Chapter 536 – On Burial Mound Mountain
The north-eastern direction of the Clear River prefecture was also littered with mountains, but they were not precipitous like the Boundless mountains.
Instead, they were short hills. There was no clear division from hill to hill. While they were called mountains, they were actually hills.
Spiritual veins rarely passed through such terrain, and spiritual qi was relatively scarce. Cultivators normally would not establish sects here.
However, there was an exception, which was the Burial Mound mountain of the three mountains from the past. As a sect that primarily focused on refining corpses, they did not emphasise on spiritual veins, but suitable “corpse-nurturing lands”.
The hills were like huge burial mounds, turning them into natural places for accumulating yin qi and corpse qi. Followed by modifications made by generations upon generations of cultivators from the Burial Mound mountain, it was enveloped in gloom all year round. Even the sunshine seemed feeble.
If any mortals accidentally entered this place, they would stiffen up and fall dead before long before climbing back up again soon.
Yu Shukuang stood at the base of the hills and frowned as he gazed at Burial Mound mountain. Through the information network of the Hawkwolf Guard, he had finally found out that Ma Chaoqun was currently in Burial Mound mountain. He had changed his allegiance and become a disciple of Burial Mound mountain.
Ever since the deaths of the Green Vine Elder and the Golden Pheasant Elder, the “holy land of the three mountains” had fragmented and fallen apart. However, a first elder who had been cultivating in seclusion then emerged for the Burial Mound mountain to manage the situation.
The rumor was that this first elder had crawled out of the coffin. As for the exact details, no one knew about them.
After several years of war, the other sects all sustained losses, but Burial Mound mountain instead prospered more than before. The gloominess that enveloped Burial Mound mountain was much heavier than when the Lone Grave Elder was still alive.
If the corpses of mortals who died in the war were left to rot, it would lead to disease outbreaks, but both incineration or burial was extremely troublesome.
Most of them had been gathered and transported to Burial Mound mountain before being converted into zombies and bound to commanding tablets under the corpse refinement of the secret techniques of Burial Mound mountain. They were transformed into a force to contend with the daemons.
Yu Shukuang knew about all of this. He worried inside, Surely Ma Chaoqun isn’t that crazy! He did love his wife deeply, but he did not wish to see her rise again as a corpse.
He arrived at the entrance of Burial Mound mountain and could not help but experience an urge to turn around and leave this place. The heavy aura of death was enough to bring disgust to anyone living. It was no wonder that even daemons had not attacked this place. If it were possible, he really did not want to set foot in this place.
With his identity as a Hawkwolf guard, he entered Burial Mound mountain with great ease. The surroundings immediately grew dimmer. Figures flickered through the gloom, either standing in groups or moving around alone. There were an extremely great number of them, and they all produced various strange sounds, but it did not seem lively at all. Even Yu Shukuang was unable to tell which were corpses and which were people.
The disciple who guarded the entrance received him. After learning he had come to see Ma Chaoqun, his pale face became more enthusiastic. He immediately said, “I’ll go invite my first senior brother over right now.”
“First senior brother!”
Yu Shukuang was rather surprised, but the disciple was already long gone. He left behind a zombie to lead him along another path.
He was brought to a stone room that resembled a coffin chamber to wait, politely declining the tea on the table. Standing behind him was the corpse who held the tea jug and served as an attendant. He stared at the tea cup with his hollow eyes as if he was waiting for Yu Shukuang to drink it. It truly was unsettling.
After waiting a while, Yu Shukuang grew bored. He stood up and paced around. He felt rather worried inside, Don’t tell me that guy fled after knowing I came. However, he was a disciple of the Burial Mound mountain after all, so apart from paying a proper, formal visit, there was nothing else Yu Shukuang could do.
He turned around and his heart suddenly tightened, almost drawing the sword on his waist. Before he knew it, a figure had appeared at the door.
“Who is it?”
The person did not answer. The corner of his lips twitched stiffly as if he was sneering.
Yu Shukuang frowned and said in surprise, “Ma Chaoqun!”
It was not his fault for being so surprised. The Ma Chaoqun right now bore almost no resemblance to the Ma Chaoqun in his memory.
Ma Chaoqun’s nickname was the “Pitted Madman”. He had quite a mad aura about him, but the person before him was extremely sunken. Both his face and his figure was terrifyingly gaunt. His complexion was so horrible that he had almost even overlooked his pitted skin.
What brought Yu Shukuang even more surprise was Ma Chaoqun’s cultivation. He was actually a tenth layer Qi Practitioner.
Yu Shukuang was merely a sixth layer Qi Practitioner right now, and that was only because of his daughter, because Yu Zijian had received quite a lot of support from the Hua family. He could already be regarded as rather quick. As for Ma Chaoqun, he had never been a particularly talented person, or he would not have spent so many years on Pheasant’s Grace mountain.
It was no wonder the disciple earlier called him first senior brother!
However, Yu Shukuang did not fear his cultivation. He barked, “Ma Chaoqun, where did you take Zi’er’s corpse?”
He originally thought Ma Chaoqun would feign ignorance before viciously mocking his attempt at retribution. However, never did he think that Mao Chaoqun would be extremely frank. “Come with me!” Afterwards, he turned around and left.
All Yu Shukuang could do was follow behind him. Ma Chaoqun’s footsteps were rather stiff, but he moved as fast as the wind. Before long, they arrived before a stone door. From the quality of the stone door, it could already be regarded as rather luxurious on Burial Mound mountain. They stepped inside and a long passageway appeared.
Yu Shukuang caught the smell of blood, which grew heavier and heavier, enough for him to feel nauseated. It was no longer just the reeking of blood anymore. There was also a foul smell of rot. Simply by taking a breath of it, he felt like his chest had been filled with filthy pieces of cotton.
They passed through a series of stone doors. At the end of the passageway was a huge, underground palace. A circular pool of blood occupied most of the underground palace. Severed limbs floated in it as it constantly bubbled, producing a series of glugging sounds, like the pool of blood was alive.
It was clearly extremely thick, but when he cast his gaze over, he felt like it was bottomless.
The moment he stepped into the underground palace, Yu Shukuang’s gaze was drawn away by the crystal coffin in the centre of the blood pool. Compared to the foul pool of blood, the crystal coffin seemed so pure.
Within the coffin lay a beautiful woman dressed in violet. Her cheeks were rosy and her face was peaceful. She seemed like she was sleeping.
Yu Shukuang could never forget that face. He called out uncontrollably, “Zi’er!” He turned around and asked with an expression of confusion of whether he should be angry or happy, “What did you do?”
He could not help but admit that the fact he was not seeing a walking zombie brought him some comfort. At a closer glance he discovered the crystal coffin that Zi’er laid in seemed to be connected with a messy series of cables, connected with the blood pool.
Ma Chaoqun said, “I’m doing what you can’t do.”
“I want to revive her!” Human emotions appeared on Ma Chaoqun’s face. There was a combination of complacency, excitement, and fanaticism.
“That’s impossible!” Yu Shukuang said. Let alone Qi Practitioners, even Foundation Establishment cultivators, no, Golden Core cultivators could not revive the dead.
“That’s because you don’t love her enough!” Ma Chaoqun pointed at Yu Shukuang as his voice echoed through the underground palace. Afterwards, he threw himself on the crystal coffin and caressed in an enamoured manner through the coffin.
“Do you see? Zi’er, this is the man who sweet-talked you, who kept on saying he loved you whole-heartedly, yet also made you lie in the pitch-black ground, unable to see the light of day. I was the one who saved you. I was the one who let you down. If I hadn’t left back then— it’s fine, it’s fine. We can still be together.”
His confusing drivel gave Yu Shukuang chills. He’s actually gone mad!
After Zi’er’s death, he had never touched another woman, constantly grieving over her. He could be regarded as quite a rare, lovesick man. However, compared to Ma Chaoqun’s insanity, he only felt inferior.
Yu Shukuang backed away slowly. He felt extremely uneasy inside. He needed to return and find reinforcements. He had to find the two commanders. They would definitely help him out and bring back Zi’er’s corpse.
Ma Chaoqun suddenly turned around. “She’s your wife. Can you really just bring yourself to leave like this? You better stay behind to accompany her too!” He leapt over the pool of blood and lunged towards Yu Shukuang.
He’s been planning on killing me right from the beginning! Doesn’t he care about my identity as a Hawkwolf guard? Oh right, he no longer cares about anything now!
Yu Shukuang exclaimed inside. He struck out with a flash. The moment he stabbed Ma Chaoqun’s throat, he wondered, Why isn’t he dodging? However, the sword showed no mercy and his true qi channeled in, plunging into his throat but unable to pierce all the way through.
A sneer appeared on Ma Chaoqun’s face. He advanced over, pressing against the sword until it curved. His right hand grabbed Yu Shukuang’s throat like it was made from steel, lifting him up like a chicken. He walked over to the pool and pressed him down.
“For her sake, you can go down too!”
The pool of blood bubbled and a vicious face appeared, opening its mouth and staring at Yu Shukuang. Am I going to die here today?
“Chengzan, nothing has happened lately, right?”
As per usual, Li Qingshan paid a visit to the Hawkwolf Guard first, patting Hua Chengzan on the shoulder in an unconcerned manner.
All Hua Chengzan could do was force out a smile. A Golde Core cultivator had died, the moon demon had united the regions of water, and the Marquis of Ruyi had retreated helplessly. Were these supposed to be something?
However, he still did not appear this time! It seemed like as long as the moon demon appeared somewhere, he would never be there. However, just how did he predict these turmoils again and again? It was probably because of Xiao An’s divination of the seven lots, right? Sure enough, having a practitioner of divination by his side really did allow him to pursue good fortune while avoiding calamities.
They were technically major matters, but as it had nothing to do with them, they became minor. He remained happily uninvolved just like before, increasing his cultivation at an almost-exaggerated speed. Although he was still at mid Foundation Establishment, his aura had grown by far too much compared to the last time they had met. If this continued, the Clear River prefecture would probably produce a never-before-seen young Golden Core cultivator.
However, Hua Chengzan also felt rather perplexed. How could his cultivation advance so quickly? His startling talent and an exceptional ability to comprehend could be explained one way or another, but where did he find so many resources from?
Hua Chengzan had no intentions of suspecting this friend of his, but his sharp and inquisitive nature made him think that there were many suspicious aspects involved.
Of course, every suspicious aspect could be explained after some effort, but together, coming off as slightly strange was unavoidable.
After meeting numerous times with the moon demon, he developed a strange feeling. They seemed to bear some kind of resemblance!