Book 38, Chapter 39 - Seclusion

Ji Ning arrived at the Three Realms by himself. Given his mastery over the Dao of Karma and the Dao of Numerancy, it was virtually impossible for anyone to see him if he did not wish to be seen.

“The Three Realms.” The white-robed Ning sat there within the void in the lotus position, staring off into the distant emptiness of the primordial chaos. Long, long ago, the original ‘Three Realms’ had been located here. However, the ‘new’ Three Realms had been destroyed and reborn numerous times by now as a complete chaosworld. It was never again divided into the Celestial Realm, Mortal Realm, and Netherworld Kingdom, or the three thousand major worlds and trillion minor worlds.

Ning sat there in the lotus position, staring silently into the void. His spirit, however, was pulsing rapidly. He felt as though he could see the Three Realms of old. Countless scenes flashed through his mind.

His thoughts turned to how the Netherworld Kingdom had suffered an attack from the Seamless Alliance, resulting in Ning being reborn into the world without having drunk from Granny Meng’s soup. He had been born into the Ji clan…

He had been born to his father Ji Yichuan and his mother Yuchi Snow. He had then become apprenticed to the Black-White College, met his first master Immortal Diancai, befriended Mu Northson, then met Ninelotus and Yu Wei.

Ninelotus was a straightforward person who dared to choose the person she loved for herself, but she was also a person who was extremely decisive. The problems with the Youngflame clan had resulted in them separating, while Yu Wei had always silently supported him.

During the Conclave of Immortal Destiny, Lu Dongbin and the Xia Emperor, along with countless other Immortals and Fiendgods, all watched as Ning and Yu Wei finally ended up being together.

Alas, shortly afterwards Ning had been taken to the Tristar Crescent Abode of Mount Innerheart, where he had entered the tutelage of Patriarch Subhuti. By the time they next met, the Seamless Alliance and the Nuwa Alliance had already launched a furious war against each other…

“Yu Wei.” Ning continued to reminisce on the past. He truly did feel great sorrow and pity for his departed wife.

Those days, Ning had roamed and dominated the Three Realms. During the Endwar, he had personally reversed the entire outcome of the war, then departed the Three Realms to continue his adventures elsewhere. He had now reached such heights within the vast Chaosverse that even Hegemons felt dread towards him. Not only had he taken on a Hegemonic retainer, he had even tamed a Chaos Primordial and had Hegemonic power as a Samsara Daolord.

Given all of this, Ning could truly be described as a dazzling figure. He was far more dazzling than Emperor Heartsword or even Hegemon Brightshore had ever been!

But his wife? Her destiny had been far more calamitous and pitiful. During her previous life, she had been born into a minor grasslands tribe. Calamity had descended upon that tribe, resulting in her suffering endless torments which had transformed her into a female asura-demon. She had lived a hellish existence, with the Godking secretly manipulating her from afar. Although she was reborn as an Immortal in her next life, her soul had remained under the Godking’s control. She had been his pain, and as a result her heart had been filled with such worry and fear that she initially had been afraid to even confess her love to Ning.

In the end, Ning had come to her. Yu Wei had decided that she would rather accept her soul being shattered than bring harm to him, and so the two had ended up together.

Alas, the Godking had continued to threaten and coerce her. Yu Wei knew that she would eventually be exposed, and so she had a child with Ning. Soon after that child had been born, Yu Wei had been consigned to the hells and eventually had her truesoul extinguished.

Her life had been a calamitous, miserable one. The only bright spot in her life had been the time she had spent with Ning and her giving birth to a daughter for him. Unfortunately, that moment of happiness had been a brief one.

……

Ning spent that night seated by himself within the emptiness of space, quietly thinking back to days past. His thoughts were chiefly of the time he had spent with his wife, Yu Wei.

As a powerful cultivator, he was able to remember every single one of his previous memories with perfect clarity. Not even the passage of time could dim them in the slightest.

He didn’t feel too many complicated or mixed emotions. All he felt was a tinge of heartache for his wife.

Whoosh. Ning rose to his feet, then turned to stare at the enormous flaming ball off in the distance. This was the Solar Star, and its light illuminated Ning’s face.

“Senior apprentice-sister… I have already come this far on my path of cultivation. Today, I shall begin my Daomerge. This shall be my last gambit. Wait for me. One way or another, we will be together again,” Ning murmured softly.

His Dao-heart, the entirety of his soul and truesoul… all of it was waiting in peak condition. The night he had just spent in solitary, silent reflection had caused them all to reach the greatest apex possible.

Riiiiip. Ning tore through spacetime and took a single step forwards, disappearing from the Three Realms.

……

Dawn. Vastheaven Palace. The Darknorth Estate.

Emperor Solesky, Hegemon Azurefiend, the Flamewing God, Su Youji, Pillsaint, and Whitethaw were all up. None of them had rested the previous night. All of them were waiting, and the more they waited the more nervous and impatient they became. All sorts of mixed emotions filled their hearts, as all of them knew what the Daomerge represented for any Daolord.

Whoosh. Ning appeared out of thin air, manifesting within the Darknorth Estate.

“Ji Ning.”

“Master.”

“Darknorth.” All of them rose to greet him.

Ning swept them with his gaze, then revealed a smile: “All of you came? What’s with all the long faces? It’s like I already failed the Daomerge!”

“Master, you’ll definitely succeed in the Daomerge!” Flamewing was rather teary-eyed. Of the people present, it had the least amount of control over its emotions. It emotionally relied on Ning much like how a child would rely upon a parent. It hurriedly said, “Master, you are much more powerful than any and every Daolord I’ve ever encountered, and more of a genius than any of those Hegemons. An Omega Sword Dao is nothing to you. You’ll definitely succeed!”

“Flamewing.” Ning walked over, patting Flamewing on the head. When he had first tamed Flamewing, his only thought had been to acquire a powerful servant. However, as time had passed and as the two got to know each other over the course of many chaos cycles, Ning had realized how implicitly the beast trusted him. Flamewing truly was like a child and was incapable of complex schemes. After so much time, Ning felt a deep sense of affection for Flamewing… and as a result, he felt a degree of revulsion towards Realmslord Windgrace and the Lonely King for harboring designs on Flamewing.

“Darknorth, you must succeed in the Daomerge! I swore an oath to follow you for a thousand chaos cycles. It has only been a hundred! We’re not even close to being done with each other.” Hegemon Azurefiend’s wizened old face smiled, causing even more wrinkles to appear.

“Don’t worry. Once the thousand chaos cycles are over, you’ll probably be begging and crying for the chance to continue following me,” Ning said with a laugh. “When the time comes, I’ll have to think long and hard on whether or not I want you.”

Ning turned to look at Emperor Solesky, Su Youji, Pillsaint, and Whitethaw. He smiled once more. “Alright, no need to waste time on words. I’m going to go into seclusion and initiate the Daomerge,” Ning said.

“You are much more formidable than me. You’ll definitely succeed,” Emperor Solesky said immediately.

“Master…” Su Youji said hurriedly, “I want you to be by my side when I attempt my own Daomerge in the future.”

Ning nodded. He then patted Pillsaint and Protector Whitethaw on their shoulders, then turned and entered his estate. Pillsaint didn’t know what to say, while Whitethaw just watched silently. Although he was just a golem, he was sentient and extremely intelligent.

All of them watched as Ning’s figure disappeared past the great gates of the estate. Rumble! The gates to the estate swung shut, sealing it completely.

Flamewing transformed back into its true form, that of an enormous, flaming, winged ursine: the ‘Flamewing God’. It lay down in front of the estate, continuously sweeping the area with an icy cold look in its eyes. Clearly, it had chosen to immediately carry out Ning’s order to protect the estate! Starting from this moment, it wouldn’t permit anyone to disturb Ning’s Daomerge.

“Youji, relax a little. Being nervous isn’t going to help Master at all,” Pillsaint said consolingly. “It’ll all be up to him now. Supposedly, a Daomerge can last for a total of nine years.”

“Yes. It’ll all be up to Master now.” Su Youji sat down in the lotus position, closing her eyes and taking up a silent vigil.

Solesky, Whitethaw, and Azurefiend all began to wait as well. To them, waiting for nine years was an extremely short period of time.

……

Within the estate.

The white-robed Ning was seated in the lotus position atop a golden altar. This magic altar was something which Ning had poured all of his efforts into after researching the Autarch’s stone dais to the best of his ability. It was all thanks to Ning’s mastery of the Dao of Formations that he was able to emulate the stone dais as much as he had, and he had paid a fortune in treasures as well. Despite his efforts, success in the Daomerge would still primarily be up to his Primaltwin.

His Primaltwin had the original stone dais, the Stonefire Pearl, and even the Daomerge Firecloud Flower. It was far better resourced than Ning’s true body, but of course Ning did his best to outfit his true body as well. That way, his chances at the Daomerge might be slightly improved. He had given his true body some valuable spirit-pills, as well as the Stone Censer of Reunion. Perhaps his true body was only going to be 0.1% as effective as his Primaltwin, but every little bit helped.

But of course, once the Daomerge actually began the insights and experiences shared by the two sides would be identical. The two were two parts of a whole, and their souls, truesouls, and memories were all as one. As far as the Daomerge was concerned, there was no difference between a true body and a Primaltwin.

If he succeeded in the Daomerge, his true body and his Primaltwin would both gain eternity at the same time. If he failed, his truesoul would begin to crumble.

The white-robed Ning sat there atop his altar, while the black-robed Primaltwin Ning sat upon the Autarch’s stone dais in the distant Azureflower Estate. As for Ning’s two avatars, they went into silent seclusion as well. An avatar contained part of the truesoul and godsense as well; if the Daomerge failed, the godsense within the avatars would quickly begin to crumble, causing the avatars to perish. However, since the true body and the Primaltwin both had complete souls and truesouls, they were able to ensure that the process of decay was dramatically lessened.

“Let it begin,” the white-robed Ning and the black-robed Ning both said at the same time.




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