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Chapter 59: The Real Targe

Necropolis Immortal
     As an Envoy of Samsara, Feinie could freely come and go through the realms of yin and yang.

    Lu Yun couldn’t cultivate within the gates because he was a living creature, but his two envoys had no such limitations. Since their names were written in the Tome of Life and Death, they were under its influence and could gather the netherworld’s energies to expedite their cultivation.

    However, the passage of time within the gates was based on Lu Yun. It came to a stop outside when he personally entered the realm, then allowed him to return to the same moment after exiting.

    Lu Yun’s observational stillness was mirrored by Mo Yi, who stood quietly nearby without speaking. Those eighteen formations could kill empyrean immortals, but Feinie still found them trivial to crack.

    “Sir, there’s no one inside the formations in the copse of trees.” The sorrowful envoy’s voice crept into Lu Yun’s ears; she’d already returned to the gates.

    “What?!” The young man grew rather upset.

    “What’s the problem?” asked Mo Yi.

    “There’s no one inside these formations.” Lu Yun ground his teeth angrily. “Wanfeng isn’t here, and neither is the person behind all this.”

    He’d been deceived by an empty threat. There were only killing formations here, but no Wanfeng to be found. If not for Feinie’s scouting, he would’ve had to brave the dangerous formations himself. But… where is Wanfeng then?

    The possibilities were fraught with danger and anxiety.

    “There’s no one here?” Mo Yi sank into thought.

    “Let’s go back.” Lu Yun said a little distantly, then he and the city lord turned right around.

    “Leaving just like that? So you don’t care much about your little maid after all,” a sinister voice cut through the air.

    Lu Yun placed it back to Yuying’s tomb. Its owner had nearly killed him! Are the formations actually targeting my first envoy? That person had nearly died at her hand back then; only his soul had escaped.

    Qing Hongchen isn’t here, then. That guy’s biggest goal is Yuying, not me.

    There was no way the missing scion of the Qing Clan would show up here again so quickly, much less ally himself with someone from the Exalted Immortal Sect. Indeed, no one from Nephrite’s major factions would willingly do so.

    Lu Yun raised his head and saw the emergence of a pallid, middle-aged man dressed in black robes. It was the head of House Ge, who’d been projected by the Duskwater city lord’s formation. The house head was rather upset, since he’d wanted to trick Lu Yun and Yuying into the trap for free.

    The governor had come, but rather than Yuying, he was accompanied by the Duskwater city lord. Moreover, it seemed that the young man had noticed something. He’d been about to leave after looking around a bit outside the formation, which annoyed the house head to no end.

    “So he’s left the formation, eh?” Mo Yi sneered at the newcomer. “How dare a member of the Exalted Immortal Sect intrude upon Nephrite soil!”

    Starry points of light scattered from her body, forming a luminous river of celestial radiance that she hurled at the man in black.

    “An august immortal!” shrieked the man in black. He’d confidently shown himself in order to take Lu Yun hostage and lure Yuying out for her painting; the revelation that Duskwater’s city lord was an august immortal was unwelcome and mind-boggling.

    How can this be?! The restriction that’d appeared in Dusk Province a thousand years ago meant that golden immortals and above dared not enter. August immortals were the strongest combatants who could remain safe on Dusk soil, and there just so happened to be one in front of him!

    Bam!

    His arms detonated the moment Mo Yi’s starlight touched him, creating a dark cloud of bloody mist and marking his disappearance as a crimson shadow.

    “Go!” Mo Yi’s slender brows furrowed slightly in concentration. She flicked a finger, summoning a sword that shot through the air.

    “Ahhhh!” A second painful yowl sounded out, this time an indeterminate distance away.

    “He’s very good at running away. There’s an unknown force inside him that helped him survive a hit from my sword.” A little miffed, Mo Yi returned her sword to its sheath.

    The man in black was at the nascent spirit realm, at most. Her strength as an august immortal should’ve been decisive, yet that mysterious force had kept him alive.

    “You can say that again,” Lu Yun barked out a humorless laugh. “He once conducted a soul sacrifice with all his fellow sect members that’d come with him. That unknown force is probably what he got out of the deal.”

    “A soul sacrifice? Someone from the Exalted Immortal Sect did something so vile?” Mo Yi was a little taken aback, as such things were expressly forbidden in the world of immortals. Anyone who dared trespass upon this rule would be relentlessly hunted down by the public at large.

    Well, not everyone would believe a disciple of such a large sect would do something so depraved.

    Lu Yun nodded in affirmation. “Anyway, it’s no big deal that he got away. The more important thing is, where’s Wanfeng?” His heart sank.

    “Why don’t we check where the other members of his house are?” said Mo Yi. “The house head can’t be the only one in attendance for the ritual.”

    This, at least, was easy enough to figure out with a little information gathering. House Ge would most likely be hailed as the top of Dusk aristocracy right now. It was pretty much guaranteed that the seat of governor would fall to one of its members.

    …...

    “House Ge has about a hundred people present. They’ve occupied a large estate in the south of the city.” Lu Yun had found out that much with little effort. “Shall I charge over there?”

    The young governor was pacing back and forth in the residence Mo Yi had assigned to him.

    “Okay, well, why not!” Although only the House Ge head was culpable for the assault on the city lord’s residence, the house was at least guilty by association.

    “I’ll help.” By now, Qing Han had recovered most of his strength.

    Although he’d exhausted his life essence to the brink of death, the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals had brought him back to the land of the living. It had healed his injuries, and certain other conditions, too. Aside from a little superficial weakness, he was mostly fine again.

    “It’s a capital crime to trespass upon a city lord’s residence, much less kill and kidnap. We have the House Ge head’s recorded image, which is more than enough justification,” he commented quietly. “I am a special emissary of His Majesty the Celestial Emperor. House Ge might scorn a governor and a city lord, but they would never dream of disrespecting me.”

    Qing Han had stepped forward because of certain considerations.

    As the foremost house in Dusk Province, House Ge had more than its fair share of bootlickers. Although Lu Yun and Mo Yi had justifiable cause, a counter-accusation was far from out of the question.

    Qing Han, on the other hand, was the real deal as the celestial emperor’s envoy. Every faction in Nephrite Major had to at least pay lip service to the emperor, which generally meant they were on their best behavior in front of him.

    Lu Yun nodded. He would’ve asked Qing Han for help, regardless. Their adventures through life and death within the giant burial mound had smoothed over any initial unpleasantness between them.

    “That’s very good,” smiled Mo Yi. “House Ge’s roots in this province are very deep, and I’ve no doubt someone has taken control of it. Your help will make things a lot easier.”

    Her primary goal this time was to preserve the city lord’s authority. If she ignored this slight, the immortals in her prefecture, and the rest of the province, would take her even less seriously, causing no end of future troubles. She had to act, and fast.

    Still, if that guy from the Exalted Immortal Sect is after Yuying, that means I can’t let her out for a while. The fact that I’ve fused the three scrolls together, and that Qing Han has refined the resulting product, must be kept secret, Lu Yun internally warned himself.