Qi Shenghui had sprung into action too abruptly for anyone to anticipate his moves and stop him in time. Exhilarated laughs braying from his mouth, the eunuch covered a three-hundred-meter radius with brilliant flashes of his sword, continuing the carnage of ghouls. The air reeked of blood and gore.
“Yuying!” Lu Yun signaled at his envoy, no longer paying attention to the eunuch.
With tacit understanding, Yuying compressed the Emerald Mistfire in her hand into a tiny flame blazing above her palm. The smaller it became, the stronger its power grew, until it unleashed a daunting aura that slowed the approaching monstrous tide.
“Feinie!” Lu Yun turned his attention to his other envoy, who’d already begun inscribing a formation on the ground even without prompting. Seeing her focused on her task, Lu Yun turned to Qin Xianhuo. “Take out all of the formation stones on you or we all die here!”
Recognizing the severity of the situation, the old formation master itched to throttle Qi Shenghui with his bare hands. You damn half-man! You’re nothing but trouble! How dare you just hack and kill in the abyss? The thick stench of blood would attract a legion of monsters!
Now was not the time to cling to worldly possessions. He dumped out everything that could be of use to Feinie. The woman was a formidable master of formations, that much he could tell. Even a grandmaster like him paled in comparison.
The ground shook. In the darkness, a behemoth stirred and approached, step by step.
Qi Shenghui stopped cold, his killing frenzy abruptly sated. He beat a hasty retreat and hid behind the others, but no one paid him any heed.
“Don’t use yours, use mine!” Seeing Feinie ready to call upon her Formation Orb, Diexi hastily interrupted her, handing over the Yin Formation Orb. The formations in the yang counterpart were as domineering and tyrannical as the sun. Its harsh energy flared as majestically as the grand dome of the sky. Such a power would sear the depths and send all of the abyss boiling over.
Although Diexi owned the Yin Formation Orb, she wasn’t proficient with formations herself. Only someone like Feinie could deploy the treasure’s full power.
“The Formation Orb!” Qi Shenghui’s line of sight zeroed in on the item that was now in Feinie’s hands. It was, after all, the very goal of their journey. Hidden behind the crowd, his expression betrayed none of the thoughts racing in his mind.
The ground trembled again as an oddly-shaped foot suddenly landed from above. It was inconceivably enormous and rather resembled the hoof of a bull. Just the foot alone spanned more than dozens of meters, and it had golden fur covering its back.
“What the hell is that! Hurry and stop it!” Lu Yun shouted anxiously when he saw the foot rise and hover above them, about to slam down.
Diexi took in a deep breath, her body bursting with intense crimson as she aimed a hand at the foot.
The hoof stamped down, instantly shattering the light, but it was also slowed in return.
“Get lost—” Yuying shouted furiously. Jumping in her palm, the Emerald Mistfire billowed into an inferno that belched fire at the approaching hoof.
A bull’s roar rang out like a clap of thunder and the foot withdrew, then fell back. An enormous, scarlet eye, filled with spite and bloodlust, glowered at them from the dark.
“It’s a kui! Those divine beasts were supposed to have been wiped out a hundred thousand years ago! What’s it doing here?!” Qin Xianhuo looked on incredulously.
“It really is a kui!” Mo Yi could recognize the beast as well.
According to records unearthed from ancient tombs, kui were divine beasts that resembled cows with one leg and one eye. A variant of the dragon race that had dragon blood in its veins, their roars mimicked thunder and they possessed extraordinary strength.
Their numbers were extraordinarily low to begin with, but they were also zealously hunted for their hide and fur. Those two made for prime ingredients in forging treasure and weapons, especially since they could attract the power of thunder and lightning.
By the time the great war of immortals had erupted, the kui were already extinct. Yet here was one right in front of them.
Bolts of black lightning, each as thick as a thumb, gathered around the creature, then abruptly converged to strike at Yuying.
“How dare you flaunt mere yin lightning in front of me?” White robes fluttering about her, Yuying shot into the air. Jets of blue and yellow fire rose like a pair of scorching, bicolored wings unfurling behind her back. Black energy gathered in her hand, distorting the air around her.
At long last, she was displaying the true strength of an Envoy of Samsara.
She pushed out with both hands, combining the Emerald Mistfire, Daevic Skyfire, and Lucent Voidfire into one. A teeming sea of flames resulted from the integrated fires, then ruthlessly roiled toward the yin lightning.
The impact of fire and lightning discharged a blinding explosion of light that flooded the entire area, melting countless monsters. But, roused by the commotion, even more of them surged out of the darkness.
With a blood-curdling shriek, the kui ricocheted away like a leather ball. As for Yuying, her face was wan and blood seeped out from every pore of her hands.
“Hold on for another ten breaths!” Feinie suddenly called out. “I can finish my formation then!” The incense formation from earlier had cost half of her strength; she, too, was fighting through her pain.
“Alright!” A bleak smile flitted across Yuying’s lips when she scanned the newly gathered wave of endless monsters behind the kui. She opened her arms wide, a dazzling white luminosity rippling out from her. The light illuminated the entire abyss and pushed the three immortal fires to the very limits of their current power!
“Die, all of you—”
Yuying’s figure ignited an enormous blaze that birthed a terrifying shock wave that rammed through space itself. She paid the price of her own life to fully deploy all three immortal fires.
The kui, the legion of monsters… everything turned to ash.
It took ten full breaths for the fiery ocean to finally abate. And Yuying… had become ashes as well, her soul gone back to the Tome of Life and Death to await her next resurrection.
A hazy glow arose from the ground. Feinie’s formation was finally complete.
“Is she dead?” Qi Shenghui asked subconsciously as he searched the inky black darkness.
Lu Yun turned back with incandescent rage, fixing an ugly look on the castrated man.
“W-w-what do you want! Don’t forget your promise! You said you’d lead us out of here, that you wouldn’t abandon us!” Qi Shenghui fell back with wild shrieks. The young man was a mere golden core cultivator, while he was an august immortal, but this fact was far from the eunuch’s mind at the moment.
“True, but I never promised to protect you. So you, get the hell out of the formation!” Lu Yun snarled.
Yuying’s rebirth through the Tome of Life and Death was a given, but her death had been a public affair this time. She would no longer be able to openly serve at Lu Yun’s side in the future.
“Y-y-you can’t do that!” protested a thoroughly frantic Qi Shenghui.
Yuying had made a funeral pyre of herself to give them a reprieve, but everyone could sense the increasingly fearsome auras gathering inside the darkness. To leave the formation at such a time was tantamount to a death sentence.
“Do I have to do it myself?” Mo Yi raked the eunuch with a frosty glance. If Yuying had failed just then, the city lord would’ve had to step in to stop the monsters.
“In that case, why don’t we all die together!” Qi Shenghui sneered and made a quick hand seal, imbuing his figure with an unnatural golden light. “I’ll detonate myself if you force my hand!”
Lu Yun and the others were absolutely livid. How fecking shameless can this guy be?! Anyone else would be too ashamed to stay, but this trash turned around and threatened them instead. Situ Yun and Qin Xianhuo were painfully red with shame.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Explosions thundered from above as a crimson claw viciously struck the formation’s wall of light, causing the entire formation to tremble. Hovering in the air above, the Formation Orb released a black, indistinct glow that protected it.
“This power… we’re dealing with an arcane immortal at the very least!” Feinie blanched. For someone like her, who was currently in the true immortal realm, such an opponent was beyond her abilities.
“Do not look at me.” Sensing all eyes on her, Diexi shook her head gently. “That kui was a golden immortal, yet I was not its match. The creatures here can suppress me.”
As an arcane immortal, she should be a strong existence in this place, at least in theory. Yet she didn’t dare take half a step outside the tomb for the living. Like all zombies, her strength was repressed by the same force that had curbed the titanic undead hag in the burial mound and kept her in the abyss.
Outside, the legion of monsters continued their frenzied assault. Even the Formation Orb was shaking beneath the onslaught.
“We can hold for two hours at most.” Feinie’s complexion grew increasingly pale. “This place seems disconnected from heaven and earth, so my formations can only deploy a fifth of their normal power.”
“Damn it!” Qing Han clenched his teeth. “The governor’s shadow servant is injured and can’t fight for now. It’s my turn to go out and repel them.”
“Hm?” Everyone pivoted to him, dumbfounded. Didn’t that woman die earlier?
Lu Yun was also dumbfounded. Qing Han was smart as a whip and had guessed Yuying’s real identity long ago, but why was he suddenly exposing the truth? Had he realized something more?
“That servant carries many treasures on her, most especially the three great heavenly fires. Had she died, the fires would’ve become ownerless, and thus been released.” Qing Han smiled faintly. “But I don’t see them anywhere, which means she’s still alive.”
The truth suddenly dawned on the group. Qi Shenghui, in particular, scowled acrimoniously at Lu Yun. She’s not dead, but you wanted to throw me out. That was just an excuse for revenge!
Lu Yun exhaled, immensely grateful to Qing Han. Though the young man knew full well they were the three great immortal fires, he’d labeled them as heavenly fires. Heavenly fires were also mighty flames born of the world, but their power couldn’t possibly compare to the three greats.
“Don’t go out, your cultivation level is too low.” Lu Yun hastily pulled Qing Han back. He’s definitely going to use the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals on those creatures.
A titanic fist violently slammed into the light curtain from above, and was answered by an enormous fissure in the wall of light.