“Easily done.” With a smile, Ashu swore a solemn oath upon the world.
Lu Yun let out his breath. For those who’d reached Ashu’s realm, what they feared most was the world itself. Their every word and action brought about corresponding reactions from the world. To betray this kind of oath was to be sentenced to death by the universe itself.
Therefore, these powerhouses would never casually swear such an oath.
Thus reassured, Lu Yun taught his breathing method to Ashu. When the holy lord tried to breathe in accordance with the technique, a trace of delight appeared between his brows.
“Anyway… since we’re done here, I’ll be taking my leave!” Lu Yun sighed imperceptibly with relief, ready to bolt.
“Not so fast!” Ashu stopped him. “I must stay by your side and go out with you. Mmm... being near you feels very comfortable.”
The aura of hell emanated from Lu Yun, after all. While a living dead, Ashu was inherently a creature of the netherworld and thus naturally attracted to hell’s presence.
For his part, Lu Yun belatedly recalled the first condition Ashu had mentioned earlier: departing the underworld with him.
“Suit yourself.” He nodded. “You can stay with me, but don’t go causing me problems. The world of immortals is vast and there are many little-known powerhouses hidden within its corners.”
“Hehehe!” Ashu bobbed his head quickly like a pecking hen. “I know about them. Without them, the world of immortals would’ve long since been destroyed.”
Lu Yun looked at Ashu, but the holy lord declined to elaborate. He rubbed his forehead at the absurdity of the situation. At the same time, his previous trace of anxiety had somehow vanished without a trace after teaching the breathing method to Ashu.
“It’s Lu Yun! He’s finally come out!” When Lu Yun appeared in the underworld’s outer reaches, his presence was immediately noticed by the mausoleum keepers. A dense crowd immediately surged in his direction and surrounded him. Meanwhile, three gold-clad holy lords descended from the sky above, immense greed and yearning plain on their faces.
After a young lord had been killed by Lu Yun’s cannon, his men had circulated the human’s appearance through the underworld so that mausoleum keepers could recognize him at first glance.
“Lu Yun, this seat can spare your life if you hand over the Panorama of Clarity.” This particular holy lord’s eyes almost shone with tangible light as he stared at Lu Yun, trying to detect the presence of the Panorama on him.
As for Lu Yun, he could tell that these three holy lords were far weaker than Ashu. His new sidekick looked identical to a living person in all respects, whereas not even the Spectral Eye was required to see that these three holy lords were living dead.
“Why waste your breath? Just seize his soul and be done with it!” Another holy lord reached out for Lu Yun’s head.
A dark-golden ripple flashed through the air and decimated the holy lord’s right arm into fine powder.
“Who?!” The three holy lords finally noticed the presence of someone else standing beside Lu Yun.
“Aren’t you three trash quite something?” Ashu sneered. “How dare you try grabbing one of my own from right beneath my nose?”
As his words fell, dark-golden ripples of light spread from his figure, causing the three holy lords to stiffen at the sight.
“Yo-you’re a powerhouse from the depths!” The three backed off, eyes previously shining bright golden now a pale white.
“Open the barrier!” Ashu ordered, his voice grim. “Or I exterminate your entire clan!”
The three holy lords hesitated.
“We refuse!” one of them suddenly roared back. “You might be a powerhouse from the depths, but what does it matter? For us, the Panorama of Clarity is a matter of—”
Before he could finish his sentence, Ashu blasted him with a fist, reducing the offender into a powdery cloud of golden fireworks.
“You might as well die, since you won’t listen.” Ashu’s expression turned callous.
“Sire, don’t, we—” The two remaining holy lords shivered in terror. As fellow mausoleum keepers, they hadn’t expected Ashu to kill one of his peers so nonchalantly!
The title of holy lord carried with it an important connotation. It was a sign of great authority in the underworld, the power with which to command a legion of mausoleum keepers.
However, even if both were called holy lords, those in the outer reaches couldn’t compare to the ones from the underworld’s core. These two surviving holy lords were merely equivalent to origin dao immortals from the Primordial Era.
Ashu struck again without giving them an opportunity to speak. Two dazzling streams of golden light flashed out of his hands and erased the other two holy lords from existence.
“Open the barrier!” Ashu’s hard voice spread coldly through the outer reaches. “If anyone is presumptuous enough to reactivate the barrier again, they can expect their entire clan to be exterminated!”
Some nearby holy lords who’d yet to approach in time shuddered violently, then tripped over themselves to unseal the barrier. After that, they took the mausoleum keepers under their personal command and retreated with their tails between their legs, unwilling to bother Lu Yun any further.
Lu Yun clucked his tongue with astonishment. Ashu’s aura of violence was incredibly dense. If it’d been just a tad stronger, he would’ve wiped out all of the nearby mausoleum keepers.
The principal realm is the realm of the Azure Dragon King and Cangyin… Just how strong is it, really? He couldn’t help but shiver, uncertain whether bringing a heavyweight of Ashu’s level to the world of immortals would be a mistake or not.
“Shall we?” Ashu turned back and flashed a brilliant grin at Lu Yun. But to Lu Yun, his smile now looked a little uncanny.
Immortals and cultivators alike looked at each other in confusion, completely mystified by the turn of events. In fact, they couldn’t even detect the holy lords’ existence.
“The barrier’s open, let’s get out now!” an immortal shouted as he dashed toward the exit.
The barrier was in a poor state, riddled as it was with a myriad of cracks through which many yin spirits tried slithering through. Once those yin spirits reached the world of immortals, they became abnormally savage and destructive.
“Finally back!” After reaching the vast waters of the East Sea, Lu Yun took a long, deep breath, a comfortably warm current of energy coursing through his being.
In contrast, Ashu trembled violently at his side. Black smoke wafted from his figure, as if he was being burned by a nameless flame. As Lu Yun expected, the yang energy of the world of the living was attacking Ashu’s body.
While Ashu’s soul was alive, his corporeal shell was dead. At his core, he was a dead creature that belonged to the house of the dead, the world of yin. Despite their dead bodies, a living dead nourished by yin energy was no different from a living person. But when exposed to yang energy, they would inevitably catch fire.
The stronger the living dead, the denser the yin energy inside them... But when their strength reached a certain point, it wasn’t impossible for them to completely ward off yang energy altogether.
Ashu plainly wasn't there yet. Only when he hastily put his newly acquired breathing method into practice did the thick smoke around him gradually abate.
“This won’t do, my essence is too powerful. I’ll have to resist the yang energy at all times!” With a thought, he immediately sealed away his essence, as well as ninety-nine percent of his cultivation, finally putting a stop to the yang energy’s onslaught.
To Lu Yun’s eyes, the previously genteel and mild Ashu was now covered in a roiling layer of ghostly aura. His skin was ghastly pale, and his figure blanketed in a layer of black energy.
That’s more like how a living dead should look like.
“So I’m being haunted by a ghost…” A little ill at ease, Lu Yun could only shrug.
A heaven-shaking noise came from somewhere far away, bolts of lightning to be seen flashing in that direction.
“A heavenly tribulation! Someone’s going through their tribulation!” Lu Yun cried out despite himself. “Let’s go take a look!”
I feel like Ashu could be an ally like Diexi? Haven't seen our favorite zombie girl in a long while, hopefully she's not off slaughtering another ocean of beings.
Folks, if you missed the readings at NECRO's official launch last year, check them out here!