Book 39, Nuwa, Chapter 21 – The Path to Becoming the Strongest Autarch
“Listen to my commands.” Ji Ning opened his eyes, which were shining brightly. He used his left hand to point towards a certain direction: “Advance towards that direction.”
“Understood,” Hegemon Azurefiend acknowledged.
The Blazesun Domain was filled with too many dangers. Not even a realmship could be used to engage in long-distance warps through spacetime; at most, only short warps were possible. Sometimes, ordinary flight was necessary as well.
“Now this direction.” Ning’s finger suddenly moved to point a different location. “Now over there.” Ning followed his senses, and as they moved closer he continuously had them change directions.
Whooooosh. A strange but subtle sound, almost like the roaring of the waves of a river, was beginning to pervade this entire region. Although everyone within the realmship remained puzzled, the sound of the ‘roaring river’ was enough to let them know that Ning was leading them to some sort of secret place.
“It continually shifts through spacetime, moving from one continuum to another. Its almost like a maze…” Ning smiled. “It’s hidden quite well, but it still won’t be able to evade my senses. Advance!”
Ning continued to point, guiding the realmship to fly up, left, down, right… the direction constantly changed, and every so often they would even warp into a different continuum. As time flowed on, the echoing sound of the ‘river water’ began to grow increasingly loud as well. Five months went by in the blink of an eye, and by now the sound roared like thunder.
BOOM! The realmship suddenly rammed into an invisible barrier, which bulged inwards. The realmship continued to press inwards, quickly piercing through the invisible membrane. As it did so, the environment around it completely changed.
“What in the…” The cultivators in the realmship were all stunned, as was the Flamewing God. Su Youji’s eyes turned completely round with shock. The calmest was Ning, but even he narrowed his eyes as he stared at their new surroundings.
They were now in the midst of an enormous, fiery-red sea. If one took a close look at the fiery liquid within the sea, one would see that it was actually composed of incredibly dense and concentrated flames! The countless flames all flowed together like a liquid, coming together to form an indescribably vast sea. At the very center of this sea was an enormous whirlpool that was continuously twisting and churning, causing all of the fiery ‘liquid’ within the sea to move and generate those rumbling roars. This was a sound that surpassed the limits of spacetime and spread out in every direction.
“What in the world IS this place?” Hegemon Azurefiend sighed with astonishment. “This entire sea is composed of countless flames that have been… liquefied? And the flames… I feel as though they are on par with the flames which Flamewing belches out.”
“Yeah… what is this place? How is it that a place like this can exist in the Blazesun Domain? I’ve never even heard of it!” Patriarch Treewind didn’t understand either.
“I like this place, Master! I want to dive right in.” Flamewing looked excitedly at Ning.
“Go ahead.” Ning smiled and nodded.
Swoosh! Flamewing immediately exited the realmship and transformed into his true form, then dove straight down towards the flaming sea. Even in his true form, it was nothing more than a tiny little dot in the great sea. Plop! It plunged into the flaming sea, kicking up some ‘spray’! As the ‘water’ shot up in Flamewing’s wake, it quickly dissipated into flames.
“Whoah. Whoaaaaah! This is nice! Ahahaha! This feels great!” Flamewing delightedly swam through the flames, growling and howling happily, “Master, come and try it out for yourself! It feels great! The last time I felt this comfortable was when I was born.”
Ning and the others all flew out of the realmship, then stood in the empty void and stared at the great sea. “When it was first born?” Ning’s face twitched. “Flamewing was born in the Quintessence of the Chaosverse. That means that this place is actually quite similar to the Quintessence? But there’s no way this place can be the location of the prime essences.”
Ning’s will was able to maintain constant contact with the prime essence of the Dao of the Sword, and so he had a rough idea as to where the prime essences were located. This place was not it.
“Such an enormous amount of fire energy… I’ve never seen anything like this,” Hegemon Goodsong mumbled.
“If my guess is correct,” Imperator Jade Rainbow said, “This place should be the true nucleus of the Blazesun Domain.”
“The true core?”
“Are you saying that the entire Blazesun Domain in all its vastness… originated from this place?” they all spoke out simultaneously.
Ning continued to scrutinize the place carefully. His gaze fell upon the very center of the giant whirlpool, seeing through it as he scanned the many traces and scars within. They actually brought Ning many new insights, and he immediately said, “Jade Rainbow speaks the truth. This place is indeed the wellspring of the Blazesun Domain! The reason why the Blazesun Domain has such an enormous amount of energy within it is because of this place. It all stems from here. Stay here; I’m going to go take a look. No one is to disturb me.” As he spoke, he flew straight towards the whirlpool.
“Be careful, Master,” Su Youji called out with worry.
“Just wait for me here. I’ll be fine.” Ning’s voice echoed in the air, while he himself had already reached the area directly above the giant whirlpool.
Boom! Boom! Boom! The giant whirlpool was filled with limitless amounts of power, and the rumbles emanating from it were especially loud here.
The region around Ning began to be filled with his Sword Dao domain, which served to protect him. It must be remembered that Ning’s domain was able to slay even Hegemons with ease; to use it to repel the ‘water’ of the whirlpool was quite easy.
Whoosh. As Ning slowly descended, the Sword Dao domain ensured that the liquid flames were repelled and pushed aside.
“So that’s how it is.” Ning slowly sank deeper into the whirlpool. The region around him for three hundred meters was completely empty, with the liquid flames unable to move into it. The deeper Ning sank, the more stunned he felt as he saw how the giant whirlpool had been formed.
“So fire in liquid form can possess such tremendous power…” The more Ning saw, the more thoughts filled his mind. His Primaltwin had temporarily returned to the Azureflower Estate, and was making use of the Autarch’s stone dais to completely focus on understanding the profound mysteries behind the whirlpool.
A mere two days later, Ning had reached the Hegemonic level in the Dao of Water!
This was primarily because his Eternal Omega Sword Dao had propelled him to simply incredible heights of insight. It was like a towering skyscraper, allowing him to understand other Daos with far more ease. In recent years, he had continuously improved in many other Daos. This time, he was able to break through to the Hegemonic level in the Dao of Water with just one ‘blow’. However… even though he had reached the Hegemonic level, it still couldn’t compare to his Eternal Omega Sword Dao.
“The Blazesun Domain is filled with the power of the element of fire. Who would’ve thought that its wellspring is actually able to form a liquid stream which holds so many secrets of the Dao of Water? The way it has naturally formed has resulted in it completely merging the secrets of the Dao of Fire and the Dao of Water into itself. There’s no way to tell them apart.” Ning laughed, then his eyes suddenly lit up: “Why do I have the sudden feeling that I can merge the Dao of Water into my Sword Dao as well?”
Ning immediately sat down in the lotus position. His Sword Dao domain once more spread out to three hundred meters, pushing aside the liquid fire.
After Ning had reached Hegemony in the Dao of Water, he suddenly had the feeling that he was completely capable of infusing it into his Omega Sword Dao. This was something which happened as a matter of course, and as soon as he spent a bit of time meditating on it he immediately knew why.
“So… my path to Autarchy is actually different from that of the other Autarchs.” Ning was stunned. For the first time, he understood how he should break through to Autarchy. His lifespan was now limited, which meant he probably wouldn’t have the chance to do it… but he now knew what he should do!
From Hegemony to Autarchy… the paths which Autarch Bolin, Autarch Awakener, and all other Autarchs had taken were identical. They had first become Hegemons, then reached the Hegemonic level of understanding in other Daos as well! After gaining enough insight into Hegemonic Daos, they would finally and naturally break through to become Autarchs. At that point in time, they would reach the Daobirth level of ‘one Dao births many Daos’. It would naturally form a ‘Daobirth Essence’ which was capable of forming the prime essences of a universe.
Using this ‘Daobirth Essence’, the Autarchs were able to create alternate universes which would have prime essences that came from the ‘Daobirth Essence’ which the Autarch had devised.
“But I’m different from them,” Ning murmured. “Autarch Bolin… for him, his ‘one Dao’ which was the Dao of the Claw, while his ‘many Daos’ referred to all other Daos. They came to form a ‘Daobirth Essence’ which could also be referred to as a ‘Claw Daobirth Essence’. As for Autarch Awakener, his Dao was the Dao of Wind. He used it to reach the Daobirth level, and his ‘Daobirth Essence’ was the ‘Wind Daobirth Essence’.”
Ning had received Autarch Awakener’s legacy and had seen the Dao-guidance of Autarch Bolin. Thus, he knew that Autarchs were strongest in their own specific Daos. Autarch Bolin’s had been that of the ‘Claw Daobirth Essence’ as he was strongest in the Dao of the Claw; his ‘many Daos’ were only at the Hegemonic level. As for Autarch Awakener, he was most powerful in the Dao of the Wind, whereas all his other Daos were merely at the Hegemonic level.
“When they were Hegemons, all the Hegemonic Daos they mastered were all on equal footing. I, however, am different!”
Ning took a deep breath. “My Eternal Omega Sword Dao is simply overwhelmingly powerful. It far surpasses all other Daos, to the point where Daos such as a Hegemonic Dao of Water can be infused into it, making the Dao of Water part of my Eternal Omega Sword Dao! The more Hegemonic Daos I infuse into my Eternal Omega Sword Dao, the more massive and powerful it will become. After it accumulates enough, it will then undergo a fundamental evolution and catapult to a new level… an Autarch-level Omega Dao.”
Ning finally understood. If he became an Autarch, he would be an Omega Dao Autarch, the most powerful of all Autarchs! Alas… Ning knew that this would be an extremely difficult path to walk. The other Autarchs ‘only’ had to master multiple Hegemonic Daos, then gain an epiphany and then break through. He not only needed to master those Daos, he also needed to figure out how to fully infuse them into his Eternal Omega Sword Dao! The process of infusion would be far more difficult than merely mastering those Hegemonic Daos.
If he wanted to infuse those other Daos and then evolve his Eternal Omega Dao, it would take time, luck, and many insights. The problem was, his lifespan was extremely limited; he only had a few thousand chaos cycles left. This wasn’t going to be even close to enough!
“Although I know how I can become an Autarch, I don’t have enough time. What a pity.” Ning slowly shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll first completely fuse the Dao of Water into my Eternal Omega Sword Dao.”
Ning immediately closed his eyes and focused all of his efforts into this task.