DETIHegemonicLooters

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.


Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 13 – Control

Time flowed on, one day at a time. Ji Ning’s Primaltwin remained at the Azureflower Estate, relying on the Autarch’s stone dais to furiously meditate on the various techniques that belonged to the same school as the ‘Seven Flaming Hells Formation’.

Ten years. A hundred years. A thousand years…

In the blink of an eye, over nine thousand years had gone by.

“Haha…” The white-robed Ning seated in the lotus position in the air above the giant Seven Flaming Hells formation-diagram began to laugh loudly as he rose to his feet, a look of delight on his face. Immortal energy surged from his entire body, flooding into the formation-diagram and flowing towards the flower petals.

Boom. Boom. Boom. The projections of the countless flaming passageways once more appeared in the air around him. Each passageway was as thin as a strand of silk, and each strand-like passageway was filled with countless mechanisms and traps. In truth, Ning could see them all clearly with the naked eye, and he was now able to control every single one of them as well.

“After meditating for over 900,000 thousand years, I’ve finally managed to comprehend the flower petal formation.” Ning revealed a look of delight. Although only nine thousand years had gone by in the ‘real’ world, his Primaltwin had spent this entire period of time under 100x temporal acceleration.

Clack clack clack clack…

Boom boom boom boom…

The Jadefire Realm was absolutely enormous, and the flaming passageways made up the largest part of it. Every single flaming passageway was incredibly long, and the countless flaming passageways formed an enormous nest which led to the prisons at the very heart!

By now, all of the countless flaming passageways were trembling. Some of the previously-revealed mechanisms suddenly went into hiding once more, while damaged traps began to automatically repair themselves, with quite a few returning to perfect condition. However, there were many other areas which had been forcibly torn apart; even though Ning was able to perfectly control those areas, he wasn’t able to repair them.

“Roughly 30% of the area has been wrecked.” Ning nodded slowly as he swept his glance across the countless illusory passageways in midair. “The Jadefire Realm was damaged so heavily during the war that it is now a flawed creation. However… in the remaining 70%, the countless mechanisms and traps are all under my control. It’s now far more dangerous than it was previously.” Ning’s eyes flashed with the desire to do battle.

Previously, he was dreading the major powers who were attacking the Flamedragon Realmverse. Now, he was merely somber and careful. He was confident in his chances to deal with them, in his chances to fight back!

Previously, many of the mechanisms and traps within the countless flaming passageways were exposed due to there being no one in control; this made it extremely easy for them to move past the mechanisms. Now that they had a master again, things were different. Even if you didn’t activate a trap, Ning could cause it to activate with a thought to enevelop you! There were some extremely powerful mechanisms that, when unleashed, would releases blasts that would cover over ten billion kilometers. There would be no way to dodge them at all.

“Hmph.” Ning mused to himself, “Many Hegemons have come against me… but I, Darknorth, won’t necessarily lose.”

Although Ning was more confident in his chances now that he was in control of the tunnel passageways, he still didn’t dare to be overconfident. He knew just how powerful his foes were, and they all knew how dangerous the Jadefire Realm was. There was no way they would be easily trapped.

“The only thing left is the ‘flower stamen formation’ at the core.” Ning began to work on analyzing the most difficult-to-understand part of the formation, the one governing the prison regions.

Controlling the ‘flower stamen formation’ meant controlling all of the prisons within the area, allowing him to save Ninedust. Alas, many of the prisons had been destroyed. If they were all perfectly undamaged, control over them would give him ability to unleash a Decimatus Wave.

……

Time flowed on. More than 80,000 years had gone by in the blink of an eye. A rip in spacetime suddenly appeared in a region of empty primordial chaos within the Flamedragon Realmverse, followed by an invisible bubble of power pushing out of it with an ancient ship.

“Haha, everyone, we’ve reached the Flamedragon Realmverse.” A loud laugh could be heard, followed by the flying vessel disappearing into thin air and a group of figures appearing in its place.

There were a total of ten figures in total. One was Hegemon Wuye, the others were all various major powers he had picked up. “I’ve already brought you all to the Flamedragon Realmverse.” Hegemon Wuye looked at the nine. “You can decide for yourselves if you wish to wait here for the next back of Emperors or if you wish to go off and hunt down Daolord Darknorth on your own. In short, once this is all concluded I’ll be back to bring you back to your respective realmverses. Alright, I’m off! I have to go get the next two batches of Emperors.”

“Thank you, brother Wuye.”

“Brother Wuye, just take your time with the others. The more you delay, the better.” The nine major powers were all in a good mood. Judging from time and distance, they shuld’ve been the first to arrive.

Hegemon Wuye took control over his realmship and departed.

“Let’s go. Let’s head to the Terror Starsea and the Jadefire Realm,” the skinny azure-scaled old man, ‘Hegemon Azurefiend’, said in a low voice. Of the nine Emperors present, five were Hegemons while the other four were quite powerful in their own right. Only those who were extremely confident in their abilities would dare to come here, with Hegemon Azurefiend being the strongest of the group.

“Let’s go.”

“We aren’t too far away from the Terror Starsea.”

“I travel the fastest. I’ll lead everyone with me,” an man dressed in graceful azure robes said with a smile. His fingers were as smooth as alabaster jade, and as he waved his finger he easily tore a path through spacetime.

“Since Hegemon Oldgem has chosen to guide us, let’s just go ahead and accept his kind offer.” The other major powers didn’t reject.

……

Although he wasn’t quite familiar with the Terror Starsea, Hegemon Oldgem truly was a formidable figure when it came to travelling. It took him merely a century or so to arrive outside the Jadefire Realm.

“The Jadefire Realm. How beautiful.” Hegemon Oldgem stared at the enormous vortex of flames before them, each of the flames looking like the petal of a flower. “Supposedly, this was a nightmare for our people during the Dawn War. Many major powers were imprisoned in here, and all those who went inside perished.”

“Everyone, we’ve already collected quite a bit of information regarding the Jadefire Realm. Based on what we know, entering is easy but leaving is difficult.” Hegemon Dawnruler said in a cold voice, “Daolord Darknorth went in a fairly short while ago. I imagine he probably hasn’t been able to flee just yet. Shall we wait for him outside or shall we go inside?”

“Go inside of course,” Hegemon Azurefiend said, a glimmer of terrifying red light flashing in his eyes. “We were the first to arrive here. If we waste any time, Hegemon Fogsun’s realmship will probably arrive with another batch of Emperors. By then, we’ll have lost our first-mover advantage and it’ll be even harder to acquire the realmship. The more time we waste, the more Emperors will arrive and the more difficult things will become.”

“Right.” A bald, grim-looking red-robed man nodded slowly.

“I agree that we should all go in together right away as well,” a silver-haired elder with a stone sword on his back agreed.

Since the five Hegemons were all in occurrence, the other four Emperors simply exchanged glances but said nothing.

“Haha… what a pity! I hear that the most powerful figure in the Flamedragon Realmverse is Hegemon Brightshore. He should know quite a bit about this Jadefire Realm, but he wasn’t willing to tell us anything about it at all.” Hegemon Azurefiend chortled. “Still… we were able to accumulate quite a good amount of intelligence. It should be enough. The Jadefire Realm was shattered long ago and should no longer pose of much a danger to us. Come, come! Let’s go inside.”

Hegemon Azurefiend immediately transformed into a streak of light and flew inside.

“Let’s go,” Hegemon Oldgem said.

“All together now.”

“Let’s go.” The nine Emperors began to charge into the vast vortex of flames, either singly or in pairs. Soon, all of them had entered the Jadefire Realm.

“There are this many flaming passageways?” After entering the Jadefire Realm, the Emperors saw the countless flaming tunnels off in the distance.

“Which one should we choose?”

“We? Gentlemen, are we still planning to travel together? Haha, I’m more accustomed to moving by myself. I’ll go in first. If I’m the first one to find Daolord Darknorth, the realmship will be mine,” Hegemon Azurefiend laughed wickedly. He immediately charged into one of the flaming passageways next to him. He was the most powerful member of this group of Emperors and thus naturally wasn’t interested in working together with the others.

He refused to believe that he wasn’t able to kill a mere Daolord!

“Let’s go.” Hegemon Dawnruler scanned the area with his three eyes, then took a single step forwards and transformed into golden light that burrowed in a distant flaming passageway.

“Let it all be up to fate.” The bald, grim-faced man dressed in red robes revealed a hint of a smile as he flew into one of the flaming passageways as well.

“Brother Oldgem, let’s travel together?” the silver-haired elder with the ancient stone sword on his back asked.

“Let’s.” Hegemon Oldgem smiled. These two Hegemons flew towards one of the flaming passageways together. These two came from the same realmverse and were on extremely good terms with each other; if they acquired the realmship, they would share it. It wouldn’t really matter who owned it.

“The five Hegemons have all gone inside. We should go as well.” The four remaining Emperors exchanged glances. Soon, they formed into two squads of two which flew into the flaming passageways as well.

……

The hidden control region within the Jadefire Realm. Ning remained seated in midair above the altar, scanning the surrounding area with his gaze. The area around him manifested projections of the flaming passageways of the Jadefire Realm, as well as the nine figures making their way through those passageways. These nine figures had entered the Jadefire Realm together, then had separately entered different passageways. Ning had watched all of this carefully.

“Have they come?” Ning murmured softly, “This first batch is already putting me under quite a bit of pressure.”


Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 14 – Bait

Since Ji Ning knew that a host of major powers was coming from the various realmverses for him, he had naturally acquired quite a bit of material and information on his foes. Hegemon Brightshore and Emperor Goldisle had been particularly helpful, introducing detailed information regarding the most famous Hegemons and extremely powerful Emperors of the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance to Ning.

Thus, when Ning ‘saw’ those nine figures appear through the formation-diagram, he was able to recognize them at one go.

“Five of these nine are Hegemons. Hegemon Oldgem and the Paragon of Swords are actually working together? They are all being extremely cautious.” Ning shook his head slowly. “Hegemon Dawnruler… Hegemon Everworry… hey, this should be Hegemon Azurefiend.”

Ning’s gaze focused upon the figure of the latter. Hegemon Azurefiend was flying carefully through the flaming passageways, his eyes glowing with cold light as he carefully scanned the area in front of him. Hegemon Azurefiend was even using a pair of rope-type magic treasures to scout the path ahead for himself.

“Supposedly, Hegemon Azurefiend is one of the several foreign Hegemons taking part in this escapade.” Ning carefully scrutinized Hegemon Azurefiend. Based on what he knew, there were differences in power between Hegemons; Hegemon Brightshore, for example, was the number one Hegemon of the Flamedragon Realmverse! Even in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance, Hegemon Brightshore was powerful enough to rank in the top five.

But of course, there was no way to rank anyone in greater detail than that, as most of the Hegemons had never actually battled each other. Rough rankings could only be based on the performance they had shown in the past, which was why Realmslord Windgrace was acknowledged to be the absolute strongest. Next came the likes of Hegemon Brightshore.

Hegemon Windrain and Hegemon Netherlily were considered fairly ‘ordinary’ Hegemons in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance.

“Hegemon Azurefiend is extremely famous! Supposedly, he was born a Chaos Godbeast and has a strange temperament. He’s extremely powerful and ranks highly even amongst Hegemons,” Ning mused. “Based on what the intelligence reports tell me, he should be even stronger than Hegemon Netherlily and Hegemon Windrain. He should be the strongest of the five Hegemons in this batch.”

In the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance, there were only a few figures capable of suppressing Hegemon Azurefiend in power! “Hegemon Azurefiend, eh?” Several thoughts flickered through Ning’s mind.

“I’ll feign weakness first. These five Hegemons only constitute a small percentage of the Hegemons who will be coming, after all. The only trump card I have up my sleeve is my control over the flaming passageways; once I reveal it, the Hegemons and Emperors who arrive later will only be even more careful. They might even all travel together. That’ll make things very troublesome for me,” Ning mused.

Only by feigning weakness could he lull his foes into underestimating him. Only then would his foes move independently on their own, as only when they felt that Ning was not a threat would they be truly concerned about competing agaist the other Hegemons. This would be of benefit to Ning.

“My control over the flaming passageways is a killer trump card. I have to save it for a moment of maximum effect. That’s my only shot at reversing the situation.” Ning’s gaze was focused on the nine illusory figures advancing through the countless passageways. Every single action they took was within his field of vision.

……

“This Jadefire Realm really is in terrible shape. A few mechanisms have appeared, but I was able to discover them all from afar.” Hegemon Azurefiend continued to fly forwards, two billion-kilometer sized ropes scouting the way up ahead for him.

“According to the legends, the Jadefire Realm was absolutely terrifying when intact. It’s very weak now. No wonder so many Emperors of the Flamedragon Realmverse were able to come in, scout the place, and then leave safely.” Hegemon Azurefiend shook his head and chuckled. He felt increasingly relaxed; things were much simpler than he had anticipated.

This place might be of danger to weaker Emperors, but he was an exalted Hegemon. How much of a danger could these damaged, unmanned traps and mechanisms possibly pose him?

“Daolord Darknorth, eh? You’ll definitely be mine. Heh heh… I’ll kill him and then take his realmship, allowing me to easily rove across the various realmverses. It won’t be as difficult as it is now.” Hegemon Azurefiend felt quite eager. He was a temperamental character, but was born liking to wander about by himself and adventure through the void.

Swoosh. Hegemon Azurefiend continued to advance at high speeds through the flaming passageways, using the many tools he had available to scout out the path ahead and avoid them with ease.

……

“This is easier than expected.” The bald, red-robed, grim-faced man strolled through the skies, his body emanating with gray light that illuminated the area ahead of him and laid bare all of the hidden dangers.

……

Each of the major powers felt as though the Jadefire Realm wasn’t as dangerous as they had thought. So long as they were careful, they would be able to advance with ease.

Time passed, one day after the other.

“Soon. Hegemon Azurefiend is the fastest; he’s about to go through the flaming passageway area and reach the prison region. It is time for me to make my own move as well. I can’t let them get into and explore the prison region.” Ning was still seated in the lotus position above the altar, but a streak of light suddenly flew out of his body, manifesting into a second ‘Ji Ning’ in the air. This was a divine power clone.

“Whitethaw, let’s go,” Ning barked.

“Alright,” Whitethaw said respectfully. Whoosh. Ning waved his hand, causing the ancient realmship to appear next to him. It was now in much better shape than it had been when Archon Silksnow had owned it. Ning and Whitethaw both entered the realmship, then quietly snuck away from the hidden region, leaving behind just the divine power clone inside.

Rumble… Ning’s divine power clone remained seated above the altar and the formation-diagram, using its Immortal energy to manipulate the formation-diagram and maintain control over things from afar.

Controlling the formation-diagram took very little power. Although this divine power clone was fairly weak, for it to use Immortal energy to control the formation-diagram was simplicity itself.

With his clone present, Ning would be constantly aware of the locations and behaviors of the nine Hegemons and Emperors.

……

Within the darkness of the void. An ancient realmship was hovering in the skies next to a flaming cage, with Ning’s true body and Whitethaw inside the realmship.

Whoosh. Ten billion kilometers up ahead, an azure-scaled figure suddenly flew out from one of the flaming passageways. This figure emanated an extremely strange aura; it didn’t seem that dominating or overbearing, but based on Ning’s intelligence reports it definitely belonged to a terrifying figure who was ranked highly even amongst other Hegemons.

“Hegemon Azurefiend!” Ning grinned. “Let’s move.” Swoosh! Ning controlled his realmship to immediately fly into a nearby flaming passageway.

“Eh?” Hegemon Azurefiend had just reached the prison region after leaving the flaming passageways when he suddenly sensed a ripple from afar. Turning his head, he immediately saw that realmship.

“The realmship!” Hegemon Azurefiend was instantly overjoyed, so excited that his eyes lit up. “Haha, I really am lucky. I actually ran into the realmship as soon as I arrived here, and it seems as though the other Hegemons haven’t discovered it yet.”

“You want to run? Heh heh…” Hegemon Azurefiend’s speed skyrocketed as he furiously chased after the fleeing realmship.

Ning sent the realmship fleeing into the flaming passageways, beginning a ‘panicked’ flight through the area. Hegemon Azurefiend naturally followed him into the flaming passageways as well from behind.

“You won’t be able to escape. You aren’t going anywhere!” Hegemon Azurefiend spoke out, his voie carrying a strange, magnetic cadence that caused the area around Ning to shimmer.

“Azurefiend, don’t try to show off such meager skill in illusions before me. Hmph.” Ning’s voice echoed within the flaming passageways as well.

“Hand the realmship over to me and I’ll spare your life. Otherwise, you are doomed!” Hegemon Azurefiend chased frantically from behind.

“You think you can doom me? Hmph. I’ll show you just how incredible a realmship truly is.” Even as Ning’s voice echoed within the flaming passageways, the realmship suddenly skyrocketed in speed. Swoosh! It instantly pulled away from Hegemon Azurefiend, throwing him off and making it so that he could do nothing but watch as Ning disappeared from his field of vision.

“T-that fast?!” Hegemon Azurefiend was briefly stunned, but his eyes then flashed with savage light. “Good. What a fine realmship.” Realmships were meant for travel. When Archon Silksnow had used it, it was in terrible shape but still far faster than Ning. Now, it had been repaired considerably and was even faster than before, allowing Ning to easily throw Hegemon Azurefiend off his trail.

……

Time flowed on. A few months after the last encounter.

“A realmship!” Hegemon Everworry had just arrived at the prison region, and his eyes lit up as he saw the distant realmship.

“Another Hegemon?!” Ning’s enraged sound rang out from within the realmship. “Hegemon Everworry… don’t you feel that you are all being too shameless?” As he spoke, he sent the realmship diving into the flaming passageway.

……

Three years later.

“The realmship is over there!” Hegemon Oldgem and the Paragon of Swords were both in hot pursuit of the realmship, which was fleeing in panic. Every so often, it would blast into certain traps that would send it spinning, but each time it was able to quickly stabilize itself and continue to flee at incredible speeds, shaking off both of them.

……

Time flowed on. All nine Emperors and Hegemons were thoroughly enraged; it was as though the only thing Daolord Darknorth could do was flee! Given how fast the realmship was, it was extremely hard for them to catch up to it.

“Daolord Darknorth is extremely familiar with the flaming passageways, allowing him to avoid many of the most dangerous mechanisms with ease. Even if he does occasionally run into one of them, his realmship is able to take the damage.” The nine Hegemons and Emperors all felt rather helpless.

Every single passageway was extremely long, and the countless passageways were filled with even more mechanisms. The Emperors had to move with care, and for now there really was no way for them to catch Ning as the latter dove here and there.

Still, they continued to waited excitedly. At least the realmship was remaining within the flaming passageways this entire time. Sooner or later, they’d catch it.

……

“Mm. For now, I’ll keep the most terrifying mechanisms of the passageways under wraps and keep them off their guard.” Ning remained quite calm from within his realmship. “I’ll keep their attention completely focused upon the flaming passageways for now. That way, so long as they avoid the prison region it’s unlikely they’ll be able to discover that hidden area.”

The reason why Ning had used himself as bait to repeatedly lure them out was because he was worried that if he just remained in hiding, the Emperors and Hegemons would begin to search the area with such care that they might scour every inch of the prison region. The hidden region was extremely difficult to locate, and Ning himself had only found it thanks to the guidance of Whitethaw… but his foes were Hegemons!

If an entire host of Hegemons chose to slowly and patiently search a region, they might one day be lucky enough to discover it. Once they did, they’d be able to take over that hidden region, at which point Ning would no longer be able to control the formation-diagram!

The chances of this happening were quite low, but Ning didn’t dare to take the risk.

“I need them to know that I’m in the flaming passageways. I need to focus their attentions on me. That way, they won’t search the prison region. Once a few more Hegemons and Emperors arrive, it’ll be time for me to make my move.” Ning was more than patient.


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.”