Qing Han nodded, confused. He didn’t understand what Lu Yun was talking about, but it sounded reasonable nevertheless.
“Then... how do you think we should break the formation?” Whether it was made of fire and wood or… whatever, he had no good solution to offer.
“We can simply ask Xuanxi to flood it with the Dusk River if it’s just a formation of fire and wood,” a pensive Lu Yun responded. “But the killing formation is only a symptom, not the root cause of the issue. Even if we were to divert the river, the mountain configuration would just seal it away. The mountain and water will reassert themselves and condemn us to death.”
Qing Han gave up, these principles were too far beyond his grasp. The governor might as well have been giving a dissertation on the laws of the heavens. “So where’s the mountain?”
Inside this vast forest, there wasn’t even a hill to be seen.
“Mountains tower above water!” Lu Yun muttered. “The water configuration is at the Western Extinction Tomb. There must be a big pond over there, while we’re at higher altitude here. Ergo, the mountain configuration is right beneath our feet. Oftentimes, one can’t see the forest for the trees.”
Qing Han was thoroughly lost.
“Aiya, don’t make that face. Once I secure my governorship, I’ll teach you everything I know. We’ll raid every single tomb in the immortal world then, brother!” Lu Yun smiled at Qing Han’s expression.
“Really?” Qing Han’s eyes shone, but he still grumbled, “Who’s your brother? And aren’t you afraid I’ll divulge your secrets? You know, if the clan really came down on me, I won’t be able to withstand the pressure.”
Lu Yun’s skills were truly too outlandish. Excavating ancient tombs were always measured not by if, but rather how many immortal lives would be claimed. In fact, several dao immortals at least would be lost during a full exploration. Similarly, it should’ve been almost impossible to explore the burial mound in Myriad Formation Summit.
Yet Lu Yun had succeeded in doing so as just a mere qi condensation cultivator. He’d come back with not only the Portrait of Emptiness and the Profile of Harmony, but also the bronze outer-coffin that was at the heart of the tomb, while paying what seemed like a negligible price.
Such a fact would shock the entire immortal world, were it to become publicly known.
“It doesn’t matter; I’m the only one left of my sect in any case. If your clan were to acquire the ways of tomb raiding, that would just make it a branch of my sect. And if our teachings can be spread further to reach new heights....” Lu Yun smacked his lips. “Future generations throughout the whole world would remember my name.”
“You’d have to become powerful enough for that. No one will remember a puny golden core ant.” Qing Han rolled his eyes. “If you’re going to impart your knowledge to me, I’ll stay in Dusk Province and never go back. In fact, I’m also fond of showing off.”
Lu Yun couldn’t help but laugh at the young man’s expression, but why did he also feel a sudden urge to kiss his friend’s cheek? This was definitely an instinctive desire, rather than a conscious thought.
Oh my god, is he turning me gay? Lu Yun shuddered violently.
“What’s the matter with you?” Qing Han looked at him with innocent eyes.
“N-n-nothing!” Lu Yun straightened his expression. “If only that fatty Li Youcai were here, his Seal of Mountains and Rivers would come in handy against the mountain’s influence. In fact, we really need a few more helpers here.”
Qing Han thought briefly. “Mo Yi can probably break the Big Dipper Formation back in the northern tomb, while Li Youcai can solve the one here....”
“Precisely,” Lu Yun agreed. There was a limit to how much a single person could do; a team with a well-defined division of labor was crucial during tomb explorations. “But since we’re already inside, we can’t just leave empty-handed. Who knows what else the juba is up to?”
He pondered the issue seriously, then used the Dragonsearch Invocation once more to meticulously consider all possibilities before dispelling the compass made of qi. “Since we can’t brute force our way through the mountain configuration, we’ll have to take an indirect approach!”
A green flame appeared in his hand.
It belonged to Yuying, but she was his envoy. As such, her treasures were available for him to use. Only, his cultivation was still too weak, so unlike her, he couldn’t display the fire’s true might.
With a wave of his hand, he pointed the immortal fire at the dense forest. Though the trees were part of the mirage, there was a genuine, lifeless forest behind the illusion.
Huff huff huff!
The raging flames’ scorching heat instantly set the forest ablaze.
“Follow me.” Lu Yun subconsciously took Qing Han’s hand, but suddenly paused and transferred the young man’s hand to his shoulder.
Has he noticed something? Is he feigning ignorance? An agitated Qing Han’s heart pounded ferociously. Should I tell him the truth? No, he’ll definitely be mad. He just said that we’ll explore the tombs of the world as brothers. When the brother suddenly turns into a sister? ...forget it!
Qing Han’s thoughts were running wild despite himself.
The vivid-green fire raging around them wasn’t harming them in the slightest. The mountain influence’s true dangers lurked inside the verdant forest, but their potency was mitigated by the Emerald Mistfire. However, the fire’s emergence also caused them to rouse all at once in answer.
The entire world darkened, a sinister, fiendish mountain range replacing the greenery as ghostly wails howled through the air. Countless bizarre shadows surged in their direction, only to be stopped by the fire.
“Is this the forest’s true appearance?” Qing Han paled a little and subconsciously drew closer to Lu Yun. The fire continued consuming the withered trees around them as it fought back against the unidentified monsters.
“Yes.” Lu Yun’s expression was likewise solemn. The flames had broken the illusion, laying bare the place’s true nature for all to see.
“Fusang Purewood!” Qing Han suddenly cried out as he pointed at the depths of the ghostly forest.
“So that’s Fusang Purewood?” Lu Yun observed the tall tree. It was about thirty-six meters tall, its form resembling that of two mulberry trees intertwined together. But instead of leaves, balls of brilliant red flame adorned its branches.
“They say that sunfire surrounds a Fusang Purewood’s treetop. But this one…” Qing Han muttered hesitantly as he observed the flickering tongues of flame on the tree. They were a far cry from the wreath of glorious sunfire that was described by ancient manuscripts.
“Because it’s no longer a Fusang Purewood.”
Hellfire ignited around Lu Yun as he suddenly grabbed Qing Han’s waist and hugged him tight, covering him in hellfire as well. Qing Han twisted briefly before meekly settling against the governor.
“Someone’s transformed the tree into a coffin,” Lu Yun murmured. “Fusang Purewood as the coffin, mountains and rivers as feng shui configurations, heaven and earth as the layout, and grudge corpses as servants. Could an immortal emperor be buried in this place?”
“This tree is an imperial coffin?” Qing Han’s eyes widened.
“Yes, yes it is.” Lu Yun took a deep breath. “Only an emperor is worthy of such a coffin! The feng shui here is also clearly signaling an imperial tomb. What clan is this Skandha Extinction Tomb cursing? They gave birth to an emperor!”
An imperial coffin was no common item. The grandeur and ambitions of a monarch were difficult to erase, even after death. As such, they could only be laid to rest in an imperial coffin.