Fortunately, Qing Han wasn’t seriously hurt by the newly restless poison. Empress Myrtlestar managed to cleanse it in time. Wu Tulong was quick to arrive after receiving the message, followed by Mo Qitian, Dongfang Hao, and Zi Chen. They gathered around with Lu Yun, Qing Han, and Lu Shenhou.
Lu Shenhou’s findings stunned all of them.
“The path of cultivation was severed before the ancient times?” Wu Tulong asked, his sharpy-slanted eyebrows deeply furrowed.
“That’s right.” Lu Shenhou nodded. “From the clues I found in the tomb, there were four cultivator realms instead of three, back when the owner of the tomb was alive. There should be another after the spirit realm!”
“The answer lies in the tomb, awaiting our discovery,” Mo Qitian said with confidence. “If there’s another realm, the seven of us should be able to figure it out.”
Seven. He’d included Qing Han as well.
Someone at his level could easily sense the real strength of other cultivators. To his shock, both Lu Shenhou and Qing Han possessed the power to rival the youth sovereigns.
Strange. Qing Han was a decent enough cultivator when we last met, but he wasn’t at our level.
The development took the other three youth sovereigns by surprise as well.
They weren’t from Nephrite Major, but they were all familiar with Qing Han. After all, this was the bearer of the infamous accursed spirit root! More importantly, they’d heard about the arranged marriage between the Qing Clan and House Donglin. Prior to Qing Han’s birth, all signs showed that the child would be a girl. That the world welcomed a boy instead took everyone greatly aback.
Frankly, with Empress Myrtlestar as his personal teacher, it was no surprise that Qing Han could quickly reach their level.
“When do we enter the tomb?” Dongfang Hao asked calmly, his gaze sweeping over the other six men. Eagerness to battle flashed through his eyes when he looked at Lu Yun.
Back in Dusk Province, he’d fought Lu Yun for three days and three nights before just barely losing out to the young governor. He’d been studiously cultivating since then, hoping to defeat Lu Yun one day.
“There will be a treasure auction at the Panorama Pavilion in three days,” said Lu Yun. “I need an utmost treasure being sold then to refine something.”
“The auction in three days… Are you after their supreme material, the Ten Orientations Stone?” Lu Shenhou paused bemusedly.
Being a rare natural material that exceeded ninth-rank immortal grade, the emergence of the Ten Orientations Stone would attract all master refiners in Nephrite Major, perhaps even the entire world. In addition, Nephrite’s new celestial emperor was soon to be crowned. All major immortal factions would pay a visit to witness the ceremony.
Thus, this was the perfect time for the Panorama Pavilion to hold an auction, one of the biggest merchant guilds in the world. With a vast audience gathered in the major, the material would fetch its highest possible price point.
“But Zhao Shenguang will be crowned in a few days,” Lu Shenhou said hesitantly. “Are we entering the tomb after his coronation?”
“Who cares about him taking the throne? It’s fine even if we don’t attend the ceremony.” Qing Han shrugged. “Once we buy the Ten Orientations Stone and Lu Yun refines his treasure, we’ll be on our way.”
Zhao Shenguang was nothing but Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi’s sidekick, so Qing Han didn’t take him seriously at all. The disguised girl had also figured out why Zhao Shenguang was the new celestial emperor instead of Zhao Changkong. The former crown prince had plotted with the Qing dao immortal to kill Lu Yun, almost getting Qing Han during the process as well. That roused Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi’s ire, which meant they’d dragged Zhao Changkong off the throne before he could be properly seated.
Lu Yun was the only one to show hesitation. He was the Dusk governor, after all. Not attending the coronation might give people another excuse to attack him. A cultivation realm beyond spirit realm though… screw it all!
Wu Tulong and the other three youth sovereigns agreed without reservations. They weren’t cultivators from Nephrite Major, so the major’s new celestial emperor had nothing to do with them.
As for the Ten Orientations Stone, it was the main ingredient of a feng shui luopan!
Lu Yun had known nothing about treasure refinement to begin with. With the addition of Huangqing to his envoy ranks, he became a foremost expert in the field. After some analysis and deduction, he realized that the luopans of his sect back on Earth had been made of Ten Orientations Stone, which meant the material also existed on Earth!
“Do you want to meet Qing Yu?” Qing Han suddenly asked when everyone had left.
“What?” Lu Yun was both stunned and pleasantly surprised.
“I said, do you want to meet Qing Yu?”
“I do!” Lu Yun blurted out. “Where is she? With the Qing Clan?”
Qing Han shook his head. “No, she’s in the Chen Clan.”
The Chen Clan wasn’t a major faction, even with one of their daughters being the Qing patriarch’s dao partner. It wasn’t until Chen Xiao rose to notoriety through slaughtering tens of thousands of Qing immortals that the clan rose in status.
Prior to Chen Xiao, the clan hadn’t even been seen fit to reside in one of the seventy-two blessed lands. They were now located in the Precious Arcane Paradise, one of the thirty-six lesser paradises, and all due to Chen Xiao’s infamous reputation.
“When are we going?” Lu Yun couldn’t wait, his eyes bright as polished copper coins.
“We can go now if you want to.” Qing Han fidgeted uneasily.
Precious Arcane Paradise wasn’t as vast as Lu Clan’s Mauve Peace Paradise, and its ambient qi was a touch inferior. However, it was still much more of a world for immortals than outside the paradise.
Qing Han led Lu Yun into the lesser paradise and then excused himself. Lu Yun found a seat in a pavilion, lazily enjoying the beautiful scenery around him.
“What? You’re meeting Lu Yun as your real self?!” Chen Dongyu, patriarch of the clan, shot up from his seat. With a wave of his hand, he set up thirty-two barriers to thoroughly seal off the premises. “Lu Yun’s even more reckless and violent than your cousin Chen Xiao. He’s going to turn the world upside down if he knows you’re a woman!”
He’d heard of how Lu Yun had attacked Qing Quan for Qing Han, then blockaded the Qing entrance after entering Xiankan. He himself was one of the few who knew about Qing Han’s secret.
“Those Qing bastards arranged a bullshit marriage to latch onto House Donglin’s thigh. If they find out you’re a woman, Lu Yun will be dragged into things with you!”
Qing Han’s accursed spirit root had been the first to manifest at birth, radiating beyond the Qing paradise and into all of Xiankan. However, that wouldn’t stop House Donglin. They only cared if the woman had a cosmic constitution.
The house was too great and influential. They didn’t fear either the Nephrite Court or the Nephrite celestial emperor. If they found out that Qing Han was a girl, they would bring the entire major to heel.
As for Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi… if the two of them had the power to defeat House Donglin, they wouldn’t have disguised Qing Han with a starstone.
“I...” Qing Han bit his lip and sighed. “I’m just going to meet him. I won’t tell Lu Yun my secret.”
Chen Dongyu sighed with resignation at his granddaughter’s beseeching gaze. “Fine, fine, but you mustn’t tell him the truth. Your cousin and Buyi can keep the Qing Clan under control, but House Donglin is too much to handle.
“I’ll channel the power of the paradise to isolate the area, but remember, it’ll last for only forty five minutes! After a stick of incense finishes burning, you must return to your male self no matter what!”
“I understand.” Qing Han nodded. This was Xiankan. Even the paradises weren’t a hundred percent secure. If a dao immortal’s consciousness scanned the area, his secret would be revealed.
That was why Qing Yu had to ask her grandfather for help if she wanted to meet Lu Yun. She needed the paradise to be shielded from outside detection. Not even an immortal emperor would be able to pierce the barrier.
Qing Han also sealed the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals with a final thought, obstructing Empress Myrtlestar’s senses.
“Strange. Why is there the power of a vicious star in this paradise?” Lu Yun frowned and deployed the cosmic feng shui method, only to be stunned by the results.
“Greedy Wolf leaps through the sky while White Tiger approaches from the east. The Army charges, and Seven Kills brings about destruction. Here gathers the four vicious stars of lore. This clan is going to fall!” Lu Yun stared in disbelief. “But the feng shui layout here is prosperous. Why would the clan be destroyed?”
Before he could further explore that train of thought, his gaze fell on a girl dressed in a light yellow dress, approaching him from the distance.
Serene and otherworldly, she was the focus of heaven and earth and favored of all creation no matter where she went. It seemed that she was born to be the most valued treasure in all of the world.
“Something’s wrong!” Lu Yun’s expression tightened. The power of the vicious stars had surged the moment the girl appeared. “Qing Yu? She’s the reason for the Chen Clan’s impending doom?”
“Impending doom? What do you mean?” Qing Yu’s expression darkened. She knew what Lu Yun was capable of. If he said the clan was in danger, then it must be.
Wait, didn’t Lu Yun say the clan would fall because of her?
Can it be… Her face paled.
“Feng Wuming, patriarch of the Feng Clan has come to visit. Please open the paradise, Patriarch Chen!”
“Here it comes,” muttered Lu Yun.