Yan Feng was at a loss when he read the notice. Delayed? Half of the Outerverse members were dead, so the Outerverse Youth Council urgently needed replacements. Why was there a delay in the selection of members? This notice was even from Arbiter Zhenwu—just what had happened?
No matter what guesses Yan Feng made, none of them were related to Lu Yin. After Jenny Auna went to Firesmelt Planet, the two had become sworn enemies. Even if Lu Yin never truly cared about Jenny, she was still his fiancée on paper. To Yan Feng, helping Nightqueen Yanqing and dealing with Lu Yin was supposed to be an effortless task, so this was an outcome that he could not afford to let happen.
Lu Yin was not planning to reveal his cards against Yan Feng at the current moment. Rather, when he eventually went to East San Dios, that was when he would finally settle his grievances with Yan Feng as well as deal with Puyu.
Two days quietly passed by, and now, there were only three days left until the Tournament of the Strongest. On this day, Lu Yin suddenly received a message from Little Pao saying that someone was looking for him at the academy’s space station.
Lu Yin arrived to see the Nalan family spacecraft, as well as the graceful and alluring Madam Nalan.
“Madam Nalan?” Lu Yin was stunned.
She smiled at Lu Yin. “Never thought that I would come here, did you?”
Lu Yin smiled. “Indeed, why has madam come to visit Astral-10?”
“To see you.”
Lu Yin felt that something was strange. “To see me? How can I help the madam?”
She gestured at the spacecraft. “Student Lu, let’s enter and talk inside. It’s too tiring to continue standing.”
Lu Yin nodded and followed the alluring Madam Nalan into her spacecraft.
They entered the same lounge, where there was already a luxurious feast set up, as well as a bottle of extravagant wine. “Truth be told, I came here looking for Student Lu in order to get your help to lockbreak a certain sourcebox.” Madam Nalan cut straight to the chase.
Lu Yin was astonished. “Madam is the head of the Nalan family, which shouldn’t be lacking in Lockbreakers. Why did you come all the way here to find me?”
She smiled. “You’re unwilling?”
“Madam has saved my life twice. Don’t even mention lockbreaking—I wouldn’t hesitate to cross mountains of blades or brave seas of fire for you. I was just curious about this matter.”
She smiled and fixed her beautiful eyes on Lu Yin. “I would feel uneasy requesting help from other Lockbreakers.”
Lu Yin became even more perplexed; he was just a two-star Discerning Elementary Lockbreaker. Given the financial power of the Nalan family, they could easily invite a Perceptive Intermediate or even a Boundless Advanced Lockbreaker. He did not ask any further questions and instead thought back to the moment when they had first met. Back then, someone had been secretly plotting against her. Huge clans had too much strife within them.
Lu Yin responded after thinking for a moment. “Since madam thinks so highly of me, I won’t decline. Let’s begin.”
Madam Nalan could not help but give Lu Yin a strange look. “Student Lu is certainly fanatical about training. We just sat down.”
Lu Yin smiled awkwardly, but he didn’t remain courteous and picked up a succulent roasted thigh and began to eat. The shank was extremely delicious, as the meat was tender, flavorful, and even held some star energy within it. The fragrant flavors lingered in his mouth even after he swallowed, and he felt a strange sense of satisfaction spread through his body. He swallowed a mouthful of red wine and let out a relaxed breath of contentment. “Madam, this glass of red wine must be an exceptional luxury.”
“If you like it that much, I can gift you some,” she replied with a laugh.
Lu Yin grinned but declined. This woman was too generous towards him, and her actions always caused him to be bewildered. He believed that there was no such thing as a free lunch, and this was already such an expensive meal.
This woman was enchantingly beautiful, a peak magnate of the Outerverse, and her background was even connected to the Sword Sect; she could not be underestimated. He had even considered the possibility that the Sword Sect had specifically sent this alluring Madam Nalan to entice him, but he soon dismissed that thought. He was just a Limiteer, and even if his innate gifts and his talent were more overpowered, he still would not be able to compare to the Ten Arbiters. One of the arbiters was from the Sword Sect, so even if they appreciated Lu Yin’s potential, they would not expend that much effort to rope him in.
Besides, if she truly wanted to entice him, could he even reject her? Lu Yin recalled that this woman had actually saved his life on two occasions.
“Are you considering whether or not I may have set up fancy schemes or you?” A fresh and beautiful mien with a limitless grace and attraction appeared in his sight, and he retreated in surprise.
Madam Nalan’s alluring eyes twinkled with mirth. “Student Lu, am I that scary?”
Lu Yin forced a laugh out. “You’re too beautiful, and I can’t take it anymore.”
Her eyes formed into two thin crescent moons. “You really know how to sweet talk a lady. Oh, we’ve already met several times, but I still haven’t told you my name. I’m Liu Fuxue.”
Lu Yin’s eyes flickered. Sure enough, this woman carried the surname “Liu,” which was one of the primeval surnames, as well as the surname of the leading family of the Sword Sect. “Clouds in the sky drift by like the snow of the four seasons, and the bitterness of this world can be found in a freshly brewed cup of tea. It's extremely liberating.”
The alluring Nalan let out a gasp of surprise. “Student Lu’s poetry is impressive. In that case, perhaps you could interpret another name—Liu Tianmu.”
Lu Yin did not give the name much thought and blurted out, “The stars in the sky fall like leaves from an autumn tree, cleansing one of impurities.”
She covered her mouth as she chuckled, but then she gently clapped her hands. “You have quite a nimble imagination and could probably participate in one of the Erudite Flowzone’s contest.”
“Madam Nalan, who is this Liu Tianmu that you mentioned?” Lu Yin asked curiously. Those with the surname Liu were definitely not simple.
Her lips curled up, and a trace of mischief flashed across her eyes. “You will find out in the future.”
She then requested for Lu Yin to unlock three sourceboxes. Two had been verified to be at the three-star Discerning Elementary level, and they were shaped like stones. The third had not been judged yet, and its size was roughly the same as the other two, though its form was different. It was a broken palm—no, it appeared to be a broken palm.
This last one heavily piqued Lu Yin’s interest, as no two sourceboxes in the universe were identical. Every Lockbreaker would run into all sorts of strange treasures, but this sourcebox that was shaped like a broken hand certainly seemed to be more exotic than normal.
Lu Yin spent two hours to unlock the first sourcebox. It was just graded at the three-star Discerning Elementary level, so he did not even take out the Giant Emperor’s third eye and only used his domain and Cosmic Art to help him. He was thirteen times faster than during his first lockbreaking attempt, which showed his progress.
However, the item within the sourcebox had already vanished, and thus, his efforts were for nothing.
The second sourcebox took him another two and a half hours, and within it was an ancient-looking plank. There were vague characters written on it. Lu Yin could not understand the characters and quickly handed the plank to the alluring Madam Nalan.
She had some people carefully preserve and then deliver it to an archaeologist for research. Perhaps they would be able to extract some useful information from the item.
Any item that was sealed within the dust of the universe meant that it was related to an almighty-level super powerhouse, as that was the only way it would be worthy of being sealed. Thus, every item recovered through lockbreaking was not simple, and the most classic example was held by the Ross Empire.
The Ross Empire’s founder had coincidentally come across a clothing item through lockbreaking. It was a long skirt designed for a woman, and since it seemed to be made from ordinary material and was utterly devoid of star energy, it had almost been tossed. However, the founder had not been willing to do so and had instead handed the skirt to their subordinates to study. Who would have guessed that within this long skirt laid a great deal of ancient scientific knowledge. This data had given birth to the most dominating force in the Blazing Mist Flowzone, the Ross Empire, and it even qualified to go up against the Blaze Realm now.
Of course, the Ross Empire’s fortuitous opportunity had only happened by chance. Many powers had obtained valuable items through lockbreaking but could not even comprehend what was written on them. Even when they did decipher it, the information might not be suitable for the current era, or it might be findings that had long since become common knowledge after so many years had passed.
In short, any item that could be obtained from lockbreaking was valuable and would require careful research and consideration.
Lu Yin looked at the broken-palm shaped sourcebox and touched it with his hand. His finger felt as if it had been pricked by something, and he raised his eyebrows in confusion.
“Seventh Bro, something’s not right. You shouldn’t mess with this thing,” the Ghost Monkey suddenly warned in a solemn voice.
Lu Yin revolved the Cosmic Art and activated his domain as well while also taking out the Giant Emperor’s third eye. He carefully observed the severed palm sourcebox, and with the support of these three things, he finally noticed something different about it. There was a peculiar forcefield surrounding the broken hand that contained an inauspicious sensation. This forcefield was reminiscent of a scorpion’s tail poised to strike, and this was what had pricked Lu Yin’s hand.
Lu Yin was stunned, as this was his first time encountering such a sourcebox.
He had seen many sourcebox catalog videos, but even sourceboxes that were dangerous to Lockbreakers would not have this kind of a prepared attack. Of course, it was possible that he simply was not able to see such details through the videos.
Many Lockbreakers had died in bizarre situations, and some of them might have even been due to situations like this scorpion tail-looking forcefield.
Lu Yin considered the situation some more, and then remembered that he had one opportunity to unlock a sourcebox in front of the Trialmaster. He weighed his options, and then spoke to the bright Madam Nalan. “Madam, I want to bring this sourcebox into the academy so that I can unlock it in front of my mentor.”
Her eyes flashed with delight, and she nodded. “Alright. Be careful, Student Lu.”
Lu Yin nodded and noted that the tempting Madam Nalan already knew that this broken-hand sourcebox was peculiar. This incident had merely been her probing his abilities, and if he truly tried to unlock the broken hand, then she would have stopped him. It seemed that she was truly aiming for him to ask his mentor for help. Did she know about the Trialmaster’s existence? It was certainly plausible, since he was a super powerful Lockbreaker whom even Nightking Yuanjing respected. If Madam Nalan knew of the Trialmaster’s existence, then it was logical for her to request for Lu Yin’s help in unlocking this sourcebox.
At this moment, Lu Yin finally understood what this woman wanted. Sure enough, he could not even understand the tricks that people at her level were employing and could only figure things out after being taught a lesson.
The severed-palm sourcebox had no offensive nature, or else Madam Nalan would not have been able to hand it to Lu Yin so casually. If a sourcebox had an offensive nature, then one would be attacked if upon making contact with it.
When Lu Yin brought the sourcebox to the Trialmaster, his eyes widened as soon as he caught sight of it. “That’s a trick from some old expert. Kid, you can’t open this sourcebox.”
Lu Yin respectfully said, “Please teach me.”
“Some sourceboxes contain a bit of remnant power from their previous owners. It might be some of their innate gifts, battle force, domain, or even battle techniques. These bits of power that can persist through the ages are the biggest threat to Lockbreakers.”
“Are you saying that this severed palm contains some of the strength that a certain powerhouse left behind?” Lu Yin was astonished.
The mentor closed his eyes. “Unlocking something like this requires one to at least be at the Boundless Advanced Lockbreaker stage. You’re still too green, kid.”
Lu Yin thought about it. “Could Mentor help me with this?”
The Trialmaster shook his head. “Facing the strength of a predecessor is too risky. You can consider it like an ancient powerhouse transcending time to challenge those of the present era.”
Lu Yin nodded. “I’ll take my leave then.”
Not long after, Lu Yin returned the broken palm to Madam Nalan and repeated the Trialmaster’s words to her.
She sighed and then forced out a smile. “Student Lu, to be honest, I’ve found a few other Lockbreakers, but I was similarly rejected by all of them.”
“My mentor says that only a Boundless Advanced Lockbreaker can successfully unlock this sourcebox.”
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Translated By: Choco
Edited By: Neshi/Nyxnox
TLC'ed By: OMA