“Is this the Sword Barrow?” Lu Yun gaped as he reached the end of the passage.
A fiery space was laid out before him, full of fire and magma. Connate fire energy flowed about with incredible purity. In fact, the energy here was even purer than what he could summon with Mastery of the Five Elements.
Ignoring the mass of sword zombies everywhere before him, he looked further inward and saw a gigantic furnace!
Thousands of kilometers tall, it spewed fiery energy everywhere like a terrifying, active volcano. The heat was intense enough to reduce the stone walls to sluggish magma.
Since Dusk Province leaned toward the attribute of water, connate water energy flowed within its borders. Yet there was a place that teemed with fire on its borders… beneath the Great Cloudwater Lake, no less! This furnace had to be at the bottom of all of this.
“Huang Qing’s body is inside that furnace!” Lu Yun opened his Spectral Eye and gulped. “This… this furnace is the real Sword Barrow. But… how can a furnace for smithing swords become a burial ground instead? Do you know?” His last question was as much rhetorical as purposeful, since the dread zombie was just as confused as he was.
“Many immortals have tried their luck in the Sword Barrow, but there’s never been rumors of a furnace here,” it heaved. “Still, we’re definitely in the right place. This must be the true heart of the barrow. You’re probably the first one who’s ever set foot in here.”
The endless swarm of swords outside would cut any living visitor to ribbons. Even an emperor-level expert wouldn’t be able to handle the sheer number of assailants. Now that the swords were also zombies, their horde was even more powerful than before.
“Nah, I don’t think so. I’m not the first, or even the second.” Lu Yun disagreed. “Those tomb keepers must’ve come this far to bury Huang Qing’s body here.”
Being zombies as well, the tomb keepers had been able to enter unscathed. However, Huang Qing’s burial here had then turned this place into a noble’s tomb. Countless natural defenses and layouts formed as a result, preventing them from returning a second time.
Nearby, Yuchi Tianhuang was at death’s door, with more than a hundred swords buried in his body. His eyes blazed with hatred for the human youth beside him, even as his lifeblood streamed out of his wounds. This White Tiger descendant would depart this world with just a little more blood loss.
Lu Yun ran up to the gravely injured divine. “Glad you’re still alive. If you weren’t, I’d have to revive you,” he muttered.
The dread zombie and Yuchi Tianhuang were both at a loss for words.
Revive? What did he mean by that?
Before either of them could come to their senses, Lu Yun sliced off Yuchi Tianhuang’s head with a clean stroke.
The dead divine appeared beside him in the next instant. Wreathed in wry smiles, he finally understood everything that’d transpired before. No wonder Aoxue, princess of the North Sea and blood dragon, followed this human so willingly.
“Hail, master.” Yuchi Tianhuang knelt to the ground.
“Go back. I’ll need you again in a bit,” Lu Yun nodded in acknowledgment. The new Infernum returned to hell before the sword zombies could notice his new existence.
“Who… who are you really?” The dread zombie stared at Lu Yun incredulously. It uttered a quick bark of helpless laughter, understanding that it would never be allowed to leave Violetgrave, now that he’d glimpsed the human’s secrets.
Well, unless Lu Yun gained enough strength to become invincible and dominate the world, but it was much more probable that the zombie would have to pledge its allegiance in order to reobtain its freedom.
Lu Yun ignored the dread zombie. A beam of black light surged out of his eyes as he paced slowly toward the furnace.
Suddenly, he rocked back on his heels and glanced overhead. A pair of sanguine eyes had snuck up on him and were wordlessly trained on his figure below. Floating implacably overhead, they were as humongous and emotionless as ever.
“Is that you?” Lu Yun ventured. The restriction.
The restriction that ruled over Dusk Province was here… why?
“The barrow spells doom. Trespassers will die.” A dispassionate voice echoed in the air.
The young man’s brows furrowed at these words. “Who are you? I can feel the aura of death upon you, but you’re definitely alive. What are you safeguarding?”
Amazement briefly flickered through the giant eyes, right before it slowly disappeared.
“It really is alive.” Lu Yun stared into the empty space they’d left behind. “But it’s not far from death… Why is it killing every high-rank immortal who comes into Dusk Province? It must be watching over something, right?
“The barrow holds doom and trespassers will die, huh?” he snorted before taking a step forward, vanishing in the void. In this new space, the heavy scent of blood filled his nostrils.
A thousand kilometers of blood-red soil!
It was as if countless creatures had died here, staining the earth itself an indelible crimson. The entire world was written only with desolation and ruin. A dark red sky overlooked a ground gaping with fissures, and a bleak sun feebly hung in the crimson backdrop, as if to declare that this place still deserved existence.
“Is this the real Sword Barrow?” Lu Yun scanned his surroundings. Aside from a black mountain in the distance, there was nothing sword-related at all. He turned back; the door he’d come through was nowhere to be found either.
“The hell is this?” He looked down to see a stone obelisk under his feet. Three words were etched into its face, but he couldn’t read them at all. They seemed to be characters, but also symbols. Whatever they were, the sands of history had worn away their edge and spirit.
“Divine Sword Hall.” The dread zombie within Violetgrave piped up. “According to legend, a great divine court ruled heaven and earth countless aeons ago. The world was known as the world of divines then, rather than one of immortals.
“There was no dao of immortals either. Only the path to divinity. So, too, was the endpoint of cultivation: godhood, instead of immortality!” Its words were steeped with wistfulness. “The Divine Sword Hall was where every sword of that court was forged. Every sword in all the world came from this place.
“...and now, I see that the legends were true. These words are written in the language of the ancient gods. Myrtlestar studied them, once upon a time. There were records about them on her body,” the zombie explained.
“A divine court. Ancient gods.” Lu Yun’s forehead wrinkled in curiosity. “I was right! This place really is related to the divines.”
He focused his eyes and mind upon the words underfoot. The Tome of Life and Death whirred at high speeds, assisting him in analyzing and deriving their language.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Do you guys remember in the very first chapter when Wanfeng says "dao of immortals"? This is actually a throwback to that. Usually in xianxia novels, we just say 'the dao', but here, there's more than one. There's the dao/path that immortals walk, and now we're introduced to the other in which gods walk. It sounds like the divines have somehow devolved from their mighty ancestors?