Thanks to deterrence from the purple-clad man, the mausoleum keepers emerging from the darkness halted their butchering of foreign immortals and cultivators. Even so, those trapped inside the underworld were terrified and unnerved when they realized they could no longer pass through the barrier and return home.
“That formidable existence forbade us from killing the outsiders, but said nothing about imprisoning them… Men, apprehend all of the immortals in our domain!” coldly ordered a man in golden robes and a crop of lush, golden hair. His eyes were golden like the others, and he was a holy lord as well, one of the strongest beings among the mausoleum keepers.
A terrifying aura emanated from him as he hovered in the air, sending shivers down the spines of the immortals inside the underworld. Even the omnipresent yin spirits scattered in a panic. With a gaze like lightning, he swept each and every immortal and cultivator below.
Lu Yun chased after the small fox to an uncharted area, somewhere no longer among the outskirts underworld.
“Who is it?!” Suddenly on high alert, the little fox stopped in her tracks and peered back vigilantly.
“It’s me.” Lu Yun restored his true features and showed himself.
“Oh, it’s you… You really scared me there!” The fox patted her chest with fluffy forepaws.
“Where’s Jing Huaci?” Lu Yun looked at the bell hanging from the fox’s neck, a little puzzled. There was nothing else on her body, so the bell was the only thing that caught his eye.
Moreover, he was certain that this Miao was the one he knew, not the Monster Celestial Master or the monster spirit ancestor.
“She… she’s gone to Vastspace Mountain.” The fox heaved a sigh of relief. “Remember, after you go out, never, ever mention anything that happened here to me, or the consequences will be very dire!”
Despite the fox’s childish voice, there was a strangely grave timbre to her voice.
“If you don’t explain yourself clearly, I can’t guarantee that I won’t let it slip in a moment of ‘carelessness’.” Lu Yun shrugged. “Plus, if my hunch is correct, you’ve already dealt with Empress Vastspace’s soul fragment, right?”
The small fox’s big blue eyes filled with helplessness.
“I’m not me!” she explained, her voice despondent. “There’s another scary guy inside of me.”
“What’s the relationship between that scary fellow and you talking about what’s going on here?” Lu Yun was confused by the answer.
“The scary fellow’s the memory of this place!” The little fox grew increasingly solemn. “After I was buried in the celestial master tomb, the colossal resentment I absorbed here gave birth to a scary demonic existence in the depths of my spirit. It’s me, but at the same time, it’s not me either.
“The ‘Miao’ you saw earlier was, in fact, her. She… is me, and at the same time, isn’t me. You can say she’s a part of my experiences and memories. In those memories, I was an evil demon who could destroy everything in the world. To awaken her would be a terrible disaster for the entire world of immortals.”
“Multiple personalities?” Lu Yun blinked.
The little fox shook her head gently. “I am not me.”
Lu Yun blinked in even greater bewilderment.
“Will Jing Huaci be fine in Vastspace Mountain?” He crouched down and looked at the little fox. After some hesitation, he’d decided not to delve deeper into the matter. There were too many secrets at stake here.
“Your six good-for-nothing friends, as well as Jing Huaci, all possess supreme bloodlines and are endowed with the strongest potential in this world. They need a teacher to guide them!” the fox admonished sternly. “Empress Vastspace harbored evil thoughts, but Empress Timelight’s inner demon makes for a pretty good teacher.”
“What’s with those two anyway?” Lu Yun frowned. “From what I’ve gathered, all the great emperors died at Emperors Fall, their true spirits erased. None should have survived.”
“You’ve already come to a conclusion, you just want me to validate your theory.” The fox shrugged, imitating Lu Yun’s mannerisms.
He nodded wordlessly. “Empress Timelight really does possess the power to travel through time. She probably wanted to escape Emperors Fall, but in spite of her efforts, she ended up running into another disaster.”
“Exactly.” The little fox nodded. “Some things are preordained. Those two empresses might have avoided Emperors Fall, yet they ended up dying here instead. They couldn’t evade their fates in the end.”
“What about the true spirit of Empress Vastspace hiding in Vastspace Mountain? Is it also dead?” Lu Yun blinked.
“Yes,” sighed the fox. “Do you remember the purple-robed fellow who appeared earlier? Apart from intimidating the living dead, he also destroyed her soul fragment before it could escape.
“As for Empress Timelight… She’s become an inner demon, which is no different from dying. She doesn’t even know who she is anymore.
“You… should never, ever try to change the past or alter the future. Everything has long been predestined, and fate isn’t something an individual can change.” The fox’s bright blue eyes fixed Lu Yun with a stare.
“You know something, don’t you?” Lu Yun looked at the fox, his face suddenly still. The image of Yu Hengluo came unbidden to his mind. Two Yu Hengluos, both of which were Yu Hengluo… but one of them was gone.
The fox fell silent. “I’m going to sleep now. You should worry about how to leave instead. What’s depicted on the Panorama of Clarity is an artistic concept that nurtures the divines. That concept can also turn the living dead into gods and free them from the underworld.” The little fox yawned wide, then blearily closed her eyes. “Remember, don’t awaken my memories of this place.”
Lu Yun chuckled wryly. He grabbed the furball and stuffed her inside his clothes, the golden bell on her neck tinkling as he did so.
“Is leaving the underworld supposed to be difficult? Taking everyone with me though, now that’s a fun challenge.” His figure shifted, once again taking on another appearance.
“No need to transform, I’ve already seen you.” A frivolous tone suddenly reached his ears. Startled, he instinctively moved his feet and headed in another direction with the Wandering Step.
“This art of yours is pretty good. Sadly, your cultivation is too weak.” The voice stayed by Lu Yun’s side even as he moved.
Lu Yun stopped in his tracks. Given the man’s strength, it’d take little more than a wave of the hand to deal with little old him. Instead, he observed the newcomer.
Seemingly in his late twenties, the man sported long golden hair, handsome features, a heroic countenance, and a pair of pale golden eyes that were now sizing him up. This was a holy lord, one stronger than the ones he’d met earlier.
In fact… Lu Yun was aghast to realize that he sensed the same kind of pressure he’d once felt from the Azure Dragon King.
“Allow me to introduce myself.” The holy lord smiled. “My name is Ashu.”
I suddenly have a really bad feeling... What if, in the near future, Lu Yun attempts to save Yu Hengluo by having Jing Huaci go back in time, but it's precisely that action that sets everything in motion?