Book 42, The Five Truncheon Chapters, Chapter 14 - Before the Battle
Although Ji Ning had already acquired the technique he was searching for, the [Five Truncheon Chapters], he still continued flipping through the memories of all the other Hegemons and Emperors he had captured. He wanted to try and find more Sithe secrets that might be of help to the cultivators.
After a full year concluded, Ning once more flew towards the Sacred Mountains…
"He's coming." Exalt Bowenya stared from afar, his gaze ice-cold.
"Daolord Darknorth has already appeared. We cannot shirk back from this fight. Our only options are to win glory for ourselves by killing Daolord Darknorth… or dying in battle." Jonnbach was standing outside the Iceland Elder Hall, radiating the desire to do battle. Behind him were nearly four hundred Hegemons and Emperors, the vast majority of whom were all true Sithe.
"Do you want to die?" Jonnbech's voice was placid, but it echoed throughout the hall. The true Sithe and the Sithe descendants were all silent, but their eyes were filled with berserk looks.
"Good. Let's begin." Accompanying Jonnbech's orders, the towering Iceland Elder Hall began to shake and rumble as it broke free from its own foundation.
The white-robed Ning was soaring through the skies towards them. Now, the vast Iceland Elder Hall was soaring into the air as well.
"At most, they'll force me to waste a bit of extra time." Thanks to his Illusion Sword Dao, Ning would be able to win this fight quite easily. None of them could see through his illusions.
His Sword Dao Domain was able cover an area of over a billion kilometers, and this entire area would be transformed into an illusory realm! Wide-range attacks could hit him, but they would be weak enough that Ning could just hide inside his treasures and defend against them with ease. Focused attacks were powerful, but there was no way they would be able to locate the true Ning within this region of a billion kilometers.
"If I had already mastered the Illusion Sword Dao while I was fighting in Purgatory, I wouldn't have needed to use my Storm Sword Dao to evade those attacks when fighting that first castle. The Illusion Sword Dao would've been enough to make it impossible for my opponents to locate me, much less stop me. Same with that spacetime formation; I still would've been trapped, but the Illusion Sword Dao would've made it impossible for them to injure me."
Ning couldn't help but sigh. During the battle in the spacetime formation, he had sacrificed many precious treasures and had to strike eighteen times before he was able to escape. What a waste! If he had already mastered the Illusion Sword Dao, he could've relaxed within the confines of that formation. His opponents wouldn't have been able to touch him!
Alas, Ning had no idea back then that the Illusion Sword Dao would prove to be so effective. It was of very little use against other Autarch-level experts, after all… but against hordes of weaker Emperors and Hegemons? It was absolutely crushing! They wouldn't even be able to locate him, much less strike him.
"It is nearly time." Ning sipped from a glass of wine as he stared outside of the star-treasure he was in towards the approaching Iceland Elder Hall.
"Master, it seems as though we stand a good chance at escaping," Azurefiend's avatar said excitedly.
"The Flameland Elder Hall and the Iceland Elder Hall both voluntarily abandoned their foundations in order to attack me. That's why they aren't that dangerous. But the remaining Daoguard Tower which is owned by Exalt Bowenya… now that is a different story." Ning shook his head. "The central control mechanisms for this entire hidden dimension are located within that Daoguard Tower, which means I have to actually go inside it. The danger level inside a Daoguard Tower is completely different."
"You have to be careful, Master," Azurefiend's avatar said. The more time he spent with Ning, the more admiration he felt, especially when he saw how almost nothing could shake Ning's Dao-heart and how calm Ning was in the face of even the greatest of dangers. Azurefiend himself was not capable of this.
"Attack! Kill Daolord Darknorth! Kill him and we'll be rewarded heavily. Even if we die, we'll be revived through spacetime inversion and then be graced with many gifts! If we can't kill him, at least we can tire him out a bit. Next, Exalt Bowenya will personally deal with him! So long as the Exalt succeeds, we'll still be brought back."
"ATTACK!" Jonnbech howled. His only hope was to render enough merits to the Sithe that he would be revived via spacetime inversion… because he knew that they were definitely going to die during this battle against this terrifying Daolord.
"Attack!" All the Hegemons and Emperors charged forwards madly, including both the true Sithe and the Sithe descendants. If they charged and attacked, at least they would have a tiny chance at surviving this. Anyone who dared to try and flee would be put to death in accordance to Sithe laws, never to be revived again.
"They clearly know that they have no chance against me. They are like mantises waving their arms in front of a cart and seeking to stop it, but they still show no signs of fear at all." Ning couldn't help but feel a slight sense of trepidation when he gazed upon the hundreds of berserk Hegemons and Emperors. "Hawkfang's memories indicate that even Sithe Exalts like his father were all forced to take part in this war. Life amongst the Sithe certainly is brutal."
Whoosh. Ning used the power of his Illusion Sword Dao against the rampaging Hegemons who were charging towards him as the battle began.
Within the final Elder Hall, the brightest one of the three. The blue-robed, blue-haired Bowenya was standing there, calmly watching the battle from afar.
He didn't care about the deaths of the Hegemons and the Emperors. He only cared about one thing… success!
"If they die, they die. So long as we can kill Daolord Darknorth and swallow up his truesoul, I'll have rendered the greatest merit anyone has accomplished since our invasion into this Chaosverse! I'll be given true freedom, and many other gifts as well." Exalt Bowenya stared intently at the distant white-robed youth. "This is in accordance with the rules which our leader personally wrote down. There's no way he would go back on his word."
"We have to kill him." Bowenya's eyes were filled with savagery as well. Hawkfang? Jonnbech? Even if they died… even if this entire hidden dimension was destroyed… he wouldn't care one bit! The only thing which mattered was killing Ning and then swallowing up his truesoul.
According to what their leader had said, the higher your status and the more karmic luck you had, the more the Quintessence of the Chaosverse would dote upon you! The person before Bowenya was the first master of an Eternal Omega Sword Dao this Chaosverse had ever seen. Even though he had failed his Daomerge, he would remain beloved by this Chaosverse and would be blessed with tremendous karmic luck and tremendous power.
Similarly, during the era of the Three Realms, its most talented experts such as Nuwa and Ning would all be blessed and reinforced by the power of the Three Realms. The same was true for the Chaosverse as a whole. The most talented denizens of the Chaosverse would be blessed with tremendous karmic luck. This was true for both the Autarchs and Ning! If any of them were slain and their truesouls devoured, it would be a tremendous blow to this Chaosverse as a whole!
If Ning had died under ordinary circumstances, such as his truesoul naturally dissipating, then his truesoul fragments would make their way back into the prime essences of the Chaosverse. But if he was killed by the Sithe, then had his truesoul fragments devoured in accordance with those secret Sithe truesoul-swallowing techniques, there would be no way for his truesoul fragments to go back to this Chaosverse.
This was why Bowenya had to kill Ning, rather than just trap him and let him slowly die a normal death. And… killing Ning would be an even greater accomplishment than killing an ordinary Autarch!
This was because the Sithe leadership knew that while ordinary Autarchs were unable to improve any further, those who were in control of an Eternal Omega Dao could very well take that final step and become an Omega Autarch, resulting in a new Lord of Chaos being born. The Sithe would stop at nothing to kill Ning! Even though he had failed his Daomerge, they would still be worried that someone as brilliant as him might be able to come up with a way to devise a 'Truesoul Everlasting' technique.
The sooner they killed him, the better.
After capturing Jonnbech and the others, Ning inspected all of their memories. However, the only unexpected surprises came from Jonnbech himself. Jonnbech actually had a perfect Dao-heart, and so the illusions formed from the Sword Dao Domain were not enough to control his mind. Ning was forced to use some of his own power and use a secret art in order to draw Jonnbech into an illusion, then rifle through his memories.
Ning was quite delighted by what he found. Jonnbech, as someone who had a perfect Dao-heart, was a very high-ranking Sithe. He was far more important than the vast majority of Hegemons, and was given the best resources in the hope that he would become an Exalt! As a result, he had viewed many different techniques which were meant to aid Hegemons in breaking through to Autarchy. Some required lifeblood oaths to be sworn not to divulge them to outsiders, while others Jonnbech had found on his own. The latter didn't require any oaths, and so Ning managed to uncover quite a few techniques which not even Autarch Titanos or Autarch Awakener had been able to acquire.
"This is an unexpected surprise. And… it seems that Jonnbech's home truly had many powerful experts within it." Ning found quite a few memories pertaining to the Sithe Chaosverse as well. There, the 'Exalts' were truly Autarchs in power.
But of course, there were differences in power amongst the Autarchs as well. Some reached Autarchy as Heartforce Cultivators, while others reached Autarchy through the Dao of the Sword, the Dao of Spacetime, the Dao of Space, and more. Some reached Autarchy through the Dao of Metal, while other reached Autarchy through the Dao of the Five Elements.
Different Daos would result in different levels of power. Those who reached Autarchy via the Dao of Space, for example, would be a bit weaker than those who reached Autarchy via the Dao of Spacetime. In turn, those who reached Autarchy via the Dao of the Five Elements would be even more powerful.
Alas, all memories pertaining to the secrets of the Omega Daos were sealed by lifeblood oaths. Even so, Ning's horizons were considerably expanded. He actually gained new insights into his own path of cultivation as well.
"I don't have enough time as a cultivator of the Dao of the Sword. Reaching Autarchy via my Omega Sword Dao before my truesoul crumbles is nothing more than a vain dream. I don't have nearly enough time; in fact, I probably won't even be able to finish my Karma Sword Dao! I need to focus all of my efforts on creating the 'Truesoul Everlasting' technique."