Qin Ye’s pupils shrank. He was reminded of a movie he’d seen - Mission Impossible 4.
It was the story of a secret agent’s mission. Nobody knew whether the place they were hiding in was a safe zone, or whether they would be facing another secret agent that was lurking right beside him.
Just like now.
Through the binoculars, he saw the wolf-man open his mouth wide as he trembled in horror. Then, his body suddenly exploded, transforming into black scarabs that scattered into the shadows. Meanwhile, another wolf-man waved his snake-headed staff in the air, and yellow sand poured out of the void, coalescing into five sand golems in just an instant!
These golems wore head wrappings and long robes, and they wielded a sword and a shield in their hands. Their appearance caused a wild wind to surge from all directions, kicking up a sandstorm within moments.
Their appearance was quickly met with a flurry of dazzling blade lights. Two streams of nethergale promptly swept at them like whirlwinds from both sides, and the two Nipponese emissaries donning conical hats leapt out like valiant warriors. Their clothes fluttered, and Yin energy billowed. They moved in unison as though they were Siamese puppets - unsheathing and sheathing their swords at the exact same time, with the exact same poise and with the exact same movements. Qin Ye wasn’t able to see what they had done, but he could tell that the surrounding trees trembled for a moment, and three of the sand golems scattered in an instant.
Their blades gleamed like the dazzling snow.
Yet everything looked just like a mime show. The clashing emissaries made no sound at all, almost as though there were a tacit agreement among them.
Just then, Qin Ye froze. A spine-chilling sensation crept up his back, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood on end. He silently folded up the binoculars and glanced around vigilantly at his own surroundings.
The night breeze whistled, sending waves rippling through the canopy of trees as though they were a sea, and causing the willow branches to dance like a million arms. The dusky street lamps flickered eerily as though they were funerary pyres. And then, a peculiar sound pierced through the dull drone of the rustling leaves in the background.
It was light and barely even audible. Qin Ye drew a deep breath, and slowly shifted his hands to the side of his waist.
It was the sound of a bowstring.
Someone was tightening his bowstring in the dark of the night, and Qin Ye was certain that the bow must be massive. Otherwise, there was simply no way that the bowstring would have made such sounds as it tightened. And naturally, its power… must necessarily be absolutely astonishing!
Furthermore, he was certain that he had never heard this sound before the appearance of the Aegyptian emissaries.
He slowly scanned through his surroundings. Then, just as he looked a little farther to the left, his gaze finally stopped at a particular location.
Fifty meters away, between the draping canopy of the willow branches that acted like a dark cloak of a reaper in the night, a figure was drawing back a three-meter longbow while aiming its arrow straight at the memorial hall.
He could only see the figure’s side profile from where he was. Nevertheless, the dim moonlight allowed him to make out the appearance of this emissary in the canopy.
It couldn’t even be called a person.
He had striking red muscles, miserable white bones and protruding eyeballs. But it was undoubtedly a living being. Just like any other of the emissaries around, Yin energy poured out of his body, causing the golden hair that peeked out of his headscarf to flutter on its own. The longbow was forged from bones, and vast amounts of Yin energy were currently condensing into a two-meter long arrow! The head of this arrow blazed with a raging green fire, almost as though it had been lit straight from the pits of the underworld.
Emissaries of various underworlds bore each their own unique traits.
Qin Ye squinted his eyes and hesitated for some time. Then, he reached out and made a grasping motion in the air. The demonhead saber materialized instantly, and he promptly leapt out of his cover.
He was afraid of death.
But he knew far better than anybody else that such opportunities were hard to come by. and fleeting when they did.
Shoop! His body flickered and transformed into a stream of Yin energy that nimbly snaked between the trees as it dashed straight for the emissary hiding in the willow canopy. But as soon as he rushed out, he was suddenly stunned.
The entire world fell silent as soon as his feet struck the ground.
He paused in shock for two seconds, and then was struck by an epiphany. He wasn’t the only one who had set up formation arrays outside the memorial hall. These emissaries might not be strong enough to leap straight into the fray within the memorial hall, so they instead chose to set up a formation array outside. Its purpose? Not to dive in, but to obstruct.
As the Chinese proverb goes, in the fight between the snipe and the clam, the fisherman gets the best of it.
I’ve been discovered… The archer still maintained his posture. His clothes fluttered and his eyes were still trained on its target. However, he began to walk away without any hesitation whatsoever. Almost at the same time, the canopy of willow branches suddenly parted, and another dark figure wrapped in a dark cloak dashed straight out. In fact, it looked almost as though there was nothing underneath the dark cloak.
Like a bolt of lightning out of the blue.
As he dashed forward, a pale withered hand stretched out from underneath his cloak, and a black scythe glowed with the essence of death. Three spots of red light glowed underneath the cloak, barely illuminating the rest of the white bones on its body.
There are other emissaries!
There was no time to spare. Qin Ye cried out in silence and swung his demonhead saber through the air, sending a bright blade light slicing through the air.
Qin Ye’s finishing move that could only be used once a day.
The roar of his attack was muted completely. The split-second that the two blades met sent sparks flying through the air. The trees nearby exploded. Willow leaves were tossed about wildly, while the thick trunks of the trees were shattered completely. However, the powerful attack did nothing to stop the approach of the cloaked figure. In an instant, the cloaked figure suddenly rose meters into the sky like a nightmarish fiend straight out of the legends of Europa! Then, it swung the black scythe straight towards Qin Ye’s skull with an indomitable force!
Qin Ye’s body erupted with Yin energy, and he, too, charged forward like a meteorite. A second later, the two figures found themselves deeply engaged in a heated battle.
They had drawn their weapons and attacked each other at the same time. Boundless netherflames filled the air, while dazzling sparks flew with each clash of their weapons. In the blink of an eye, the two had already exchanged more than a dozen moves. Then, twenty seconds later, both parties slammed heavily against each other one final time, before tacitly backing away as they heaved and panted.
He’s holding back…
Qin Ye gazed deeply at his opponent. He could tell that he was holding back and reserving his strength. All he was doing right now was simply ensuring that he made no mistakes.
The two emissaries glared at each other vigilantly. Qin Ye’s thoughts had never spun so quickly. The matters that Arthis had apprised him of, including everything related to the extraterritorial emissaries’ appearance in the First Academy of Cultivators, flickered through his mind quickly. And suddenly, his eyes brightened.
“So that’s how it is…” For the first time, he smiled faintly and walked forward, “So that’s how it is…”
The netherfire around the demonhead saber blazed with ever increasing intensity, sending its flames shooting two meters into the air. The surroundings were immediately painted over with a jade-green hue. Crackle… crackle… Qin Ye held nothing back. His Yin energy and netherfire burgeoned and billowed ever more menacingly, until finally, the entire blade was engulfed in a raging green inferno.
As the powerful Yin energy manifested itself, the surrounding trees began to dance wildly. Just then, the archer who had fully drawn his bow suddenly cocked his head around to look at Qin Ye with great astonishment. Even the black scythe emissary refrained from attacking anymore, but instead put his scythe away and waved desperately at Qin Ye as though he were trying to say something.
Qin Ye’s white hair scattered about in the wake of the raging green inferno, and he revealed a menacing smile, almost as though he were a vicious ghost, “As expected…”
Tonight was when everyone was making their final dash to the finish line.
This was the First Academy of Cultivators.
The anchor force here was Zhou Xianlong, a revered Judge-class expert.
Underworld emissaries weren’t gods. They couldn’t be seen, but that does not mean that they couldn’t be hit!
How large was the funerary chamber?
How great was the memorial hall?
A single blow from Zhou Xianlong could instantly reduce all of the emissaries into wisps of Yin energy that would return to the earth. Therefore, their preparations tonight were of the utmost importance!
But, Qin Ye was exempted from all these things.
Was there still any point in tangoing with them any further?
Arthis had earlier mentioned that “given their current strength, the formation arrays that they’re able to set up are so flimsy that they wouldn’t even be able to withstand a simple blow”.
“My apologies.” His power output was now at the maximum. One could even begin to see countless grieving spirits moaning in the blazing inferno of his demonhead saber. Then, with a great battle cry, Qin Ye slashed down!
“Here I go.”
The eyes of the two extraterritorial emissaries were instantly filled with a trace of despondence. The surrounding willow trees shattered into splinters, while the waters from the man-made lake rose a meter into the sky. A terrifying sound reverberated through the night sky, and the sound of something being shattered rang out in the surroundings. Crash! Clatter!
Then, everything suddenly fell silent.
The emissaries at the memorial hall suddenly looked over with a vicious gaze in their eyes. Even the unintelligible curses muttered under their breaths were carried through the air by the gentle night breeze. The archer emissary gnashed his teeth, and his body trembled. One second later, he cried out with great anger, “du-te!!”
With that, he finally shot the arrow he had been preparing all this while! It shot straight through the canopy of remaining willow trees, leaving a conical cavity of vacuum in its wake as it roared through the air and shot straight at the memorial hall!
Meanwhile, Qin Ye silently retracted his emissary state and reverted back into his human form. Likewise, the two cloaked emissaries transformed into a nethergale and vanished in an instant.
Qin Ye didn’t block them.
“Du te… does this mean retreat? What language was that?” He looked in the direction of the arrow’s path of destruction, “We’re not that different after all…”
A jade-green pillar of fire erupted from the memorial hall as soon as the arrow struck the ground, sending thousands of illusory Yin spirits drifting through the sky at once. Clatter… The crunching sound of shattering glass resounded through the hall. Then innumerable runic symbols, green, golden, red, blue… immediately lit up all over the hall, before finally fading into nothingness.
The formation arrays had been shattered!
“八嘎！！！ / Idiot!!!” “γαματο!! / Shit!!” dannazione!! / Damn!!” Curses rang out through the air. However, none dared to linger around any longer. The winds swept violently, and then everything was suddenly still again.
The crimson palace lamps in the memorial hall shone brightly, almost as though nothing had ever happened here.
“That was a masterstroke of evil. You were looking to shatter the formation arrays in the memorial hall so that a certain Judge-somebody would notice these things. And having set your formation array in the outermost edge of the memorial hall, yours would be the only formation array remaining of all extraterritorial emissaries…” Qin Ye sighed wistfully, “Unfortunately, you met me.”
“Perhaps you guys should get a better understanding of the OB-model binoculars?” He elegantly dug his ears with his pinky, “None can compare with me when it comes to evil schemes!”
As he spoke, a pressure that resembled that of a thundergod swept across the entire First Academy of Cultivators!
“At, that certain Judge-somebody is here.” Qin Ye sat down on the ground and punched himself so hard in the chest that he spat out a mouthful of blood, “It’s also time for me to take on the role of a delicate, helpless little flower…”
Whoosh… The dark clouds in the sky parted, and a figure descended from the sky with raging fury.
Several figures stared intently at the transcendent being’s descent from the shadows. Their gazes were filled with displeasure and resentment. However, they could only grit their teeth and swallow the bitter pill.
Back in a two-person dorm room, two students suddenly sat up like corpses on their beds.
Their posture was bizarre and rigid, almost as though their limbs were unable to bend at all. Then, without a single word, they rushed to the windows and looked grimly at the sky.
“死体の封印はまだ使えますか？ / Does the corpse soul seal still work?” The left student muttered hoarsely in Nipponese after some time.
“できない / No.” The student on the right hammered the table and gnashed his teeth, “完全に打ちかれた、これはどれが死んだばか野郎！なんと界を破って、この裁判官にづいてもらいました！ / It’s completely destroyed. It’s that bloody asshole! How dare he shatter the formation array and draw the attention of the Infernal Judge?!”
“いや！ / Damn!”
Similarly venomous gazes gleamed in several other dorm rooms around the academy.
Who the hell is it!
Who was so shameless to resort to such tactics?!
“nytt silt, ettvoin kytt sit… / It looks like we’ll have to resort to using it tomorrow.” In another female dorm room, a student with long hair stood in front of the windows with an ashen expression, staring at Zhou Xianlong’s descent from the skies.
1. There’s a simple story behind this proverb. A clam is sitting out in the sun when suddenly a snipe flies down to peck at it. The clam slams its shells shut, gripping the snipe's beak in between. The snipe says, "If it doesn't rain today, and it doesn't rain tomorrow, I shall see a dead clam on the beach." The clam retorts, "If I don't open today, and I don't open up tomorrow, I shall see a dead snipe on the beach." While they are grappling with each other, a fisherman passes by and nets them both. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fight_Between_the_Snipe_and_the_Clam)