spread. Even many of the independent cultivators heard of this, and they all began to hasten towards the region closest to them.

The countless World-level cultivators all wished to become apprenticed to the most peerless Daolord to have ever existed, Daolord Darknorth.


Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 29 – Sword Shack

Within a private room inside Vastheaven Palace. The white-robed Ji Ning was seated alone. Waving his hand, he caused ten stones to fly towards him and then hang there in the air before him.

Crackle, crackle, crackle. Ning waved his finger gently, causing flames to appear around the ten levitating stones and blaze away against them. The stones slowly began to melt, with runic patterns beginning to gradually appear on their surfaces. Everything was Ning willed it, and so the runic patterns joined together into a complex runic formation that caused the ten stones to transform into ten black loops. Ning then picked out a few other precious materials and infused them into the loops.

Ning had reached incredible heights in both the Dao of Fire and the Dao of Formations. As a result, creating simple Eternal treasures like these was incredibly easy for him. As for the materials he used, they were valuable enough to drive many Eternal Emperors mad with greed… but to Ning, he had literal mountains of them.

“Success.” Ning smiled. All ten bracelets glimmered with golden, silver, and violet lines that emanated strange ripples of power.

“Top-grade Eternal treasures. Given the ingredients I put into them, only Hegemons should be able to destroy them.” Ning then took control over the ten loops, sending his godsense into one of them.

Whoosh. A space that was ten thousand kilometers in size appeared before him. These loops were all estate-type treasures! However, they were limited in size to ‘just’ ten thousand kilometers because they were exceptionally stable.

“Let the earth form.” A vast earth began to emerge from the bottom of the space, quickly covering up all ten thousand kilometers of the estate-treasure.

“Let the mountains arise!” Soon, a vast mountain range thundered up from the earth, stretching upwards for nearly ten thousand kilometers.

In accordance with Ning’s will, this ten thousand kilometer world became primarily filled with mountain ranges as well as a few rivers.

“The Sword Shack.” Ning’s godsense incarnation waved a finger, causing an ordinary looking thatched cottage to appear within the largest mountain valley.

Another hour went past. By now, Ning’s true body had created a prayer mat which he put within the Sword Shack. The most valuable item in this entire estate-treasure was this prayer mat, something which even many Eternal Emperors would pine for as they cultivated. Cultivators would find that their hearts and minds would grow very calm as they sat there, and they would be able to train and meditate much more quickly than normally. Ning had emulated the Autarch’s stone dais in his creation of this prayer mat.

Although he wasn’t even close to the Autarch’s level of insight, his prayer mats still had roughly 5% of the effectiveness of the Stone Censor of Reunion; thus, they could be considered rare and valuable treasures.

“This world shall be a world of the Dao of the Sword.” Ning’s godsense incarnation swept the world with his gaze. Rumble… every single part of this world, including the mountains and the deep crevices, all became filled with sword-arts. There were many of them, all of them varied and complex.

These were the various sword-arts which could be discovered once one researched and dissected Emperor Mirrorsnow’s [Heartseal] sword-art. By now, Ning had reached a higher level of insight into the Dao of the Sword than Emperor Mirrorsnow ever had. He had first dissected all of the many sword-arts which were the underpinnings of the [Heartseal] sword-art, and then used the [Heartseal] sword-art as the basis for formulating eight even more profound sword-arts that were focused in different areas. Ning had now reached a high level of mastery over karma, giving him even greater powers of deduction reasoning. Given that he already had the Omega Sword Dao as his foundation, it was quite simple for him to formulate multiple Archon-class sword-arts.

If Ning merely wished to attempt the Daomerge via a single Supreme Dao, he would probably find the Daomerge to be much easier. However, his path was already set. Once it was set, there was no way to go back, no room for regret.

Besides… all things were relative. Ning’s path was that of the Omega Sword Dao. He had seen and experienced many things, and had also created multiple Archon-class techniques for the Daos of Space, Formations, Space, Time, Karma, and more. This was why he was able to create so many Archon-class sword-arts with ease. If he had chosen to embark upon a simpler path, he would’ve been much more limited in his abilities and would never have reached his current heights.

“The Sword Shack is perfect for meditation, allowing one to train quite quickly.” Ning nodded. “Within the world of the Sword Shack, those who wish to acquire rare and exceptional sword-arts must first pass a few tests.”

“Alright. The Sword Shack will be more than enough to guide them on their paths.” Ning revealed a smile. Since he had chosen to accept disciples on behalf of his teacher, he naturally had to give these ‘fellow disciples’ some treasures.

It was guaranteed that he wouldn’t have much time to personally teach them, which was why he had put all this effort into creating the Sword Shack. This was a treasure that was far more valuable than the godsense legacy which Emperor Mirrorsnow had provided him when Mirrorsnow had taken him on as a disciple. Ning had a higher level of insight into the Dao of the Sword, after all, which meant that he also had better ways of teaching. He truly did hope that these ten ‘junior apprentice-brothers’ or ‘junior apprentice-sisters’ would be able to surpass what he was able to offer them.

……

It took Ning half a day to create these ten Sword Shack worlds, then another eighty-plus years creating five more Silver Sword Shacks. Thanks to his mastery of the Dao of Karma, Ning had the vague feeling that he would at most take on a maximum of nine disciples.

He had previously already taken on Bluecliff Xiaoyu, ‘Green Bamboo’ Yang Quding, and young master Skywind; three disciples in total! If he factored in the legacy he had left behind after becoming a Daolord of the Fourth Step, it was guaranteed that he would have a fourth disciple as well.

Ning had the feeling that he would at most take on five more disciples. This time, he would see if there was anyone who interested and intrigued him enough so that he would take them on as a personal disciple instead of an honorary disciple on behalf of his master. He wouldn’t try to force things; it would all be left up to luck and fate. If he found someone interesting, he would accept them.

These five Silver Sword Shacks were meant for his personal disciples. Thus, Ning spent much more effort on them. They were quite similar to the other sword shacks, but Ning used even more precious ingredients on the prayer mats, and also put much more effort into the creation of the formations. Every single one of the prayer mats was almost 20% as effective as the Stone Censer of Reunion! More importantly, the Silver Sword Shacks were not centered around Emperor Mirrorsnow’s [Heartseal] sword-art; rather, they were centered around Ning’s own [Omega Sword Dao].

But of course, he couldn’t simply transmit his Dao to them. Rather, he used many different sword-techniques to serve as guides, and also left behind imprints of the sword-intent of the five stances of his Omega Sword Dao.

“I’ll have given them all I can give. Even the ten ordinary Sword Shacks have been filled with all the foundations they need; with those foundations, they have enough to develop the Omega Sword Dao on their own if they have the talent.” Ning nodded. He himself had slowly gained bits and pieces of insights which he had gradually used to make up for the deficiencies in his foundations, then finally been tempered into developing his Omega Sword Dao.

……

After finishing the creation of his gifts, Ning waited for another nine million years before the grand event which spanned the entire Flamedragon Realmverse began! Everyone was filled with excitement.

“It’s said that many powerful Daolords of the Fourth Step have come to watch the competitions. Even if we cannot end up being apprenticed to Daolord Darknorth, we might be able to become apprenticed to other powerful Daolords.”

“There are even some legendary Eternal Emperors and other ancient figures who have come to watch. They might take the opportunity to accept a disciple as well.”

“That’s nothing! All three of the almighty Hegemons have come alongside Daolord Darknorth! To be apprenticed to one of the three Hegemons or Daolord Darknorth would be truly incredible.”

This event was simply on far too vast of a scale. The six major organizations in the Flamedragon Realmverse were normally in a state of balance, and so it was impossible for anyone save Ning to cause the entire realmverse to be thrown into such a state of upheaval. This sort of tournament and selection process was far grander than the ones which the Brightshore Kingdom utilized! But of course, there were many major powers and Emperors who were watching intently, wanting to take advantage of Ning’s event to perhaps choose a few genius disciples for themselves.

……

The nine major regions were each governed by Archon-class major powers as well as their subordinate Emperors. There was an orderly process that had been implemented.

However, the number of independent cultivators who came was simply enormous. Thus, the first year was just the pre-selection competition, where all those who didn’t reach a certain minimum level of power were washed out. Ning was naturally the one who set the ‘minimum threshold’, which was simply the ‘supreme World God’ level. This alone washed out 99% of the cultivators.

Next, he teleported the remaining elites into the Vastheaven Everworld, to a place Ning had personally created… the Stairway to Heaven! The next trial would be the process of ascending the Stairway to Heaven.

The Stairway to Heaven were unfathomably high. If you wished to advance farther along the Stairway to Heaven, you would have to go through one contest after another. One side had to be killed or surrender before the other side could advance.

The Emperors, Hegemons, and Ning all watched intently as the battles in the Stairway to Heaven proceeded.

“This kid isn’t bad. I want him.” One of the Eternal Emperors in the Dao Alliance laughed, then waved a finger gently as he caused a strand of Eternal power to reach out and evelope the World-level cultivator who had nearly died just now.

Ning and the three Hegemons sat upon the highest thrones, watching from afar. They didn’t move to interfere. Only Emperors were qualified to select disciples from those who were on the Stairway to Heaven… but even then, they could only choose those who had failed! Only Ning and the three Hegemons were permitted to choose successful competitors.

“Interesting.” Ning’s gaze pierced through the void, coming to a rest atop of two figures who were walking side-by-side through the titanic Stairway to Heaven.

“Darknorth, have you taken an interest in those two kids?” Hegemon Brightshore asked.

“I want to watch for a bit longer and see how they perform. I do quite like the two of them, though.” Ning revealed a smile, causing Hegemon Brightshore, Hegemon Netherlily, and Hegemon Windrain to all laugh. It must be remembered that there were several peerless geniuses on the Stairway to Heaven who had fused multiple Supreme Daos together. The two Ning were staring at had each mastered just a single Supreme Dao.