Chapter 240: The Last One

Civilization!

Cultivation was a product of civilization. Irrigating the Dao Flower with civilization would cause it to bloom once again!

The air of decay dissipated once the sarcophagus was laid open. A small, translucent white flower appeared before them. Palm-sized, its structure, seemingly made of light, painted it with an ethereal, dream-like quality. Though it was shaped like a flower, a closer look showed that it continuously changed and morphed in every moment.

The Dao Flower carried the weight of civilization itself! It floated out of the coffin, exuding a ghostly white radiance.

“It has indeed wilted,” Wu Tulong confirmed gravely after taking a good look.

Although the flower itself seemed lively and intact, its stem and roots were ash-white and its pistil a lifeless gray. It seemed to be blooming, but only in appearance.

“How are we to water it with civilization?” murmured Zi Chen.

“Civilization is everywhere. This very world is the civilization that our generation has pioneered.” Qing Han stared at the flower, as if in a trance. “Once we break the isolation of this tomb and reconnect it with the outside world, the presence of civilization will pour into the flower and revitalize it.”

Civilization was intangible, ineffable, and inexplicable. Likewise, the Dao Flower wasn’t a real flower, but a concept given form. Though it was visible to human eyes, no one could touch it, let alone bring it outside.

“There does exist a cultivation realm in the Dao Flower, but it’s dead!” Mo Qitian considered the flower and inhaled deeply. “The realm we sensed when we entered the chamber came from the flower.”

Finally, the truth was revealed. 

The Firmament Prison, serving the different incarnations of the heavenly court in the past, had not only gathered an endless supply of resentment, but also formed an isolated space from the rest of the world. 

The Ten Yins Estuary combined endless yin energy with boundless rancor, thoroughly detaching the Dao Flower from the outside world. Without access to civilization, the flower had lost all hope of resurrection and entered an eternal slumber.

Perhaps it would completely cease to exist after another period of time, erasing with it the dead cultivation realm. Both would then vanish from the world forever and be forgotten to history.

“We’ll destroy the tomb then!” Lu Yun said with determination. He didn’t dare touch the fragile flower, lest the disturbance destroy it. 

Destroying the tomb seemed to be the only way.

“No!!” a singularly plaintive voice screamed into Lu Yun’s mind. “Don’t destroy the tomb, or the outside world will be destroyed as well!”

It was a sorrowful and earnest plea, making Lu Yun’s heart flutter and almost captivating his mind. With a thought, he returned to hell.

The ghost in white was now a pale girl who looked to be about seventeen years old, infused with a strange vulnerability that inspired protectiveness. She was also one of the most breathtaking women Lu Yun had ever seen.

At this moment, the beautiful face was twisted with pain. “You can’t destroy the tomb. It buries not only the cultivation path, but also a terrible existence. If the tomb is destroyed, it will tear down all worlds in the cosmos. Let me out and I can make the flower bloom again.”

Lu Yun looked at her without a word. She looked completely different from the vicious ghost with a ripped mouth and bloody sockets for eyes. Dispersing the malevolence on her had allowed her to recover her sanity.

“Who are you?” Lu Yun asked calmly. “You’re definitely no ordinary person, if you were buried to establish a tomb for the path of cultivators.”

Gloom darkened her face. “I am the last survivor of my era. I personally witnessed the great war between the immortals and gods, when blood stained the earth and painted the heavens. Everyone died, and their ghosts drifted on the boundless ocean of blood in ships folded from black paper.”

Lu Yun frowned. “Isn’t the ocean formed by the Ten Yins Estuary?” Everyone in hell had gathered to hear her out.

“I don’t mean that ocean of blood, but the real infinite ocean in the fabled hell,” murmured the girl. “I saw my people, family, lover, and all my friends in small paper ships, forever meandering the crimson ocean. So I hate the world, I curse life itself! I decided to make everyone suffer the same fate as them.”

As a vicious ghost, she’d lured trespassers into the ocean behind the bronze door, having them board black paper ships and float aimlessly over the ocean. Those who entered the tomb weren’t her only targets; the once-inmates of the Firmament Prison had fallen under her sway as well. 

Such was the source of her bitterness.

“You know the legends of hell?” Lu Yun said after a long stretch of silence.

“Yes.” The girl nodded. “It’s a tale with no concrete evidence. They say that the overlord of life and death resided there, holding the lives of all in the world and determining their reincarnations with a single thought. However, hell was destroyed a very, very long time ago.”

Here was a being who’d seen countless aeons, but even in her time hell was already an insubstantial legend.

“When my era fell, I saw the real ocean of blood. It devoured every living being but me, so that I could be buried here for the path of cultivation. My tomb then became the path’s resting place.” She slowly told her tale.

“Who was it?” demanded Lu Yun. “Who built the tomb? What’s the terrible thing you mentioned?” 

“I don’t know… I didn’t see anything. I know nothing. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!! I know nothing!!” She clutched her head and screamed in pain as thick resentment once again blanketed her body. Clawing and scratching at her face, she ripped her mouth open and blinded herself, transforming into the vicious ghost.

“Hehehe...” An eerie, empty smile split her face. “This is… hell.” Strands of black smoke encircled her body when she rose to her feet. “My people and family are here…. They’re here….”

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etvolare's Thoughts

This poor girl, how is she still sane?