“Ashu!” Lu Yun carefully studied the sinfully handsome man. Rather than being alive, he was another living dead. However, the man had reached the apex of his existence. A tiny fraction more would make him a true living being.
A holy lord!
Holy lords were the strongest existences among mausoleum keepers. That was even more true of Holy Lord Ashu, who was many times more powerful than the ones currently looking for Lu Yun.
Lu Yun sensed an aura from the man as strong as that of the Azure Dragon King. This was a powerhouse at the principal realm, at a bare minimum! To think a character of this level existed in the underworld!
But there was no denying it; Ashu was indeed an immortal who’d reached the principal realm.
“The Panorama of Clarity is on you, isn’t it?” The holy lord’s gentle voice was strangely magnetic, and one couldn’t help but feel well-disposed towards him.
“It isn’t.” Lu Yun took a deep breath. It’d be impossible to get away if Ashu were to suddenly spring an attack on him. There was an insurmountable gap between him and this opponent, one that not even the Tome of Life and Death could surmount.
“Really?” Ashu blinked, then carefully observed Lu Yun again. “Indeed, you don’t lie… But unless I’m mistaken, it should be with someone very important to you.”
Lu Yun looked down and stayed quiet. To find clues from nothing more than minute changes in his expression... this Ashu was even more redoutable than he’d feared.
“A few fools have sealed off the underworld, so you can’t leave right now.” Ashu promptly set aside the Panorama of Clarity and instead broached the current situation.
“And you can help me leave?” Lu Yun looked up again at the man.
Lu Yun was surprised at how easily this holy lord agreed.
“However, I’m leaving with you.”
“You? Leave with me?” Lu Yun frowned. “You’re a living dead, so you can survive only in here. If you try to leave, you’ll be destroyed by the yang energy in the outside world.”
“It seems that you’re quite informed.” Ashu nodded. “I’d initially planned to kill you outright, then search your soul for the Panorama’s whereabouts. But I changed my mind when I saw you.”
Lu Yun stayed silent.
“I’m very interested in the way you breathe. I tried to mimic your breathing rhythm just now, but it’s not quite the real thing. I have a hunch that I won’t have to fear yang energy if I were to acquire your breathing method.”
A hint of keenness appeared on Ashu’s face. The greatest difference between the living and the dead was breathing!
The living dead here could make their hearts beat, make their blood flow, and have their bodies generate warmth. The only thing beyond their reach was breathing! A living dead who’d learned to breathe would truly become alive again. But no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t replicate genuine breathing.
Ashu had copied Lu Yun’s breathing tempo moments ago and was greatly surprised to discover that it reawakened his long-dead lungs and generated a long-forgotten feeling of harmony in him.
A ray of hope had dawned for him then, hope of leaving this place. But his attempt had been mere imitation, hence why he’d changed his mind. He intended to grasp the essence of this breathing method, instead.
The Panorama of Clarity could only help him become a divine spirit, but with this breathing method, he could revive his dead body and resurrect in the truest sense of the word.
Lu Yun’s breathing method was the one he’d developed based on the rhythm of the lungs of the world. He’d been inspired by not only the giant lungs on the altar, but also the breathing from the lungs’ layout itself.
While the method was still in its infancy, it nevertheless contained a most fundamental truth of the world. As things stood, he’d become so accustomed to the breathing method that it’d become second nature.
“How will it benefit me if I teach you?” Lu Yun eyed Ashu warily. After all, the man had just spoken of killing him and extracting the memories from his soul. There was nothing to prevent the holy lord from proceeding in the same way with the breathing method, if he so wished.
“Heh…” Ashu smiled in response. “I can help you leave. I can likewise open the barrier and let everyone out.”
“Nothing else?” Small dots of black light flickered at Lu Yun’s feet. The moment this Holy Lord Ashu showed a hint of malice, he was primed to use the original death art, Boundless Step. With it, he could cross five hundred kilometers in a single step; not even a principal realm powerhouse like Ashu could stop him from getting away.
“Hmm… I can give you something else as well.” With the flip of a hand, the holy lord summoned an emerald-green sapling into his palm.
Lu Yun’s eyes immediately landed on the sapling, veins bulging on his forehead. “The Ancient Tree of Life?!”
His breathing became ragged. He and Qing Yu had dispatched their replicas to the Ancient Tree of Life, so he couldn’t be more familiar with the tree’s aura.
This mere thumb-sized sapling emitted the purest aura of an Ancient Tree of Life. In fact, it was even purer than the one Lu Yun had previously seen!
“No, it isn’t the Ancient Tree of Life, but a Key of Life,” Ashu explained. “Just like the Timelight Tower or Vastspace Mountain that was once here, the Ancient Tree of Life is a treasure that belonged to one of those pitiful emperors. Meanwhile, this Key of Life is the tree’s distilled essence and can be used to claim the tree.”
With that said, the holy lord offered it to Lu Yun, who stayed vigilant and didn’t take it.
“There is a trace of the tree’s aura to be found on your body,” Ashu explained with a smile when he saw Lu Yun’s reaction. “That is why I know that you or someone you’re in contact with have already gone looking for one. But without this key, you won’t be able to take it away with you.”
“According to what you say, the tree’s the treasure of an emperor. Aren’t you tempted at all?” Lu Yun still refrained from taking the key. In fact, he’d already begun burning a karmic fruit and was poised to run at the first hint of danger. Due to his heightened tension, he’d failed to notice Ashu’s wording of ‘pitiful emperors’.
“Tempted?” Ashu casually tossed the key to him. “Compared to empty material possessions, I’d much rather be alive.
“Take the key, I know you need this thing. Teach me your breathing method for it, it’s something I need in turn. After that, I’ll open the barrier so all of you can leave safe and sound.” Ashu’s smile slowly faded from his lips.
“Why don’t you kill me and take it for yourself?” Lu Yun took a deep breath and asked a question that wasn’t entirely one.
“Because this method isn’t yet recorded in the immortal dao.” Ashu explained leisurely. “You’re the inventor. To kill you would be to cut off the method’s origin and forever limit it to being a minor technique, never to become a grand dao. And I, my dear, have very little use for it if it isn’t a dao.”
“Alright, I’ll teach it to you,” Lu Yun agreed after some thought. “But you have to swear upon the world that you won’t become my enemy upon leaving the underworld!”
Dang, this Ashu is quite a character.