Book 34, The Stone Hellephant Wall, Chapter 2 – Autarch
“Hope?” Ji Ning’s eyes lit up.
Hegemon Netherlily, Hegemon Brightshore, Hegemon Windrain, Emperor Severfive, Emperor Goldisle, and Emperor Islehide all secretly shook their heads. Hegemon Netherlily continued, “There is no way for an Eternal Emperor to resist the backlash from the Chaosverse. Only those legendary figures who are even more powerful than Eternal Emperors can accomplish it… only they can reverse spacetime and revive your Dao-companion.”
“Even more powerful than Eternal Emperors?” Ning was stunned, as were Ninedust and Winesage. There was a level of power beyond that of the Eternal Emperors?
“The Chaosverse is vast and without end, filled with realmverses and otherverses.” Hegemon Netherlily’s voice was soft and drifting. “The most powerful figures who stand at the apex of each realmverse or otherverse are almost always the Hegemons! However… the vast Chaosverse has figures of even greater power. We respectfully address them as ‘Autarch’.”
“Autarch?” Ning immediately engraved this title into his heart.
Hegemon Brightshore nodded, a look of eagerness in his eyes. “Yes. Autarchs! Everworlds are created by Eternal Emperors… and otherverses are created by Autarchs.”
“They created the otherverses?” Ning was stunned. He had been to one of those alternate universes before. It had contained a complete set of prime essences, such as the Dao of the Sword and many other Daos. All of those things could be sensed! How could such a universe have been artificially created?
“Autarchs are the true and absolute rulers of the Chaosverse who stand above all other living beings,” Hegemon Netherlily said. “We Eternal Emperors have developed our own eternal Daos… but that isn’t the true apex of cultivation. Only by making repeated breakthroughs and raising your Dao to a level where it can become one of the prime essences of the universe can a cultivator be capable of creating an otherverse.”
“Autarchs are incredibly rare. I’ve never met any of them in my entire life.” Hegemon Brightshore shook his head, while the other two Hegemons revealed looks of envy and admiration. They hadn’t met any Autarchs either; they had only heard of them.
“When the Sithe launched that war, it encompassed a great many places. The main reason why we cultivators were able to gain victory over them was because we had our Autarchs,” Hegemon Brightshore said. “Although the Sithe were extremely strong and incredibly advanced in many areas, the Autarchs led us to completely wipe the Sithe out in the end. If it wasn’t for the Autarchs, we probably would’ve been annihilated or enslaved long ago.”
Ning, Ninedust, and Winesage were all speechless. Autarchs? So the highest level of cultivation in the Chaosverse was the Autarch level?
“They are capable of reversing spacetime and roam through the Chaosverse with ease! They are even capable of creating those alternate universes…” Hegemon Brightshore continued, “If an Autarch was willing to spend the time, he would be able to destroy even the likes of the Yin-Yang Samsara Wheels that threaten and will eventually annihilate our Flamedragon Realmverse.”
“Autarchs are capable of destroying the Yin-Yang Samsara Wheels?” The nearby Winesage couldn’t help but ask, “Then why don’t we invite them to help out? Are they really going to just watch as such a vast realmverse is annihilated?”
“You are mistaken,” Hegemon Windrain replied. “Autarchs view things through a completely different lens than the rest of us. An Autarch once said that all things and all creatures in the universe must follow the natural cycle of life and death. The Yin-Yang Samsara Wheels were born from the primordial chaos for the express purpose of wiping out the Flamedragon Realmverse. In other words, it is part of the laws and functioning of the Chaosverse. If they were forcibly destroy the Yin-Yang Samsara Wheels, they would suffer a backlash from the Chaosverse itself, and an incredibly strong one at that. The Autarchs are not willing to do such a thing.”
“Autarchs have truly transcended beyond all things. They are absolutely invincible, and neither spacetime nor karma nor anything else have any impact on them at all.”
“To them, the birth and destruction of entire realmverses is nothing more than the blooming and withering of a flower. I have never even seen an Autarch in my entire life.” Hegemon Windrain looked at Ning. “Darknorth, my young friend… only an Autarch is capable of rescuing your Dao-companion.”
Ning’s heart sank. He had to ask an Autarch to intervene? The three Hegemons had been around for countless years, but none of them had even seen an Autarch. One could only imagine how difficult it would be to actually get an Autarch to help out!
“Are these fruits enough?” Ning asked.
“Haha…” Emperor Goldisle laughed. “Not even close. Not even close! A hundred times this amount of fruit still wouldn’t be enough.”
“If you want an Autarch to revive your Dao-companion… if you actually owned the Crimsonwave Temple and offered it to an Autarch as a gift, you might succeed.” Hegemon Brightshore shook his head and laughed. “The fruits you have ripen every few thousand chaos cycles. Crimsonwave Temple can produce more and more fruit unto perpetuity.” Crimsonwave Temple itself was worth far more than a hundred times as much as all of the fruits Ning had acquired.
“Ah!” Ning instantly understood.
“So there’s nothing I can do right now, right?” Ning asked.
“Right. None of us can do what you ask. Only an Autarch can.” Hegemon Brightshore looked at Ning. “But at least there is hope. If your Dao-companion was at the World level or was a Samsara Daolord, the backlash generated by reviving them would be exponentially greater. By then, you would have no chance at all.”
“Right.” Ning quickly calmed down again. Prior to speaking to these major powers for the first time regarding the revival of Yu Wei, Ning had already mentally prepared himself for failure. Others might feel despair at this response… but Ning was actually filled with vigor! This was because he was still just a Daolord of the Third Step. Once he became a Daolord of the Fourth Step and further improved his [Heartsword] arts, he might indeed be able to acquire treasures that were as valuable as Crimsonwave Temple.
“What if I was really able to acquire something as valuable as Crimsonwave Temple?” Ning couldn’t help but ask this follow-up question. “How would I go find out an Autarch then?”
“You wouldn’t need to,” Emperor Goldisle said. “The Dao Alliance would help you send the word to the Autarch.”
“Oh?” Ning glanced at Emperor Goldisle in surprise. The Dao Alliance’s resources truly were unfathomable. It was actually capable of sending information to an Autarch?
“But remember, given that Crimsonwave Temple is capable of giving birth to a new crop of fruits every few thousand chaos cycles or so, its value is far greater than that of the fruits you have acquired thus far. In fact, it’s worth much more than all of the treasures I’ve accumulated over the course of countless years.” Hegemon Brightshore smiled as he looked at Ning. “Darknorth, it won’t be easy for you to acquire something as valuable as Crimsonwave Temple. You need to mentally prepare yourself for this task.”
“If you wish to reap great rewards, you’ll need to be prepared for taking on great dangers,” Hegemon Windrain said. “For example, the Terror Starsea. The Terror Starsea was part of the Dawn War’s battlefield and is filled with many leftover relics and treasures, but it’s also filled with countless dangers. If you are willing and able to take on the necessary risk, you might be able to find Hegemon-level relics or even powerful treasures left behind by the Sithe race. It’s entirely possible that you’ll find something as valuable as Crimsonwave Temple.”
“Right.” Ning nodded.
The three mighty Hegemons didn’t dare to take on too much risk without a good reason, as they were the pillars of their respective organizations. The Terror Starsea was simply too dangerous; even Hegemons might die in there if they were unlucky. The negative repercussions were simply too grave, which was why it was generally only the Daolords who dared to risk it. Daolords only stood an ephemeral chance of succeeding at the Daomerge anyhow!
“Autarchs, eh?” Ning silently reflected on this term. Autarchs, the most supreme existences of the cultivation world, the leaders who led the cultivators to victory over the Sithe…
“We are unable to reverse spacetime and revive your Dao-companion. Darknorth, what else do you plan to trade your fruits for?” Hegemon Brightshore asked.
“Speak, Darknorth. What do you need?”
“Just state your requests.”
Emperor Goldisle, Hegemon Windrain, and the others all looked at Ning as they spoke.
Since reviving Yu Wei was impossible for now, he would have to focus on further strengthening himself. Only then would he stand a chance at acquiring a treasure equivalent to Crimsonwave Temple in value.
“Seniors.” Ning waved his finger, causing a series of runes to fly out. The many runes listed the various materials needed for Ning to train in the second and third levels of the [Sword Dao Body], the protective divine ability Ning had acquired from the deceased Sword Hegemon. There were four levels to this divine ability, and once reached it would allow Ning’s body to become comparable to the best Eternal treasures.
“Seniors, take a look at these materials. How much fruit do I need to give up for them?” Ning asked.
“Eh?” The three Hegemons and three leading Emperors all stared at the list, as did some of the other Eternal Emperors behind them who had yet to even speak.
“Hm. I’ll only need sixty of the coldflame cauldron fruits for this,” Hegemon Netherlily said.
“I’ll only need forty-five of the same.” Emperor Goldisle of the Dao Alliance smiled. The three mighty Hegemons and the other Emperors instantly looked at him in irritation. The items which Ning had requested were all extraordinary; as they saw it, at least fifty coldflame cauldron fruits would be necessary.
“Emperor Goldisle, you are going a bit too far. Yes, your Dao Alliance has many treasures, but how can you give such a low offer?” Emperor Islehide frowned.
“How are we even supposed to compete if you are going to act like this?” Hegemon Windrain complained in a rumbling voice as well.
“Haha…” Emperor Goldisle laughed loudly. “We agreed early on that we’d compete fairly with each other. I’m doing just that.”
Ning gawked at the sight. He also noticed that although Crimsonwave Temple had produced nine types of fruit, all of the Emperors were focused on the ninth fruit, the coldflame cauldron fruits. This made Ning realize just how especially attractive these particular fruits were.
“Seniors, I’ve harvested eight types of fruit on this trip,” Ning said. “I’m willing to use the ‘purepeace fruit’ to trade for the materials I just requested. Might I ask how many are necessary?”
The purepeace fruit ripened every 30,000 chaos cycles. Ning had 18,000 of them!