Chapter 362: Ghost Tree

Lu Yun approached the Fire Parasol Tree with a stern expression.

“Bunch of brainless bastards who only know how to make things worse!” he suddenly erupted. “Charging into an ancient tomb knowing jack shit and just throwing their lives away like the useless fucks they are! What fucking North Sea emperor, trash of House Donglin, or Witherdew Celestial Emperor—you were all going to die here and fertilize the ghost tree!

“What a bunch of amazingly braindead morons all of you are! There’s practically a lit-up billboard here saying this is a trap, and you jumped right into it! If you want to die so much, go slit your throats outside!”

Those lingering on the fringes of the clearing pulled faces of hateful resentment at Lu Yun. They were all powerhouses who’d long earned their reputation in the world of immortals, and flames of fury billowed to hear a youth humiliate them in public.

“Babbling fools!” Lu Yun snarled again. “Don’t you see all the dead immortals on the ground have been sucked dry?

“Yet you keep killing and killing and killing! That Witherdew celestial emperor is even more of a pea-brained village idiot! Slaughtering people en masse with the Blithe Entrapment Formation? You just want to accelerate your death, don’t you?!”

Tuoba Jie exchanged a glance with Donglin E, both men shuddering at the thought. Just like the celestial emperor, Donglin E had stealthily crept back alone, in hopes of being the oriole behind the mantis and cicada. 

The two arcane dao immortals looked down for the first time since arriving in the clearing and realized the immortals who’d died during fighting for the tree had become withered husks, their fragmented souls, flesh, and blood all devoured by something unknown.

Greed had filled their minds and blinded their eyes earlier, preventing them from noticing the aberrations in the vicinity or the danger creeping in from the sides.

“If only I’d arrived even fifteen minutes earlier,” Lu Yun muttered in a voice that only he could hear. Those he killed would’ve become his Infernum rather than be absorbed by the Fire Parasol Tree.

If the group of immortals had refused to leave earlier, Lu Yun would’ve killed them without hesitation.

At the edge of the clearing, Qing Han worried his lip between his teeth, concern shining in his eyes. The Lu Yun he knew wouldn’t talk like this for no good reason. He was snapping and venting his spleen on the immortals outside because he was extremely nervous and needed to somehow loosen the lump of anxious energy in his throat.

This was no Fire Parasol Tree, but a ghost tree!

The real tree had already been devoured and turned into an outer skin for the ghost tree. This kind of tree was born of a superior-grade spirit root resurrected from a miasma of endless resentment and malice. Thus reborn as a new kind of spirit root, its might was all the more terrifying, despite not being a connate spirit root. 

It was, in fact, the bane of all spirit roots. Even the Fire Parasol, a connate-grade supreme treasure that itself was half spirit root, had ended up as its fertilizer.

The ghost tree was an existence of great yin and evil, born to devour everything in the world. If it was allowed to grow and enter the world of immortals, a great calamity would descend upon the lands and countless living souls would become its nutrients. 

Within Lu Yun’s dantian, the Sal Tree of Life and Death was protected by a circle of blazing hellfire. Once fully grown, it might not fear the ghost tree, but right now, it was far from being the ghost tree’s match.

“What an… interesting place the world of immortals is. First I saw a zombie tree, now I meet a ghost tree...” Lu Yun was thinking of the zombie tree in the eastern tomb realm of the Skandha Extinction Tomb.

The ghost tree wasn’t as large as that one, but it was much more powerful. The zombie tree feared fire, so the three immortal fires had been able to disintegrate it easily. The ghost tree, however, was bathed in a strange flame that could rival the three immortal fires.

Lu Yun inhaled deeply as he approached the tree, his eyes fixed on it. It had yet to fully mature, and needed more flesh and souls to nurture it. At the moment, at least, it couldn’t move.

Swoosh!

Little leaves of scarlet fire blazed as a grimacing ghost face appeared out of nowhere, its fiery eyes staring at Lu Yun.

Dragon howls rang from atop the tree, its branches suddenly transforming into decaying dragon corpses. Snarling, they brandished their claws at Lu Yun and glared at him with vicious, pale eyes. Immortal ghosts born from dead dragonlings circled about the corpses.

“So this is the spot…. You’re the culprit who destroyed the draconic bloodline in the dragon nest!” Lu Yun’s eyes went round. “You used the Dragon Empress....”

The empress could control some of the immortal ghosts in the tomb, but that was because the ghosts had been dragons when they were alive.

“She died here, and you ate her!!” Lu Yun jerked his head up to the largest corpse on the tree. It was a dragon covered in silver scales, with a pair of silver eyes set in its head. There was no sign of decay on its body, but it was a zombie nonetheless.

The ghost tree remained unmoving. Its fiery eyes remained fixed on Lu Yun—no, on the young dragon on his shoulder.

“Qing Han… tell Senior Myrtlestar to be careful,” Lu Yun transmitted when the realization struck him. “Where she’s going is very likely a trap! The lingering obsession of the empress has probably become a puppet of the tree.”

The one thing the Dragon Empress cared about wasn’t the dragons in the dragon nest, but the young one on Lu Yun’s shoulder!

With its resurrection, the empress’ obsession should’ve dissipated. However, she yet lingered on, which meant she’d become enthralled by the ghost tree! Wherever Empress Myrtlestar was going with the Dragon Empress was likely a trap!

“I’ve... lost contact with my teacher....” Qing Han’s voice trembled and a lost look filtered into his eyes. Empress Myrtlestar was the single most important person to the disguised girl other than Lu Yun, Qing Buyi, and Chen Xiao. Knowing that she might be in danger jabbed at him like numerous sharp blades.

"To seek a dragon of mountains coiled,

Those deathly cliffs with mysteries roiled.

Danger shies if mountains hide,

Multitudes of evils in layers bide!" Lu Yun emitted a long whistle. 

The compass in his hand burst into blinding golden light, its large image covering the entire clearing. Nothing could hide its true nature from the luopan’s aureate rays. Killing formations and layouts reared their ugly heads, and even the Blithe Entrapment Formation’s scroll was revealed.

“What... the heck is this place?!” Outside the clearing, Tuoba Jie, Donglin E, and immortals who hadn’t left yet yelped in horror. The clearing of about ten kilometers wide had been blanketed in fire and light from the Fire Parasol, but now they saw a completely different world.

Skeletons and corpses formed piles all over the clearing. Immortals who had died in the tomb—except for those who died at Lu Yun’s hands—were all here. Their bodies were already zombies, and their spirits, immortal ghosts. The clearing was almost filled to the brim.

This was the truth of the matter!

Tuoba Jie and Donglin E even glimpsed their subordinates and clan members who had died in other places of the tomb!

Lu Yun had noticed signs of something unusual when he’d first set foot in the clearing. That was why he’d pretended to want the Fire Parasol Tree for himself and driven everyone away with a combination of intimidation and threats. Doing so had prevented alarming the enemy beforehand.

He’d wanted Xiangliu Ting and the others to recover their inner energy not so they could fight for the tree, but so that they could escape this place. If more immortals died before the ghost tree and fed it enough spirits and bodies, it would truly awaken.

Then the dragon nest would become no man’s land; no one would be able to survive. Lu Yun would have no choice but to escape into the Gates of the Abyss, and Qing Han and Situ Zong would die.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Hope y'all liked the insults in the beginning! :D I've been really trying to make them relatable and something that people would actually say, rather than just, "Preposterous! Ludicrous! What an affront!" every time.