The island itself formed the tomb for the living. It’d floated up from the abyss, attracted by the pure yang energy between heaven and earth. Now that the latter had started dissipating, the island began sinking back to the depths it normally called home.
Sensing the new development, Lu Yun shouted, “We need to go!” Now wasn’t the time to examine the new death art he’d obtained. Turning on his heels, he sprinted toward the eight trigrams formation.
The three immortals inside it paled in horror.
“It’s too late,” Mo Yi bemoaned, her face wan as despair tinted her voice. “A barrier has formed around the island and cut us off from the outside world! We’re trapped now.”
“The Path of Ingress!” Lu Yun shouted urgently. “Feinie, collect the Path of Ingress!”
His “augmenting formation” was currently suppressing the other end of the path, but there was a transportation formation hidden within as well. Feinie immediately reacted after his reminder. She deployed the Formation Orb in her hands and hastily activated the transportation formation. The Path of Ingress, bane of formations, would be invaluable as their hope of escaping the depths.
In an explosion of white, glaring light, the path, as well as the formation, vanished without a trace.
The entire island sank below the water’s surface. But rather than being submerged in water as common sense would dictate, it immediately arrived inside an unmeasurably deep chasm.
“Look over there!” Qing Han exclaimed.
Looking in the direction Qing Han was pointing, Lu Yun and Mo Yi saw a colossal skull embedded onto the wall of the chasm, a dragon coiled on one side and a tiger crouching on the other.
It was the corpse coffin made from Yueshen. But, destroyed alongside the burial mound, it now lay in tatters.
“It hasn’t even been a day since we left and here we are, back again,” a dejected Lu Yun lamented.
“Is this where you explored before?” Mo Yi asked as she observed the giant head, appalled .
Lu Yun and Qin Han exchanged a glance, then nodded together.
“And now, we’re back,” Qing Han murmured.
The island’s crimson light had dissipated, but the life-devouring force lived on, still vying for supremacy against Lu Yun’s formations. As the island continued its steady descent, more and more grotesque monsters appeared in their field of view, appearing one after another on the cliff faces
“What on earth are those?” Qing Han couldn’t help but shudder.
The creatures rested on the cliff, unmoving, coming in all sorts of shapes and forms. Most were humanoid, but much bigger than ordinary humans. Each of them was at least thirty meters tall, and some of them even exceeded three hundred meters in height.
“Desiccated corpses, one and all,” Lu Yun gravely identified. “Some sort of monsters seem to have climbed up from the bottom, only to have their life essence sucked away midway.”
Remains densely littered the cliff, their numbers too many to count.
“Did the island devour their life essence?” Mo Yi wondered, somewhat incredulous.
Lu Yun shook his head gently. These deaths far predated the existence of the tomb for the living.
Thanks to her knowledge, Mo Yi could barely identify a few creatures. All of them belonged to long-extinct species. Though they’d survived the great war of immortals a hundred thousand years ago, they’d vanished from the world since then. Only the ancient records of the great factions still chronicled their existences.
Who would’ve thought that she’d see so many of them gathered in one place!
“The Gandharva Divines!” Mo Yi suddenly pointed at a humanoid creature more than sixty yards meters, its body a bright vermillion hue.
“Blessed with potent talents, the divine race was the first to rise and enslave other races after the great war. They dominated the immortal world, and the Gandharvas were their royalty!
“But for unexplained reasons, the divine race vanished dozens of millennia ago, including the Ghandarvas. It was their disappearance that had allowed the other races the breathing space to develop.
“What’s this corpse doing here? Was this a place of interest in the past? Perhaps they once explored this site?” Incomprehension filled Mo Yi’s eyes. Thanks to her extraordinary background, she possessed even greater knowledge than a noble scion like Qing Han.
“This is the Gandharva divine emperor’s ninety-ninth crown prince, also known as the greatest genius of the tribe. He died here eight thousand years ago,” Lu Yun suddenly said with a frown. Why had this particular individual been alive long after its race’s supposed disappearance?
“Eight thousand years ago?! Impossible!” Mo Yi exclaimed reflexively. “How do you know this?”
Lu Yun declined to comment. The dead were open books for his Spectral Eye, in which he could read someone’s entire history by merely seeing a fraction of their remains. But that was a secret he would never divulge.
Realizing the rudeness of her question, Mo Yi changed the subject after a slight pause.
“Why are there so many ancient species gathered here? Judging by their final postures, they seemed to have been fleeing for their lives. What on earth could be residing at the bottom?” she whispered.
Somewhere else on the island, the bloodcorpses and the zombie king still faced each other, but the fighting had come to an end.
The zombie girl cut a sorry figure, her clothes and crimson hair in disarray. But the bloodcorpses weren’t in much better shape. Each of them sported a missing arm or leg. That she’d confronted all nine of them by herself had spoken volumes about her strength.
The island violently shook suddenly, as though it’d hit something, then resumed its steady descent.
“Is that... the Dusk River above us?” Qing Han stared up at the waves cutting across the void above them; the black waters were strikingly familiar. They were identical, in fact, to those of the Dusk River.
“Wh-what’s going on here?” he sputtered, dumbfounded. The river was above their heads? Then what about the abyss they’d just journeyed through?
“The world is twisted here,” Mo Yi said. “A strange power is interfering with the laws of space. We’re now on the Dusk River’s riverbed, but at the bottom of the chasm at the same time. The water seems so very close to us, but it’s impossible to reach with our strength. In fact, it might even be beyond a dao immortal’s powers.”
Lu Yun nodded in agreement. At the bottom of the rift, bones and ruins filled their vision as far as the eye could see, as if it were the site of an ancient battlefield.
Silent thus far, Feinie suddenly exclaimed in spite of herself, “Dusk... River... Palace?”
“What?” Following her gaze, the rest hastily looked back and saw an enormous ramshackle palace quietly looming over the bottom. A plaque hung right at its center, three words carved on it in giant letters: Dusk River Palace.
“So the river god truly exists,” the stupefied Qing Han mouthed.
“Perhaps,” Lu Yun replied nonchalantly. When Ge Long had first mentioned a water god, he’d immediately smelled deception at play, a hypothesis that was substantiated after having learned inside the burial mound that the so-called Dusk River Sacrament was a means to revive the dragon in the bronze outer-coffin. Yet here was an honest to goodness palace at the ‘bottom of the river’, presumably belonging to said god!
“No, not perhaps! The river god really exists!” Qing Han shook his head, then pointed at the endless darkness behind the palace. “Right over there.”