DETIVastSea

Book 36, Daolord of the Fourth Step, Chapter 26 – As Vast as the Sea

The white-haired elder led the way as Ji Ning and Whitethaw followed from behind.

“Put away your golem. There will no longer be any danger here,” the white-haired elder instructed.

“Yes, senior.” Ning waved his hand, putting away the Protector golem. This trip to the Azureflower Estate had been much smoother than he had anticipated… but when he thought about it, it made sense. The master of the estate had left behind two levels of challenges; one was meant for Daolords, the other was meant for Emperors. The Daolord-level trials had already been quite ridiculous; if Ning hadn’t mastered the [Heartsword] art, even the fourth stage of the Omega Sword Dao wouldn’t have been enough for him to win with ease.

The white-haired elder led the way until they reached a great palace. Boom! The palace walls parted before them, revealing a doorway. They entered through this side passageway and quickly reached a private, quiet hall.

“What is this place?” Ning looked about, rather stunned. This giant hall was filled with enormous bookshelves which leaned against the walls. Every single bookshelf was at least thirty kilometers long, and there were hundreds of layers for each one. Every single layer was filled with jade slips, and they truly were numerous beyond measure. Ning could see no end to them!

Ning was rather dazed. Just a cursory scan indicated that there had to be over a hundred billion scrolls here… and that was just a rough estimate! This was a staggering, unheard-of figure.

“These are all of the more powerful techniques which my master acquired after scouring virtually the entire Chaosverse.” The white-haired elder had a rather complex look in his eyes as he continued slowly, “It doesn’t just have cultivator techniques, it also has Sithe techniques. Master collected and modified them all, making them suitable for us cultivators to use.”

“In other words… this place holds all of the countless elite techniques which were created by the cultivator civilizations and the Sithe civilization.” The white-haired elder looked at Ning. “What you need to do… is to read through all of them.”

“All cultivator civilizations? The entire Sithe civilization?” No matter how steady Ning normally was, he couldn’t help but begin to tremble inside. This was simply inconceivable.

In his original planet of ‘Earth’ in the Three Realms, there was a saying: ‘After you read over ten thousand books, you can write like a god.’ The creation of every single technique represented the accumulated wisdom and insight of one particular cultivator! The reason why Ning was able to become a Daolord of the Fourth Step was in large part due to Ning having the chance to inspect the three hundred-plus Hegemonic legacies which Autarch Bolin had left behind within that special region. They had been incredibly important, as they had broadened Ning’s horizons and let him gain many new insights and epiphanies.

And now?

The fruits of all cultivator civilizations were before him. Even the techniques belonging to the Sithe had been modified and retrofitted so that cultivators could make use of them. Countless techniques were gathered here. Their value was truly incalculable! They would be of far more help to him in understanding the Dao than any other treasure. This library was far more valuable than the Voidsea Jadeseal had been; even a Hegemon would go crazy for a chance like this!

“He scoured virtually the entire Chaosverse for these techniques, and even overhauled the techniques of the Sithe civilization…” Ning murmured softly. “Senior, can you please tell me who the master of this estate was?”

“My master didn’t plan to accept any disciples,” the white-haired elder said. “This is nothing more than the inheritance he has entrusted to later generations. Since you have passed his trials, you are deserving of what is here.”

“Inheritance?” Ning narrowed his eyes.

“Your guess is correct. Master is dead.” The white-haired elder glanced at the countless jade scrolls. His face was still cold and calm, but his gaze was rather distant and his voice very soft.

“Dead?” Ning could hardly believe this. “H-he… did he die in battle against the Sithe?”

“Hmph. You overestimate their abilities.” The white-haired elder laughed coldly. “The cultivator civilizations ended up winning our great war against the Sithe! But even if we lost the battle, as an Autarch my master would never have died to them.”

“Then how is it that he died?” Ning truly couldn’t believe it. An Autarch, someone who stood at the very apex of all cultivator civilizations, had somehow died?

“It was a form of suicide.” The white-haired elder shook his head. “Enough questions.”

Ning was rather dazed. A form of suicide? Autarchs had to have incredible Dao-hearts; how could one possibly choose to commit suicide? But then, Ning quickly understood. A ‘form of suicide’… that meant it wasn’t true suicide! Otherwise, why would the estate-spirit add the qualifier ‘a form of’? However, since the estate-spirit didn’t wish to speak further, Ning no longer pursued this line of questioning.

“Senior, you tell this junior who the master of this estate was? Given the grace he has shown to me, I simply must know his name,” Ning said.

“My master’s Daoist title was simply ‘Awakener’. He was referred to as Autarch Awakener.” The white-robed elder’s eyes shone with light.

Ning immediately turned and knelt down towards the countless jade slips in front of him as though he was facing his master. “This junior is named Darknorth. Senior, although you are not my master in title, you are my master in practice! This junior shall forever remember the benevolence you have shown me.” Ning then kowtowed nine times solemnly, wishing to express the gratitude and excitement he felt. Ning then rose to his feet.

“You are quite conscientious.” The white-robed elder nodded slowly when he saw this. “The benevolence Master has shown you vastly surpasses that which most teachers show their students. Not even most of Master’s actual students were permitted to see this techniques; only two were granted access.”

“Mm.” Ning nodded and then asked curiously, “Are you saying that Sithe techniques are not appropriate for us cultivators to train in? They have to be retrofitted first?”

“There are certain fundamental differences between us and the Sithe,” the white-haired elder said. “We are simply completely different on the most basic of levels. They were a different type of lifeform, a very unique type of lifeform, and they had a civilization and culture which belonged to them and them alone! We are not able to use the majority of their techniques, with just a few minor tricks available to us.”

Ning nodded.

“Enough. Go ahead and read through these first,” the white-haired elder instructed. “Also – before doing that, go ahead and swear an oath that you will not transmit anything you see here.”

Ning nodded. The lord of the Azureflower Estate, Autarch Awakener, hadn’t even permitted most of his personal disciples to view this place. Ning was lucky to even have a chance to read in this place; how could he possibly be permitted to transmit these techniques as he pleased? It had taken even Autarch Awakener an incredible amount of blood, sweat, and effort to accumulate all these techniques.

……

And so, Ning began a new life devoted to reading. He buried himself in the countless jade slips while surrounded by a field of accelerated time that was a hundred times faster than normal time. He memorized one jade slip after another.

This truly was a sea of techniques, and they came from different races, different realmverses, and different otherverses. They represented the accumulated wisdom of countless mighty cultivators, and Ning’s horizons were truly broadened. In fact, he was beginning to rapidly gain tremendous amounts of insight into the other Daos he was fairly skilled in, such as the Dao of Water and the Dao of Lightning! He was even gaining more insights into the [Omega Sword Dao] and the [Heartsword] art, both of which had already reached incredible heights.

The reading alone was enough to help him upgrade his insights. This was because he was reading and absorbing the accumulated wisdom of countless cultivators.

……

Ning began to feel himself change and transform as he subsumed himself within this sea of techniques. A new foundation was being established. Reading and memorizing all of these countless techniques was a way for him to dramatically expand his foundation of understanding! Right now, he had merely done some cursory reading; later on, he would train in each technique in detail. He would improve even more then! These countless techniques represented an inconceivable treasure in terms of cultivating the Dao. This was why Ning hadn’t hesitated at all in kneeling down and kowtowing as though he was in front of his master. He truly felt grateful.

For the first time… Ning began to feel that he had a chance at succeeding in the Daomerge.

By now, Ning was incredibly powerful and was able to read incredibly fast. It took him merely 130 million years to completely read through everything once. But of course, if one factored in the usage of temporal acceleration then Ning had actually spent over 13 billion years reading.

“I’m done reading.” Ning put down the final jade slip. His very aura itself had begun to change a bit. He had become more reserved and more ordinary-looking.

Over the course of reading for the past millions of years, Ning felt as though he had gained a picture of all cultivator civilizations as well as the entire Sithe civilization. He had bathed in the accumulated wisdom of two entire civilizations, and he no longer felt the slightest bit of pride in himself. So what if he had developed an Omega Dao? What was so pride-worthy about that? He was nothing more than someone who, prior to becoming a Samsara Daolord, had a few special ideas and encountered enough fortunate experiences that he was able to embark upon the path of the Omega Dao.

The Hegemons weren’t necessarily less talented than him, just not as lucky… and the likes of Emperor Heartsword, who had developed the [Heartsword] art, was also a freakishly talented figure.

The cultivator civilizations, as a whole, had far too many incredibly talented figures.

“Done reading?” The white-robed elder’s voice rang out.

Ning raised his head to look at the elder, then nodded. “I’m done reading. I feel as though the pride I felt previously was absolutely laughable.”

“In the great sea of the various cultivator civilizations, only Autarchs are truly supreme and transcendent. All others are quite common and ordinary.” The white-robed elder waved a finger, causing countless streams of light to appear midair within the palace. The light surged forward and opened a door which led to a hidden dimension… and from that hidden dimension flew out a series of jade slips as well as a single dazzling and eye-catching godsense crystal.

This godsense crystal was far more dazzling than any gemstone. It caused even Ning’s heart to shudder.

“Here are eleven scrolls of Omega Daos as well as my master’s own Dao,” the white-haired elder said.


Book 36, Daolord of the Fourth Step, Chapter 27 – The Second Palace

Ji Ning was stunned. A godsense legacy… and ten scrolls filled with Omega Daos? The master of the Azureflower Estate, Autarch Qi, didn’t have a master-disciple relationship with Ning, but in truth he had done far more for Ning than any ordinary master would.

“These eleven scrolls of Omega Daos represent eleven absolutely dazzlingly Daolords,” the white-haired elder said. “All of them trained to become Daolords of the Fourth Step… but unfortunately, they all failed in the Daomerge. Despite that they left behind their Daos to posterity. Factor in the first one you received earlier, and you have won for yourself a total of twelve Omega Dao scrolls. These are all of the Omega Dao techniques which my master has collected.”

“They all failed in their Daomerge?” Ning felt a tremendous sense of pressure.

“If my guess is correct… your path should be that of the Omega Dao as well.” The white-haired elder looked at Ning, who nodded. Given how easily Ning had knocked the Archon-level guardian out of the palace, the white-haired elder had quickly come to this conclusion.

“The Daomerge for any Omega Dao is extremely, extremely difficult,” the white-haired elder said. “Anyone who succeeds in the Daomerge for an Omega Dao would gain inconceivable power, after all. It only makes sense that its Daomerge is incredibly difficult.”

Ning nodded in understanding. Samsara Daolords all chose different Daos. It was much like constructing a building. Ordinary Daolords who walked ordinary Daos merely had to build a thatched cottage! Even if they succeeded in the Daomerge, they would always remain within that cottage. They would be correspondingly weak.

The Omega Dao, however, required the construction of a giant palace that was tens of thousands of meters tall! That meant it needed a far more stable foundation… and even if the cultivator failed the Daomerge, he would still be able to easily dominate those weaker Emperors.

To become a Daolord of the Fourth Step meant that all of the basic preparations had been completed. One could attempt the Daomerge at any time. If you failed the Daomerge, your palace would begin to crumble. If you succeeded, it would be completed and eternal.

But of course, this was just a metaphor. To master an Eternal Omega Sword Dao was far more complex than creating any so-called palace.

……

Ning fully mastered all eleven scrolls of the Omega Dao, then accepted the crystal of godsense.

Whoosh. The godsense surged into his body, causing an awesome scene to appear within his mind.

A graceful youth dressed in a white robe with blue trims appeared in Ning’s mind. The youth looked ordinary at first, but the more one stared at him the more one would feel that he was deadly attractive. After becoming an Autarch, every single inch of his body had become naturally filled with the unspeakable aroma of the Dao! This sort of Dao-aroma would naturally generate feelings of irresistible attraction to weaker cultivators.

The graceful youth was standing within an ordinary-looking study, teaching a group of children. Ning had become one of the children as well, and he listened obediently as the young Awakener taught him.

Soon, the image changed to become that of an army camp. A military officer was drilling his soldiers with the spear. The military officer was the graceful youth, while Ning had become one of the soldiers.

Then, the scene transformed to become a barbarian tribe. The witch-doctor who led this tribe was teaching the young tribesmen, with Ning one of the tribesmen and the graceful youth the witch-doctor.

……

One scene after another played out. They all seemed ordinary, but they carried an ineffable, indescribable aura to them. Time flowed on for what felt like a trillion years. Ning started as a mortal, became a cultivator, and now was a Hegemon.

The graceful youth stood there in the void, a group of cultivators standing behind him. All of their auras were at the Hegemonic level, with Ning amongst them.

Whoosh. The graceful youth waved his sleeves, sending an ordinary-looking gust of wind towards Ning and the other cultivators. However the power of this gentle wind suddenly skyrocketed to become a billion times more powerful. The wind instantly reached an absolutely inconceivable level of power, instantly annihilating Ning and the other cultivators. However, Ning and the others then reappeared once more.

“This is my Dao. All of you have seen what there is to see. You may leave, now. Shoo.” The graceful youth smiled as he waved gently at the group.

……

Ning suddenly came back to his senses.

“You woke up?” The white-haired elder looked at Ning.

“I’m up,” Ning said. “I feel as though a trillion years have gone by… but I can sense from the local spacetime that only a day has actually gone past.”

Ning felt indescribable emotions in his heart. In the process of accepting the legacy, he had been ‘trained’ from a child to the point of becoming a Hegemon. Autarch Awakener had indeed displayed his Dao… but he had done so through countless demonstrations over the course of what felt like trillions of years. Ning felt a strong sense of attachment to him, as though the Autarch truly was his master and elder. When he thought of how Autarch Awakener had already perished, Ning felt a sense of sorrow in his heart.

“You’ve already viewed everything there is to view in the first palace. You can now enter the second palace, which is the final palace,” the white-haired elder said.

“The second palace?” Ning was startled. The first palace already contained the countless techniques which belonged to the cultivator civilizations, and even included countless retrofitted Sithe techniques. It even held Omega Daos and Autarch Awakener’s own Dao! What could the second palace possibly hold?

“Follow me.” The white-haired elder walked forwards.

“Yes.” Ning followed from behind. They walked to the end of this palace hall, where a passageway appeared in the walls. They entered the passageway, arriving at a second hall.

Ning could see that the second hall was clearly much smaller, roughly three hundred meters in size! It was laid out in accordance with the principles of the Eight Trigrams, and the four walls were filled with bookshelves and jade scrolls. However, the jade scrolls here numbered in the tens of thousands at most. There truly were far fewer here than in the previous hall.

“Are there even better techniques here?” Ning was puzzled.

“You’ve already seen all of the techniques of two different types of civilizations. What ‘better techniques’ are you expecting?” The white-haired elder gave Ning a glance.

“Then these jade scrolls…?” Ning stared at the surrounding area.

“You’ll know soon enough.” The white-haired elder pointed at the very center of the second hall, at the center of the Eight Trigrams. As he pointed, the ground in the center began to bulge upwards, transforming into a stone dais that was shaped like the Eight Trigrams and clearly meant for use as a meditation mat. The stone dais was black with a few specks of white light glowing on its surface. “Sit there.”

Ning didn’t hesitate. Given how might Autarch Awakener was and how powerful the wards within the Azureflower Estate were, it would be easy for the estate-spirit to kill him. Hell, even Hegemons would be slain with ease. Ning didn’t worry about any tricks or traps at all.

Ning walked over, then sat down in the lotus position atop the stone dais.

Whoosh. A bone-chilling cold instantly pervaded his entire body. Ning shivered. He could sense that the speed at which his truesoul ‘thought’ had just skyrocketed. He was now able to think unfathomably faster than before.

“My master spent untold amounts of effort to construct this Azureflower Estate… and its heart is this stone dais,” the white-haired elder said as he pointed at the stone dais. “The countless formations in this estate have pooled their power within it, ensuring that it has an absolutely incredible supportive effect! Sitting on it is akin to being in a prajna-state of constant epiphany.”

Ning nodded. When he sat atop this stone dais, the effect was indeed much stronger than that of the Stone Censer of Reunion. Ning couldn’t help but lower his head to look at the stone dais. This was simply too incredible and marvelous. With this stone dais, he would be able to cultivate the Dao much more quickly than before. Most likely, even his chances at the Daomerge would be improved by a bit.

“My master originally constructed this stone dais for himself. He spent his time cultivating atop it, and he paid an absolutely astronomical price to create it. Now, he has left it to those who are linked to this place by karma and destiny.” The white-haired elder watched as Ning excitedly lowered his head and gently stroked the stone dais, then continued; “Now that you have passed the trials, you can come use this stone dais for as long as you are alive. I suspect that it is highly unlikely a second destined person will make it here in the next 108,000 chaos cycles.”

Ning nodded excitedly. This was definitely a truly supreme and peerless treasure.

“Calm down first. Once you’ve completely calmed down, I’ll talk to you about something else,” the white-haired elder said.

“Alright.” Ning could sense that his heart was still trembling. He had first viewed the countless techniques belonging to two different types of civilizations, then discovered this stone dais which vastly surpassed the Stone Censer of Reunion. Ning naturally was in a state of shock!

……

A long while later, Ning finally began to calm down. He looked at the white-haired elder, his heart tranquil.

“Now that you are calmer, I’ll explain.” The white-robed elder said, “The reason why my master left behind so many arrangements and even permitted you to view all of these techniques… is because of a final, dying wish he had.”

“A final wish?” Ning was stunned.

“Yes.” The white-robed elder nodded. “You should have already trained in the ‘Ninespace’ technique, yes?”

“The ‘Ninespace’ technique?” Ning was startled.

“Those Nine Chaos Seals,” the white-haired elder explained. “My master created the Nine Chaos Seals. They allow you to establish a brand new space within your sea of consciousness where an azure flower will bloom. This is the ‘ninespace’ region. It can convert Immortal energy, divine power, heartforce, and all other types of energy into a single mist-like form of energy. Of all the techniques which my master created in the countless years after he reached Autarchy, this is his proudest… but also his greatest regret. Even when he died, he still felt regret over this technique.”