Book 43, Final Fate, Chapter 1 - Sealed Away?
A dazzlingly beautiful and fragrant meadow. A barefoot, gray-robed man was seated in the lotus position here. He reached out to gently pluck a flower, then closed his eyes to sniff it. A gentle yet infectious smile appeared on his face which affected even the nearby Exalt Bowenya. This caused the latter to feel an even-greater sense of awe.
"You handled this matter very poorly," Iyerre said while continuing to enjoy the flower's fragrance.
"I made a mistake. I was too desperate for glory," Bowenya said rather nervously.
Iyerre stared raptly at the flower before him, as though he wanted to memorize every millimeter of it. "Your hunger for glory and your unwillingness to share it resulted in you not notifying me about this until the very last moment, when the Daoguard Tower itself was about to be destroyed. In other words, you only reported it when you were out of options. You didn't give me enough time at all."
Bowenya was silent. He didn't dare to say a word, especially since Iyerre was correct. He had indeed waited until the situation was quite grim, with Ning ripping his way through spacetime and charging towards the heart of the tower.
Iyerre didn't have enough time to fully prepare a counter-plan, and so his only choice had been to send in a servitor who he thought would have the highest chance for success.
"Losing a servant is a minor matter," Iyerre continued, "But I'm concerned that the local Autarchs will discover that our heartlands have not been truly sealed by them."
"Impossible. They won't be able to discover anything. We didn't make any mistakes at all," Bowenya said hurriedly.
"I sent over a servant and tore a dimensional tunnel for it and you to traverse. This created a dimensional ripple," Iyerre said. "It was thanks to this ripple that Autarch Titanos and Autarch Mogg were able to enter the dimension and slay my servitor."
"I acted to mislead Daolord Darknorth," Bowenya said. "I made sure that he thought I fled out of fear while unleashing the creature being suppressed by my Daoguard Tower. It all fits together perfectly. There were no mistakes made at all."
Iyerre nodded slightly. If certain secrets were revealed, their chances at victory during the final battle would be lessened. The most important secret, of course, was the existence of himself - Iyerre! Thankfully, this wouldn't be a problem so long as he didn't accidentally reveal himself. Everyone who had met him and knew of his identity had been forced to swear lifeblood oaths. They couldn't even mention him in the most oblique of ways!
Ning had reviewed the memories of many Hegemons and Emperors, but he knew nothing at all of the supreme leaders of the Sithe invasion. He knew that the Sithe had a Lord of Chaos, but the Sithe Chaoslord was a transcendent figure that could be described as truly invincible, even in all the Infinite Void.
He wouldn't be so foolish as to actually enter Ning's Chaosverse, because once he did he would lose his connection to the Chaosverse he controlled. Not only would he be dramatically weakened, he would also be suppressed by this Chaosverse. If enough things went wrong, he could theoretically be killed here! However, so long as he avoided other Chaosverses he would be completely invincible. Thus, the Autarchs of Ning's Chaosverse felt certain that the Sithe Chaoslord would never come here in person.
All that aside… the fact that the Sithelands had not truly been sealed away was another extremely important secret! The seals which the cultivator Autarchs had placed over the Sithelands were so powerful that the Autarchs felt that if the Sithe wished to escape, they would have to fight their way through. As a result, the cultivator civilizations entered an era of peace, with just Autarch Mogg and the avatars of Autarchs remaining behind to keep a watch over things here.
In reality, however, Iyerre was able to open dimensional tunnels to the outside world with ease. The tunnel he had established to send out his servant and bring Bowenya back was proof of this… which meant that the entire Sithe army was capable of slipping out without anyone being the wiser!
"There were still a few gaps in our masquerade which might be discovered." Iyerre glanced sideways at Bowenya. "We didn't have enough time, and I really did want to kill Daolord Darknorth and swallow his truesoul."
"I was at fault," Bowenya said immediately.
"However… I don't think the cultivators will be able to notice them," Iyerre said calmly. "Either way, the fact that this Chaosverse has given birth to someone who has mastered an Eternal Omega Dao means that we'll need to launch the final war sooner than anticipated! If we wait for too long, this Chaosverse might give birth to an Omega Autarch, in which case we'll truly be finished. You can make up for your mistakes once the war begins."
"Understood," Bowenya said. Iyerre then waved his hand, causing Bowenya to disappear without a trace. The meadow remained as calm and tranquil as ever. The only beings here aside from Iyerre were a few ordinary animals.
"Last time, I saw that the tide was turning against us so I feigned weakness and allowed you to 'seal' us here," Iyerre murmured softly. "I've waited and prepared for a very long time. This time, I understand you far better than I did in the past. I'm definitely going to win.
Immediately after Ji Ning sent off the Paragon of Pills and the others, Autarch Mogg's face turned grave. "Let's go back into the hidden dimension," he said, then teleported Ning and Autarch Titanos inside once more.
The three of them stood in midair within the Sacred Realm, staring at the distant Daoguard Tower. The entire Sacred Realm looked as though it had been through hell and back. The ground was filled with craters and crevices, a testament to the earlier battle that had rocked this place.
"It's been ruined." Autarch Mogg stared at the distant Daoguard Tower. "The dimensional control formations have been wrecked. This Daoguard Tower can no longer be used to monitor the surrounding area, nor can it be used to activate the dimensional teleport function which was used to capture cultivators."
"The dimensional formation has been destroyed?" Ning was startled. The grand formation which had captured him was formed by a combination of nine mighty dimensional formation-bases. When it had activated, Ning had been teleported straight to this hidden dimension.
"The Sithe definitely arranged for guards to watch over those nine formation-bases," Autarch Mogg said. "Once we took over this hidden dimension, they moved to destroy the formation-bases to avoid us making use of them."
"If they've been destroyed, they've been destroyed. This hidden dimension is useless to us cultivators," Autarch Titanos said with a smile. His gaze suddenly turned towards the devastated landscape. He frowned: "Mogg, did you have the feeling that the creature we fought against was much more troublesome than usual?"
Autarch Mogg blinked, then nodded. "It really was a handful."
"Exalt-class Daoguard Towers generally don't suppress creatures of such strength," Autarch Titanos said. "As I recall, the previous ones we dealt with I could kill within just four or five palm strikes. This time, the two of us had to work together to fight for quite some time before it died. During the Dawn War, it wasn't until the very end that the Sithe released creatures of such power."
"This secret dimension was used to spy on the outside world. It was probably quite special to the Sithe, which was why they stationed a particularly powerful creature here," Autarch Mogg said.
"Possible, I suppose." Autarch Titanos nodded. "We've always felt certain that the Sithe were completely sealed away, especially since we've taken full control over the outer perimeter of the Sithelands. I never would've imagined that such an enormous dimension could've been hidden from us for so long! If they weren't so desperate to get rid of Darknorth, we probably would've never discovered it."
Autarch Mogg frowned. "I've been standing guard over this place for countless aeons, but I never noticed it."
"That's why I'm worried. How many other secrets are the Sithe hiding?" Autarch Titanos frowned as well.
"Hahaha… we've completely locked away the Sithe heartlands. If they made it out, I'd definitely notice," Autarch Mogg said with a chuckle. "It doesn't really matter if a few Sithe are hiding in the outside world. How many of them could there be?"
Autarch Titanos nodded as well. All of the Autarchs had worked together to forge those seals over the Sithe heartlands. They felt quite confident in its efficacy.
Ning simply gazed at the world around him. This was very important, but with his truesoul crumbling away the most important thing for him to do was to use his remaining years to create the 'Truesoul Everlasting' technique. There was no way he could take part in any battle against the Sithe.
"Gentlemen," Ning said, "As you know, I acquired the [Five Truncheon Chapters]. This is something which would be tremendously beneficial to the entire cultivator civilization. I acquired it from Hawkfang after I entered the Sacred Realm! I promised him that I would guarantee a peaceful life for the countless Sithe descendants who lived here."
"That's easy. I have to admit, Hawkfang did something incredible for us. I'll give them an otherverse of their own," Autarch Mogg said with a smile. "An otherverse will be more than enough for all of them to reside within."
"I feel sorry for them. The Sithe clearly don't care about them at all; they treat them as pawns to be sacrificed." Ning shook his head and sighed. Suddenly, he frowned and his face turned pale. "Wait a second!"