Chapter 21: Who Moved Her Body?

Regardless of whether they personally knew her or not, instance after instance of abusive comments and condemning words continued to show up on her screen and Weibo account alike, just like a relentless barrage of arrows tracking down a single person. "You deserve to get fucked!" "Don't you know the meaning of shame?" "I’ve been around for quite some time, but I’ve never seen someone as whorish as this!"

She was even openly expelled from her groups and communities. "Ocean Stone Middle School Class 3 Group has expelled you from its community", "Ocean Stone High School Class 1 Group has expelled you from its community", " East Sea Workforce Group has expelled you from its community"...

Everyone was pointing fingers at her.

"H-he deserves death!" In this very final video, That Amorous Affair's originally well maintained, pristine appearances had already become ostensibly haggard and frail. Her eyes were bloodshot, while her hair was as disheveled as it had ever been. Almost in a deranged fashion, she looked at the camera lens and barked, "I'll never let him get away with this…even if I die, I'm going to drag his entire family down with me!!"

"He's ruined my entire life! He will get his retribution...he will definitely get his retribution!"

The final video ended here. 

Nobody said anything. Nobody could ever have expected the truth to be something like this. Who was in the right, and who was wrong? This was not an easy question.

In the beginning, she was the weaker party, and the one more deserving of sympathy. Yet towards the end, her actions were instead the more despicable ones and deserving of disgust.

Everyone pointed fingers at her, and what originally started out as mere rumours became as real as facts to the world. By this point, the truth had become completely meaningless. The jibes and words directed at her by the many constituent parts of the internet drove straight into her like a sharp awl, piercing innumerable holes in her body, forcibly turning her soul into a chimeric-like existence even after death.

Nothing can leave a more lingering stench on a person than an incident like this.

Arthis finally spoke up, "She must've brought her phone along when she decided to jump off the roof of the Hyatt Corporation's building with the hope that her phone would be discovered by the investigators and coroner's, and that her videos would eventually be leaked to the public. That was her swan song attempt to drag Wang Zemin under together with her."

Qin Ye continued to build upon it, "Unfortunately, Wang Zemin got to her phone before anyone else could and stashed it in his safe, almost as though it was a trophy of sorts. Naturally, her lingering obsession was simply to unlock the safe, because all of the evidence she possessed was stored in here. Even after she became a ghost, she continued to claw desperately at the safe in a feeble attempt to break it apart, thereby leaving a multitude of claw marks on its surface."

"Was there really a point to this?" He sighed, "We already got the code… you didn't get smarter after death, did you?"

"Are you upset?"

Qin Ye shook his head and responded calmly, "I'm hardly interested in her feelings and experiences. A person like her who has only died once before doesn't know a single thing at all."

"It's precisely because of things like hatred and sorrow that one must learn to live on with a smile at all times."

A philosopher? Arthis glanced at Qin Ye with some measure of surprise and bewilderment. How did this fella...become so enlightened all of a sudden?

These words are profound in and of itself… these utterances of universal truths had sprung up spontaneously out of nowhere...were these really words that a little kid who would ordinarily exchange blows with me was capable of speaking?

Are you truly happy? Or is your smile simply a display of pretense to mask your true self?

Humans...can be so hypocritical. No wonder I chose to become reborn as a death kni-… Eh? Something seems a little bit off?

Rumble… A bolt of lightning crackled loudly, breaking up the somewhat awkward atmosphere between them. Qin Ye was the first one to break the silence, "Is it over?"

"It's over." Arthis declared firmly, "Let's look for where the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal is. We should leave as soon as we find it."

Qin Ye began trawling through the rest of the contents within the safe, yet, several moments later, he quickly furrowed his brows. After thoroughly searching through all of its contents once more, he stood up and shook his head.

“Nothing?" Arthis was taken aback, “That’s not possible...Wang Zemin mentioned that he had placed it here…” As soon as she finished speaking, both of them froze where they were.

“So that’s how it is…” Seconds later, Qin Ye glanced at his surroundings, “We’d been so focused on the ghost that we’d forgotten about the most important thing.”

“Who was it who mailed the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal to Wang Zemin? In other words, who was the one who had the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal in his possession prior to this entire incident?”

In a low voice, Arthis continued to build on Qin Ye’s postulations, “It’s more than just that. Kid, you’ve only been an Emissary of Hell for a short period of time, and you’re still far too green. There’s something you’ve completely missed out upon.”

“Let me ask you about the most crucial detail… Where would you say was the place of genesis of this entire incident?”

“Eastsea Province.” Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed brightly, almost as though he’d caught onto something.

“And where are we now?”

Qin Ye remained silent.

Westriver Province.

The Eastsea Province was thousands of miles away from Westriver. Given the limitations of That Amorous Affair’s abilities as a ghost, there was simply no way she could have traversed that entire distance on her own just for the sake of vengeance.

“The spirit of a person who died an unjust death would never transform into a ghost unless her corpse was nearby.” Arthis remarked meaningfully.

The answer was now obvious. Someone had learnt about the incident with That Amorous Affair. That same person had also obtained the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal. And that exact same person had transported this lady’s corpse across thousands of miles to the Westriver Province!

Arthis' voice grew somber, "Kid...I don't want to die. My life is now inextricably tied to yours, so I'm going to iron out some kinks for you.

"Premise: Hell has been emptied out, and ghosts run amok in the mortal realm. Most of these ghosts are harmless drifting spirits, and they would pose no dangers no matter how numerous they may be. However, there would undoubtedly be a handful of exceptions who were fortunate enough to be sent flying by the eruption in Hell to locations rich in Yin energy.

"It's like what Granny Meng has said - these ghosts have been waiting patiently and biding their time. Hell has etched in their hearts a deep impression, and they continue to experience a lingering fear for the Emissaries of Hell. They also fear that Hell would one day be restored. Yet, now, after the effluxion of a hundred years, some of these old ghosts… their patience has finally been worn thin.”

Qin Ye listened closely to every word that was being spoken. Arthis continued, "What I'm about to say is common knowledge in the netherworld. First, you need to know the types of ghosts that correspond with the different grades of ghosts from E to S. These are, in ascending order of seniority, wandering spirits, vengeful apparitions, malevolent ghasts, dread wraiths, incarnate revenants, and devils. Apart from that, there are also some exceptions that fall outside of this classification, including household gods, ancestral spirits and the like."

"In Hell, we have the ranks of Netherworld Operative, Soul Hunter, Anitya Hellguard, Infernal Judge, Abyssal Prefect, Yama-King, as well as the Sixfold Ghost Kings who are outliers to the ranking system. The ranking system for Emissaries of Hell corresponds with the  classification of ghosts. Those of us who have been working in Hell for thousands of years now have come to realize…"

She took a deep breath, before stressing her following words, "The most effective way for ghosts to attain a breakthrough… is not to kill the living. Rather, it is to devour other spirits!"

"Devouring one's kindred ghosts is the quickest means of progress! As long as they possess a certain baseline level of capabilities, not a single one of these ghosts that had been expelled from Hell during the collapse is oblivious to this shortcut. Back then, there was Hell to keep the ghosts in check. But, what about now?”

Qin Ye furrowed his brows, “Are you saying… someone was planning to devour the female ghost haunting the Wang family? Was that why they intentionally brought a corpse all the way from the Westriver Province to the Eastsea Province?”

Arthis nodded solemnly.

Qin Ye frowned. “Is that really necessary?”

“Of course! After all, ghasts are existences founded upon a relentless obsession. The stronger the sense of obsession, the easier the breakthrough from an apparition to a ghast. The fact that the female apparition haunting the Wang family possessed such a strong lingering obsession naturally means that it is akin to an incredibly precious tonic to all ghosts! Kid, I’ve got a conjecture, and I’d like you to be mentally prepared for what it entails.”

Arthis continued earnestly, “I suspect… that an entity that is minimally at the level of a ghast is currently residing in West-Cathay and… breeding fodder.”

“Calamity is imminent in western Cathay.”

As soon as the word “fodder” was spoken, Qin Ye’s mind was instantly cleared of all doubts.

So that’s what it is!

That’s right...if it is far more convenient for ghosts to devour each other, then the Wang-family incident could very well be one of the many breeding grounds for fodder!

Accused by a multitude of people and undergoing an unusual ghastly transformation after death - what could be a better form of nutrient for these ghosts? 

This was the true reason why the mastermind was willing to painstakingly transport her corpse all the way from Eastsea Province. This was also why that mysterious entity was willing to use the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal to nurture such a spiteful spirit!

Qin Ye drew a breath of cold air. If that’s the case...it means that a distinguished ghost that had survived Hell’s collapse… is finally getting impatient.

“It’s not a ghast…” He deliberated for a moment before declaring with confidence, “A ghast is merely one grade above the apparitions. The fact that the puppeteer was so willing to allow the Wang-family female apparition to straddle the realms between apparition and ghast means that he is absolutely confident in his own abilities to control her. In other words, it’s almost certain that the puppeteer is at least in the class of dread wraiths!”

The soul sphere ‘nodded’, adding, “Dread wraiths are creatures that require multiple city-level Anitya Hellguards to subdue. Perhaps you might not fully understand what kind of power a wraith possesses. Let me break it down for you…”

She thought for a moment, before continuing, “You humans have a film called ‘A Wicked Ghost’. Have you watched it before?”

Of course! Qin Ye nodded his head - that’s where Chu Renmei is from! Back then, Qin Ye was so frightened by the depiction of that ghost that he didn’t even dare to look at his reflection in a mirror for well over a week! [1]

The fact that he had been alive for decades didn’t change this. After all, even the most skilled of martial artists would still be wary of someone holding a kitchen knife.

“Her abilities are quite similar to that of the typical dread wraith. Killing sixty-six people… that number doesn’t seem particularly large, yes? However, what is most frightening of wraiths isn't the number of people that they have killed to begin with. With no one to keep them in check, they can simply go on and on and wreak havoc wherever they may be."

She heaved deeply, "And their most frightening ability… is that they are innately surrounded by a massive volume of Yin energy, and they can therefore transform a locality into a land rich in Yin energy, otherwise known as Yin Grounds. This is also what is commonly known to Man as a haunted house or a corpseland or corpsegrounds. Souls are naturally drawn towards places rich in Yin energy. If left unchecked, these places will eventually turn into a nest of ghosts!"

"Ah…" Qin Ye's mouth widened, and he gently shook his head. There used to be Hell keeping watch over these affairs. But, what about now?

"And that's not all. Back when Hell was actively keeping them in check, the worst that ever happened was that these grounds would turn into a nest of ghosts for a time before being shut down. But, now, with Hell out of the picture, if these nests start to become more organized and develop their own ranks and systems, each with their own tasks, roles and assignments for the ghosts within, what do you think will happen?"

Qin Ye gasped. A new Hell! A new netherworld! "Is he mad?!" Qin Ye clutched at his chest as he exclaimed.

Arthis continued meaningfully, "Any ghosts that have the capacity to endure the multitude of torture treatments in hell are invariably notorious figures who has left a mark in the annals of history. How could they simply be described as 'mad'? Speaking of which, why are your legs trembling so much? Could you at least show some of the courage that all Emissaries of Hell should possess?! You're lucky that I'm not your direct superior. Otherwise I'd have subjected you to the sky-lantern punishment a long time ago!"

"Bullshit! Is it not normal to tremble when I'm in the sights of a ghost with abilities akin to a city-level governor? ‘Sky-lantern punishment’? Who do you think you are?"

All I want is to just stay alive! The plan was to just dine and dash once, yet I've got to do it again?

"What are you afraid of?!" Arthis barked resentfully, "If I was here in my full power, it wouldn't take more than a single flick of my finger to dispose of that ghost."

Qin Ye wiped off the non-existent cold sweat on his forehead nervously, "But then again… I've only knocked over this pot of breeding fodder accidentally. Sir Ghost wouldn't get mad at me, would he?"

"Sir Ghost? Come again?!"

"Why are you getting so agitated? Isn't it only natural to refer to our elders with honorifics?"

"You're only using honorifics towards people who pose a threat to your life and limb, aren’t you?!”

“What nonsense are you spewing, Arti?” Qin Ye coughed sheepishly, before changing the topic, “Besides… these things aren’t important anymore, are they? The crucial question is - where exactly is the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal located?”

“It’s nearby...I can sense it…” After a brief moment of deliberation, Arthis declared with confidence, “The rooftop.”

“That’s exactly where she leapt off back then. I’m pretty sure that’s where her corpse is lying right now!”


1. Chu Renmei, also known as ‘Cissy’ in the English subtitles, was the ghost in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wicked_Ghost 

Previous Chapter Next Chapter