"These are heaven and earth bindings." Phagpa's soul orb was lying respectfully atop Qin Ye's palm. Even though Qin Ye had allowed Phagpa to participate in this matter, he didn't dare to come out unless Qin Ye summoned him.
"Several hundred years ago, seven master Tantric Buddhist monks and I visited the place, and we all arrived at the conclusion that whatever is in here is extremely sinister."
The two preachers made their way over without even requiring an instruction from Lee Jung-sook. Even they wore extremely grim expressions, and only after taking many deep breaths in succession did they place their hands onto the coffin's lid before pushing with all their might.
A cloud of black dust rose up from within the coffin alongside the nauseating odor of rot and decay. Inside the coffin were... two people!
It was a man and a woman, and they were locked in intercourse!
The bodies had been lying in this coffin for countless years, and the man had a head of short hair, while the woman's hair pooled all the way down to her waist. Their skin was deathly pale, so much so that even the purple blood vessels beneath their skin were visible. Their bodies were riddled with bright red text that looked as if it had been carved onto their skin with blood, and what was most disturbing of all was that each of their joints was nailed together with one another's using a single bone. It was truly a horrific sight.
"My god..." One of the preachers couldn't help but draw a sharp breath. "I have no idea what this is, but it's definitely something extremely sinister..."
"This deathly aura is unlike anything I've ever felt..." Othilie quickly inspected the surrounding area through narrowed eyes before instructing, "Form a defensive barrier around this area and make sure no one approaches this place! Hurry!"
The soldiers immediately did as they were told. They were not equipped to participate in what was about to happen next. Othilie lit a candle, and the flame had only just appeared when it flickered violently, even though there was no wind. Immediately thereafter, the flame turned an eerie green color.
"This is a holy candle that has been blessed by the pope, and it'll only react when in the presence of something extremely sinister..." He took a grim look at the pair of interconnected bodies in the coffin, and he couldn't help but take a few steps backward. "Be careful, everyone, this thing is far more sinister than we can imagine."
Qin Ye didn't say anything. He could sense that these two bodies were indeed extremely sinister, but they didn't seem to possess any harmful properties.
In a way, they were analogous to nuclear energy, which was extremely dangerous, but also exceptionally useful when properly harnessed. At its worst, it could pollute the land and the very fiber of living beings with radiation, but at its best, it could act as a brilliant energy source.
With a flick of his wrist, a burst of dense Yin energy emerged from within the soul orb, and Phagpa's spiritual body appeared before extending a respectful bow. "My Lord."
"That's a Marquess-level vengeful spirit!" The two preachers were so alarmed by Phagpa's emergence that they almost screamed, and they reflexively reached for the weapons concealed under their cloaks. In their eyes, Lee Jung-sook was an important client who didn't possess any Yin energy, nor did the young man accompanying her, so both of them were people that they had to protect. However, the young man had summoned a Marquess-level vengeful spirit with just a simple gesture, and the vengeful spirit was regarding him in an extremely respectful manner.
If it weren't for the extremely sinister coffin placed in front of them, they would've already screamed out loud.
This was a Marquess-level vengeful spirit, a supreme being in any nation! Even their teacher may never have seen such a vengeful spirit of such a high caliber, yet this one had just been summoned at will like a genie from a lamp!
Qin Ye paid no heed to the two preachers, whose jaws had dropped to the ground, and he pointed at the coffin before asking, "What's this?"
Phagpa cast his gaze toward the coffin, and the netherfire in his eyes flickered erratically as he replied in a strained voice, "That's it... That's the Taisui fungus, the legendary medicine of immortality."
At this point, the two preachers had already backed into a wall, and all they wanted to do was to fuse as one with the wall and erase their own existences completely. Standing in the presence of a Marquess-level vengeful spirit was far too much pressure!
Who exactly was this young man? Could he be the grandson of some high-ranking Cathayan official?
Qin Ye gently stroked a finger along the edge of the coffin, and in the next instant, a chain shot out of his palm, piercing through the head of the male corpse before slowly lifting it out of the coffin.
As the body was lifted up, it arched like a bow and was as flexible as an octopus. At the same time, a blood-curdling howl rang out from all directions, and the flame of the candle that Othilie was holding was flickering so violently that it was on the verge of being snuffed out.
"Sir!" He finally couldn't help but break his silence. "Please be careful! This is not a situation that we're sufficiently equipped to handle. If worse comes to worst, then we'll have to rely on that... that spirit of yours..."
He couldn't understand how this young man could be so brave!
Qin Ye completely ignored him as he stared intently at the male corpse. He gently poked the body's back with his other hand, and his expression changed slightly as he remarked, "There are no bones in his body."
It was no wonder that the body was so flexible.
"That's right, all of his bones were pulled out." Phagpa pointed at the mouth of the male corpse and said, "Please take a close look here, my Lord. Focus on the text on his body."
The bright red text that riddled the entire corpse was very small, with each one appearing to be no more than a millimeter in size. Furthermore, the text was densely packed together and formed continuous lines that ran all over the corpse. After carefully inspecting these lines of text for five seconds, Qin Ye's pupils abruptly contracted drastically.
This isn't text, it's red thread!
Indeed, the entire corpse looked as if it had been sewn together!
He raised his head as his eyes narrowed slightly, and he speculated, "Are these the sewn-up incisions from which the bones were removed?"
"That's right," Phagpa replied in an extremely grim voice. "This procedure is known as the process of creating a Three Seal Corpse. According to Taoist beliefs, it's said that there are three demonic worms that reside inside the human body. The upper corpse worm is named Penghou, and it resides in the brain, making one foolish and depriving one of their wisdom. The middle corpse worm is named Pengzhi, and it resides in one's chest, making one agitated and erratic, thereby depriving one of their peace. The lower corpse worm is known as Pengjiao, and it resides in the stomach, making one revel excessively in gluttony and lust. By eradicating the three corpse worms, one can find the Great Dao and attain true enlightenment."
He paused here momentarily before continuing, "This is also known as a Taisui Crossbred Karmamudrā in Tantric Buddhism. It's a forbidden art that has already disappeared for over 1,000 years, and I was only able to find very sparse records of it after reading through the secret historical records of the Han, Tang, Song, and Yuan Dynasties."
Qin Ye set the male corpse aside, and the female corpse was revealed for all to see. Her eyes were tightly shut, and she was quite a beauty, but her skin was deathly pale, and her body was riddled with the same red threads. Her long hair spilled down to the bottom of the coffin, and it was as if she was only sleeping.
She was wearing a red wedding gown  that was unbuttoned down the middle, and it wasn't particularly lavish in design. The gown was draped over her body, and it was as if she had only fallen asleep on the night of her wedding, and that she could easily be awakened.
However, what was most eye-catching of all was her bulging, deathly pale stomach.
Her stomach was disproportionately large compared to the rest of her body, and it was virtually transparent. Beneath the blue and purple blood vessels, a cloud of black Yin energy could be clearly seen.
The Yin energy was in a constant cycle of separation and convergence, taking on countless peculiar forms in the process. At times, it would resemble a black dragon soaring above the clouds, then a galloping black horse, then a spirit snake flicking out its forked tongue... It had no substantial form, but everytime it separated, it would reveal an object in the center, one that resembled a zoysia-like living being!
It was like a heart that was beating incessantly.
This was the flesh zoysia, otherwise known as the Taisui fungus!
"My god... My god!" The two preachers were already at a complete loss for words at the sight of this incredible scene. This had already gone far beyond their understanding of all things evil and sinister, and even Qin Ye and Lee Jung-sook's breathing had become a little ragged.
This is a Taisui fungus... From the instant that the two of them caught sight of the sinister object, they were certain that it was a Taisui fungus. There was a special feeling deep in their soul that told them that this was most definitely a Taisui fungus, but at the same time, it was not a Taisui fungus of any type they had ever seen in the past!
It epitomized darkness, despair, and all things evil. It was an indescribably sinister object.
Lee Jung-sook pursed her lips tightly, and only after several seconds did she turn toward Phagpa. "I've heard of the Karmamudrā. They were offered up as items of worship to the high-ranking monks of the Tantric Buddhist temples. They're also known as... sex slaves. You mentioned crossbreeding just now, are you saying that this is a cross between a Taisui fungus and something else?"
"Your wisdom is unmatched, Benefactress," Phagpa replied as he joined his palms and extended a respectful bow. "Indeed, this is a cross between a Taisui fungus and humans, but not just any humans, these are two Three Seal Corpses that are the pinnacle of evil."
Qin Ye shook his head in disbelief with his mouth slightly agape, and only after several seconds did a wry smile appear on his face. "So you're saying someone used this Karmamudrā to contaminate the Taisui fungus? How is that possible? The Taisui fungus is a miraculous entity born from heaven and earth. How could a pair of humans possibly be enough to contaminate it?"
Phagpa shook his head as he replied in a respectful voice, "My Lord, human beings are the spirit of all things and were birthed by the fortune of heaven and earth. Each human body is its very own universe. Here we have a donor and a Karmamudrā engaged in the act of intercourse, thereby forming a loop of reincarnation that connotes the Great Dao of heaven and earth. After a span of over 1,000 years, even a rock would be reduced to water, let alone a Taisui fungus. However, the Taisui fungus is also a miraculous creation of heaven and earth, so it can only be contaminated but not destroyed. Its effect still remains in that consuming it will still grant one immortality, but..."
"But they'll become a mindless zombie, right?" Qin Ye concluded with a grim expression.
"Did you and the other monks do this during your visit?"
"No, it was already like this by the time I came here," Phagpa sighed. "Otherwise, why would I have left this here rather than take it back to the khagan-emperor? Once a Taisui fungus is contaminated, it becomes a curse rather than a blessing, and recklessly taking it away could result in a mutation in the zombified residents of the earthen building. Thus, we had no choice but to leave it here, and as a safety precaution, we also planted those equilibrium talismans on the third floor."
It's all clear now... Qin Ye paced back and forth with a contemplative look in his eyes and his hands clasped behind his back. The first person to have ever eaten this Taisui fungus didn't die, nor did he become a monster. However, everyone else who ate this Taisui fungus after him had eaten the contaminated version!
However, how could a villager have possibly thought of such a heinous procedure?
This was someone who had unintentionally stumbled upon and eaten the Taisui fungus during times of flood and famine; how could they have possibly known about this ungodly procedure? Even Phagpa had to read through the secret records left behind by the Divine Protectors of the country across four dynasties to find out about this procedure. There was no way that a normal villager of that era could have possibly known about this!
It seemed that solving one mystery had only led to the emergence of another, but no one was disheartened by this.
"There's only one thing left to do..." Qin Ye raised his head to look up at the gloomy sky above the Huang Clan's earthen building. It was still daytime, but the sky had become extremely dim, and dark clouds were surging incessantly up above. Arcs of white lightning were flashing violently behind the dark clouds, and their radiance occasionally filtered through the dense canopy of the locust tree, causing the entire earthen building to haphazardly alternate between light and darkness.
It was as if the building was situated in the rift between Yin and Yang.
Regardless of how many more questions they had, everything would be answered once they found that person, and the key to finding that person lied on the fourth floor.
Qin Ye turned toward the pair of preachers with a smile and asked, "Would you mind carrying this coffin up to the fourth floor for me?"
Othilie faltered slightly upon hearing this before casting a horrified gaze toward the pair of corpses inside the coffin, then frantically shook his head in refusal.
"I think there's been a misunderstanding." Qin Ye snapped his fingers, and Phagpa's Yin energy surged forth like a tsunami, filling the entire bottom of the pit.
"This is an order, not a request. There are currently already two known Abyssal Prefects, or Marquess-level vengeful spirits to you two, here in this building. One has already appeared, while the other is blocking the way to the fourth floor. If we want to get up there, then there's only one way."
Rumble!! A bolt of lightning illuminated the entire sky, casting its radiance upon the deathly pale faces of the two preachers. Qin Ye's hands had already grabbed onto the collars of their cloaks, and he continued, "We have to force our way through. However, we're all Abyssal Prefects, so killing them would be exceedingly difficult. Hence, we have to lure them here and make this our battleground, understood? What do you think would be the best bait to use?"
In the minds of the two preachers, Qin Ye was nothing more than an innocuous young man, but for some reason, cold sweat was pouring down their backs in his presence, and Othilie reflexively replied, "These two corpses?"
"You're a smart man." Qin Ye released his collar before patting him on the shoulder with a smile. "This is the only reason you're here. Otherwise, do you think you would've been entitled to see a secret like this? Brace yourselves and do your best to survive; those two evil ghosts are not going to be easy to deal with..."
 [In traditional Chinese weddings, red is the overwhelmingly dominant color scheme for everything, including the wedding attire worn by the bride and groom.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter