The provincial seal floated in front of Lu Yun. Just as the enormous tsunami came crashing down, the power of the land suddenly erupted and formed a massive wall that blocked the sea waters.
However, Lu Yun immediately spat out a mouthful of blood.
Crack crack crack...
All of his bones creaked and groaned loudly from bearing too much stress.
“Lu Yun!” Pale with fright, Qing Han reached out a hand to help him.
“Don’t touch me!” Lu Yun growled. Through the power of the land, his body was now a rampart that withstood the fearsome waves. If Qing Han touched him, his friend would be instantly ground to dust, given that he lacked the seal’s protection.
Lu Yun called upon the seal and conjured a mighty aura that exploded outward and forced Qing Han back. His figure then slowly rose in the air, the seal floating over his head as it continued gathering the province’s power to repel the tsunami and torrential downpour from the heavens.
However, his cultivation was too low to mobilize the land’s prodigious power in its entirety; inch by inch, the daunting waves drew ever closer to the stronghold.
The governor’s manor suddenly lit up.
Five golden dragons shot into the sky and circled around Lu Yun, his neat topknot exploding into a mess of hair as the brightness coming from the seal became blinding.
“I’m the root cause for the situation, so I should naturally be the one to solve it.” Though calm, the tone of his voice brooked no argument.
Qing Han bit his lip, but ultimately didn’t approach him.
“Hehehe, North Sea Emperor? You’re nothing but a feral animal. How dare a wild mongrel kick up a fuss in Nephrite Major?” Lu Yun soared to the dome of the sky, his figure boring a hole in the thick black clouds. Golden sunlight spilled in from the opening, illuminating the province and dispersing the heavy, stifling atmosphere.
“Die, life core bug!” The North Sea Emperor raged at Lu Yun’s provocation.
Deafening thunder rumbled and roiled above Dusk Province, thick black clouds once again converging to blot out the heavens. This time, there was an addition of a giant black snake, more than five thousand kilometers long, coiled in the sky over the land.
The North Sea Emperor!
The spirit emperor’s true form was that of an immense blackwater snake. Though it didn’t dare enter Dusk Province in person, its formidable powers could still project a giant silhouette into the sky.
The power of the land fiercely shook in response and blood misted out of Lu Yun’s every orifice and pore, forming a bloody fog around him.
The Tome of Life and Death vibrated as it attempted to shield its owner, but the limited power it could currently muster was far too lacking to contend with the dreadful monster spirit emperor. The power it had was proportional to Lu Yun’s cultivation, and although the giant blackwater snake was dozens of thousands of kilometers away in the North Sea, the governor was still no match for it, even with the help of the book. There was too big a gap between the two of them.
All of a sudden, the book and seed of the sal tree both shrank into a dot before vanishing from Lu Yun’s dantian, and even the chaotic hellfire faded into nothingness.
As a golden halo rose from the young governor’s figure, the five dragons immediately disappeared and were replaced by nine golden divine dragons.
A tall, aureate figure appeared behind him and infinite energy flowed into him, filling his entire being with unprecedented power and making him feel like a single gesture of his could command heaven and earth. It was a very strange and truly glorious feeling.
“I used to think you were nothing but a disgraceful, two-bit womanizer incapable of holding office, but you actually have the courage to face the North Sea Emperor all by yourself! Commendable.” A somewhat frivolous voice suddenly reached Lu Yun’s ears. “No wonder the little Qing girl is infatuated with you.”
“Who is this?” Lu Yun frowned. So this was why the Tome of Life and Death and sal tree had both disappeared so abruptly. They were hiding from the sudden arrival of the all-conquering power now superposed on him.
“Guess,” the voice bantered back.
“It must be Your Majesty the Celestial Emperor,” Lu Yun deadpanned. “Please forgive this subject for not being in a position to kneel and welcome your arrival.”
“How dull.” The voice now sounded somewhat bored. “I didn’t expect you to hit the mark on the first try.”
“Other than Your Majesty, who else would come to your humble servant’s rescue at this hour?” Lu Yun shrugged.
“Zhao Fengyang!!” Above the North Sea, the monster spirit emperor roared with fury.
“North Sea Emperor? Don’t make me laugh. Just as the Dusk governor said, you’re nothing but a feral animal. Stop making a fool of yourself.” The Nephrite Emperor sneered. “My true body may be in seclusion, but it’s still child's play to flatten a puny reptile like you. Governor of Dusk, withdraw the power of the land. Let’s see if this wild snakeling dares flood my domain!
“I will say in advance that if a single drop of water lands in the province, I will slaughter all of the monster spirits of the North Sea. I may have abdicated, but this affront will not be tolerated!” After stepping down from the throne, the Nephrite Emperor no longer used the royal ‘We’.
Stillness descended on the North Sea at his threat, and the colossal waves retreated in the blink of an eye.
“Wise choice.” The giant shadow towering behind Lu Yun smirked. “Coveting the ancient lord’s legacy of Dusk Province? You think too little of my Nephrite Major.” Zhao Fengyang suddenly turned to the center of the province, the Dusk Tomb. “Old thing, you, too, should know your place. Don’t go thinking for a second that your restriction will stop me. I would’ve long dug you out and dismembered you if I weren’t worried about harming the people in the process.”
No answer came from the tomb. Zhao Fengyang snorted, but a hint of helplessness was in his expression. He couldn’t do anything against the restriction as long as it hid in the Dusk Tomb. It wasn’t the evil lifeforms inside the tomb that gave him pause, but rather the formations and layouts inside. The enemies that could be found in a tomb were insignificant for a powerhouse of his level.
“The selection in fifteen days won’t be a problem for you, I presume. After I go into seclusion, I hope you can devote yourself to assisting Zhao Changkong. He’s... far from outstanding, but at least he’s a little stronger than the rest.” Zhao Fengyang earnestly looked down at Lu Yun.
“Me? You mean, you want a life core cultivator to help the crown prince?” Lu Yun goggled.
“If I say you’re up to the task, then you are.” A strange note entered Zhao Fengyang’s voice. “Naturally, there will be a little test involved. Since the entire immortal world covets the ancient lord’s legacy, I shall satisfy their wishes.”
An ominous premonition rose in Lu Yun’s chest.
“All of the immortals in the nine majors, ten lands, and four immortal seas are eligible to participate in the selection for Dusk Province’s governor in fifteen days. Whoever achieves a hundred successive victories in the ‘Coretrial Arena’ will be permitted to use the provincial seal to unearth the legacy!” Zhao Fengyang’s voice rippled through the world like giant waves.
The world of immortals boiled over, with some powerhouses reacting immediately. “Is this true?!”
“Naturally. Our promise made is a promise kept.” Zhao Fengyang once again reverted to the royal ‘We’.
“Dusk Province is a special place. Will the power of the land there tolerate foreign cultivators?”
“If We proclaim it so, then so shall it be. As the emperor of Nephrite Major, Dusk Province’s land is Ours to command.”
Lu Yun immediately found that the celestial emperor’s word was law. Through the provincial seal, he could actually sense… fear, emanating from the power of the land! Just what cultivation realm had the emperor attained?
His heart raced involuntarily. No wonder the Tome of Life and Death and the sal tree seed had gone into hiding.
“In fifteen days, he who can defeat the current governor and achieve a hundred victories in succession will be the new governor. Of course, you may step down once you obtain the legacy. Whatever happens on the stage shall stay on the stage, life and death included. Whoever dares cause trouble after the selection will receive a personal visit from Us. Fellow daoists, what say you?
“It is as it should be,” eight immeasurable voices sounded in unison from all over the immortal world. Lu Yun would now have to face challengers from the world over.
Such was the celestial emperor’s trial.