The people with the power to speak held their breath, and the room fell silent.
A disciple of the Red Hook Sect stepped forward, dressed in a manner that suggested he held a high position.
"Our sect's former leader recorded the 'human-shaped coffin.' The shell of this object is made from the skin of a demon, and it is incredibly tough. It is wrapped in a Ghost Skin Suit made from ghost silk, and its tentacles move like a living person."
"The coffin is covered in spells that allow it to be controlled. The body inside the coffin does not decay, and it can even move normally inside the tomb. Yan Budu most likely imbued his own techniques into it too..." His voice was tinged with fear.
"The human-shaped coffin has no teeth, which means that there's no body inside. Without the burden of a corpse, it will only become stronger. Everyone, be careful."
Everyone understood the implications behind his words.
Yan Budu's martial arts were unparalleled, and in his time only Red Hook Sect's Su Zhi and Kongshi from Jianchen Temple being able to match him. During the siege of the Ling Sect by the righteous faction, Yan Budu once fought nine opponents alone and killed them all.
Even if the human-shaped coffin only inherited a small portion of Yan Budu's power, it was more than enough to deal with them - except for Red Blood Sect's Dark Blood Witch personally showing up, no other sect sent their top experts. Not to mention, after going through various trials in the tomb, everyone was already exhausted and out of resources.
"Yan Budu's body is not here?" Xu Jingming couldn't help but gasp. "Did he really become an immortal?"
No one answered him.
Shi Zhongyu was the most decisive. Her Yin Fire cut through the air and slashed towards the hand holding the pipe in the human-shaped coffin.
Unexpectedly, the divine weapon was covered in Yin Fire but only made a light "ding" sound when it hit.
The blade barely broke through the surface layer of the Ghost Skin Suit, revealing the Heart Demon skin. The human-shaped coffin effortlessly twisted the thin sword in its hand.
With a quick pull and a curl of its fingers, it aimed for Shi Zhongyu's neck. She couldn't dodge in time and was about to be killed on the spot.
A long string of prayer beads hooked around her waist and pulled her back to the door. Master Juehui swung the beads and said, "You're welcome."
The human-shaped coffin didn't immediately pursue them. It got out of bed slowly and deliberately.
Its red robe was of excellent quality, although it was somewhat frayed and faded, there was no sign of rot. Even so, the human-shaped coffin's clothing was still disheveled, revealing half of its shoulder.
Shi Jingzhi took two steps back and rushed to the outside of the room. When the witch Dark Blood Witch frowned, he ran back and gestured wildly at Master Juehui.
Seeing that no one reacted, Shi Jingzhi went straight to action. He stepped over the human-shaped coffin, his foot landing on the bedpost as he slammed his palm into the ceiling. A burst of golden flames erupted from his hand, shattering the roof and revealing the empty sky outside.
As he landed, Shi Jingzhi snatched the prayer beads from the monk and leapt onto the broken wall, flinging the beads in all directions.
A monk from Jianchen Temple couldn't contain his anger any longer. "That is the treasure of our temple, sir, you..."
Before he could finish, Shen Zhu interrupted him with a single hand gesture. "Little master, I believe that Sect Leader Shi borrowed the Infinite Prayer Beads precisely because he recognizes their value."
The Infinite Prayer Beads were capable of condensing true energy into new Buddhist beads. As long as one had enough internal strength to sustain it, the length of the string of beads was not a problem.
Shi Jingzhi held his breath and hooked the beads onto the rocks and trees outside, creating a net of prayer beads.
The Dark Blood Witch reacted quickly. "Good boy! Everyone, attack and end this quickly!"
She pulled on her cane, which broke into several pieces, each connected by black and red demon tendons. The curved parts of the cane had scorpion-like hooks.
The disciples of the Red Hook Sect rushed towards the human-shaped coffin, their palm strikes fierce. The coffin was pushed back two steps and was hooked by the elongated cane.
Dark Blood Witch let out a silent, sinister laugh as she stepped confidently onto the net of prayer beads. "Sect Leader Shi, hold on tight!"
The others followed suit and jumped onto the net, leaving all the objects from the dream on the ground.
The smile on the face of the human-shaped coffin gradually disappeared. It grabbed onto the red hook, which was coated in deadly poison, causing a hissing sound to emit from its palm.
The monks took advantage of the opportunity to form a formation and recite sutras, surrounding the human-shaped coffin in the middle. The movements of the human-shaped coffin became stiff under the interference of Buddhist spells. It gripped the smoking pipe like a dagger, and in the next instant, the closest monk's face was pierced through, leaving no trace of his features except for a circular hole in his skull.
The red jade smoking pipe was now covered in blood and brain matter, and the sweet scent of incense had become even heavier.
With a wave of the smoking pipe, the human-shaped coffin sent sword Qi slashing in all directions. The pipe was thin enough to break with a single twist, but now it felt as heavy as a thousand pounds, carrying an endless chill with each swing.
Despite being a lifeless object without any brain matter, it still retained countless reckless moves. A hundred years ago, the demon king who disappeared without a trace could turn his power into blooming blood flowers with just an empty coffin.
And yet, it had no killing intent.
How powerful must Yan Budu have been, the madman who fought against the righteous path for two years and was still alive?
One by one, the bodies fell into the prayer bead net, with blood flowing and staining the golden light of the beads. Despite the lamp remaining lit, the shadows around grew thicker and thicker.
However the monks continued to maintain the formation, reciting their sutras faster, and the golden light of the prayer beads nearby became even brighter. Master Juehui, Shi Zhongyu, and the Dark Blood Witch attacked at the same time, and even Zheng Fengdao stepped onto the prayer bead net.
"I came for the prosperity of the Ling Sect, please understand, Holy Sect Leader."
The human-shaped coffin ignored him, its bloody eyes staring at Shi Jingzhi outside the encirclement.
The experts of various sects were accustomed to fighting and could easily hold their breath. However, Shi Jingzhi had to exert all his true energy and couldn't focus on both, his face turning purple.
He tried to sort out his scattered thoughts -
As the master of this dream realm, the human-shaped coffin would definitely spontaneously distort the dream realm and create illusions to deal with him. Unfortunately, he was also concerned about the surrounding battle and couldn't close his eyes to escape.
Luckily, the human-shaped coffin did not possess the power of Yan Budu. The young monks had not entered the tent, but nothing happened. It seemed that even if it could dominate dreams, it could only focus on one person.
Like himself. Shi Jingzhi grinned bitterly.
Sure enough, the human-shaped coffin lowered its eyes, ignoring the blood on the pipe, and took another puff. This time, it exhaled a smoky fragrance that was as white as bone and as flexible as a stack of silk, lingering for a long time.
The people in the Yueshui Bureau exclaimed from below: "Sect Leader Shi, hold your breath! The human-shaped coffin is controlling the creatures in the dream and targeting you!"
Shi Jingzhi didn't want to know what the dream creatures looked like. He held his breath and transferred his true energy to the immeasurable prayer beads to maintain its form.
Although it was hindered by the experts of various sects, the human-shaped coffin was still approaching.
As Shi Jingzhi's empty hand clenched tightly, he realized he couldn't feel the warmth of another body.
Of course, his disciple was still down below. Yin Ci was nestled in the clean air of the tent, safe from any nightmares that might come.
...Perhaps he had grown too accustomed to this, as Shi Jingzhi felt a wave of disappointment wash over him as he tightened his fist. He had to keep going.
Once he started breathing, the illusions would take effect again, and he would see the dream creatures approaching him. If he was forced to touch them, he would surely meet a bad end.
If he were to fall, the Infinite Prayer Beads would immediately return to their original state, and everyone would fall to the ground. The ground was filled with dream creatures, and everyone would undoubtedly die.
The battlefield was like a formation, and Shi Jingzhi was the eye of the formation. The experts from each faction could clearly see the situation and attacked fiercely.
The beautiful appearance of the human-shaped coffin was halfway destroyed, but it stubbornly continued to move towards Shi Jingzhi. The red jade smoking pipe was missing a small part, and the smoke was intermittent.
If he could hold on a little longer, the smoking pipe would be destroyed.
Unfortunately, using true energy was a tiring task, and Shi Jingzhi's whole body was exhausted, his eyes seeing stars.
Just a little longer...
No, he couldn't hold on any longer, Shi Jingzhi thought hazily.
His brain felt like it was being roasted over a fire, and his heart and lungs were burning one after another. The taste of rusty blood was swirling in his mouth, and the suffocating acidity was accumulating in his chest.
He was about to lose consciousness, dying alone and taking everyone with him.
Was this his destined fate?
What a pity, Shi Jingzhi thought. If he had to die, he would rather die by someone else's side.
Anyone could do it, as long as that person was willing to look at him seriously, just like back then...
At that moment, the prayer beads trembled lightly. A pair of steady hands held Shi Jingzhi's face, and something soft pressed against his cold lips.
The other person's breath was familiar and warm, warm enough to be a little scorching.
Clean air was passed into his mouth, and Shi Jingzhi greedily took a few breaths, finally regaining his breath and gradually becoming clear-headed.
Wait, everyone was dealing with the human-shaped coffin, how could there be time to catch their breath...
Shi Jingzhi looked at Yin Ci in front of him, and finally managed to swallow his exclamation.
He gently patted his disciple's back, making muffled sounds.
Yin Ci ignored his flailing master and continued to press their lips together, focusing on passing him air, turning his cheap master into a hot tomato.
Turning tomato red aside, Shi Jingzhi's didn't forget to continue to channel his true energy through his hands, and his prayer bead net was as stable as a rock. However, his thoughts were almost stagnant, and the sensation of skin-to-skin contact was like a strong poison, causing his internal organs to burn once again.
With a light "crack" sound, the red jade smoking pipe shattered, and the fragrance dissipated in an instant.
Under the attacks of the skilled fighters, the battle finally began to turn in their favor. The magnificent scene inside the Palace of Ease gradually faded away, like snow under the scorching sun, quickly disappearing without a trace.
Shi Jingzhi held onto his disciple's waist and gradually stopped channeling his true energy. The countless prayer beads returned to their original state, and everyone, along with the human-shaped coffin, fell to the ground together.
As the illusion disappeared and everything became dim, no one noticed that Shi Jingzhi's face was red and his ears were hot.
"Ah Ci, I...didn't I tell you to stay put?!" Shi Jingzhi even coughed up blood.
Yin Ci looked innocent and said, "I calculated the time and was afraid that Shizun couldn't hold on, so I asked Shen Zhu to throw me up here."
Stiff-faced Sect Leader Shi: "..."
"If Shizun were to fall here, how far could I run alone?"
Shi Jingzhi rubbed his face twice and finally regained his composure.
Yin Ci changed the subject in a timely manner, "Without the illusion, I think all the seniors should be fine now."
Just as he finished speaking, the human-shaped coffin picked up the Buddhist beads on the smoking pipe, tilted its head back, and swallowed the fragments with the smoking pipe.
Half of its face retained a stunning appearance, revealing a slight smile. The other half of its Ghost Skin Suit were full of scars, making it look extremely strange.
After swallowing the Buddhist beads, the human-shaped coffin did not immediately close its mouth. It reached into its mouth and pulled out a whip.
Zheng Fengdao spat out a mouthful of blood: "It's the Soul Whip of the Holy Leader."
Dark Blood Witch had broken her wrist and gasped for breath: "Now that the illusion has been broken, it's going to deal with us seriously."
The human-shaped coffin tilted its head slightly and flicked its pitch-black whip.
The sound of the whip exploded, and all the lanterns, torches, Yin fire, and Yang fire were instantly extinguished, unable to be lit again. The thick darkness stuck to everyone's eyeballs, making it hard to breathe.
Shi Jingzhi stood up cautiously, repeatedly trying to light the Yang fire, but there was no trace of light.
"Ah Ci, stay by my side and don't go anywhere..."
He didn't finish his sentence before he collapsed.
Yin Ci withdrew his hand and whispered in Shi Jingzhi's ear: "You did well, take a nap for a while."
He laid Shi Jingzhi flat on the ground and walked towards the thickest darkness. The darkness underground was heavier than outside, but Yin Ci was already used to it. He seemed to dissolve into the shadows, without breath, emotion, or any sound, only emptiness.
Not far away, blood and flesh splattered, mixing with painful groans and screams, piercing the eardrums. The sound of metal colliding was combined with the smell of blood, making it even more mournful.
When Yin Ci found the human-shaped coffin, it was busy tearing apart the arm of a Red Hook Sect member.
This thing had no internal strength, and its strength was only about one-tenth of Yan Budu's. Yan Budu's martial arts were similar to the "Sweeping Bone Sword" of "Su Zhi," and they both took strange and mysterious paths, which had given him an advantage.
However, Yin Ci could even fight Yan Budu's true body, let alone a mere human-shaped coffin. Not to mention, he had dealt with this thing a hundred years ago - if he could strip off a Ghost Skin Suit once, he could do it a second time.
Yin Ci grabbed the Soul Whip, ignoring the spikes and curses on it, and pulled the human-shaped coffin in front of him. Just like when he was playing with Shi Jingzhi not long ago, he used his original voice and spoke clearly, "If you keep causing trouble, you'll make people sick of you."
The human-shaped coffin finally realized the danger and tried to stab Yin Ci's heart with its other hand, but he firmly held its wrist. With his other hand, he pinched the human-shaped coffin's neck and pressed down with skill, causing it to kneel on the ground.
Even though Yan Budu had countless tricks up his sleeve, all he needed was one opening.
The human-shaped coffin was pinned to the ground, making creaking sounds all over its body. It tried to struggle, but it couldn't use any of its techniques, like a butterfly pinned to a board.
In the face of Yan Budu's expression, Yin Ci couldn't muster any sympathy or pity. With a strong pull, he effortlessly tore off one of the arm of the human-shaped coffin, causing the demon skin to rip with a piercing sound.
In the next instant, Yin Ci used his palm as a sword and swiftly swept his fingertips across the human-shaped coffin's throat. A teeth-grinding sound of fracture echoed as the neck of the human-shaped coffin was almost completely severed, emitting a dim red glow from the broken edge.
Acupoints shattered, formations broken, and spells destroyed. The entire process was precise and rapid, like a one-sided execution.
Without the support of the spell, the coffin could not bear its own weight and collapsed to the ground, its joints folding unnaturally.
Not bad, at least it doesn't bleed.
Realizing his subconscious thought, Yin Ci smiled and kicked Zheng Fengdao, who was about to wake up, unconscious again.
All fourteen Buddhist beads were here. The group was weak and killing them would be easy. All he had to do was eliminate everyone and he could easily collect all the Buddhist beads and escape alone. The members of the Golden Jade Gang couldn't stop him, and the Yueshui Bureau couldn't find him either.
Next, he just needed to follow the treasure map and slowly search for the hidden treasure. Even if the treasure had nothing to do with the Shi Rou, and was just another failure, at least he had successfully wasted a lot of time.
If this was the end, his plan could be considered successful.
Yin Ci walked over to Shi Jingzhi's side, silently bending down to look at his cheap master - even if he fainted, there was still a hint of redness in Shi Jingzhi's ears.
If it was too easy, then it would be boring.
Yin Ci grabbed a strand of Shi Jingzhi's long hair and played with it between his fingers.
'...Let's play a little longer,' he thought to himself.
Yin Ci said, "A mysterious fox, its origins can't be figured out yet, I'll keep it as a pet for now."
Keeping a fox will only bring trouble, Demon Lord Yin.
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