Moments ago, the fish had left the fish molt, yet now they returned again! No less than ten meters away from these fish, Sister Nine, Ye Old Four, and Yi Old Five distinctly felt a strong contrast similar to an ant and a giant tree!
The trio were like lonely skiffs without aid on the black ocean surface. They resembled three white dots on an ink painting. At this moment, each person’s sweat fell like rain. All around was inky blackness, so black that it caused their hearts to contract.
Crack… At this time, a slight noise caused everyone to cast their gazes forward.
It… was a sound coming from the coffin!
Creak creak creak… Immediately, a sound that could make teeth chatter was heard from the coffin. It was the sound of friction after the rusting of bronze. A muffled sound of machinery, so light that it couldn’t be heard, echoed rhythmically. Whoosh whoosh… Two sounds rang out. A bronze lever carved with a dragon design silently shot out from inside the coffin.
Crack… Crack… Closely following, another three sounds and levers formed the appearance of a well gate and lifted up the coffin cover. At the same time, the coffin strangely stood up! Inside, a faintly discernible ash-black corpse qi suddenly wafted out like smoke.
Sister Nine’s, Ye Old Four’s, and Yi Old Five’s expressions were extremely grave. At an unknown time, Sister Nine had already taken out a jade sculpture. On its surface, rings of azure brilliance shrouded her entire body. In his hand, Ye Old Four squeezed a withered branch. On it, there was merely a single azure leaf that was radiating faint azure light. Likewise, it protected his entire body. Only Yi Old Five alone had actually transformed into a giant, emitting golden rays from his entire body. In his left hand, he held a longblade, and in his right, he held a shield. It safely protected him.
Xu Yangyi’s gaze focused on the gradually opening coffin. Could it be that the Universe Pouch’s attractive force had caused the coffin to open?
Everything in front… was too bizarre. Who could’ve expected that in one of the Eight Great Deadlands, the depths of Danxia Temple… was actually concealing a coffin?
Swoosh… In quiet silence, the coffin completely opened at long last. A seemingly human corpse slowly appeared within.
“Is… Is that person dead or alive?”
“How is this possible…”
As the corpse was fully revealed, everyone coldly gasped.
It was an old man, very much old. He had a head full of white hair. It was combed extremely neatly, so that his white hair was like white silk. An exceptional hair oil glossed the surface of his hair. Even after countless years had passed, his hair still shined like new.
He couldn’t be considered thin or fat. Set in the modern day, it was the very ordinary appearance of an old man. Nonetheless, his skin was just like an infant’s. On his jaw, there wasn’t a single trace of hair.
Ordinary people without facial hair shaved, but at least the black stubble of a beard could be seen. However, he was different… he didn’t have any at all. Not a speck of growth.
He wore a red changpao. At his collar, one could see the white inner lining, and he wore a black high cap. Two golden tassels hung down from the sides of the high cap. His fingernails were somewhat long and presented a kind of strange dark-red color. A string of delicate jade was coiled at his waist, and an iron plate was hanging from it.
Both of his hands were crossed over his chest, and his entire bearing was serene. It was like he was sleeping, simply unlike a dead man!
Silent, Sister Nine was wet with cold sweat as she gazed at the corpse. She dared not exhale.
After no less than a dozen minutes, they then began to quietly fall back step after step. However, Xu Yangyi and Fahui glanced at each other. Both of them sat on flying magik artifacts and stared cautiously, approaching the coffin bit by bit.
Everyone seated on a flying magik artifact came before the coffin. Fahui’s gaze twinkled, and he suddenly flicked out a small, fine stone. It revolved around the coffin several times, and he nodded towards the crowd. “This poor monk used a Sarira to investigate. This is indeed a corpse. There’s no indication of life and moreover no qi fluctuations.”
No one dared not to be prudent.
In the land of the millennium-old Danxia Temple, a bronze coffin had suddenly emerged. It was unknown how many years the person buried within was separated by time. Unexpectedly, his countenance was bright like new!
Amidst silence, Xu Yangyi’s hand beckoned and probingly used telekinesis. However, against everyone’s expectations, there wasn’t any obstruction. Xu Yangyi immediately attracted the iron plate at the corpse’s waist.
Even he was somewhat incredulous. However, he personally didn’t go over and cautiously take the item. Instead, he had the waist plate hang in the air. Everyone watched the waist plate come over with rapt attention. The three characters on the surface were still clear and striking despite the separation of countless years.
“Li… Jinzhong?” Qing Jingzi slightly furrowed his brows. A person who could be buried at the bottom of Danxia Temple with such a strange method was in no way ordinary. Still, he counted his memories yet didn’t find this name of Li Jinzhong. He mumbled to himself as he turned his head and looked at the others who were several thousand meters away. “Who knows who Li Jinzhong is?”
“Li Jinzhong?! Fellow Daoist, did you say Li Jinzhong?!” Originally, there was no hope in someone knowing, but unexpectedly a startled cry echoed from behind. Xu Yangyi turned his head and glanced. He saw Zhao Wuye who was standing in place and flabbergasted. The latter’s body was shaking!
“That’s good.” Xuan Chengzi’s gaze flashed, and he immediately questioned, “Does Fellow Daoist know who this person is?”
Zhao Wuye’s eyes were reddened. Without a second word, he used his fastest speed to jump off his lotus flower and climb onto a kite-shaped flying magik artifact. Razor swift, he arrived at the lotus leaf that Xu Yangyi was located. Like he was crazed, he pushed through the others—those of heaven’s pride that he ordinarily dared not even glance at—yet at this moment, he appeared not to have seen them whatsoever. The present Zhao Wuye only had the corpse in his eyes.
He took the iron plate in Fahui’s hand and looked at it a good few times. His eyes opened wider and wider, and his hands started to tremble. Afterwards, he studied the standing coffin as he breathed heavily like an ox, panting in disbelief.
“Nine Thousand Years…” After ages, he stuttered these three words out. His voice was trembling and filled with extreme shock and fright.
“Nine Thousand Years?” Sister Nine’s brows tightly knitted together. This name was rather familiar. After half a second, her eyes shone, and she looked at the corpse even more incredulously. “Wei Zhongxian?!”
“You didn’t misread that?” Xuan Chengzi looked at the old man, who looked like he was sleeping, in shock. “THIS is Wei Zhongxian?”
This was fundamentally impossible! How could a mortal be buried in this kind of place?! How could he possibly enter?!
Xu Yangyi remained silent, yet his heart seemed to open up a bit, suddenly clear and bright!
The Ming dynasty… An era of devout Daoism. There were a good few emperors who had merely taken “immortal pills” and died. Immortal and mortal seemed to be forever separated, but… the Xuan-Yuan Sword had personally taken action and erased an emperor. However, this was never recorded in history! In the midst of this, a titanic secret was hidden!
But now, this corpse was surprisingly Wei Zhongxian… In Xu Yangyi’s hand, he was even holding onto the other half of the Animus Armament. As for himself… he was a person of the suspected master of the Animus Armament, the “One-Month Emperor” Ming Guangzong, who had lived from the Taichang era to the Tianqi era! 
Countless threads were bubbling towards the Tianqi period. Any one of these clues seemed to be vaguely telling the world’s people that during the Tianqi period, an absolutely disastrous event had occurred!
It truly wasn’t the Ming Palace Courtyard… but rather in the cultivation world… and the human world, a great matter had broke out in both! A genuine truth… that history was unable to record, even running counter to historical records!
“That’s right… this is Wei Zhongxian!” Zhao Wuye observed for very long and confirmed. “His attire… is the dress of a Ceremonial Overseer… If that’s not enough proof, please spread open the inner clothing at his neck, Fellow Daoists.”
Sister Nine’s gaze flashed, and she gently waved her hand. A wind edge immediately sliced open the clothing on the corpse’s neck. In that region, there was an eye-catching red scar! This person… had died to beheading! Furthermore, his skull was placed back afterwards!
“Wei Zhongxian hanged himself and was then dismembered by Emperor Tianqi, so there would be an obvious decapitation mark on his neck! If Fellow Daoists don’t believe, you can pull at his four limbs; there should be other unusual marks!”
Ye Old Four murmured in silence. After several seconds, his hand flicked out several gales. Several swooshing noises rang out and the clothes at the corpse’s shoulders and thighs were all ripped apart. Sure enough, four red scars clearly emerged on Wei Zhongxian’s deathly pale body!
“It really is like that…” Ye Old Four inhaled deeply. He turned around, not wanting to look at the coffin, and sneered somewhat loathingly, “A scam. Someone actually placed a pieced-together corpse here. One that’s even a castrate.”
“Fellow Daoist.” Solemn-faced, Zhao Wuye said, “The high eunuchs of the Ming dynasty… weren’t just anyone. They… were different from the eunuchs of successive dynasties.”
“During the Ming dynasty, in order to help withstand the bureaucrats, the emperor granted the eunuchs special privileges. It could be said that the emperor took these Ceremonial Overseers as first-tier grandfathers. Any of them would be a great scholar or philosopher in the present age. Especially…” He glanced reverently at Wei Zhongxian’s corpse. “This person… even held both positions of Minister of the East Yard and Minister of the West Yard. He wasn’t comparable in any way to those illiterate eunuchs that couldn't even recognize a ‘T’ in the past… past… F-F-Fellow Daoist Ye?!”
Zhao Wuye’s voice suddenly raised up high, and Ye Old Four furrowed his brows. “What’s up?”
He discovered that everyone was leaving far away from him at lightning speed! Something had happened to his body!
No… Maybe… He looked at everyone in front of him, and they looked at him in silence and shock. The further they went away, he suddenly recalled something… He… had his back facing the coffin!
Don’t tell me… All of a sudden, his throat ached fiercely. He couldn’t even get out a word. His face became increasingly pale and even his teeth chattered. A rosy hand just like an infant’s gently patted his shoulder. Ye Old Four’s entire body trembled like sifting chaft. Little by little… he turned his head.
Behind him… he saw that the five sections of the dismembered corpse had all separated! From inside the corpse’s body, rays of ink-like pure black qi pulled on its head, arms, and legs. As for Wei Zhongxian’s head, it was above Ye Old Four, spreading open its bloody maw!
It was still a human body, but the corpse’s mouth opened wide to a freakish degree! The lower and upper jaws had completely separated! Like how a snake devoured a creature several times greater than its mouth, the corpse chomped down!
KACHUNK! In an instant, Ye Old Four’s skull deformed. Both of Wei Zhongxian’s hands, towed by black qi, grabbed the still spasming body of Ye Old Four! One section at a time, it was delivered into Wei Zhongxian’s mouth!
The lotus sea was silent like a moratorium! All that could be heard was the heart-chilling sound of crunching bones. However, their silence wasn’t truly due to Ye Old Four’s death! Instead… at this instant, Wei Zhongxian’s corpse had already fully indicated his realm!
The initial stage of Foundation Establishment!!!
Xu Yangyi was unable to remove his eyes from the view in front of him. He wasn’t scared but rather excited! This was because he had seen… He had seen very clearly!
The instant that corpse opened its mouth, he saw… that it didn’t have a tongue. Wei Zhongxian’s tongue had been cut out. On his lower jaw… someone had forcibly welded in half of a chest!
The other half of the Animus Armament!
1. Reminder: Ming Guangzong is the temple name of the Taichang Emperor. The Taichang in “Taichang era” is a reference to the Emperor’s “Era Name”. I think I once noted that emperors get a couple different names. Tianqi is the era name of Ming Guangzong’s son. Tianqi means “Heavenly Opening”. You will find this information important soon.
Extended note: I didn’t want to have a tons of notes, so here is just a large info dump on Wei Zhongxian. Wei Zhongxian, otherwise known as Li Jinzhong, was a high eunuch during the Ming dynasty. He lived from 1568 until his suicide in 1627. He served under the Tianqi Emperor. During this era, Wei Zhongxian was said to have power rivaling that of the emperor’s. He secretly controlled the behind the scenes and held positions of Western Yard (Depot) and Eastern Yard (Depot). These were both secret agencies that the eunuchs controlled (special investigations/secret police organizations). His moniker was “Nine Thousand Years”. The significance of this is that the emperor himself is called “Thousand Years”, so his status was in a sense beyond the emperor’s. Wei Zhongxian even had temples built in his name.