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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

293 Step Two

 The light was bright but not blinding. It warmed the soul and was refreshing. The tendrils of black gas vanished as the dark and gloomy place was transformed into a pure land of Buddhism.

"As expected of Buddha's Lamp. Even if it's been damaged, it still has such power," praised Meng Qi. He was calmly carrying the bluish white lamp.

Jiang Zhiwei was lightly panting with a smile on her face. "It was once a treasure on the level of Dharmakaya, after all."

During the battle just now, apart from Meng Qi, the three of them had used some desperate moves. Thus they had expended a lot of energy in one go and could barely speak.

Meng Qi was running out of energy too. The flame shrunk and returned to its original form, but the warm and bright feeling from it still remained. For a while, there was no negative energy creeping up on them.

"This is..." Meng Qi picked something up from the ground.

It was a bluish green jade pendant. The pendant felt warm and moist, and had yet to be corrupted by the negative energy. There were a few thunderbolt marks that had been carved into it, as well as some inscription on its front and back.

"God-gathering Heights... Huangfu Tao..." Meng Qi softly read. His mental energy had recovered quite a bit.

Ruan Yushu hugged her zither tighter. Her pale face paired with the mess of black hair on her head seemed to reveal some form of darkness beneath her gentle beauty. It almost felt like she was a character straight out of the Female Ghost Story.

She played "Heavenly Phoenix Cries", her mental energy was poor. When she noticed Meng Qi looking over, she shook her head without speaking to show that she did not know of a "God-gathering Heights" or a certain Huangfu Tao.

Qi Zhengyan pondered a while before saying, "I wonder where they're from."

"He should be a powerful master from this Nine Villages World. I'm afraid that he gave you the jade pendant so that you would inform his family, and they would then find a way to set him free," contemplated Jiang Zhiwei. "He obtained some Thunder God impartation, so the orthodoxy he left behind should be related in some way. This is not only a mission, but also a Chance."

"That makes sense. If I get the chance to, I'll send the jade pendant to God-gathering Heights." Meng Qi recalled their battle. He distinctly remembered that even if the spear-wielding Huangfu Tao had yet to attain Nine Annihilation at Heavenly Nights, he still had Exterior level skills derived from Dharmakaya Divine Skills.

He kept the jade pendant and glanced at the door of the coffin chamber. "Should we enter now? The evil ghost is right inside..."

The four of them were in a semi-recovered state. Their strength was currently at less than 30 percent. If they encountered the evil ghost now, things would probably end badly. Hence Meng Qi had asked if they wanted to wait until they had recovered their peak state, or make the best use of their time lest they miss their opportunity.

"The evil ghost just now suffered from the glow of Buddha's Lamp and retreated into the coffin chamber. We have to quickly find the clues left behind by Zhenwu Great Emperor and leave the mausoleum before the ghosts and the Exterior level Zombies recover from the effect." Jiang Zhiwei had always been quick and resolute when it came to making decisions.

Qi Zhengyan agreed. He added, "Anyway, it's being suppressed so it can't take action on its own. There's no difference between staying here or entering the coffin chamber."

"Let's hurry up and finish the mission." A loathful expression could be seen on Ruan Yushu's cold but elegant face. Being turned into a dead person, as well as the various events that had transpired in the mausoleum, had ruined her appetite. "If there's danger, we'll leave halfway."

"Alright." Meng Qi walked over to the door of the main coffin chamber, carrying the bluish white lamp and his Heaven Inflicted Pain. He stared at the black stone door and took a deep breath. There was a rush of excitement of witnessing history and looking back at the ancient times.

The ancient big power that had ruled over ancient times, left behind a legacy of The Myths, and had a reputation across the Nine Heavens and Ten Earths was about to appear before his very eyes.

That had been an era when lifespans were in the hundred thousands, and times were extremely turbulent. Zhenwu Great Emperor had been at the very pinnacle of it all.

With a push from his right hand, the stone door began to slowly open. There was a heavy creaking sound that accompanied it as the interior of the coffin chamber was revealed to them bit by bit.

Nine copper-colored dragons extended from the corners all around the room to its center, where they clustered around an ordinary black coffin.

Every copper dragon seemed remarkably lifelike. There was an air of real dragons dispersing from them. It was almost as if they had prepared all the characteristics of genuine dragons, including their extremely mysterious acupore points.

"Copper is turned into essence, and then into a dragon..." Qi Zhengyan blurted. Then he immediately stopped, because he had noticed a figure standing before to the coffin.

He had a large build and seemed to tower over everything. His muscles were rippling and made his armor puff out. The messy hair on his head danced in the wind and lightning followed.

On his armor were black scales that gave one a sense of unusual heaviness, as if every scale were a mountain or constellations.

"This familiarity..." Meng Qi gulped with difficulty. "Thunder God..."

He had not expected the god to appear in Zhenwu Great Emperor's mausoleum!

This turn of events was completely out of their expectations. None of them could react for a moment.

After a brief moment, Jiang Zhiwei recovered from her trance. In a low whisper, she said, "It's just a residual shadow created by his vibes. By borrowing the mausoleum's ability to hide secrets and suppress arrangements, it managed to remain here till today."

Only after her reminder did Meng Qi realize that the backdrop of the Thunder God seemed to flicker. There was no sense of genuine substance to it.

"The Thunder God was an ally of Zhenwu Great Emperor's when it came to suppressing the Nine Serenities and vanquishing evil. Perhaps after his disappearance, the Thunder God came here in search of him and discovered this place." Meng Qi guessed.

Qi Zhengyan was still expressionless. "But such a big power wouldn't let his breath leak out unless it's intentional. Since he's remained here till today, what's the Thunder God trying to tell those who've found this place after?"

"Maybe he was so agitated that he couldn't control his breath." Ruan Yushu had given it some thought. If someone dared to snatch her food, she would definitely be so agitated that her breath was sure to leak out.

"Then what exactly agitated the Thunder God so much that his breath leaked to such an extent?" Meng Qi steadily walked over to the Thunder God to check if he had left any message behind.

Jiang Zhiwei guarded his back, while Ruan Yushu and Qi Zhengyan followed her.

Even before Meng Qi had gone close to the Thunder God, the latter's breath drew. The Thunder God's figure gradually disappeared. Only thunderbolt marks remained on the opposite wall.

The many thunderbolt marks had no sense of life to them or the powerful feeling of thunderclaps. They were merely deep, so deep that they were bottomless and seemed like a passage to a world of darkness.

"This was caused by the leaking of breath from the Thunder God. There isn't even a bit of Gist of Trueness left inside." As someone who had obtained the Thunder God's impartation, Meng Qi was able to identify the cause with one glance.

Jiang Zhiwei seemed to be thinking about it as she said, "Huangfu Tao should've attained enlightenment about 'Thunder Execution' here."

"I wonder where these thunderbolt marks lead to..." Qi Zhengyan murmured to himself, observing the bottomless thunderbolt marks.

Behind the marks was not a wall, or another coffin chamber, but a deep darkness.

"These copper dragons have lost their vitality as well. They've become dead once again." Ruan Yushu's eyes appeared to be shining as she stared at the nine copper dragons. Her house did not hold this much copper, much less copper that had been given life to and turned into essence. If they were exchanged for Karma points or some good food...

However, Meng Qi and the others did not dare to touch the copper dragon essence for fear of destroying the place and releasing the "evil ghost". Moreover, even if they wanted to move them, they were simply too big to be kept in the Space Ring. It was impossible to bring with them.

The walls around them, apart from the one that had been damaged by the thunderbolt mark, each had picture scrolls on them. Some were of old men dressed like Taoists lying on clouds in the high heavens with their swords spread between heaven and earth. Others were of emperors garbed in royal robes riding snakes or turtles and two figures fighting in a void, countless stars falling all around them.

They seemed like mere imaginative paintings that had been drawn there, but there was also the possibility that they were depicting Zhenwu Great Emperor's life events.

The four of them did not have the time to care about these picture scrolls at the moment. They made haste and focused their attention on the black coffin beneath the cluster of dragons.

It with ordinary and carried a faint air of death. However, in Zhenwu Great Emperor's mausoleum full of other extraordinary things and supernatural creatures, it stood out even more.

"There are words on it." Meng Qi had excellent vision and spotted the two lines of seal characters on the cover of the coffin.

Jiang Zhiwei tried her best to read them: "Destroy evil intentions and use them as a scapegoat..."

As she read, her voice grew softer and softer, as if she were afraid of startling the evil ghost. "Bury all of one's life here."

"Evil intentions as the scapegoat, all of one's life..." Meng Qi was shocked by these words. He repeatedly kept mumbling them to himself.

"Unless the 'evil ghost' is actually a manifestation of Zhenwu Great Emperor's evil intentions? But why isn't it dead yet?" Jiang Zhiwei's gently furrowed eyebrows showed her confusion. Even Zhenwu Great Emperor could not escape death. How could his evil intentions, which he had used as a scapegoat, live until now?

All of them blankly stared at one another. None of them understood the mystery behind it, so they decided to look at what was inside the coffin.

"In here lies Zhenwu Great Emperor's body?" There seemed to be a rare slight change in expression on Qi Zhengyan's face. He had let slip the excitement he was feeling.

Meng Qi remained focussed. "It should be. Maybe the clue we're looking for is on his body..."

"Could it be that Zhenwu Great Emperor has gone through Samsara? But that still means that he has passed away. Since we've found his body, the mission should be complete... The answer to the Mystery of the Deceased Zhen Wu Great Emperor is that he returned to Samsara..." Jiang Zhiwei was suspicious. With Ananda as a precedent, it was not difficult for her to come up with such a conjecture.

She paused for a moment. Then she and Meng Qi simultaneously exclaimed,

"Shall we open it and see?"

Ruan Yushu looked at her zither and expressed neither agreement nor disagreement at their suggestion. Qi Zhengyan stared upwards and sighed. This was indeed their style of work.

Since they could leave halfway in any case, the two of them did not object.

Meng Qi leaped over one of the copper dragons and made his way over to the coffin at the same time as Jiang Zhiwei.

While the coffin seemed normal, it blocked out all forms of mental prying. Meng Qi was completely unable to sense what was going on inside. It was like facing a deep and thick cliff.

The two of them exchanged glances. Jiang Zhiwei raised her sword in a stance whereas Meng Qi held the bluish white lamp in his left hand in fear of turning into a zombie. He pushed Heaven Inflicted Pain into the gap underneath the cover of the coffin and then forcefully lifted it.

The cover did not budge...

It was unexpectedly incredibly heavy! Meng Qi took a deep breath. He activated his genuine Qi at its maximum and then repeated the motion with all his strength.

The jarring sound of friction between the coffin cover and body rang out. Finally, the cover had moved. With his face already flushed, Meng Qi continued to exert all his strength.

Heaven Inflicted Pain began to bend, as if it were on the verge of snapping into two. The cover was pushed open partially, allowing the two of them to see inside the coffin.

The bottom of the coffin was red. It was also empty and perfectly well-preserved. There was nobody!

"What..." Both of them were appalled. It had been clearly stated that Zhenwu Great Emperor's body had been buried here. All the turns of events that had happened thus far paled in comparison to the astonishing emptiness that now lay before them!

Where had the body gone?

Had it combined with the evil intention?

"Something's wrong." Qi Zhengyan and Ruan Yushu moved over to take a look. Their gazes froze as well.

Jiang Zhiwei came to her senses right away. "Something's definitely wrong. If there really was a body here, his breath would leak out after his death. There would be traces that are difficult to erase left behind in the coffin. But there's absolutely nothing here."

"In other words, Zhenwu Great Emperor had constructed his mausoleum and was prepared to pass away here. But when it came to burying his body, he suddenly disappeared and didn't even enter his coffin. So the evil intention didn't die on his behalf?" Meng Qi's brows were knitted together. He continued, "No wonder the Thunder God was so agitated that his breath leaked out!"

No wonder it was called Zhenwu's Decoy Grave...

Meng Qi suddenly noticed the mark of a small object being squashed at the bottom of the coffin. He said in a deep voice, "Zhenwu Great Emperor once placed something in here. I wonder if he retrieved it when he left or someone else took it?"

Just as he finished his sentence, an ominous wind blew. It slammed the door to the coffin chamber shut with a loud bang!

At the same time, the apathetic voice of the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms sounded in their ears.

"Step two of the mystery of Zhenwu's death: Find the Black Tortoise Jade Pendant."