He rubbed his eyes - Did I just see light outside?
The black veil covering the windows was rather thin, so he could vaguely make out what was outside of the carriage through the windows. Under the dark canopy of the night, in the midst of the fields around, there was a spot of light that appeared to be following the train as it chugged along.
The light didn’t appear to be too far away. By his estimations, its distance was approximately a hundred meters. That said, the sudden appearance of a light source triggered his curiosity - Where does the light come from? How can it possibly keep up with the train’s speed? He couldn’t help but take a closer look at it.
The source of light appeared blurry at best, and yet it gave off an unusually familiar sensation. However, Ma Yuankun just couldn’t put a finger on what it was no matter how hard he thought about it. Nevertheless, he operated his true energy and imbued his eyes so that he could get a clearer look at it.
Then, in the very next second, his pupils shrank, and he abruptly shot to his feet.
Whoosh. Everyone else in the carriage suddenly looked over. All four carriages of Operative-class experts turned to look at Ma Yuankun, only to notice that his body was twitching uncontrollably and his lips trembling as he pointed outside the window, completely unable to find the words to express the multitude of emotions and thoughts running through his mind.
“Enemy…” Ma Yuankun blurted out after several seconds of tense silence. Then, he screamed at the top of his voice, “En-en-enemy attack... ENEMY ATTACK!!”
He had seen it clearly.
The source of light came from a lantern.
They were presently still travelling through the wilderness, approximately one hundred kilometers away from Eastsea City.
Dark clouds filled the sky, obfuscating the soft twinkles of the constellations in the sky. Yet, despite the fact that they were in the middle of nowhere, a spot of light cut right through the stifling darkness of the night and travelled closely alongside the trajectory of the train.
Furthermore, he was able to tell that the entity carrying the lantern was not a human being!
He saw it clearly. That entity… was an arachnid with a woman’s body!
It wore a Nipponese mask, and her long, disheveled hair scattered all across her body. What should have been a spider’s body was instead the figure of a lady with several hairy spider legs extending out of her body. She carried a scarlet lantern with her and followed closely alongside the train and it chugged along!
What made matters worse was the fact that she appeared to have noticed Ma Yuankun as soon as he saw her figure. Her head turned a hundred and eighty degrees around stiffly and glared right at him with a horrific posture. And then… she bared her teeth.
Her lips extended from ear to ear. Although she was wearing a mask, he could still see her scarlet maw peeking out menacingly from underneath her mask.
As soon as he screamed, the string of coins sequestering each carriage of the train shook with a violent clatter, almost as though out of desperation. Simultaneously, the talismans that were plastered all around the carriage suddenly began to flutter and flap horizontally! And then, the dim lights in the carriage crackled and flickered dangerously!
An evil ghost arrives, terror ensues.
“This isn’t something that a mere vengeful apparition can do. The fact that its presence can influence the surroundings means--…” An old man in the front row trembled and shot to his feet. His lips twitched uncontrollably, but he was unable to bring himself to say the word.
This was at least a hundred-years evil ghost!
“What are you all waiting for?!!” He turned around abruptly and roared at the entire carriage, “To arms! Prepare yourselves!! Or are you waiting for death?!”
The furious bellow jolted everyone back to their senses in an instant. In a flash, everyone pulled out their peachwood swords, wealth of the five emperors, copper bells, bagua compasses, and other similar implements, and then swiftly took up formation within the carriage, standing with their backs against each other like they had always practised.
But a hundred-year evil ghost wasn’t something that mere budding Operative-class experts could deal with!
Chug-a-chug-a… Next to the oppressive silence of the train carriages, the incessant chugging sounds of the train didn’t bring comfort and assurance to their hearts at all. Instead, its repeated chugging even wore away at their tense spirits. Right this moment, they felt no different from prey that had been gagged, bound and strung up over a death god’s dining table as they heard the butcher sharpening his knife in the distance.
The metallic grinding sound of the blade slowly chipped away at their sanity.
Gulp… Ma Yuankun gulped nervously. He had just breached the bottleneck to become an Operative-class expert, while a hundred-year evil ghost was clearly an opponent that was well above his weight class - these were entities to be left to Soul Hunters. Thus, the prospects of confronting such a powerful existence caused him to break out in cold sweat and shiver all over.
Just then, he suddenly noticed that… the landscape outside had changed…
He wasn’t sure when it happened, but he could see that the scenery outside the carriage had completely changed!
And it seemed as though they had at some point in time entered a train station.
This was an incredibly ancient-looking station. There were Nipponese words everywhere, and the entire station was in shambles, broken and dilapidated, with chairs tipped over and other equipment and apparatuses strewn all over the floor. It appeared as though nobody had been here in years. The dim light outside flickered unceasingly, filling the atmosphere with a tense ambience.
There were even streaks of blood stains all over the station. And the most terrifying part was that there were pale-faced men and women dressed in ancient Nipponese clothing standing on both sides of the platform, silently staring at them with their bloodshot eyes!
There were those with a large gash on their throats; those who cradled their heads in their hands; and those who had half a skull missing from their heads, amongst others. They all presented themselves with dark purple spots of livor mortis on their bodies. It was as though this was a parade of the dead to send them off into their afterlife!
The bizarre and terrifying sight gave Ma Yuankun the feeling as though the final destination of the train weren’t Eastsea North Station at all. Rather, it was the Yomi-no-Kuni, the yellow springs of the Nipponese underworld.
In the dark of the night, a silent train had pulled up into a horrific platform filled with dead people, who were silently sending them into the afterworld.
T-t-t-t-t… Ma Yuankun’s teeth were already chattering incessantly. Then, in the next second, the talismans plastered all across the passenger carriages of the train spontaneously combusted, and the strings of copper coins at the entrance to the carriage crumbled in an instant!
The copper coins scattered everywhere. And right at that moment, eight large holes were punched straight through the carriage roof! A pale face peered through one of them. The mask on its face didn’t do much to conceal its grotesque maw that was opened wide. And then, it roared with a blood curdling shriek.
Yin energy poured out like a raging tide through the rows of ink-black teeth in its maw.
It’s that arachnid…
Ma Yuankun’s limbs froze up, and it was in this instant that he realized his usual training did nothing to prepare him for something like this - So that’s what an evil ghost is like… It used the environment and the human psyche to strike terror and fear in their hearts! It was on a completely different level from any of the other ghosts he had practised on in the past!
But why do I get the feeling that there’s another pair of eyes staring right at us - one that’s even more fearsome than this arachnid?
On the platform outside, the parade of the dead had already raised their pale lanterns to illuminate the area with a ghastly glow. Their carriage had derailed off their earlier destination, and they were hurtling towards an abyss of greater terror.
“Stand your ground!!” “Immediately inform our seniors!” “Stand your ground! Nobody is to retreat! I’ll kill anyone who retreats!”
Several cries of alarm resounded throughout the carriage. But, just then, all the lights in the carriage were extinguished.
The light at the farthest carriage went out abruptly.
Everyone who turned to look at it saw it - the evil ghost had revealed its true form right at the location where the domain of light intersected with the shadows of darkness.
He was fully clothed in black garbs, wearing a golden coloured headband as he hung upside down from the roof of the carriage. His body was hunched like a jackal hunting for food. His figure flickered quickly, vanishing and reappearing in different locations.
Click… Another light went out, and the figure traversed through a carriage in the blink of an eye. It was drawing closer to them!
Click, click, click, click… The lights went out one by one, and the fearsome figure drew closer and closer! With each light that went out, it shifted closer to them, while they, too, got a closer look at its appearance. The gripping tension and stifling oppression in the area also bore down on them with ever greater intensity!
Click… Finally, the last light went out. Nobody dared to speak at this moment because the last light was none other than the light that was right over their heads.
Is he… in our carriage right now?
Standing right above their heads, staring down from above at the group of shivering humans as though he were a predator toying with its food.
T-t-t-t… The chugging sounds of the train had ceased completely. Everything was now so silent that someone’s chattering teeth could be heard by everyone around.
Ma Yuankun’s hands were wrapped tightly around his peachwood sword - It’s here… it’s here!
A small voice screamed in his mind - Run! Run away right now! This Yin spirit is on a completely different level! You’ll die… if you stay here, you’ll definitely die!
But he soon realized that when one was overcome with absolute terror, his entire body would refuse to budge, and simply remain frozen and rooted to the ground.
His hair stood erect. It was almost as though he could sense the frigid terror spreading through every single pore and every single cell within his body. The fear of the known was the most terrifying kind of fear! It was almost as though a cold hand were gently caressing his cheek.
No… in fact, there was indeed someone caressing his cheek.
Its hand was cold, and yet it emanated a distinct corpse stench. Just a little while ago, the entity had dropped silently from the roof and was now slowly and gently caressing each person’s face with its cold, frigid fingers.
“Since time immemorial…” A hoarse voice echoed throughout the carriage, “You’ve been far too haughty and arrogant…”
“So… it’s time for us to teach you the true meaning of respect…”
“Remember my name. I’m the captain of the Hojo Clan’s secret ninjas of Renpu, Scarlet 01…”
Pssskkk!! A second later, blood splattered across the carriage windows, and shrieks and moans cut through the oppressive silence of the night!
“What are you doing here?” Bai Yishan asked the masked man with a pleasant surprise as the train pulled into the station.
Qin Ye responded placidly, “Am I not welcome here?”
Bai Yishan’s entourage included another Soul Hunter and three Operative-class experts. As soon as Qin Ye released a trace of his Hellguard-class energy that was disguised as true energy, everyone around immediately gasped and backed away in shock.
A living Hellguard?
Someone like that would be conferred great authority, even if here were part of the Special Investigations Department! How did Master Bai gain such goodwill to be able to invite a Hellguard to lend a hand?
Furthermore… from the looks of his voice and his skin… this man appears to be rather young?
“Am I terrifying?” Qin Ye stuffed his hands into his pocket and asked indifferently.
“No, no, no!” “Sir, please don’t misunderstand us. We’re incredibly grateful that you’ve graced us with your presence!” “That’s right! With you around, this trip is naturally going to go on much more smoothly!”
Qin Ye had always maintained a noble and cold persona in front of outsiders. He glanced indifferently at them, and then suddenly smirked, “Smoothly?”
He had sensed two violent fluctuations of Yin energy just a moment ago. Furthermore, he could tell that the strength of these Yin energy signatures were stronger than him!
The secret ninjas of Renpu have made their move...This four centuries old powerful faction have finally made their move.
“What do you mean…” Bai Yishan was taken aback, and his voice was trembling slightly. Qin Ye turned around placidly and gazed at the train that was slowly pulling into the station, “There’s probably no one on board left alive right now.”
“What?!” “How is that possible?!! Who’s the culprit? Who’s made a move? Sir, you must know these as well, don’t you?” “That’s impossible… we’ve even engaged a team of elites… who would possibly dare to make a move against them?”
Qin Ye didn’t respond. He had only sensed a powerful fluctuation of Yin energy earlier, but he didn’t know the specific extent of devastation on board the train.
Tssss! With a hiss of the brakes, the train finally entered the station. As more and more carriages pulled into the station, everyone’s expressions of doubt and suspicion soon turned into a grave, pale expression, and then finally, absolute horror!
There were thick splatters of blood that covered the passenger carriages, so much so that nobody could tell what was going on within these carriages. That said, they immediately knew that Qin Ye’s claim was likely true.
This was a Hell Express!
“But… but how is this possible?!!” Bai Yishan screamed frantically, “Two Soul Hunters!! We’ve got two Soul Hunters! How is this possible?!”
“Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl… that’s right! What happened to the bowl?!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter