Book 37, Flamewing God, Chapter 2 – Unexpected Surprise
Ninedust had failed to dissuade Ji Ning, but he decided to temporarily reside within Vastheaven Palace. That way, he would be able to keep in constant contact with Ning and be able to report details regarding his situation. This would be helpful to Ning in Ning’s efforts to rescue him.
Within the Terror Starsea. Ning’s true body was hastening through the region, his Protector in tow. This place was far too dangerous; even Ning had to advance through it with great caution. After roughly eight hundred years, the two finally made it to the Jadefire Realm.
“We arrived.” Ning stared off into the front at the enormous, nigh-infinite vortex of fire which had appeared in the void. The flame vortex took up an enormous amount of territory. Each petal of fire was very beautiful, but filled with tremendous danger.
“Master.” Whitethaw’s eyes suddenly lit up and he spoke out.
“Yes?” Ning glanced at Whitethaw.
“I’ve been here before,” Whitethaw said.
“You’ve been here before?” Ning was delighted. He suddenly remembered that Daoist Bluestone had acquired this Sithe Protector in the Terror Starsea! Whitethaw had been charged with protecting an extremely high-status Sithe, which in turn meant it wasn’t that surprising for them to have visited the Jadefire Realm before.
“Yes.” Whitethaw nodded. “My original Sithe master was invited here before. This place which you cultivators call the ‘Jadefire Realm’ was known to the Sithe as the ‘Seven Flaming Hells’.”
“What else do you know?” Ning was overjoyed. This truly was an unexpected surprise. The more he learned about the Jadefire Realm, the easier his visit to it would be.
Whitethaw held nothing back from his new master: “This is a deathtrap which the Sithe laboriously built up. My master was merely invited here to view it, and so I only have a cursory knowledge of it! The heart of the Seven Flaming Hells are the seven core prisons within it. Those seven prisons are paramount, but there are a large number of ordinary cells as well! All of them, together, form the ‘Seven Flamehell Annihilation Formation’ which can generate a type of destructive black flames. Aside from Autarchs, virtually anyone touched by these destructive black flames will perish.”
Ning was in awe as he nodded slowly. “Those black flames… we cultivators refered to them as a wave of ‘Decimatus Flames’.”
“However, the Sithe ended up being defeated in the war. That means the Seven Flaming Hells were probably attacked and destroyed, along with its formation,” Whitethaw said. “Thus, Master, there’s no need for you to worry about the Decimatus Flames.”
Ning listened as Whitethaw continued: “Part of those prisons are damaged, but part are probably intact. If you wish to save your friend, Master, you must first find out where he is. If he’s trapped in a damaged prison, you’ll have a chance to rescue him! But if he is within an intact prison… rescuing him will be very, very difficult.”
“In addition, your enemy ‘Archon Silksnow’ is also present. Based on what you said, Master, he’s not inside the prisons. There are a large number of passageways outside the prisons,” Whitethaw said. “These many passageways are filled with many traps and barriers. The Sithe once controlled them to ensure that cultivators were unable to escape. Many died in those passageways or were blasted into a prison during the battles. My guess is that Archon Silksnow is definitely planning to use those mechanisms to trap you, Master.”
“Passageways? Prisons?” Ning nodded.
“When my original Sithe master was invited to come here, the receiving Sithe warned him never to fly within the passageways! He was only to walk on the ground. That way, even if he did run into some of the barriers, at least he wouldn’t be sent into the prisons.” Whitethaw smiled. “No matter how dangerous the situation on the ground might seem, he was not to fly at all.”
“The ground is filled with many dangerous barriers and formations, but they aren’t capable of killing Hegemons. It is precisely because of how dangerous the ground looks that many cultivators choose to fly instead, seeking to avoid those dangers.” Whitethaw continued, “But while it is true that you will encounter much fewer dangers while flying… the ones that you will encounter are lethally dangerous ones! Even Hegemons might perish.”
Ning nodded slowly. If it hadn’t been for Whitethaw telling him this, Ning would never have been able to guess at all of these secrets.
“You have to be careful, Master. I’ve only been to this place once with my original Sithe master before,” Whitethaw said, “And I’m only familiar with a few of the passageways which my Sithe master once took. As for the more important secrets of the prisons, I wasn’t privy to those.”
“You’ve told me enough. This is excellent.” Ning smiled.
Even when the Jadefire Realm was in perfect shape, so long as one walked without flying one wouldn’t encounter any dangers which could threaten Hegemons! Now that the Jadefire Realm was in bad shape, things would be even safer. Neither Archon Silksnow nor the Ninedust Sectlord had died in the passageways, after all.
“Hmph. Silksnow, so long as you stay outside the prisons, you won’t be able to threaten me no matter how you plot.” Ning felt much more relaxed, and a cold light flashed through his eyes. “I’m not going to die here, but you are.”
“Let’s go inside, Whitethaw,” Ning said. Whoosh. The two of them immediately flew into that enormous vortex of fire.
The enormous vortex of fire was pitch-black inside. After Ning and Whitethaw entered, they felt as though they had entered a completely different world.
“Eh?” Ning saw clusters of fiery passageways up ahead. The countless fiery passageways were all interlinked, almost like an enormous beehive.
During the Dawn War, this had been a Sithe base. The Sithe would be able to retreat here and recuperate in safety… but the cultivators who dared barge inside would all perish.
“I can sense them.” Ning stared towards a certain direction, then reached out with his right hand and pointed. “Silksnow is right over there.”
“Master, these passageways are all interlinked. You’ll be able to reach any prison from any passage,” Whitethaw said.
“If that’s the case, then we’ll choose that passageway.” Ning began to fly towards the passageway up ahead, the one which he felt would lead him towards Archon Silksnow.
“He’s here?” A skinny, white-haired, white-browed man was seated in the lotus position within an empty space that was merely three hundred meters in size. Archon Silksnow was able to sense that his realmship was resonating with a realmship part. A look of excitement flashed through his oily green eyes: “Daolord Darknorth actually came. Heh heh… they really are good friends.”
Although he felt that Ning would probably come, this place was still the Jadefire Realm. Not everyone would be willing to brave such great danger for the sake of a friend.
“Good. Daolord Darknorth… I might not be able to beat you, but the Sithe can.” Archon Silksnow stared towards the flames, a smile playing on his lips. “I’ll wait for you right here. Let’s see what you can do. I’m completely surrounded by lethal traps. So long as you come towards me, you’ll definitely activate them. Once you do, you are dead.”
The destruction of the Sithe had resulted in many of the barriers and mechanisms being revealed. There was no longer anyone in charge of them, which was why they could no longer remain hidden!
Archon Silksnow had chosen this region because there was a terrifyingly strong formation here. It was so mighty that just staring at it would cause one to shudder. Archon Silksnow knew that if he touched it, he would instantly perish! Thus, he carefully skirted the formation and then hid himself within the void besides it. He then set up a few formations of his own to help mask and disguise the truly dangerous one.
“I’ve already disguised the trap. There’s no way you’ll notice it at all.” Archon Silksnow revealed a smile. “You’ll definitely touch it… and even if you don’t, I’ll arrange for you to do so.”
He knew that someone like Ning would definitely be quite crafty. It wouldn’t be easy to trick him, and so he had made many plans to ensure that Ning would fall into at least one of them.
His advantage lay in the fact that he had been the first to enter the Jadefire Realm!
“Heh. You want to save your friend, eh? Heh heh heh… you are dead. Dead!” Archon Silksnow eagerly awaited Ning’s arrival. It had been a long, long time since he had felt this excited! The most dazzling Daolord in all of history was coming, someone who had destroyed the Silksnow Fiend Palace… and today, Archon Silksnow was finally going to get rid of him.
Whoosh. Ning flew into the passageway, then stepped onto the ground.
“Be careful, Master. As you follow the passageway, you’ll run into a fairly high number of barriers and traps.” Whitethaw was by Ning’s side, protecting him at all times.
“Alright.” Ning nodded. Ning began to carefully advance through the twisting, flaming passageways. The passageways were a thousand meters in diameter, and a number of mechanisms were clearly visible within them. Ning and Whitethaw were able to easily avoid touching them.
After walking for the time needed to boil a kettle of tea, Ning suddenly blinked. He then glanced at the nearby Whitethaw. “Whitethaw, didn’t you say there were plenty of dangers and mechanisms here?” They hadn’t encountered anything dangerous at all.
“Uh…” Whitethaw felt rather awkward. “I guess… maybe the Sithe are all dead and no one is in control… which is why there are no dangers?”
“Heh.” Ning laughed when he saw the awkward look on Whitethaw’s face. “Alright, let’s go.”
The two of them continued to traverse the passageways with ease, moving closer and closer towards Archon Silksnow.