Whoosh… The nethergale swept powerfully towards where the sounds were coming from. Two minutes… three minutes… Four minutes later, he was finally standing at the door of a room that was approximately forty meters square large.
The room was lit.
And there was no door, so Qin Ye could clearly see a despondent Li Jiankang standing with his back against the wall. Desperation was written all over his face.
The room was dark.
Not dim, but simply… grim.
There was a thick layer of blood built up over time from the countless streaks of blood splattered against the walls and all over the floor. This couldn’t have been the blood from merely one or two people. The cause of it must have been in the tens of people!
Moribund white bones were scattered everywhere, some of which even had traces of flesh on them. Some of the jagged white bones were piled up in the corner of the room like a small mountain, while other fish bones were completely intact on their bodies. Illuminated only by dim, flickering lights, the entire room appeared to be a nest of ghosts.
But all of these were considered nothing next to the two striking black coffins placed just beside Li Jiankang.
There were offerings placed at the front of the coffins. One of the coffins had a black-and-white portrait of a middle-aged woman placed right between two lit candles, while the other coffin… appeared to have been shut hastily. In fact, its lid hadn’t even been shut properly, and there was still a slightly protruding corner.
It was almost as though… someone had just escaped from it.
This coffin also had two lit candles placed before it, together with a plate of fresh fruits, as well as… a black-and-white portrait of a teenager.
He was smiling in the portrait.
“What an exquisite design.” Qin Ye dragged his demonhead saber along the ground as he slowly made his way towards the coffin. Li Jiankang suddenly rushed over like a madman and stood in front of the coffin, “Y-you… what are you trying to do?!”
Yet Qin Ye had already kicked him aside before he could even finish speaking. With a muffled grunt, Li Jiankang slammed against the wall like a cannonball and slid down powerlessly.
“Do you still think you’ll be able to leave this place alive?” Qin Ye gently ran his finger along the demonhead saber, “By the standards of the mortal realm, you might just be sentenced to life imprisonment. However, I… sentence you to death.”
With Qin Ye’s powerful kick earlier, Li Jiankang’s hat, sunglasses and facial mask had all fallen off from his face, revealing his emaciated appearance. It was hardly an exaggeration to say that he was merely skin and bones.
Coupled with his pale complexion and colourless lips, his entire being appeared as though he were a vampire that had just crawled straight out from the tomb.
Qin Ye gently ran his fingers along the coffin. Immediately, Li Jiankang collapsed to his knees weakly, held his head with both of his hands and began sobbing, “Don’t open it… I beg of you…”
However, Qin Ye hardly paid any attention to him, and treated his sobbing as though it were an irritating mosquito flitting about at night. He picked up the portrait on the coffin, dusted the coffin, and then kicked it.
Clack… As soon as the four corners of the lid were properly aligned with the rest of the coffin, the sound of several locking mechanisms immediately clicked into place. Qin Ye patted the coffin with some measure of surprise. Li Jiankang was still sobbing with his head buried in his arms when Qin Ye slowly made his way over and squatted down. Then, with a faint smile, Qin Ye asked, “You must have ordered this, hmm? Expensive, isn’t it?”
Li Jiankang lifted his pale face and gazed at Qin Ye with a complex amalgam of emotions in his eyes. There was despondence, relief and hope all at the same time. His lips trembled slightly as he asked, “What in the world… are you…?”
A powerful punch landed squarely on his face before he could even finish speaking. As he slammed back into the ground, the strings of terror in his heart finally snapped from tension, and he began to wail loudly at the top of his voice.
Qin Ye patted the dust off his Emissary of Hell uniform as he sighed in resignation, “Do you know something…?”
“Apart from Wang Chenghao, you’re the only other human being who has seen me seething with rage.”
“If you had just surrendered yourself right from the onset, that might have served as a slight mitigation factor. Unfortunately, you did not. In fact, you committed crime after crime to cover up your initial mistake of releasing that thing.” Qin Ye walked towards him, “I’d never considered where the problem with you lay until I met up with the representative of the Soaring Dragon Developers… Li Cheng… He’s already dead, isn’t he?”
“After Li Cheng killed his mother, you must have murdered him on impulse, haven’t you?”
Li Jiankang lay on the ground with his eyes shut. He was in pain. He could feel all of the strength in his body slip away from him at this very moment. His lips trembled slightly, but he didn’t say a single word.
Qin Ye stood by his side and continued speaking with a low voice, “So you killed him? Unintentionally, in a fit of anger? Or was it… intentionally?”
He turned around and looked at the lit candles and portrait on the coffin and sighed, “It must have been unintentional…”
Arthis chimed in with her remark, “Humans are complicated creatures that are truly difficult to understand.”
“I loved him.” Just then, even though Li Jiankang had been laying on the ground like a dead dog all this while, he finally choked up and muttered, “I’d just… just… wanted him to turn over a new leaf… I wanted him to understand…”
“After all… there’s only the two of us left in the family at that time…”
“I’d just been too emotional back then… I’d held his neck in a chokehold when I asked him why he did it… Didn’t it ever cross his mind that she was his mother? But by the time I realized he was no longer breathing… it was already too late…”
Qin Ye chuckled contemptuously, “I can actually sympathize with your plight had nothing else happened after that. But… would you care to explain what you had done afterwards?”
Li Jiankang choked up with some measure of grief, yet he found himself completely at a loss for words.
“Are you unwilling to talk about it? Or are you too ashamed to talk about it? Or are you finally discovering the existence of something within you called ‘conscience’?” Qin Ye mocked, “You… are scarier than the ghosts I’ve seen.”
Thud!! Just then, the two coffins shook violently. And then… the sounds of rapid knocking quickly followed!
Thud thud thud… thud thud thud!!
There was even a blood-curdling shriek that prefaced the menacingly hoarse voice, “Blood… meat…”
“Dad… I’m hungry again…”
Shk… The knocking sounds were quickly followed by scratching and rustling sounds. It sounded like someone was scratching and gouging at the lid of the coffin from the inside.
As the flames on the lit candles flickered wildly, Qin Ye muttered softly, “Do you not dare to talk about it now? That’s fine. Why don’t I jog your memory for you.”
“Raising corpses.” He looked at the coffins with disgust as he continued, “I’m not sure where you learnt these things from, but you’d subjugated your late-wife and late-son… and begun to raise them as corpses.”
“I now understand why I’d found your skin so unnaturally pale the very first time I saw you. Severe ischemia? No… I finally understand… It was precisely because you had initially been raising these corpses into vampires with your very own blood.”
He tugged at the sleeves of Li Jiankang’s shirt. He struggled slightly, but then gave up as soon as he realized that it was all in vain.
His wrists were densely covered with knife wounds of varying depths.
Qin Ye shook his head, “No… that’s not it either. This place must also be your largest place of storage for your goods, isn’t it? You’d fed these corpses with raw fish at the beginning, didn’t you? You can tell from the number of fishbones scattered all over the place… However, you’d soon discovered that they don’t like fish meat at all, and that they’re only interested in human blood and flesh, right?”
“Then, you soon realized that your methods were unsustainable, and you needed a greater source of blood and flesh. So what did you do? You thought of a great idea.”
Qin Ye looked at Li Jiankang, but the forty years old man avoided his gaze as though Qin Ye were able to stare straight into the deepest, darkest recesses of his heart. Qin Ye grabbed hold of Li Jiankang’s jaw and forced Li Jiankang to look into his eyes.
Li Jiankang’s pupils quivered uncontrollably.
He didn’t dare. He didn’t want to. And he wasn’t willing.
His sins ran far too deep. His hands were already covered in blood, and he had already gone beyond the point of no return.
“You told your story to people… and began to draw victim after victim into this lair under the pretext of slaying demons and purging ghosts. Perhaps you weren’t aware at the outset that vampires only ate human flesh and drank human blood. But… when the first human victim arrived, you’d watched him get torn to pieces by your wife and child right in this place!”
“This is no longer your storage room. This is now your slaughterhouse. You’re a living person, yet you’re doing the deeds of ghosts.”
Li Jiankang’s eyelids throbbed uncontrollably, but he remained completely silent.
Qin Ye cast him aside like a piece of rag as he barked coldly, “Do you know how I’d guessed all these things?”
“Ever since you’d left your home, I’ve been wondering why you would be doing all these things.”
“And it’s only when I finally met up with the representative of the Soaring Dragon Developers that I finally realized that you were in fact consciously luring people into this hunting zone. All of your victims were reported as having gone missing. That’s when I’d realized that deep in my heart, I had been asking whether you were looking for help, or whether you were simply looking for… blood and flesh?”
A soft voice chirped from Qin Ye’s shoulder, “You’re vile.”
“You’ve cut his heart completely open. Even if you don’t kill him now, he would most certainly be taking his own life later on.” Arthis added, “He loved his family. This is evident from the way he worked so hard in order to provide for his wife and son, to the fact that he subsequently gave everything up and started business as a fishmonger just to be closer to his son. His son was everything to him. Life had been far too dreary to him.”
Qin Ye snorted, “And that’s why he decided to indiscriminately lure unsuspecting victims into the heart of the hunting zone when he discovered that he needed more flesh and blood? Over thirty people have perished this way… just to feed a family of three? Hmm? And for how long? Half a year? Eight months?”
“The stickling point was when he decided to turn down the Special Investigations Department. Only they would have been able to uncover the truth. Yet he still turned them down. Why?”
“Because he was afraid. He knew his wife and son too well, even if they are now vampires. My guess is that when the Special Investigations Department arrived in this place, his wife and son might have breathed more heavily, or reacted in an unusual manner, thereby causing him to discover that these visitors had ill intentions towards his family. That was probably why he rejected them.”
He didn’t say another word. Li Jiankang lay paralyzed on the ground with his head buried in his hands. Several seconds later, a slight choking sound cut through the darkness and silence.
Within moments, the choking and whimpering turned into sobbing, and then burgeoned into a loud wail replete with snot and tears.
“Arrrghhhh…” He let loose a cry of deep anguish. Li Jiankang clasped his head with his hands and wailed like a madman, “Wuuu-wuu-wuu…”
After crying for three full minutes, he turned to the pile of moribund white bones on the ground and kowtowed to them, “I… I’m sorry… I’m so sorry!!!”
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I’m sorry… wuu-wuu-wuu!”
His deeds had torn at his heart.
Was the last year not equally agonizing to him?
It tore at his sense of reason and drove him to senseless madness. Yet this moment of conviction had actually brought to him some measure of relief.
“Who gives you the right to feel release?” Qin Ye stared Li Jiankang as he continued kowtowing to the pile of bones and gritted his teeth, “Like I’ve said before, I will adjudge matters that fall through the cracks of justice in the mortal realm!”
“We’re talking about more than thirty lives here… You lured them into this dastardly place, only to set two monsters loose on them. Do you know that there are now over thirty Yin spirits haunting this place, staring and scrutinizing your every actions? Good and evil must be repaid accordingly - this is the will of the Heavenly Dao. Ask yourself what basis do you have to feel release?”
Qin Ye could see them.
He could see them incredibly clearly.
Over thirty illusory images hovered about just over the pile of white bones. There were priests, monks, nuns, mediums, and there were even four Operative-class experts from the Special Investigations Department. All of them had an incomparably cold expression on their faces as they watched Li Jiankang kowtow to them.
Their expressions were completely devoid of any compassion at all.
As Qin Ye turned his gaze to the illusory images, they also turned to look at him. And then, they promptly bowed respectfully to him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter