Book 42, The Five Truncheon Chapters, Chapter 6 – Putting On a Show
Exalt Bowenya’s face tightened. He murmured softly to himself, “Is he actually exhausted, or was he just pretending?”
He was beginning to feel some suspicions. The battle had progressed far too smoothly, causing him to feel a hint of unease deep inside. Each time, however, he had reassured himself that he was simply overthinking things! Upon hearing the remaining Hegemons cry that they had been counter-trapped? Exalt Bowenya’s intuition, tempered by countless years of adventuring and battle, screamed that something was seriously wrong with this battle.
“Are all of you trapped?” Exalt Bowenya asked.
“We’re all trapped. This entire place is filled with black fog. I can’t see the other Hegemons and Emperors.”
“We’ve been trapped as well.”
“We’re trapped.” The various avatars of the Hegemons and Emperors all spoke out frantically, causing Exalt Bowenya to feel increasingly uneasy about this.
Within the sealed spacetime continuum of a hundred billion kilometers.
Ning stood there in midair, relaxed and at his ease. Hundreds of millions of kilometers away, some magic treasures and formations continued to rain down attacks upon a second white-robed Daolord Darknorth. This second Daolord Darknorth was doing his best to dodge and evade while using his Water Sword Dao, Storm Sword Dao, and other techniques, with his truesoul at the brink of collapse.
“What is real is false. What is false is real.” Ning murmured softly, “None of these Hegemons are able to see through my Illusion Sword Dao. I’m able to toy with them with ease.” Ever since he had been trapped within this sealed continuum, his ‘frenzied fighting’ and his ‘crumbling truesoul’ had all been falsified by his Illusion Sword Dao!
Ning’s Sword Dao Domain was able to spread out to a distance of one billion kilometers! With but a thought, he caused this entire region to be transformed into an illusory realm. At Ning’s current level of insight, the illusory beings within his domain had gained a basic level of sentience, emotions, and intelligence! This was an absolutely terrifying concept. In comparison, simply faking a battle scene within this domain was incredibly simple. The Hegemons and Emperors only saw what Ning wished for them to see!
If Ning was able to use his Omega Sword Dao to become an Autarch, his illusory domain would reach the level of being able to manifest reality itself. By then, his ‘illusions’ would be real on both the surface and inside. He could create an ‘illusion’ of a Universe treasure, and it would become a genuine Universe treasure. If he created the illusion of an expert, they would become real experts! But of course, this would require him to constantly consume a large amount of power.
Even now, the beings created by his illusions possessed intelligence, emotions, and sentience. Ning’s ‘Illusion Sword Dao’ had become one of his killer techniques. In a battle against an Autarch, it would be somewhat effective but wouldn’t necessarily be the determining factor… but against mere Hegemons and Emperors? The Illusion Sword Dao could toy with them with ease! However, it took Ning time to capture those Hegemons and break their formations, which is why he had continued to put on a show and buy more time.
“Master. We’ve already taken control of this formation,” Azurefiend’s avatar reported.
“Good.” Ning revealed a delighted look, then waved his hand. A formation-base which was ten million kilometers long suddenly appeared next to him. Azurefiend’s avatar, the Paragon of Pills, Lord Annihilation, Hegemon Tia, and Hegemon Flameleft were jointly controlling this grand formation, which was one of the many formations which Ning had taken away. He had let his team choose from the available formations and find one which they could use.
“Assemble the formation and use it to cover everything within a hundred billion kilometers,” Ning immediately ordered. “Trap them all. Let none escape!”
“Leave it to us.” Azurefiend, Lord Annihilation, and the others were all quite excited. Capture two thousand Hegemons at one blow? They had never done or even seen anything like this before! All of them felt both eagerness and nervousness.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. A large amount of black fog spread out from within the formation. It almost instantly covered the entire sealed continuum, spreading out to a distance of a hundred billion kilometers. This formation had been meant to deal with Ning. It only had a minor effect on him, but it was perfect for dealing with these Hegemons and Emperors.
“I can’t see anything!”
“What a terrifying aura of darkness. I’ve been suppressed!”
“I can’t see anything either.”
“I can’t resist it.”
“We’ve been completely trapped.”
“We’ve been trapped as well!” The two thousand remaining Hegemons and Emperors were all beginning to panic, because Ning had already dealt with the most powerful formations earlier. The remaining Hegemons had just a single powerful formation left, but it was an attack-type formation that couldn’t affect this grand darkness formation at all!
Once the darkness spread out, almost 99% of the Hegemons and Emperors were completely paralyzed. The rest were able to fight back a bit thanks to the treasures they possessed, but there were only around ten or so in total. They wouldn’t be able to make much of a difference.
“Time to bring it to an end.” Ning immediately began to fly towards those remaining Hegemons. His Sword Dao Domain quickly spread out to cover them, completely suppressing them and making it impossible for them to move. With but a thought, Ning drew all the Hegemons into his estate-world and imprisoned them in separate parts of it!
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Soon, all of the Hegemons and Emperors within the sealed continuum had been drawn away.
“Impressive, Darknorth. I never would’ve dared to imagine a result like this.” The Paragon of Pills was incomparably excited, while the nearby Azurefiend, Lord Annihilation, Tia, and Flameleft were stunned as well.
“Now that I’ve taken part in such a great undertaking, I can die with no regrets. I imagine my old friends wouldn’t even believe me when I tell them about this,” Hegemon Flameleft sighed with shock.
“More than two thousand Hegemons and Emperors!” Azurefiend sighed as well.
Ning nodded. “More than two thousand eight hundred, to be precise. However, it was all thanks to you helping out. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to activate that formation on my own.”
“All we did was use that formation in a very simple manner, nothing else.” Lord Annihilation said hurriedly, “In the end, it was all thanks to your unearthly power, Daolord Darknorth. You dealt with the biggest problems, allowing us to sweep up the scattered remnants.”
“Stop flattering me,” Ning said with a laugh. “Go ahead and enter my estate-world. This was merely our first battle in the Sacred Realm. It is far too early to be celebrating.”
“With you by our side, Daolord, we’ll definitely make it out alive.” Lord Annihilation continued his flattery.
“Be careful, Darknorth.” The Paragon of Pills looked at him.
The sealed spacetime continuum was now completely empty. The only person left within this region of a hundred billion kilometers was Ji Ning!
“Now that was a fine show we put on.” Ning couldn’t help but grin when he thought about what had happened just now. In order to make the performance seem as realistic as possible, he even used up a few of his Sithe treasures, allowing them to take blows meant for him and then explode in dramatic fashion. He actually made use of them as well, as the fragments would clearly be real even after flying out of the range of his Sword Dao Domain.
Illusions… reality… Ning was now an absolute grandmaster in blending the two together, and so all of the Hegemons and Emperors fell into his grasp.
“I’ll scan their memories first.” He had captured most of them alive, sparing even the many true Sithe he had captured, all for the sake of finding those nine special techniques. This was something which would have an impact on his own chances of survival!
He waved his hand, causing a true Sithe Hegemon to appear before him.
“Daolord Darknorth?” The Sithe Hegemon stared at Ning, shocked. He then gritted his teeth and said, “W-what do you want?”
Ning continued to maintain his Illusion Sword Dao Domain. To the Sithe, it looked as though Ning’s truesoul was crumbling away rapidly. It looked as though Ning was at the very verge of death.
“Do you want to live, or do you want to die?” Ning asked.
“Live? Die?” The Sithe Hegemon was stunned. Who would choose death if life was an option? But as he hesitated, Ning secretly lured his mind into the illusory realm, causing a dazed look to appear in his eyes. Ning then began to flip through the memories of this Sithe Hegemon.
“He also swore a lifeblood oath not to reveal anything?” Ning’s face tightened. “The Sithe truly are cautious. Even the true Sithe were forced to swear lifeblood oaths.”
He wasn’t able to find the nine techniques, and so he turned his attention to the Hegemon’s other memories, carefully viewing them in the hopes of finding something useful.
Within the brightest Elder Hall. Exalt Dowenya stood silently on his feet, with the avatars of his servants by his side. All of their true bodies had been captured alive! Clearly, they had already lost the first battle. All the Hegemons and Emperors had been captured, with a tiny fraction having been killed.
“Exalt.” Two figures appeared next to him. It was the incarnations of Hawkfang and Jonnbech.
It was fairly easy for such high-level cultivators to use divine power to manifest incarnations. So long as the incarnations remained fairly close to their true bodies, the incarnations could be maintained with ease! Hawkfang and Jonnbech’s true bodies were both located in the other two Elder Halls, which were quite close. As a result, it was easy for them to maintain incarnations here.
However, incarnations formed via divine power were all extremely weak, negligibly weak when compared to their true bodies! In contrast, avatars were different. Avatars could come close to true bodies in power, with some able to reach 70% or even 80%.
“What should we do next?” Jonnbech’s incarnation asked.