Chapter 79: Scourge

“Place the incense in the formation and light it,” Feinie said, calming her breathing.

Qin Xianhuo’s eyes widened with undisguised shock when he looked at her. Just like the white-clad young woman, this black-robed girl had emerged out of nowhere. He refrained from making probing inquiries, but the formation in front of him caught his eye next. He was a grandmaster of formations, but couldn’t see through it. Even its runes were indecipherable.

“What are you staring at? Get moving!” Sensing the man’s stare, Feinie knitted her graceful brow.

“Ah, yes, yes!” Qin Xianhuo hastily placed his incense in the formation and set fire to it.

The incense was a spiritual item born from nature, and, when lit, it released an invisible and intangible aroma. Immortals could control the flow of the air, thanks to their arts, but this aroma was beyond their reach unless they used a special method. 

Feinie’s formation, for example.

Hazy light erupted from the formation, fully dissolving the stick of incense and sending a strange fragrance wafting through the air. Feinie’s hands formed a seal that twisted the fragrance into a rope that drifted toward Dusk River Palace.

“Smells so good....” The river god hiding inside the palace yawned ferociously, entrancement rising on her face. “What smells so good?” In a daze, she slowly drifted out of the palace to follow the aroma.

“Something’s amiss!” A slight frown crossed Mo Yi’s brow when she saw the god’s figure. “Don’t go over there!”

“What’s wrong?” Lu Yun’s expectant look upon the approaching river god morphed to bafflement when he heard Mo Yi’s.

“Fall back!” Mo Yi spread out her arms and swept the group back with an enormous swell of strength. Even the three august immortals couldn’t offer any resistance before being summarily pushed to the back. That was when they finally realized the full extent of Mo Yi’s power.

Qi Shenghui’s face, in particular, was ashen. All those thoughts he’d had of killing her because of her beauty were simply crazy!

The zombie king also seemed to realize something was amiss. Flinching, she swiftly fell back, unwilling to be in close quarters with the river god.

“What on Earth is going on?” Lu Yun repeated upon Mo Yi’s failure to answer.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to rethink your plans to capture her.” The city lord’s face was a little grim. “She, as well as her life, seem to have become part of something else.

“What?” Lu Yun blinked. “What do you mean ‘she’s become part of something else’?”

“It’s that monster!” Qing Han realized as well. “Just now, inside the palace, I saw something eating away at her, but I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Just look at her, does she seem alive to you?”

Now that the river god was trapped in Feinie’s formation, everyone could see for themselves how her fishtail had been picked clean of flesh and blood. Dessicated, there was no trace of life coming from her upper body. At first glance, Lu Yun had mistaken her for a zombie.

“Something’s absorbed all of her vitality, leaving only this body as bait. Perhaps her thoughts are independent, but her life is no longer her own.”

“Diexi is an arcane immortal, yet she still cowers inside the abyss, too afraid to take half a step outside the tomb for the living,” Mo Yi whispered. “The river god is merely an empyrean immortal, so how can she survive here?”

Diexi was the zombie king’s name, as Mo Yi had learned after striking up a conversation after Lu Yun and Qing Han’s departure from the tomb.

“I...” His cultivation too low to discern the situation, Lu Yun didn’t know what to make of the situation after this analysis. “Well, what should we do then?” His face was grim. They’d gone to no small trouble to lure this ‘River God’ out, only to discover there was no good way to deal with her.

Even if they were to capture her, she would die the moment she broke away from the monster.

“There’s still a way!” Yuying’s voice resonated in Lu Yun’s mind. “Sir, you can take the previous river god as your envoy. She’s qualified to be one!”

The previous god had cherished the common people. She’d kept to herself so much that the populace hadn’t known of her, yet in times of trouble, she’d risked her life to save the province and ultimately died to a scheme within the abyss. 

“We have no other option,” a tense Lu Yun responded. “But her corpse is currently suppressing the creature under the palace. If I take her, we’ll be setting it free.”

He’d already considered the possibility upon realizing the previous river god wasn’t a corpsefish, but other misgivings had come into play.

“Sir, don’t overthink it,” Yuying continued to advocate. “Even dead, she can quell the monster. Wouldn’t that task be a trifle once she comes back to life? Moreover, she gave you the talisman earlier. She certainly has a way to escape this place.”

“Very well. We’ll do as you suggest.” His mind made, Lu Yun no longer hesitated.

“What the bloody hell is that!” Qi Shenghui suddenly swore loudly.

Sword light flashed soon after, followed by a pale head flying high in the air. A headless body spasmed forward a few times before dropping lifelessly to the ground, a strong fishy stench arising from it.

A ghoul.

One of these creatures had appeared from somewhere, only to be beheaded by a single slash of Qi Shenghui’s sword.

“Did you just kill a ghoul?!” Lu Yun shook uncontrollably, wrath plain on his face.

“It’s nothing but a trivial monster. Why are you making a fuss?” The eunuch snorted coldly.

“Get away from him! Wait, prepare to fight!” yelled the governor. Ghouls never attacked the living on their own, but they fought tooth and nail once provoked. They also nursed grudges for an inordinately long period of time. 

Sure enough, rustling soon reached their ears as a seemingly boundless sea of creatures emerged from the darkness, crawling in their direction.

“Bugs, one and all. What’s there to fear!” Qi Shenghui screeched. He’d accumulated quite the pent-up resentment ever since coming to this place, and now he’d found targets to vent on. With a battle howl, he brandished his weapon and charged into their midst. In the blink of an eye, a foul reek permeated the air. 

“We’re done for,” Diexi lamented, her face wan.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Editor's note (CheshirePhoenix): there's a saying I've become familiar with since entering the webnovel translation scene, and I think it's rather apropos here: "Fear not a competent enemy. Instead, fear an incompetent ally". That's a bit paraphrased, but good enough for government work. Heh.

etvo's addendum: In Chinese, that's "Fear not a godly enemy, but fear useless (shitty) allies". Or in League terms, fear not the smurf on the enemy team, but your own feeding, int'ing, flaming, afk'ing teammates. The 1v9!!