Chapter 124: The Sal Tree of Life and Death

“Corpse flies!” Lu Yun blanched. He couldn’t see them yet, but he could already smell the characteristic stench of rot.

“Over there!” Qing Han pointed at a spot between the dense branches where leaves and boughs were violently shaking, as if something enormous was about to emerge.

Crash!

Vegetation shattered to make way for the extension of a giant, blood-colored leg. It was almost three hundred meters tall and had sharp spikes poking out of it. Each of its slightest movements broke branches, leaves, and bark, sending pieces raining down the zombie tree.

“Here you are, here you are! Eat them, eat them all!” The spores cheered, guiding the owner of the leg to where its prey was.

“What a huge corpse fly....” Lu Yun goggled at the sight. Just a mere leg was three hundred meters long! Could this thing still be called a fly? How gigantic would its full body turn out to be?

“Hang onto me tight,” Qing Han whispered while making a hand seal. Realization of his friend’s intentions struck Lu Yun, and he hastily pressed himself down on Qing Han’s back. 

Humm—

A green glow enveloped the two, upon which their figures streaked into the emerald light and slipped into the branch beneath their feet.

Snap!

No sooner had they vanished than a blood-red, gooey mouth organ pierced down savagely on where they’d been and tore the thick branch to pieces.

……

“It actually worked!” After barely dodging the giant corpse fly’s attack, Qing Han and Lu Yun fled downward along the zombie tree’s vascular vessels.

This was a wood-attribute movement art, one Qing Han had found within Empress Myrtlestar’s legacy. Dwelling in the east, the empress had mastered all the laws of wood; her wood-attribute arts were second to none.

With help from the Imperial Star, Qing Han had grasped this particular ability in no time at all. His own internal energy was now a violet-gold color and its new attribute enhanced the art’s effectiveness.

The life force that was so abundant outside the tree was nowhere to be seen on the inside. Instead, the ashen gray vessels looked dull and lifeless, and the smell of rotten wood pervaded the air. Stranger still, there was an aura of exuberant growth inside the tree, as though it was still alive.

Just as Lu Yun had surmised, this was a zombie tree, and its true nature was concealed by whatever lay beneath its roots

“Stop!” he suddenly shouted.

Qing Han skidded to a halt. “What’s the matter?”

“We’re surrounded by ghostface maggots,” Lu Yun replied sombrely.

Hundreds of them were slowly converging from every direction, ringing the two of them. Qing Han had been too focused on controlling the movement art to notice them until now.

“Dispel your art.” A fevered glint flashed in Lu Yun’s eyes.

“Eh?” Flabbergasted, Qing Han couldn’t understand how they were supposed to escape unscathed without the movement art. Wouldn’t they end up trapped inside and finally assimilated by this terrifying zombie tree?

“Do as I say.” Lu Yun’s face was calm, but the look in his eyes was almost demented. Hellfire disappeared from his irises in favor of a rising internal energy level, and he ate more than a dozen energy-recovering pills.

“Alright!” Hesitating no longer, Qing Han released his hand seal and banished the emerald glow that was surrounding them.

Crackle!

Crackle!

Crackle!

Three fires ignited around Lu Yun at almost the same time, one green, one blue, and one yellow.

“Since we’re trapped in here, I’ll set this whole damn tree on fire!” he thundered. “Let’s see if a zombie tree and whatever’s underground can withstand three immortal fires. Let’s find out, shall we?!!!”

He performed a series of fire-control hand seals and drove the immortal fires to unleash their full power. The Emerald Mistfire, Lucent Voidfire, and Daevic Skyfire blossomed at the same time and instantly broke free from Lu Yun’s control to run amok throughout the tree’s interior.

The zombie tree was gargantuan, dwarfing even the desolate willow. Moreover, it was protected by a formidable entity of vitality. Yet neither of the two could fend off the immortal fires, resulting in the tree catching fire in the blink of an eye.

The power of the immortal fires was more daunting than anyone could imagine. Thus far, Yuying had only tapped into part of their potential, staying within the limits of her ability to control them. There was nothing the immortal fires couldn’t burn if left unchecked. Such existences were potential disasters for the entire world of immortals. No one in history, not even before the great war, had ever extinguished an out of control immortal fire.

Whoosh!

Black hellfire blazed around Lu Yun, its icy yet scorching aura isolating him from the immortal fires run amok. No matter how powerful they were, the immortal fires dared not even approach the hellfire.

……

The entire world seemed afire.

On the zombie tree, countless ghostface maggots, corpse flies, and living creatures transformed into zombie fruits shrieked and wailed, scurrying around for survival.

Unfortunately, there was a thick membrane around the tree that isolated it from the outside world. With nowhere to escape to, the undead creatures and evil spirits all burned to a crisp. An enormous conflagration surrounded the tree, sparing not a single leaf or drop of vitality.

“Who… dares… interrupt… my… sleep….” A prodigious sentience suddenly roused from its slumber. The earth tore apart as black, bone-like tree trunks burrowed out from the cracks.

“What… is… going… on…” the vast consciousness rippled languidly across the tomb realm. “Why… are… there… supreme… fires… here….” 

Although they were abnormally slow, the consciousness’ ripples were very clear and filled with boundless confusion and shocked anger.

Crash!

The earth shook and the entire realm trembled as a giant black tree upturned all of the soil in its eruption from beneath the ground. It filled the entire tomb realm, the black fires blossoming on its branches blotting out the sunny sky and bringing down a curtain of darkness.

Even more colossal than the zombie tree, it was boundlessly vast, like a star. In comparison, the tomb realm seemed merely a part of it. Though black, it brimmed with prodigious vitality, but also the power of death!

Just like the Fusang Purewood, no leaves grew on it. Instead, drifting leaves of black flames adorned its branches and kept the three immortal fires at bay.

……

“That’s… that’s!!!” Now that they were free of the zombie tree, Lu Yun had breathing space to take a clear look at the newly-emerged black tree and its flames. His eyes immediately went as round as saucers and even his breathing grew urgent.

Hellfire!

The black flames dancing on the tree were actually hellfire!

“That tree is mine!!” A newfound, inexhaustible strength flooded out from his exhausted body.

Whoosh!

Black hellfire erupted from him in tremendous waves that echoed the flames of the colossal tree.

“You. Are. Mine!!!” he roared. “Sal Tree of Life and Death, you are mine!!” [1]

Buzz!

The Tome of Life and Death manifested above his head. Moving away from Qing Han, he transformed into a ball of black flame and threw himself at the giant tree.

“Stay put and wait for me. Don’t move!” He dropped a ball of hellfire onto Qing Han with a wave of a hand to protect his friend. Then, the fiercely-blazing Lu Yun landed in front of the ‘Sal Tree of Life and Death’, holding the Tome of Life and Death in his hands.


1. The sal tree contains religious significance in Buddhism, being the tree that witnessed the birth of Gautama Buddha and the death of Buddha himself. It’s also a tree under which the two Buddhas preceding Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment.


1. The sal tree contains religious significance in Buddhism, being the tree that witnessed the birth of Gautama Buddha and the death of Buddha himself. It’s also a tree under which the two Buddhas preceding Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment.

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