After helping Ji Ning send word, Emperor Goldisle didn’t immediately hurry to depart. He instead continued to remain at Vastheaven Palace as he wanted for the Autarch’s response. Just half a day later, that response came.
“Darknorth.” Emperor Goldisle immediately sought Ning out. Ning was seated silently at the peak of a mountain. When he saw Emperor Goldisle fly towards him, he couldn’t help but feel nervous: “Do we have an answer?”
Whoosh. Emperor Goldisle alighted on the mountain top next to him. “We have an answer. Ever since the war against the Sithe concluded, it became hard to locate the Autarchs and virtually no Hegemons know where they are! We had to rely on Realmslord Windgrace and his extraordinary status to accomplish it. He rendered major accomplishments during the Dawn War and is the only person in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance who can contact the Autarchs… but this time, he was only able to reach out to Autarch Titanos!”
“Autarch Titanos?” Ning grew eager with anticipation. All Autarchs were transcendental figures. After the war, Autarch Bolin had created the Aeonian race and then disappeared. Autarch Awakener was an even more mysterious figure; he had wandered the entire Chaosverse then disappeared without a trace as well. It was only thanks to Ning’s encounter with the Azureflower Estate that he knew Autarch Awakener had perished in a way which ‘could be considered suicide’.
To contact an Autarch was no easy feat!
“The other Autarchs roam about too much. Only Autarch Titanos stays in his estate at most times. Supposedly, Autarch Titanos spends all of his time analyzing the Sithe civilization and is thus the easiest Autarch to reach. When we need an Autarch to do something, he’s apparently the one we usually manage to contact,” Emperor Goldisle explained.
“Did the Autarch accept?” Ning asked.
“Autarch Titanos did accept, yes. He said he’d come ‘soon’.” A resigned look was on Emperor Goldisle’s face.
“Soon?!” Ning was overwhelmed with joy.
“Don’t get too excited. Last time he said the same thing, but he delayed for over 600,000 chaos cycles,” Emperor Goldisle said. “You understand, I’m sure. We’re lucky the Autarch agreed to help out at all; there’s no way to demand them to come here immediately.”
Ning stared. “Did you just say 600,000!?” He would probably be long dead by then! Daolords only had lifespans of 108,000 chaos cycles.
“Realmslord Windgrace asked Emperor Yuxian to nag him a bit…” Emperor Goldisle shook his head. “Autarch Titanos promised that this time, he really would come ‘very soon’. He’s extremely close to finishing some repair work on a Sithe treasure.”
Ning was helpless. “How soon is ‘very soon’? Alright, I understand. I have no choice but to wait.”
“Realmslord Windgrace said that he’ll do his best to try and contact a different Autarch as well! But for now, he hasn’t been able to find any,” Emperor Goldisle said.
“Help me relay my thanks to Realmslord Windgrace,” Ning said. And in his heart, he truly did feel grateful. No relationship existed between him and the Realmslord, the most paramount expert of the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance. The man needed nothing from him; for him to work so hard on Ning’s behalf was already a show of great goodwill.
Ning felt a mixture of nervousness, excitement, and disappointment. It was quite rare for Ning to feel such an emotional potpourri, but this was simply too important to him. Reviving his wife was the greatest desire he had.
“Autarch Titanos knows you are a Daolord. He probably won’t delay for too long,” Emperor Goldisle said consolingly.
“Alright.” Ning nodded. He had already done everything he could. Hopefully, Autarch Titanos really would arrive ‘soon’.
“Next, I need to worry about how I am going to deal with the Hegemons and major powers who come from the other realmverses.” There was no way Ning was going to hand his realmship over to these outsiders.
Hiddenfiend Realmverse. The Blacksun.
Three figures were standing atop a deserted plains. One was the chubby youth, ‘Emperor Wuye’, while the other two were also major powers.
“Wuye, you are being too greedy. It’s just a trip to the Flamedragon Realmverse. Why are you asking for that much?” One of the two was a skinny old man whose skin was covered with a layer of azure scales. He spoke in an unhappy voice as he looked at his comrade, a tall, muscular man who had two black wings on his back.
“I not only have to send you there, I have to bring you back as well!” Hegemon Wuye stared at him. “That’s a round trip!”
“But why do you have to insist on Hegemons costing three times as much as other Emperors?” the skinny old man continued to mutter unhappily.
“How can I treat them equally? All of you are going to the Flamedragon Realmverse to fight over the realmship, right? Hegemons naturally stand a much better chance than all the other Emperors.” Hegemon Wuye grinned. “Azurefiend, cut the crap already. You should be counting your lucky stars! You don’t even belong to the Hiddenfiend Realmverse, you were just passing through. That’s the only reason you even have a chance to get involved in this opportunity… and you are even so lucky as to be in the first batch of people I’m delivering. That means you’ll be amongst the first to get there.”
Whoosh. Whoosh. Two streaks of light flew towards them from afar. “Hurry up!” Hegemon Wuye called out to the two. “We’re waiting on you two!”
“Wuye, I can’t believe how much you are charging, given how long we have been friends for.” One of the two figures flying over was a three-eyed, golden-robed old man who shook his head as he spoke.
“Either pay the price or figure out a way to go on your own,” Hegemon Wuye muttered. “It’s pretty rare for me to have a chance to make some money with this realmship, so cut the moaning.” Hegemon Wuye often took advantage of his master and used his master’s golems to make money, but this time he wanted to earn a few more treasures than usual. This was why he had borrowed the realmship from his master, offering to send people forward but demanding a high price for it. He charged Hegemons one price and all other Emperors a different price.
“Dawnruler, the fact that we both belong to the Hiddenfiend Realmverse means that you are going to be the first group of people to arrive at the Flamedragon Realmverse. Just celebrate your good fortune quietly! Alright, now that everyone is here we’re going to head off!”
Hegemon Wuye waved his hand, leading Hegemon Azurefiend, Hegemon Dawnruler, and the other two Emperors into his realmship. He then left the Hiddenfiend Realmverse and began to advance through the endless Great Dark.
The only people belonging to the Hiddenfiend Realmverse who wanted to take part in this expedition were Hegemon Dawnruler and the two Emperors! As for Hegemon Azurefiend, he was a wandering Hegemon who wasn’t native to this place.
Hegemon Wuye’s responsibility was simply to serve as a ferry. He had three batches of people he was going to deliver in total. Some realmverses were nearby while others were far away, after all. For the first batch, he would take a few detours on the way to the Flamedragon Realmverse, moving through two other nearby realmverses and picking up a few more people. Thus, he would bring a total of three realmverses worth of major powers to the Flamedragon Realmverse.
For the second batch, he would leave the Flamedragon Realmverse and make a roundabout trip, bringing the major powers of three more realmverses to the Flamedragon Realmverse.
For the third batch, he would only be able to bring the major powers from two of the most distant realmverses over.
This made for a total of eight realmverses! The reason why he was only responsible for eight was because someone was competing for the same business. In the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance, there was someone else known as Hegemon Fogsun who also had a realmship and was doing the same thing he was. Based on their respective locations, they had ended up carving out the sixteen realmverses in half, with one side responsible for eight while the other was responsible for seven.
Hegemons were charged one price while other Emperors were charged a different price. The people in the first batch would be charged a higher price, while those who went later would be a bit of a discount. However, the difference wouldn’t be that great. They all knew that given how Daolord Darknorth had been able to force an Archon to his death, it would be no easy task for them to force him to give up a realmship.
The Terror Starsea. The Jadefire Realm. Within that hidden dimensional control center.
Ning remained seated in the lotus position in the air above the altar, staring down at the formation-diagrams below.
“Eh? Hegemon Wuye and Hegemon Fogsun are each in control of a realmship and are responsible for ferrying the people over?” Ning nodded slowly. “I wonder which Hegemons and major powers will end up getting involved.”
Some information remained highly confidential. Clearly, these major powers wished to keep as much secret as they could, so as to catch him off-guard.
“Fifteen realmverses and an otherverse…” Ning calculated silently to himself, “How many major powers will take part, all combined?” By now, he had learned quite a bit from Emperor Goldisle.
Rumors said that even foreign Hegemons were taking part, and more than one at that. Other rumors whispered that no one within the otherverse was going to take part. Still other rumors said that as many as three Hegemons and four Emperors from the Windnest Realmverse were coming for him. It must be understood that the Windnest Realmverse only had a total of four Hegemons; that meant that the majority of its elite experts were all coming…
All sorts of rumors were flying around, some real and some false. This caused Ning to feel a tremendous sense of pressure.
“I need to master the ‘flower petal formation’ as soon as possible. By then, I’ll be able to control the countless flaming passageways and use them against my foes.” Ning stared downwards, his Immortal energy pouring into the formation-diagram and causing the flower petals on the giant formation below to light up, revealing projections of the countless flaming passageways in the air around him.
Every single flaming passageway projection seemed extremely real, and they were all covered with countless traps and mechanisms.
“I have to figure out how to defeat the control mechanisms if I want to take control over the traps.” Ning shook his head. He had just barely been able to make some progress in the past few days, which was why he was able to cause the entire region to appear in the air around him. However, he was unable to actually control any of it.