Rumble… The sea of hair was so vast that it covered the entire Naraka Bridge with an entire layer of sheeny black, almost as though there were millions of writhing, poisonous snakes that were charging straight towards Qin Ye.
“This is…” Qin Ye drew a deep breath before bellowing, “Hurry!!!”
He knew full well that the abyss hid a terrifying presence, and it was evident that Granny Meng knew who this existence was. No, it might be more accurate to put it differently - was there any ghost in Hell that didn’t know who Granny Meng was?
The Echoing Worms hid far away from the approach of the sea of hair, while thousands of ghosts scattered in all directions - someone had clearly provoked the crouching tiger!
Unfortunately, Granny Meng didn’t hear Qin Ye’s desperate cry for help. She had probably already departed for the same place which the ferryman and the Torch Dragon had gone, and the black butterfly continued to soar at the same dismal pace as before. But how could the speed of the black butterfly compare with the intense approach of the sea of hair?! Perhaps even Granny Meng would never have expected the creature from the abyss to turn against her like that.
It shouldn’t be able to catch me… Qin Ye’s scalp was numb as he watched the black hair overwhelm the Naraka Bridge. Then, just as his apprehension came to a head, the hair began to coil and twist together as it shot straight towards the sky! It was almost akin to the fabled demon vines of ancient lore.
“Shit!” Qin Ye gnashed his teeth. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a spot of red rise up from the depths of the abyss.
It was incredibly small, yet it was incredibly eye-catching in the sea of black. This spot was red as blood, almost akin to the pupils of a great demon.
Clack… clack… The sounds of falling gravel echoed eerily. Seconds later, a red paper umbrella rose from the depths of the abyss.
This umbrella obscured most of its owner’s body. Three thousand strands of fine hair hung loosely beneath the umbrella. Its owner donned a vibrantly-coloured silken palace uniform comprising of the clashing colours of green, red, white and yellow. This mysterious entity carefully plodded along the carpeted path formed by its own ink-black hair. With every step it took, a crimson-red flower with three tiers of slim petals would bloom behind it. It looked almost as though this entity’s blood were blooming behind it.
Red spider lilies.
Hell was engulfed in pitch-black darkness. The front of Hell was where the skeletal bridge was located; the heart of Hell was where the towering golden statue of Ksitigarbha stood tall; underfoot was the Naraka Bridge, and the rest of the surroundings were filled with roiling black fog. The sight of the umbrella-toting lady plodding along the ink-black carpet decorated by blood-red spider lilies was so otherworldly that it caused chills to run down Qin Ye’s spine.
“You are…” The lady appeared to be plodding on slowly, yet her speed was frighteningly fast. Within moments, she had already caught up to Qin Ye and stopped mere dozens of meters in front of him.
“Arakshasa…” The lady’s voice was crisp and clear, like wind chimes clanging beautifully in the wind. There was an ethereal twang to her voice. Without raising her red umbrella, she continued to speak softly, “Don’t be afraid...I’m one of Hell’s officials too. In fact, I was previously an Infernal Judge ruling over the Peak District of Hell…”
Qin He didn’t let his guard down in the slightest as he cautiously took a step back.
He had not read the details that Granny Meng had prepared for him and left under his pillow, and he was naturally unable to appreciate just where an Infernal Judge stood among all of Hell’s officials. That said, why would a person who was once an Infernal Judge be relegated to the depths of the abyss?
Furthermore, Arakshasa was a name that he had heard somewhere before.
This was the name used by Indians. Transliterated, her name would be… Rakshasa!
Only Hell’s most terrifying evil spirits could be referred to as Rakshasa - vicious and murderous, and incomparably bloodthirsty. And right now, such an entity was actually standing right before him!
“Do you know…” Arakshasa lowered her umbrella slightly, and her body trembled slightly, “The first section of the Yellow Springs Road, also known as the skeletal bridge, cannot be traversed by normal Yin spirits at all. Only three types of people qualify to traverse this segment of the road.”
“Firstly, Emissaries of Hell.”
“Secondly, those who had been approved by Hell, or those who have even been invited to Hell as guests.”
“And thirdly…” Her body trembled even more vigorously, almost as though she were barely holding onto an umbrella weighing thousands of kilograms, “Those who have come into contact with shards of Hell’s primordial treasures.”
Sss… The hair beneath her umbrella began to emit a peculiar sound as she began to hunch her body slightly. Sss… “I…” Ssss… “and you… how about we make a deal?”
“What deal?” Qin Ye continued to stare at her with the utmost vigilance. Arakshasa was behaving abnormally no matter how one looked at it.
Arakshasa responded, “Give me that Yin spirit.”
Qin Ye’s eyes shifted slightly, “If you say it’s a deal, then there must be something in it for me. What do I stand to gain?”
Sss...sss sss… Arakshasa’s body was trembling even more powerfully at this moment, “I… can… let you leave this place…. alive…”
The faint sound of dripping drool could be heard emanating from underneath the umbrella. “Sss… I can’t hold back much longer. I’ve not tasted blood or food for the last few centuries. Do you know how tempting your existence is?”
Her body shuddered as she slowly inched her way over, “Do you truly appreciate the significance of the existence of this Yin spirit?”
“Sss… Do you really think that the old granny has exchanged a hundred years of her time - even trading in her merits and achievements just to prolong her existence that little bit longer - just so that you could locate a single shard of King Yanluo’s Seal?”
“Since you neither appreciate nor understand all that… sss… then you should simply hand it over to me!!”
As soon as she finished speaking, the red umbrella shattered! Her vibrant, clashing robes were immediately rent by an invisible force, and a goosebumps-inducing figure finally revealed itself.
It was a head.
It was only a head.
There was no body. Hair extended wildly and endlessly out of the orifices where the eyes, ears and mouth should be, almost like thousands and thousands of snakes slithering out of their cages. Writhing movements could even be seen underneath her skin. As the hair flowed out like a terrifying black flower blooming, countless grievous moans could be heard echoing throughout the corners of Hell. Sorrow, rage, ecstasy, and the manifestation of other intense emotions culminated in innumerable hoarse shrieks that immediately made Qin Ye feel as though he had descended into the depths of the eighteenth level of Hell.
“Deal with me, or die!!”
Arakshasa’s roar was accompanied by the deathly orchestra of moaning spirits. Its grandeur was like the sight of mountain range upon mountain range, yet the intense undertones of chaos were akin to powerful tsunamis crashing onto turbulent waves amidst turbulent winds. Right now, Qin Ye felt as though he were standing in the eye of the storm as his black robes fluttered with the intense gale.
What terrifying Yin energy…
With one hand shielding his eyes from the gale, Qin Ye’s senses were now operating at its limits. He forcefully suppressed the intense thumping of his heart as he retorted, “But this is something that the esteemed Granny Meng has handed to me.”
“Heh… sss…” The human head in the core of the vortex appeared to smile in bemusement, before bursting out into a wild laughter, “Hahaha… HAHAHAHA!!”
“Everyone in Hell, including all Emissaries of Hell without exception, had once been guilty of a thousand sins in their lifetime. Do you really expect there to exist any true feelings or emotional entanglement between Granny Meng and I?”
“Hohoho… don’t joke with me like that. If she were still here, I might still be somewhat afraid of her… sss… human, you simply don’t understand what that ‘key’ you’re holding onto will bring upon you. You’re not worthy to use something like that… come, hand it over. Quickly!!”
Boom!! As soon as she finished speaking, Qin Ye felt as though he were struck squarely by a gargantuan invisible hand, and he immediately stumbled back tens of meters.
“Shit…” He wiped off the blood that had trickled out of the corner of his lips. One sound was all it took… he was evidently being overwhelmed by mere soundwaves! His internal organs were stricken with intense pain, while his Hell’s Emissary robes appeared almost as though they were on the brink of immolation. The corners of his robes were already charred and filled with scorch marks.
In other words, the defensive capabilities of his Hell’s Emissary robes had been overwhelmed by mere soundwaves!
This was by no means an opponent he could face!
Swoosh! Just as his thoughts began to spin, innumerable strands of hair began to converge like a spooky shadow, weaving and coiling, until it formed a ghastly hand that pointed straight at Qin Ye’s vitals. Qin Ye’s pupils constricted as he bellowed, “I’ll hand it over!!”
There was no room for hesitation at all.
Swish… The hair paused three meters away. It had taken less than a tenth of a second to traverse a distance of tens of meters.
A drop of cold sweat rolled off Qin Ye’s forehead. He could even begin to detect the greasy smell from his own hair.
He held one hand up into the air, and locked eyes with the monstrosity that was tens of meters away as he slowly crouched down. It was all to show that he hid no ill intent. He was already drenched in cold sweat. His other hand reached into his robe, as though feeling for something.
“Don’t play tricks, mortal.” Arakshasa cautioned placidly, “Schemes are something that you can only employ when you have the capacity to do so. Our abilities are worlds apart, and no amount of scheming will…”
Her voice suddenly paused.
Qin Ye smiled.
Why was he smiling? Arakshasa was taken aback.
Has realization only dawned on him on the brink of death? Does he really think that I would truly let him off the hook after he hands over the all-important spirit? Does he really think he’s so lucky? Or is he simply scared out of his wits right now?
Just then, Qin Ye’s Hell’s Emissary robes began to dance on their own, while the Soul Shackle around his waist began to make a clanging noise. In the very next moment, his robes exploded, revealing a mere mortal’s clothes within. Yet, right where his chest was, a golden scroll had slowly begun to unravel.
His fingertips were tugging on a piece of red string.
“This…” Arakshasa’s heart was suddenly overwhelmed with an ominous feeling. However, she was not given the luxury of time to contemplate her next move. With a loud bang, an incomparably dense swathe of Yin energy suddenly transformed into a raging tide that washed across the entire Naraka Bridge!
Majestic and imposing; pure and boundless!
If Arakshasa’s Yin energy could be likened to the Yellow River, then the present wave of Yin energy could only be described as the vast oceans! By the time the Yin energy ebbed, Arakshasa’s hair on the ground had already been completely singed and burned up. Yet what seized her attention at this moment was an immense black vortex, tens of meters tall, that was swirling powerfully as it wrapped around Qin Ye.
“This is…” She stared at the vortex with disbelief. In the very next moment, her entire being began to tremble in fear. Half a second later, with a shrill shriek of horror, she fled madly back towards the abyss from where she came.
“Sixfold Ghost King… it’s the bodily possession of a Sixfold Ghost King!!”
“Sss… that damn old hag actually gave him something like that?!!”
The remnant black hair on the ground retreated like a receding tide. Just then, an earth-shattering bang resounded through the powerful black vortex, and a human figure with a sky-splitting black aura about him riding a white war horse leapt straight out of the vortex!
He was clothed in pure silver armor, yet this armor had clearly been dyed red from the blood of his enemies. His pants were torn and tattered, and he was evidently dressed in the garments of ancient times. However, he still possessed Qin Ye’s appearances. He wielded a brilliant white pike in his hand, and the tip of this pike was pointed straight at Arakshasa as she continued to rout.
Tap… The white horse’s hooves lifted lightly, and it shot forward. In the blink of an eye, it had already traversed hundreds of meters. Destruction was nigh!
The white horse with silver saddle looked as valiant as a shooting star in the night sky.
Chatter...chatter… As the murderous aura shot straight towards her, Arakshasa’s teeth began to chatter incessantly while she shrieked, “No… mercy… mercy!!”
Before she could finish speaking, a pike ran straight through her forehead. The sounds of chaos ceased instantly, and in that moment, there was only silence.
No form of martial arts was absolute. The only thing that was absolute was speed.
There was no flowery technique or trickery employed. In fact, nobody even witnessed how this pike had been swung. Yet as soon as it appeared, its target was already dead.
All it took was just one simple attack.
Time appeared to pause for a second. Then, in the very next moment, Arakshasa cried out with a heart-rending scream, and the black hair behind her head began to spin wildly into a vortex. With the tip of the pike as the core of it all, the surroundings transformed into a terrifying black hole in just an instant!
“No...no!! You...you’re just a mere mortal...how dare you…”
The black hole closed up, and a ball that was sealed with a talisman fell straight to the ground.
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