Qin Ye cowered in the corner of the room for some time. Then, blinking his eyes vacantly, he silently stood up, combed his fingers through his hair, pulled out his phone and tapped on a transport app.
“What are you doing?” Arthis asked with a slight twitch to her lips. She had a bad premonition of what was to come.
“I’d like to throw caution to the wind and put myself on the trip of a lifetime… Do you think I’ll be able to escape this tribulation by hiding in the depths of the Vatican City?” Qin Ye began to search for plane tickets in great agony.
As expected… Arthis stared blankly into the sky. I should never have expected much more from him… After all, we’re talking about a person whose lethargy runs so deep that he would never actively embark on a course of action unless he is pushed to the brink of desolation. It was naive of me to expect such an earth-shattering transformation of him overnight…
“Have you never thought of conquering the world, standing tall on your throne of power and authority, and indulging in the revelry of the company of beautiful women? Shouldn’t this be part of every man’s ambitions? Nine out of ten male protagonists are heaven-defying tyrants… so why are you drawing such clear boundaries?”
Qin Ye shook his head with great astonishment, “How could you have such unrealistic thoughts? Didn’t I tell you to watch less Netflix? Your brain’s going to rot away at this rate!”
Arthis was suddenly silent.
Looks like it is imperative to reason with my fists.
Just as Qin Ye was happily searching for the plane ticket to his great escape, he suddenly heard a loud sound right between his legs - Ding! It was so startling that he nearly dropped his phone.
Arthis slowly retracted the clump of hair that had stabbed into the floorboard right between his thighs as she coldly muttered, “I’ll give you a chance to restate your position.”
Qin Ye stared at the floorboard between his thighs as though he had just seen a ghost. The hole in the floorboard was as large as the width of a pencil, and it was so deep he could practically see the dorm room below. He was instantly jolted back to his senses, and he stood up slowly with a flattering smile on his face, “Is this really necessary? Aren’t we just like a loving family? We’re getting along just fine, so there’s no need to resort to violence… So, then, let’s sit down calmly and have a nice chat about the problem with Izanami. Now, where were we?”
“I’ll guarantee your safety.” Arthis started off by giving Qin Ye some reassurance so that he would remain present for the rest of the discussion. It could be said that they were engaging in a battle of the wits and courage right now.
Qin Ye immediately sat up.
Arthis rolled her eyes at him, “Have you ever thought about how big of a deal the appearance of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl truly is? Onmyojis would have sensed its appearance, and their goal is to destroy Oda Nobunaga’s soul altogether. The Nipponese underworld would have detected its emergence as well, and their objective would undoubtedly be to seize his soul back to their underworld to do their bidding. But Oda Nobunaga has appeared in the form of an evil ghost, and he would cease to exist as soon as his spirit is purged by the mortal realm. In other words, while these three factions appear to be in harmony with each other, but their motives and desired outcomes are in fact in great dissension with the other.”
Giving credit where it was due, Qin Ye was in fact rather reliable when he took things seriously. At the very least, he immediately understood what Arthis was getting at, “Fight them one at a time?”
“Let’s be more professional about this. It’s called divide and conquer.” Arthis explained, “If you don’t do this, you’ll face resistance from all three factions at the same time - Oda Nobunaga, Onmyojis and the army of the Nipponese underworld. In this regard, your goals are the most closely aligned with the Onmyojis. In essence, they don’t want Nobunaga’s evil spirit to ever show up on Nipponese soil again.”
Having detected the scent of a great idea, Qin Ye rubbed his chin in glee and built upon Arthis’ words, “And it’s not just that… What I want isn’t actually in conflict with Oda Nobunaga’s interests at all. He would definitely resist the idea of bowing in submission to the authority of the Nipponese underworld.. After all, his dream was once to conquer and unify all of Nippon, yet the subjugator is presently facing the prospects of being subjugated. How could he be pleased about that?”
Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed brightly. He waved his arm, and a piece of chalk quickly flew into his hands. Then, he began to map out the relationship between the conflicting parties on the ground as he murmured to himself, “Look, in other words, the only faction that we truly have to face head on is Izanami’s army. There’s no need to even wage war with the others. In fact, there may even be prospects for… cooperation?”
Arthis concurred, “Join up with the Onmyojis and agree to seize Oda Nobunaga’s soul. Then, contact Oda Nobunaga and tempt him with the offer of a lifetime to conquer Nippon all over again. That way, the only faction we’ll have to face would be none other than Izanami’s forces of the underworld.”
Qin Ye flicked his chalk away excitedly, “Done! This operation shall henceforth be called - ‘Saving Private Nobunaga’... No, ‘Saving Daimyo Nobunaga!’”
“Go get ready.” He glanced at Arthis rather naturally, “When are you planning to speak to these factions?”
Arthis’ gaze turned stiff, “I’m going?”
Qin Ye blinked vacantly, before abruptly pointing at himself in horror and bewilderment, “Are you really expecting me to go? Are you trying to disgrace Hell?”
“Do you want your mother to strangle you to death, you unfilial son?!!” Arthis exploded with great indignation, and her hair instantly rushed out like a tide, binding up Qin Ye and restraining his limbs. Arthis gnashed her teeth, “Yin and Yang must never mix! Every single advantage we possess hinges on the fact that you straddle both realms, and the emissaries of the Nipponese underworld can’t do what you can do! You’re the only one who can bring these plans to fruition! How dare you shirk your responsibility?!”
“Calm down! Calm down!” Qin Ye instantly broke out with cold sweat, “This is too humiliating! This entire scene is a great disgrace to Hell! A denigration of all we stand for! An ignominy!”
“You’re the disgrace of Hell! Don’t you have any self-awareness?!”
“No… I mean, I haven’t experienced this shade of grey before… couldn’t you be a little gentler… Ah! My god…”
Kid… Be prepared to meet your maker!
Her hair lashed about like vicious whips, striking Qin Ye with nary any mercy. Then, ten minutes later, Arthis finally loosened her restraints with a huff and glared menacingly at Qin Ye, “This is a foreign underworld. Emissaries of Hell can never cross territorial boundaries without Hell’s approval. Unfortunately, the new Hell doesn’t even have the infrastructure in place to grant such approvals right now. In fact, it can’t even re-appoint me as an Emissary of Hell just yet. But you’re different. You can participate in the auction openly in your capacity as a human being. Therefore, this is something that only you can do.”
Qin Ye lay on the ground, panting hard. His clothes were disheveled, and he grunted feebly in acknowledgment like a dead pig.
Just you wait… I’m going to cast you into the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment as soon as I become an Infernal Judge!
The next night, at 12.30 a.m. Qin Ye crawled out through the same bunch of rose bushes. As soon as he emerged from the other end, he immediately noticed a restless Bai Yishan waiting for him.
Bai Yishan was pacing around anxiously as he waited for Qin Ye in front of an inn by the side of the road, and he immediately came running over as soon as he noticed Qin Ye.
“Mr Qin!” Despite having been apart for only one day, Bai Yishan looked ostensibly more haggard than before. His eyes were more sunken, and his body language spoke volumes about how fraught with anxiety he was. He bowed deeply to Qin Ye, “Thank you for your guidance. I… have at least managed to scrape by last night. About the thing that would keep me safe…”
“Of course I brought it with me.” Qin Ye pulled out a talisman which he had especially obtained from Arthis. This talisman was imbued with her Judge-class aura. As long as the assailant was no stronger than a Judge-class entity, he wouldn’t be able to hurt the owner of the talisman one bit.
That said, the talisman was only effective for five uses.
Bai Yishan’s eyes gleamed. He was so desperate that he would believe anything Qin Ye said right now. He reached out to grab it, only to realize that Qin Ye wasn’t letting go of it.
“How about the things I’ve asked you to get sorted out yesterday?”
Bai Yishan couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Then, as Qin Ye’s expressions grew uglier by the second, it suddenly dawned on him.
Ah! Just before he left, he mentioned something about a billion of something?
“You didn’t ask.” Qin Ye’s affirmative statement immediately caused Bai Yishan to break out in cold sweat. Without hesitation, he threw himself to the ground before Qin Ye and grabbed tightly to Qin Ye’s trousers as he pleaded, “Mr Qin, I’m truly sorry! As you know, I’ve been living like hell the last few days. Today! I promise you that you’ll have a favourable response by 4 p.m. this afternoon!”
Qin Ye glanced at him, and then slapped the talisman onto his forehead, “Do you even remember what I’d asked you to do?”
Bai Yishan shook his head abashedly.
“Southsea Huanghuali.” Qin Ye looked him straight in the eye, “I’d like to sell a stock of Southsea Huanghuali worth a billion so that I can purchase the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl at the auctions. If you can’t get it done by the end of the month, then…”
Qin Ye cast a long, meaningful gaze at the talisman, and Bai Yishan immediately kept it well with him. He finally felt reassured, and his anxiety lightened up substantially.
After heaving a long sigh of relief, Bai Yishan felt much calmer and more spirited than before. He clutched tightly at his chest where the talisman was stored as he muttered, “Mr Qin, it seems like you’ve checked on the competition at the upcoming auctions. A billion RMB for a single artifact is practically unprecedented. The highest artifact that we’ve auctioned thus far is Picasso’s painting entitled ‘Boy with a Pipe’, and that had transacted at 100 million USD. But that said… I’m afraid a billion might not even be enough this time.”
He stole a glance at Qin Ye’s expression before continuing, “This is a national treasure we’re talking about. Furthermore… Guardian Auctions… doesn’t merely issue Premium VIP accounts to Cathayans.”
Qin Ye’s eyes flickered, “Are you saying that there are foreign tycoons who have taken an interest in it as well?”
Bai Yishan nodded solemnly, “This bowl actually comes in a pair. The other bowl was originally in the hands of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and it was eventually passed down into the hands of one of the six major Nipponese conglomerates, Mitsubishi foundation. Its late-president, Iwasaki Koyata, has always dreamed of assembling the pair of bowls together. And it so happens that one of the black card account holders happens to be the current president of the Mitsubishi conglomerate. Furthermore, he’s a direct descendant of Iwasaki himself.”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows, “He…”
“He has evinced an intention not to allow their national treasure to fall to the hands of foreigners. In other words, he’s prepared to get his hands on it, no matter the price.” Bai Yishan explained gravely, “By our estimations, this bowl could easily go for 1.5 billion RMB. After all, this is the first time that a national treasure has appeared in an auction. It might not even be a stretch to say that the price would exceed 2 billion RMB.”
Qin Ye’s gaze flickered for a long time, before he finally nodded with slight resignation, “I understand. Go ahead and make the preparations anyway. Tell them that there’s no cap on the stock of Southsea Huanghuali. Remember, I only accept checks that are acceptable worldwide.”
Bai Yishan finally took his leave with a thousand thanks.
Yet Qin Ye stuck around for a while, lingering by the roadside as he cast a long, abstruse gaze into the deep abyss of the night.
He had once wondered what would happen if someone seized the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl before the auction even commenced? However, he had just a little while ago understood something important… The auction would definitely go on as scheduled.
There were currently four factions in competition, all of whom knew full well that the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl was broken into two fragments, and only one of it was to be sold at the auction. There was no reason to make a move for the fragment to be auctioned if they didn’t have the other fragment to complete the bowl. Therefore, the only faction that would make a move prior to the auction was one that necessarily possessed the other half of the bowl. The corollary was true, that whoever made a move right now would essentially be declaring that they possessed the other fragment of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl in their hands! This was why everyone was biding their time, waiting for the auction to end so as to determine which party had made their move to secure the fragment of the bowl. And then… the competition for the bowl would officially begin.
“A tussle with the Nipponese Onmyoji, the Nipponese Underworld, Oda Nobunaga’s personal forces, as well as the top tycoons in the world, huh…” The cool night breeze tousled his hair about gently, “I can only imagine how unbelievably exciting things are going to be…”
“I wonder when it all began, when someone as cowardly as I somehow stepped onto the same stage of competition as these big names?”
He chuckled helplessly and shook his head.
He had done everything so far for the sake of his own survival.
There were the three daolords, and then there was the threat of the Harken which could erupt with cataclysmic consequences at any time.
And this trip to the East Cathay Sea was for the dual purposes of obtaining the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl and to finally commission the golden trade route of Hell built upon his stock of Southsea Huanghuali. His success… would mark the true beginning of Hell’s ascension!Previous Chapter Next Chapter