Lu Yun didn’t so much enter as stumble into the burial chamber. He scrambled to his feet and took a look around.
This was more of a hall than a room. It spanned a few meters in diameter, the interior extravagantly adorned. An enormous pearl glowed in each of the four corners, illuminating the hall. The corners of his eyes twitched. “Of course there’s someone else here!”
A giant sarcophagus hovered silently in the center of the hall. Beneath it, eight eerie-looking figures clad in black stood in a strange formation. Their hands twisted and gestured in front of their chests, forming crimson seals that melded into the coffin.
Noting the new arrival, nefarious gazes turned on Lu Yun, sending his heart pounding.
“Wanfeng!” He turned around reflexively to find no one behind him. His maid hadn’t followed him through. The door he’d come through was nowhere to be seen, there was only an unmarked wall. Lu Yun’s stomach dropped.
“Look, a poor bug has chanced upon us.” A heavy voice boomed at Lu Yun’s ears, grating and lifeless. Quickly after, a tremendous force dragged him upwards and threw him at one of their feet. “A mortal? Not a cultivator?”
“How is it possible that a mortal killed my puppet?” asked another man, his voice equally lifeless but tinged with surprise.
Lu Yun looked up to find a pair of crimson, emotionless eyes assessing him. The gaze landed on him like a physical weight, eliciting goosebumps all over his body.
They’ve been here for at least a few centuries! Forcefully pushing his fears aside, Lu Yun’s mind flipped rapidly through possible plans.
“He isn’t the only trespasser. Didn’t this bug call out a name?”
“Tsk, tsk. It’s good that he’s a mortal. Their flesh and blood are untouched by heaven and earth, making them the perfect sacrifices.”
“Cut the bullshit and hurry up. That cultivator is no weakling if she can bring along a mortal with no cultivation. Sacrifice this man and acquire us the Panorama.”
A hand from the pitch-black shadows lifted Lu Yun upwards.
That can’t be a man’s hand, can it?? Lu Yun shuddered at the sight. The fingers were thick and strong like a beast’s claw, and it appeared to be covered in scales. What the hell do they want? Are they going to use me as a sacrifice?!
His heart sank. This was really it this time, then. He was a puny ant before these eight bizarre men, and there was nothing he could do.
“Soul sacrifice is forbidden in the world of immortals, but no one will be the wiser when we’re in this ancient tomb untouched by sunlight,” cackled one of the men. He brushed his finger lightly across Lu Yun’s wrist.
Two gouts of crimson blood splashed into the air. Together, the eight figures chanted a solemn tongue-twisting litany.
Didn’t know my blood could shoot that far. Lu Yun felt a sudden weakness overtake his body and his eyelids grew heavy.
Suddenly, a red flame ignited on him. His body slowly rose and landed on the hovering sarcophagus. At this moment, the coffin was an altar, and Lu Yun the sacrifice.
His blood dyed the sarcophagus red. Ripple upon bloody ripple of blood undulated over the surface. Overcome with excitement, the eight figures continued melding crimson hand seals into the container.
Lu Yun’s body was already burning. The red flames draped the entire hall in a crimson glow.
A tremendous clatter later, the stubbornly-shut lid suddenly shifted open
“We did it! We did it!” One of the eight hollered excitedly. They’d been in this tomb for centuries, and their diligence had finally paid off! The thought of impending success almost brought them to tears.
“We should’ve brought a few mortals to sacrifice when we came in seven centuries ago. That made the process entirely too easy,” lamented one of them quietly.
“Wait!” called out another man in black. “Where did his body go?”
Here was another place that never saw the light of day. Lu Yun stared at the bronze tome before him, dumbfounded. “Isn’t this the bronze tome from the Han Dynasty tomb? Am I back there?”
He looked around blankly. There was no other source of light but the faint glow coming from the ancient tome.
“The Tome of Life and Death,” he unconsciously voiced the words on the bronze book.
“Servant Yuying greets the master.” A cool voice sounded by Lu Yun’s ears.
He turned and froze. A naked woman was kneeling before him, her hips high in the air.
“What, what did you say?” Lu Yun did a double take. “You’re Yuying?!”
“Servant Yuying greets the master.” The naked woman looked up and repeated herself.
This was too much to take in. The naked beauty before him was the subject of the painting!
Yuying, who Wanfeng had called the Pill Fairy.
Yuying, who had died in her heavenly tribulation a thousand years ago.
Lu Yun backed away without thinking. She was dead! Yet here she was, alive!
Before he could recover from his shock, the tome burst into black flames and slowly opened. Two names were written onto the first page: Ge Long. Yuying.
“What’s going on here?” Lu Yun felt that his available brainpower was grossly inadequate. The two whose names were written in the book had died, but had now come back to life? He himself had died in the Han Dynasty tomb, but reincarnated into the world of immortals.
“Does all this have something to do with this book?”
Enveloped by black flames, the tome slammed into Lu Yun’s body. Before he could react, a wealth of information crashed into his mind.
“Reincarnations of all heavens fall within my grasp. Life and death of all realms are at my command!” His mouth uttered the words of its own accord.
A shudder ran down Yuying’s body when she heard the proclamation, and she lowered her just-lifted head.
Two rays of profound darkness shot out from Lu Yun’s eyes. “The Method of Life and Death!” His eyes lit up as a cultivation method surfaced in his mind. This was the way of cultivation!
Lu Yun had never cultivated before, so he didn’t know how. However, his body reflexively reacted and began the process when the method appeared. The method circulated slowly. Inky currents formed in his body and traveled through his needle-thin meridians. This was qi application, the first level of the qi realm!
This was the moment when he officially became a cultivator.
Lu Yun closed his eyes. He could see a sphere of empty space in his dantian, at the center of which was the Tome of Life and Death, enveloped by black flames. Next to the tome were nine dragons overlooking a giant coffin.
“It looks like this book is the reason why the physical manifestation of the Enneawyrm Coffinbearers turned into my personal combat art,” Lu Yun murmured. “It brought me from the tomb on Earth to the world of immortals as well.”
When he next reopened his eyes, two strands of black fire flickered through them. He turned to Yuying and had the benefit of her information immediately coming to the forefront.
“Yuying, eighth governor of Dusk Province, Nephrite Major. Refiner of immortal pills despite not being an immortal herself. Due to persecution from others, she died in the midst of her heavenly tribulation, her soul fragmented and scattered. Reborn as an immortal of the true immortal realm, she is the first Envoy of Samsara.”
Everything about her easily came to Lu Yun: her life experience, cultivation methods, combat arts, and other information. There was nothing about her that Lu Yun didn’t know.
Yuying knelt on the floor with her head lowered, humility coloring her originally cold gaze.
“You may rise,” offered Lu Yun.
“Understood.” The sight of her rising almost caused a spontaneous nosebleed. Or more accurately, nose spray.
“Will, will you put some clothes on first?” he stammered, his control slipping.
“In response to master, failure to overcome my tribulation left my clothes in ashes. Please forgive my appearance.” As she spoke, she slowly twirled, showing off her tantalizing figure in all its glory. A dazzling flash of light then clothed her in a snow-white dress. She now looked identical to the stunning fairy in the painting.
“She was seducing me!” Lu Yun rubbed his nose. Thank f*ck he hadn’t embarrassed himself.
“No wonder Ge Long and Wanfeng didn’t realize that I’m not the original Lu Yun. The Tome of Life and Death is part of the wheel of reincarnation. Once it brought me here, I essentially traveled through the wheel and actually reincarnated into the young governor,” he mused.
Comprehension finally came to him—the tome was the embodiment of reincarnation itself! For reasons unbeknownst to him, it had become part of him.
“But what does that make me? One of the Yama Kings who walks the world of the living? My level seems to be much higher than a Yama King, though.” 
Yuying’s gaze turned inscrutable.
“Why is it empty?! Where’s the Panorama?!” The eight men were frantically bawling. The disappearance of Lu Yun’s body was strange, but ultimately unimportant. They only cared about what lay hidden in the coffin: Pill Fairy Yuying’s personal treasure, the Panorama of Clarity!
However, neither her body, nor her treasure, were anywhere to be found within the open sarcophagus.
“Is it possible that Yuying wasn’t buried here? But why else would the pillfire of the Panorama burn under the sarcophagus, then?”
“Did Wayfarer lay down a trap for us?”
“Seven hundred years! We wasted seven hundred years!” The eight men threw their heads back and bemoaned their lives. They had been the best disciples in their sect. If they hadn’t wasted their time here, they would’ve long become immortals!
“You have some kind of nerve, Exalted Immortals Sect!” hectored a chilling voice as a beautiful lady in white emerged atop the sarcophagus. Her features were coolly stunning, her long locks and clothes as white as snow.
“Pill Fairy Yuying! How is this possible? You’re dead!” cried one of the men in black, terrified and confused.
“How dare you use my master as a sacrifice? Pay with your lives!” She pointed her finger and sent the verdant flame beneath the hovering sarcophagus billowing out explosively. The fire instantly turned the chamber into an ocean of flames.
1. The Chinese hell is divided into ten courts, each overseen by a Yama King.