Chapter 369: Sinful Blood and Traitors

The Fire Altar was almost a minor world unto its own. Plenty of immortals were fighting on and exploring within it without realizing where they were.

Hidden in a veil of silvery starlight, Empress Myrtlestar observed her surroundings from a quiet, concealed corner. Even someone as strong as she hadn’t noticed the sacrificial nature of her locale.     

“Is there a connection between this Fire Altar and the Water Altar buried in the abyss of fallen divines?” asked the young man after considerable deliberation.

To his eyes, the Qi Hai before him was still a handsome youth with an urbane, uncommon bearing. Whether he looked through his Spectral Eye or his actual eye, nothing about white-robed gentleman seemed out of the ordinary.

However, Situ Zong’s perspective told a different story: before him was a zombie with two heads—one dragon, one phoenix!

“Ten thousand years ago, the Water Altar sat over there.” Qi Hai pointed toward the opposite side of the space, where the setup was exactly the same as Su Xiaoxiao’s tomb. “When someone took it away, that extended a further lifeline to the dragons.”

Lu Yun didn’t respond.

“You yourself came out of the altar just now,” continued Qi Hai.

“What about you?” Suddenly, Lu Yun raised his head in accusation. “Why do my eyes see you differently from his?”

Situ Zong paled. Despite trembling like a leaf, he did his best to aim the cannon at Qi Hai. In his eyes, Lu Yun had been talking to himself all along. The almost fully decayed two-headed zombie stood before the sect head, glaring at him with blackish-red eyes.    

Oddly enough, they seemed to be at a standstill.

“The formation of heaven and earth around you has cut off its will. It dares not approach you,” smiled Qi Hai. “That’s why you see me instead.”

“You’re not the zombie?” Lu Yun raised an eyebrow.

“Of course not.” Qi Hai shook his head. “It ate me, but couldn’t fully digest me. So I live within it… I am attached to it.”

In the ancient world, no one had known the cause of Qi Hai’s death. All relevant records indicated that he had existed; and then one day, like a joke, everyone knew he was dead.

As for why and how? Those had remained eternal mysteries.

Well, now the man himself had spoken: he’d been devoured by the two-headed zombie from the dragon and phoenix nests.

So when had the layout come about, then?

Lu Yun didn’t entirely believe everything Qi Hai was saying. After all, Beigong Xuan had been his pet.

“I intend to slay this zombie,” he declared after another prolonged pause.

“You can’t. Your formation will preserve your life, but no more than that,” sighed Qi Hai. “I came here all those years ago to do the same, but I ended up being eaten.”

“You had a formation of heaven and earth too?” Lu Yun shot back.

“No,” Qi Hai shook his head, “but my cultivation was at peak principal realm. The powers of the world were no more than toys for me.”

Lu Yun colored slightly. He suddenly recalled that many ancients had been born with immortal constitutions. They hadn’t needed to walk the path of cultivation in order to reach the level that void-realm immortals could now attain.

“If the strength of heaven and earth could kill this monster, I wouldn’t have died.” Derision flickered across Qi Hai’s face, as if to mock Lu Yun’s overestimation of himself.

“The strength of heaven and earth?” Lu Yun sighed. “Haven’t you noticed? We’ve been talking quite a while, but the two-headed zombie has done absolutely nothing—either to me or to Situ Zong.”    

Qi Hai blinked.

“The strength of heaven and earth is a mere trifle.”

Boom!

As if on cue, the formation upon Lu Yun’s body burst forth with energy.

The Great Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Demons had a hundred and eight stars in all. Lu Yun’s formation employed those stars to enact a feng shui layout of heaven and earth!

Indeed, he’d created a layout and not a formation. 

In feng shui, the passage of wind and water affected all things around them. These guided effects could culminate in something strange and mysterious… something powerful enough to create a new world!

The highest level of feng shui layouts had the ability to enact the influences of the real heaven and earth, not just their effects. The Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Fiends had done just that through forming a miniature world.  

This world was lesser in every way to the one outside, but it wasn’t any less real. Yin and yang, the five elements, profusion and proliferation… it possessed all of these things.

This was the greatest advancement Lu Yun had made in feng shui since his transmigration. He could now set up a feng shui layout on the level of a grand influence over the world!

He was the best tomb raider in history, back on Earth, and his abilities had been amplified by the Tome of Life and Death after arriving in the world of immortals. After obtaining several immensely talented envoys and their knowledge of the world, he’d finally been able to deploy this Formation of Heavenly Spirits and Earthly Fiends with the aid of the Formation Orb.

Far from being a mere formation, it doubled as a layout of heaven and earth, one that reached the level of influencing the world.

……

As soon as the heaven and earth layout appeared, the two-headed zombie shrieked in terror. Dual cries of dragons and phoenixes created an endless cacophony that reverberated in the vicinity.

Lu Yun couldn’t hear any of that, though. Within the heaven and earth layout, he was completely immune to the two-headed zombie’s power. In fact, he couldn’t even perceive any traces of the zombie’s existence.

In his eyes, there was still only Qi Hai.

“You… this is the art of feng shui! How do you know something that’s supposed to be extinct?” Qi Hai murmured to himself in a daze, stunned by the glittering starlight.

“...you know what feng shui is?” Lu Yun blinked. He’d seen plenty of feng shui layouts in this world, both large and small. Natural ones, accidental ones, and intentional ones.

However, he’d never met a single person who understood how feng shui layouts worked. No one alive seemed to know what feng shui even was. People as powerful and wise as Empress Myrtlestar were no exception.

Yet Qi Hai had recognized it.

“Do you know what you’re doing, Lu Yun?” Qi Hai’s face had grown very white, and evil flared in his eyes. His polite demeanor vanished, replaced with a malevolent grin set in a disquieting face.

Lu Yun narrowed his eyes at the change.

“The blood of those you release is steeped in unforgivable sin. For this unlawful act, you are likewise branded… a traitor,” Qi Hai continued.

Fwoosh!

Qi Hai’s body began burning with a blindingly white flame. Within seconds, both he and the conflagration disappeared.

Rumble...

A deafening grinding noise resounded through the void. On the other side, the Fire Altar suddenly turned into a shadow and shot into the air.  An enormous phoenix nest came into view, overlaid upon where the group of immortals stood.

Before Lu Yun appeared a veritable graveyard, tombstones and structures rising up everywhere.

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etvolare's Thoughts

I still can't make heads nor tails of Qi Hai. Is he just spewing crap about being eaten and all, or is he actually evil incarnate?