Qing Han quite shared the sentiment. He hadn’t wanted to create difficulties for Lu Yun, which was why he’d flashed the imperial token, hoping to give Donglin Shaogong pause. However, the latter had shown nothing but contempt for an imperial envoy and even injured him.
“What? Say that again!” Donglin Shaogong stared at Lu Yun’s figure on the ship, thoroughly flabbergasted. Did this governor have a death wish, talking like this?
In Aureate Major, House Donglin was the sun. Everyone except the Aureate emperor was beneath their notice, yet a measly provincial governor now spoke of killing them? Perhaps this fool didn’t know how to spell the word ‘death’.
Lu Yun ignored him entirely, instead ramming the fortress ship straight into House Donglin’s group.
“Damn it. Fall back, fall back!” An august immortal beside Donglin Shaogong turned pale with fright and beat a hasty retreat while protecting the young master.
A tremendous ripple spread through the air in a deafening explosion, instantly scattering the crowd of high and mighty members of House Donglin like a herd of chickens and dogs running for their lives.
“Kill them!” Lu Yun’s lips were turning pale, and his breathing was growing labored. Controlling the ship didn’t require his own internal energy, but it was a mental strain nevertheless.
“Understood!” Yuying and Feinie flew out of the formations and joined hands to attack House Donglin’s immortals.
“Yuying, Feinie, no need to hold back. Immortal fires, Formation Orb, throw whatever you want at them!” Lu Yun ordered coldly.
The Nephrite emperor might be testing him, but that also meant he’d stand behind his governor and lend a hand, if need be. Accordingly, Lu Yun couldn’t be bothered to hide his trump cards.
The Formation Orb and immortal fires themselves were treasures that even dao immortals would fight over. Therefore, just as the emperor wanted to test Lu Yun, Lu Yun also flipped the trial on its head as well.
If the latter continued staying on the sidelines despite the emergence of these treasures, Lu Yun would immediately gather his belongings, ditch the province, and leave this mess to whoever wanted it.
The power of the Formation Orb erupted as Feinie crossed her arms in front of her chest and great formations fell from the sky one after another in a split second, sealing off the area.
Meanwhile, an emerald fire appeared in Yuying’s hand and grew into a sea of flame that flooded the perimeter created by the new formations. Instead of invoking the other two immortal fires, she’d chosen the one she was most familiar with: Emerald Mistfire.
Lu Yun had previously used all three flames to incinerate the zombie tree, but the seeds of the flames had remained with her. As long as they did, they provided her with a perpetual source of the immortal fires.
Beset by flame and formations, House Donglin’s immortals perished one after another. It was simply impossible for trivial august immortals to resist the might of the two supreme treasures.
“Governor of Dusk! Do you know who I am?! You’re a dead man if you dare harm a hair on my head!! House Donglin will chase you to the ends of the world!” Inside the sea of fire and surrounded by a protective circle of august immortals, Donglin Shaogong barked out threat after threat, his expression filled with terror and malice.
Lu Yun couldn’t be bothered with him at all. He jumped down from the ship and landed beside Qing Han. A thick concentration of goodwill burst out from his friend and flowed into his body, further enhancing his cultivation.
However, it wasn’t just pure gratitude in this goodwill. There was something else mixed in it, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
“You’ve noticed something, haven’t you?” Qing Han forestalled him.
“Ah? What am I supposed to notice?” Lu Yun replied with confusion. However, Qing Han stared deep into his eyes without blinking, making him feel a little self-conscious. “Did he break your brains with that blow to your head?”
He gently rubbed his friend’s brow with his hand, his gesture instantly dispelling the atmosphere that Qing Han had built up. Inadvertently, Lu Yun had once again succeeded in preventing the disguised girl from explaining certain things.
“Forget it!” Qing Han slapped the governor’s hand away. “Aren’t you afraid of offending House Donglin? They’re even more powerful than the Qing, Lu, and Feng Clans.”
“So what? They can be as strong as they like, they’re still part of Aureate Major. Are they going to wage war on Nephrite over a few dead immortals? Will Aureate? And even if they did, would they dare set foot in Dusk Province?
High-level immortals shied away from the province’s restriction, and even the Nephrite celestial emperor was powerless against it. Therein lay Lu Yun’s greatest shield. I really ought to visit Dusk Tomb sometime in the future and have a heart-to-heart with that dear ole restriction.
“But you’ll have to leave the province sooner or later. This place is only a small pond. To grow, you must overlook the entire immortal world!” Qing Han sighed.
“Even dragons hide in deep waters; I must bide my time.” Lu Yun shook his head gently. “By the time I leave this place, I’ll be a dragon flying high in the sky.”
Qing Han stared at him, tongue-tied and uncertain what to say.
Yuying lifted Donglin Shaogong and tossed him in front of the pair.
“Sir, other than this man, all three hundred and seventy two members of House Donglin have been eradicated,” she respectfully reported while extinguishing the Emerald Mistfire.
“Let go of me, let go of me! Don’t you know who I am? I’m the ninth young master of House Dongling. How dare you treat me like this?! You’re all dead, all dead!” Donglin Shaogong screamed madly, spraying spittle at Lu Yun.
With a cultivation at the peak transformed spirit realm, he was only a half a step away from immortality. He just needed to undergo a heavenly tribulation to become a true immortal, but like others, he’d chosen to come and participate in the governor selection instead.
“Yes, yes. Don’t you have anything other than this tired song and dance? Try something new for a change,” Lu Yun sighed. “You outsiders have kicked up quite a fuss over the past few days. I was too busy to deal with you lot, but now’s a good chance to give you all a warning. Kill a chicken to warn the monkeys, as they say.
“Didn’t you people see how well-behaved cultivators and immortals from Nephrite Major become once they enter Dusk City?”
Over the past few days, many outsiders had drenched the streets in blood and even extinguished a few local cultivator clans while bickering over lodging. In comparison, the factions native to Nephrite Major had kept a low profile. After all, it hadn’t been long ago that the governor had killed a Clan Lu elder and forbidden the clan to set foot in Dusk Province. His brutality was still fresh in their minds.
“W-what are you plotting?” At Lu Yun’s elusive smile, Donglin Shaogong shuddered despite himself, a chill rising from the bottom of his feet.
“Chop his head off, seal his nascent spirit inside his skull, and hang it above the southern city gates. Anyone else who causes unrest will also be dealt with in this way.”
“Understood.” Yuying nodded.
“Y-you can’t do that! I’m House Donglin’s ninth young lord, my father is Donglin Yuhuang, he’s—”
Yuying flourished her sword, beheading him before he could finish. Feinie used a hand seal to imprison his nascent spirit inside the freshly severed head before the spirit could escape. They then grabbed the head and flew it to the southern gates.
“Let this be a lesson to you all,” Lu Yun’s voice reverberated from one end of Dusk City to the other. “I will let bygones be bygones, but if anyone dares overstep their bounds from now on, you will suffer the same fate as him.
“Nephrite Major is no fruit ripe for the picking. Don’t go thinking Dusk Province is weak! Until the day of the reselection, I am still the governor and this is still my domain! In my house, dragons will stay quietly coiled and tigers will stay obediently crouched!”
Goodwill suddenly converged from every direction and merged into his dantian.
The germinated seed of the Sal Tree of Life and Death burgeoned into lush green as thin rootstalks extended and embedded themselves into the emptiness of his dantian. He could even sense a dream-like glow undulating around them.
In the blink of an eye, his cultivation skyrocketed to the apex of the life core realm, only a hair's breadth away from the origin core realm.