“Someone’s coming, let’s finish this!” A piercing dragon howl escaped Aoxue’s mouth, and the crimson light around her increased in intensity, almost turning Beigong Yu’s Water Kingdom red. The struggling Donglin Shaohui was quickly restrained, and a maddened Beigong Yu stopped pulling his punches. His body split into both a giant kun and enormous peng, slamming into Donglin Shaohui in a concerted attack that doubled their power.
Synergy of kun and peng!
Donglin Shaohui paled when he felt the splintering of the spirit he’d attached to the replica.
“I’ll never forgive you for this, Lu Yun!!” he shrieked. The kun and peng attack had greatly damaged his deteriorating nascent spirit.
“How dare you?!” A tremendous presence descended from the sky as an enormous blade of sword light coalesced and almost cut the city in half. The specter of death loomed over everyone.
“Dao immortal!” Color drained from Aoxue’s face; Beigong Yu had lost his mobility after using that taboo technique. They could only watch helplessly as the sword came for them. The figure of an old man appeared at the same time. When he fired off the slash, he also extended a hand to grab Donglin Shaohui’s prone body.
The tolling of a bell rushed out of the city. Blaring like tiger roars, a tiger shadow formed by soundwaves burst out of the city and shattered the sword light.
“The Qing Clan’s Arcane Golden Bell!” The old man tensed. “It is Lu Yun!”
Everyone knew that Lu Yun had acquired the bell and in the process, thoroughly humiliated the Qing Clan. Its sudden attacks now alarmed the Donglin dao immortal. This was a dao immortal treasure with mysterious powers that no ordinary supreme treasure could rival; even the immortal sword in his hand was starting to crack.
According to those Qing dao immortals, Lu Yun arrived in the North Sea thanks to the protection of Wellspring from the Skandha Range. Lu Yun must’ve given the treasure to the old monster!
But Wellspring’s not a Qing, so how is he able to use the hereditary Qing treasure? Or is it that the Qing dao immortals are here, too, and this is their plot against House Donglin?
A bell toll interrupted his train of thought, and heat burst in his chest before he threw up a mouthful of blood. The old man spared no thought for the hapless Donglin Shaohui, fleeing in helter-skelter terror when he saw a soundwave tiger lunging at him. He was just an aether dao immortal who’d plucked his first dao fruit, and couldn’t possibly defy the golden bell’s strength!
“Lu Yun!! The wrath of House Donglin will descend upon you!” came his fleeting voice while he made his getaway.
“It’s Lu Yun! He’s really come to the island!” Many immortals had taken note of the roared threat.
“He handed a great loss to the Donglin dao immortal as soon as he set foot on the island… that man really is House Donglin’s bane!”
“Their previous patriarch died in Dusk Province, and Donglin Shaochen, the genius who could slay golden immortals as a cultivator, died at Lu Yun’s hands back in Xiankan.”
Their chatter didn’t escape the Donglin dao immortal’s hearing, but he regretted nothing. House Donglin had failed too many times when it came to Lu Yun. One more failure was nothing. No one cared about an extra louse when there was already a colony of them. He’d exposed Lu Yun’s tracks, so now the North Sea Court would deal with the young governor.
Back in the Monster God’s palace, Qing Han’s face was slightly pale. Over time, the poison in his body had grown increasingly potent. Not even the Fusang Purewood could keep it fully in check anymore.
Every time he channeled the cosmic power of his starstones to grant the strength of dao immortals to the Tiger and Dragon Prince, the poison in his body grew a little more virulent. Of course, he hadn’t told anyone about this. Not even Empress Myrtlestar knew about his condition.
“We’ve finally obtained the Embittered Bamboo!” Qing Han broke into a joyous smile.
Aoxue and Beigong Yu returned to human form and brought Donglin Shaohui’s body to Lu Yun and Qing Han.
Although Beigong Yu had shattered the Donglin scion’s spirit, the latter’s consciousness remained on his replica. He glared at Lu Yun venomously, wanting to imprint his enemy’s visage in his mind.
“What are you looking at me like that for? If you have even one ball, you’d face me in person.” Lu Yun walked up to him and crushed the strand of consciousness with a hellfire-imbued palm-strike.
Surreal green radiance blossomed forth with great vitality as an emerald bamboo stick slowly materialized in front of them. Roughly three meters tall, it was as thick as a wrist and studded with spots of light that sparkled like the stars. Its emergence was accompanied by a marvelous spiritual energy that soothed the mind and calmed the heart.
“This is the Embittered Bamboo!” The little fox’s eyes shone avidly. Embittered Bamboo ranked seventh among the ten connate spirit roots; many coveted it, but never had the chance to lay their hands on it. And here it was, floating quietly before them.
“What a shame.” Empress Myrtlestar sighed from within the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals. “This bamboo had a chance of becoming a monster spirit and rising to great power, but someone killed its consciousness and refined it into a replica not long after its birth. What a great waste of a natural resource.”
“See if you can refine it into your own duplicate, Lu Yun!” Qing Han said eagerly.
“That won’t be necessary.” Lu Yun shook his head. “The bamboo brims with life essence that’ll greatly benefit you. Fusang Purewood ranks third among the ten connate spirit roots, so the Embittered Bamboo isn’t its match, but it’s still a powerful spirit root that can help suppress your poison.”
Qing Han started, and even the little fox was shocked. She didn’t understand how Lu Yun could give the seventh greatest spirit root away without even batting an eye.
“Is big sister Mo Yi right? That Lu Yun likes men?” she muttered. “But I’m a hundred times more beautiful as a man than that ugly Qing Han. Why has he never spared me a glance? Does he only like ugly things?”
The little fox wanted the bamboo as well, but couldn’t stake her claim. After all, it’d been Lu Yun’s two followers who’d risked their lives to fetch it.
“There’s… actually another way to cleanse your poison,” Lu Yun said suddenly.
“What is it?” Qing Han blurted out.
“We can collect all ten connate spirit roots in the world and refine them into your body,” he said seriously. “Then you’ll be immune to all poisons… and be almost immortal!”
“He’ll get struck down by lightning first!” The little fox jumped. “Every one of the ten connate spirit roots is unique, and there’s only one of each! They’re truly heavenly ingredients, treasured by heaven and earth!
“It’s already crazily lucky for someone to gain one or two,” shrieked the little fox. “If he dares refine all ten into himself, the heavenly dao will strike him down in a fit of fury with a chaotic thunder tribulation!”
“Other people might be, but Qing Han’s different. He restored the overall framework of the void realm when repairing the path of cultivation, which makes him first of the Dao Sovereigns and grants him the protection of Dao Flower. There will be no tribulation levied against him.” Lu Yun shrugged after those confident assertions. “Of course, the ten connate spirit roots aren’t going to be easy to find. This is just a theory of mine.”
The little fox stared dumbly at Qing Han, only then did she recall the background of the ugly thing in front of her.
After restoring the void realm, Qing Han was now a Dao Sovereign recognized by the Dao Flower.
“Trouble may come knocking if we wait any longer,” said Lu Yun as he manifested the Formation Orb of Yin and Yang. “Refine the Embittered Bamboo into your body while I stand guard over you.”
With a wave of his hand, he established a hundred and eight disguising formations and three thousand defensive formations, creating a bubble of safety in the local vicinity.
“Alright!” Qing Han sat down cross-legged and communicated with the bamboo, accepting Lu Yun’s gift.
Lu Yun had come to Levitating Island, sent a Donglin dao immortal fleeing with his tail between his legs, and was now residing in the Monster God’s palace! The latest news spread to all parts of the island, and soon, the North Sea Court, creating an enormous uproar.
However, the emergence of the fabled Skydragon Tomb was at hand. Countless elites had gathered in the imperial seas and the North Sea emperor had no attention to spare for what was happening on Levitating Island.
Despite that, the island itself grew turbulent as other elites gathered in Tidewatcher City. North Sea monster spirits stationed on the island surrounded the Monster God’s palace. Their hatred for Lu Yun was as deep, if not deeper than that of House Donglin and the Feng and Qing Clans.
Even then, no one dared put a reckless toe out of line as even House Donglin’s immortals had met with yet another ignoble defeat here.
Formations and barriers hummed around the palace, and an army of monster spirits took over the city. It was fortunate that the North Sea monster spirits didn’t have a weapon of war, or the palace would’ve been razed to the ground long ago.
“I spent a year building my influence, but now it’s all gone!” The little fox whined tearfully on the floor, maintaining the appearances of the Monster God, but none of its associated dignity. “You have to make it up to me!”
Lu Yun was guarding Qing Han at the moment, and Xing Mou was hidden deep within the palace. Only Aoxue and Beigong Yu were with her.
“You, especially!” The little fox pointed at Aoxue and denounced angrily, “You wanted to eat me, back in the burial mound. Now that I escaped to the ocean, you’re bringing me trouble again!”
“I am the last princess of the North Sea dragons,” Aoxue said slowly. She didn’t consider those circling the palace real threats. “I know the North Sea like the back of my hand. Once Sir Lu Yun returns to Nephrite Major, I will take you on an adventure in the North Sea and help you recover to your peak strength.”
“Promise?” The little fox jumped and returned to her true form, clinging to Aoxue’s neck. Beigong Yu watched in resigned silence.
“Monster God!” exploded a voice that demanded awe and respect. “His Majesty bestowed upon you great favor and kindly appointed you a marquis, yet you betray him and harbor an enemy of the court!
“This king will give you one chance to hand us Lu Yun, upon which you will be forgiven for your mistakes!” The very world seemed to tremble with every utterance.
“It’s the Scaled-Dragon King!” Beigong Yu’s expression tightened. When he’d been known as the foremost monster king of the North Sea, the scaled-dragon had ranked second.
The Scaled-Dragon King was a pentacolor scaled-dragon with bloodlines of both the ancient dragons and crocodiles. He could’ve become a true dragon after reaching peerless immortal realm by shedding his crocodile bloodline, but he went against tradition and cultivated both bloodlines, greatly improving his strength. Even a premier divine beast like Beigong Yu was only a hair stronger than he was.
“He’s consumed kunpeng energy as well, and he has the egg!” Beigong Yu couldn’t stay put when he sensed energy radiating from the scaled dragon.
“Calm down,” Aoxue said coolly upon seeing her colleague’s agitation. “You’re not his match anymore.”
Beigong Yu trembled with suppressed rage. Consuming the kunpeng energy had granted the scaled-dragon some of the bloodline’s power, adding to his already formidable capabilities. Beigong Yu was but an Infernum and not protected by the Tome of Life and Death. Thus, he was no longer the scaled dragon’s match.
“I only show you mercy because you’re talented, Monster God. This king will give you a hundred breaths of time to consider. Hand us Lu Yun or die for him. Your choice.”
Outside the palace, a man with black hair stood calmly with his hands behind his back. He wasn’t tall, and he was actually slightly stooped over. There was nothing about his appearance that would make him stand out in a crowd. This ordinary looking person was the second most powerful monster king, whose name reverberated throughout all of the North Sea. He’d risen to the top after Beigong Yu’s death!
“He refused to discard his crocodile bloodline and insisted on concentrating on both. What an ambitious monster spirit!” The Donglin dao immortal had stayed hidden in the dark, muttering his appreciation. “When the kunpeng nest was invaded a year ago, the scaled-dragon must’ve swallowed some of the energy and gained that bloodline as well, which has only further improved his strength. Given enough time, only Taihuang will be his match.”
The dao immortal stayed hidden, waiting for the monster spirits to break into the palace so that he could spirit away the cosmic constitution in the resulting chaos. There would be no more shepherding of stars or free-range nurturing. He would simply force cosmic power into the girl and awaken her constitution. Becoming one with Donglin Taihuang would drain and kill her anyway, and there wasn’t much difference between a perfect cosmic constitution and a damaged one.
“It’s been a hundred breaths of time. It seems you’ve decided to betray His Majesty, Monster God…. Activate the formation and prepare the assault!”
As soon as the scaled-dragon gave the order, the army of monster spirits behind him assembled into formation and formed the image of a water god in the air. It possessed a human face, snake’s body, and red hair.
It was the legendary Gonggong, first of the ancient water gods!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Chapter length abruptly more than doubled here, so I had to do some creative gyrations to make it work.