Book 30, Ancient Cultivator, Chapter 1 – Border Territory ‘Eastroad’
A black flying vessel was soaring rapidly through the Endless Territories. Using spacetime transfer arrays might allow you to skip 99% of the journey, but there were still some areas you had no choice but to slowly fly through. The distance would be comparatively short, but you would still need to fly for decades or even centuries.
Aboard the black flying vessel. Ji Ning, Pillsaint, Su Youji were sipping wine and relaxing here.
“Daolord Eastroad died? He was such an incredible Daolord, and yet he died, just like that.” Pillsaint shook his head and sighed.
“It is probable that after another 108,000 chaos cycles, every single Daolord of our generation in the Endless territories will be dead! If even two or three can survive, I would be amazed,” Su Youji said. To live past 108,000 required you to become an Eternal Emperor, but generally speaking only the weakest, most unremarkable Daolords of the Fourth Step would have a shot at it!
They had very weak Daos, and so the had the best chance at the Daomerge. However… after becoming Eternal Emperors, they would become the punching bags of the Endless Territories! Daolords of great power would furiously chase after them, hoping to kill them in order to make a name for themselves. Thus, all of the weaker Eternal Emperors would soon die. Only the slightly stronger ones or the ones who had special protective abilities would be able to remain alive.
“108,000 chaos cycles is a very, very long period of time. Haha. Ordinary mortals are only able to live a hundred years, while many plants and crops only survive for one harvest.” Ning chuckled. “I’ve been training for far less than even a single chaos cycle; in fact, I’m not even close to 0.01% of a chaos cycle yet. If I can be a dazzling figure for 108,000 chaos cycles, I’ll be satisfied. But of course, if I can succeed in my Daomerge and gain eternity, that would be even better.”
“Haha, Master, if you succeeded and became an Eternal Emperor, you would probably become a Hegemon,” Pillsaint said.
“He would definitely be a Hegemon.” Su Youji’s eyes were shining. “I’m excited just imagining him as a Hegemon.”
“Alright, alright. Don’t get too crazy now.” Ning shook his head. Most likely, more than a few of the most talented cultivators all dreamed of becoming Hegemons, but that really was nothing more than a dream. How many would actually be able to succeed?
“Eh?” Ning suddenly nodded slowly. “Time to deal with that Daolord of the Fourth Step.”
Within Ning’s estate-world. There was a grassy area here with a green-robed alien woman seated within it. She had long, graceful green hair and a pair of silken blue eyes which were filled with worry.
“Master actually died. How could this have happened?” Although Daolord Kongsan had died quite a few days ago, the green-robed woman still felt stunned. She had her own direct connection to Kongsan, and so as soon as he died she immediately knew.
“Master had incredible powers aimed at keeping himself alive. Normal Eternal Emperors would be able to do nothing to him.” The green-robed woman was rather restless and nervous. “Then what should I do? Will that white-robed Daolord kill me?”
“No… I can’t just die like this…” The green-robed woman’s heart was filled with fear. Previously, she had been happy to be captured rather than killed, as that meant the enemy might negotiate with Daolord Kongsan and ransom her. But now that Kongsan was dead… there was no one who would come to save her. Her destiny was completely within Ning’s hands.
Whoosh. A white-robed figure suddenly manifested off in the distance. The green-robed woman couldn’t help but turn her head to look at him, only to see him walk towards her. He said calmly, “From that look on your face, I imagine you already know that Daolord Kongsan is dead. You now have two options. One, I kill you. Two, you submit to me and follow me.”
The green-robed woman’s heart unclenched. Her greatest fear was that Ning would kill her without even bothering to speak with her. She hurriedly rose to her feet, then respectfully knelt down in front of Ning. “Naia is willing to submit and forever serve you, Master. All of Naia’s magic treasures are yours to take.”
“Your magic treasures remain your own.” Ning wouldn’t go so far as to take the possessions of this new retainer. He smiled. “From this day forth, you shall be my third Daolord retainer. Also – my Daoist monicker is Darknorth. It’d be rather embarrassing if you didn’t even know the name of the person you were serving.”
“Understood,” Daolord Naia said respectfully. In her heart, she repeated the name ‘Darknorth’ over and over.
From this day forth, Daolord Naia became Ning’s retainer as well.
Daolord Naia swore a lifeblood oath and was then summoned out of the estate-world by Ning to the black flying vessel.
“The three of you should get acquainted with each other.” Ning smiled as he pointed at the green-robed woman. “She is Daolord Naia, formerly the eldest disciple of Kongsan. From this day forth, she shall be one of my retainers as well.”
“A Daolord of the Fourth Step?”
“A retainer?” Both Pillsaint and Su Youji were rather excited, and they began to engage Daolord Naia in a casual conversation.
Daolord Naia was a taciturn person, but she wasn’t a bad person by nature. Ning had purchased the most detailed intelligence report the Skywood Sect had regarding Daolord Kongsan, and so he had naturally learned some information regarding his disciples as well. Kongsan’s eldest disciple, Daolord Naia, had been introduced in detail. She had loyally followed and served Kongsan, not causing any trouble or going out of her way to commit sinful deeds. She was a very obedient and loyal subordinate.
“It seems as though she is not a villain by nature. I suppose I can accept it.” This was the reason why Ning had been willing to take her own as a retainer. If she was a very vile person, Ning probably would’ve slain her without a second glance.
And so, Ning led Su Youji, Pillsaint, and Naia on their journey. They first visited the Brightshore Kingdom, making use of its spacetime tunnels to travel to a very remote part of the Endless Territories which was closer to the Eastroad Territory. This was an extremely long journey. Fortunately, Ning had a vessel which flew at a hundred times the speed of light, and had also saved a great deal of travel time by using the Brightshore Kingdom’s spacetime tunnels. And so, after five hundred or so years they finally reached the distant Eastroad Territory.
“The Eastroad Territory. This puts us at the outermost borderlands of the Endless Territories.” The black flying vessel flew out of a chaos star and into the primordial chaos. Ning and the others were aboard the vessel, and they stared at the vast territory before them. This was the Eastroad Territory!
“Master.” Daolord Naia said respectfully, “The Eastroad Territory, as one of the outermost border territories, is a place of great danger. There are also sinister forces hidden here! When Daolord Eastroad was alive, his fame and reputation sufficed to stun and overawe the entire territory, ensuring that those sinister forces wouldn’t dare to cause any trouble. But now that he is dead… I’m afraid his homeland will never be so stable again.”
“This is the reason why his greatest concern was for what would happen to his homeland after he died,” Ning said.
“The borderlands of the Endless Territories…” Ning glanced off into the distance. “Outside the borderlands is the Great Dark, right?”
“Right. The Great Dark.” Daolord Naia nodded.
“An endless sea of darkness… darkness without end…” Pillsaint let out a sigh as well, and Su Youji had a complex look on her face.
The Endless Territories was the region where countless cultivators, Aberrants, Aeonians, and others all lived. But what was outside of it? Aside from some incredibly dangerous places like the Terror Starsea, outside the Endless Territories lay the endless darkness of the Great Dark. There were no chaos stars there, nor chaosworlds, nor light, nor spacetime transfer arrays. There was nothing more than silent, deathly still darkness. Darkness without end! How long did the darkness stretch? No one knew, because it was simply too vast. Daolords would not dare to traverse it… but Eternal Emperors, who had endless longevity, would.
Emperor Mirrorsnow, Emperor Waveshift, and other mighty figures were all filled with curiosity about the Great Dark, and so they had entered it and began a drifting journey through it. They had unlimited lifespans, which was why they dared do such a thing… but despite that, they had still yet to return.
“More than one Daolord has given it a try,” Ning said softly. “Those Daolords sent their avatars to explore the Great Dark, but to the day they died their avatars were still mired in the endless darkness.”
“How terrifying,” Pillsaint murmured.
“It’s not that terrifying. In the end, the Great Dark is just a dead region,” Daolord Naia said. “By contrast, the Terror Starsea is truly frightening. The Terror Starsea is similarly endless, but it is filled with countless dangers and unlimited possibilities. Not even the three Hegemons dare to barge into it rashly.”
“The Terror Starsea is the number one deathtrap that we know of.” Ning smiled. “But enough of that. When we’re all tired of living, we can go pay the Terror Starsea a little visit. For now, let’s stay away from places we aren’t supposed to visit. Come. Our mission this time is to help Daolord Eastroad pacify his homeland.”
Pacifying this territory would not be an easy feat. This was a borderlands territory, which meant that the Dao Alliance’s influence here was virtually negligible! Some of the surrounding territories being controlled by the Aberrants, the Aeonians, and even some other sinister forces. Some even suspected that outside invaders, such as the Dark Kingdom, were present.
In short, the borderlands were amongst the most chaotic places in all the Endless Territories.