There wasn’t a soul in the world that wasn’t aware of Sword Divine’s ascension to immortality. Some envied him, others begrudged him, and some more were afraid, but none of them knew what exactly had taken place during his tribulation.
If they were to learn that the eminent Sword Divine had not only been robbed of his tribulation essence and his most precious treasure, but even been stepped on and dunked into the seas… perhaps many would laugh at his misfortunes.
As it were, the killing spree against the Dongfang Clan slowed down to a crawl. No one knew how powerful he’d grown after his tribulation, and if he were to go on a rampage to avenge his kin… few in the world would be able to withstand him.
“Teacher, I’ve let you down.” A long time later, Dongfang Hao emerged from the seabed and looked downcast at the white-haired old man.
“It’s not your fault.” The old man shook his head. “Who could have predicted that Lu Yun would collude with a holy lord from the underworld?”
“But I lost the Sword of Slaughter and the tribulation essence.”
It was a hard loss to swallow. He could still temper his immortal body and mold his immortal foundations with other precious materials and treasures without the tribulation essence… but he’d planned on saving it for the juniors of his clan.
More importantly, he’d lost the Sword of Slaughter!
“It matters not, it’s nothing but tribulation essence. Isn’t the one called Lu Yun using tribulation essence as a reward for killing Dongfang immortals? You can just create some clan bloodlines and exchange them for the bounty.” The old man tossed aside his bladeless sword handle and comforted his pupil.
“As for the Sword of Slaughter… it’s nothing but part of the Sword of Chaos’ will. As long as you retrieve the sword heart, the Sword of Slaughter and Sword of Inheritance will both return to you.
“However, the arrival of a holy lord from the underworld is a major issue!” The old man suddenly turned solemn. “Recently, some rotting kuns swam out of the underworld and were slain by a powerhouse. And now we have a holy lord setting foot in the world of immortals… This is no trifling matter!
“I have to head to the underworld now and find out what has taken place there. Also, creatures from the Blood Sea have come ashore again. Their goal might be the central world, so stay away from the Blood Sea for the time being and don’t enter the central world. Wait for me to return to make a decision.
“Lastly, refrain from provoking Lu Yun at all costs… a holy lord from the underworld isn’t someone we can afford to offend!” With that, the old man whose cultivation had reached an unimaginable realm, soared into the air and winked out of existence.
Dongfang Hao looked down, his eyes suffused with a mixture of madness and killing lust.
“Is a holy lord really someone I can’t afford to provoke?” A sinister, murderous smile appeared on his lips.
“...so tell me, how are you going to compensate me?!” Ashu yammered on and on during their trip back to Dusk Province. Now that his breathing rhythm had been disrupted, his figure was enveloped by an intense aura of death. All of the life force he’d painstakingly accumulated had vanished for good, forcing him to return to his original living dead state.
“I used the power of my core essence to stop the ingress realm old fart’s sword strike for you. One more time and I’ll forever lose any opportunity to be revived!” he added earnestly. “What’s more, I’ve exposed my strength for all to see. The old fossils in the underworld will find out sooner or later, and when they do, they’ll make sure to drag me back there!
“You made a fortune this time, but what about me? I’ve paid a colossal price, so how are you going to compensate me?!”
“I’ve worked out two types of breathing methods, one of metal and one of fire.” Lu Yun stopped in his tracks before answering. “They can temper the heart and the lungs… Of course, if all five organs can be gathered and the power of the five elements shaped into one complete cycle, you should immediately be able to come back to life and break free from the underworld’s shackles.”
Though he was also a a holy lord, Ashu was nevertheless a mausoleum keeper. By leaving without permission, he’d violated the will of the underworld, so people would naturally be dispatched to bring him back.
However, if he could return to life, he’d break free of his status as a mausoleum keeper and escape the underworld’s influence.
“Is that true?!” Ashu’s eyes lit up. He’d previously only cultivated the breathing of metal, but that’d been enough to fill his body with a boundless life force that’d constantly eaten away at the aura of death inside him.
“To be more precise, it’s not a breathing method in the truest sense… A breathing method is a way to forge lungs,” Lu Yun added after some thought. “As for the heart tempering method, it’s meant to synchronize the frequency of heartbeats with your breathing cadence, in order to offset the intrinsic opposition between the five elements.”
He gently probed the lungs and heart of heaven and earth inside his replica. The rhythm of Xing Chen’s breathing and the beating of his heart formed a marvelous resonance. When synchronized, the fire-attributed heart and the metal-attributed lungs could break free of the conflict between the two elements and achieve perfect harmony.
Moreover, he could gradually derive a fire-attributed breathing method from his breathing method. All of this was made possible by Qing Yu’s formula dao.
“In the strictest sense of the word, you could call it a breathing method, but it’s closer to an organ-forging method… a kind of body-tempering art!” Lu Yun’s eyes lit up. He’d finally found the right wording to describe this set of cultivation methods.
A body-tempering art was one that circulated from the inside out, from the organs to the flesh, to methodically strengthen the body and slowly temper it into an indestructible stronghold. That way, one could absorb and wield an even greater amount of energy from nature. In turn, one’s combat arts would grow even more explosive.
“It’s true that immortals train their bodies as well, but merely as a side-effect of their cultivation. Their innards are weak and can’t endure baptism from the energy of the land. In contrast, my body-tempering art is purposefully made to strengthen the flesh. Of course, it will also result in greater vitality in the process!”
Traditional cultivation was centered around the nascent spirit. The stronger the nascent spirit, the greater the immortal’s strength. One’s physique tended to be completely neglected. However, a strong body was the true gateway to greater strength!
Once back in Dao City, Lu Yun began to formulate the body-tempering art together with Qing Yu. As for the tribulation essence and the Sword of Slaughter he’d obtained from Dongfang Hao… he threw those to the back of his mind and proceeded to forget about them.
He did think of something and urgently commanded Xing Chen to make a public appearance and cancel the bounty on the Dongfang Clan.
“Sword Divine Dongfang Hao is now an immortal whose phenomenon of ascension affected the entire world of immortals. This makes him one of the greater powerhouses and therefore, hunting Dongfang immortals is a mission fraught with peril.
“As to not put fellow immortals in danger, I hereby declare the bounty on the Dongfang Clan null and void!” Many were those who sighed in relief at the news.
No one was all that eager to fight Dongfang Hao to the death after his ascension, wary as they were of his wrath. However, equally many were those that found it a pity to give up the tribulation essence and the Dao Flower projection. Therefore, Lu Yun rescinding his bounty was without a doubt a decision to celebrate.
However, some were miserable at the news.
For example, a Dongfang Hao using all of the resources at his disposal to fabricate the Dongfang bloodline in ordinary mortals, almost coughed up blood when he learned of it.
Y'know, this was real sneaky. He made it look like he was willing to give up the Dao Flower projection and tribulation essence, but probably never planned to in the first place.