A corner of hell was hidden in the space behind the Gates of the Abyss! The gates that the fragment projected was an entrance to that corner of hell. If Lu Yun could find the fragment’s location, he would be able to return the corner back to hell proper.
Right now, although his own gates sensed the call of the fragment, it was nowhere to be found. It was as if the shard lay hidden within fold after fold of space.
“It’s the palace coffin!” he suddenly realized. “The fragment of the gate has been forged into a palace coffin for the Exalted Divine royal. The royal in question was buried in hell… no wonder this lineal tomb is so terrifying.”
A typical lineal tomb that turned into a weapon tended to curse those of the lineage, not exude such an intense aura of terror. If that Exalted Divine royal was buried in a corner of hell, then it only made sense that the manor outside would manifest hellish power.
If such power was altered and fused with the environment around it—and the ghostly force of the dead royal factored in—the result would surpass hell and evolve in a different direction.
The current Lu Yun could feel that power, but he was incapable of significantly affecting it. The hell that his Tome of life and Death commanded was only the fragment in his possession.
The Gates of the Abyss towered majestically over them. Despite its illusory nature, it radiated a cold, almost animalistic aura that was much more befitting of a savage netherworld monster.
The Road of the Dead twisted its way in. Right in front of the gates was a patch of reddish dirt, as if stained by the blood of living creatures.
“There’s bodily remains here.” Qing Yu came to a halt. She lowered her head toward the corpses strewn about, frowning down at them.
“Arcane dao immortals from Enlightened Major… why did they die here, of all places?” Lu Yun’s Spectral Eye filled him in immediately. “They were killed by a stone spirit…”
Among other things, his death art told him about their cause of death. These immortals had died to a stone spirit before making it to the gates. The stone spirit that’d murdered them was much stronger than the one he’d encountered before.
“Careful, there’s more than one stone spirit here,” he cautioned the others.
The four humans were already huddled up. Within Qing Yu’s bosom, the little fox didn’t dare show its head.
“Wait a minute… if those people from the Exalted court delivered us here, maybe they don’t know I have the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals on me?” A question popped into Qing Yu’s mind. “If I’m to die here, the scroll will never make its way back to the outside world, right?”
Though neither she nor Lu Yun knew what the Exalted Immortal Sect needed the scroll for, it was plain to see that the treasure was very important to them.
“They’re just small fry. How would they know what’s important and what’s not? By now, the senior council of the court and sect have likely already punished them and are trying to rescue us as we speak,” Lu Yun snorted in derision.
It was as he predicted: outside, Exalted immortals from both the sect and court had already arrived at the lineal tomb and were setting up a formation of pure yang to extricate them safely.
Those of Zhao Chong’s subordinates responsible for the fiasco had already been executed under the Exalted emperor’s palm strike.
If Zhao Chong himself weren’t the emperor’s junior brother, he would’ve met the same fate. Even so, he was obligated to enter the lineal tomb and personally look for the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals.
The Exalted Divines didn’t care about any dao weapon, they wanted the scroll!
Zhao Chong wanted to cry. Though he was the Exalted emperor’s junior brother, he’d only just plucked his first aether dao fruit very recently and wasn’t privy to Exalted Major’s key secrets. Moreover, the Exalted emperor hadn’t sent him to receive Lu Yun. He’d acted entirely of his own volition.
“Senior brother…” A pale Zhao Chong glanced helplessly at the Exalted emperor.
“Call me ‘Your Majesty’.” The emperor remained expressionless. “If you don’t bring out Qing Yu’s scroll, everyone in your bloodline shall die, from your youngest grandson to your origin dao ancestor.”
He was strongly repressing the urge to smash his junior brother to death on the spot. Their master, a crippled origin dao immortal, had already expelled him moments ago. Though Zhao Chong didn’t know the truth, he’d disobeyed the emperor’s orders by barring the official who was to receive Lu Yun. That alone warranted a death sentence.
In the Exalted Immortal Sect’s last attack on Dusk Province, very few had known the purpose of their expedition. Most had only been following orders. Unlike most sects, their members possessed faith and conviction that bordered on zealotry.
“…understood.” Zhao Chong took a deep breath. When an artificial sun of pure yang rose above the lineal tomb, he and his kin charged straight in.
“Dammit, they’ve already gone in…” The empty courtyard turned his expression exceedingly ugly.
“The doors of this hall are open. They probably went this way…” Zhao Chong’s chest heaved several times. He grit his teeth, then plastered several Pure Yang Talismans to himself. “Come, we head that way!”
He had no idea that all of the doors here led to the same place.
Lu Yun’s group of four and one fox had already set foot into the Gates of the Abyss. As soon as they did, the ghostly wailing redoubled in intensity. Pallid shadows streaked through the air all around them.
“Close your eyes. Don’t look at them!” Upon seeing that Lin Yu was nearly taken captive by a vicious ghost, Lu Yun threw a Principal Nineheavens Talisman to dispel it.
Forced to reform a considerable distance away, the ghost glared at Lu Yun with crimson eyes.
“The Principal Nineheavens Talisman can’t slay the ghosts here…” Lu Yun drew a sharp breath. Since this place was a corner of hell, it had the same effect on ghosts that actual hell did. A vicious ghost inside hell, especially one without order, was nearly immortal.
He tried to call on the Tome of Life and Death and found that though the book showed a desire to subjugate this corner of hell, it needed his help. However, he didn’t yet have the strength to do so.
The young man stuck several Principal Nineheavens Talismans to the others with him, and his feng shui compass glowed ever brighter.
“Don’t use hellfire here.” Qing Yu warned, sensing what Lu Yun was about to do. “If you do,” she transmitted, “I’ve a feeling you won’t ever be able to retake this corner of hell!”