“Corpsewater!” Lu Yun shivered reflexively. Thank goodness he hadn’t tried to cross the pond on impulse. He was under the impression that corpsewater tended to be yellowish, muddy, and generally rancid smelling. The pool before him, on the other hand, was perfectly clear, like ordinary water.
Without Yueshen’s warning, he wouldn’t have been able to tell.
When a normal person ran afoul of corpsewater, the best they could hope for was zombification.
“How are we supposed to get across it?” Lu Yun’s expression was rather dark. This water probably originated from the humongous corpse they were in.
“My nine coffins… they’ll float on corpsewater,” Yueshen replied hesitantly, after some deliberation. “Corpsewater has no density, so not even a feather will float upon it. But my coffins are rather special… I think they should probably work.”
“Well, it’s worth a try.” Lu Yun wasn’t exactly filled with confidence.
Corpsewater was a special substance that zombies and rotting corpses exuded. It was incredibly toxic, and once pooled, nothing could touch it without being consumed. Only a few specific monstrous species could survive in it, like corpsefish, undead hags, and corpse flies and the like.
“If they sink, you’ll need to go down and salvage them,” he added.
Yueshen’s nine coffins had originally formed a Ninefilia Specter Fostering layout, the basis of her existence. Now that they’d entered, and the art assimilated by the Gates of the Abyss, she would exist even if they were scattered, as long as the coffins remained intact.
“Alright,” Yueshen agreed readily.
Lu Yun conjured a pitch-black coffin with a wave of his hand. It landed on the surface of the corpsewater pool, spinning around once before achieving solid buoyancy.
“It works!” His eyes lit up.
“I knew it. I told you Yueshen would be able to do it,” Miao exclaimed proudly upon his return from bespelling Qing Hongchen.
“Why did you tell me to use the Portrait of Emptiness then? You should’ve told me about the coffins in the first place,” Lu Yun huffed.
The invisible spirit could only smile sheepishly.
“Stay still on my back and don’t move,” the young man instructed Qing Han, who nodded slightly. The latter couldn’t move even if he wanted to.
Possessing Li Youcai’s body once more, Yueshen leapt onto the coffin and sprawled atop it. Lu Yun jumped next, landing squarely on the fatty’s back.
The coffin’s lid was closed, and there wasn’t much room upon its surface. Li Youcai’s large body occupied most of the space, which forced Lu Yun to stand on his back.
Ditching her rotund host, Yueshen reemerged and began pulling the coffin along. They drifted slowly through the pond like a small boat.
A number of bloody or pallid eyes stared at the coffin from beneath the surface, but the immortal ghost’s presence daunted the corpsefish, preventing them from appearing. A number of undead hags also tailed them. They weren’t scared of Yueshen, like the fish, but they were oddly wary of her coffin.
“There’s someone on the other side. Who is it? Could it be Formation Thirteenth?” Qing Han whispered suddenly from Lu Yun’s back.
“That’s not a person. Close your eyes and don’t look at it.” Lu Yun put his fingers over the envoy’s eyes.
“Not a person? Then what is it?” Taken aback, Qing Han obediently shuttered his eyelids.
“An immortal ghost… a vengeful one.” Lu Yun’s eyes were fixated upon the white shadow on the other shore.
It wore robes white enough to instill ghastly despair. Long, sable strands of hair trailed to its feet. It stood silently at the water’s edge, its back apparently turned to Lu Yun and company. Nevertheless, the young man felt two palpable daggers of venom drilling into his body.
“Such intense resentment! This ghost is different from Yueshen, who fears me because she’s hung onto her sentience and rationality. This ghost is filled with nothing but malice. It’s not afraid of me, and the current me can’t drive it off!”
He knew what he was capable of. He was a Yama King in the flesh, but a very weak one. Only immortal ghosts who still possessed awareness feared him, not those blinded by hatred. The aura of destructive authority he emanated wasn’t enough to daunt them.
It made sense, in a way. Madmen wouldn’t kneel to an emperor the way that ordinary men would. At a high enough cultivation level, Lu Yun would be able to erase the ghost’s resentful thoughts with a single gesture, but he was still very far away from that point.
The instant the coffin touched the shore, he leapt onto dry land with Qing Han in tow, putting as much space as possible between the ghost and himself. Yueshen, now back in Li Youcai’s body, followed closely behind.
“Atone... for... my... people!” A hoarse growl screeched from the ghost’s maw.
A sinister breeze carried it aloft and it lunged aggressively at Lu Yun, its black hair parted to reveal an ashen face and crimson eyes. There was only raw enmity behind them, nothing else.
“Such incredible resentment! Just how did this ghost die?!” Lu Yun was incredulous. The rancor he felt was hair-raising in its severity. A normal ghost that had loose ends to resolve wouldn’t feel so much emotion!
The emotions ran so high, they shot up to the heavens! That was the only way Lu Yun could describe it.
Abandoning Li Youcai’s body, Yueshen floated protectively at her master’s side. “Leave us!” she demanded, her own aura becoming ominous once more as she spoke. The forbidding atmosphere descended into the uncanny as the shore became a spectral haunt. The two ghosts fought and tore at each other crazily.
“What kind of ghost is that, really!” Lu Yun was rather frightened.
Yueshen was a ghost born of the Ninefilia Spectral Fostering. One of the most sinister and powerful ghosts in the world, she was capable of overwhelming the vast majority of her lesser brethren.
Yet that vengeful ghost was dueling her to a standstill.
“She…” Miao’s voice sounded softly. “She’s Truewater’s city lord. An entire city of immortals was sacrificed, including herself, her friends, her family, her people… why shouldn’t she be filled with spite?”
“She’s… the late Truewater city lord?” Lu Yun’s eyes opened wide. “No wonder she said ‘atone for my people’ earlier. But why is her ghost here? Is she the main burial good? Does that… annex room… belong to her?” He became rather uncertain.
There was a closed stone door only a short distance away, an annex room doubtlessly behind it. He couldn’t reach it right now, though. Yueshen and the vengeful ghost’s battle prevented him from going anywhere.
“Rumor has it that the Truewater city lord was an exceptionally beautiful fairy, five thousand years ago. She once set up a formation that slew thirty-six monster kings of the North Sea, which spread her fame far and wide. Alas, she wasn’t able to escape the descent of Mount Myriad Summit either.” Lu Yun’s wonderings prompted a melancholic explanation from Qing Han. “So she’s the Truewater city lord. Her grudge too strong to allow her to simply pass on after death, she lingers yet, demanding justice for her people.”
“She set up a formation? Could she have been a formation master? If the Formation Orb is truly here… could that have been her treasure?” Lu Yun blinked.
“Perhaps.” Qing Han shook his head. “A connate treasure like the Formation Orb is desirable to even dao immortals. Who would announce their ownership of it to the world?”
He glanced down at the Portrait of Emptiness. This, too, was one of the legendary treasures owned by the lord of Truewater. It was why he’d come here in the first place.
“Take me to your corpse,” Lu Yun suddenly commanded Miao.
“Eh?” Miao blinked, looking at the youth with some confusion.
“I said, take me to your corpse,” repeated Lu Yun.
“No, it’s too dangerous there. You’ll die for sure!” The spirit shook his head.
“Then I’ll commit suicide right here.” Lu Yun placed Violetgrave upon his own neck. “I’d like to see whether that dragon will awaken and eat you after I die.”
Miao was gobsmacked, entirely unsure of how to respond to the young man’s threat.
“Alright, fine. You can come with me, but you have to leave the ugly eyesore here.” He yielded in the end.
“He has to come with us. I’m not leaving him here to die.” Lu Yun shook his head again.