It was 1.30 a.m.
The entire station was practically empty, save for a row of men in black suits standing along the platform in the gentle night breeze. There were at least a dozen people there, each of whom exuded mild fluctuations of true energies from their bodies. The one taking charge was none other than Bai Yishan.
He looked much more spirited than before, albeit hardly calm and at peace. As soon as the train came to a complete halt, he immediately dashed right up to the seventh carriage and entered a keycode on the access door.
What a strong stench of blood…
He could already smell the nauseating stench of blood wafting through the doors before they even opened. It stung his eyes. Powerful evil ghosts would naturally draw weaker ghosts to rely on them, thereby resulting in the phenomenon known as the nest of ten thousand captive ghosts. The siphoning effect was discussed in the latest edition of Cultivators Weekly. Guardian Auctions knew of these things, and that was precisely why they had engaged the assistance of another Soul hunter.
But… how could this have happened?
Clatter clatter… The carriage door slowly opened up, and he seized up immediately, despite having prepared himself for the worst.
This couldn’t even be described as a carriage any longer.
This was… Hell.
There probably wasn’t any point in looking for survivors anymore. Blood was everywhere, splattered all over the walls and the ceiling of the carriage like a thick coat of fresh paint. The talismans plastered all over the carriage had already been reduced to nothing but ashes that were washed into the viscous streams of blood in the carriage. The entire sight was revolting.
Dismembered bodies were strewn all across the carriage, somewhat dressed in their camouflage uniforms. Heads, limbs, and even innards hanging on arms acted as hellish ornaments in this infernal carriage. The extent of bloodshot was disgusting and nauseating.
Bai Yishan gasped, and he trembled all over in disbelief. His entourage that rushed over after him couldn’t help but exclaim in horror, “How can this--...” “Seriously… seriously?! Who did this? An evil ghost?” “An evil ghost more powerful than a Soul hunter… and to think that they’d even choose to act within Eastsea City…” “That’s frightening. How could something like this happen?”
Bai Yishan felt like the entire world was spinning around him. Then, just seconds later, he suddenly jolted back to his senses and dashed into the carriage, ignoring the fact that his pristine leather shoes were now stained with copious amounts of blood as he began to search frantically. It wasn’t until he caught sight of the undamaged black box that he finally heaved a sigh of relief.
“The Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl?” Qin Ye’s voice called out from behind. Bai Yishan heart constricted for a moment, before his senses told him that the man who had just spoken was none other than Qin Ye. Then, he sighed and nodded his head bitterly.
Truth be told, Qin Ye had already ascertained it even before Bai Yishan gave his confirmation.
After all, the Yin energy in this area was unusually thick!
And Qin Ye could tell that the source of these energies was none other than the black box in Bai Yishan’s hands. In fact, he could tell that the energy was pouring out from the sliver of opening at the joint of the black box as though it were a hell rift, turning the entire carriage into a frozen tundra of Yin energy.
“Weren’t they here for the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl?” Qin Ye rubbed his chin and thought aloud.
“It has to be.” Bai Yishan muttered with a hoarse voice and bloodshot eyes, “But… they weren’t able to open it.”
“This container employs the most cutting edge locking functions, including iris and fingerprint recognition technologies. Furthermore, it requires a total of three persons’ irises and fingerprints to unlock the box. As long as the three aren’t present, it would immediately self-detonate.”
Qin Ye whispered back, “So I can imagine that one of them must be from Guardian Auctions. Who are the others?”
Bai Yishan had no intention of hiding anything from Qin Ye. Truth be told, he had already made up his mind to disclose everything to Qin Ye as soon as Qin Ye reached out to him some time ago.
“Grandmaster of the House Chu. The second person is the present owner of the Mitsubishi Corporation in Nippon, Mr Iwasaki Jiro. The last one is none other than the present head of the Kamo Clan.” Bai Yishan lowered his voice and explained, “Mr Qin, I know you wanted to obtain the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl. But… it’s a good thing you didn’t act out of line. This box utilizes the most cutting edge technology available in the world right now, and it’s otherwise known as the ‘x-magic box’. As long as anyone attempts to force it open, the only thing they’ll find are shattered fragments of what was once a complete artifact.”
Qin Ye nodded his head.
He had in fact entertained the idea of seizing it at some point in time.
After all, two billion for a fragment of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl was truly exorbitant. Had he been certain he could make a pass on the bowl without being discovered himself, he would most certainly have seized it before the auctions itself.
In fact, this was one of the main reasons why he had come to the platform today. He wanted to see for himself the security measures implemented to protect the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl, and seize it for himself if possible. This was also the ‘immature’ idea which he had earlier discussed with Ming Shiyin. Although it was shameless, it was nevertheless… practical.
He didn’t think there would be Hellguards standing guard across a rickety old train station anyway. Besides…
He was an Emissary of Hell. Hellguard-class experts wouldn’t be able to see him. It was incredibly easy and convenient for him to make a play outside of the First Academy of Cultivators, as long as the circumstances were right.
But what had transpired was a little outside of his calculations. For one, he hadn’t thought that the secret ninjas of Renpu would strike so quickly. They had made their move even before the artifact had arrived within Eastsea City. And when Qin Ye noticed how the container holding the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl was still intact, he knew immediately that it was only possible to obtain it through the auctions.
After all, it wouldn’t be wise for him to make an attempt at an artifact that three Hellguards didn’t dare risk seizing.
He needed the entire Yin artifact to be intact if he were to seize the souls within. Fragments simply wouldn’t do. Bai Yishan had given him a small fragment of the bowl that had broken off, but he would never entrust the entire bowl into his hands. After all, this represented the lifeblood of Guardian Auctions, whether their reputation or their wealth. Besides, Qin Ye didn’t want to risk having any further damage to the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl any longer. He wouldn’t want to risk such a great opportunity to subjugate a great general, the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven!
“That’s right…” Just then, a feeble voice called out from deep within the carriage. Both men were taken aback. Bai Yishan abruptly rushed into the sea of blood like a madman, and seconds later, he emerged from the darkness again, supporting an elderly man as they hobbled out.
“Grandmaster Chu…” He couldn’t believe his eyes. The old man’s breaths were ragged and shallow, and his expressions were frail and pale. But at least he was still alive.
“You…” His lips trembled. Grandmaster Chu’s eyes were still laced with a great amount of fear. His teeth chattered, and he continued to grip tightly to his sleeves with great anxiety, “How did I survive this ordeal…”
He smiled bitterly as he scanned the entire train carriage, “Because… they immediately abandoned their operation as soon as they noticed the security measures protecting the fragment of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl. Furthermore, I’m one of the main auctioneers, and they know that this box can never be opened without me. They didn’t spare my life… they were simply… keeping the key to the box around…”
“Who were they?” Qin Ye interjected.
Grandmaster Chu gave him a wary glance, only to quickly detect the faint traces of a Hellguard’s energy emanating from his body. His spirits tensed up immediately, and he fell to his knees immediately with a loud thud. His apprehensive disposition vanished in an instant, only to be replaced by an unspeakable sense of grief about him.
“Sir!!” He wept, “Please… please avenge us all!!”
“Four carriages… and over seventy cultivators!” He looked up with streaks of tears running down his face, “Have just been slaughtered mercilessly!!”
“Even Jing Laosan has died… Only I… only I have survived! We’re so useless… we’re too useless! Arrrgggghhhh!”
The presence of a Hellguard was like a key which unlocked the floodgates of his emotions, sending a tide of frustration, resentment and desperation pouring out in an instant. Like a madman, he pounded on the floor with immense vexation, “They’re not Cathayan ghosts… These are Nipponese ghosts! I heard them speak in Nipponese! I would never have expected that! Why would Nipponese ghosts travel across the seas and infiltrate Cathay?!”
He turned his bloodshot eyes towards the bloodied carriages and wailed hoarsely, “This is our territory! Why isn’t Hell doing anything about it?! Are they just going to watch the mortal realm suffer like that?!”
“How could they be so indifferent?!!”
“How can they just stand idly by and watch as evil ghosts from other nations rampage on our soil?!”
“Have we regressed to the era of the Eight-Nation Alliance?!! Obviously not!” He continued to weep at the top of his voice. His hand grabbed tightly onto a dismembered arm beside him, “I’ve been friends with Jing Laosan since we were kids, and I… I-I could only watch him get cut up mercilessly to pieces right in front of my very eyes! Why…”
“Why… Our mortal realm is strong, yet why do we condone the existence of foreign evil ghosts on our territory?! Why isn’t Hell doing anything?! Why…”
“Shut up!!” Qin Ye cut him off before he could finish speaking. Grandmaster Chu shivered slightly, and then he slumped down to the ground, ignoring the nauseating river of blood around him as he gazed listlessly around the train, “I’m… sorry. I’ve let my emotions get the better of me.”
Qin Ye’s chest heaved and fell heavily. He, too, felt incredibly vexed by the situation.
Why… Grandmaster Chu’s incessant questions of ‘why’ had caused his face to flush with embarrassment, and he felt as though something were lodged in his through. He wanted to shout and roar in exasperation, but he simply couldn’t do it.
Do you think I don’t want Hell to be strong?
I’m also trying my best over here! Can’t you just give me a little bit more time?!
The Nipponese emissaries dare to infiltrate Cathay and murder our folks… Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed frigidly as he scanned his surroundings once more - I finally understand why Arthis and Ming Shiyin hold such contempt towards extraterritorial emissaries…
This was akin to a tight slap to the face of a prime minister of the lands.
The boiling lava of humiliation and wrath erupted from his heart in an instant.
“Are you mad?” Ming Shiyin’s voice echoed through his mind, ostensibly surprised, “That’s rare… It’s been months, yet I’ve never seen you truly incensed before. But this time… it seems like your wrath has been stirred?”
“No… this is… an epiphany.” Qin Ye’s gaze stirred with a rare but palpable murderous intent, “This epiphany has given me an understanding which manifests in wrath.”
Ming Shiyin grew silent for several seconds, and then he continued with a firm resolution in his voice, “Remember, kid.”
“The Cathayan underworld had only been able to last for millennia on end because we’ve never spared a single extraterritorial emissary that has misbehaved on our lands. Not even if this means sacrificing Judges on our end!”
“The war of the Middle East, the war of the Hindustan Ocean, the great war of the underworlds… We’ve come out on top of each one of them, and chased down the remnant forces to the ends of the earth. Regardless of whether they’re Abyssal Prefects or mere Netherworld Operatives, all were treated in the same way - their souls were banished to an eternity of the sky lantern punishment!”
“And this burden falls on you today. The Cathayan underworld has never in the last thousands of years been insulted and humiliated like this!”
“Kill them and seize the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl. At the very least… you’ve got to let that Nipponese goddess of death know that Cathay’s underworld… isn’t a pushover! Even if we’ve sustained a massive fall from our former day of glory, we’re still an existence that no former fiefdom should deign to provoke!”
“A moment of infraction, a life of requital!”
Qin Ye shut his eyes softly and nodded deeply.
There was only clarity in his mind right now. A cold aura flourished about him as he turned to look at Grandmaster Chu, “What did they say?”
Grandmaster Chu trembled slightly, drew a deep breath and gnashed his teeth, “They… mainly asked about the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl. And then… they asked me…”
“Whether I know of an Emissary of Hell?”
“They said that there’s a Cathayan Emissary of Hell around these parts, and he’s an Anitya Hellguard.”
“‘A life for a life’. With that, they told me that they would be leaving a gift right here for that Emissary of Hell.”