The woman’s body trembled when her hand of immortal crystal was shattered by the bony arm from the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers. Then, the dragon, phoenix, and qilin coffins soared into the air, hurling themselves at her translucent form.
“Hmph!” Snorting, she erupted with cerulean light and expanded her body at an alarming rate. What was once an ordinary-sized figure became thirty kilometers tall in the blink of an eye.
When the light dissipated, a set of extremely luxurious armor had materialized upon her body as well. She lunged toward the three coffins with an outstretched fist.
Then, something very odd indeed happened: her single punch simultaneously collided with all three coffins, sending the vessels flying three different ways.
Crisscrossing her steps, the woman vanished and reappeared in front of the Nine-Phoenix Casket.
“The nineheaded phoenix refined into a casket? Tsk tsk tsk…” She hammered another blow home with a mocking tut.
Groaning under the burden of the strike, frightening fissures ran across the evil coffin’s surface and bloody light seeped out from its interior.
“I’d quite like to see what warranted the nineheaded phoenix as its coffin! Break!” Roaring, the woman thrust her fist forward once more. This punch was still just one single move, but even more mysterious than the last. It attacked the coffin simultaneously from every conceivable direction.
A deafening crash shook the firmament as blinding scarlet filled the air.
“The Blood Sea!” the woman and Lu Yun exclaimed in unison.
The Blood Sea was a classical fixture in hell, a body of liquid that carried corpses of all beings. Why was it inside the Nine-Phoenix Casket?!
Something fell out of the Blood Sea and smashed into the ground: a giant skull that measured a hundred kilometers across.
Fragments of the Nine-Phoenix Casket were scattered about as well; the woman had destroyed the evil coffin in a single strike.
“The Blood Sea… that skull…” The woman’s crystalline eyes were transfixed by the skeletal head. A remnant of bloody light still remained within the latter’s eye sockets.
“You want to refine the Blood Sea… such ambition!” the woman sneered. “Hell was created by humanity, but the Blood Sea is a part of nature. Humans may be able to rule over hell and reincarnation, but they have no dominion over the sea!
“And now, this Blood Sea is mine!” She opened her arms, lighting herself up with the same cerulean light as before. “Once my Vastspace Mountain subsumes the Blood Sea and gains the power of reincarnation, sovereignty over the multiverse will finally be within my grasp!”
The space inside Vastspace Mountain flared with the same shade of blue that she wore, achieving some sort of resonance between the two. The blue light began siphoning away at the floating sea hovering in midair.
Lu Yun’s attention remained firmly upon the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers. The lid of the draconic coffin was opening with painful slowness and a pair of humongous skeletal arms reached out. Rather than interfere with the woman’s actions, they scratched insistently against the cover of the Enneaqilin Coffinbiers.
The lid of the third coffin flipped open, allowing the arms to pull out a similarly large carcass from within.
No, ‘carcass’ was a stretch—it was a skeletal frame that dripped with blood. No head or limbs were attached, only something that could barely be called a body. Under Lu Yun’s incredulous gaze, the arms inside the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers and the skull from the Nine-Phoenix Casket attached themselves to the body.
“Who are you?!” The woman paused from manipulating her treasure to cast a wary glance at the legless skeleton.
Turbulence shook the air and the cerulean light from Vastspace Mountain began to dissipate.
An enormous void appeared in the fabric of space and the woman’s face paled, or at least as much as it was possible for a crystal visage to do so. Her translucent pallor turned positively transparent in an expression of shock.
A colossal turtle crawled in from the hole in space, its body a deep midnight. Its eyes were closed, and it walked on nine feet. It, too, had been refined into a vessel of burial!
“Ninefooted Turtle! You were turned into a coffin as well!” the woman murmured.
The lid over the Ninefooted Turtle Cist slowly opened as well, allowing a pair of bony legs to swing out.
Witherdew Major, Star Demon Sect headquarters.
Statues of the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers, Nine-Phoenix Casket, Enneaqilin Coffinbiers, and a shadowy something else were laid upon a giant altar.
In this moment, the hazy ball exploded to reveal the form of the Ninefooted Turtle Cist, upon which four pillars of black flames shot into the sky and gathered into a black cloud.
Witherdew Major, celestial court.
Her current emperor, Tuoba Jie, had successfully attained origin dao realm while enduring no injuries whatsoever.
The power of a single origin dao fruit flowed into the Blithe Entrapment Formation’s diagram. The treasure’s true potential was finally being deployed, and it would be nigh impossible for Lu Yun to break the formation now. It had become a part of Emperor Witherdew’s very existence.
“Hahahahaha!” Tuoba Jie threw his head back with laughter. “Would you look at that! I am the first of the nine celestial emperors to reach the origin dao realm!”
Satisfaction was written all over his face.
“Congratulations, Your Majesty! Felicitations, Your Majesty! Now that you are in the origin dao realm, your life and reign are sure to be eternal and everlasting!” Millions of officials knelt at his feet in worship.
“Now that you’re in the origin dao realm, Your Majesty, when will you deign to uproot the Star Demon Sect?” A younger-looking arcane dao immortal stepped forward with a bow.
“The Star Demon Sect?” Tuoba Jie grinned broadly. “There is no hurry to deal with them now, the heaven and earth formation diagram comes first. Clangbeard!”
“Here, Your Majesty!” The named peerless immortal stepped forward.
“Gather five hundred million Bifang soldiers. We march on Nephrite Major!” Tuoba Jie clasped both hands behind his back. “The Art and Zither Saints? What can two cripples do against Our might, the might of a full-fledged origin dao immortal?” 
He’d just delivered those words when all of Witherdew Major shuddered. Huge billows of black clouds covered the sky over the entire facet.
“What in the heavens is going on?” Tuoba Jie and his officials took to the skies and gawked at the thick layer of heavenly gloom. “Appear, wretched monster!”
The emperor deployed a copy of the Blithe Entrapment Formation into the firmament with a wave of his hand. His origin dao cultivation was on full display without reservation, and the heavenly power of Witherdew Major erupted alongside his own.
“Your Majesty, the black cloud is coming from the Star Demon Sect!” remarked the youngish arcane dao immortal with unmasked shock as he pointed in the western quadrant of the sky.
“How dare the Star Demon Sect pollute Witherdew Major! Death… to the Star Demo—” Tuoba Jie was furious. Amplified by the major he ruled over, his voice spread throughout Witherdew in seconds.
Crack! Rumble rumble rumble!
He didn’t even have time to finish his statement when the choking clouds sounded thunderclap after thunderclap. Before anyone could react, a bolt of black lightning cut down from the heavens directly upon him.
The Witherdew mandate that Tuoba Jie carried was instantly shattered, and the Blithe Entrapment Formation’s diagram went along with it. In fact, Tuoba Jie himself was no more; only a pile of ash remained where he’d once stood.
The first celestial emperor among the nine to reach the origin dao realm thus died an ignobly sudden death at the height of his triumph, but that certainly wasn’t all.
The first lightning bolt was only the overture to a symphony of destruction. A tempest of black electricity bore down upon all of Witherdew Major like an inexorable storm, targeting every immortal in the land!
Nephrite Major, Dusk Province, Skandha Range.
The Star Demon Sect members had been transported here by a mysterious force as soon as the black cloud appeared. An enormous face appeared upon the towering trunk of the desolate willow.
“So the five of you founded the Star Demon Sect…” it declared in a sonorous voice to the five demon sovereigns before it.
“His Eminence the Demon God has returned,” the first among the sovereigns remarked after a long period of silence. “…so I see no reason for the Star Demon Sect to exist further.”
“No.” The desolate willow’s leaves quivered slightly. “The Demon God does not need the Star Demon Sect, but Sir Lu Yun does.”
“Lu Yun?” The first sovereign blinked. “He must be His Eminence’s heir. With the great one’s protection, who in the world of immortals could harm him?”
“No.” The desolate willow turned oddly serious. “The Demon God is Sir Lu Yun’s servant.”
The five demon sovereigns stared flabbergasted at the talking tree, unsure of what to say.
According to legend, the desolate willow had been planted by the Demon God himself a long time ago.
On the day of Witherdew Major’s calamity, every immortal within its borders was eradicated. From its reigning origin dao immortal to the lowest true immortal, every person who had attained immortality was no more.
No immortals remained in Witherdew Major when the thunder and lightning dispersed for good, shaking the entire world with the absurdity of the news.
Emperor Witherdew’s ascension to origin dao realm had caused concern for many, considering Tuoba Jie’s propensity for conflict; but the situation had entirely reversed itself all of a sudden.
Witherdew Major was as good as razed to nothing.
Their work done, the Star Demon Sect and the black clouds overhead vanished into thin air. It was like they’d never been there in the first place.
Life in Witherdew went back to normal as well. Nothing seemed much different from before, except for one thing: immortals no longer walked that land.
Celestial master tomb, Vastspace Mountain.
A giant of bone stood in the middle of the crystalline mountain, standing upright between earth and sky. The Blood Sea originally under the woman’s constraints was free and wrapped around the giant like a scarlet cape.
The faintest glimmer of red sparkled from inside the giant’s skull, like a pair of quasi-eyes, as it glowered at the crystal woman.
“Who are you?!” The woman—an empress from before the primeval emperor’s fall—glared back with utmost solemnity. To an outside observer, she’d expanded to match the giant’s size. Or rather, she’d contracted the surrounding space to make her appear immeasurably greater in stature.
The skeletal giant remained silent, and instead, thrust an aura of endless blood at the woman.
“A dead thing, then! Your true spirit dissipated a long time ago. If I guess correctly, your source is inside that nine-dragon coffin!” She avoided taking the skeleton’s attack head on and transposed herself next to the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers in a flash of cerulean.
“Break!” she roared angrily. In a reproduction of the Nine-Phoenix Casket’s destruction, her fist appeared from every direction again, carrying an intensity that threatened to annihilate anything it made contact with.
Black shockwaves oscillated through the air.
Lu Yun’s Tome of Life and Death was already in place to protect the Deaf Prince and company, as well as himself, but he still felt like he was no more than a candle in a storm. He could be snuffed out at any minute.
The circumstances unfolding in front of him were beyond comprehension and utterly terrifying.
If Vastspace Mountain’s internal structure didn’t have so many folds and layers of space to dampen the shockwaves’ effects, even the netherworld’s book might not have been enough to save them.
A prodigious hum from the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers heralded the appearance of an enormous shadow above it. It wrapped itself over and around Lu Yun and the others, stifling the catastrophic energy that filled the air.
However, the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers held, and the nine dragons that bore the black coffin opened their eyes.
Bright dragonsong echoed throughout the space. Color drained from the woman’s face as her crystal body fissured with cracks.
The nine dragon corpses slowly stretched out their huge bodies, and their cold, lifeless eyes glowed with an unholy radiance.
“Empress Vastspace!” they roared as one. “Despicable traitor! Treacherous worm… die!”
The dragons erupted with black smoke, forming a thick layer of ominous cloud cover. These billowing clouds were the exact same ones that had rained death upon Witherdew Major!
Black lightning began forming amidst the haze, escalating into a terrible torrent of thunder that blasted in the woman’s direction.
“A chaos tribulation!” Empress Vastspace shrieked with fear. Her soul fragment immediately abandoned the crystal body, fleeing toward the outer realms. She didn’t even have time to take her greatest treasure with her.
The black chaos tribulation then enshrouded the entirety of Vastspace Mountain within.
Guys, I suddenly feel like we've crossed over into Pacific Rim. Or Transformers, anyone? I thought there'd be four ultimate king of kings and xianxia of xianxias in those coffins, not ah... Mr. Potato Head?
Okay don't kill me now lol. The dragons talk! And holy hell, why and what happened to Witherdew Major?