Tribute spirits were the ancient name of divine spirits, but in Lu Yun’s eyes, the tribute spirits of this world couldn’t be called divine spirits. Tribute spirits were born with imperfections and couldn’t leave their priest. They lived and died along with their tribe.
Divine spirits, however, were entirely different. Incense and worship enhanced their strength, but they could still survive if they left their priest.
Mountain ghosts were divine spirits, Ah Niu was a tribute spirit. The Wei river god in the clouds was also a tribute spirit instead of a divine one. However, there was a connection between the two of them.
The river god was extremely strong—many times stronger than Ah Niu, in fact. However, what Lu Yun sensed more clearly was that it was… afraid. It didn’t dare show itself and rain down furious retribution even when a ritual a thousand years old had been interrupted. It could only summon this thick cloud layer and slowly torment the Yan Tribe.
“What is it afraid of? Ah Bao? But that doesn’t make sense. According to what Shennong and the priest said, Ah Bao will attract the fury of nature if she makes a move and disaster will strike her.” Lu Yun frowned slightly. “…the divine decree!”
Light gleamed in his eyes as spirit energy circulated madly within his body. He ran through several deductions about the Wei river god looming in the clouds.
“Ah Bao can’t do anything to it because its divine decree is one recognized by the world. But the decree… doesn’t belong to it! It obtained the decree after swallowing the real river god!
“The river god it swallowed was an embryo and not yet fully formed. I see now!” Formula dao laid bare everything about the river god in front of Lu Yun. “Since that tribute spirit could take the divine decree, why can’t Ah Bao or Ah Niu do the same?
“In that case…” A smirk flitted across Lu Yun’s lips. “I’m taking your divine decree!”
Up in the clouds, the river god was still eyeing Ah Bao. Just as Lu Yun had inferred, any divine spirit could take its divine decree because it didn’t have right of ownership. However, it’d ruled the river for thousands of years and collected a vast collection of ragtag monster spirits, imps, and lesser demons during this time. There were even a few uncommonly strong divine spirits without divine decrees.
The human tribes along the Wei River had once banded together to defy the river god, but the end result had been the eradication of several tribes stronger than the Yan Tribe. With the Yan Tribe as the remaining leader, the rest of the humans had to bow their heads in submission.
Children were offered as tribute every year, and in return the river god protected the tribes around its waters. Truth be told, it was just corralling humans as livestock.
Sadly, this kind of situation was all too common in the great wilderness. If it wasn’t for the human sacred land and two great gods forming its pantheon, humanity as a whole would’ve long been rounded up as general cattle for other races.
Jiang Ti had benefited from a string of good luck. He’d saved an unweaned pixiu when he was very young and raised it to adulthood, then met Ah Bao after moving to Qingqiu Mountain who further ensured the safety of Ning Village.
He’d brought the villagers back to the tribe not to seek more protection, but because Ah Bao and the pixiu could help the tribe with their prodigious strength. However, he’d never thought of going against the river god… The stronger tribes that existed several thousand years ago had all been razed over the course of one night for their insubordination!
Lu Yun pointed gently, sending a faint ripple through the air.
A pillar of brilliant golden light pierced through the heavens and dispersed the heavy clouds overhead. Blinding sunlight once more scattered over Yan Tribe territory.
Lu Yun shot into the air. “Ah Bao, Ah Niu, the two of you keep watch here. Beat the crap out of anything that dares rush out of the Wei River!” he roared.
Ah Bao couldn’t do anything to the river god because of the divine decree that conferred the river’s protection. As a natural-born divine spirit, she was subordinate to spirits with a divine decree. It’d be a pyrrhic victory even if she could overcome the river god, so it wasn’t worth the attempt. But at the same time, the other entities and divine spirits in the river posed no threat to her.
Lu Yun hadn’t wanted her to do anything in the beginning because he’d been afraid she’d catch the eye of heavyweights in the great wilderness. Now however, he changed his mind. He was going to seize the Wei River divine decree for her!
“How dare a pathetic human take action against me?!” The river god flew into a rage at seeing Lu Yun charge up instead of Ah Bao. Gravely insulted, it stretched out a claw to crush the impertinent human to pieces.
A second pillar of golden light blasted upward from the ground, slamming right into the river god. With a ghastly shriek, the enormous dragon claw disintegrated into pieces.
“What is that?!” Gasping, fear flitted through its eyes.
To its great dismay, a strange pattern had somehow appeared by the river banks. The pattern exuded a stern authority that constantly compelled the river god to descend and kowtow before it. Even more terrifying was that its connection to its divine decree had been cut off!
“You ant!” Dense malice glittered in its eyes as it glared fixedly at Lu Yun. Everything originated from this human youth that’d just set foot into the golden core realm. All would be over if he were disposed of.
The light emanating from the dark-golden diagram prevented the strong divine spirits under its command from showing their faces, while the mountain ghost had the remainder of the river god’s forces firmly in hand.
“Ant? Watch as this ant personally butchers you!” roared Lu Yun. Fingers dancing through sword seals, currents of the world’s energies gathered in the air as a terrifying sword formation around the river god.
Formations without foundation!
The same dark-gold pattern could be found in the formation—the Exalted Divine Emperor’s Sacred Origin Runes. These were the divine emperor’s sacred runes; both divines and divine spirits had to worship them upon sight. These runes exerted control over divines and divine spirits, and were Lu Yun’s ultimate trump card in facing off against the Wei river god!
Besides, the river god was only a tribute spirit and half a step away from becoming a true divine spirit.
“Come down here!” Lu Yun shouted, bringing the sword formation and Sacred Origin Runes to bear on the river god. He slammed the tribute spirit onto the ground, activating the runes in the dirt to function as restraints.
However, he’d been the one to draw these Sacred Origin Runes and not the Exalted Divine Emperor himself, so they were of limited use against the river god. Once the river god recovered its wits, it could easily struggle free of these mid-tier runes.
Therefore, Lu Yun would never allow it the opportunity to do so.
Here's what Chinese tombs may look like, to give you guys a better idea of how solemn/serious/grand tombs are, and how much of an insult burial mounds may be.