Flaming corpsefire blazed on the zombie tree, the gray flames dying this shadowed world a ghastly shade of monochrome.
The zombie tree was so large that it was bigger than even the snake outer-coffin, and there was a human face on it. When Lu Yun saw it, his heart skipped a beat. He was very familiar with this face—it was one hed almost forgotten.
Qing Hongchen! 
Qing Yus fifth brother, a son by way of adoption from Patriarch Qing Taxian. The Treasurefall Coin in Lu Yuns hand had once belonged to the young man.
Back in the Myriad Formation Summit, Qing Hongchen had left that enormous burial mound through a transportation formation without a set destination. Unfortunately, hed ended up in the tomb realm of the Skandha Range and been captured by the zombie tree.
The last time Lu Yun saw him, hed been almost completely devoured by the tree and become a puppet under its control. But seeing him now in the branches of the zombie tree awoke Lu Yun to some new possibilities. Maybe it hadnt been a coincidence that Qing Hongchen had been sent to the tree!
Perhaps Qing Hongchen was something that the tree had created and reincarnated into the world of immortals, where hed drifted around until adopted by the Qing Clan. As for what kind of existence he was precisely, Lu Yun couldnt tell.
“We meet again, Lu Yun.” Amusement flickered through Qing Hongchens long thin eyes when he saw Lu Yun.
“Its you, Qing Hongchen!” Lu Yun shrieked with surprise.
Face grave, Ashu looked mutely at the face upon the zombie tree and didnt say a word.
“I can help you restrain the spleens divine spirit, but youll have to take care of Ling Weiyangs treasure yourself,” Xuan Yuan murmured as he looked at the zombie tree thatd suddenly appeared.
Ashus face spasmed and Lu Yun trembled as well. Xuan Yuans words had just ripped apart the final veil of plausible ignorance. Ling Weiyang was one of the four powerhouses buried in the four ancient Nephrite tombs exceeding emperor-grade!
“Ling Weiyang, Ling Weiyang!” Lu Yun repeated the name through grit teeth. “I shouldve guessed a long time ago who you are. Youre one of the characters worshipped by the emperors of the ancestral planet!”
Ashu still had nothing to say. He hadnt fully recovered his old self yet and moved about in a foggy haze. However, he knew who he was by now. His sleeping consciousness had slowly awoken in the Xuan Yuan Tomb, alerting him to the reality that being the spirit of the zombie tree wasnt his true self.
Before his death, hed sent his true spirit into a divine tree to avoid being obliterated. That the tree would later be corrupted into a zombie tree was completely unexpected.
“I finally see you again, my true spirit.” The dreadful corpsefire on the zombie tree jumped up to form a humanoid shape—the image of Qing Hongchen that Lu Yun had first met years ago.
Instead of immediately heading to the yin tomb, the zombie tree had first visited the source of the corpsefire and captured it. Corpsefire was on the same level as the zombie tree and both were raised to new heights when they came together. The tree now could manifest its thoughts through the corpsefire, just like Lu Yuns thoughts could project a double of himself in hell.
“Ashu, do you choose to voluntarily return of your own accord, or will I have to do the deed and skin you alive” Qing Hongchens long eyes stared fixedly at the holy lord.
Ashu hadnt fully found himself yet, so he was still the true spirit of the zombie tree and thus under its control. Lu Yun took half a step forward and shielded the holy lord behind him.
“You and what army A freak halfway between life and death like you wants to devour the person behind me” Chilliness sparked in Lu Yuns eyes.
“Lu Yun, do you really think Ill let you off a second time after I was so kind as to spare you once In that case, Ill kill you first and then swallow my spirit!”
Qing Hongchen exploded into gray corpsefire that roiled toward Lu Yun. It swallowed all of the yin spirits and undead around it, increasing more than ten times in strength compared to what it was before. However, the fire scattered away with jitters when it neared Lu Yun, as if itd suffered some enormous sort of shock.
A flame pure black rose from the young mans body.
“Hellfire! So youre the heir to the hell of human dao!” Qing Hongchens giant face appeared on the zombie tree trunk again, terrified to the extreme, but his voice brimmed with euphoria.
“Ahhhhhhh!!” The face vanished once more while an extremely excited, yet also deeply agonized voice traveled forth from the zombie tree. It uprooted from the ground and swiftly gathered its sprawling network of roots to form two feet. Branches melded together as two enormous hands, transforming the towering tree into a treant five thousand kilometers tall in the span of a few breaths.
“I will obtain the heritage of the primeval human hell if I eat you and become an unparalleled existence beneath the heavens!”
The ground trembled with every step the treant took, its terrifying presence so thick that it was almost tangible. It sealed off the premises like it were bands of iron.
“I have no further strength to deal with this, so it is up to you now,” sighed Xuan Yuan as he moved away with the divine spirit of the worlds spleen.
Roaring and snarling in defiance, the Venerated Sacrosanct Demon Sovereign released every last ember of frosty Hadal Bonefire that he possessed, forming a thick carpet of frost upon the earth. He didnt revert to his skeletal figure, opting instead to face off against the zombie treant in human form.
The tremendous shadow of a fist collided with the zombie trees foot; the demon sovereign spat out a gout of white fire and hurtled backwards, smashing into the snake outer-coffin before dropping to the ground. His terrifying cold flames were snuffed out by a single stomp, and the foot moved unabated toward Lu Yun and Ashu.
A black ripple oscillated around Lu Yun at this time, manifesting a young man with black hair and black eyes in long black robes. Currents of sword qi drew scroll upon scroll of sword atlases in the air, which all moved in unison toward the zombie trees legs.
Hack hack hack.
Black splinters flew every which way as the treants legs were smashed like kindling! Losing its support, the zombie tree set its stump down on air and pitched forward, just in time to receive a punch from the young man.
Lu Yuns replica had arrived on the scene!
1. WTF, THIS GUY!-