All of the world mourned, and thick sorrow permeated Nephrite Major.
The celestial emperor was dead.
His life officially marked its end as the last of his true spirit scattered. The Nephrite heavenly mandate returned to the major as well.
“Your Majesty!!” the old uncle bawled, kneeling weakly on the ground. The other officials mirrored his reaction; it was as if the very sky had fallen.
The demise of the celestial emperor was an enormous blow to the major. Factions from the other eight majors, ten lands, four immortal seas, and the East, West, South, and North Seas might seize this opportunity to destroy Nephrite.
Zhao Changkong had appointed Zhao Shenguang the next celestial emperor, but the prince had gone missing with Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi. No one had heard from them for years. There might be civil unrest within Nephrite before Zhao Shenguang returned, or even before other factions attacked.
It was possible that peak factions like the Ling, Zhu, and Yue Clans would stage a coup like the peak factions in other majors had.
Moreover, Zhao Changkong had exhausted himself to activate the Ingress Path in order to throw Scarlet Ape and Kui out of Nephrite. The treasure was now gone, and not even the imperial uncle could collect it.
Only the next celestial emperor could retrieve it after gaining the power of the heavenly mandate. If anyone else found the Ingress Path first and acquired its key for refinement, Nephrite Major might very well lose the treasure forever.
“If anyone dares make a move against the Nephrite Court before the next celestial emperor ascends to the throne, I’ll kill them and exterminate their clan!” Art Saint slowly took flight, his voice ringing through the world of immortals. “I don’t care about the rules. If you dare stop me, I’ll detonate myself. I’m the only one in the world who can deal with my real body.”
He was addressing Mo Yi’s senior sister up in the sky. Her brows furrowed slightly, but she nodded in the end.
Art Saint still retained his sanity, while the eyes had gone completely mad. None aside from Art Saint could keep it under control. If he died, the demonic taint in him would become part of the eyes as well, and they would deviate entirely. There was no telling what they’d be capable of then.
Various clan patriarchs who’d entered Azure Province tensed when they heard the man’s declaration.
They’d recognized Art Saint as the mysterious man by Zhao Changkong’s side, and the one who’d solved many of the late emperor’s problems. He’d even killed peak arcane dao immortals who’d attempted to assassinate the celestial emperor and throw Nephrite Major into chaos.
No one knew exactly how powerful Art Saint was. Some suspected him of being a crippled origin dao immortal as well.
“Count me in,” Qin Sheng stilled his hands over the zither and added calmly, “I’ll kill whoever dares cause trouble for Nephrite Major.”
Pure origin dao immortal strength radiated from him. Qin Sheng was an origin dao immortal, and one with flawless dao fruit!
High above the sky, Mo Yi’s senior sister watched with a scowl. Her duty was to enforce the rules of the world of immortals, but there were many she couldn’t afford to make enemies of. The Art and Zither saints were two such examples. Chen Xiao, Qing Buyi, and Wayfarer were others.
They all came from incredible backgrounds and roots. Even Mo Yi was someone she wouldn’t be able to discipline, if they didn’t share a master.
Silence descended upon the world of immortals.
Zhao Changkong was the first of the newly-acceded celestial emperors to pass away. Many factions had already summoned their people to arms for a Nephrite Major invasion to lay claim to it in its entirety, or at least parts of its territory.
However, their plans were foiled in their inception by the Art and Zither Saints.
No one could afford to antagonize them, as there was no shortage of people who knew about the two. Everyone had taken notice when a mysterious heavyweight had fought Art Saint and sealed him in the Water Altar under Dusk Province a thousand years ago.
Art Saint had demonstrated his power to the world then.
“With those two freaks protecting Nephrite Major, there’s nothing we can do for now… However, Nephrite’s greatest treasure, the Ingress Path, has sunk into the East Sea. We should go there!! If we can find the treasure and refine it before anyone else, our clan will be able to establish a heavenly court ourselves!” a crazed voice clamored.
As Nephrite Major’s foremost weapon, the Ingress Path was more powerful than many connate-grade treasures and its value was undeniable.
Countless immortals charged to the East Sea in search of the path.
Scarlet Ape and Kui were in the East Sea as well, and there was a possibility that they were with the Ingress Path. The treasure might have seriously injured them, making it the perfect time to take them out. Scarlet Ape had two great treasures in its possession as well!
A sudden frenzy took over the world of immortals, and many elites converged upon the East Sea.
Seven days passed before Lu Yun slowly came to.
Wayfarer, Art Saint, and Qin Sheng had left, while Qing Han and the eight envoys kept close to Lu Yun.
Seeing Lu Yun regain consciousness, the late celestial emperor’s uncle came up to him.
“Governor of Dusk!” He looked pleadingly at Lu Yun.
The crowd understood what had happened to Lu Yun by now. He’d been unresponsive even when Kui attacked and hurt Qing Han, which made it plain he’d entered a strange state and been unable to move.
“Save your breath, I understand.” Lu Yun waved a dismissive hand. “The late celestial emperor went to his death for the greater good. Whether out of emotional reasoning or rational concern, I will not continue to be at odds with Nephrite Major at this time.”
He’d ascended to the returned void realm. More importantly, his mastery over feng shui had improved, and his understanding of heaven and earth had progressed to a new level.
Although he still couldn’t set up grand influences on his own, his next attempt would be much less taxing. Moreover, he’d furthered his understanding of the Dragonsearch Invocation and Dragonshift Method.
It would also be much easier for him to search for the dragon, pinpoint direction, and determine location in future tomb raiding jaunts.
“Dusk Province will continue to serve Nephrite Major if the heavenly court would have me as her governor,” Lu Yun said seriously. He hadn’t liked Zhao Changkong, but the man had earned Lu Yun’s respect in his last moments through his heroic act of self-sacrifice.
“This old man has another favor to ask!” the wizened imperial uncle continued after a hesitant pause. “Please bring back the Ingress Path for the major, Governor of Dusk! If we lose the treasure, we will no longer be Nephrite Major.”
His face flushed red from the request. As a peak arcane dao immortal, he was several times more powerful than Lu Yun. However, he couldn’t leave the heavenly court; he needed to hold down the fort after the death of the celestial emperor and ensure everything remained stable.
While Art Saint and Qin Sheng had declared their support for the court, they could only serve as a warning and intimidation.
Dao immortals from different Nephrite factions had gone off in search of the Ingress Path, but the late emperor’s uncle didn’t think they were doing it for the heavenly court. Those factions would all claim the treasure for their own; the only one he could trust now was Lu Yun.
“As it should be.” Lu Yun nodded. “I happen to own a branch of the Ingress Path and can use it to track down the Ingress Path proper.”
“Um...” Lu Yun’s decisive response left the old man off-kilter. The other Nephrite officials were dazed as well.
“The former celestial emperor showed me great favor, and I wouldn’t have betrayed Nephrite Major had I a choice. Now that the new celestial emperor has sacrificed himself for the people of the major, I, Lu Yun, will naturally keep the greater picture in mind.” He took a deep breath and continued, “As long as the heavenly court stops painting me out to be the enemy, I will naturally continue to serve as Dusk’s governor.”
The old man bowed to the youth. “Our thanks and gratitude to the Governor of Dusk for following the call of loyalty and righteousness!”
“Hmph, what a mouthful of pretty words!” mocked the immortal dao official with a pinched voice. “If you’re truly grateful for the former celestial emperor’s imperial favor, why do you not hand over the formation of heaven and earth?”
The immortals in the area perked up; now they were touching upon what was important! They’d stayed and awaited Lu Yun’s awakening because of that formation.
“Ha!” Qing Han gave a bark of laughter before Lu Yun could say anything. “If we gave you the diagram now, do you think you’d be able to walk out of here alive?”
The official’s heart skipped a beat, a sentiment echoed in the expressions of others. It was as the dao sovereign had said—the current Nephrite Major couldn’t protect something like that!
The moment it fell into the heavenly court’s hand would be the moment of its decimation. Immortals about to be eliminated by history would stop at nothing to maintain their status. Not even Art Saint and Qin Sheng would be able to stop them!
Dusk Province had gone into a lockdown mode with more than a hundred weapons of war aimed in all directions, and more than one dao immortal had already been killed. That and the Ingress Path that’d been lost somewhere at the edge of the East Sea were the only things preventing the immortals from attacking Dusk.
As for Azure Province… no one dared enter it.
Mo Yi’s senior sister had defeated a flawless origin dao immortal all on her own. With her hovering in the sky, many immortals were scared away from approaching.
“Moreover,” Lu Yun suddenly raised his voice, “the formation must be customized to every immortal’s constitution. Everyone needs a different diagram.
“The auction that the Panorama Pavilion will hold in Dusk Province three months from now will sell off a thousand formations of heaven and earth. I will personally draw a diagram for each of the thousand immortals!”
His voice rang throughout all of Azure Province. There weren’t many survivors here, but most of them were informants of the major heavenly courts and factions.
After his declaration, transmission talismans covered the sky. The Panorama Pavilion had issued invitations ten days ago, but no one expected formations of heaven and earth to be auctioned then!
A thousand formation diagrams weren’t a lot, but with the announcement, Lu Yun effectively sent out a message: he wasn’t going to keep the formation for his own use. It would be public knowledge before long!
The world rejoiced at the good news, and many factions made a mad dash to prepare all kinds of valuables and crystals. Those who acquired the formations first would gain a first-mover advantage with the power granted to them.
After all, Mo Yi was still the only person in the world of immortals who had ascended to immortality from the void realm!
The vast East Sea was much more fertile than the North Sea. Lu Yun and Qing Han followed the currents in a small boat.
Lu Yun had planned to come in search of the skyqilin and skytortoise pearls anyway, as well as rescuing another scarlet ape along the way. With Scarlet Ape thrown to the end of the East Sea by Zhao Changkong, though, there was no telling what would happen now.
“Are you really going to find and take back the Ingress Path for the imperial court?” Qing Han asked with a frown.
“I am.” Lu Yun nodded. “Dusk Province’s future is closely linked with Nephrite’s fate. If the major grows unstable, Dusk Province will have no peace, either.”
The province had suffered a few disasters, but her attackers had always refrained from using their greatest weapons to destroy the province completely, out of consideration for the Nephrite heavenly court.
“Dusk Province is too small, and there’s that restriction against immortals. The Chen, Lu, and Qing Clans cannot reside in Dusk for the long haul, or they’ll soon fall into mediocrity. By lending a helping hand while the heavenly court is in danger, these three clans will have a chance to survive,” Lu Yun said gently.
“Have you… ever thought about becoming the celestial emperor yourself?” Qing Han asked hesitantly.
Lu Yun chuckled and scratched the bridge of Qing Han’s nose. “I yearn for a life free of restraints and worldly concerns… become the celestial emperor? I’d die of irritation from paperwork and admin and other crap quickly enough.”
Qing Han shook her head with a laugh. “That I’ve noticed. Dusk Province would be a mess if not Yuying and the others.”
“Someone’s here.” Lu Yun rose to his feet in the skiff, his smile dripping.
“Might I inquire if the two ahead are Sirs Lu Yun and Qing Han?” a personable old man said respectfully.
Lu Yun frowned. “A divine?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm with you guys. F for Zhao Changkong. He manned up in the end -- burning your soul while alive can't be a pleasant experience, I wonder if he can be reincarnated?