Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 46 – Only Ji Ning Remains
The Paragon of Pills, Emperor Gonflame, and Ji Ning all stared at that distant mountain of darkspace flamestone. This was one of the many marvels birthed from the primordial chaos in this universe!
“Darknorth.” Emperor Gonflame suddenly said, “Six lifeblood weapons will take quite a bit of time. Even if I enter my estate and accelerate time, the smelting will still take tens of thousands of years. You’ll have to wait.”
Alchemy, artificing, seal-making, and other Daos all took enormous amounts of time. Major powers would generally carry out the process within estates that had temporal acceleration enchantments!
“Tens of thousands of years?” Ning laughed. “Then I’ll just wait patiently for those six lifeblood weapons.”
Tens of thousands of years. This could be said to be a long period of time, but it could also be said to be a short period of time.
When Ji Ning’s group had originally come to this alternate universe, their journey to the Archaeus region alone had taken over ten thousand years! Even if he was still in the Genesis Lands, it would take well over ten thousand years to depart the Archaeus region and then start to head home. Given he was in the Trileaf Realm, he wouldn’t need to traverse the Archaeus region. In that respect, he had saved some time.
“I wonder when Solewind, Greatjoy, and the others will leave the Genesis Lands,” Ning murmured to himself within his residence in the Trileaf Realm.
As for Su Youji, she remained at the outer reaches side of the primessence chains, quietly waiting for Ning to return. Alas, it was guaranteed that she would never see him there!
Roughly six thousand years after Ning’s ‘abduction’, Heartlord Solewind emerged from the inner reaches and walked back to the outer reaches via the chains.
“Brother Solewind.” Firesurge and the others went to greet him.
“Master.” Immortal Swallowback greeted him as well.
“Heartlord Solewind, have you seen my master?” Su Youji immediately asked.
“Darknorth? He entered the inner reaches alongside me. Later on, we separated and didn’t meet again. What’s wrong?” The bald Heartlord Solewind was still dressed in the same loose, fiery-red robes he had been dressed in thousands of years ago. He couldn’t help but feel surprised by the question.
Su Youji immediately explained, “Six thousand years ago, I suddenly became unable to sense my master’s presence, but his message-talisman is still intact.”
“You can’t sense him?” Solewind’s face turned solemn as well. He had experienced many dangers within the world of the inner reaches and had nearly died as a result. In the end, though, he had survived and departed with a great fortune.
“The inner reaches are very difficult. It’s possible that brother Darknorth is trapped within one of its danger zones.” Heartlord Solewind was rather worried as well. “But… for there to be no news of him after six thousand years probably means that he really is in grave danger. Let’s wait for a while longer. He might still be alive.”
Another five thousand years went by.
By now, Prince Greatjoy had also returned from the inner reaches. He hadn’t seen Ji Ning either. This made Su Youji even more disappointed and worried.
More than three thousand years went by. Skyfire Brightshore finally rejoined the others as well. And so… everyone but Ji Ning had returned. Prince Greatjoy, Heartlord Solewind, Waterlord Firesurge, Skyfire Brightshore, Immortal Swallowback, World Goddess Skywolf, Flamefairy Su Youji… they were all present.
“We were all fairly lucky to make it out in one piece, but… brother Darknorth has gone missing.” Prince Greatjoy frowned.
“He’s been missing for quite some time…” Firesurge slowly shook his head.
“My master is definitely alive,” Su Youji said.
Skyfire Brightshore said, “But we can’t just wait for him. He’s already been missing for ten thousand years. If we just keep waiting like this, who knows how long we’ll be here for? I think we should go back. If he’s still alive, he’ll go back as well once he comes out and realizes that we aren’t here.”
Solewind and Greatjoy exchanged glances. Their mission was chiefly to escort and protect Skyfire Brightshore! If Skyfire wished to go back, they really couldn’t stop him.
“Flamefairy, what Skyfire says makes sense. If brother Darknorth is still alive, he’ll go back on his own.” Solewind looked at Su Youji.
“And there’s no point to you waiting here by yourself,” Greatjoy said. “And… given how Darknorth suddenly disappeared, it’s also possible that he’s already left the Genesis Lands. In fact, he might’ve already gone back.”
“Gone back?” Su Youji stared. That… actually was possible. The Genesis Lands were filled with mysteries. It was entirely possible that some sort of special place might’ve teleported Ji Ning to another place in the universe. If that had actually happened, it wouldn’t make sense for Ji Ning to slowly travel all the way through the Archaeus region a second time! The Archaeus region was simply too large. Even someone as skilled in the Dao of Spacetime as Prince Greatjoy would need nearly ten thousand years to traverse if. If Ji Ning wished to traverse it, it would take him far longer.
“Perhaps brother Darknorth really did encounter a special situation, resulting in him going back to our universe,” Solewind said.
“Let us return together. Darknorth is far stronger than you; he’s entirely capable of making it back on his own.”
“Flamefairy, we just might see Darknorth once we go back.”
They all urged her to return with them.
In all honesty, the many centuries of waiting had taken their toll on the Flamefairy as well, making her feel increasingly nervous. She also felt that it was entirely possible that Ji Ning really had encountered a special event that resulted in him being thrust out of the Archaeus region, and so she immediately nodded. “Alright. Let’s go back.”
All seven of them had reaped great rewards within the Genesis Lands! This was also the reason why they felt certain that Ji Ning had probably encountered something special as well. In the Genesis Lands, everything truly was possible.
Prince Greatjoy, Heartlord Solewind, and the others spent merely three thousand years before they were able to reach the transversal conduit and return to the Endless Territories. Clearly, Prince Greatjoy’s mastery over the Dao of Spacetime had increased dramatically, allowing them to travel much more quickly!
But upon returning to the Brightshore Kingdom, they found out that Ji Ning had yet to return! Su Youji was stunned by this news. She had no choice but to return to the Sword Palace of the Twelve Palaces and quietly wait there.
The alternate universe. The Trileaf Realm.
There was no way for Ning to reach out to Greatjoy and the others. All he could do was patiently wait for those six lifeblood weapons to be forged. Only then could he leave the Trileaf Realm and return to the Endless Territories.
In the end, he did have to go back. His family and his friends were all back there, as was the Three Realms.
Within Ning’s estate-world.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. The waters of the ocean lapped against the sandy beaches, then receded again and again.
Ning sat there in the lotus position on the beach, his Immortal energy flowing as countless divine runes manifested around him. He was training in the pill-making techniques of the seventh chapter of the [Seven Leafpill Chapters].
Suddenly, a chubby figure flew over, a look of excitement on the man’s face. “Master, I’ve already completely mastered the second chapter you bestowed upon me!” World God Pillsaint excitedly went straight towards Ning.
“Mm.” Ning dispelled his Immortal energy, then looked at Pillsaint. “Then go ahead and produce a ‘Thousand Songs’ pill for me.”
The Thousand Songs pill could be made very quickly, but it was a very complicated pill. It required fine control over a thousand different processes, each of which required tremendous skill and had exacting requirements. The first five chapters of the [Seven Leafpill Chapters] all used the ‘Thousand Songs’ pill as a way to test whether or not someone had successfully mastered a particular chapter.
This time, the pill-making process took a total of two days. Pillsaint had always been talented in the Dao of Alchemy, but he was now at least ten times better than he had been prior to coming to the Trileaf Realm.
“Very well. I’ll bestow the third chapter upon you. Do your best to master it. If you can master it… a true fortune might very well be awaiting you,” Ning said.
“A true fortune? What type of fortune?” Pillsaint was quite curious. In recent years, he had been completely focused on training in alchemy within Ning’s estate-world. He had never wandered the Trileaf Realm, and so he had never heard of the Paragon of Pills.
“No point telling you just now.” Ning shook his head. Even if Pillsaint did master the third chapter, it was up to the Paragon of Pills as to whether or not she wished to teach him more.
The Paragon of Pills was an exalted figure with incredibly high expectations. All Ning could do was recommend potential apprentices to her. As to whether or not Pillsaint would be able to grasp this opportunity, that was completely up to him.
Swish. Ning waved his finger, tapping Pillsaint on his forehead and imparting the third chapter of the [Seven Leafpill Chapters] to him.
“Absolutely incredible! The person who created this alchemy method is absolutely incredible. I’ve only been learning from it for a short period of time, but my improvements in the Dao of Alchemy have been ridiculously high. I can sense that if I make just a few more breakthroughs, I can become a Daolord whenever I choose.” Pillsaint was extremely excited.
Ning warned softly, “Remember our oath!”
Pillsaint was stunned, then immediately nodded. Before returning to the Brightshore Kingdom, they absolutely could not afford to break through into the Daolord level.
Life in the Trileaf Realm was quite relaxed. Ning had never been this relaxed before.
In the past, he had been wholly focused on the Dao of the Sword, but he had now completely mastered and linked together his five different Supreme Sword Daos. He could now completely relax, and in fact he had the vague feeling that relaxing was the correct decision. This was why he spent all his time within his estate-world, where the flow of time was a hundred times faster than the ‘normal’ rate of time. Thus, tens of thousands of years in ‘real’ time translated into millions of years of accelerated time.
Thirty thousand years of ‘real’ time went past in the blink of an eye within the Trileaf Realm.
A wild wind was blowing through the estate-world today. The waves of the sea were rolling forwards, with Ning seated leisurely atop the waves, watching as they rose and fell. In the stormy skies, the silhouette of a single sword could be seen flickering through various different sword-arts.
“Eh?” Ning suddenly frowned. “My sword arts… I feel as though…”
Ning had spent over three million years relaxing in his estate-world after mastering and linking together his five Supreme Daos. Now, all of a sudden, Ning felt as though his sword-arts were still lacking in some manner.
“This… this still isn’t the ultimate Dao of the Sword!” This thought suddenly flashed through Ning’s mind. After three million years of training in sword-arts, he suddenly had this premonition. For people who had trained to this level, these premonitions were usually highly accurate.