“Where are we going, milord?” Some color returned to Wanfeng’s face as the fear in her eyes slowly receded. Though committing murder for the first time impacted her enormously, she quickly got over it as she was a core realm cultivator.
“Didn’t I tell you? We’re going to that immortal’s tomb in the mountains.” Lu Yun was already panting heavily after a short walk. Though Wanfeng was helping him along, he was simply too weak and a long stretch of hiking was too much for him.
“But milord, the tomb isn’t in that direction,” Wanfeng hesitantly commented.
“Wanfeng,” responded Lu Yun seriously.
“This servant is here.”
“Don’t call me ‘milord’ from now on.”
“Then what should this servant call milord?”
“Call me Lu Yun.”
“This servant would never dare.”
“Then just use ‘sir’. I won’t be the governor after a while, anyhow.”
“Will do, milord.”
Lu Yun was speechless and could only give a wry shake of his head.
Mount Carmine Dusk was a winding, circuitous affair. Being unfrequented by man and uninhabited by wildlife, weeds and shrubbery reigned supreme. There were no mountain paths at all.
Wanfeng held onto Lu Yun with one hand and used the longsword in her other to slash away the flora, hewing open a road. When the sun was about to set, the governor waved a hand to have the maid stop.
“Aren’t you tired, Wanfeng?” Lu Yun asked curiously when he saw that the girl was still in fine fettle and didn’t seem weary at all.
“In response to milord, this servant is a core realm cultivator with great stamina. This little bit of walking isn’t much of anything at all.” There was even a bundle on Wanfeng’s back, filled with glutinous rice, yellow paper, a shovel, and a hoe. Some of these items had been on Lu Yun’s back at first, but he’d almost collapsed beneath their weight before reaching halfway.
Cultivator… when can I become a cultivator! He shook his head.
“Milord, are we going back?”
“No, we’re entering the tomb.” Lu Yun’s eyes shone when he thought of the riches that would be in it.
“But the rumors say the tomb is on the south side of the mountain. We’re on the northern side,” Wanfeng replied haltingly.
“South side?” Lu Yun burst out laughing. “The south is the Black Tortoise’s butt. It’s the dirtiest place and the height of yin and evil. Whoever dares to enter through there will find only death awaiting them.”
Suddenly, he recalled that the maid had once said many cultivators—some of whom were even immortals—had attempted to explore the tomb. But no one had ever come back out.
“The tomb builder is insidious to trick people with a fake entrance. Wait, it’s not a trick, but a trap. Awful, simply too awful! They’re even more wicked than whoever put down the certain death layout in that civilian’s tomb,” murmured Lu Yun to himself.
The Black Tortoise was a god of the north. It faced north even when going ashore, leaving its rear for the south. The Crouching Black Tortoise was the feng shui layout of the god’s qi coming ashore.
As the skies dimmed, Lu Yun chowed down on a bit of dry provisions and slowly recovered his energy.
“Wanfeng, dig a hole here and just keep digging downward.” Surprised delight bloomed in Lu Yun's heart after observing the shape and figure of the mountain. Though he was in a world of immortals, the feng shui of this world and Earth were one and the same. Even the layout and habits of tomb creators weren't much different.
Ordinary tomb raiders needed the help of a Luoyang shovel, also known as a scouting shovel, to find the true location of a tomb. They would extrapolate the position of the tomb according to the level of soil ages beneath the ground.
However, Lu Yun was the best commandant of tomb raiders there was. His skills were the acme of mastery. He could deduce the tomb’s location from the surrounding geographic terrain, the grain of the soil, and the dance of celestial bodies.
This was what it meant to search for the dragon, pinpoint the proper direction, and determine the appropriate location.
More importantly, ordinary tomb raiders used feng shui layouts to determine if a spot was suitable for building a tomb. Some places made for prime real estate, but not all of them housed a tomb within.
Lu Yun, on the other hand, could determine if there was indeed a tomb at his feet from the layout of the land.
“Understood, milord!” Instead of taking out the shovel or hoe, Wanfeng turned the longsword to the ground. Sword qi shot downward, slicing through the mountainside like tofu, leaving Lu Yun flabbergasted.
“Ah, right. This is the world of immortals.” He smiled wryly and threw the shovel and hoe aside. If he’d known earlier, he wouldn’t have bothered with those burdens.
He didn’t sit around idly while Wanfeng was digging at the ground. Taking out the yellow paper and glutinous rice, he wrapped the paper around the rice. Gearing himself up, he bit his fingertip and drew line after line of bizarre shapes on the paper with his blood.
This was a black donkey’s hoof.
It wasn’t the literal foot from a black donkey, but something refined out of glutinous rice and yellow paper. It looked a little like a black donkey’s hoof, hence the name.
The rice could restrain zombies, and the lines drawn by Lu Yun’s blood on the yellow paper enhanced the rice’s ability. If anyone really brought actual donkey hooves into a tomb, they’d be deader than a doornail if they ran into a zombie.
“A proper hoof needs to be baked in an oven. I have no idea if these things will be useful at all.” After making seven hooves, Lu Yun started to feel lightheaded from blood loss. Damn this weak body!
“Milord, I’ve dug into a wall.” Wanfeng’s voice suddenly sounded from the thieves’ tunnel.
Lu Yun’s eyes lit up. “Don’t break it open yet, and don’t come up. I’m coming down!”
He hastily dragged over some branches he’d collected beforehand and laid them across the entrance for cover after he entered the tunnel. Following that, he made his way down the several-hundred-meters-long passageway.
At its end, a small ball of light in Wanfeng’s hand illuminated the general vicinity.
“Milord, look!” she declared proudly when Lu Yun arrived.
“Very good!” Lu Yun caressed a wall made of turquoise bricks, a smile flashing across his face.
“Is the immortal’s tomb really here?” Wanfeng’s eyes sparkled with excitement.
“This is also a fake.” Shaking his head, Lu Yun lightly tapped on the wall. Every brick echoed with a different sound. He closed his eyes and thought for a while. “But a facade is sometimes real, and sometimes fake. Since this is a plot within a plot, that means there are certainly other feints within the Crouching Black Tortoise. But it also means the real tomb is somewhere nearby.”
“Milord, what’s a plot within a plot?” asked Wanfeng curiously.
“Using the language of this world, it means a formation within a formation. Mount Carmine Dusk is a huge formation, and there are other formations within the mountain.”
The maid seemed to grasp the general gist of things, but didn’t fully understand. She might be a core realm cultivator, but her experience was limited.
“So this is also fake?”
“It’s fake, but it’s also real!” Lu Yun smiled faintly and took a few steps back. “Wanfeng, break this wall apart!”
“Alright!” Teal splendor flashed out of the spirit weapon.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
The girl danced around with the sword, slicing the wall open with a few strokes and revealing an enormous, pitch-black cavern in front of the two of them.
Huff! Puff! Whoosh!
Gusts of strange wind rushed out of the cavern, filling the tunnel with the scent of rot and decay.
“Ugh, this smells so bad!” Lu Yun almost fainted from the pungent odor. It didn’t dissipate for a very long time. Covering his nose with his sleeve, he said, “Let’s go in.”