"Not good!" The octet paled, whirling into a formation the instant before the emerald flames descended. A surge of crimson blood repelled the ferocious fires.
"Hmm?" Yuying frowned slightly. "What's this? My Emerald Mistfire was blocked? No wonder you lot could stroll in here so casually."
She smoothly unfurled a scroll between her fingers, enveloping the hall in an indistinct aura of light.
"The Panorama of Clarity! That’s the genuine article!" murmured one of the men in astounded shock.
"So Yuying didn't die in her heavenly tribulation a thousand years ago after all. She's been using this ancient tomb to recover from her injuries!"
"This is the power of an immortal!"
Enkindled by the Panorama of Clarity's power, the Emerald Mistfire blazed forth, burning through the barrier of blood that kept it at bay.
"My apologies, senior brothers!" A sudden roar came from one of them, swiftly followed by a pulsing series of syllables from his throat, terse and peculiar.
"What are you doing, Lao Nuo?!" shrilled the other voices. Their comrade Lao Nuo had initiated a soul sacrifice art at this juncture, and they were the sacrifices!
Boom. Boom. Boom.
Sound after clamorous sound rang through the tomb. The seven victims' bodies spontaneously burst into sanguine fire and imbued Lao Nuo's body with their strength. The power he gained from sacrificing seven spirit realm cultivators allowed him to approximate an immortal's strength.
Yuying was utterly unprepared for this turn of events, and her mistfire dissipated without much resistance. "Bastard!" She flew into a rage. "How dare you sacrifice souls in the world of immortals!"
A wave of her hand summoned seven swords out of the Panorama and sent them churning toward her prey.
"Just you wait, Yuying! The Exalted Immortal Sect will be avenged!" Lao Nuo discharged a shrill shriek and his body exploded. A cloud of blood carrying his nascent spirit surged out of the chamber, then summarily disappeared.
Yuying's seven swords rushed out right after. There was a yelp of pain in the distance.
"Yuying, you destroyed my nascent spirit! You and I will be enemies until the end of time!"
Blood trickled out of the corner of Yuying's mouth. She landed and knelt on one knee. "Master, Yuying was incompetent and let one person’s soul escape. I await my punishment."
Lu Yun crawled out of the sarcophagus, dumbfounded by what he had just witnessed. The fight just now had taken maybe a dozen breaths, but the impact on him was tremendous. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen cultivators fight before. But compared to Wanfeng’s fights against Ge Long and the corpse flies, duels between immortals were on another level.
Life and death were decided in a matter of seconds!
I… I’ll become someone like Yuying someday. I too can become an immortal! The young man’s expression gradually shifted toward intense excitement.
“Rise.” Lu Yun breathed out a long sigh. “You’ve done very well already! Ah, yes... are there any other treasures in this tomb of yours?” He suddenly recalled why he was here in the first place.
“This tomb was built during the great war a hundred thousand years ago, after the death of an ancient immortal. Though Wayfarer buried my remains here, I don’t know what else the tomb holds.” Yuying seemed bewildered herself.
Disappointment flashed across Lu Yun’s face, but it left as quickly as it had come. Isn’t this splendid woman the greatest treasure the tomb holds?
Pill Fairy Yuying, a pill immortal!
“Have you heard of the Aurum Openia Pill, Yuying? Can you refine it?” He looked expectantly at his new… acquisition.
“Yes, master.” Yuying nodded.
“Fantastic!” Lu Yun shouted in exuberance.
“Master, the Aurum Openia is for those who can’t cultivate. What do you need it for?” asked a quizzical Yuying.
“Eh?” Lu Yun blinked. “Hmm. Yeah, I guess I’m already a cultivator now.”
Encountering Yuying and sealing his first envoy in the Tome of Life and Death had rendered his dormant bloodline utterly meaningless.
“Still, I need to get my hands on one of those pills. Not only that, but I have to announce my acquisition with great fanfare and celebration! Otherwise my newfound ability to cultivate will definitely be investigated.” Though Lu Yun was still a newcomer to the world of immortals, he knew the basics of dealing with other people.
Being the governor of Dusk Province was a hotly contested position. Everyone had their eyes and hopes on his dismissal half a year from now. The province itself was poor, but its governor had significant authority within Nephrite Major nonetheless.
There was no way he would resign now that he was a cultivator. If he was no longer the governor, his family’s past enemies would certainly hunt him down in the open.
Plus, Yuying was now one of his followers.
“So, uh, what level of cultivation are you now, Yuying?” asked Lu Yun.
“I am an immortal, master, but I haven’t gotten all of my strength back yet. At present, this servant is only as strong as an origin core cultivator.”
“Already an immortal, eh?” Lu Yun’s eyes brightened. He gave Yuying a onceover. Here was a prim, pristine fairy—one that called him master! He felt his heart heating up.
“Master shall have whatever you wish…” As she spoke, Yuying peeled the gossamer robe away from her body, once more revealing the lithe figure beneath.
“Whoa, hold on. Put your clothes back on!” Lu Yun interjected hurriedly.
“Yes, master.” Yuying compiled by dressing herself once more to the sound of his gulping saliva.
This body’s been damaged too heavily by the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers formation’s negative qi. If I followed my heart’s call… I just can’t. Even if I forced myself to, I’d die of depletion!
Cold sweat beaded over Lu Yun’s forehead. Though he was now a cultivator, his constitution was still weak. He needed to slowly nurse it back to health.
When Wanfeng saw Lu Yun again, the weeping girl threw herself into his arms. She cried and cried until her tears dried up, then fell asleep.
“Wayfarer…” Looking at the private chamber before her burial chamber, Yuying sighed softly and waved her hand. A flame descended upon the wall-bound painting, slowly reducing it to cinders.
Lu Yun remained silent. The painting’s burning meant Yuying’s complete severance from her past life. From now on, she would have no role aside from that of his envoy.
“Let’s get out of here.”
Carrying Wanfeng in his arms, Lu Yun retraced his steps toward the exit, with Yuying’s radiant form drifting after him. She glanced at the girl in her master’s arms with a touch of envy.
“Oi! Come back here, yum-yum! Here’s another Flying Head Technique! Ow, my teeth! Your skin is so tough!” Within the room of the pill cauldron, Ge Long was still engaged in lively combat with the thousand-year-old zombie.
The corpse flies flitting around were sinking their stingers into him left and right, but he paid them no mind. There were bloody holes all over his body, with the teeming flies flying through them. All in all, he painted an absolutely disgusting and horrifying sight.
Ge Long was seemingly unaware of anything except the zombie. His head was firmly attached to the zombie’s body, ravenously consuming the yin energies within.
“Is… is he your envoy too, sir?” Yuying asked with some confusion.
“I’m not sure,” Lu Yun smiled wryly. “His name is written down in the Tome of Life and Death, but he’s no envoy of mine.”
Even now, Lu Yun had no idea what Ge Long was. But since his name was written down in the book, there was no doubt that he was another of Lu Yun’s servants.
“Shoo!” Yuying frowned slightly. Her simple command was followed by a torrent of emerald fire, burning both the zombie and the corpse flies to nothing but ash. The utterly fearsome thousand-year-old rice dumpling could offer no resistance to her.
Ge Long plopped on the ground. He picked his head up and placed it back on his neck, all the while panting with exertion.
“You burned my yum-yum, girly! And you almost got my head, too!” He looked dolefully at Yuying.
“You should be afraid of cracking your teeth,” the radiant envoy harrumphed. “That monster was still half-asleep. If it had fully awakened, it would be at least at the life core realm. Do you think you could eat something like that?”
If his name wasn’t in the book as well, she would’ve ignored him from the outset.
Ge Long shivered, then instinctively shrank back. Even though he’d only eaten a little bit, his head looked like it had recovered. The hole between his eyes had disappeared, at least.
“Does the cauldron here belong to you?” Lu Yun asked, maid still in his arms.
“No,” Yuying shook her head. “It probably used to belong to the immortal who was originally buried here.”
Indeed, this tomb originally housed an immortal who’d perished in the great war a hundred thousand years ago. Yuying was merely a new resident from a thousand years ago, thanks to Wayfarer.
“Is it worth any money?” Lu Yun’s eyes lit up.
“It should be, since it belonged to an ancient immortal,” Yuying replied seriously.
“Carry it off then!” Lu Yun glowed with happiness. In response, Yuying tucked the cauldron into her sleeves in a fluid motion.
When the group finally left the tomb, it was already deep into the night. The moon and stars glittered in the sky overhead.
Wanfeng had woken up at some point in the interim, but Lu Yun had coaxed her back to sleep. She was utterly exhausted in both mind and body.
“You must be tired, sir. Shall I carry the girl for you?” Ge Long sidled up with an ingratiating smile.
“Scram!” Lu Yun launched him a fair distance with a swift kick.
“Weird,” he mused as he raised his eyes to the sky. “The constellations here are very similar to those on Earth. There are a few differences here and there, but it’s mostly the same. We’ve always had myths and legends about the world of immortals. Could they possibly have originated in this world?”
Whatever the case may be, the moon here and the moon back on Earth were certainly not one and the same.
Lu Yun and his servants reached Dusk city’s gates in no time at all.
“Who comes?” A shout was heard from the top of the gatehouse.
“It is I, Governor of Dusk Province!” Lu Yun shouted from below.
“Ah, it’s Your Excellency!” Sir Ying, who they’d seen earlier that day, poked his head out. “Please come back later, Your Excellency. It’s a sensitive time right now, and we can’t open the gates at night.”