“Phenomenon of ascension?” Lu Yun looked at Ashu in surprise. Considering the latter’s current nefarious appearance, no one would ever imagine that he’d once resembled a living man. His past golden radiance of a holy lord was nowhere to be seen.
With a profound gaze, Ashu looked at the Xue youth sitting fifty kilometers away, his eyes full of emotions.
“Indeed, an otherworldly manifestation due to reaching immortality.” Ashu nodded. “They vary from person to person. The stronger one’s strength and potential, the more intense the phenomenon will be. The final combat art the young man displayed just now—the projection of the moon and drifting snow—merged with the immortal dao to create this phenomenon. Accordingly, the manifestations we see now will evolve into a brand-new combat art and become his signature skill.”
Lu Yun started. He thought back to Mo Yi’s tribulation, when she’d blotted out the tribulation clouds with a single wave of the hand. In that instant, he’d seen a wall of purple energy whirling around her person.
But her actions had been too fast. She’d disappeared as soon as she’d become an immortal, so almost no one had noticed the purple energy. Now that he thought about it, that purple energy was likely her phenomenon of ascension.
He then recalled Ding Lei, the Admiral Turtle currently stuffed inside the water jar. The monster spirit’s Universe-Encompassing Palm was likely also an art born from his phenomenon of ascension.
He tried prying more details out of Ashu, but his new sidekick refused to explain further. Based on Lu Yun’s current theory, Ashu was a very, very ancient existence, someone who’d existed before the path of cultivation had been severed. He let the matter rest and tightly gripped the unremarkable water jar instead, remaining motionless as black ripples spread out from it.
Cowed, the immortals and cultivators nearby no longer dared leave. Roughly six hours later, when the sky gradually began to dim, the young Xue genius finally opened his eyes. Inside him, his energy had been entirely converted to immortal force.
Meanwhile, his phenomenon of ascension merged into his body and faded away. Now, each of his movements were marked by the energy of the land. This energy was a sign of the vast and mighty energy of nature following him wherever he went, rather than something from within.
“Is this what being a void-ascended immortal feels like?” The young man stared blankly at his palms.
A sudden wave of his hand raised giant waves over the surface of the sea, ruining its newfound calm.
“Congratulations!” Lu Yun stowed the water jar and approached the young man with a smile.
“Thank you, senior brother Lu! Chujiu will forever etch your grace on my heart!” The young man turned around at Lu Yun’s approach and bowed from the waist.
“Oh no, don’t, please don’t!” Almost jumping in fright, Lu Yun hastily helped Xue Chujiu up. If not for the fervent goodwill he could sense from the young man, he’d really have mistaken the young man’s gratitude for lip service.
“Senior brother Lu, please take me in!” Xue Chujiu suddenly said in a strangled voice.
“Hmm?” Lu Yun blinked, then quickly grasped what was at stake.
The Xue Clan had been destroyed, but many of its cultivators and immortals scattered through the world of immortals were still alive. As one of the greatest clans in Witherdew Major, the clan possessed immeasurable wealth.
With almost no immortals of its own, they’d be an easy target for anyone in the world. Though he was a void-ascended immortal now, Xue Chujiu couldn’t turn the tide all by himself. Therefore, he’d asked Lu Yun to take him in, not for his own sake, but for all of the cultivators of his clan!
“Alright.” Lu Yun nodded. “Xue cultivators and immortals can move to Dusk Province and settle down there.”
“You have my gratitude, senior brother Lu!” Overjoyed, Xue Chujiu immediately took out a communication slip to inform his fellow clansmen.
Dusk Province was now very different from what it’d once been; it was no longer a place anyone could come and go as they pleased. The various sanctions that had been imposed on the province were long lifted, and the weapons of war deployed at the provincial borders removed.
Not to mention, the Panorama Pavilion was about to hold an auction there. But even without that, Dusk Province had been acknowledged as a faction in its own right after Lu Yun had dealt with the yin spirit tide in Azure Province, showcasing the staggering means at his disposal in the process.
If a clan as big as the Xues and its innumerable cultivators wanted to enter the province in search of asylum, they needed permission from the province’s master first.
After obtaining Lu Yun’s nod, Xue Chujiu stuck to Lu Yun’s side like a shadow. Truth be told, he really had no idea where else to go.
Who would he take revenge on? The heavens?
Multiple witnesses had sworn affidavits that the black lightning responsible for destroying almost all of Witherdew Major was the legendary chaos tribulation that not even the ancient immortal emperor would have survived.
What Xue Chujiu wanted now was nothing more than to protect the clan’s descendents so they could one day reclaim their place as one of the greatest factions. As things stood, Lu Yun was the only one who could safeguard them.
The East Sea was nigh boundless, so it wasn’t easy for ordinary immortals to go from one end to the other. However, Lu Yun’s Wandering Step could travel tens of thousands of kilometers in a single stride, so it took him no longer than three days to return to Nephrite Major.
The East Sea had been quite restless over the past three days. Many void realm cultivators had undergone their tribulations in that time, and the intense fighting the trials had inspired didn’t let up for a single second.
Some successfully survived their tribulation and took their place as void-ascended immortals. Others died, either obliterated by their tribulation or killed on the spot by a nefarious ambush.
Lu Yun refrained from interfering with any of it; his time was precious. There were only fifteen days left until the Panorama Pavilion’s auction commenced.
When he returned to Nephrite Major, he didn’t go to Dusk Province, but first made a beeline for the capital Xiankan.
Ashu and Xue Chujiu were still with him. Strangely enough, neither Xue Chujiu nor anyone else could see Ashu. It was as if his existence was invisible to ordinary immortals, just like that of immortal ghosts.
Of course, there were exceptions to every rule.
When Lu Yun reached the Nephrite palace to meet with the Art and Zither Saint, the Art Saint stared at Ashu in horror, every hair on his body standing on end.
“Holy Lord Ashu of the underworld! How are you possibly here?!” The Art Saint retreated several steps in quick succession.
“Twelve hundred years ago, you were the one who entered the underworld and spread information about the Panorama of Clarity.” Ashu nodded slightly at the Art Saint.
The latter fell silent. Lu Yun looked at the Art Saint, but kept his thoughts to himself. “Mmkay, I don’t have time to listen to you folks chat about the good ole days.”
He took out the pitch-black water jar and released Ding Lei from it. “The Path of Ingress is with this turtle. Do as you see fit.”
Lu Yun wasn’t planning on keeping the Path of Ingress for himself. The thing came with immense karmic repercussions and was the remnant of a combat art from a formidable powerhouse.
“Easily done.” The Zither Saint smiled gently and took out an ancient zither.
As strains of a melodious zither tune floated in the air, Ding Lei’s head and limbs languidly stretched out of his shell like he’d been hypnotized, and he coughed out the sealed Path of Ingress together with another bead.
“In the world of immortals a hundred thousand years ago, you two were the celestial court’s Celestial Master Zhang,” Ashu suddenly interjected. “The Panorama of Clarity, the Portrait of Emptiness, the Profile of Harmony… and the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals they combine into. You were the ones who drew them.
“You killed the court’s Divine Celestial Master and used his essence to draw this peerless treasure of the divine race.”
?!?!?!?!?! So THAT'S what Wayfarer is?! Zhang was the surname of the human celestial master. Zhang Wayfarer! Well, Wayfarer is his nickname now, so he most likely had another name back in the day.