Book 36, Daolord of the Fourth Step, Chapter 26 – As Vast as the Sea
The white-haired elder led the way as Ji Ning and Whitethaw followed from behind.
“Put away your golem. There will no longer be any danger here,” the white-haired elder instructed.
“Yes, senior.” Ning waved his hand, putting away the Protector golem. This trip to the Azureflower Estate had been much smoother than he had anticipated… but when he thought about it, it made sense. The master of the estate had left behind two levels of challenges; one was meant for Daolords, the other was meant for Emperors. The Daolord-level trials had already been quite ridiculous; if Ning hadn’t mastered the [Heartsword] art, even the fourth stage of the Omega Sword Dao wouldn’t have been enough for him to win with ease.
The white-haired elder led the way until they reached a great palace. Boom! The palace walls parted before them, revealing a doorway. They entered through this side passageway and quickly reached a private, quiet hall.
“What is this place?” Ning looked about, rather stunned. This giant hall was filled with enormous bookshelves which leaned against the walls. Every single bookshelf was at least thirty kilometers long, and there were hundreds of layers for each one. Every single layer was filled with jade slips, and they truly were numerous beyond measure. Ning could see no end of them!
Ning was rather dazed. Just a cursory scan indicated that there had to be over a hundred billion scrolls here… and that was just a rough estimate! This was a staggering, unheard-of figure.
“These are all of the more powerful techniques which my master acquired after scouring virtually the entire Chaosverse.” The white-haired elder had a rather complex look in his eyes as he continued slowly, “It doesn’t just have cultivator techniques, it also has Sithe techniques. Master collected and modified them all, making them suitable for us cultivators to use.”
“In other words… this place holds all of the countless elite techniques which were created by the cultivator civilizations and the Sithe civilization.” The white-haired elder looked at Ning. “What you need to do… is to read through all of them.”
“All cultivator civilizations? The entire Sithe civilization?” No matter how steady Ning normally was, he couldn’t help but begin to tremble inside. This was simply inconceivable.
In his original planet of ‘Earth’ in the Three Realms, there was a saying: ‘After you read over ten thousand books, you can write like a god.’ The creation of every single technique represented the accumulated wisdom and insight of one particular cultivator! The reason why Ning was able to become a Daolord of the Fourth Step was in large part due to Ning having the chance to inspect the three hundred-plus Hegemonic legacies which Autarch Bolin had left behind within that special region. They had been incredibly important, as they had broadened Ning’s horizons and let him gain many new insights and epiphanies.
The fruits of all cultivator civilizations were before him. Even the techniques belonging to the Sithe had been modified and retrofitted so that cultivators could make use of them. Countless techniques were gathered here. Their value was truly incalculable! They would be of far more help to him in understanding the Dao than any other treasure. This library was far more valuable than the Voidsea Jadeseal had been; even a Hegemon would go crazy for a chance like this!
“He scoured virtually the entire Chaosverse for these techniques, and even overhauled the techniques of the Sithe civilization…” Ning murmured softly. “Senior, can you please tell me who the master of this estate was?”
“My master didn’t plan to accept any disciples,” the white-haired elder said. “This is nothing more than the inheritance he has entrusted to later generations. Since you have passed his trials, you are deserving of what is here.”
“Inheritance?” Ning narrowed his eyes.
“Your guess is correct. Master is dead.” The white-haired elder glanced at the countless jade scrolls. His face was still cold and calm, but his gaze was rather distant and his voice very soft.
“Dead?” Ning could hardly believe this. “H-he… did he die in battle against the Sithe?”
“Hmph. You overestimate their abilities.” The white-haired elder laughed coldly. “The cultivator civilizations ended up winning our great war against the Sithe! But even if we lost the battle, as an Autarch my master would never have died to them.”
“Then how is it that he died?” Ning truly couldn’t believe it. An Autarch, someone who stood at the very apex of all cultivator civilizations, had somehow died?
“It was a form of suicide.” The white-haired elder shook his head. “Enough questions.”
Ning was rather dazed. A form of suicide? Autarchs had to have incredible Dao-hearts; how could one possibly choose to commit suicide? But then, Ning quickly understood. A ‘form of suicide’… that meant it wasn’t true suicide! Otherwise, why would the estate-spirit add the qualifier ‘a form of’? However, since the estate-spirit didn’t wish to speak further, Ning no longer pursued this line of questioning.
“Senior, you tell this junior who the master of this estate was? Given the grace he has shown to me, I simply must know his name,” Ning said.
“My master’s Daoist title was simply ‘Awakener’. He was referred to as Autarch Awakener.” The white-robed elder’s eyes shone with light.
Ning immediately turned and knelt down towards the countless jade slips in front of him as though he was facing his master. “This junior is named Darknorth. Senior, although you are not my master in title, you are my master in practice! This junior shall forever remember the benevolence you have shown me.” Ning then kowtowed nine times solemnly, wishing to express the gratitude and excitement he felt. Ning then rose to his feet.
“You are quite conscientious.” The white-robed elder nodded slowly when he saw this. “The benevolence Master has shown you vastly surpasses that which most teachers show their students. Not even most of Master’s actual students were permitted to see this techniques; only two were granted access.”
“Mm.” Ning nodded and then asked curiously, “Are you saying that Sithe techniques are not appropriate for us cultivators to train in? They have to be retrofitted first?”
“There are certain fundamental differences between us and the Sithe,” the white-haired elder said. “We are simply completely different on the most basic of levels. They were a different type of lifeform, a very unique type of lifeform, and they had a civilization and culture which belonged to them and them alone! We are not able to use the majority of their techniques, with just a few minor tricks available to us.”
“Enough. Go ahead and read through these first,” the white-haired elder instructed. “Also – before doing that, go ahead and swear an oath that you will not transmit anything you see here.”
Ning nodded. The lord of the Azureflower Estate, Autarch Awakener, hadn’t even permitted most of his personal disciples to view this place. Ning was lucky to even have a chance to read in this place; how could he possibly be permitted to transmit these techniques as he pleased? It had taken even Autarch Awakener an incredible amount of blood, sweat, and effort to accumulate all these techniques.
And so, Ning began a new life devoted to reading. He buried himself in the countless jade slips while surrounded by a field of accelerated time that was a hundred times faster than normal time. He memorized one jade slip after another.
This truly was a sea of techniques, and they came from different races, different realmverses, and different otherverses. They represented the accumulated wisdom of countless mighty cultivators, and Ning’s horizons were truly broadened. In fact, he was beginning to rapidly gain tremendous amounts of insight into the other Daos he was fairly skilled in, such as the Dao of Water and the Dao of Lightning! He was even gaining more insights into the [Omega Sword Dao] and the [Heartsword] art, both of which had already reached incredible heights.
The reading alone was enough to help him upgrade his insights. This was because he was reading and absorbing the accumulated wisdom of countless cultivators.
Ning began to feel himself change and transform as he subsumed himself within this sea of techniques. A new foundation was being established. Reading and memorizing all of these countless techniques was a way for him to dramatically expand his foundation of understanding! Right now, he had merely done some cursory reading; later on, he would train in each technique in detail. He would improve even more then! These countless techniques represented an inconceivable treasure in terms of cultivating the Dao. This was why Ning hadn’t hesitated at all in kneeling down and kowtowing as though he was in front of his master. He truly felt grateful.
For the first time… Ning began to feel that he had a chance at succeeding in the Daomerge.
By now, Ning was incredibly powerful and was able to read incredibly fast. It took him merely 130 million years to completely read through everything once. But of course, if one factored in the usage of temporal acceleration then Ning had actually spent over 13 billion years reading.
“I’m done reading.” Ning put down the final jade slip. His very aura itself had begun to change a bit. He had become more reserved and more ordinary-looking.
Over the course of reading for the past millions of years, Ning felt as though he had gained a picture of all cultivator civilizations as well as the entire Sithe civilization. He had bathed in the accumulated wisdom of two entire civilizations, and he no longer felt the slightest bit of pride in himself. So what if he had developed an Omega Dao? What was so pride-worthy about that? He was nothing more than someone who, prior to becoming a Samsara Daolord, had a few special ideas and encountered enough fortunate experiences that he was able to embark upon the path of the Omega Dao.
The Hegemons weren’t necessarily less talented than him, just not as lucky… and the likes of Emperor Heartsword, who had developed the [Heartsword] art, was also a freakishly talented figure.
The cultivator civilizations, as a whole, had far too many incredibly talented figures.
“Done reading?” The white-robed elder’s voice rang out.
Ning raised his head to look at the elder, then nodded. “I’m done reading. I feel as though the pride I felt previously was absolutely laughable.”
“In the great sea of the various cultivator civilizations, only Autarchs are truly supreme and transcendent. All others are quite common and ordinary.” The white-robed elder waved a finger, causing countless streams of light to appear midair within the palace. The light surged forward and opened a door which led to a hidden dimension… and from that hidden dimension flew out a series of jade slips as well as a single dazzling and eye-catching godsense crystal.
This godsense crystal was far more dazzling than any gemstone. It caused even Ning’s heart to shudder.
“Here are eleven scrolls of Omega Daos as well as my master’s own Dao,” the white-haired elder said.