“Hm? How long have I been asleep for?” murmured a little girl in a lilting voice, shaking the grogginess out of her mind. An ear-piercing shriek rang out when realization of the situation hit her.
“Where are my clothes?! Where are they??” Wailing to high heavens, she knelt down and curled up on herself.
Lu Yun smacked his forehead. Has she always been a dork, or does she just have a long reaction time?
It took quite some time for the girl to recover from her shock. Remaining hunched on the ground, she hugged her knees tightly to her chest and snuck nervous looks at Lu Yun.
“I remember killing the blood qilin and falling asleep from exhaustion. How did I end up dead?” Her lip quavered, on the verge of tears again.
With a wave of his hand, Lu Yun restored the robe that’d been consumed by hellfire and flung it back over Xingzi.
She was fourteen, the same age she’d been when slaying the blood qilin at the cost of her own life. After an epic battle that raged for seven days and nights, she’d finally killed the qilin, then died as well from exhaustion.
Unlike other races, the shamanic race consisted of regular citizens and three royal tribes: the Sun Shaman Tribe, Moon Shaman Tribe, and Star Shaman Tribe.
As a princess of the Star Shaman Tribe, Xing Zi had been the youngest daughter of the tribe’s king and the greatest genius the shamanic race had ever seen. Born with an innate shaman constitution, her cultivation and strength at the tender age of fourteen had nigh reached the level of the kings of the three royal tribes.
Shamanic dao had been very prosperous in her time, reigning superior over immortal dao. However, immortal dao retained its position as the rightful dao of the world at the end of the day. Unlike the ancient divines, the shamans didn’t manage to destroy immortal dao and raise their own as the legitimate path for all living beings.
The shamanic race then had cultivated the shaman immortal dao, a combination of both the immortal and shaman daos.
How long ago her time had been, Lu Yun really couldn’t tell. Xingzi’s memories were all jumbled up, to the point she hadn’t even known she was dead when she’d come back to life. Instead, she believed she’d simply fallen asleep from overtaxing herself.
“The eighth Envoy of Samsara greets the master.” Xingzi asked carefully. “How long has it been, master?”
“Tens of millions of years? Hundreds of millions? I’m not really sure myself.” Lu Yun mused over the clues he’d noted in Xingzi’s memory and referenced them against his own knowledge for an educated guess.
In her time, hell and the void realm were already unknown to the world. The only cultivation path that still incorporated the void realm was the one in the world of immortals. More importantly, the Firmament Prison had only just been established, and the scheme to bury the Dao Flower had been at its inception.
Xingzi sprawled on the ground, her empty gaze taking in what was before her.
“Master....” She stared at Lu Yun with puppy dog eyes.
Lu Yun turned to her. “Yes?”
“I miss my mommy.”
Lu Yun left Xingzi in hell rather than bring her out with him. Though she rivaled a peerless immortal after her resurrection, there were too many things he didn’t know about the shamans.
Plus, even though Xingzi’s techniques, and frankly terrifying talent, outmatched peak peerless immortals, she’d been too young when she died. Being a prodigious genius with many skills under her belt and possessing great strength didn’t make up for her lack of experience. She’d heard about some of her race’s secrets, such as the corpse coffins, but she didn’t know what they were used for.
Still, one thing was for certain: the heritage of the shamanic race remained unbroken in the present day. Xingzi had come back to life as a shaman immortal. Her cultivation method, combat arts, and techniques were completely different from those of the current immortals.
Moreover, Lu Yun found something in her memories that made him caper for joy. The poison curse!
The curse on Qing Han came from the shamanic race!
This discovery shone a ray of hope into his fog of despair. At the very least, he knew who’d planted the curse in Qing Han.
The shamans had emerged eighty thousand years ago to refine Yueshen Jixiang into a corpse coffin and bury Wushen Ruyi in her. Eighty thousand years later, they emerged again and used Qing Han as a conduit to cast a grand curse.
Even if it hadn’t been the shamans themselves, someone had used their method. And now, the princess of the Star Shaman Tribe resided in hell.
As the nine-headed phoenix had said, pearls from the four true spirits were necessary to uproot the curse. Yuying and Su Xiaoxiao had only deduced ways to cleanse the poison from Qing Han’s spirit root, but to remove the curse completely from his body, the four pearls would be necessary.
The four true spirits had always been hailed as propitious omens. Therefore, the blessings contained in their pearls were the key to resolving the curse.
“The blood qilin barged into this place to lift the seal so that it could release whatever is trapped here.” Lu Yun paced around the cerulean planet and muttered, “So what’s sealed here should be....”
He disappeared into the planet, finding it much less tranquil than its exterior suggested.
Thunder roared with raging fury, lightning split the sky, and wind whipped up the ocean into vast waves. Violent tremors shook the ground and opened great fissures to swallow acidic rain. All possible signs of nature’s hostility ruled this unfriendly world.
There was no sign of life anywhere, nor was the environment conducive to its emergence.
At the center of the only patch of land on the planet was a giant coffin running hundreds of kilometers long. Nine black qilins of similar scale surrounded it, frozen in prone positions on the ground. They looked like they were worshipping the giant coffin hovering in midair.
“Enneaqilin Coffinbiers....” Energy from the Formation Orb kept the oppressive power in the surroundings away from Lu Yun.
Scanning the coffin, he muttered to himself, “Enneawyrm Coffinbearers, Nine-Phoenix Casket, now the Enneaqilin Coffinbiers… which makes the last the Ninefooted Turtle Cist.”
Lu Yun hadn’t known that the four coffins even existed before he’d arrived in the world of immortals. He’d only read about their corresponding feng shui layouts as recorded in the texts of his sect.
He’d entertained the notion that all of the coffins might really exist upon running across the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers and Nine-Phoenix Casket, but seeing the Enneaqilin Coffinbiers here still shook him to the core.
When he’d shown the image of the Nine-Phoenix Casket to the nine-headed phoenix in the Fire Parasol Tree, she’d imparted to him a terrifying truth in turn. Countless aeons ago, the ancestor of the phoenix clan—the nine-headed phoenix’s mother—had turned herself into a coffin to bury an astounding individual.
The dragon and qilin coffins were plainly on the same forefather-esque level, and they, too, buried entities just as powerful! Who could possibly be buried in coffins of the four true spirits? They were auspicious beings of great fortune, worshipped by all, and their ancestors were some of the greatest heavyweights the world had seen.
Yet, there were others who elicited willing transformation from the four spirits into coffins.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
Lu Yun shook from the force of multiple minor collisions. The Gates of the Abyss connecting hell to the outside world were trembling, as if someone was... knocking.
“They really are all connected!” Inhaling deeply, he waved a hand and activated the realms of yin and yang, opening the gates with a rumble.
An enormous skeletal arm slowly probed out, cradled the behemoth Enneaqilin Coffinbiers, and carried them into the netherworld.
Witherdew Major, the world of immortals.
On top of the altar, deep within the headquarters of the Star Demon Sect, one of the obscured statues next to those of the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers and the Nine-Phoenix Casket abruptly lit up and came into clearer view.
The Enneaqilin Coffinbiers.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This quartet was a 'joy' to name and I'd like to go into more detail on the whys and wherefores and hows.
As is apparent by now, they have to do with the four true spirits, so each respective spirit had to make it into the name. I chose wyrm instead of dragon because a wyrm is a wingless dragon, which actually fits the image of a Chinese dragon more.
They were all nine, so ergo the number nine. But they're nine in different ways, so the little bits of detail that are actually in the name, like nine feet, nine bearers, and nine worshippers, had to come in as well. I broke the rule a tad for the Nineheaded Phoenix Casket 'cause well, it sounded a bit dumb to me. But hey, maybe it doesn't? Y'all sound off in the comments please!
I painted myself into a bit of a corner with coffin VS casket -- welcome to the behind the scenes of translating. I wanted to use a different word than coffin to give it the proper oomph such a dignified layout deserved, but then realized I was stuck 'cause there are two more of the things, and only so many synonyms for coffin. But if I reused casket or coffin, I might give the wrong impression that there's another deeper level of relationship there. Thankfully, a sufficient number of synonyms saved my bacon there.
At the end of the day, I didn't want to just go Ninedragon AAA, Ninephoenix BBB, Nineqilin CCC, Nineturtle DDD. It seemed like such a darn cop out and a disservice to the care the author had put into NECRO. Therefore, it ended up in a huge naming exercise for something people honestly probably remember as "nine bony dragons", "hydra phoenix", "nine qi.. qi what?", and "centipede turtle". XDD
Thank you for attending my TED talk. :D