Book 40, The Five Autarchs, Chapter 12 – Help
“The power of the Chaosverse is too overwhelmingly mighty. Although we were born from this Chaosverse and thus the prime essences do not reject us, we still cannot withstand their incredible might.” Autarch Titanos sighed. “Trying to accomplish this task through raw force simply results in us imploding under the weight of the Chaosverse’s power. It’s sheer suicide! Entropos and Awakener were both extremely powerful, but neither of them were able to endure the weight of that power. Before they died, they sent us messages to never try it again; the difference was simply too great.”
The other four Autarchs all fell silent, while Ning himself nodded slowly. It was like death through over-eating. Sometimes, accepting an excessively heavy burden would result in you being crushed to death by it! Even the most powerful figures in the Chaosverse, the Autarchs, were unable to withstand even the minimum pressure required to take control over the full power of the Chaosverse. This must have been why the estate-spirit of the Azureflower Estate had stated that Autarch Awakener had essentially commited suicide.
“But we had no other choices available to us,” Autarch Titanos said. “This is the only method we had available for ensuring the perpetual security of our Chaosverse. There really are no other options available to us. That’s why Skyfeeder was planning to make the attempt as well.”
“I’ve spent an incredibly long period of time training in the Quintessence,” Autarch Skyfeeder said. “I’ve tried a few low-level mock-bindings. I think I have a shot.”
“Awakener and Entropos both felt the same way.” Autarch Titanos shook his head.
“That’s the allure of it all.” Autarch Ekong chuckled. “Stop playing the fool. There’s ALWAYS a ‘shot’, but we’d probably all die chasing after that flitting chance. Now that we have Darknorth, our civilization has a real shot. There’s no need for us to foolishly go off and commit suicide.”
Puzzled, Ning asked, “Are there really no other options? Is becoming a Lord of Chaos truly the only path which is available to us? If we’ve already defeated the Sithe and sealed them away, why don’t we just kick them all out?”
“If we could kick them out, we would’ve done so long ago.” Autarch Bolin chuckled softly.
“We’re not able to do that,” Autarch Stonerule said.
Autarch Skyfeeder smiled and explained, “Daolord Darknorth, as you know the Sithe have incredibly powerful weapons at their disposal. The deeper you go into their ‘homeland’, the stronger their defenses become and the more powerful their weapons are! Their homeland is the most dangerous place in all the Chaosverse. During the Dawn War, what we did was to attack their bases throughout the Chaosverse. We didn’t fight them in their lair!”
“We had a geographical advantage when fighting in the other parts of the Chaosverse. The Sithe were confident in their chances at first, and if they wished to bind the Quintessence they would have to kill us all,” Autarch Skyfeeder explained. “That is why they came out of their main base and fought against us throughout the Chaosverse. In the end, we won an extremely narrow victory.”
“If they wish to bind the Quintessence, they must kill you all first?” Ning didn’t fully understand.
Autarch Titanos nodded. “Correct.”
“Early on, during the first days of the Chaosverse, there were actually extremely few living beings. Later on, life began to flourish. More and more living beings came into existence… but there’s a limit to how much energy the Chaosverse has! Cultivators learned to take in the power of the Chaosverse for themselves, becoming more powerful. By now, I estimate that the majority of the power of the Chaosverse has actually been concentrated within the bodies of the countless cultivators currently alive.”
“Thus, when cultivators die and their truesouls collapse, all that energy shall return to the Quintessence or the local everworlds and otherverses. However… the Sithe knew a way to kill us and then take away our truesoul energy!” Autarch Titanos continued, “The more of us they killed, the weaker our entire Chaosverse became. If it loses enough power, the Quintessence itself will become so weak that even foreign outsiders like the Sithe will be capable of binding it.”
Ning finally understood. As in all other areas, the Sithe undoubtedly had binding techniques that far surpassed what the local cultivator civilizations possessed! However, they were still outsiders; they would be suppressed and rejected by this Chaosverse. They had to first weaken it and bleed it before they would stand a chance at success.
“The most powerful creatures in our entire Chaosverse are the Autarchs. Us. If they can kill even a single Autarch, it would be considered a great success.” Autarch Titanos chuckled. “A pity for them that killing us is extremely difficult. Below us are the Hegemons, and the Sithe are quite happy to kill them as well. What they needed was slaughter on a vast scale, and in order to achieve that they had to come out from their main lair and attack us throughout the Chaosverse. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to achieve their aims.”
“In the end, we won. However, during our final assault against the Sithelands, we were only able to take control over their outer perimeter. We could sense that tremendous danger lay hidden at the center of their lair, and we could subconsciously sense that if we dared to attack, we could very well perish. Thus, we decided to instead seal them away and ensure that they cannot come out,” Autarch Titanos said.
“Since their goal was to weaken our Chaosverse, we naturally had to come up with a way to replenish it and strengthen the Quintessence. We chose to use the imprisoned Sithe Exalts for that task. The ‘torture’ those Sithe Exalts are enduring is actually serving to slowly assimilate them in order to replenish the energies of the Chaosverse. The goal is to cause them to break down, at which point we would assimilate every scrap of their power. Since their power originally came from outside our Chaosverse, this will allow the total amount of energy belonging to our Chaosverse to grow,” Autarch Titanos explained. “This was a clumsy method, but the only one we had.”
Autarch Ekong smirked. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t really worked at all. Those six imprisoned Sithe Exalts have been resisting our efforts. They’ve been tormented for ages, but their Dao-hearts have yet to crumble and they remain in control of their energies.”
“Sooner or later, they’ll give up. Once they do so, they’ll be assimilated and their energies shall be taken away,” Autarch Titanos said.
Puzzled, Ning said, “During the war, we killed many Sithe Exalts. Were we unable to draw from the truesoul energies of those slain Exalts?”
“Wouldn’t work.” Autarch Ekong laughed, “Things aren’t going to be that easy! Long ago, the Sithe set wards over their truesouls. As soon as they die, their energies will depart from our Chaosverse and return to their own. That’s why we had to imprison those six Sithe Exalts.”
“Thus… our civilization is actually in dire straits,” Autarch Titanos said. “All of us are doing our best to try and solve this problem, because we fear that one day an outside power will take control over our Chaosverse and terraform it to become more hospitable to them, resulting in our complete extermination.”
Ning finally understood. In the past, Ning was without any real worries or concerns; he felt that if there were any existential problems, it would be up to the Autarchs to handle them. There was no need for him to concern himself. But now that he stood amongst the ranks of the Autarchs, he finally understood just how dangerous a situation the Chaosverse was in!
How much longer would the cultivator civilizations be able to last? A few million more chaos cycles? A few billion? Longer? But if they were unable to produce a true Lord of Chaos, then in the end they would still face extinction. Even if they weren’t destroyed by the Sithe, they would be destroyed by other outside civilizations.
“Going against the laws of the Chaosverse is actually causing harm to the prime essences, which is why we rarely reverse spacetime to revive people.” Autarch Titanos sighed. “Your deceased Dao-companion is a good example. Her truesoul contained just the tiniest of smidgeons of Autarch Awakener’s power; reversing spacetime to revive her really wouldn’t cause any harm to the prime essences at all. And yet, the prime essences would fight back with all their might to resist it! This is because they innately wish to stay in peak condition, for fear that outside forces will take control over them.”
Ning nodded slowly.
“Haha. Thankfully, the situation isn’t critical just yet,” Autarch Ekong said with a laugh. “Although there might be more enemies in the future, for now we only have to face the Sithe! We’ve sealed away their homeland, giving us the upper hand!”
“Don’t celebrate just yet,” Autarch Titanos said calmly. “The Sithe have been dormant for far too long. They might receive reinforcements from outside and become even more powerful.”
“But we have Darknorth.” Autarch Ekong continued to smile happily. He was the only Autarch who had risen to power after the Dawn War had concluded. As a result, he was the most confident of the five.
“Darknorth.” Autarch Titanos laughed in a relaxed manner. “Five of the six Autarchs have all gathered here today. Mogg is the only one absent, and that is because he is permanently stationed to stand guard over the Sithelands and keep an eye on it. This is because there is something we need from you, something that involves the survival of our entire civilization.”
“Yes.” The other four Autarchs all looked at Ning.
“Pray tell.” Ning nodded. Now that he knew what a dangerous situation his civilization was in, he naturally wouldn’t shirk his duty. As someone who now stood at the very apex of power, he had to help the Autarchs as best he could. As the saying goes, ‘when the skies collapse, let the big guys handle it’; Ning was now one of the ‘big guys’!
“Only when our civilization gives rise to a Lord of Chaos shall we be truly and perpetually safe.” Autarch Titanos looked at Ning. “But taking control over the full power of the Chaosverse is very, very difficult. We stand no chance at all. There is, however, one path that is certain to succeed. That path is… using an Omega Dao to become an Autarch!”