DESDMoreFliesIntoTheWeb

Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 15 – The Second Batch

Within the realmship, located inside one of the flaming passageways inside the Jadefire Realm. Ji Ning was seated inside the realmship, drinking some wine. The fragrance of the wine filled the entire vessel, while the Protector stood solemnly by his side.

“Whitethaw, sit down and have some wine?” Ning said with a relaxed smile.

“I’m a golem. I don’t need to drink wine,” Whitethaw said flatly.

Ning shook his head. “That’s where you are wrong. I don’t ‘need’ to drink wine either, but I still ‘like’ to drink wine. We still need to have hobbies, you know. Come, come! I have plenty of precious wine stored up. Have a taste of all of them.”

“No need.” Whitethaw continued to stand there by himself.

“I order you to sit down.” Ning frowned.

“Yes, Master.” Whitethaw sat down obediently.

“Drink.” Ning pointed at the wine goblet in front of him.

Whitethaw picked up the goblet and dutifully drank the wine, then frowned and said in a low voice, “I don’t like it. I tried it back when I followed my previous master, ‘Daoist Bluestone’. I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now.”

“Eh?!” Ning was truly surprised. He waved his hand, causing a hundred different wine goblets to appear before him as well as more than a hundred gourds of wine. Wine flew out from each gourd, filling each one of the goblets.

“Try them all. I refuse to believe this. Your body should’ve been constructed perfectly, including your senses. How could you have no taste for wine whatsoever? I wager Daoist Bluestone just didn’t let you try enough types, which is why you didn’t run into anything you like,” Ning said. “Drink them all up, one cup at a time.”

Whitethaw dutifully picked up one goblet after another, draining them in succession. A look of bewildered resignation was on his straightforward face. Why was this master of his forcing him to drink wine?

“All done.” Whitethaw quickly finished all of the wine. He remained quite calm.

“Again.” Ning refused to believe this. Cultivators drank wine when they had nothing better to do, and so Ning had plenty of wine on him at all times. He had acquired large reserves and stockpiles from the Daolords and Eternal Emperors he had defeated as well.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Ning continued to pour, while Whitethaw continued to drink. After drinking for over two hours, Whitethaw suddenly shivered when he took a sip of wine and said, “Master, this one is good! I like this one!”

“Oh?” Ning was surprised. He waved his finger, causing some liquid to fly out of a gourd of wine off in the distance and into Ning’s mouth. A pungent, sour, acidic taste instantly overfilled his mouth, followed by an absolutely foul aftertaste. It was so rancid that Ning couldn’t help but twitch, and he immediately shut his mouth and turned to stare at Whitethaw: “This one? You like this one?!”

Ning liked all types of wine. Some wine was lightly flavored but had lasting aftertastes, others had flavors that permeated the entire body. He also enjoyed wine that would plunge his body and soul into a cool state of refreshedness… but he absolutely hated sour, acidic, and incredibly pungent wine like this. Even Ning himself wasn’t sure where he had found this wine; today was the first time for him to even bring it out of storage.

“That’s absolutely disgusting.” Ning shook his head.

“It’s good!” Whitethaw stared at Ning, wide-eyed.

“…Fine. The Chaosverse truly is filled with all sorts of marvels, including golems who like to drink wine like this. And who would even create this type of wine?! Ah, forget it. Come, let’s drink together!” Ning laughed. He finally had someone to drink with him now. Life had been quite boring recently. Hide-and-seek with these Hegemons and Emperors was extremely boring. It was too simple, given that his divine power clone was in perpetual control of the flaming passageways.

“Master, do you have the feeling that something seems off?” Whitethaw quickly began to grow more loquacious as the happy feeling from the wine flooded his body.

“Something seems off?” Ning was startled. “What do you mean?”

“The Hegemons in the flaming passageways here in the Jadefire Realm aren’t working as hard as in the past in trying to hunt you down,” Whitethaw said.

Ning laughed. “Of course. It has been eighty thousand years! By now, they’ve realized that catching me will be virtually impossible. There’s no need for to chase as frantically as they would’ve in the past.”

“But they haven’t exactly relaxed either. They’ve started to set up a few small traps in the various passageways, such as masking formations that hide some of the terrifying mechanisms inherent within the passageways. They’ve actually put down a few special-purpose formations to deal with me.” Ning shook his head. “They don’t realize that all of their movements are under my observation and control.”

“Master, there are already eight Hegemons and ten other Emperors present. In the end, how many of them will have arrived in total for the sake of the realmship?” Whitethaw said, worried.

Ning nodded slowly. He felt a sense of pressure as well. 80,000 years… Hegemon Wuye and Hegemon Fogsun were both controlling realmships and thus both had delivered a first batch of Hegemons and Emperors to the Flamedragon Realmverse during this period of time. Hegemon Wuye’s first batch had included five Hegemons and four Emperors, while Hegemon Fogsun’s first batch included three Hegemons and six Emperors.

“Based on my calculations, the second batches should arrive soon,” Ning said seriously. “I hope they will separately enter the flaming passageways as well. If they do so, I’ll have a chance to stop them. My fear is that they will join forces and advance as one unit.”

Hegemons had many and varied techniques. If four or five of them worked together, even if Ning unleashed the full power of the mechanisms in the flaming passageways he still wouldn’t necessarily be able to stop all five of them!

After all, there were Hegemons who were extremely skilled in defense, so much so that they were a match for Otherverse Lords in this regard! Others specialized in speed, while still others specialized in karma. When they pooled their talents together, they would become extremely difficult to deal with.

……

120,000 years after the public revealing of the existice of the realmship. Hegemon Wuye was sending the second batch of Hegemons and Emperors over on this date.

They had arrived next to a blazing star that looked like a fiery ball of heat. A spatial tear appeared in the void next to the star, followed by a realmship blinking through and coming to a halt next to it.

“Gentlemen, we have arrived. Based on our latest information, Daolord Darknorth has remained in hiding within the Jadefire Realm this entire time, while none of the Hegemons or Emperors who have already reached the Jadefire Realm have been able to take the realmship from him. You all still stand a very good chance,” Hegemon Wuye said with a laugh.

“Regardless of who ends up with the realmship, you’ve already made a fortune in treasure from this escapade, brother Wuye,” one of the eight figures said upon flying out of the realmship.

“I borrowed this realmship from my master. I’m going to give most of the treasure to him!” Hegemon Wuye glared at him. “Not gonna waste words with you. I need to go pick up the final battle. I have a long road ahead of me.” As he spoke, he took control of the realmship and flew off into the distance.

Eight figures remained there within the void, their auras mighty. One of them, a devilishly handsome man who radiated an aura of cold insidiousness, let out a cold snort: “Everyone, you can go to the Jadefire Realm. I’ll be there shortly.” As he spoke, he took a step forwards and teleported through the air, vanishing.

“Where is Hegemon Winterflame going off to?”

“Where do you think? Given the type of person he is, he’s probably off to capture any and all of Daolord Darknorth’s friends and family.” The speaker was a bearded man dressed in simple gray robes who carried eight strange azure planks of wood on his back.

“Winterfire always does stupid shit like this.”

“Brother Blackwood, don’t worry about him. I’ll tear through spacetime and lead the way.” Of the group of eight who had just arrived, four were Hegemons, with Winterflame one of them. In truth, his status was the highest of the eight.

“Let’s go.” Hegemon Blackwood, who was the bearded man with those eight pieces of azure wooden planks on his back, nodded.

……

Whoosh. Tearing through spacetime at maximum speed, Hegemon Winterflame quickly arrived outside the Vastheaven Everworld. “Here we are.” Hegemon Winterflame stood there within the misty skies, staring at the distant Vastheaven Palace.

Hegemon Winterflame was dressed in white robes that glowed with blurry white light. His features were handsome to the point of appearing devilish, while his skin was so translucent and fine that one could almost see his blood vessels and veins. His eyes emanated an aura of terrifying coldness.

“Based on the intelligence records I acquired, Archon Silksnow probably chased someone called ‘Ninedust’ into the Jadefire Realm, then intentionally released word of this. Daolord Darknorth really did choose to ignore the danger and charge straight into the Jadefire Realm. He probably fought against Archon Silksnow inside, with Archon Silksnow eventually being defeated and force to commit suicide.” Hegemon Winterflame nodded slowly. “From this, we can tell that Daolord Darknorth is the sort of person who cares immensely about personal relationships.”

“He knew it was a trap, but for his friend’s sake he was still willing to risk his life and enter the Jadefire Realm… hmph. Headstrong, sentimental fools like him are the easiest to deal with.” Hegemon Winterflame’s eyes glowed with cold light. “The Ninedust Sectlord has probably already been rescued from the Jadefire Realm by Darknorth… and the other friends Darknorth care about all probably reside in his clan, Vastheaven Palace!”

Hegemon Winterflame stared at the distant Vastheaven Palace: “All I need to do is to abduct everyone in Vastheaven Palace. The World-level cultivators, the Daolords, the Emperors… I’ll abduct them all and force Daolord Darknorth to give me the realmship in exchange for them. Given his personality, there’s a chance he’ll accept.”


Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 16 – First Meeting with Winterflame

“Those other Hegemons and Emperors arrived much earlier than I did, but they accomplished nothing at all. Those fools… all they know is to try their luck in the Jadefire Realm. I really wonder if they have any brains at all.” Hegemon Winterfire shook his head and smirked.

It was normal for Hegemons to get involved in a competition for a realmship, much like how Daolords would plunder a World-level cultivators who somehow managed to acquire the fruits of Crimsonwave Temple. Amongst cultivators, if you weren’t strong enough then you didn’t deserve to hold good enough treasures.

But… Hegemons stood at the very apex of power in any major organization! They generally had their own sense of pride and cared tremendously about face. Realmships were incredibly valuable, and for them to attack with a Daolord for the sake of winning a realmship was nothing. But to go capture that Daolord’s friends and then use them to coerce him? This was absolutely shameful! Figures as exalted as Hegemons generally did not have the face to do something like this.

Slightly less elevated figures such as Archon Silksnow might well decide to carry out such shameless acts, but it was clear from Ning’s power that there was no chance for non-Hegemonic Emperors to do anything to Vastheaven Palace! In addition, even if they did make the attempt they wouldn’t necessarily succeed; could it be that Daolord Darknorth wouldn’t make any arrangements of his own?

This sort of behavior was both shameful as well as unlikely to succeed, which was why the Hegemons chose to head to Jadefire Realm rather than Vastheaven Palace. Only truly shameless and insidious figures like Hegemon Winterflame would choose such a course of action.

Hegemons generally were extremely prideful figures who cared tremendously about face, but every so often there would be an exception! Hegemon Winterflame was one such exception.

……

Within Vastheaven Palace. The brothers of Vastheaven Palace were all gathered together, drinking and eating and discussing the Dao with each other. Ning’s avatar, Ninedust’s avatar, and Emperor Solesky all sat off to one side.

Boom! Suddenly, a terrifying level of power descended upon the palace. Ning’s avatar raised its head, only to a see a snow-white silver-scaled claw descend upon them from the skies, emanating an aura of endless, invisible frost. Even spacetime had been completely frozen by the pressure, and a bone-piercing chill instantly pervaded the entire palace. This caused Ning’s face to turn completely pale.

“Someone came!” Ning shouted mentally, “Enter my estate-world for now.” As he spoke, he waved his hand. Emperor Solesky, Ninedust’s avatar, Daolord Battlemaster… none of them fought back at all, allowing Ning to draw them into his estate-world. Ning had already made preparations for this eventuality, after all.

He had attracted attention from fifteen realmverses and even some itinerant wandering Hegemons; he naturally had to make complete preparations for both Vastheaven Palace and the Three Realms. Ning had actually gone so far as to create a second avatar!

It must be remembered that Ning’s true body and his Primaltwin were each capable of maintaining a ‘peak’ avatar! Thus, he chose to create a brand new avatar to stand guard over the Three Realms as well.

Boom! The countless runes and barriers covering Vastheaven Palace began to crack and shatter as the enormous silvery-white scaled claws rent through the skies. Ning’s avatar flickered slightly as he used his Shadowless evasion-art to arrive in the air outside.

Cold energy billowed everywhere, forcing Ning to reveal himself despite his Shadowless evasion-art. Ning stood there in the air, gazing at the devilishly handsome man in the distance with alabaster skin who radiated an aura of coldness.

“So it is Hegemon Winterflame,” Ning said. “Hegemon Winterflame, why have you come to Vastheaven Palace?”

“Hmph.” Hegemon Winterflame’s eyes were fllled with cold malice. “Daolord Darknorth? So you’ve taken away all your friends and put them into your estate-world… do you really think there is nothing I can do to you now? And I think you should know exactly why I am here.”

Hegemon Winterflame let out a cold snort: “Hand over the realmship immediately and I won’t cause any trouble for you. Otherwise, your comrades are all dead.”

“The realmship is with my true body, which is at the Jadefire Realm.” Ning shook his head. “I merely have an avatar here. How am I supposed to hand over the realmship?”

“Simple. Swear a lifeblood oath to hand it over to me and I’ll immediately leave.” Hegemon Winterflame stared at Ning.

Ning raised his head slightly, glancing off into the distance towards some spacetime ripples which had just appeared, then let out a cold smile. No longer interested in wasting time on words, he said, “Keep dreaming.”

“Hm?” Hegemon Winterflame glanced backwards as well, only to see that spacetime was beginning to split apart.

“Reinforcements? No reinforcements will make it in time,” Hegemon Winterflame roared angrily. Whoosh! He manifested a ball of white fire out of nowhere, sending it sweeping through the skies. In front of the ball of white fire were a series of eight silver-scaled claws, each of which held some of the white fire as they tore towards Ning.

The surrounding world had been completely sealed and locked away, while the aura of frigidity emanating from the white faire caused even Ning’s avatar to feel amazed.

Boom! Faced with those eight silver-scaled claws and the white fire they brought, Ning felt a sense of tremendous danger. The white fire in particular was something unique to Hegemon Winterflame alone; it was known as the ‘winterflame’.

Hegemon Winterflame had been born an Aberrant special lifeform. His true form was that of a sentient ball of fire that had slowly cultivated and increased in power until it finally became a Hegemon. The ‘winterflame’ technique was unique to him, and it could be described as an unspeakably cold ball of fire. Once it touched anyone weaker than it, it would almost instantly reduce its target to ash.

“Halt!” a low, fierce growl rang out as a titanic head appeared in the distant spacetime rift. It was Hegemon Brightshore. By now, Ning was on extremely good terms with Hegemon Brightshore. He was worried about Vastheaven Palace’s safety and thus had mentioned this matter to Hegemon Brightshore.

In the past, Hegemon Brightshore hadn’t really cared if Ning died or not, but ever since Ning had revealed his true power Hegemon Brightshore had begun to view Ning as he would his own right arm.

Whoosh. The silver-scaled claws and the flames tore through everything they touched. Ning’s avatar was almost indestructibly tough, comparable to a top-grade Eternal treasure, but it was still completely torn asunder. This was the power of a Hegemon.

“You want to stop me?” A face appeared within the midair ball of flames, a cold smile on its features. “Even though Hegemon Brightshore has arrived, he was just a step too slow. I have more than enough time to kill you and then seize all of your friends in Vastheaven Palace.”

He was a Hegemon, after all; although he was weaker than Hegemon Brightshore, he didn’t fear the man.

Boom! By now, Hegemon Brightshore’s massive bulk had exited the rift. He had six curved horns on his head, and his vast body seemed to be formed from incredibly thick layers of twisted stones. He reached out with one of his pillar-shaped arms, striking out towards Hegemon Winterflame.

Hegemon Winterflame’s eight silver-scaled claws hurriedly moved back to block the attack. An enormous explosion rang out as a shockwave of indescribable power spread out more than ten billion kilometers… but outside the ten billion kilometer range, there was no damage caused whatsoever. Clearly, Hegemon Brightshore wanted to protect the mortal lifeforms here.

“Eh?” The eight silver-scaled claws were destroyed, melting back into that pool of white fire which then resolved into a humanoid shape.

“What’s going on? I wasn’t able to grab anything?” Hegemon Winterflame had a stunned look on his face. He felt certain that he had destroyed Ning’s avatar. He wanted to seize Ning’s storage treasures, but hadn’t been able to find anything at all.

“Looking for me?” Far off in the distance, light flowed together to form a humanoid figure. It was Ji Ning.

“An invulnerable form?” Hegemon Winterflame’s face tightened. “You, a cultivator of the Dao of the Sword, have mastered an invulnerable form?” He had sought out much information regarding Ning and felt certain that Ning didn’t have an invulnerable form, which was why he was so confident in his chances.

Ning couldn’t help but sigh. His true body was so powerful that not even Hegemons would necessarily be able to force him to use his invulnerable form. His avatar, however, had been forced to use it almost immediately. This was his very first time exposing it in combat!

“Not bad, Darknorth.” The towering Hegemon Brightshore reverted to human form as well, and the snow-robed old man smiled as he looked at Ning. Hegemon Brightshore really was liking Ning more and more. Now that Ning had an invulnerable form, killing him would be no easy feat at all. It was entirely possible that Ning would survive Jadefire Realm after all.

But of course, Hegemon Brightshore had no hidea that Ning had already taken partial control over the formation-diagram of the Jadefire Realm.

“Hegemon Brightshore, thank goodness you made it in time,” Ning said.

“Hmph.” Hegemon Winterflame glanced coldly at Ning, then gave Hegemon Brightshore a look as well. “You might be able to hide for a time, but you won’t be able to hide forever. You won’t be able to dodge me within Jadefire Realm.” Swoosh. Hegemon Winterflame turned and moved to depart.

“Indeed, Hegemon Winterflame. We’ll meet again in the Jadefire Realm,” Ning called out to him.

“Hmph! Quite arrogant. Very well then, we’ll meet again in the JAdefire Realm!” Hegemon Winterflame’s voice was filled with cold malice as he tore through spacetime and departed.

Ning silently watched as Hegemon Winterflame departed.

“Something wrong?” Hegemon Brightshore walked over.

“Since Hegemon Winterflame has appeared, that means the second batch of Hegemons and Emperors should have arrived,” Ning said softly. The first batch held eight Hegemons; how many would the second hold?

Given how many Hegemons were present… would he really be able to use the flaming passageways to stop them?


Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 17 – Divining Danger

“More and more Hegemons are arriving from the other realmverses.” Hegemon Brightshore looked at Ji Ning. “Darknorth, have you come up with a plan to deal with them?”

“Yes.” Ning nodded.

“Let’s go, then. Accompany me back to the Brightshore Kingdom,” Hegemon Brightshore said. Ning didn’t decline. This time, Hegemon Winterflame attacked; next time, it might be an even more shameless Hegemon. In the end, his avatar was just much too wea. Without the Darknorth swords, his avatar was merely on par with Archon Silksnow. This was why he had been so easily forced to reveal his invulnerable form. A Hegemon who was willing to pay an extremely high price would be able to kill his avatar; to reside in the Brightshore Kingdom would be the safest decision.

Riiiiiip. A spacetime tear appeared in the starry cosmos, followed by Hegemon Brightshore leading Ning into the tear and disappearing without a trace.

……

The Terror Starsea. The Jadefire Realm.

Whoosh. Seven figures flew into the giant vortex of flames and entered the Jadefire Realm. These seven figures belonged to the seven Hegemons and Emperors who had accompanied Hegemon Winterflame on this journey to the Flamedragon Realmverse.

“Hegemon Blackwood, what should we do next? Should we enter separately?” a gaudily violet-robed man spoke out.

“Brother Blackwood?” the alien Hegemon, a large and muscular man, spoke out as well.

Only three of the seven were Hegemons. Clearly, they all cared quite a bit about Hegemon Blackwood’s views. This was because Hegemon Blackwood was a Hegemon who was extremely skilled in the divination arts of Numerancy! Although he was much weaker in Numerancy when compared to Emperor Waveshift, he had still reached a level where he could be considered number one in the Dao of Numerancy amongst those who still resided in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance.

As for Emperor Waveshift himself, he had long ago disappeared to parts unknown. He was doted on and shown great favor by many Otherverse Lords and other major powers, all of whom treated him with tremendous friendliness.

Generally speaking, everyone wished to befriend a major power of the Dao of Numerancy. No one was willing to offend such a figure. If you wished to try and kill him, he’d be able to divine it and flee before you even arrived. Conversely, if you encountered certain dangers or troubles you might need him to assist you in a bit of Numerancy divination.

“Let me give it a try,” the bearded Hegemon Blackwood said, adjusting the eight azure wooden planks on his back. “However, as you all know this struggle over the realmship involves numerous Hegemons as well as Sithe relics; to apply Numerancy to it shall be extremely difficult. I tried on the way over but failed each time. Now that we’ve already entered the Jadefire Realm… perhaps I shall succeed.” The closer they were to ‘reality’, the easier Numerancy was to engage in.

The other six figures didn’t dare to intervene. They watched as Hegemon Blackwood stood there, eyes closed as the eight azure wooden planks flew out from behind his black and surrounded him. They levitated there, circling around him nonstop and circulating with azure light. Countless runes appeared on their surfaces as an invisible ripple of power spread out.

In the blink of an eye, a full hour had gone by.

“Eh?” Hegemon Blackwood frowned as he opened his eyes.

“Brother Blackwood?” the alien Hegemon immediately asked.

“How did it go?” the violet-robed Hegemon asked as well.

“Don’t be impatient,” Hegemon Blackwood said. “Follow me into one of those flaming passageways. Remember, we’re going to stand in front of the passageway. We’re not going to actually go inside.” As he spoke, he flew over towards a passageway. The other six figures hurriedly followed from behind. They soon reached the nearest passageway, where they all came to a halt.

“None of you are to disturb me,” Hegemon Blackwood instructed. He then sat down in the lotus position and began to calmly focus his entire mind on Numerancy. The eight pieces of azure wood continuously swiveled around him, sometimes slow and sometimes fast, carrying a strange cadence to them.

……

As soon as Hegemon Blackwood and the others appeared, Ning was immediately made aware of it. He watched these Hegemons closely from afar.

“E? Not good. They are moving together. Wait, why are they pausing at the entrance without going any deeper inside?” Ning was puzzled. To merely be at the entranceway meant they could retreat whenever they chose; Ning’s control over the flaming passageways wouldn’t give him any power of them.

……

Hegemon Blackwood spent a total of three years engaging in Numerancy. His face was rather ashen as he finally opened his eyes, an exhausted look in his gaze.

“Blackwood?” The other six looked at Hegemon Blackwood, with the violet-robed Hegemon calling out to him.

“The dangers of the Jadefire Realm primarily reside within the prison regions and the flaming passageways. So long as we avoid the prison region, we won’t be in any danger,” Hegemon Blackwood said. “Thus… the main things for us to be concerned about are the flaming passageways! After physically entering one of them, my divinations became a bit clearer than before. There are many invisible forces disrupting my Numerancy, and those disruptions are extremely strong.”

What Hegemon Blackwood didn’t know was that Ning trained in the Omega Sword Dao. Divining anything which was related to Ning in any way was guaranteed to be a ridiculously difficult task. Given how many Hegemons were involved as well as the Sithe ruins known as the ‘Jadefire Realm’, those who didn’t have nigh-perfect mastery over the Dao of Numerancy wouldn’t be able to see anything clearly at all.

“So what’s the conclusion?” the alien Hegemon immediately asked.

“This is going to be extremely dangerous,” Hegemon Blackwood said softly. “I feel as though we are heading into a world of mist. Right now, I can only come to one vague conclusion… only if we stay together will we have a chance at being safe. Once we separate… we could very well die.”

“What?!”

“Very well die?!”

“As terrifying as that?” the other six were all shocked. Based on what they knew of this place, the Jadefire Realm was once deadly but had now fallen into disrepair. It also had no one in control of it, which meant that it shouldn’t be nearly as dangerous as it once was. To Hegemons and extremely powerful Emperors, it shouldn’t post much of a threat.

“If we separate… we might be safe, but we might also die,” Hegemon Blackwood explained. “But if we stay together, there will be almost no danger at all. Go ahead and decide; should we move together or separately? If you agree to travel alongside me, I’ll accompany you inside as a group. Otherwise, I’ll wait for the next group of Hegemons and accompany them instead.”

“Together.”

“Together, of course.” the violet-robed Hegemon and the others all immediately spoke out in unison. With Emperor Waveshift permanently ‘missing’, Hegemon Blackwood was now the number one expert of the Dao of Numerancy in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance. Moving alongside someone like him would be the safest choice.

“Should we wait for Hegemon Winterflame?” an Emperor spoke out.

“Why the hell should we?”

“Hmph, traveling alongside him is a disgrace.”

“Let’s go. Given the detour he took, he’ll be at least two centuries behind us,” Hegemon Blackwood said calmly. “I certainly don’t have the patience to wait for him.” Hegemon Blackwood was an extremely proud figure, far more prideful than even your average Hegemon. He had never held Hegemon Winterflame in any respect!

Since Hegemon Blackwood had spoken, no one else argued the matter. Whoosh. The seven Hegemons immediatey joined forces to advance through the flaming passageways together, each using their own techniques to keep everyone safe. Spacetime techniques, special treasures, secret arts… they were put on full display as they advanced.

……

“Eh? They actually have chosen to advance as a unit?” Previously, Ning had been relaxing with Whitethaw within a flaming passageway inside the Jadefire Realm, sipping some wine from inside his hidden realmship. Now, however, he could no longer relax.

“Hegemon Blackwood, eh? I didn’t expect this many major powers to get involved, or that one of them would be able to divine a correct path of action despite my Dao being that of the Omega Dao,” Ning mused. He was on good terms with Daolord Badlands and thus knew a bit about the Dao of Numerancy. The more variables that were involved, the more difficult the divination would become.

Ning trained in an Omega Dao; each time Daolord Badlands tried to engage in Numerancy divinations regarding Ning, he saw nothing but blank fogginess. It was extremely difficult.

If (for example) an Autarch was somehow involved in a matter, most likely not even Emperor Waveshift would be able to divine anything whatsoever.

“The Dao of Numerancy truly is incredible,” Ning sighed. If his foes had chosen to travel separately, they would be like meat for his butcher’s block. Now that they were moving together, there wasn’t much he could do to them.

“Since Hegemon Blackwood and the others have started to move, it’ll be time to draw in my web soon.” Ning then pondered for a moment, “Wait, not just yet. I’ll wait for Hegemon Winterflame to arrive as well.”

Hegemon Winterflame had sought to use Vastheaven Palace to threaten Ning; how could Ning let him off the hook?

Soon, after roughly 180 or so years, Hegemon Winterflame arrived at the Jadefire Realm. He randomly picked a flaming passageway, then entered it. As he did so, Ning finally put down his winecup and rose to his feet within his realmship.

“The Jadefire Realm’s flaming passageways now have a total of twelve Hegemons within them!” Ning was able to clearly track the actions and movements of all the Hegemons and Emperors. “Once I move against one of them, I’ll be exposed and the rest will be forewarned. Thus… I’ll probably only be able to actually capture one of them.”

“Which one should I choose?”

Ning suddenly grinned. “The strongest one, I suppose!”