Li Qiye contemplated and observed these runic lines engraved on the stone tablet for a long time. These patterns were extremely rare, but he had seen them before at a certain place — the Heavenly Ancient Corpse Burial Ground!
As the Dark Crow, he had entered the deepest area of the burial ground not just once since the start of time. One could even say that he was the authority in this regard, but he could not connect this stone tablet together with the burial ground’s deepest area.
That night, when the Underworld River came out, Li Shuangyan and Chen Baojiao’s conversation sparked a few lights in Li Qiye’s mind. At that time, he had a bold conjecture; this stone tablet was related to a legendary place, a place that even he had not been to before. One could even say that no one had ever been there since the beginning of time!
The appearance of the Underworld River signals the rise of rebirth — countless people have heard this phrase in the Mortal Emperor World and had long been familiar with it. This referred to the fact that the chance for rebirth was possible with the arrival of the Underworld Boats.
However, very few people knew that this was not the complete phrase. In fact, the completed version was: Underworld appears, rebirth begins; heaven’s path revealed; divine stone initiated. Entered heavenly coffin, achieving myriad old. Awaken corpse earth, heaven bringing eternality. 1
This phrase was the actual complete version! However, there were not many people in the contemporary times that were aware of this complete version; no one knew from which era did it begin to circulate.
However, Li Qiye knew that this phrase could be traced back to the mythical Legendary Era! The truth was that during the Desolate Era, the Desolace Expansion Era, and even the Emperors Era, many people tried to understand this phrase. However, people could only understand the first half, and that was: “The appearance of the Underworld signals the rise of rebirth”; both of these things had happened before. The Underworld Boats would appear each generation and would grant people a chance to rebirth.
However, the latter half of the phrase… The path to heaven debuts the way to the divine stone, enter the heavenly coffin to obtain eternality; awaken the corpse earth to achieve the everlasting blessing of the heavens — this was still mystifying because more than half of it referred to things that had never been seen before.
No one had ever seen the heaven’s path or met this thing called the divine stone, nor did they see the heavenly coffin along with whatever unbeatable existence that was inside. As for obtaining eternality and the corpse earth to achieve everlastingness, these were simply ethereal rumors!
What Li Qiye thought about was that perhaps the Underworld Boat did not simply prolong one’s lifespan. The crucial part was whether one had a divine stone or not! Thus, Li Qiye came up with an outrageous thought! What would happen if one traveled with the Underworld Boat while having the divine stone?
Because of this bold speculation, Li Qiye formulated a crazy plan to board the Underworld Boat! In fact, Li Qiye had no way to be sure that the stone tablet in his hand was the divine stone; he didn’t know whether this trip would take him to the heaven’s path or not! However, he still wanted to take a gamble. From his understanding of the tablet’s runic patterns, this tablet definitely had an integral connection to the Heavenly Ancient Corpse Burial Ground. This was the only thing he was certain of!
He desired to see the thing inside the heavenly coffin that was wept for and ultimately buried by the Former People of all worlds in the immemorial age.
He wanted to know what the eternality bred by the heavens was! In fact, he had always wanted to figure out this mystery for millions of years during his existence!
On the Underworld Boat, it seemed as if he had silently floated in this place for an eternity. It felt like time itself had stopped, and there was nothing but the void!
“Baby, I hope that this time will be successful. Otherwise, your father will really have to meet those ghastly things in hell. I still don’t want to die just yet!” Li Qiye gently patted this stone tablet while murmuring.
The Underworld Boat endlessly wandered in complete silence above the Underworld River. There was no heaven above nor earth below, there was only a vast nothingness as the boat drifted above the world.
The world had always assumed that the Underworld Boats would eventually travel to the deepest part of the Heavenly Ancient Corpse Burial Ground. However, this remained a mystery even till now for no one knew the end of where the river flows. There had even been an Immortal Emperor who invaded the deepest location of the burial ground to find it, but it was all for naught.
While drifting for an unknown amount of time while sitting inside the boat, Li Qiye had been cultivating. He channeled his laws as his Life Wheel rotated cycle after cycle with flowing blood energy before finally refining it into a drop of Longevity Blood.
Even though the destination was unknown, Li Qiye was still able to maintain his calm after enduring countless adversities in his past.
Eventually, the endless drifting boat finally got a response. The stone tablet in front of Li Qiye gradually brightened as the runic lines became clearer. It was seemingly brimming with vitality and slowly moved like the flowing river branches or a network of blood vessels.
When the runic patterns on the stone tablet activated, the pitch-black Underworld Boat also reacted. There were also runic outlines forming and brightening on the ship’s exterior. An observation would make it clear that the runic outlines on the boat and the stone tablet were completely identical.
Prior to this, the boat essentially had no such outlines, but at this moment, the boat seemed to be able to feel or accept the call as a mysterious power gave birth to identical engraved runic outlines on both items.
At this time, the boat actually seemed to be driven by this mysterious force, allowing Li Qiye — who was sitting inside — to clearly feel that it had changed its drifting direction.
One was not able to tell the cardinal directions while being inside the Underworld Boat for it gave off an endless illusion of stillness.
But at this moment, Li Qiye was certain that the Underworld Boat changed its direction. However, Li Qiye was unable to tell where it was going.
“It seems like this gamble was a success.” Li Qiye murmured with happiness after clearly feeling the change in direction of the boat.
It drifted even longer towards the new destination as the runic outlines on both the stone tablet and the boat became increasingly brighter. In the end, it was as if a dazzling splendor shot out from the patterns and intertwined together into a heaven and earth’s written clause. Li Qiye meticulously gazed at this worldly clause, but he could not understand its true content right away.
Keep in mind that with countless years of experience, Li Qiye was more adept at interpreting universal law clauses than anyone else. No matter whether it was the Ancient Ming’s chapters in the legends or languages from the mythical Legendary Era, he had seen them all. He had seen things that the world had never even heard of; however, the worldly written clause in front of him was completely different from anything he had seen before. This was outside of his comprehension, and this mere sheet of paper alone was more foreign than even the legendary languages seen in his past!
Even though he could not understand this sequence in front of his eyes, he engraved it into his mind permanently.
After a long drift, the boat eventually and slowly came to a stop. This excited Li Qiye for he knew he had finally arrived. At this point, his eyes narrowed, creating a dignified expression. No one knew the final destination of the Underworld Boat, and no one knew what they would face once they left its interior.
After taking a deep breath, Li Qiye carried the stone tablet and drove the Tetra-War Bronze Chariot slowly out of the Underworld Boat.
The moment he witnessed the scene before him, even as someone who had experienced countless hardships, someone who was once hailed as an Immortal Emperor’s Dao Master, and someone who was a mythical legend, he still couldn’t help but become shocked!
At this time, there were no mountains nor rivers before him, or even any resemblance of a world at that. There was only an empty and endless void, deprived of any lifeforms. Let alone a blade of grass, there was not even a trace of any essence of life.
In front of him was a path leading straight up to the heavens; it seemed as if it was built by brilliant pebbles that were emitting a gentle yet eternal light! The path was seemingly endless as it reached towards an unknown destination.
He turned around and noticed that the boat was no longer drifting on the Underworld River, but rather, a resplendent river of stars, winding and coiling from a boundless unknown source.
“This is just like my expectations!” Li Qiye murmured in astonishment at the scene unfolding before his eyes. He was very excited for he could be the first one to arrive at this place since the beginning of time.
“The appearance of the Underworld signals the rise of rebirth; the path to heaven debuts the way to the divine stone. Enter the heavenly coffin to obtain eternality; awaken the corpse earth to achieve the everlasting blessing of the heavens!”
This was the complete legendary phrase! Over the years, many people — including Immortal Emperors — predicted that only by climbing on top of the heaven’s path would one be able to see the divine stone. However, the truth was far from this! The divine stone was not inside the Heavenly Ancient Corpse Burial Ground, and it was not at the end of the heaven’s path. What was called the divine stone had always been hidden in the mortal world!
The stone tablet in Li Qiye’s hand could very well be the divine stone. Only with this tablet would one be able to ride the Underworld Boat to reach the heaven’s path.
For eons, many people tried to find the heaven’s path, including Immortal Emperors and even Li Qiye! At this moment, it seemed like the heaven’s path was not necessarily inside the burial ground, and the same applied to the divine stone.
Li Qiye took a deep breath, then he slowly drove his chariot upward along the heaven’s path. The moment he exited the boat, it turned into a piece of rotten wood and dispersed with the wind. This meant that Li Qiye was on a path of no return without an Underworld Boat!
1. This is the English version and my own interpretation of the phrase: “The appearance of the Underworld signals the rise of rebirth; the path to heaven debuts the way to the divine stone. Enter the heavenly coffin to obtain eternality; awaken the corpse earth to achieve the everlasting blessing of the heavens.” This whole thing is meant to be hard to grasp so I tried my best to leave it in the original Chinese structure. Even the English version is surely not 100% accurate, for the raw itself leaves a lot to the context/imagination, which is the author’s intent 2. I used the Chinese version here to reiterate the mysticism of this moment