Chapter 521: Betrayal

More than three hundred cultivators from the Ling Clan had traveled to the ghost realm. Black flashes gleamed in unison from their eyes, and the strange patterns they wove increasingly sharpened into focus.

The immortals in the area moved out of the way, reluctant to be involved.

The Lings were the top clan of Nephrite Major and held a monopoly over refining fortress ships—one of the greatest tools in the world of immortals. Fortress ships were both flying vehicles and war assets. Due to the clan’s stranglehold over this treasure’s refinement, they were able to keep many factions in the palm of their hands. 

Thus, their influence was great, despite not having an origin dao immortal among their ranks. None of the heavenly courts from the nine majors or ten lands dared offend them.

If it’d been any other faction going against Lu Yun, many immortals would’ve stepped up to protect him, if only to get on his good side and secure a formation of heaven and earth. Facing the almighty Ling Clan, however, they didn’t have the courage to do so.

……

“You… you killed Ling Zhen?!” Zhao Zhicheng widened his eyes. He hadn’t heard what Ling Jing said afterwards, but he did hear the part about the clan tearing Ling Zhen to pieces and digging into his soul loud and clear.

Ever since leaving the dragon tomb in the North Sea, the hundred and eight peerless immortals often met up to discuss their cultivation and had long become close friends. In fact, when Scarlet Ape of the North Sea invaded Dusk Province, they’d made their way there as a group to help Lu Yun fight off the North Sea monster spirits.

Ling Zhen’s cultivation was the greatest among them.

Zhao Zhicheng had thought Ling Zhen was in closed door cultivation after plucking an aether dao fruit, but it turned out he’d been slaughtered by his own clansmen! His body and soul had been butchered, and his power of the world extracted.

The bizarre patterns that Ling Jing and the other Ling immortals were creating came from Ling Zhen. Combined with some other techniques, they were able to counter the combat arts powered by the formation of heaven and earth.

Every step Ling Jing took embodied a special rhythm; it was as if he were treading on Zhao Zhicheng’s very soul. He retreated again and again, blood seeping out of every pore of his body.

...…

“Aha, here it is.” Meanwhile, Lu Yun was searching for a weak spot of the tomb with the Dragonsearch Invocation and feng shui compass in order to dig a thieves’ tunnel. The mountain of white bones had become part of the celestial master tomb, and together, they formed a terrifying layout.

“Oh?” He paused and put the luopan away, seeing the standoff between Zhao Zhicheng and Ling Jing. “Those Ling bastards killed some of the champions I handpicked!”

Lu Yun’s expression darkened ominously.

He could sense eighteen strands of weak energy of the world wreathed around Ling Jing, which meant that eighteen of the hundred and eight peerless immortals that’d created the Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Demons had met their deaths at the hands of the Ling Clan.

The clan had then used that power of heaven and earth to create another formation to counter the Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Demons.

The power of the world that Zhao Zhicheng and the others possessed didn’t come from heaven and earth, but from the Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Demons that Lu Yun had left on them.

That formation had been a prototype then, and couldn’t grant them the full power of heaven and earth. Although the hundred and eight champions were more powerful than regular peerless immortals, and might even rival origin dao immortals, they had many weaknesses.

Once spotted, they were easily killed.

The Ling Clan had clearly found a way to counter the Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Demons, and they were able to extract the power of heaven and earth left in the hundred and eight champions.

“It’s those formation masters from the Ling Clan.” Lu Yun’s hands balled into fists of their own accord. 

When he’d gathered masters of supplemental paths to help create the formation of heaven and earth, formation masters from the Ling Clan had answered his call as well. Those formation masters had then fled when Scarlet Ape invaded Dusk, taking with them the unfinished work-in-progress.

Lu Yun hadn’t paid attention to that, since the unfinished formation wouldn’t be of any use as it stood.

However, it’d bequeathed insights into the Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Demons to the Ling Clan, which they’d then utilized to kill eighteen of the hundred and eight peerless immortals!

“Damn them!” Lu Yun hadn’t expected the clan to be so brutally ruthless. The peerless immortals hailed from different clans and factions all over the world of immortals. How dare the Ling Clan go after them, risking the ire of the entire world! So far, they’d killed only eighteen of them, though, so no one had taken notice.

Lu Yun put away his luopan and came up to Zhao Zhicheng, putting his hand on the man’s upper back.

Hum.

Zhao Zhicheng shuddered as waves of energy from the world gathered from all directions and barreled into his body.

Rumble!

Tyrannical power radiated from him, scattering the patterns created by the Ling Clan. Zhao Zhicheng wanted nothing more than to throw his head back and crow with glee.

“Shut up!” Lu Yun snapped. “Refine the combat art I gave you, or you still won’t be their dao immortals’ match!”

Zhao Zhicheng hurriedly brought himself back under control.

Lu Yun had just etched a formation of heaven and earth into Zhao Zhicheng, granting him the power of a void-realm ascended immortal. Like Yue Longsha and Zhu Yan before him, though, he couldn’t wield the power of his newly improved realm without the corresponding cultivation methods and combat arts.

Lu Yun didn’t have the time to replace his cultivation method with a primordial version, but he could inject a combat art into Zhao Zhicheng’s nascent spirit, thanks to the Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Demons that remained there. It was effectively a back door, allowing Lu Yun quick access for the exchange of information.

The primordial combat art Lu Yun gave him had come from Empress Myrtlestar. Highly approving of his plan, she’d etched all the combat arts in her memory onto jade slips and given them to Lu Yun. He’d taken a long time in hell to categorize and sort through the vast assortment of them.

……

“Bastard!!” Ling Jing had also been knocked away by Zhao Zhicheng’s abrupt explosion of energy from the world. When he recovered his balance, his opponent had already begun digesting the flawless combat art that Lu Yun had transmitted to him.

Though Ling Jing didn’t know what Lu Yun was up to, his instincts told him he was in danger.

“He’s etching a formation of heaven and earth for Zhao Zhicheng!” Realization struck him, moments before he unleashed his full power as an aether dao immortal in response. His two dao fruits slammed into Lu Yun and Zhao Zhicheng like shooting stars.

“Stop him,” Lu Yun ordered coldly, his hand remaining on Zhao Zhicheng’s back and eyes fixed on the incoming dao fruit.

“Ah?” The little nun and Yu Hengluo were at a loss. They’d both ascended to the returned void realm, but there existed a great gap between them and dao immortals. It’d be suicide for them to intercept Ling Jing.

Before they could scramble for what to do, a low, rumbling dragon howl hummed through the air.

Bam!

An explosion ripped through the void as a dark green figure resembling both a crocodile and a dragon barrelled into existence, smacking Ling Jing and his two dao fruit away.

“Don’t kill him,” Lu Yun called out when he saw the Scaled-Dragon King close in for the finishing blow.

The Scaled-Dragon King morphed into a human and stood behind Lu Yun with pike in hand. Ling Jing had been slammed deep into the ground, unable to crawl back out.

Silence descended. Everyone recognized the Scaled-Dragon King, the second most powerful monster spirit king in the North Sea!

Rumor had it that the scaled-dragon had betrayed the North Sea and become Lu Yun’s follower. It’d been him who acted as a guide when Lu Yun raided the North Sea monster palace. Now he’d emerged again, the power of a void-realm ascended immortal at his fingertips and defeating the Ling elite with a simple attack.

“The formation of heaven and earth! There are indeed immortals who have incorporated the formation among Lu Yun’s followers!” Struggling out from underground, Ling Jing ignored the hard-hit Ling immortals and escaped in another direction as a streak of light.

“Kill him,” Lu Yun said faintly to Zhao Zhicheng. “Then go to Dusk Province with his head and wait for me.”

After a pause, Zhao Zhicheng looked visibly delighted, but then lowered his head, his face pale.

“I… I cannot betray my sect...”

“The Exalted Immortal Sect isn’t my worst enemy, but sooner or later, there will be a battle between us,” Lu Yun said calmly. “If you don’t betray them now, I will have no reason to show you mercy later.”

He was blunt, and many of the onlooking immortals had heard him clearly.

Zhao Zhicheng trembled slightly with the force of his internal struggle, then knelt facing the direction of the Exalted Immortal Sect and heavily kowtowed nine times. He rose to his feet and turned to Lu Yun. “I hope you’ll keep your word, sir.”

“Go on.” Lu Yun cracked a smile.

Swoosh!

Sword energy radiated from Zhao Zhicheng before he vanished into the lifeless air of the ghost realm.

The lurking immortals scowled when they saw Lu Yun compelling Zhao Zhicheng to betray his sect with a few choice words.

The Exalted Immortal Sect was one of the top sects in the world of immortals, rivaling the greatest clans. They even counted a crippled dao immortal among their ranks. However, Zhao Zhicheng had chosen Lu Yun over his sect without hesitation, an indication that he believed that Lu Yun could one day destroy his sect.

……

“Start here and dig at a thirty-nine degree angle from the ground. I want a tunnel of 435 meters, 9 feet, 6 inches, and 5 centimeters. No margin of error is allowed.” Lu Yun ignored the gazes on him. After making the calculations for the tomb-raiding tunnel, he ordered the Scaled-Dragon King to get to work.

Incredulous gazes shifted from the human to the scaled-dragon. The second most powerful North Sea monster king was… digging a hole? With clear enjoyment, and even pride on his face?

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etvolare's Thoughts

Aye, it's a pretty nonsensical measurement at the end. Just take it as an indication of how precisely precise Lu Yun, le commandant of tomb raiders, can be.