Chapter 229: Abnormal

After crossing into the Ten Yins Estuary, the fortress ship continued on to the ancient tomb. Tensions ran increasingly higher during the journey, but there didn’t seem to be anything unusual about the place.

A bright sun hung high in the sky, feted by faint wisps of clouds. No strange occurrences had arisen. There were even a good number of immortals and cultivators passing through, who all gave Lu Yun’s fortress ship a wide berth.

“Is this really the Firmament Ruins?” Dongfang Hao found this difficult to believe. It would be far more appropriate for there to be evil spirits and ghosts plaguing the area, but nothing set the place apart other than the skull marked on the map.

“If there’s something wrong with the place, it would’ve been noticed by the elites of nearby Xiankan,” Wu Tulong said with some hesitation. “However, neither the divine court from eighty thousand years ago nor the Nephrite court in power now has ever taken note of this area.”

“Extreme yin became the extreme yang,” commented Lu Yun. “As a result, the place seems no different than other parts of the world. Anyone who’s noticed anything has probably died.”

Lu Yun glanced at Lu Shenhou, who nodded in agreement.

“But the earth is indeed made of bone powder.” Mo Qitian looked down at the ground. “If not for Lu Yun, we wouldn’t have paid any attention to the dirt’s composition.”

Immortals and cultivators regarded themselves too highly to waste time considering the earth beneath their feet. It was likely that those who had noticed were dead, as Lu Yun speculated.

……

“Here we are!” Lu Shenhou’s eyes lit up. “That’s the town of mortals. The tomb is on the other side!”

The town was only about three kilometers in radius with a few hundred residents. A few dozen acres of farmland surrounded it.

Ge Long halted the fortress ship a few kilometers from the town and stowed it away. They made their way to the town on foot. It wasn’t large, but it bustled with energy. Lu Shenhou had wanted to taste some of the local delicacies again, but thinking of how everything was grown from bone powder changed his mind.

Located in the southwest corner of Life Province, the town saw many immortals and cultivators passing through. The townsfolk seemed to have gotten used to their presence.

Lu Yun frowned upon entrance. “Something’s wrong here!” Something about the town niggled at him, but he couldn’t pinpoint what it was.

Almost involuntarily, he activated Spectral Eye. Since he was prepared this time, he didn’t allow the endless information to rush into his head. He simply watched the residents quietly. However, his death art spotted nothing amiss.

Qing Han had gone to play with a six-year-old girl eating candied hawthorn. The little girl giggled at his teasing.

“What’s wrong?” Dongfang Hao came up to Lu Yun, noticing the tension in the governor’s expression.

“I just feel that something isn’t right here.” Lu Yun’s scowl deepened. As a skilled tomb raider, he had complete trust in his instincts. Even though he didn’t spot anything with the Spectral Eye, he believed the alarm bells ringing in his mind.

“I agree,” Wu Tulong concurred faintly. “The people here are too joyful. It’s as if they don’t have anything to worry about.”

“Isn’t that how mortals live?” Mo Qitian paused. “They don’t have to cultivate or overcome tribulations. They have no parts in the schemes and fights between different factions in the world of immortals. They can lead peaceful lives...”

“That’s not true.” Wu Tulong shook his head slightly. “Mortals have their own concerns as well. It’s even more difficult for them to survive in our world. Not only do they have to worry about their livelihood, they have to face the threat of aging, disease, and death. Moreover, the monsters and beasts in the world can easily kill them.

“These people, however, are entirely too carefree.” He expanded his consciousness to cover the entire town and turned to Lu Yun. Although the residents had their own feelings, they didn’t seem worried by the difficulties of life at all. “This isn’t normal.”

In lieu of a response, Lu Yun took out his three-layered luopan. The indicators rotated at a great speed as he activated it.

Qing Han’s eyes gleamed to see the treasure. He’d previously witnessed Lu Yun use the Dragonsearch Invocation to manifest something similar with his inner energy, but now the governor had a real one. This must be the treasure he’d refined with the Ten Orientations Stone.

“There is life and death in the world, and yin and yang to everything,” chanted Lu Yun.

Hum.

The luopan’s indicators stopped. With furrowed brows, Lu Yun carefully considered what the compass was telling him and sighed to see what slot the indicators pointed to.

“Let’s not disturb their livelihood,” he spoke with great undertones. “We’ll enter the tomb.” He turned to leave.

“Did you discover something?” Qing Han caught up with him and asked quietly.

“Yeah.” Lu Yun nodded without a word.

“What’s wrong?” Qing Han transmitted at the sight of his friend acting oddly.

“This isn’t the time,” Lu Yun responded quietly rather than transmitting back. “I’ll tell you when we get back.”

Qing Han paused. He must not want to hide anything from the others, but he doesn’t want to tell the truth either. The imperial envoy didn’t push, and the others didn’t say anything, either. They could tell from Lu Yun’s expression that he wouldn’t talk.

The luopan had pointed to where the tomb was—under a barren expanse with no feng-shui-influenced terrain or tricky landscape guarded by formation. It seemed perfectly normal.

“It’s down there.” Lu Shenhou pointed at the ground under his feet. “We went underground with earthbending techniques and discovered the entrance beneath the earth.”

He was about to do the same when Lu Yun stopped him with a shake of his head.

“That’s not how you enter a tomb.” With a snap of his fingers, he cast three soybeans and summoned three golden-armored warriors. They used their hands and legs to dig a long tunnel into the ground.

“We don’t know what’s down there. There may be complex formations that can counter combat arts. This is the safest way of entrance. Stay outside and guard this tunnel, Shenhou,” Lu Yun said. “Don’t let anyone destroy it.”

Lu Shenhou frowned deeply, his thick brows snapping together in a frown. 

“The hell you mean by this, Lu Yun?” There was a grossly offended edge to his tone. “Anyone can stand guard, so why me? I’m the one who discovered the tomb. I was the first to realize that the cultivation path has been severed.” He raised his voice to a shout. “And now you’re telling me to stay outside?!”

Wu Tulong and the others’ gazes at Lu Yun hardened as well. Lu Shenhou was the reason why they knew about the broken cultivation path in the first place and were here to repair it. This would be the greatest contribution to the world of immortals and any worlds beyond. Lu Shenhou was destined to go down in history as a great hero and the greatest contributor.

Not wanting him down there. That wasn’t right.

Meanwhile, Lu Shenhou didn’t care about fame or glory. He simply wanted to witness the moment the cultivation path was repaired.

“You’re not allowed into the tomb no matter what!” Lu Yun growled, summoning his warriors back.

“Lu Yun!!” Lu Shenhou’s eyes blazed with fury, his hackles raised. “Tell me why!”

“No reason why!” Lu Yun formed a talisman out of thin air, a technique that indicated peak mastery of talisman dao. With a flip of his wrist, he attached the talisman to Lu Shenhou and bound him.

Whoosh.

Wu Tulong blocked Lu Yun’s way.

“Give me a reason.” He maintained a calm expression, but his inner energy was fully unleashed.

Lu Shenhou was a true friend of his. In the thirty years Lu Shenhou had been away from Nephrite Major, he’d spent it training with Wu Tulong and going on adventures with him. Lu Shenhou had been there to witness his feat of defeating a suppressed dao immortal in an ancient tomb.

Mo Qitian, Zi Chen, and Dongfang Hao followed his lead and surrounded Lu Yun and Qing Han.

“I don’t want him to die down there,” murmured Lu Yun.

“Hahahahaha!!” Lu Shenhou burst into laughter. “Die? Everyone dies in the end! Why should we fear death? Unhand me! I’m going down even if I’ll meet my end there!”

Lu Yun glanced at him and sighed. “I hope you don’t regret this.” He dissolved the talisman restraining Lu Shenhou with another fingersnap.

“Why would I?” Lu Shenhou responded with a prideful look. “I’m no lesser than any of you. Why are you so certain that I’ll die in the tomb?”

Wu Tulong frowned and looked bemusedly at Lu Yun.

“Let’s go then. You must listen to me down there.” Lu Yun headed into the tunnel, unwilling to say another word to Lu Shenhou. 

“That kid’s been acting weird since he used the compass thing in town.” Mo Qitian was the more observant one of the bunch. He continued with some hesitation, “What did he discover? Does it have something to do with Lu Shenhou?”

Having no answer, Zi Chen and Dongfang Hao quietly followed Lu Yun into the tunnel, while Ge Long stayed outside with a pout. He wanted to go as well, but Lu Yun forbade him from entering. He could only do as his master said.

After the seven of them entered the tunnel, a faint crimson figure materialized by the mouth of the tunnel and sat down cross-legged to defend it. Huangqing.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Oh man, we're in for a helluva adventure, and what's up with Lu Yun just now?

Aw shucks guys, thank you for the outpouring of love last chapter. Gotta admit, I'd been feeling down lately after constant barrages of negativity. I'm going to bookmark 228 and go back to it whenever the complaints get to me. <3 I always say I have the best readers, but man I really do!