Chapter 161: The Origin of the Restriction

Hum.

The moment Qing Quan’s fist aura neared Lu Yun, seven glittering stars appeared in the air. They arranged themselves in the shape of the Big Dipper, painting the provincial capital’s skies a deep silver.

“What in the heavens?!” the immortal yelped. The stars connected as a hybrid of combat art and formation, blasting him with astral energy. He only had a moment for a quick howl of pain before his body flew off into the distance like a ragdoll, so far it couldn’t be seen anymore.

“Who are you and how dare you attack a venerated elder of the Qing Clan?!” The other immortals of Qing Quan’s clan began panicking over whether the elder was alive or dead. They loudly berated the airborne girl in boy’s clothes, but didn’t dare step forward.

“Like I said: I am Mo Yi, Prefect of Duskwater and under the Dusk governor’s command.” The cross-dressed girl reached toward the seven stars, which wrapped around her wrist in the form of a scintillating bracelet.

Sharp breaths could be heard below her. Mo Yi was an august immortal through and through, no matter how they looked at her. There was no evidence her cultivation was sealed, yet she’d incapacitated a dao immortal in the blink of an eye!

The crowd collectively gulped hard. Wasn’t Dusk Province the most backwater and destitute of all Nephrite’s territories? How come there were so many heaven-defying outliers here?

First was Lu Yun, victor over numerous cultivators to become first among the youth sovereigns, even killing a sealed peerless immortal in the process and fighting a sealed dao immortal afterward.  

Then there was this Duskwater Prefect, who’d gone one step further and defeated a sealed dao immortal in one blow. What kind of countryside provincials were these?!

“You go too far, Prefect of Duskwater!” a dissenting voice hectored. “Why did you interfere in a fair fight between Immortal Sovereign Qing Quan and the Dusk governor?”

“Is that so?” Mo Yi cast a sidelong glance at the person who spoke, but didn’t bother responding. She stood quietly before Lu Yun, interposing herself between him and any potential dangers, remnants of silvery starlight still clinging to her form. The rest of the crowd could only watch as the grievously injured Lu Yun dragged the Qing Clan’s dao-grade treasure, the Arcane Golden Bell, into the Skybearer Gates.

The erstwhile speaker from the Qing Clan reddened. A fair fight between a dao immortal and a cultivator? A joke like that was utterly priceless, anywhere, anytime.

……

“Daggone it, that woman’s vicious!” In a different corner in the province, Li Youcai’s blubber quivered in fleshy fear. “If it wasn’t for her respecting the court’s rules, I would’ve been chopped liver a long, long time ago!” In this moment, he finally realized the true foolishness of his past actions and how often he’d flirted with death.

“Thank goodness the governor stopped me. If that woman had lost her patience with me….” Li Youcai trembled again and a stream of goodwill rushed from him into the faraway Lu Yun. Though he was the prefect, he’d readily given the seal up to Mo Yi after recent affairs. She’d accepted it, as well as his post, without ceremony or reservation.

……

An indeterminate period of time later, the Skybearer Gates finally swallowed the bell whole. The Treasurefall Coin returned from the gates to Lu Yun’s hand.

The young man breathed a long sigh of relief. Although he’d obtained another dao-grade treasure, he wasn’t happy at all. Qing Han still suffered from the torment of poisons within him.   

“I need to go to the Skandha Extinction Tomb immediately. I need that Fusang Purewood!” He looked to the north with resolution, in the direction of the Skandha Range.

“How is Little Han?” a lazy voice echoed by his ear. It was Lu Yun’s first time seeing Chen Xiao in person. A young man of perhaps twenty-three, Chen Xiao radiated an aura of lackadaisical lethargy and didn’t look like he cared about anything.

“This is all my fault,” Lu Yun sounded a bit overcome.

“The poison mixture is acting up, eh?” Chen Xiao glanced toward the governor’s manor, his face darkening.

“Yeah.” Lu Yun continued staring to the north.

“Can you save him?” After examining the younger man closely, Chen Xiao grew thoughtful.

“Yup,” Lu Yun nodded. “There’s a Fusang Purewood inside the tomb at the heart of the Skandha Range, it has the power to save Qing Han.”

Relaxed ease draped over Chen Xiao once more. “I can go get it.”

Lu Yun shook his head again. “The Skandha Extinction Tomb is full of mysteries and there’s an emperor-grade dread zombie there. Let me go with you, I can solve the puzzles inside.”

“A dread zombie? Emperor-grade?” Chen Xiao inclined his head. “Stay here and take care of my cousin, I’ll be fine by myself. Oh, but give me Violetgrave.”

Lu Yun blinked, then did as requested. His friend’s cousin shot into the sky with incredible speed, leaving only an afterimage behind him.

……

On a peak some distance from Dusk City.

“My little brother’s suffering from the mixture of poison inside him right now. In a way, it’s a good trial for him, but you can forget about becoming emperor.” Upon the scenic peak, Qing Buyi faced down Zhao Changkong with a cold stare.

The crown prince’s face purpled with anger. “You think you can stop me from claiming my rightful place?” He wasn’t afraid of Qing Buyi alone. He directed a look of pure venom at the Qing elder, but didn’t want to fight here. It would be much too easy to trigger Dusk Province’s restriction.

“Yeah, I can. The pair of eyes you freed from the Water Altar won’t save you. Someone’s already dealing with it,” Qing Buyi coolly shot back.

Upset irritation brewed in Zhao Changkong.

“We will abdicate Our position in eighteen days time. The eleventh prince, Zhao Shenguang, shall inherit the throne as the new celestial emperor,” the Nephrite emperor’s voice suddenly echoed through the major.  

All of Nephrite Major resonated with the command and flowers of qi blossomed in the skies before drifting to the ground and dissipating.

A rain of heavenly flowers, a marvel that appeared only to mark imperial succession!

The current emperor’s declaration was worth its weight in gold and had received recognition from the land he ruled. It was now recorded as law in the heavenly dao. Unless Zhao Shenguang died, all would come to pass as the emperor decreed. Even the issuer couldn’t change the fact anymore.

“W-what… what just happened?!” Zhao Changkong had considered the throne as good as his. Why had his father taken it away from him at the last second?!

“Do you want to know why?” In contrast, Qing Buyi was the picture of ease and serenity.  

“Tell me! What’s the meaning of this?!” Zhao Changkong screamed madly into the air. “I don’t believe it. There’s no way that you two… you two crooks… could change my imperial father’s mind!”

“The Nephrite emperor chose Lu Yun to be your advisor, but you conspired with Qing Quan to backstab him… well, Zhao Fengyang is more than a little disappointed.”

“Ridiculous! Absolutely ridiculous!” Zhao Changkong continued roaring. “My imperial father would never abandon me for a gnat of a cultivator!”

Qing Buyi sighed with some indifference. “Here’s a more convincing reason then: Chen Xiao said to the emperor just now that if you become emperor, he will turn the capital upside down and exterminate your clan. I wouldn’t doubt him, if I were you. He’s a bit crazy sometimes, but he always follows through on his promises.

“Oh yeah, let me tell you one more thing.” Qing Buyi slowly lowered his mouth to Zhao Changkong’s ear. “Chen Xiao was the one who let the restriction in here in the first place.”

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