The palace itself was an enormous treasure, and it just so happened that the Treasurefall Coin could identify and pinpoint the existence of treasures. However, the fruitful bounty of treasures strewn all over the tomb threw off the coin’s judgment.
Therefore, Lu Yun also brought out the luopan. Using both of them in tandem, his scan of the tomb would be unobstructed and would fully pinpoint any valuables there were.
His initial plan had been to investigate the tomb and determine what was real or fake before proceeding further. Great prudence had to be exercised, lest rash actions alarm an existence he couldn’t afford to provoke.
But after meeting Fengbo, Empress Timelight, and the Monster Celestial Master… he’d more or less grasped the overall picture. Those three, as well as the impostor, should be the strongest beings inside. No matter how powerful any other entities to be found were, they’d be at a similar level at best.
“I... have a strange feeling about Miao… as if she…” There was something about her that felt a little off. “Well, this should be where the resurrection layout was located in the past… someone moved it to the burial mound beneath Myriad Formation Summit afterward!
“It probably happened five thousand years ago… When I met Miao in the burial mound, she still remembered some events before her death.”
He still didn’t know what Miao had gone through five thousand years ago. All he knew was that she’d been unexpectedly beaten to death and forced to use the resurrection layout, then narrowly escaped another insidious scheme.
But a moment ago, he’d sensed something terribly evil about her for a split second.
“She might not have run off with Huaci… In fact, she’ll probably use the soul fragment to revive the ancient immortals here!” Lu Yun shook his head and set those thoughts aside. “Let’s find the Deaf Prince and the others first, then the Skyqilin and Skyturtle Pearl. Can’t forget the Path of Ingress, either… and then I’m off back home!”
Rays of golden light flashed from the feng shui compass, illuminating a path through the minor world.
“Hrm?” Lu Yun suddenly froze. “Coal briquettes? Or something else?”
Thanks to the compass’ golden light, he could spot many passages connected to the outside world, and the Spectral Eye noted tiny grains of gaseous sand flowing along the small tunnels.
Once inside, the nascent spirit soil was quickly transformed by a marvelous force and converted into three currents of clear air. The first one fused with this minor world, the second one scattered into the air, and the last one left via the small passageways.
“Over there!” His eyes shone bright when he noticed the third current heading to where the underground palace was.
“But the three clear currents aren’t made of the energies of the world. There must be another transformation process involved. I’ve got to go take a look!” He opened the Spectral Eye, deployed the Wandering Step, and followed the third current while shrinking his body with Size Manipulation.
The tunnels leading from the minor world to the outside were minuscule in size. He might not have spotted them without the Spectral Eye as they were even smaller than a human pore.
“There?” He turned into a mote of dust and entered another area that bursted at the seams with a chaotic airflow fusing with the third current. “It’s the energy dissipated from the second current! So this is where it ends up...
“The first current is the waste product of nascent spirit soil, and the second and third ones make up the underlying composition of the world’s energy!”
Lu Yun could see the second and third currents converging inside the strange space before transforming into natural energy, then slowly moving in a certain direction with a unique tempo.
However, the rate of motion was much too slow. It would take at least ten thousand years for the newly-formed natural energy to leave this place.
“Something must be intercepting this flow of natural energy!” Inspiration struck, and he whirled around to see an enormous, wide open mouth protruding into the area. A prodigious suction force emitted from it and vacuumed away the newly-created natural energy.
“This giant mouth is made of immortal crystals! ...the crystal monster!” he identified at once. The mouth belonged to the crystal giant that the soul fragment had previously summoned.
Lu Yun inhaled sharply. “The crystal giant is alive, which makes the underground palace the inside of the monster’s belly! Who can that impostor be? Or is she…”
He used Size Manipulation a second time and shrank himself even further, then shot toward the giant mouth.
As he tried gaining entrance, the crystal mouth suddenly sprayed a gust of turbid energy that blew him away. A pair of milky-white eyes slowly opened in midair. With a glint of derision, the eyes stared fixedly at the tiny particle Lu Yun had become.
“Yep, this thing’s alive, alright!” Lu Yun steadied his balance with some difficulty, then observed the eyes with a frown. “That being said…”
He quickly transformed into something else and vanished into thin air. This time, he opted to become a current of natural energy.
It would’ve been far more difficult for him to do so before; almost impossible, in fact. But now, after witnessing the process through which natural energy was created, he could follow the same steps himself to transform into natural energy.
As soon as he did so, he sensed a formidable tearing force materialize in the air. One side dragged him toward the outside world, while the other tried to suck him into the giant mouth.
“Hmm?” a bewildered voice rumbled like thunder.
Shaken to the core, Lu Yun’s thoughts were in complete disarray and his now-gaseous consciousness was almost destroyed by the sound. Thankfully, the Tome of the Life and Death shielded his consciousness at the last moment. He strove to calm down, then propelled his transformed self toward the giant mouth.
This time around, nothing unexpected happened.
In the air above, the pair of eyes inspected their surroundings, but couldn’t find anything out of place. In the end, they gradually faded from view.
“I’m in!” The moment he entered the mouth, he found extremely dense immortal energy enfolding him, and a feeling of extraordinary pleasure welled up from the depths of his soul. In spite of himself, he returned to human form.
So frighteningly dense that it was almost liquid, immortal energy poured relentlessly into him and began propelling his peak returned void realm cultivation even higher. The six paths of nascent spirit inside his consciousness rotated madly to circulate the energy inside him.
A sudden rumble echoed through his consciousness, as if an enormous barrier had been blasted open. Though vague and hazy, he saw a great, formless path traversing the world, master of all between the heavens and earth.
The immortal dao!
“I’ve finally reached the threshold to immortality! Three months—my immortal tribulation will come in three more months! After weathering it, I’ll be a true immortal!” A revelation surfaced in his mind, upon which he forcibly cut off the endless flow of immortal energy pouring into him.
The energy here was too dense. If he absorbed too much of it, he’d directly bypass his tribulation and ascend to immortality. Had he done so, his tribulation would’ve descended as soon as he exited the tomb and with an intensity that was orders of magnitude stronger. The outlook would’ve been more than grim.
Fangyang Xing had run into this very problem because he couldn’t control the Skyturning Seal’s enormous power. Lu Yun was positive that when it finally did arrive, the man’s tribulation would be extraordinarily ferocious. Even with the Skyturning Seal’s protection, he’d suffer grievous wounds, if not die outright.
“As I thought, this is a palace hall.” Lu Yun carefully observed his surroundings and noted that everything was made of immortal crystal—the opulent hall, the proud throne towering high above, and the many lifelike statues that dotted the premises.
“Statues?” He stiffened abruptly, a violent shiver running down his spine. “These aren’t statues, these are people who’ve been assimilated by immortal crystals!”
Hellfire surged around him, shielding him from harm. Immortal energy was extremely dense in this place. If one couldn’t stop absorbing it, one would soon be transformed into crystal. Immortal energy was a higher form of natural energy. Once natural energy reached a certain concentration, it’d evolve into immortal energy on its own.
“Many people have come here in the past, but all of them were crystallized by the energy here.” Lu Yun looked at a statue in front of him.
It was humanoid in shape, but more than thirty meters tall and sported a vertical eye in the middle of its forehead. It wielded a great crescent halberd, as if ready to do battle.
No living aura came from it and Lu Yun couldn’t see the creature’s death information. Without a doubt, this three-eyed being had become pure crystal; even its lifeforce had been assimilated.
“...wait a second! He didn’t become like this because he absorbed too much energy. An external influence instantly turned him into crystal!”
“Blasted damnation! How long have we been going around in circles? Where did the bloody World Chest go?!” a crude voice suddenly sounded. “At this rate, I won’t be able to suppress my immortal tribulation any longer!”
“Shut your mouth!” a chilly female voice rose in answer. “If you hadn’t kept pointing us in random directions, we never would’ve gotten lost!”
“In my opinion, it’d be best to go back by retracing our steps,” another loud voice commented.
“It’s them!” Lu Yun’s eyes shone. He recognized the voices of Beicang Qiong, Jing Dichen, and the Deaf Prince. But while he could hear their voices, neither his consciousness nor the Spectral Eye could locate their beings.
He's in the literal belly of the beast right now.