Ji Ning was speechless. It was clear that everyone wanted his coldflame cauldron fruits, but the first two items he had requested, the ‘Six Bandits Shadowless Flowers’ and the ‘flamebearer tathata-metal’, weren’t available in the quantities he needed in the Endless Territories.
What Ning didn’t fully understand was that the Northbow swords needed balance in order to grow to their maximum potential. They had absorbed such an enormous amount of that golden sand that they would need similarly prodigious amounts of other materials to gain that balance and reach their apex.
“You have twelve types of treasures you can use, right?” Emperor Islehide said, “Keep talking. We might be able to provide you with the other treasures.”
“Alright.” Ning had no choice but to continue with his requests. “The third type of treasure is known as astral forgestones. I need a three thousand meter mountain of it.”
“Don’t have it.”
“Don’t have enough.”
“Where would you even find that many astral forgestones?”
The Hegemons and Emperors, along with their retainers, all shook their heads. Most of the retainers were also Eternal Emperors and as such had seen many things.
Helpless, Ning had no choice but to continue listing the things he needed. The fourth type, the fifth type, the sixth type… nothing, nothing, nothing!
Ning simply needed too much; there was no way to acquire that much at all. The more valuable an item, the rarer it was, after all. When Ning had visited that alternate universe and had discovered that vast mountain of darkspace flamestone, it had been a momentous find, not because of how valuable the stone itself was, but because of how utterly enormous that mountain had been.
The same principle applied here. The various treasures Ning sought were far more valuable than darkspace flamestone, and he needed an enormous amount of them; there was just no way to acquire that much!
“The eighth type is known as the frozen ninesong pith,” Ning said. “I’ll need a lake of it that’s three hundred meters long, wide, and deep.” The numbers he listed out were still quite shocking.
“Three hundred coldflame cauldron fruits,” Emperor Severfive immediately called out.
“Two hundred and ninety,” Emperor Goldisle said.
“Two hundred!” Emperor Islehide growled.
“A hundred and ninety,” Hegemon Brightshore said.
Ning had been feeling increasingly despondent. Now, he stared blankly as the Eternal Emperors furiously bid down the price. Was this frozen ninesong pith a very common item?
Emperor Goldisle interjected, “Gentlemen, I think we should stop fighting against each other as there will be no ‘winner’. Since he’s asking for frozen ninesong pith, I’m sure that all of us will be able to provide it in enormous amounts. How about we split it evenly? Darknorth, give us a hundred and fifty coldflame cauldron fruits, a hundred and fifty golden sandsifter fruits, and a hundred and fifty darkheaven yin-fruits. All six of us will jointly procure the necessary frozen ninesong pith you need! We’ll give you double what you ask for; a lake of it that’s six hundred meters wide, long, and deep!”
“Agreed.” The others all nodded after a brief pause. They understood and agreed that no one would really ‘win’ this auction.
“What’s going on?” Ning asked.
“Long ago, our Flamedragon Realmverse discovered a river that swirled around a strange star,” Emperor Goldisle explained. “This river is roughly a hundred thousand kilometers long and hundreds of kilometers wide… and it was filled with frozen ninesong pith. As a result, all six of us have large stocks of it.”
Ning was stunned. A river that was a hundred thousand kilometers long and hundreds of kilometers wide? The tiny ‘lake’ he needed was in comparison just a tiny fraction!
“We can give you six hundred meters of it. If you need more, we can easily give you a bit more,” Emperor Goldisle said. They really didn’t care about the frozen ninesong pith that much.
“Go ahead and continue listing what you need,” Emperor Islehide said. “We might have it.”
“Alright.” Ning smiled as he continued to list the items he needed. The ninth, the tenth, the eleventh… the twelfth.
“The twelfth is known as deepfire blackstone. I need a mountain-sized pile roughly three hundred thousand meters tall.” Ning looked eagerly at the three Hegemons and the various Hegemons. Thus far, the only treasure they were able to provide had been was still just the frozen ninesong pith. The other treasures simply weren’t available.
“Three hundred thousand meters?”
“He’s pretty crazy.”
“Are you sure your lifeblood weapons can swallow that much?” The various Emperors present couldn’t help but mutter amongst themselves.
They knew that the deepfire blackstone was the last of the twelve types of treasures Ning needed, but the amount was just staggering.
“Can’t do it. Deepfire blackstone isn’t all that useful; it’s mainly used for smelting a few treasures. However, the Endless Territories only has perhaps a three thousand meter mountain of it.” Emperor Goldisle shook his head. “You want a three hundred thousand meter mountain. The difference is just too great.”
Three thousand. Three hundred thousand. This was a hundredfold difference in height, and a millionfold difference in total mass!
“Ugh.” Ning shook his head. Three thousand meters? Even if he gained all of it, it probably wouldn’t be all that beneficial to his Northbow swords.
After all was said and done, he had acquired all of the materials he needed for the second and third stages of his [Swordbody] divine ability as well as the first two stages of the Sword Hegemon’s secret art, [Grand Diffraction Sword]. Alas, he had only acquired the frozen ninesong pith for his Northbow swords.
“I guess that’s that.” Ning was out of options. He had already negotiated with the six most powerful organizations in all the Endless Territories, but had only been able to acquire one of the treasures he needed. One could imagine how difficult it would be for his Northbow swords to grow!
“Darknorth, my young friend,” a voice suddenly called out.
“Eh?” Ning glanced over, as did the three Hegemons and the Eternal Emperors. The speaker was an ordinary-looking horned youth who stood behind Hegemon Brightshore. When the horned youth spoke his aura immediately changed, exploding in might and reaching an utterly astonishing level. The terrifying, awe-inspiring aura around him was definitely that of a Hegemon.
“A Hegemon?” Ning, Ninedust, and Winesage were all stunned.
“Eh?” The other Eternal Emperors of the Flamedragon Realmverse were all astonished as well. Everyone knew that the Flamedragon Realmverse only had three almighty Hegemons within it. Where did this one come from?
The horned youth glanced at the assembled Emperors of the Flamedragon Realmverse, then explained, “My name is Welkin. I’ve wandered through the Great Dark and visited many realmverses, and I ended up slumbering within the Flamedragon Realmverse for a period of time due to having sustained a few injuries. The only reason I woke up was because of Crimsonwave Temple’s emergence.”
“Brother Welkin was planning to leave secretly,” Hegemon Brightshore said. “It was Crimsonwave Temple that drew him out of hiding.”
“Hegemon Welkin? So you are Welkin?” Hegemon Netherlily smiled. “I’ve heard of your illustrious name long ago, but I never had the chance to meet you.”
“Ah, Welkin!” Hegemon Windrain revealed a smile as well.
All Hegemons naturally felt respect for their peers. They all stood at the very peak of power amongst Eternal Emperors! But of course, those who were lucky enough to take control over an alternate universe and become known as Otherverse Lords were somewhat more powerful than even Hegemons in power.
A good example was the alternate universe Ning had visited. The lord of the Church of Annihilation hadn’t been at the Hegemon level; he had merely been comparable to the eight lords of the Sacred Cities. After a stroke of tremendous fortune, he had ended up in control of that otherverse and as a result become an Otherverse Lord, resulting in his status and his power skyrocketing.
“I didn’t want to get involved in this,” Hegemon Welkin said with a smile, “But since our young friend Darknorth spoke of deepfire blackstone… I’m actually able to help you out here.”
“Ah!” Ning revealed a look of delight.
“Give me a hundred coldflame cauldron fruits, and I’ll give you plenty of deepfire blackstone ore,” Hegemon Welkin said. “I’m not asking for much.”
The other three Hegemons and other Eternal Emperors all felt rather resigned. They simply weren’t able to provide enough of the deepfire blackstone! Hegemon Welkin, however, was different; he was a wanderer who had visited many places and who knew much more than them. They weren’t surprised by the fact that he was able to provide this much deepfire blackstone.
“Agreed.” Ning nodded. “A hundred coldflame cauldron fruits it is.” Hegemon Welkin was the only person who could provide the ore in question. Even if he had requested all of the remaining fruits, Ning would’ve been in a difficult position to bargain from. The Hegemon was being quite courteous by only requesting a hundred.
“Mm. The deepspace blackstone can be found in a place known as the Stone Hellephant Wall. This is a strange, curious place that I stumbled upon while I was travelling to your Flamedragon Realmverse, and it’s quite close by it. But of course, if I didn’t guide the way you’d never be able to find it.” Hegemon Welkin smiled. “I’ll personally escort you there. It’ll take roughly nine years.”
“You aren’t playing a trick on Darknorth, are you?” Emperor Goldisle frowned.
“I’ll naturally swear a lifeblood oath,” Hegemon Welkin said. Upon hearing this, the other Eternal Emperors fell silent.
Ning began to feel a sense of eagerness in his heart. The ‘Stone Hellephant Wall’, eh?