Book 41, The Daoguard Tower, Chapter 2 – The Crazy Paragon of Pills
“The legends say that the Sithelands is the most dangerous place in the Chaosverse,” Lord Annihilation said. “It can threaten even the Autarchs! But it truly is filled with the most treasures as well.”
“There are some who are very stubborn and are willing to place themselves at high risk by repeatedly venturing into the Sithelands for the sake of their goals. Those people are absolutely mad, but they are often quite deadly. So long as they survive, their repeated journeys will usually result in them possessing several Sithe weapons.” Lord Annihilation said helplessly, “The Paragon of Pills is one such madwoman. She’s quite famous, and she has multiple Sithe weapons. Even I am merely on par with her in power! I would only have an advantage if we actually fought inside my otherverse.”
Ji Ning fell silent. For the sake of her goals, she was willing to repeatedly brave danger and tread the line between life and death. Suddenly, the image of a woman clad in black gauze appeared within Ning’s mind. This was a woman who was forever cold and distant.
Although they hadn’t known each other for too long, this woman had treated him as family and had asked him to address her as ‘Mistress’, with the Sword Hegemon being Ning’s ‘Master’. Ning still clearly remembered the final words the Paragon of Pills had said to him when they parted:
“You must be very careful on your path of cultivation. If you encounter any serious issues, you can use my name to warn those who would harm you. It might be of some use.”
“You can use my name to warn those who would harm you,” Ning murmured softly. In the past, he hadn’t really taken this to heart… but now, it seemed, she was known as a ‘madwoman’ who had so many Sithe treasures, even Hegemons would feel a hint of trepidation. She was also quite well-known, given how many trips she had made to the Sithelands. That meant that her name would indeed be quite useful as a protective talisman.
“Where is she now?” Ning asked.
“In the Sithelands,” Lord Annihilation said hurriedly. “My true body is there as well! Although I am an Otherverse Lord, I wasn’t a Hegemon prior to taking control over the otherverse and so am weaker than the Otherverse Lords in terms of my insights into the Dao. I’m supported by the power of my otherverse, but in terms of raw power I’m somewhere between a Hegemon and an ordinary Otherverse Lord.”
“Thus, I sometimes find it difficult to slay powerful Hegemons. Brother Brightshore is a good example; it’d be very hard for me to kill him,” Lord Annihilation said. “That’s why many major powers seek to kill me and then take my otherverse, which makes life quite miserable. I spend most of my time hiding inside of my otherverse.
“This time, the Paragon of Pills found a truly remarkable place which she felt certain was a Sithe treasury, but it was also a place of incredible danger. She sent out invitations for people to join her. I thought to myself, ‘Weak Sithe weapons are useless to you. If you are going to take a risk, go all out and take a big one!’ The Paragon of Pills has visited the Sithelands many times and is experienced in navigating it, and so I decided to take part in this trip.”
“Myself, the Paragon of Pills, and two others headed off on this journey together. One of the two is just as crazy as the Paragon of Pills is. As it turned out, the Paragon’s predictions were correct; she truly did find an enormous Sithe treasury, but it was filled with many dangers,” Lord Annihilation said. “In the end, we were defeated and one of us died, leaving just three of us alive; myself, the Paragon, and that other madman. However, all three of us ended up being separated.”
“To be honest, when we headed in we already knew of your illustrious fame. Back then, many of us were actually commenting that the Paragon now stood a very good chance of achieving her goals. If she asked you to help out, she’d probably be able to revive her three brothers.
“However, she refused to send you a message, even after we fell into grave danger. She said that the treasury was far too dangerous, and she knew that if you found out you would probably go there to rescue her… but the end result might be that you yourself would also be trapped.” Lord Annihilation continued, “Now, all three of us have been split apart. All of us are in mortal danger… and so I can no longer afford to respect her decision not to contact you. That’s why I have come to ask you to help out, Darknorth.”
Ning nodded somberly. The Sithelands was indeed extremely dangerous! Even the Autarchs had merely sealed it away, not daring to trespass too deeply within it. If they did, even they would be at risk of perishing.
Even the outer perimeter held a number of extremely dangerous areas which had simply been sealed off rather than penetrated and destroyed. Thus, even if Lord Annihilation was to ask an Autarch for help, the Autarch would probably be unwilling to assist. There were some unexplored places which even the Autarchs were unfamiliar with; it just wouldn’t be worth it for them to risk themselves like that.
“Wait. You came here to ask Darknorth to go into the Sithelands to rescue you?” Hegemon Brightshore glared at him, hard. “Annihilation, that’s not what you told me earlier.”
“I was afraid that if I told you too much, you wouldn’t help me.” Lord Annihilation hurriedly apologized, “Brightshore, I’m sorry about this.”
“You son of a…” Hegemon Brightshore was absolutely livid. “The Paragon of Pills is crazy, and you yourself said the third person is also a madman. I don’t really approve of their behavior in general, but I have to admit that all of them are extremely well-versed in the dangers of the Sithelands. If both of them are trapped with no way out, then the area you were in was definitely an incredibly dangerous one.”
“Yes.” Lord Annihilation nodded shamefacedly. It was indeed incredibly dangerous. He could still remember that nightmarish battle which had claimed the life of their fourth party member. The other three had been lucky enough to survive, but had ended up being separated. Even when they had been together, progress had been arduous. Now that they were separated, their chances were exceedingly grim. That was why he had come to beg Darknorth for aid.
All of them were much weaker than Daolord Darknorth, who had slain even the Lonely King with a single swipe of the sword.
“Daolord, I really was out of options,” Lord Annihilation said, rather embarrassed.
“Tell me where you are in the Sithelands,” Ning said. “I’ll go there as soon as possible. Also… do everything you can to protect the Mistress. Otherwise… when I see you, you are still going to die.”
“The Mistress?” Lord Annihilation was stunned. He knew that Ning had a very special relationship with the Paragon of Pills, but he had no idea that Ning would refer to her using such a close and familial term.
“Star map.” Ning looked at him.
“Here’s the star map, Daolord.” Lord Annihilation waved his hand, causing a star map to appear before them. The only parts of the star map which were detailed were the parts involving the Sithelands.
Ning gave it a glance. The five Autarchs had long ago provided Ning with a highly detailed star map of the entire Chaosverse, and they had taken especially detailed notes on the Sithelands, the only place which was a threat to them. Ning had a far more detailed map of the Sithelands than Lord Annihilation, and as a result he immediately knew where they were.
“Alright. I understand.” Ning nodded, then turned and went back into the spacetime tunnel with Hegemon Brightshore.
The two returned to the Brightshore Kingdom of the Flamedragon realmverse. Hegemon Brightshore’s wizened old face was covered with embarrassment: “Darknorth, I had no idea that Annihilation was going to make a request like this one. We’ve known each other forever. I can’t believe he pulled something like this on me.”
Ning shook his head. “His life was at stake. Playing a little trick on you is nothing.”
The Wildsky Realmverse. The Greatland Planet.
Ning’s true body was there alongside his eighth disciple Stonepool, Ji Brightmoon, Ji Yichuan, Yuchi Snow, Subhuti, Windfiend, Su Youji, Azurefiend, Protector Whitethaw, and the Flamewing God.
“I’m not going to lie. This trip to the Sithelands will be a bit risky,” Ning said. “I’m not sure I’d be able to keep you all safe, and so all of you shall wait here. I’ve already sent word to Realmslord Windgrace to come and pick you up.”
They only had just a single realmship, and Ning needed it to visit the Sithelands. Thus, he asked Windgrace to come and pick them up. The sooner he went off to rescue the Paragon of Pills, the better his chances would be. His family wouldn’t be in any danger here in the Wildsky Realmverse either.
They originally had two realmships, but Ning had already given the one he had taken from the Lonely King to Nuwa.
“Master, let me go with you,” Su Youji said hurriedly. “I’m not afraid of any danger.”
“Ning, my son…” Yuchi Snow was rather worried.
Ning shook his head. “None of you are to follow me! Flamewing, protect them all.”
“Don’t worry, Master… but make sure you are careful in there,” Flamewing said.
“I will.” Ning glanced at Azurefiend. “Azurefiend, you are more detail-oriented than him. Take good care of my family and my master. Your avatar can come by my side.”
“Understood.” Hegemon Azurefiend revealed a look of delight. A place which even Ning felt was dangerous was a place Hegemon Azurefiend would never dare to visit in person, but his avatar was a different story. Being able to experience a dangerous place like this would be of benefit to him in cultivation. He knew that Ning was trying to help him out.
As for Su Youji and Brightmoon? They also had avatars, but those were back in the Flamedragon Realmverse. More importantly, they were far too weak. Even if they did create new avatars, the distance between this place and the Sithelands was simply too far. There was no way their true body would be able to sense and connect to the avatar at such a distance, which meant that the tiny bit of godsense within the avatar would eventually disappear and dissipate from the lack of reinforcement.
Thus, the only person who was lucky enough to take part in this adventure would be Hegemon Azurefiend.
“Brightmoon, I have a task for you.” Ning looked at his daughter. “This new disciple of mine, Stonepool, has yet to truly embark upon the path of cultivation. I’ll temporarily leave his tutelage up to you. Teach him until you are back at the Flamedragon Realmverse.”
“Don’t worry. I’m a Daolord. Teaching him will be no problem.” Brightmoon was extremely confident. She glanced at Stonepool and said, “Junior apprentice-brother Stonepool, I’ll train you well.”
“Alright,” Stonepool said obediently. Everyone here was at an unfathomably more profound level of the Dao than he was.
That very day, Ning led Azurefiend’s avatar in travelling towards the Sithelands via realmship.