The combined strength of the zombie tree, living soil, and corpsefire was so great that even Holy King Xing Chen fell at a disadvantage.
However, neither he nor Qing Hongchen seemed willing to engage in pitched battle before the snake outer-coffin. The man and tree slowly made their way to the vast gray land on the fringes of the yin tomb as they fought.
Atop the Fire Altar, Yuying awaited the four priests response with three small altars floating above the palm of her left hand. Previously, the Wood Altar had been the only one in Lu Yuns possession, while the Water and Metal Altars resided within the celestial master tomb in the underworld. Xing Chen had paid the tomb a visit and collected the two altars before making his way here.
A misty halo blossomed from the three altars, resonating with one another.
The priests of forest, ocean, and blades panted at the sight. Theyd wished for the true altars their entire lives, so much so that theyd almost developed an obsession. Now, the altars that would bring them to new heights and enable them to become true high priests of the five elemental rites were right at hand!
Nevertheless, the other three priests remained silent while they waited for the priest of earth to speak; he was their leader. The four priests were merely successors of the high priests whod once served Xuan Yuan, but the current priest of earth was his predecessors son. Xuanyuan blood flowed in his veins. Looking up, he gazed at the man upright on the snake coffin with confusion in his eyes.
Xuan Yuan was his ancestor.
However, the man hadnt even spared him a glance. From his perspective, the priest of earth was no longer a clansman after sacrificing all of the Xuan Yuan Slaves to pierce through the Great Formation of Nineheavens Gates. He wouldnt have only lent the altar to the priest otherwise.
Fifty thousand kilometers away, Xing Chen and the zombie tree repeatedly clashed without pause. Situ Zong, whod transformed into a connate-grade treasure spirit, emerged as well.
Once the Pelagic Orb had completed its evolution into a connate-grade spirit treasure, the Pelagic Realm hidden within had taken concrete shape and became the external manifestation of the treasure; the orb withdrew into the realm to act as the treasures core.
Situ Zong merged with the Pelagic Realm to imbue Xing Chen with its surging might, granting the holy king unlimited power. He dared not join the fray himself. While the Pelagic Realm might be able to survive a grand battle between two individuals rivalling the primeval human kings, Situ Zong's consciousness couldnt.
One blow from the zombie tree was all it would take to destroy his mind, and the Pelagic Realm would revert back to being a dead connate-grade spirit treasure. His only choice was to imbue Lu Yuns replica with his own power.
Even so, much to everyones surprise, Xing Chen was only able to fight the zombie tree to a standstill, since the tree had gained the corpsefire and living soil. Neither the replica nor the zombie tree could defeat the other.
The trees goal was to acquire the Dusk River, Traceless, and devour Ashu. It was all Xing Chen could do to stop it, so it was impossible for him to outright destroy it!
Directed by Lu Yuns will, elemental power circled around Xing Chen to form a perfect revolution of the five elements, attacking corpsefire and living soil in concert with the Dusk River.
Meanwhile, Lu Yun withdrew his hellfire. It was a powerful flame, but its level of strength was tied to his own. He couldnt tap into its full power yet, so deploying it here would do more harm than good.
“We agree,” the priest of earth answered with difficulty after a long pause. “We will serve Lu Yun as his followers!”
At his response, Xuan Yuan finally looked down at the priest of earth with an approving gaze.
A tremor ran through the priests body as the grudges, grievances, and anger hed accumulated for the past hundreds of millions of years evaporated without another word, leaving his mind and spirit crystal clear.
He realized with great shock that the altar of earth was voluntarily establishing a close connection to him, communicating with him as if the treasure had always been his.
“I see, I understand now… The real Earth Altar has always been mine… Father...“
Ice and snow had returned to the realm. Tombs of all sizes made from frozen snow protruded, foresting the world with crude, delicate, large, and small variations. Despite the variety, the layout of every single tomb was impeccably established, fully complying with the dao of burial and feng shui doctrines.
“I am not alone in this world!” Standing on the peak of the snowy mountain, Xuanyuan Xiaoyue suddenly turned around with joy in her eyes. She looked happily in a certain direction and waved her hand, shrinking the snowy world into an orb and hanging it before her chest.
She then entered the Xuan Yuan Tomb with a light step.
“So this is the divine tree that Uncle Ling Weiyang tended to.” She saw the towering zombie tree as soon as she entered the tomb.
Having returned to tree form, its roots stretched firmly into the land as its branches reached for the vast sky above it. It looked like a pillar of the very world. Since the earth beneath it flowed like water, the zombie tree wasnt at all hindered with its roots in the ground.
Xing Chen was smaller than even an ant in front of it. However, the manifestation of the powerful Dusk River and assorted projections from endless elemental power were massive enough to blot out the sky, crashing again and again with the zombie tree.
Sky and earth trembled.
The resulting shockwaves ripped through the lesser immortals whod entered the tomb, while a chorus of screams and wails rang from those lucky, or unlucky enough to survive.
With Lu Yuns will amplifying Xing Chens power, immortals who lost their lives to the tumult entered the kingdom of hell after their death and became Infernum, but even more of them were claimed by the zombie tree before they could attain a second lease on life. Its power was much greater than Xing Chens, and those it snatched ended up nutrients for corpsefire.
Xuanyuan Xiaoyue looked at the suffering masses with pity in her eyes. With a soft beckon, she gently sent the immortals in the tomb outside.
The door leading to the outside world slammed shut with a bang.
Outside the Xuan Yuan tomb, the surviving immortals sprawled bonelessly on the ground. Sharing stunned looks with each other before looking up at the blue sky and white clouds above them, it felt like a lifetime had passed during their explorations.
Zou Longxiu lowered his head, he was in no better state than the others. His knowledge of feng shui had allowed him to navigate the tomb with ease, but hed been as fragile as a newborn the second the zombie tree appeared.
Xuanyuan Xiaoyue jumped forward and landed between the zombie tree and Xing Chen. Alarmed, the tree immediately put some distance between them.
Qing Hongchens face emerged again, his wary eyes shifting to Xuanyuan Xiaoyue. In its eyes, she was terrifyingly powerful. Though she was a vicious ghost, corpsefire couldnt kill her, and she seemed to nurture a vast world.
Out of nowhere, Lu Yun appeared beside Xing Chen and disappeared with his replica.
“Ive neglected to tell you something, sir,” Ge Long said with a grave expression when Lu Yun and Xing Chen returned to hell with the spleen Xuan Yuan had given them. “Xuan Yuans death is connected to the five altars. Someone wanted to nurture the worlds organs with his altars, thats why they killed him.”-