A thin sheen of silver radiance was to be found under the fifth abyss instead of the same, weighty darkness.
When Lu Yun transformed back into human form, the Tome of Life and Death once again materialized to shield his body. He had to burn another karmic fruit to barely keep himself protected.
What came into view dumbfounded him.
A giant pair of lungs resembling a mountain thirty thousand meters tall hovered over a silver altar, respirating quietly. It was so big that it caused a great gale every time it breathed, drawing in gaseous nascent spirit dirt. It was then exhaled after being converted into pure qi.
“The Metal Altar!” Lu Yun shifted his attention from the giant lungs to the giant altar below, where the hazy silver glow came from.
He’d never seen it before, but he recognized it as the Metal Altar at first glance. Its presence was identical to the Water and Fire Altars he’d previously encountered.
“That’s the qilin nest, turtle nest, and kunpeng nest… There’s also another one...” Various sacrificial goods filled the altar beneath the great lungs—all precious items from different worlds that Lu Yun had only seen in the memories of some of his envoys. They were the greatest treasures between heaven and earth.
What drew his attention the most was the fourth nest.
“The fourth divine beast nest...” Lu Yun’s eyes were glued to the nest.
He’d never seen it before, and none of his envoys knew anything about it. Still, he felt an enormous sense of danger creeping upon him, and the source of the danger came from the mysterious nest.
Before each of the nests was a giant statue portraying the qilin, turtle, kunpeng, and an unknown creature, respectively. The last had the head of a dragon, body of a tiger, tail of a qilin, six pairs of bat wings on its back, and eight legs under its belly. Taken altogether, it was quite a macabre creature.
“What is it?” Lu Yun rummaged through the memories of all nine of his envoys, but still didn’t find any answers.
Other than the four nests, he also noticed that the other tribute goods placed on top of the altar were slowly being converted into a different kind of power for absorption by the giant lungs.
The lungs were still growing, albeit at a very gradual pace.
Lu Yun was certain that the lungs weren’t real organs, but the manifestation of a feng shui layout greater than even grand influences over the world. They were infinitely close to becoming a real organ.
“The Metal Altar… Lungs are of the metal attribute. Is this the true purpose of the altars of five elements? Sacrificial rites are held in the world of immortals for mysterious entities in exchange for great power, is this another such example?”
Lu Yun had once sacrificed the soul of Beigong Chonglou, the crown prince of the North Sea, in exchange for the power to refine the Black Emperor. Did the practice of sacrificial rites originate from the five altars?
Raising his head to look at the giant lungs, he impulsively took out his luopan and projected the minor world again with the Dragonsearch Invocation and Dragonshift Method. He didn’t try to copy the giant lungs into the embryonic world this time, but instead tapped into the power of the minor world to study his object of interest.
“It is indeed one single entity, and it’s slowly making progress!” Lu Yun couldn’t understand the giant lungs, but he could identify the feng shui layout exceeding the grand influence over the world. The qilin, tortoise, and kunpeng nests, along with the nest of the mysterious beast, were one with the giant lungs, forming an incomplete layout.
“It’s infinitely close to a real pair of lungs… Can this layout be a layout of creation?” Lu Yun shuddered.
Those lungs were patently the organ of a living soul. No humans, nor the power of nature, could create something like this. A layout of creation, on the other hand, could create life, or at least perfect imitations thereof.
“It’s missing two nests! The lungs are currently incomplete. If another two nests are brought here to create a complete layout of six directions, the lungs will fully take shape, growing independent from the layout as they become a real organ.” Light flickered in Lu Yun’s eyes.
A layout of six directions was one of the ten structural feng shui layouts. It represented a relationship of the world, embodying the synergy of all things and the intersection of heaven and earth.
Once the layout took shape, all of the tributes on the altar would be devoured by the giant lungs, transforming them into a bonafide organ.
“If there’s a pair of giant lungs on the Metal Altar… What about the Water and Fire Altar?” Lu Yun mused. “Have the rites there not started, or have they ended and someone already took the organs?”
According to his speculations, there should be a pair of kidneys on the Water Altar and a heart on the Fire Altar.
“What should I do now? Should I destroy this place, or… take the lungs with me?”
A feng shui layout exceeding the grand influences over the world approaches the heights of creation… As a feng shui master and a tomb raider, Lu Yun couldn’t help but covet such a treasure. Even if the lungs were the handiwork of a great powerhouse, that didn’t stop him from wanting them.
“Mi… milord!” called out the statue before the kunpeng nest. Its stone eyes shifted with great difficulty. “Go… Go now!!”
“Beigong Yu?!” Lu Yun started.
Beigong Yu had been sucked into the heart of the celestial master tomb, his true spirit turned into a yin spirit. Not even Lu Yun could resurrect him. He also hadn’t expected Beigong Yu’s yin spirit would be trapped in a stone statue.
“There’s… a yin-yang beast guarding this place! You must go now, milord!” Beigong Yu’s voice grew clearer. Lu Yun could sense his anxiety and nervousness like they were his own.
“A yin-yang beast? Do you mean that creature?” Lu Yun paused and turned to look at the unidentified beast.
The statue began to tremble and crack, and from the cracks came a faint glow. A terrifying presence was unleashed in the next second. Even under the protection of the Tome of Life and Death, Lu Yun couldn’t help but back away, chilled to the bone.
“Grrrr!!” The statue suddenly exploded, giving way to an exotic beast of black and white. It looked identical to the statue, with patterns of black and white criss-crossing across its body hinting at a pattern of the world. It lunged at Lu Yun with a flash of light as soon as it emerged.
Beigong Yu’s statue exploded as well. He turned into a kunpeng and barreled into the yin-yang beast.
The beast turned and struck at Beigong Yu with its two front claws, knocking him off his feet.
“Grrr!!” It tilted its head and howled into the air, unfurling its six pairs of bat wings. Black and white light intertwined in the air, and Beigong Yu was torn to pieces before he could even scream. He turned back into a statue and returned to the spot before the kunpeng nest.
The yin-yang beast turned back and stared at Lu Yun, deep growls sounding from its mouth. Even the Tome of Life and Death trembled slightly under the beast’s power.
“What is this thing? How is it possible for the beast to destabilize even the protection of the Tome of Life and Death?!” Shocked, Lu Yun burned another three pieces of karmic fruit. Black light burst forth from the Tome of Life and Death as hellfire circled around his body. He stared fixedly at the slowly approaching beast.
It wasn’t too large, running only roughly nine meters long. However, the aura it exuded was far too overwhelming.
Lu Yun paled, his gaze fixed on the approaching beast and his heart heavy. The beast was even more intimidating than Scarlet Ape! He suspected that the yin-yang beast would be able to destroy Scarlet Ape with a single blow, like it had with Beigong Yu.
He wouldn’t be its match even if he used the emperor corpse puppet.
The nest behind the beast isn’t its nest! The yin-yang beast is the guardian of the Metal Altar. Lu Yun cursed himself for carelessly believing there was no danger here, thus being caught off guard by the guardian beast.
“Once completed, the lungs will be a great treasure more valuable than even the ten connate spirit roots. Of course whoever set up this altar would leave a guardian here. I can only run!” Lu Yun cursed under his breath. He had no other choice, despite his reluctance.
“Oh?” a lazy voice echoed in Lu Yun’s head. “A yin-yang beast. How did you run into something like this?”
As Violetgrave the sword leapt from Lu Yun’s body, Violetgrave the woman sashayed forth.
The yin-yang beast came to a sudden halt, its dark golden eyes shining with a trace of fear and began retreating.
“Don’t worry, I won’t eat you.” Violetgrave gave the beast a serious once-over and smiled with a subtle gulp of saliva. “You’re the last yin-yang beast in the world. Your kind will be truly extinct if I eat you, making that an act of horrific karma. I won’t do something like that, even if yin-yang beasts really are very tasty.”
The yin-yang beast lay prone on the ground, paralyzed by fear.
“So someone did succeed in copying an organ of the world.” Violetgrave looked up at the lungs, entranced. “One more step, just one more step is all that remains before it fully comes into shape.”
“An organ of the world?” Lu Yun blurted out in disbelief, overwhelmed by the revelation.
“That’s not something you should know about for now.” Violetgrave flicked Lu Yun a sideways glance. “You’re a bold little thing. You do know that only the most powerful beings in the world would be able to create something like this? A simple sweep of their consciousness would be enough to crush a little fellow like you ten thousand times over. And you dare covet this thing?”
Violetgrave naturally knew what the youth was thinking.
Noting her expression, Lu Yun perked up. “Do you have a solution?”
“Are you bargaining with me?” Violetgrave licked her lips, her gaze sending a shudder down Lu Yun’s spine.
“Forget it, I don’t need your help. I’ll think of a way myself.” Lu Yun shifted his attention back to the giant lungs with renewed interest.
“Alright, I’ll be going then.” Violetgrave vanished into the sword, and the sword returned to Lu Yun’s body. After a prolonged yawn, she fell silent.
Seeing her disappear, the yin-yang beast slowly got to its feet, scowling at Lu Yun. But then it froze when Lu Yun was replaced by the terrifying girl in a violet dress from earlier.
“Hm, I wonder what tastes better. Roasted yin-yang beast? Or beast stew?” Transforming into Violetgrave, Lu Yun cackled and mimicked her tone.
Having just awakened from its long slumber, the yin-yang beast’s wits weren’t that sharp. It whimpered and fled as soon as Lu Yun made the threat.
Lu Yun’s Shapeshifting art was masterful. He could replicate not only Violetgrave’s appearance, but also her energy and presence. Although he didn’t possess Violetgrave’s strength, it was sufficient to scare the gullible beast.
Mid-escape, the yin-yang beast seemed to realize something. It stopped and turned to Lu Yun, its eyes flashing viciously.
Violetgrave’s sword form emerged in the air with a flicker of light, sending the yin-yang beast scurrying off with a terrified yowl.
“Tsk tsk, what a scaredy cat.” Lu Yun held the sword and shook his head, transforming back into himself.
“An organ of the world!” He turned back to the giant lungs, his heart pounding. “Someone has replicated an organ of the world… If I can incorporate it, won’t I become as powerful as heaven and earth?” Lu Yun muttered, staring at the giant lungs.
Violetgrave hummed, jerking Lu Yun out of his trance. His clothes were drenched in cold sweat.
“It’s alive… it’s sentient!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter