When the Dao Flower blossomed during the void realm’s restoration, four bloodied paths had emerged in the air, each taken by one such long-haired monster menacing down the path. At that time, Lu Yun had stood guard over Qing Yu and the other three youth sovereigns by killing the long-haired monsters and shattering the blood-stained paths.
One of their kind now returned as he underwent his tribulation for establishing a sacred land.
Relief washed over Lu Yun. How fortunate he made his announcement now than after his ascension to immortality! Otherwise, he’d be facing something far stronger than the black long-haired monster.
Although the monster was powerful and its cultivation level impossible to fathom, he was certain that it hadn’t ascended to immortality yet.
Within the unnamed, central city of Dusk, Jiangchen Xie fidgeted uneasily. He’d encountered the long-haired monsters before, but he’d chosen to run away rather than set foot on the bloodied path.
Meanwhile, Fangyang Xing stared at the creature with fear in his eyes. He’d been helpless against this creature on the bloodied path and was slain by a single slash. He hadn’t even had the chance to fight back, and the monster had been his inner demon ever since.
“He killed four of these monsters last time?” murmured Fangyang Xing.
“No, only three,” a Fangyang youth answered timidly. “The last one was slain by a sword slash from Sword Divine outside Dusk Province.”
Fangyang Xing scowled without a word; that made no difference to him.
From Dusk City, five hundred kilometers away from the unnamed city, Lu Feng stared at the black long-haired monster and swallowed with difficulty.
“Man, trouble sure follows you around. You even poked this kind of monster out of hiding...”
With a slight shake of readiness, Lu Feng was about to go to his little brother’s aid when a waft of fragrance gave him pause and a woman in men’s clothes appeared out of nowhere.
“Eh? What are you doing here?” Lu Feng’s expression grew serious. A trace of appreciation flashed through his gaze, but it was mostly filled with fear and respect.
“This is his tribulation, unexpected consequences may follow if you intervene,” Mo Yi sighed. “Just as heavenly tribulations faced by cultivators and man-made tribulations in various pursuits permit the presence of guardians only around the perimeter, he’s on his own when facing this tribulation.”
Yin Jiuying was his man-made tribulation, while the black long-haired monsters were the heavenly tribulation. Lu Yun could rely on only himself.
Lu Feng nodded and merrily approached Mo Yi with a grin, who frowned and shot him a glare. Two snow-white streaks flashed through her eyes in warning. Freezing in place, Lu Feng trembled before awkwardly clearing his throat and shuffling to the side.
“Qing Buyi and Chen Xiao are trapped in the Ancient Tree of Life. Is there any way to get them out?”
“Lu Yun tried so hard to collect crystals for the tree,” Mo Yi sighed. “The Ancient Tree of Life concerns not only Qing Buyi and Chen Xiao, but also Qing Yu’s safety. If you really want to help your ready-made little brother, follow me to the Ling Clan.”
“The Ling Clan?” Lu Feng frowned. “The Ling Clan are descendents of the primordial nobles. There’s likely to be an old freak among them who’s lived beyond their expected lifespan...”
“That’s why I ask you to come with me.” Mo Yi nodded. “There is indeed an old monster in the Ling Clan who merged himself with a fortress ship and became half immortal, half treasure. That’s how he evaded the great calamity in the Primordial Era and survived to present day.”
A shudder ran down Lu Feng’s spine.
In midair, the long-haired monster stalked along the bloodied path and came up to Lu Yun with impressive speed, swinging its dao treasure at the human from overhead.
The Sugato Sword shook fiercely and morphed the scintillating barrier of light into a waterfall of swords, cutting down at the long-haired monster with great ferocity. Meanwhile, Lu Yun manifested a dao treasure of his own—a sharp, black axe.
The long-haired monster broke through the river of swords with a mighty swing of the axe, then collided with Lu Yun’s weapon and generated a black ripple of energy from the collision.
The Sugato Sword, unmoving even when several dao immortals attacked in unison, was knocked awry, and the sword curtain shattered into dissipating sword energy.
Blood trickled down from the corner of Lu Yun’s mouth.
“Yu Hengluo,” he said to the long-haired monster with a slight tremor to his voice.
“This servant didn’t expect you to recognize me, Sect Head.” The long-haired monster responded in a pleasant voice that belonged to Yu Hengluo!
Lu Yun stared at it in utter disbelief. He… was right!
He projected a sliver of consciousness into hell and found Yu Hengluo’s body lying peacefully on the floating summit with the resurrection layout. But the long-haired monster here was Yu Hengluo as well!
He was reminded of the two Yu Hengluos in the celestial master tomb… and both of them were real. A sudden possibility came to him.
“Fate? Destiny? I’ll change my so-called fate today!” He tilted his head back with a howl, combusting ten billion crystals to fuel the Sugato Sword. An endless supply of sword energy converged to form a stunning sword projection.
It bit into the bloodied path behind Yu Hengluo. He had to destroy the path and cut off Yu Hengluo’s route of retreat. That was the only way he could capture her.
However, a spear shot out of the path and offset his attack.
A hulking crimson figure emerged from a distance with a primitively simple spear in hand—another long-haired monster, but this one with hair the color of blood.
“That’s the one! That’s it!!” Crippled origin dao immortals who had been keeping an eye on Dusk Province looked on in abject terror.
They’d encountered such a crimson long-haired monster by the dao fruit tree in the void. It’d used the same spear to destroy their body and newly acquired dao fruit, crippling the freshly-ascended origin dao immortals and sending them tumbling down from their rightful place as rulers of the world.
And here it was again.
All of them were certain that it was the same one they’d encountered by the dao fruit tree!
Treading along the bloodied path, the crimson monster suddenly threw its spear forward. It wasn’t aiming at Lu Yun, but the Dao Flower’s projection over his head!
The spear put a hole into the image, pinning it to the air. Ugly cracks splintered the flower, only then did the long-haired monster shift its crimson eyes to Lu Yun.
I have a sudden revision to my hypothesis, it wasn't Lu Yun who tried screwing around with time to save YHL, maybe YHL was behind it all along...? Traitor? Spy?
Either way, someone is fecking with time here, I think.
And no wonder the Ling Clan has a monopoly on refining fortress ships -- they have a forefather who's half ship himself! Super easy to make them when you've got a living specimen to study.