Book 28, Archaeus Region, Chapter 48 – The Return
After bidding the Paragon farewell, Ji Ning couldn’t help but feel slightly emotional. After this parting, who knew how long it would be for them to meet again? The Paragon of Pills lived in a different universe, after all. Ning would be living in the Endless Territories! Alas, he had to go back.
More than sixty thousand years after he had arrived in the Trileaf Realm, Emperor Gonflame sent a servant to carry a message to him.
“Emperor Gonflame wishes to meet me?” Ning revealed a look of joy.
“As soon as the Emperor left his estate-world, he immediately ordered me to come meet you, fellow Daoist.” The extremely muscular azure-garbed Daolord continued, “Fellow Daoist, please follow me over right away.”
“Yes, let’s go right away.” Ning had been waiting impatiently for some time now. He had spent more than sixty thousand years for the sake of this lifeblood weapon.
Two streaks of light shot through the skies, heading straight towards Emperor Gonflame’s palace.
Emperor Gonflame’s estate was at the margins of the Trileaf Realm. However, there were many cultivators here. Emperor Gonflame’s treasures were simply too alluring; even though most of the cultivators couldn’t afford to actually by them, just having the chance to look at them was a chance for them to expand their horizons.
“Please come this way.” The azure-garbed Daolord led Ning straight into the estate, and they soon arrived in a private courtyard.
“Master, I’ve brought Darknorth to you,” the azure-robed Daolord said respectfully.
“You can go. Darknorth, come, sit.” Emperor Gonflame was seated, a proud smile on his face. Each time he forged some treasures he particularly liked, he would always feel a bit smug. He always did enjoy forging treasures, and it was that genuine affection for his art, combined with his incredible talent as well as the guidance of the Paragon of Pills, which led him to become the number one artificer of this entire universe.
Ning suppressed his excitement and sat down.
“Look at you. I bet the only thing you care about right now are those swords.” Emperor Gonflame started to laugh. “Alright, I’ll stop teasing you. Look. These are your six lifeblood weapons.” As he spoke, he waved his hand and caused a pitch-black scabbard to appear next to him, with six swords ‘folded’ together inside of it.
“One scabbard, six swords.” Emperor Gonflame smiled. “You can carry all of them at the same time. Lifeblood weapons are unlike other weapons. These are freshly forged, and they don’t even have Sword Dao quintessences withim them. They are completely fresh and blank slates; they don’t even have sword-spirits yet. Thus, they’ll be relying on you to pour your own Sword Dao into them to form their quintessences and give birth to their sword-spirits. How far they will be able to develop will be completely up to you.”
Ning stared at the pitch-black scabbard hovering before him and the six swords within them. Ning waved his hand. Whoosh! Instantly, the six swords all flew out.
Every single sword seemed quite ordinary. The blades were very thin but also incredibly sharp.
“Bind them first.” Emperor Gonflame looked at Ning. “You do know how to bind lifeblood swords, right?”
“Fill them with my own blood and nourish them with my own spirit, right?” Ning asked. He was a sword cultivator, after all. Although acquiring lifeblood weapons was quite difficult, he did know how one should bind one if one was lucky enough to acquire one.
“Right.” Emperor Gonflame nodded. “Work hard and take care of those swords. As for the scabbard, you don’t need to spend any effort on it. It’s nothing more than an ordinary top-grade Eternal treasure, with no special properties. I just casually made it into a shape that fits the swords.”
The scabbard and the six swords hovered in front of Ning. Ning stretched out his hand, a wound suddenly appearing within his palm. Blood immediately spurted out. Under Ning’s control, the blood flew out in six streams and covered all six of those swords.
The six swords were all pitch-black in color. Like nursing babies, they absorbed Ning’s fresh blood. The blood spread out over them like a spider web as more and more of it was absorbed into the swords.
To Ning, blood was nothing more than a manifestation of his divine power. After using up more than half of his divine power, his six swords were finally ‘full’.
Whoosh. Ning sent out strands of his divine will towards those six swords. The six swords had absorbed much of Ning’s blood, which contained both his divine power as well as tiny parts of his truesoul. As a result, the swords naturally wouldn’t resist Ning’s will, allowing it burrow deep within their ‘bodies’.
Ning’s divine will completely surrounded the six swords, almost like the embrace of a mother.
Slowly… the six swords began to change internally in a dramatic fashion, almost like how Pangu had been born from the primordial chaos. The six swords were already filled with Ning’s blood. Now, under the guidance and nurturing power of Ning’s soul and will, they began to gain sentience. In truth, this sentience was akin to that of a living being’s; they would be intelligent, grow, and even cultivate independently. This was what the giant bear of Daoist Threelives’ Starseizing Manor had done.
One voice after another cried out as child-like figures began to appear from the surfaces of the six swords. Because of Ning’s own soul and truesoul having influenced their creation, they were born looking like human children.
All of them seemed quite puzzled. As ‘newborns’ who had just come into existence, they didn’t even know how to speak.
“Hello, kids.” When Ning saw those six sword-spirits arise, he suddenly sensed a powerful sense of kinship towards them. In the past, whenever he had bound magic treasures he would be connected to them as well, but those were just ordinary connections. This time…
It was a feeling almost akin to when he had first seen his daughter Brightmoon. It was a connection that came from the deepest parts of his truesoul, a true connection on the most basic of levels. He felt almost like a father towards them! This was another reason why these weapons were referred to as ‘lifeblood’ weapons.
“Be good now.” Ning smiled as he looked at the six of them. They all looked like babies, and all of them were completely naked. Ning laughed as he used his divine will to convey some information to them. In the end, they weren’t mortal children; they grew and learned quite quickly. As soon as Ning sent them some information, they almost immediately learned how to speak.
“Hey, so you are our master?”
The six young fellows all began to call out simultaneously.
Ning couldn’t help but feel a bit helpless. Although they had quickly mastered the concept of language, it would take time for them to grow more intelligent. Right now, they were too young and too innocent.
“From this day forth, you will be ranked in accordance with how quickly you woke up. So you’ll be number one, you’ll be number two, you’ll be number three…” Ning gave all of them rankings.
“Haha.” Emperor Gonflame started to laugh. “Darknorth, have you started to view them as your own children?”
Ning was startled. They were just swords, right? But indeed, he had given them a ‘birth order’ as he might’ve given actual children.
“Many major powers will treat their lifeblood weapons as their own children.” Emperor Gonflame sighed. “It isn’t surprising at all. In the future, it’ll be up to you to help them grow and become stronger. The relationship between you and your swords will only strengthen and deepen. A tiny number of incredible lifeblood weapons will break through to the Universe level, but those Universe treasures will still feel tremendous love and affection for their first master. This is why.”
Ning nodded slowly. The Universe sword belonging to the deceased Hegemon of the sword refused to accept Ning, precisely because it wanted to choose someone whose personality was more similar to the Hegemon’s.
“From this day forth, the six of them shall forever be by your side. They shall venture into battle by your side and brave danger with you,” Emperor Gonflame said. “Treat them well.”
“Understood.” Ning looked at his six swords. This was the first time he truly felt as though his magic treasures were his family members.
“The six of you… you shall be called the Northbow swords,” Ning said.
Northbow. North, because his own Daoist title was Darknorth. Bow, because ‘Rainbowflame Fairy’ was Yu Wei’s Daoist title. His greatest ambition, his purpose behind wanting to become stronger and reach the apex, was in large part because he wanted to bring her back to life. If it hadn’t been for her… even though he would still pursue the path of a cultivator, he wouldn’t be as frenzied as he currently was.
With Northbow swords in hand, he would carve a grand path for himself through the thistles and thorns that filled the path of cultivation.
“Northbow swords? Then I’ll be Boss Northbow.”
“I like that name!”
“I’ll be Northbow Three.”
“I’ll be Northbow Four!”
They all called out, one after the other. However… the final sword, ‘Northbow Six’, just shook his head and let out a disdainful snort.
Ning blinked, then started to laugh. He then sent out his will, causing his sword-intent to pour into the six swords. Ning’s five Supreme Daos began to link together once more as his sword-intents joined together, coiling into the six swords and transforming into their quintessence cores.
Instantly, the auras of the six swords expanded dramatically. Their auras exploded outwards in an awe-inspiring fashion, and the six young fellows revealed looks of delight as well.
“Come in.” Ning willed it, instantly causing all six swords to fly into the scabbard on his back.
“Right now, in terms of quality they are already comparable to top-grade Eternal weapons,” Emperor Gonflame said. “However, they will continue to grow and advance towards the Universe level. Although it is incredibly difficult for lifeblood treasures to grow to become Universe treasures, they’ll continue to strengthen as they grow. Thus, they’ll need to consume various types of materials and ingredients. It’ll be up to you to provide them.”
“Understood.” Ning smiled and nodded. “Helping raise them is part of my responsibilities.”
“Haha, right. ‘Raise’ them well.” Emperor Gonflame smiled as well.
“Emperor, I won’t thank you because mere words will not suffice. I bid you farewell,” Ning said gratefully.
“Mm.” Emperor Gonflame nodded.
That very day, Ning had Daolord Yuhong guide him out of the Trileaf Realm.
“Here is a star map of our universe. Our Trileaf Realm has three spacetime tunnels that lead to three different parts of this universe,” Daolord Yuhong explained.
Ning chose the tunnel that led to an exit closest to the place he had to go.
“Here’s the spacetime tunnel which Master constructed. She is the only one capable of creating spacetime tunnels which traverse virtually the entirety of our universe.” Daolord Yuhong pointed at the enormous, pitch-black vortex up ahead.
“Alright.” Ning turned his head to stare off into the distance, then stepped into the black vortex.
At that very moment, a cold, black-garbed figure was standing outside the Paragon’s estate. The black-garbed Paragon of Pills stared off into the distance. She was able to see the white-robed youth with the black scabbard on his back, and she watched as he stepped into the spacetime tunnel and departed her Trileaf Realm.