The Spectral Eye told him everything about life and death within five hundred kilometers. There were no protective ridges here to obstruct his vision, so he could see the tomb below more clearly. Suddenly, his body trembled with excitement.
“No wonder this phoenix was buried inside a volcanic crater! As a refiner of treasures, it fits perfectly.” He waited for more information to stream into his mind.
“Huang Qing of the phoenixes. She was just as famous as I was, once upon a time.” Aoxue’s voice abruptly echoed through his mind. “I didn’t think she would die too. I thought she would become a dao immortal and usher in a new golden age for her race.”
Much like dragons, phoenixes were a race of their own, long separated from monster spirits in general. However, they were much less prosperous by comparison.
Dragons were infamous for their lasciviousness. Their children littered the world, creating innumerable half-breeds in the process that were also counted among their race. Half-breeds could purify their bloodlines through hard work and eventually become pureblooded dragons.
That alone exceedingly multiplied their numbers.
Phoenixes were quite different, in that they sought a mutual, long-lasting bond between two members of their own race. Tainting their bloodline with a non-phoenix was utterly detested, resulting in much more meager numbers. In fact, a calamity ten thousand years ago had nearly extinguished the race entirely. Huang Qing arose during those times as their ray of hope, a genius in refining treasures as well as cultivation. Back then, she and Ao Xue were hailed as the immortal world’s Twin Beauties.
“Ah, do you... do you have the ability to revive people buried in tombs or something?” Qing Han couldn’t help but raise a question that’d niggled at him for quite a while when he saw how animated Lu Yun looked. Is another ancient personage going to appear in the flesh soon?
Of course, he didn’t ask it out loud since the man in gold was still hiding nearby.
“Yeah,” Lu Yun nodded, then watched Qing Han drag the memory out of his mind and destroy it. “I can revive people who are buried in tombs,” he transmitted.
Qing Han again followed suit with this second, newer memory.
“Stop telling me whatever it is!” He jumped when he saw his friend look expectantly at him, about to transmit something. “I know I’ve asked something I shouldn’t have. My nascent spirit will crumble if we keep doing this!”
Extricating and wiping away a memory was very damaging to one’s soul and spirit.
Lu Yun reached out to the east, then pressed a handful of connate wood energy into Qing Han’s brow. Its vitality would help heal the self-inflicted mental injuries.
“I said, I can bring the one in that tomb back to life!” he transmitted once more, very seriously.
Qing Han wanted to cry. “Alright, but why’re you telling me?”
“You were the one who asked, yeah?” Lu Yun scratched his head. “Getting rid of this memory just means you’ll ask again later on. Just keep it in mind for the future.”
The imperial envoy quieted down with a hint of well-hidden joy.
“Anyway, here’s the entrance to the tomb.” Lu Yun pressed his lips together. “It belongs to a phoenix king—not an ancient one, but I bet it’ll still be pretty dangerous because the tomb itself is way older, I think.”
“Huh,” Qing Han grunted in assent.
Lacking knowledge of feng shui, modern immortals built tombs that were only protected by powerful formations. Any feng shui influences that came about were purely products of accident and chaos.
An ancient tomb, on the other hand, used feng shui in a cohesive way, with the tomb structure as an additional layer of esoteric protection. Here, feng shui’s power was much greater than the formations that backed it.
There was a spacious cave between countless slabs of half-molten rock below. At least fifteen kilometers across, it was where the Spiriteater Frog and its spawn had emerged from.
As it turned out, this cave was also the entrance to the phoenix’s tomb. The Black Tortoise swiftly shrank in on itself and burrowed into the cave, still in a protective stance for the humans on its back.
“An ancient phoenix tomb, eh? This must be where Huang Qing was buried after our race slew her!” The gold-robed man came into the open, a smile curling at the corner of his mouth. “Her race’s lost treasure must be here too: the Phoenix Plumebolt!
“I can’t take the starstones with the Black Tortoise nearby, but that Plumebolt is mine!”
A reddish-gold feather appeared in his hand.
Inside the cave, the demonic frog and its tadpoles were nowhere to be found.
“We’re pretty much already inside the tomb. Anything can happen here!” Lu Yun warned his friend as a precaution.
As soon as he said this, both of them felt earth underfoot.
“Huh?” Qing Han blinked. The two youths and the tortoise were no longer submerged, but in a completely different place.
“That wasn’t transportation, that was a boundary.” The water of the lake was still visible behind Lu Yun. It glowed dark red, reflecting the light of the surrounding magma.
The same dark red color permeated this place; molten rock was everywhere, radiating a frightening amount of heat that was even more intense than before. Thankfully, the Black Tortoise’s innate water nature protected them from harm.
“Look, it’s that Spiriteater Demon Frog!” Lu Yun pointed into the distance.
A large lava lake lay in the distance. The Spiriteater Frog and its dozen tadpoles lazed upon its surface, their eyes fixated unmovingly on Lu Yun. Black frog eggs were scattered all around the lakeshore, clearly of the same species as the frog.
“Let’s not disturb those guys.” He pulled on his friend’s arm, and both of them jumped onto the Black Tortoise’s head.
The reptile trundled its way deeper in. It felt rather uncomfortable in this fiery world of lava. Concentrated fire energy filled the air, cutting off the lake’s vapors.
The frog and its tadpoles were content to let the tortoise and its riders pass by.
“Muuuuu,” the Black Tortoise growled without warning. The serpent on its back twisted back and forth, as if it were anxious.
“There’s something ahead!” Vigilantly alert, Lu Yun stared ahead for danger. Nearby, a flying sword leisurely poked out from a pool of lava. A spirit-grade weapon without an owner? Why was it moving by itself?
“This is…” Lu Yun and Qing Han gaped in equal surprise.
“A zombie?!” Qing Han gasped. “Isn’t this a flying sword?! How did it become a zombie?”