In Qi Hai’s eyes, Lu Yun saw both himself and the thing behind him. He couldn’t quite exactly describe what the thing was; it looked like a pile of bloody, rotten flesh, firmly stuck to his back, but he couldn’t feel it at all.
“It’s alive?” He forced himself to calm down.
“Yes, it is,” nodded Qi Hai.
“And you know what it is?” Lu Yun asked instinctively. Qi Hai’s sombreness worried him.
“I told you when you were refining the hearts’ blood of ten thousand spirits that the blood brings misfortune, so be cautious,” Qi Hai sighed.
The shamans still possessed the Blood Formation of Ten Thousand Spirits, but the method to refine hearts’ blood had been lost to time. Xingzi’s memories contained only the formation; it’d been the long-lived Qi Hai who’d taught Lu Yun the method.
He’d warned the young man back then that using it would attract misfortune, but Lu Yun had naturally ignored it at the time, not realizing that the so-called ‘misfortune’ would come for him now.
“It lives, but there is no blood in it. It thirsts for your own heart’s blood,” Qi Hai continued. “You cannot look at it directly or try perceiving it using any of your senses. Otherwise, it will steal your blood in an instant.”
When Lu Yun had harvested the ten thousand spirits’ hearts’ blood, he’d taken only a tiny bit from each, then healed them afterward with pills. The thing on his back, on the other hand, would take all of the blood in his heart at once.
The heart was the most important organ in the human body, and the blood flowing through the aorta was the source of life for both body and soul. If it were drained, the body would instantly die, and the soul would be considerably injured as well.
Lu Yun took a deep breath. “It… really doesn’t seem like it’s alive.”
“Yet it does live.” Qi Hai pressed his lips together. “Its soul is filled with turmoil and spurred by resentment, but it’s definitely alive.”
“How can I get rid of it?” This was the question Lu Yun most wanted to know the answer to. Master of hell, lord over Life and Death, hijacked by some bizarre creature after his blood? The prospect upset him greatly.
“I don’t know,” Qi Hai shook his head. “Only two people have ever lived after refining the hearts’ blood of ten thousand spirits. I thought this thing was long gone… I had no idea it was still alive! I wouldn’t have taught you how to refine the blood in the first place if I’d known it was alive.”
The shamans’ Blood Formation was set up with blood left over from the era of human dao. No shaman actually knew how to refine the blood themselves; even if someone were to harvest the hearts’ blood of countless creatures today, they wouldn’t be able to mix all of the blood together.
The ancient strode forward and grabbed at the thing behind Lu Yun, but the young man handily sidestepped him. Despite the grave obstacle on his back, he could still move.
“You want to take that thing onto yourself?” Lu Yun frowned.
“It’s the only way,” said Qi Hai. “I will bring it into hell, where you are the master. Perhaps you can destroy it there.”
“Absolutely not!” Lu Yun shot him down. “I’m worried it’ll make more trouble there.”
Although he could momentarily get rid of the thing plastered to his back if he returned to hell, he would return to the same moment in time and space once he exited.
In other words, he would be back where he started. Plus, the rotten flesh was a terrifying living creature that was far stronger than him. He didn’t actually have the ability to bring it into hell himself, which was why Qi Hai had wanted to transfer the rotten flesh. He could do what Lu Yun couldn’t.
“Hell is still broken, I don’t want anything that can’t be controlled to get in there,” Lu Yun said slowly. “It must be destroyed here.”
He took out Violetgrave. Qi Hai was stunned for a second, then narrowed his eyes with wariness. In the ancient’s opinion, the sword was much more fearsome than the rotten flesh.
But this time, Violetgrave failed to stir to wakefulness. Lu Yun also had no intention of using the celestial emperor corpse puppet.
According to Qi Hai, even an expert in the era of human dao had fallen prey to this heap of pulsating flesh. Since Qi Hai had once borrowed the power of the Blood Formation of Ten Thousand Spirits to manifest himself, he was tainted by a bit of the blood the creature was after and could attract it to himself.
However, the account was more than revealing of the overwhelming likelihood that Lu Yun would be too weak to fight it even in hell. The netherworld was rather dilapidated right now. Even inside hell, Lu Yun could only reach peak origin dao immortal—about as strong as a celestial emperor.
Because Lu Yun cultivated a broken immortal dao, hell couldn’t circumvent it to grant him extraneous power. Unless the path of cultivation was mended, he couldn’t become stronger than that, even in hell.
“No reaction? Does this thing taste bad or something?” Lu Yun found the impassive Violetgrave rather surprising.
Qi Hai remained stoically speechless.
“Ptooey! What do you take me for?!” Violetgrave’s voice sounded lazily inside Lu Yun’s mind; she was as lethargic as ever. “How can you make me eat something so disgusting?!”
“You know what this is?” Lu Yun blinked.
“The rotten flesh of many lives,” Violetgrave answered casually. “Once upon a time, someone truly dumb harvested the hearts’ blood of every life in eighteen thousand worlds. The creatures who had their blood drained fused together into… this.”
“Dead?” Lu Yun gasped.
“Alive.” Within the sword, Violetgrave shook her head. “That idiot put all those worlds’ living creatures into just one world, then took their blood all at once while they were still alive.
“All the resentment piled up and they turned into this monster before they managed to die. And then, well, the idiot who did all that got eaten. ...do you need me to deal with it for you?” Violetgrave suddenly smiled.
“You can deal with it?” Heightened vigilance quickly followed on the heels of momentary relief. Lu Yun still didn’t quite trust the sword. “At what cost to me?”
In the past, Violetgrave helped him refine that dread zombie into a celestial emperor corpse puppet—but not for free. Lu Yun had to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sword. Thankfully, the Sword of Dao’s appearance had saved him from making good on the payment.
This time, Violetgrave would no doubt ask the same!
“Cost?” The spirit grinned shrewdly. “We’re old friends now, aren’t we? Free.”
Through his mind’s eye, Lu Yun could clearly see her smile inside the sword.
“Forget it, I’ll figure it out myself.” The young man didn’t buy it.
“You better think about it some more. That rotten flesh managed to eat the emperor of its time!” Violetgrave sounded quite serious, but the humor in her eyes was too bright to ignore.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
1. This heap of quivering flesh thing sounds disgusting, and I'm also really sad at how it came about
2. Violetgrave is so mischievous this chapter, I love it!
By the by, for the SOTR readers in the crowd, check out some of the newest covers here. Ebook production officially getting underway, coming to an Amazon near you soon-ish!