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Chapter 177: Soul of the Black Tortoise

Necropolis Immortal
     Tempest Manor was one of the three generals’ manors in Cloudwater, inhabited by Feng Wujiang. Lu Yun hacked through a few hundred guards with a single slash and set foot into the manor.

    Another few hundred guards encircled him in the span of another breath.

    “Come out and meet your maker, Feng Yin!” Blood dripped down Lu Yun’s sword as he spoke. “Don’t let these innocent immortals die for nothing.”

    “My, my, listen to this arrogance!” echoed an old voice from the inner residence. A figure of faint cyan emerged out of nowhere, solidifying as a hearty old man in high spirits and clad in extravagant silk robes. His silver hair was impeccably coiffed, a gleaming topknot offsetting the deep cyan of his clothing.

    All of the guards looked at him with deference as he walked up to Lu Yun.

    “Get going or die,” snapped the governor.

    “Junior, you should know when to let things go.” The silver-haired elder shook his head. “Feng Yin knows his mistakes. If you leave now, the Feng Clan will allow this to all be water under the bridge.”

    “Water under the bridge?” Lu Yun snorted. “Back in Duskwater City, Feng Li joined hands with Lu Yuanhou to kidnap my maid as a sacrifice for the river god, not to mention all the times he’s attempted to kill me. I killed Lu Yuanhou, but spared Feng Li. That was already an olive branch for your clan.

    “This time, Feng Yin combined efforts with Warden Feng Wujiang in an assassination attempt, and even came close to hurting His Majesty’s envoy. How can you have the audacity to say the Feng Clan will let it all wash away?”

    The old man’s expression darkened. “So you insist on courting death?”

    As one of the top factions in Nephrite Major, the Feng Clan surveyed all beings from a lofty position of superiority. Lu Yun was merely a provincial governor without any backing; he wasn't even an immortal! Being appointed a youth sovereign didn’t change the fact that he was nothing but an insignificant ant.

    It was a mercy incarnate that the Feng Clan would let bygones be bygones. The boy should’ve sank to his knees in groveling gratitude for their favor!

    Swoosh!

    A crescent of golden brilliance replaced the old man, the light coming at Lu Yun with abrupt ferocity. It wasn’t an attack of sword energy, or a combat art, but the light of a golden immortal!

    The old man had reached half-step golden immortal realm, the highest bar for immortals in the province. Although he hadn’t fully ascended to that realm, he was in a completely different league from an august immortal.

    Lu Yun wouldn’t be able to defeat him. He’d been able to defeat a peerless immortal because they’d sealed their cultivation to august immortal, not a half-step golden immortal. The two were as different as night and day.

    Cloudwater Township lay between Dusk and Outré Province, a nebulous placement that sufficiently weakened the influence of the Dusk restriction. Although golden immortals still couldn’t set foot in the region, half-step golden immortals weren’t affected.

    Wham!

    A crimson hand probed from the void and knocked the golden figure away. The space next to Lu Yun filled with a bloodcorpse that scanned the surroundings with its crimson eyes.

    The old man tumbled roughly to the ground, a ball of uncanny brilliance glowing red at the center of his chest. Thick despair filled his eyes as he cried out, “How do you have another arcane immortal zombie at your command!”

    He looked to the town gate, where Qing Han was. A crimson figure stood before the imperial envoy, protecting him along with Ge Long. There was more than one zombie under Lu Yun’s banner! He’d fooled them all!

    Pah!

    The old man spat out a mouthful of blood as crimson light burrowed into his body, disintegrating him from within. Gone were his body and his soul!

    “Uncle Heng!!” Feng Wujiang howled, as if he’d just witnessed the death of a parent. “You killed Uncle Heng. I’LL KILL YOU!!”

    Bam!

    The Tempest Bird extended its enormous wings and dove at Lu Yun in the general’s manor, its aura exceeding even that of a peerless immortal! He weathered the overwhelming pressure with a grim look. I can’t move or circulate my energy! So, too, was the bloodcorpse beside him likewise immobile.

    The battle formation of a hundred thousand heavenly soldiers wasn’t something a couple of immortals could face. Even peerless immortals had no choice but to flee under the pressure.

    Roar!

    The Black Tortoise exploded with fury as it moved.

    “Your opponent is me.” Yuchi Hanxing brandished her silver lance and commanded the Black Tortoise to ram into the Tempest Bird, hurling it backward through the sky.

    “Kill!” she exclaimed.

    “Kill!!” echoed the million Dusk soldiers. The tremendous war cry deafened countless immortals both inside and outside of Cloudwater Township.

    “How is this possible?!” Yue Cheng’s eyes were round with shock. “The Heavenly Formation of the Black Tortoise is powerful, but the Dusk Phalanx is composed of mere cultivators. How are they able to overpower the Great Tempest Formation?”

    He’d seen the might of the Dusk Phalanx formation for himself before, but the army itself was too weak. They might be able to kill a couple powerful immortals, but the formation should’ve been scattered when facing a formation projected by an all-immortal army.

    Yet the opposite had happened here and the Black Tortoise had sent the Tempest Bird careening backward!

    “It’s the same army and the same formation.” Fear colored Yue Cheng’s expression. “But the Black Tortoise image created by the formation seems to have come to life! What’s going on here?”

    “That’s because the Dusk Phalanx has seen a real Black Tortoise with their own eyes,” answered a smooth and graceful voice. A beautiful woman in palace attire walked out from thin air. She was the last of the three wardens, Zhu Yu.

    “When the North Sea monster spirits attacked the seaside stronghold a few months ago, a Black Tortoise of coiled snake and turtle appeared for a time. Yuchi Hanxing and her soldiers saw the real sacred beast then. Witnessing that is what imparted the soul of the Black Tortoise to their formation.” Zhu Yu enunciated her words carefully. “On the other hand, the Tempest soldiers have never seen the Tempest Bird. The image of the bird is a poor imitation they’ve created that’s based on drawings of the divine beast.

    “You shouldn’t have returned early. Now you’ll have to take a stance in the power struggle between the future sacred land and the Nephrite Court.”

    “I....” Yue Cheng trembled. “You knew about Feng Wujiang’s plan beforehand?”

    Zhu Yu nodded without a word. She’d purposefully waited until the true battle had started before returning with her soldiers. Protecting Cloudwater Township and its people was her duty. Since she hadn’t witnessed the whole affair, she didn’t have to take a stand.

    But Yue Cheng was different. As a witness of the conflict, he’d have to pick a side when the Nephrite Court inevitably came to investigate, and wouldn’t be allowed to stay on the sidelines.

    ……

    The Black Tortoise tore into the Tempest Bird in midair, gaining the upper hand. Meanwhile, Lu Yun had entered the general manor with his unsheathed sword. Although the bloodcorpse didn’t make any further moves, the guards were too terrified to even try to stop him.

    “Any last words, Feng Yin?” Lu Yun arrived in front of the young man.

    “I am indeed less than him. If it were him, he wouldn’t have rushed to kill you like this.” Feng Yin sighed, disgruntled. “Feng Li, you’ve been building up your strength under the facade of incompetence. How clever.

    “However, I won’t sit here and wait for death to take me.” He formed a sudden hand seal. “Activate!”

    With a hum, a great formation lit up and devoured Lu Yun.