“Those other Hegemons and Emperors arrived much earlier than I did, but they accomplished nothing at all. Those fools… all they know is to try their luck in the Jadefire Realm. I really wonder if they have any brains at all.” Hegemon Winterfire shook his head and smirked.
It was normal for Hegemons to get involved in a competition for a realmship, much like how Daolords would plunder a World-level cultivators who somehow managed to acquire the fruits of Crimsonwave Temple. Amongst cultivators, if you weren’t strong enough then you didn’t deserve to hold good enough treasures.
But… Hegemons stood at the very apex of power in any major organization! They generally had their own sense of pride and cared tremendously about face. Realmships were incredibly valuable, and for them to attack with a Daolord for the sake of winning a realmship was nothing. But to go capture that Daolord’s friends and then use them to coerce him? This was absolutely shameful! Figures as exalted as Hegemons generally did not have the face to do something like this.
Slightly less elevated figures such as Archon Silksnow might well decide to carry out such shameless acts, but it was clear from Ning’s power that there was no chance for non-Hegemonic Emperors to do anything to Vastheaven Palace! In addition, even if they did make the attempt they wouldn’t necessarily succeed; could it be that Daolord Darknorth wouldn’t make any arrangements of his own?
This sort of behavior was both shameful as well as unlikely to succeed, which was why the Hegemons chose to head to Jadefire Realm rather than Vastheaven Palace. Only truly shameless and insidious figures like Hegemon Winterflame would choose such a course of action.
Hegemons generally were extremely prideful figures who cared tremendously about face, but every so often there would be an exception! Hegemon Winterflame was one such exception.
Within Vastheaven Palace. The brothers of Vastheaven Palace were all gathered together, drinking and eating and discussing the Dao with each other. Ning’s avatar, Ninedust’s avatar, and Emperor Solesky all sat off to one side.
Boom! Suddenly, a terrifying level of power descended upon the palace. Ning’s avatar raised its head, only to a see a snow-white silver-scaled claw descend upon them from the skies, emanating an aura of endless, invisible frost. Even spacetime had been completely frozen by the pressure, and a bone-piercing chill instantly pervaded the entire palace. This caused Ning’s face to turn completely pale.
“Someone came!” Ning shouted mentally, “Enter my estate-world for now.” As he spoke, he waved his hand. Emperor Solesky, Ninedust’s avatar, Daolord Battlemaster… none of them fought back at all, allowing Ning to draw them into his estate-world. Ning had already made preparations for this eventuality, after all.
He had attracted attention from fifteen realmverses and even some itinerant wandering Hegemons; he naturally had to make complete preparations for both Vastheaven Palace and the Three Realms. Ning had actually gone so far as to create a second avatar!
It must be remembered that Ning’s true body and his Primaltwin were each capable of maintaining a ‘peak’ avatar! Thus, he chose to create a brand new avatar to stand guard over the Three Realms as well.
Boom! The countless runes and barriers covering Vastheaven Palace began to crack and shatter as the enormous silvery-white scaled claws rent through the skies. Ning’s avatar flickered slightly as he used his Shadowless evasion-art to arrive in the air outside.
Cold energy billowed everywhere, forcing Ning to reveal himself despite his Shadowless evasion-art. Ning stood there in the air, gazing at the devilishly handsome man in the distance with alabaster skin who radiated an aura of coldness.
“So it is Hegemon Winterflame,” Ning said. “Hegemon Winterflame, why have you come to Vastheaven Palace?”
“Hmph.” Hegemon Winterflame’s eyes were fllled with cold malice. “Daolord Darknorth? So you’ve taken away all your friends and put them into your estate-world… do you really think there is nothing I can do to you now? And I think you should know exactly why I am here.”
Hegemon Winterflame let out a cold snort: “Hand over the realmship immediately and I won’t cause any trouble for you. Otherwise, your comrades are all dead.”
“The realmship is with my true body, which is at the Jadefire Realm.” Ning shook his head. “I merely have an avatar here. How am I supposed to hand over the realmship?”
“Simple. Swear a lifeblood oath to hand it over to me and I’ll immediately leave.” Hegemon Winterflame stared at Ning.
Ning raised his head slightly, glancing off into the distance towards some spacetime ripples which had just appeared, then let out a cold smile. No longer interested in wasting time on words, he said, “Keep dreaming.”
“Hm?” Hegemon Winterflame glanced backwards as well, only to see that spacetime was beginning to split apart.
“Reinforcements? No reinforcements will make it in time,” Hegemon Winterflame roared angrily. Whoosh! He manifested a ball of white fire out of nowhere, sending it sweeping through the skies. In front of the ball of white fire were a series of eight silver-scaled claws, each of which held some of the white fire as they tore towards Ning.
The surrounding world had been completely sealed and locked away, while the aura of frigidity emanating from the white fire caused even Ning’s avatar to feel amazed.
Boom! Faced with those eight silver-scaled claws and the white fire they brought, Ning felt a sense of tremendous danger. The white fire in particular was something unique to Hegemon Winterflame alone; it was known as the ‘winterflame’.
Hegemon Winterflame had been born an Aberrant special lifeform. His true form was that of a sentient ball of fire that had slowly cultivated and increased in power until it finally became a Hegemon. The ‘winterflame’ technique was unique to him, and it could be described as an unspeakably cold ball of fire. Once it touched anyone weaker than it, it would almost instantly reduce its target to ash.
“Halt!” a low, fierce growl rang out as a titanic head appeared in the distant spacetime rift. It was Hegemon Brightshore. By now, Ning was on extremely good terms with Hegemon Brightshore. He was worried about Vastheaven Palace’s safety and thus had mentioned this matter to Hegemon Brightshore.
In the past, Hegemon Brightshore hadn’t really cared if Ning died or not, but ever since Ning had revealed his true power Hegemon Brightshore had begun to view Ning as he would his own right arm.
Whoosh. The silver-scaled claws and the flames tore through everything they touched. Ning’s avatar was almost indestructibly tough, comparable to a top-grade Eternal treasure, but it was still completely torn asunder. This was the power of a Hegemon.
“You want to stop me?” A face appeared within the midair ball of flames, a cold smile on its features. “Even though Hegemon Brightshore has arrived, he was just a step too slow. I have more than enough time to kill you and then seize all of your friends in Vastheaven Palace.”
He was a Hegemon, after all; although he was weaker than Hegemon Brightshore, he didn’t fear the man.
Boom! By now, Hegemon Brightshore’s massive bulk had exited the rift. He had six curved horns on his head, and his vast body seemed to be formed from incredibly thick layers of twisted stones. He reached out with one of his pillar-shaped arms, striking out towards Hegemon Winterflame.
Hegemon Winterflame’s eight silver-scaled claws hurriedly moved back to block the attack. An enormous explosion rang out as a shockwave of indescribable power spread out more than ten billion kilometers… but outside the ten billion kilometer range, there was no damage caused whatsoever. Clearly, Hegemon Brightshore wanted to protect the mortal lifeforms here.
“Eh?” The eight silver-scaled claws were destroyed, melting back into that pool of white fire which then resolved into a humanoid shape.
“What’s going on? I wasn’t able to grab anything?” Hegemon Winterflame had a stunned look on his face. He felt certain that he had destroyed Ning’s avatar. He wanted to seize Ning’s storage treasures, but hadn’t been able to find anything at all.
“Looking for me?” Far off in the distance, light flowed together to form a humanoid figure. It was Ji Ning.
“An invulnerable form?” Hegemon Winterflame’s face tightened. “You, a cultivator of the Dao of the Sword, have mastered an invulnerable form?” He had sought out much information regarding Ning and felt certain that Ning didn’t have an invulnerable form, which was why he was so confident in his chances.
Ning couldn’t help but sigh. His true body was so powerful that not even Hegemons would necessarily be able to force him to use his invulnerable form. His avatar, however, had been forced to use it almost immediately. This was his very first time exposing it in combat!
“Not bad, Darknorth.” The towering Hegemon Brightshore reverted to human form as well, and the snow-robed old man smiled as he looked at Ning. Hegemon Brightshore really was liking Ning more and more. Now that Ning had an invulnerable form, killing him would be no easy feat at all. It was entirely possible that Ning would survive Jadefire Realm after all.
But of course, Hegemon Brightshore had no idea that Ning had already taken partial control over the formation-diagram of the Jadefire Realm.
“Hegemon Brightshore, thank goodness you made it in time,” Ning said.
“Hmph.” Hegemon Winterflame glanced coldly at Ning, then gave Hegemon Brightshore a look as well. “You might be able to hide for a time, but you won’t be able to hide forever. You won’t be able to dodge me within Jadefire Realm.” Swoosh. Hegemon Winterflame turned and moved to depart.
“Indeed, Hegemon Winterflame. We’ll meet again in the Jadefire Realm,” Ning called out to him.
“Hmph! Quite arrogant. Very well then, we’ll meet again in the Jadefire Realm!” Hegemon Winterflame’s voice was filled with cold malice as he tore through spacetime and departed.
Ning silently watched as Hegemon Winterflame departed.
“Something wrong?” Hegemon Brightshore walked over.
“Since Hegemon Winterflame has appeared, that means the second batch of Hegemons and Emperors should have arrived,” Ning said softly. The first batch held eight Hegemons; how many would the second hold?
Given how many Hegemons were present… would he really be able to use the flaming passageways to stop them?