Within the Vastheaven Everworld.
Ji Ning was seated in the lotus position next to a bridge, a few swirls of sword-light flowing around him. Not too far away, a chubby man was lying on the ground within a patch of flowers, crushing quite a few of them beneath his bulk. The chubby man had a haunch of meat in his hands, and he was enjoying a wonderful meal. He continuously rolled right and left while he ate, almost as though he was in a rocking cradle.
Hegemon Azurefiend was eating and drinking in a distant pavilion while occasionally casting extremely unhappy looks towards the ruddy-skinned fat man. As for Protector Whitethaw, he quietly sat in a corner. He would always be on guard for Ning.
“Life is great!” the chubby Flamewing mumbled while eating.
“Bastard Flamewing. He keeps taking my food. If it wasn’t for the fact that I can’t outfight him… bah!” Azurefiend muttered to himself as he ate, but made sure to keep up a barrier of Immortal energy to ensure that his voice did not carry. Azurefiend really was irritated. He was a glutton as well, but whenever he brought out any good food it would be taken away by Flamewing.
He was unable to outfight Flamewing. All he could do was to privately insult the Chaos Primordial, but he had to ensure that Flamewing didn’t hear it.
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth.” A voice suddenly rang out.
“Eh?” Ning opened his eyes.
“Fellow Daoist, your formations certainly are formidable. Ordinary sect formations are unable to bar my path, and I’m able to bypass them with ease. The formations you set up, however, are inscrutable and unfathomable. I’m not able to breach them yet.” A voice rang out from outside Vastheaven Palace.
Ning turned to look, only to see an azure-robed man standing in the air outside the formations. Ning couldn’t help but feel shocked when he saw this man, who gave Ning a very unique feeling. The man radiated a transcendent aura, almost as though he was beyond all worldly concerns. Ning could even ‘see’ that the karma surrounding this person was extremely calm and warm. The karma lines were all neat and orderly, as though they were under the azure-robed man’s complete control. This was because this azure-robed man was not bound by his karma; instead, he used it as a form of tool.
Of all the people Ning had ever encountered, only Autarch Titanos surpassed this man. Autarch Titanos had completely surpassed karma itself, which didn’t even touch him.
“Please come in, fellow Daoist.” Ning immediately opened up the formations and invited the azure-robed man in. The azure-robed man walked through the air to come in, then entered Ning’s estate.
“A Hegemon… the legends said, Daolord Darknorth, that you have a Hegemonic retainer by your side. This must be Hegemon Azurefiend.” The azure-robed man cast a sidelong glance at the distant Hegemon Azurefiend, then turned his gaze to the still-feasting chubby man who was rolling around within the flowers. A hint of surprise finally appeared in the azure-robed man’s eyes, and he let out a shocked laugh: “So it is a Chaos Primordial! Impressive, truly impressive! Judging from its karma lines… Daolord Darknorth, you actually managed to tame a Chaos Primordial? I truly do admire you.”
Ning was speechless. The karma lines connecting him and Flamewing were indeed quite thick, but how was it that this person was able to immediately recognize Flamewing as a Chaos Primordial? It must be remembered that Flamewing’s transformation ability was an innate gift; not even Ning himself was able to see any flaws in it.
“And who are you?” The skinny old Hegemon Azurefiend walked over, an unhappy frown on his face. This newcomer had immediately called him a ‘Hegemonic retainer’ and didn’t seem to have much respect for him. This naturally displeased Azurefiend greatly… and he didn’t feel as though this person was much of a threat to him.
“My name is Waveshift,” the azure-robed man said. Ignoring the shocked look which appeared on Hegemon Azurefiend’s face, he turned to look at Ning. “I was previously wandering the outside world when I suddenly sensed that a new power had emerged within my homeland. Thus, I immediately hastened back. I was able to divine that the new power was within the Vastheaven Everworld and thus came to your residence, Daolord Darknorth. I never would’ve imagined that this new power would be a Chaos Primordial! Truly praiseworthy, Daolord… with a Chaos Primordial at your command, you are now an incredible figure of the Chaosverse.”
Ning felt rather stunned, but was able to maintain an outwards appearance of calm. “Emperor Waveshift, you truly do surprise me. I never would’ve imagined that I’d be able to meet you today. Come, come! Please have a seat. Let us chat.”
“Very well.” Emperor Waveshift nodded.
Ning was filled with admiration and curiosity towards the legendary Emperor Waveshift, while Emperor Waveshift also viewed Ji Ning as a truly legendary Daolord.
Anyone capable of becoming a Daolord of the Fourth Step via an Omega Dao could be described as a legendary figure. Incredibly few had ever accomplished this; there were far more Otherverse Lords than Omega Daolords. As for a Daolord capable of convincing a Hegemon to become a retainer? That was even rarer… and now, this Daolord had even tamed a Chaos Primordial! Emperor Waveshift truly did feel admiration towards Ning.
The two chatted and laughed together, quickly finding out that they were birds of a feather.
“Ah, so that’s how it is.” Emperor Waveshift nodded. “The Icepeak Army truly is famous for its arrogance and overbearing behavior. As they see it, you are a Daolord with a limited lifespan. Once you fail your Daomerge, people will end up fighting over the realmship anyhow. It only makes sense for them to want to get a head start on it. Given that you also embarrassed them… there’s no way the Icepeak Army is going to let things rest. Still, this time they should merely be sending one of their Golden Emperors, ‘Lord Wulf’, and the Black Emperors under his command. Given that you have a Chaos Primordial, they are of no threat to you whatsoever.”
Ning nodded in agreement.
“Oh, right. When I arrived at Vastheaven Palace, I saw that the formations protecting it truly are marvelous,” Emperor Waveshift said. “Although the Dao of Formations is a secondary Dao for me, I’ve still reached the Archon level in it. Given my skills in Numerancy, I’m usually quite skilled in dissecting formations, but I found your formations to be quite difficult and complex.”
Ning laughed. “Big brother Waveshift, you truly are formidable. You were able to recognize them as being set down by me with just one glance.”
“A minor parlor trick. Divination is the only thing I am good at,” Emperor Waveshift said. By now, the two were already on such good terms that they were referring to each other as ‘brother’.
“My formations primarily stem from two completely different schools of thought which belong to the Sithe lineage. Their power stems from the combination of these two schools of thought,” Ning said.
“No wonder.” Emperor Waveshift nodded, then said, “You’ve only trained for a brief period of time, but you’ve reached such heights in the art of formations. You truly are a genius who has mastered an Omega Dao! Although we’ve only known each other for a short period of time, I feel that we are quite similar. I must remind you, now that you have a Chaos Primordial there is no one capable of posing a threat to you. You need to focus on your cultivating. To you, the greatest problem shall be the Daomerge! If you fail the Daomerge… ugh. Well. But if you succeed, you’ll gain eternal life and we’ll be able to meet often.”
Cultivators each had their own unique personalities. Hegemon Brightshore, Hegemon Windrain, Hegemon Netherlily… they all had their own unique temperaments. Ning was on fairly good terms with them, but he wasn’t exactly close friends with them.
The experiences he had shared with Ninedust had resulted in them slowly becoming friends for life. As for Emperor Waveshift? They shared extremely similar personalities, resulting in both taking a liking to the other right away. As a result, they became friends as well. It wasn’t easy for major powers to become friends with each other. Now that they were friends, Emperor Waveshift couldn’t help but worry about Darknorth’s chances at the Daomerge.
“The Daomerge… all I can do is try my utmost with no looking back. As for whether I succeed or not… so long as I do my best, I’ll have no regrets,” Ning said.
Time flowed on. To Emperors, two chaos cycles was a very short period of time. Thus, Emperor Waveshift decided to temporarily take up residence in Vastheaven Palace. Later on, when Emperor Solesky learned that the legendary Emperor Waveshift was actually within his own palace, he was scared silly. He only kept it secret after being requested to do so by Ning and Waveshift.
Emperor Waveshift would only meet those he wanted to meet. There were many he did not wish to meet; they would just bring too much trouble.
Ten million years after Emperor Waveshift’s arrival.
“Darknorth.” Emperor Waveshift and Ning were seated next to each other, playing a game of chess. As a master of formations, Ning was quite skilled in chess, while Emperor Waveshift was naturally even better. It was rare for them to encounter such excellent opponents and so they often played chess against each other.
“Hm?” Ning glanced over at Emperor Waveshift.
“The Icepeak Army should be arriving soon,” Emperor Waveshift said. “Let us go and welcome them.”
“They’ve arrived?” Ning’s eyes lit up.
“The Icepeak Army?” Hegemon Azurefiend and the chubby Flamewing were eating and drinking together off in the distance. Both turned to look at Ning.
Ning immediately rose to his feet and called out, “Let’s head out and give the Icepeak Army a proper welcome.”
“They’ve finally come. Grrr… I’m going to eat them all!” Flamewing was quite excited. He had been waiting for this day for quite some time.
Whoosh. Ning, Emperor Waveshift, Flamewing, Azurefiend, and Whitethaw all boarded Ning’s realmship, then flew out to the margins of the Flamedragon Realmverse.
“Let’s wait for them here.” The azure-robed Emperor Waveshift stared off into the endless Great Dark. “In roughly the time needed to boil a kettle of tea, the Icepeak Army shall arrive.”
Ning felt a sense of absolute reverence for this level of Numerancy-fueled precognitive foresight.