This updating of the Daolord rankings was quickly spread throughout the Endless Territories.
Atop an icy chaos planet. This planet had been frozen into a solid ball of ice for trillions of years, and a cold, knife-sharp wind swept across its surface.
Two figures were seated atop this planet facing each other. The first was a white-bearded old man who had six horns on his head and who was dressed in snowy robes. This was the Brightshore Hegemon. The other person in front of him was a single-horned young man dressed in deep blue robes. The youth had a few scales on his face, and his eyes seemed to contain the stars themselves. He radiated an aura of peace and calm.
“Brightshore, this realmverse of yours really has quite a few incredible Daolords.” The horned youth smiled. “That Winesage is not only a Heartforce Cultivator, he also has a Universe treasure. The only thing that ‘Darknorth’ kid needs is a Universe treasure; once he gets that, he’ll be every bit Winesage’s equal.”
“Haha.” The Brightshore Hegemon began to laugh. “Welkin, do you know how long Darknorth has been training for?”
“How long?” The horned youth was startled. The public ranking didn’t even include each cultivator’s special techniques, much less details such as how long they had been cultivating for.
“Less than a chaos cycle,” the Brightshore Hegemon said. “To be more precise… for less than a hundred million years.”
“What?!” The horned youth said in shock, “How is that possible? I’ve visited countless places while wandering through the vast Great Dark, including quite a few alternate universes. To train to become a Daolord of the Fourth Step, especially one of such power… without question, every single person I met spent an enormous amount of time to reach such a level. Samsara Daolords… each step they take is extremely difficult and more difficult than the last! To go from the third step to the fourth step in particular requires an inordinate amount of time. How could he have accomplished it in less than a hundred million years?”
“But it’s the truth. He belongs to my Brightshore Kingdom.” The Brightshore Hegemon grew even more smug. “Impressed yet?”
“Such a short time period.” The horned youth said softly, “He must have encountered some special circumstances, such as entering a region where time naturally flows much, much faster than normal. It might seem to us as though less than a hundred million years have gone past, but in reality he must’ve trained for thousands of times longer.”
“Perhaps.” The Brightshore Hegemon chuckled. “Even if that’s true, that’s still a very short period of time.”
The endless Great Dark contained infinite possibilities. Even Hegemons had to slowly drift through it, and venturing forth to another realmverse was incredibly difficult. There would also be a number of unique, special danger zones within it. Normally, cultivators could at most train a hundred times faster than the normal flow of time, but some of the natural zones produced by the Great Dark could accelerate time to be ten thousand times faster than normal, or even faster! This was the ineffable power of nature.
In truth, no one in the Endless Territories knew that Ning was actually just a Daolord of the Third Step! It actually made sense for him to train this quickly from the first step to the third step, given that he had the help of the Stone Censer of Reunion.
“I didn’t expect to encounter such a monstrously talented Daolord upon visiting you in your realmverse.” The horned youth quickly calmed down, as by now he truly had seen far too many amazing things. “Still, it’s extremely difficult for these supreme Daolords to succeed in the Daomerge. Given how talented they are, if they were to succeed they would instantly reach our level.”
“Right.” The Brightshore Hegemon nodded. Their level… even in the endless Great Dark, they stood amongst the very pinnacle of power amonst experts. It was far, far too difficult for supreme Daolords to reach their level.
“The emergence of the Voidsea Jadeseals within the Waveshift Realm has caused me to hear the whispers of fate, awakening me from my slumber,” the horned youth said. “The Waveshift Realm definitely isn’t as simple a place as you might imagine.”
“I can vaguely sense something as well.” The Brightshore Hegemon also frowned. “I really wonder what Waveshift was planning.”
“Waveshift has reached such a level in the Dao of Numerancy that far, far too many major powers are requesting his assistance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in command of even more mysteries than the two of us,” the horned youth said. “Let’s just watch and see for now. Let’s see what secrets the Waveshift Realm holds, for it to cause us to sense something! After this matters is resolved, I’ll be leaving.”
“You have recovered from your wounds?” The Brightshore Hegemon asked.
“More or less.” The horned youth smiled. “I’ve spent so much time sleeping within your universe. Now that I’m awake, it’s time for me to leave. It’s a true pity. I was THIS close to becoming master of that alternate universe. If I succeeded, I would have become an Otherverse Lord! Alas, in the end I was surrounded and attacked by others. Fortunately, I managed to flee in the nick of time. Otherwise, I would’ve died there.
“Every time there’s a war over control of an otherverse, a large number of people will perish.” The Brightshore Hegemon shook his head. “I’ve chosen to remain in my homeland this entire time. My information network isn’t as good as yours. To date, I haven’t taken part in so much as a single one of those struggles.”
“Brightshore, given how strong you are, even if you failed you would still be able to escape successfully. Even I’m not a match for your spacetime fleeing abilities,” the horned youth said. “That’s why I told you, long ago, that you should go off adventuring by my side. When you visit more places and make more friends, you’ll naturally have a larger information network. Eventually, you might become an Otherverse Lord yourself. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
“I worry too much about my clansmen,” the Brightshore Hegemon said.
“You take too many burdens onto yourself,” the horned youth said. “Look at me. Look at how free and relaxed I am! I’m also a Chaos Godbeast, but I’ve been to far more places than you have. My life isn’t nearly as tiring as yours. We Chaos Godbeasts were meant to venture through the stars by ourselves! Who gives a damn about the others? It’s enough for me to be happy, right?”
“Everyone has their own preferences.” The Brightshore Hegemon smiled.
“Oh, right. Have you found those six materials I asked you to look for?” The horned youth asked, “Those six ingredients once turned up within this universe of yours.”
“I’ve found five of them,” the Brightshore Hegemon said. “These items are all incredibly rare.”
“I’ve visited so many places but still haven’t been able to acquire all six.” The horned youth shook his head, unhappy. “Only when I have all of these ingredients will I be able to fully master my Empyrean Yang-Nine Ki! Ugh… if I had already mastered it during that last struggle, I might’ve become an Otherverse Lord long ago.”
“The Empyrean Yang-Nine Ki is one of the most supreme secret arts in existence. It won’t be mastered as easily as that,” the Brightshore Hegemon laughed. “I fear you’ll need to continue your travels through the Great Dark and visit a few more places.”
“I won’t be the only one. This universe of yours will soon be annihilated by the Yin-Yang Samsara Wheels Wheels. By then, you’ll have to lead these young fellows in wandering through the vast world as well,” the horned youth said.
“The Yin-Yang Samsara Wheels.” The Brightshore Hegemon hesitated, then slowly nodded. “They are one of the most terrifying natural calamities the endless primordial chaos has ever given birth to. Cultivators are not able to resist their power. I’ll try to buy as much time as I can, but if there really is nothing to be done then I really will have to go out wandering as well.”
“Let’s not talk about such depressing subjections.” The Brightshore Hegemon smiled. “Let’s keep our focus on the Waveshift Realm. Given that even you sense something strange about it, it definitely holds a significant secret within it.”
“Quite.” The horned youth grew eager as well.
In front of them was a floating image of the scenes going on within the Waveshift Realm, and at the center was the scene of Ji Ning fleeing at top speed.
Right now, Ning was the center of attention of almost all the major powers of the entire Endless Territories. Even some of the reclusive Eternal Emperors were watching him.
Swoosh! Ning didn’t know and didn’t care about this. All he wanted to do was escape the nine layers as soon as possible.
Boom! Boom! Boom! One heartworld projection after another descended upon him, with the strongest one at the center being controlled by Winesage. Ning had no choice but to shrink his own heartworld projection in order to resist theirs.
Ever since Timedream died, there were three Heartforce Cultivators left amongst the most supreme Daolords; Ji Ning, Winesage, and Palace Lord Cloudwalker. Cloudwalker was the lord of the Palace of the Heart of the Brightshore Kingdom, which meant he naturally was a member of the kingdom and bound by the lifeblood oath not to kill another member. Thus, Cloudwalker had yet to do anything to Ning.
In terms of just heartworld projections alone, Ning was actually slightly superior to Winesage! But if he expanded his heartworld projection and made it too large, the power of his projection would drop.
Right now, over twenty second-tier Heartforce Daolords were working together to suppress Ning. Just four or five of them working together equaled a first-tier Daolord in might! However, these heartworld projections were a force of energy that couldn’t actually be ‘merged’ together, and so if Ning shrank the ‘footprint’ of his own heartworld projection, his foes wouldn’t be able to do anything to him.
“You won’t be able to escape, Darknorth.” A cold voice rang out far away. “Shaka and the others managed to tie you down for long enough. We’ve already set up an enormous cordon around the surrounding area, and I’m quite close to you. I think you and I should have a little duel. If I’m unable to defeat you, I’ll let you leave and cease my pursuit of you. Without my presence, the other supreme Daolords probably wouldn’t be able to do anything to you at all.”
“Winesage.” Ning continued to flee at a hundred times the speed of light. He barked back, “You want to fight me? Then come catch up to me first!”
Ning certainly wasn’t going to slow down. He wasn’t certain in his chances against Winesage, after all!