An endless flood of black lightning crashed into Dongfang Hao, drowning him. He almost threw up blood from the collision.
According to his original plans, all he needed to do was to reveal himself to the tribulation the moment it dissipated to successfully ascend to immortality. It didn’t matter if the Exalted prince overcame his trial or not.
Lu Yun, however, had completely disrupted this idea. The roiling black lightning he’d directed Dongfang Hao’s way was incredibly destructive. His treasure might be able to protect him from heavenly tribulations, but not from anything Lu Yun might pull.
Lightning smote him relentlessly, sending him flying this way and that.
Imbued with the power of karmic fruit, the black lightning was exponentially more powerful than the bolts from the lighting tribulation earlier. A prolonged cacophony of screams and yelps rang out as thunder and lightning consumed Dongfang Hao.
A beam of sword energy exploded from his body as the giant Sword of Chaos emerged, reaching high into the sky. Even the giant beast laying in the air shifted warily when it saw the sword light.
Lu Yun, however, was entirely unfazed. Under his control, the lightning targeting Dongfang Hao grew even more relentless. After all, it’d be most ideal if he could excise a serious threat like Dongfang Hao now.
“Lu Yun! I will not suffer you to live beneath the same skies as me!!” With that final shriek, the Sword of Chaos burst into numerous strands of sword energy and shot in all directions.
Dongfang Hao had escaped, the moment of his departure making the end of his involvement with the tribulation. He would still be a void realm cultivator even if Zhao Wushuang somehow overcame his tribulation in the end.
“Lu Yun? What did he mean?” Dongfang Hao’s parting words surprised everyone. Hadn’t Lu Yun fled? Was he still lurking around somewhere? Or had he summoned the giant kui?
Another glance at the imposing beast dismissed the last speculation. A primordial divine beast who ruled over all lightning would never follow the orders of a mere cultivator. Besides, if Lu Yun really could summon kui, he wouldn’t have been bogged down by that absolute mess in Dusk Province when he tried establishing his dao.
“Lu Yun… Which emperor’s legacy has he acquired?” Qi Hai frowned deeply. As the lord of the first capital of the primeval human race, he was highly knowledgeable and enormously experienced. So far, though, he hadn’t been able to determine whose heritage Lu Yun had acquired.
“How unfortunate that he refuses to restore the era of human dao and the dominance of our race over all, despite being human himself. Whatever heritage he’s gained, he doesn’t deserve to keep it.”
A cold smile tugged at Qi Hai’s lips, while Donglin Taihuang remained wholly unconcerned. He had no reason to worry. As long as he took Qing Yu and made use of her cosmic constitution, he would become a flawless origin dao immortal. He would even gain a unique heritage, making the world of immortals his oyster.
And now, Qing Yu was in Mount Exalted.
The Exalted Immortal Sect wanted something in her possession, so they would hardly let her leave without getting what they wanted. Naturally, neither would Donglin Taihuang.
Zhao Wushuang’s sole focus was on the giant chimera in front of him. Lu Yun stood beside him as Kui, but he didn’t even seem to notice the thunder god’s presence, his eyes fixed on the beast looming over them instead.
“That’s the Azure Dragon King’s tail,” Lu Yun’s voice suddenly echoed in Zhao Wushuang’s mind. The prince widened his eyes at the kui beside him, taken aback. “If my speculations are right… its head belongs to the White Tiger King; its body, the Black Tortoise King; and its wings, the Vermilion Bird King! Who could’ve hacked apart the kings of the four cardinal divine tribes and pieced together such a monster...”
The chimera in the air remained unmoving, its glance fixed in turn on the transformed kui. Lu Yun’s brows knit together when a thought struck him. With that, he deployed the Boundless Step and left the tribulation area on impulse.
“At least the immortals of Exalted Major aren’t entirely heartless.” Upon his departure, a great amount of goodwill flowed into the Sal Tree of Life and Death in his body. The faint glow of the sapling deepened to pure gold from the immense nourishment.
“Hmm, that’s not right… Zhao Wushuang is simply too important to them!” Lu Yun’s eyes turned golden as gratitude from countless immortals in Exalted Major streamed into him as well, to be absorbed by the Sal Tree of Life and Death.
A golden tree barreled out of him, covering the entire world of immortals. All twenty-four facets, the four immortal seas, and in fact the subordinate worlds, all planes, and ruins… were graced with the shadow of a golden tree!
Every living soul looked up at the giant tree in shock and terror. Even the giant beast crouched over the Divine Sea was no exception.
“What... is that…? Is it a phenomenon of ascension?” someone murmured. “It’d be terrifying if it is...”
A phenomenon of ascension spanning the entire world of immortals!
All eyes were on the tree. The two scarlet apes, the Dark North Sword Sect, the two sovereigns of Ingress Island, Truespirit Major, and the old freaks residing within primordial ruins all looked up at the golden tree.
No one knew what it was. Not even Qi Hai, in the untold years of his many lives, had ever seen the tree before.
“Can it really be a phenomenon of ascension? Whose? Lu Yun’s?” Qi Hai shook his head in earnest. “No, it’s too early for his tribulation.”
“Grrr!” The giant beast looming over the Divine Sea suddenly threw its head back and howled at the sky, its body disintegrating into four beams of light that shone down on Zhao Wushuang.
However, most of the spectators by the Divine Sea had their eyes glued to the enormous tree. Almost no one noticed the beast’s disappearance. Gone was the beast and the tribulation. Zhao Wushuang ascended to immortality when everyone was distracted.
“This is virtuous merit… It’s more than the goodwill from the immortals of Exalted Major. I’m… receiving virtuous merit from the heavens!” Lu Yun watched in disbelief as the Sal Tree of Life and Death evolved at a tremendous speed.
There must be more to Zhao Wushuang, if helping the disguised prince overcome her tribulation earned him virtuous merit from the heavens.
“Karmic Tree…” Lu Yun murmured when the small tree took root in his body. “The Sal Tree of Life and Death has completed its evolution into the Karmic Tree!”
A sea of golden light washed over hell. The innumerable legion of vicious spirits in the undefined abyss screeched and wailed with anguish as they were purified by the tree’s power. Distilled into their truest forms as souls, they took root in hell as new Hell Flowers.
While rejuvenation suffused the netherworld, three white figures hastily shot out of hell. If Lu Yun had seen them, he would’ve recognized them for what they were.