Book 43, Chapter 22 - The Central Nexus

Desolate Era

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“Just follow the plan,” Iyerre instructed. “If those two void dwellers died, they died. As long as the Howler beast is still alive, our plans remain unaffected.”

“Understood,” the black-white haired man said obediently.

“Feel free to contact me if anything major happens.” Iyerre’s lips crooked upwards in a smile. “I’ve spent countless aeons and paid an enormous price in order to create the Annihilation Hive. It won’t be easy for them to defeat it… and if they just send in two Autarchs, their chances are absolutely nil. If they send in more Autarchs they might be able to eventually figure out a way to destroy it… but in doing so, they’ll have lost the battle to us before it even began.”

The creation of the Annihilation Hive was Iyerre’s greatest accomplishment. He was extremely confident in its prowess.


This place was filled with countless spacetime bubbles of varying size, and they could be seen everywhere.

Ji Ning continued to examine the inner workings of the entire hive as he advanced, moving closer and closer to the critical point. After roughly an hour, they finally reached the spot.

“The central nexus point for the entire behemoth hive is located right up ahead.” Ning let out a sigh of relief. Ning had been focusing his full attention on inspecting the path before him, which had been rather tiring.

“The central nexus?” Autarch Mogg stared from afar as well.

Both of them carefully inspected the distant, empty region in front of them. At the very center of this empty region was a beautiful vortex of astral clouds. The astral clouds swirled in a vortex-like manner around the very center.

These astral clouds were composed of countless specks of light and seemed almost illusory in nature. Ning and Autarch Mogg had such incredible visual acuity that they were able to see through almost anything, so long as there wasn’t a complete seal that blocked out all sight. The two were able to gaze past the astral clouds and thus see the black tower at the very center. The tower had to be ten thousand kilometers tall!

The vast black tower was covered with swirls of strange power which caused the vortex of astral clouds to appear around it. More than that – it also caused countless ripples of spacetime to rise and fall in the area around it, and it resonated with the entire realmverse-sized hive! It was the source of that terrifying swallowing power which was draining away all forms of energy from the outside world. Not even the prime essences of the Chaosverse were able to recover the energy lost.

It was easy for Autarchs to enter this place, but if they tried to leave they would also suffer from that powerful devouring force. There was no way they could possibly escape!

“This has to be the most central nexus point of the entire behemoth hive.” Ning’s gaze was able to see through the vortex of astral clouds and into the black tower within it.

This tower was shaped like a pyramid, and it was completely pitch-black in color.

“You moved quite fast, cultivator leaders.” A deep, rumbling voice suddenly rang out.

Ning and Mogg turned to stare off into the distance. Within the astral vortex, there was an enormous entity which was lying in wait. It was the dragon turtle! Ning had to slowly find the path to this location, while the dragon turtle already knew the routes and so took the fastest path here. It had arrived long ago.

“In accordance with the agreement I made with the Sithe, I will not allow you to damage this place,” the dragon turtle rumbled. “However… I’ll wager that you aren’t even strong enough to get here.”

“Oh?” Ning and Mogg exchanged a glance. “Attack!” They didn’t hesitate at all. Ning manifested three heads and six arms, while Mogg manifested six arms. Both charged straight towards the dazzlingly beautiful vortex of astral clouds without hesitation.

Boom! The vortex of astral clouds continued to spin in place, causing countless streams of light around it to twist and bend as it crushed all in its path.

“What a powerful obstructive force.” Ning and Mogg were respectively covered by layers of sword-light and dimensional membranes as they continued to fight through the clouds.

Bang! Bang! Bang! They smashed through one layer of astral clouds after another. Ning was able to see that there appeared to be a total of 106 layers of these astral clouds, all assembled in that vortex formation.

“The power here is tremendous. Even Chaos Primordials would be crushed into tiny bits if they came here.” Ning and Mogg began to decelerate as they moved to defend themselves.

“Open!” Ning shot out a streak of sword-light. Slash! It swept out like a wave, tearing a tunnel through the astral clouds and pushing the specks of light aside.

Whoosh! Ning and Mogg flew forwards at high speeds, using their sword-light and saber-light to continuously carve a path forward for themselves. In the blink of an eye, they flew past the thirty-fifth layer.

“The pressure here is ridiculously strong.” Ning’s face was grim. The spinning astral clouds were like millstones grinding away at them; if they didn’t manage to successfully defend themselves, they would be crushed to pieces! Both had avatar-bodies, but this pressure was still enough to crush them to death. They had to use their sword-arts and Daobirth Essence, respectively, to clear a path through the vortex, but both of them could sense how taxing it had become.

“The dragon turtle is right past the fiftieth layer,” Ning sent mentally, his ‘voice’ tinged with helplessness. “I didn’t imagine that he would be spot on. It’ll be very hard for us to reach the fiftieth layer; even if we do manage to somehow fight our way there, we’d be constantly in danger of succumbing to the crushing power of the vortex. There’s no way we’d be able to deal with the dragon turtle as well.”

“Agreed. We can’t advance any further. If we do, we won’t have enough power left to fight against the dragon turtle. We might end up dying there.” Autarch Mogg came to the same conclusion.

Although they found the thirty-fifth layer somewhat taxing, they would still be able to unleash 80% of their full power while reserving the rest to keep the power of the vortex in check. There was no need for them to fear the dragon turtle. But if they actually forced themselves to the fiftieth layer, they probably would have less than 10% of their power available for fighting. The dragon turtle would completely dominate them, and they could very well die.

“The pressure here really is terrifying. I can’t believe the two of us working together aren’t even able to make it to the fiftieth layer.” Autarch Mogg began to feel anxious. “But the black tower at the center of this vortex is the central nexus of this entire hive. That’s over a hundred layers down! We can’t even approach it, much less destroy it. We aren’t even close to being able to succeed. What should we do?”

“I agree.” Ning’s head hurt as well. Their bodies weren’t tough enough to resist the crushing pressure of the vortex; they had to beat the pressure back with their attacks! Although Ning was somewhat stronger than Mogg, the two even when working together would only barely be able to make it to the fiftieth layer. There was no chance of going all the way.

“The power of the vortex rises gradually, not exponentially. I estimate we would need at least five Autarchs working together in order for us to stand a chance of making it past the hundredth layer,” Autarch Mogg said. “The two of us by ourselves won’t be able to go too far.”

“Even if five Autarch avatars came in, they probably would still find it very difficult to damage that black tower. They’d end up trapped inside, while the Sithe would probably seize this opportunity to launch the war.” Ning frowned. “We’d be in serious trouble.”

It took time to build new avatars. Ning would need years just to create a new avatar if his current one was lost, he would need many more years for the new one to reach peak battle power.

Once the war began, the Autarchs simply wouldn’t have the time needed to create and strengthen new avatars. Wasting even four or five days on this process would result in the situation quickly turning grim.

“Then what should we do?” Autarch Mogg understood the problem as well. “We absolutely have to destroy this hive. If we don’t, then it’ll drain away more energy while becoming more powerful! Given enough time, it’ll weaken the Chaosverse so much that the Sithe will be able to take control over it. We’ll be finished, then!”

Ning felt anxious as well. If nearly half of their Autarch-level combatants were trapped here, they would probably lose the war. But if they didn’t send in more Autarchs, this hive would continue to drain away energy from the Chaosverse… which would still ultimately result in defeat!

“Let’s try and think of another option,” Autarch Mogg said.

“There are no other options.” Ning shook his head. “I’ve been analyzing the formations inside this hive the entire time. It has just a single nexus point – the black tower inside that vortex of astral clouds! If we want to destroy the hive, we’ll either need to destroy its nexus or have enough power to blast the entire thing apart.”

Ning shook his head. “Destroying the entire hive is impossible. It is too powerful. Nothing we can do would even shake it.”

Ning and Mogg continued to ponder the question of what they had to do. As for the massive, impregnable dragon turtle, it simply waited within the fiftieth layer. The crushing power of the astral clouds was unable to injure it in the slightest. It lifted up its draconian head, then let out a booming shout: “Haha! I told you, you won’t even be able to make it to me, much less wreck the nexus.”

It wanted to lure Ning and Mogg closer. They’d have to deal with ever-greater amounts of pressure, giving the void dweller a better chance at killing them.

Ning and Mogg glanced sideways at the dragon turtle, not even bothering to answer it. The two did rather envy its defensive powers, though. They could at most fight to the fiftieth layer, but the dragon turtle was able to reach that layer with ease by completely ignoring the crushing weight of the vortex. Its body was simply ridiculous! No wonder Ning hadn’t been able to do anything to the creature at all.

“Let’s calm down first and come up with a plan. We’ll have Titanos try and help us come up with something as well. Let’s figure out a way to charge past the astral clouds,” Ning said.

“I agree. Let’s calm down and think. We’ll definitely think of something.” Mogg tamped down his own nervousness as well. They quickly spread word to the other five Autarchs, and all six of them began to try and devise a way of passing through the vortex of astral clouds.

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