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Chapter 164: Another Tomb, Again

Necropolis Immortal
     Empress Myrtlestar suppressed the poison rampaging through Qing Han’s body and alleviated his suffering while Lu Yun stood watch at her side, digesting what he’d learned from the battles over the past month. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust her; he simply cared too much about Qing Han, but didn’t even understand why that was so.

    “It is done.” After an indiscernible period of time, a slightly fainter image of Empress Myrtlestar straightened her back as color gradually returned to Qing Han’s cheeks.

    “The Fusang Purewood is a rare natural spirit root,” the empress wearily explained. “I have planted it in the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals to slowly replenish Qing Han’s life force. You must find the other two treasures as soon as possible, so that I can fully cleanse him of the poison.”

    “My deepest thanks, Your Majesty!” Lu Yun clasped his hands and bowed deeply.

    “No need for that.” Empress Myrtlestar waved a dismissive hand. “If I cannot return to life, Qing Han will inherit my legacy. I have long since viewed him as my disciple.”

    “I thought you’d pick a female disciple,” Lu Yun scratched his head.

    Empress Myrtlestar smiled. Since Qing Han hadn’t told Lu Yun the truth, she wasn’t going to exceed the limits of propriety and inform him herself.

    “Remember to acquire the Philosopher’s Jewel for me,” she reminded gravely. “It’s my last chance to rebuild a physical body and come back to life.”

    “What about your corpse?” Lu Yun recalled the dread zombie within Violetgrave.

    “Destroy it, if you can, or it’ll wreak havoc in the world sooner or later.” She returned to a violet shadow and entered the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals with the now-Fusang sapling.

    Although Qing Han’s poison had been suppressed, he remained soundly asleep. Qing Buyi and Chen Xiao sighed in relief when they saw the disguised girl’s condition settling down.

    ……

    Two days flew by.

    On this day, Lu Yun honored his promise and unearthed the heritage of Lord Sugato with the Dusk Seal. An ocean of people thronged in all of the available space, both inside and outside of Dusk Province.

    The governor had proclaimed that the heritage was fair game, and all were welcome to the province to vie for it. The blanket announcement even included those who’d previously been prohibited from entering, such as the Lu Clan from Nephrite Major and House Dongling from Aureate Major.

    With their patriarch slain on Dusk soil, House Dongling wasn’t going to invite humiliation by entering the province. On the other hand, the Lu Clan considered Lu Yun having openly used Skybearer to battle the Qing dao immortal as a chance for reconciliation.

    Thus, they set aside their hard feelings and sent a delegation as well. Lu Yun was one of the youth sovereigns appointed by the celestial emperor, so if he was willing to forgive them and return to the embrace of the clan, it would greatly benefit the entire clan.

    ……

    Fifteen kilometers outside the southern gate of Dusk City.

    The ancient lord’s heritage site having finally been revealed, it was shortly to be unearthed from the site of the reselection tournament. The Nephrite celestial emperor had purposefully chosen this spot to lay down the Coretrial Arena.

    Lu Yun hovered in the air, having donned black official’s robes but looking a bit worn-down. He’d been keeping an eye on Qing Han over the past two days, even neglecting to bother with the captured treasure that’d taken form as an old man.

    If he hadn’t promised to unearth the ancient lord’s heritage today, he would’ve already dived into the North Sea with Aoxue and the others to raid the ancient dragon tombs.

    The crowd looked at Lu Yun with a hint of awe. Even Wu Tulong, Dongfang Hao, Zi Chen, and Mo Qitian had nothing but respect for him. Three days ago, their exhaustion from month-long battles and Dongfang Hao’s words had discouraged them from challenging Lu Yun. Lacking an actual assessment through fighting, they’d remained reluctant to approve of Lu Yun. Now, however, they wholeheartedly believed that the governor deserved to be the top youth sovereign.

    He’d fought a dao immortal, and he’d fought well!

    Although he’d been defeated and almost died at Qing Quan’s hand, even needing rescue in the end, he'd still taken the Arcane Golden Bell from the dao immortal. That’d caused quite a stir in the world of immortals, propelling him to worldwide fame in merely three days. His name was on everyone’s lips; even the other four youth sovereigns paled in comparison. And he was still a nascent spirit cultivator!

    Once he ascended to the transformed spirit realm and reached peak strength for cultivators, not even the dao immortal would be his match in the province. He was the unequivocal champion of Dusk. Many cultivators viewed him with admiration, considering him their role model and lifetime goal.

    ……

    Hum.

    The Dusk Seal burst into golden light before Lu Yun, drawing upon the power of the entire province and demanding its convergence. The very earth trembled.

    Rumble.

    The land beneath Lu Yun’s feet cracked and yawned open, sending an enormous fracture splintering in all directions. Something big seemed to be emerging from the earth.

    “Oh?” Frowning, Lu Yun stopped his hand gestures. “What’s this?”

    With a wave of his hand, the seal returned to him and the power of the land around them quieted down.

    “What’s going on? Why did you stop?” The onlookers were befuddled by the sudden change in behavior.

    “There’s something else down there!” Lu Yun inhaled deeply with confusion.

    “Something else? What thing?” A handful of heavyweights—officials from the Nephrite Court—flew out to inspect the fissure, but came back empty-handed. No one wanted to be left out of unearthing the ancient heritage, so not only had Nephrite Major sent representatives, but so had all of the top factions of the other majors as well.

    “It’s an ancient tomb!” Lu Yun identified breathlessly. “There’s a tomb beneath us!” He looked up at the figureheads around him. “Isn’t it said that no one buried the ancient lord after his death? Why would there be a tomb here?”

    “What?!” His words got a reaction out of everyone.

    An ancient tomb?

    According to records acquired by the Nephrite Major, the ancient lord had indeed passed on from the world in the Dusk Province. Both his body and his treasured heritage had been covered by dirt. There was no mention of a proper burial, yet here the tomb was.

    “You aren’t pulling our leg, are you, Governor? Our cultivation may be sealed to the august immortal realm, but we’re still peerless immortals at our core. None of us sense a tomb.” The representative of the Mo Clan from Lazuli Major frowned. There was a trace of doubt in his voice, but he wasn’t going to disrespect Lu Yun, at least not in this province.

    “Give me some room.”

    The immortals near him backed away as Lu Yun waved a hand to activate the provincial seal again, drawing upon the power of heaven and earth.

    Rumble.

    Cracks on the ground continued expanding in all directions, opening up a giant hole spanning three hundred meters in radius. Eerie, ancient, thick with the energy of decay.

    “It really is the presence of an ancient tomb!” exclaimed one of the officials from the Nephrite court. “How is this possible? According to the records, the ancient lord wasn’t buried after his death at the beginning of the great war! Why is there a tomb here?”

    “What’s going on?!” Disbelief colored the officials’ faces. They didn’t know if the records were wrong, or if someone—or something—had set up a tomb for the ancient lord afterward. Immortals from the other majors looked on uncertainly. They didn’t know what the real truth was here.

    “Where did the ancient tombs of the world even come from?” The question suddenly occurred to Lu Yun. “Almost no immortals survived the great war a hundred thousand years ago, and even the path of immortal dao was severed as a result. Who buried those who fell in the war?”

    Befuddled looks rippled through the crowd. No one had any answers, as the ancient tombs had always been a mystery.