Whoosh! Countless paper money converged at their location, becoming like a swirling tide amidst the dark cemetery grounds. Mori Ranmaru’s figure stood nimbly atop the sea of paper money, sending a wave of frightening Yin energy towards where Bai Yishan was standing.
Bai Yishan had already ducked behind a tombstone by now. His entire body was trembling, and the Nipponese corpse and the other corpse puppet were already standing tall in front of him and protecting him.
The nethergale roared, billowing furiously against the surrounding trees. Yet Qin Ye stood his ground with uncharacteristic confidence against the impending danger. Then, about ten seconds after the nethergale first picked up, a flag congealed out of Yin energy appeared right in front of Qin Ye, flapping violently in the powerful nethergale.
It was a single coin.
The Eiraku Tsuho.
Oda Nobunaga’s flag!
Ssssss!!! The monstrosity standing across Qin Ye shrieked as it charged towards him. The surrounding tombstones buzzed under the pressure.
What powerful Yin energy… Qin Ye squinted. This was powerful, even among peak Soul Hunters.
This monstrosity couldn’t even be called a humanoid. Its stomach had already burst open, not with a knife wound, but almost as though… it had been smashed open with the force of a blunt trauma. He appeared scorched and burnt. Qin Ye thought for a moment, and then immediately understood what had happened. He must have first cut open his own stomach, and then when the fire burnt down the Honnoji temple, a collapsing pillar must have fallen right onto his body and smashed his stomach open.
The upper half of his body was crawling on the ground. His appearances were incredibly pale, almost as though he had coated his appearances with a thick layer of powder like a geisha. Yet, after all these years, the coat of powder had hardened and cracked, and some parts had even fallen off, revealing the charred, decaying flesh underneath. Even if he had been considered incredibly handsome while he had still been alive, nobody could tell from his looks right now.
There were only three colours on his face - white, black and yellow. He had two spot-like eyebrows and an abnormally twisted neck. Long hair draped down in a disheveled manner, and his lips were forcibly torn on its end so much so that his mouth stretched from ear to ear. As soon as he opened his mouth, one could see grisly black teeth and a blood-scarlet tongue on the inside.
He wielded a katana in his arms. The lower half of his body trailed closely behind, tied to his upper body only by way of a belt. There were other ghosts standing around him, all of whom were evidently dressed in garments from the Warring States period. Some of them were without heads, some had ropes around their necks and long tongues sticking out, while others with hunched backs stood beneath Mori Ranmaru, acting as his wheels.
“Is this what they call the night of a hundred ghosts?” Qin Ye observed the 400 years old ancient spirits with great interest, “Isn’t it a little bit too shabby?”
Yet Mori Ranmaru didn’t even deign to look Qin Ye in the eye. Instead, his gaze was transfixed on the tombstone behind which Bai Yishan was hiding. With a sharp hiss, he took a step left to get a clear view of the tombstone, but Qin Ye promptly took a step to the side to obstruct him. Mori Ranmaru took a step to the right, and yet Qin Ye obstructed him once again.
Mori Ranmaru stopped moving.
Finally, he stared at Qin Ye with his shriveled pupils. Saliva dribbled down the sides of his grisly-looking mouth as he tilted his head to look Qin Ye straight in the eye. Then, a second later, he charged right over with a great shriek!
Rumble! It charged right over like a heavy tank, crushing all of the tombstones in its path and sending fragments and debris scattering everywhere.
“How dare you refuse to bow and pay your respects to Cathay? Do you think you’re an extraterritorial emissary? Do you think that Izanami is going to protect you?” Qin Ye snorted contemptuously and struck out in response, “It’s not your fault that you’re ugly, but it’s not right to come out and scare people at night. Look, you’re damaging the poor flora and fauna around, how are you going to compensate us?”
There was a thunderous rumble, and even the space around them appeared to tremble slightly. The impact of their confrontation caused a frightening wave of Yin energy to ripple out. Mori Ranmari flew back with a loud shriek, ploughing through several tombstones behind him and shattering them in an instant. Qin Ye also found himself knocked back a distance of five steps.
What the heck?
Qin Ye looked at his own hands with great disbelief.
Where’s the instakill?
This shouldn’t be the case. I’m already a Hellguard, so why can’t I instakill this evil spirit? Or has my talent tree been locked? I guess it’s time to make a tactical retreat…
Then, just as Qin Ye was looking for an opportunity to escape, he suddenly realized…
That Mori Ranmaru wouldn’t let him leave.
As soon as he took his first step back, Mori Ranmaru came charging right towards him again. And this time, he finally drew the katana that was hanging by his waist.
Shiiiing! The vicious blade gleamed dangerously under the moonlight. A second later, he began to swing his arms with a flurry of blows so quickly that an illusory ball of gleaming light shone brightly around him, slicing the ground cleanly wherever it passed. Then, with a great battle cry, the afterimages of his sword dance converged into a bright pillar of blade light and shot straight towards Qin Ye’s head.
Rumble! The pressure of the blade light completely crushed all of the tombstones wherever it passed. On the other hand, Qin Ye was so infuriated that his lips trembled slightly - Don’t you know how to read the situation? I was just about to make a tactical retreat, and yet you’re forcing me to stay around? Well, don’t blame me for not holding back. Let me tell you something - I frighten even myself when I turn serious!
As the blade light drew near, Qin Ye suddenly swung his hands upwards with a formidable strike. With a loud bang, the seemingly indomitable blade light shattered into a million pieces like the constellations glittering in the sky. The katana in Mori Ranmaru’s hands also shattered into pieces in that very instant.
Roar!! Mori Ranmaru erupted with a great scream and darted back like the wind. But right as he did so, a series of purple glows suddenly lit up over zone D and shot over like lightning.
Those were… arrows.
Arrows fired from bows - something that was rarely seen these days. Each arrow was imbued with a faint purple-coloured energy, and had a burning paper talisman attached to its tip.
There’s somebody else!
Qin Ye was a Hellguard. He was naturally able to keep up with the speed of the arrows, and he could therefore tell that the energy that these arrows were imbued with was… true energy.
Have cultivators arrived… no…
“Perhaps they might have been lying in wait all this while?” Yin energy coursed through his body, and he darted to the side in an instant. Then, as he looked up towards the tombstones in zone D, he noticed several silhouettes holding up bows and raining down arrows on their current location.
That said, their target was clearly Mori Ranmaru.
Thk! An arrow plunged into the ground, and the talisman exploded. A peculiar symbol immediately became imprinted to the ground. Immediately, the rest of the rain of arrows poured down to the ground, forming a red formation array around Mori Ranmaru’s body in just an instant.
“A formation array… are these texts written in… Nipponese?” Qin Ye was naturally pleased that someone was doing all the work for him, and he watched their confrontation with great interest. As more and more arrows rained down onto the ground, the formation array became clearer and clearer. Then, just as the formation array was about to be activated, Mori Ranmaru suddenly unleashed a great cry, and its body exploded and transformed into wisps of Yin energy that quickly burrowed into the ground and vanished.
“What a pity.” A voice echoed from zone C with some measure of disappointment, “As expected of a 400 year ghost. A temporary invocation of a formation array would never be able to contain it.”
With a soft sigh, a figure slowly made his way down the stairs. Ka-ka-ka-ka…. Qin Ye could hear the sound of tightening bowstrings in the area, and he keenly noticed that… all of the bows were now aimed straight towards them.
Whoosh… A fire abruptly lit up in zone C. And then, a second one lit up, followed by a third… Within seconds, over a dozen torches were lit, and Qin Ye could tell with a single sweep of the eye that there were over fifty people gathered in the shadows around them!
All of them wore red tengu masks and were dressed in white feather weaves. They wore black Nipponese tasseled caps on their heads, and they even wore feathers on their back. Their entire get-up was realistic enough to pass each of them off as a true tengu. A multitude of terrifying masks peeked out from behind the tombstones around, while the arrowheads gleamed menacingly under the soft glow of the torches around. It was almost as though Qin Ye had been transported to a Nipponese underworld in an instant.
“Tengu Army of the Kamo Clan.” The figure gently caressed the railings as he waltzed slowly out of the darkness of zone D, “This gentleman doesn’t need to be nervous. We’ve come all the way across the ocean in search of only one thing.”
Seconds later, his figure finally emerged from the shadows, and Qin Ye was immediately startled. It was because this man appeared far younger than he had expected.
He was only in his early to mid-twenties. He wore a stiff suit, and he held a simple folding fan in his hands. Qin Ye could sense a great amount of true energy emanating from his body as well. This man wasn’t weak, and his strength was actually not far off from Lin Han.
“Who are you?” He leaned on the tombstone and asked faintly.
Kid… You sure can act, can’t you? The spring air is frigid and chilly, and yet you’re still waving that folding fan about with such pretension? How am I supposed to treat you seriously?
“My name is Kamo no Tadayuki, and I’m currently the head of the Kamo Clan.” Despite the pretentiousness of his actions, he spoke with great manners like a well brought up man, “If this gentleman is alright, might I ask you to take your leave first? I’ve got some personal matters to resolve with Mr Bai over there.”
Qin Ye smiled, “I can look the other way and leave if it pertains to most other things, but I’ll have to clarify one thing…”
He looked straight into Tadayuki’s eyes, “Would your personal matter happen to have anything to do with the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl?”
Tadayuki maintained the same expression on his face, but his gaze instantly grew several times more frigid. He glanced back at Qin Ye, “So what if it is? And so what if it isn’t?”
“If it is, I might have to reluctantly barge into your affairs with him. And if it isn’t… I would probably have to remain behind anyway. After all, I, too, have unfinished business with him.” Qin Ye yawned as he responded lazily.
It’s not that I’m looking down on you.
But you’re just a Soul Hunter leading dozens of Nipponese cultivators who aren’t even at the level of an Operative-class expert just yet. What do you take me for? Mud? You might just break down into a pile of tears if I unleash my true identity right now! If not for the fact that I’m trying to keep a low profile, do you think you can still stand there, waving your fan about so smugly?
Tadayuki remained silent and simply waved his fan gently. Several moments later, he responded emotionlessly, “You’re also interested in the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl?”
Without missing a beat, he continued, “Who do you represent? The Cathayan cultivation world? With all due respect, this is a national treasure of my country, and we simply cannot afford to let it fall to the hands of anyone else. Furthermore, its existence is far more dangerous than you think. Besides, you don’t even know the technique to unseal it. So why don’t you… take a step back and let me have it? I’ll reward you handsomely.”
Haha… Qin Ye wanted to laugh in his face. A handsome reward? How handsome a reward can it be next to the prospects of obtaining Oda Nobunaga’s soul? Besides, don’t you think you’re underestimating Hell a little bit too much? This land is where the concept of Yin and Yang and fengshui first emerged, and yet you’re simply assuming that I can’t break a simple seal?
Tadayuki-dear, I’m afraid the only thing I can’t loosen is that knot in your heart!
Tadayuki looked at Qin Ye, “Two billion.”
“RMB. If you leave right now, I’ll immediately write a cheque for you. This check will be issued in the name of the Mitsubishi financial group, and it can be cashed in anywhere worldwide.”
Qin Ye immediately grew taciturn.
These people are so rich that they deserve to die… Yet why do I find myself moved by his offer…
Nevertheless, Qin Ye firmly stood his ground and shook his head.
“I’m sorry, but I’m very interested in the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl too.”
“So that’s how it is…” Tadayuki nodded and continued to fan himself, “You’ve been referring to yourself as ‘I’ ever since we’ve met, rather than ‘we’. This tells me that you don’t represent any powers, and there aren’t any forces backing you either. On the other hand, I would inform you that the Nipponese cultivation world has already reached an agreement with the Cathayan cultivation world over this matter. In that regard, we’ve already paid a huge sum to ensure that the Cathayan cultivation world stays out of this matter. In other words, there’s really no one to back you up right now.”
“So I guess there’s no reason to hold back…” He sighed softly, and his body suddenly flew up like a majestic crane as he softly instructed, “Kill them.”
A second later, a rain of arrows poured right down on them!
1. These are coins used particularly for foreign trade. It was also used on the flag of Oda Nobunaga. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yongle_Tongbao