Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 36 – The Hegemon’s Treasures
Ji Ning couldn’t help but feel his chest tighten as the three stared at him.
When both the white-robed man and the azure-armored man had attempted to stop him from progressing any further, Ning had already decided that he would need to be extremely careful in the thirty-sixth level of the Abyss of Fiends. Even those more powerful than him had perished here, after all. However, Ning was very confident in his defensive skills, and it wasn’t like him to back down without a fight. He was willing to use this main clone of his to take on the risk of challenging the final level.
If he won, he would gain a tremendous fortune. And in the end… things had been much simpler than he had anticipated. Not only had he mastered his Heavenbreaker stance, he had almost automatically joined together the five sword-intents into a Samsara sword-intent!
In truth, it all made perfect sense. Ning had reached the bottleneck in all five stances of [Brightmoon] long ago. He had first broke through in the Yin-Yang stance back in the Sword Palace of the Brightshore Kingdom, then had broken through in the other four stances with increasing fluidity! The more he trained, the faster the breakthroughs came until finally, they all came together in a perfect whole – the Yin-Yang stance, the Blood Drop stance, the Shadowless stance, the Soleheart stance, and the Heavenbreaker stance!
“Senior.” Ning looked at the muscular man. “I wonder if this junior qualifies to become the Hegemon’s personal disciple?”
If he was going to choose, he would choose the best!
“Personal disciple?” The muscular man was startled, then let out a rare chuckle. “Quite ambitious, aren’t we? However, if you wish to become the Hegemon’s personal disciple you have to be acknowledged by his Universe treasure!”
“Has it refused to acknowledge me?” Ning asked.
“It hasn’t said anything yet. Mm… how about this? I’ll help you ask.” The muscular man suddenly shut his eyes.
Back in the outside world of the inner reaches. The 540,000 meter tall corpse of the Hegemon had been silently standing there for countless years without moving. His two hands remained perpetually clenched around the hilt of that deep blue greatsword. Suddenly, a flicker of light appeared on the surface of the greatsword as the sword let out a keening sound.
Swoosh. A figure suddenly appeared in front of the three corpses of the grandmasters of the Dao of the Sword.
“What’s going on? I’m sure I wasn’t just imagining things. I’m sure I felt a ripple just now.” A white-robed, silver-eyed man stared at the three corpses with a solemn look on his face. “Did something strange just happen?”
The thirty-sixth level of the Abyss of Fiends.
The three volcano titans had been released by Ning long ago and had returned to their respective positions, transforming into a trio of towering volcanos once more. Ji Ning, the white-robed man, and the azure-armored man stood there upon the devastated earth, staring at the muscular man. All three of them were rather nervous. If the Universe treasure was willing to accept Ning as its master, then there was no question what Ning’s choice would be.
“I’ve asked it.” The muscular man opened his eyes.
“And? How’d it go?” Ning asked. However, he had a bad feeling about what the answer would be. If the Universe treasure had truly accepted him as its master, there would probably be some certain, special signs that would appear.
The muscular man sighed. “Your understanding of the Dao of the Sword truly is perfect, and it does indeed include the path of cultivation which the Hegemon had walked! You have the most perfect Dao of the Sword that I have ever encountered. But… that sword told me that it doesn’t like you.”
“Doesn’t… like me?” Ning was flabbergasted.
“Right. It just doesn’t like you,” the muscular man said. “It followed our master for countless years, and it likes people like Master himself; as vast and bold as the seas, and as deep and steady as the mountains. It doesn’t like your type.”
Ning was speechless.
So this was the reason the sword had no interest in him. Much like how a man might fall for a woman or vice versa, the Universe sword was only willing to accompany someone who it took a fancy towards! Clearly, the Hegemon had left a tremendous impact on it, making it strongly prefer cultivators who had the same type of personality as the Hegemon had.
“It seems that there are no ties of destiny between myself and that sword.” Ning smiled and shook his head. If it didn’t like him, there was nothing he could do. Although he was rather disappointed, he wasn’t crushed by the refusal! It was extremely difficult to convince a Universe treasure to submit to you, after all. Even Eternal Emperors dreamed of acquiring Universe treasures. Ning had mentally prepared himself to be rejected by it.
Still… despite his mental preparations, deep within his heart he couldn’t help but feel a sense of strong disappointment. “You don’t like my type, eh? Don’t like my type? I don’t like you either!”
Still, Ning himself knew that these were nothing more than words of self-consolement. This was the closest he had ever gotten to acquiring an Universe treasure, after all.
“Don’t be too disappointed, Darknorth,” the white-robed man consoled.
“Its just a Universe treasure. Our big brother is very exacting, but that Universe treasure is even more exacting. It also has a weird temper,” the azure-armored man said hurriedly. “I really think you should be my master’s personal disciple instead.”
“Darknorth, have you decided yet?” The muscular man asked.
Ning pondered for a moment. It seemed as though he would have to choose between being the Hegemon’s honorary disciple or a personal disciple of one of the two retainer Eternal Emperors.
“Seniors, can you explain to me as to which treasures I’ll be able to acquire if I become the Hegemon’s honorary disciple or a personal disciple of your respective masters? What techniques I’ll gain? If you can tell me a bit more, I’ll be better equipped to make the right decision,” Ning said.
“Alright, let me explain.”
“Take a look first.”
All three waved their hands. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! The formerly empty and devastated ground before them became be filled with images of magic treasures, all of which looked to be quite extraordinarily.
“I’ll go first.” The azure-armored figure pointed at the levitating images of the nine blood-colored swords. “First of all, you’ll gain these nine precious swords. They are incomparably mighty, and it is almost impossible to buy them under normal circumstances. You’ll also gain this suit of armor, this gourd, and this banner. And of course, you’ll also gain Master’s sword-arts legacy as well as his secret arts, divine abilities, etc.”
The majority of an Eternal Emperor’s treasure trove lay before Ning. Ning couldn’t help but be filled with many thoughts as he stared at them.
“My turn.” The white-robed man began to narrate the treasures he had to offer as he pointed at the illusions of the violet-hilted, gold-hilted, and white-hilted swords, as well as the many other treasures he had.
The muscular man stood silently there in the rubble. Only after his second brother and third brother finished speaking did he say calmly, “I have two sets of treasures here for the two honorary disciples which Master is willing to accept. You can choose one of your liking.”
“The first set includes fifty million cubes of chaos nectar! It also includes two Dao-seals which the Hegemon personally forged! It also has the sword which the Hegemon used prior to him acquiring his Universe treasure. This sword alone is worth just as much as the armaments which my second brother and my third brother have offered you. In addition, you’ll also gain access to the complete sword-arts legacy which Master left behind, as well as his divine abilities and secret arts.
“The second set also includes fifty million cubes of chaos nectar, two Dao-seals which the Hegemon personally forged, and the suit of armor which the Hegemon wore when he was alive. This suit of armor has many marvelous properties, and it too is worth just as much as the armaments of his two retainers. In addition, you’ll also gain access to the complete sword-arts legacy which Master left behind, as well as his divine abilities and secret arts.”
After finishing his explanation, the muscular man fell silent.
The white-robed man and the azure-armored man both looked at Ning expectantly.
As for Ning, he carefully examined each of the levitating illusions. The white-robed man and the azure-armored man had treated him very well, but this involved a tremendous fortune for him. He absolutely could not treat this decision lightly.
The other two Eternal Emperors had left virtually all of their treasures to their personal disciples. The treasures were staggering in both number and value.
In terms of valuable treasures, the two Eternal Emperors had more. But! What the Hegemon had left behind would be more of use to him! It was highly likely that no one in all the Endless Territories was a match for the deceased Hegemon with regards to the Dao of the Sword. His sword-arts legacy was something which Ning would never have a chance to learn again. The Hegemon had successfully completed his Daomerge… his sword-arts would definitely be of enormous assistance to Ning as a valuable reference.
“The best treasures are the ones which suit you the best. In addition… I’d have to find a way to sell off the treasures of the other two Eternal Emperors. The Dao-seals and chaos nectar which the Hegemon left behind are of more immediate use to me.” Ning nodded.
“Forgive me, seniors,” Ning said apologetically.
The white-robed man and the azure-armored man both let out sighs, looking rather forlorn. The white-robed man shook his head and smiled. “The two of us suspected that this would be your answer. The complete sword-arts legacy of a Hegemon… both of us know exactly how alluring such a thing is to a cultivator of the Dao of the Sword.”
The complete sword-arts legacy of a Hegemon of the Dao of the Sword was absolutely priceless.
You might be able to find a few grandmasters of the Dao of the Sword who were on the general level of Emperor Mirrorsnow, but where would you even begin to start a search for a Hegemon-level figure? Even after Ning became a Verge-level Daolord, no sum of money would be enough for him to locate such a complete sword-arts legacy.
“Congratulations, big brother.”
“Big brother, you’ve finally found an honorary disciple for your master.” The other two both expressed congratulations. They couldn’t help but secretly sigh to themselves. The two of them and their big brother had waited for far too long for a successor. The only difference was that their big brother was even more exacting than they were.
It had been countless years, but their big brother had finally chosen an honorary disciple for the Hegemon! The Hegemon would only accept a total of two honorary disciples, which meant that his honorary disciples would be treated many times better than the personal disciples of Emperor Mirrorsnow were.
The sword which the Hegemon had once wielded, the suit of armor he had once worn… both were truly priceless.
“Darknorth.” The muscular man’s lips parted as he finally revealed a rare smile. “Follow me.” He transformed into a streak of light and flew towards the distant shrine.