The night breeze swept across the cemetery grounds, and the leaves rustled softly, providing an eerie backdrop to the music of Bai Yishan’s sob story.
After listening to the story in its entirety, Qin Ye remained silent for several seconds, before finally responding, “I want you to think carefully before responding to this question. Did you hear any peculiar sound in particular when you first broke the bowl?”
Bai Yishan shook his head. His response was a conditioned reflex. Then, he immediately caught himself, and quickly lowered his head to recall the circumstances at that time. He knew that every single detail could mean the difference between life and death right now.
“There was something… I’m not sure if I was just hallucinating at that time…” He looked up after two minutes, “Back then… I seem to have heard a copper coin fall to the ground. It was very strange, almost as though… it had simply fallen out of the sky…”
Qin Ye still remained silent. He had a guess, but he wouldn’t be able to make any confirmations about this until he spoke with Arthis later on.
“Do you still have the fragment of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl with you right now?” Qin Ye suddenly asked.
“Yes… I have it!” Bai Yishan sighed with relief, ran to the banyan tree, and dug up a small box. Then, he respectfully handed it to Qin Ye.
Qin Ye opened it cautiously. There was a palm-sized piece of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl inside the box.
When Qin Ye took but a single glance at it, he suddenly felt as though someone… was staring at him right through the lenses of the fragment of the bowl!
What an intense gaze filled with grievances… These grievances far exceed that which even That Amorous Affair or Li Jiankang possessed! This here… we’re talking about a national-level grievance here. And it feels almost as though there’s more than one such intense gaze staring at me right now!
There was even a faintly perceptible sound of countless ghosts howling, flames crackling, sharp blades being driven through flesh… tragic moans and despairing cries… It was almost as though it was a glimpse of hell on earth!
Clack! And it lasted for all of three seconds before he firmly shut the box once more, only to realize that his entire body had already broken out into cold sweat.
Oda Nobunaga… is definitely at the level of a Hellguard!
“Wait here for me tomorrow night.” He played with the box and continued with a deep voice, “That’s right. I don’t care how you’re going to do it, but I want you to hook me up with the leaders of the furniture industry before the auction begins. Tell them that I’ve got a stock of Southsea Huanghuali worth a billion RMB on hand, and that they should contact me if they;re interested. The payment has to arrive before the auction begins.”
“Understood!” There was nothing that the present Bai Yishan wouldn’t agree to.
Qin Ye nodded, “It would be best if you hid as close to the First Academy of Cultivators as possible tonight. Ideally, you’ll want to be sitting right at their entrance. It will be fine as long as you don’t cross the boundaries and enter the City of Salvation. Otherwise… you might be able to keep yourself safe for a moment, but it’s going to take a far longer time before you can finally leave that place.”
Bai Yishan blinked softly and nodded eagerly. But before he even finished nodding, Qin Ye promptly grabbed him by the chin and forced Bai Yishan to lock eyes with him.
“Are you thinking that you may as well enter the City of Salvation and be done with it once and for all? Let me tell you something - dream on. Because as soon as you come in here… I’ll personally take your life. Believe me. My territory is hardly going to be any more lax than Oda Nobunaga’s.”
Qin Ye spoke with a frigid tone of voice.
His silly nature and his casual playfulness was a side of him which he only displayed to a select few. Those who fell outside this ambit of trust would naturally see the far colder and more distant front instead.
With that, he turned around and began to make his way out of the cemetery. He couldn’t be bothered with Bai Yishan any longer. Lin Han was probably getting anxious as well.
“Sir… my lord!” Bai Yishan’s entire body trembled as he followed cautiously behind Qin Ye, “Are you sure I’ll be able to survive until tomorrow night like this? Y-you can’t leave me in the lurch like that!”
Qin Ye was displeased, and he quickly vanished into the darkness with a few parting words, “I’ve already told you the way to survive. It’s none of my business whether you adhere to it or not. After all… I’ve already gotten my hands on the shard I want. Besides, I’m sure the first thing Mr Nobunaga would want after returning to life is to ruminate over his past…”
I wonder what kind of expression he’s going to make as soon as he sees Arthis?
The Demon King of the Sixth Heaven vs Queen of the Witches?
Oooh… that would be quite the sight to behold…
“My lord!!” Bai Yishan’s trembling voice reverberated throughout the cemetery. He didn’t dare dally any longer. He picked up the box which Qin Ye had left behind, and immediately scuttled in the direction that Qin Ye had departed from.
At least there’s hope now, isn’t there?
Lin Han didn’t say a single word about what transpired at Mount Monarch even after they met up once again. They simply made a beeline right back towards the First Academy of Cultivators.
This was what friends did for each other. Lin Han didn’t ask for any details from the onset. And now, seeing that Qin Ye was still silent about it, he knew better than to probe any further. After all, he could guess that the peculiar turn of events at the phantom market tonight had something to do with Qin Ye.
Just like that, they returned safely to their own respective dorm rooms. The first thing which Qin Ye did was to bolt the door shut behind him. In a rare display of restraint, Arthis didn’t say anything abrasive to Qin Ye, and instead simply gazed deeply into Qin Ye’s eyes, “There’s something on you… that bears the aura of great grievances. And the Yin energy emanating from it is also terrifying. Don’t tell me that you’ve brought back the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl?”
“I’ve brought back a fragment of it.” Qin Ye checked that the door was locked tight, before hopping back onto his bed and recounting everything that happened to Arthis.
Arthis furrowed her brows deeply, and she remained silent for a long time after Qin Ye had finished his account of the story. Then, she opened the box and took a good, long look at the fragment, before finally sighing, “I’ve once heard from the scholars in Hell that some artifacts are so evil that certain experts would seal them and be buried together with those artifacts. After he dies, he won’t enter paradise, nor will he enter hell. Instead, he will spend the next five hundred years purging the grievous Yin spirits and their energy from the artifact before finally being reborn. And in so doing, he will accrue for himself great virtue and merit which will be counted to his advantage when he finally reincarnates.”
“If the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl was placed together with the corpse when they first dug them up, then the corpse would undoubtedly be one of these fools who placed the affairs of the world before the self. How is it his business that an evil ghost is running rampant throughout the mortal realm? He should simply let Hell deal with these matters. What annoys me most is the fact that we don’t get credit for the purging of these grievous Yin spirits. Pfft. Trash.”
Qin Ye didn’t know how he was supposed to respond to this!
Ahhhhh… Is this how an Emissary of Hell actually views the esteemed and virtuous monks and priests of the mortal realm? ‘Mind your own business’, ‘don’t steal my credit’, ‘why don’t you go and die’... Come to think of it, do you guys even know what it means to bemoan the state of the world and take pity on humanity?!
“Eh? Why do you have such a look of ambivalence on your face? Do you need me to help sort out your expressions?” Arthis leapt to her feet.
“N-no… it’s fine. All you need to do is to sit tight and look pretty. Now, please carry on where you left off…” Qin Ye sensibly picked the right response.
Arthis looked begrudgingly at Qin Ye - This kid is getting smarter by the minute… She coughed lightly and continued, “You’ve sussed out quite a fair bit of information tonight. Let me break it down for you bit by bit.”
Her expression turned serious, “Firstly, you guessed right - the busybody man who sealed the Oda Nobunaga’s grievous spirit had some tricks up his sleeves, and he transformed the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl into a vessel of sorts. This vessel essentially contains the spirits of all who perished at the Honnoji Temple incident, particularly those who were aggrieved by the fact that they were so close to unifying Nippon at that time. When the vessel was broken, so was the seal.”
“Secondly, the situation at Guardian Auctions’ side won’t worsen any further. After all, the seal had only been broken recently, and the only person who managed to escape thus far is none other than Mori Ranmaru. Oda Nobunaga’s soul will only reawaken when the bowl is properly reunited. Since Mori Ranmaru clearly isn’t after the bowl back at Yan Capital, his target is naturally the fragment in your hands right now. If we just take a step back… this means even though Guardian Auctions has sustained some damage from these unforeseen circumstances, it still won’t go down. In other words, someone will still preside over the auction as scheduled.”
Qin Ye looked at her with great dissatisfaction, “I’ve wanted to say this for a long time now. Why don’t you just go to Yan Capital and retrieve the rest of the bowl for me? Nobody would be able to find out, right?”
Arthis shook her head, “It’s a cardinal rule that those of the netherworld can’t interfere with the affairs of the mortal realm. You’re a damned buffoon that gets the best of both worlds - you’re not subject to this rule, but I am!”
“Can you please take things seriously? Do you know how upset the readers are going to be if you keep beating about the bush for the sake of word count?!”
Arthis rolled her eyes, “Since it’s already been decided that the bowl is to be auctioned off, it would naturally have gained something called the ‘will of the living’. This is an intangible concept. I’ve never seen it before, but I’m certain it exists as part of the Heavenly Dao. As soon as I reach my hand out to seize something like that, I’m afraid the only fate that awaits me is an eternity in the heavens.”
Qin Ye blinked his eyes frantically as he probed further, “You’re unwilling to go? Why don’t you seriously consider their offer? This is a proper invitation to become a civil servant of the heavens, replete with a 100,000 year end bonus and several other benefits and privileges! Heaven’s not too bad, you know…”
Arthis snorted coldly, “Does heaven have computers and the internet?”
What the hell?!
Qin Ye was dumbfounded. Do you mean… I’m the reason why this old hag has decided to remain on earth?!
I’ll be damned… Qin Ye wanted to give himself a tight slap to the face so badly!
Arthis continued, “And are there LoL challengers in heaven?”
Qin Ye shook his head stiffly.
Arthis continued to score a hat trick, “Would heaven have apps like Momo, Kuaishou, Douyu, iQiyi, Tencent video, as well as mahjong, poker, fresh meat, and so on and so forth? They would probably even send me to answer directly to Sun Wukong if I wanted to discuss something as simple as hunting techniques with them. And then he would probably banish me to the land of 81 trials.”
Qin Ye stared at the sky, completely dumbstruck, “I was wrong… I should never have opened your eyes to that world… When I hear you speak of the internet and pop culture with such fluency, I suddenly feel like I’ve been a complete failure…”
Arthis glared at Qin Ye with a pitiful expression, affirming his thoughts. Then, her voice grew stern and somber, “Don’t digress! We’ve already spent several hundred words bantering! Let’s get back to the point!”
That’s right, let’s get back to the point. She deliberated for a moment, “So where were we? Ah, that’s right. Thirdly.”
She looked at Qin Ye with all earnesty, “Do you know who the one called Kamo is?”
Qin Ye nodded, “He’s an Onmyoji. And the most famous Onmyojis in Nippon… are none other than those from the Kamo Clan!”
Arthis was somewhat dumbfounded, “Cough… I was just about to say that it’s Abe no Seimei… Isn’t that him? And here I thought we’d scored an ultra rare...”
“Get out!!” Qin Ye exploded. Then, he took a deep breath and glared resentfully at Arthis, “Cathay has always thought that the most famous Onmyoji is none other than Abe Shinzo… I mean, Abe no Seimei. But we were wrong. The most powerful Onmyoji were in fact the respective heads of the Kamo Clan… Speaking of which, how could you be breaking this down for me when you don’t even have an accurate grasp of historical facts yourself?!”
Arthis shrunk back like a maggot in the face of Qin Ye’s derisory gaze. Then, after a while, she nodded firmly, employed what Sledgehammer Wang was best known for - the technique of saying that this is besides the point, “I really didn’t expect you to be so learned in these aspects… but that’s not the main point! The crux of the matter lies in point number four!”
She picked up the fragment of the bowl with an abstruse smile on her face, “Do you know… who’s in here?”
Qin Ye was stunned, “Oda’s family? Nohime, Nobutada, and some others?”
Arthis grinned, “You’re truly fortunate.”
“I’ve heard the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl being called the Eye of Damnation before. Since that’s the case, I’ll let you look into its eye and see just how many grievous Yin spirits are actually gathered in it. This can truly be considered a pot of breeding fodder…”
2. https://japanese-wiki-corpus.github.io/person/KAMO%20no%20Tadayuki.html It seems like he was one of the teachers of Abe no Seimei, one of the most famous Onmyoji of all times. That said, given that he’s still a human right now, it would seem like the author modernized his reference to Kamo no Tadayuki, or is referring to a descendant with the same name.