Chapter 33: Bloodcorpse

“Yeah. How can there be anyone so huge?” Lu Yun murmured in assent. He approached a wall of the passage, tensing his jaw as he removed a corpse fly that glowed faintly with a reddish hue. “It really is a larva!” The immature form of the corpse fly clouded his expression.

“No, not necessarily,” Lu Yun tried to reassure himself. “These corpse flies have only recently hatched, but their larvae are ghostface maggots. The lack of maggots here means that we aren’t inside a zombie.”

“What are ghostface maggots?” Qing Han asked in a trembling voice.

“Well, these are corpse flies, right? Maggots mature into flies, and ghostface maggots grow into corpse flies,” Lu Yun explained, taking a deep breath.

Whether this was the interior of a giant corpse or zombie, their proximity to either possibility didn’t bode well. Still, his intensifying curiosity nagged him forward.

“Let’s keep going. I’d like to see what else is here!” As a tomb raider, a natural desire to excavate secrets tickled at him.

“Stop making up these outrageous lies!” the immortal in red cried out. “I’ll kill you right here and now!”

“Li Xing!” Qing Han called out suddenly.

The red-clad immortal violently shivered. “Please forgive me, sir!” His expression was respectful, but there was well-hidden venom in the back of his eyes.

“Keep going!” Qing Han demanded coldly.

An indeterminate amount of time later, the entourage stopped once more.

“What’s that?!” The envoy’s pupils contracted slightly and he glanced at Lu Yun for guidance.

“A layout of the nine sectors.” Lu Yun sounded tense. “I see the eight trigrams hidden within.”

The pathway that had been three yards wide became narrow up ahead. Nine jet-black coffins barred their way forward, each about a person tall.

The others found no significance in the chaotic arrangement of the coffins. Sure, it was sinister and uneerie, but nothing was particularly noteworthy to them.

However, Lu Yun was of a drastically different opinion. The coffins formed a terrifying layout based on the nine sectors. [1] The eight trigrams layout underneath melded with the one on top to form a very peculiar killing formation. Any carelessness would doom the group beyond redemption.

Lu Yun knelt and drew in the earth with his fingers, making rough calculations to figure out the changes of the formation.

“What’re you playing at now?” snickered Li Xing when he saw the young governor’s odd behavior.

“Shut up, if you don’t want to die,” Lu Yun retorted without raising his head.

“Grand Steward Li, you shouldn’t get upset with an ant like him. He’s just trying to show off before the seventh young master by making up all of these tall tales. First a giant corpse or a zombie, now this rot about sectors and trigrams. I don’t think these coffins mean anything at all.” One of the two remaining attendant immortals sneered.

“If that’s what you think…” Standing up, Lu Yun dusted himself off, “are you brave enough to walk past?”

“Why not!” The immortal colored a little, then snickered in derision.

There was an enormous monster in the lake that had eaten the blue-robed immortal, but there wasn’t anything here that could hide anything remotely so dangerous. Even if those strange zombies were lurking in the coffins, what could a few zombies do to him? A little fire would burn them to a crisp.

In fact, it was very likely that the coffins housed more of those creepy zombies from earlier, nothing more. Conjuring a fistful of flames, the intrepid immortal stepped into the formation of coffins.

“What’s this?! Ah, aaaah!” A frightful shriek sounded out, then was prematurely cut off. Absolute silence reigned afterward.

Those who remained outside had no idea what had happened.

“What was that all about?” Goosebumps popped up all over Li Xing’s body. He possessed the strongest cultivation level here, as a peak true immortal who was very close to empyrean. Nevertheless, he hadn’t picked up anything whatsoever about what had happened between the coffins.

“I can’t very well stop someone from jumping off a cliff, can I?” It was Lu Yun’s turn to snicker. “Don’t you see the fearsome formation that these coffins represent?”

“Formation? What formation?” Li Xing scoffed. “I may not be a formation master myself, but I have the common sense to know that something this simple can’t possibly be a formation! A few coffins scattered on the ground? What a joke.”

In the world of immortals, formations were generally complicated affairs. What was before him was nowhere close to what he would expect a formation to be.

“The dao has its origins in the simplest of things,” countered Lu Yun. “The first formations came from marvelous arrangements of natural stone that embodied the fundamental laws of the world.”

He’d read about these things in his sect’s texts. Of course, the words described feng shui layouts rather than formations, but the principle was the same.

“Dao… is simple.” Qing Han felt an invisible wall before him shatter with a boom. “Dao is... simple!” His excitement grew as he pondered this.

“If you think this formation is so simple, why don’t you have a go?” Lu Yun hadn’t noticed Qing Han’s reaction as he focused on Li Xing with a half-smile.

The immortal reddened, unable to respond.

Strange, I’ve done nothing to offend that man. Why does he cause trouble for me at every turn? Lu Yun frowned a little. He glanced back at Qing Han; the rush of elation upon the latter’s face had already receded.

Qing Han wants to kill me so he can put his own men in the Dusk governorship. Why is he hesitating now, then? This Li Xing seems to be his representative, but not entirely with his permission. The young governor could make neither heads nor tails of the situation.

“If you aren’t brave enough, then keep your mouth shut.” He turned solemn, rolling his words slowly. “Follow me carefully. Don’t deviate a single footstep.” Saying this, he stepped between two coffins and into the formation.

Qing Han, Yuying, the fatty under Yueshen’s control, and the two other immortals tiptoed behind him as careful as could be. The moment they entered the layout, the temperature around them suddenly dropped to a bone-chilling frigidity. An instinctual shiver spread throughout the crowd.

Lu Yun wove between the coffins, following the path to safety he had calculated before entering.

“You were only a step from safety just now. Why did you turn back?!” Li Xing suddenly interrupted.

“You can go that way if you’d like.” Lu Yun continued on his own path.

Li Xing angrily ground his teeth together, but he didn’t dare disagree. After we get out, I’ll slaughter you even if Qing Han insists on protecting you! His thoughts grew vicious. Deep down, he bore no respect whatsoever for his young master.

“Aha!” One of the other immortals shouted with unexpected glee.

“What is it?” Everyone else stopped to look at him.

“This coffin… it’s made of jadesoul wood! An ingredient surpassing ninth-grade in quality!” Excitement was plain upon the immortal’s face. He reached out a hand to caress the coffin in front of him.

“Don’t touch that!” The sheer stupidity of the gesture instinctively elicited a loud rebuke from Lu Yun.

Creak.

Before he was done talking, the coffin’s lid opened of its own volition. A bloody, skinless hand reached out from it and grasped the immortal’s neck, then pulled him inside.

“What the hell is this thing! Young master, please save me!” The immortal shrieked a hair-raising yelp that was drowned out by a series of loud chomping noises.

“A bloodcorpse!” Lu Yun shrilled with alarm. “We need to get out of here, quick! Don’t look at that coffin!” He turned and bolted after that screech.

The others shuddered and followed behind him as closely as they could.

“A ghost?! Mommy! Don’t let it catch me!” No one knew what Yueshen showed the blinded Li Youcai, but the fat man was just as terrified as the rest.

A grisly head emerged from the coffin that had opened a moment prior. Its crimson, unlidded eyes were fixed upon the backs of the living. 

“Hehehehehehehe…” Laughter that made one’s flesh creep echoed through the maze of coffins. 

“Don’t look at it!” Sensing potential stupidity, Lu Yun hastily shouted a warning.

In response, Li Xing fearfully jerked his half-turned head back around. They finally broke free of the formation a few moments later; Lu Yun immediately slumped onto the ground, panting with exhaustion.

A bloodcorpse, a real bloodcorpse! People actually raise these things? He looked back at the coffins with lingering fear. Bloodcorpses were a forbidden secret that went unrecorded in any texts. They existed only as a legend among tomb raiders.

Encountering one was like a brush with death. Even his masters’ books held nothing about them. No one knew when the stories about them had first begun, but all tomb raiders were aware of their dangers.

“Leave!” The nearby Yueshen uttered an abrupt cry of admonishment, dispelling a faint, bloody shadow that hid in their field of view.

“What was that?” Still distressed, Lu Yun looked to his spectral friend.

“The bloodcorpse followed us because Li Xing turned around just now. Thankfully, it’s a lot weaker when separated from those coffins, so I could deal with it.” Yueshen breathed a sigh of relief.

“That’s good.” Lu Yun did the same. If someone got a good look at a bloodcorpse, no one in the world could save them—not even in this world, where immortals abounded.

“Who are you talking to?” Qing Han’s face was as bloodless as the others’. The memory of the immortal who’d become corpse fodder was fresh on his mind, as was the heavy scent of blood. That Lu Yun was talking to thin air only scared him all the more.

“I’m talking to a ghost,” Lu Yun exhaled. “You’re a spirit realm expert, Sir Qing Han. You aren’t scared of those, are you?”

Qing Han’s lips were blue, but he shook his head.

“You…” Li Xing was just about to kill Lu Yun, but what he heard just now froze him in his tracks.

“I can overcome ghosts, intimidate them so they won’t come near, or even subjugate them, but a bloodcorpse followed us just now…” Lu Yun’s face flickered with uncertainty.

No one could fully explain what a bloodcorpse was. He had thought it was a kind of zombie, which was why its ability to take gaseous form had thoroughly surprised him. In fact, he found it rather mind boggling.

Thankfully, Yueshen had managed to drive the vastly weakened creature off. Once outside its abode, it commanded only a fraction of its true strength.

“Are we going further in or what?” Lu Yun asked Qing Han, whose eyes flashed with resolution.

“Yes, we’re going in! There’s something inside Myriad Formation Summit, and it will be mine!”



1. Recall the ten numbers of Taiji philosophy from a few chapters back?

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