The eyes grew increasingly larger, their crimson gaze casting the tomb in bloody luminescence. The twin layouts, Mirage, and Ghost Hits Wall set up by Lu Yun all shattered at the same time.
The manner in which the layouts were broken was blunt and direct. Lu Yun was certain that the eyes—or whoever the eyes belonged to—had mastered the art of feng shui. Even with only raw power, the eyes knew very well which parts they should attack in order to dismantle the layouts.
The entire tomb had been dyed scarlet and the darkness expelled. Lu Yun could see everything in the tomb, as well as the true form of the extinction layout—an eerily shaped wilted branch set against the crimson sky.
Having broken out of Ghost Hits Wall, the Exalted Celestial Emperor stared at the giant eyes with first a grave look, then a sneer.
“You really let him out! I may not know how you managed to break the emperor’s runes, but you’re all dead. You’ll all die here!”
The celestial emperor laughed heartily. The extinction layout was close to being shattered and there was nothing he could do now. His only consolation was that Lu Yun was doomed as well. The pair of crimson eyes were far from harmless; its grudges could rival the flesh attached to Lu Yun’s back. Moreover, they were sentient.
Sword Divine saw Lu Yun as a thorn in his side because of the human’s interference. Although the divine’s plan had been disrupted, at least Lu Yun wouldn’t be getting out of here alive, either.
“A divine?” The eyes shifted their gaze to the Exalted Celestial Emperor. “Ah, an Exalted Divine. No wonder there were runes of the Exalted Divine Emperor keeping me suppressed.”
All of the hair on the Exalted Celestial Emperor’s body stood on end as he abruptly felt like a lamb targeted by the wolves. He slumped listlessly, all energy drained out of his body.
“With an Exalted Divine here, I don’t have to break the damn extinction layout to get away!” Crimson light burst out of the eyeballs, prompting a ghastly scream from the Exalted Celestial Emperor as his eyes exploded out of his head. The floating crimson eyes took their place and settled down in the gory eye sockets as the man screamed and convulsed.
“Legends paint the Exalted Divines as the embodiment of dao itself. With the head of a human and the body of a snake, the traces they leave behind during their movements form the character for dao. In the era of human dao, the human race ruled over the different worlds as the sole authority, but there was one tribe that remained independent—the Exalted Divines.
“They were the ones to crush immortal dao and end the rule of the human race, establishing their divine dao and the divine court.” Qi Hai smirked at the writhing celestial emperor. “It is his destiny to be possessed by the eyes. All those who dare call themselves emperors are sure to meet with misfortune, and he is no exception, despite having evaded his tribulation before.”
Lu Yun nodded without a word.
When the celestial emperor’s screams gurgled down, they were replaced by a long peal of hearty laughter.
“I can finally escape this damned place!” The ‘Exalted Celestial Emperor’ looked up at Lu Yun and Qi Hai, his eyes as red as two sparkling rubies. “This seat will permit you to live as I have just regained freedom today. You can take care of the extinction layout yourself, hahaha!”
He suddenly transformed into the true form of an Exalted divine—human head, body of a snake, and a third eye settled between the brows. With a twist of his tail, he vanished into thin air, leaving the ‘dao’ character in his wake.
“Who do the eyes belong to?” Qi Hai frowned deeply at where the ‘celestial emperor’ had been. “He knows the Exalted Divines better than they do themselves. What he displayed just now is an innate talent of the Exalted Divines, but that was sealed away by various human lords acting in concert after the Exalted Divine Emperor died...”
“There’ve been eyes as far as the eye can see lately.” Lu Yun didn’t have Qi Hai’s wealth of knowledge, which prevented him from seeing more than what met, well, the eye. “First there was Wayfarer, then another pair of eyes from this ancient tomb. What’s with Dusk Province and all the strange eyes?”
“What?” Qi Hai turned to Lu Yun. He shrugged with outstretched hands.
Yuying had temporarily set aside the problems at hand and contacted Qing Han, who in turn had been preoccupied with the troubles of the Chen Clan lately.
The Chens were her family. When the Qings considered her a bad omen and ostracized her as an outsider, the Chen Clan had taken her under their wing, caring for her like she was theirs.
She wouldn’t give up on them.
When she heard that Lu Yun was in trouble, however, she immediately set out for the ancient tomb. It’d been the Envoys of Samsara who stopped her from springing into hasty action. In the end, she’d found a scripture left in the three seals from the creators of immortal dao and sent it to Lu Yun through Yuying.
“The ‘Scripture of Salvation’?” Lu Yun paused after receiving the scroll.
The scripture existed on Earth as well, but the two versions were very different. The one on Earth seemed to be an abridged version, and many key parts had been excised.
Lu Yun didn’t have the time to spare for such musings; time was of the essence. He had to make quick work of the rotten flesh on his back, or he wouldn’t be able to put forth his full effort into dealing with the extinction layout later.
He closed his eyes, sat down cross-legged, and read out the Scripture of Salvation. Rays of pristine white light radiated from his body, casting the area in a solemn glow. Qi Hai schooled his expression into an impassive mask and sat down cross-legged to recite the scripture along with Lu Yun.
Upon being bathed by the light, the rotten flesh on Lu Yun’s back squirmed and slowly disintegrated. With their disappearance came a sliver of enlightenment for the young man.
“This scripture was created by the founders of immortal dao to release this pile of flesh from their torment. However, the process was cut short for some reason, and this flesh on my back is left over from the interrupted ritual.”
The flesh broke apart into dots that glowed like fireflies, dancing around Lu Yun and Qi Hai in swirls of radiance. Lu Yun could hear their pleading voices echoing at his ears, murmuring their past and experiences.
With a faint sigh, he waved a hand and opened the Gates of the Abyss. A path of Hell Flowers slowly extended from the gates to guide the glowing particles into the netherworld. Their souls were scattered and their spirits damaged, ruling out reincarnation as an option. They could only be nurtured in the Hell Flowers, gradually recovering their spirits and regathering their souls as they bided their time waiting to be reborn.
A rain of light drizzled down on the netherworld and Hell Flowers bloomed along the depleted River of Forgetfulness.
“So… the living beings in the era of human dao all had souls.” Lu Yun opened his eyes with a mutter. “Does that make the living beings of today incomplete?”
“My… memories regarding this topic have been erased.” Prompted by Lu Yun’s question, a pained expression floated onto Qi Hai’s face as he struggled to recall something.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm glad the heap of flesh got some redemption, and I'm somehow thinking about the little girl in the tomb for the path of cultivation. I hope she's happily dispersed into nothingness, or finally reunited with her loved ones at last.