Zhao Changkong’s pupils dilated and he stared at Qing Buyi, unsure of what to say. The thing that’d appeared in Dusk Province’s ancient tomb a thousand years ago was too powerful for even the emperor to handle. It’d been listed as a taboo as a last resort.
Qing Buyi’s sudden revelation was, therefore, utterly incomprehensible to the prince.
“The twenty-four facets’ imperial courts have a far more tenuous rule over the world than their ancient predecessors.” Qing Buyi straightened himself, placing both hands behind his back. “People like us have no love for the endless chaos of the near past, which is why we begrudgingly follow Nephrite Major’s rules for the moment. Chen Xiao and I aren’t nearly as nice as Duskwater’s Mo Yi, though, and we won’t put up with being wronged.
“Your conspiracy with Qing Quan made my little brother suffer, so I disallowed you from becoming the celestial emperor. If Zhao Fengyang hadn’t listened, I would’ve helped Chen Xiao exterminate your clan.” Qing Buyi patted Zhao Changkong on the shoulder. “You should feel lucky that what you did can be fixed. Otherwise, you’d already be a corpse.”
His aura began increasing in intensity as he spoke, shifting from the peak of august to golden, then arcane, then peerless immortal, until he finally stopped at peak peerless immortal level. There were signs that he would break through even that, but the skies remained completely calm. The eyes that had slain Dongling Yuhuang didn’t appear.
Zhao Changkong finally believed Qing Buyi’s words.
“You must be thinking that the eyes only show up for dao immortals, right?” Qing Buyi laughed.
His cultivation reached the dao immortal realm, but everything remained just as peaceful as before; there was no restriction anywhere in sight.
Zhao Changkong took a step back. Qing Buyi, the Qing Clan’s eldest son, the dandy famous for mischief and skullduggery in Nephrite Major… was a dao immortal!
“If you’re still wondering whether Chen Xiao and I can follow through on our threat, don’t. The world is a vast place far beyond your imagination, and the current laws are quite fragile. They’re far from enough to keep all of us in line.” Qing Buyi gently patted Zhao Changkong’s cheek, then gradually disappeared into nothingness.
Left alone, the despondent prince stood in place for a very long while. Qing Buyi hadn’t killed him only because he was the current emperor’s son. Qing Buyi and Chen Xiao were still following the rules, fragile as they were.
“Is all this really worth it? Just for an accursed spirit root…?” he murmured to himself.
The mixture of virulent toxins inside Qing Han’s body inflicted anguish beyond imagining. The youth lay completely still in bed, almost like he’d sunk into a coma. Empress Myrtlestar had used a certain method to put his consciousness to sleep, or the inhuman suffering would’ve crushed his mind in an instant.
“Do not blame yourself. You have already done very well.” Myrtlestar cast a violet haze over Qing Han’s body, covering and protecting it. “The suffering he is going through is immensely torturous, but it is a trial that may prove beneficial in the end. Qing Han has a great deal of unrefined connate elemental energy within him, which the ravaging poisons will help him refine and absorb. The result will strengthen his body, and, in fact, he might even obtain an immortal constitution because of this.”
“Mm.” Lu Yun nodded a little.
“Someone is coming.” Myrtlestar turned into a purple wisp and took refuge in the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals. The formations Lu Yun had set up hadn’t managed to stop the person that was approaching: a tall, broad-shouldered youth who walked with a powerful stride.
“So you’re Lu Yun, eh?” Qing Buyi asked, looking the other up and down. Though he’d seen the young governor during the tournament, it was the first time they’d come face-to-face.
“Yeah.” Lu Yun nodded.
“I’m Qing Han’s big brother, Qing Buyi,” came the reply. “You’ve done very well. Chen Xiao and I very much approve.”
“You… very much approve?” Lu Yun was thoroughly confused. “Of what?”
“Ahem.” Realizing his slip of the tongue, Qing Buyi cleared his throat before rectifying the mistake. “We approve of what you’ve done for my little brother, of course.”
“Qing Han is my friend. We’ve gone through a lot of difficulties together in the ancient tombs and he’s even saved my life before. Whatever I do for him is well-deserved, so why should your approval matter?” Lu Yun’s bewilderment didn’t lessen a single bit. How were Qing Han’s relatives factoring into all of this? He was friends with Qing Han, not them.
He’d heard of Qing Buyi and Chen Xiao’s names before and knew of their influence in the major, but hadn’t given much other thought to the pair. His friendship with Qing Han was a private matter, not an exercise in climbing the social ladder. He’d joked about hugging his friend’s thigh before, but that’s all that it was. Qing Buyi’s words sat uncomfortably with him. The two primary reasons for his accomplishments thus far were the power of the Tome of Life and Death and his own diligence.
“It matters, because… I’m Qing Yu’s big brother as well!” Qing Buyi shot back an irate glare. “Don’t you want to see her?”
“Ah.” The governor nodded. “That can wait until Qing Han’s cured.”
“Hmm?” Qing Buyi raised an eyebrow. “Qing Han’s more important to you than Qing Yu?”
Lu Yun raised his head, staring straight into the other man’s eyes. “Who’s more important to you?”
“Er….” The question stumped Qing Buyi. To him, Qing Han and Qing Yu were one and the same—but Lu Yun didn’t know that!
“I’ve only met Qing Yu a handful of times, and never in person. I’m attracted to her, but I don’t know if my impression of her is right.” Lu Yun spoke his mind in front of his friend’s brother. “My friendship with Qing Han is built from adversity after life-threatening adversity. He treats me truly, so I should absolutely return the favor. Therefore, in my eyes, Qing Han is more important.”
“Good!” Qing Buyi roared with laughter, clapping heartily. “I’m relieved to hear those words.”
“Why are you relieved to hear them? I really don’t get it.” Lu Yun opened his eyes wide.
“Nothing! You’re free to get some rest, I’ll take over from here.” Qing Buyi’s approval came as a major head-scratcher to Lu Yun, even as he headed out of the room.
Chen Xiao returned the next day with tattered clothes and an extremely bedraggled appearance. However, he carried a tree-shaped coffin on his back. The Fusang Purewood! He’d really managed to bring it back!
“Here.” Qing Han’s cousin tossed Violetgrave back to Lu Yun.
“So… heavy!” The incredible weight in the young man’s hands nearly caused him to fall face first into the ground.
Violetgrave was a thousand times heavier than before; he could only barely lift it up with his full strength.
“The dread zombie was too strong. I couldn’t do much to it, so I buried it inside Violetgrave.” Chen Xiao took a few deep breaths to restore himself. “You work on curing Qing Han’s poison. Qing Buyi and I will watch over you.”
“You buried the dread zombie inside Violetgrave?” Lu Yun’s eyes were the size of dinner plates. Were the tombs and graves inside Violetgrave real and functional, rather than manifestations of sword aura? Recovering from his surprise, he shook his head slightly. “The Fusang Purewood is the main ingredient, but we’ll need two more things to fully cure Qing Han.
“First, the Skydragon Pearl buried deep in the tombs of the North Sea dragons and second, a fruit from the Ancient Tree of Life at the heart of the Endless Desert, which is in the western reaches of Nephrite Major.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Heh, Lu Yun passed the family test but doesn't even know it!