Book 36, Daolord of the Fourth Step, Chapter 23 – Returning to the Azureflower Estate
The Azureflower Estate wasn’t that far away from the Three Realms. Given Ji Ning’s abilities to traverse spacetime, he was able to reach the region of pure emptiness that was outside the Azureflower Estate.
Rumble… an invisible wave of power was fluctuating and sweeping through this area, forcing even the prime essences of the universe to stay away. Ning couldn’t help but feel stunned once again when he beheld this sight. He had seen it before, and he was now much more powerful than before… but he still felt this was utterly inconceivable.
“To be able to permanently repel the prime essences of the Chaosverse…” Ning now was at a much higher level of understanding with regards to the Dao and was beginning to understand: “This sort of ability vastly surpasses anything a Hegemon could possibly accomplish. Most likely, not even Otherverse Lords are capable of it. Could it be that an Autarch created the Azureflower Estate? That means the origins of the Nine Chaos Seals are even more incredible than I believed.”
At the same time, Ning was puzzled. Early on, the Nine Chaos Seals had been tremendously useful to Ning. Now that he was a Daolord of the Fourth Step, his divine power and his Immortal energy had become even purer, as had his azureflower mist energy. However, at the highest levels of cultivation, cultivators primarily relied on their insights into the Dao. By now, the azureflower mist energy was of fairly negligible assistance to him.
So… why did the Autarch create a technique like this, then work to guide cultivators of the technique to this place?
Swoosh. Ning flew through the emptiness of the void at incredible speeds. He passed through it, entering the region of golden mist. Although he still saw deluxe hellgold on his way in, he was now in a much different place financially than before. He had already slaughtered quite a few powerful Emperors; the deluxe hellgold was of no interest to him anymore.
“Here we are.” Ning slowly decelerated before coming to a halt in front of the gates of the towering, ancient estate. The words ‘azure’ ‘flower’ continued to hang right above the gates to the Azureflower Estate, radiating an aura of beautiful sanctity.
“Here I am again.” Ning smiled as he advanced. Ruuuumble. The gates to the ancient estate once more opened by themselves as Ning advanced.
Ning strolled inside. He glanced at the three fruit trees within the estate, then waved his hand and caused his Protector golem, Whitethaw, to appear. Whitethaw’s massive body appeared right next to Ning. The golem called out respectfully, “Master.”
“Stay behind me.” Ning said rather seriously, “This place is probably filled with many dangers.” This was most likely a place which an Autarch had spent time and effort constructing, going so far as to capture a large number of Emperors and bring them here. Clearly, the creator of this place had put much more effort into the Azureflower Estate than Autarch Bolin had into the various beastworlds.
“Understood,” Whitethaw said respectfully.
Ning advanced with Whitethaw watching his back. The two quickly reached that bridge once again.
“Milord Emperors! Long time no see.” Ning smiled as he looked at the two gray-robed elders who were seated facing each other within the grasslands up ahead.
“Eh?” The two gray-robed figures turned to glance at Ning. The blood-eyed elder smirked: “Kid, you came back.”
“That was pretty fast. We barely had time to finish a few games of chess before you came back, my young friend.” The silver-eyed elder was quite courteous.
Ning was speechless. A few games of chess? Fine… for immortal Emperors who were trapped here for all eternity, perhaps he really hadn’t spent much time cultivating.
“The Azureflower Estate has continued to attract my interest. After cultivating for many years, I felt that I was perhaps strong enough to pass its trials, and so I came to give it another try,” Ning said.
“Judging from your aura… you haven’t completed the Daomerge and become an Emperor yet, have you?” the silver-eyed elder asked.
“I have not.” Ning shook his head. Eternal Emperors all had auras that were tinged with the hint of inextinguishable eternity.
“Ugh. I already told you last time, although a few extremely talented Daolords of the Fourth Step might be able to defeat the two of us, things will only become even more dangerous as you advance! If you aren’t careful, you will die. I really urge you to at least complete the Daomerge before you try your luck again.” The silver-eyed elder let out a sigh. “You are being far too rash.”
“I want to give it a try.” Ning chuckled. “Maybe I’ll succeed. If I don’t, I’ll come back later.”
“Hmph. If you insist on dying… let me see just how strong you have become.” The blood-eyed elder walked straight towards Ning as he was saying these words.
“Sure, let’s give it a try.” Ning walked towards him as well.
“Last time, you were completely unable to resist my power. Quite a few years have gone by since then. I hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised by your improvements. Otherwise, this will be boring.” A baleful look flickered in the old man’s blood-red eyes.
The silver-eyed elder didn’t try to stop him this time. As he saw it, Ning should’ve already learned just how powerful the two of them were from his first visit. Given that the kid was back, the kid was probably was confident in his chances. If the kid still ended up being killed, he’d have no one to blame save his own dumb self.
Ning walked past the bridge and onto the grasslands.
“Go.” The blood-eyed elder waved his right sleeve, sending it sweeping through the skies and sending a surge of overwhelming power towards Ning.
Ning responded by casually waving his palm as well. Boom! Ning’s palm struck out very casually, but it contained the dominance of his Omega Sword Dao – Heavenbreaker.
Both attacks were extremely dominating in nature, and they came together in a thunderous clash. The blood-eyed elder was instantly sent flying backwards like a streak of light, smashing hard against a distant mountain. The barrier protecting the mountain instantly flickered but was completely undamaged. The blood-eyed elder, however, was ‘planted’ into the barrier in an extremely ungainly manner. It took him a full second before he landed.
He stared at Ning in disbelief. “Y-you…”
“Ah, a golem body?” Ning nodded slightly. He didn’t have any desire to kill these two Emperors at all; they were rather pitiful, after all, having been captured and imprisoned here for so long.
“You were able to reach such a level of power?” The silver-eyed woman walked over as well, stunned.
“I do alright.” Ning nodded. These two guardians were significantly weaker than even Ninedust. Ning was able to effortlessly defeat them with just a few punches and kicks.
“You didn’t use any treasures. You don’t even have glove-type treasures on your hands!” The blood-eyed elder stared at Ning in disbelief. “You were able to crush me with ease using your palms alone. Not even the most powerful supreme Daolords are able to do such a thing. You should be the most powerful Daolord of the current era.”
Ning nodded. “I am.” But it wasn’t just of the ‘current era’; he was the most powerful Daolord to have ever existed.
“I’m completely convinced by your power.” The blood-eyed elder pointed at the passageway behind him, then said coldly, “Go on inside. The estate is filled with even greater dangers. Beating me doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily survive them.”
“Be careful, my young friend. If you feel that you cannot overcome your foes, you should immediately retreat and flee,” the silver-eyed elder said. “So long as you survive, you’ll have other chances in the future.”
“Understood.” Ning said, “Whitethaw, let’s go.”
“Yes, Master.” The Sithe Protector silently fell in line behind Ning. The blood-eyed elder and the silver-eyed elder watched as the two of them headed into the passageway.
“Do you think the kid will make it?” the blood-eyed elder said softly.
“He’s extraordinarily powerful, even amongst supreme Daolords,” the silver-eyed elder said. “It’ll be extremely hard for him to make it into the depths of the estate… but he should be able to keep himself alive.”
“Hard to say.” The blood-eyed elder smirked. “Overconfidence can easily lead to death.”
As Ning walked along the passageway, he soon reached a point where he saw an azure stone plaza off in the distance… and in front of the plaza was a giant palace.
The plaza was covered with over a hundred figures who were broken up into groups of two or three. Some were seated, some were facing each other, some were drinking, some were chatting. When Ning and Whitethaw appeared, all of them turned to stare at him. The invisible aura of might emanating from them caused even Ning to tremble. He could instantly tell that these hundred-plus Emperors were all extraordinary figures.
Whoosh. A white-bearded elder suddenly appeared on the stairs before the plaza. The white-bearded elder was dressed in deep blue robes and emanated an aura of ice. He looked at Ning: “I am the spirit of this estate, and have been guarding it on Master’s orders.”
Ning was briefly startled. Still, almost all ‘major powers’, including both weaker ones like Emperor Waveshift as well as supreme ones like Autarch Bolin or the creator of the Azureflower Estate would generally leave behind estate-spirits. This was the best way to ensure that their goals and orders were followed.”
“This estate is protected by three deadly trials, each one deadlier than the last. The one you just passed on the outside was the simplest trial, the first trial,” the white-haired elder said. “If you can pass all three trials, you will encounter no further dangers.”
“According to what Master said, you’ll earn certain things each time you pass a trial.” The white-haired elder tossed out a jade-green leaf towards Ning. “This is a ‘Lifeblood’ Dao-seal; it can revive virtually all Daolords.”
Ning was startled. It seemed as though there were others besides Emperor Maniseal who were capable of creating these types of Dao-seals.
“However… Daolords of the Fourth Step who trained in one of the legendary Omega Daos have completely surpassed all other Daolords and are on a completely different level. A Samsara-class Dao-seal of this kind is unable to revive them. They must use an Eternal-class ‘Lifeblood’ Dao-seal if they wish to be revived,” the white-bearded elder said.
Ning narrowed his eyes. Omega Dao? The spirit of the Azureflower Estate actually knew of the existence of Omega Daos?