Qi Hai had experienced many lives and eons throughout his long life, accumulating a great wealth of knowledge and experience. That enabled him to discern the origins of the demonic energy and the fetus’ condition with a single glance.
“Seven days,” he identified with a frown. “In seven days, the demon fetus will grow into a demon god. All of Exalted Major will be transformed into demonic soil then.”
“Seven days?!” shrieked the Exalted celestial emperor. He’d thought he would have another few hundred, or even a thousand years of leeway, and he’d sought assistance just for a probing expedition. Cold sweat beaded his forehead upon hearing Qi Hai’s shocking prediction.
“Seal off this place again,” Qi Hai continued, “or the fiend in the fetus will notice us.”
The celestial emperor quickly concealed the abode with a gesture.
“The demon fetus has been nurtured in the tomb for at least a hundred thousand years. The energy emanating from it proves it’s reached late maturity and will soon descend upon the world.” Qi Hai’s tone turned serious. “It must be dealt with now, or the consequences will be dire. This intelligence also needs to be kept a secret… The demonic race would be very interested in the fetus if they learned of its existence.”
Qi Hai flicked Lu Yun a sideways glance. Lu Yun was the head of the Star Demon Sect, and the sect was even more devious than the demonic race.
“You aren’t going to work with the fetus and wreak chaos across the world, are you, sect head of the Star Demon Sect?” Ge Yanxia demanded coldly, killing intent flaring in her eyes. She’d done her research on Lu Yun.
“Do you have rocks for brains?” Lu Yun snorted. “The Star Demon Sect is an offshoot of the Skandha Range, the sacred land for the demonic dao in the world of immortals. Eighty thousand years ago, the Skandha Range shielded countless immortals beneath its wings. If the sect had ever wanted to plague the world, it would’ve become the world’s new master about eighty thousand years ago.”
Ge Yanxia shut her mouth.
The Skandha Range was located in Dusk Province. Though it was very much weakened, compared to its peak, it was still the world’s sacred land for demonic dao. However, the demonic race didn’t recognize it as such.
As one of the top races of the world of immortals, though the demons hadn’t occupied any of the nine majors, ten lands, four immortal seas, or the four seas, their members could be found all over the realm.
Cultivators of demonic dao were at odds with the demonic race when it came to the question of legitimacy. Both sides claimed to be the right and proper successor of demonic dao, a conflict that had brewed since the Primordial Era.
Ge Yanxia’s race was a successor of demonic dao as well. She could question the Star Demon Sect all she liked, but never the Skandha Range.
“Give me three days. We enter the tomb after three days.” Lu Yun paused bemusedly before continuing, “Qi Hai’s right. This matter must be kept a secret. We can’t afford to attract the attention of the demons.”
He recognized the fetus from Xingzi’s memory, and she knew how it could be dealt with.
“Three days? What are you going to do during this period of time?” Qi Hai frowned. Many things could happen in three days; this period of time was too long. In his view, they should immediately enter the tomb and exterminate the demon fetus.
“A tinkerer can’t do his job well without the right tools,” Lu Yun responded. “I need three days to transport some talismans and treasures from Dusk Province and refine a treasure to counter demons.
“As the foremost pill master of the Primordial Era, you should make some preparations in the interim as well.” He punctuated his next words with emphasis, “I know there’s a pill called the Demon Warding Pill among your recipes, which is capable of defending against demonic energy.”
Qi Hai nodded. “Demon Warding Pills? I can do that.”
“Everyone, the Governor of Dusk is correct. We cannot enter the heart of the tomb on our own like this. We need more manpower!” The celestial emperor had only planned to scout the tomb and check on the fetus. Thus, he’d invited only a few individuals. If they were going to kill the budding demon god, they needed more people.
After leaving the cavern, they all returned to their respective factions to make preparations. Donglin Taihuang and Ge Yanxia were reluctant to throw their hats into the ring at first. The fetus of a demon god was incredibly dangerous and unpredictable; this could very well prove to be a suicide mission.
However, the tomb under Mount Exalted was a mausoleum of the ancient divine court, and the sacred land of the divine race before that. There was a wealth of treasure to be found, including connate-grade treasures.
The celestial emperor had promised that the contingent could keep whatever they found in the tomb, finally bringing Donglin Taihuang and Ge Yanxia into the fold. More importantly, Lu Yun would be part of the expedition as well… it’d be easy to kill him there.
Additionally, the Demonic Sovereign Cauldron—greatest treasure of the fur seals—was in Lu Yun’s possession, and Donglin Taihuang wanted Qing Yu.
“This… this really is Exalted Silver Essence!” Qing Yu’s eyes lit up with delight when she saw the damaged Exalted Chart that Lu Yun handed to her. “I’ll be able to refine a Ten Orientations Stone of pure yang in a day with this!”
Lu Yun had immediately contacted Wanfeng to gather materials as soon as Qing Yu had given him a list of what she needed. With the aid of the Panorama of Pavilion and other twelve merchant guilds, everything had been procured but the Exalted Silver Essence, so Lu Yun’s unexpected acquisition was a very pleasant surprise.
To refine a Yang Ten Orientations Stone, Qing Yu needed to remain in the real world rather than do so in hell. Neither she nor Lu Yun returned to Dusk Province, opting to stay in Exalted Major instead. Whatever Lu Yun needed, his Envoys of Samsara could deliver through hell.
He did summon Xingzi for good measure, however, since she’d single-handedly killed an unborn demon fetus in the past. Having her around would heighten their chances of success.
A day passed.
A fist-sized chunk of clear crystal slowly emerged before Qing Yu, purified by the heat of the faint silver starfire. Upon complete excavation, milky light seeped into the air and projected multiple minor worlds.
A Ten Orientations Stone of pure yang!
“Refine the stone into a feng shui luopan and combine it with the one you have. That will make the treasure complete, and it’ll gain some unique powers as well.” Immersed in her formula dao, Qing Yu’s eyes gleamed with great wisdom.
“Understood!” Lu Yun took the stone and manifested three flames of different colors. He couldn’t return to hell to refine the luopan either; he required the pure yang energy of the world.
When the flames leapt to life, they threatened the heavens and shook the earth. Giant balls of fire shot into the sky and projected the image of a great mushroom cloud.
“Lu Yun’s finally started refining a treasure!” The celestial emperor swallowed hard at the pillars of fire soaring into the clouds.
He’s refining a treasure with the Exalted Chart, Zhao Wushuang thought with a pounding heart. The enormous sea of lightning from the mutated tribulation disappeared right before the Exalted Chart could be destroyed...
She refrained from voicing her thoughts because she highly suspected that Lu Yun might have something to do with the disappearance of her tribulation and the sudden emergence of the kui.
Sword Divine’s parting words couldn’t have been complete lies. However, no one had paid him that much attention at that time. They all believed that Lu Yun had fled as soon as he witnessed the overwhelming might of the Diabolical Tribulation of World Refinement.
A great rumbling rolled across the sky as the qi of the world furiously rushed in the same direction. An enormous forge slowly took shape in the firmament.
“A forge of earth and sky, the ultimate heights of equipment dao!” The Exalted celestial emperor stared at the giant forge with shock. It cast the entire major in brilliant light, and even the sun hanging high in the sky paled in comparison.
“Lu Yun made such a demonstration in Xiankan before and impressed Zhurong Cangshan, the master refiner of the Zhurong Clan,” murmured the celestial emperor. “He obtained a Ten Orientations Stone during that auction.”
Zhao Luo had been no one but the top disciple of the Exalted Immortal Sect at the time. Nevertheless, the former celestial emperor had already selected him as the next ruler of Exalted Major and imparted a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and experience to him.
That was why he felt no loyalty to the sect, despite finding his beginnings there.
“What’s he refining this time?” Phoenix eyes twinkling, Zhao Wushuang took flight and made her way toward the source of the disturbance.
The emergence of the forge of earth and sky rattled all of Mount Exalted, and numerous immortals congregated in its direction, whether they were from the Exalted Immortal Sect or the capital not too far away.
It was, after all, a demonstration of the greatest height of equipment dao, one of the primary supplemental paths. Many could go their entire lives without ever witnessing such a scene. Even those who knew nothing about equipment dao would benefit greatly from observing the forge of earth and sky.
It took an entire day for the second feng shui luopan to gradually take shape.
Explosive thunder boomed in the rapidly-dimming sky as violet-gold lightning crackled around dark clouds. It was a treasure tribulation!
The moment the second luopan emerged, a tribulation struck with powerful lightning, aiming to smite the white luopan.
Lu Yun splayed his fingers to collect the tribulation, but then decided against the impulse. He couldn’t publicly devour the tribulation with the Thunder Palmstrike. Collecting lighting was one thing, but tribulations were known to be untouchable. If people knew he could collect even a heavenly tribulation, the repercussions would be unfathomable.
Lu Yun had collected a tribulation of four hundred and eighty million lighting bolts back in Xiankan, then unleashed some of its power to kill thousands of immortals in fell swoop. However, that could be attributed to a treasure capable of collecting lightning tribulations.
Such treasures were usually single-use. It was rare enough for someone to acquire even one, and the appearance of having multiples would only elicit trouble. More importantly, the milky-white luopan required baptism by lightning to become one with the heavenly laws of the world.
Lu Yun had proven unable to completely refine the treasure of all impurities during his process, which was where the heavenly tribulation came in. It would complete the last step of the refinement, thus perfecting the treasure.