The truth dawned on Lu Yun. They’d come here via the Road of the Dead and thus naturally arrived in the world of the dead due to its influence.
He wasn’t as powerful as the emperor’s daughter, Zhao Qing. If she were to sense the presence of the Tome of Life and Death on him, she’d certainly take it away by force. After all, this was someone who used a ghost king as a medium for fostering hellfire so that she could create a genuine hell, proof she possessed an uncommonly strong knowledge of hell.
Therefore, Lu Yun didn’t dare recklessly call upon the power of hell or the Tome of Life and Death in her presence.
Shortsword in hand, Diexi was locked in close quarters combat with the skeleton of the giant saurian dragon king. However, she was proving to be outmatched. Her illusion of blood and corpses was as frail as paper in front of the dragon; it ripped whenever it touched the undead creature. Moreover, her physical attacks barely left a scratch on the giant skeleton’s bones.
It was only to be expected, since she faced the king of all saurian dragons. When alive, it’d been an existence on the same level as the primeval human king, and while its strength had declined since, it was still a force to be reckoned with.
Lu Yun wasn’t entirely sure how strong Diexi had now become, but he could tell she far exceeded the origin dao immortal realm.
“We need to go, don’t waste time with it!” With a thought, the Path of Ingress extended from his feet to Diexi’s position.
After a moment of readying itself, the treasure exploded into action. After wrapping around Qing Yu, Lin Yu, Lin Xuan, Li Youcai, and the rest, the group simultaneously vanished from the premises.
Hadal Bonefire burned dreadfully in the saurian dragon king’s eyes at the unexpected development.
The skeleton’s bones abruptly collapsed into a pile of bone fragments on the ground, then decomposed into bone dust and quickly faded from view.
A sigh came from deep within the palace coffin.
For many people, taking the Road of the Dead backwards was an impossible task that couldn’t even be dreamed of. To set foot on the Road of the Dead was to abandon life!
...but would Lu Yun ever be stymied by trivialities like these?
With a gentle tremor, the Tome of Life and Death ensconced the group inside a hazy halo while the Path of Ingress transformed into an avenue of white light that pierced through the void and brought them back to the manor before they could blink.
Lin Yu and Lin Xuan stared blankly into space, not daring to utter a word. Everything they’d experienced just now was outlined in the feverish haze of a dream.
Diexi had returned to her normal appearance, her clothes transforming back into a downy-yellow chiffon dress. The crimson light faded from her eyes, making way for a clear gaze.
But unlike before, there was a hairpin in the form of a scarlet butterfly perched on top of her head. When the fox’s limpid blue eyes landed on the hairpin, a trace of fear flashed through them.
“Just now… where in the heavens did we go?” Lin Yu muttered with a subconscious shudder. “We were in a tomb!” Slightly pale, he tightly gripped the thick book in his hand and rifled through its pages.
“It must have been the heart of a tomb, but that tomb isn’t located here… This manor is merely one of the entrances,” he gulped audibly. “This place is like a hunter’s trap.”
The moment his voice fell, a wave of pure yang exploded in the sky and ruthlessly bombarded the manor below. A terrifying density of pure yang surpassed the fiery sun in intensity. If it were to land, all of the yin energy inside the manor would be expelled and the lineal tomb destroyed.
An ear-splitting roar shook the sky as a tall, indomitable figure materialized and charged forward with an explosive punch at the pure yang energy.
His appearance was vastly different from before. While postmortem spots mottled his now ashen-gray skin, his eyes were as clear and lively as those of a living man.
A tomb keeper.
Now that he was a tomb keeper, he had nothing to fear from pure yang energy. His fist rippled with waves of black energy as he easily dispelled the terrifying power of pure yang. Following which, he silently floated above the lineal tomb and peered down at the Exalted emperor with cold eyes.
“Zhao Chong! What are you doing?” The emperor’s face darkened and his sword-straight eyebrows bunched together.
“How brazen and impudent! Zhao Chong, you shall not display such insolence to His Majesty!” Numerous immortals from Exalted Major swore in anger when they witnessed the man casually disperse the emperor’s yang energy.
“Lu Yun and his people are not dead, and the thing all of you want is still there.” As an official of Exalted Major and the emperor’s junior brother, Zhao Chong hadn’t lost his self-awareness, despite his recent transformation into a tomb keeper.
With a wave of his hand, the lineal tomb’s gates flew open and an irresistible force pushed Lu Yun’s group out of the manor.
Expression flickering through various changes, the emperor suddenly realized something. “You…”
Before he could complete his sentence, Zhao Chong’s figure scattered in the air with a bang. A layer of hazy smoke blanketed the lineal tomb, making its outline fuzzy and indistinct.
“You have traveled a long way to be here, Governor of Dusk Province. Forgive Us for not appropriately welcoming you at first light. Please come rest on Mount Exalted.” Well accustomed to his post, the Exalted emperor’s face betrayed none of his inner thoughts as he smoothly changed his stance and greeted Lu Yun with a smile.
The sky finally began to darken when Lu Yun arrived on Mount Exalted. The emperor didn’t show any signs of summoning him for an audience and simple arranged rooms inside the Exalted Immortal Sect for the visitors.
But for Lu Yun, the real surprise was that, though he sensed clear hostility from nearby immortals after his arrival, he didn’t notice any palpable greed. From his point of view, apart from the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals on Qing Yu, there were many other treasures in his possession. Any one of them would make the world of immortals go mad.
And yet he didn’t sense such desire from either the Exalted Immortal Sect’s dao immortals or the imperial court’s senior council, as if they weren’t interested in those items at all.
“Maybe the only things they want are the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals and the dao weapon?” Lu Yun grimaced.
If that were the case, it could only mean one thing: Exalted’s internal strength must be much greater than it appeared to outsiders, enough that they could disregard his treasures. Be it lord-grade fortress ships or weapons of war… the Exalted Immortal Sect likely feared neither.
“The Exalted Immortal Sect and Exalted Major itself must be joined at the hip. Their fortunes are closely intertwined.” Lu Yun opened the Spectral Eye and swept his gaze over everything within five thousand kilometers, be it feng shui, terrain, or environment.
“This is a very fearsome enemy… I have to destroy this sect, or I’ll be at their mercy once they decide to act against me!”
Qing Yu grew uneasy at Lu Yun’s soliloquy. She wasn’t concerned for herself, but that misfortune might befall the young man. “Destroy the Exalted Immortal Sect… Are you thinking of…?” Lu Yun had taught her everything he knew without reservation, so she had an inkling what he was planning.
Lu Yun’s sect possessed a malicious feng shui formation made to kill. While it couldn’t be described as world-ending, per se, it could sunder someone’s fate and destroy an entire dynasty. It was labeled Death Spike—a singular spike to decide life and death!
Back on Earth, a thriving dynasty had once gravely humiliated a grandmaster of his sect. As a result, the grandmaster in question planted a Death Spike inside their imperial capital for vengeance. Not long after, the vibrant and prosperous dynasty met with a sudden ruin.
Now Lu Yun wanted to lay down the same layout inside the Exalted Immortal Sect on Mount Exalted to destroy the sect’s fortunes!