Apart from the Infernum and ghostly servants who’d gone to Witherdew Major with Yuchi Tianhuang, Xuanyu and company, the rest had all been reborn from their Hell Flowers and become denizens of hell.
Hence, it was past time that Lu Yun recruited another batch of ghostly soldiers. Along his way to the immortal emperor’s tomb, he went on a furious killing spree and didn’t spare a single immortal that belonged to this so-called alliance. He could quickly determine everyone’s identity with the Spectral Eye, so his target selection was as accurate as could be.
Meanwhile, the Eradication Formation directed by Yin Qingran also lumbered into motion. However, since the Dusk immortals weren’t too familiar with operating it yet, they acted with more reserve.
Even so, they quickly attracted the attention of a special power. Members of the alliance gradually surrounded them and attempted to wipe out the Dusk survivors all at the same time.
Back in the world of immortals, Dusk Province didn’t stand idly by. Only a little more than a thousand immortals had set out from Dusk, a trivial number compared to the contingents sent by other factions and clans. But once Lin Yu and Lin Xuan returned and related the events afoot in the central world, Wanfeng and Zhao Zhicheng saw red.
A flurry of action erupted as the province mobilized in full force. One after the other, lord-grade fortress ships cast off their moorings and set sail for Destiny City in Life Province.
The clans forming the enemy alliance also received word that the gig was up, and in response, they turned out en masse and sent their members swarming into the central world, intent on turning it into another battlefield.
The riches that could be found inside the central world defied imagination. There were endless heritages to be found, or ancient combat arts fully intact just waiting to be picked up. These kinds of arts were a perfect fit for void-ascended immortals of the current age and enabled them to unleash greater power as befitting their level.
Therefore, even the conflict in Witherdew Major abated. Large numbers of troops retreated from Witherdew in droves and headed toward Nephrite Major instead, where Zhao Shenguang presided over Destiny City, his presence overshadowing the authority of Qi Hai and the city lord. Everything proceeded in an orderly fashion, with no signs of disruption to be found anywhere.
In the beginning, a major clan’s crippled origin dao immortal and his warriors had tried to stir up mayhem in a scene reminiscent of the first Sovereign Ranking. However, Zhao Shenguang had acted decisively in response. With the combined power of his heavenly mandate and the Path of Ingress, he wiped out the crippled dao immortal and executed every warrior of his clan that’d made the journey to Destiny City.
Shortly thereafter, he declared war on the same clan and arrested all of their immortals in Nephrite Major, then had them burned at the stake.
His actions stunned the world.
No one had expected this new, incredibly ludicrous emperor would be so decisively brutal. To think he’d wage war on a major clan protected by a crippled origin dao immortal! When the shock wore off, that very ruthlessness gave pause to those who were becoming progressively more restless and ultimately kept them in line.
The Art and Zither Saints also showed themselves, and they weren’t alone. Bearing a name that struck fear in the hearts of many otherkind and monster spirits, the Gorb Demon had also been spotted in Destiny City.
By himself, a simple Nephrite celestial emperor might not be able to subdue all immortals far and wide, but the presence of Art Saint, Zither Saint, and the Gorb Demon was enough to dissuade anyone from making a scene.
Besides, Zhao Shenguang’s actions clearly hinted at which way the wind was blowing. Nephrite Major planned to bring Destiny City back under her jurisdiction!
Destiny City was located inside Life Province, yet was an independent faction free from Nephrite’s rule. The two factions had frequently locked horns in the past, a situation that’d only eased somewhat after the crowning of Zhao Fengyang, the father of the current Nephrite celestial emperor.
At the moment, Nephrite Major’s four Guardian Phalanxes surrounded Destiny City in all four directions, while Zhao Shenguang personally oversaw the scene with his heavenly mandate and Path of Ingress, making no secret of his intention to bring the city to heel.
The lord of Destiny City remained expressionless, while Qi Hai’s expression was so brooding it could almost rain.
“Does Nephrite Major wish to undergo another change of rulers?” Qi Hai’s lips curled in a malevolent smile.
Something was obviously afoot inside the central world. Initially connected to the outside world through the Path of Ingress, the world was slowly revealing its true form as a giant lid in the sky over Destiny City. Even so, it hadn’t fully come into being yet. As of this moment, it still lay inside an unknown space.
Lu Yun arrived in front of a great wall of light, a manifestation of the guardian formation of the immortal emperor’s tomb. Along the way, he’d added more than ten thousand ghostly soldiers to his kingdom.
Such a terrible number couldn’t help but make many immortals sit up and take notice. But, while they felt the pressure, they also couldn’t pinpoint Lu Yun’s location.
“This wall of light isn’t a formation, but a boundary between worlds!” Lu Yun immediately understood when he reached out and gently poked the light.
A World Boundary!
At the edge of the East Sea, the boundary that’d isolated the underworld from immortal tribulations was also a World Boundary. Such a boundary was born from the world itself, rather than being an artificially-built structure. Using the purest energy of the land, it formed a barrier that demarcated two different worlds.
“It’s true we’re inside the central world, but the immortal emperor’s tomb is isolated behind a World Boundary…. Perhaps the tomb isn’t inside the central world, per se, but in yet another world? A world within a world?” Lu Yun summoned the Path of Ingress and tried to force his way past the boundary into the tomb.
Alas, unlike the badly battered boundary at the end of the East Sea, this barrier was in perfect condition. It was flawless with nary a weakness in sight. The Path of Ingress was powerless against such a barrier born from the purest energy of the land.
Had Qing Yu been with him, she might have been able to calculate a weak spot in the boundary and find a way to unravel this formation of heaven and earth. Lu Yun himself possessed a certain degree of proficiency in formula dao, but what he had couldn’t compare to his dao partner’s mastery.
On her side, Qing Yu had located the central world’s mandate and was in the process of refining it. Her actions likewise drew the attention of many, but Xing Chen was there with her, fully committed to protecting her and stopping anyone trying to interfere.
“I have to find a way, Fangyang Xing and Jiang Chen have already gone inside.” The boundary could stop Lu Yun from entering, but it couldn’t obstruct his Spectral Eye, so he could see who’d gone beyond the barrier.
What truly surprised him was the size of the area delimited by the World Boundary. It was a mere thousand kilometers across, and while there was indeed a great tomb inside… the immortal emperor wasn’t the tomb’s chief occupant.
“Is the one buried inside the immortal emperor’s tomb not the emperor himself?” Lu Yun furrowed his brows. “That said, there’s this undefined area outside the tomb that the Spectral Eye can’t penetrate…”
With a deep breath, he turned around and left. Since he couldn’t force his way past the barrier, he had to slip inside via an altar instead.
Traveling with the Wandering Step, he quickly found such an altar. The edifice was protected by layers of formations and thousands of immortals were densely crowded around it, subtly positioned in a formidable battle formation.
Altars were critical structures to entering or exiting the immortal emperor’s tomb. If lost or destroyed, those who’d entered might well become trapped. Therefore, it was impossible for a single clan to occupy an altar by themselves.
For example, ten clans were jointly in charge of the altar currently below Lu Yun.
I wonder how much of Zhao Shenguang's actions are being directed by Qing Buyi and Chen Xiao? This seems much more their style.