“More and more Hegemons are arriving from the other realmverses.” Hegemon Brightshore looked at Ji Ning. “Darknorth, have you come up with a plan to deal with them?”
“Yes.” Ning nodded.
“Let’s go, then. Accompany me back to the Brightshore Kingdom,” Hegemon Brightshore said. Ning didn’t decline. This time, Hegemon Winterflame attacked; next time, it might be an even more shameless Hegemon. In the end, his avatar was just much too wea. Without the Darknorth swords, his avatar was merely on par with Archon Silksnow. This was why he had been so easily forced to reveal his invulnerable form. A Hegemon who was willing to pay an extremely high price would be able to kill his avatar; to reside in the Brightshore Kingdom would be the safest decision.
Riiiiiip. A spacetime tear appeared in the starry cosmos, followed by Hegemon Brightshore leading Ning into the tear and disappearing without a trace.
The Terror Starsea. The Jadefire Realm.
Whoosh. Seven figures flew into the giant vortex of flames and entered the Jadefire Realm. These seven figures belonged to the seven Hegemons and Emperors who had accompanied Hegemon Winterflame on this journey to the Flamedragon Realmverse.
“Hegemon Blackwood, what should we do next? Should we enter separately?” a gaudily violet-robed man spoke out.
“Brother Blackwood?” the alien Hegemon, a large and muscular man, spoke out as well.
Only three of the seven were Hegemons. Clearly, they all cared quite a bit about Hegemon Blackwood’s views. This was because Hegemon Blackwood was a Hegemon who was extremely skilled in the divination arts of Numerancy! Although he was much weaker in Numerancy when compared to Emperor Waveshift, he had still reached a level where he could be considered number one in the Dao of Numerancy amongst those who still resided in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance.
As for Emperor Waveshift himself, he had long ago disappeared to parts unknown. He was doted on and shown great favor by many Otherverse Lords and other major powers, all of whom treated him with tremendous friendliness.
Generally speaking, everyone wished to befriend a major power of the Dao of Numerancy. No one was willing to offend such a figure. If you wished to try and kill him, he’d be able to divine it and flee before you even arrived. Conversely, if you encountered certain dangers or troubles you might need him to assist you in a bit of Numerancy divination.
“Let me give it a try,” the bearded Hegemon Blackwood said, adjusting the eight azure wooden planks on his back. “However, as you all know this struggle over the realmship involves numerous Hegemons as well as Sithe relics; to apply Numerancy to it shall be extremely difficult. I tried on the way over but failed each time. Now that we’ve already entered the Jadefire Realm… perhaps I shall succeed.” The closer they were to ‘reality’, the easier Numerancy was to engage in.
The other six figures didn’t dare to intervene. They watched as Hegemon Blackwood stood there, eyes closed as the eight azure wooden planks flew out from behind his black and surrounded him. They levitated there, circling around him nonstop and circulating with azure light. Countless runes appeared on their surfaces as an invisible ripple of power spread out.
In the blink of an eye, a full hour had gone by.
“Eh?” Hegemon Blackwood frowned as he opened his eyes.
“Brother Blackwood?” the alien Hegemon immediately asked.
“How did it go?” the violet-robed Hegemon asked as well.
“Don’t be impatient,” Hegemon Blackwood said. “Follow me into one of those flaming passageways. Remember, we’re going to stand in front of the passageway. We’re not going to actually go inside.” As he spoke, he flew over towards a passageway. The other six figures hurriedly followed from behind. They soon reached the nearest passageway, where they all came to a halt.
“None of you are to disturb me,” Hegemon Blackwood instructed. He then sat down in the lotus position and began to calmly focus his entire mind on Numerancy. The eight pieces of azure wood continuously swiveled around him, sometimes slow and sometimes fast, carrying a strange cadence to them.
As soon as Hegemon Blackwood and the others appeared, Ning was immediately made aware of it. He watched these Hegemons closely from afar.
“E? Not good. They are moving together. Wait, why are they pausing at the entrance without going any deeper inside?” Ning was puzzled. To merely be at the entranceway meant they could retreat whenever they chose; Ning’s control over the flaming passageways wouldn’t give him any power of them.
Hegemon Blackwood spent a total of three years engaging in Numerancy. His face was rather ashen as he finally opened his eyes, an exhausted look in his gaze.
“Blackwood?” The other six looked at Hegemon Blackwood, with the violet-robed Hegemon calling out to him.
“The dangers of the Jadefire Realm primarily reside within the prison regions and the flaming passageways. So long as we avoid the prison region, we won’t be in any danger,” Hegemon Blackwood said. “Thus… the main things for us to be concerned about are the flaming passageways! After physically entering one of them, my divinations became a bit clearer than before. There are many invisible forces disrupting my Numerancy, and those disruptions are extremely strong.”
What Hegemon Blackwood didn’t know was that Ning trained in the Omega Sword Dao. Divining anything which was related to Ning in any way was guaranteed to be a ridiculously difficult task. Given how many Hegemons were involved as well as the Sithe ruins known as the ‘Jadefire Realm’, those who didn’t have nigh-perfect mastery over the Dao of Numerancy wouldn’t be able to see anything clearly at all.
“So what’s the conclusion?” the alien Hegemon immediately asked.
“This is going to be extremely dangerous,” Hegemon Blackwood said softly. “I feel as though we are heading into a world of mist. Right now, I can only come to one vague conclusion… only if we stay together will we have a chance at being safe. Once we separate… we could very well die.”
“Very well die?!”
“As terrifying as that?” the other six were all shocked. Based on what they knew of this place, the Jadefire Realm was once deadly but had now fallen into disrepair. It also had no one in control of it, which meant that it shouldn’t be nearly as dangerous as it once was. To Hegemons and extremely powerful Emperors, it shouldn’t post much of a threat.
“If we separate… we might be safe, but we might also die,” Hegemon Blackwood explained. “But if we stay together, there will be almost no danger at all. Go ahead and decide; should we move together or separately? If you agree to travel alongside me, I’ll accompany you inside as a group. Otherwise, I’ll wait for the next group of Hegemons and accompany them instead.”
“Together, of course.” the violet-robed Hegemon and the others all immediately spoke out in unison. With Emperor Waveshift permanently ‘missing’, Hegemon Blackwood was now the number one expert of the Dao of Numerancy in the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance. Moving alongside someone like him would be the safest choice.
“Should we wait for Hegemon Winterflame?” an Emperor spoke out.
“Why the hell should we?”
“Hmph, traveling alongside him is a disgrace.”
“Let’s go. Given the detour he took, he’ll be at least two centuries behind us,” Hegemon Blackwood said calmly. “I certainly don’t have the patience to wait for him.” Hegemon Blackwood was an extremely proud figure, far more prideful than even your average Hegemon. He had never held Hegemon Winterflame in any respect!
Since Hegemon Blackwood had spoken, no one else argued the matter. Whoosh. The seven Hegemons immediatey joined forces to advance through the flaming passageways together, each using their own techniques to keep everyone safe. Spacetime techniques, special treasures, secret arts… they were put on full display as they advanced.
“Eh? They actually have chosen to advance as a unit?” Previously, Ning had been relaxing with Whitethaw within a flaming passageway inside the Jadefire Realm, sipping some wine from inside his hidden realmship. Now, however, he could no longer relax.
“Hegemon Blackwood, eh? I didn’t expect this many major powers to get involved, or that one of them would be able to divine a correct path of action despite my Dao being that of the Omega Dao,” Ning mused. He was on good terms with Daolord Badlands and thus knew a bit about the Dao of Numerancy. The more variables that were involved, the more difficult the divination would become.
Ning trained in an Omega Dao; each time Daolord Badlands tried to engage in Numerancy divinations regarding Ning, he saw nothing but blank fogginess. It was extremely difficult.
If (for example) an Autarch was somehow involved in a matter, most likely not even Emperor Waveshift would be able to divine anything whatsoever.
“The Dao of Numerancy truly is incredible,” Ning sighed. If his foes had chosen to travel separately, they would be like meat for his butcher’s block. Now that they were moving together, there wasn’t much he could do to them.
“Since Hegemon Blackwood and the others have started to move, it’ll be time to draw in my web soon.” Ning then pondered for a moment, “Wait, not just yet. I’ll wait for Hegemon Winterflame to arrive as well.”
Hegemon Winterflame had sought to use Vastheaven Palace to threaten Ning; how could Ning let him off the hook?
Soon, after roughly 180 or so years, Hegemon Winterflame arrived at the Jadefire Realm. He randomly picked a flaming passageway, then entered it. As he did so, Ning finally put down his winecup and rose to his feet within his realmship.
“The Jadefire Realm’s flaming passageways now have a total of twelve Hegemons within them!” Ning was able to clearly track the actions and movements of all the Hegemons and Emperors. “Once I move against one of them, I’ll be exposed and the rest will be forewarned. Thus… I’ll probably only be able to actually capture one of them.”
“Which one should I choose?”
Ning suddenly grinned. “The strongest one, I suppose!”