DEWGProsAndCons

Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 4 – A Graceful Departure

Ji Ning immediately remembered that the Worldheart of the Three Realms was indeed composed of two damaged crystals that had somehow managed to fuse together. Both were indeed incomplete, but they had managed to come together and form a perfect whole.

“In other words… small parts of an Autarch’s godgems were completely dispersed into energy which was bestowed upon the living beings of that era. That was why all of the living beings in that first era underwent certain changes,” the bald old man said. “This was why the woman known as ‘Nuwa’ was able to suddenly break through to become a World God during that war. She had no techniques and no teachers, but she was still able to break through! The one known as Windfiend was also dramatically strengthened during the course of that battle!”

“All living creatures below the World-level in that chaosworld were blessed by the Autarch’s energies,” the bald old man said. “This was why your master Subhuti, as well as many of those other major powers, continued to slowly grow more and more powerful. Their potential continued to deepen as well.”

“As for the countless ordinary mortals of the Three Realms, all of them possess tremendous talent. You used to be nothing more than an ordinary mortal. Back then, the amount of karmic luck you had was vastly inferior to the amount your master Subhuti and the others had.”

“Eventually, you rose to sudden prominence! As your power skyrocketed, you gained more karmic luck and thus many of the blessings of the Three Realms became focused upon you. During that battle against the Seamless Alliance, you finally broke through to a new level of power, draining away a large amount of karmic luck from the Three Realms.” The bald old man looked at Ning. “You were blessed with tremendous potential, becoming the most powerful figure of the Three Realms Era.”

“However… in the end, karmic luck is secondary. It was primarily your own hard work which brought you to this point,” the bald old man said.

Ning was beginning to slowly understand. He had indeed been blessed by luck, which was why he was able to make it this far… but every single powerful cultivator had his own lucky encounters! Take Archon Silksnow as an example. Although he was a fiendish figure, he had also experienced many lucky encounters in his life… but in the end, he had still been forced by Ning to commit suicide.

The more powerful you became, the less of an impact the prime essences of the Chaosverse would have upon you. There were evil figures who had butchered entire territories, but they were still living happy lives, yes? The prime essences of the Chaosverse weren’t able to do anything to them.

“The Three Realms Era ended, and the new Three Realms began. By now, the Worldheart is in good shape. There are no longer any godgem fragments, and so it is impossible for the generations to come in the new Three Realms to be quite as monstrously talented as the generation of the Three Realms Era.” The bald old man laughed. “Your era was a special one which gave birth to special figures. If you missed it, you missed it.”

Ning nodded. That era was an era where two Autarch’s godgems had collided and given birth to a brand new world. It had indeed given birth to many major powers, including over ten thousand World-level cultivators and numerous Samsara Daolords, with Ning himself being the strongest of them. But of course, the vast majority of the living beings continued to live and die in an unending cycle of life and death.

“Every single living being born from a chaosworld formed by an Autarch’s godgem is unique,” the bald old man said. “This is because they all have a tiny amount of the Autarch’s own essence within them. Once their souls and truesouls are destroyed, their truesoul fragments will be immediately taken away by the prime essences of the Chaosverse and hidden within its depths.”

“You must understand, long long ago the vast Chaosverse didn’t have that many living beings within it. It was the prime essences themselves who gave birth to all things. However… after doing so, as the living creatures grew stronger the prime essences themselves grew weaker.”

“This is because, when we cultivator and grow stronger, what we do is draw upon the energy of the prime essences of the Chaosverse,” the old man explained. “And when an Autarch rises to power? This is an incredible event. The rise of every single Autarch is a momentous occasion for the prime essences of the Chaosverse. Once an Autarch dies, the prime essences will immediately do their best to absorb as much of the Autarch’s power as possible.

“Thus, although it is very easy to revive a living being from an ordinary chaosworld, to revive a living being from a chaosworld formed by an Autarch’s godgem is far more difficult. The problem facing us is that the Three Realms Era was an era where the living beings were blessed with the energies of TWO fragmented godgems. Every single living being of that era is incredibly special.

“Your Dao-companion was a Celestial Immortal of that era. To revive her truly will be even more difficult than reviving a Hegemon!” the bald old man said. “The prime essences have already swallowed her truesoul fragments; there’s no way they will spit it back out again. They will never agree to release your Dao-companion’s truesoul fragments. They’ll use their full power to oppose anyone who tries.”

Ning now completely understood. He was a major power himself, and he had seen the countless techniques of two mighty civilizations. He knew far more than the vast majority of Hegemons.

When living beings were born, they would draw upon the energy of the primordial chaos to grow more powerful. If this process continued unabated, giving birth to more and more powerful experts… where would all of that energy come from? From the Chaosverse itself! Thus, the Chaosverse needed to reclaim its energies as well, and one of the most basic ways to do that was to draw upon truesoul fragments. The so-called destruction of the truesoul was nothing more than completely shattering a truesoul into fragments which would then be swallowed up by the Chaosverse.

It was akin to the cycle of reincarnation. New experts would rise to power, while dead ones would see their truesouls swallowed up by the Chaosverse. It formed a complete cycle.

Everworlds had their own basic essences, which was why when living beings died in an everworld their truesoul fragments would remain within the everworld. Reviving them would be quite easy.

Individuals who lived in otherverses would see their truesouls remain within the otherverse when they died. For example, the ‘Sword Hegemon’ who was the big brother of the Paragon of Pills – when he died, his truesoul was taken away by the prime essences of that alternate universe. To revive him would be comparatively easier, but he was still a Hegemon; the prime essences of that otherverse would fight tooth-and-claw to keep his truesoul fragments. Only an Autarch would be able to bring him back, but an Autarch would not casually revive a Hegemon. The price for such a thing would be far more than a mere realmship.

Chaosworlds were the most problematic! Alas, Yu Wei was a Celestial Immortal who had been born and died within a chaosworld birthed by one of Autarch Awakener’s godgems.

“There’s nothing I can do.” The bald old man looked at Ning, then waved his hand and tossed the realmship back to Ning. “I wasn’t able to carry out your request. Here’s your realmship.”

“If not even an Autarch can accomplish this, who can?” Ning was rather frantic.

“Hmph! If an Autarch can’t do it, no one can. Duh!” The bald old man let out a laugh, but then he suddenly noticed the look on Ning’s face. He instantly understood that reviving this woman had been this talented Daolord’s strongest desire, and he couldn’t help but let out a sigh. “It is just too difficult. If even I would risk my life in the attempt but still probably fail… who else could possibly succeed?”

Ning was rather dazed.

“Ehhh…” the bald old man looked at Ning, then suddenly laughed. “There IS one possibility.”

Ning’s eyes lit up as he immediately stared at Autarch Titanos.

“All of us Autarchs were originally Hegemons who broke through to the next step and became Autarchs.” The bald old man looked at Ning. “You, however, train in an Omega Dao. If you can succeed in the Daomerge, you’ll become a completely unprecedented Eternal Emperor who will vastly outstrip other Hegemons in power! Not even I would dare claim to understand the level of power you would reach.”

“If you can succeed in the Daomerge to gain eternity, then make another break through to reach Autarchy…! An Omega Dao Autarch would probably be far more powerful than the rest of us. I suspect that such a person would be capable of reviving your Dao-companion without any difficulties,” the bald old man said.

Ning was speechless. He now felt a tremendous to succeed in the Daomerge and then advance from Eternity to Autarchy.

“Haha, but that’s just a hypothetical possibility. There’s never been anyone to succeed in the Daomerge in an Omega Dao, to say nothing of reaching Autarchy.” The bald old man began to walk away into the void as he spoke. “Foolish child… sometimes, you have to learn when to let go. On the path of cultivation, excessive obsession can sometimes result in self-destruction.” As he spoke, he disappeared into the distance.

Just like that… Autarch Titanos was gone.

Ning stood there, completely unmoving.

“What should we do?” Whitethaw sent mentally to Azurefiend.

“How should I know? Reversing spacetime to revive his Dao-companion was his most ardent desire. Now that he’s lost all hope… who knows what will happen?” Hegemon Azurefiend shook his head. “Autarch Titanos was worried that his Dao-heart would collapse, which was why he gave Darknorth one final glimmer of hope… but Omega Daos are incredibly difficult! Even the Autarch himself stated that there has never been anyone to succeed in the Daomerge for an Omega Dao, much less reach Autarchy with it!”

“He has to first become an Emperor, then become an Autarch. Every step is so difficult as to be completely impossible.” Azurefiend shook his head. The Hegemons of the various territories and realmverses all dreamed of becoming Autarchs, but it was all for naught.

Ning wished to use his Omega Dao to become an Autarch? Did he think all the other Hegemons were fools who didn’t just ‘want it enough’? Becoming an Autarch was no easy feat!

“Actually, there’s no need for him to waste too much time thinking about this stuff. Right now, the greatest problem facing him is still the Daomerge!” Azurefiend said, “Only if he succeeds in the Daomerge shall he have a future! Tell me, do you think your master will succeed in it?”


Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 5 – Remorseless Unto Death

“He can,” Whitethaw said solemnly. “I have faith in my master.” He knew that Ji Ning had been blessed with tremendous good fortune within the Azureflower Estate, and also that his master had only been training for an extremely short period of time. Ning had a chance to succeed at the Daomerge.

“Bah, I don’t even know why I’m wasting time talking to a golem like you.” Azurefiend shook his head and turned to stare at the distant Ning. “But of course, I personally hope that he succeeds as well. An Emperor who completed the Daomerge with an Omega Dao… how powerful would he become? I can’t even imagine it. He’d probably be far more powerful than even Otherverse Lords. He might even approach the Autarchs themselves in power!”

The distant Ning suddenly sent a hoarse mental message to them: “Whitethaw, Azurefiend, I wish to be alone for a time. Do not disturb me.”

“Yes, Master,” Azurefiend said.

“Some alone time would do you good. Think things over. Cultivation is a way of life; if your Dao-heart is not resolute enough, you won’t be able to make it far along this path, much less master the Omega Dao,” Azurefiend said.

Ning didn’t respond. He simply strode away into the skies. Rumble… the void around him suddenly began to change. The primordial chaos flexed and trembled as a new world began to be born. Mountains rose, rivers appeared, and an indescribably vast sea took shape as well. Earth appeared, forming continents which were then covered with grasslands and marshes. Even cities and forests began to appear, causing the world to becoming increasingly beautiful.

Soon, a completely new world had been created around Ning… the world of the Grand Xia.

All it took was a single thought from Ning and the Grand Xia world was quickly remade.

“Stillwater City.” Ning strode through the skies, surrounded by clouds. He stared off into the distance, where a great city had appeared. This was Stillwater City, a place of many memories for Ning. This Stillwater City even had a Black-White College within it.

“The Dao Debate Palace of the Black-White College.” Ning walked into the Black-White College. It was just as it had been in his memories, except there were no living creatures within it at all. He soon reached the Dao Debate Palace. Ning sat down at the entranceway to the Dao Debate Palace, then picked up a gourd of wine and began to drink, his gaze distant as he stared into the palace.

He still remembered what had happened that year. He had been very young and had joined the Black-White College alongside Mu Northson. He had been a dazzling figure, and had defeated many senior apprentice-brothers during the Dao Debates. In the end, it had been Yu Wei who had intervened and defeated him effortlessly. He still remembered what the wager for their fight had been – a hundred black-white pellets and five kilograms of liquid essence.

“A hundred black-white pellets and five kilograms of liquid essence. Senior apprentice-sister, why is it that the path to our reunion is such a difficult one?!” Ning murmured to himself, then raised his head and drank some more wine. He drank too quickly, causing himself to cough. The wine splattered all over him, but he didn’t care. He wanted to give vent to his pain.

He felt a sense of rage and resentment in his heart, a sense of pain which he had suppressed for too long. Why? He had clearly succeeded and had even seen her coming back to life. When they had shared gazes, he had known that everything was going to be perfect. He was about to embrace her again at long last… but in the end, it had been a failure!

Why!?

“I’ll keep walking down this path for as long as I must.” Ning stared into the Dao Debate Palace as he murmured to himself. He felt as though he could see those duels he had fought against Yu Wei and the others.

He had never hesitated, never given up. If the Autarch said that this would only be possible if he completed his Daomerge with his Omega Dao and then became an Autarch… then that would be what Ning’s goal would become!

This would be an extremely difficult path to take. Ning wouldn’t shirk back from it, but he did understand how low his chances of success were.

“Perhaps I shall one day collapse on this path.” Ning smiled. “When I collapse, my truesoul will scatter and then return to the prime essences of the Chaosverse. There, the two of us shall be together once more.”

There was still wine left in the gourd, but Ning was already drunk. Not from the wine; from his hopes. Ning rose to his feet and began to walk outside.

Whoooosh. Suddenly, large plumes of snow began to fly through the air. Ning walked through the snow, carrying the wine gourd in one hand while using a Northbow sword to train in sword-arts with the other. It wasn’t an intentional display of sword-arts, it was just a way for his spirit to give vent.

All he wanted to do was to remain drunk. He continued to drink while executing his sword-arts. Ning felt himself growing drunker and drunker.

The vague outline of a person appeared before his eyes. It was Yu Wei. She was as beautiful as ever. It felt as though they were meeting again for the first time.

“Overwhelming sorrow from farewells… but it is naught but one parting of many.” Ning smiled.

Whoosh. Ning’s sword suddenly manifested a blood-colored light that shot out through the skies. He had just unconsciously and naturally executed the thirteenth stance of the [Heartsword], ‘Snowland Blood’.

This sense of overwhelming sorrow, of the heart transcending all mortal concerns… when Ning struck out with his sword, he felt as though his sword was his lover. It was different from the eleventh stance, ‘Teardrop’, or the twelfth stance, ‘Swordtide’. Those were frenzied attacks of overwhelming power. This attack had a sense of melancholy to it, a sense of pain stemming from heartache.

The melancholy had caused him to pour all of his heart into the sword, and thus the thirteenth stance had been mastered.

“Emperor Heartsword… I wonder what sort of mental state you were in when you first created this thirteenth stance of the Heartsword, ‘Snowland Blood’.” Ning smiled as he waved his sword about. “The fourteenth stance of the Heartsword is ‘Remorseless Unto Death’.” Ning raised his head to take another gulp of wine, then let out a loud cry as he struck out with a new, changed streak of sword-light.

When his sword struck out, it became ephemeral and transcendant. It was hard to even see his sword; it was as though the sword itself had vanished. However, a few vague traces could be seen. Those hard-to-see traces were indistinct but completely unblockable. It would continue to advance, and if anyone tried to stand in its path then that person would be slaughtered. The traces of this sword were enough to inspire utter terror in any who saw it.

This was the fourteenth stance of the Heartsword – Remorseless Unto Death.

In the Flamedragon Realmverse, there had only ever been a total of two cultivators who had mastered the fourteenth stance of the [Heartsword] art, including Emperor Heartsword himself. Now, Ning had become the third!

The thirteenth stance of the Heartsword, ‘Snowland Blood’. The fourteenth stance of the Heartsword, ‘Remorseless Unto Death’. These two were on the same general ‘level’. So long as one could learn the thirteenth stance, it wouldn’t take too long for the fourteenth stance to be mastered as well.

Emperor Heartsword’s experiences truly had been remarkable. Although he had different experiences than Ning, they had reached a very similar mental state. Ning felt a similar sense of sorrow and melancholy; he knew that the chances of reversing spacetime and reviving his wife were impossibly low. And yet… he would have no regrets at all for pursuing this path, even in the face of death! No matter how low the chances were, he would still continue on this path.

……

Ning danced with the sword as snow flew around him. Slowly, the skies turned dark. Ning lay down on the snowy ground and went to sleep. It had been a long, long time since he had slumbered.

The ‘snow’ and the ‘darkness’… these were nothing more than reflections of his mental state. He had created this world, and so its weather was invisibly influenced by his state of mind.

He slept for a long period of time before finally reopening his eyes. By now, a morning sun was rising from the horizon, bathing the world with its warm rays of light. There was some fog, but it was unable to block out the sunlight which pierced through everything as it illuminated the world.

Ning glanced at the gourd and the Northbow sword, both of which lay fallen next to him. He smiled, then picked them up.

“I’ve woken up. The Daomerge, eh?” Ning stared at the distant dawn sun, then murmured to himself: “Then I’ll deal with the Daomerge first! I’ll take things one step at a time. After the Daomerge, I’ll then become an Autarch.”

“Senior apprentice-sister… don’t blame me if I fail.” Ning chuckled, then soared into the skies. Rumble… the Black-White College and the city of Stillwater both began to break apart. The entire Grand Xia began to break apart, quickly dissipating into nothingness.

Ning stared the two figures waiting for him in the distant void.

“Master,” Whitethaw called out respectfully.

“Darknorth.” Hegemon Azurefiend was slightly startled. He could sense that Daolord Darknorth seemed to have undergone a tremendous transformation. His very aura had changed. In the past, Ning had a certain radiant dynamism to him. He had been a dazzling figure who was filled with hope… but now, his gaze was much calmer and more distant. It was like an endlessly deep sea. There was nothing which could shake his heart.

Reversing spacetime to revive Yu Wei had been a failure. All of that was over now, and he only had one thought in his mind… to continue walking his path of cultivation with no remorse and no regrets, unto death itself.

Either he would succeed in reuniting with Yu Wei, or he would fail and die, reuniting with her in the prime essences of the Chaosverse.

“Azurefiend, do you think I’ll succeed in the Daomerge?” Ning laughed.

Azurefiend was startled upon seeing Ning’s smile. He immediately said, “It’ll be extremely hard… but then again, the number of people who became Daolords of the Fourth Step via an Omega Dao is miniscule. The fact that they failed doesn’t mean you will fail as well, Darknorth.”

“Just so.” Ning laughed.

“But you are too stubborn and attached. Remember what Autarch Titanos said; excessive obsession can result in self-destruction,” Azurefiend said.

Ning nodded and smiled. “But you know, he left out part of the saying. The full saying is, excessive obsession can result in great accomplishments in cultivation, but it can also result in self-destruction. I have the feeling… that I’m the type who will have great accomplishments.”