Book 31, Starflow River, Chapter 13 – The Flower of Eternity
“When will the Daomerge occur?” Ji Ning asked.
“Right now.” Daolord Laya looked at Ning. “Brother Darknorth, I would like to ask you to loan me the stone censer during the Daomerge process.”
“A minor matter.” Ning immediately nodded in acceptance.
Daolord Laya waved his hand, causing a triangular altar to appear right next to him. The altar had three black bones atop it, and in the center of the bones was a depression. Daolord Laya took out a jade bottle, unplugged the stopper, then poured out a stream of bright silver liquid that quickly flowed into the depression.
Daolord Laya then took one step forward, appearing above the altar. He then sat down in the lotus position at the very center of it.
“I spent quite a bit of effort in preparing this altar as well.” Daolord Laya smiled towards Ning and Ninedust. “Ninedust, I imagine that you Ancient cultivators have even better tools at your disposal.”
“Of course.” The Ninedust Sectlord nodded. “My race has a very suitable Daomerge location, and our Verge-level Daolords will generally return to our homelands for their Daomerge for that reason. Only if some sort of special situation prevents them from coming home would they ever attempt the Daomerge outside.”
“The Ancient cultivators really do live up to their reputation,” Daolord Laya said. “My race does not have the ability to create a special Daomerge location.” As he spoke, he glanced at Ning. “Brother Darknorth, I’d like to ask you to place the stone censer before the altar.”
“Alright.” With but a thought, Ning sent the censer over towards the triangular altar, roughly three meters away from Daolord Laya. This allowed Daolord Laya to be able to absorb and inhale the fragrance which emanated from it.
Daolord Laya waved his hand, causing a second palm-sized jade bottle to appear. After pulling out the stopper, he shook out a single round and smooth pill that emanated faint golden light. What looked like serpents could be seen swimming within the golden light. He opened his mouth and immediately swallowed the pill into his stomach.
“A Nethercold Jadedrake pill? Oho! It seems the Starflow race’s resources are quite ample. Even I don’t have a single such pill,” the Ninedust Sectlord said with praise.
Thanks to having studied the [Seven Leafpill Chapters], Ning knew quite a bit regarding the various pills that could be used to assist in the Daomerge. Nethercold Jadedrake pills allowed one to completely calm and empty out one’s mind and heart, putting both into a state of inconceivable clarity. If used to engage in Numerancy or calculations, one’s mind would be able to move a thousand times faster than normally. The Daomerge was a process that wasn’t exactly short, but no Daolord would describe it as ‘long’. Thus, the faster they were able to engage in the various calculations they needed to engage in during the time allotted them, the better.
Nethercold Jadedrake pills were recorded within the [Seven Leafpill Chapters]. They were ranked eighth amongst the various types of Daomerge-assisting pills. But of course, there were only a total of twelve such pills even recorded down to begin with, and every single type of Daomerge-assisting pill was incredibly valuable. As for the top five, they truly were shockingly rare. The top five pills… even the Paragon of Pills herself had to use all the power and skill available to her to succeed at making the second through fifth pills, and the process wasn’t an easy one. In the end, it was truly a matter of talent. If the Paragon of Pills wished to make the second-ranked pill, she would have to pay an enormous price and spend an extremely long period of time while using up many precious materials.
Ordinary Daolords would kill themselves and still fail to find any of the twelve pills, to say nothing of the top five.
“My race was lucky enough to stumble onto a few. I rendered a few merits and so was rewarded with a pill.” Daolord Laya smiled. “Fellow Daoists, I’m going to begin now. I hope that once my Daomerge concludes, I will have gained my eternity.”
“Gain eternity.” Both Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord quietly looked at him, mentally wishing him luck.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Daolord Laya sat down in the lotus position. He closed his eyes, then took a deep breath. The fragrance in the surrounding area quickly flooded into his body. Slowly, ripples of power began to emanate from within his body, which started to shine with blurry golden light. This was the light of the Dao.
“He has started his Daomerge,” Ninedust said.
Ning watched carefully as well. “I wonder if he will succeed.” Even as a mere spectator, Ning still felt a sense of pressure weighing down on his heart. The Daomerge… in the end, it was the final end which awaited all Daolords.
“His path is the Dao of Metal,” Ninedust murmured softly. “He’s slowly beginning a final fusion of all of his Samsara Daolord-level insights into the Dao of Metal. If his fusion is completely perfect, then he’ll have created a Dao which shall last unto eternity! However, the slightest of imperfections shall result in failure.”
Ning watched silently. His own Omega Sword Dao might be extremely powerful, but it wasn’t anywhere close to the ‘perfect and eternal’ level. This was true for the first stage, the second stage, and even the hypothetical fourth stage.
What did eternity represent? It meant that a particular Dao was completely flawless and perfect. The passage of time would not age that Dao in the slightest; only then could a Dao truly be worth of the title ‘eternal’.
Daolord Laya was on par with the likes of Ning, Ninedust, and Kongsan. Most likely, he had only mastered a single Supreme Dao. His Daomerge would be somewhat easier than Ninedust’s and Bertulu’s, as all he had to do was simply complete the Daomerge on the basis of the Dao foundation he had already set up. Ning was on an even higher level; for him, reaching true perfection in a Dao was almost impossibly hard.
In Ning’s estimation, based on the fact that his first stage Omega Sword Dao was an all-encompassing Dao which had already begun to resonate with the prime essence of the sword, if he did gain eternity with this Dao then it would become on par with the universe’s prime essence of the sword itself. One could imagine how hard that would be to achieve!
Time continued to flow on. Ning and Ninedust both continued to watch. Generally speaking, a Daomerge would take at most a total of nine years! It was difficult to estimate how short the ‘shortest’ Daomerge would be. It was possible for failure to appear after just two weeks; this was a sign that one’s deficiencies were very significant.
“I wonder if he’ll be able to crystallize his flower of eternity,” Ninedust murmured softly.
“The flower of eternity.” An expectant look was in Ning’s eyes as well.
When one embarked on the Daomerge, the Dao-tree would once more begin to evolve. Upon reaching the Verge, the Dao-tree within the Jindan chaos region would reach a total of 540,000 meters in height. It must be understood that this was the same height as an Eternal Emperor’s Dao-tree! There was no way for the Dao-tree to grow any larger or any taller. When you began to Daomerge, you would need to perfectly merge together all of the insights of the Dao-tree and form a beautiful, eternal flower.
The flowering of the Dao-tree and the blooming of this beautiful flower of eternity was a sign that the Daomerge had been successful. The flower of eternity would contain the gathered and combined insights of every single scrap of Dao the Dao-tree possessed. But if you failed, the flower of eternity would wither just as it started to bloom.
Boom! Boom! Boom! After Daolord Laya had spent two years in the Daomerge process, the golden light around his body suddenly expanded dramatically, becoming dazzling to behold. His aura began to rapidly increase in power and presence, eclipsing the auras of both Ning and Ninedust. The aura continued to climb, rising above the level of any and every Daolord…
He was someone who had mastered a single Supreme Dao and was significantly more powerful than even Emperor Mirrorsnow had been. Once he gained eternity, he would be on the level of the eight lords of the Sacred Cities.
The Daomerge truly could result in a skyrocketing level of power for any Daolord.
“He’s at the critical time now,” the Ninedust Sectlord muttered softly. “Time to go all out.”
“Success or failure will be determined right now.” Ning watched nervously as well.
The Daomerge had already gone on for two years. Clearly, Daolord Laya had reached the point where he needed to unleash all of his insights. He had to charge through this final barrier. If he succeeded, then it would be a complete success and he would have gained eternity. But if he was lacking in even the slightest… he would fail.
Boom! Boom! Daolord Laya sat there, an agonized look on his face. Golden light radiated from his entire body in awe-inspiring fashion as the power of the Dao of Metal radiated out from him. His aura continued to grow more powerful, but it also began to shudder.
Whoosh. Suddenly, all of the golden light vanished from him, and his aura quickly began to decay as well.
“Failure.” Both the Ninedust Sectlord and Ning slowly shook their heads.
“No…” Daolord Laya mumbled to himself. He had been able to ‘see’ that a flower of eternity had already begun to take shape atop the Dao-tree in his Jindan chaos region, but the flower had withered away before having a chance to bloom.
He had failed.
His soul and truesoul had been in the process of transforming into the Eternal Emperor level. The process had clearly failed, and both began to undergo a final, irreversible crumbling. This crumbling was extremely slow, but there was no way to stop it at all, as the crumbling was occurring at the very center of his being. If he didn’t fight, the crumbling would take an extremely long time to complete, but each time he engaged someone else in battle he would be hastening the end of his own life.
Still seated above the triangle altar, Daolord Laya opened his eyes. He looked at Ning and Ninedust, a hint of grief in his eyes, then let out a pained smile. “Fellow Daoists, the Daomerge truly is harder than all else under the heavens. I had my altar, used spirit-pills, and had the assistance of the Stone Censer of Reunion. I felt extremely good about my chances, but I still failed. The flower of eternity withered away as soon as the bud appeared. It didn’t even have a chance to bloom. Clearly, I wasn’t even close.”
“Laya, failing the Daomerge is normal,” Ninedust said consolingly. “In the end, very few are able to complete the Daomerge, and Daolords on our level of power who can do so are even more rare.”