Chapter 538: Almost a God

The giant lungs in front of him were sentient and could influence Lu Yun’s mind without him noticing. Even the Tome of Life and Death had failed to ward it off; he would’ve fallen victim to its power if not for Violetgrave’s warning. She hadn’t gone back to sleep yet, patently very interested in the lungs.

Lu Yun took a deep breath and burned another karmic fruit to amplify the power of the Tome of Life and Death. If he hadn’t gained a great amount of goodwill when he resolved the yin spirit invasion of Azure Province, he wouldn’t have had enough karmic fruit to deal with this problem.

“There’s something on you that I can’t see through.” Violetgrave emerged suddenly, her surprised gaze settling on Lu Yun. Troubled, she continued, “I guess I really won’t eat you, you’re too hard on my teeth.”

“You can’t see through it?” Lu Yun asked bemusedly, pointing at the book protecting his body.

Violetgrave gave the treasure a blank stare and shook her head. “I can’t, but I know it’s powerful. You actually stand a chance of taking the lungs with it.”

“Taking the lungs?” Lu Yun’s lips curled into a thin smile. “I was almost fooled by them just now.”

Violetgrave paused. “Oh?”

“The lungs matured a long time ago, and were already taken away by someone else before.” Lu Yun stared at the lungs with Spectral Eye, enunciating every word. “This thing once had a host, but the host was most likely killed and the lungs seriously damaged in the process, so much so that they almost fell apart.

“It’s not incomplete… it’s recuperating.” With the karmic fruit he’d burned, Lu Yun was able to see through to the truth with his Spectral Eye. They weren’t incomplete, but heavily injured.

He could tell the original grand-influence-exceeding layout had been a layout of six directions, and not one consisting of the qilin, turtle, and kunpeng nests, along with the unknown beast nest.

The layout he was seeing now had been set up after the fact to slowly repair the giant lungs. But one thing was for certain—the lungs had been born on the Gold Altar.

“The lungs are nearly a god!” Lu Yun stared at the organ and identified slowly. “All sacrificial rites give birth to divine spirits, whether the hosts intend to do so or not. Whoever attempted to restore the lungs didn’t want them to become such a spirit, so he sent both the lungs and the Metal Altar to this abyss of divine burial.”

Where divine beings are buried.

Here, all divine spirits slowly lose their mental faculties and their intelligence regresses. The lungs had nearly become a god, having gained intelligence and sentience. Being buried in this abyss was the only reason its transformation was incomplete.

Lu Yun was sure that if they successfully reached the peak of their existence, they would become a powerhouse the likes of primeval human kings, dominant and unrivalled between heaven and earth.

Whoever was trying to restore the lungs must have been at a similar level of power.

The human kings had been among the most powerful beings in the world. They’d only refrained from calling themselves emperors due to the fall of the human emperor.

……

The yin-yang beast had turned back into a stone statue and lay meekly before the mysterious nest, but its stone eyes remained fixed on Lu Yun and Violetgrave.

“You’re right.” Violetgrave nodded. “But this place cannot keep the lungs under control.”

Violet light shot out of her eyes, breaking apart the gaseous nascent spirit soil.

“This used to be a mausoleum, but it was divided by force,” she muttered. “The lungs have been prevented from becoming a god because of the mausoleum. With the mausoleum divided, there’s nothing that can stop them now.”

“Huh? A mausoleum?” Lu Yun started. “Not a tomb?”

“That’s right.” Violetgrave nodded. “I know where we are, now. This is the underworld.”

“The underworld?” Lu Yun remembered Fangyang Xing calling this place the underworld as well.

“That’s right,” Violetgrave responded slowly. “The underworld, the resting place of everything. All matters and every living soul enters the underworld upon their passing.”

Surprised, Lu Yun widened his eyes at the woman. “That’s the underworld? What about hell, then?”

He didn’t think she was lying, but to his knowledge, hell should be the resting place of all things in the world. Only there could the dead enter the wheel of reincarnation.

Here in the so-called underworld, Lu Yun saw no hints of reincarnation other than the cycle of the nascent spirit soil. The method he cultivated was the Method of Life and Death, and his six nascent spirits represented the six paths of reincarnation. 

Incidentally, the true wheel of reincarnation in hell had been damaged, and Lu Yun hadn’t yet reached a point in his cultivation where he could recreate it.

“Hell?” Violetgrave snorted. “I don’t know where you heard about that legend, but it’s just that—a baseless legend. Hell doesn’t actually exist.”

After a pause, she continued, “Back when the humans ruled, they once poured forth all of their efforts into creating hell according to the legends. Just like...” She pointed at the lungs on the altar. “The lungs were created through sacrificial rites and are based on the real organ of the world. The hell you heard about is probably the imitation.

“That was how humans were able to control the life and death of all living beings in different worlds and become the only rulers of the multiverse. Hell’s destruction thus marked the decline of the race.”

Lu Yun lowered his head, silent.

According to Qi Hai, Lu Yun’s hell should be the one humans had created, but Qi Hai didn’t know about the Tome of Life and Death. Plainly, the treasure existed outside of the human hell.

“Humans created the immortal dao and established a heavenly court,” Violetgrave sighed. “But then their hell was destroyed. They could no longer control the life and death of all living beings, and their immortal dao became the dao of all.”

“Are you so certain that hell doesn’t exist?” Lu Yun pointed at the lungs and said. “Someone created this based on an organ of the world...”

“Such organs don’t exist, either.” Violetgrave shook her head. “The so-called organs refer to forces between heaven and earth that serve the same function as the organs of a living being.

“Take the lungs, for example. They function like the organ we know. It’s a power that quietly breathes in the waste exhaust of the world and revitalizes it into heavenly qi. The cycle perpetuates ever onward in the underworld.

“Of course, waste exhaust refers to not only exhausted heavenly qi, but also the remains of the living souls after all matter falls apart. All of them are drawn to this place by the power represented by the lungs.

“Hell doesn't exist… Perhaps there is some power that serves a similar purpose, but it’s not real.” Violetgrave’s tone made clear her certainty.

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etvolare's Thoughts

So the underworld popped up after hell was shattered to fulfill its duties...