Lu Yuanhou might still be out of sight, but his words were enough to make Qing Han and Mo Yi flinch.
Wanfeng’s rescue had indeed been Lu Yun’s goal, and no one could’ve fathomed that she’d been earmarked as one of the Sacrament’s offerings. Lu Yuanhou had even reported it to the court, thus setting the decision in stone.
What disturbed Qing Han was that both Lu Yuanhou and Feng Li were backing House Ge. It hinted at a possible alliance between the great Feng and Lu Clans. And most of all, the head of House Ge had been very likely possessed by a member of the Exalted Immortal Sect.
“Oh.” Lu Yun nodded slightly, seemingly unmoved. “It’s her honor and fortune to be selected as a sacrifice. She will be glad to exchange her life for a century of peace in the province.”
Everyone froze in stupefaction at his declaration, the hidden Lu Yuanhou included. What’s this kid playing at now?
The Lu scion had previously noted the unusual attitude the governor showed toward his little maid. Hence, by way of retaliation, he’d designated her as a sacrificial good as soon as the ‘Ge house head’ had brought her back.
The governor himself was needed to start the ceremony. Therefore, Lu Yun’s death had to be postponed until the end of the Sacrament, lest one wanted to risk an outbreak from the ancient tomb.
There was nothing wrong with a bit of revenge, however.
Lu Yuanhou and Feng Li cared little about the ‘house head’s’ intentions, yet their simple presence had forced the man to act by himself and wait for Lu Yun alone in the copse of trees. Otherwise, he might’ve mobilized the entire house—no, he might’ve even sacrificed all of House Ge’s cultivators to enhance his own strength.
“Lu Yun, what do you mean by this?!” Feng Li began to panic. This governor was too uncanny to be measured by common sense. Lu Yun had come for the maid, that much was certain, but he was completely indifferent to her fate now??
“I told you. It’s her honor to contribute to Dusk Province’s peace and prosperity!” Lu Yun declared self-righteously. “I can give up my only maid for the sake of the people, even though she’s my only family in this world. By the same token, it is my duty as a loyal servant of Nephrite Major to exterminate traitors for the sake of peace and security!
“House Ge is guilty of insurrection by attacking the Dusk Phalanx and massacring City Lord Mo Yi’s people. Men, take them all! Those who dare to interfere will be deemed accomplices and judged guilty of the same crimes!”
A faint pressure radiated from him as his words echoed powerfully in the air, bearing down on Feng Li and the hidden Lu Yuanhou. It was nothing more than a slight flexing of the aura from the Tome of Life and Death.
Mo Yi and Qing Han were mostly unaffected, since it wasn’t aimed at them. But to Ba Chuyi, the one closest to Lu Yun, it felt like a basin of ice water had been dumped on his head. He immediately sagged limply to the ground.
“Yes, sir!” Having received Lu Yun’s orders, the one hundred soldiers hesitated no more. Weapons in hand, they began their assault on the Ba manor.
“Who dares!!” A terrifying pressure suddenly exploded from the mansion and sent two soldiers flying, their souls having departed this world.
This was the work of a House Ge nascent spirit elder. A charge of treason and rebellion was grave enough to ruin the house, so he couldn’t afford to simply sit by and wait to be arrested. Poised to fight, the rest of the house’s cultivators followed their elder’s lead and charged into the soldiers’ ranks.
However, unbeknownst to the elder, his victims were no ordinary warriors, but men of the Dusk Phalanx.
“How dare you criminals resist? Kill them all!” Lu Yun wouldn’t show a single iota of mercy to a house that’d plotted his demise. They’d been a thorn in his side from the very first day he’d arrived in this world.
As the only one who could contend with a nascent spirit powerhouse, Mo Yi immediately grasped his intentions. But a palm-sized fox acted faster than her. The fox darted out of her embrace and climbed onto her shoulder. Miao’s eyes sparkled like sapphires as she released a dreamlike glow that enveloped the entire manor.
Inside the courtyard, the raging nascent spirit elder suddenly became lost in thought and quickly lost his head to the soldiers’ origin core leader.
Meanwhile, Feng Li and Lu Yuanhou stayed well away from the melee, afraid of drawing attention to themselves.
In Qing Han’s hand, his identification shone like a miniature sun, its golden radiance releasing the full weight of a celestial emperor’s aura. It was an authentic imperial token! To lay eyes on it was equivalent to seeing the emperor in the flesh!
“It’s truly a token conferred by His Majesty…” a trembling Feng Li murmured as he looked down at the token in his hand. A dim glow was the most it could muster. Compared to Qing Han’s, the difference was simply night and day.
As for Lu Yuanhou, he’d long evacuated from the scene. The imperial token possessed no real power in and of itself, but to defend House Ge in such circumstances would label him a true rebel.
In the presence of imperial prestige, House Ge had no choice but to submit and await the court’s judgement. To resist was to walk a road of no return.
Yet resist they did, and the now-dead elder had ignited a wildfire that was impossible to extinguish.
The Dusk Phalanx had initially moved to apprehend House Ge’s members for the governor to handle. But every soldier was now bristling with killing lust. Brave veterans of many battles against the North Sea monster spirits, they’d lost all reason. Nothing but slaughter could assuage their wrath.
Miao had dispelled his illusion and slipped back into Mo Yi’s embrace.
“Governor, you go too far!” a pale Feng Li shouted somberly as he witnessed the rain of blood.
“One of the Dusk Phalanx’s own lies dead at your feet,” Lu Yun replied indifferently.
Feng Li fell silent. He and Lu Yuanhou had invested a great deal of effort into House Ge over recent days, but their plans now lay in shambles. They’d coveted the ancient lord’s legacy, especially the Feng Clan. To that end, they’d needed to raise a new agent to the position of governor.
Their hearts bled, yet they didn’t dare utter a single word. There might have been room for negotiation, if not for the death of the two soldiers.
Alas, all was too late now.
Ba Chuyi sprawled bonelessly on the ground, blankly watching the mighty figures of House Ge being cut down one after the other. Life core, origin core, and even nascent spirit heavyweights—no one was left untouched. A profound despair flooded his heart. Wouldn’t House Ba be next, once House Ge was eradicated?
“Ba Chuyi, are you still House Ge’s steward?” Mo Yi suddenly asked, her eyes falling on him.
“No, of course not! I’m not their man, House Ba has nothing to do with House Ge....” On the verge of tears, his pleading was almost incomprehensible.
“I shall be lenient, on account of your house being deceived by the criminals from House Ge,” Lu Yun declared coldly. He’d quickly understood Mo Yi’s plan after hearing her question; she wanted to establish her own faction in the city. For that, she needed a network. House Ba, a presence with deep local roots, would make for a suitable recruit.
“Praise be your mercy, Governor! Praise be!” Ba Chuyi banged his head repeatedly against the ground.
“The city lord is the one you should thank. She’s aware of the ins and outs of your house, and knew you’re not the type to rebel,” Lu Yun coolly dismissed.
“Please accept my eternal gratitude, City Lord! My eternal gratitude!” Ba Chuyi kowtowed to Mo Yi again. The latter quietly nodded.
The slaughter gradually came to an end with the deaths of all hundred-odd House Ge cultivators. None had survived the bloodbath.
“Did all of them deserve to die?” Mo Yi quietly asked all of a sudden, a hint of distress in her eyes.
“I meant to capture them, threaten them a little, then take them in as my subordinates. But not only did the idiots resist, they even killed some of my men. The situation spiralled too far out of control for me to rein in the Dusk Phalanx.” Lu Yun shook his head, his face expressing profound helplessness.
These soldiers were hardened men forged by year-round bloodshed. They killed, lest they be killed themselves. Once their battle instinct was provoked, they didn’t stop until all of their enemies lay dead.
Miao’s illusion was powerful enough to fool even an empyrean immortal, but it was powerless in the face of the Phalanx’s terrifying killing frenzy.
House Ge had sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind.