Finally, this great Flamedragon Realmverse event came to an end. The Hegemons and Emperors all departed one by one, with the Vastheaven Everworld regaining its usual calm.
Within Vastheaven Palace.
“Greetings to you, senior apprentice-brother Darknorth.” Ten World-level cultivators were present. There were youths, elders, aliens, Aberrant special lifeforms, and even an Ancient cultivator. They all bowed respectfully, their gazes filled with unabashed excitement. They had finally been selected! It must be remembered that there were some geniuses who took part in this competition that were just as talented as them. A few were even more talented!
“From this day forth, you are now honorary disciples of Emperor Mirrorsnow,” Ning said. “Our master, Emperor Mirrorsnow, has long ago departed from the Flamedragon Realmverse and gone off adventuring, which is why I shall teach you in his stead. However, in the end cultivation must come from the self. Thus, I will only provide each of you with ten sessions of individualized guidance. After the ten sessions are over, I will not provide you with any further guidance until you become Daolords. Understood?”
“Understood.” Although these World-level cultivators were all secretly surprised, they remained quite calm. They were all geniuses and all quite proud. They usually weren’t all that impressed by most major powers, but they were filled with almost fanatical devotion towards Daolord Darknorth. This was why they had striven so hard to become apprenticed to him. It certainly wasn’t because of ‘Emperor Mirrorsnow’! Not even the chance to become Emperor Mirrorsnow’s personal disciples, rather than just honorary disciples, was nearly as attractive as the chance to have Daolord Darknorth personally instruct them.
Ten sessions? They felt certain that there was a reason why Daolord Darknorth had said this!
“Good.” Ning smiled upon seeing their reactions. “The ten of you are all extremely talented in the Dao of the Sword. Three of you have fused Supreme Daos together, while the other seven have all mastered multiple individual Supreme Daos. All I really need to do is provide you with some guidance. In the end, it will be up to you to walk the path between life and death as you become Samsara Daolords.”
Disciples weren’t necessarily capable of learning everything a teacher had to offer; in life, you had to make do with what materials you had to work with. Every single Samsara Daolord had to find his or her own Dao. Ning felt that it would be quite incredible if even a single one of his personal disciples or ‘junior apprentice-brothers’ and ‘junior apprentice-sisters’ ended up embarking on the path of an Omega Dao. The far more likely result would be that none of them would find that path.
The Omega Dao simply couldn’t be taught. You had to go find it on your own! As a wise teacher, Ning knew that all he could do was guide them on their paths. Fortunately for them, Ning’s own path was that of the Omega Sword Dao. His Dao was like a tall, sturdily-built house, and his guidance was the best guidance possible.
“This is the world of the Sword Shack.” Ning waved his hand, causing ten black loops that glowed with runic lines to fly towards the ten.
“The Sword Shack is filled with countless sword-arts. Aside from the [Heartseal] sword-art of our master, Emperor Mirrorsnow, it also includes all foundations for the Dao of the Sword,” Ning said. In other words… it contained the foundations for his own Omega Dao. This was why he dared to make the claim that it contained ‘all foundations for the Dao of the Sword’.
“You can train in seclusion within the Sword Shack, but you must be tempered via adventuring through the outside world. Perhaps you will then be able to understand and find a path which truly belongs to you.”
“Thank you, senior apprentice-brother.” The ten disciples were all delighted.
“You are the only ones permitted inside the Sword Shack. If anyone else tries to bind it, the estate-world inside will be automatically destroyed,” Ning said. “Thus, you must not give it to anyone else.”
“Understood.” Many of the ten mused that only a fool would give something like this to another!
Ning waved his hand again, causing a number of Dao-seals to fly out towards the ten as well. “These are Dao-seals which I personally forged. Some involve the Dao of the Sword, some involve the Dao of Space, some involve the Dao of Time, some involve heartforce, some involve the Dao of Karma… each of you shall have nine seals total, and they come in varying levels of power. Some are meant for escape, some are meant to kill foes, and some are used to scout and explore. Just three of them can be used to attack foes head-on,” Ning said. “When you go out adventuring, you must be careful and also conserve your Dao-seals. If you use them all up, I’m not going to just remake them for you.”
These ten disciples were all overjoyed, but they also felt stunned. Daolord Darknorth had personally forged them? Forging Dao-seals was fairly easy, and many major powers were capable of it, but the cost was quite high as only valuable materials could be used to store such incredible levels of power. And… more importantly, the creator of the Dao-seal had to understand the Daos he was infusing into each seal.
In other words… if their senior apprentice-brother Darknorth created that many Dao-seals for them, he must have reached inconceivable heights in the Dao of the Sword, the Dao of Space, the Dao of Time, the Dao of Karma, and multiple other Daos!
“Here are a hundred million cubes of chaos nectar for each of you.” Ning waved his hand, causing a few more storage-type treasures to fly out.
“Here are some top-grade Eternal swords which have been made in accordance with your own specific insights into the Dao of the Sword. Each of you can have six.” Ning waved his hand again, causing a total of sixty swords to fly out towards the ten.
Top-grade Eternal treasures? Ning had a literal mountain of these things. In truth, every single Hegemon had piles and piles of top-grade Eternal treasures. Ning was far wealthier than most Hegemons. Not only had he blackmailed multiple Hegemons and killed Hegemon Winterflame, he had also accumulated a terrifying amount of treasure when he had swept through the Jadefire Realm. He had a total of six Universe treasures! Alas, none of them were swords.
“I’ve already given you everything I can and should. Sword-arts, divine abilities, secret arts… you’ll find them all within the Sword Shack,” Ning said. “If you want to earn them, go into the Sword Shack and fight for them. Go now. I’ve already set up estates for you within Vastheaven Palace. Calm your minds and train hard. You can come find me if you have any questions… but remember, each of you will only have ten opportunities!”
“Understood.” The ten fellow disciples all departed excitedly.
“What an absolute fortune.”
“Each of us was given a hundred million cubes!”
“Perhaps ordinary Daolords of the Fourth Step might feel pain at giving away a billion cubes of chaos nectar, but senior apprentice-brother treats Hegemons as equals. He’s able to toss out such sums without batting an eye.”
“Ah! The Sword Shack has a prayer mat inside. When my Primaltwin sat down upon it, its cultivation speed increased dramatically. This thing is far more valuable than the cubes of chaos nectar!” While journeying towards their estates, these ten ‘fellow disciples’ began to discover how marvelous the prayer mat was. All of them were stunned by it. There were many Eternal Emperors who would be envious of such a treasure!
Most of the treasures which Ning had prepared for his fifth disciple Boundless and his sixth disciple Muse were on par with what the other ten had been given. The only difference lay in the Sword Shack.
“Before you become Samsara Daolords, the two of you shall also have ten chances to come ask me for instruction,” Ning said. “Therefore, you should train hard within the Sword Shack. Do your best to resolve your questions on your own. If you find that you can make no progress at all, come find me.”
“Understood.” Boundless and Muse were incredibly respectful.
“You can go now,” Ning instructed, and the two immediately departed obediently.
Upon seeing everyone finally leave, the nearby Hegemon Azurefiend finally spoke up: “Darknorth, don’t you think you are just a bit too casual when it comes to teaching your students?”
“I can guide them, but providing them with overly detailed tutelage will actually constrain their growth,” Ning said. “It’ll be far more helpful for them if they can find answers to their questions on their own, rather than come to me for everything. Besides… the ‘Sword Shack’ I created for them can be viewed as half a teacher as well.”
“You might be overestimating your disciples a bit. Most of them have merely devised multiple Supreme Daos and have yet to even fuse them together. Not everyone is as freakishly talented as you, you know.” Azurefiend shook his head.
“Well… if they just can’t progress, then they can live in mediocrity.” Ning smiled. By its very nature, the Dao of the Sword required one to advance without looking back and to act in accordance with one’s own nature. How could one possibly become a major power if someone was always yammering at him about what he should do? Even though he was their teacher, he couldn’t interfere too much in their choices.
Besides… the more famous a teacher was, the greater his influence would be on his students. He had to be careful, and he couldn’t provide them with excessive guidance. If he did, he might end up causing his students to depart from the path which actually suited them the most. The path which was best for Ning wasn’t necessarily the path which was best for his students.
However… just letting them roam freely wasn’t an option either. This was why Ning had chosen to create the Sword Shack, which he had infused with the foundations of virtually all paths one could take in the Dao of the Sword. He would let his disciples choose the path which suited them the most.
Although it looked as though Ning was acting in a casual fashion, in reality he had put a lot of effort and consideration into how he was going to teach the disciples he had chosen. This was true for both his personal disciples and the disciples he had chosen on behalf of Emperor Mirrorsnow. Yes, he was technically just their ‘senior apprentice-brother’, but in reality he was like their master. This was why Ning had worked so hard to create all those different types of Dao-seals for them, which would be enough to allow them to deal with all sorts of strange predicaments. They were more than enough for the types of adventures which World-level cultivators would get into.
After having accepted all these disciples, Ning led Flamewing, Azurefiend, and Whitethaw in departing from the Flamedragon Realmverse once more. This time, they were going to go on a very distant journey to a place outside the demesnes of the Sixteen Realmverses Alliance.
As for his disciples? Ning’s avatar would be permanently stationed at Vastheaven Palace and would keep an eye on everything which happened in Flamedragon Realmverse. Thus, it could also teach and guide the disciples.
Whoosh. The realmship continued its advance through the endless Great Dark. Inside the realmship, Azurefiend and Flamewing were gorging on a veritable sea of food, while Whitethaw quietly stood guard over Ning. Ning, in turn, was pondering while holding onto a jade slip.
Realmslord Windgrace had given him this slip, and it included all the information he had acquired regarding the dangerous place he was about to visit.
“The Icewind Sea?” Ning mused silently. The Icewind Sea was a place which Realmslord Windgrace and his peers had scouted out in the past, and they were the ones who had chosen this name.
The Icewind Sea could be described in one word – cold! However, it was a place which gave birth to quite a few fire-aligned treasures, with the Daomerge Firecloud Flower being one of them. This was also the treasure which Ning valued the most highly.