“Come, smile nicely, say cheese!” With a click of the shutter, a passer-by handed the phone back to Local Bully. He smiled and waved in return, “Thanks, friend.”
It was now early June. The sun shone radiantly.
They stood on a side of the river bank. A massive skyscraper otherwise known as the Pearl of the Orient building stood directly across the riverbank from where they were. In fact, it sat among an entire row of towering skyscrapers, which included the Peace Financial Building, the Bank of Communications Building, the Bank of Cathay Building, the International Convention Center… The entire series of skyscrapers dazzled in the sunlight, forming part of the beautiful skyline in the early summer days.
Cruise ships drifted along the wide river, while thousands of foreign tourists held up their cameras on the opposite bank of the river, doing their level best to capture a panoramic view of the majestic city. Pedestrian traffic was heavy around these parts.
But it was strange.
The city was clearly bustling, yet there was a peculiar sense of tranquility when one stood on the other side of the river bank.
They had arrived only earlier today. The journey from the Insignia Province to the Eastsea Province took only slightly more than three hours. From there, it was only a short drive to the heart of the city, where they registered their arrival with the staff of the Eastsea Building 653, rejected offers to take them around the city, and then went on to tour the city on their own.
“I’ll say, why do you have to pull such a long face in every photograph we take?” The three instructors were all dressed in ordinary civilian clothes, and Local Bully was flipping through the photographs with great dissatisfaction, “Is it really that painful being framed in the same photograph as me? I’ll have you know that I’ve always been ranked among the topmost good-looking men from elementary school all the way through to college. How can I not be good enough for you?”
Qin Ye rolled his eyes. It was a habit of his to refuse all forms of photographic records. Unfortunately, Local Bully was so enthused about the trip that Qin Ye was unable to bring himself to turn down the request for a group photograph. It was under such circumstances that he made an exception to appease the overexcited husky.
“Where shall we go after this?” Local Bully asked with great excitement, to which Qin Ye responded lazily, “Back to the hotel, for a siesta.”
“... From one member of the new generation to another, don’t you think that you’re far too lacking in your aspirations? We might not be able to leave the city in the foreseeable future after all.”
“Save it.” Su Feng was somewhat worn out as well. He sipped at his drink and basked in the warm sunlight like a relaxed cat, “We’ve got a whole month ahead of us. The academic forum isn’t going to take any more than a single week. We’ve got all the time we want in the remaining three weeks to hang out. That’s plenty.”
“What a killjoy!” Local Bully was dismayed by the reactions of his fellow instructors, “Then you guys can head back. I’m going to walk around on my own.”
Qin Ye couldn’t have asked for anything more. With that, he got onto a cab with Su Feng and headed straight back to their hotel which was located along the riverbank. His room was on the 32nd floor. From there, he had a view of the sprawling economic district of the entire city.
He gently drew the curtains, drew a deep breath, and then cautiously pulled out his suitcase from under his bed. Then, as soon as he opened it up, he was immediately taken aback. He stared at his suitcase as though he had just seen a ghost.
The suitcase should have been filled with stacks of neatly arranged clothes, toiletries and other personal effects. The clothes were still there, but there were striking lines of red words scrawled across every single part of the suitcase, “Screw your mother!” “How dare you manhandle me?!” “I’m warning you! I’ll sue you for abusing the elderly if you don’t let me out right now!”
Qin Ye’s lips twitched uncontrollably in anger. But before he could even speak up, a ghastly voice emerged from the depths of his suitcase, and Ming Shiyin drifted out from underneath the stacks of clothes. Ming Shiyin had recovered to the extent that he no longer needed to speak through written text. Instead, he had regained his ability to communicate verbally.
“I’m surprised you still remember my existence, huh.”
A man and a mirror were locked in an intense gaze with each other. Qin Ye appeared absolutely livid, “Can--...”
“Can’t! No way! Nothing doing! This isn’t going to end well! You think you’re really good aren’t you? You slip out to have fun on your own, and yet you don’t even think for a moment to let me out of the suitcase?! Are you even aware of how claustrophobic it is in there?! How are you going to make it up to me if I lose my mind there?!”
Qin Ye was stunned by the sudden outpour of accusations at him. But before he could even gather his thoughts and retort against these allegations, the verbal diarrhoea continued, “Life was good back in Hell, yet you insisted that I come along. That’s still fine. But how dare you stuff me into your suitcase together with a bunch of toiletries?! I could look past that, if not for the fact that there’s still a whole bunch of your old underwear sitting right beside me, replete with the stench of your privates to boot! And I can endure it if it were just for a short while, but you’ve trapped me in here for hours on end! Do you truly want to die that badly?!”
Qin Ye pulled out his underwear from the bottom of the suitcase with great horror, almost as though he had just seen a terrifying ghost. Each article of underwear had streaks of scarlet words splashed across its surface - “Short!” “Puny!” “Useless!” “Trash!” “Needle-like!”
Five seconds later, a window on the 32nd floor of the building opened up, and an arm holding onto a mirror stretched out through the gap. Qin Ye gnashed his teeth and exploded as he shook the mirror dangerously, “I’ll give you three seconds to apologize to me! Do you know what free-falling is? Would you like to give it a shot? Just say the word, and I’ll send you straight up to heaven right now!”
“Hey! Bring it on! Toss me! What are you, a coward?! Oh, I’m soooo scared. I’m trembling with fear. I dare you to do it!”
“Bloody hell… You’re going to walk right over my head if I don’t teach you a lesson today! I’m going to drop you! I’m really going to drop you! I’m warning you! This is your last chance to apologize!”
“Hahaha! I’m sooooo scared! Let me tell you something, you won’t be able to do anything without me on this trip! I don’t care. I’m not going to take this lying down! If I don’t make you apologize to me today, my surname isn’t Ming!”
This was a result of their clash in personality.
Just like that, their exchange continued with great aggression, and neither was willing to back down. Perhaps Qin Ye realized that this was leading nowhere, and he motioned to pull back his arm after dozens more seconds of infuriated exchanges. Then, just as he was about to pull the mirror back and toss it hard back onto the bed, he accidentally slammed his hand onto the window frame, and reflexively loosened his grip in pain. Before he could react to the situation, Ming Shiyin was already falling through the sky with a great cry.
“Screw your ancestors… damn you… you’re actually doing it for real…” Ming Shiyin shrieked at the top of its voice with great fury as it fell through the air. Qin Ye froze in horror, and his heart immediately sank.
I’ve just tossed away my lifeline?!
He simply couldn’t fathom what he was going to do against the army of the Nipponese underworld without the aid of Ming Shiyin!
He reflexively turned back and immediately motioned to rush downstairs. And then, he doubled back and anxiously peeked his head out of the window once more. At the very least, he needed to know exactly where it fell, and whether it had struck anyone or not. His heart was torn between two divergent courses of action, and his heart practically sank in freefall, just like Ming Shiyin moments ago. A moment later, Qin Ye placed his hands together as though deep in prayer as he peeked out of the window and peered downstairs, “Please don’t be broken… please don’t be broken! You’re a divine artifact of Hell, aren’t you? I shouldn’t be able to write you off that easily!”
But miracles rarely happen.
A Hellguard’s eyesight was far better than that of a common man. Therefore, not only did he confirm that Ming Shiyin was still freefalling through the sky, he could even confirm that… its trajectory was headed straight for a person below.
“Bloody hell…” His reality completely shattered, and he could feel his legs weaken. Then, one second later, Ming Shiyin slammed straight onto the person’s head with a loud crash!
Qin Ye let out an agonized groan as he ran his fingers through his hair helplessly and collapsed to his knees in pain.
There’s no hope… How could an ancient copper mirror possibly survive a fall from the 32nd floor? To think that this seemingly harmless trip to Eastsea would make a murderer of me. You can probably just end this novel right here now…
“Eh?” Just then, his look of despondence gave way to a somber expression, and he abruptly shot to his feet and peered down once more.
Whoosh… There wasn’t the bloody aftermath of a killer litter incident he had expected to see. Rather… there were simply wisps of dark energy quickly dissipating into the surroundings like a blooming black spider lily.
“This is… Yin energy…” Qin Ye gasped, and his scalp went numb. The first notion that crossed his mind was that he should leave immediately!
Yin energy… dawn voyage! This is definitely at least a Hellguard-class Yin spirit!
The victim below suddenly expanded like a balloon, before bursting with a great eruption of Yin energy like a ten-meter geyser. The surrounding onlookers immediately screamed in horror as they scattered into the surroundings, while numerous police officers immediately began to rush over from all directions.
“No… this isn’t just Yin energy.” After scrutinizing the scene below for another two seconds, Qin Ye licked his lips and muttered aloud, “This is… Yin energy from an emissary!”
“An extraterritorial emissary, to be precise…” He glanced towards the mouth of the river, “Emissaries of the Nipponese underworld.”
“They’ve… already arrived!”
Several trains of thoughts began to spin in his mind. Nipponese emissaries have arrived… but why Eastsea? There could only be one reason.
“They are of the same view as I - that Guardian Auctions wouldn’t be entering the high seas through Yan Capital, and Eastsea is naturally the best option. Therefore…”
He drew a deep breath, and his gaze narrowed, “They’ve decided… to set up an encampment here to intercept the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl while it’s in transit! They won’t even allow it to make its way to the auction venue!”
“If something goes wrong, the worst case scenario would be if Oda Nobunaga fully awakens, and I fail to seize his soul. But this is still Cathayan territory after all! It would be incredibly difficult for Oda Nobunaga to make it back to Nipponese territories. And such developments would essentially buy them all the time they need…”
He squinted his eyes. Just then, Qin Ye’s train of thoughts were broken by a crescendoing scream, “aaaaaaaAAAAAHHHHHHHH--!!” An ancient copper mirror shot back up to the 32nd floor, propelled only by the massive spout of Yin energy. Ming Shiyin was so astonished by the turn of events that it even forgot it had already regained its speech function. A row of text appeared quickly on the surface of the mirror, “I-I-I-I’ve had it with you! I’ve just smashed a…”
“Emissary.” Qin Ye quickly stuffed the mirror back into his suitcase and made his way towards the front desk, “There’s a 99% chance that it’s a Nipponese emissary. They’re planning to make a move here! We’ve got to leave immediately. If we dally any longer… we’ll find ourselves the target of some unwanted attention!”
Thus, he checked out immediately. Fortunately, there were hotels littered all over Eastsea City, and he didn’t have any issues finding a replacement room. Although the location of this hotel was hardly as good as the first one, he could now see from his room the first hotel he had stayed in.
And right as he opened up the windows to his room, his eyes immediately narrowed.
There were a total of three prominent Yin energy signatures that were quickly converging in this location. Each energy signature had transformed into a powerful nethergale, and there was a humanoid figure located at the front of each nethergale. Each figure carried a banner on its back, and they screamed and wailed as they charged towards the hotel!
“Extraterritorial emissaries! Three Hellguards at that!” Ming Shiyin gasped in horror. It had slipped out of the suitcase just a little while ago, and it stared with great horror as the streams of nethergale weaved between the skyscrapers of the city. Ming Shiyin gnashed its teeth with great indignation, “Screw their mother! How dare they disrespect the Cathayan soil?! Back in the days of the old Hell, all extraterritorial emissaries would have to report to us even if they were just passing through our territorial waters! None would dare move about without approval. How did things become like this…”
Qin Ye grew taciturn.
Truth be told, he could feel his cheeks flush with a mild burning sensation, and a stifling netherflame of indignation had begun to blaze in his heart.
This was the subtle effects of Arthis’ influence on him. He had already come to terms with the fact that he would be the future King Yanluo of Hell. And now, having heard Arthis speak of the glories of the old Hell ever so often, and faced with the encroachment of Nipponese emissaries onto his own territory, he felt incredibly displeased.
What measure of disrespect is this?
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