Wayfarer wouldn’t stay in Dusk Province, of course. Lu Yun had been wondering how to form a connection with the man, only to find out the moment he woke up that Wayfarer wanted Wanfeng as a disciple.
Seeing her master’s agreement, Wanfeng exhaled softly in relief. The senior had shown her many things during the three days that Lu Yun had spent asleep. Though she wasn’t formally apprenticed to him yet, the relationship was already established.
Rather than a grand ceremony, Wayfarer simply accepted a cup of tea from the maid in the grand hall of the city lord manor, thus becoming her official teacher. However, he then immediately raised the idea of leaving the province with her.
According to him, Dusk Province was too ruined to foster any great talents and staying would only be a waste of her potential. Hence, no matter how reluctant she was, Lu Yun kicked her out in the end.
Wayfarer’s words were the stark truth. She wouldn’t be able to grow if she were confined to Dusk Province, and her empyrean-grade spiritual root would likewise wilt into obsolescence.
“Follow your teacher and cultivate properly. You can come back and protect me once you become an immortal,” he told her with a smile.
The maid nodded with fatalistic determination and glanced back every other step as she walked away with her new teacher.
“Having second thoughts?” Qing Han gave a half-smile at Lu Yun’s regretful gaze. “Honestly, you can leave the province with her.” A strange feeling rose in his heart when he uttered these words. “A heavyweight like Wayfarer can guarantee your safety. The Lu Clan wouldn’t dare voice any objections even if you gave up the position of governor,” he said after a moment of thought.
Lu Yun slowly shook his head. “No need.” Standing on the walls of Duskriver City, he gazed into the distance. “I need Dusk Province. The province will help me revitalize my sect. That little bit of obstacle to come isn’t enough to make me flee with my tail between my legs.”
“Your sect?” Qing Han blinked. Before coming to the province, he’d studied Lu Yun’s background but hadn’t found anything that mentioned a sect.
“Correct, my sect.” Lu Yun nodded. “I’m currently the only one left. That’s why I need a stout foundation to rebuild it from the ground up!” He wanted the tomb raider lineage to shine in all its glory in the immortal world.
“You have my support!” Qing Han clapped his shoulder with a smile. “When you formally establish your sect, remember to save a founding elder seat for me.”
“Deal!” Lu Yun laughed heartily.
“That reminds me,” something occurred to Qing Han and he turned serious, “be wary of the Skandha Range.”
“The Skandha Range?” Lu Yun snapped to inner attention.
“Li Xing, the one who came with me, is from there. He’s been wanting to kill you in order to avenge the old willow tree spirit that died in Dusk City.” Qing Han was incomparably solemn. “The Skandha Range is home to age-old inheritances and unfathomable mysteries. More than one earthshaking powerhouse comes from there. Although it declined alongside Dusk Province, many still consider it home, Li Xing among them. He left it about a thousand years ago.”
Lu Yun nodded slowly. Twelve hundred years ago, the willow spirit had wrought destruction upon the province. As the governor back then, Yuying had hunted it down in person, prompting the spirit to flee into the Skandha Range for shelter.
“I should get going as well.” Qing Han’s mood dipped all of a sudden, his reluctance bleeding through.
“Yes.” Lu Yun nodded. He knew the imperial envoy was originally scheduled to leave after the Dusk River Sacrament. Only, overly exhausted, Lu Yun had fallen asleep for three days. As a result, Qing Han had waited all this time, intent on not leaving before he’d said a proper goodbye.
“When you go back, please thank Qing Yu for me. I know she’s no crone,” Lu Yun requested as he recalled the girl who’d saved his life twice.
“I will,” Qing Han promised. “Do you want to see her?”
Startled, a small smile graced Lu Yun’s face. “Don’t tell her I called her a crone.”
Under the setting sun, Qing Han’s silhouette slowly vanished from view.
“We failed to obtain the Formation Orb, and that castrate also mysteriously died. How are we supposed to report to the prince?!”
Outside Nephrite Capital, Situ Yun paced around in circles. He and his companion had returned a while ago, but had opted to hover outside the city gates for a long time because they were afraid to face His Highness. The crown prince was certainly not one for mercy.
Not only had they failed their mission, all related memories had also been erased from their minds. They didn’t even know what’d transpired! The prince would certainly not spare them.
“Mi-Mister Qin, what do you think we should do? Neither of us can withstand His Highness’ wrath!”
Qin Xianhuo’s expression also flickered rapidly.
Just as he was about to continue, a droning sound suddenly emitted from his body. A faint shadow landed on him, as if it’d threaded through the obstruction of time and space from a place far, far away.
“What’s going on!!” The old formation master blanched. From the depths of his soul came an enormous, twisting pain as his consciousness grew hazy.
An enormous painting scroll slowly unfurled over his body, its inky panorama of mountains and rivers fading away to form a human figure that overlapped with Qin Xianhuo. The old man’s expression froze, two scarlet glows appearing in his eyes as his appearance underwent a transformation.
“You, who are you?! Where is Mister Qin?” Situ Yun looked on, his face ashen with horror.
“Congratulations on your newfound freedom, Dao Brother Wayfarer!” a bright and resounding voice called out. Ripples slowly spread outward in the sky, heralding the entrance of a young man wearing rose-gold robes.
He was tall and well-built, his eyebrows as straight as swords and his eyes piercing like the stars. Opulence and regality wreathed themselves around him and he seemed to command everything through his every minute gesture.
“Your Highness!” Situ Yan’s face froze in astonishment, but he was still baffled by the sudden turn of events. Why had Qin Xianhuo suddenly become someone else?
Why had the crown prince suddenly appeared and called this man Wayfarer? Wasn’t that the governor of Dusk Province from a thousand years ago?
Before Situ Yan had a chance to fully comprehend the situation, the youth who was nobility incarnate turned him to ashes with a casual slap.
“So it’s you, Zhao Changkong.” Wayfarer glanced at the young man and stretched his legs, getting himself accustomed to his new body. “Who would’ve thought you’d see through the secret pawn I left back then. You must’ve purposefully sent him with my painting to receive me.” His voice took a murderous turn. “In that case, you must know who sealed me on that accursed altar?”
Zhao Changkong nodded with a small smile. “Since we could save you, we naturally know who sealed you away. We even know where your other selves are located.” 
“My other selves?” Wayfarer’s eyes shone bright. “Where are they?”
An intense greed and lust for blood flashed across his face.
“We didn’t save you out of kindness. One hundred years. Within one hundred years, you will help us pacify the land and secure our place on the imperial throne. Then we shall help you subdue your other selves,” Zhao Changkong responded indifferently. “This is a transaction.”
Wayfarer fell silent. He could sense the frosty killing intent targeting him. If he were to refuse, he would undoubtedly die on the spot.
“The current celestial emperor isn’t dead yet, is he?” The older man’s tone was icy. “Do you plan on committing regicide?”
“Our royal father has reached the limits of his cultivation. He is now ready to step into an unknown realm. He has made preparations to abdicate in order to batter open the gates to this new realm. Meanwhile, we do not yet have the power to quell Nephrite Major, so your assistance is required,” Zhao Changkong replied peacefully. “We had thought the three of them would bring back the Formation Orb along with you. Their failure was unexpected.”
“Alright, I agree. I’ll help you pacify the land for a hundred years.” Wayfarer nodded. “I also need you to support me with resources so I can restore my strength. Furthermore, I know who possesses the orb right now.”
1. The crown prince is using the royal we, but since he’s not the celestial emperor, I didn’t want to capitalize his pronouns. I did opt for the plural, however, to indicate how, well, pompous he’s being.
Holy... I didn't expect the poor formation master to go down like this! WTF. And that crown prince is a snake. Wtfwtf.
And aw, ciao Wanfeng, for now.