Book 38, Daomerge, Chapter 43 – The Curtain Falls
The Flower of Eternity bloomed with incandescent light, striving to achieve eternity… but then, its light began to slowly shudder. The transformed and reconfigured godgems also sought to stabilize, but they slowly began to tremble as well.
The awesome aura of the Eternal Omega Sword Dao emanating from Ji Ning’s body suddenly began to decay, with Ning’s own life aura weakening as well.
“No! I was too hasty!” In the final instant that his Flower of Eternity fully bloomed, Ning immediately understood where the error lay in his Eternal Omega Sword Dao
If he had been given a chance to simulate the Daomerge, he would’ve been able to actually test out some of the assumptions regarding his Dao and discover its flaws. But he hadn’t had that chance, and so he had to forge ahead without it!
Samsara Daolords took a total of four steps, and each step represented them treading the line between life and death! However, these four steps were all fairly short steps. They only led the Daolord to rise to a slightly higher level each time, which was why almost all of the truly talented Daolords were able to reach the fourth step. However, the Daomerge represented an enormous chasm!
Even when ordinary Daolords succeeded in the Daomerge, their power would rise by two full levels. As for supreme Daolords like Ninedust or Winesage, they’d immediately become Hegemons. Those slightly weaker would still reach the Archon level of power.
Ning’s Omega Sword Dao would have an even more incredible result. The mysteries of the Sword Dao alone would result in him improving by two full levels of power, but he also needed to infuse it with a perfect sword-heart. In other words, advancing from the fourth-step Daolord Omega Sword Dao to an Eternal Omega Sword Dao would result in an increase of more than three full levels of power!
This was an enormous step he had to take, and there was no chance at all to test it out in advance! Even though Ning’s preparations had been quite plentiful, in the end he had still made a tiny mistake.
“This must be the true Eternal Omega Sword Dao.” Ning opened his eyes. In front of him was a faint sheen of sword-light. It looked very ordinary, with nothing special about it at all. It seemed to have no aura, no presence… nothing.
Unfathomably far away from the Flamedragon Realmverse, there existed a place. This place was where the prime essences of the entire Chaosverse were located, including the prime essence of the Dao of the Sword.
“So this is the prime essence of the Dao of the Sword?” Ning’s mind could clearly and distinctly sense it from afar… and it was identical in nature to the Eternal Omega Sword Dao he had just understood.
Suddenly, a surge of invisible power swept out and surrounded Ning’s consciousness. This power was vast and overwhelming but also as gentle as a mother’s embrace.
Ning instantly understood. This surge of power was the power of the prime essences of the Chaosverse. The power was embracing his mind and… comforting him. It was as though the Chaosverse itself felt a sense of regret and sympathy towards this cultivator.
“So I am the only one who has ever comprehended an Eternal Omega Dao?” Ning understood what the Chaosverse was whispering to him.
There had been others who had embarked upon the path of the Omega Dao, but all of them had failed during the Daomerge! The vast majority of the failures didn’t even have a technique like the [Heartsword] art available to them. Much like Ning, they had only realized how stringent the requirements for their Dao-hearts were during the actual Daomerge itself. Most of them had failed due to this. Occasionally, there were a few incredibly talented Daolords who did in fact have perfect Dao-hearts, but in the end there were quite a few errors in the Eternal Omega Dao they devised. Even though they eventually realized what their mistakes were, there was no way for them to discover what the right answer was.
Ning had the Autarch’s stone dais, the Stonefire Pearl, the Daomerge Firecloud Flower, and other external sources of support. He also had a perfect sword-heart and was at a level of talent that was every bit the equal of anyone who had come before him.
In the end, he had still failed the Daomerge… but immediately afterwards, he had instantly realized what the true Eternal Omega Sword Dao was. Alas, it was too late! He was now in control of and the master of the Eternal Omega Sword Dao, but he had already failed his Daomerge. Each person would only have one chance at the Daomerge. If you failed it, you failed it. Even the prime essences of the Chaosverse couldn’t help but sigh on his behalf. Alas, there was nothing they could do; all they could do was function in the way their nature instrinsically demanded. Everything they did was simply an expression of their intrinsic nature, and in truth they weren’t fully ‘sentient’ by the normal definition of the word.
All they could do was feel and express an innate sense of sorrow and sympathy for this poor soul.
The Flower of Eternity withered away, its petals crumbling apart and falling.
It had been just a single tiny mistake, but that mistake was still enough to cause everything to crumble. There was no way for it to gain eternity.
Divine power and Immortal energy could be instantly recovered; they didn’t count for much. The truly lethal aspect of failing the Daomerge was the dissipation of the soul and truesoul. There was no way at all to halt or reverse the crumbling of a truesoul. No one was capable of it whatsoever. Not even Autarchs were able to do this!
The white-robed Ning within Vastheaven Palace and the black-robed Primaltwin in the Azureflower Estate were both filled with Ning’s truesoul. Their failure in the Daomerge caused the truesoul to begin to crumble. Ning’s soul and truesoul had become incredibly powerful over his countless years of cultivation, and the Nine Chaos Seals technique had further strengthened it to the Archon level… but it was of no use.
Hairline fractures had already appeared throughout every part of Ning’s truesoul.
Crack! A tiny, crystalline piece of truesoul broke free. This fragment was translucent and dazzlingly beautiful, but as it floated away it gradually disappeared into nothingness, returning to the prime essences of the Chaosverse. Those who had their truesouls destroyed in a chaosworld would see their soul fragments be reclaimed by the prime essences of the Chaosverse. Those who failed the Daomerge would see their truesouls slowly and naturally fragment apart, also to be reclaimed by the Chaosverse. When the final pieces of truesoul were gone, they would die.
They could do nothing but watch as they slowly died. This was a very cruel end, and there were some Daolords who would be driven mad as a result.
The aura of life disappeared from both of Ning’s avatars, and the truesoul within Ning’s main body and Primaltwin both began to crumble…
Ning arose from the altar. Even before the Daomerge he had began, he had already prepared himself for the possibility of failure.
“For one who has found the Dao in the morning, death in the evening is nothing. I may have failed, but my failure has allowed me to find the true Eternal Omega Sword Dao. Compared to many other cultivators, I’m quite lucky. Nothing in the universe will go exactly as one hopes.” Ning’s gaze was distant. He murmured, “Yu Wei… sorry. I still failed in the end…”
Ning didn’t care too much that he had failed the Daomerge and would perish. Given how long he had cultivated for, why would he fear death? As for his family, he had already spent an extremely long period of time by the side of his parents and his daughter. The only one he felt a debt towards was his wife, Yu Wei.
“I thought that I was invincible, that I could do anything and everything. But in the end, there was a limit to what I could accomplish. My road has come to an end.” Ning waved his hand, causing a black jade stone to appear before him. This jade stone had already been cut to be roughly as tall as Ning himself.
Ning stretched out his right hand, gently stroking the surface of the jade. Sword-light appeared from the tips of his fingers, and as it swept past the jade, tiny bits of jade dust flew everywhere.
Slowly, the figure of a black-robed maiden became formed from the jade stone. Her features truly were dazzlingly beautiful, and her aura was quite extraordinary.
A hint of a smile appeared around Ning’s lips. His wife, Yu Wei, truly had been a dazzling and beautiful person. She had been the most beautiful member of the Black-White College.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Ning’s fingers continued to flicker across the jade stone, causing the sculpture to become more and more distinct. The jade Yu Wei’s hair seemed to flutter, and her eyes stared lovingly at Ning.
Suddenly, Ning came to a halt and stepped back.
The white-robed Ning and the black-robed Yu Wei stared at each other, their gazes meeting in the air. It was almost as though she was still alive.
Moments later, Ning regained his composure. With but a thought, he caused the sculpture of the black-robed Yu Wei to fly towards him while shrinking to become palm-sized. As it flew towards Ning’s chest, a string suddenly appeared out of nowhere and pierced through it. It hung inside Ning’s clothes like a necklace, pressed against his bosom.
Ning gently stroked his chest. “Yu Wei… accompany me on the final steps of my journey.” Ning then waved his hand, causing all six Northbow swords to appear before him.
“Quintessences, arise!” With but a thought, Ning transformed the quintessences within his six Lifeblood weapons, upgrading them from the fourth-step Daolord-level Omega Sword Dao to the Eternal Omega Sword Dao.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! The six Northbow swords all emitted a keening sound as sword-light flared around them, revealing a terrifying sharpness. The light circulated across them, revealing that each and every one of them was changing and evolving from inside out. They immediately skyrocketed to the Universe treasure level! A good while later, the light completely vanished from them. Their power was now so reserved that they were like ordinary pieces of wood… but in truth, they had already become the deadliest weapons in all the Chaosverse.
This was because the quintessence cores within them had been created by the Eternal Omega Sword Dao, something which had never existed before. The Dao of the Sword was a Dao meant for battle and slaughter. In terms of killing power, these six swords had already vastly outstripped all other Universe treasures.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! All six swords flew back into the sheath on Ning’s back.
“That aura of might is weakening.”
“How can this be?”
“But…” Emperor Solesky, Hegemon Azurefiend, the Flamewing God, Pillsaint, and the others were all shocked. Su Youji’s face was completely ashen and devoid of all color.
“Senior apprentice-brother.” Ning’s students and ‘fellow disciples’ were all frantic as well.
In the air outside Vastheaven Palace were Hegemon Brightshore, Hegemon Windrain, Hegemon Netherlily, Lord Wulf, the Black Emperors, Daoist Bluestone, Emperor Goldisle, and the other Eternal Emperors. Some sighed. Some shook their heads. Some smiled with delight. Some had ugly looks on their faces.
All of them had their own thoughts and considerations… but all of them knew that Daolord Darknorth had just failed the Daomerge.
They had seen far too many Daolords attempt the Daomerge. If a Daolord succeeded, there was no way his aura would plummet like that. In addition, they would also sense an aura of true eternity about that cultivator.
“Darknorth, a dazzling and peerless Daolord, has come to an end just like that.” Hegemon Brightshore shook his head and sighed.
“Daomerges for Omega Daos are simply too difficult,” Hegemon Windrain said.
“Go ahead and report it to Realmslord Windgrace,” Hegemon Netherlily said.
The three of them had long ago received orders from Realmslord Windgrace to monitor the situation, and so they all began to send word back.
“Hurry up and inform his Majesty that Daolord Darknorth has already failed the Daomerge.” The distant Lord Wulf could already foresee the grand war that was about to erupt, but he didn’t dare to delay in the slightest.
The Hiddenfiend Realmverse. The Blacksun.
A bearded, disheveled-looking old man walked out of a courtyard. He raised his head to stare into the void, his eyes filled with light. “Daolord Darknorth… he was such an incredibly talented figure, but he still failed. The war against the Lonely King shall come next.”
The endless Great Dark.
A large group of onyx humanoids were clustered together within a realmship. Alongside them were two golden humanoids who were standing to each side of a silver throne… and a third golden humanoid dressed in silver robes who was seated on that throne.
His gaze was as cold as ice, and the blood-red diamond in his forehead was beginning to change.
In truth, this man had long ago led the entire Icepeak Army to a place within the Great Dark that was extremely close to the Flamedragon Realmverse. He had been silently waiting for the signal, as he knew that if he was to fight against Realmslord Windgrace he couldn’t afford to get there late.
“Your Majesty, Lord Wulf sends word. Daolord Darknorth has failed the Daomerge!” a gray-robed Emperor said respectfully.
“As expected, he failed.” The Lonely King rested his arms on the armrests of his throne, then said softly, “Windgrace… let’s see if you win or if I win.”
BOOM! The realmship tore through spacetime and immediately began to warp towards the Flamedragon Realmverse.