The pale moonlight illuminated the house that was otherwise shrouded in darkness. Unfortunately, not only did it fail to bring light to darkness, it even appeared to accentuate the darkness around.
The sounds of shouting and cursing was quickly followed by the sounds of the kitchen knife being plunged straight into flesh. Then, there were miserable screams amidst the sickening sounds of blood splatter. The bloody and depraved scene appeared to be being reenacted all around Qin Ye right now. Any person in his right mind would find such an incident completely abhorrent.
Even Qin Ye furrowed his brows deeply. The unbelievably desperate cries were intertwined with the teenager’s wild, insane roars as they washed past his eardrums like a tidal wave. It was as though the entire room were trembling from how horrific it was.
The depression, madness and bloodshed were all being revisited in an otherwise empty house.
“Stop stabbing me… it hurts… take your mum to the hospital, eh… I won’t bother you again… unnghhh unggghh….”
“Send my ass! I’ll cut you down!!”
Crack… It was the sickening sound of the knife cutting into the bone.
“Dare you care more, huh?! Who told you to interfere with what I’m doing?! Screw you, mother!!”
Crack… crack… The grotesque sounds were enmeshed with the soft, rustling sounds of blood splatter. The woman’s cries went from panicked screams, to miserable wails, to muffled groans, and finally… complete silence.
The young man’s voice, however, went from bellows of rage, to manic cries, until it finally became cracked and hoarse.
The entire ordeal lasted for well over ten minutes. And finally, the room went silent once more.
Qin Ye’s expressions were incredibly pale, not because of fear, but because of the sheer disgust at the images that had surfaced in his mind.
This incident had been so impactful that news of it had instantly gone viral back then. A twelve year old boy committing matricide. Was it because of the parents’ failure to show love to him, or was it simply because the child was sick in the mind?
Perhaps there was a little bit of both, and the truth was somewhere in the middle.
However, no matter the reason, a child should never brandish a blade at his parents. Communication was key. And even if that failed, the child could always choose to leave. Li Cheng… had well exceeded the boundaries of acceptable human behaviour.
For the very first time, Qin Ye felt an intense wave of nausea sweep across his heart.
“Haa…” A low panting voice echoed through the room. It was Li Cheng’s voice. But… just moments later, his voice changed from that of soft panting, to intermittent giggles, and then to an uproarious laughter!
“Hehehe… hahahaha!!!” Like a demon that had broken free from its shackles, he laughed maniacally, “Nobody’s going to care anymore… Finally, nobody’s going to care about me anymore!”
“Care? Screw off! After so many years of ignoring me, you suddenly point fingers and tell me what to do? Screw you!!”
Qin Ye’s expression turned incredibly grim at the final sound.
He knew it was the sound of Li Cheng spitting his cigarette butt onto his mother’s corpse.
Everything faded away as suddenly as it had first arrived. After several moments of silence, Qin Ye suddenly blurted, “I’m going to reap his soul.”
“Oh.” Arthis responded stiffly.
Qin Ye continued, “I sincerely believe that all humans should have a bottom line.”
“As long as you breach this bottom line, you’re not considered a human anymore.”
Qin Ye muttered placidly, “And since you’re not human anymore, what’s the point of remaining in the mortal realm?”
He tidied his robes, “Since this is something that had slipped through the cracks of the mortal realm’s laws, I’ll take it upon myself to handle this case!”
With that, Qin Ye walked into the kitchen.
The Li family clearly lacked planning. Despite the sheer amount of space in their house, they nevertheless chose to use these spaces for multiple purposes. Take the kitchen for instance. The sink in the kitchen was generally meant for washing dishes, yet there was also a dusty toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste placed next to it. There was even a grimy mirror placed right in front of the sink.
There was nobody in the kitchen. It was almost as though the earlier reenactment had been nothing more than a mirage.
But… as soon as he drew closer to the sink, the rusty faucet… suddenly twisted slightly, causing a scarlet liquid to pour out!
Qin Ye lowered his head, dapped a little bit of the liquid on his hand, and took a whiff of it, “It’s blood.”
Then, as he straightened his back once more, he suddenly saw the figure of another person standing right behind him!
It was a bloodied and mutilated figure.
The head was mangled, and the face was covered in knife wounds. Blood dripped from the mutilated face. This person was just standing in the dark, looking straight at him!
Qin Ye immediately turned around, yet there was nothing behind him. He looked into the mirror once more, yet everything appeared to have just been an illusion.
He searched around the house, and eventually found his way to Li Cheng’s bedroom. He picked up the picture frame placed on Li Cheng’s bedside table.
It was a picture of a happy and harmonious family.
Li Jiankang, Li Cheng, and Song Jiafang were all smiling faintly. Unfortunately, the picture was also covered in a thick layer of dust.
The first floor was where their bedrooms were located, while the second floor was where the seafood storage freezers were located. He opened each freezer one by one, yet found nothing noteworthy within.
They were simply large but empty freezers.
“Let’s go.” Arthis finally spoke up, “You won’t find it like this. And it’s not going to show itself either.”
“You’re an Emissary of Hell, and a Soul Hunter at that. No matter how peculiar it is, it’s only an Operative-class vengeful apparition at the end of the day. With the dual suppression of both your rank and your bloodline, it definitely won’t show itself while you’re around.”
Qin Ye was somewhat reluctant, “Then, are there other alternatives?”
“Of course there are. You were right earlier. Avoid any fights you’re not prepared for. When it comes to the Great Intergenerational Heredity, there are some things you’ll have to prepare beforehand. Besides…” The paper crane spun around on its shoulder, “Something tells me that there’s more than meets the eye to this incident…”
Qin Ye nodded his head and stared intently at the dark room ahead of him. Finally, he left without once looking back.
As he left, a telescope slowly retracted from an abandoned house in the distance.
The lights in this house weren’t switched on. Two young men dressed in civilian clothes concluded their surveillance, and one of the men switched on his phone immediately. The Momo app was also installed on his phone.
The man tapped on ‘contacts’, tapped on the ‘Mount Tai City Special Investigations Department’ group, and promptly sent a text message to one of the administrators.
“S9527 has failed. Entry duration: One hour and five minutes. No sounds of a fight. I presume his experience was the same as ours - unable to detect the spirit’s whereabouts.”
The other party’s ID was ‘Sea of Forests and Plains of Snow’. He quickly responded, “Are you sure there weren’t any traces of a fight? That doesn’t seem quite right. That ghost appears to be incredibly murderous and bloodthirsty, and it doesn’t seem likely to pass up on any potential food that walks through the door.”
“I’m certain.” The youth responded, “I posit that it could be because S9527’s abilities are well above its own, and it doesn’t dare to show up. After all, we’re talking about an expert who’s managed to breach nine hunting zones in the span of a single night.”
Sea of Forests and Plains of Snow didn’t respond any longer.
Qin Ye was naturally oblivious to all these things. He simply furrowed his brows as he walked along Tianxi Fourth Street. Suddenly, he gasped, “I finally understand.”
“On the bus ride to Mount Tai City, Principal Li had mentioned a particular word several times. It’s just that nobody thought too much of it back then.”
“That word is… ‘volition’.”
“You may not act on your own volition and interfere with the government’s affairs. We’re interfering now, yet I’ve not received any penalties at all. In other words, even though one is disallowed from interfering of his own volition, he can still interfere upon the invitation of others. Just like us, for instance. We’d received Li Jiankang’s plea for help. And do you also recall the old man saying that SRC is currently working on a project as well, and we cannot of our own volition interrupt them as well?”
Arthis caught his drift, “Are you saying that the project is none other than the vengeful apparition resultant from the matricide?”
“No.” Unexpectedly, Qin Ye shook his head, “There should be several investigations going on concurrently. My guess is that the project title could very well be something along the lines of ‘mutation of Yin spirits’, or the like. My assignment is a C-grade difficulty that is codenamed ‘Lost Tracks’. The other instructor in joint first has also taken on a C-grade assignment codenamed ‘Danger Blocks’. In other words, there is an overarching theme for the project, and there are probably two or three lines of investigations in this regard.”
“Incidentally, following these lines of investigations is probably where the missing points are to be found. It’s also precisely because these topics are investigated by the SRC that the government hadn’t enlisted the aid of Hellguard-class experts, for fear that they would simply level the entire hunting zones.”
The paper crane nodded its head, “But… what’s the meaning in deciphering these things?”
With a sigh, Qin Ye switched on his phone and glanced at the list of instructors in the group community. Zhou Xianlong hadn’t posted any updates, which means everyone’s teaching credits had remained approximately at the same level.
Tonight was probably the night when everyone was actively pursuing their leads.
“There’s no meaning.” He switched off his phone and swept his fringe to the side, “It’s simply because I’m feeling suffocated and uneasy in my heart that I’m looking for something to talk about.”
“Arti, this is the first time I’ve desired to expunge a spirit that much. If he doesn’t want to act like a human being, then I’m not going to let him be a human being in the first place. I’ll pick up the slack for the mortal realm and dish out justice where it’s meant to be served. I don’t care about human rights. If I think he’s guilty, then he’s guilty!”
There was a rare trace of determination in his deep, booming voice, “I think… that when the first King Yanluo founded Hell, these must have been the thoughts in his mind. He must have seen far too many such images and scenes, and that must have triggered his desire to establish Hell. The good weren’t rewarded, while the evil continued to amass wealth… In fact, he must’ve seen and witnessed far more than I have…”
He lifted his head and glanced up at the twinkling stars in the sky. The paper crane followed suit, “Perhaps you’re right…”
“Good and evil must be repaid. This has been one of the immutable principles undergirding the Heavenly Dao of reincarnation. The first King Yanluo… it’s been thousands of years… Life back then was far more miserable than it is right now. It’s not even an exaggeration to say that people ate off the bones of their children… I, too, think that the first King Yanluo must have been someone of humble beginnings. And it might precisely have been a result of his humble beginnings that led to the founding of the Fengdu Necropolis that eventually stood for thousands of years.”
“Cough…” Qin Ye coughed dryly, “About that… I’ve got humble beginnings too…”
The paper crane immediately turned around. If it had eyes, it would most definitely have given Qin Ye a death stare, “Are you saying that you’re essentially no different from the first ever King Yanluo who founded Hell? With all due respect, you’re comparing a horse and a bull.”
“... Don’t you think we possess some similar traits at all…” Qin Ye pressed the issue, “For instance… we’re just as good-looking as each other, or something similar?”
Arthis sneered, “If you’ve got the time and energy, then rather than thinking about such things, why don’t you consider instead how you should succeed the mantle of the first King Yanluo?! Quickly reestablish Hell! People like Li Cheng should experience the full course of the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment before being subjected to ten cycles of the path of the beast to atone for their sins.”
“Where are the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment, huh?”
“Where are the six paths of reincarnation, huh?”
“Alright, alright, I get it. These things will come eventually with time. Let’s start by first securing the title of an outstanding instructor, alright?”
“Ahem…” Just as Qin Ye arrived at the end of Tianxi Fourth Street, the door to a black car parked by the side of the road suddenly opened, and a fat middle-aged man walked out of it. After glancing fearfully at the dark street behind Qin Ye, he smiled faintly and handed Qin Ye a name card, “Hello, sir. Can I ask if you’re from the Special Investigations Department?”
“And you are?” Qin Ye didn’t recognize this man, and he asked in bewilderment.
The fat man smiled amiably, “Let me introduce myself. I’m from the Soaring Dragon Developers, one of the largest property developers across all of Insignia Province. We’re quite reputable, even among the five surrounding provinces. My name is Sun Kangliang, and I’m a chief project manager in charge of…”
He pointed at the street behind him, “The redevelopment of Tianxi Fourth Street.”
“This is a government project, yet it has been forcibly halted for some reasons which I’m sure you’re already aware of. A failure to execute any form of construction works within a six month period of time constitutes a breach of contract. I’m so flustered by the current situation that I’m practically losing all of my hair. The engineering team has already been held in abeyance for months now, and we’re already at the end of our road… I’d just heard from my people that someone has entered and exited the haunted house, and so I immediately rushed down to take a look for myself. If you’ve got the time… could you allow me to be a good host and invite you to supper?”
Qin Ye didn’t give his response immediately. Instead, he gazed deeply into Sun Kangliang’s eyes, “Just because of that?”
Sun Kangliang coughed awkwardly, and then whispered, “Not entirely…”
“Truth be told, you are the first person who has entered the haunted house and returned alive…”
“That alone justifies my invitation to you to supper tonight.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter