Book 44, Chapter 23 - Trap

Desolate Era

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When Bolin reflected on what had just happened, he couldn’t help but feel both a sense of fear and joy. When he had been assaulted by those violet-gold chains, he had immediately known that the situation was extremely grim. The chains were attacking with techniques that were just as profound as him, and as soon as all six had appeared he had begun to feel a sense of despair. The difference between them was just too great! Five chains alone probably would’ve done him in fairly quickly. Six chains had completely broken through his defensive lines.

When his body had been lashed apart, he had transformed into his invulnerable form and attempted to keep himself alive. He wasn’t willing to give up until the very last moment, but as those chains had continued to lash away at him and his energies were completely annihilated, he began to feel a mixture of total despair as well as deep resentment in his heart!

In that final instant before his death, he had suddenly broken through the final bottleneck in understanding the mysteries of life and death. He had reached the level of true perfection, and he immediately sent the tiny remaining bits of his dispersed energies which had been mixed into the clouds into a state of ‘false death’! This was a new technique which Bolin had naturally and instantly gained when he had mastered his Samsara Daobirth Essence.

The ‘false death’ state was a state of neither death or life. It was quite marvelous, causing one’s aura to completely vanish and all karmic links to be severed. There was no way for anyone to sense his existence.

In truth, Bolin had long ago reached incredible levels of insight into the cycle of life and death. His very aura had changed due to his many aeons spent meditating on its mysteries, and his skill in life and death was very close to his skill in the Claw Daobirth Essence. If it hadn’t been for the fact that he had already created the Claw Daobirth Essence, he probably would’ve long ago formed the Samsara Daobirth Essence.

However, anyone who already mastered a Daobirth Essence would be influenced by it, making it incredibly difficult to break through in a second Daobirth Essence even if one had reached a high level of enlightenment in it. It wasn’t until the final moments when he hovered at the brink of death that he managed to understand his final flaws and reach perfection in this Dao.

“So this is how it works. When I had merely mastered ten Hegemonic Daos, the accumulated insights were enough for me to vault into understanding the Claw Daobirth Essence… but in understanding the cycle of life and death, I had to slowly advance one step at a time. I was able to improve the power of this Dao and reach a level which was very close to that of my Claw Daobirth Essence, but it wasn’t until I personally was at the verge of death that I understood how to truly master it.”

Bolin nodded to himself. “When mastering the first Daobirth Essence, it is easy because nothing interferes with it. The second one, however, is a hundred times more difficult. It requires constant, nonstop searching.”

“Fortune and calamity ride together. I was driven to the brink of despair, but it allowed me to master the Samsara Daobirth Essence.” Bolin was in a fairly good mood right now.

After entering the ‘false death’ state he was able to avoid all forms of detection, but of course he didn’t dare to take any actions at all. For the sake of making it look real, he had voluntarily abandoned his Golden Bridge of Freedom and some of his other treasures. He didn’t discard his message-talisman, however, because only Autarchs could use them. He had given up his many other message-talismans. The Sithe had never seen an Autarch message-talisman before, and so they didn’t realize what was missing from the many they had taken from him.

He knew that his friends would probably be heartbroken once he entered that ‘false death’ state, and so he waited until the opponent left with his treasures and his bridge before stealthily sending them a message through the message talisman:

“I am Bolin. I’m not dead yet!”


This message completely shocked Ji Ning, Titanos, Mogg, and the others.

“Bolin, you are still alive?”

“Is this for real?”

“Why can’t I sense your existence?”

“Are you truly Bolin? Do you have any proof?”

They were all so excited that they could hardly believe it. However, only the original owner of an Autarch message-talisman was able to use it. Logically speaking, there was no way for the Sithe to send any messages once Bolin died! At the same time, they also knew that Iyerre had reached a much higher level of insight than they had. It was possible that he might have a way of decoding their message-talisman, and so they felt a sense of wariness.

“Ahaha! Don’t worry, I really am Bolin. Ekong, I’ll have my avatar meet with you shortly. That’ll be enough to prove that I’m telling the truth.” Autarch Bolin understood his comrades’ misgivings.

Ning and the others kept their avatars fairly close together, as they had been working together on how to deal with the sealed temples. Ning himself was fairly close to Mogg’s avatar, while Bolin’s avatar was fairly close to Ekong’s true body.

After just the time needed to boil a kettle of tea, Bolin’s avatar finished warping through spacetime and reached Autarch Ekong.

“Ekong.” Bolin’s avatar, dressed in black robes, suddenly appeared out of nowhere without causing any sound or stir. No lines of karma appeared either. It was as though it didn’t really ‘exist’ in this world, but when he spoke his voice whispered across an ‘empty’ stretch of the void. Moments later, a few ripples could be seen followed by a towering array of castles appearing in the ‘empty’ region. Autarch Ekong was quite lavish in preparing his dwelling place.

“Is that really you, Bolin?” Autarch Ekong stared at Bolin’s avatar. An overwhelming sense of familiarity flooded through him, allowing him to feel all but certain that this was Bolin, but he was still wary that this might be one of Iyerre’s tricks.

“My true body remains trapped within that world of grass and is still in a false death state. I’ve blocked out all my auras and all karmic links for fear that the Sithe might be able to find out that I’m alive through karma, and so I was forced to do the same for my avatar. I’ll release a bit of energy; test it out for yourself.” The black-robed Bolin smiled as he waved his hand, causing a stream of energy to fly out.

Ekong was delighted as soon as he sensed it. This type of energy was far too familiar for him! This was mana formed through the Claw Daobirth Essence! Each expert’s mana contained its own unique signature which was completely un-fakable; Ning, for example, had a pure Omega Sword Dao sheen to his mana!

“You spoke of a ‘false death’ state? What type of state is that, for even us to be unable to sense you?” Autarch Ekong asked curiously.

“I’ve already taken control over the Samsara Daobirth Essence,” the black-robed Bolin said. “Many secrets are hidden within both life and death. Entering a pseudo-dead state was quite simple.”

Autarch Ekong stared at the black-robed Bolin, his eyes filled with curiosity. The man was clearly standing right in front of him, but all of Ekong’s other senses were telling him that ‘Bolin’ didn’t seem to exist. This odd feeling made him sigh with amazement.

“So you’ve come to comprehend two Daobirth Essences? What have you gained from it?” Autarch Ekong asked.

“Nothing special besides the fact that I now have two Daobirth Essences to use.” The black-robed Bolin shook his head. “We already know that Iyerre is more skilled than Mogg in space and more talented in illusions than Stonerule, and that he vastly outstrips Titanos in artificing. He’s extremely formidable in every single area, while his specialty lies in light. Even without the power of the Dao, he’s still able to crush us in a fair fight. Now THAT is truly impressive!”

“Those of us who reached Autarchy via fused Supreme Daos will remain ‘ordinary’ Autarchs. Even if we gain an additional Daobirth Essence, we’re still far from reaching the level of the Omega Autarchs,” the black-robed Bolin said with a laugh. “But of course, the power of the Samsara Daobirth Essence is tremendous and I’ve grown quite a bit stronger due to it. I’m also able to use these two different Daobirth Essences together. Who knows? Titanos might not be a match for me now, haha…”

Different essences had different levels of power. Previously, Autarch Titanos had been the strongest save for Ning because his was the Karma Daobirth Essence. The Samsara Daobirth Essence was also an extraordinary essence, and given that Bolin had another essence as well, it made sense that he had grown significantly stronger.

“Good, good, good!” Ekong was overjoyed. For someone on their side to be strengthened was wonderful news. He quickly sent word to the others, all of whom were similarly overjoyed. For Bolin to still be alive was simply wonderful.

Autarch Stonerule suddenly sent to everyone, “According to Bolin, that world of grass seems to be extremely powerful. I’ll wager we haven’t seen its full power yet.”

“Yes, it was absolutely terrifying. It completely dominated me! If I didn’t manage to master the Samsara Daobirth Essence at the critical moment and avoid detection via the ‘false death’ state, I probably would’ve died for real. Even at my current level of power, I won’t be able to escape,” Bolin said.

Ning said, “Given how powerful this world of grass is, we have to come up with some sort of counter-measure.”

“I’m currently right in the middle of that world. I know exactly where it is, so you don’t need to worry about being ambushed,” Bolin said.

“Huh? Ah, right! Haha.” Ekong laughed.

“Bolin’s within the world of grass, which means we now have a perfect understanding of its movements.” Titanos chuckled as well. This was an unexpected bonus.

“Where is the world of grass right now?” Ning asked.

“It’s been advancing at high speed for quite some time. Judging from its path, it should be headed towards the ‘Nine Cicadas Temple’,” Bolin said.

Ning and the others were all enlightened. Of the temples the Sithe had sent out to attack the Autarchs, one had been defeated by Ning while four had been sealed away. The Nine Cicadas Temple had been given that name by the Autarchs because it was covered with extremely strange carvings of nine cicadas on them. The temple was controlled by nine Sithe Exalts, the most of any temple they had encountered thus far.

“If it is flying towards the Nine Cicadas Temple, it is probably planning on rescuing those Exalts,” Ekong said.

“We can’t let them join forces!” Ning said hurriedly.

“The Sithe have repeatedly taken advantage of their higher level of insight to ambush us!” Autarch Titanos said. “Now, thanks to Bolin, we know the exact path this world of grass is taking. That means we can set a trap for it and play a nasty little trick on that terrifying weapon.”

“Right. Let’s set up a trap!” Ning’s eyes lit up.

“Let’s give them a good hard beating,” Autarch Mogg agreed hurriedly. He had been ambushed not too long ago and was itching for revenge.

“Hopefully, we’ll destroy the entire thing,” Bolin said.

The prospect of giving the Sithe a taste of their own medicine was making their blood pump with excitement!

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