Chapter 123: The Tomb
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
Pei Zi Yun looked up at night sky and saw an entire blanket of stars overhead. Shadows of trees cast down upon them. Up ahead was a thick forest which extended for quite some distance. He Qing Qing brought along two warriors with them as she led Pei Zi Yun to the back of the mountain. The road along the way was winding and wild grass grew everywhere. The deeper they walked, the wilder the grass grew. It was clear nobody had walked along this path in a long time. The shrubs and grass were getting so tall that it almost seemed impossible to cross through.
After walking for another kilometer or two, he spotted several limestone boulders.
"Those boulders were used to surround the tomb."
"However, there are venomous snakes protecting the area. Look, these snakes were reared by the Chieftain himself. Over the years, they've multiplied significantly." He Qing Qing pointed out as she spoke.
Under the light of the torches, the limestone pillars around the tomb could be seen clearly. Moss had grown over the pillars, a testament to the numerous days of wind and rain which assaulted the pillars. Several venomous snakes encircled the pillars, spitting their tongues out every few seconds. These grey colored snakes had a triangular shaped head, and their bodies were standing tall and erect, as if poised to strike. Just looking at them made Pei Zi Yun's blood curdle.
"I have a way to evade these snakes." He Qing Qing then started blowing on the flute. Following the melody, the snakes then started to simmer down. Earlier, they were clearly antagonizing and aggressive. However, they seemed rather docile after the melody and crawled silently. Both warriors walked past anxiously.
After getting the snakes out of the way, they had to deal with the maze like structure of pillars. They took many lefts and rights, enough to confuse anyone who wasn't welcomed. After a long time, He Qing Qing finally lowered her flute.
A cave then appeared before their eyes. Looking at the entrance, the young lady's face bore a look of sadness, she looked as if she was about to cry any moment.
"Young Chieftain, it's just here."
The four of them entered the cave, and hung their torch on a stand along the walls of the cave. Within the caves, there were many different rocks lying around, it was extremely fascinating. However, the cave twisted in many directions and often had split forks. It was easy to get lost here.
He Qing Qing led the way and stopped before a particularly huge rock. She then felt around the rock as if looking for something. After several moments, there was a "Pa" sound, and the entire rock shifted in and revealed a secret chamber of sorts.
When they entered it was like an empty hall. Apart from the area around their torches, everything else was pitch black. A musky smell perforated their nostrils. However, it was neither fragrant nor was it pungent.
He Qing Qing then ignited all the torches one by one which were hanging on the wall, and the entire hall became illuminated. Both warriors swallowed their spittle as their legs went soft. Even Pei Zi Yun trembled slightly.
The hall was rather huge, where several stone coffins lined up in rows. It was exactly like how one would expect a tomb to look. However, one of the stone coffins seemed like it was half opened. Inside the coffin were decaying bones. The clothing that had been worn were already decomposed. The rotten flesh had stuck to the base of the coffin.
Seeing these stone coffins, Pei Zi Yun then came to a realization. He looked at He Qing Qing and asked, "Could these coffins belong to the women that my uncle took with him in death?"
He Qing Qing's eyes were somewhat red. When she heard Pei Zi Yun's question she laughed, "Young Master, these coffins belonged to the fearsome warriors who had fought alongside the Chieftain. They had agreed to be buried alongside him to protect him in death. They were the best among the best of warriors."
As she spoke, her expression reverted to one of sadness. Seeing her in apparent grief, Pei Zi Yun remained solemn as well. He then stepped forward and bowed. The both of them did not speak and remained silent for a long time. He Qing Qing then walked further into the hall. Right at the back of the hall was a hand carved, black boulder.
The carved drawings on the boulder attracted Pei Zi Yun's attention. The drawing seemed like it was a deity, but with an element of strangeness to it.
"Pa" A sound rang out after He Qing Qing groped at the boulder. She had opened another entrance. The boulder moved aside to reveal the opening to the Chieftain's tomb. At this point she refused to enter, "Young Chieftain, this is the Chieftain's resting place. If you wish to pay your respects, please proceed."
When Pei Zi Yun walked in, he noticed that the stone door was huge, and it was cold and still within. Just a glimpse into it was enough to scare anyone off. However, Pei Zi Yun strode in without any hesitation. After passing through the door, a corridor led inwards. Pei Zi Yun could feel the cold air brush against his face as he walked in.
After walking to the end of the corridor, he reached a flight of stairs. Along the walls were many strange drawings and inscriptions. Pei Zi Yun shone the torch at the wall and noticed that the drawings were of the Chieftain's expeditions. He laughed, completely uninterested, before proceeding on.
When he finally reached the chamber within the tomb where the coffin was held, he was not anxious to get a glimpse. Instead, he ignited all the torches within the chamber, lighting up the room.
He saw a huge coffin being placed on a stone altar, which was surrounded by many blocks of stone. There were drawings of dragons carved out onto the stone. Just behind the coffin was an empty throne, that had a set of King's robes and a crown being placed on it. Beside the throne was the King's staff.
All the walls around were made up stone, which gave the room a cold and dry feeling. Several chests were strewn in the middle of the chamber. With their lids left open, Pei Zi Yun could see gold and silver, jade robes, long swords, armors and a variety of precious gems and stones. There were several skeletons around the chests as well, who had long decomposed.
Seeing the treasure around, Pei Zi Yun was someone stunned from all the glare and glittering. After realizing what this meant, he laughed before mumbling under his breath, "Small horns, tiny claws, this is baby dragon."
"Although you've achieved so much, you still could not have used any of these in death."
"Senior grand uncle, you've managed to attain all these treasure and wealth, but at the end of the day, you're still just dust and ashes now. A Daoist's main focus is to cultivate, with the goal of a long and healthy life."
Pei Zi Yun then sighed and thought for some time, he had been in this world for two years, and had a good understanding of how it worked. In a world where mysterious powers existed, there were many different rules and taboos which were extremely specific to a situation.
If this senior grand uncle had succeeded in attaining the throne and becoming the King of the Southern Kingdom, he could've used the baby dragon. However, since he's failed and died, he could not use it. In fact, the price he had to pay wasn't limited to that. The Sect Elders from the previous generation made it their priority to enter Paradise, since they didn't want to die here. It seems like he could not even get to be reincarnated.
Pei Zi Yun then bowed to the coffin before kowtowing to it. When he arose, he touched the exterior of the coffin.
"There's no reaction!" He then hesitated. Could it be that all this was for nothing? He looked at the surroundings and saw the jade robes, longswords, armors, jewels, silver and gold. Pei Zi Yun shook his head, all these could not possibly be the Legacy.
He then walked up to the throne to take a closer look. He then saw the King's staff, which had the carvings of venomous vipers, scorpions, centipedes, toads, spiders and many other different poisonous insects. Drawings of them filled up the entire staff, and looked terrifying.
As Pei Zi Yun moved near the staff, he felt a certain buzzing within his chest and knew that this was it. He was elated. He then stretched out a hand to grip the King's staff, "If this is really the Legacy, my journey all the way here would not be in vain."
Pei Zi Yun then took it into his palms, and felt an inexplicable calmness rest over his heart. The entire journey all the way to the Southern Kingdom was worth it with this item. This Legacy would help him with his cultivation, and he would then be a step closer to breaking through the doors of heaven. He sighed, regardless, Pei Zi Yun still felt like he had received the grace of his senior grand uncle. Thus, he fell to his knees once more, "Uncle, all your beloved treasures, I shall not take anything else apart from this staff as a memento. Please do not blame me, uncle."
He then retreated.
When Pei Zi Yun walked out of the chamber, the young lady and the other two warriors immediately prostrated themselves upon seeing him. Although they've done this before, their attitudes and demeanor had clearly changed.
"What is it?" Pei Zi Yun asked in surprise.
"I now believe you are the true Young Chieftain. Before this, I had my doubts, and I ask Young Chieftain to forgive me." He Qing Qing raised her head, her eyes were red as she spoke.
"You and I know each other for only a day, it's normal to have your doubts. But what made you change your mind?" Pei Zi Yun turned his head and replied, feeling somewhat astonished.
He Qing Qing stretched out a hand and tapped the walls and said, "Defending the tomb was our duty. The Chieftain had mentioned to us before, that when the Young Chieftain arrives, he can take anything he wants from within the chambers. The only exception was the coffin. Once Young Chieftain opens the coffin, even if he was indeed the Young Chieftain, I was ordered not to spare you. I would have to tap this rock within the walls, and the entire chamber would seal up, leaving you to die within."
"Apart from the coffin, the King's seal, crown and clothing would be up to Young Master to do with as he sees fit."
"As for the other treasures, Young Chieftain can take them all for himself. These are treasures left behind by the Chieftain and are your rights."
"Just now, we noticed that Young Chieftain kowtowed reverently and sincerely to the Chieftain's coffin. Apart from retrieving the King's staff, you did not touch the King's seal or the coffin. We thus confirmed that you are the relative of the Chieftain, and there was no doubt about that. Before this, I might have offended you, and I ask for your forgiveness. In future, whatever your instructions will be, I will gladly fulfill it to the best of my abilities."
When Pei Zi Yun heard this, beads of sweat started forming on his forehead. Had he made a wrong move just now, he would have been in deep trouble. He then recalled the skeletons down in the chambers and understood. Those skeletons belonged to disloyal people who had tried to steal treasure from within the coffin, and had at last been trapped within the chambers. He then asked, "Then how do you know what I was doing inside?"
"There's an adjoining room which allowed us to observe you very clearly." He Qing Qing said frankly. She then continued, "Young Chieftain, although we understand that leaving a deceased man's treasure was done out of respect for the deceased, these treasures were left behind for you. Why don't you take them?"
Pei Zi Yun then took in a deep breath of air. He had already felt it true, and thus spoke with confidence. He looked at He Qing Qing, "There are only the few of us here. Let me ask you, my uncle wished to become the King of the Southern Kingdoms, under current situations, do you think it's possible?"
He Qing Qing revealed a look of shock, "The dynasty has been stabilized, I'm afraid it's difficult."
She then looked at Pei Zi Yun before adding, "However, if Young Chieftain wishes to continue the objective our Chieftain set out to do, Qing Qing is not afraid of death, and will follow you all the way."
"You're not thinking right." Pei Zi Yun looked at her and smiled, "Timing, the right place and people are the most important factors to consider. It was now the time of the dynasty's prosperity and reign. Anyone who incites a rebellion would be surrounded by the Imperial troops and slaughtered."
"As for the right place, after hundreds of years of suffering, the citizens of the Southern Kingdoms want peace and stability as well. Although the hundreds of mountainous tribes remain unconverted, they are at least contented with the present situation as well."
"As for people, our tribe only has a hundred people, and most of them are old and weak. What can we do then?"
"Therefore we should not speak of this expedition of reclaiming the throne ever again."
Hearing these words, He Qing Qing exhaled, somewhat disappointed. She then heard Pei Zi Yun continue, "But these treasures were left behind for one reason, to lead the expedition and reclaim the throne to become King of the Southern Kingdoms. Since I do not intend to pursue such an expedition, I would not touch any of it. I shall just leave it here, and consider it as items for the next generation. Since they're King artifacts, they would have some Imperial Qi as well. And the next generation might find use for it."
"Whenever there's a chaos and pandemonium, there's a chance for the expedition to succeed. Only then, would we take these treasures out."
"As for now, don't you think I'm capable enough to provide for the hundred of you?"
Pei Zi Yun laughed as he said this. Actually, Pei Zi Yun was being idealistic about the chance for a future conquest in reclaiming the throne. He had said this in order not to shatter their dreams. He Qing Qing heard him and hurriedly agreed, "You're right, Young Chieftain!"
They then followed He Qing Qing through the numerous tunnels before arriving at the entrance of the cave. Wind blew upon his body, making him feel cold. Pei Zi Yun then realized that he had been sweating a considerable amount after finding out that he had nearly perished within the chamber.
'Whatever she did was very normal human nature. Now that I have won her trust over, I should not be calculative with her.' The four of them then made their way back. There were several stars sparkling in the night sky, almost as if watching them make their return to the stronghold.
Once they meandered their way out of the forest, Pei Zi Yun felt a strange wind brush past his skin. All of a sudden, he felt this inexplicable discomfort and uneasiness. As though his body was having a certain reaction, or premonition.
"Pu Pu!" He felt something soar past him, and smelt a strange odor around him. Pei Zi Yun then understood what it was, "These are darts, poisonous darts!"
Poison darts like these do not have a long range. Although if someone were to be shot by poison darts they might not die straight away, being surrounded by enemies after would mean they might not get to an antidote in time.
Just as he was thinking, he heard the sound of a whistle. Several fiery torches flew in their direction and landed on the ground before them. They could still smell the strange, pungent odor.
"Not good, this is the oil to expel the snakes." He Qing Qing shouted out in fear. Indeed, the venomous vipers started to disperse. In the next moment, a group of people rushed towards them with killing intents, their blades gleaming under the moonlight.