Just like any undead creatures, ghost kings were obsessed by a certain desire: to live!
Thus, the ghost king’s long-dormant emotions surged out of control when it saw Lu Yun bring someone back from the dead.
“Let me live!” it screamed as it glared at Lu Yun with malevolence. Two black flames lit up in its eyes, flames that showed signs of evolving into hellfire.
Lu Yun flinched and blood drained from his face. Someone’s using the ghost king to nurture true hellfire!
With the birth of hellfire, this corner of hell would become a genuine hell. More importantly, it was located inside the world of immortals, and thus would slowly gnaw away at the greater world. In the future, it might even assimilate all of Exalted Major.
Hell possessed prodigious power, and without a complete immortal dao it would be impossible for the world of immortals to resist its properties and fundamental laws. Were this hell to take form, Exalted Major would end up even more bleak and miserable than Witherdew Major.
In comparison, Lu Yun’s hell was a genuine fragment of hell, but located in a separate plane. It used the Tome of Life and Death as a fulcrum and Lu Yun himself as a gate to connect it to the outside world.
Not only was this ghost king not the master of this corner of hell, but it was only a tool for its true master, one to give birth to hellfire.
“Let me live!!”
Denying Lu Yun time to think, a pair of giant ghostly claws fell from the sky and tried grabbing him. With a start, he hurriedly dodged to the side, causing the claws to thud into the ground and shake the entire area.
The impact rattled the Road of the Dead and sent fissures snaking across it.
“What’s going on?!” Disoriented by the sudden earthquake that’d struck as soon as they’d stepped into the hall, Zhao Chong and his men began to panic. Even the ghosts roaming around them disappeared after the upheaval.
“Did Lu Yun cause this?” Zhao Chong couldn’t help but gulp.
“Milord, there’s a road up ahead!” the immortal scouting the way reported in a trembling voice when he returned.
His pale face was devoid of blood, a telltale sign that he’d been possessed by a ghost. Thankfully, the ghost had been scared away by the ghost king’s strike, or this immortal would likely be dead by now, his yang energy sucked dry.
“A road? What kind of road?” Zhao Chong’s tone was heavy. Were it not for the lives of his family and clansmen being at stake, he’d long have run away.
In recorded history, no one other than the very first Exalted Emperor had escaped this place alive. In fact, records concerning this ominous tomb had been found in many other tombs throughout Exalted Major. Even in the ancient times, those lucky enough to make it out alive had been struck by sudden death not long after.
“In response to milord, it’s a small, zigzagging stone trail, but it’s riddled with holes like it’s been smashed by something.” With a deep breath, the immortal realized something was amiss with his body. He hastily fished out a yellow-orange pill from his storage ring and gulped it down. It was a Pure Yang Pill, an imperative part of one’s equipment when exploring an ancient tomb.
Yin energy vied with ghostly energy in ancient tombs, a mixture that even immortals found difficult to endure. However, immortals far and wide had been excavating ancient tombs for the past hundred thousand years, ever since the divines had come to power at the end of the great immortal war.
In the process, they’d naturally gained some experience and learned a few tips and tricks. This Pure Yang Pill was one of them. Once consumed, it expelled yin energies from the body.
“I heard that Lu Yun displayed astonishing skill when he rescued many trapped immortals in the North Sea dragon tomb… Maybe he’s the one who left this stone trail behind?” Zhao Chong’s eyes lit up. “Let’s go and take a look!”
A Road of the Dead was a path of nothingness, so it was very difficult to spot for those who belonged to the world of the living, immortals included. However, this particular road was born from a corner of hell. It only bore the shape of one, and the dense ghostly energies contained in the ghost king’s earlier blow had exposed its true appearance.
“It’s indeed a trail… but when you say stone…” Zhao Chong crouched down and carefully studied what the scout had called stones with an expression that turned increasingly grave.
“Does this look like stone to you? These are clearly bone fragments!” His face betrayed his shaky mood. “The road ahead is dangerous. If we continue treading it, we’re almost certain to lose our lives. But I have a treasure on me that might keep us alive…”
He took a deep breath. “Let’s go! If Lu Yun can walk this road, why can’t we mighty immortals of Exalted Major do the same?!”
Brimming with confidence, he set foot on the Road of the Dead with bold strides. A breeze of yin brushed past his skin in the next moment. With a subconscious shudder, he hastened to take out a Pure Yang Pill to dispel the yin energy that’d seeped inside him.
As for his companions, they heaved resigned sighs, well aware that their chances of survival were minimal now that they’d come here. Turning back was impossible, so the only way left was to forge ahead. If they truly managed to find Lu Yun and Qing Yu and obtain what the emperor wanted, perhaps the emperor would bring them out with the power of his heavenly mandate.
As the Gates of the Abyss closed, the ghost king transformed into an evil wind and sank into Lu Yun’s body.
“Let me live, let me live…” Its voice echoed tirelessly in Lu Yun’s head, the sinister, eerie sound chilling to the core. He doggedly protected his mind with the Tome of Life and Death to keep the ghost king from invading his consciousness. If the ghost king seized control of his mind, his body would no longer belong to him.
“You have, to show me, your corpse, if you want to live!” Lu Yun struggled to speak. This ghost king was so powerful that it was impossible to resist!
In its current state, the Tome of Life and Death could injure it, but not erase its existence for good, because something similar to hellfire existed inside it.
“Corpse, corpse…” the ghost king mumbled. Lu Yun felt his body lighten as it left him.
“Bring your people and follow me… Do not try to deceive me, or I will kill all of you!” the ghost king’s cold voice reverberated in the air.
“Come with me!” Lu Yun looked back and called out to Qing Yu and the others.
Qing Yu followed him without delay, the two Lin brothers in tow. Even without the ghost king’s threat, Lu Yun wouldn’t dare leave them behind. In this space where hell and the lineal tomb coexisted, there had to be fearsome existences lurking around besides the owner of the tomb and the ghost king.
The road twisted and turned deep into the darkness. Near the end, even the light from the feng shui compass was dulled by a thick aura of death, its illumination reduced to a distance of three meters.
“Lu Yun, there’s something wrong with your compass,” Qing Yu suddenly leaned against him and quietly breathed into his ear.
Folks, if you missed the readings at NECRO's official launch last year, check them out here!