Chapter 225: Traces of Hell

Inside the netherworld, Lu Yun could maximize his abilities in every way. His thoughts, consciousness, and available energy were all at their absolute peak. Only under these circumstances did he dare refine the Ten Orientations Stone into a feng shui compass.

The stone was very difficult to come by. If he wasted this one, it would be nearly impossible for him to find another. 

The fires of hell burned ever brighter, filling the entire demiplane in a blazing sea. All five Envoys of Samsara returned to their place of origin, creating a small sanctuary amid the inferno for Yueshen, Ruyi, and the Infernum.

The invincible stone gradually began to melt under the hellfire’s heat, liquefying into molten rock. As he refined the stone with methodical skill, Lu Yun called upon the Dragonsearch Invocation and poured energy from every fiber of his body into the material.

Three hundred years!

Three entire centuries passed within hell.

Lu Yun spent all that time sitting in the center of the sea of hellfire, refining the Ten Orientations Stone bit by painstaking bit. The fist-sized chunk of rock underwent a fundamental transformation in that time.

The applied heat had caused it to expand into a glittering star! Not a starstone, but a real shining sphere of power. It possessed the gravity and laws that were its birthright. However, the star born was a dead one. It was governed by laws that were more closely aligned with death and inertia.

All things were separated into yin and yang, the living and the dead. Laws were no different. The star born from the Ten Orientations Stone belonged firmly in the latter category. In other words, the world it nurtured belonged to the dead.

Hell hath no borders. It was plenty large enough to contain this star.

“The deathly laws of the stone are similar to those in hell… could this stone have come from hell in the first place?!” The revelation shook Lu Yun awake. He opened his eyes, allowing his consciousness to flow like quicksilver into the star. As soon as he made contact, he felt a striking familiarity from the star. Only hell could hold those principles of death!

And yet, despite searching far and wide, Lu Yun found no trace of the Ten Orientations Stone inside the netherworld.

“Can this stone be holding hell’s secrets?” The young man didn’t stop refining the stone, but he diverted part of his attention to considering the events that had transpired to him so far. “I got the Tome of Life and Death back on Earth, and it took me to the world of immortals… Was it not pure coincidence after all?

“The first death art I learned, the ‘realms of yin and yang’, opened the Gates of the Abyss. Meanwhile, the Ten Orientations Stone has something to do with hell. When I found the Tome of Life and Death, I was holding a feng shui compass and ended up here instead of dying, so… that... old compass… was made from another Ten Orientations Stone?”

This was the key behind it all, no wonder he’d been chosen by the book!

His old compass, refined from another Ten Orientations Stone, had contained the power of hell, which activated the Tome of Life and Death. After saving and depositing its human package, the book had decomposed the compass, using its energies to reopen the gates of hell and resuscitating from its former closed state.

“Now that hell is connected to me through the Tome of Life and Death, it’s essentially a world that belongs entirely to me. As long as my cultivation continues to progress, I won’t need to draw on the Ten Orientations Stones to restore it.” Lu Yun exhaled gladly. If not for that, this stone would’ve been swallowed up to be more building blocks of the netherworld as soon as he set foot past the Gates of the Abyss. Without a doubt, the Ten Orientations Stone came from hell!

So it would seem that the world of immortals wasn’t completely devoid of traces of hell. The appearance of one of these stones was more than proof enough. His curiosity sated, Lu Yun refocused on refining the stone through the Dragonsearch Invocation.

Two hundred more years passed.

Hum—

A jet of black light flashed before his eyes as the enormous star disappeared, replaced by a palm-sized compass. The compass was dyed purest black and separated into three layers. The first discerned direction, the second inferred fortune, and the third analyzed feng shui!

After five centuries, the feng shui compass was finally complete.

Lu Yun felt exhaustion wash over him. Even hell couldn’t mitigate his fatigue. As soon as he extinguished the hellfire, Yuying rushed forward to stuff a large handful of pills into his mouth.

“Who in the world was the grandmaster of my sect?” He took a deep breath, then began to rapidly recover his stamina.  

“Inside hell, I’m not much different from a celestial emperor at peak origin dao immortal. I still needed five centuries of time and hellfire to refine a feng shui compass,” the young man murmured. “There’s no way the grandmaster was an ordinary mortal, not with how he could refine a feng shui compass!”

Another question popped into his head. “Did the sect go downhill only because someone opened a bronze outer-coffin?”

……

Five hundred years in hell was no more than an instant in the outside world. Lu Yun left it considerably paler than he’d entered and found it difficult to maintain a steady footing. The energy he’d spent on the feng shui compass was mostly recovered, but stamina and vigor weren’t so easy.

“Milord, the Yue Clan’s Yue Longsha seeks an audience!” an opulently garbed Ge Long reported eagerly.

Lu Yun had become extremely important in the Lu Clan overnight. His clansmen scrambled all over themselves to put him on an almost literal pedestal. As his servant, Ge Long was similarly lifted up in prominence and treatment. However, the ghostly servant remained steadfastly loyal to Lu Yun, staying nearby to satisfy his master’s every need.

“Yue Longsha?” A spark of disorientation flickered through Lu Yun’s eye. A moment later, the memories from five hundred years ago came flooding back. After spending five centuries in hell, he felt a little detached from the sudden return to reality.

“What’s she doing here?” The young man frowned, then nodded permission. He could hardly refuse a visit from one of the Yue Clan’s brightest daughters—a natural-born immortal and grandmistress of pills.  

Lu Yun lived in an area specially designated by his clan. Breathtakingly scenic and filled with immortal qi, it rivaled the living spaces of the clan’s dao immortals. Inside the garden, a youth sat across from Yue Longsha. The atmosphere was a bit tense… like there was a strange stare down happening, for some reason.

Hostility?

Whatever for?

Why’s Qing Han here, anyway? He felt a rush of warmth in his heart at the sight. After five centuries, Qing Han was the one he missed the most.

Wait, shouldn’t I miss Qing Yu the most instead? Well, there’s nothing wrong with missing Qing Han, I think. Lu Yun swung his head around, rattling its contents. …But why?

His thoughts confused him.

“What in the world happened to you?” The murder in Qing Han’s eyes was replaced with a deep concern, and he stood up to lend an arm to his friend. Lu Yun’s entire appearance was slightly disheveled. His hair was messy and matted over, footsteps shaky, face ashen, and he was substantially thinner.

“Eh, I’m alright.” Lu Yun couldn’t resist reaching out to pat Qing Han’s head.

Qing Han froze at the gesture, unsure of how to respond. Yue Longsha’s jaw also dropped. A man, gently caressing another man’s head…? A strange sort of malicious annoyance brewed in her. 

Although Qing Han very much enjoyed the feeling, he ultimately decided to tilt his head to the side. Lu Yun didn’t feel anything strange himself. He plopped down beside his friend, picked up the tea that Qing Han had just drank from and gulped it down.

The ensuing lip-smack made Yue Longsha twist with even greater discomfort.

“You must have come for the Lunar Wings, Miss Yue.” Lu Yun got straight to the point. It’d been five hundred years for him, but his memories were rapidly coming back to him. Plus, his five envoys’ memories were just fine. A few centuries were nothing to him. He still remembered the small burst of excitement from Yue Longsha when she’d first seen the Lunar Wings.

“Indeed,” Yue Longsha nodded. “What will Sir Lu accept for it?”

Qing Han sighed with a mixture of relief and embarrassment, leaving Yue Longsha in the dark about why the young man’s hostility had so suddenly come and gone.

“Ah, that’s not something you should ask me.” Lu Yun glanced at his friend nearby. “I gave them to Qing Han already, so you should discuss that with him instead.”

A smile crept over Qing Han’s face.

Lu Yun had kept the Skydragon Tendon for himself. The material was very useful to Aoxue and could increase her strength immensely.

The Lunar Wings however, were one half of the connate-grade treasure, Lunisolar Wings. Refining it granted unparalleled speed—excellent insurance whenever one’s life was on the line. His group was about to head out to an ancient tomb. In light of that, giving the Lunar Wings made him a bit more comfortable with his friend’s safety.

“Back in Cloudwater… ah, no, Sword Pavilion, your clan’s Yue Cheng already chose to oppose Lu Yun,” Qing Han responded solemnly. “I’ve seen no evidence that your clan has changed its mind about that decision. You should return, miss.”

He uttered a staunch refusal before Yue Longsha could attempt to persuade him otherwise. What a joke! The Yue Clan’s attitude aside, these Lunar Wings were Lu Yun’s gift to him. How could he give them to someone else? And to an exceptionally pretty woman, to boot.

Yue Longsha sighed wistfully. It was an answer she expected, but she’d hoped for otherwise regardless. She saluted the two young men with cupped fists, then turned to leave.

“One moment,” Lu Yun suddenly stood up.

The Yue immortal wheeled around, a faint smile upon her face. “Are you deciding on Sir Qing Han’s behalf, Sir Lu?”

Lu Yun shook his head. “You must have the Solar Wings, Miss Yue, the Lunisolar Wings’ other half. Is there anything I can offer to get them from you?”

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etvolare's Thoughts

I am so calling it. One day, LY's gonna think he always knew QY=QH. The Tome of Life and Death is the real MC of NECRO lol.