Lu Yun felt a giant foot stomping heavily on him.
“Am I going to die again?” A wry smile tugged at his lips. Xing Chen had ascended to immortality, and Lu Yun himself had reached peak void realm. Dusk Province was on the rise; he was on his way to greatness.
But here he was, on the brink of death.
There was no way for him to resist as the owner of the foot was too powerful. Their difference in power was as great as the distance between heaven and earth.
Lu Yun’s body was almost crushed into paste, and his consciousness and thoughts slowly blurred.
“No!!” screamed Jing Huaci.
The silver radiance of the Timelight Tower shot forth at the giant leg bone like an enormous mirror. Astoundingly, the foot that was about to complete its crushing of Lu Yun lifted up and reversed along its original trajectory.
Lu Yun’s crushed body, broken bones and tendons, collapsed consciousness, and nearly disintegrated soul swiftly knit back together as well, as if someone had hit the rewind button for him.
The damage had been reversed; time had flowed backward!
Jing Huaci, who’d just refined the Timelight Tower, had reversed time with a powerful combat art!
The great tower slowly shrank and embedded itself into Jing Huaci’s forehead with a streak of silver, while she collapsed to the ground, boneless and immobile.
Midair, the giant skeletal foot was still restrained by the silver light, its strength diminishing each second it was trapped.
“What in the blazes is this?!” Terrified screams rang from above the foot.
The foot ultimately disintegrated into ashes and scattered in the air.
“That’s… the foot of the Venerated Sacrosanct Demon Sovereign! It’s the strength of his true form!”
Lu Yun slumped on the ground, dumbfounded at the sight of the disintegrating foot and not knowing what to say. He’d truly experienced death in that moment, and felt its shadow fall over him. He’d even heard the keening of the Tome of Life and Death and felt the netherworld tremble.
But suddenly, here he was, still alive.
“It really is a time treasure… It reversed time!” Lu Yun shuddered, then skipped over to look over Jing Huaci. She’d lost consciousness, but he could sense the changes in her.
Silver sparkles circled around her—not the color of stars, but time. Jing Huaci seemed to be spent. Her nascent spirit was weak, and the ripples of her soul shifted very weakly.
However, the Timelight Tower had protected her soul and injected it with its own power, replenishing her nascent spirit.
“The tower chose Jing Huaci beforehand!” Realization dawned on Lu Yun.
She was its preordained new owner, which was why she’d been able to move around the celestial master tomb freely as a nascent spirit cultivator and arrive here safely. Although the yin spirits and undead couldn’t see her, there were far more dangers in the tomb that could’ve claimed her.
More importantly, Jing Huaci had managed to reverse time not long after refining the tower! What had happened had been reversed into something that’d never taken place! What an intimidating combat art this was!
Lu Yun had been incredibly close to death, but Jing Huaci had forcefully yanked him back from the cliff of oblivion! In doing so, she’d done something that not even the Tome of Life and Death could do!
“There must be a spirit in the Timelight Tower. It’s impossible for her to do something like this on her own, given her cultivation.” Lu Yun inhaled deeply. It was fortunate that he hadn’t refined the tower himself, or he would’ve fallen under its control.
“But there’s a powerful specter in the treasure, who is probably why the treasure chose Jing Huaci.” He reached out to help her up, but a faintly protesting hum sounded from her body and a thick layer of silver radiance emerged to cocoon her body.
Lu Yun could draw infinitely close to her, but he wasn’t able to touch her.
“Time?” he said with a start.
“Time,” murmured a gentle voice. A woman with flowing silver locks clad in a silver silk dress emerged from Jing Huaci. She was stunning both in appearance and figure, much more so than any woman Lu Yun had ever encountered.
“Are you the treasure’s spirit?” Lu Yun allowed himself to relax when he sensed no malice from the woman.
She shook her head gently. “That spirit has been scattered, and the tower is close to its breaking point. I am the soul fragment of Timelight.”
Lu Yun paused. “Empress Timelight?”
Fangyang Xing had said the tower had belonged to Empress Timelight, who hailed from an era before the fall of the human emperor. However, it was a surprise that she’d told him her identity so easily.
The woman nodded. “I sense the presence of someone I knew on you.”
“Someone you knew?” Lu Yun paused. “Is there the heritage of another primeval emperor on me?”
He thought about the Sugato Sword, then Violetgrave, and even Empress Myrtlestar. Perhaps Myrtlestar was the reincarnation of a primeval empress.
“That, I don’t know.” Empress Timelight sighed. “Those I knew have either died or been crippled, and I’m left with only a shard of my soul. Once Huaci completely refines the Timelight Tower, I will disappear as well.”
Lu Yun looked at her without a word.
“My internal demon is in the tower, nursing my obsession to come back to life and planning to possess my successor,” she said with resignation. “I’ve searched for eighteen successors already, and they all died at her hands. That’s why I chose Huaci this time.”
“Why are you telling me all this?” Lu Yun finally broke his silence. “Simply because you sense a familiar presence in me?”
“No!” The empress shook her head. “I hope you can destroy my internal demon for me. I saw that you wield fire from the human hell. That’s the only thing that can defeat my internal demon! It won’t hurt Huaci after I disappear, but no one in this world is her match.”
A shudder ran down Lu Yun’s spine. The damaged soul fragment of Empress Timelight was suppressing her internal demon. Once she dissipated, the internal demon would run free.
“Do you really think a mere returned void realm cultivator like me will be able to defeat her?” Lu Yun’s expression wasn’t very pleasant.
Her internal demon might not be a great emperor herself, but it was close enough. Born of her immortal’s heart, the internal demon was another side of her true self. She would retain all of her power even after the death of Empress Timelight.
She was in an entirely different league from the corpse of Empress Myrtlestar and the corpse divine transformed from Kui. Hellfire alone wasn’t going to make Lu Yun powerful enough to defeat it. In fact, it was most likely that he’d be turned to ashes before he even got close.
“That is why I will offer you a great gift,” Empress Timelight responded after a long pause. “This is where the world’s lungs reside.”
Lu Yun started. “You’re not gifting it to me, are you?” He shrugged with disinterest. “The world’s lungs have broken down. It’ll take eons and countless tribulations for another to be born.”
Empress Timelight shook her head. “The world’s lungs are a place where heavenly qi is converted and therefore sustained. Before my death, I used some tricks to build an underground palace here and store some immortal crystals.”
Lu Yun’s heart pounded; not for the crystals, but for the Deaf Prince and his five other friends. They’d come here to acquire a crystal mountain for Lu Yun, and it now looked like they must’ve entered the underground palace that the empress had built. Despite the revelation, he listened quietly instead of responding with anything.
“After the endless passage of time, there must be an endless supply of crystals there...”
“What?” Lu Yun couldn’t help himself. “Am I supposed to kill your internal demon by smashing it to death with immortal crystals?”
Empress Timelight shook her head. “Hellfire can protect you from my internal demon. Once you take Huaci to the underground palace, I will be able to destroy it there.”
Lu Yun stopped and looked at Jing Huaci.
“Without the protection of hellfire, you’d be invaded by my internal demon as soon as you touched her. That was why I stopped you.”
So that explained it. Hellfire could suppress her internal demon, but Lu Yun’s fire wasn’t powerful enough to kill it. He could at most keep himself safe during the trip to the underground palace, when aided by the empress’ protection.
“Alright!” Lu Yun agreed readily.
The empress nodded, then disappeared back into the Timelight Tower within Jing Huaci.
Lu Yun picked up the girl’s soft body.
“Oh?” His vision went dark as soon as he touched her. A stunning woman identical to Empress Timelight emerged before him, only she was dressed in black, and her hair and eyes were likewise pitch-black.
She levelled Lu Yun with a mocking gaze.
“Eating out of her hand just like that?” she said derisively, her voice chilling. “Do you really think it was she who reversed time and pulled you back from the clutches of death?”
Lu Yun’s heart skipped a beat.
And this, Lu Yun, is why you don't just go "oh well... nothing I can do!" when the guy was breaking out of his grave...