The Death Spike was precisely 3.33 meters long and as thick as a thumb. Though cast from bronze, it’d taken on a black and shadowy appearance, making it difficult to fully make out its lines. When hammered into the ground, crimson runes materialized on its surface before slowly filtering into the land like a constant dribble of blood.
Stretching across an area three meters wide that centered around the Death Spike, Lin Xuan’s feng shui layout was also part of the spike itself. It endlessly absorbed the energy from the surroundings and fed it back to the shadowy spike.
In the sky above, claps of thunder roared amidst an ocean of dark clouds. A supreme demonic fiend seemed about to emerge in the land, calling down a terrible lightning tribulation to welcome its arrival.
Lu Yun found himself on the back foot. He wasn’t afraid of the tribulation itself, but of the possible changes to the Exalted Divine tomb beneath the ground.
“Maybe there really is an ominous demon down there?” He was a little shaken. The lightning tribulation above was still gathering with increasingly fearsome momentum. By now, it’d far surpassed the usual heavenly tribulation sent to test a void-realm immortal.
“Lu Yun, what are you doing?” Clad in dark-golden imperial robes, the Exalted emperor stood in the void with a scowl.
Mount Exalted was the Exalted Divines’ Last Repose, home to the tomb containing the primordial divine court. He couldn’t allow anyone to desecrate the mountain’s dignity. Even if the lightning Lu Yun had conjured wouldn’t damage the mountain, it was still sacrilege and blasphemy to the heavenly court.
“Please forgive me, Your Majesty.” With a furtive hand seal, Lu Yun imperceptibly altered the feng shui layouts nearby, concealing the Death Spike. “For one reason or another, I ended up inside a lineal tomb today and almost lost my life. Therefore, I have no choice but to make some preparations, or my life might truly be forfeit sooner or later.”
His expression was serene and tone borderline flippant, as if he held the Exalted emperor in no great esteem. The explanation appeared valid, even right and proper. But in reality, Lu Yun was casting doubt on the emperor and slapping imperial face in public.
“Oh?” The emperor regained his composure. “In what way does calling down this lightning tribulation benefit you? If We wanted you dead, would a trivial tribulation safeguard your life?”
A murderous edge marked his tone. He indeed wanted to kill Lu Yun and Qing Yu, then claim the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals and dao weapon for himself. Now that Lu Yun had dropped all pretenses of courtesy, it was even more difficult for him to curb the urge to personally smite the impudent pup.
The authority and prestige of a celestial emperor?
Those had been dashed to pieces the moment Zhao Chong lured Lu Yun into the lineal tomb.
If not for some other guests he had to receive today, the emperor would’ve come in person a long time ago and executed Lu Yun for his disrespect.
Now, with the commotion the young man had raised, the emperor’s suppressed impulse burgeoned once again.
Lu Yun glanced at the emperor, then gently waved his hand.
Crackle crackle crackle!
Before those assembled could react, the lightning nurtured from the heavy clouds above flowed into his hand like a river and coalesced into a dazzling lightning bead.
Death art: Thunder Palmstrike.
In the blink of an eye, all of the lightning in the sky gathered inside Lu Yun’s hand. A prodigious and terrifying aura spread from his figure, and wisps of silver lightning danced around him.
“What…” The emperor’s expression sank. He quickly fell back to keep a relatively safe distance between him and Lu Yun, as he could clearly sense the terrible might of the lightning condensing around the young man.
In the battle that’d made Lu Yun famous around the world, he’d sent a horrifying storm of lightning to slay several thousand immortals outside Xiankan, dao immortals included! Although the Exalted emperor was at origin dao immortal realm and protected by a heavenly mandate, he didn’t dare lower his guard in the slightest.
This was too fearsome!
There was a strength inside Lu Yun that one couldn’t describe with words. This strength enhanced the lightning many times over, to the point where a frontal strike would cripple the emperor at a bare minimum.
“Governor of Dusk Province, you indeed possess marvelous abilities. You have Our admiration.” Ultimately, the celestial emperor raised his hands in a cupped fist salute. He referred to Lu Yun with the governorship title as another way to belittle and avoid acknowledging the youth’s status as a future sacred land’s master.
But of course, Lu Yun didn’t take any of that to heart.
“Governor, these abilities of yours qualify you to be involved in what comes next. Let us convene inside the celestial palace.” The celestial emperor made a gesture of invitation.
No matter Lu Yun’s real cultivation, the boundless lightning he’d summoned was enough to threaten a celestial emperor; this alone made the emperor acknowledge his strength.
Lu Yun blinked, then gave a nod.
At the same time, he collected the lightning that’d seeped into a karmic fruit and condensed it into a silver lightning bead, then hung it on the Sal Tree of Life and Death. The bead emitted an unrelenting sense of pressure; even Lu Yun himself felt his heart shake if he contemplated it for too long.
The Death Spike’s lightning tribulation had been strange to begin with, and the solidified lightning he’d collected had gone on to absorb a karmic fruit of its own accord. As a result, the bead’s power had been enhanced to a fearsome degree.
Thankfully, Thunder Palmstrike was a death art born from the Tome of Life and Death, so the book had a restraining effect on it. Otherwise, it would’ve been impossible for Lu Yun to exert his will on this strange silver bead.
Inside the Exalted Palace, Lu Yun ran into some unexpected people: Donglin Taihuang, Ge Yanxia, as well as… Qi Hai!
Many, many days since their last meeting, he was once again face-to-face with Qi Hai.
The man’s facial features were somewhat different this time. Rather than the foremost pill master of the Primordial Era, he resembled someone else entirely. Even so, Lu Yun recognized him for who he was.
Qi Hai remained deadpan when he saw Lu Yun, as though he didn’t recognize the governor.
He’d schemed against Lu Yun from the start, wanting to command the master of hell just like he’d done with the primeval humans. After the two had fallen out inside the Dusk Tomb, Lu Yun had sealed off hell and barred Qi Hai from entering.
Unless Lu Yun’s guess was incorrect, Qi Hai had probably sought asylum with Destiny City.
“It’s you!” Many emotions flashed through Donglin Taihuang and Ge Yanxia’s faces when they saw him.
Ge Yanxia in particular sprang to her feet. Her obese figure waddled forward and she threw herself at him with bared fangs.
Fierce killing intent shone out of Donglin Taihuang’s eyes, but he refrained from rash movement as he’d sensed the terrifying pressure emanating from the young man. Neither did the Exalted emperor move to Lu Yun’s aid; he wished to gauge the might of the heavenly lightning that had been absorbed earlier.
The instant Ge Yanxia’s obese figure came within striking distance, a deafening explosion rumbled in the air, followed by the pungent stench of roasted flesh.
Oh snap, that's a lot of enemies under one roof. Imma die laughing if Lu Yun somehow manages to destroy a ton of them with the crazy tribulation his ascension will summon.
Happy Lunar New Year everyone! Click through for food.