This was the very same mark that the Second King Yanluo had left on the secret memorial, right beneath the design of the initiation module for the second generation Forbidden Arts!
Qin Ye and the Harken stared at each other for a few seconds before Qin Ye finally spoke up, “Did the Second King Yanluo leave us the key to this place?”
“Did the Confucian Family actually intercept and steal the secret memorial precisely because they’d learnt of these secrets? Were they perhaps… after this key? Then, is the design of the initiation module for the second generation Forbidden Arts nothing more than an ancillary surprise?”
There were too many questions and not enough answers. Everything was nothing more than a speculation right now. The Harken also pondered for a long time, before responding in a deep voice, “Then how do you explain that this ‘key’ is drawn right underneath that of all things?”
There was no plausible explanation to this.
Qin Ye shook his head, and then made a grasping motion in the air. At once, what remained of the secret memorial appeared in his hand, and he aligned the mark of the lotus flower carefully against the mark on the door. As soon as he had it perfectly aligned, the scroll spontaneously combusted, and transformed into black ash that vanished in the sky.
“What’s going on?” Qin Ye stared in horror at the sight, while the Harken promptly narrowed its eyes, “Yama-class power… For a moment there, I sensed a fragment of the Second King Yanluo’s energy radiating from the door. I reckon that symbol was probably the only thing that could’ve opened this door.”
Qin Ye smiled and chuckled softly.
Is this really Temujin’s Tomb?
If not, why would the outer door be sealed by the Sixfold Ghost King’s mark, and the inner door be sealed by the Second King Yanluo’s mark?
But… even then, does it really justify such favour with such experts in Hell?
Sure, he could be one of the greatest emperors that have ever existed, and he might also have held the largest territory at any one time, but I’m afraid not even Emperor Taizong of Tang or Emperor Qin Shi Huang had such favour with Hell, did they?
Furthermore, over 65 million Cathayans were slaughtered during Temujin’s time. So, what exactly is it that sets him apart from the rest?
Well, I guess if there’s no answer to these questions, then there’s no point thinking about these things any further.
After the secret memorial was completely reduced to ashes, what remained was the trace of a six-petaled lotus flower that appeared to be embedded in the keyhole. A split second later, the mark on the door blossomed with a gold hue, and the light slowly spread along the reliefs along the edge of the door until the entire door was glowing gold.
Click… There was a sound of a catch falling into place, followed quickly by the clatter of the inner mechanism. Then, the heavy door slowly opened with a bang.
All of the answers they were seeking were hidden in the innermost chamber.
Qin Ye took a deep breath and walked right in.
The inner chamber occupied a large space that was approximately 100 meters long and 50 meters tall. The endless streamers that hung from the roof of the chamber danced wildly as the doors opened, almost as though in celebration that a visitor had finally arrived after years of destitution.
A statue of Tengri stood right at the center of the chamber. That said, it appeared somewhat different from before. This incarnation of the Tengri had three heads and six arms, adorned with a Dharma wheel, human bones, a flute, streamers of scriptures, a lotus flower and a book. Its three faces all appeared to be benevolent and lifelike.
The statue stood approximately 20 meters tall, and its entire body was green in colour. Each face had an eye that was red in colour, and another in blue. Its bottom two hands were cupped at his dantian and appeared to be carrying a 2.5 meter long wooden coffin.
“Jade...” Qin Ye stroked the statue cautiously as he murmured aloud, “Though not of the best variety, the entire statue is carved out of the same piece, and its value is comparable to that of any top grade varieties of jade out there. Furthermore, I can tell that there are few impurities found in the entire statue here. This is a masterpiece created to honor the emperor.”
“The eyes are set with top grade rubies known as the pigeon blood rubies, while the blue ones are sapphires of the royal blue colour…”
“Hang on a minute…” The Harken glanced at Qin Ye with an incredulous expression, “How in the world do you know so much?”
Qin Ye responded with a profound expression, “I’ve once worked in one of the largest jewellery chains back in Cathay… You’ll never understand what it’s like to live in the Eastsea region with a monthly salary of only 3,000 RMB. Ah, that’s right, and that was only 10 years ago.”
The Harken clammed up at once.
You know something, you’re just like a little boy full of surprises. The deeper I dig, the more I learn about your peculiar past, including your previous occupations like these, or your other strange inclinations…
There was a protracted period of awkward silence before the Harken finally found the right words to respond, “It looks like the office of King Yanluo has saved you from an eternity of anguish in the rat race to the bottom.”
“Hoho, you don’t know the half of it. Your daddy here is the King Yanluo that understands his subjects the best! Can my predecessors actually relate to their loyal subjects?”
“Now, that’s hardly appropriate. Can you really say that the citizens in the past haven’t been living well?”
“Pfft! Do my predecessors know how much it cost for a catty of vinegar? Do they actually know the pain of rising prices? Do they appreciate what it feels like when the price of garlic goes from 2 to 9 dollars?! Do they know what brand of salt to choose from in order to avoid the irradiated salt from the Nipponese nuclear power plant explosion?!” Qin Ye immediately exploded with a series of rhetorics. Then, gritting his teeth, he went on to deliver the lowest blow to himself, “No, they don’t, because I’m the one who has never experienced the joy of being rich!”
He took a deep breath and collected himself. Then, shelving the topic that triggers the painful memories hidden deep in his heart, he glanced around the room, only to realize that it was still constructed entirely out of obsidian. That said, the only difference was that there weren’t any grooves for netherflames in the ground. Yet, even then, the entire chamber was bright as daylight.
“This is done by embedding nightgleam pearls into the wall… But for a chamber of such size, one would need at least 10,000 nightgleam pearls… What extravagance…” He lamented, before finally turning his attention to the coffin.
The coffin wasn’t the usual rectangular shape. Rather, it was shaped just like a human, and etched with fine carvings on all sides, most of which depicted the glorious conquests of the Mongol Empire’s Iron Stupa. The rest of the coffin was sealed with a band of gold around the seams, and the band was further inlaid with red and blue gemstones in turn.
Everything was made of the finest materials, and even the smallest elements were worth its weight in gold. Yet what was most surprising about all this was the fact that despite the long passage of time, the materials used, whether wood or gold, hadn’t decayed in the slightest.
The answer to all of our questions lies here… Both man and dog subconsciously leaned in closer. The Harken blew off the dust accumulated on the surface of the coffin. At once, the golden band clicked softly, and then slid off like soft silk.
Kkkrrrr… The lid of the coffin finally slid open, and the duo both peered into its contents. The next moment, both of them gasped in horror.
“This is…” Qin Ye stared at the contents in great disbelief, completely lost for words. The Harken was likewise completely flabbergasted by the sight, and its jaws even parted slightly in astonishment.
“How is this… possible?”
There was no one in the coffin.
Everything was done in accordance with Mongol customs. They had dug a hole within the wood to place the body of the dead. That said, the alcove was set with not a body, but… a sword.
It was a heavy sword.
And to that end, it was a heavy sword that both Qin Ye and the Harken had seen before. It was none other than the initiation module of a second generation Forbidden Art!
“Second generation Forbidden Art?” Qin Ye stared at the Harken blankly. His mind had gone completely numb.
“It looks like it…” The Harken’s voice trembled. If they had the second generation Forbidden Arts already made, Hell would practically be set for the international stage!
It immediately dashed forward for a closer look. And then, after a long time, and almost as though it was reeling from a confluence of both relief and disappointment at the same time, the Harken shook its heads, “No.”
But before it could go on, Qin Ye quickly continued where the Harken left off, “This looks to be the initiation module of a second generation Forbidden Art, and not a complete one.”
He had taken a look at the Yin Talismans earlier. For a split second there, he’d entered the universe of Yin Talismans to get a closer look at what he was dealing with, and the violent impact of being overloaded with information at once surged straight through his mind. To someone like him who hadn’t been exposed to Yin Talismanology, even a single arrangement of Yin Talismans would already seem as daunting as a 10,000-foot mountain towering before his eyes.
Unable to hold on any longer, Qin Ye subconsciously shut his eyes after merely a glimpse at the arrangement of Yin Talismans. That said, a single glimpse was more than enough to tell him that the complex arrangements of Yin Talismans was most certainly a component of the second generation of Forbidden Arts!
Silence. Moments later, the Harken took several steps back and glanced around nervously, “This can’t be… This is impossible! Isn’t the second generation of Forbidden Arts only supposed to be at the stage of proof of concept? Who’s the one who created this thing? Why would it be here?”
“This is naturally the handiwork of the Second King Yanluo of Hell.” Qin Ye straightened up and sighed softly, “Perhaps the second generation of Forbidden Arts isn’t so difficult for him. That would explain why he was able to break down the contents of the secret memorial for us as well. This artifact, and the form and location of the key to these chambers... I’m afraid that this is the truth of what the Confucian Family was truly after!”
“But that still doesn’t explain anything!” The Harken’s fur flared up, “The initiation module of a second generation Forbidden Art only exists in theory! And even if this was in fact created, how could there be no guardian to safekeep something as important as this?!”
“Furthermore, this is definitely no way to seal the second generation Forbidden Arts! This is a tomb! Whose tomb is it supposed to be? The tomb of a Forbidden Art? That’s completely ridiculous!”
Qin Ye frowned and began to look around for more clues. Moments later, he beckoned to the Harken and pointed at the head of the coffin, “The answer is right here.”
There was a line of small vermillion lettering etched at the head of the coffin.
First Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, Temujin.
“Is this really Temujin’s Tomb?” The Harken glanced around in consternation, “But this is Cathay… We’re in Cathay right now! Has Temujin’s Tomb really been in Cathay all this while?! But… where’s his corpse?”
“And where’s his soul?”
The tomb was nothing more than an empty shell.
Neither of them cared about the treasures of the mortal realm. All they wanted was the soul of the Great Khan. Unfortunately, neither his soul nor his body were in sight!
“Could this be some form of forbidden tomb?” The Harken couldn’t help but propose an idea right out of the science fiction universe.
“No.” Qin Ye stood right next to the coffin and stroked the surface of the coffin, “This is the Tomb of Temujin we’ve both been looking for.”
“Otherwise, we wouldn’t have found a human shaped alcove dug out in this piece of wood, and we would instead have found the alcove of a heavy sword at best.”
There was smoke and mirrors everywhere. Sure, there were clues, but the chaotic manner in how these clues presented themselves caused them to be more perplexed than anything.
At the very least, neither of them were able to figure out anything proper with what they saw.
“Let’s head back first.” The Harken finally calmed itself down and suggested with a soft sigh, “Regardless of what it is, it’s always good to have the initiation module of the second generation Forbidden Art with us. After all, researching and developing something from scratch is always the most difficult endeavour. With this, we’ve effectively skipped over the most difficult parts, and you can easily commence the project to develop second generation Forbidden Arts at your discretion.”
The Harken gazed intently at Qin Ye, “This represents the foundation on which the P4 underworld sits on. You’ve got to ensure that this is done within the next hundred years.”
Qin Ye nodded, and then proceeded to pick up the heavy sword. Strangely enough, it was light as a feather despite its looks.
“Remember not to infuse it with Yin energy.” The Harken suppressed its excitement as it nagged at Qin Ye, “Because as soon as Yin energy permeates its body, the resultant weight would easily crush you into pulp.”
“Could you put it away for me?”
“I can’t. What do you think I am? Doraemon?!”
“... What a pity…” Qin Ye placed the heavy sword on his back. Then, just as he was about to turn to leave, his eyes suddenly lit up with a bright gleam. He gasped in shock and glanced at the coffin, and the feeling of being struck by an epiphany surged straight from his foot to his head.
“What happened?” The Harken glanced at him in surprise, and then proceeded to leap right onto his shoulder and look in the same direction. At once, the Harken also gasped in surprise, and its eyes immediately lit up with flickering golden netherflames!
There was a line of words that had been hidden right beneath the heavy sword all this while.
Furthermore, it was written with Yin energy that had continued to linger on in the chamber despite the effluxion of time.
“I’m going to travel the world, and I will return in a hundred years. The seal cannot be broken. Take care of yourself. -- 7 September 1962, Zhao Zilong.”
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