“Name any conditions we want?” Solesky and Battlemaster exchanged a glance, mirth in their eyes.
“The old madman’s finally bowed his head. We’ve been fighting for tens of thousands of chaos cycles. Now, he’s finally bowed his head.” Solesky couldn’t help but sigh. He had been tussling with Clearwind for many years now, and both were famous, respected figures who were unwilling to concede to the other. Since they were enemies, Vastheaven Palace and Clearwind Temple naturally became mortal enemies as well, and the struggle had gone on for tens of thousands of chaos cycles.
To bow the head represented the loss of face as well as the loss of many treasures.
“It is all because of Darknorth.” Battlemaster glanced at the nearby Ji Ning.
“Solesky, my friend… to tell you the truth, do you think I would ever lower my head to you?” The distant Patriarch Clearwind, still within his shrine, shook his head. “Absolutely impossible. However, your Vastheaven Palace has gained yet another fine brother! Although I’m not worried about this Darknorth at present, he’s still just a Daolord of the Second Step. Soon, he’ll surpass me, and your Vastheaven Palace shall become famous throughout the Endless Territories alongside him.”
Solesky and Battlemaster both laughed. In the future, Vastheaven Palace would be guarded by a truly unearthly Daolord, one who would most likely be able to kill even Eternal Emperors! It was obvious that Ning had that type of potential.
However… Clearwind, Solesky, and Battlemaster had no idea that Ning was actually even more terrifying than they thought him to be. In truth, Ning was nothing more than a Daolord of the First Step!
“You praise me too much,” Ning said.
“Not at all. I’m just telling the truth,” Patriarch Clearwind said, then looked towards Solesky. “Go ahead, Solesky. Tell me what you want.”
“Clearwind, if you want to resolve the enmities between us, I don’t mind,” Solesky said. “But I do have three conditions.”
The negotiations between Vastheaven Palace and Clearwind Temple went on for over half a day. Daolord Solesky’s initial requests had been truly excessive; even if Patriarch Clearwind had sold off all his possessions, it still wouldn’t be enough.
This was how haggling worked. One side asked for a sky-high price, the other side would counter with a dirt-low offer.
In the end, Patriarch Clearwind paid reparations of twenty million cubes worth of treasure. The feud between the two was thus brought to an end, and the Daolords of both sides swore lifeblood oaths not to cause trouble for each other again.
So long as the Daolords did not fight, the squabbles between their World-level cultivators, Elder Gods, and Ancestral Immortals were nothing more than minor matters.
But of course, Ning also squeezed all of Daolord Blesswind’s treasures out of him, extorting almost every last drop of chaos nectar from the man. In the end, the poor fellow had to swear a lifeblood oath swearing that he really had less than a cube of chaos nectar’s worth of treasure left! Only then did Ning allow Daolord Blesswind and the other captives to be sent back.
Within Vastheaven Palace. Ji Ning, Solesky, Battlemaster, and Brightfish had all gathered together. They were drinking Immortal wine and were chatting together.
“Hah! Just twenty million cubes.” Daolord Solesky shook his head. “I was planning to at least hit him for fifty million! I know he has an extremely valuable life-saving treasure; that treasure alone is worth fifty million. I blame Battlemaster! You kept on telling me to back off. Otherwise, there’s no way I would’ve let him off the hook that easily.”
“You were being too hard on him.” Daolord Battlemaster sipped some wine from the cup in his hands. “He’s just wary of Darknorth’s future potential, but in truth there’s nothing we can do to him right now. If you pushed him too far, he could just begin to evacuate Clearwind Temple and make it impossible for us to find him… and he might scheme in secret against us to take revenge. That would be nothing but trouble.”
“To him, that life-saving treasure is more important than Clearwind Temple itself.” Daolord Battlemaster sighed. “He only acquired it after experiencing countless dangers over the course of many years. You want him to hand it over? He’d rather you wipe out Clearwind Temple.”
Solesky coughed a few times.
Powerful cultivators would usually expend their wealth on creating secret arts or powerful magic treasures. It was very rare for them to actually trade those things away to others! For example, the treasures which Daolord Solesky and Daolord Clearwind had, all combined, were definitely worth over a hundred million cubes each. The problem was that the actual amount of ‘liquid’ wealth they had was much less, as some of those treasures they needed for combat.
Ning’s six lifeblood weapons, his Hegemon armor, and his Hegemon Dao-seals… they too would not be traded to others.
“It was all thanks to Ji Ning.” Solesky looked at Ning. “Ji Ning, take the twenty million.” As he spoke, he sent a storage treasure flying towards Ning.
“No way.” Ning was badly shocked. How could he accept all this?
“You are just a Daolord of the Second Step. You’ll need more treasures in the future. Just take it,” Daolord Solesky urged, but Ning steadfastly refused.
The nearby Battlemaster said, “Brother Darknorth, you are a brand new Daolord. You’ll need to spend money to create an avatar for yourself. A perfect avatar will cost roughly ten million cubes, all by itself. You’ll need to spend money in other areas as well. Just take it.”
Ning could tell that saying no was not an option. He said, “Then I’ll take half for now. If you keep pressing me, I won’t take anything.”
“Haha! Fine, fine, fine.” Solesky shook his head. “We won’t press you, alright? Brother Brightfish, you are also a Daolord of the Second Step. Take five million! Battlemaster, the rest is yours.”
“Big brother?” Battlemaster immediately protested.
“This isn’t necessary, big brother. You can’t do this,” Daolord Brightfish immediately said.
“My true body is in the Waveshift Realm. Once I gain what I need from it, I will immediately begin my Daomerge.” Daolord Solesky shook his head. “It doesn’t matter if I succeed or if I fail in my Daomerge; either way, more treasure will be useless to me.”
Ning, Battlemaster, and Brightfish all felt their hearts grow heavy.
Solesky had lived far longer than the rest of them. He was preparing for his Daomerge, and everyone knew that this virtually spelled a death sentence! Far, far too few were able to succeed in this process.
“Come, come! Have some more wine. Now that Vastheaven Palace has Darknorth as a member, I can face my Daomerge with much more confidence.” Daolord Solesky laughed loudly. “And today, my old enemy finally bowed his head before me. What an absolutely wonderful feeling! This feels better than gaining any amount of treasures.”
For now, Ning elected to remain within his Darknorth Estate and quietly train inside it.
Ning had earned a total of thirteen million cubes worth of treasure from Patriarch Clearwind and Daolord Blesswind. Ten million would be used to purchase suitable materials for the creation of a perfect avatar for himself!
Within an estate-world.
Whooooooosh. This was a world of icy darkness, a world where a freezing wind howled through the skies. The icy wind filling the estate-world came from a black cave, and deep within the cave there was an ice-locked figure. Next to that figure sat a white-robed youth in the lotus position. The white-robed figure’s entire body was emanating an unearthly level of power that was being poured into the ice-locked figure.
Time slowly flowed on.
Crack! Crack! Crack! The layers of ice around the figure began to crack apart.
Boom! The ice shattered, allowing the formerly ice-bound figure to fly out. His body was completely nude, and he emanated an aura of endless ice and cold. His appearance was identical to Ji Ning’s. Moments later, a layer of golden clothing appeared on his body.
The golden-robed Ning and the white-robed Ning glanced at each other.
“Mm. My avatar has finally taken form. It now has a tenth of my full power. The rest will be a matter of time.” The white-robed Ning nodded slightly, then smiled. “Fellow Daoist Avatar, I’ll have to trouble you to stay in Vastheaven Palace for now.”
“I’ll naturally follow your requests, true body.” This was the golden-robed Ning’s response.
In truth, the two shared the same memories and thoughts. This was nothing more than a bit of an amusing diversion for Ning.
His avatar contained the same Dao as he himself used. However… it didn’t have the azureflower seal! Ning had tested out his avatar. It could use most divine abilities and secret arts, but it was unable to train in the Nine Chaos Seals no matter what!
“When my avatar uses the Hegemon’s divine ability, it is capable of incredible power as well. The only problem is, it can’t sustain it for too long.” Ning shook his head. “Well, since my avatar has been formed, it is time for me to leave Vastheaven Palace.”
Ning went to meet with Daolord Solesky in private.
“Leaving Vastheaven Palace? When are you planning to go?” Daolord Solesky wasn’t surprised.
“No point in wasting time. I’ll leave tomorrow.” Ning smiled.
Daolord Solesky nodded. “You are going to be going through a period of explosive growth. This is indeed the best time for you to go out adventuring! But when you are adventuring, you must be cautious, especially of Daolords of the Fourth Step. Don’t underestimate any Daolord of the Fourth Step; one of them might have an ability or Dao that perfectly counters yours.”
“Understood.” Ning nodded. The only reason why he had gone out to fight Patriarch Clearwind was because he had a clear understanding of the man’s powers. In the outside world, he would have to be far more cautious.
There were Daolords who could move even faster than ten times the speed of light, after all.
“Big brother, there is one thing I wish to trouble you about,” Ning said.
“We’re brothers. No need to stand on ceremony. Just tell me what you need,” Daolord Solesky said.
“I wish to go to a Sacred City of the Dao Alliance,” Ning said.
The Dao Alliance was the strongest of the six major powers in the Endless Territories. 99% of the territories were controlled by the Dao Alliance. Its only weakness was that it was not tightly governed and was a very loose organization, with many of the ancient, reclusive powers within it being figures with strange dispositions. If the Dao Alliance was truly unified and stood together, there was no way the other five organizations could possibly compete against it.
The Dao Alliance was absolutely unfathomable. Treasures, divine abilities, secret arts… the Dao Alliance was supreme in every area. Over the courses of countless years, many figures like Emperor Heartsword and Daolord Allgod had left behind their legacies to the Dao Alliance.
“Makes sense. We are Palace Lords of Vastheaven Palace, which means we are members of the Dao Alliance.” Daolord Solesky nodded. “You really should go to the Dao Alliance to check things out.”