Ji Ning sent the realmship flying towards Ninedust’s location at high speeds. The silver-robed Ninedust was seated in the lotus position, surrounded by those whirling flames.
“Eh?” Ninedust noticed a streak of light moving towards him from afar. It quickly flew near him, resolving itself into the form of a rather tattered-looking realmship. Three figures emerged from the realmship, with the leader being a white-robed youth who bore a black sheath on his back. It was his good friend, Daolord Darknorth – Ji Ning.
“Darknorth.” Ninedust was happy to see him, but felt mixed emotions as well. As the original instigator of all the events which had occurred in the Jadefire Realm, the Ancient cultivators had kept him up to date on everything which had happened since. Ji Ning had successfully slain Archon Silksnow in order to rescue him! Alas, he had fallen for Archon Silksnow’s last act of revenge. Hegemons and Emperors from many other realmverses had come here, seeking to take his realmship.
Thankfully, the results weren’t so bad; Ning had managed to take on Hegemon Azurefiend as his retainer and force everyone to retreat! In his heart, Ninedust felt tremendous gratitude towards Ning. He knew how much risk Ning had undertaken on his behalf. A single misplaced step would’ve resulted in Ning’s death.
“Ninedust.” Ning smiled as he walked over towards the man.
“Why have you suddenly come to see me? Have you gotten bored working away on that formation?” Ninedust laughed. Ning had told him many years ago that he would have to first completely disrupt the formation-diagram in order to take control over the prisons.
“I’m here out of success, not boredom,” Ning said. “You can come out now.”
“Come out?” Ninedust was stunned. Was he really going to be able to escape this nightmarish prison cell?
Ning gently waved a finger. Whoosh! The flames around the flaming cage instantly parted, revealing an exit. “Hurry up and come out… or are you planning to complete your Daomerge inside?” Ning smirked.
The stunned Ninedust immediately transformed into a streak of light and scurried out.
“I’m actually out.” Ninedust stood within the empty space outside the cage. He stared at himself, then at the flaming cage by his side in disbelief. “It was actually as simple as that. I came out with no fuss at all.”
“Yeah, it was simple for YOU. Breaking the formation wasn’t simple at all for me,” Ning immediately said. He had needed both the Autarch’s stone dais as well as the many records regarding Sithe formation techniques. Both were absolutely critical to his success!
“I know you worked hard. Hey, your realmship is still missing some parts, right? Take it! Consider it your wages for the past few years. Don’t even think about asking me for more.” As he spoke, he tossed a realmship part over to Ning.
Seeing this, Ning didn’t move to decline. They were good friends; he naturally understood how Ninedust felt right now.
Clack clack clack! The realmship immediately swallowed the entire part, and some of the superficial damage began to be repaired once more. Soon, the realmship was in a state where only a few small parts of it remained damaged.
“Master, I’m almost completely repaired now. My internals are in good shape, with just a few missing parts preventing me from fully repairing my exterior,” the realmship-spirit sent mentally. “However, I should be able to teleport and blink just as effectively as if I was in 100% shape.”
Ning nodded. He was planning to give the realmship to the Autarch. Ning had been worried that the Autarch would be unhappy if the damage to the realmship was too great.
“This gentleman here must be Hegemon Azurefiend.” Ninedust turned to look at the skinny old man standing next to Ning. Not daring to be disrespectful, he said with a touch of respect, “Ninedust greets you, Hegemon Azurefiend.”
“Mm. It seems Darknorth and you truly are very good friends. To be able to find a few true lifelong friends on the path of cultivation is worth any price.” Hegemon Azurefiend had a rather complicated look on his face, but when he realized it he hurriedly smiled: “Darknorth kicked up quite a storm when he came here to rescue you. Quite a few Hegemons and Emperors came.”
Ninedust felt rather moved by all this. He truly had been the cause of this great affair.
“Darknorth, now that I’m out, shall we leave the Jadefire Realm?” Ninedust asked.
“I still have some business here in the Jadefire Realm. I can’t leave just yet,” Ning said.
“Oh, then I’ll leave on my own.” Ninedust laughed. “My greatest goal right now is to complete my Daomerge. I need to go out and experience more things. If I stay here with you in the Jadefire Realm, it’ll be detrimental to me with regards to the Daomerge.”
Ning nodded. “Alright. Be careful out there.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t be so unlucky as to need rescuing again.” Ninedust suddenly walked forward and gave Ning a tight hug, then turend and left. “Train hard. I’m planning to start my Daomerge soon. We brothers must both succeed in our Daomerges!”
Ninedust’s voice still echoed in the air, but he himself had already vanished. Ning could sense the determination in Ninedust’s voice when the latter spoke of the Daomerge.
“Succeed in the Daomerge together, eh?” Ning turned and went back the way he came. Friends for life didn’t need to actually be together for their entire lives; it was enough for them to keep each other in their hearts.
Time flowed on like water. Ninedust continued his adventures through the outside world, encountering quite a few strokes of karmic fortune. As for Ning, he remained within the Jadefire Realm and focused on analyzing those black chains and their formations. But of course, he had also swept the prison regions clean of all the treasures it held… and this time, he truly made a killing!
Although he had acquired a few treasures from threatening the Hegemons and Emperors of the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance, the combined value of those treasures was perhaps at best comparable to a single Hegemon’s networth. The treasures within the prison regions, however, were far more numerous… and Ning had swept through all of them.
In the blink of an eye, another five chaos cycles went past.
Within a dark region in the Great Dark which was incomparably distant from the Flamedragon Realmverse. This was a dark void which held an enormous triangular region within it that was filled with dazzlingly beautiful palaces, each of which emanated blinding golden light. This was the residence of one of the truly supreme leaders of the cultivator civilizations… the home of Autarch Titanos.
Autarchs were extremely difficult to track down. Autarch Titanos was one of the easier ones to find, because he almost always resided within his estate.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. A howling sound could be heard coming from within a private room inside the largest, most towering palace in the region.
A skull-sized gray globe which was covered with countless runes was levitating up and down in the air, emitting a strange whooshing sound as its internals continuously changed.
“How beautiful. How lovely.” The bald, black-robed old man next to the globe was staring at it greedily, his golden eyes filled with joy and the two fleshy antennae on his head quivering in excitement.
“It truly is perfect. Just a small amount of power is needed. Once the insides of the globe continuously guide the power and transform it, its able to unleash absolutely terrifying levels of destructive power. Sithe frabrication techniques were simply incredible. Although we had an overwhelming advantage in individual power during the Dawn War, we still nearly ended up being defeated by the Sithe. The Sithe truly were and are incredible. To this very day, I still don’t fully understand their technologies.” The bald old man stared greedily at the orb, as though he was staring at the person he loved the most.
“Heh heh… last time, I wasn’t careful and put in too much power, wrecking this treasure. Thank goodness that I, Titanos, am awesome. Although I still don’t fully understand this thing, I was still able to repair it! Ahahaha…” The bald old man stared at the continuously changing runes on the surface of the globe, feeling increasingly delighted as he did so. His gaze was able to see through everything, allowing him to observe the intricate transformations occurring within the gray globe.
These transformations were absolutely beautiful to him. Suddenly, the gray globe lifted up into the air and floated in front of him. The fleshy antennae on top of the bald old man’s head reached out to gently stroke the globe.
“Although I managed to successfully repair one, I’m still not able to create them from scratch.” The bald old man shook his head. “The Sithe’s underlying foundation of knowledge remains far superior to that of our cultivator civilizations. I can’t even imagine how long it would take for us to fully repair all of their shattered treasures.”
The bald old man waved his hand, causing the gray orb to vanish into thin air. Whoosh. He pushed open the door to the private room, then strolled out with his long black robes dragging behind him.
“Master.” When he reached the palace gates, an azure-robed youth immediately came to greet him. The youth said joyfully, “Master, you repaired it?”
“Of course! When have I ever failed? Don’t you know who I am? I’m an Autarch!” the bald old man said smugly.
“Right, right,” the azure-robed youth said hastily.
“Xian, my boy… that Daolord Darknorth from the Flamedragon Realmverse asked me to help out just a few dozen chaos cycles ago, yes? I told you I’d be done soon!” the bald old man said smugly.
“It was pretty quick, this time.” The azure-robed youth nodded. This was one of the faster response times for Autarch Titanos.
“Well, I’m off to the Flamedragon Realmverse,” the bald old man said, then waved his sleeves. Whoosh. Space rippled before him like water. The bald old man stepped into the rippling space, then disappeared without a trace.