“What?!” Lu Yun’s expression clouded over.
The girl in white—the true form of the vicious ghost—had gone up in flames to form the spark of hope that resurrected the Dao Flower. Because of that, the ghost should’ve completely disappeared, along with its endless grudges. The ghost Mo Qitian had seen couldn’t have been her.
An akasha ghost? Lu Yun’s brows knit together tightly. That would be very troubling if true. He wasn’t sure if he could compel the two powerful beings in hell to deal with it.
“I’ll go check!” Outside the path, he could see only the monsters materialized by the coiled mountains. The area before the bronze door was covered by a layer of persistent mist, which prevented him from taking a good look.
“We’ll go with you.” Wu Tulong came up to his side. “The path of cultivation hasn’t been repaired yet, and the power of the Dao Flower remains on us. With its protection, nothing but the thing that severed the path itself can hurt us.”
“He’s right.” Qing Han nodded. “The spirits can’t hurt us at all, unless someone destroys the Dao Flowers. In fact, the flowers will counter the spirits and kill even akasha ghosts.”
“Alright then, we’ll go together!” Lu Yun agreed immediately.
Destroy the Dao Flowers? No immortals at present could do that, nor could the akasha ghosts. If the thing that’d shattered the path of cultivation and withered the Dao Flower descended, its mere presence would render all of them into ashes.
Mo Qitian was reluctant; being possessed by the vicious ghost had greatly traumatized him. However, there was no backing down now. The five of them exited the chamber and took the winding path under the guidance of the luopan’s light.
As soon as they set foot on the path, their surroundings shifted drastically. Previously well-lit by the compass’ golden light, a dark haze blanketed the scene.
Sinister, disorienting mist enveloped them while ghosts and spirits wailed from the depths. It felt as if they’d ventured into a land of the dead. Shadows flashed through the mist, bodies and ghosts flickered in and out of existence. The only thing they could see clearly was the bronze door at the end of the path.
A ghost in white with a ripped mouth and bloody eye sockets stood by the door, its empty eye sockets fixed on the five of them.
It defied logic that the path should be obscured by a mist so thick that they could barely see more than a few steps ahead, yet the bronze door and the ghost at the end of the path remained clearly visible to the eye. They were a signpost, enabling the group to find their way despite the limited visibility.
Qing Han, Wu Tulong, Zi Chen, and Mo Qitian surrounded Lu Yun. The images of Dao Flowers blossomed over them and drove away the mist, dispelling the ghosts and corpses within as well.
The flower’s more useful than hellfire. Lu Yun shrugged.
Here, there was no malice or rancor, so the ghosts and corpses weren’t as invincible. He could’ve destroyed them all with a tongue of hellfire, but the Dao Flower had driven them away before he could.
The ghost in white remained by the door, silently watching them.
“Who are you?” Lu Yun demanded.
The rest kept some distance from the ghost, despite the protection of the flowers. Lu Yun had said the white ghost was the heart of the four coiled mountains and could tap into the traps’ fullest power.
“The ocean of blood has formed and the bronze door is about to close. This place will soon cease to exist.” There was a lilt to the voice that didn’t sound anything ghostly at all. “I am her final wish, here to guard the door for you.”
Lu Yun’s heart skipped a beat.
Last of her era, the girl had not only ignited the fire of hope with her own body, but also left a trace of will behind that manifested as a vicious ghost and guarded the last egress of survival for them. Previously, they’d been able to see the ghost and door despite the mist, precisely due to the efforts of the dead girl.
The bronze door slowly opened.
“The paper boats by the crimson cove will carry you through the ocean and back to the world of living. However, do not talk or turn around on your journey. Even the Dao Flowers won’t be able to protect you if you do!” The ghost slowly faded away as the door shut behind them. The tomb and space itself blurred. As she’d said, this world was dissolving.
“Get in!” Lu Yun and the others hurried over the threshold and were greeted with an ocean of blood that spanned ten thousand leagues. Everything around them was dark red. They were standing on a giant skull of an island in the ocean that was quickly sinking.
Beside the shore were five paper boats, each hung with a stark-white lantern. In its grudge-filled state, the ghost had folded boats for the dead according to the ones it’d seen in the real ocean of blood. With its malice resolved, the boats and spirits on the ocean had disappeared, leaving behind only the five vessels it’d prepared for Lu Yun and his companions.
They followed the ghost’s instructions and communicated only through eye contact, refraining from talking or mental transmission.
The group quickly boarded the black boats.
No sooner had they hopped in than the island completely sank underwater. Going down with the island was a white figure with a content smile.
Pale lanterns at the bow of their vessels illuminated the way to the other side of the ocean. Left in the wake of the vanished illusions was a winding path, twisting and turning through the depths of the waters and leading to who-knew-where.
This is a layout within a layout!
Lu Yun scanned the area in front of him. The ocean contained a power that was very similar to hell, but he couldn’t control it. The hell under his purview was created by the Tome of Life and Death, while this ocean was someone else’s doing. He fell into deep thought as he stared at the ocean.
Black light flashed through his eyes as the power of the Tome of Life and Death emerged, intertwining with his thoughts so he could quickly analyze what he was seeing.
The purpose of death fostered by the ocean resembles the decay that affected the Dao Flower. Did the villain destroy the path of cultivation and wither the Dao Flower… to nurture an ocean of blood with the properties of decay? Lu Yun frowned.
With the flower resurrected and its decaying qualities dispersed, the ocean of blood drew its shape from the layout of the Ten Yins Estuary. It was a stunningly remarkable and all-encompassing scheme to sever the path of cultivation for countless living souls in order to recreate this ocean of blood.
For Lu Yun, this was a sin that one could never be cleansed of, even after baptism by all the water in all realms. Where is the real ocean of blood, then? The girl said she saw everyone of her era floating through the ocean of blood in black paper boats…. Could the ocean still exist somewhere in hell?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
For once, I really, really wish he'd made someone an envoy. The girl deserved to live again. Or... maybe the peace of finally being able to die was the best outcome for her.
Just a FYI, I am still unable to mail to India, Egypt, Belgium, and Australia.