Ugly cracks tore through a dark crimson sky. They healed into scars that tore open and scabbed over and tore open again and again in a horrifying cycle. The vast land was covered in crimson mud with fist-sized bubbles constantly popping on its surface, within which various crimson creatures swam and lurked.
These were the Exalted Divine Tombs, the resting place of the divine race back in the Primeval Era of human dao and the primordial divine court. The elites of the Exalted Divines and all other divine tribes were buried here.
Lu Yun and his companions traversed the scarlet world on the back of the Path of Ingress. Although there was a space-restriction formation here, the Path of Ingress was such a special treasure that it overrode all formations, rendering the restriction ineffective against it.
“So this is the great tomb of the divine race?” Lin Xuan paged through his tomb raiding archives, looking for any feng shui layouts that were a possible match. After a good while, he looked blankly at Lu Yun. He wasn’t identifying any structures that could be labeled as burial or feng shui layouts.
“This is the Ichor Bog,” Li Youcai suddenly said. “The mausoleum is on the other side of the pond.”
Yueshen had recovered through the power of the Tome of Life and Death and assumed control of Li Youcai again. His heavyset body dropped down from the path and landed on the bubbling crimson pond below.
“Have you been here before?” Lu Yun and the others followed suit. Strangely enough, they didn’t squelch into the pond despite the moist look of the earth. Instead, they were insulated from the mud by some sort of power.
“I have.” Yueshen nodded.
She had once numbered amongst the twenty-four divine kings of the divine race—the senior council of her kind that employed great authority. Over the twenty thousand years of divine rule over the world of immortals, Yueshen had explored her fair share of strange places.
The Exalted Divine Tombs had been maintained with particular care. When she’d first visited, however, there had been none of the giant footprints that now littered the Last Repose outside.
“This pond was created from the congealed flesh and blood of countless lives,” Yueshen said faintly. “Perhaps the flesh and blood of those sacrificed to the altars are added to it as well.”
A shudder ran down Qing Yu’s spine.
“What are those vein-like things down there?” Lin Yu asked, staring at the living souls moving about the pond.
Yueshen took a closer look and answered, “Blood vessels, probably.”
Lin Yu shut his mouth.
“The mausoleum of the Exalted Divine Tombs is in that direction,” Yueshen said, pointing in a certain direction.
“Have you remembered something again?” Qing Yu asked with a frown, sensing Yueshen’s change in mood.
Yueshen nodded and turned to Lu Yun. “I have.”
She’d regained more of her memories the longer she spent recovering in hell, but there remained many things she couldn’t remember. Once she’d been resurrected through the Tome of Life and Death as an immortal ghost, though, she could recall everything.
“Ruyi and I were once the greatest goddesses of war in the divine court,” Yueshen said faintly. “Our duty was to protect the world of immortals and the thing under Mount Exalted. However, we failed our duties in the end.”
Everyone turned to Yueshen in surprise.
Yueshen’s full name was Jixiang Yueshen, and Ruyi’s full name was Ruyi Wushen. Their names combined to form a phrase of auspicious sentiments and good fortune. According to known history, the two divine kings hadn’t been great warriors and had only represented the divine race’s fortunes.
When Lu Yun discovered that someone had refined Ruyi into a sarcophagus to bury Yueshen alive, he’d concluded it’d been a curse on the entire divine race. But now… it seemed that something else was afoot here.
“Wait, what did you say?!” Lin Yu exclaimed with wide eyes. “Protect the world of immortals? The divine race protected the world?” That contradicted everything he’d ever known about history.
Hadn’t the divine race plagued the world eighty thousand years ago and enslaved all lives for a full twenty thousand years? Since when did they become guardians of the realm?
“The divine race swore to protect the world following the last wishes of the primordial immortal emperor… We were to stop the invaders from entering through the World Gates.” Yueshen hummed bemusedly. “Judging from the present world, the divines must have succeeded.”
“The World Gates…” murmured Lu Yun. “So there really is such a thing!” He’d seen the gates before in Su Xiaoxiao and Cangyin’s memories, but hadn’t known then what he’d been looking at.
The gates were shut tight in their memories. If they were to open, great disaster would follow. Whatever it might be, however, remained a mystery. Perhaps… the destruction of the primordial world of immortals had something to do with the World Gates?
“Invaders? What invaders?” Lin Xuan asked, noticing another point Yueshen had made. “Did these invaders destroy the primordial world of immortals?”
“I’m not sure how the primordial world was destroyed, I hadn’t been born yet.” Pensively, Yueshen gave the Lin brothers a onceover before glancing at the little fox in Qing Yu’s arms. “While I don’t know what the world was like a hundred thousand years ago… eighty thousand years ago, the world of immortals during the divine race’s rule was the only safe harbor in all the realms. All of the other worlds were either long destroyed or gasping out their final breaths.”
The revelation sent the group reeling.
“Yin spirits!” Lu Yun swiftly connected some dots between what he knew of the world. “Are all of those other worlds solely populated by yin spirits now?”
There was a large seal at the heart of the tomb under Dusk Province, and a similar tomb could be found in the Azure, Crimson, and Argent Provinces in Nephrite Major. Every once in a while, a great swarm of yin spirits would emerge from the tombs.
The invasion in Azure Province had ended at Lu Yun’s hands, and the ancient tomb transformed into a bronze palace to seal the rift. He’d thought the four tombs suppressed an unknown world, but based on Yueshen’s words, the four cracks must lead to other worlds in the multiverse!
“That’s right.” Yueshen nodded. “The worlds beyond ours have all been occupied by yin spirits. Ours is the only world free of such a blight, but that may change very soon.”
“The previous generations of the nine celestial emperors must have dedicated their lives to guarding the fissure of the world,” Lu Yun murmured.
The previous celestial emperors had been the most powerful rulers over the past eighty thousand years. Their reputations were unmatched, yet they’d abruptly announced closed door cultivation and abdicated their thrones before fully grooming their successors first.
It seemed the truth was coming to light, and they hadn’t disappeared in an attempt to ascend to the ingress realm, but to guard a rift to the world of immortals.
“The World Gates!” Yueshen took a deep breath. “If my guess is correct, the celestial emperors of past generations all headed there at the end of their time.”
!!! Remember how a long time ago, they discovered one of the celestial emperors was a fake? I wonder if there was another plan afoot here, one to kill all the others for world domination or something similar, but when the imposter was finally alone with his peers, he realized what they were here for.
"Ah... fuck, I can't kill them and I gotta actually join them and live up to my stolen identity. Wtf, who came up with this fool plan?"