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Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 11 – Heading Off Soon

Vastheaven Territory. Vastheaven Palace.

Emperor Goldisle had come to visit this place once more, and both Ji Ning’s avatar and Emperor Solesky had come out to welcome him in person.

“Darknorth,” Emperor Goldisle immediately began, “I’m embarrassed to have to tell you about this.”

“Brother Goldisle, come inside and sit. We can discuss things slowly.” Ning was rather surprised; why was Emperor Goldisle professing to be ‘embarrassed’ as soon as they met?

Emperor Goldisle nodded, holding back for now. Ning and Solesky led the way for him as the three entered a secluded side-hall within Vastheaven Palace.

The three then sat down, some fine wine placed in front of each of their tables. The aroma of the wine wafted through the entire hall, but Emperor Goldisle was in no mood to relax. He shook his head and sighed, “I’m embarrassed to be telling you this, but… just today, Emperor Bloodcloud went and sought me out.”

“Bloodcloud?” Ning frowned. Emperor Bloodcloud was definitely the main pillar of the evil forces left behind by Archon Silksnow! “What, does he want to beg for mercy?” Ning asked.

“That’s where you are wrong, Darknorth.” Emperor Goldisle shook his head. “He didn’t ask for mercy. Instead, he sought to send word through the Dao Alliance to the other realmverses about something he had discovered… and by now, it’s probably made its way to all the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance.”

“Sixteen Realmverses Alliance? What’s that?” Ning was puzzled.

“A great alliance that was originally established and led by Realmslord Windgrace. It consists of the Dao Alliances of the sixteen nearest realmverses which have joined together to ensure stability, peace, and allies in the event of outside invaders. We can notify each other of various dangers or important information we discover. In times of crisis, the sixteen realmverses will be in absolute lockstep and will not fear any outside forces. Realmslord Windgrace was chosen as the paramount leader by all sixteen realmverses, and is acclaimed as the most powerful expert of the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance.”

“Realmslord Windgrace?” Ning sighed in amazement.

“The strongest in sixteen realmverses?” The nearby Emperor Solesky sighed in amazement as well. That meant he had to be far stronger than even Hegemon Brightshore.

“He’s in control of an alternate universe and is incredibly strong. During the Dawn War, he rendered incredible merits in battle and ended up in control of the terrifying Sithe war machine known was the Blacksun…” Emperor Goldisle continued, “But that’s enough about him. I’m here because of what Emperor Bloodcloud instructed our Dao Alliance to send to everyone else. This is something that will be of deep concern to you, Darknorth.”

Ning and Solesky exchanged a glance.

“What did he say?” Ning had a bad feeling already.

“Emperor Blackcloud said that it was you who hunted down Archon Silksnow, forcing him to commit suicide in the end… and that his realmship is now in your hands.” Emperor Goldisle continued, “Emperor Bloodcloud asked me to send this information outwards. As you know, the Dao Alliance is a very loose structure and has just a few basic rules. There were no grounds for me to reject this proposa… and even if he didn’t go through me, he would’ve been able to go through the numerous other Emperors who are connected to the other realmverses.”

“No need to say anything more, brother Goldisle. I understand.” Ning’s face was tight. “Give me a moment to think.”

“Yes, you do need to think this over,” Emperor Goldisle agreed, a heavy look on his face. “Now that word has been sent to all sixteen realmverses was well as the otherverse which is under Realmslord Windgrace… I’m worried that quite a few Hegemons and powerful Emperors will hasten to our Flamedragon Realmverse and try to take that realmship from you.”

Ning was lost in thought. Nasty. A truly nasty shot. Archon Silksnow was just as hard-hearted towards himself as he was towards his foes. He had never dared to reveal the secrets of the realmship prior to his passing, so why was it that Emperor Bloodcloud had found out immediately after he had died? Why was it that Emperor Bloodcloud also knew that Archon Silksnow had been hunted down by Ning and forced to commit suicide?

Who would know all these little details? Aside from Ning himself, only the deceased Archon Silksnow knew.

“Nasty move, Silksnow… so this is the final card up your sleeve to kill me?” Ning slowly shook his head. “You risked your life to delve into the Jadefire Realm, all for the purpose of trying to draw me inside and kill me… and you even came up with a final backup plan to use the realmship to kill me if you yourself could not.”

Emperor Solesky and Emperor Goldisle both looked at Ning, waiting for him to make a decision.

“Darknorth, why don’t you give the realmship up?” Emperor Solesky couldn’t help but suggest.

“Give it up?” Ning shook his head. “If I trade the realmship to others, I’ll still be in possession of a vast amount of treasure. That treasure will continue to attract greedy eyes from some other major powers…”

“Then don’t ask for any treasures at all. Just hand it over as a gift,” Emperor Solesky said.

“And why do I have to give away my treasures?” Ning shook his head, a cold smile on his lips and a chilling gleam in his eyes. He then looked at Emperor Goldisle. “Brother Goldisle, there’s something I’ll have to trouble you with.”

“Just go ahead and say the word.” Emperor Goldisle felt a bit embarrassed himself, but there had been nothing he could do; the Dao Alliance’s rules were binding! In addition, quite a few Emperors were connected to the outside world. Many of them spent their days wandering and adventuring but kept their avatars back home! Thus, it was extremely simple to ask these Emperors to help spread the word.

There was no way to stop it at all, and so Emperor Goldisle wasn’t willing to disobey the laws of the Dao Alliance.

“As you know, I’ve always wished to reverse spacetime to revive my Dao-companion.” Ning smiled. “Now that I have this realmship, I wish to use it to ask an Autarch to do just that.”

“Ask an Autarch?” Emperor Goldisle and Emperor Solesky were both stunned. They had both heard of Autarchs, but not even the majority of Hegemons were ever able to actually meet one.

“Fine.” Emperor Goldisle nodded repeatedly. “That’s a good solution. If your treasures ends up in the hands of an Autarch, nobody would be able to do anything about it! But Darknorth, I have to warn you… the Dao Alliance can only help you send the word to the Autarch as soon as possible. As for how long the Autarch will take, we can’t be sure. To Autarchs, realmships might be nice little toys, but they still won’t care enough to drop everything for one. They’d only accept your offer to ensure that the most basic laws of fairness in the universe are maintained.”

“I understand.” Ning nodded. Autarchs were at the apex of power amongst cultivators, capable of creating even otherverses with ease. When the Sithe had been defeated, the Autarchs must’ve acquired countless spoils of war. Even if that wasn’t the case, at their level these treasures really held almost no meaning for them at all.

They weren’t truly completely uncaring towards the weaker cultivators… but they couldn’t just help everyone who asked willy-nilly either! That wouldn’t be appropriate. Thus, Autarchs operated off a simple principle… if you wanted one of them to help you out, you had to pay a corresponding price, even though they themselves didn’t care about treasure per se.

“Right. I’ll go send the word now,” Emperor Goldisle said. “I’ll get you a response as soon as I can.”

“Good.” Ning felt excitement swell in his breast. He was asking a favor of an Autarch! A favor for a realmship… when would the Autarch come?

……

Word quickly spread to Realmslord Windgrace’s territory. He possessed a pre-eminent status; he was the only one in all the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance who was capable of contacting an Autarch.

“He wishes to use a realmship to ask an Autarch to revive his Dao-companion? This Daolord Darknorth is quite the romantic.” Realmslord Windgrace laughed when he heard this, then immediately helped send the word.

……

A distant region of great darkness. Within the emptiness of the void, there was an enormous triangular region with a series of dazzlingly beautiful palaces in the very center, each of which emanated specks of golden light.

At the very center was a particularly towering palace, the greatest of them all.

“Master.” An azure-robed youth who emanated the aura of eternity moved to stand respectfully outside a private room within the palace.

Inside the private room was a bald, black-robed old man who had a pair of fleshy antennae growing from the top of his head. His golden eyes were focused intently on the skull-sized round gray globe in front of him, and the countless runes and patterns the globe was covered with.

The fleshy antennae waved about above the bald old man’s head, but his eyes were filled with excitement. He gently reached out to tap the gray globe once, causing the countless patterns to instantly change and an aura of power to build.

“Still not right.” The bald old man shook his head, then reached out with his ashen white right hand to give it another tap, bringing it back into quiescence.

“Master.” A second call rang out from outside.

“Xian’er. Why are you bothering me?” Only now did the old man notice the distraction and respond.

“Realmslord Windgrace sent word that someone named Daolord Darknorth in the Flamedragon Realmverse wishes to use a realmship to ask you to help him reverse spacetime to revive his Dao-companion,” the azure-robed youth outside said respectfully.

“Another lovesick man.” The bald old man nodded. “Alright, fine. Got it. Stop bothering me, I’ll head over there soon!”

“Soon?” The youth outside the door murmured softly, “Master, the last time you said you would go ‘soon’, you delayed by over 600,000 chaos cycles…”

The bald old man’s antennae instantly begin to twist in embarrassment and irritation. “How dare you mock me, you brat! This time, it really will be soon! I’ve pretty much finished repairing this treasure. It needs just a tiny bit more work. Once I’ve finished repairing it, I’ll head over! Alright, don’t bother me again before I finish this project.’

“Alright.” The azure-robed youth had no choice but to leave, then send this response back to his good friend ‘Realmslord Windgrace’.


Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 12 – Escorted

After helping Ji Ning send word, Emperor Goldisle didn’t immediately hurry to depart. He instead continued to remain at Vastheaven Palace as he wanted for the Autarch’s response. Just half a day later, that response came.

“Darknorth.” Emperor Goldisle immediately sought Ning out. Ning was seated silently at the peak of a mountain. When he saw Emperor Goldisle fly towards him, he couldn’t help but feel nervous: “Do we have an answer?”

Whoosh. Emperor Goldisle alighted on the mountain top next to him. “We have an answer. Ever since the war against the Sithe concluded, it became hard to locate the Autarchs and virtually no Hegemons know where they are! We had to rely on Realmslord Windgrace and his extraordinary status to accomplish it. He rendered major accomplishments during the Dawn War and is the only person in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance who can contact the Autarchs… but this time, he was only able to reach out to Autarch Titanos!”

“Autarch Titanos?” Ning grew eager with anticipation. All Autarchs were transcendental figures. After the war, Autarch Bolin had created the Aeonian race and then disappeared. Autarch Awakener was an even more mysterious figure; he had wandered the entire Chaosverse then disappeared without a trace as well. It was only thanks to Ning’s encounter with the Azureflower Estate that he knew Autarch Awakener had perished in a way which ‘could be considered suicide’.

To contact an Autarch was no easy feat!

“The other Autarchs roam about too much. Only Autarch Titanos stays in his estate at most times. Supposedly, Autarch Titanos spends all of his time analyzing the Sithe civilization and is thus the easiest Autarch to reach. When we need an Autarch to do something, he’s apparently the one we usually manage to contact,” Emperor Goldisle explained.

“Did the Autarch accept?” Ning asked.

“Autarch Titanos did accept, yes. He said he’d come ‘soon’.” A resigned look was on Emperor Goldisle’s face.

“Soon?!” Ning was overwhelmed with joy.

“Don’t get too excited. Last time he said the same thing, but he delayed for over 600,000 chaos cycles,” Emperor Goldisle said. “You understand, I’m sure. We’re lucky the Autarch agreed to help out at all; there’s no way to demand them to come here immediately.”

Ning stared. “Did you just say 600,000!?” He would probably be long dead by then! Daolords only had lifespans of 108,000 chaos cycles.

“Realmslord Windgrace asked Emperor Yuxian to nag him a bit…” Emperor Goldisle shook his head. “Autarch Titanos promised that this time, he really would come ‘very soon’. He’s extremely close to finishing some repair work on a Sithe treasure.”

Ning was helpless. “How soon is ‘very soon’? Alright, I understand. I have no choice but to wait.”

“Realmslord Windgrace said that he’ll do his best to try and contact a different Autarch as well! But for now, he hasn’t been able to find any,” Emperor Goldisle said.

“Help me relay my thanks to Realmslord Windgrace,” Ning said. And in his heart, he truly did feel grateful. No relationship existed between him and the Realmslord, the most paramount expert of the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance. The man needed nothing from him; for him to work so hard on Ning’s behalf was already a show of great goodwill.

Ning felt a mixture of nervousness, excitement, and disappointment. It was quite rare for Ning to feel such an emotional potpourri, but this was simply too important to him. Reviving his wife was the greatest desire he had.

“Autarch Titanos knows you are a Daolord. He probably won’t delay for too long,” Emperor Goldisle said consolingly.

“Alright.” Ning nodded. He had already done everything he could. Hopefully, Autarch Titanos really would arrive ‘soon’.

“Next, I need to worry about how I am going to deal with the Hegemons and major powers who come from the other realmverses.” There was no way Ning was going to hand his realmship over to these outsiders.

……

Hiddenfiend Realmverse. The Blacksun.

Three figures were standing atop a deserted plains. One was the chubby you, ‘Emperor Wuye’, while the other two were also major powers.

“Wuye, you are being too greedy. It’s just a trip to the Flamedragon Realmverse. Why are you asking for that much?” One of the two was a skinny old man whose skin was covered with a layer of azure scales. He spoke in an unhappy voice as he looked at his comrade, a tall, muscular man who had two black wings on his back.

“I not only have to send you there, I have to bring you back as well!” Hegemon Wuye stared at him. “That’s a round trip!”

“But why do you have to insist on Hegemons costing three times as much as other Emperors?” the skinny old man continued to mutter unhappily.

“How can I treat them equally? All of you are going to the Flamedragon Realmverse to fight over the realmship, right? Hegemons naturally stand a much better chance than all the other Emperors.” Hegemon Wuye grinned. “Azurefiend, cut the crap already. You should be counting your lucky stars! You don’t even belong to the Hiddenfiend Realmverse, you were just passing through. That’s the only reason you even have a chance to get involved in this opportunity… and you are even so lucky as to be in the first batch of people I’m delivering. That means you’ll be amongst the first to get there.”

Whoosh. Whoosh. Two streaks of light flew towards them from afar. “Hurry up!” Hegemon Wuye called out to the two. “We’re waiting on you two!”

“Wuye, I can’t believe how much you are charging, given how long we have been friends for.” One of the two figures flying over was a three-eyed, golden-robed old man who shook his head as he spoke.

“Either pay the price or figure out a way to go on your own,” Hegemon Wuye muttered. “It’s pretty rare for me to have a chance to make some money with this realmship, so cut the moaning.” Hegemon Wuye often took advantage of his master and used his master’s golems to make money, but this time he wanted to earn a few more treasures than usual. This was why he had borrowed the realmship from his master, offering to send people forward but demanding a high price for it. He charged Hegemons one price and all other Emperors a different price.

“Dawnruler, the fact that we both belong to the Hiddenfiend Realmverse means that you are going to be the first group of people to arrive at the Flamedragon Realmverse. Just celebrate your good fortune quietly! Alright, now that everyone is here we’re going to head off!”

Hegemon Wuye waved his hand, leading Hegemon Azurefiend, Hegemon Dawnruler, and the other two Emperors into his realmship. He then left the Hiddenfiend Realmverse and began to advance through the endless Great Dark.

……

The only people belonging to the Hiddenfiend Realmverse who wanted to take part in this expedition were Hegemon Dawnruler and the two Emperors! As for Hegemon Azurefiend, he was a wandering Hegemon who wasn’t native to this place.

Hegemon Wuye’s responsibility was simply to serve as a ferry. He had three batches of people he was going to deliver in total. Some realmverses were nearby while others were far away, after all. For the first batch, he would take a few detours on the way to the Flamedragon Realmverse, moving through two other nearby realmverses and picking up a few more people. Thus, he would bring a total of three realmverses worth of major powers to the Flamedragon Realmverse.

For the second batch, he would leave the Flamedragon Realmverse and make a roundabout trip, bringing the major powers of three more realmverses to the Flamedragon Realmverse.

For the third batch, he would only be able to bring the major powers from two of the most distant realmverses over.

This made for a total of eight realmverses! The reason why he was only responsible for eight was because someone was competing for the same business. In the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance, there was someone else known as Hegemon Fogsun who also had a realmship and was doing the same thing he was. Based on their respective locations, they had ended up carving out the sixteen realmverses in half, with one side responsible for eight while the other was responsible for seven.

Hegemons were charged one price while other Emperors were charged a different price. The people in the first batch would be charged a higher price, while those who went later would be a bit of a discount. However, the difference wouldn’t be that great. They all knew that given how Daolord Darknorth had been able to force an Archon to his death, it would be no easy task for them to force him to give up a realmship.

……

The Terror Starsea. The Jadefire Realm. Within that hidden dimensional control center.

Ning remained seated in the lotus position in the air above the altar, staring down at the formation-diagrams below.

“Eh? Hegemon Wuye and Hegemon Fogsun are each in control of a realmship and are responsible for ferrying the people over?” Ning nodded slowly. “I wonder which Hegemons and major powers will end up getting involved.”

Some information remained highly confidential. Clearly, these major powers wished to keep as much secret as they could, so as to catch him off-guard.

“Fifteen realmverses and an otherverse…” Ning calculated silently to himself, “How many major powers will take part, all combined?” By now, he had learned quite a bit from Emperor Goldisle.

Rumors said that even foreign Hegemons were taking part, and more than one at that. Other rumors whispered that no one within the otherverse was going to take part. Still other rumors said that as many as three Hegemons and four Emperors from the Windnest Realmverse were coming for him. It must be understood that the Windnest Realmverse only had a total of four Hegemons; that meant that the majority of its elite experts were all coming…

All sorts of rumors were flying around, some real and some false. This caused Ning to feel a tremendous sense of pressure.

“I need to master the ‘flower petal formation’ as soon as possible. By then, I’ll be able to control the countless flaming passageways and use them against my foes.” Ning stared downwards, his Immortal energy pouring into the formation-diagram and causing the flower petals on the giant formation below to light up, revealing projections of the countless flaming passageways in the air around him.

Every single flaming passageway projection seemed extremely real, and they were all covered with countless traps and mechanisms.

“I have to figure out how to defeat the control mechanisms if I want to take control over the traps.” Ning shook his head. He had just barely been able to make some progress in the past few days, which was why he was able to cause the entire region to appear in the air around him. However, he was unable to actually control any of it.