When Lu Yun looked backward, he saw a mass of dense black smoke that not even his consciousness could penetrate. Produced by the human-headed octopi, the smoke formed a barrier that sealed off the area.
Without any hesitation, he employed the Wandering Step and set forth to where Qing Yu and the others could be found. She’d joined the Exalted celestial emperor and was besieging a hole shrouded by the same black mist they’d seen in the cavern under Mount Exalted. There was another demon fetus in there!
In fact, even Qi Hai had been deceived by this locale at first.
“This place gives off a strange feeling.” Sword in hand, Zhao Wushuang stared fixedly at the giant hole in front of him, a grave expression on the disguised girl’s face.
Inside the hole, a black flame fanned all the way to the horizon like a smoke signal. Faintly discernible ghost faces hovered above the wispy flame, an appropriate omen of a demon god’s arrival.
However, Zhao Wushuang didn’t perceive any signs of warning from the heart of the Sword of Chaos in his hand, as if this place were an ordinary place like any other. Meanwhile, many immortals from Exalted and Nephrite Major frantically attacked the smoke. As long as they could dispel it, they would be able to enter the cave and slay the fetus inside.
Neither House Donglin nor the fur seals were present. The fur seals had gone with Ge Yanxia to sacrifice themselves to the true demon fetus, while the noble house had scattered elsewhere in the divine tomb in search of treasures.
The demon god fetus? They cared not a whit for it.
“Where has Lu Yun gone?!” the Exalted celestial emperor demanded of Qing Yu. Had Lu Yun and his crystal cannon been with them, perhaps the smoke would already be history by now.
Qing Yu hugged the little fox in her arms and gently stroked the soft fur, staying away from the melee. She was aware that everything here was fake. Rather than helping the assembled immortals, Lin Yu and Lin Xuan were deploying formations in an attempt to alter the environment.
There was no demon fetus to be found inside the cave; instead, what awaited was a terrible zombie. Once the smoke was destroyed, the zombie would have free rein to come into this world.
When she heard the celestial emperor’s question, Qing Yu raised her head.
“You people should prepare yourselves. What you’ll find inside isn’t a demon fetus, but a zombie,” she warned calmly. “When it comes out, the plans you’ve made against a demon fetus will prove ineffective.”
“What?” The celestial emperor froze.
A sudden explosion broke through the air as Ge Yanxia’s enormous frame made a heavy landing that shook the entire tomb.
“Die!” As if gone mad, Ge Yanxia threw a punch at Qing Yu the moment she landed. Having reverted back to human appearance, she was naked from head to toe. Her punch shattered space and reached Qing Yu faster than one could blink.
A black light flashed in front of Qing Yu, accompanied by a Black Tortoise’s roars at the sky, its simple and thick shell blocking the force of the punch.
Shattering sounds came in quick succession as formations fractured one after another. They formed the Black Tortoise Formation that Lin Yu and Lin Xuan had laid down together. Though still incomplete, it’d nevertheless stopped Ge Yanxia’s attack.
“Die!” The fur seal struck again, aiming straight at Qing Yu’s head this time. Cruel excitement glinted in her bovine eyes; she’d destroyed the Black Tortoise Formation with the first punch, and her second blow was thirty percent stronger.
“What are you doing!!” Color draining from his face, the Exalted celestial emperor rushed in front of Qing Yu, the Exalted Chart glittering above him as he countered Ge Yanxia’s punch with one of his own.
The space between them shattered into a black hole thirty centimeters in diameter. Ge Yanxia slid back, a hesitant expression in her bovine eyes.
“Celestial Emperor!” Ge Yanxia’s voice rang out thinly, but it somehow evoked the sound of a gong as well. “Lu Yun partnered up with the demon fetus a long time ago. He’s gone to the real location to release it.”
Falsehoods flowed freely out of the fur seal’s mouth the moment her sausage lips pried open. “Risking life and limb, this seat had to sacrifice all of my children to stop his evil plot. And now, this little lover of his is planning to bury all of you here! If I hadn’t arrived in time and destroyed that formation… before long, all of you would’ve become food for the monster under the black smoke.”
The crowd blinked in confusion, then turned to Qing Yu in astonishment. With light sources illuminating the area, the premises were no longer as dark as they previously were.
She’d remained unmoving through the commotion, her expression calm and at ease. Not a single soul could associate her devastatingly beautiful mien with anything remotely untoward.
In contrast, Ge Yanxia looked like a vicious ghost that’d crawled out of a grave, a manifestation of pure evil. Moreover, black fumes steamed from the fur seal’s completely naked body. Such a scene instinctively revulsed anyone who laid eyes on it.
“The clothes don’t make the man! This wench might look very pretty, but none of you realize that she possesses the heart of a, of a scorpion!” Ge Yanxia felt rather smug that she’d come up with several human idioms. “If you don’t want to offend Dusk Province, I’ll do the deed and execute her right here!”
Though weakened, she still had a cultivation at the origin dao realm. The only things she feared were the Exalted celestial emperor and the Exalted Chart above him.
The celestial emperor hesitated as well. Deep down, he very much wished that Ge Yanxia would kill Qing Yu. If that happened, there would be a perfectly legitimate reason for the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals to fall into his hands. With that treasure in hand, he could awaken the bloodline of the Exalted Divines and welcome the tribe back to the world.
However, now wasn’t the time to arbitrarily decide where the truth lay. If the fetus were to descend upon the world, all of Exalted Major would be transformed into demonic soil. To dispose of it, he had to rely on Lu Yun’s Yi Wood Cleansing Thunder. Moreover, he couldn’t be certain whether Ge Yanxia was speaking the truth. Therefore, he remained staunchly in front of Qing Yu and prevented the fur seal from harming the girl.
“Step aside, your Exalted Major can’t bear the consequences if Lu Yun succeeds. Also, the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals is on her. Don’t you want it?” Ge Yanxia’s irises were pure crimson. It wanted to kill Qing Yu and obtain the Embittered Bamboo from her at all costs. As one of the ten great connate spirit roots, the demon fetus would be as good as born with a sacrifice of that caliber!
“I see, then don’t blame me for this… die!!” With a furious shriek, colossal waves surged from the fur seal, the power of the inexhaustible seawater shaping into a massive whirlpool.
Blanching violently, the celestial emperor quickly retreated. The seawater was inconceivably dangerous, as it’d submerge the entire mausoleum once it crashed down.
“You… stop this at once!!” he shouted frantically. However, lips curled into a malevolent smile, the fur seal didn’t show any hint of stopping. Space had become a small world of its own above her head, one filled with an increasingly higher level of seawater.
A pillar of white light suddenly tore through the void and blew up the miniature world. At the same time, a scorching bead rose into the sky and evaporated the seawater within with fearsome heat waves.
A man clad in blue walked out of the emptiness, crystal cannon in one hand and the connate Divine Fire Bead in the other.
“It’s you!!” Ge Yanxia stiffened at the sight.
“Yin Qingran!!” exclaimed a nearby Ling Chenzu.
Yin Qingran had stolen the Divine Fire Bead and hung the Ling Clan out to dry against the zombie of the fire god. The clan had killed the zombie in the end, but more than two hundred immortals had paid for that feat with their lives.
With no more than a few dozen people left in his team, Ling Chengzu had had no choice but to rejoin the clan’s main group and convene with the Exalted celestial emperor. To think they’d run into the Yin bastard here!
“So you’re the one called Yin Qingran!” Ge Yanxia bared her fangs, bovine eyes full of rage. Yin Qingran had been the one who’d ruined her first set of plans!
“Yin Qingran? What’s going on here?!” The celestial emperor recognized Yin Qingran, of course, but hadn’t expected to see the fellow appear with a crystal cannon and a connate-grade treasure… Perhaps this genius who’d covered three provinces of Exalted Major with his phenomenon of ascension had come across another fortuitous encounter!
“Yin Qingran, hand over the Divine Fire Bead, or else… our Ling Clan will see your Yin Clan exterminated even if it costs us our lives!” Ling Chengzu seethed.
The Exalted celestial emperor frowned faintly.
“This old cow is the demon fetus’ lapdog.” Lu Yun ignored Ling Chengzu and flashed a cold smile at Ge Yanxia. “The younglings it brought along were meant to be sacrifices for the demon fetus. Thankfully, I disrupted its plans.
“Miss Qing Yu possesses a connate spirit root. That’s why the creature is so anxious to attack the young lady. It wants to steal the spirit root and sacrifice it to the demon fetus.”
“You… die already!!” Seeing Yin Qingran immediately reminded Ge Yanxia of what had happened earlier. This kid had ruined her plans twice in a row, so she hated Yin Qingran’s guts far more than she’d ever hated Lu Yun.
Leaping into the air, the creature lunged at the newcomer.
The immortals who’d come here naturally knew what the demon fetus was, and were also aware of the true goal in the tomb. Dumbfounded by what they were witnessing, they had some trouble collecting themselves. Ge Yanxia, an ignorant, benighted fur seal, was a servant of the demon fetus?
Lu Yun lifted his crystal cannon and fired again at Ge Yanxia. The creature no longer had the ripple-like treasure with it, but she certainly possessed other defensive treasures. Therefore, while the attack from the cannon sent her flying, it did so in a way that defied common sense. The fur seal’s enormous frame drew a strange arc in the air and crashed heavily into the pillar of black smoke.
The inky pillar broke apart into pieces.