Lu Yun could clearly identify that the emperor’s daughter had turned Zhao Chong and his men into tomb keepers. Though alive, their souls had been sealed into zombie flesh. Moreover, after the ghost king’s destruction, Zhao Chong had inherited its role of nurturing hellfire. His attack contained the full strength he’d achieved in life, the power of a dao immortal with one aether dao fruit.
For Lu Yun, an attack of that level was an immense threat; the fiery blade was keen enough to end his life. With Sacred Origin Runes as core and hellfire as blade, the strike fell with world-ending momentum.
Dark red light flashed in front of Lu Yun and shattered the blade strike. Sent reeling by the collision, Zhao Chong crashed heavily into the wall behind him and slumped to the ground in a daze.
Diexi’s fluttering shortsword hovered in front of Lu Yun like a shield before darting back into her hand like a bloody butterfly.
“Zhao Qing, I won’t mind killing you again if you try to stop me.” Her voice could freeze one to the bone. Once made of downy-yellow silk, her dress was now woven with coarse, washed out fabric. It looked old-fashioned, yet also very neat. Even her long hair, normally black as night, had turned grey.
Dense corpse energy emanated from her figure and kept the fearsome yin energy in the vicinity at bay. Two dots of scarlet light roamed in the depths of her eyes, her bloody gaze giving rise to innumerable mountains of corpses and a boundless ocean of blood.
“This isn’t Diexi, it’s her sword!” Lu Yun inhaled sharply when he realized something was amiss with the zombie king. The strength she now wielded didn’t come from herself, but from the shortsword in her hand.
He opened the Spectral Eye to look upon her. But as he did so, she imperceptibly glanced in his way and sent a sharp pain through his eyes. Hastily turning his gaze away, he realized with great shock that she’d now exceeded the ghost king and reached an entirely new level of existence, just like the woman sitting on the imperial throne.
Zhao Qing, the emperor’s daughter, quietly observed Diexi and ultimately heaved an inaudible sigh. Meanwhile, Zhao Chong took his men with him and returned to the palace coffin after getting back on his feet.
The palace coffin’s gates shut with a resounding bang, and the world returned to darkness.
“A corner of hell… it’s the three coffins in front of the throne!” Lu Yun mumbled to himself as he studied the darkness in front of him. “If I can obtain these coffins, I can take back this fragment of hell!”
“You won’t be able to.” Diexi’s voice reverberated inside the darkness like a phantasm. “The three coffins are one with the throne coffin. This throne coffin is carved out from the core of a star, and to budge it with just the few of you is beyond impossible.”
“Are you Diexi, or someone else?” Qing Yu looked back. Two beams of light, as blue as the firmament of the world, shone from her eyes and pierced the darkness.
Seeing Qing Yu’s gaze, Diexi couldn’t help but frown.
“Diexi, you say? Is that what I’m currently called?” She looked down at the short sword in her hand and sighed gently. “Let’s go, I’ll help you take the three coffins.”
Disregarding Qing Yu’s question, she turned her head to the side and studied the palace coffin’s vague outline in the darkness.
“You’re the spirit of the sword,” Lu Yun suddenly said in astonishment. “Diexi was created from the body of an ancient zombie and the spirit of a sword, then nurtured into a zombie king!”
To be more precise, Diexi was the sword’s name!
Lu Yun shivered when he reached that conclusion. Turning a sword spirit into a living entity? This kind of ability was nothing short of the power of creation itself!
A sword spirit was nothing but a spirit born from an object. Although it possessed self-awareness, that didn’t make it a true living entity. However, someone had transplanted this sword spirit into a corpse and turned it into a zombie king, one that shed death to come back to life, discarded yin to gather yang, and became a supreme existence.
At the very least, Lu Yun didn’t possess this kind of ability.
Diexi glanced at Lu Yun. All of a sudden, an overwhelming field of crimson light illuminated the surrounding space and turned it into a world of blood. In front of them, the sinister palace coffin came into view as skeletons successively crawled out of the crimson light and swarmed in its direction.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
A series of deafening explosions echoed in the air as the skeletons relentlessly assaulted the palace coffin’s gates in an attempt to pry it open.
The land shook, as though something had landed from above and trampled the group of skeletons right in the middle.
Countless skeletons transformed back into crimson light and returned to Diexi’s eyes. However, she remained as impassive as ever and quietly remained where she was, turning the crimson light of her eyes upon the palace coffin.
The skeleton of a giant beast descended from the sky and wantonly rampaged through her illusion of mountains of corpses and seas of blood, relentlessly destroying the skeletons. It resembled a giant skeletal lizard, but there was an enormous pair of skeletal wings on its back. Countless skeletons crumbled to dust each time they beat.
“Hadal Bonefire! Hadal Bonefire is burning in this beast’s eyes!” Shaken, Lu Yun fell back a few steps. He could see the shadow of the demon sovereign on this skeletal beast. Although the demon sovereign had failed to ambush him and been sent packing by a few slaps from Lu Feng… he still dreaded this enemy waiting in the wings.
“Does the demon sovereign also come from here?” While Lu Yun was lost in thought, Lin Yu and Lin Xuan laid down a formation to protect this area.
More precisely, Lin Yu arranged a defensive formation while Lin Xuan deployed a feng shui layout specially meant to alter the environment and enhance the potential of Lin Yu’s formation. Superimposing the two brought out every bit of strength from the defensive formation. Meanwhile, the little fox had slipped out of Qing Yu’s clothes at some point and now jumped on top of Lu Yun’s head.
“It’s a saurian dragon!” the fox explained in a furtive whisper. “This giant skeletal beast used to be the king of the saurian dragons in life. To think it ended up dying here!” 
“Do you know where we are?” Lu Yun hastened to ask. He could vaguely sense that this place wasn’t simply a corner of hell; it definitely hid other secrets as well.
“Right above us is Mount Exalted, the Exalted Divine Emperor’s Last Repose!” The fox’s tone was extremely solemn, and the bell hanging in front of her chest chimed melodiously, as if awakening some long-buried memories.
“But we took the wrong way in. We should’ve taken the entrance at the foot of Mount Exalted, then gone through a series of divine tombs. That way, we could have avoided disturbing these scary fellows and arrived here safely.”
Her words reminded Lu Yun of the yin and yang realm tombs inside the celestial master tomb. While part of the same whole, they represented two different sides of the same existence.
Lu Yun feels wayyy outta his depth here.