Book 40, The Five Autarchs, Chapter 6 – Formation
“What’s wrong?” Ji Ning took a single step forwards and warped through space, rippling through it to appear right next to the battered, scar-covered castle.
Nuwa, Patriarch Treewind, the Flamewing God, Imperator Jade Rainbow, and the others all stood next to the castle, completely helpless. Nuwa pointed at the giant castle, which was fully fifteen thousand meters long. “We’ve already completely searched the place, and we’re sure that there’s a dimensional space within it… but we haven’t been able to open it up, no matter what we do, nor can we find a way to get inside. This castle seems to be quite complicated.”
“Let me take a look.” Ning scrutinized it carefully. The enormous castle just hung there in space, covered with many scars and with a number of damaged parts floating around it. Ning slowly flew in a circle around the castle, inspecting every part of it with care. He also took a look at the damaged parts.
“How does it look?” Flamewing couldn’t help but ask, “Master, are you able to open it up?”
“Even if I was, you wouldn’t be able to do anything to it. Why are YOU in such a rush?” Ning teased.
“I’m just curious!” Flamewing chortled. In truth, Su Youji and the others were quite curious as well.
Ning continued to inspect the castle for as much time as was needed to boil a kettle of tea. Suddenly, he waved his hand and caused two distant fragments to fly into his hands. One was roughly three meters long, while the other was merely fist-sized.
Clack! Clack! Ning placed the two fragments into two different locations on the castle. Rumble… instantly, the entire castle began to slowly swivel on its base, which looked like a series of leaf-shaped mechanisms. The center of this towering castle suddenly parted, revealing an entrance way.
“It’s open! It’s open!” Flamewing said excitedly.
“Daolord, you truly are impressive,” Hegemon Goodsong flattered. He was quite skilled in this regard. Ever since he had become a Golden Emperor, he had shamelessly chosen to follow Ning and flattered him nonstop. Ning had been in need of someone who was familiar with the Blazesun Domain, and so had nodded and accepted his service. Hegemon Goodsong had done his utmost to serve as Ning’s pathfinder, and so Ning had naturally decided to give him some tips from time to time. There were countless Hegemons and Emperors who envied Hegemon Goodsong, but alas… Ning wouldn’t accept a retainer without a good reason.
“This Sithe artifact seems to be usable… and generally speaking, castle-shaped Sithe weapons are incredibly powerful,” Patriarch Treewind said with praise. Due to the war, many powerful Sithe war machines had ended up being completely destroyed or rendered inoperable. The ‘Stone Hellephant Wall’ which Ning had once discovered, which had originally been known as the Sithe warship ‘Tigerhill’, was one example of an unusable Sithe war machine.
“This Sithe castle is probably comparable in value to Houwu City,” Imperator Jade Rainbow agreed.
Ning agreed as well. It was generally quite easy to tell from just a visual inspection as to how powerful Sithe weapons were. Chains, axes, shields… these were held items that generally wouldn’t be all that powerful! The Blacksun, Houwu City, the ‘Tigerhill’, and this giant castle in front of them… these were all large-scale war machines and generally were incredibly potent.
With but a thought, Ning summoned his Sword Dao domain and used it to completely cover the entire castle, as well as its internals. “Nothing dangerous inside. Let’s go take a look.” Ning immediately flew into the entrance.
Nuwa, Su Youji, Patriarch Treewind, and the others all followed Ning inside.
The passageway was very deep, dark, and gloomy. From the outside, the castle looked as though it was merely fifteen thousand meters long, but on the inside it was absolutely enormous. Ning’s group flew more than a thousand kilometers along the hallway before they finaly reached an open, empty region. This region was divided up into three different levels, with each level representing three different core controls used to operate the castle.
There were Sithe corpses floating above the altars which existed in all three levels. The corpses all emanated the auras of Eternal Emperors. There were also some Black Emperors and Golden Emperors who had undergone the Ritual Sacrificium; all of them had perished here.
Ning slowly descended upon the bottommost layer, then glanced at his surroundings. Nuwa and the others came flying over as well, also landing on the altar at the very bottom.
“The insides of this castle are intact. How did they all die?” Azurefiend glanced at the corpses in astonishment. “I don’t see any wounds on these corpses.”
“Someone managed to kill these Golden Emperors through the protection of the castle.” Nuwa and the others were all quite stunned.
“A total of thirty-two Sithe are inside here,” Ning said. “It had to have been an Autarch who used either karmic techniques or truesoul destruction techniques to bypass the castle walls and slay the Sithe inside.”
The Autarchs had chosen different Daos and thus had different areas of specialty. Some, like Autarch Bolin, specialized in frontal attacks. Others had techniques which were more mysterious and harder to understand.
“There are actually three command centers.” Ning raised his head to look at the other two, his forehead creased into a frown.
“The bottom command center has an enormous formation within it which can be used to reach out from the base of the castle and connect it to an enormous area around it! This castle can be used to command, consolidate, and protect an entire region. It will gather chaos energy from the area around it.”
“The middle command center is comparatively simpler. It controls a scanning formation, ensuring that any opponent who appears will find it almost impossible to escape. It has tremendous control over dimensional power, allowing it to scan an incredibly vast area and discover even the most minute of spatial ripples. Even I would probably be unable to avoid its detection,” Ning said with a surprised sigh.
“As for the top command center… it is also quite complicated. It involves a powerful offensive formation that gathers together the power of lightning, focusing it together into an attack of incredible power. Even Golden Emperors would probably perish before it,” Ning said slowly as he continued to inspect the insides of the castle.
“Is it really that impressive? That means this is a perfect weapon of war,” Hegemon Azurefiend said with a shocked sigh.
“During the Dawn War, it was probably just as important as the Blacksun,” Ning said. “This, too, is a war machine that is capable of affecting the flow of battle in an entire region. I’m amazed that we were lucky enough to stumble upon such an important war machine.”
“Haha, given your incredible prowess, Daolord, it is only natural that your luck is also extraordinary,” Patriarch Treewind praised.
Ning himself felt rather puzzled. Luck, eh? It was true that he was held in high favor by the prime essences of the Chaosverse. When he had failed his Daomerge, he could sense that the prime essences had sighed on his behalf. If the reason that he had just stumbled upon an incredibly valuable war-fort was because he was ‘lucky’ thanks to being favored by the prime essences… even Ning could do nothing but sigh.
Sithe war machines of this level of power were incredibly hard to find. Lord Houwu had only become known as the ‘Lord Governor of Houwu’ after finding Houwu City, while the Blacksun had made a ‘Realmslord’ out of Realmslord Windgrace.
“I would need at least three people to take control of the formations in order to operate this castle.” Ning frowned. “And all three need to be Hegemons.”
“Me and my avatar can account for two, but that won’t be enough.” Nuwa felt rather worried.
“What about me?” Azurefiend volunteered.
Ning shook his head. “I’m planning to leave this castle in my homeland. Azurefiend, are you really volunteering to stay in my homeland forever?”
Azurefiend was speechless. He loved freedom and loved adventuring. He really wouldn’t be able to endure staying in Daolord Darknorth’s homeland forever.
“The formations within this castle are quite complicated. Nuwa, you probably wouldn’t be able to take direct control of them either,” Ning said. “Let me take a closer look.” Ning was planning to modify the central command centers of this castle, making it more suitable for the Three Realms.
Ning himself was able to easily control all three formation-diagrams, but modifying them even slightly would be difficult. Ning actually ended up creating a fourth formation-diagram inside the castle, one which would serve as the ‘master controls’. Thanks to this fourth formation-diagram, a single Emperor would be able to simultaneously control all of the castle’s functions. This took Ning over eight hundred million years to accomplish.
“Ahah! Finally, I’ve succeeded.” Ning let out a loud laugh, his laughter echoing within the empty space. Nuwa, Su Youji, and the others who had been quietly meditating all immediately stopped their training.
“Nuwa,” Ning said with a smile, “I added an additional formation-diagram that simplifies the process of controlling this castle! Once the castle has been activated, it will be able to scan to a distance of over a trillion kilometers, and it’ll be able to stand guard over this region. When I go back, I plan to modify the formations protecting our homeland and make this castle the centerpiece of our defenses. If anyone dares to attack our home, they’ll have to endure an assault from the castle.”
“My modifications have resulted in a decreasing in its scanning range, and have also resulted in it only being able to focus its firepower on a single target… but I think it should be enough,” Ning said. “Besides, if we have enough Hegemons in the future, you can just ignore my fourth formation-diagram and take direct control over the three original ones.”
“Understood.” Nuwa nodded.
Ning waved his hand, causing a jade slip to appear with instructions on how to control the castle. “Take it.” Ning handed the slip over to Nuwa. “Test it out and see how strong it is.”
“Alright.” Nuwa scanned the slip, quickly memorizing the information.
“Let’s go out,” Ning said, “And take a look at the castle’s power.” The group of cultivators immediately left the castle, leaving only Nuwa behind. They all stood outside in the void, staring at the castle.
Rumble… the very tip of the castle suddenly began to light up. BOOM! An invisible dimensional ripple suddenly spread out to cover an area of a trillion kilometers, making it so that nothing within this area could escape its sensors.