Book 43, Chapter 4 - Solving the Heart of Eternity

Desolate Era

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Ji Ning stared at the six captured Sithe spies, then chuckled: “I’m a failed Daolord. Why would the Sithe be willing to expend this much effort on me?”

“It’s best if we keep your status a secret,” Autarch Stonerule said seriously. “The Sithe have never given up on their efforts to keep our entire Chaosverse under surveillance. In the past, we didn’t really care as we were sure their army remained permanently sealed within the Sithe heartlands, but it now appears highly probable that they long ago found out a way to slip out undetected. They’ve been biding their time, waiting to deliver a fatal blow to us. We’re quietly making arrangements for our forces throughout the Chaosverse to prepare for war, but this will take time. So long as you are still alive, the Sithe will be hesitant to start the war.”

“Right.” Ning nodded. The Sithe would naturally be unwilling to start the war while Ning was alive. Not because they feared him; rather, because they worried that the high-pressure life-and-death environment created by the war would result in Ning suddenly making a breakthrough and mastering an Autarch-level Dao! If that happened, Ning would be able to easily take control over the entire Chaosverse, and the problem with his crumbling truesoul would disappear.

Although chances of this happening were remote, the Sithe were unwilling to take this risk. Anyone who was able to master an Eternal Omega Dao on his own, without any guidance at all, was without question an incredibly talented figure who would have the blessing of the entire Chaosverse itself. It was entirely possible that a ‘miracle’ would happen, resulting in him gaining Autarchy.

Thus, it was best for the Sithe to play it safe. They would wait for Ning’s truesoul to completely break apart before launching the war! By then, the cultivators wouldn’t have even a single Eternal Omega Dao wielder at all, much less an Omega Autarch. The greatest fear of the Sithe would’ve been avoided.

“With your Eternal Omega Sword Dao serving as the guide, we’ve already begun to lead some of the most talented geniuses of the entire Chaosverse onto the path of the Omega Dao. However, the birth of a new Omega Emperor will take time! We might need millions of chaos cycles or even longer. I’m afraid the Sithe won’t give us the time we need,” Autarch Stonerule said. “But so long as you remain alive? They’ll have something to fear, something which holds them back.”

“I understand. I know what to do.” Ning smiled.

“Then I’ll be leaving now. Let me know right away if there’s anything you need.” Autarch Stonerule waved his hand, collecting the six spies and then disappearing without a trace.

Ning watched as he vanished, already beginning to consider what his next steps should be.


That very day, Ning went to meet with Hegemon Brightshore and Emperor Solesky.

“Brother Brightshore. Big brother Solesky.” Ning said, “My truesoul has been crumbling away ever since I failed the Daomerge. I’m worried that the remaining Sithe are trying to keep tabs on my status! Thus, we must destroy the heartlamp in the Sword Palace of the Brightshore Kingdom and the other life-monitoring artifacts pertaining to me in the Dao Alliance and in Vastheaven Palace.”

“Destroy?” Brightshore and Solesky were both puzzled.

“Then, we’ll replace them with fake ones,” Ning said. “The fake ones we create will always show that I am ‘alive’, even if ten million chaos cycles go by. I want the Sithe to always believe that I might be alive.”

Solesky couldn’t help but argue, “Creating a fake one will be easy, but your truesoul is breaking apart! Even if the fake soul lamps are lit for a million chaos cycles, do you really think the Sithe would believe that you are still alive?”

“Solesky, that could be explained away by temporal deceleration, yes? A million chaos cycles could go by in the outside world, but for Darknorth only ten thousand chaos cycles would have gone past.” Hegemon Brightshore looked at Ning. “Darknorth, what are you planning to do next?”

“Go into secluded meditation,” Ning said. “After this, we probably won’t be meeting again.”

“Do you have a way to reverse the crumbling of your truesoul?” Hegemon Brightshore said rather anxiously.

“A way?” Ning smiled. “Maybe. Alright, enough of that. I’m going to leave with Youji and Pillsaint.”

That very day, Ning departed from Vastheaven Palace with Su Youji, Pillsaint, and his other retainers in tow. They went back to the Three Realms.

Everything which was able to detect Ning’s status, such as his heartlamps or his life towers, were all destroyed and then replaced with fake versions. In all the Chaosverse, the only ones who would know for sure if Ning was alive or not were the Autarchs, Nuwa, and Subhuti! Not even his daughter Brightmoon or his parents would have a way to know for sure.


After finishing all of his arrangements, Ning entered the Azureflower Estate by himself. He needed the help of the Autarch’s stone dais for this project.

“Daolord Darknorth.” The estate-spirit was clearly much more respectful towards him than it had been in the past.

“I’ll be spending almost all of my remaining time on researching the ‘Truesoul Everlasting’ technique.” Ning smiled. “Sorry to disturb you.”

“Daolord, if you really were able to create such a technique, you would’ve brought boundless blessings upon the entire Chaosverse. Not only would you yourself survive, you will have saved countless future generations of cultivators to come. Our entire Chaosverse shall thrive and grow strong.” The estate-spirit was filled with anticipation.

Ning smiled and nodded, then closed his eyes and emptied out his mind of all extraneous thoughts. With the Autarch’s stone dais and the Stonefire Pearl aiding him, Ning began to meditate on the task at hand. Countless insights flashed through his mind as he continuously analyzed, hypothesized, and restructured the technique he needed. With the [Deathless Chapter] serving as his framework, Ning knew what he needed to do. Every so often, he would finish completing a [Truesoul Everlasting] technique, but each time he tested it out he would discover that it didn’t work.

Time continued to flow on. Every so often, Ning would take a break from researching the ‘Truesoul Everlasting’ to work on solving Autarch Awakener’s ‘Heart of Eternity’.

More than 1600 years after he had entered secluded meditation

Crack! Crack! Crack! Ning finally solved the seals covering the ninety-ninth level of the Heart of Eternity hovering before him. The final layer of incredibly complicated runes vanished from the sphere, and it was as though some mechanism had been activated within it. Moments later, the insides of the sphere were revealed.

Rumble… a streak of light shot out, resolving into a scholarly youth who was dressed in white robes with blue fringes. Ning immediately recognized this person as being Autarch Awakener! Autarch Awakener had been the most scholarly Autarch, the one with the biggest dreams. He had spent countless aeons working on the tenth chaos seal.

“Young friend,” the white-robed scholar said. Ning immediately understood that this was a projection which Autarch Awakener had left behind before his death.

“Since you were able to solve the ninety-ninth seal covering the Heart of Eternity, you must be at or near my own level with regards to the chaos seals I devised,” the white-robed scholar said with a smile. “Thus, you are probably strong and wise enough to know of the great danger our entire civilization is facing, and of the foes threatening our entire Chaosverse… the Sithe. The Sithe are still there, and they are still as dangerous as ever.”

“The Sithe are able to repair even shattered truesouls, allowing them to attempt the Daomerge repeatedly. They also have a more perfect energy system, allowing them to generate far more Autarchs than us.

“I have always hoped to create a similar technique which would allow us to birth more Hegemons, and perhaps as many as ten or twenty Autarchs! If I succeeded, we would easily win the battle which is yet to come.

“I have left behind my Nine Chaos Seals to this Chaosverse. Although their flaws mean that one can only successfully start to train in them prior to reaching the World level, I actually fixed those flaws long ago in my own version. I imagine that you, my young friend, can easily do the same as well. The reason why I intentionally published a flawed version of the Nine Chaos Seals is because those who cannot master it prior to the World level cannot be considered true geniuses. There is no chance that they can succeed in helping me to perfect the tenth stage of the technique.

“Within the Heart of Eternity lies the true, perfected version of the Nine Chaos Seals, as well as two lines of thought I have pondered while researching the tenth seal. I wasn’t able to succeed through either of these two paths, but I feel that both can theoretically lead to success. They represent my greatest accomplishments, and I entrust them to you along with my hopes and dreams.

“This is all the Heart of Eternity holds. In terms of value, this probably is not that valuable to someone who is incapable of solving the Heart of Eternity… but to one who was able to solve it, they may perhaps be of some use.

“My young friend… after spending countless aeons in painstaking research, I discovered that I was unable to advance any further. This is why I gave up. I hope you can complete the Ten Chaos Seals and give our civilization a chance to defeat the looming threat. If you can… then I, Awakener, will be grateful even in death.” Autarch Awakener smiled, then his projection vanished.

The white-haired elder who was the estate-spirit had been watching this entire time. Tears streamed down his face.

Ning could sense the powerful will which had driven Autarch Awakener to do so much. He felt a deep sense of admiration for Awakener, who truly had been a leader for the cultivator civilizations.

Ning turned to inspect the contents of the Heart of Eternity, which indeed held many techniques and records left behind by Autarch Awakener. One of those techniques was the perfected Nine Chaos Seals.

The perfect Nine Chaos Seals could be trained in by World-level cultivators, Daolords, and even Emperors. After doing so, it could be used like ‘divine power’ inside the body and ‘Immortal energy’ outside the body. This was a truly flawless type of energy… but it was limited to the first nine stages.

“Perfecting it was simple.” Ning was at such a high level of enlightenment that he immediately grasped the principles behind it. Given enough time, he too would be able to duplicate the work which Awakener had done.

“So Autarch Awakener actually had two different lines of theory, both of which he thought could be successful in creating the Tenth Chaos Seal?” Ning nodded slowly. He had the assistance of the [Deathless Chapter], and he was using it and his own insights to pursue multiple avenues of research as well. Two of them were the ones which Autarch Awakener believed to be workable. The first was the path of the ‘Infinity Everlasting’, while the second was the path of the ‘Void Everlasting’.

Ning began to greedily read through Autarch Awakener’s notes. Over the course of aeons of research, Autarch Awakener had clearly gained many more insights than Ning with regards to these two paths. He also had many different ideas of his own, which quickly gave Ning new insights and ideas.

Ning became completely focused on reviewing Autarch Awakener’s work and adding it to his own. A thousand chaos cycles… two thousand chaos cycles… five thousand chaos cycles… ten thousand chaos cycles…

Time continued to flow onwards, as cold and uncaring as ever.

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