The Skandha Extinction Tomb was more sinister than any tombs Lu Yun had encountered thus far in his career. An endless bitter chill, darkness, and despair weighed down on them, making it difficult to breathe. Qing Han summoned a faint fire on his fingertip to illuminate the vicinity.
“This isn’t the main tomb,” Lu Yun said as he considered their surroundings through the dim light. “A Skandha Extinction Tomb is composed of a central main tomb, and adjacent tombs to the north, south, east, and west. This is the North Extinction Tomb, where the youngest of the five generations was buried. The main tomb should be right under the willow tree.”
Qing Han nodded.
“Sir, did you purposefully let the juba bring us here?” Aoxue asked suddenly.
“You also pretended not to know it, didn’t you?” Lu Yun responded. They exchanged a conspiratory smile.
Qing Han fidgeted uneasily. He knew where Lu Yun had found the dragon princess. Miao had once mentioned that a dragon was buried in the bronze outer-coffin of the layout of resurrection. That must be this princess of the North Sea water spirits. Was it Lu Yun who resurrected her, or the layout of resurrection?
The Qing scion considerately refrained from asking his friend.
“The jubas are the traitors of the water spirits. They’re the ones who sold intelligence about the weak spots of the dragon palace.” Aoxue’s gaze turned frosty. “That juba may be loyal to the master of the Skandha Range, but never to me. It wishes for my death with every fiber of its being.”
At that time, the palace had been close to collapsing, but there was still a sliver of hope. The draconic youth could’ve been sent to the Untroubled Sea, thereby ensuring the survival of the dragon lineage.
However, the jubas sold out their lieges for their own gain and survival. In the end, monster spirits had broken into the dragon palace and slaughtered all of the dragon clan.
The brutal monster spirits didn’t care about the jubas’ gesture of goodwill. They tore through the traitors as an afterthought, leaving only a few survivors who ended up escaping with Aoxue. Knowing that the jubas had betrayed the dragons, she abandoned them.
The juba in the Skandha Range was one of them.
Realization struck Qing Han, and he asked without skipping a beat, “Do you mean that the giant turtle led us here on purpose?”
There were five connected tombs here. The juba couldn’t see the tombs, but it knew where the dangers in the mountain range were. Tombs for immortals tended to reside in extremely dangerous places, and the North Extinction Tomb was located in the most dangerous of them all.
The juba didn’t dare kill Aoxue itself. Its only option was to lead Aoxue and her companions to danger and wait for the tomb to kill them.
“That’s right.” Lu Yun nodded. “The northern tomb is the most dangerous adjacent tomb. The power of the Big Dipper rules supreme here, and it represents death. The possibility of living beings surviving a jaunt here is slim.
“Go back, Aoxue. Qing Han, follow me closely and don’t make a single wrong step.”
Aoxue paused, not understanding why Lu Yun trusted Qing Han so much. With a final bow, she slowly vanished from view.
Qing Han pretended not to have noticed, but he knew if danger struck, even Yuying, Feinie, and the river god could appear out of nowhere, much less Aoxue. He kept close to Lu Yun as they made their way forward.
The North Desolate Tomb had no tunnel or annex room, just a singular main chamber. However, it was ridiculously large. Their entry spot was more than five kilometers away from the center.
“Aren’t you worried that I’ll leak your secret?” Qing Han suddenly asked.
The Dusk governor paused. “What secret?”
“I checked the records when I returned to my clan.” Qing Han bit his lip and continued after great hesitation, “The city lord who died under Myriad Formation Summit five thousand years ago was called Fei Nie.”
“Tsk.” Lu Yun shrugged and didn’t answer.
“You trust me too much.” Qing Han made a face.
As an experienced tomb raider, tomb raiding wasn’t Lu Yun’s only forte. He’d met a great number of people in his line of work, and could easily tell a person’s character. Otherwise, he would’ve long been exploited to the death by blackhearted antique dealers.
Qing Han had risked his life many times to save Lu Yun. There was no reason for him not to trust the young man.
“If you realize one day that I’ve lied to you, would you be angry at me?” Qing Han asked.
“What are you hiding from me?” Lu Yun came to a stop and turned around, fixing a solemn look on his friend. “You must be hiding something with a question like that!”
“I....” The disguised girl stared blankly back, at a loss of words.
“You haven’t fully recovered, have you? How long do you have?” Lu Yun’s eyes abruptly shone with a black light. There was a thick concentration of death in Qing Han’s body, circulating and eating away at his vitality. If there wasn’t a force countering the death energy, the Qing scion would be long dead already.
This was the first time Lu Yun had used the Spectral Eye on his friend.
Qing Han lowered his head. “I don’t know…. My cousin said that I had at most two more years to live, and three to five if I had the Portrait of Emptiness.”
“Don’t you already have the Portrait of Emptiness?” Lu Yun frowned, but suddenly recalled something. “Did you use a forbidden art to summon Qing Yu back then? You sacrificed your lifespan, didn’t you?”
When Qing Yu had appeared in the burial mound and swept the titanic undead hag away, Qing Han had been on the brink of death.
Under Miao’s guidance, Lu Yun had saved him by combining the three paintings. However, the power of the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals wasn’t a real source of life. The treasure might have prolonged his life, but Qing Han was still meant to be dead.
If I take full control over the Tome of Life and Death and write his name down, Lu Yun calculated quietly, I can grant him immortality...
Qing Han quietly nodded.
“Your cousin told you how you can live longer, didn’t he?” Lu Yun asked, considering his friend’s face.
“I’d rather die than use that method.” Qing Han broke into an unconcerned smile. “We all have our destinies. Death is inevitable for everyone, the only difference is when.”
Lu Yun stared at him wordlessly.
“Fine...” The Qing scion sighed with resignation. “An origin sphere refined from the blood of a hundred million beings can grant me ten more years, but I’d rather die than sacrifice that many lives just to live a little longer.” He was quite serious. “My cousin was going to slaughter a monster spirit village to prolong my life, but if he dares do that, I’ll suicide right in front of him.”