The Dao Tree!
Never in his wildest dreams had Lu Yun expected to find it here, so the moment he laid eyes on it, he was certain this was all a trap. Of course, he’d never seen it in person before, but he remembered its appearance from Cangyin’s memories.
“Dao Tree, Dao Tree… this thing shouldn’t be part of the immortal dao!”
Strictly speaking, the Dao Tree wasn’t a towering tree, but a tree-shaped world that was divided into three layers. One could find star-like fruit growing within each layer: dao fruits!
Aether dao fruits were located in the outermost layer, arcane dao fruits in the middle, and origin dao fruits in the innermost. When plucking a dao fruit, dao immortals traveled through the void and arrived at the Dao Tree to pick one of its fruits.
The three kinds of fruits were found in successive layers, each of which imposed strict limitations in terms of cultivation realm. Only those in the corresponding realm were permitted entrance into one of the tree’s layered worlds to obtain a fruit. Such were the rules set by the immortal dao.
But if one roamed free of those stipulations—like right now, for example—this tree was then the greatest treasure of immortal dao. By refining its core, one could rule the immortal dao itself through it.
Most of the dao fruits growing on the tree were mere mirages for the immortals present. Without the appropriate cultivation realm, it was impossible to actually touch the fruits.
Lu Yun looked at the majestic tree, then at the immortals madly fighting one another nearby, a little uncertain of how to proceed.
Grab the tree and run? Anyone in possession of the Dao Tree would be a walking target and be quickly blasted into oblivion. He’d already noticed five unbelievably powerful minds locking on to him. Any unusual twitch out of him would be met with a barrage of attacks in a split second.
“How did those fur seals get in here…” Lu Yun hovered unmoving in the air, his eyes on a patch teeming with fur seals.
Zhao Shenguang had proclaimed the disgusting creatures as enemies of Nephrite Major. Any fur seal reckless enough to set foot on Nephrite soil was to be given no quarter. Furthermore, he personally held down the fort in Destiny City, bringing to bear the might of the heavenly mandate, but these fur seals had still somehow made it in.
Lu Yun even glimpsed the big fur seal. Just like the demon sovereign and shamanic divine powerhouse, the giant fur seal had split himself into the flesh of his many descendants. However, for him to fool the Nephrite mandate’s vigilance and enter the central world was still rather unexpected.
“Milord, destroy it!” Ge Long’s voice suddenly reverberated in Lu Yun’s consciousness. “Destroy that Dao Tree! It shouldn’t exist in the first place!”
“What??” Lu Yun froze.
“There was no such tree when the immortal dao first came into existence. Someone planted the tree in the immortal dao as a trap by which to control immortals!” The old servant’s tone was extraordinarily solemn. “Does milord recall the monster that feeds on the energy of cultivators? This is a similar case before us, this tree is the one that swallowed the void realm back in the day!”
Inside the Dusk Tomb once resided a strange force that could devour a cultivator’s energy. It left their bodies intact and only fed on their cultivation realms. Every time the force manifested itself, it’d consume the cultivator’s realms and plunge them back to mortality.
But according to what Ge Long was saying, that force had been… the strength of a living entity?
Shocked incredulity draped over Lu Yun.
“Wait, since there were no cultivators back in the Primordial Era, was it all because that monster ate their realms?” His eyes grew round. Something that fed on a… cultivation realm?
A creature that could eat cultivation itself?
How’s that even edible?
“That monster was born from this Dao Tree.” Ge Long breathed deeply. It was only after he’d eaten the monster in question that he’d recovered his sense of self.
“As long as the Dao Tree lives on, it will continue to spawn similar monsters… What’s more, when wielded by certain things, the tree becomes an obstruction to the immortal dao itself! So, destroy it and rebuild the immortal dao!” The old servant’s eyes glinted sharply as he spoke with unyielding resolve.
“Rebuild the immortal dao?” Lu Yun trembled violently. He was nothing but a weak immortal that’d barely begun his journey on the immortal dao, a newborn having just taken his first, halting steps. For him to rebuild the immortal dao was a fable straight out of the Arabian Nights.
He projected his consciousness inside the kingdom of hell and looked the old servant in the eye.
“It’s not as complicated as it might seem.” Realizing that he might have sounded too sensational, Ge Long hastened to tone things down. “Due to the Dao Tree’s existence, the dao immortal realm deviated from its intended path. So long as you destroy the tree and find a new way to cultivate the dao immortal realm, you’ll be able to reconnect the fractured immortal dao.
“The tree’s taken root in the immortal dao and become a poisonous tumor, so we must excise it!”
“I see now.” Lu Yun let out a faint sigh.
“As for how to reach the dao immortal realm without the tree, milady will be able to deduce it in her capacity as the Dao Sovereign once she’s accomplished enough in formula dao,” Ge Long added.
“In that case, the question is… how do I destroy the tree? With my current strength, I can’t even scratch it with my final trump card—an emperor’s battle zombie,” Lu Yun asked with a frown.
“Milord, this old servant’s swords…”
Lu Yun interrupted Ge Long as soon as the man began his response.
“I’ve more or less guessed your identity by now, so don’t call yourself ‘old servant’ anymore. And stop calling me ‘milord’, too, you’ll give me a heart attack one of these days,” Lu Yun grumbled ill-humoredly.
For one thing, Ge Long was speaking of rebuilding the immortal dao. Added to that the four swords and the sword formation... Lu Yun would be a blithering idiot if he still failed to guess the man’s identity.
There weren’t many legends pertaining to Ge Long in the world of immortals, but on Earth, the fame of this ancestor was known far and wide.
Ge Long grinned from ear to ear. “You’re the master of that supreme treasure, and this old ser… I came back to life through it, so that obviously makes you my master.”
“Forget about it. What were you saying about your swords?” Lu Yun fidgeted awkwardly.
“My four swords rule over destruction. Respectively, they represent ruin, devastation, obliteration, and annihilation. What lies inside the four coffins are the souls of the swords. As for their physical selves… someone refined them into the focal points of four great sealing formations and capped them over fissures in four corners of the world,” Ge Long explained. “Sir, if you can retrieve the swords’ physical selves and reattach their souls, the resulting sword formation will be strong enough to destroy the Dao Tree.
“The tree doesn’t need to be destroyed right at the moment. When your ten Yama Kings reach the dao immortal realm, they’ll be able to bring you back here. In the meantime, with these deathsworn guarding the tree, no one will be able to lay their hands on it.”
Well FML, I guess I'm a blithering idiot cause I'm really confused what GL is now. I thought he was possibly the demon celestial master?
Re. fractured immortal dao. We found the Dao Flower of cultivators before, and there was wonkiness in the path of immortality as well. Please refer to this handy-dandy graphic for more. See how everything was theoretical only under the old system? Yeah they done fecked up there. And it turns out I'd put together a summary of his envoys before, I must update with the latest list that someone's put together in the comments. :D