The black chaos tribulation rampaged through Vastspace Mountain, crushing immortal crystals into pure immortal qi. With the efforts of the three surviving coffins, the energy collected as streams that flowed toward the broken Nine-Phoenix Casket.
A blood-red flame roared to life in the middle of a pile of shards. Reborn from its proverbial ashes, the mended casket arrayed itself in the center of Vastspace Mountain once more.
The giant skeleton began disassembling itself. Its head, body, arms, and legs detached and returned to their respective coffins.
Amid halos of black light, the Gates of Abyss opened once more to admit the coffins’ re-entry, upon which the set of ancient gates slowly ground shut.
Lu Yun shivered violently and finally noticed that the Deaf Prince and the others nearby were unconscious. The free-flowing immortal energy inside Vastspace Mountain was also completely gone.
Monster corpses were scattered about on the ground, their shapes identical to the crystal monstrosities from earlier. However, their crystalline forms were no more, having turned into something entirely different.
“These aren’t real monsters, they’re some kind of puppet!” he murmured to himself. “Was that woman just now Empress Vastspace?
“Space… and time. Together, they make up the fabric of the universe.  If Empress Timelight is the master of time, then Empress Vastspace must be the overlord over space. The nine dragon corpses on the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers called Empress Vastspace a traitor just now…”
Mulling over recent events, Lu Yun found that he’d tucked away something important for later perusal.
“In the time of the mythical Emperors Fall long ago, every great emperor was completely wiped out of existence. The title of ‘emperor’ itself became an ill-omened curse, something not to be claimed. It seems to me, though, that Empresses Timelight and Vastspace died before that era. Perhaps Vastspace betrayed Timelight somehow?” He shook his head slightly. History couldn’t be that simple. “Forget it. If Vastspace Mountain is Empress Vastspace’s treasure, it must contain power over space.”
Lu Yun couldn’t help thinking of the evil coffins again, including the Ninefooted Turtle Cist that had appeared at the eleventh hour.
Originally, he’d thought that the four coffins buried one person each. Instead, a single person was buried in all four! His body was split between them somehow. More importantly, Lu Yun had also seen a Blood Sea.
This time, it was the genuine article.
Given feedback from the Tome of Life and Death, the Blood Sea dated back to time immemorial. Humanity’s hell was built with it as the core. The fifty thousand kilometers’ worth of crimson waters to the southwest of Life Province were only a pale imitation.
The true Blood Sea was buried inside the four evil coffins—the same coffins that’d returned to hell to stare down the endless void once again, constantly on guard against the prisoners entrapped therein.
Shaking his head to cast off idle thoughts, Lu Yun turned his attention to the Deaf Prince and his friends on the ground. The World Chests they owned floated a short distance above them, covering them with a shower of blue light.
“There are seven World Chests in total that are capable of carrying away the crystal mountains here. In fact, the seven chests are the seven sources of Vastspace Mountain proper.” Lu Yun pulled out the missing seventh chest.
“All six of these heirs possess the best bloodlines found in the world. Once they come into their own, they’ll be real giants among their fellows, far surpassing the original nine celestial emperors.”
When Jing Dichen had said that she was skydragon royalty, rather than an ordinary member of her race, Lu Yun realized what the Deaf Prince and his friends were fated for. He also finally knew why the races they hailed from allowed them to run amok everywhere the way they did.
The current world of immortals held no one worthy enough to be their teacher, and forcing one upon them would only limit their development. Therefore, Empress Vastspace had taken note of their arrival, made certain arrangements, and purposefully given them the six World Chests.
“And this seventh chest?” Lu Yun looked down at his own box. After the four coffins returned to hell, the seventh chest had landed in his grasp. “Empress Vastspace isn’t dead. She’ll fuse with the soul fragment in the outside world to become a whole being again. The little fox is a strange one, but I doubt she can handle a primeval emperor like Vastspace.”
His hands alight with hellfire, Lu Yun crushed the seventh chest with his hands.
The entire mountain trembled ever so slightly. The fragmented chest in his hands emitted six cerulean rays of light, merging with the six chests that each of the profligates carried.
“These World Chests shouldn’t exist inside Vastspace Mountain in the first place. Empress Vastspace refined six subordinate chests connected to a mother chest. The latter, the seventh in my hands, controls the former.
“But, the empress didn’t do this to eventually possess their bodies. She wanted to teach them and take them as her own disciples.” Lu Yun was certain of the ancient spirit’s intentions. Why else would she allow them free passage through the mountain?
They’d only run into trouble because her soul fragment in the outside world had encountered trouble and been forced to summon a crystal monster.
Now that the seventh World Chest was shattered, the treasure source it contained was absorbed by its six children. The six profligates, formerly operating under the limitations of the mother chest, were now free to use the entire mountain as they pleased. In essence, they’d refined the treasure for their own.
“I gave away Timelight Tower outside to Jing Huaci, and now I’ve helped these six refine Vastspace Mountain.” Lu Yun gave the Deaf Prince and his buddies another once-over before snorting to himself. “This is the life of a tomb raider, alright!”
His driving principle in exploring tombs was to search for thrills and uncover the truth of history. Treasures themselves were largely secondary. If he happened to chance upon some, great. If not, that was alright too.
The six profligates were plainly fated to obtain Vastspace Mountain; he naturally saw no reason to rob them of their prize.
“They’re practically the masters of Vastspace Mountain now, so they should be quite safe here. I should start looking for the Skyqilin and Skyturtle Pearls for Little Yu.” Lu Yun summoned the Path of Ingress from inside himself with the wave of a hand, then walked through the passage it created back into the celestial master tomb.
1. This is a play on the Violet as in Violetgrave, Grave as in Violetgrave answer. Here, the characters for space and time combine to mean universe in Chinese. The pun is presented in pure English sense this time, which makes for a pretty phrase, but also loses some of the puniness.
ONE CHEST TO RULE THEM ALL! Seriously, feels like we've had a ton of crossovers from other series. I count Lu Yun's Angels, Indiana Jones, Pacific Rim, LOTR, and various Pokemon references here and there.