Curled up in Qing Yu’s arms all along, the little fox suddenly burrowed out and jumped on top of Lin Yu’s head. The youth was in the middle of deploying a formation of pure yang, so his location was the densest in yang energy and made it impossible for ghostly energy to coexist with him.
Crouched on his head, the little fox stared warily at the yin dragon vein inside the embryonic world beside Lu Yun. A close imitation of life, the dragon vein resembled a genuine black dragon brandishing scaled claws.
“There’s something sitting on top of its head!” The little fox’s misty blue eyes stared fixedly at the yin dragon vein before shaking her head. “It feels very familiar, I must have seen it somewhere before.”
“It’s a palace!” More or less done with his layout, Lin Xuan paused his work and looked in the same direction. “The palace is a coffin!”
With a mild nod, Lu Yun retracted the luopan, slowly collapsing the embryonic world.
“The palace is the outer coffin, the ghost king is buried at the heart of it.” Lu Yun let out a long breath. “In life, the ghost king was no doubt an emperor’s descendant, and an extremely noble one to boot.”
No mundane emperors would use a palace as a tomb; it would be far too extravagant for them.
“It must be related to the Exalted Divine emperor,” the fox offered weakly. “If there’s anyone left in this world who can use a palace as a coffin, it’d be a direct descendant of their emperor.” Confusion filled the little fox’s eyes as her thoughts were thrown into disorder again.
I really want to toss this little thing inside the celestial master tomb.
Inside that tomb, the fox would recover her past selves. The ancient monster celestial master or the monster spirit ancestor would certainly recall something. Alas, her current self was a confused ditz.
“A direct descendant… someone put them here to turn the place into a killing tomb layout.”
Possessed by the ghost king, Li Youcai had vanished into the depths of the manor. As the heavy clouds above brought more darkness down upon the surrounding region, faintly discernible ghostly howls began to echo through the air.
The little fox’s soft white fur bristled at the sound. All of her limbs froze stiff, and she tumbled down from Lin Yu’s head and landed in his arms with a thunk.
She’d literally been frightened into fainting.
Without a complete soul, she wasn’t equipped to handle this kind of shock. But even so, her true identity was too formidable to die of such a simple scare. Moreover, Lu Yun had nurtured her soul with his sect’s soul fostering art. The more shocks of this nature she received, the more beneficial it actually was for her soul.
Resigned, Qing Yu walked up to the fox and stuffed the stiff furball back against her chest. As she did so, she caught Lu Yun glancing at the fox in envy. When understanding dawned on her, her cheeks flushed bright red.
“Success!” Lin Xuan shouted in excitement at this time. He’d deployed his first feng shui layout all by himself without help from anyone else! A sense of achievement rose in his heart, and it seemed his understanding of feng shui had improved yet again.
“I’m also done!” In front of Lin Yu, a golden column of light shot to the dome of the sky and disintegrated the sea of dark clouds.
Before the immortals hovering in the clouds for surveillance could react, they ended up deader than dead from the blast of pure yang.
“What a powerful yang formation... H-how…” Lin Yu himself was stunned. Such a formation wasn’t exactly a new achievement for him, but in the past, its strength wouldn’t have been nearly this great.
As the blast of yang energy subsided and the sky cleared up again, the eerie manor overflowing with yin energy also regained its former appearance. While still cold and ghastly, the phantasmal wails were gone.
“Alright, everyone stay put!” Lu Yun strode inside Lin Xuan’s layout, his hands dancing a few times in the air to fix some imperfections. For his part, Lin Xuan couldn’t tear his gaze away as he engraved each of the weak spots and Lu Yun’s gestures on his heart.
The feng shui layout shook fiercely and morphed into hazy blue light. Spectral Eye wide open, Lu Yun formed a series of hand seals to activate the layout.
A mottled bridge abruptly came into existence. Connecting the sky to the land, it moved toward a certain direction. As it happened, Mount Exalted lay in that very direction.
“Sure enough, the Ancestry Bridge can locate this tomb’s descendants!” Lu Yun smiled gently.
This feng shui layout was called an Ancestry Bridge. It bore no offensive abilities whatsoever, but possessed a special function: it could calculate the location of a lineal tomb’s descendants.
Lineal tombs housed the remains of a bloodline’s ancestors to bless their progeny, but some ended up abandoned for various reasons. Deprived of their later generations’ incense and offerings, the wrathful dead inside would transform the tomb into a killing layout.
That very thing had happened to this particular lineal tomb, turning the one buried inside into a ghost king. And the Ancestry Bridge, as it happened, had located someone belonging to the ghost king’s lineage.
If the bloodline was severed, the Ancestry Bridge would be broken. Instead, the bridge extended toward Mount Exalted, proof that a descendant existed there.
The Exalted Divine Tribe!
The one buried inside this lineal tomb was unquestionably an Exalted Divine, a direct descendant of the Exalted Divine emperor.
“I see. Without the mountain’s protection, the tomb would’ve long cursed the Exalted Immortal Sect and Exalted court to extinction.” Looking at the irregular splashes of color and rust on the Ancestry Bridge, Lu Yun swallowed hard. “It seems that the divines live on not only due to the Sword of Chaos forcibly maintaining the race’s last hints of fortune, but because Mount Exalted is fundamentally interfering with things!”
Without the mountain, the lineal tomb alone would’ve wiped out the last of the divines, even without the Skandha Range’s curse. Lineal tombs were double-edged swords. They could bless a lineage, but could also destroy it forever.
The Exalted Divine Tribe wasn’t just a divine tribe like the others. It represented those who’d ruled over all the divines. Even powerful tribes like the cardinal divines—the azure dragons, white tigers, vermillion birds, and black tortoises—were their subjects.
In that sense, the lineal tomb of an Exalted Divine ancestor was the tomb of one of the entire divine race’s ancestors.
Crack crack crack!
A sharp sound suddenly rang in the air.
The Ancestry Bridge shattered with a bang.
“It’s unhappy.” Lu Yun’s lips curved up in a smile. “But knowing exactly what you are makes it easier for me. Come on, let’s go meet that fellow!”
Taking large strides forward, he stepped into the hall that Li Youcai had disappeared into.
“I’m not going!” Just as Qing Yu was about to follow him, the little fox inside her clothes woke up and resisted with every fiber of her being. “I’m staying here even if I die!”
“Lu Yun can protect you if you come with us. But if you stay outside… once we go in, you’ll be left here all by yourself.” Qing Yu’s gentle voice sounded full of sympathy, but her words were in fact a veiled threat.
Lin Yu and Lin Xuan had already scampered cheerfully after Lu Yun. Fully confident in their abilities, the two brothers were like an excited pair of monkeys at the prospect of exploring the ancestral tomb of an Exalted Divine ancestor.
Meanwhile, Ashu had left their company at some point, his whereabouts currently unknown. The little fox could only curl up in Qing Yu’s embrace and cover her eyes with her fluffy paws, resigning herself to her fate.
“What in the heavens happened just now?” the immortals near the manor clamored in shock.
A moment ago, a column of golden light had shot into the sky and disintegrated the dark clouds they’d summoned, killing the immortals shuttling amidst the clouds!
“Hmph, don’t concern yourself with it. Lu Yun might have a few tricks up his sleeve, but they matter very little. By entering the lineal tomb, he’s already forfeited his life!” an immortal sneered. “In the past, many arcane dao immortals joined forces to explore that place, but they all ended up dead.”
“But His Celestial Majesty’s summons…” Some of the other immortals felt somewhat uneasy. Their emperor had summoned Lu Yun, yet they’d misdirected the young man into the ominous tomb. If the emperor were to look into the matter, they’d be hard pressed to justify themselves.
“What are you afraid of? We’re acting at the behest of the Exalted Immortal Sect’s Lord Zhao Chong.” The first immortal smiled. “Furthermore, they went into the tomb of their own volition. What does it have to do with us?”
While that was technically true, some people couldn’t help but worry.
“What if Lu Yun brought the dao weapon with him?” someone suddenly asked in trepidation.
His question silenced them all.
“In that case, you people will have to go into the tomb and bring it back.” A tall figure suddenly descended from the sky. It was the same dao immortal who’d received Lu Yun at the teleportation formation: the Exalted Immortal Sect’s Zhao Chong, also known as the Exalted emperor’s junior brother.
An evil breeze gusted inside the great hall. Visible to the naked eye, the black wind had almost coalesced into raw malice.
Even Qing Yu was a little fretful, so Lu Yun dropped the feng shui compass into her hand so she could use its power to slice through the wind. As for the two Lin brothers, they worked in tandem to lay down one formation after another through the technique of formations without foundation.
“The entrance has disappeared!” Lin Yu exclaimed in alarm when he looked behind him.
The doors through which they’d come through were nowhere in sight. Instead, there was only deep darkness there. Moreover, their surroundings were still changing; tidy tables and chairs were slowly fading away, replaced by intense darkness.
“Don’t look back.” Lu Yun’s tone was grave. “The layouts here have evolved into a Road of the Dead, which is what we’re currently on. Once you set foot on it, you can’t turn back no matter what happens. The only way out lies forward.”
“A Road of the Dead… Are we headed to the world of the dead, then?” Lin Yu couldn’t help but shudder.
All legends related to hell had been erased from the world of immortals, but the land of the dead was still part of common folklore.
“A Road of the Dead is a type of feng shui layout,” Lin Yu explained as he leafed through the thick book in hand while studying the surroundings. “Logically speaking, such a road should lead to the world of the dead, but I think that world itself might be a layout. If it’s a layout, then it can be unraveled.”
“The dragon vein should lie at the end of the road. Or rather, inside the palace coffin atop its head.” Lu Yun slowly proceeded forward. “Be careful, this Road of the Dead is full of danger. Malicious ghosts will abound, so be careful not to let them possess you.”
Lu Yun was tempted to summon Yueshen, but he ultimately decided against it after remembering the ghost king.
In life, the ghost king had been an Exalted Divine, someone more powerful than Yueshen’s living self. In death, a ghost king was also stronger than the immortal ghost Yueshen had become. Whichever way one looked at it, she was no match for the ghost king.
If not for the ghost king occupying Li Youcai’s body, Lu Yun could have used hellfire to deal with it. Alas, it’d even activated the Sacred Origin Runes on Li Youcai’s formation of heaven and earth. Hellfire was basically useless against it now. The only way to deal with it was to find its corpse.
Damn, this tomb sounds like a real biatch to maintain. Can't just do regular offerings to it, I'm sure. Only the best of the best for one's ancestor. Note to self: bury only the most easygoing ancestor in one of these tombs.