“What is that” asked a mystified little fox when she saw the huge clock.
“The degrees of time,” Lu Yun took in a deep breath. “To think that something like this would actually exist here!”
“It must be destroyed!” Hua Fengwen declared in strangled tones. “If it falls into the Hongmeng, it will destroy all beings within the realm! Time that is not bounded by order is a disaster to us all!”
The hands on the clock traveled at erratic paces, at times fast and at times slow. Sometimes, they even wanted to go backward. Time was plainly unstable here and if it wasnt for Lu Yun enclosing them with a formation of time, the entire group wouldve died of old age a while ago.
“Dont make any brash moves!” Lu Yun grabbed the genius. “We cant touch it with our current strength and its been here for endless eons. It wouldve left the city a long time ago if it could leave.”
He spoke with great urgency and haste, deathly afraid that Hua Fengwen would leap into foolish action. There was still a ruler of the city they needed to consider, an entity that not even the black qilin wanted to offend.
“Well be able to meet that ruler if we follow the river upstream. But first, we need to cleanse its waters of all the time ghosts.” Lu Yun heaved a long exhale as he sized up the ghosts shifting in and out of sight within the silver light.
“I… I cant see them,” Hua Fengwen smiled ruefully.
“Theres no need for you to, board the ship!” Lu Yun brought out the Immortal Region Glory. When everyone had gotten in, the ship shuddered and rushed down the river.
Its arrival inspired furious reaction from the time ghosts and they charged madly at the ship, trying to tear it to pieces.
Black flames blasted from the Immortal Region Glory and burned them all to death.
Lu Yun was afraid of everything in the Hongmeng but ghosts. The combined might of his five hells was the absolute bane of any ghostly being; anything that wasnt a ghost king was no match for the amalgamated hellfire.
Black hellfire had enveloped the ship and sent the time ghosts fleeing in all directions. Those that moved too slowly were annihilated when flames grazed them.
Tranquility gradually returned to their immediate surroundings as the time ghosts scattered from their approach. The little fox stood at the ships bow and stared off into space, losing herself in the silver river waters below.
“What kind of light is this” She reached out to scoop some up.
“Dont touch it!” Hua Fengwen jumped in shock and quickly spoke up. “This light is that of time—the tangible form of the condensed power of time!
“Time here is completely muddled without organization. If you touch it, you could equally turn into a withered skeleton or be reverted to a baby.”
“So time can be tangible.” Pausing, the little fox blinked and nodded gently.
“Isnt this just a combat art of time” Lu Yun beckoned with his hand and summoned a handful of time light out of the river.
Hua Fengwen quailed and scrambled for the other end of the ship.
“Cangyin died from a time art,” Lu Yun murmured. Someone had ambushed the water qilin back in the day and turned her into an egg. Even now, she had no idea who her attacker was.
There were too many mysteries in the world of immortals that Lu Yun had yet to uncover. Of course, some of them were deeply rooted within the world and had developed alongside it.
“Id always thought that someone used Heavenfall to kill Cangyin, but it looks like a weapon of time doesnt have the requisite power to. She died to the waters found in this river of time.” Lu Yun took out a storage treasure and poured the light into it. The treasure rapidly decayed in the next second and disintegrated into dust.
“Dont think of taming this light for your own use. There is nothing in the Hongmeng that can resist the ravages of time!” Hua Fengwen called out to Lu Yun from a distance.
“Nothing that can resist the ravages of time” Lu Yun started.
“Apart from an aberration like you!” Hua Fengwen craned his neck like he was looking at a monster.
“Then…” With a flip of his hand, Lu Yun brought out a sparkling fruit—a karmic fruit. He set the fruit afire with golden radiance, swiftly reducing it into a little golden gourd.
Karmic fruits were the coalescence of ultimate virtue; they werent real fruit. Despite that, there were still certain people who found them delicious sustenance. Lu Yun had broken apart its shape as a karmic fruit and reassembled it as a shimmering aureate gourd. He poured the light of time into it and watched it carefully.
“It works!” Lu Yun brightened. “Ten inches of time… theres no weight to it!” He made swift calculations. “Thats enough, I wont be able to handle any more. I can do a lot with ten inches of time!” 
Hua Fengwens eyes were so wide they threatened to escape his face. The others didnt show any reaction as they were long used to Lu Yun achieving the impossible. Everything was possible in his hands.
The power of virtue could withstand time and its eroding properties. While the Immortal Region Glory was protected by Lu Yuns time formation, the river of time had still left quite a few marks on the ships body.
The further upriver they traveled, the denser the light of time became until finally, it turned to liquid and became a true river of time! Lu Yun even saw big glimmering fish in the waters.
“Theres life in the river of time” he wondered, dumbfounded. The others were equally astonished.
“Id thought wed be able to travel through time if we continued following the river, that we might see the past or future,” the little fox grumbled with dissatisfaction.
“A river of time that can see the past or future is one connected with space and time.” Lu Yun shook his head. “Since theres no order of time in the Hongmeng, this river isnt a real one. Its just something released by that treasure and an example of incredibly condensed power of time.”
He lifted his head and looked at the clock at the end of the river. Since hed officially set foot on the dao of order, he naturally understood more in this regard than the little fox did.
A big fish abruptly jumped out of the river, the sparkling waters transforming into wings of light on its sides.
“You dont need to go further,” it said in human language. “I can send you out.”
“Youre the ruler of this city” asked Lu Yun.
“No.” The big fish shook its head. “The ruler is sleeping, but I can make the decision for her.”
“Thats alright then, wed like to see the ruler,” Lu Yun declined.
“Do you want to die!” the fishs tone changed. “Enraging the ruler means all of you will die here!”
The head cannon at the bow of the ship fired purple light squarely upon the fishs body, running it through. Pale purple blood arced through the air—the fish was thoroughly dead.
The river of time exploded into mayhem.
Countless fish leapt out of the waters to ram the ship. All of them gleamed with purple light—purple was the color of the order of time. It would seem that they all nurtured the barest hint of this order, but it was insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Once these fish reached kinghood and possessed enough strength to utilize the order within themselves, they would be heavyweights in the Hongmeng.
That was the direction they strived toward as well. They constantly devoured anything that arrived in the river and absorbed their victims strength. Theyd also killed the time ghosts that made it to this section of the river.
“Hmph!” Lu Yun snorted as the Immortal Region Glory shuddered. Three hundred and sixty five purple crystal cannons extended from its body, each of them lighting up with purple radiance. Any fish that leapt out of the waters was instantly disintegrated.
Pausing for a second, all of the cannons gathered power at the same time and fired a concerted barrage onto the fish. However, a gentle power descended from the heavens and transmuted the purple columns of light into smoke.
“Please show mercy, fellow daoist. These fish just want their freedom.” A melodious and very pleasing voice sounded in the air.
Lu Yun saw a familiar form walk down from the void.
His eyes widened with shock.
1. Inches of time is a reference to the Chinese idiom “an inch of gold cannot buy an inch of time”/“money cannot buy time”. ☜
Lu Yun, I am your father.-