DEWGGougingWinterjerk

Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 24 – Meeting Winterflame Again

Ji Ning continued to lead Hegemon Azurefiend and Protector Whitethaw through the flaming passageways via his realmship, entering ‘negotiations’ with one trapped Hegemon and Emperor after another. Each flaming passageway was extremely long, while the Hegemons were all scattered in various places. As a result, it would take months to fully sweep through all of them.

“Hmph. Those fools.” Hegemon Azurefiend sat within the realmship, drinking some wine. A dark look had long ago appeared on his face. “All of them are saying that I’m afraid of death. Ugh…”

Hegemon Azurefiend didn’t even know how he was supposed to refute these rumors. Was he supposed to commit suicide to show that he wasn’t afraid of death? That would be truly idiotic.

“Brother Azurefiend, why bother with them?” Ning smiled. “If a dog bites you, are you really going to bite back? Just let them jabber.”

In truth, Ning felt a bit awkward about all this, because the person Hegemon Azurefiend was serving as himself! There was no way he could simply ‘give up’ a Hegemonic retainer, and so all he could do was just try and console the Hegemon as best he could.

“Yes, they are nothing more than dogs. I shouldn’t waste my time with them.” Hegemon Azurefiend lifted his head up to drink some wine, only to realize that his cup was empty. An awkward look appeared on his face. Clearly, he was so focused on what everyone in the outside world was saying about him that he hadn’t even noticed he was out of wine.

Seeing this, Ning grinned. “Let me fill that up for you.”

Hegemon Azurefiend watched as Ning poured the wine. He couldn’t help but stroke his pointed, ape-like jaw as he murmured, “I’ve been alive for many years. I don’t care about what those weaker cultivators say, but the Hegemons who are on par with me… I can’t help but care! I’ve made a fool of myself in front of you, Darknorth. My Dao-heart still is not strong enough.”

“So long as we are alive, there will be things we care about. Otherwise, we’d be nothing more than zombies.” Ning smiled. “Caring about face is quite normal.”

“Darknorth, there’s something I hope you can do for me.” Hegemon Azurefiend looked at Ning.

“Oh? Tell me what it is. I’ll do my absolute best,” Ning said immediately.

“I hope… that you will succeed in the Daomerge!” Azurefiend looked at Ning, a hint of eagerness in his eyes. Ning couldn’t help but feel slightly stunned by this. “If you succeed in the Daomerge, your Omega Dao will ensure that you vastly surpass the level of Hegemons. You will reach a level which I cannot even imagine. When that happens, I will only feel proud for having served someone like yourself as a retainer.”

Ning finally smiled. “Thank you for your kind words. I’ll absolutely do my best.”

The Daomerge… in truth, Ning was finally daring to feel a bit of optimism regarding it, primarily because the Autarch’s stone dais truly was shockingly effective with regards to meditation. He also had the countless techniques of the Sithe and the cultivator civilizations which the Autarch had left behind, giving him a much deeper foundation and level of understanding. Once he created ten Archon-class techniques, he would then gain another treasure the Autarch had left behind which would be of tremendous assistance to cultivators partaking in the Daomerge.

Thus… although it would be extremely difficult for a Daolord of the Fourth Step to succeed in the Daomerge with an Omega Dao, at least he now had a chance. If he really was able to succeed in the Daomerge, what new heights would he reach?

……

The Hegemons and Emperors all obediently handed their treasures over. In the end, even the group of Hegemons led by the Numerancy-focused Hegemon Blackwood chose to bow their heads and hand over the treasures. Hegemon Blackwood’s divinations had told them that it would be impossible for their group to securely leave this place with Hegemon Azurefiend causing trouble for them.

The Hegemons made certain requests of Ning as well. In exchange for handing over their treasures, they all wanted Ning to swear oaths guaranteeing their safety. They wanted to make sure that Ning couldn’t suddenly backstab them as they began to leave. Ning, in turn, asked the fleeing Hegemons and Emperors to swear oaths not to come back in the future for revenge.

Both sides swore the relevant oaths. Only then did each feel faith in the other.

In the blink of an eye, more than two months had gone by.

“Just one Hegemon left,” Ning said.

“There’s one more left? Who?” Azurefiend asked.

“Winterflame.” Ning grinned.

“Hegemon Winterflame?” Azurefiend nodded slowly. “He’s an extremely shameless fellow, but he’s quite strong. He’ll be hard to deal with.”

Ning sent the realmship towards the direction of Hegemon Winterflame. While flying over, Azurefiend suddenly realized that something was wrong: “Darknorth, why are we going backwards? Aren’t we going to meet Winterflame?”

“Yes, we’re moving straight towards him right now,” Ning said. “Winterflame is located at the very end of this passageway, right after that turn in the corridor!”

“What? He’s right there? But we went past here earlier. Why didn’t we go speak to him and instead moved around him? That was unnecessary.” Azurefiend was puzzled. He didn’t really care about having ‘wasted’ a day or two, but this entire time Ning had ‘swept’ through the Hegemons and Emperors using the most direct paths possible. Why had they wasted a day or two on Hegemon Winterflame?

“Because he’s different from the other Hegemons and Emperors,” Ning said coldly.

“What, is there a feud between the two of you?” Hegemon Azurefiend could sense a hint of anger emanating from Ning.

Ning nodded. “He once assaulted my avatar and tried to abduct my clan, ‘Vastheaven Palace’, to use its disciples as hostages against me.”

“Hmph. Winterflame lives up to his reputation. As shameless as ever, I see.” Hegemon Azurefiend let out a cold snort, then frowned: “If I had a way to help you get rid of him, I would, but he’s a Hegemon who can transform into countless flames. So long as his invulnerable flamebody is active, my attacks will be of no use against him.”

“We might not be able to kill him, but we can’t let him off easily,” Ning said.

……

The flaming passageways. The handsome, pale-skinned Hegemon Winterflame was frowning slightly, his skin so crystalline that one could see the vessels beneath them. “Damn. Daolord Darknorth actually managed to reverse the situation! Not only did he take control over the mechanisms in the flaming passageways, he even managed to onvince that idiot Azurefiend to be his retainer. The Hegemons and Emperors have all given up on fighting for that realmship.” Hegemon Winterflame frowned, his heart filled with resentment: “What should I do? What are my options? The flaming passageways are filled with dangers. I can’t move at all.”

“Forget it. I’ll bow my head and just endure it for now. Escape is the most pressing issue,” Hegemon Winterflame mused silently. “A pity that Daolord Darknorth is going to profit by it.”

Whoosh. An ancient, rather damaged-looking realmship suddenly flew towards him from afar. “Here they are.” Hegemon Winterflame raised his head to stare towards the realmship.

The realmship came to a halt, and three figures emerged from it. They were Ji Ning, Hegemon Azurefiend, and Protector Whitethaw.

“Hmph.” Hegemon Winterflame suppressed his anger and said coldly, “Daolord Darknorth, you really are quite impressive. All these Hegemons came attacking, but in the end you cleared the board! You even convinced one of them to become your retainer. I have to admit some admiration for you. Here are the treasures you requested. I can give them to you, but I need you to swear an oath not to attack me while I leave the Jadefire Realm. I must be allowed to leave in peace.” Hegemon Winterflame held out a bracelet as he looked at Ning.

“Hegemon Winterflame. We meet again.” Ning finally spoke out in a leisurely voice.

“Meet again?” Hegemon Winterflame was briefly startled before his face went blank and hard.

“I told you that we’d meet again here in the Jadefire Realm.” Ning smiled. “I’ve always been a person who keeps his word. I’ve had you on my mind for quite some time now, ever since you attempted to take away all of Vastheaven Palace to try and threaten me.”

Hegemon Winterflame growled, “What do you want?”

“The other Hegemons only needed to pay a minor figure in treasure, but you are different,” Ning said. “I won’t claim your life. However, if you wish me to let me go then you must give me all the treasures you are currently carrying.”

“You won’t claim my life? As if you could.” Hegemon Winterflame was rather angry. In terms of raw power, most likely only Otherverse Lords had any chance of slaying him.

“You can choose to refuse.” Ning looked at him.

“You…!” Hegemon Winterflame stared hard at Ning. “You ask too much. Half! I’ll give you half of the countless treasures I’ve accumulated over the aeons.” He was legendary for his shamelessness, but it was this very shamelessness that had allowed to build up such a prodigious stockpile of treasures.

“Either accept my offer or decline it,” Ning said coldly.

“You…!” Hegemon Winterflame was so furious, his teeth hurt from all the clenching. Still… when he considered his situation, he realized that all the other Hegemons and Emperors had fled. The Jadefire Realm was simply too dangerous; the only person in all the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance who would be able to come here to save him was Realmslord Windgrace. But not only did Realmslord Windgrace rarely intervene in matters like this, the Realmslord didn’t even like him. The two weren’t on very good terms.

“Fine! Take them!!!” Hegemon Winterflame had a rather savage look on his face as the bracelet in his hand trembled slightly. Clearly, he had just moved many treasures into that bracelet.

“I already told you… I want ALL of your treasures.” Ning looked at him. “The armor that you are wearing and the Universe weapon you are wielding… give them to me as well.”

“You even want my armor and my weapon?!” Hegemon Winterflame’s eyes bulged out.


Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 25 – Time Flows Like Water, the Three Realms Perish

To cultivators, their weapons and their armor were their most valuable possessions. Generally speaking, when cultivators spoke of ‘trading treasures’ or ‘handing over treasures’, they were excluding the weapons and armor which they normally used! A Universe weapon which acknowledged you and was a good fit for you… such a treasure was incredibly hard to find. And how much blood and effort would have to be poured into a suit of Lifeblood armor, allowing it to grow over the aeons?

Other treasures might be valuable, but the loss of them would not have too much of an impact on Hegemon Winterflame’s actual level of power. It would’ve hurt, but he would’ve bit his tongue and accepted. His weapons and his armor? Once those were lost, his power would dramatically drop.

“Yes, I want both.” Ning looked at him. “I want all of your treasures! You must hand over every last drop of chaos nectar and every last chaos jewel, to say nothing of your Universe treasures.”

“Y-y-you…!” Hegemon Winterflame was absolutely livid.

“Are you handing them over or not?” Ning looked at him.

“Impossible! How could I give you my armaments?” Hegemon Winterflame glared furiously at Ning. “I’ve already lowered my head before you, but you push me too far. Hmph. D you really think I’m afraid of you? I can simply sit in this tunnel without moving, and your control over the mechanisms will be of no use to you. There can’t be that many which are capable of actually trapping and/or killing Hegemons. I refuse to believe one of them is right next to me.”

“There’s nothing you can do to me! If push comes to shove, I’ll just stay here for 108,000 chaos cycles. Let’s see if you’ll survive past that date!” Hegemon Winterflame glared at Ning.

“Don’t worry. If I fail my Daomerge and perish, I’ll pass the control techniques over to others and require them to swear oaths to never release you,” Ning said with a laugh.

“Then let us wait and see!” Hegemon Winterflame’s face was ruddy with rage.

“Excellent. Honestly, I don’t even care about your piddling treasures. Brother Azurefiend, let’s go.” Ning turned and immediately walked towards his realmship. Azurefiend smirked coldly as he glanced at Winterflame, then joined Whitethaw in walking towards the realmship.

“Azurefiend, you aren’t worthy of looking down upon me, you craven. No matter how ‘shameless’ I am, I, Winterflame, would never lower myself to becoming a retainer to a Daolord,” Winterflame said mockingly.

“Winterflame… by my decree, you shall be trapped here forever until the day you perish!” Ning came to a halt, turned and said these words, then entered the realmship.

“Let’s see if I die first or if you die first!” Hegemon Winterflame roared angrily, watching as the three disappeared into the realmship.

“Darknorth, Winterflame’s completely shameless. He’s capable of saying anything at all. Don’t waste your time with him.” Hegemon Azurefiend smiled coldly. “Just enjoy the sight of his perpetual imprisonment.”

“Agreed.” Ning nodded.

……

The storm caused by the news that a Daolord had acquired a realmship gradually became to calm down. However, the news that a Hegemon had actually chosen to serve a Daolord as a retainer was slowly spread to ever more distant realmverses and otherverses.

“The core of this formation-diagram is ridiculously complicated.” Ning’s divine power clone was still above the altar, carefully analyzing it. Ning’s Primaltwin was still on the Autarch’s stone dais in the Azureflower Estate, meditating on the formation-diagram as well.

The core of the formation-diagram… it required one to have reached incredible heights in the Dao of Fire and the Dao of Space, as well as extreme mastery of the Dao of Formations. Only then would you have a chance to solve it.

……

The Flamedragon Realmverse returned to its usual calm, and time slowly began to flow on. One chaos cycle, two chaos cycles, three chaos cycles…

Back in Ning’s homeland of the Three Realms.

CRACK!

The golden-robed Ning was by the side of his daughter Brightmoon. The two were aboard a rowboat floating atop Serpentwing Lake. The golden-robed Ning raised his head to stare at the heavens. He saw a bolt of lightning tear through the skies, spanning trillions of kilometers in size. This bolt of lightning didn’t just pierce through the Grand Xia, it also pierced through the majority of the three thousand major worlds.

“The Three Realms are finally about to face the apocalypse,” Ning murmured.

“What?” Brightmoon was stunned. She stared at her father, shock apparent in her bright eyes. “Father, did you just say that the Three Realms are about to be destroyed?”

“Yes.” Ning nodded. “Normal chaosworlds will only last for a single chaos cycle. After being destroyed, they will coalesce into ‘Worldhearts’ that will then give birth to a new world and a new cycle of life. Long ago, Mother Nuwa led our Three Realms to defeat the Seamless Chaosworld. A total of nine chaos cycles have gone by since then. Nine! This represents an absolute limit. It is indeed time for the Three Realms to be destroyed.”

“Then what should we do? Should we move to stop it?” Brightmoon asked.

“Why should we? Destruction and rebirth are all part of a cycle, the natural functioning of the Chaosverse.” Ning smiled. “And the major powers of the Three Realms have long ago established their own chaosworlds. We’ll simply relocate Swallow Mountain to one of them.”

“Alright.” Brightmoon nodded. These days, experts were as common as clouds in the Three Realms. It had a decent number of even Samsara Daolords. Ever since Ning had brought back the three hundred-plus Hegemonic legacies to the Three Realms, it had undergone yet another golden age. Its cultivators had exploded with power, and the rate at which the Three Realms gave birth to experts was even more ridiculously high than for the planet within the Stone Hellephant Wall.

……

In the primordial chaos outside the Three Realms. There was a region here that was tens of thousands of times vaster than the Three Realms themselves, and chaosworlds were scattered throughout this region in accordance with an incredibly complicated formation.

There were a total of 3900 chaosworlds here, and they were linked together in a massive formation which Ning had developed based on his insights into the Dao of Formations. The Sithe discs had been emplaced within the formation, becoming part of it! Ever since Ning began to truly analyze the Sithe formations, he finally began to be able to make perfect use of the Sithe discs.

The power of the formations and the Sithe discs was such that it would be extremely hard for even Hegemons to breach the local defenses.

Over the course of countless years, the three thousand-plus chaosworlds had given birth to countless living beings. As a result, the denizens of the Three Realms had truly thrived.

“And there it goes.” Many figures stood there within the void, staring towards the distant Three Realms. The golden-robed Ning, Subhuti, and Windfiend stood at the front of this group. Ning was the number one expert of the Three Realms; that went without saying. Subhuti and Windfiend were incredibly talented as well; after having analyzed over three hundred Hegemonic legacies, they had merged multiple Supreme Daos together and become Samsara Daolords. By now, both Subhuti and Windfiend were both Daolords of the Third Step.

Maitreya, Crazy Ji, Sun Wukong, Jade Cauldron, Kuafu… a total of nineteen had become Samsara Daolords. However, none of them had been able to fuse multiple Supreme Daos together. Maitreya was one of the more impressive ones, having at least mastered a single Supreme Dao.

As for World-level cultivators? They were ridiculously abundant. There were over ten thousand of them by now! Even Brightmoon had been able to train to the World level under her own power. Alas, Ning’s father and mother were much weaker when it came to cultivation. Even though Ning personally guided them, they still weren’t able to reach the World level. In the end, Ning had to rely on using medicines to forcibly uplift both his father and his mother to the World level.

“The Three Realms is in a golden age. We have over ten thousand World-level cultivators, which is just slightly less than the Badlands Territory itself. However, we have far more Samsara Daolords than the Badlands Territory.” Subhuti sighed emotionally. “The more I wander the outside world, the more I feel that the Three Realms are truly incredible.”

“Yes.” Ning nodded. “However, the Chaosverse is a vast place. There are more than a few other locations which have given place to a high density of experts.”

“The techniques which Darknorth brought back were of great help as well. On average, the cultivators of the Three Realms have all risen by a complete level,” Windfiend said. “Otherwise… there’s no way we would have this many Samsara Daolords, while Subhuti and I probably wouldn’t have fused Supreme Daos together.”

Ning agreed with this assessment. A good reservoir of techniques was extremely important, which was why the Aeonians viewed those three hundred-plus Hegemonic legacies as priceless treasures. Alas, Ning was now so powerful that the Aeonians didn’t even dare to voice a word in protest. All they could do was pretend that none of it had ever happened.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

The distant Three Realms was slowly collapsing. One world after another began to crumble as the rivers and the mountains began to break apart.

Ning and the major powers who had been born from the Three Realms all watched from afar, their hearts filled with emotions. However, all of them were at peace, because they had already relocated everyone and everything they cared about away from the Three Realms.

“Quick, look over there! The new Worldheart is beginning to take form.”

“The Worldheart of the Three Realms.” The various Daolords and World-level cultivators were all chatting amongst themselves. Ning watched intently as well.

The vast Three Realms continued to collapse until its very core became an invisible black hole that devoured everything in its path. All of the shattered bits of world-rubble were all drawn into that invisible hole, causing it to slowly stabilize and become solid. An invisible surge of power began to spread out from it, causing even Ning to feel a vague sense of awe.

This was the power of the very essence of the Chaosverse itself.

“It has finally taken form. Is that over there the new Worldheart of the Three Realms?” Ning stared from afar. The Three Realms had already completely vanished, leaving behind a pair of glittering gemstones that were embedded into each other. Normally, Worldhearts were supposed to consist of a single, perfect gem. However, the Worldheart of the Three Realms was very unique, as it was formed from the collision of those two chaosworlds. Both gems had been damaged and lost certain parts, but each just so happened to compensate for the losses of the other, allowing the two to form a perfect whole.

The embedded double-Worldheart was dazzlingly beautiful and absolutely marvelous. Ning had never seen a Worldheart like this before. “How beautiful.” Ning couldn’t help but sigh in praise.