Mu Ziying’s small group of three were talking when Lu Yin came over to join in. “Xia Jiuyou?”
Mu Ziying replied, “Yeah, he’s really unlucky. Both the Hall of Honor’s First and Second Honor Chosen have beaten him to a pulp.”
Lu Yin blinked. “Isn’t the Xia family the leader of the Seven Courts? How can he be so weak?”
“Who knows.” Hua Xiao shrugged.
Yao Ji was very uncomfortable, and he looked at his shoulder, where Lu Yin had set a hand. Right now, Yao Ji wanted to do nothing more than throw this person aside, but when he thought about how merciless Lu Yin was, Yao Ji felt that it would be better to forget things and endure his discomfort in hopes of more peaceful times.
“Brother Lu, there are still a few more days before we reach the Mountain and Seas Zone. What are your plans for when we get there?” Mu Ziying asked.
Hua Xiao and Yao Ji both looked over.
Lu Yin did not understand. “What do you mean, ‘plans?’”
Hua Xiao was the one to respond this time. “Brother Lu, do you not know this? There are two types of people who go to the Mountain and Seas Zone to compete. First, there are those who actually want to compete to become one of the Cosmic Five, which includes Grand Senior, Brother Lu, and all the other top disciples of the various great powers as well as the Ten Arbiters. The others are going to grasp as many opportunities that they can, which may be some inheritance from the Astral Tower or rare resources found within the Mountain and Seas Zone. Generally, those who are competing for the Astral Tower’s inheritances will work with people who are searching for resources. Since their objectives don’t clash, they can help each other out.”
Lu Yin’s eyes lit up. “Let’s cooperate.”
Hua Xiao was left speechless, and Mu Ziying and Yao Ji were both stumped as well. This fellow was really looking down on them. He had automatically assumed that they were planning to search for resources, though, that was exactly what they were planning on doing.
“Brother Lu, even if we cooperate with someone, we’d help our Grand Senior first. Why don’t you also help our Grand Senior?” Mu Ziying said with a smile.
Lu Yin thought about this suggestion and then replied, “That works. Since the sect has treated me so well, then as long as I’m alive, I, Lu Yin, will not shirk from my responsibilities.”
Mu Ziying rolled his eyes, as only an idiot would believe Lu Yin’s words.
Whether or not what Lu Yin said was true, his attitude gave them some bit of comfort, or at the least, Elder Yuan Ke felt very reassured.
“I’ve long since heard that this child is very loyal to my Cosmic Sect and shows a sincere attitude. Sure enough, it’s true. Sadly, he’s not a real disciple of my Cosmic Sect.” Yuan Ke muttered to himself with a sigh.
Elsewhere, just outside the Mountain and Seas Zone, the void distorted, and a spacecraft smoothly flying through space appeared. It was just about to arrive at the Mountain and Seas Zone when it seemed to run into something as a scraping sound filled the area.
Inside the vessel, an elder looked up, and his expression immediately changed. “Stop!”
There was a young woman behind the elder, and she was somewhat confused. “Master, what’s the matter?”
The spacecraft came to a stop, and the elder’s expression grew solemn. He had heard the sound of horse hooves in the distance. After they stopped, the sound of hooves drew closer and closer until they were right overhead.
The girl looked up, but she did not see a thing.
Before long, the sound of the hooves grew more distant and eventually vanished.
The elder heaved a sigh of relief. “The people from Burial Garden have arrived.”
The young woman’s eyes went wide. “Burial Garden? One of the Three Dark Hands? They can also compete at the Astral Tower? Doesn’t the Hall of Honor care about them?”
The elder shook his head. “This matter is very complicated, and I can’t explain it to you in much detail.” He then looked at the girl with a serious expression. “There’s only one thing you must remember: do not provoke those who are riding horses.”
The girl nodded, only half-understanding.
The elder looked out into space and laughed. “However, even if you wanted to, you won’t be able to see them with your ability.”
The girl had a blank expression.
Not long after, news of Burial Garden’s top disciple appearing within the Mountain and Seas Zone spread out. Their presence had been discovered due to some strange flames that had been spotted burning on the ground. Each flame had the shape of a horse hoof, and only those from Burial Garden would leave such tracks behind.
Quite a few cultivators grew afraid. “I remember hearing that during the previous contest for the Cosmic Five, nobody from Burial Garden participated. Who would have thought that they would come this time?”
“It wasn’t just the last contest. It’s been quite a few generations since Burial Garden has sent anyone. However, every time they’ve shown up, they always taken one of the Cosmic Five’s seats. There was once an heir from Burial Garden who seized the inheritances from three mountains and seas, shocking the universe.”
“Well, they are one of the Three Dark Hands after all, and they are also the most mysterious of the three. Compared to Burial Garden, the Xia family, which is able to strike fear in others, is much worse. Xia Jiuyou might not be able to raise his head for the rest of his life.”
“I once heard that Xia Jiuyou was very powerful, but it seems that he’s just so-so.”
“Ignore Xia Jiuyou. Just think of a way to deal with Burial Garden’s top disciple.”
“What do you mean ‘deal with?’ Can you see them? The average person can’t even see them!”
“Every single one of Burial Garden’s top disciples is a member of the fabled Dead Society, which has been mentioned many times throughout history. I urge you all to keep a great distance.”
“Burial Garden’s Dead Regiment is truly terrifying.”
“‘The suona summons forth hell,’ ‘the dead travel on a sedan,’ ‘a paper thin life,’ and ‘rice straws protect tombs.’ These four phrases refer to the Dead Regiment’s four commanders, and they can intimidate the entire universe. You’d best keep a good distance if you bump into those from Burial Garden.”1
Within the Mountain and Seas Zone, news of Burial Garden’s top disciple arriving spread everywhere.
Shang Qing was astonished. “Burial Garden’s top disciple is actually joining us? An interesting opponent has arrived.”
Tai Yuanjun was curious. “Burial Garden? I met some of them once. They certainly had some strange attacks, but are they really all that mysterious?”
When fighting against the Sixth Mainland’s invading forces, Tai Yuanjun had joined forces with an expert from Burial Garden and Mu Ziying to fight against Zhi Yi. However, Tai Yuanjun’s impression of that expert had not been deep enough for him to expect Burial Garden’s top disciple to be this terrifying.
Shang Qing calmly explained, “Burial Garden’s top disciple is an opponent that cannot be seen. Rather, only those who qualify to compete with them are able to see them.”
Tai Yuanjun still did not understand.
Burial Garden was too mysterious, and even if one disregarded the Innerverse, there were very few even within the Neoverse who had even encountered someone from that place.
On a green field, Yuhua Mavis was holding onto a book as she lounged on a patch of green grass several meters in size. Suddenly, some distance away, the field started to burn as the faint sound of horse hooves rang out.
Yuhua Mavis turned around and stared off into the distance. “Please don’t destroy the lawn, thank you.”
Across from her, the scorched grass suddenly glowed with a renewed vitality.
The sound of the horse hooves grew more distant and gradually disappeared.
Yuhua Mavis continued to read her book, as though this was a perfectly normal interaction.
Another five days passed, and the discussion in the Mountain and Seas Zone concerning Burial Garden’s top disciple gradually died down. It seemed as though the person had not actually appeared, and regardless, there had not been any news of anyone crossing paths with the heir.
Aurora Enterprises’ young master was the next to arrive, and the following day, rumors that he had also defeated the Xia family’s Xia Jiuyou spread out, which left everyone speechless.
“The Xia family has really been humiliated this time.”
“The Seven Courts as a whole has become so much weaker—the Yu family has disappeared, and the Yōu family has split. The Xie family has also been fighting off the Specter Clan for a long time, and now, it looks like it’s going to be the Xia family’s turn.”
Outside the Mountain and Seas Zone, the Cosmic Sect’s spacecraft finally arrived with only a few days left before the start of the Astral Tower contest.
Qiu Shi walked out of her room.
When Lu Yin saw Qiu Shi, he happily greeted her. “Grand Senior.”
Qiu Shi calmly looked over at Lu Yin. “Brother Lu, you are too courteous. Once you left the Cosmic Sect, you were no longer a Cosmic Sect disciple.”
Lu Yin politely replied, “One day as a Cosmic Sect disciple leaves me a Cosmic Sect disciple for life.”
“Shameless,” Yao Ji muttered under his breath.
Elder Yuan Ke appeared, and he looked at Lu Yin with appreciation before looking over at Qiu Shi. “Come, leave your cosmic rings. You remember the rules.”
Qiu Shi nodded and bowed. “Yes, Elder.”
“Yes, Elder,” Mu Ziying and the others answered the same.
Lu Yin had also been told about the rules earlier. In the Mountain and Seas Zone, all foreign items would be rejected, and even the clothes that they wore had to be made from materials that came from the Mountain and Seas Zone. This meant that Lu Yin would not be able to rely on any of his items.
This was considered fair, as otherwise, any descendant from the Hall of Honor could simply pull out something like the walnut-shaped power vessel that Lu Yin had received from Yuan Shi. In that case, there would be no need for anyone else to fight, and the contest would be purely fought through their backgrounds. Not even Lu Yin was confident of competing against someone from the Hall of Honor in terms of external items.
As the spacecraft departed, Qiu Shi was the first to move into the Mountain and Seas Zone.
Lu Yin stood high in outer space, and he prepared himself to enter, but then, a voice entered his ears, and he turned around in surprise to look at a building off in the distance: Azure Mansion.
Lu Yin rubbed his eyes, but it really was Azure Mansion. He had never expected Azure Mansion to show up in this place.
And the one who had transmitted their voice to Lu Yin was naturally Gu Xiao'er.
Gu Xiao'er had been relaxing in Azure Mansion this entire time, and he had situated himself at the outermost part of Azure Mansion so that he could see everyone who entered the Mountain and Seas Zone. Although Gu Xiao’er might be frivolous at times, he would never forget about the important issues at hand .
He had actually watched as Burial Garden’s top disciple entered, and he had felt doomed at that moment.
Gu Xiao’er had also watched the young master of Aurora Enterprises enter, and he had been very envious of the young man’s exceptionally luxurious spacecraft.
More recently, Gu Xiao’er had seen the Cosmic Sect’s disciples arriving, and after struggling, he had pulled his eyes away from Qiu Shi’s imposing chest. It was at that moment that he had spotted Lu Yin.
Actually, Gu Xiao’er was quite confused; weren’t the rumors saying that Lu Yin had died? And that he was a traitor to the Fifth Mainland? So why had he come to the Astral Tower contest? Also, why was he with the Cosmic Sect?
“Come, Brother Lu, there’s a very comfortable place here!” Gu Xiao'er called out.
Mu Ziying and the others saw Gu Xiao’er, and they all turned to give Lu Yin strange looks.
Lu Yin coughed and told Mu Ziying, “I’ll be back in a bit. That’s an acquaintance of mine.”
Yao Ji spat in disdain, “Wastrel.”
But then he glanced at Azure Mansion with heated eyes before entering the Mountain and Seas Zone.
Mu Ziying and Hua Xiao exchanged glances and then shook their heads before entering the Mountain and Seas Zone.
This Azure Mansion was even larger than the one Lu Yin had visited in the West Realm, but when Lu Yin arrived, a group of women bowed to him, just as they had in the West Realm Azure Mansion.
Gu Xiao'er sent the madam away and personally led Lu Yin in.
“Aren’t you dead? Why are you here?” Gu Xiao'er asked in a strange tone.
Lu Yin replied, “That’s just a rumor spread by Nightking Zhenwu.”
Gu Xiao'er nodded. “That guy’s truly despicable, and one look is enough for anyone to tell that he’s no good. Actually, I wanted to help you get here, but I was captured by my dad and dragged back home to train hard, and I only got out a little while ago. Don’t worry. Once we get into the Mountain and Seas Zone, I’ll help you beat up Nightking Zhenwu if we meet him.”
Lu Yin pursed his lips. “Thanks.”
Azure Mansion’s actual rules were different from one one envisioned in a brothel. All the women were beautiful beyond description, but they could only be looked at and not be touched.
Gu Xiao'er was satisfied with this, as he just wanted to pursue the girls. Of course, Azure Mansion was also where his so-called “true love” was, but she was not in this particular one.
Aside from Smoke Eater Peaks, Azure Mansion had become Gu Xiao’er’s second home, and he was especially amiable with the women who worked there.
“Brother Lu, did you know that the Mountain and Seas Zone is crazy right now? All the people in there are like crazy dogs, biting as soon as they meet anyone. Like that First Honor Chosen—he relies on his so-called ‘miraculous technique’ to beat up anyone he runs into. Also, the Second Honor Chosen is always wearing a mask—who knows if she’s crying or smiling, but regardless, she’s ridiculous. The person from the Mavis family causes flowers to bloom and grass to grow wherever she goes while those idiots from the Seven Courts are swaggering about everywhere. That poor bastard from the Xia family has already been beaten up a few times, and the Ten Arbiters are just stared at wherever they go. I tell you this with the best intentions: don’t go in right now. You should only enter after the competition begins. Otherwise, people will make trouble for you.” Gu Xiao'er sipped his wine and shook his head as he concisely shared the current situation inside the Mountain and Seas Zone with Lu Yin.
“Have people from Eversky Island arrived yet?” Lu Yin asked.
 A suona is a horn that can be blown during a funeral procession. The description of all of these people has to do with them being about to die, which seems rather appropriate.