“What?!” Lu Yun and the others were floored by Qing Han’s words.
“Is the Dusk River God really over there?” The young man cast his Spectral Eye over the endless darkness beyond the palace. Teeming information filled his field of vision, but there was nothing about the so-called river god.
“He’s still alive then?” Lu Yun’s heart chilled slightly.
“I do not think you should step out of here.” A sonorous voice suddenly filled the air. It was the girl who was now a zombie king, who’d now returned to her former coolness.
After descending into the abyss, the nine bloodcorpses were apparently cowed by something else entirely. They were helplessly shivering, their bloodthirst having utterly dissipated.
“Yueshen,” Lu Yun called out softly, opening the realms of yin and yang. The ghost understood her master’s wish and piloted the bloodcorpses back into the Gates of the Abyss.
“What is this place?” asked Lu Yun, to which the zombie king shook her head. “You don’t want to open up my body and see what treasures I have anymore?” That she was no longer on the offensive was rather curious.
“There is no point in that anymore,” the zombie king responded coolly. “If I am to remain trapped here, nothing new and shiny will do me any good.”
Lu Yun didn’t respond, as he didn’t know whether the Path of Ingress was powerful enough to send them outside.
After reversing life and death, the girl would’ve left the tomb for the living and entered the wider world. But the interference from his nine bloodcorpses had unexpectedly brought her right back. Thus, it was reassuring to hear that he’d be safe for now. He wouldn’t be able to put up a fight if she insisted on taking his life. “Is the Dusk River God really close by?”
“The Dusk River God?” The girl shook her head in confusion, clearly ignorant of the subject.
“He’s right there, behind the palace!” responded Qing Han. His voice sounded rather hollow and his body was shakily lumbering in that direction.
“Wait! Do not let him go over there!” The zombie girl shouted, concerned that Qing Han was about to leave the island.
Lu Yun hurriedly grabbed onto him, but it seemed his friend was bewitched and wouldn’t stop!
The zombie girl was already in motion and a flash of crimson sliced toward Qing Han.
Mo Yi stepped forward, dispersing the girl’s attack. Seven stars rose from her body, pulsing potent power around her. They cast rays of brilliant starlight that outlined her like an astral goddess.
Feinie’s aura began waxing in strength as well. The Formation Orb hummed to life, creating an array of formations readied for defense.
“If he steps off the island, all of you will die as well.” The corpse girl said this very matter-of-factly, without making another move. Evidently, she was holding back out of fear that something would be disturbed by their commotion.
Lu Yun delivered a swift chop to the back of Qing Han’s head. The other youth barely made a noise before falling unconscious. This wasn’t something he would’ve normally done, but Qing Han’s mind and senses were clearly addled.
“I knew I’d have to carry him on my back again,” the young man muttered with mild annoyance. Mo Yi twisted her lips, while Feinie’s eyes lit up with envy.
“What’re you afraid of?” Lu Yun didn’t actually put Qing Han on his back again. Instead, he helped his unconscious friend assume a sitting position.
“I am just a small, insignificant arcane immortal. Under this abyss… what do you think I should be afraid of? Anything and everything,” sighed the zombie girl.  She would be much better off if she were still an unthinking zombie. Even a ten-thousand-year zombie had no sentience to speak of.
Unfortunately, she was a zombie king that had transcended death and returned to life. Aside from her body being well, dead, she had a mind and soul like any living person.
Even a zombie king wasn’t a zombie’s final stage of evolution. Legends had it that if a zombie king took one step further, it would turn into a living creature once more. All brutal instincts would be purified and it would lead an existence under the sun that was accepted by heaven and earth.
Right now, the girl could be said to be a living zombie. As such, she could be affected by fear.
“You said you’re an arcane immortal? Why hasn’t Dusk Province’s restriction executed you?” Another voice sounded nearby before Lu Yun had a chance to respond. The group turned their heads; the three unconscious august immortals had woken up.
They were protected by their weapons of thunder and lightning, which could restrain the zombie king’s crimson light and shield them from serious injuries. Lu Yun had absorbed their bad karma, as well; not a touch was left.
“Buncha pigs.” He couldn’t help but grind his teeth when he saw who it was. If these three hadn’t used those blasted weapons and summoned the pure yang thunder needed to clear away the last lingering remnants of death, he would’ve already subdued the zombie girl with his black donkey hoof.
Qi Shenghui glared vicious murder at Lu Yun, but his malice instantly went up in smoke when he saw the zombie girl. The macabre proceedings from earlier had left an indelible impression upon him. More importantly, she was an arcane immortal, one that the province’s restriction hadn’t slain!
The zombie king ignored him, peering into the darkness behind the watery palace instead.
“Legends speak of a bottomless demonic lair within the world of immortals, home to countless evil spirits. Can this be it?” Qin Xianhuo swallowed some pills that he’d fetched from a storage item. Since his injuries weren’t all that severe, he quickly recovered most of his energy.
“The demonic lair of legend?” Feinie paled. “I’ve heard about it, too. Many books unearthed from ancient tombs talk about such a thing. Maybe…”
“What’s this ‘demonic lair’?” Lu Yun’s mind called up memories of the subject to mind. These memories belonged to Feinie and corroborated what she’d said. There’d once been a demonic lair in the world that teemed with untold evils, specters, ghouls, and demons. An ancient immortal emperor had sacrificed themselves and used the utmost of dao to seal the lair away.
“No way it’s this place, right?” He smiled a bit uncertainly.
The great war a hundred thousand years ago had fragmented the world into nine majors, ten lands, and four immortal seas. Truthfully, no one knew exactly where this sealed lair was.
Upsettingly enough, this place bore an uncanny resemblance to the legendary lair. Moreover, if even the world had been shattered… how could an ancient seal remain intact?
“H-he… he’s here.” Qing Han stirred, his eyes opening and fixating upon the infinite darkness outside the island.
“Who? Who’s here?”
“The Dusk River God, he’s coming.” Qing Han’s lips became waxen.
“He’s probably entranced by something. Any solutions, little fox?” Mo Yi patted to the vulpine pet nestled in her bosom.
“Squeak squeak!” The fox opened her aquamarine eyes, glancing toward the darkness with obvious dread, then stuck her head back in Mo Yi’s clothes. The young lady grew rather upset.
“What did she say?” Judging from the city lord’s expression, Lu Yun could tell something was wrong.
“The Dusk River God cometh.”
1. Arcane is the second highest immortal level, two steps above august, which is what everyone else here is.