A realmship appeared within a spatial tear outside the Jadefire Realm.
“And here we are.” Ji Ning stared at the vast blazing whirlpool of blazing flames and smiled: “Hegemon Winterflame has probably heard the news by now.”
“He definitely has.” A look of excitement was on Azurefiend’s old face, and his eyes were gleaming. “Based on my understanding of him… he’s probably scared out of his mind. He might immediately beg for mercy once you arrive, Darknorth.”
“Let’s go and take a look.” Ning was looking forward to seeing that panicked look on Hegemon Winterflame’s face. In the past, Winterflame had always behaved in an arrogant and domineering manner.
Whoosh. The realmship flew into the Jadefire Realm at high speeds, descending into the flaming passageways.
“Master.” A voice rang out from the surrounding area. This was the voice of the Emperor-class golem in control of the flaming passageways.
“Is Winterflame still in the same old position?” Ning asked.
“Master,” the voice rang out, “Hegemon Winterflame attempted to flee, but I took control over the mechanisms in accordance with your orders and nearly killed him. This frightened Hegemon Winterflame so badly that he no longer dared to flee again, and he’s very close to where he originally started.”
“He actually tried to flee?” Azurefiend grinned and said, “He finally knows the meaning of fear. He has an invulnerable form, which means that even though I am a bit stronger than him I cannot kill him… but now that we have Flamewing, killing him will be simplicity itself. If he tries to run, the mechanisms in the flaming passageways are also capable of claiming his life! Both fleeing and not-fleeing will both spell doom. Haha, I’m looking forward to seeing that look on his stupid face!”
Ning laughed as well. He also felt delighted! After they flew for a period of time, they finally saw Hegemon Winterflame. Hegemon Winterflame was seated in the lotus position in the void. He still looked as devilishly handsome as ever, but his aura was rather chaotic.
“Eh?” Hegemon Winterflame turned his head as the distant realmship approached him. He hurriedly rose to his feet.
Four figures flew out of the realmship, with the leader being the white-robed youth with a black sheath on his back. Next to him was the chubby Flamewing and Hegemon Azurefiend, with Protector Whitethaw standing behind them all.
“I greet you, Daolord Darknorth,” Hegemon Winterflame said. His attitude was very humble, and he cast Flamewing a glance as he spoke. Flamewing was chomping through some food he was holding as he glanced sideways at Winterflame as well. Winterflame couldn’t help but feel as though he himself was being devoured bit-by-bit, and his mental state grew even more chaotic.
“Hah! Look at how respectful our dear Hegemon Winterflame is being.” Azurefiend roared with laughter as he clutched his sides: “He’s being as humble as a servant! Last time we saw him, he was quite arrogant and proud, no? Winterflame, do you remember the final words you said to us when we last met?”
Hegemon Winterflame’s face was ashen as Azurefiend continued to speak: “I think you’ve forgotten, but I haven’t. I recall it all quite clearly. Watch, Winterflame!” Azurefiend waved his hand, causing an illusory image to appear next to them. This was the scene of their previous meeting, and in the illusory images Winterflame was snarling with hatred as he roared, “Let’s see if you die first or if I die first!”
Winterflame gritted his teeth.
“Enough, Azurefiend,” Ning said.
“Fine.” Azurefiend fell silent as instructed.
Winterflame relaxed slightly. Although he was completely unscrupulous, as a Hegemon he still cared about face. He felt miserable suffering such mockery from Azurefiend. Upon hearing Ning order Azurefiend to halt, he was suddenly filled with hope. Perhaps Daolord Darknorth wasn’t going to hold a grudge and would release him?
“He’s about to die soon. There’s no need to go too far.” Ning’s voice rang out once more, and Winterflame’s face instantly turned bone-white.
“DAOLORD DARKNORTH!!!” Hegemon Winterflame let out a throat-rending howl. Even Ning was badly startled by the grief and rage in Hegemon Winterflame’s voice.
“Daolord Darknorth, I was wrong! It was all my fault! I was being too arrogant and ruthless.” Hegemon Winterflame stared at Ning, then said in a begging manner, “I know I made a huge mistake. I beg you to give me a chance, Daolord Darknorth. Everyone should be given a chance. Give me one!”
“In your dreams,” Azurefiend muttered.
Hegemon Winterflame gritted his teeth. “I’m willing to be your retainer. So long as you spare my life, I’ll serve you.”
Ning just watched quietly, while Azurefiend chuckled: “Didn’t you look down at me for becoming his retainer?”
“I’d be honored to be given the chance to serve Daolord Darknorth as his retainer,” Hegemon Winterflame said hurriedly. Upon seeing that Ning appeared completely unmoved, he began to panic even further. “I’m willing to be an eternal retainer. Even if you fail your Daomerge and die, Daolord Darknorth, I’d be willing to swear an oath to follow your orders to the end of my days. Uh, I don’t mean to suggest that I hope you will fail the Daomerge, Daolord Darknorth. I obviously hope that you will succ-”
Halfway through his babbling, Ning suddenly shook his head. “Flamewing, get rid of him.”
“Haha, I was waiting for you to say that!” Flamewing let out a strange howl, transforming into his normal form of a giant blazing winged bear as he charged straight towards Hegemon Winterflame.
Hegemon Winterflame had a terrified look on his face, but moments later it was replaced by a look of savagery. He glared at the distant Ning with a hate-filled look in his eyes, then howled, “Daolord Darknorth, you’ll die too! You’ll die too!”
Riiiiiip. Flamewing destroyed everything in its path with its overwhelming power. Even though Hegemon Winterflame was able to transform into a sea of fire, he was still extinguished by the Chaos Primordial’s might. Nothing was left save a few scattered treasures.
Azurefiend shook his head when he saw this. “Darknorth, Winterflame was still a Hegemon. Taking him on as a retainer wasn’t a bad idea. I thought you’d choose to accept him in the end.”
Ning stared at the scattered treasures floating in the air. “I did briefly consider taking him on as a retainer, but… for some reason, he just disgusted me far too much. I already have the three of you; an extra Hegemon retainer really wouldn’t make much of a difference. Better to keep my surroundings clear of such filth.”
Azurefiend was speechless. He never would’ve imagined that Ning would have declined a Hegemonic retainer for a reason like this.
“Let’s go.” Ning had already made certain plans for the Three Realms. By now, Hegemon Winterflame truly was of little use to him, as Ning simply wouldn’t trust a Hegemon like Winterflame to watch over the Three Realms.
Hegemon Winterflame died, and his avatar perished alongside him. This news quickly spread throughout the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance.
The Hegemons and Emperors of the alliance all knew long ago that Hegemon Winterflame had been trapped within the flaming passageways. They all suspected that the killer was Daolord Darknorth, the controller of the Jadefire Realm! All of them couldn’t help but feel a lingering sense of dread towards him. They knew that Daolord Darknorth was not the benevolent, merciful type… and they secretly celebrated the fact that they handed over their treasures and had been able to leave the Jadefire Realm safely.
And so, the Hegemons and Emperors of the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance now feared a total of two people. The first was Realmslord Windgrace, while the second was the monstrously talented Daolord who had tamed the Flamewing God – Daolord Darknorth. These two people were mighty enough to cause even Hegemons to fear the approach of death.
Ning didn’t really care about what was happening in the outside world. His focus was on cultivation. He had to come up with those ten Archon-class techniques as soon as possible, so that he could earn the precious reward which Autarch Awakener had left behind. Even the Autarch viewed that treasure as valuable and not to be casually handed over to others.
According to the estate-spirit, this treasure was the number one most helpful cultivation treasure in all the Chaosverse, and it was number one in assisting during Daomerges as well!
Ning absolutely had to acquire such a supreme treasure. The Daomerge for the Omega Dao would be incredibly difficult; even Emperor Waveshift said that he saw no hope at all for Ning in attempting it. In addition, the path of the Omega Dao was the only path available for Ning if he wished to revive Yu Wei. Only through this path would he have a chance to surpass the Autarchs and take back Yu Wei’s truesoul fragments from the prime essences of the Chaosverse.
Of course, it was highly likely that he would fail and perish… but he still had to do his absolute utmost!
Time flowed on.
Vastheaven Palace. Within Darknorth’s estate. Ning was seated by himself in quiet meditation atop a mountain. Next to him was a hot stove that had a flagon of wine atop it, while there was some snow on the boulder nearby.
Ning’s Primaltwin remained in secluded meditation atop the Autarch’s stone dais, while Ning’s true body lived a fairly relaxed life. This dichotomy of harsh training and relaxedness actually caused many insights to flicker through Ning’s mind. He broke through a number of bottlenecks in this way.
“I’ve finally reached the Archon level in the final Dao, the Dao of Earth.” The white-robed Ning’s eyebrows were covered in snow. He suddenly opened his eyes to stare at the nearby flagon of wine. This wine had been kept warm for an extremely long period of time, because Ning only permitted himself a single drink of wine when he finished completing a Dao. Thus, it had been countless years since he had last drank from the wine.
“Now, all ten techniques have been developed.” An eager look was in Ning’s eyes. “I wonder what sort of precious treasure Autarch Awakener has left behind for me?”