Qin Mu and the dragon qilin had dazed looks. They raised their heads to look at the behemoth beside them, speechless.
The taotie stood beside them like a mountain-sized mountain goat. Its front two limbs were incomparably strong and its back limbs were thick and short. The hair on its body had bronze patterns, going round and round.
The behemoth had a human face, but its facial features were extremely weird. Its eyes were under its armpits, the place where its front limbs were connected to its chest. Its mouth was squarish and wide, filled with tiger's teeth. Its goat's horns protruded out like thorns, looking extremely fierce!
Xing An's chest had been made from taotie's skin, which was used on the surface of the chest, and bones, which acted as the frame.
One had to know that Qin Mu had two taotie sacks, but the amount of skin used to make one was merely a foot in length and width. Yet the exterior of the huge chest used the skin of one whole taotie!
If one added the taotie bones that were used to support the space inside, the chest could be said to be incomparably luxurious!
Qin Mu's taotie sack didn't transform because the interior space wasn't connected to the outside world. On the other hand, the chest had transformed into taotie because its interior space had connected with the outside world!
The transformation of the chest was slightly slower probably because its interior was a world by itself. To spat out everyone in its stomach, the chest had opened up, which resulted in its interior coming in contact with Fengdu, so the chest was also affected by the living realm of the dead.
Qin Mu pulled away his gaze and hurriedly grabbed the taotie sacks at his waist, thinking to himself, 'My taotie sacks need to be kept properly, I definitely cannot open them; otherwise, it won't be two taotie sacks on my waist, but two taoties strapped to me...'
Two mountain-sized taoties strapped to his waist and him stuck in the middle would definitely not be something pleasant. No matter if it was a squeeze or a tug, he would die incomparably miserably!
The taotie transformed from the chest raised its claws, still puzzled why it would change like that.
However, it didn't think much about it and immediately took off to chase the people that were running toward Fengdu. It opened its mouth in delight and tried to swallow them all.
Even though it was affected by the living realm of the dead and gained flesh and blood, its mind was still simpler. After all, it was a chest awakened by Qin Mu.
The dead that were being chased by it were frightened out of their wits, to the point they had no more will to do anything.
Taotie was one of the most famous evil creatures and ate anything. It was never fussy so it was no wonder they fled everywhere in fear.
Qin Mu hesitated for a moment and called out to the creature. The taotie chest ran back and looked reluctantly at the escapees. When it saw the dragon qilin, it couldn't help jumping in joy again and opened its strangely weird mouth.
The dragon qilin's hair stood on ends, and he immediately said, "You can't eat me! I treat you as a good brother yet you want to eat me. Where's the justice?"
Qin Mu consoled him. "Don't worry, it doesn't want to eat you. It just likes to collect some bones, hands, and legs... Spit me out, quickly spit me out! Damned chest, stupid chest, even eating me! Quickly spit me out..."
Finally, they came to the first divine city in Fengdu. At this place, Qin Mu saw all kinds of strange and weird people. Some of them had no heads, some huge holes in their chests, and some were missing arms or legs.
However, there were also strong practitioners that had died normally, so their arms and legs were intact.
There were many people in the first god city, and there were also strange life forms lingering in the air. They didn't look like the dead, but like spirits.
"Those are the scattered souls of strong practitioners. Their incomplete souls are lingering around here, but even in Fengdu they don't have their own corporeal bodies," Bird-Headed God Chi Xiu said. "Don't look at them, be careful of being possessed."
Qin Mu hurriedly looked away. However, his curiosity was roused. Instead of looking at the incomplete souls that were lingering around, he examined other people.
Soon, he discovered something strange. Other than the incomplete souls in the sky, there were actually people without corporeal bodies as well!
There were many who didn't have an inch of it. Only their primordial spirits were left!
Yet even so, those people were extremely strong. However, the forms of their primordial spirits were different from the human body. They usually were shaped as sacred creatures.
The most common primordial spirit forms were the four great spirit bodies, them being Vermillion Bird God, Black Tortoise God, Green Dragon God, and White Tiger God.
However, there were even more primordial spirits that were something else, some fantastic oddities of every description. There were demon-faced gods with green faces and tusks, bull-headed gods with horns on their heads and fire wrapping around their bodies, gods with human heads and snake bodies, gods with three heads and six arms, and gods with all kinds of other forms.
'These people aren't incomplete souls; their primordial spirits are complete. Where are they from? Since they have primordial spirits and not corporeal bodies here, doesn't that mean that their corporeal bodies are still alive?'
Qin Mu suddenly took note of some crucial points.
The corporeal bodies of those primordial spirits were still alive!
He stared with his eyes wide open. There were numerous primordial spirits of all forms in the city. In just the period of time from when he had entered the city, he had already seen more than two hundred of them. Didn't this mean that there were two hundred and more gods still alive?
Where were all of them hiding in his world?
Not only that, more than two hundred was just what he had seen when he entered the city. This meant that there were even more primordial spirits in the city.
Besides, this city was only one god city of Fengdu. According to the where he had been the previous time he had come, there should be quite a few Fengdu Cities. The last time he had seen the place, there seemed to be some nine-ten cities, and each one was very large!
In that case, how many gods were still alive in the world?
'Why did these gods abandon their corporeal bodies and enter Fengdu? Where are their corporeal bodies at... Wait a minute!'
Qin Mu's mind was blown as qi and blood rushed into his brain, causing his ears to ring.
There were many gods in his world!
It was just that they had already become stone statues!
They were the stone statues protecting the people in Great Ruins!
Didn't this mean that they could revive anytime and become gods?
This guess was shocking!
All kinds of strange incidents in Great Ruins had troubled Qin Mu for a long time, but if his guess was correct, he could explain part of the strangeness.
For example, the incident at Heavenly King Temple in which the heavenly king's stone statue had ridden the dragon qilin to slay the dragon king at night!
For example, the incident of the white bat god statues reviving!
And for example, when he and Village Chief roamed the night of Great Ruins and saw the battle between gods and devils!
Of course, there were still numerous unexplainable things. In the incident of slaying the dragon king, the heavenly king of Heavenly King Temple had gone on the order of Founding Emperor to slay the dragon king that had rebelled. Where had this order of Founding Emperor come from?
In the incident of white bat god statues, why was there a god that looked like an Overlord Body petrified in the depths of Ghost Valley? Why was there a passage to Youdu there?
During the battle between the gods and devils, who was the one fighting with the gods of Great Ruins?
On top of that, the primordial spirits of Fengdu's gods also couldn't explain the sight of the five worlds overlapping at the source of Surging River. They also couldn't begin to explain how Qin Mu had returned to the ancient times.
'The strange sights in Great Ruins are just like the sea of fog. After pushing the fog away, there is more fog, making it hard to see the real thing,' Qin Mu thought.
They came to a very wide river in the city. There was a flying bridge that connected the two shores. Qin Mu went to the railing to look down, but he only saw dense fog churning instead of water. Once in a while, he could see slimy bodies slithering within it.
"Is this place connected to the sea of fog?" he inquired.
"No. The other end of the dense fog is Youdu. Those things are life forms of Youdu," Bird-Headed God Chi Xiu said.
"Life forms of Youdu?" Qin Mu's mind was muddle-headed. He muttered, "Fengdu and Youdu are connected? Won't Youdu attack this place?"
God Chi Xiu didn't explain. He led them across the Bridge of Helplessness and came to a sacred hall. It was called Hall of King Qin. When Qin Mu saw the three words on the horizontally inscribed board, he couldn't help being stunned.
'Why is this sacred hall called Hall of King Qin? Could the hall master's surname be Qin?'
He was puzzled, but the bird-headed god escorted them into the hall. At that moment, the hall was brightly lit yet the light gave a feeling of a void. It was as if it wasn't truly fire. Its light was also hazy.
On both sides of the hall, there were awe-inspiring and solemn sculptures of ghost gods. They were tall and had queer appearances, their body parts different from those of ordinary people. With sashes around their bodies, they held all kinds of weapons in their hands, like knives, spears, swords, halberds, shields, tokens, and even huge snakes.
Qin Mu stopped in front of one sculpture to examine it, wanting to study the rune markings on its body. But suddenly, the eyeballs of the ghost god sculpture rolled and looked at him curiously.
Qin Mu jumped in shock and hurriedly took a step back. The eyeballs of the ghost god sculpture looked forward again then, making him think that he'd been seeing things.
'These are not sculptures, but real ghost gods!'
Qin Mu instantly became well-behaved and went after God Chi Xiu.
In the main hall, a god cloaked in black sat upright and still, busy reading through memorials.
God Chi Xiu bowed and said, "King Yama, convicts Qin Mu, Xing An, and Shaman God Kui have been captured. Awaiting your orders!"
The black-robed god placed the cinnabar brush in his hand down and raised his head. His face under the black robe couldn't be seen clearly. Only two dim lights could be seen.
"Xing An's predestined lifespan is yet to end, and he's not under the jurisdiction of my Fengdu, so let him go."
God Chi Xiu was slightly stunned, but he still followed the orders and let Xing An go.
"Xing An, even though you have done much evil, Fengdu doesn't deal with people who are yet to die," King Yama said. "You can leave."
Xing An was surprised but delighted. He sneered and said, "So Fengdu is still a reasonable place. Very good, farewell!"
He was about to move, but the other twenty to thirty bodies on him weren't willing. They made him unable to take a step!
Xing An was astonished and angry. Those bodies were struggling, screaming and cursing, wanting to repay him with kind!
"How can Hall of King Qin tolerate such clamor?" King Yama's voice turned unpleasant. "Throw him out."
Suddenly, two of the ghost god 'sculptures' moved. The two ghost gods held military forks with which they stabbed Xing An and threw him out of the hall.
"Didn't you say you will let me leave? Why are you still keeping me in Fengdu?" Xing An asked angrily.
God Chi Xiu sneered. "How can you blame others if you can't walk out yourself? Ignorant."
King Yama then looked at Shaman God Kui who was not frightened at all. He sneered and said, "My predestined lifespan isn't over as well. Old Man Qin, shouldn't you let me go as well?"
'Old Man Qin?' Qin Mu's heart trembled violently. 'King Yama's surname is also Qin? Who is he exactly?'
King Yama looked over indifferently. "It isn't difficult for my Fengdu to take a life. You've done too much evil, and there are many people in Fengdu who have died in your hands. Their souls had scattered from your worship. There's nothing to pity about your death."
Shaman God Kui was fearless and chuckled. "So what can you do to me? Your Fengdu was merely a territory seized by Youdu. Fengdu is merely a place where the survivors gather, constructed by imitating Youdu, trying in vain to overthrow heaven! Youdu paths, skills and divine arts that you manage are basically coarse toys that don't even catch my eyes. Compared the Youdu divine arts of the celestial heavens, you are still thousands of miles inferior.
"I have received a fief and title from heaven so I'm not under Youdu's jurisdiction. I can die in anyone's hands, but I won't be injured by Youdu's paths and skills! You can't kill me!"
King Yama remained unmoved, and his voice was calm. "The reason we captured you instead of killing you is to understand our opponent through you. Fetch Three Lives Mirror and search his paths, skills, and divine arts, as well as his life experiences. Know thyself, know thy enemy!"
A ghost king in Hall of King Qin walked down from the magic altar and came to the front of Shaman God Kui. That ghost king had green skin and had two pitifully small wings. There were horns on his head, and he had tusks that made his mouth seem abnormally large.
It suddenly opened and instantly became wider than his body. That mouth was so huge that it could make one's hair stand up on ends!
His mouth was like a door in which light gathered for form a huge mirror while shone on Shaman God Kui.
The primordial spirit shrieked and suddenly transformed into a wisp of green smoke that was absorbed into the mirror.
The scenery inside the mirror started changing then. It actually showed the life of Shaman God Kui in reverse, going back from the moment God Chi Xiu had captured him. Time flowed back, continuously moving backward.
All kinds of scenes in the mirror were displayed for a fleeting moment. Xing An subduing Shaman God Kui, him getting schemed by Grandmaster, him using Life and Death Book to worship billions of lives to death, killing enemy generals, all the way back to the battle of Founding Emperor Celestial Heavens. The time in the mirror flowed back to ancient times. More and more of his experiences were shown without any reservation!
Qin Mu's scalp started to crawl. If one was caught by this Three Lives Mirror, who would still have secrets?
Qin Mu and the dragon qilin had dazed looks. They raised their heads to look at the behemoth beside them, speechless.