Even Lu Yun was a little taken aback by Lu Shenhou's suggestion. Teach the Lu cultivators?
As soon as it was on the table, a number of his clansmen lit up with anticipation. Lu Yun was the First Youth Sovereign, number one among all cultivators!
Sure, there were probably some experts hidden away in various corners of the world, but he’d killed peerless immortals and dueled dao immortals. He more than lived up to his name!
Indeed, Lu Yun was idolized by countless cultivators. Many set reaching his heights as their goal in life, and the ones of the Lu Clan were no different! They hated him, but at the same time respected his strength. A paradoxical conundrum, to be sure.
"I won't refuse what Lu Shenhou has asked of me," Lu Yun nodded. Everyone watched him quietly, a bigger audience gathering by the minute.
The young man waved a hand, throwing the Sugato Sword aloft. The weapon exploded with intent and will, gathering the ambient immortal qi around it into the shape of a steely pagoda. It spun around a single time before landing in front of the clan hall.
Mauve Peace Paradise's natural energies rushed in, solidifying it through their absorption.
"This is…" Lu Shenhou, Lu Qianjun, even Lu Daoling's eyes widened.
"I'm at an important juncture in my own cultivation, so I don't have the energy to spare on teaching," Lu Yun mused. "Instead, this is an inheritance tower via Lord Sugato's treasured sword, the very same as the tower outside Dusk City. All Lu cultivators are free to make use of it as you like.
"Although, it doesn't have the inheritance at the top," he added. "That's reserved for the actual pagoda, of course."
"Enough! That’s more than enough! That's more than enough… hahahaha!" Lu Qianjun burst into unhinged guffaws as tears streamed down his face from the force of his mirth. "There is hope for the Lu Clan! Hope at last!"
Although there was no inheritance at the top of the tower, every floor contained a test imbued with Lord Sugato's grasp of the dao. Cultivators weren't the only ones who could benefit, either. Every person in the clan, up to dao immortals and even including Lu Daoling, had much to learn from this tower of trials.
The gift Lu Yun presented was too valuable to refuse, instantly evaporating collective enmity.
Back in Dusk Province, underhanded dealings by Lu Yuanhou, his uncle Lu Qingxuan, and Lu Qishan at the North Sea had soured Lu Yun’s feelings to the point of hating his clan.
His later encounter with Lu Qingyi, however, had slightly changed his mind. The bloodcorpse in Lord Sugato’s tomb had scared everyone off, save for the Lu Clan immortal. Thought that perhaps the clan wasn't as bad as he thought had crept in then. Those who wanted to make him their puppet were only a minority.
Right now, the Lu Clan needed his help to reestablish itself. At the same time, Lu Yun didn't mind having a large clan as his backing. Otherwise, a so-called First Youth Sovereign was no better than a mere ant to some.
The inheritance tower was formed from Lord Sugato's lingering will and surrounding natural energies. If he wanted, he could use the Sugato Sword to make any number of new duplicates. The only restriction was his current level of cultivation: he had created this replica back on the banks of Sword Lake with his then-power of celestial emperor.
Thanks to the inheritance tower, the congregated clansmen flip-flopped in an instant. Those who harbored ill will toward him had no recourse but to deeply bury their malice out of dejection.
Three days passed in the blink of an eye.
The Lu Clan was very peaceful during that time. Nearly everyone had eagerly filed into the tower to cultivate. Xiankan, on the other hand, was a vastly different story.
Aoxue had stood outside Triprime Perfection Paradise for three days and nights, slaying eighty-one Qing peerless immortals during that time. None survived more than three blows!
The entire capital boiled over, but the Qing Clan was strangely silent. If no august immortal could defeat Aoxue in the span of a month, it would be a severe blow to their reputation. Though there wouldn’t be any tangible, material loss, its name and standing would freefall. Various vassal factions would also lose confidence in their liege.
Inside Triprime Perfection Paradise, reticence grew perilous. The clan's third-best august immortal had been cut down only moments prior, and in three attacks, no less.
Aoxue was far too strong; she fought much harder than any august immortal had a right to. Having devoured the blood dragon body, she’d become a true blood dragon in every way. Among peers in the same realm, only blood phoenix Huangqing could match her.
"Let Qing Han go," the Qing patriarch sighed wistfully. "We all know what Lu Yun wants."
The friendship between Lu Yun and Qing Han was an open secret.
"Absolutely not!" An elderly, white-haired golden immortal objected angrily. "We only just managed to recapture that reprobate. Releasing that bastard will only mean further trouble! He’s the one who caused all of this in the first place."
"Who're you calling a reprobate? Who's the bastard here?" The patriarch glowered. "Do you really think that with Buyi and Chen Xiao gone, you can do as you wish?"
The current patriarch of the Qing Clan—Qing Taxian—was also Qing Han's father. His riposte silenced the elderly golden immortal into a sharp breath, too alarmed to continue.
"Don't forget your duties, Qing Taxian!" A new party piped up. "Qing Han has an accursed spirit root! He should’ve been executed a long time ago. The only reason he's still alive is because he's your son. Keeping him confined within the clan is the best choice possible."
This speaker wore a black outfit, robes that stood out in sharp contrast to the pallor of his skin. Though he was a peerless immortal, he was on the threshold of the dao realm. His qi was as vast as an ocean—far greater than that of Taxian's.
"Also, when are you going to sire a daughter with your partner? The marriage with the Dongling Clan is at hand." The man's tone remained cold throughout.
"You go too far, Qing Xiangpeng!" Qing Taxian’s voice rose in indignation. He was the best of the clan's younger generation, already peak peerless immortal, but that wasn't qualification enough to become clan head. The real qualification lay with who his dao partner was: Chen Qiufeng, a daughter of the Chen Clan.
The married couple’s constitutions were unique. Children from their union might be granted a cosmic constitution, allowing them to commune with—and even draw power from—the stars.
The top genius of the Dongling Clan, first clan of Aureate Major, practiced a cosmic method that required dual cultivation with someone of an appropriate constitution. As such, they sought out the Qing Clan to ask for a daughter from Qing Taxian and his dao partner.
The clan's high council immediately accepted, completely bypassing the parents in question.
It was for this reason that Qing Taxian had become clan patriarch, so that his future daughter might be granted a more prominent position in the Dongling Clan, thereby increasing the gains for the Qing Clan.
Aside from his forcibly adopted fifth son, all other six of his seven children were born from the high council’s compulsion. Unfortunately, they were male without exception.
Qing Taxian didn't quite want to have children solely for the sake of a political marriage, but the high council was too insistent to care about his personal feelings. By this point in his life, he was thoroughly tired of it.
The man in black who’d spoken was Qing Xiangpeng, the former patriarch of the clan. He had orchestrated both the marriage and the apparent change in leadership. To the rest of the Qing clansmen, Patriarch Taxian was only there to produce a useful daughter. He had little actual authority in the clan.
"There’s no need for you to worry about that female immortal outside. Making a daughter with your partner is the real task at hand," Qing Xiangpeng waved. "Sage nephew Dongling, I know that you're not an august immortal, but you've killed golden ones in the past. Might I ask you to intercede?" He looked at the youth, sitting a little further down the table on the same side with his eyes closed in repose.
"She's very strong. This is an opponent worth my time." The youth curved his lips in response, then stood and exited the meeting hall.
Qing Taxian's scowl deepened. This was an internal meeting. Why was a junior member of the Dongling Clan allowed to attend?
"A true immortal?" Aoxue frowned at the arrogant white-robed youth before her.
"So what? I can still kill you." The youth smirked, producing a lance in his hands. "Too bad I became an immortal too early. Otherwise, I could've won a title of Youth Sovereign for myself.
"Die!" He shook his spear, causing it to come alive in his hands like a golden dragon. "Skydragon Method… Proud Slaughter!"
An enormous dragon howl resounded through the sky.
"The Skydragon Method! He's Dongling Shaochen of the Dongling Clan!"
"Rumor has it that he killed a golden immortal as soon as he ascended to immortality… he's here in Xiankan too? Among the Qing Clan, to boot!" Amazement washed through the crowd.
"If Dongling Shaochen hadn't already become an immortal, he would've definitely been named among the youth sovereigns back in Dusk Province."
"Capture this Dongling Shaochen and use him as a hostage. If the Qing Clan won't trade Qing Han for him, seal his cultivation and start breaking his bones—one every two hours." Lu Yun's voice sounded at Aoxue's ear.
"I gave the Qing Clan an easy way out. It would've been the end of things if Qing Han had come out and defeated Aoxue. That's not what you want, though, is it? Getting the Dongling Clan involved like this… don't you know they're my enemies?" The young man sneered. "You're the ones who asked for this."
"The Skydragon Method?" Aoxue mirrored her master's disdain. She reached for the golden dragon with a bare hand.