“Stop!” boomed Lu Yun.
Since Xuanxi was Lu Yun’s envoy, the two would remain in communication even if they were hundreds of millions kilometers apart.
Under her control, the Dusk River came to a sudden halt. The governor swam out of the water and dropped down to the ground on steady feet. He’d entered the fringes of the burial mound, upon which the life-absorbing power had faded, reaching no further than the abyss.
Nevertheless, he sensed something familiar here—an energy that belonged to the altar in the ruins of Truewater City. So it seemed he’d once again entered the burial mound. The destruction of the corpse coffin had transformed it completely, turning it into an enormous cavern.
Within it, all sorts of zombies, undead hags, corpsefish, corpse flies, and others rampaged, tearing and biting at each other. Moreover, freed from the restraints of the Dragon and Tiger Princes, the living layouts roamed free as phantom-like figures and joined the fray with abandon.
This was no place for any living soul.
Lu Yun now had to completely conceal his lifeforce with hellfire, or he’d be torn to pieces by the ocean of monsters in the blink of an eye. He gulped. This place has become even more dangerous than the abyss!
Although there was no shortage of dark creatures under the abyss, they remained docile in the absence of provocation. The undead creatures here, by contrast, actively sought out their prey.
The corpse coffin has disappeared completely. Lu Yun frowned slightly, trying to reconcile the sight with his knowledge that the corpse coffin had been divvied up and sealed in different locations. He could still see marks left by the coffin, but the enormous body itself was nowhere to be seen within the cavern. Has it rotted away already? But it hasn’t been that long!
Blanketed by blazing hellfire, he quickly followed the route in his memories to Truewater City. The ancient city was buried under the Myriad Formation Summit, rather than within the abyss, but the cavern now spanned the entire underground of Duskwater Prefecture. Lu Yun encountered few obstacles as he made his way to the sunken mountain.
Pushing the ninth-rank Violetgrave to its limit, he vanished in a flash of violet sword energy.
There! He stopped after roughly an hour, the ruins of Truewater City having come into view. The altar sat at the center of the old city, throwing off a ghastly white light.
But at this moment, Lu Yun felt his hair stand on end. There was someone on the altar!
A figure in white stood quietly at the heart of the structure, his bright eyes fixed on the Dusk governor.
“Who are you?!” demanded Lu Yun.
“Do you know the grave trouble you’ve caused?” responded a soft, hoarse voice. He sounded very familiar.
“Wayfarer!” Lu Yun’s eyes shot wide. Although he couldn’t catch a good look at the figure, he could see the man’s bright eyes and recognized his voice.
Wayfarer! What, again?? He was identical to the young man they’d encountered beneath the abyss!
“Without the Portrait of Emptiness, the Water Altar will sacrifice all living souls in Dusk Province during the next Dusk River Sacrament,” Wayfarer muttered to himself, ignoring Lu Yun.
“Why are you here?” Lu Yun asked coldly.
“I’m here to suppress the altar, of course,” the man said without pause.
“Xuanxi!” Lu Yun contacted the river god. “Is Wayfarer still there?”
“He is!” she answered immediately.
Is this a clone? A spirit manifestation? Or something entirely different? Lu Yun frowned deeply, a torrent of thoughts swirling in his mind. “Who are you?” he asked again.
“I’m Wayfarer, of course.” He looked at Lu Yun with surprise. The mist obscuring his body dissipated, revealing his true self.
Dressed in white, he was a devoutly handsome man with long hair and eyes as radiant as the stars. And he wasn’t blind at all. He looked exactly like the art saint Yuying remembered, both in grace and temperament.
“Didn’t you recognize me?” The man chuckled.
“Are you really Wayfarer? The governor of Dusk from a thousand years ago?” Lu Yun scoffed. “Are you really so kindhearted as to stop the altar from claiming lives?”
Wayfarer blinked. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“A thousand years ago, you triggered the calamity that almost destroyed Dusk Province and altered the rituals left by the river god, creating countless unjust deaths. Now you want to suppress the altar to save lives? I don’t think so.” Lu Yun was slightly nervous when he made the accusations, since they were merely his conjectures.
Wayfarer fell silent, confirming his role in the matter.
“You were also the person who barged into this place five thousand years ago, weren’t you?” Lu Yun’s chest tightened. This man was truly responsible for all those atrocities.
“Aren’t you afraid that I’ll kill you for knowing my secrets?” Wayfarer smiled. “You’re a golden core cultivator, little one. I can kill you with a single breath.”
“You would’ve killed me already if you wanted me dead.” Black light shone in Lu Yun’s eyes. “The Portrait of Emptiness is on me, you need that to suppress the altar.”
“You’re very smart.” Wayfarer nodded. “And I sense a familiar presence on you. Did you enter the ancient tomb outside Dusk City?”
Killing intent flashed through his eyes. Yuying was his bottom line. Anyone who dared disturb her tomb was his enemy.
Lu Yun tensed. Yuying had died and returned to the Tome of Life and Death, so it’d be a few days until she could resurrect.
“That’s right,” he responded frankly. “But the tomb had long been broken into by members of the Exalted Immortal Sect.“
Wayfarer closed his eyes and fell silent. The Exalted Immortal Sect… he hadn’t gotten around to taking his revenge on them, yet.
“The altar will activate in less than a day.” He suddenly opened his eyes. “Hand me the Portrait of Emptiness if you don’t want to die.”
“How do you know I’m the one who took it?” Lu Yun’s heart sank. The Dusk River Sacrament was only a day away! He’d been in the abyss for five days and hadn’t noticed the passage of time. “Have you been in the burial mound all this time?” He instantly hit upon the answer.
He’d always felt there was someone else behind the altar. Feinie, and the members of the Exalted Immortal Sect who’d entered this place, had all met an unexplained death.
“Wait!” Disbelief flashed through Lu Yun’s expression and he took several steps back. “You aren’t human. What are you?!”
An upgraded version of the stone spirit that imitated Wanfeng, way back, perhaps?