Chapter 348: Rumormongering

The Star Demon disciples were a mix of peerless, arcane, and golden immortals. As long as the group didn’t delve too deeply into the tomb, they would be quite safe. It was Situ Zong’s overconfidence that had led to their encirclement by the Witherdew immortals. 

Or rather, it was fairer to say the Witherdew immortals had waited for them to find the Cosmic Skycarver before tightening the noose.

With Lu Yun and Qing Han in tow, the old man took much more care in leading their group for a return visit. He’d brought his disciple along for somewhat selfish reasons; if his disciple became closer to the two young lords, he would surely increase in status in the sect as well!

……

Traveling without much event through the tomb, the quartet came to a broken formation. Designed to protect the tomb’s depths, it had only been broken at the cost of three dao immortals’ lives.

This was the only path that led further in.     

“Halt, intruder!” Two aether dao immortals appeared out of nowhere to block off the entrance.

“The Donglin Clan paid dao immortal blood to tear this formation open. If you wish to pass, the fee is a hundred million premium crystals!” announced a woman with a coolly aloof expression.

Just like Situ Zong, she was an aether dao immortal. However, she had an edge over him in having a preliminary understanding of arcane dao. Strictly speaking, she needed only to pluck an appropriate fruit to immediately achieve arcane dao immortality. 

She wasn’t quite strong enough for that right now, but still.

“What’s going on here?” Situ Zong colored slightly. When he’d been here earlier, there had been no checkpoint. The Donglin Clan’s new lockdown was cause for concern.

“A treasure must’ve appeared inside,” murmured Lu Yun.

“The North Sea court has also lost a dao immortal. If you wish to enter, you must pay us the same amount,” the other aether dao immortal chimed in.     

“I don’t mind paying Fairy Biying here, but who do you think you are? Your pathetic little snake nest just got turned upside down only recently, how dare you lord yourself over the rest of us!” an arcane dao immortal disagreed angrily; he was already preparing to force his way through. He’d arrived later than the others, drawn by the news of a valuable treasure emerging and a request for backup.

He wasn’t the only one; the other surrounding immortals looked similarly eager to hack their way in.

“Hmph!” the North Sea aether dao immortal brooded. “You are very much right. The North Sea court is fighting tooth and nail for our own survival. Therefore… His Majesty is no longer concerned with civilities. If you don’t pay up here, don’t expect to leave with your life!”

Everyone knew that the North Sea Emperor was an absolute powerhouse with eight arcane dao fruits. Immortals with nine were all working very hard to suppress their cultivation; they rarely fought or put in an appearance.

Without their intervention, Beigong Xuan could be considered one of the strongest in the world. He was more than capable of crushing everyone in the tomb.

The blatant threat from the North Sea dao immortal caused a flurry of commotion from the others.

The North Sea court was on the brink of collapse. After the ransacking of his palace, Beigong Xuan’s temper was more unpredictable than ever. Who could possibly defy him?

“Moreover….” Suddenly, the peak aether dao immortal from the North Sea looked past Situ Zong’s protection. “Lu Yun! His Majesty has said that you may take our treasure and palace, but you must return the dragon vein. If you do that, he will grant you safe passage out of the North Sea… this time.”

It was as if the monster immortal had dumped a bucket of icy water on Lu Yun’s head. He hadn’t expected Beigong Xuan to figure everything out so soon.

The gathering instantly focused their attention on him. The one who’d looted the palace was Lu Yun? Really?!

Is he bluffing? Maybe this is an excuse to attack Dusk Province in the near future…. Lu Yun’s head spun with racing thoughts. Where had he gone wrong? ...Xue Daozi! 

His heart sank upon the realization. Before the palace treasury raid, Xue Daozi had fought Beigong Xuan without concealing his identity.

Lu Yun’s Shapeshifting Talismans were ineffective on his ghostly servants. Xue Daozi’s earlier appearance on Immortal Sky Island—stomping a number of Ling Clan immortals underfoot—had helped him intimidate onlookers at the time. However, that ended up becoming his downfall in the end.

Alas, Lu Yun hadn’t any other options at the time. Failing to daunt the potential criminals there would’ve only made him a joke.

At the end of the day, he was still too wet behind the ears. His two lifetimes added together, plus the time spent in hell, were barely a fraction compared to some of the oldest immortals. He was maturing with the passage of time, but his plans were rarely perfect.

“Hahaha—” The young man walked out from Situ Zong’s protection with a confident laugh.

Ray after ray of killing intent instantly locked onto him. Even Donglin Biying, standing off to the side, made no attempt to veil her murderous inclinations for him. Her clan’s last patriarch had died in Dusk Province under Lu Yun’s machinations.

“The North Sea court? We already have a bitter grudge between us. Why should I return your dragon vein to you?” Lu Yun’s words caused another wave of gasps.     

Many in the audience had initially been doubtful of the North Sea’s claims. Had Lu Yun really robbed their palace blind?

What the young man had said just now was a much clearer admission.

“The North Sea and the Donglin Clan both lost a dao immortal. Is that your reason for collecting a toll? Should the faction who lost their own dao immortal to the tomb’s restriction outside do the same thing, then?”

Lu Yun didn’t care about the Donglin Clan or the North Sea court. Both were his enemies; it was even quite possible the former hated him more than the latter.

“Ah, I get it now. You two just want the treasure inside all to yourselves. You guys aren’t stupid enough to believe Beigong Xuan won’t kill all of you just ‘cause you paid up, right?” he cackled to the crowd.

“I’ll let you all in on a little secret. Beigong Xuan’s already picked his ninth arcane dao fruit without anyone realizing it! He’s even figured out how to pluck an origin dao fruit, too!

“Make no mistake, he’ll get there as soon as he’s strong enough. I just wonder, which major—which land—or which immortal sea will lose its heavenly mandate to him?” The young man spoke in an even tone, clearly articulating his words into everyone’s ears.

There was an involuntary shiver from the audience.

“Absolutely absurd!” The aether dao immortal reddened with anger. Lu Yun was rumormongering! This was slander, pure and simple!

“Absolutely absurd?” Lu Yun shook his head slightly. “Plucking an origin dao fruit involves fighting those strange, long-haired monsters. Tsk tsk, I’ve fought them myself, you know! When I met Beigong Xuan, I sensed a power from him that could counter them.

“What reason have you to doubt my words? Beigong Xuan had a replica inside the palace. That’s how he knew it was me! How else would we come face to face?” His last statements served as the final nail in the coffin. “Beigong Xuan must need the dragon vein for plucking origin dao fruit. Why else would he only want the vein back?”

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etvolare's Thoughts

I feel like... some real shit's 'bout to go down here.