“Who are you?” Only then did Lu Yun turn to look at the girl, his forehead slightly creased. She wasn’t a threat to him in the world beyond the Gates of the Abyss, but her very existence made him uncomfortable.
He didn’t know her. He’d never even seen her before. Yet, there was something strangely familiar about her. It was as if they’d been together for a long time and had a deep understanding of each other. That both unsettled him and made him very uneasy.
“Me?” The girl smiled faintly. “I’m Violetgrave.”
“Violet… grave?” Lu Yun gaped at the girl, flabbergasted. “You’re the weapon spirit of Violetgrave? I thought only dao immortal-grade treasures have spirits.”
“Weapon spirit?” Violetgrave cast a confused look at the sword at her feet. “I’m no weapon spirit. I am Violetgrave.”
“Huh?” Lu Yun struggled to wrap his head around her response.
“You are Violetgrave, and Violetgrave is you,” Huangqing spoke up. “It’s said that some powerful treasures are able to take human form and exceed the limits of their nature.”
She cast a glance into the depths of hell as she spoke, to where Ruyi sat cross-legged on the ground, recovering with the energy of the netherworld. A nearby Yueshen kept the Infernum from rushing over to crowd the area.
“But isn’t Violetgrave at her feet? She...” Lu Yun was still quite confused.
When Ruyi possessed the Divine Spymirror, the treasure became her new body and she couldn’t materialize as a separate entity from it. But even now, however, Lu Yun could still feel a connection with the sword and hear the dread zombie’s mumblings within the weapon.
Huangqing looked assessingly at Violetgrave. She couldn’t comprehend the girl’s existence either. The violet-clad girl appeared to have only recently reached immortality, yet could tap into a mysterious power great enough to release Lu Yun from Yuying’s cauldron.
With a wave of her hand, the sword flew into Violetgrave’s grasp. A strong feeling of harmony immediately emanated from the girl and the sword. Clearly, the two were one. Even the dread zombie remained meekly quiet in the sword, seemingly given up on escaping.
“I can feel that you’re important to me,” Violetgrave said seriously. “I regained consciousness because of you. Thus, I shall continue to follow you.”
Lu Yun shrugged and responded uneasily, “I hear that you devour your masters?”
“They tried to force me to bend to their will despite not being my fated master,” she responded without missing a beat. “Of course I would fight back.”
Something didn’t sit right about that explanation.
“What should we do with the three big guys outside?” Lu Yun put aside the issue of Violetgrave to consider the more immediate problem at hand. He had a verbal agreement with the Dusk restriction, but he didn’t know if the deal still held given current circumstances.
Perhaps the restriction was the celestial emperor of Exalted Major, but the giant eyes were devoid of humanity and held only violence and killing intent. It seemed that the celestial emperor constantly alternated between the two states.
When he was alive as the celestial emperor, reason reigned and he was capable of thinking independently. When he was dead, he became the terrible Dusk restriction that took countless lives.
Lu Yun had managed to strike a deal with it strictly through borrowing the Nephrite celestial emperor’s influence and flashing a hint of power from the Tome of Life and Death.
“That’s simple.” Violetgrave gave it some thought. “I can seal the dread zombie within the sword and turn it into a puppet. It will be yours to command in battle, but the puppet is only good for three uses. After that, it will revert back to its dread zombie self and you will also have to free it.”
Lu Yun paused. Within the sword, hope flickered in the dread zombie’s eyes. Three times. Just three times as Lu Yun’s puppet lay between it and freedom.
“I know what you worry about, but the dread zombie has become sentient. Just like any human being, it knows what is success and failure and the need to advance and retreat. It won’t indiscriminately wreak havoc in the world.” She added, “There are too many beings in the world who can destroy it.”
Lu Yun’s eyes widened at this declaration.
“It, it can rival a celestial emperor and there are only nine of them in the world!” He couldn’t believe his ears. “What do you mean there are too many who can destroy it?”
“Celestial emperors? They are...” Violetgrave cocked her head, “...origin dao immortal, correct? The world is much vaster than you can imagine. Even the nine majors and the ten lands are but a small part of it. Origin dao immortals are not the greatest power that exist at present.
“Think about it. The one who buried the dread zombie in the sword could’ve easily defeated it, but dared not show his strength.”
With a tremble, Lu Yun fell silent. That’s right!
Chen Xiao had easily defeated the dread zombie and buried it in the sword, but other than that one time more than a decade ago on Qing Han’s behalf, he’d never once shown his true power.
The girl form of Violetgrave disappeared before Lu Yun could answer. A strange connection then formed between him and the dread zombie within the sword.
“I’ve sealed its consciousness and turned it into a puppet. You can order it to fight for you, or you can apply its power onto yourself to temporarily gain the strength of an origin dao immortal.
“But remember well that you can only do so three three times. After that, the dread zombie will regain its consciousness and I will no longer imprison it in the sword.” Violetgrave’s voice grew steadily weaker until she fell into deep slumber.
“Three times… that’s enough!” Lu Yun’s eyes shone brightly.
“Master, what should we do with the blood dragon?” Huangqing asked Lu Yun. It was now so completely suppressed that it didn’t even have the chance to summon the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers.
“Let Aoxue devour it once we’re outside.”
Huangqing was just a true immortal for now, but Lu Yun could sense a tremendous battle strength from her that would rip through peerless immortals—ones who hadn’t suppressed their cultivation at that! Lü Biao and Beigong Yu, the two peerless immortals currently residing in the netherworld, were no match for her.
Once Aoxue devoured the blood dragon and completed her transformation, she would be another great asset to him.
Lu Yun exited the netherworld to start time back up again. The Enneawyrm Coffinbearers and the Nine-Phoenix Casket crashed into each other in midair, each attempting to devour the other. He even saw the nine dragons open their eyes at the same time.
I can’t allow it to enter my nascent spirit again! Sensing the tremendous might around him, Lu Yun channeled the power of the dread zombie onto himself without hesitation.