A half-smile tugged at Sir Ying’s lips and he disappeared from the city wall without a word of explanation.
Lu Yun’s expression darkened. It was obvious that he was the man’s target.
“A governor being prevented from returning to his city by a mere officer? If word of this gets out, I might as well just resign!” A dark smile graced his face.
“Allow this servant to kill him, master!” Yuying’s face was twisted in anger. In her eyes, Lu Yun was the master of life and death in all realms. How dare a mere cultivator offend him?
“No, that’s alright. You killing him would be unjustified. People would accuse me of murdering the innocent and use that to move against me.
“What a pathetic governor I am! The Dusk aristocracy assigned an old servant to monitor me in my own manor! Ha, they think I’m a pushover, eh? Well, they’ve got another think coming!”
Lu Yun rummaged in his clothes and fished out a shiny, palm-sized token meant to be hung on the waist. One side read “Dusk Province” and the other read “Command”. It was a token for army deployment.
Based on what Wanfeng had relayed, it would allow him to command the heavenly army stationed in Dusk Province.
“Summon the heavenly army for me!” Lu Yun handed Yuying the token.
“Master is also the governor of Dusk Province!” Yuying’s eyes lit up. She’d once been in his position, so she naturally knew how to activate the token. “How dare a mere defending officer turn away the governor?! He must have a death wish!”
She held the token in her hand, infusing it with a hazy glow of emerald light.
A golden beam of light shot into the clouds, illuminating almost the entire eastern side of the city. An enormous door slowly opened at the center of the beam.
“Ah, immortals. I thought it’d simply shoot a signal flare or something, but it straight up opened up a portal for the army!” Lu Yun clucked his tongue.
Sir Ying trembled atop the city wall, stumbling and tripping his way out of the gate tower. He stared up at the door in the sky, his face ashen with fear. “He… he summoned the Dusk Phalanx stationed on the shores of the North Sea. Isn’t he worried that the sea monsters will seize the opportunity to attack?” 
“Hail the command token of Dusk! The Dusk Phalanx is hereby ordered to make haste for Dusk City and quell unrest!” Yuying’s declaration trailed the golden light and faded into the portal.
A tremendous army marched out of the door, enshrouded by brilliant light. It was ten thousand strong, uniformly clad in heavy black armor, and bristling with spears and heavy shields. They were an awe-inspiring sight to behold. The very earth trembled when they landed.
“General Yin Xuantian greets Your Excellency!” A man in black armor approached Lu Yun and knelt on one knee.
A moment of stunned silence later, heroic excitement rose from Lu Yun’s heart. What the hell did he have to fear with such an army at his command?
“At ease.” Mentally preparing himself, he drew a deep breath and declared, “Rush the city! Show no mercy for those who resist! No exceptions!” He was a tomb raider; survivors of that dark world were quick and decisive.
“Understood!” Yin Xuantian rose to his feet and boomed, “Attack!”
Battle cries threatened to shatter the sky as even the city wall trembled. One after another, heavily armored soldiers charged at the city wall, crushing the city defenders like insects. The eastern city gate fell in only a few breaths of time.
“Strange. Why is the Dusk Phalanx so weak?” Yuying frowned at the soldiers.
“Weak?” Ge Long gulped. He remembered Lu Yun threatening him with the heavenly army before. He’d thought it was a bluff then, but now it was right here before his eyes! “That’s an army of core realm experts! Sir Yin Xuantian is a spirit realm master! Do you know what that means? He’s so far above us that we can’t even see the soles of his shoes! He’s the same as the heavyweights that spearhead the aristocratic families!”
“My mistake,” muttered Yuying. “It’s not that the Dusk Phalanx is weak, but that the entire province has declined.”
Ge Long pursed his lips and refrained from commenting.
A deep rumble preceded the opening of the eastern city gate. Lu Yun marched into the city, escorted by his soldiers. Sir Ying, officer of the city defenders, was tied up and thrown in front of him.
Sir Ying strained his neck to look up at Lu Yun and stammered, “Lu-Lu Yun, how dare you attack the city?! Are you rebelling??”
“Rebel?” Lu Yun scoffed. “I am the overlord of Dusk Province. Who would I rebel against? Myself?”
Sir Ying fell silent. He hadn’t expected Lu Yun to be this lawless. He’d only locked the young governor out of the city, but this was how he responded?!
“Enemies incoming! Enemies incoming!” The city devolved into utter chaos.
Formations and restrictions lit up as cultivators and armies within the city gathered and rushed toward the eastern gate. Leading the charge were the three major families in the city, Houses Ge, Feng, and Gongsun.
“Who dares attack the capital of Dusk Province! Are you tired of living?!” The crowd parted and let through a young man in white, a black longsword on his back. He jabbed a finger at Lu Yun and his companions.
Dusk City was a major city under the jurisdiction of Nephrite Major. Attacking the city meant making an enemy out of the imperial court, which would only result in death.
Wanfeng, still in Lu Yun’s arms, had finally come to. She stood helplessly beside him and stared blankly ahead. The current situation couldn’t be more confusing.
Lu Yun clasped his hands behind his back and cocked his head at the man in white. “How dare I?” he scoffed. “Ying occupied the city gate and tried to stage a coup. Are you his accomplice?”
“I, I didn’t—” Sir Ying got on his knees to attempt a defense, but Lu Yun interrupted him with a kick to his chin that dislocated his jaw.
The young man’s pupils contracted. “I don’t care who you are,” he huffed. “Anyone who attacks the city must be sentenced to death. Guards, take him!”
That elicited various reactions from the cultivators around him. Some laughed at Lu Yun’s misfortune. Some frowned deeply. But even more were genuinely ecstatic.
The young man in white was Ge Chengxian, sixth son of House Ge. Departing Dusk Province at a young age to train under his master, he’d only recently returned after the completion of his studies. Thus, he didn’t recognize Lu Yun.
Most of the onlookers deliberately obfuscated the truth, hoping that Ge Chengxian would kill Lu Yun for them. Even House Ge hoped so. Ge Chengxian’s master hailed from an exceedingly powerful sect. No one would say a single word if he mistakenly killed a governor who’d fallen from grace. Not even His Majesty the Celestial Emperor would risk offending a powerful sect for a young man who couldn’t cultivate, would he?
“Understood!” Many cultivators rushed at Lu Yun with great gusto.
A simple “kill” was Yin Xuantian’s only rejoinder.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
Brilliant spear slashes descended from the sky, slaying all those who dared make a move.
“You foolish rats have impudently challenged your superiors. Die!” Yin Xuantian stepped forward, his black spear lunging at Ge Chengxian like a wyvern.
“Spirit realm!” Ge Chengxian panicked. This was beyond his wildest expectations! He himself had only reached the golden core realm and was no match for a spirit realm cultivator!
Before he could react, the black spear pierced through his throat.
A prodigy who’d just returned home after reaching the core realm and forming his golden core had died beneath Yin Xuantian’s spear before he could fully stretch his wings.
1. The character for Dusk is 玄, and the name of the Black Tortoise is 玄武, something we’ve already seen a reference to in the feng shui layout associated with Mount Carmine Dusk. Given the name of the province, there seems to be some sort of connection to the Black Tortoise. In my opinion, what’s particularly clever about the Dusk Phalanx name is that the phalanx military formation also resembles the shape of a turtle. Special thanks to Citrus for brainstorming this name with me.