Chapter 272: The North Sea

It’d been three months since the path of cultivation had been restored. However, no cultivator in the world of immortals or any other had ascended to the void realm yet. The path had been severed prior to the ancient times, so no contemporary cultivation method existed to show the way. Cultivators would have to explore and experiment for themselves.

For the present, tensions were running high in the world of immortals. Truespirit Major was about to fall to the Corpse Refiners, which weighed heavily on everyone like the looming nightmare it was.

Over the past three months, members of the sect had popped up everywhere to taunt numerous major factions and refine their disciples into zombies. The victims organized multiple assaults on the Corpse Refiners, but each campaign ended in abject failure and enormous casualties. House Donglin of Primus Major even lost a dao immortal, taken by a Bag of Corpse Refinement wielded by a dao immortal of the Corpse Refiners. The infamous sect peaked to new heights of notoriety with all the lives they took.

In addition, a few previously reclusive sects followed their example and emerged in the world to challenge the rule of the old guard.

Compared to other regions, Dusk Province was relatively peaceful. No one had come knocking to disturb the site of the Dao Flower’s bloom. However, the two weapons of war respectively established on the border of Outré Province and at the seaside stronghold were specifically aimed at Dusk City. If anything untoward occurred, the Nephrite celestial emperor wouldn’t hesitate to order the destruction of the rising sacred land.

And the Nephrite celestial emperor… was now Zhao Changkong. Somehow, this seemed to be a preordained development. No one was surprised, nor did anyone raise a note of objection; it was business as usual for the major factions in Nephrite Major. No one even wondered where Zhao Shenguang had gone off to.

……

The seaside stronghold in Dusk Province had been renovated. Dark cyan squares of sculpted boulders were cast in molten bronze as the building blocks of an awe-inspiring fortress. A colossal formation circulated within, releasing a beam of prismatic colors that spanned the rainbow to encompass the stronghold.

It was a hundred times more impressive than the seaside stronghold in Lu Yun’s memory. Even the heavenly soldiers stationed here were all august immortals—a far cry from the stronghold of old.

“I wonder how Diexi is doing.” Concern flashed through Qing Han’s eyes. “She would never betray you, but the stronghold is now in the hands of the court.”

Lu Yun wore an answering expression of solemnity. He’d once sent his people to reclaim the seaside stronghold, but it’d proven too powerful for him to challenge. He would need a few dao immortals to launch an assault, but even then, the weapon of war within its walls could kill dao immortals.

“She’s still alive, I think she probably fled into the North Sea.” After a pensive moment, Lu Yun sighed with resignation. “I’m not yet the Nephrite Court’s match.”

The court had ruled over Nephrite Major for eighty thousand years, so no single faction could defeat it on their own. This time, Lu Yun and Qing Han hadn’t come to take down the stronghold, but to seek out the dragon tombs of the North Sea.

Wu Tulong, Zi Chen, and Mo Qitian had already been escorted back to their clans for protection. There was no shortage of people who wanted them dead, even though the three of them and Qing Han had all earned the title of Dao Sovereign.

The Qing Clan had also sent representatives to bring Qing Han back, but Lu Yun had driven them away with brute force. He’d spared their lives only because he didn’t want to give the clan and the heavenly court an excuse to wage war against him.

The two of them passed through the stronghold without difficulty, as it was meant to defend against the monster spirits of the North Sea. Humans, on the other hand, could come and go as they pleased due to a revealment mirror hanging on the stronghold gates. Any monster spirit who tried to slip by would be revealed in their full, original glory.

However, the monster spirits had long since retreated from the region and given up on Dusk Province. The weapon of war alone intimidated them. Moreover, too many factions had entered the province. If the monster spirits dared invade, they’d quickly be exterminated in the ensuing chaos.

Dusk Province was able to enjoy a short reprieve only because the Corpse Refiners occupied most of the collective attention. At the heart of things, the new stronghold hadn’t been set up for the monster spirits, but for Dusk City.

Lu Yun and Qing Han entered the North Sea without trouble. The East, West, South, and North Seas weren’t named in relation only to Nephrite Major, but the entire world of immortals. While the Untroubled, Unmeant, Unsullied, and Unselfish Seas each were independent territories and possessed a heavenly mandate like the nine majors, ten lands, and the mysterious central world, the East, West, South, and North Seas were merely lifeless oceans that connected the different regions of the world of immortals.

Other than zones that bordered the other twenty-four facets of the world, the four seas were devoid of any immortal or heavenly qi, and were thus unsuitable for cultivators to reside in. Even regions near inhabited territory were relatively impoverished, which was why the monster spirits were always eager to conquer the shores.

There was more than one side to everything, however. Despite being impoverished, the four seas were home to many unique treasures and even ruins leftover from the ancient world of immortals.

Their waters had always been shrouded with mystery. No one knew exactly what lurked within the four connecting seas. Since antiquity, innumerable immortals and cultivators had entered the seas to seek their fortunes.

……

Lu Yun entrusted Dusk Province to Yuying. As a former governor, she was far more experienced in governing than Lu Yun. With the help of the Panorama Pavilion, some members of the Lu and Chen Clan trickled into Dusk Province. Most of them, however, remained in the Nephrite Court’s prison. Lu Yun couldn’t rescue them even if he wanted to.

The dragon tombs lay hidden in the furthest depths of the North Sea. Even with Aoxue’s memories, Lu Yun couldn't pinpoint its location. Only those with pure draconic bloodlines could sense it.

What he was looking for was the dragon tomb of the ancient world, rather than the ones of the present dragon clan. Although Aoxue was now a blood dragon, her bloodline remained pure. ‘Ao’ was the imperial surname of the ancient dragon clan, and was even now an uncommon surname among the dragons residing in the four immortal seas. That surname had also partly contributed to the destruction of the ancient North Sea dragons.

Not far from the shore, Lu Yun and Qing Han crewed a small skiff and navigated the sea at a leisurely pace. A blazing sun hung high in the sky, its light reflected by the rippling sea. Wind caressed their faces with a faint salty tang.

“This is my first time ever sailing the ocean!” Qing Han stood at the bow of the boat with his arms flung open, inhaling deeply.

Lu Yun kept the craft going at a relaxed speed and silently watched Qing Han. The greater his cultivation crew, the more he noticed there was something amiss about his friend.

Bam!

A sudden explosion beneath the calm surface brought about a tall wave.

“Come home with me, Qing Han,” an aloof voice echoed over the waters. “The Qing Clan is your home.”

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etvolare's Thoughts

Fuck off, Qing Clan. 

Sorry, was that too in-our-face? Okay, go fuck yourselves, Qing Clan.   

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