In a side room inside the governor manor’s inner yard.
Lu Yun deployed eighteen formations with a wave of a hand, then activated the grand formation protecting the manor.
“Feinie, Yuying, Xuanxi, and Aoxue, watch over the premises. Anyone who dares intrude is to be killed without exception!” he ordered via transmission.
“Your will be done!” His four envoys were all present, and he’d even released little girl Yueshen. She hid inside a layout prepared especially for her, standing guard over the residence.
Preparations complete, he placed Qing Han on the bed and withdrew the realms of yin and yang, severing the connection between the Gates of the Abyss and hell.
“Cut off the connection between your Scroll of Shepherding Immortals and the outside world!”
Eh? Why am I acting like this? He suddenly found himself baffled. None of the string of actions had been conscious, thought-out decisions, just instinctive reactions. Whatever, who cares.
“Cut off the connection between the scroll and the outside world!” he repeated. Although puzzled by Lu Yun’s demand, Qing Han obliged nonetheless.
“Now, take off your clothes.” Lu Yun’s expression turned stern.
“Ah? What’s that supposed to mean?!” Flustered, Qing Han subconsciously covered his chest and stared, horrified. Does he know? Was it my big brother who told him, or my cousin?
Qing Han thought the truth about his gender had been exposed, that Lu Yun now wanted to seal the deal and then confront House Qin with the fait accompli before proposing marriage.
“Err… don’t misunderstand!” Lu Yun felt a little awkward when he noticed his friend’s expression. “I found a way to cure the poison inside your body!”
The disguised girl heaved a sigh of relief at the explanation. “Do I absolutely need to undress?” He looked pitifully at Lu Yun.
“You do!” Lu Yun’s expression was grave.
“What about my trousers?” Qing Han was on the verge of tears.
“Off with them too!”
Qing Han clenched his jaw and fixed Lu Yun with a hard stare. He didn’t mind baring his torso. Thanks to the Imperial Star, he could adjust the shape of his body and hide its womanly characteristics. But the lower half… she’d never seen a man’s thing before and didn’t even know where to begin.
Therefore, her lower half was still that of a woman’s, unaltered in any way; everything would be revealed once her trousers were off. She’d already been tempted to confess the truth several times, but kept postponing it out of fear that Lu Yun would blow up in her face and react badly to the deception. Now, she was even more reluctant to have the truth come to light in such a manner.
She was a girl, after all, with all the modesty and coyness of one. She still clung to innocent fantasies of finding a romantic moment to tell him, rather than in such a humiliating way.
“Well, you don’t need to.” Lu Yun suddenly realized something and coughed awkwardly. “Just the top half will do.” He tousled his head, a little peeved.
Qing Han nodded wordlessly and gently peeled off his garments, his reddening cheeks scorching hot. For some reason, Lu Yun’s heart also began beating faster. He stared at his friend without blinking, fascinated by every minute gesture of Qing Han’s hand.
The latter’s torso was fully undressed about thirty breaths later, his slender, fair figure appearing in front of Lu Yun in all of its nakedness. His cheeks now flaming red, he lowered his eyes and was too shy to look at Lu Yun.
“I gifted you many elemental essences, so why’s your body still as soft as a woman’s…?” The governor looked at his friend’s naked torso, subconsciously gulping. If it weren’t for the flat chest, Qing Han’s figure would’ve been identical to that of a girl’s. No, in fact, the vast majority of girls would pale in comparison.
Thin shoulders; a smooth, flat belly; a waist slender enough to be embraced in one arm, and skin so fair and tender that it seemed carved from white jade....
Why did I think of hugging his waist? Huh. He carefully examined Qing Han’s throat. An Adam’s apple. He’s a guy, there’s no mistaking it.
“Are you going to heal me or not?” There was a teary tone in Qing Han’s voice.
Uh, he also has a guy’s voice. Lu Yun smiled wryly and forced himself to overcome the strange attraction he felt.
The Tome of Life and Death knew Qing Han was a woman. As a result, he instinctively treated his friend as a woman, under the treasure’s influence. Sadly, his cultivation was still too low for him to consciously realize the truth.
“Let us begin!” With a deep breath in, a ring of green light appeared in his hand: the Wheel of Poison. As he circulated his energy, the Poison Fiend crawled out of the wheel. It was a special kind of spirit entity that was almost a living creature, but not entirely. A green, humanoid shadow with a phantasmal texture, it possessed no other features on its face save for an enormous mouth. Without thought or self-awareness of its own, it was fully under the wheel’s control.
“Is that… a Poison Fiend?” Qing Han goggled.
“Right. This was Lu Guhong’s trump card, and now that I’ve killed him, it’s mine!” Lu Yun beamed brightly.
Qing Han finally understood why the governor had been so intent on killing Lü Guhong; it had all been for his sake.
“I….” He lowered his gaze, feeling guilty for hiding the truth. The urge to confess once again struck the disguised girl, but given the circumstances right now....
“Close your eyes, don’t move. Don’t even think about resisting,” Lu Yun requested. “I’m going to start.”
“Alright.” Qing Han nodded and obediently shut his eyes.
As Lu Yun gripped the Wheel of Poison and poured his energy into it, the Poison Fiend opened its jaws wide. A monstrous suction engulfed Qing Han, drawing a black fog out of the pores on his upper body. The fog, in turn, became streams of air that the Poison Fiend tirelessly swallowed.
An expression of pain appeared on Qing Han’s face, but the longer the Poison Fiend devoured the black mist, the thinner it grew.
The deafening toll of a bell suddenly rumbled across the land, its formidable sound waves penetrating through everything and engulfing the manor.
“Waaaaaaaaah!” The Poison Fiend screeched in pain when the sound waves hit, like the bane of its existence had shown its head. Its figure instantly scattered and reversed into a green blur that scuttled back into the Wheel of Poison. The toxic fog it’d devoured moments ago made an about-turn and uncoiled back on Qing Han’s body, even more potent now that it had merged with the venom inside the Poison Fiend.
Qing Han opened his mouth and vomited black blood. His entire being withered as the dreadful poison circulated inside him, turning his flesh black.
“What the hell!!” Lu Yun’s eyes went round as saucers, utter disbelief on his face. The combination of Yuying, Feinie, Xuanxi, Aoxue, and the immortal ghost Yueshen should’ve been absolutely invincible inside Dusk Province.
“How dare four lowly servants and one wild ghost stand in this seat’s way? You beg to be killed! Lu Yun, get the hell out here! You took our Qing Clan’s resources, stole our immortal weapon, yet dare give away the ancient lord’s legacy when it was already within grasp. For this impudence, you deserve a thousand deaths!”
An aged voice resonated through the sky, but Lu Yun’s silent gaze remained on Qing Han.
“The poison inside him has mutated once again. Even the Poison Fiend is incapable of devouring it now,” a gentle sigh sounded all of a sudden. “You may leave him in my care. I can preserve his life for the time being, while you address the matter outside.”
Empress Myrtlestar’s figure burrowed out of the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals. Although Qing Han had isolated the scroll from the outside world, it wasn’t enough to keep the ancient empress trapped inside.
“What do I need to do to save him?” Lu Yun had regained his composure.
“Get the hell out here!!” the aged voice erupted once more.
The entire manor shook violently.
“Follow your initial plan. Refine a pill using the Fusang Purewood inside my tomb and you will save his life,” the empress gently offered. “However, my corpse has morphed into a dread zombie inside the tomb. In your words, it possesses the cultivation of a celestial emperor. But don’t worry; he shall survive as long as he carries my Imperial Star on him.”
“I understand.” Lu Yun nodded. “Perhaps some still think of me as someone easily bullied, a governor without any backing, an insect of a cultivator they can crush at will.”
He opened the room’s door and slowly made his way outside.
Hundreds of immortals from the Qing Clan floated in the sky above the manor, led by an old man in blue robes who grasped an enormous golden bell. It’d been the vibrations from this bell that spooked the Poison Fiend and sent the poison it’d absorbed back into Qing Han.
“I was careless, and should’ve taken him somewhere even safer and more discreet to do the detoxification,” Lu Yun murmured to himself. “But for me, what place is safer than my own manor? It’s the only place in this world that I can call home.”
“This is too much, simply too much! Lu Yun, you’ve finally come out. You owe my clan an explanation!” The old man might be an august immortal, but the power radiating from him was much stronger than Zhao Tiefeng, Beigong Yu, or Lü Biao.
A dao immortal!
This old man was an impressive dao immortal of the Qing Clan!