Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Training, meditation, practice, and reading. Lu Ye did not know if anyone else was making full use of his or her time to be productive, but he certainly was.
For one moment, Lu Ye was toying with the notion of setting off back to the Crimson Blood Sect outpost and just locked himself in his chambers to train in peace and quiet, undisturbed. But his being an Eighth-Order reminded him that doing just that would be erroneous; staying too long in the outer-ring areas would be detrimental to his own progress—to say nothing of the scores he wished to settle with those who had almost caused his death at the Battle of Goldentip.
He needed to stay in the inner-ring areas. Once he had grown strong enough to venture into the central areas of the Battlefield, he would begin his crusade of vengeance. The moment of reckoning would arrive for all those who slighted him not so long ago.
He fought through forty-three rounds during the Battle of Goldentip, but a lion’s share of the forty-three orders and sects were outer-ring-area orders.
That made it inappropriate for him to attack them. Doing so would only invoke an uproar.
Li Baxian told him before that what happens between the outer rings, stays in the outer ring. It was a custom that every sect and order in the Spirit Creek Battlefield observed so universally that it had become law—a mutual understanding between both the Grand Sky Coalition and the Thousand Demon Ridge that all Cultivators adhere to. Any enmity between outer-ring orders should only be resolved between outer ring factions. No one else from other areas—the inner ring or the central areas—was to be involved. Any disobedience of this rule would be met with heavy and unyielding repercussions.
In the meantime, being in the Lost City of Xianyuan did not hamper Lu Ye’s progress a bit. With a Spiritual Point unlocked every three days, his total tally had now reached a hundred and sixty.
He might need to have a Heaven-grade cultivation discipline ready before his visit to the Hidden Light Sanctuary outpost, just in case.
One day, Lu Ye felt bored. He extracted his seed of the Mystic Fruit from inside his Storage Bag. A visit to the Rift of Illusions to stretch himself might just be the change of pace he needed.
Reading all day had made his whole day bland and with nowhere else to go since the Lost City was still teeming with the City Watch patrols prowling about, he needed something else to do.
Moreover, Lu Ye had sensed a connection between the Rift of Illusions and the Rift of Fortune that led him into this Lost City, although he could not yet put a finger on it.
Both had the same appearance of a mysterious domain filled with plumes prolling mists with shadowy figures that would appear out of nowhere—corroded ghosts barreling through the thin, gossamer veils to attack him. That was all he knew.
At the same time, when Lu Ye produced the seed of the Mystic Fruit from his Storage Bag, somewhere in the deepest corners of the Lost City, a pair of eyes blinked open. The figure stared blankly for seconds as if lost in contemplation. Next, the figure vanished into thin air.
Back inside the cottage, Lu Ye was frowning. He was just about to channel his power into the seed when the strangest sense of foreboding and dread gripped him. Someone was watching him.
He surveyed the inside of the cottage. Nothing seemed out of ordinary. He carefully looked around once more. The bizarre tingling was gone.
Still holding the seed, Lu Ye decided to give it another try. His powers surged.
The bang caught Lu Ye unawares despite his premonition. His hair shot up at the sight of a figure that had appeared without warning—a man almost in his late thirties, clothed in rich, regal robes of silk and purple. The tall and stern man, exuding authority and majesty, seized Lu Ye’s arm, albeit with a look of exasperation.
Lu Ye stared into his eyes, shocked and awed, by the sudden visit and the stranger’s might—might that looked effortless on the stranger’s part as Lu Ye failed to free himself even with a couple of forceful tugs.
[THIS MAN IS DANGEROUS! VERY DANGEROUS!]
[More dangerous than the lady in red!]
[Who the hell is he?! How did he appear so suddenly and what does he want?!] A flurry of thoughts assailed Lu Ye’s mind. He could detect no malevolent intent from the stranger. The stranger did not have to; his vast powers easily made him a giant and giant have no concern for the cares of ants.
Even the deluge of thoughts did nothing to prevent Lu Ye from ripping Inviolable out of its sheath which he swung hard at the stranger.
The swing stopped short of hitting its target; it was stopped by the stranger with just two of his fingers.
Lu Ye could feel the corners of his eyes twitching nervously as he peered down at Inviolable’s blade from the other side.
The door burst open suddenly with Ju Jia storming forward and Amber roaring beside him—they had heard the commotion from outside and had rushed inside to Lu Ye’s aid. The former was on fire with a flaming-red aura enveloping him while Amber was unleashing every single one of its spectral lackeys.
“STOP! Hold it right there!” Lu Ye barked.
But Ju Jia, in his overzealous frenzy, refused to heed the call. As soon as he reached the stranger, he delivered a furious punch, only for himself to be bounced back instead and he crashed to the ground in a tumbling roll.
What was more astounding was the fact that none of the apparitions that Amber released did anything to attack the stranger. They stood there like frightened chickens, if not scarecrows with distant looks in their eyes, leaving only Amber to charge forward alone while Yi Yi fired a spell.
The white feline erupted back into its full form, baring its fangs as wide as it could, and chomped down on the stranger’s head where it soon realized that it could not close its jaws.
So was Yi Yi’s spell; it barely left a scratch or a bruise on the stranger.
Who only looked more exasperated, if not utterly irritated.
Lu Ye withdrew his blade and returned it to its sheath. Yi Yi and Ju Jia took their positions cautiously beside Lu Ye.
At several meters away, facing Lu Ye, the stranger stood there with Amber still clinging to him, surrounded by the many apparitions the tiger conjured.
“That’s enough, Amber,” Lu Ye called.
Amber obediently dislodged its jaw from the stranger’s head and released its hold on him.
The stranger exhaled a long and deep breath and adjusted his rich purplish robes. He sat in the chair opposite Lu Ye, saying, “Peace, my friend. I bear you no ill will.”
Which was true enough, Lu Ye thought quietly. If this stranger came with any sinister intent, all four of them would have been dead by now.
Lu Ye gave the cadre of apparitions another look before he too broke his silence, “To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit, Lord Governor?”
Taken aback by the subtle revelation, Yi Yi stared at Lu Ye with disbelief.
The stranger looked just as surprised himself. He shifted in his chair to assume a more comfortable position and smiled thinly. “And what makes you think that I’m the Lord Governor?”
“I encountered a mysterious lady in red who enjoys riding a swing and I was under the impression that she is the most powerful entity in this city until you appeared. It’s you who is the most powerful being in this city and it’s not by a close margin—the lady in red’s a far cry from what you really are—and I can’t think of anyone who could be more powerful than she is, except the Lord Governor of the city.”
“Just because of that? Rather circumstantial, don’t you think?”
“Them too,” Lu Ye motioned at the apparitions around them. “Amber clearly wanted them to attack, but they didn’t. The only explanation I could think of is that what remaining instincts these apparitions still retain clearly are loyal to the Lord Governor of this city.”
“Let’s just assume for one second that you’re right then,” the stranger dipped his chin in resignation.
That was the farthest he would go to admitting that Lu Ye’s guess was correct; he really was the Lord Governor of the Lost City of Xianyuan.
“As for the purpose of my being here…” the Lord Governor spoke as he lifted up Lu Ye’s Mystic Fruit seed nestled between his two fingers. His expression took a turn and became grim, “This is not something that is supposed to be used inside this city—or any other part of the whole Rift of Fortune for that matter.”
“Let’s just say that doing so would bring about very terrible consequences.”
“Some horrors are best left unsaid, my friend,” smiled the Lord Governor, refusing to explain further. He tossed the Mystic Fruit seed back to Lu Ye.
Lu Ye caught the seed, his eyes gleaming with curiosity as he pondered about the “horrors” that were mentioned. He could barely guess the true nature of these “horrors”, but if the Lord Governor of this city came specifically to warn him about this, he knew better than to just dismiss it lightly. Especially since he had a good feeling that deliberately using the Mystic Fruit seed again would also incur his wrath.
“Do you have tea?” the Lord Governor asked all of a sudden.
“More’s the pity,” the Lord Governor rose up and stepped closer to Lu Ye. He clenched his fist and feigned another cough, saying, “There is actually one other matter that I’ve come here to speak to you about.”
“By all means, Lord Governor, pray tell.”
The Lord Governor eyed the apparitions and said, “You cannot take them with you.”
“For doing that will also ‘bring about very terrible consequences’?”
“Not ‘very terrible consequences’ per se, but you’ll kill them.”
That was certainly the last thing Lu Ye expected to hear for he fell silent for a couple of seconds, totally confounded.
The Lord Governor wasn’t at all amused to see Lu Ye being surprised. The last thing he ever wanted was to appear so haphazardly before Lu Ye. In fact, his original intention was to employ some sort of magic to remove the apparitions’ bond to Amber so that they would remain here when the time for Lu Ye and all other intruders of the Lost City to be booted out arrived.
Lu Ye would be none the wiser until he got back to the Battlefield, and he would have the impression that apparitions of the Lost City could not be transported elsewhere.
That would be the end of the miseries for all parties involved.
That was until Lu Ye took out his Mystic Fruit seed—the very object that had forced him to make such a sudden entry just so that he could personally speak to Lu Ye.
This personal meeting would make it unbecoming for him to quietly keep the apparitions here in the Lost City, making this conversation all the more necessary.
“Is this an order by the Lord Governor?”
Evidently, Lu Ye would be reluctant to part with a potent force such as these apparitions. They might not be useful in the long run, but Lu Ye could certainly come up with numerous uses for them at the moment.
“It’s a request,” the Lord Governor responded pensively.
Lu Ye understood what he was trying to say.
“But these apparitions are not mine; they’re Amber’s. It’s up to the tiger and not me. Maybe you can try making an offer to Amber instead?”
The Lord Governor ignored Lu Ye’s attempt to deflect the responsibility and instead maintained an intent upon him.
Lu Ye could see that his cheap trick wasn’t going to work.
This conversation only started a few minutes ago, but Lu Ye could already tell that the Lord Governor was not a person who enjoyed bullying or strong-arming people into saying yes, or he could have saved his breath and just done that to make everyone acquiesce to his demands.
But that was also why Lu Ye thought that he might perhaps try to derive some benefit from the situation. The Lord Governor said “request”, so that might imply some sort of deal.
Although Lu Ye could also confess to wondering if he might frustrate the Lord Governor instead and resort to using force instead.
“All right, name your price,” the Lord Governor exhaled heavily in resignation.
“The Pond of Divine Purification!”
A look of concession cracked upon the Lord Governor’s face as if he had seen this coming from a long way.
“Would I be able to interest you in something else? A new Spirit Artifact perhaps?”
Yi Yi quietly extracted and unfurled the Nine Realms Scroll.
“Two? Or maybe three?”
“I’m afraid Spirit Artifacts are just tools and equipment; the significance isn’t equal at all.”
“I suppose you have a point there,” the Lord Governor muttered, nodding his head in agreement, “Very well then. The Pool of Divine Purification it is.”
Saying he was thrilled was an understatement. But Lu Ye did his best to not look gloatingly gleeful as he traced a finger in a circle over his head, indicating everyone present, “And we’re not leaving anyone behind.”
The Lord Governor snorted. “Maybe you should call those people outside. Get the dogs and even the cats while you’re at it,” he added testily.
“Surely not,” Lu Ye remarked facetiously, “We mustn’t be too greedy, innit?”
“It’s been a long time since I hit someone so you better not try me.”
Lu Ye immediately kept his trap shut. He enjoyed being the one doling out the beatings, not receiving them.
The Lord Governor gave him a nasty look before he finally sighed. With a wave of his hand, he set the apparitions free.
Amber shook its girth as if something was just cut loose from its cut of fur. One after another, the blank and distant looks in the eyes of the apparitions faded away, gleaming once more seconds later with consciousness.
The apparitions respectfully bowed to the Lord Governor before they dissolved out of view.
“Let’s go,” the Lord Governor called curtly, and Lu Ye felt a strange, invincible force wrapping him along with the rest of his companions. The last thing he saw was their stares at him before everything went blurry.