Qin Ye soon arrived at the principal’s office. Su Feng and Lin Han were already waiting for him in the office, and their faces were flushed with great excitement. Even Xu Anguo, a man who had always made it a point to maintain a poker face in all situations, couldn’t help but reveal a radiant smile.
“You’ve come.” He fervently suppressed the excitement in his heart. That said, it was apparent that the smile on his face hadn’t faded once as soon as he saw the publication on Cultivators Weekly. He pulled out a phone and placed it right in front of Qin Ye, “Come, take a look. These are the fruits of your labour. You’re slated to leave on 3 June and return on 3 July. Have a good look at the offers, and then let me know how you wish to go about with these academic forums.”
It’s finally here…
Qin Ye breathed a sigh of relief in his heart. The east wind that he had so longed for had finally arrived.
There was a four-way tussle that was about to unravel itself in the East Cathay Sea. Given that Hell was once the strongest underworld around, how could they possibly be absent from the fight?!
He scanned the contents of Xu Anguo’s inbox and noticed dozens of emails lying unopened. The titles of these emails were similar in nature - “XX Research Center Cordially Invites Instructor Qin and Co to the XX Academic Forum at XX Location.” “XX Research Institution Cordially Invites Instructor Qin and Co to the XX Academic Forum at XX Location.”
That said, the senders and nature of forums were widely variegated!
Su Feng’s eyes turned a little red as he stared in disbelief, “Are these all… directed to us?”
Not even the professors around had an opportunity like this!
“Naturally.” Xu Anguo smiled radiantly at the three instructors seated in front of him. The First Academy of Cultivators was now placed in the national limelight. In fact, the professors, and even the principals, had all been working on their own research papers and theses for the purposes of publications, and yet nobody would ever have expected the ones to come out ahead of the race to be three unassuming instructors.
“Those who have clearance to send such invitations to me are undoubtedly the top research centers and institutions across Cathay. Your eventual decision on your academic tour will be published onto the Auspicious Omens website for all to know. And to that end, all whose names are listed, regardless of their reputation beforehand, will henceforth be propelled to fame. In fact, even the upper echelons of the central government will be closely watching your every action from now on!”
“Furthermore, your names will be recorded in the national archive of talents from the very moment you set foot onto the stage of the first academic forum. From then, you’ll continue to receive countless invitations from various knowledge-based organizations… Lads, it’s safe to say that you’ve already graduated before the First Academy of Cultivators has even taken off proper. Many people have traveled far and wide to the First Academy of Cultivators in pursuit of beefing up their own resumes. Yet you… within the first semester of classes, have already surpassed what others could only dream of achieving after decades of effort.”
He drew a deep breath and looked at the computer, “I’ll send the details of these invitations to you via the Momo app. The reason why I’ve called you over is to mentally prepare you for what is to come. I’m certain that there will be a number of organizations and reporters seeking an interview with you over the next few days. I’ve already taken the liberty to adjust your course schedules. I want you to look for Professor Tao after this to pick up a thing or two from him so that you don’t make any mistakes and tarnish your own name or the name of the academy!”
With that, they spent the rest of the day within Professor Tao’s office, where they were imbibed with the knowledge of how to deal with the media of the cultivation world, what to say and what not to say, and so on. They even went through the draft speeches that they had prepared. By the time Qin Ye returned to his dorm room in the evening, he was already so drained that he simply wished to collapse into his own bed.
Meanwhile, it appeared to finally dawn on Arthis that she was in fact an Infernal Judge. When Qin Ye stepped into his room, he immediately noticed that the floor was littered with yellow talisman papers. Arthis was seated in the midst of the chaos, dipping her brush into vermillion ink from time to time and drawing broad strokes across these talisman papers.
Arthis was evidently a Judge who had been put through institutionalized training.
Her movements were elegant and graceful. She pulled back her sleeve with one hand daintily, while her other arm remained completely still as she drew beautiful strokes on the talisman papers with the flick of her wrist. With each stroke of the brush, Yin energy would condense onto the paper and vanish in an instant, and thumb-sized black lotus flowers would sometimes even appear underneath the brush and drift into the air around.
“What are you…”
“Shut up if you don’t want to die.” Arthis didn’t even look at him. Just then, she flicked her wrist down, and a red brushstroke appeared on the talisman paper below. In the next moment, the entire sheet of paper spontaneously combusted like a butterfly consumed by jade-green netherfire, and it vanished completely into thin air.
“Haa…” She chuckled sardonically and set her brush aside, “It seems I’m getting old… To think that I can’t even do something as simple as this anymore.”
Qin Ye finally found the opportunity to respond, “What were you trying to do?”
Arthis rubbed her silicone wrist and glanced placidly at Qin Ye, “Have you crossed swords with Mori Ranmaru?”
Qin Ye nodded in bewilderment.
“Then, have you also realized that…” Arthis smirked, “You can’t instakill him?”
Qin Ye blinked, and then gasped in shock.
That’s right. Emissaries of Hell are supposed to be able to instakill Yin spirits so long as they are on the same level of abilities. But… I wasn’t able to instakill Mori Ranmaru at all!
By extension, doesn’t this mean that I won’t be able to instakill Oda Nobunaga either?
Holy crap! I’m gonna get obliterated at this rate! He’s a powerful Hellguard at that! Hang on… I’m a Hellguard too… no, but that’s not the point! The point is that this Hellguard-class Yin spirit is named Oda Nobunaga, and he has even earned himself the title of the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven! It sounds very much like I’m walking into a death trap at the rate things are going!
Qin Ye’s expressions immediately turned grim and bitter, and it took him several seconds before he finally responded with great trembling, “Then… do you think there’s any possibility of us sneaking off with the bowl? Or perhaps borrow it to seize Oda Nobunaga’s soul, before returning it to them before the auctions?”
“No. Impossible. Get lost.” Arthis dashed his dreams to the jagged rocks below.
“Firstly, there is a precondition that the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl must recognize its master before one can seize the souls within. Secondly, the security over such an invaluable artifact must be immense. I won’t be able to help out, given the cardinal rule that those from the netherworld cannot interfere with the affairs of the mortal realm. It’s impossible for you to secure it right now either. Under your current circumstances, if you were to head over to Yan Capital right now to secure the bowl, I’ve got no doubts that the Special Investigations Department will be breathing down your neck in less than two days’ time. There are times when it’s just not worth the trouble scrimping and saving if you could just circumvent and solve the problem with money. Sure, the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl may be valuable, but next to the potential benefits you gain access to by being part of the inner circle of the First Academy of Cultivators, it’s simply not worth taking such a risk at all.”
There’s no arguing against such irrefutable logic.
Qin Ye pulled out his phone, tapped on an app, and immediately checked for ticket prices for flights to the Vatican.
A split second later, two talismans came flying straight towards Qin Ye, followed quickly by Arthis’ thunderous bellow, “I just knew you would react this way! I’m really doing everything I can to keep you from shirking your responsibilities! Your predecessors would be stirring in their graves if they knew how much of a coward their successor truly is! Take them, and take a good look at what they’re for!”
Qin Ye straightened his back immediately, and he glared begrudgingly at Arthis.
What a scheming girl… Why is she so hell-bent on seeing my true self? Could she have fallen for that side of me, and her heart is now blossoming with the springtime of love?
He picked up the talismans and looked at them, while Arthis promptly explained, “Ninefold Planetary Shift Talisman. This is a talisman that can only be used at night. The other is called the Mother-Son Talisman. The Son Talisman, or the subordinate talisman, fixes the destination, while the Mother Talisman, or the primary talisman, activates an instant displacement ability. You’ll be able to traverse a thousand miles immediately… These are all things which I’d learnt back when I was still an Emissary of Hell, and I’ve especially recalled these matters to mind just for your sake! Don’t you think you should be thankful to me?!”
Qin Ye couldn’t even be bothered to entertain the demanding silicone doll. He studied the talismans for another three minutes, before finally furrowing his brows, “But this doesn’t seem right. There’s not a hint of Yin energy on these talismans. Are you sure they can be used?”
“They can’t.” Arthis responded placidly, “This is just to satisfy your eyes and reassure your heart. I’ve got a vague idea of how it’s meant to look, but I’ve forgotten how exactly it should be drawn.”
How does that even work?!
Then, what’s the point of shoving this in my face?! T-this… leaves me more confused than when I’d begun!
“Emissaries of the underworld are only able to instakill Yin spirits that fall within the jurisdiction of their corresponding underworld. Naturally, extraterritorial emissaries won’t be able to achieve the same effects.” Arthis explained with some exasperation, “I wouldn’t feel at ease if I allowed you to venture into the unknown on your own… Ah, just to be clear, I’m not concerned that you would die. I simply don’t want you to embarrass Cathay’s underworld in front of Nipponese emissaries, and yet still return to Cathay in safety. You know, the more I think about it, the more I think an outcome like that is likely… Now, that’s a scary thought.”
She sighed, “The only option right now is to ask Lord Ming to lend us a hand.”
“That ‘blabbermouth’ has spent several centuries basking in Justice Bao’s energy. So long as it’s able to unleash even a trace of Lord Bao’s energy signature, the Nipponese underworld would need to think twice about clashing directly against us, even if they were to have an army of a million Yin spirits lying in wait.” Arthis continued coldly, “You’ve never personally experienced the glory of the era when Hell’s peremptory orders are never to be defied. A single command from any one of the Yama-Kings of the Ten Palaces could easily silence Izanami’s army. They’ve only grown nerves of steel because of the great collapse of Hell a hundred years ago.”
“In any event, you can leave this in my hands. I’ll make the arrangements with Lord Ming on your behalf.”
With that, she vanished from sight. Qin Ye flicked open his Momo app and began to pore through the documents sent by Xu Anguo.
Qin Ye has always known that he wasn’t a hot-blooded, impassioned person who would act on impulse at the slightest sign of provocation. The only reason why he, the present King Yanluo, had to take to the battleground was purely because there was nobody under his charge right now. And since he wasn’t as good as others at being a valiant warrior on the battlefield, then he would have to make up for his inadequacies through other means.
He had never thought of himself as a loser. Rather, he appreciated the fact that everyone had their own strengths.
For instance, he was the only one among cultivators who could reap souls, and he was the only Emissary of Hell who could pass off as a cultivator. Furthermore, he was undoubtedly one of the most shameless men ever in existence - one with practically no bottom line at all!
“The upcoming confrontation is simply frightening, no matter how I look at it…” He exclaimed as he browsed the documents listlessly.
He picked out the location for his academic exchange in no time.
Eastsea Building 653 Academic Forum. It was organized by the highly acclaimed Eastsea Building 653 - one of the few S-ranked research institutions apart from the SRC.
Although his primary purpose for heading out was none other than the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl, his travel out was still built upon the pretext of an academic exchange. It would be far too much of a waste to let this opportunity to rise to stardom go to waste. Besides, he couldn’t bear to let his co-authors down either.
After all, he was going to be at the First Academy of Cultivators in the near future. The hamster project had just begun, so how could he possibly give up such an important opening to further secure his foothold?
“Eastsea City… is the city with an S-ranked research institution located closest to the East Cathay Sea…” He stared at the maps on his laptop and murmured to himself, “The auctions are going to take place at an island on the high seas east of Cathay, near Pusan and Kyukoku. There are a number of islands close by that are subject to territorial dispute between various countries, and I imagine that some of the auction attendees don’t feel as safe if the auctions took place at such a location. Therefore the dangerous, lawless high seas instead became the safest place. These attendees must truly be influential…”
He rubbed his chin, “It’s approximately 30 hours away from the harbour by boat. And most importantly… the Insignia Province is located right next to the Eastsea Province, where Eastsea City is located!”
There’s no other place more suitable than this!
After mulling over this for several more seconds, Qin Ye picked up the phone and dialed a number, “Hello, Mr Gao.”
He had just dialed the number of the Imperial Furniture Group.
“How do you do, Mr Qin?” Gao Youliang’s voice was loud and resonant, “Would I be too presumptuous to assume that you’re calling to inform me of the location for our negotiations?”
But… you’re not the only one that I’m going to be negotiating with on this trip…
Qin Ye glanced eastwards and squinted his eyes softly. He was willing to bet that Guardian Auctions would also be taking the route from Eastsea to the island! After all, it was highly unlikely that they would have the gall to travel to the island from Yan Capital, right under the watchful eyes of the central government!
If that’s the case… that means that the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl would be stopping in transit in Eastsea for a short time. Perhaps… I might even be able to complete my series of negotiations before encountering Izanami’s forces. That way, it’ll be much easier for me to retreat if anything goes wrong.
There’s much more room for manoeuvre this way. The more I think about it, the more I think that Eastsea is definitely the right choice!
“Mr Qin?” Gao Youliang prompted again, having heard no response from Qin Ye the last time.
Qin Ye was jolted back to his senses, “Mr Gao, I’ll be at the Pearl of the Orient at Eastsea City from 3 June to 5 June. See you soon.”
“Great!” Back at Dragonriver City, Gao Youliang sat in his chair and drew a deep breath, “See you soon. I eagerly await the samples of your goods! So long as we tighten our belts, Imperial Furniture should have no issues stomaching this stock of Southsea Huanghuali worth several billions on end!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter