Lu Yun’s heart thumped. “Something that absorbs life essence?”
“Correct.” Wayfarer nodded. “Any living things that attempt to leave are drained of life.”
“Living things?” Qing Han interjected, “What about dead things?”
Wayfarer paused. "Dead things?"
“Such as ghosts or zombies.” The imperial envoy paused in thought. “Or things that have disguised their vitals.”
Previously, a titanic undead hag had crawled out of the abyss. It was neither alive nor dead, but something akin to a zombie.
Diexi was from here as well. Unfortunately for her, the nine bloodcorpses had delayed her right after her transformation to zombie king, and the island’s descent back into the abyss had occurred before she could escape.
Wayfarer shook his head. “There’s a special power in the abyss preventing ghosts and zombies from being born.”
His meaning was crystal clear: Diexi wasn’t born of the abyss. Someone had placed her here and established the tomb for the living, making use of whatever power was here. As for the undead hag, it’d simply been sealed in this place.
“The immortal ghost is scared.” Lu Yun knew what Qing Han’s next question would be. “Yueshen was a divine before her death. She doesn’t dare come out.”
“No.” Qing Han shook his head. “I wasn’t talking about Yueshen, but you.”’
Lu Yun paused. “Me?”
“When you were next to me earlier, I didn’t feel your vitals,” Qing Han transmitted to Lu Yun. “Even the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals and my… treasure couldn’t sense you.”
Lu Yun’s hellfire had concealed his lifeforce, preventing the creatures of the dark from noticing him. At the same time, neither the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals nor the starstone could sense him either. If even two great treasures had been fooled, what about the thing Wayfarer was talking about?
His eyes lit up with possibility. That’s right, I can use my fire to disguise myself, locate that life-absorbing thing, and temporarily seal it away. Lu Yun started running through plans in his head.
“I’ll give you the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals. Go up with it, you’ll find a way out.” Qing Han shoved the painting into Lu Yun’s hands, but the governor pushed it back.
“Keep it.” Lu Yun shook his head. “I have my ways.” He glanced at Feinie, who retreated back into the dark and vanished into the Gates of the Abyss without missing a beat.
“I’ll go up and see what’s causing all this.” Lu Yun bowed to Wayfarer. “Please protect them well, senior.”
“You’re going up?” Wayfarer started, given that he didn’t know what Lu Yun and Qing Han had discussed, since their conversation had been held through consciousness. He nodded. “You must have a few tricks up your sleeve if you can survive here as a golden core cultivator. Go on. However, I’ll only wait here for you for three days. If I don’t hear anything from you in three days, I’ll assume you’re dead and take your companions someplace safe.”
“Alright,” Lu Yun agreed without hesitation. Even if he couldn’t locate that life-absorbing thing in three days, he would return to the abyss. They were currently in a more dangerous part of the abyss where even Wayfarer didn’t dare stay for too long.
Qing Han handed over the Divinewater Talisman that Xuanxi had gifted them. Xuanxi tapped into her godhood to instantly call down the Dusk River from the sky. Lu Yun activated the talisman and dove into the water with a flash of azure light, soaring past the abyss through the river.
Although the river looked like it was right on top of them, the space here was fragmented and displaced. The true distance between him and the transcended river was unknown.
Of course, the river god could send Lu Yun directly into the river, but he had to find the thing that was absorbing life essence first, then deactivate it before sending everyone out.
“So you’re a divine born in the Dusk River.” Wayfarer might not be able to see, but his powerful consciousness allowed him to sense his surroundings without his eyes and ears.
Xuanxi didn’t respond, but kept tight control of the river with her eyes shut.
Within the waters of Dusk River, hellfire glazed intensely around Lu Yun. This time, he didn’t disguise his vitality with his fire, but merely locked his life essence in his body.
“Sir,” Feinie said from within the Gates of the Abyss. “Diexi gifted me the Yin Formation Orb.”
That gave Lu Yun pause. The Yin Formation Orb was a connate grade treasure that would be a powerful weapon even if Diexi didn’t know formations. But she’d given it to Feinie just like that.
“If the two orbs come together as one, sir, I’ll be able to recover my empyrean immortal strength with its power.” Feinie had been a golden immortal before her death, but her resurrection by the Tome of Life and Death had left her a true immortal. There was no telling how long it would take for her to become a golden immortal again.
However, the combined power of the yin and yang Formation Orbs would push her one step closer to empyrean immortal.
“Wonderful!” Lu Yun grinned and returned to the Gates of the Abyss. Time came to a halt in the outside world when he was in here. Feinie would have enough time to combine the two Formation Orbs and recover her strength.
It was just a pity that Lu Yun himself couldn’t cultivate within the netherworld.
The damaged world had been slowly recovering as Lu Yun’s cultivation progressed. Although the Envoys of Samsara could cultivate by absorbing the energy here, its chaotic nature made them wary of depending on it too much.
Feinie sat cross-legged on the floor. Black and a white orbs were floating before her and slowly merging together. Their light combined to create a strange, formless glow. Within it were countless formations, each more powerful than the ones she’d deployed before.
The formations created by the two Formation Orbs were polar opposites—ones of extreme yang, and ones of extreme yin. At the same time, yin and yang couldn’t exist for long without the other.
Someone had killed Feinie in the burial mound as tribute, despite her being in possession of the Yang Formation Orb, and she had no idea who her killer was. She hadn’t even seen their face.
The two Formation Orbs complemented each other’s flaws upon their merger, and the formations within became flawless and complete.
When the two orbs disappeared, a colorless Formation Orb resembling a brilliant pearl took their place. It hovered before Feinie and slowly sank into her forehead. She made several seals with her hands, her body continuing to absorb the energy in the Formation Orb like an enormous sponge.
After a long period of time, a hum echoed from Feinie’s body. She opened her eyes, revealing two balls of flame—the fires of hell. As Lu Yun’s envoy, she was able to tap into the flame’s power.
In fact, that fire was what her life core was composed of.
As she’d once said herself, the original Feinie was dead. All that had been reborn after her resurrection was Lu Yun’s envoy.
“I’ve kept you waiting long enough, sir.” Feinie rose to her feet. Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, her presence had undergone a fundamental change. Though a hint of melancholy still remained between her brows, there was a new trace of dashing confidence in her face.
“Good!” Lu Yun commended, then lowered his voice and continued, “I’ll be counting on you in a moment.”
Even if he could locate the life-absorbing thing, he wouldn’t be able to deal with it himself.
And to be frank, he’d never intended to destroy it in the first place. Otherwise, the endless swarm of dark creatures would crawl their way out of the abyss and destroy Dusk Province.
The right thing to do was for Feinie to temporarily isolate the life-absorbing power with a formation so they could depart.
Lu Yun made his way out of the abyss through the Dusk River.
“Here it is!” Lu Yun focused his mind when he felt an incredible devouring power emerge from thin air and target his life essence, the loss of which was prevented by the hellfire sealing away his life essence.
“There!” His eyes gleamed. The river roared and flowed in the direction Lu Yun pointed it to. “That’s the direction of the burial mound!!”
The life-absorbing thing was within the burial mound! Now he knew what it was.
It was the altar in the mound.