Ji Ning walked into the Palace of the Sword. All of the cultivators he passed would all address him respectfully as ‘Palace Lord’ or as ‘senior apprentice-brother’. Clearly, Ning’s status was supreme amongst those inside the Palace of the Sword.
If Ning revealed his true power? The only person whose status was higher than him in the Brightshore Kingdom would probably be Hegemon Brightshore himself.
“Armaments Gorge.” Ning walked through the air to descend up on the building located deep within a gorge. This was Armaments Gorge.
“Palace Lord.” The two golems responsible for overseeing Armaments Gorge, ‘Swordfive’ and ‘Swordsix’, both called out respectfully.
“Long time no see.” Ning smiled.
“A mere billion years or so has passed since you first entered our palace, Palace Lord. And yet, you have now become the preeminent power of the Sword Palace,” Swordfive said.
Ning couldn’t help but think back to those early years. When he had first entered the Palace of the Sword, he had merely been a World-level cultivator, awed and dazed by what he was seeing. He had been filled with excitement and desire towards cultivation! In the blink of an eye, a billion years had gone by. He now stood amongst those who were at the very apex of power within the Endless Territories. The only ones who were truly stronger than him were the three Hegemons. Who would’ve ever thought he would rise to such heights?
Ning casually walked into the Armaments Gorge, glancing at the many treasures inside. To the current Ning, they were of very little interest.
“The Halfsword.” Ning’s gaze fell upon the broken sword lying on the table. An awesome sword-intent emanated from the broken sword which surrounded the area, making it impossible for any cultivator who entered to miss it.
“A Universe treasure.” Ning smiled as he walked over. When he was thirty meters away, an invisible field of energy sought to stop Ning in his tracks. Ning paused momentarily, then easily brushed aside the surge of energy and continued to walk over. He walked next to the table, then looked down upon the broken sword resting upon it.
“I didn’t want to let you get close to me, but you actually forced you way over.” A figure suddenly appeared directly above the broken sword. It was a pink-robed, icy-faced woman.
“Treasure-spirit,” Ning said, “Aren’t you bored by life in Armaments Gorge? Why don’t you accompany me in roving through the outside world. What do you say?”
“So you are now the new Palace Lord of the Palace of the Sword.” The icy-faced woman said coldly, “I remember you from back when you were still just a kid, unable to withstand even my aura. You’ve become fairly powerful, but you are still just a Daolord. Successive generations of Palace Lords have sought me out, but I was not interested in any of them. You can leave now. I will not follow any Daolord.”
Ning was speechless. He had come to the Brightshore Kingdom on serious business; he had only come to visit the Halfsword to try his luck. If he really could acquire a Universe treasure, his power would be increased by quite a significant amount.
“Aren’t you setting your requirements a bit too high?” Ning smirked.
“I’m not interested in ordinary Eternal Emperors either, only in sword cultivators who have at least reached the Archon level. A Hegemon would be even better,” the icy-faced woman said coldly.
“Haha, the entire Flamedragon Realmverse doesn’t even have a single sword-wielding Hegemon.” Ning teased, “And the number of Archons who wield swords can also be counted on one hand. It seems it’ll be quite hard for you to find a new master.”
“Hmph. You are far too weak. Even if you did have a Universe treasure, you’d just end up being easily beaten and losing it to a powerful Eternal Emperor.” The icy-faced woman snickered, “Giving a Universe treasure to a Daolord is a waste. I heard that someone named Winesage did end up with a Universe treasure. I think that Universe treasure must’ve been crazy for him to choose to follow a Daolord.”
Two streams of sword-light suddenly shot out of Ning’s eyes. Boom! Boom! These two streams of sword-light carried an aura of terrifying power which spread out in the area around the Halfsword, but it didn’t contain any offensive power to it. All of the treasures within Armaments Gorge were protected by barriers which Hegemon Brightshore himself had set down. The other major powers who had come afterwards had set down barriers as well. It was impossible to take away any of the treasures here by force.
“Your Dao of the Sword…?” The icy-faced woman was stunned. “Y-y-you… how could you have…”
She was a Universe-level sword! Her senses were keenly attuned to the auras of sword cultivators, and she could instantly tell how exquisite Ning’s Dao of the Sword was. It had completely surpassed the Daolord level; it was at a level which only some Archons could match.
“Follow me and adventure by my side. You should be able to tell how strong I am; there is no one in the entire Flamedragon Realmverse who can do anything to me.” Ning looked at her. “Even if I truly do end up dying one day, you’ll just regain your freedom once more. Come adventuring with me. Life here is far too boring and meaningless.” Ning was trying to ‘seduce’ her.
The icy-faced woman hesitated slightly. She actually did want to go out adventuring as well… but her innate pride forced her to let out a cold snort. “Your Sword Dao is excellent, but you are still just a Daolord. If you can succeed in your Daomerge, I’ll agree to follow you.”
Ning couldn’t help but feel speechless. Succeed in his Daomerge? That was incredibly difficult. If he really was able to succeed in the Daomerge and make his Omega Sword Dao eternal… he couldn’t even imagine what level he would be at by then. By then, even Universe treasures would probably be of limited use to him.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come out with me?” Ning asked.
“You are just a Daolord.” Clearly, the icy-faced woman wasn’t willing to lower her head.
“Ah, forget it then. It seems that we are not destined to be a match.” Ning turned and left.
The icy-faced woman watched as Ning left, gritting her teeth. A Daolord who had reached such a high level in the Dao of the Sword truly had been quite enticing for her. “Bah. In the end, he is just a Daolord. Once he fails his Daomerge, it will all be over. We’ll talk again once he succeeds in his Daomerge.” The icy-faced woman put Ning out of her mind, returning into the Halfsword.
Ning flew out of Armaments Gorge, feeling slightly regretful. “Winesage is weaker than me, but he found a Universe treasure willing to follow him… but even now, I’m still unable to take the Halfsword away. Ah, forget it, forget it. Haha.” Ning was fairly relaxed about this. His Northbow swords were lifeblood weapons which also helped him out significantly, after all.
By now, his six Northbow swords and the sword quintessence within them had also evolved alongside Ning reaching the fourth stage with his Omega Sword Dao, giving them an even deeper foundation than before.
“My Northbow swords aren’t THAT much weaker than Universe treasures by now.” Ning transformed into a streak of light, quickly arriving at the peak of a mountain within the Sword Palace. Moments later, an Immortal estate descended upon it.
This was where Ning had resided in the past. Now that he was back, he was going to take up residence here for now. “Help me send word to Hegemon Brightshore. Inform him that Darknorth has a trade he wishes to make,” Ning instructed his servant.
“Yes, Master,” the servant replied.
Within the Immortal estate. Ning was within one of the towers, gazing down at the beautiful Palace of the Sword while leaning against the railings.
“Darknorth.” A figure suddenly materialized next to him. It was a snow-robed, white-bearded old man with six curved horns on his head.
Ning turned and immediately bowed: “Darknorth greets you, Hegemon.”
Hegemon Brightshore looked at Ning. “You are quite bold. You know that Archon Silksnow and the Aeonians are both searching for you, and yet you dare to show your face here publicly?” Ning didn’t wish for his enemies to know that he had made a breakthrough, and so he was using the [Vitalis] art to modify his aura and ensure that it was identical to before the breakthrough.
“Hegemon, do you know why the Aeonians have been searching for me?” Ning smiled.
“I asked you previously, but you weren’t willing to explain in detail.” Hegemon Brightshore looked at Ning. “Ready to tell me?”
Ning nodded, then waved his hand and produced a fiery fruit within it.
Boom. Boom. Boom. The rumbling aura of the fruit was capable of pervading the hearts and souls of cultivators. Even at his current level, Ning felt his heartrate speed up slightly.
“Is that…?” Hegemon Brightshore’s eyes lit up. “Is that an aeonfruit?”
“Aeonfruit?” Ning was startled. Wasn’t this the mutated omnigeddon bloodfruit which had some of the Autarch’s blood within it?
“It seems you don’t really understand… which makes sense. Aeonfruits are far too rare and far too valuable,” Hegemon Brightshore said. “Aeonfruits are only available to the Aeonian race! The Aeonians view them to be as important as their very lives, and do not trade them to outsiders unless they have an extremely pressing need. Based on what I know, the Aeonians in a few other realmverses also have access to aeonfruits.”
Ning nodded slightly. Prior to the great war starting, Autarch Bolin had set up estate-worlds in quite a few realmverses. Most likely, after the battle concluded he had left behind a drop of Autarch’s blood within most of those estates for his Aeonians to acquire.
“However… none of the Aeonians in any of those realmverses are willing to trade them,” Hegemon Brightshore said. “I’ve heard of only three instances in which they were willing to trade aeonfruits, and in each case it involved something which the Aeonians were desperate to acquire as soon as possible.”
“Is this fruit truly that special?” Ning asked.
“They are fairly similar to omnigeddon bloodfruits, but they are more effective when used to create spirit-pills and medicine. As you are probably aware, a 30% increase in medicinal strength translates into a tenfold increase in value,” Hegemon Brightshore said. “A single aeonfruit is generally worth more than twenty omnigeddon bloodfruits. Right… so this means that the Aeonians have been searching for you because of this aeonfruit?”