In somewhat shocking fashion, Yang Qi just directly asked for information about the headquarters of the House of Shadowblight.
In response, the eyes of the Myriad Consortium vice-president glittered brightly.
“Senior, you want to buy information about the House of Shadowblight? Don’t tell me that they offended you somehow?”
“Not per se,” Yang Qi replied coolly. “They’re heretical wretch-devils. Anybody has the right to punish them. Considering the Myriad Consortium is a group of honest and upright businessmen, you would surely be eager to help rid the world of devils and demons. Am I right? These three demon cores are precious treasures from Quinary Lifeseizing fiend-devils. Considering how much vital energy is stored in them, it would be hard to find a better treasure to insert into a spell formation. This should cover the cost of some information about some wretch-devil heretics.”
“Demon cores like this are definitely very valuable, but details regarding the headquarters of the House of Shadowblight, well…. that’s no inconsequential information. I need to check with my superiors to see if I'm allowed to directly sell top secret information like that. If you don’t mind, I’ll go put in a request, and at the same time, have these three demon cores evaluated.”
“That's fine. I’ll wait here for an update.” Yang Qi closed his eyes and sat there calmly.
The vice president made his way out with the captain. Once they were out of earshot, he asked, “Where did this guy come from?”
“I don't know,” the captain replied. “But my identification plaque said he has a Nonary Lifeseizing aura, so I didn’t dare press him for information. What do we do now? The House of Shadowblight is an important customer. They spend huge amounts of wealth on intelligence reports from us. And now someone wants information about them?”
The two men walked down the street to another towering building, which was protected by numerous spell formations and warding spells. Entering, they made their way to a tea room which was constructed entirely of translucent porcelain, and was so high up in the building that it offered a spectacular view of the entire city.
Sitting at a table in the room were two men, one middle-aged, one elderly, having a discussion as they sipped fine tea.
Upon hearing the knock on the door, the middle-aged man said, “Enter!”
“Greetings, President,” the vice-president said with utmost respect. “I wasn't aware that you were entertaining a customer, my apologies.”
“It's fine. This is Blightking Blisscarnage from the House of Shadowblight, one of our top customers. He’s come in person to discuss an enormous business deal.”
“That’s right,” said the old man, who was none other than Blightking Blisscarnage. Although he was stooped from age, he radiated immense strength and power. Clearly, he was a Nonary Lifeseizer, just on the verge of becoming a Legendary. “We’re about to receive a big shipment of treasure from the Western Continent. There are even some precious spirit stones from ancient times which are tens of thousands of times as effective as energy convergence pills. We hope to trade them for more intelligence reports from your Myriad Consortium.”
‘Spirit stones?!’ the vice president thought, shocked. “President, I have a customer who wants to buy some top-secret information, and I need your authorization to—”
“There’s no need to keep secrets from present company,” the president said. “Go ahead and speak freely.”
“You see….” he looked hesitantly at Blightking Blisscarnage, then continued, “well, it’s like this….” With that, he went on to explain the whole situation. He even pulled out the three demon cores. “Considering the matter involves one of our most important clients, the House of Shadowblight, I know that I can’t make the decision on my own.”
Blightking Blisscarnage suddenly cackled loudly. “I can’t believe someone is trying to make a move on the House of Shadowblight. I'm very curious what monstrous force of evil might be plotting against us.”
“Please wait a moment, Blightking Blisscarnage,” the president said. “Remember, you can’t do anything within the headquarters of the Myriad Consortium itself. Our rules are clear about that. We’re completely and utterly on your side in this, of course, but we need to maintain the appearance of propriety.” Chuckling, he looked down at the three demon cores. “Not bad…. They could really boost the power of any devil item they were used to augment. And if they were added to a devil formation, they could unleash incredible power. Blightking Blisscarnage, please, take them as an expression of good faith.”
With that, the three demon cores flashed through the air into Blightking Blisscarnage’s hand.
The old man was visibly surprised, but then he laughed loudly. “Yet again you prove to be a perfect business partner. So now what? You’re going to take his money and leave him out to dry?”
“Leave him out to dry? Of course not. He wants information about the House of Shadowblight, so I’ll give it to him. He's obviously some hothead looking to get killed. Your house should have plenty of ways to handle him, right?” The president was clearly not worried about the matter at all. “Vice-President, go tell him that we accept his offer, and that we’ll carry out a full investigation. He can come back in three days for the report.”
“Yes, sir!” With that, the vice-president and the captain left.
Chuckling, the president then said, “Although, who knows what will happen in those three days….”
Blightking Blisscarnage laughed uproariously. “How cunning, you wily old fox. Don’t worry, I won’t forget this gesture. And I’ll definitely report it to the houselord. It will help out significantly when it comes time to ink the next deal. By the way, I heard that your largest shareholder, the Crown Prince Society, is growing more powerful by the day. Presumably you need a lot of resources to feed their growth. I’d expect this latest deal of ours to help out in that regard. And in five years, when the Crown Prince comes out of seclusion as an invincible Great Sage, your company will definitely experience a meteoric rise.”
“That’s right,” the president said, nodding. “Of course, we have other shareholders besides the Crown Prince Society, and all of them are very much looking forward to this upcoming business deal. After all, everyone knows that the House of Shadowblight is backed by the massive Blight Legion Church. In the Western Continent, they’re on a similar level as our four institutes.”
“Yes, I truly hope this collaboration goes without a hitch.” Eyes flashing with cold light, Blightking Blisscarnage rose to his feet. “It seems the House of Shadowblight will soon have another Nonary Lifeseizer blightpuppet. We’ll definitely go all out to take him down. In fact, perhaps our Legendary leader will personally lead the team. Three days? That should be more than enough time.” With that, he vanished into thin air.
Back in the waiting room, Yang Qi listened to the vice-president’s explanation, and then said, “So, you’re taking my payment, but I need to wait three days for the information?”
“That's right. During the following three days, the consortium will hold nothing back to get information about the House of Shadowblight experts, including their defenses, spell formations, resources, etcetera. All of it will be in the report. It's up to you whether or not to accept. That's just how we do business.” The vice-president was really laying it on as thick as he could.
Yang Qi nodded. “Alright, if that's how it works, then I’ll be back in three days.”
“Very well. Take care, Senior.” The vice-president held out his hand, indicating that Yang Qi should leave. After he was gone, he smiled viciously. ‘Doesn’t know what's good for him. Within three days, you’ll be a blightpuppet.’
As Yang Qi left Mongoltar, the sky began to grow dark. Eventually, he found a mountain a few hundred kilometers away, where he sat down and looked back at the glittering lights of the city, a cold smile playing out on his face. ‘Three days? Is that how much time you need to warn the House of Shadowblight? Otherwise, why wouldn’t you offer me accommodations? Seems this Myriad Consortium is up to no good. And to think the Crown Prince Society is their biggest shareholder.”
Yang Qi had learned of such matters a while back from his sworn siblings. However, the main thing he lacked was the location of the House of Shadowblight itself. And finding it on his own would be like fishing a needle from the sea.
But now, he was definitely closing in on his objective.
With that, he began to perform some breathing exercises beneath the glittering starlight. From what he had heard, upon reaching the eighth Legendary transformation, the Astral-Star Transformation, it was possible to absorb the boundless power of the stars. And it would even be possible to create a starry magnetic field, which would instantly transform everything in a five hundred kilometer radius into a sea of stars. Of course, Yang Qi was far from that level.
At one point near the end of the three-day period of waiting, ten shadowy figures suddenly appeared in the air around the mountain that Yang Qi occupied. They were surrounded by black, hypertoxic energy, that, in the blink of an eye, transformed into a powder-like substance that rained down on the mountain. As it did, all of the animals and plants nearby died, and even the rocks began to melt.
One of the shadowy figures touched down on the ground and looked over at Yang Qi, who seemed unaffected by the toxic energy. Chuckling, he said, “Listen up, moron. I'm Blightczar Skyfiend, ninth vice-houselord of the House of Shadowblight. Are you the one who asked the Myriad Consortium for information about our headquarters?”
“That’s right. I did.”
Another old man appeared. “I'm Blightking Blisscarnage, thirty-second vice-houselord. Hurry up and tell us who you're working for, moron. Otherwise you’ll end up in such horrific pain that you’ll only be able to yearn for death.”
“You're all they sent?” Yang Qi said, opening his eyes and looking around. The hypertoxic true energy that filled the area was kept at bay by his own energy arts, and couldn’t touch him. As he examined the people who were speaking to him, he realized that most were Octonary or Nonary Lifeseizers. The strongest was the so-called Blightczar Skyfiend, who was a Legendary. Normally speaking, someone who found themselves surrounded by a group like this would be terrified.
One of the other blightkings, an Octonary, stepped forward, glared at Yang Qi, and said, “You’re a Nonary Lifeseizer? You must be a famous person. Who are you? Spit it out! Why are you asking for information about our organization? We’re not a group you can afford to offend.”
“So, the Myriad Consortium told you about me?” Yang Qi said, rising to his feet.
“You're a real imbecile, you know that?” Blightczar Skyfiend said. “The Myriad Consortium is the biggest business partner of the House of Shadowblight. In fact, they even do business with the Blight Legion Church. And here you come along, some moronic hothead who thinks he’s just going to stroll right into our headquarters? What a joke! Surrender immediately, and tell us who sent you.”
“I’ll capture him, Ninth Vice-Houselord,” Blightking Blisscarnage said, chuckling coldly. Descending toward Yang Qi, he waved his hand, pulling out a snake-like weapon. “Guess what, moron? My Magic Viper Cane is missing a soul. Yours! And now—”
Before he could finish speaking, Yang Qi vanished, reappeared right behind him, and ripped his head off.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Before Game of Thrones or Harry Potter even existed, there was the Riddle-Master Trilogy. This series was highly influential to me when I read it in middle-school. It draws inspiration from a lot of Celtic mythology, and features shapeshifters as a major plot element. I guess I would call it eclectic. I don’t want to go into too much detail about it for fear of spoilers. It’s a pretty short series, but solidly literary. Check it out here, and now that I think about it, it’s been so many years, I should probably re-read it.