Chapter 481 - Footsteps

The words on the door probably weren't about Dongyang Fengchen's age, but rather the number of spots remaining. As each one of them entered, the number counted down. Only after the twenty-five Theocrats entered did Tianming and the remaining ones go in.

Ye Lingfeng was walking ahead of him. When Tianming reached the door, the number on it read '1'. It felt as if the number was staring straight at him. Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be formed from blood, blood that was still freshly red, as if it had spurted out from a person who died not long ago.

"How scary," Feiling said.

"Don't worry, I'm here."

Looking into the endless darkness, Tianming stepped into it. The moment he did, the wooden door creaked like a jittery old person trying their best to walk, then closed shut.

......

Tianming felt a little pain in his head. He was surrounded by darkness and couldn't see a thing. Ever since he had entered, he couldn't move at all and felt like he was floating through an empty void. Around fifteen minutes later, his feet finally found firm ground and the world opened up brightly before his eyes. He quickly put up his guard and held the Grand-Orient Sword in his hand.

He saw that he was in a cramped little room built from green bricks. It looked ancient and really damaged, and was covered in a thick layer of dust. Each step he took left a dusty imprint on the surface. It looked just like the building he had entered from the inside. There was a wooden door in the room that looked just like the tomb's entrance. He wondered if he would return to the Second Divine Capital after exiting the tomb, but he thought otherwise, for the world beyond the door seemed incredibly quiet and desolate. The sound of thunder within the Abyssal Battlefield couldn't be heard beyond that door.

"We are now inside the tomb!"

What he saw was truly too different from what he had imagined. He stepped toward the door and prodded it with his Invincible Sword Ki, attempting to pierce it through, but it was completely undamaged, despite seeming like it would crumble with a single push. In fact, Tianming found it hard to even move. He couldn't shut it even if he wanted to.

"I don't believe it." He swung the Grand-Orient Sword at the door and managed to leave a mark, though it didn't break the door down. At least, it was proof that divine artifacts like his sword could affect it somewhat.

"So this is the tomb after all." There was no explaining how a mere wooden door wouldn't break from being attacked with Invincible Sword Ki. "Ling'er, is that existence here?"

"I can't feel its presence for now. It's too quiet here, in fact."

"Then we should go out and look for Feng. Let's see if we're able to meet up."

Tianming figured that all thirty of them had been brought to different corners of the tomb. He exited the small room and saw a wide passageway. The walls he saw would no doubt be impenetrable for him. All he could do was advance or retreat, though there were many crossroads and deviations up ahead.

"So this is a labyrinth of sorts, where we can't see the start or end point."

Thankfully, it was wide and empty enough for fights to happen without a problem. Countless green stone buildings were across the passageway, making it look like a defensive wall. Apart from the one he had just left, the doors to the other buildings were all closed.

He advanced with the Grand-Orient Sword in hand and used his Insightful Eye to survey his surroundings. One thing he couldn't avoid, however, was leaving a trail of footprints on the thick layer of dust as he walked. Ying Huo came out from his lifebound space and perched on Tianming's shoulder out of curiosity.

"Darn, what kind of ancient tomb is this? This is practically a catacomb. It pales in comparison to the Li Mausoleum," Ying Huo said.

"Don't speak," Tianming said with a furrowed brow.

They were now at the entrance of another stone building. It was tightly shut, so he placed his ear against the door to listen. He had a feeling he heard something inside. All of a sudden, the door began shaking.

"Darn it, it's a ghost!" Ying Huo cried before darting off without Tianming. Even Tianming's heart was pumping from the shock, and Feiling couldn't help but cry out. Tianming immediately took a few steps back until he was up against the wall.

"Wabababbabababa..." Ying Huo flew even further away, only to notice that it felt even more afraid without Tianming around, then hurriedly turned back and dove into the lifebound space into Lan Huang's embrace.

"I didn't think you'd be such a chicken, Chicken Bro," Lan Huang said. It had wanted to use that line for as long as it could remember.

"Nonsense! I was afraid you'd be scared without me so I came back to stoke our morale!"

"Then why are you shivering?"

"I'm grooming my feathers, dammit!"

While his beasts could relax in the lifebound space, Tianming didn't feel the least bit relieved as he leaned against the wall.

"The door just shook a few times. Something must be inside, yet there's no sign of a living being anywhere...."

What else could it be? All he could see were green stone buildings like the ones he had come out of. But now, he couldn't even find it, since all the doors were shut tight.

"What do you think is inside?" Feiling asked.

"No idea. Let's just ignore the buildings and continue ahead."

After taking a few steps, he turned back and looked at a dark corner behind him. He had a feeling something was tailing him.

"Didn't you ask me to bring Ling'er to the tomb? We're here now, so where are you?" he mumbled. However, there was no reply. "If you won't come to me, I’ll come to you."

Tianming continued walking. When he quickened his pace, he heard footsteps from behind matching his pace. However, he saw nothing when he turned back. Even his Insightful Eye saw nothing. If it weren’t for the closed wooden doors, he would have thought something had come out of one of the buildings.

He continued forward for more than ten thousand meters and passed close to a thousand of such stone buildings. On the way, he went through a few junctions, though he always picked the straight path. This time around, he picked left and noticed there were buildings down that path too.

"These buildings are everywhere!"

He continued ahead and eventually came to a three-way junction, but one of the paths was inaccessible. It seemed to be blocked off by a heavenly pattern formation, a transparent one that pushed back at him when he approached.

"So I shouldn't go down this path? Is there some logic to it?"

Tianming thought hard about it as he stood right in front of the formation. While the other two paths were accessible to him, he wasn't in a rush.

This black arm of mine was able to tear through the Infernal Soul Formation, so I wonder if it'll work for this one, too.

He stretched his left hand out toward the formation and felt a resisting force. However, it seemed to be working. His arm was still moving forward with all his fingers outstretched. Using his Insightful Eye, he saw an ink-green heavenly pattern, which he took hold of, turned, and tore apart. Something seemed to have been unlocked by that action.

"So entering it is possible!"

Tianming took one step after another and opened the path with his left hand, tearing away one heavenly pattern after another. Eventually, he was able to see what lay beyond the formation with his Insightful Eye.

Beyond it, he saw Ye Lingfeng, who was cautiously advancing with his back against the wall while wielding his daggers. However, there was someone tailing him from tens of meters behind.

That person had a half-darkened face. From where Tianming was, he could only see the right side of his face. The eye seemed insidious and filled with hate. Slowly, that person approached Ye Lingfeng.

"Feng, be careful!" Tianming roared, though it didn't seem to reach his ears. However, Ye Lingfeng turned back, though oddly he didn't seem to have noticed Dongyang Fengchen. Shaking his head doubtfully, he turned back and continued advancing.

What was worse was that Dongyang Fengchen quickened his steps to the point that Tianming could hear his footsteps. They sounded hastier than before.

"Wait, why's the sound coming from behind me?"

Tianming's hairs were standing on end. He turned back suddenly and saw a figure come charging at him from a dark corner. His Insightful Eye was still focused on aiding him in tearing through the tomb's formation, so he wasn't able to see who—or what—that figure was.

Fortunately, he managed to tear through the formation in time and passed through it. As he hurriedly got up and prepared to strike, he noticed there was nobody behind him. Instead, he had appeared on another path whose dusty floor had no footstep trails at all. The formation had disappeared, along with the dark figure. He seemed to have been transported somewhere else entirely.

"But it looked like Dongyang Fengchen was about to catch up to Feng." That thought caused him to grow more anxious. He could tell from Dongyang Fengchen's gaze that he was definitely going in for the kill. He had thought he would be able to get to Ye Lingfeng after breaking the formation, but it ended up not being the case.

"What’s going on?" Feiling was confused too.

"Shh... this place must be haunted," Ying Huo whispered from under Lan Huang. "If what you saw just now was real, Feng must be in trouble."

Tianming had no choice but to choose a direction and charge forward. All of a sudden, he heard footsteps from behind him. His left hand was pointed behind him, but he couldn't see anyone at all. How could he see the black figure from before, then?

Even after a long time, he couldn't see anybody behind him, despite the footsteps. He decided he would no longer bother and instead use Insightful Eye to seek out other formations in the tomb.

At that moment, the atmosphere behind him felt really eerie all of a sudden. He even felt a chill run down his spine as he heard heavy footsteps coming from behind him.

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