Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 39 – A Half-Month Loan
The five-colored space bridge continued to stretch off into the distance, easily traversing the boundaries of both space and time. Just a short while later, a world that looked like an Immortal’s abode appeared before them, vast and beautiful.
“This place is the Trileaf Realm. Long ago, I chose a location within the Sea of Bitter Darkness and established a world within it. Ever since then, I have been living here.” The Paragon of Pills said in a cold voice, “The Trileaf Realm is a fairly well-hidden place. You probably have never heard of it before today. In the future, you may visit whenever you so desire.”
Ji Ning relaxed slightly. It seemed as though this mysterious major power was treating him quite well. “Senior, are you planning to let me leave this place?”
“Of course. Do you think you’ll be able to succeed in your Daomerge and gain eternity just by sitting here instead of going out adventuring?” The Paragon glanced sideways at Ning. “Don’t worry. I’ve brought you here for certain reasons. Once I’m finished, I’ll naturally let you go on your way. In the future, you can enter and exit this place freely! Although it’s quite difficult for outsiders to enter my Trileaf Realm, things are different for you. You are the disciple of my old friend, and you can thus be considered one of the juniors in my lineage.”
Ji Ning said, “Thank you, senior.” Only then was Ning in the mood to spend some time inspecting this Trileaf Realm. From the outside, it looked like an enormous world that was being held up by a trio of blooming leaves. This world was so vast that it was countless times greater than most of the land masses Ning had encountered thus far.
“Do you know why it is named the Trileaf Realm?” The Paragon of Pills suddenly asked.
“Is it because of those three enormous leaves that are holding up the world? Is that why it is named the Trileaf Realm?” Ning guessed.
The Paragon slowly shook her head, but she didn’t explain.
The Paragon led Ning to fly downwards into the beautiful fairyland world below them.
The Archaeus region. The Genesis Lands. The outer reaches.
A streak of fire suddenly flew out of a secret region. Su Youji was dressed in her usual fiery red robes, and her entire body was bathed in flames that were shaped like a bird of some sort.
“I can’t sense Master’s aura any longer. Why can’t I sense his aura? I could sense that he was in the inner reaches just a short while ago.” Su Youji stared towards the inner reaches, a look of restless unease in her eyes. In the moment that the Paragon pulled Ning away, Su Youji had lost her ability to sense Ning’s location.
Ning had given her a message-talisman, and she had given him one of hers. Theoretically speaking, the two would be able to constantly sense where the other was located and could meet up whenever they chose.
“Why have I suddenly lost all contact with him? What should I do. What should I do?” Su Youji felt extremely uneasy. This uneasy feeling had actually caused her to give up adventuring through the secret region she had been in, and give up on her chances to acquire the treasures within that region.
Su Youji transformed into a streak of light, repeatedly teleporting forwards as she moved towards the inner reaches at high speeds.
A short while later.
“Firesurge!” A group of cultivators was clustered together at the outer reaches end of the primessence chains, and Waterlord Firesurge was with them.
“Fellow Daoist Firesurge.” Su Youji immediately landed, then called out to him respectfully.
“Flamefairy?” Seeing her, Firesurge immediately rose to his feet and asked curiously, “Flamefairy, why have you come here? Judging from the worried look on your face… what exactly has happened?”
“It’s my master.” Su Youji said worriedly, “I can sense that Master vanished. I feel very uneasy, which is why I immediately came over here. Have you seen my master, fellow Daoist Firesurge?”
Firesurge shook his head. “I haven’t seen Darknorth since he entered the inner reaches. Did you just say that you lost contact with him, all of a sudden?”
“Right.” Su Youji nodded hurriedly. “But his message-talisman is still with me, and it’s completely undamaged.”
If Ning had died, then the message-talisman should’ve sensed it and then shattered apart.
“So the talisman isn’t damaged, right?” Firesurge asked.
“It did not.” Su Youji nodded.
“The world of the inner reaches is filled with many different dangers,” Firesurge said. “This is, after all, the place where this entire universe was birthed. It is highly possible that Darknorth might have found himself trapped in some location which prevents anyone outside of it from contacting him. It is highly likely that your master is still alive. But of course, for it to be able to sever all contact means it is definitely an extraordinary location. It’s also possible that your master…”
Su Youji’s heart trembled. This was exactly what she was afraid of. Ji Ning had been in the inner reaches for many years now, and she had been able to sense his presence this entire time! The same was true for Heartlord Solewind and his own retainer, Chaos Immortal Swallowback. Now, even Prince Greatjoy had gone into the inner reaches, with his retainer World Goddess Skywolf able to sense his presence.
But now… all of a sudden, she could no longer sense where Ji Ning was! Something must’ve gone wrong!
“Wait a bit longer. From what I’ve heard, World-level cultivators generally won’t spend too much time in the inner reaches,” Firesurge said. “Let’s just wait a few thousand more years and see if he ends up coming out.”
“Alright.” Su Youji nodded slowly. There was nothing else she could do. “Thank you, fellow Daoist Firesurge.” Su Youji immediately chose a quiet corner and then sat down in the lotus position. Her mind was now restless, and she was in no mood to continue adventuring. Still… she had already made shockingly great gains during her previous adventures in the outer reaches.
“Master, you have to live.” Su Youji’s feelings towards Ning were very complex. Ning was extremely powerful, and he had also saved her on numerous occasions. She couldn’t help but feel a sense of love and admiration for him, but she could also sense that he had someone else in his heart. As a result, Su Youji had always been hesitant and unable to voice her feelings for him.
Deep within the Sea of Bitter Darkness, there lay the Trileaf Realm.
A few ripples appeared in front of an ancient, pitch-black building. From the ripples emerged a pair of figures; the Paragon of Pills and Ji Ning.
“This is my estate.” The Paragon of Pills spoke calmly as she advanced.
Ji Ning followed her from behind. Rather curious, he asked, “Senior, why is it that I don’t see any other cultivators within this estate?” There wasn’t even so much as a gateguard. This truly was quite odd.
“I prefer the peace and quiet. I dislike being disturbed by others,” the Paragon said coolly.
“Oh.” Ning nodded.
If any of the other major powers of the Trileaf Realm saw how their exalted, transcendent leader, the Paragon of Pills, was casually carrying on a conversation with a mere World-level cultivator, they would almost certainly be stupefied by this. The Paragon of Pills was famous for her cold indifference! She generally wouldn’t even pay any attention to most Eternal Emperors.
The reason she chatted a bit with Emperor Maniseal was because he was very powerful as well as a person who was struggling hard to revive his beloved disciple. This was why the Paragon of Pills treated him differently.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
In front of them was an enormous pill cauldron. Next to the pill cauldron there was a vast lake that was a hundred kilometers in size, and above the lake there was a waterfall that thundered downwards towards it.
“Is that…” Ning stared at the lakes in utter astonishment. “Is th-th-th-that all chaos nectar?”
A hundred kilometer lake that was completely composed of chaos nectar? Ning was rather dazed. How much chaos nectar was that?!
“Do you understand alchemy?” The Paragon of Pills looked at Ning.
“I do not.” Ning shook his head.
“If you did, you would understand. Chaos nectar is incredibly important to the creation of pills, and it is chaos nectar which gives our pills their various magical properties. Chaos nectar can give birth to life itself; in fact, it can give birth to all things. It is an indispensable part of alchemy,” the Paragon said. “An exceedingly vast amount of chaos nectar is used up with the creation of every highly valuable pill. That’s why I just went ahead and set up an entire lake of it here. It makes it easier for me to withdraw as much as I need when I engage in my alchemy.”
Ning was secretly speechless. Although the deceased Hegemon had prepared fifty million cubes of chaos nectar for his honorary disciples, that sum couldn’t even come close to the amount of chaos nectar in this hundred kilometer lake.
The Paragon of Pills continued to walk forwards. They quickly arrived at a stone dais before the enormous pill cauldron, whereupon she sat down in the lotus position and turned her gaze towards Ning.
“There’s something I would ask of you,” the Paragon of Pills said.
“Pray tell, senior.” Ning nodded respectfully.
“I know that you have gained a legacy from the Hegemon. The Hegemon’s suit of armor should be with you,” the Paragon said.
Ning felt a great sense of shock. Even this was known to her?
“Yes.” Ning didn’t try to play any games with her at all. He immediately nodded.
“That suit of armor…” The Paragon hesitated for a moment, then continued, “Loan it to me for a month.”
“Loan?” Ning was secretly speechless. If she wanted to take it from him, there would’ve been nothing he could do.
Ning willed it, and a streak of light immediately flew out from his body and coalesced within his hands into the form of an ancient, unadorned suit of armor. This suit of armor had an aura that was as deep and profound as that of a fathomless abyss. It was as though an enormous mountain was lying within Ning’s palms.
When the Paragon of Pills saw that ancient suit of armor appear within Ning’s palms, she couldn’t help but tremble.
“Senior.” Ning stretched his hand out, causing the ancient suit of armor to fly out towards her.
The Paragon of Pills slowly accepted the armor, placing it across her lap. She gently stroked it with her hands, her fingers shaking uncontrollably. She murmured something softly to herself, but Ning wasn’t able to hear what she was saying at all.
“Can you tell me if the Hegemon told you anything when he transferred this legacy to you? Did he mention anyone?” The Paragon of Pills asked softly.
“The Hegemon did not say much to me. He only said a single thing.” Ning didn’t try to hide it at all. “He said: ‘My disciple… if in the future you succeed in the Daomerge and gain eternity, it is my wish that you repay the grace I shall show you today you unto the Paragon of Pills.’”
Ning still had no idea that this black-garbed woman was the Paragon of Pills.
The Paragon’s heart shook.
Two crystalline tears suddenly dripped down from her face. They landed on the suit of armor, then broke apart into many tiny fragments. However, the mist surrounding her made it impossible for Ning to see this at all.