Chapter 23: Qing Hongcheng

Myriad Formation Summit was, in fact, an enormous burial mound, and a mound was very different from a tomb. Though they were both places to bury the dead, they signified very different things about those buried within.

Tombs were subterranean complexes filled with palatial grandeur, plenty of annexes, and numerous traps. Only those of considerable importance in life obtained such eternal dwellings.

Burial mounds, on the other hand, were humble and plain. The simplest sort was just a coffin a few feet beneath the ground, with some extra earth atop it. Their inhabitants tended to be pedestrian and plebeian.

Lu Yun habitually ignored any mounds he saw. He was a tomb raider, not a graverobber. There wasn’t much to find within commoners’ mounds, and anything there wasn’t worth the trouble.

“Myriad Formation Summit… is a burial mound? Is that what you’re telling me?” Mo Yi was quite taken aback. “You’re joking, right? How can there be a mound this big?”

Lu Yun was dumbfounded as well. “Why not? If a very important person was buried here, the size of this mound would make sense, wouldn’t it?”

Can the sect records be true? Tombs nourish corpses, while mounds raise ghosts. If I’m right, formations won’t be the only deadly source of trouble in this mountain. There will be plenty of ghosts and monsters as well.

The young man observed his surroundings very carefully from his perch atop the ship’s tower. And this is one of the province’s lifepoints, too. Lesser than the main one within the capital, but crucial nonetheless.

He began to understand the reasons behind the course of history. According to Mo Yi, the arrival of Myriad Formation Summit five thousand years ago had destroyed Truewater and marked the start of the province’s decline.

It’s no wonder! A burial mound stifling one of the province’s lifepoints would certainly have that kind of effect on Dusk’s feng shui.

Mo Yi remained quiet as Lu Yun murmured softly to himself. She had no idea what he was saying. 

“The burial of an eminent personage in a mere mound would certainly cause unbelievable resentment. He’s definitely become a vengeful ghost without hope of reincarnation.”

In the texts of Lu Yun’s tomb raiding sect, important individuals buried in mundane graves would refuse to pass onto the next life. Instead, they became restless, wrathful spirits who were imprisoned in their own burial mounds. The mounds would then continuously expand from all of the negative emotions, until the earth around it became anathema to life.

This was just what was written down by his sect ancestors, of course. Lu Yun hadn’t ever seen anything like that for himself. He certainly hadn’t expected to arrive in the immortal world and encounter a burial mound tall enough to reach the clouds.

“The person buried here couldn’t be an immortal emperor, could it?” he murmured.  “Are you sure the formation orb you’re looking for is in there?”

Mo Yi shook her head dubiously. She was clueless when it came to graves and the dead. What Lu Yun spoke of was unfathomable to her.

“Milord, the mound looks really tasty.” Ge Long kept swallowing his saliva. “It’s a yum-yum, a big yum-yum! It’s many, many times yummier than that zombie we saw last time!”

Lu Yun shuddered. He knew what Ge Long was now. The old man’s name was written in the Tome of Life and Death, and though he was dead, he lived on still. In other words, he was one of the living dead, able to consume nether energies to strengthen himself.

All negative qi was food to his eyes. The stone spirit had been imbued with that kind of energy, which was why Ge Long had been able to eat it with such ease. Even a thousand-year zombie was something he could sink his teeth into.

“Something tastier than the thousand-year zombie, eh? Can you actually eat that?” Lu Yun looked at the old man, who licked his lips.

“I’m only a little bit away from the core realm, milord. If I have just a few more bites to eat… I can have a golden core of my own!” The old servant seemed ready to charge into Myriad Formation Summit at any second. “When I do, I’d be able to absorb a sliver of energy from... that. A tiny bit will be more than enough to satisfy me many times over!”

Neither Lu Yun nor Mo Yi said anything after that. Li Youcai and the youth in black were already out of the cabin, as was most everyone else.

The lord of Skyriver City glared at the Dusk Province governor with venom in his eyes. He believed that the rival before him had stolen away his betrothed’s heart.

“Why don’t you just kill him?” Lu Yun asked Mo Yi, having noticed the murderous attention upon him.

“He’s a city lord of Nephrite Major. If I did that, it would just give that fatty over there an excuse to move against me.” Mo Yi shook her head, her eyes weary.

Lu Yun blinked. There was something behind her words that hinted she was only in her current role to hide from something. She wasn’t afraid of Nephrite’s laws, but she also didn’t want her cover blown.

Li Youcai had accidentally stumbled upon this, which was the only reason why he’d been able to exert any influence over her at all.

The youth in black wasn’t interested in Lu Yun and Mo Yi’s conversation. His dark complexion had only been growing darker and darker.

“What’s wrong, Sir Envoy?” Lu Yun asked with some confusion.  

“All of you need to listen to my orders in a moment, or you’ll all die.” The youth in black gnashed his teeth. “My fifth brother is here.”

“Your fifth brother?” Li Youcai shivered violently. He had a bad feeling that something horrifying was going to happen.

Boom!

As if on cue, a collision rammed the fortress ship they were on, causing the entire vessel to shake tremendously.

“That’s enough, Qing Hongchen!” The youth in black soared into the air, shrieking in frustration. A fortress ship larger than theirs had appeared behind them at some point, and the quake just now had been caused by the two boats’ collision.

Lu Yun hurriedly put a hand on the gunwale.

“I just love seeing you all worked up. Come at me if you can!” The one called Qing Hongchen was a young man around eighteen years old. He cut a rather handsome figure in his green tunic, but his features were just a tad too effeminate and sinister.  

A snide sneer was plastered across his face, making him look like a cat playing with his food.

“Ram that boat as hard as you can! We’re not at home in the clan right now. I’d like to see who’ll protect you here!” Qing Hongchen’s features tangled themselves into a savage snarl. He seemed almost crazy.

Booooom!

The fortress ship experienced an even bigger convulsion. Frightening cracks crawled across its body.

“He really means to kill me!” The youth in black turned ghastly pale.

Hum!

A golden pillar of light blasted into the heavens right beside him from the boat’s deck. An enormous gate slowly opened in midair.     

“Dusk Phalanx, hear my call! An assassin is trying to take the life of Dusk Province’s governor! Immediately send a force here to exterminate the traitors!” Lu Yun roared mightily with the command token in his hand.

“Yes, sir!” A loud answering cry could be heard behind the gate. Yin Xuantian emerged a moment later, ten thousand soldiers behind him. They hovered in midair, forming a barrier between the two boats.

“The Dusk Phalanx?! You ants dare stand in the fifth young master’s way? Crush those fools!” An angry voice responded from within the larger boat.

R-r-rumble!

An aura of faint gold encased the larger boat. Thus protected, it gathered its strength and viciously hurtled toward the Dusk Phalanx.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Bigger bad coming after big bad?