Ji Ning swept the golden world with his gaze after entering it. In front of him were nine clouds, and each cloud had upon it a table covered with precious Immortal wine and fruit.
Seven of the clouds were occupied by seven major powers who were seated in the lotus position. They included the white-robed, white-bearded Hegemon Brightshore, the green-haired Hegemon Windrain, the dazzlingly beautiful Hegemon Netherlily, and the black-robed, black-haired Emperor Blackcloud of the Dao Alliance. As for the other three, Ning had never met them before. Their auras, however, were quite extraordinary.
“Incredible.” Ning’s heart clenched. “The reclusive old experts of the Flamedragon Realmverse have probably all come out.”
“Darknorth, sit.” Emperor Goldisle pointed at the two clouds which were still empty.
“After you, Emperor Goldisle,” Ning said modestly. Emperor Goldisle was one of the two leaders of the Dao Alliance, after all. The two flew forwards together, then parted to sit down atop each of their respective clouds. Now, all nine major powers were present.
“Haha… it’s rare to have such a lively gathering.” Emperor Goldisle swept the others with his gaze after sitting down, then let out a ringing laugh: “It has been a long time since I’ve seen my old friends here… and now, I’ve seen you all.”
“It has indeed been quite some time.” A gold-haired, gold-robed man seated off in the distance smiled. “It is all thanks to fellow Daoist Darknorth that all of us have a chance to meet today. Haha… I suppose we can consider this a new Great Flamedragon Conference.”
“Of course it is. All of the major powers who usually take part in the conference have all gathered here today.” Emperor Blackcloud nodded and smiled. “All of you normally spend your time in seclusion; it isn’t easy to meet you! Today, however, all of you have come on your own volition.”
“Given how impressive fellow Daoist Darknorth is, how could we not come out to meet him?” The graceful, noble-looking woman smiled as she spoke.
“Of course we came for the sake of fellow Daoist Darknorth. I’ve seen your tired old faces plenty of times already,” a silver-haired, black-robed youth said.
Emperor Goldisle turned to look at Ning, then smiled. “Darknorth, let me make the introductions. I’m sure you already know the three Hegemons over here: Hegemon Brightshore, Hegemon Windrain, and Hegemon Netherlily. I don’t need to introduce Emperor Blackcloud either…”
Ning nodded, continuing to listen.
“This gentleman,” Emperor Goldisle pointed towards the gold-robed, gold-haired man, “Is pretty much the longest living Emperor of the Dao Alliance. His name is Emperor Goldface, and long ago he was once an Archon of a Sacred City! However, he later gave it up and retreated into seclusion. He now rarely shows himself, and very few people even know about him.”
“Emperor Goldface!” Ning immediately said, “So you are Emperor Goldface. Although Darknorth has heard of you before, I knew very little about you. Today, I finally have the chance to meet with you.”
Emperor Goldface was definitely an awesomely famous Emperor. He was the most dazzling figure of an era, the most illustrious Emperor of his time. Later on, for some unknown reason, he had become a very low-key figure and had disappeared without a trace. He was so ancient and long-lived that he was already quite famous when the Dawn War first began.
“Not worth mentioning, not worth mentioning.” Emperor Goldface felt quite smug, but he spoke in an artificially humble manner.
“Let me make another introduction…” Emperor Goldisle pointed at the graceful and noble-looking woman. “This is Empress Jade Phoenix. She is actually the youngest member of of our little group.”
“Greetings, Empress Jade Phoenix,” Ning said.
“No need to be courteous, fellow Daoist Darknorth.” Empress Jade Phoenix nodded and smiled at him.
Finally, Emperor Goldisle looked at the silver-haired, black-robed youth. “This is Daoist Bluestone. He is, without a question, the number one expert of our Dao Alliance.”
“You praise me too much,” the silver-haired, black-robed youth said.
Ning was briefly startled. Bluestone? He couldn’t help but think back to Spring Grass and her little brother, but in the next instant he focused on what Emperor Goldisle had just said. The number one expert of the Dao Alliance? If he was making that claim in front of all these people… it was probably true.
Ning suddenly heard the voice of Hegemon Brightshore ring out in his mind: “Darknorth, all of these ancient members of the Dao Alliance have gathered here today because of you. That’s why you need to be careful. Emperor Goldface and Empress Jade Phoenix are nothing to worry about, but you have to be wary of Daoist Bluestone. He is incredibly strong. Although he’s not a Hegemon, he’s strong enough to stand as equals to the three of us.”
Ning was rather shocked upon hearing this. “Then why have I never heard of Daoist Bluestone before?” Ning sent back.
“Because of the five Emperors of the Dao Alliance before you, Daoist Bluestone has the best temperament and is the most low-key. He doesn’t care about empty titles and reputation; his focus is purely on the Dao. Although he is the undisputed number one figure within the Dao Alliance, there are very few who even know about him. That’s why, although you need to be careful with you, you don’t need to worry too much. He’s an extremely even-tempered and amiable man,” Hegemon Brightshore sent.
“He’s not a Hegemon. Why is he able to stand alongside Hegemons in power?” Ning sent back.
“Daoist Bluestone rose to power as a mortal cultivator, and so he has both a true body and a Primaltwin. After succeeding in his Daomerge to become an Emperor, he focused all of his efforts on secluded meditation and training, resulting in him becoming one of the most elite members of the Dao Alliance. He sent his true body roving through the outside world… and roughly three hundred thousand chaos cycles ago, he found a Sithe relic site. He allowed his Primaltwin to undergo the Ritual Sacrificium, converting it into one of the Black Emperors of the Sithe race while his true body remained ‘normal’.”
“Now, his true body continues to train in seclusion while his Black Emperor Primaltwin goes out exploring. He has more treasures than anyone else in the entire Dao Alliance. You absolutely cannot make an enemy out of him. He might be an extremely amiable person, but if you really do manage to somehow piss him off, the consequences would be absolutely unimaginable.”
Ning was speechless. Black Emperor? That referred to those onyx humanoid figures, right? Those things definitely had Hegemonic levels of power! During the Dawn War, a single one of the onyx humanoids had been enough to drag two Hegemons to their deaths. Daoist Bluestone had converted his Primaltwin into one of them? No wonder he was able to sit alongside the three mighty Hegemons as peers!
The two communicated in secret quite quickly, and now Ning had a better understanding of those who were before him.
Emperor Goldface looked at Ning, a smile on his face: “Fellow Daoist Darknorth, you truly are impressive. You were able to defeat over twenty Emperors as a Daolord! Even when Silksnow and Bloodcloud joined forces, they still weren’t able to withstand so much as a single blow from you. I’ve never even heard of a Daolord like you. I rarely admire others, but I have to say that I truly do admire you, fellow Daoist Darknorth.”
“You praise me too much,” Ning said.
“No need to be humble, Darknorth.” Hegemon Netherlily spoke out in praise as well. “You are indeed the most powerful Daolord I have seen or even heard of. My horizons have truly been broadened. I now know that even Daolords can reach such an incredible level of power.”
“Yes, all of our horizons have been broadened,” Daoist Bluestone said with a sigh. “For a Daolord to reach this level of power… if you can succeed in your Daomerge, you’ll probably be far stronger than other Hegemons. You might even become comparable to an Otherverse Lord.”
Otherverse Lords were generally Hegemons who managed to seize control over an alternate universe and who were able to control the prime essences of that universe, borrowing from it to dramatically strengthen themselves.
“But I’m quite puzzled.” Hegemon Windrain spoke out as well. “Darknorth, my young friend… why is it that despite being a Daolord, you have reached such an incredible level of power?”
“I’m puzzled as well.” Emperor Goldface looked at Ning. “Would you be willing to relieve us of our confusion, fellow Daoist Darknorth?”
All of the Emperors, including Daoist Bluestone and the three mighty Hegemons, were all staring straight at Ning. Even though Hegemon Brightshore stood on Ning’s side, he was still curious about Ning’s Dao. Every single cultivator hoped to be able to walk as far along the path of the Dao as they could, and so they were naturally interested in Ning’s Dao.
How could a Daolord be this powerful? What was the reason behind it? If they knew the reason, perhaps they would be inspired by it. Perhaps it would be of help to them. Naturally, every single one of the major powers were extremely intrigued in it.
Ning wasn’t surprised by this. Everything was as he had expected. He himself was a cultivator; he knew just how much cultivators cared about the Dao. It was precisely because he knew that his sudden explosion in power would attract quite a bit of trouble and that many other major powers might appear to cause trouble for him. Although he wasn’t afraid of them, if he ended up fighting and offending a large group of people then things would become troublesome for him the future.
That was why he had decided to just ‘kill a chicken to scare the monkeys’, stunning and warning everyone, especially the weaker ones, that he was not to be trifled with. In the end, only the most elite major powers of the entire Flamedragon Realmverse were qualified to come speak with him about it… but even then, they had to behave with courtesy and treat him as an honored guest! This was indeed the best possible outcome which Ning had hoped for.
A nice, peaceful discussion; how wonderful would that be? He would be able to resolve his potential future troubles at one go. Even if a few ended up becoming his enemies, it would be within the realm of what he could handle.
This group could indeed be described as the most powerful force within the entire Flamedragon Realmverse. The only ones here aside from the leaders of the Dao Alliance were the three Hegemons! Figures like Emperor Anchen, the supreme leader of the Aeonians, were individually comparable to the likes of Emperor Goldface… but the Aeonians as a race were far too weak. They were also mortal enemies of the Dao Alliance. As a result, they were naturally excluded from this event.
Thus… the only ones invited to take part were the five supreme Emperors of the Dao Alliance and the three Hegemons.