Li Youcai had been a wide and heavyset man, resembling a giant mountain of lard. Now, however, he appeared wan and deflated, his complexion a sickly shade of yellow. No longer a hale and hearty fat man, he was an exhausted and weary one.
Onboard his ship were Dusk’s cultivators, including the heads of the aristocratic families that’d attended the Dusk River Sacrament, and genius cultivators who had performed well during the governor reselection tournament. But now they were all here, struggling against the terrible monsters.
They were on the fringe of the ocean, so the monsters here weren’t as threatening as those in the depths, but they were still too much for the cultivators on the ship to handle.
As Lu Yun watched, humanoid lizards crawled up and ripped apart a cultivator, dividing the parts for consumption. That genius had hailed from a Dusk aristocratic family, and had defeated a spirit realm cultivator in the Coretrial Arena.
“Help, fellow daoist! Help us!” Li Yuocai’s hoarse cries for help were incessant.
What’s going on? Why are they here?! Lu Yun’s heart blazed with fury. According to Aoxue, the ocean of blood was forbidden grounds after the loss of dao immortals. No faction dared send anyone to explore the area. Yet here the Dusk cultivators were, flying in fortress ships and fending off the ocean monsters.
There was certainly someone behind all this!
He also saw Lu and Chen immortals on the other ships. “All of you remain in your boats and protect the Dao Flowers,” he said to his tomb raiding group.
The second he spoke, the white lantern on his ship exploded and went out with a final flicker.
“Don’t follow me. You bear the weight of the world on your shoulders. It’s your duty to revitalize the world.” He slowly took to the air without looking back.
The ghost had given them two rules: don’t speak and don’t turn around. Speaking would put out the lantern concealing their life energy, and turning around would attract the attention of even more terrifying beings in the ocean.
Lu Yun had already broken one rule. He mustn’t break the other, or his companions would suffer the consequences. As soon as his lantern had exploded, skeletal creatures and crimson monsters rushed out of the water to lunge at him.
Black fire burst out of Lu Yun’s hands and burned the monsters to ashes.
Sharp blade lights swirled around him as he manifested the Sugato Sword.
An enormous cerulean dragon soared through the air and shot through the ocean, tearing countless monsters into pieces. Their remains fell limply back into the ocean, creating space for Lu Yun to flash to Li Youcai’s side.
Qing Han wanted to help, but Lu Yun’s reminder about the Dao Flower changed his mind and made him slowly sit back down.
The Dao Flowers were the bane of all evil. The spirits along the winding path had shied away from the flowers because the path was a layout that’d been suppressed by the ghost in white. It hadn’t yet evolved into the real Door of Demise.
These monsters, on the other hand, were real. The flowers could counter their power, but there were too many of them and their blood energy too potent. It was entirely possible that they could corrupt the Dao Flowers again with the power of the ocean.
That wasn’t a risk the group was willing to take.
If the flowers were damaged, all of their efforts would’ve been in vain. The void realm fostered in the flowers would shatter again before it could be reincorporated into the path of cultivation.
Lu Yun landed on the fortress ship with powerful gusts of sword energy, enveloping the vessel in blade light that destroyed all monsters and skeletons it touched.
“What are you doing here, Li Youcai?!” he demanded.
“Your… your Excellency!!” Li Youcai’s small eyes widened when they landed on Lu Yun. He threw himself at Lu Yun’s feet and clutched the governor’s thigh with loud wails and sobs. “Help, Your Excellency!!”
Lu Yun kicked him away and snapped, “Speak, what’s going on!”
“The Dusk Lord sent us here,” Li Youcai whined. “That old bastard!”
Lu Yun frowned. “The Dusk Lord? You mean the desolate willow in the Skandha Range?”
“No,” Li Youcai hurried out, “the new Dusk Lord appointed by His Majesty the Celestial Emperor!”
“Appointed by the celestial emperor?” Lu Yun’s heart sank. “What about Mo Yi?”
“She’s missing,” Li Youcai said as he wiped away snot and tears. “The Dusk Lord declared her a traitor, and she’s now wanted by the Nephrite court.”
“Why are you here then? What’s with the Lu and Chen Clans?”
The Dusk Lord must’ve sent them here to die. Once the cultivators of Dusk Province were dead, new agents could be planted. But why were the Lu and Chen Clans here too? They were among the top clans of Nephrite Major. Even if someone was to send them to die, there had to be a legitimate pretext for it.
“There are great treasures in the ocean!” Li Youcai exclaimed. “A month ago, a golden immortal returned from the ocean of blood with a connate-grade treasure, taking the world by storm! This isn’t a forbidden ground anymore, but a place with opportunity and danger alike! Although a few dao immortals died here, a golden immortal managed to survive!” The fatty pulled a long face. “That’s why the heavenly court sent us to explore the ocean.”
“Well? What did you find?” With a flip of his hand, Lu Yun smote another wave of skeletal monsters.
Li Youcai put away his Seal of Mountains and Rivers with a dejected expression. “We were swarmed by the monsters as soon as we entered, and didn’t have a chance to search for treasure!”
His ship was wrecked, as it was too low-level to defend against the monsters. Wreckage of countless fortress ships floated about, suggesting that the dozen ships present weren’t the only ones that’d entered the ocean.
More ships and immortals had met their end here.
With a new emperor came a new generation of officials; it was only natural that a new emperor would purge those who didn’t listen to him or those he couldn’t trust. Zhao Shenguang was cleaning house!
What further enraged Lu Yun was that the emperor had booted the Lu and Chen Clans out of their respective paradises! Many members of the Lu Clan had already died in the ocean.
“Good. Very good,” he sneered. The group had been floating on the ocean for three months, but to think so many unexpected things would happen during this period of time! “Zhao Shenguang is moving against the Lu and Chen Clans. It would seem that something’s happened to Qing Buyi and Chen Xiao.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I have a sudden thought... what if... Zhao Shenguang had been pretending all along so he could get the Twin Devils on his side? After all, doesn't it seem weird that he'd be best buddies with someone who broke his leg?