“There’s a Fusang Purewood here?! No way!” Lu Yun’s eyes lit up with excitement and he almost jumped for joy.
“Eh? Why are you….” Qing Han was thoroughly confused by his friend’s reaction. What was so exciting about a tree?
“The Fusang Purewood is a divine wood that’s also of the fire attribute, right?” Lu Yun found the description of the tree in Aoxue’s memories. Though the dragon princess hadn’t personally set eyes on a specimen, the North Sea Dragon Palace’s libraries had contained records of it.
The tree in question was one of the most potent spirit trees anywhere in the world and had been sought after by countless ancient immortals. Any formation that used it in its nexus was rumored to be able to slay even peerless immortals.
In the ancient legends, the very sun and stars were born beneath the Fusang Purewood. It was equal parts fire and wood.
“Yeah, I guess,” Qing Han replied, still rather muddled.
“Perfect!” Lu Yun grinned with glee. “I wanted to head down south to Crimson Province to look for Fireplume Wood, so this being here saves me some time. In fact, this is the most optimal choice!”
“What do you want to use it for? To refine a treasure?” Qing Han blinked.
“No, I want to refine some pills.” Lu Yun looked into his friend’s eyes. “Pills made from the tree may be able to cure your poison.”
His last statement stunned the imperial envoy; Qing Han had absolutely no idea what to say.
“We need a bit more time to figure things out, though. Yuying and the others have only deduced that we need a fire-and-wood divine wood for the antidote and to extend your lifespan. I’d imagine a number of other things are necessary as well to cure the rimesnake poison in you,” Lu Yun mused, but then brightened. “Still, the Fusang Purewood is the main ingredient. I’m sure the others will be found in due time!”
“Are you sure? What about—" Qing Han was interrupted with a hand wave and a confident smile.
“It’s just a formation,” Lu Yun exclaimed. “There’s no formation in the world I can’t break!”
The formation in front of them both beguiled and killed; its phantasms hid a bevy of lethal pitfalls under any painted scene.
“To seek a dragon of mountains coiled,
Those deathly cliffs with mysteries roiled.
I come to seek treasures unspoiled,
Let all danger be thusly foiled,” Lu Yun chanted.
As soon as he spoke those words, a hazy light appeared all around his body. The image of a spinning taiji appeared overhead, ringed by the eight trigrams.
The Dragonsearch Invocation, his sect’s ace in the hole!
His sect spanned several thousand years of Chinese history. There were other tomb-raiding sects, but his was the strongest and most competent. Although one of their forebears had garnered the enmity of a bloodcorpse and caused the sect’s decline, it had nevertheless remained superior during Lu Yun’s life on earth.
The sect owed its success fundamentally to this invocation, which performed superbly when it came to searching for, navigating through, and judging feng shui layouts.
Tomb raiders were limited by their knowledge. When they came upon a layout they didn’t recognize, there wasn’t much they could do about it. His sect, on the other hand, could use the Dragonsearch Invocation to figure out the weaknesses in layouts they were utterly ignorant about, then leverage the weak spots to unravel the arrangement.
Generally speaking, the invocation required a luopan to use. Here, Lu Yun made up for the missing tool by using his unique qi to mimic one.
As soon as he finished chanting, Lu Yun noticed his qi circulating in a distinctive way. A shadow of the compass he’d lost had manifested above his head.
Woah, it really works!
His heart pounded with elation and eagerness. He’d just wanted to experiment whether his qi would be able to form a feng shui compass under the influence of the Dragonsearch Invocation. His attempt had succeeded!
The young man forced himself to calm down as his body trembled with power. He continued murmuring under his breath, “All feng shui layouts and formations beneath the sun are tied to one potential, two principles, three essentials, four divisions, five elements, six directions, seven stars, eight trigrams, nine sectors, and ten orientations!”
The taiji overhead began accelerating, its shape embodying the philosophy of the dao. All of existence came from one singular truth. In the same way, feng shui layouts multiplied from one to many.
Suddenly, the taiji and trigrams brought forth the five elements, each arrayed according to its classical position. Eastern wood, western metal, southern fire, and northern water; these four surrounded the heart’s vigorous earth.
The elements abruptly crumbled and gave way to yin and yang, forming the two principles.
“So it’s a Duality of Life and Death! A formation based on the yin-yang relationship.
“Wood evokes life, and fire evokes death. The two opposing principles are applied to create yin and yang. Death from yin’s essence, life from yang. The extremity of yin is yang, and the utmost of yang is yin.”
The invocation continued acting upon his body, swelling the black qi within him like a surging river and spurring the taiji over his head ever onward.
Eight trigrams, yin and yang, and five elements were all continuously scattered and reassembled into possibility after possibility.
Qing Han felt his head spin. He hastily turned, shuffling the chaotic shapes out of sight.
“Aha! Yin and yang are feeding into each other here, converting between themselves in a cycle of difficulty that later tapers off. No, no, wait… there’s more!” Lu Yun muttered to himself, making a hand seal as he went on.
The humming intensified as the taiji over his head transformed yet again, manifesting the eight trigrams again.
“Yin and yang to heaven and earth,
Land and water’s spirited birth.
Water and land hearken crag and firth,
Hiding mystery in all their girth.
Above, the stony mountains loom,
Below, encircling rivers balm.
Mount and river ‘round the tomb,
Winding shape of dragon’s palm—“
Suddenly, Lu Yun spat out a large mouthful of blood. The increasingly panoramic images over his head winked out of existence. The young man took three steps back in rapid succession, his face pale.
Qing Han ran forward in alarm to lend an arm to his friend. “Are you alright?” Pulling out a pill bottle, he frantically stuffed a large assortment of pills into Lu Yun’s mouth.
“Ugh…” Lu Yun coughed a little, nearly choking on the medicine’s sheer volume of gentle, yet extraordinarily nutritious effects. “I’m fine now… just pushed a bit too hard.”
The pills he swallowed warmed his body with their energy as their potent effects restored nearly all of his spent qi and stamina.
This is the first time I’ve used the Dragonsearch Invocation this way. I didn’t expect to decipher the entire tomb’s layout in one go! He was secretly a little pleased.
This Skandha Extinction Tomb follows a layout of circulating yin and yang. It’s one where adversity and hardship comes first, then they’re later joined by peace and prosperity. The tomb’s hidden between the mountain and—or rather, the trigrams of mountain and lake. The layout we’re in now is a layout of the mountain.
The mountain part of the mountain-lake layout doesn’t mean one singular mountain peak. Everything in this ecosystem is part of it: the trees, streams, wildlife, and even... that sun over there. Lu Yun raised his head up to the sky.
“The person who set this up is a true master. He used wood and fire as the nexus for a mountain layout. Without me here, even Feinie would’ve been tricked. If we’d tried to break through by attempting to counteract wood and fire, we’d be swallowed up by this mountain in an instant.”