Chapter 19

The so-called “copper horns” on copper-horned coffins were actually just the eight corners of the coffin that were wrapped in copper. It was rumored that painting the coffin wood a golden color would bring in wealth and honor from all directions. In fact, the so-called gold on the “copper-horned golden coffin” referred to golden nanmu.

Copper had good ductility and was easy to forge so ancient craftsmen would use it to make various shapes on the four corners of the coffin lid. On this particular coffin, the two copper horns facing Black Glasses had two gods of music and dance engraved on them. If his guess was correct, the two opposite ones were engraved with civil and military gods.(1)

There was no doubt that the body inside the coffin must have moved. When using this method in an ancient tomb, the smoke from all the incense would float almost straight up into the air, so as long as the coffin shook a little bit, the smoke would immediately fluctuate.

There would be an apprentice sitting in front of the coffin, watching the smoke. The apprentice would be young, have a steady mind, wear a mask over their mouth, and not move a single inch. Even if they learned nothing else in this life, just learning to watch the smoke was enough to make a living in the Nine Gates.

At that time, the Qi family’s incense was specially made. Although it was a difficult skill to learn, the incense had to be inserted into the ground completely straight so that when it burned, the ashes wouldn’t fall off naturally but would remain on the incense stick.

After the whole incense stick burned, the undisturbed ash would continue to stand there. But this state was very fragile, so as long as the coffin moved, the incense ash would immediately fall to the ground. If you were watching the ash, you would know what kind of evil things were in the coffin.

Of course, by the time the old Nine Gates’ generation came around, the Qi family actually hadn’t been in a tomb for a long time. But these skills were still handed down over the years, which showed that the Qi family’s various techniques had initially been prepared for entering tombs. Before this family became so timid, there must have been times when they were adventurous.

Unfortunately, Black Glasses didn’t learn this kind of meticulous thing at all. The only thing he knew to do was to put cigarettes on the coffin.

When the coffin moved, he raised his hand and put it on the coffin lid, immediately feeling a subtle movement coming from inside. It wasn’t a big movement so Black Glasses’ first impression was that there was a fish inside, or something about as thick as a person’s arm that was flapping around.

Corpse transformation involved the corpse’s whole body changing, so if it wanted to move, several parts of its body had to move at the same time. This was essentially the basis of human motor skills.

This kind of motor skill, even if you deliberately withheld your strength, would generate a lot of power.

The vibration coming from this coffin wasn’t that strong but it wasn’t that subtle either. It honestly felt like there was a living creature the size of a human arm inside. The strength of these vibrations was reminiscent of the twitch of the fishing line when you caught a palm-sized carp.

Black Glasses touched the edge of the coffin and found that all of the coffin nails were deeply embedded in the lid. They were obviously old coffin nails, and many of them had rusted into the wood. In this kind of coffin, either the corpse had transformed or it was completely mummified, so how could there be a small living thing inside of it?

He thought about that bad premonition he had just now but the feeling was already gone. His heart was blank now, and he knew that the opportunity had passed.

The orchid mantises continued falling from the ceiling. This type of big mantis could fly and even seemed to have adapted to Black Glasses’ arrival because they started flying wildly all over the room, looking just like falling cherry blossoms.

The scene was so weird that Black Glasses started dialing Xie Yuchen’s phone number. He knew that there was no signal, but he needed a little analytical support so he was hoping that there would be a slim chance he could get through.

All of his attention had to be focused on the present so there was no way that he could think deeper about the causes and effects here. But whatever was happening in this place was obviously very complicated, which made it difficult to draw any direct conclusions at this time.

This often left him feeling very upset because it made him feel like nothing more than a thug.

Unfortunately, there still wasn’t any signal. He looked up at the ceiling and saw that it was covered in orchid mantises. Moreover, there was a spot directly above the coffin where most of them had gathered.

Those orchid mantises almost looked like they were coiled into a huge ball.

There’s something on the ceiling, Black Glasses thought to himself before he glanced back at the coffin and said, “Forgive me for offending you, brother. I know you must be very powerful, but—it’s a bit high here.”

He stepped on the coffin with one foot and used it as a springboard to jump up. Then, he grabbed the beam overhead with one hand, twisted his waist, and pulled himself up onto the beam.

As soon as he landed, those countless orchid mantises were startled into flight, revealing the thing that they were wrapped around. It turned out to be the body of a Russian who was kneeling on the beams directly above the coffin. The corpse was already highly decayed and was covered in mantises that were gnawing on it.

“I—” Black Glasses laughed and started to curse but held himself back. Were they too late? Was this Yuri?

He looked down and immediately saw that from this angle, the coffin and the porcelain statues surrounding it were all arranged in a strange formation.

He glanced at the Russian corpse again. When he was on the plane, he had read over the youngest son’s information so he knew what to look for. He leaned in for a closer look, saw the tattoo on its chest, and confirmed that this corpse was Yuri.

Yuri’s location in regards to that formation below was so precise that Black Glasses knew right away that it was a ritual.

If someone had set up a feng shui array to harm Yuri, and Yuri had invited someone here to protect himself, then when he saw this strange thing in this room, he would definitely try to deal with it before its murderous energy would take effect, or he would simply move out.

But Yuri had died on the beam above this thing in a kneeling position…

Black Glasses looked around again and saw that there were black things hanging everywhere in the space above the beam that were giving off a strange smell. He looked at them carefully and found that they were actually internal organs.

This was obviously a sacrificial setup, but Yuri was the person presiding over the sacrifice. Did he die unexpectedly during the sacrifice, or was it also a kind of sacrifice?

What the hell was going on here?

Black Glasses continued looking down at the coffin below. What was in there? If a sacrifice was made, then it must have been done for whatever was in this coffin.

But this was a Chinese coffin from the Ming Dynasty so what exactly was this array?

<Chapter 18><Table of Contents><Chapter 20>

****

TN Notes:

(1) The music and dance gods could be called “jiyue” (伎乐). It was basically what professional female dancers of the time were called. They usually danced and performed at informal banquets and their music and dance pieces took more inspiration from folk music and dance forms. They were more entertaining than the official dances. The civil and military gods were actually called “civil and military door gods” (门神) in the raw. Door gods are divine guardians of doors and gates in Chinese folk religions, used to protect against evil spirits and bad influences (military door gods) or to attract blessings and good fortune (civil door gods).

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