Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 38 – The Night Before the Daomerge
Back down on the vast ice continent, Daoist Towerdawn and Daoist Fireflame stared with heads raised as the realmship rapidly advanced into the great tempest high up in the skies.
“Big brother, do you think he will succeed in the Daomerge?” Daoist Fireflame asked.
“He trains in one of the legendary Omega Daos. His Daomerge will be very difficult.” Daoist Towerdawn shook his head. During the many chaos cycles Ji Ning had spent in the Icewind Sea, the two had naturally discussed the Dao with each other. “He is the only Daolord friend I have ever made. I hope he succeeds in his Daomerge.”
Ning’s group spent more than a hundred million years in slowly flying through the tempest layer, then began to hasten back to his homeland.
The Daomerge Firecloud Flower was the most important treasure Ning had acquired in the Icewind Sea. However, he had also acquired fifteen Incense Spirit-Fruits on top of that!
The Flamedragon Realmverse. Vastheaven Territory. Vastheaven Palace.
Whoosh. A realmship passed through the barriers protecting the palace, then descended upon the Darknorth Estate. Usually, the only people in the Darknorth Estate were Su Youji and Pillsaint. Ning’s disciples generally didn’t dare to come disturb them.
“Master.” Emperor Solesky, Su Youji, and Pillsaint all came out to greet him.
Ning and the others flew out of the realmship. Ning stored the realmship away, then turned and smiled. “Big brother. Youji. Pillsaint.”
“You succeeded?” Emperor Solesky asked expectantly.
“I found the Daomerge Firecloud Flower,” Ning said. “I’m planning to spend the next year preparing for it. I’ll also remake the formations and barriers protecting Vastheaven Palace! After that, I plan to initiate the Daomerge.”
“The Daomerge?” Solesky, Su Youji, and Pillsaint were all shocked.
“Master, you are going to attempt the Daomerge this soon?” Su Youji said frantically, “Master, you aren’t even close to your lifespan limits yet. There’s no need for you to rush! You can wait another hundred thousand chaos cycles before attempting the Daomerge.”
“What you don’t realize is that the Firecloud Daomerge Flower must be used within a thousand years of harvesting it,” Ning said. “More importantly… even if I delayed for a while longer, it wouldn’t be of any benefit to me in the Daomerge.”
There were literally no improvements he could make. He couldn’t even get a hint of a new insight with regards to the Omega Sword Dao. Waiting would be a pure waste of time. In addition, Ning knew just how difficult the Daomerge for the Omega Sword Dao would be. He had to be completely decisive and resolute in facing it; he couldn’t show the slightest bit of cowardice. His only chance was in charging through remorselessly and then succeeding!
“Master, you…” Su Youji’s eyes were filled with concern. “Be careful.” She had wanted to attempt the Daomerge alongside Ning, but she herself had just recently become a Daolord of the Fourth Step. Her Dao wasn’t all that strong, and as a result she hadn’t even reached the Verge of the Daomerge yet. Pillsaint was also a Daolord of the Fourth Step, but he also needed a great deal of time to prepare for it.
“Don’t worry.” Ning looked at Su Youji. “Youji, let me know when you are planning to engage in the Daomerge. I’ll have a present waiting for you.”
Ning could sense who truly cared about him. This was even more true now that he had reached such great heights in the Dao of Karma. Of the three present (Solesky, Pillsaint, Su Youji), without a doubt Su Youji cared about Ning the most, and the karmic lines binding the two of them were extremely deep. She probably wouldn’t even hesitate to sacrifice her own life to protect him, and so Ning naturally felt closer to Su Youji.
“Ji Ning, should we tell Hegemon Brightshore and the others that you are attempting the Daomerge?” Solesky asked. “All three Hegemons have requested me to inform them in advance if you are planning to engage in the Daomerge.”
“No need to tell them.” Ning shook his head. “I don’t want to cause too much of a fuss.”
“Fine. It’ll be as you choose.” Solesky nodded. Solesky knew that there were two reasons why Hegemon Brightshore and the others wished to be notified of Ning’s Daomerge attempt. The first reason was because Realmslord Windgrace had requested it. The second was because they wanted a chance to prepare themselves! Once a Daolord failed his Daomerge, his truesoul would begin to disintegrate, but this was a fairly slow process. The more powerful a truesoul was, the more time would be needed before it fully disintegrated.
It must be remembered that even World God Northrest’s truesoul managed to survive for nearly a chaos cycle before disintegrating. Given Ning’s current level of insight, even if his truesoul did disintegrate it would probably be able to last for an extremely long period of time. Given that he was guaranteed to die and given how much time he had, who knew what he might do? Would he cause any trouble?
Many Samsara Daolords who failed the Daomerge would lose themselves and do as they pleased, doing some things which they normally would never dare to do. Some would become so crazy that they would massacre people in great numbers.
It must be remembered that Ning had the Flamewing God on his side. The more powerful a Daolord was, the more terrifying that Daolord could be when he went crazy. If Ning failed the Daomerge and truly became a demonic figure, then led the Flamewing God on a rampage… who could possibly stop him?
“All I wish for during my Daomerge is peace and quiet,” Ning said calmly. “I know exactly what Realmslord Windgrace is attempting, as well as the ‘Lonely King’ of the Icepeak Army who has been slowly biding his time. However… I shall be the one to decide who I will give Flamewing to, if I give it to anyone at all.”
Ning knew that both were waiting for him to fail his Daomerge and then die! In truth, in his heart, Ning wasn’t willing to actually force Flamewing to serve someone else in the event that he failed his Daomerge and died. He wanted for Flamewing to be able to make a choice for itself.
“We’ll wait and see.” Ning had made some decisions regarding this long ago. If he failed his Daomerge and began to die, he would become an object of terror to others. If he succeeded? The results would go without saying.
“I don’t need to worry about any of that. I only need to do one thing… complete the Daomerge!” Ning was filled with a terrifying degree of focus on the Daomerge.
Ning had mastered many different Daos during the chaos cycles he had spent in the Icewind Sea, including the Dao of Numerancy. He had also spent a great deal of time further perfecting the Dao of Formations for the sake of the Three Realms and Vastheaven Palace. He had studied many formations from both the Sithe as well as the cultivator civilizations, then used them as references in order to perfect a terrifying complicated grand formation.
This grand formation was formed by a total of fifty-two separate formations. Ning was preparing to set it up in both Vastheaven Palace as well as the Three Realms. This grand formation was incredibly profound; most likely, even a Hegemon who had reached that level via the Dao of Formations would not find it easy to reach this formation. This was because this was a formation that combined the essences of many ancient grandmasters; Ning was just setting them up in accordance with their wisdom, then using his own insights to merge all fifty-two of them together.
These two different schools of formations were like Yin and Yang, merging together to form a whole. Even a Hegemon of the Dao of Formations who wished to technically solve and then breach it would find it to be quite difficult; most likely, he would need an extremely long period of time before succeeding.
As for using raw force to overpower it? Ning had so many treasures that he was certainly using only the finest energy sources for these formations. These tremendously powerful energy sources, when matched with these mighty formations, would ensure that not even ten Hegemons working together would be able to shake this formation. Ning himself was at the Hegemonic level of power, and so he knew just how strong this formation was.
However, Ning wasn’t confident in his formation being able to stand up to Realmslord Windgrace’s legendary ‘Blacksun’ weapon. The Blacksun was able to easily connect two extremely distant places together and was also able to unleash attacks of incredible power.
“The location and existence of the Three Realms has always been a secret. Everyone who knows of it has long ago sworn a lifeblood oath not to divulge its location,” Ning mused. “If I fail the Daomerge, I’ll do my best to leave behind something else for the Three Realms. However, there’s a limit to what I can do. The rest will be up to future generations.”
Ning felt quite calm and relaxed about this. He had seen both great joy and great sorrow. If he failed the Daomerge, he would die. The future of the Three Realms would indeed be up to the cultivators of the Three Realms themselves.
Time flowed on, one day after another. Ning established formations in both Vastheaven Palace and the Three Realms, with the materials and energy sources he used being equivalent in value to the networths of three Hegemons! To Ning, however, these things weren’t really all that important.
The atmosphere within the Darknorth Estate in Vastheaven Palace was extremely quiet and peaceful. Su Youji, Pillsaint, Hegemon Azurefiend, and even the normally-rambunctious Flamewing were all exceptionally quiet. All of them knew that Ji Ning was going to attempt the Daomerge the following day.
“Tomorrow…” Ning raised his head to stare into the night sky. “Flamewing.”
“Master.” The chubby Flamewing immediately walked over.
“Tomorrow, I shall attempt the Daomerge. If anything happens or if anyone comes to interrupt me, take me into your estate-world treasure,” Ning said.
“Understood.” Flamewing immediately said, “Don’t worry. I’ll eat anyone who tries to cause trouble.”
Ning smiled. This was nothing more than a backup plan. In truth, it was his Primaltwin which would be the most important part of his Daomerge, as it was in the Azureflower Estate and would be completely safe. It also had the Autarch’s stone dais and the Stonefire Pearl; that meant its chances at the Daomerge would be the highest. Ning had even sent over the Daomerge Firecloud Flower to his Primaltwin. Since his Primaltwin and his true body were all part of one whole, they would both engage in the Daomerge together. Thus, if anyone came to bother Ning’s true body it actually wouldn’t make much of a difference.
“Alright.” Ning stared into the night sky, his heart feeling exceptionally at peace. After his experiences in the Icewind Sea as well as the year he had spent quietly preparing formations, he had focused his entire Dao-heart upon the Daomerge.
Suddenly, a certain desire flashed through his heart; before he began the Daomerge, he wanted to take a look at the Three Realms. He decided to follow through on this desire.
“I’m going on a small trip. No need for you to follow me,” Ning said. He then took a single step forwards and vanished without a trace.