Desolate Era - Book 45, Chapter 17 - The End (2)
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth, I admit that I did act in a rather untoward fashion, but the path of cultivation is an inherently selfish path. We fight our way to the top, do we not? Your Chaosverse was the weakest of all Chaosverses, so my disciple naturally chose to try and make it his own. The war is now over, and he is dead. You are now a Lord of Chaos. Let us let bygones be bygones. What do you say?”
The horned, azure-robed man completely understood how Ji Ning was feeling right now, and so he continued to speak in a gentle and friendly voice, “You now stand at the very peak of civilization, after all. We each are in control of our respective Chaosverses, and neither of us can do anything to the other. What’s the point of holding grudges?”
Ning let out a cold snort, then retracted his gaze and broke the link. The horned man just chuckled, not angry in the slightest.
The white-robed Ning stood within the emptiness of space, staring at the treasures which the deceased Iyerre had left behind. He used his godsense to sweep through all of the treasures and inspect them. “Given that Iyerre dared to return, he probably had something he was counting on.”
“Oh. Was it this tablet?” Ning discovered the Stele of Mountains and Rivers. It looked quite ordinary, but when Ning gave it a closer inspection he was rather startled. The internal intricacies made him sigh in amazement. “This should have been created by the Sithe Lord of Chaos. Otherwise, Iyerre would’ve used it long ago. It truly is incredible. This Lord of Chaos is an absolute marvel when it comes to artificing, and this item is of some use to me.”
The black warbeasts had little meaning for Ning, but the Stele of Mountains and Rivers was of fairly significant use.
“This stele can allow me to instantly release an enormous amount of mana in a terrifying strike that vastly surpasses my normal maximums. Incredible. Although I cannot bind it, it’ll still be of great use to me in improving my own artificing skills.” Ning willed the six Northbow swords on his back to all enter his heartworld. By now, his vast heartworld was completely identical to the real world.
Within the heartworld, Ning could make anything ‘real’ with but a thought. He could even manufacture a hundred or more Northbow swords in the blink of an eye, but he would have to pay an enormous price in energy!
Rumble. The Northbow swords began to transform within the heartworld. Everything was as Ning willed it to be. He first transformed their quintessences into his Autarch Omega Sword Dao, then remade the physical properties of the swords as well, infusing some of the insights he had gained from the Stele of Mountains and Rivers into his Northbow swords. At critical moments, his swords would now be able to unleash incredible attacks that vastly surpassed their normal might. Although the difference wasn’t as ridiculous as that granted by the Stele of Mountains and Rivers, it still replicated 30% of the effect.
In that same instant, his avatar began to remake the Northmoon swords within its own heartworld. His avatar had been reinforced and nourished by the power of the entire Chaosverse and was thus at 80% of the true Ning’s power.
“I’m a Lord of Chaos, but I have yet to really explore the outside world. I can only relax after fully understanding this universe.” Ning was a bit nervous from the repeated invasions, and so he was filled with wariness and vigilance towards the outside world.
He would send his avatar out, rather than his true body. The Sithe Lord of Chaos only had an avatar in the outside world as well. Their avatars had roughly 80% of their full power, and once they died they could swiftly be remade. They were perfect for sending out and exploring.
“Let’s take a look and see what mysteries the Infinite Void holds within it.” The sword-bearing golden-robed Ning exited his Chaosverse.
The golden-robed Ning began to wander through the endlessly dazzling Infinite Void. This place was filled with distorted spacetime and many enormous celestial objects, as well as countless strange beings. When they encountered the golden-robed Ning, they were filled with utter terror. This was merely Ning’s avatar, but it carried with it the mighty aura of an entire Chaosverse. This was why Lords of Chaos were so terrifying and why Iyerre was so desperate to become one. A single glance from them was enough to suppress and kill an Omega Autarch. The difference in power was simply too great.
“There are a total of nine Chaosverses, and they are the largest of celestial objects here. The others are all much smaller. Countless celestial objects, scattered throughout the Infinite Void… and spacetime here is completely chaotic.” The golden-robed Ning began to understand. “It’s just too large, and every single spacetime continuum is different. I could spend ten million chaos cycles exploring without being able to fully investigate the entire Infinite Void. The Infinite Void is also changing constantly; there’s no point in even trying.”
“My homeland and the enormous Chaosverses… where did they come from?” If he wasn’t able to investigate the entire Infinite Void, he wanted to at least understand his own past and the source of the Chaosverses.
Whoosh. Ning stared off into the distance. The enormous Chaosverse that was his home was within his field of vision, as was another vast Chaosverse. Chaosverses were so enormous that they loomed large from even incredible distances.
“Reverse.” Ning willed time to flow backwards. Rumble… time quickly came to a halt and began to reverse, displaying the countless scenes that had occurred in the past. This sort of ‘temporal inversion’ technique generally required very little energy. In the Three Realms, even weak Immortals and Fiendgods were capable of using such a technique. However, he was applying the technique to an absolutely enormous region which covered two Chaosverses, resulting in a similarly tremendous expenditure of energy. His own energies were rapidly depleted, but the prime energies of his Chaosverse sent more and more to him.
This was another reason why Chaoslords were so incredible. They could unleash as much power as they wanted! So long as they didn’t unleash more power than their Chaosverses’ would naturally regenerate, they essentially had access to truly unlimited energy. Their Chaosverses would also draw upon energy from the Infinite Void at an incredible rate.
“Faster, faster! I want to see more!” The golden-robed Ning stared towards the two Chaosverses as time continued to reverse.
Boom! Suddenly, Ning saw those two distant Chaosverses explode. “Eh?!” Ning immediately halted the temporal inversion.
It wasn’t an actual explosion. Time continued to slowly flow forwards, allowing Ning to view everything clearly. The actual scene… was of countless different streams of matter and energy slowly coming together to form an enormous Chaosverse!
“So the Chaosverses were actually formed by countless amounts of matter and energy coming together?” Ning nodded. This made sense. He continued the temporal inversion.
“Eh?” Suddenly, Ning noticed something special. The matter and energy which had ‘exploded’ outwards came together to form many celestial objects of various size, with the nine Chaosverses being the largest. “So all matter actually came from that direction over there?” Ning immediately turned his gaze to the location where all this matter had come from.
Time inverted at the point where he focused his gaze, staring at the place where all this matter had come from.
Once, long ago, a single absolutely enormous landmass had existed across an incredibly wide area within the Infinite Void. This landmass was absolutely, inconceivably sized. It vastly surpassed any Chaosverse.
“What an enormous landmass! Is this where everything came from?” the golden-robed Ning immediately began to move closer to that region.
“Ah. He’s discovered it?” The thin, horned man atop that levitating boulder watched from afar. When Ning began to move towards the location where that landmass had been, the horned man’s heart clenched. He then immediately began to warp over there as well.
When Ning arrived at the location of the vast landmass, time began to reverse once more. The scenes of what had once occurred within that vast landmass began to replay in front of Ning. This world had been far vaster than any Chaosverse, and it also held far more living beings within it, including countless living beings and countless races.
“How lively.” Ning watched the lives of those countless beings being replayed before him.
BOOM! Suddenly, the vast landmass began to crack apart.
“You traitors! TRAITORS!” A towering, black-robed emperor who emanated an aura of incredible power was surrounded by over a hundred figures of tremendous might. These figures all had different appearances, including both humans and beasts, and their blows were filled with incredible strength.
“Traitors? You enslaved us! Should all of our hard work been meant for nothing save to serve as your eternal slaves?”
“Haha… you thought that the seal you placed on our truesouls would enable you to control us unto our deaths. You fool! In the end, you are nothing more than this continent’s will incarnate. You are no true cultivator! You have no idea how formidable Omega Autarchs are. We escaped your control long ago. We simply put on an act and bided our time!”
“We’ve been waiting for so long, while brother Heavencloud poured all his effort into creating this Grand Armageddon Formation to deal with you!”
Although Ning didn’t understand what the experts of this era were saying, through watching the battle he was able to tell what level the hundred-plus experts were at, as well as the black-robed emperor’s level.
“What?!” Ning was shocked by the battle occurring before him. “The attackers are all Omega Autarchs!”
There were a total of 129 experts attacking the black-robed emperor, and all of them were Omega Autarchs. They had joined together into an incredibly complex formation. Even though Ning was also an Omega Autarch, he felt that he was incapable of truly understanding it. He had the vague feeling that it had probably been created by someone who had reached Omega Autarchy via the Dao of Formations. This was why the formation was able to allow over a hundred Omega Autarchs to fuse their energies together perfectly.
“How can there be this many Omega Autarchs?” Ning was rather stunned. “Although each blow from that black-robed emperor is filled with awesome power, he’s actually at a lower level of insight than them. He doesn’t seem to be an Omega Autarch. He’s at a lower level, yet can contend with 129 of them by himself?”
Whoosh. A second figure warped through spacetime and appeared next to Ning. It was the horned, azure-robed man.
“You?” Ning glanced at him.
“This is our first time actually meeting, I believe.” The horned man smiled. “I am Alphan of the Sithe Chaosverse.”
Ning blinked. He suddenly realized that his Chaosverse didn’t have a name yet. There were nine of them, after all; it wouldn’t be appropriate to keep calling his ‘the Chaosverse’. What name should he choose for it?
Ning thought back to his homeland, of the many living beings who had struggled within the Chaosverse to clamber upwards on the path of cultivation. So many forerunners had helped clear the way, cutting their way through thistles and thorns as they blazed a path through the wilderness. Their efforts had finally culminated in Ning’s success, allowing their Chaosverse to enter a new stage of development.
“Desolate Chaosverse, Ji Ning.” Ning looked at the horned man.
“Desolate… Ji Ning?” the horned man murmured softly.
“Why have you come here?” Ning felt nothing but ill-will towards this horned man, and so he came straight to the point.
The horned man pointed at the scene of the great battle which had occurred in the past. “In this era, the vast landmass before us ended up being destroyed by the battle we are now watching. After breaking apart, its energy and its matter ended up forming many celestial objects within the Infinite Void, with the largest being our nine Chaosverses.”
Ning simply listened.
“That black-robed emperor was the continent’s will incarnate. Its Quintessence was far more powerful than those in our Chaosverses, and as a result it reached a level of such power that it actually gained true sentience,” the horned man said. “The will of the landmass governed itself and all of the living beings with it. Once a cultivator succeeded in the Daomerge and broke through to become an Eternal Emperor, it would set down a seal upon that cultivator’s truesoul which allowed it to take full control over that cultivator’s life and death.
“Since it was nothing more than a psychic being which arose from the prime essences, it only understood the various Eternal Omega Daos. It didn’t understand what an Autarch Omega Dao was! However, it had the power of the entire continent behind it, and so it remained invincible.
“More and more living beings arose within this continent. Omega Autarchs eventually began to rise, but even after reaching Omega Autarchy they were still unable to extricate themselves from that seal. One… two… three… more and more Omega Autarchs began to appear. Finally, an incredibly powerful Omega Autarch managed to devise a method to solve the seal, and he secretly passed it over to the other Omega Autarchs.”
Ning continued to listen silently.
“Look. That’s him over there.” The horned man pointed towards a white-haired man who was amongst the attackers. “His name was Grand Sovereign Crimson Wind, and he was one of nine Grand Sovereigns under the command of that black-robed emperor who was responsible for helping the emperor manage the entire landmass. He was the one who solved the seal.”
“Later, the Omega Autarch of Formations known as Heavencloud managed to develop an absolutely terrifying formation, the ‘Grand Armageddon Formation’.” The horned man pointed at another man who was bald. “He was the black-robed emperor’s Sentinel for the seventh universe.”
“Seventh universe?” Ning suddenly said.
“You might not have noticed yet, but that landmass actually has a total of thirty-two universes circling around it. Each of them is roughly on par with our own Chaosverses in size,” the horned man said.
Ning said, “You know quite a lot.”
“Haha, I’ve inverted time to watch the history of this era before us on many an occasion. I’ve even learned their language,” the horned man chuckled. “By now, I’m familiar with all of these Omega Autarchs and their backgrounds. I even know how they each rose to power and what they experienced. I can’t help but sigh. The end result of that battle was the maddened emperor destroying the entire landmass and causing all of the Omega Autarchs to die with him.”
Ning saw it as well. That final, great explosion… it had claimed the lives of that terrifying psychic being and all 129 Omega Autarchs. In fact, all the living beings on that landmass had died, while the thirty-two universes orbiting it had been annihilated as well. It had been an absolutely enormous explosion! The entire Infinite Void had been wiped clean of all life thanks to that explosion.
As Ning listened to the horned man speak, he continued to watch the temporal inversion and see the history of this land. The great landmass had been around for far too long. As Ning continued to watch backwards he gradually began to learn and understand its language, and he also began to grow familiar with the deceased Omega Autarchs.
For example, the black-robed emperor’s Sentinel for the nineteenth universe had been named Autarch Cloudsoar. He had also been an Autarch of the Omega Sword Dao.
The black-robed emperor’s Sentinel for the third universe, ‘Autarch Yin-Yang’, had been an incomparably muscular old bull whose body was completely black.
The various experts all had their own areas of expertise.
“Thankfully, in my homeland the ‘will’ of the Quintessence simply acts on instinct, rather than gaining a sense of self and thus becoming a true living being.” The more Ning saw, the more frightened he became. All living beings on that continent had been slaves to the black-robed emperor, unable to extricate themselves until the day of the final battle.
Time continued to flow backwards to the earliest days before life had even arisen. There, the temporal inversion came to a halt. It was impossible to go backwards any farther.
“You’ve reached the end. Time can no longer move backwards,” the horned man said.
Ning nodded. All the images before him vanished, and the space in front of him went back to normal.
“Eh?” Ning stared in front of him, only to see that a universe had appeared in the location where that vast landmass had been. The universe was slowly draining energy and matter from the surrounding area. Clearly, it was still in the growing phase and had yet to truly form.
Swish! The golden-robed Ning took a step forwards, appearing before that universe.
“Ji Ning.” The horned man’s heart clenched as he immediately followed from behind.
Ning’s godsense instantly swept out to enter the slowly-forming universe. Inside, he saw nothing but raw chaos. There was no life within it at all. “How odd. The old era ended long ago, while the other Chaosverses have all been formed. This one, however, has not.”
“Everything is possible within the Infinite Void,” the horned man said.
“It is developing quite slowly,” Ning said with a smile. “Judging from what I saw when I inverted time, this place must have begun to accumulate matter ever since that great explosion had occurred. However… despite all that time having passed, it still can’t even come close to comparing to our Chaosverses. In my homeland, generally speaking the slower something grows, the more terrifying it will become when it finally matures.”
The horned man’s heart trembled, but his face remained calm. “Oh?”
“I’m not lying to you,” Ning smiled. Indeed. The legends of ‘Nezha’ had him in his mother’s womb for three years and six months before being born. Ning’s own daughter, Brightmoon, had been in the womb for five years and two months before emerging.
“I have the feeling that this universe is taking shape far too slowly… and it is located exactly where the original landmass was.” Ning chuckled. “It might grow to become even more powerful than our Chaosverses.” Ning was connecting all the dots together.
“Impossible. That landmass completely blew apart. Most of its matter came to form our nine Chaosverses. The remaining amount of matter couldn’t possibly form a stronger universe,” the horned man said confidently.
“Makes sense.” Ning glanced at the horned man, then drew a Northmoon sword from his back.
Clink! The sword sliced through the Infinite Void, radiating a sharp light as it chopped down at the slowly-growing universe.
“Stop that!” The horned man immediately reached out, his arm expanding tremendously as he blocked Ning’s sword-light.
The two attacks collided. The horned man’s robes tore apart, revealing a skinny but incomparably tough right arm which was completely undamaged.
“What are you doing, Ji Ning?” the horned man asked angrily.
“Destroying it, of course,” Ning said.
“It is a perfectly fine universe which poses no threat to us at all. Why are you going to destroy it?” the horned man asked.
“At first, I was just curious about it, since it was located where the original landmass was and grew very slowly. As I said, in own homeland, the slower something develops the more powerful it becomes… but when you kept on rebutting what I said, I had the feeling that something was wrong. I thought I’d give it a try, and as I thought, you moved to block me.” Ning chuckled.
The horned man instantly felt regret upon hearing this. He wanted Ning to feel that this was nothing more than an ordinary universe, but instead he had put Ning on his guard. It must be remembered that Ning’s avatar had exited his Chaosverse filled with suspicion towards anything and everything which could be a threat to it. He had the feeling that this small universe was rather unusual; testing it out was a very normal reaction. For the horned man to stop him meant that something was afoot. If the horned man didn’t stop him? Well, destroying a celestial object which held no life didn’t really matter.
Whoosh! The golden-robed Ning once more charged towards that Chaosverse, chopping out with his divine sword.
“Don’t! I’ll tell you the secret!” the horned man called out hurriedly while blocking. “I discovered this by accident over many years of observation. If any other Chaoslords arise in the future, don’t tell them this secret! This universe is very unique in many ways. Although it isn’t that large, it is quite marvelous. Let me explain!”
No amount of honeyed words could dissuade Ning!
“BREAK!” Ning’s eyes flickered with destructive light. He manifested three heads and six arms, each of his hands holding onto a Northmoon sword. Sword-light flashed in an utterly indomitable matter as he summoned the vast power of his entire Chaosverse. The horned man grew quite desperate. Darknorth was an Omega Autarch of the Sword, the most offensive type of Omega Autarch. Alphan would be able to withstand Ning’s attack, but there was no way he could completely negate it and prevent any of it from harming the small universe.
“Gwaaaar!” The horned man suddenly changed form, becoming an incomparably vast and muscular black bull. Beneath the bull’s hooves appeared the enormous diagram of a Yin-Yang.
“It is you? The Sentinel for the third universe, ‘Autarch Yin-Yang’?” Ning recognized this form. So the horned man was actually one of the 129 Omega Autarchs who had surrounded and assaulted the black-robed emperor! “You didn’t die?”
The bull had clearly died in the images Ning had seen during the temporal inversion. Ning instantly realized that a grand secret had to be connected to this.
“Damnit!” The old black bull grew even more panicked and angry. “So long as I’m here, you can forget about destroying it!”
Boom! Boom! Boom! The golden-robed Ning began to battle against the old black bull next to that new universe. The shockwaves from this battle blasted out in every direction. The old black bull had been alive since the ancient era, and his body had been tempered and forged to become the most terrifying machine warbeast possible.
As for Ning, he was an Omega Autarch of the Sword, well-suited to combat and slaughter. More importantly, he wasn’t trying to attack the black bull. He was trying to destroy the universe. The Sithe Chaoslord had been willing to reveal his identity in order to protect that universe, which made Ning all the more aware of its importance.
“Don’t destroy it! It will bring many benefits!” the black bull tried to dissuade Ning.
“Break for me!” Ning continued to launch berserk attacks. He poured an enormous amount of energy into his Northmoon swords. Now that they had been reforged, they had a function akin to the Stele of Mountains and Rivers, allowing him to unleash desperation attacks of tremendous power.
The old black bull suddenly felt a sense of danger which caused him to blanche. He had been the one to give Iyerre the Stele of Mountains and Rivers. Now, it was coming back to bite him!
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Six absolutely horrifying streaks of destructive sword-light pierced through the void. The old black bull was unable to completely block them, and so he could do nothing but watch in agony.
Five streaks of sword-light tore into that universe. The universe was quite weak and not yet fully-formed. This desperation attack from a Lord of Chaos caused its incomplete Quintessence to be completely torn apart, resulting in the universe shuddering and beginning to crumble.
“N-no…!” the old black howled angrily. He returned to his first, azure-robed form and stared at the scene before him in despair. “Why? Why did you have to destroy it?!” the horned man stared at Ning.
“I don’t care how ‘marvelous’ it will become in the future. Now that I’ve destroyed it, it will never pose a threat,” Ning said. “There’s no need for you to say too many things to me. I won’t trust you no matter what you say. Who knows if you are telling the truth or not? The only thing I know is that I will destroy any and all threats to my home. That way, there won’t be another senseless war in the future. I’m satisfied with being a Lord of Chaos. I don’t have any ambition of invading other Chaosverses and conquering them. All I want to do is safeguard my own home.”
After speaking, Ning turned and departed.
The horned man stared as the golden-robed Ning left, filled with utter agony. Back within the Sithe Chaosverse, his true body was holding onto a stone tablet which had the words ‘World’ and ‘Set’ on them.
“During the last era, we failed at the very end. The entire landmass was destroyed, but I was lucky enough to acquire the deceased emperor’s ‘Worldsetter Stele’. I hid a fragment of my truesoul within it, and as a result I managed to survive. I was delivered into a Chaosverse and ended up becoming its Lord of Chaos.” The horned bull was in a state of utter agony. “Once that growing universe became truly complete, it could become one with the Worldsetter Stele. When that happened, I would have a chance of ascending to…”
“It’s gone. It’s all gone.” The horned man gradually began to calm down. What was done was done. There was no way to reverse it.
“Perhaps I was being too stubborn. I am a Lord of Chaos and completely invincible in the Infinite Void. Why do I have to become even more powerful?” The horned man gradually came to his senses. He had been enslaved for so long during the previous era that he had an almost maniacal desire to become stronger, to stand at the top and rule others so that none would ever rule him again.
But this was a new era, an era that was different from the previous era. When Ning destroyed that budding universe, it meant that the old landmass would never be reborn. He had lost his chance… but as a result, he was now truly free.
“I’m free now. There’s nothing left to fight over.” The horned man began to fly back towards his own Chaosverse. “No ambition… only wishes to safeguard his own home… Desolate… Ji Ning? Mm. A Chaoslord like him is decent company.”
Ning’s golden-robed avatar established an estate within the Infinite Void. It would permanently reside here, occasionally going out and wandering about. He couldn’t guarantee that no dangers would appear, but he would do his utmost to protect his home.
Within the Desolate Chaosverse.
The white-robed Ning stood there within empty space, flanked by Autarch Bolin and Autarch Ekong.
“Come back, brother Titanos.” Ning smiled. Instantly, countless specks of light began to appear. Ning was virtually omnipotent within his own Chaosverse. He had been able to see everything within Autarch Titanos’ truesoul, and thus he was able to remake it out of the void and call it back.
An old man with two fleshy antennae on his head slowly began to appear.
“What just happened to me?!” Autarch Titanos stared at Ning, Ekong, and Bolin in shock. “Darknorth, y-you… didn’t I die? Wasn’t my truesoul devoured?”
“Calm down,” Bolin laughed.
“Wait a while,” Ekong said.
Ning smiled as well. “Give me just a few moments, brother Titanos.” As he spoke, countless flecks of light began to assemble next to him yet again. This time, they resolved into Autarch Mogg. Next came Autarch Stonerule and Autarch Skyfeeder. After that came the refined, relaxed Autarch Awakener… and last came the ancient-looking Autarch Entropos.
All eight Autarchs had been gathered together. The eight Autarchs who had arisen within the Desolate Chaosverse had finally been reunited.
“This is Darknorth.” Autarch Bolin made the introductions, a smile on his face. “He trained in the Omega Sword Dao and used it to reach Omega Autarchy, binding our entire Chaosverse to himself. As a result, he was able to bring you all back.”
“Brother Darknorth?” Autarch Entropos stared at Ning, wide-eyed. Autarch Awakener felt rather curious, as he felt a close connection between himself and Ning.
“Actually, it can be said that Autarch Awakener helped guide me on my path,” Ning laughed.
They began to chat amongst themselves. All of them were amazed at the twists and turns of fate. They had died, and yet they were now back! The guidance which Autarch Awakener has provided to Ning had been critically important. Without his guidance, Ning probably wouldn’t have been able to understand the Eternal Omega Sword Dao. And now, after becoming a Lord of Chaos, Ning was able to revive Autarch Awakener. It was all so interesting.
“Gentlemen, far too many of our Hegemons and Emperors have died during the two wars we fought. They fought to the death for the sake of our entire Chaosverse. I have to bring them all back as well,” Ning laughed.
Boom! The entire Chaosverse seemed to tremble.
“W-what just happened to me?”
“Didn’t I die?”
“Where am I?”
Hegemons and Emperors began to come back to life throughout the Chaosverse, all of them rather stunned. Their final memories were of the moments before their deaths. Ning had viewed the past of this entire Chaosverse and knew each and every Hegemon and Emperor. He revived everyone who had died in battle, including the ones he recognized such as his own disciple, ‘Green Bamboo’ Yang Quding. He also revived some of the friends he had encountered when wandering the Chaosverse after failing his Daomerge.
Many powerful experts had all been brought back.
“Darknorth… will such a large-scale resurrection be bad for this Chaosverse?” Autarch Titanos asked.
“Don’t worry,” Ning laughed. “Even after being revived, they remain a part of the Chaosverse. The actual amount of energy which has been permanently lost due to the revival process is quite low. For example, reviving the six of you cost roughly the amount of energy a single Autarch contains within him. Reviving all these Hegemons and Emperors didn’t cost too much at all. I can handle it with ease.”
It really mattered very little. Iyerre’s death alone had granted their Chaosverse more than a hundred Autarchs worth of power.
After chatting with the eight Autarchs, Ning departed and went back to the Three Realms. Ning’s emotions towards the Three Realms were the deepest of all.
Nuwa, Subhuti, Maitreya, Kuafu, Crazy Ji… all of them had received mental messages from Ning. They were his old friends, and now all of them were standing by his side.
“Return to us.” With but a thought, Ning brought back the Three Realms of old. Countless specks of light began to gather, resulting in countless figures emerging within it. These were the Immortals and Fiendgods of the Three Realms who had died in the Endwar against Old Man Yuan and the Seamless Gate, as well as those who had died even earlier. Daoist Three Purities, Lord Tathagata the Buddha, Buddha Jueming, Suiren, Shennong, Fuxi, Lord Everwood, senior apprentice-brother Houyi, Gonggong, Daoist Threelives…
Countless Immortals and Fiendgods were brought back to life. Many friends were reunited.
Tathagata, Maitreya, Ananda… these old friends of the Buddhist Sangha all gathered together. As for the Daoist Way? Three Purities, Daofather Carefree, Lu Dongbin, and the others all gathered together as well, with those who had survived the Endwar narrating what had happened afterwards.
Too many people. Too many stories. All of them had been brought back to life.
“Junior apprentice-brother.” Houyi held Chang’e by the hand, walking over to stand before Ning. “Thank you.”
“Haha. Eldest apprentice-brother, spend some time chatting with my sister-in-law. Don’t waste any time on me,” Ning laughed.
“Master.” Ning walked over to Daoist Threelives, who looked rather hesitant even though the big yellow bear next to him nodded encouragingly. Daoist Threelives was normally a very straightforward and heroic figure, but when he spoke to Subhuti and his other old friends he quickly learned just how incredible Ji Ning was. Ji Ning was someone completely omnipotent, capable of controlling life and death, and able to link past, present, and future together. And… Ji Ning was his disciple? Although he was nominally Ning’s master, this was their first time actually meeting each other.
“Uh. Hi there, Darknorth,” Daoist Threelives said rather hesitantly. This was their first meeting, and the two didn’t really share the relationship which a master and disciple should. This was something which took time.
Ning didn’t try to force things. He turned, staring off into the distance. All the Immortals and Fiendgods of the Three Realms had been brought back to life. They were all reunited now, sharing their stories with each other. It would be years before things calmed down.
Ning immediately retreated, vanishing without a trace.
Ning arrived back at the Black-White College of Stillwater Province, located within the Grand Xia major world of the Three Realms. Since Ning had remade the entire Three Realms with his will alone, the Grand Xia was currently devoid of life.
“Senior apprentice-sister.” Ning walked over to the Dao Debate Palace of the Black-White College. He had left her for last. She was going to be revived by herself.
“Come back to me, senior apprentice-sister.”
Countless specks of light began to appear. They appeared unspeakably beautiful and graceful, and they gathered together into the form of the young, black-robed Yu Wei. As more and more truesoul fragments gathered, life appeared within Yu Wei’s eyes. She stared at Ning, who looked back into the eyes of his senior apprentice-sister Yu Wei.
The white-robed Ning and the black-robed Yu Wei simply stared at each other in silence. As the final piece of her truesoul fragment returned, Yu Wei regained all of her memories and she began to emit the aura of true life.
“Junior apprentice-brother?” Yu Wei couldn’t believe it. Her final memories were of the war-torn Three Realms and her death at the hands of the Godking.
“Senior apprentice-sister.” Ning stepped forward, gently taking his wife into his arms. He simply held her, inhaling into her hair and smelling her sweet fragrance. This scent had become a dusty memory that had lain dormant for many years. Ning felt intoxicated by it. He had trained and fought and bled for so long, but it was all worth it. This single instant… it surpassed all of eternity.
Yu Wei hugged Ning back. She was still rather confused. Her memories had ‘jumped’ from her death in the Three Realms war to the present day. She didn’t know what Ning had experienced, but she knew that Ning must have made many, many sacrifices in order to bring her back to life.
Finally Ning released Yu Wei, but he continued to hold her by the hand. He pointed at the area around them. “Senior apprentice-sister, remember this?”
“Of course I do. This is the Dao Debate Palace. We had a little competition here, and you lost,” Yu Wei teased. Suddenly, she couldn’t help but ask, “Junior apprentice-brother… can you tell me what has happened?”
“Let’s sit down and talk it over.” Ning pulled Yu Wei over to sit down atop a dais before the Dao Debate Palace, then began to explain. “During that battle, you were killed by the Godking…”
Ning talked for a long, long time. He narrated the end of the war for the Three Realms, his journey to the Badlands Territory, his abduction by Hegemon Brightshore, and even his adventure into that otherverse. He explained how he came to understand the Omega Sword Dao and then used it to become a Daolord of the First Step, Second Step…
He told of his adventures in the Terror Starsea, of how he fought to acquire a Voidsea Jadeseal within the Waveshift Realm, of his battles against Archons of the Sacred Cities, and even him acquiring the Flamewing God and then begging Autarch Titanos to bring her back to life.
“I was heartbroken when I failed in that attempt.” Ning pointed towards an area up ahead. “I got completely drunk, right over there. I fell asleep on the snow.”
With but a thought, Ning caused snow to flutter down around them. Ning and Yu Wei gazed at the beautiful snowscape, while Ning said with a smile, “It’s actually quite odd. I was heartbroken, which is why the snow fell… but now when I see the snow, I feel very happy.”
Yu Wei didn’t say anything. She just tightly held onto Ning’s hand. She herself felt heart-aching pain ever since Ning had begun his tale.
Ning continued to narrate his story. “Afterwards, I attempted the Daomerge. Unfortunately, I failed.” He explained of his hunt for Nuwa, his meeting with the five Autarchs, and how he had gone into the Sithelands to save the Paragon of Pills. He told of how he had found the [Five Truncheon Chapters] within that hidden world, and in the end managed to complete the [Void Everlasting] technique which gave him an imperishable truesoul. He told her of how he had become an Omega Emperor, and of the war which the Sithe had unleashed.
“We won that final battle. I broke through and took the final step on my path.” Ning smiled as he looked at Yu Wei. “We won, and so everything I wanted became real. All my old friends came back to life… and of course, so did you.”
Yu Wei looked at Ning. She truly couldn’t imagine how Ning could’ve experienced so many things since her death in the Three Realms. It had been just a blink of an eye for her. She felt pained at all he had suffered.
“Look.” Ning pointed forwards. In front of the Dao Debate Palace, a plum blossom suddenly emerged from the fallen snow, releasing its sweet fragrance as it bloomed.
“In my past life on Earth, there was a saying in my homeland: ‘Only after enduring the bone-chilling cold shall you smell the fragrance of the plum blossom.’” Ning laughed loudly. “I’ve endured the bone-chilling cold. Now, I finally can smell the fragrance of the plum blossom.” As he spoke, he pressed his nose against Yu Wei’s face and gave her a sniff, then said in an absolutely shameless manner, “Mm, plum blossom. It smells so good.”
The plum blossoms continued to emerge from the snow before the Dao Debate Palace. As for Ning and Yu Wei, they continued to sit there atop the dais. They had so many stories to share with each other, including stories of their daughter. Ning had many things he wanted to tell her, and Yu Wei wanted to hear them all.
The Three Realms. A great banquet, the likes of which had never been seen before, was being hosted here on this day. Lord of Chaos Ji Ning, also known as Autarch Darknorth, was personally hosting this banquet. The eight Autarchs and countless Hegemons and Emperors who had fought in the war had all been teleported here by Ning to take part in this feast. This was also a victory feast for them, after having won the war.
Ning was seated at the highest position, while his wife Yu Wei was next to him. To each side of them were the eight Autarchs.
Below them, there was no further division of rank. It was a veritable sea of Hegemons and Emperors! As for Subhuti, Nuwa, Brightmoon, and the other leaders of the Three Realms, they had a section all their own.
Many major powers used this banquet to discuss the Dao with each other, and there was much merry-making and rejoicing. Many of the cultivators brought painters, musicians, and other talented entertainers to spread joy amongst each other!
“I never imagined that this day would come,” Buddha Ksitigarbha said with a smile.
“And I never would’ve thought that I’d have a disciple like Autarch Darknorth! I never even taught him!” Daoist Threelives roared happily while drinking some wine.
“Okay, now you are just blatantly showing off,” Crimsonbright remarked.
“So what if I am?” Daoist Threelives mock-glared at him.
Houyi and Chang’e were seated together. Houyi no longer looked like the quiet, forlorn woodcutter of old. His spirit and bravado had been aroused once more.
On the other side were ‘Azure Bamboo’ Yang Quding and Hegemon Dawnclear, who were together again.
The first pair belonged to the ‘Three Realms Allliance’, while the second pair included Ning’s personal disciple. They were all seated close to each other, and both duos smiled and nodded at each other.
“So you are Brightshore? I heard you actually abducted Autarch Darknorth long ago?”
By now, Hegemon Brightshore was a famous man. There were many Hegemons and Emperors who wished to befriend him. He chortled, “Haha, yes. I have to say, I was lucky. Who would’ve thought that when I swallowed that batch of cultivators, I would end up abducting the man who would become Autarch Darknorth? Haha. It was luck! Luck!”
“I’m telling you guys, me and Darknorth are like brothers! I could tell from the very first moment I saw him that he was something special.” Ninedust was busy bragging to the other Hegemons and Emperors.
The Paragon of Pills and her ‘big brother’ were together, beaming happily as they took part in the feast. When their gazes met with Ning’s, both sides raised their goblets in toasts.
It was a truly grand celebration with oceans of food and drink. The Immortals and Fiendgods all made merry in this truly unprecedented gathering, while the major powers who put on performances did their utmost to please.
Ning and Yu Wei sat up high, staring down at the many cultivators below them. Ning saw his father Ji Yichuan, his mother Yuchi Snow, his daughter Ji Brightmoon, and her Dao-companion Stonepool. He saw Uncle White, Autumn Leaf, Little Qing, and many other friends from his earliest days. He saw all the Immortals and Fiendgods of the Three Realms, and the countless major powers he had encountered on his path.
“Alphan… Sithe…” Ning silently shook his head. “What’s the point of fighting? Being strong enough to protect those we care about is enough.”
Ning turned, his gaze intersecting with Yu Wei’s. “I want to kiss you,” Ning said.
“There’s too many people here!” Yu Wei was shocked. “No way. No way! Wait for the feast to be over.”
“Don’t be afraid. Your husband is the Lord of Chaos. So long as I will it, they won’t see a thing.” Ning lowered his head, burying himself in Yu Wei’s lips.
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