“Damn, that was a nice bit of sleep!” Lu Yun indulged in an extreme stretch. Still wreathed in the fog of sleep, he blearily scrambled up to brush his teeth and wash his face. “Wait!”
Startled into full wakefulness, he looked vacantly around him.
“It was all real! I made it to the world of immortals!” He came back to his senses. “It wasn't a dream.”
“...right!” The events of last night crashed back into him. “Enneawyrm Coffinbearers! The feng shui here is a tangible existence!”
He trembled with horror. “Ive gotta get out of here, or Im deader than a doornail!”
He could unravel that feng shui layout, but one that existed in the physical world was beyond his understanding. An additional minute spent here was one closer to death.
He stumbled his way out the room.
“Milord, youre awake!” Wanfeng was walking toward him with a tray of food, and broke into trot when she saw him exit. Shed been the one to help him back when hed fainted on the Mooncatcher Tower the night before.
“Come come come, we need to leave as soon as possible!” Lu Yun grabbed Wanfengs hand and tore off in the direction of the main door.
“Leave Where” Wanfeng looked blankly at her master.
“Anywhere but here!” Anxiety roughened Lu Yuns voice.
“Your Excellency, youre not going anywhere other than here.” A wizened voice sounded at this moment, quickly followed by an old man with a shock of white hair. Hed appeared next to Lu Yun and Wanfeng at some point in time, smiling merrily at them. “Where would we go to find you if you left with the governor's seal”
Lu Yun felt like hed crashed into a wall of air the next instant. The strong recoil sent him tumbling to the ground on his butt.
“Who are you” Grimacing with pain, he rubbed his smarting posterior.
“You don't know me” The old man blinked.
“I can consider getting to know you if you have a pretty daughter,” Lu Yun declared haughtily, scrambling up.
“Milord, hes the grand steward of House Ge, Ge Long,” whispered Wanfeng.
“The grand steward of House Ge” Lu Yun frowned. “Whats the grand steward of House Ge doing in my place”
“Why, Im here to protect Your Excellency, of course,” Ge Long jeered. “You have so many enemies, Your Excellency. It wouldnt do for you to accidentally be beaten to death. I may not have a daughter, but I have a granddaughter. Would you like to see her, Your Excellency”
Lu Yun quickly reacted when he noted Ge Longs narrowed eyes and sinister tone.
He still had half a year left in his post, but hed offended so many people that his enemies had sent people to keep him under watch. Or rather, theyd gone one step further and grounded him so that he wouldnt get away.
They would move in for the kill as soon as he was relieved of his position.
“Hmph!” Lu Yun snorted loftily. He couldnt be bothered with further argument and left with a flourish.
“Hes so ugly that his granddaughter wouldnt be any better. Was that unseen wall of air just now the work of a cultivator” Rather than return to his room, Lu Yun made his way up the Mooncatcher Tower again with Wanfengs help.
“Ge Long is a cultivator of the qi transformation realm. He formed that wall out of true qi just now. But seeing that he didnt harm milord, Wanfeng didnt make a move,” the maid explained carefully, fearful that Lu Yun would berate her.
“Youre stronger than him” Lu Yuns eyes gleamed.
“This servant can deploy combat arts and has refined my golden core. Im in the core realm.” The girl arched her neck proudly. But something occurred to her the next second and she cautiously ventured, “Milord, you dont blame me for not taking action just now, do you”
The old Lu Yun hadnt treated Wanfeng that well, feeding her a daily diet of beatings and curses. She was a foster daughter, taken in by Lu Yuns father when her original family discarded her. If it hadnt been for the old governor, Wanfeng wouldve died of starvation long ago.
Though she knew that House Lu hadnt taken her in out of the goodness of their hearts, she was still very grateful to the governors family. She never breathed a word of complaint, even when her master whipped a criss-cross pattern across her body.
Of course, Lu Yun didnt know any of this.
“Qi transformation Golden core” He hadnt paid attention to anything else she said. “Tell me more about this cultivation business.”
“Alright!” Wanfeng agreed happily. Since the governor hadnt been able to cultivate before, hed never paid any heed to matters of cultivation.
“There are three major realms on the path of cultivation, with nine levels total.
“Qi, core, and spirit are the three realms. Each one is further divided into three smaller levels.
“In the qi realm, there are the qi application, qi condensation, and qi transformation levels.
“In the core realm, you form a golden core, then a life core, and finally an origin core.
"The spirit realm has the nascent spirit, refined spirit, and transformed spirit levels.
“After that, the cultivator is an immortal. But Ive never seen one, so I dont know what realms they have.”
Lu Yun nodded. “Can I really not cultivate”
Wanfengs expression dimmed. “You cant. The old lord once sought out an immortal to change your constitution, but the mighty one failed.”
“Alright then.” Lu Yun twisted his lips into a half smile.
“But I heard the old lord say that the immortal mentioned the Aurum Openia Pill  can change your constitution, letting you cultivate like everyone else.” The last bit of trivia suddenly popped into Wanfengs mind.
“The Aurum Openia Pill” Lu Yuns eyes widened.
“But its recipe was lost a long time ago. The pills left in the immortal world are treasures from long ago. Eating one means theres one less in the world. Thats why one pill could be traded for an entire Dusk Province.” Wanfeng smiled wryly.
“That's just money, isnt it” He looked outside the city walls again—there was a large immortals tomb out there!
Though there were signs of partial excavation, it remained whole overall. Its feng shui hadnt fragmented, a sign that previous raiders had only tapped into the outskirts, but hadnt yet found the core of the tomb.
Aurum Openia was so precious because its recipe had been lost. If he found something in that tomb that had also been lost to the passage of time, he might be able to trade for a pill.
“Wanfeng, you can take care of that Ge Long, right Are there others in the manor that have me under surveillance” Lu Yun recalled that his maid had just said she was stronger than the House Ge steward.
“Mm,” Wanfeng nodded. “I secretly broke through to the core realm two days ago. No one knows, apart from Grand Steward Xue.
“As for those surveilling milord, apart from Ge Long, theres also Gongsun You of House Gongsun and Feng Liancheng of House Feng. Ge Long and Gongsun You are no match for me, but Feng Liancheng is also in the core realm. Ive just broken through, so I dont think Ill be able to beat him,” Wanfeng said with some frustration.
“Its enough that you can take two of them on!” A smirk crossed Lu Yuns face. “Let that Ge Long follow us. Were leaving town and setting course for Mount Carmine Dusk. Lets broaden our worldview with an immortals tomb!”
His blood boiled at the thought of exploring a tomb built for an immortal.
“Your Excellency, where are you going now” As if agreed on beforehand, Ge Long appeared to block their way once more when the two of them made it to the manor doors.
“Im bored in the manor. Im going out for a spin around town,” responded Lu Yun nonchalantly.
Ge Long frowned. “That wont do. Your Excellency cant go anywhere during these six months.”
“Did His Majesty the Celestial Emperor make that rule” Lu Yun sniffed coldly.
“No.” Ge Long paused when he heard the question and shook his head. “The aristocratic families of Dusk drafted it.”
“Hahahahaha!” Lu Yun threw his head back in laughter. “The aristocratic families of Dusk drafted it Are the noble houses looking to rebel”
“Thats complete nonsense!” Ge Longs expression shifted.
“Nonsense” Lu Yun smiled sardonically. “Theres half a year left to the deadline and His Majesty has yet to strip me of my position, but the aristocracy you speak of dares put the governor of Dusk under house arrest What is this, if not rebellion”
The stewards expression flickered rapidly. True, Lu Yun was still the governor during this half year. His enemies had yet to make a move, because they were concerned about the reprisal.
“Wanfeng, make preparations for me to bathe and burn incense so that I can petition the emperor. I must report that the Dusk aristocracy seeks to rebel. Perhaps in his delight after putting down the rebellion, His Majesty will bequeath me an Aurum Openia Pill.”
Wanfengs eyes lit up hopefully when she heard this. “You dont have to go to that trouble, milord. You have a command token to deploy the mighty Dusk army, so you dont need to trouble the celestial emperor.”
It was Lu Yuns turn to have anticipation color his look.
“Hold!” Cold sweat beaded Ge Longs face. With Lu Yuns lawless and godless nature, he really might deploy the provinces army and exterminate all of Dusks cultivation clans.
“Where might Your Excellency be going” The stewards eyes shifted in rapid thought and smiled in the end. “Your Excellency has many enemies and will likely be mobbed to death if you leave just like this. Why not have this old servant accompany and protect you”
Its one thing if he only stays in the city, but if he leaves it… heh. Ill be able to beat him to death myself!
Nothing was off the table when it came to the depths of Ge Longs fury. His granddaughter had died at Lu Yuns hands!
1. The straight translation of this pills name is the Nine Orifices/Openings Golden Pill. Frankly, that sounded a bit appalling to me, and for such a magical pill too. Aurum is the Latin word for golden, and Openia is the Old English word forto open. -penia is also a medical suffix for a deficiency in something, so it seemed quite apt here that those who lack the ability to cultivate would take this pill.-