Qin Ye’s fingers tapped nimbly on the keyboard, “Lord Ming, please help me locate the Onmyojis’ whereabouts. I must meet with them before we arrive at the Strait of Tsushima.”
The surface of the Mirror of Eminence began to flicker rapidly with various locations across all of Eastsea City as it sought out the Onmyojis. Qin Ye sighed, and then turned to focus his attention wholeheartedly on the drafting of the agreement.
Fortunately, the baptism of the rigour of thesis-drafting made the draft work pertaining to an agreement seem comparatively simple to him. Armed with the might of the almighty Baidu library, he churned out a passable agreement in just under three hours.
And it wasn’t as though Qin Ye looked down on Oda Nobunaga’s ability to understand such agreements.
Rather, Qin Ye simply appreciated the fact that modern day contractual agreements were far more rigorous than they had been just decades ago. Damn if Nobunaga could read modern day contracts!
What was this called?
Generational gap! Information asymmetry at its best!
Several hours later, back in Honnoji. Ming Shiyin hovered by the side as a witness, while Nobunaga pulled out his personal seal.
Thud. He stamped the seal into the agreement and infused his Yin energy through the seal. An emblem of a copper coin was imprinted onto the agreement.
“Well, then… I look forward to our collaboration.” Oda Nobunaga’s hoarse voice called out from behind the bamboo blinds as Qin Ye promptly took his leave. Then, Oda Nobunaga sat where he was like a stone statue, almost as though he were in a daze. Ten minutes later, he abruptly called out, “Nobutada.”
Whoosh… A furious nethergale swept through the room, and a set of great armor emanating copious amounts of Yin energy trudged into the room. Seconds later, two red eyes lit up from the darkness under the helmet, “Father.”
Oda Nobunaga stood up from behind the bamboo blinds for the very first time. His body appeared somewhat weary as he lifted the blinds slightly, “What’s the status of our soldiers?”
“Father, they number two thousand and two hundred in all. Of these, there are fifteen Hunter-class Yin spirits, inclusive of myself, as well as three hundred Operative-class Yin spirits. Although the others aren’t at the level of an Operative just yet, they’ve still been training with us all this while, and their abilities would most certainly surpass any ordinary Yin spirit around.”
Oda Nobunaga simply tapped his folding fan rhythmically in the heart of his palm. After a long time, he finally sighed softly, “Rally the troops, and prepare yourselves.”
Oda Nobutada was taken aback. And then, he responded with great excitement, “Father… are--... are we actually heading out soon?”
“That’s right. We might be out earlier than expected after all.” Oda Nobunaga remarked pensively, “Nobutada, do you think that the words of Lord Justice Bao’s messenger can be trusted?”
“Of course! Father, I remember that back in those days, when I followed you to Cathay to pay tribute to them, this ancient mirror was…”
Nobunaga interjected with a sneer before Nobutada could even finish, “If he’s truly that reliable, why didn’t he discuss the most important details?”
The red spots of light in the great armor flickered slightly, and then he immediately understood, “Father’s talking about… soldiers?”
“That’s right.” Nobunaga’s head flew out of his chest cavity and settled onto his neck, where he promptly turned to examine his charred, burnt hands with great disgust, “How grotesque…”
“Nobutada, you’ve got to remember that if Lord Justice Bao intends to stand behind us, it’s simply not possible that he omits to discuss the matter of military strength. After all, military strength is what would give us the greatest assurance in the current circumstances. Izanami and her lackeys wouldn’t dare to make a single peep of sound so long as the flag of the Cathayan underworld is flying high in the sky! But he didn’t say a single word about this.”
“In fact, he had completely skirted around the question. I’d venture so far as to say that he was intentionally sidestepping this issue. And as long as he doesn’t have the requisite military forces backing him, he would most certainly have to let us out. Nobutada, tell everyone to be ready to move out at any time!”
Oda Nobutada was completely dumbfounded. The entire great armor shuddered slightly, “Father, are you… standing against the gods? Father! T-these are mythical entities that we’re talking about!”
“So what?!” Oda Nobunaga turned back abruptly and stared at the great armor. Copious amounts of Yin energy poured out of his seven apertures as his voice thundered, “So what if they’re death gods or emissaries of an underworld?! Back when we learnt of the existence of underworlds and made the trip to Cathay especially to pay tribute to Hell, did we not see our fair share of such existences as well?!”
Oda Nobutada’s eyes flickered with a wild gleam and he responded with great fervour, “Yes!”
“It doesn’t matter who we’re facing. One day, the copper coin emblem of the Oda family shall fly high throughout every corner of the world!”
Nobunaga walked out slowly, “Go. With our armored cavalry, we shall declare to that old hag Izanami and all the great generals that have pledged allegiance to her that I, Oda Nobunaga, Demon King of the Sixth Heaven, have risen from the ashes of the great fire of Honnoji, and I have returned with my armoured cavalry to reclaim what is rightfully mine.”
“Father, then, what about this agreement… should we still hang onto it?”
“Contract?” Oda Nobunaga chuckled contemptuously, “Toss it or burn it for all I care. Such agreements are only useful if we sign it before Lord Justice Bao himself. How can we possibly take his word for it?”
The great armor transformed into a stream of Yin energy that left the room in an instant.
The soft glow of the lanterns illuminated Oda Nobunaga’s face. His appearances were somewhat pale, but they were still striking, imposing and dignified, to say the least.
He sported thick eyebrows, a chiseled jawline, and incredibly sharp and defined features. He didn’t have the usual Sakayaki hairstyle like many of the other samurais. Rather, he braided his hair like the royalties of the ancient Cathayan princes and wore a short stubble of beard. All in all, he looked rather elegant and dignified.
“Is it because you want us to show our pledge of allegiance to you? Or do you have… other ulterior motives?” He tapped the folding fan gently on the railing as he murmured to himself with a soft chuckle, “But, as long as you can help me take down Nippon and stick to your promise of one underworld, two systems, what loss is there to me in giving your promise a chance?”
When Qin Ye returned triumphant from Honnoji, he stared at the written agreement in his hands and almost laughed aloud with great joy.
This agreement was admittedly worthless to him, but… it was tantamount to ironclad proof to another group of people!
With this in hand, he would be able to further his plans and rally even more troops under his command. Yomi-no-Kuni would only be sending out approximately six thousand soldiers. If he could secure the cooperation of the Onmyojis, then, coupled with Oda Nobunaga’s forces, as well as Ming Shiyin’s display of Justice Bao’s authority, they would most certainly stand a good chance of breaching the encirclement of troops that were waiting to devour them!
“Do you understand the difficulties of being a darkfeather now?” Ming Shiyin remarked wistfully, “Since time immemorial, the emergence of talents up for grabs has always resulted in strife and conflict between underworlds. This is why every single darkfeather can be considered among the best of the best in their respective underworlds.”
Qin Ye nodded, “Have you managed to locate the Onmyojis?”
Ming Shiyin shook from side to side, “No. I’ve searched high and low within the confines of Eastsea City. They’re not here.”
“Then, they must already be on board the ship.” Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed as he responded with certainty.
“The ship? Are you saying they’ve already boarded? Why wouldn’t they be waiting in Nippon instead?” Ming Shiyin exclaimed with great surprise.
Qin Ye shook his head. His thought processes were incredibly astute when push came to shove, and he responded with absolute certainty, “As far as the Onmyojis are concerned, the best way to prevent Oda Nobunaga from reawakening would be to seal off the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl once again. This is naturally why they’re attending these auctions. But… what if someone else manages to outbid them at the auctions? Can they truly compete with these ultra-rich in terms of wealth?”
He gazed into the distance in the direction of the Strait of Tsushima, “The best way is to seize it before the auctions, just like what the Nipponese emissaries are trying to do. They should be well aware of the security measures in place protecting the X-magic box. This is why they haven’t made a move within Eastsea City itself. But things are different on board the ship. After all, Guardian Auctions would have to verify each and every item that is to be sold at the major auctions, and there is a good chance that the X-magic box would be opened on board the ship, before its departure.”
He tapped his finger on the window frame, “Therefore, I’m almost certain that they’ve already boarded the ship and are lying patiently in wait to make their move. This is a good thing for me. After all, I would need time to locate them and convince them to cooperate with me. I wouldn’t have sufficient time to work with if they only board the ship at Nippon.”
“Ideally, I’d want to seize control of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl as soon as the X-magic box was opened. That way, there wouldn’t be a need to face the terrors lying in wait for us at East Cathay Sea.”
Ming Shiyin asked, “How likely is it?”
“Are you asking how likely it is that Guardian Auctions would verify the contents of what they’re auctioning? Or are you asking how likely it is that I would be able to seize the bowl? If it’s the former, I’m almost 100% certain of it! After all, it would be impossible for them to return to the docks after departing for the high seas. Regardless of how deep their backing is, it’s practically impossible for the country to turn a blind eye to their ways twice. Therefore, the moment in time just prior to the departure of the ship would naturally be their last chance at verification of their auction goods.”
“If they make a mistake, or if they miss out on something, they would still be able to delay their departure and grab whatever they need. But as soon as they depart for the high seas, everything would be as good as a done deal. Then, it would be a thirty hour sail to the Strait of Tsushima. They would most certainly open the box again during this period of time.”
“As for how likely it is that I manage to seize the bowl…” Qin Ye sighed wistfully, “It wouldn’t be higher than 20%. Neither the Nipponese emissaries nor the Onmyoji are fools. They would most certainly have thought of everything I have. Therefore, I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t be the only one making a move for the bowl when the box is finally opened. If a three-way tug-of-war pans out, the end result would likely be one where none of us manages to seize the bowl, and all of us would end up having to wait for the commencement of the auction itself. Lord Ming, I’ll have to trouble you to keep an eye on the bowl at all times as soon as we board the ship. As soon as it is opened, we’ll have to make an attempt at seizing it, regardless of whether we’re able to succeed or not.”
Ming Shiyin grew taciturn.
After some time, he finally sighed with a plaintive remark, “No wonder Arthis trusts you to move about on your own. Do you know that your current disposition is completely different from how you usually act? She’d previously mentioned that you would never bare your fangs until you’re pushed to the edge. I’m guessing that… the impending crisis must have stirred the deepest parts of your heart, hasn’t it?”
“Perhaps.” The river breeze gently tousled Qin Ye’s fringe. He squinted his eyes as he continued to gaze out of the windows, “Some memories are hidden in the deepest recesses of my heart, and yet they still choose to prick my heart where it hurts the most. Well, so be it. I’ll just bide my time for now.”
“When we arrive at the Strait of Tsushima… we’ll see who has the last laugh!”
The Strait of Tsushima would soon be dyed ink black with the presence of Yin energy!
The next two days passed by quickly. On the evening of the third day, Qin Ye returned the X-magic box to Grandmaster Chu, and made a quick call to Lin Han to tell him that he would be leaving and uncontactable for a week. Then, he departed from the hotel.
He would have to take a ship to get to the Strait of Tsushima. But, this time, he wouldn’t be boarding the ship in his capacity as a Hellguard. He would be boarding the ship in his capacity as a participant of the auctions.
He received a call from Bai Yishan shortly after departing from the hotel, “Mr Qin, 3.30 a.m. tonight, at Eastsea dock number DT0021.”
It’s finally time…
Qin Ye hung up the phone and took several deep breaths to regulate his emotions. Then, he rested his mind until 1 a.m., when he changed into a ramrod straight suit and arrived at dock number DT0021.
It was a particularly dilapidated dock.
It looked almost as though activity in these parts had been suspended for some time. Many rusty boats could be seen lying all across the shoreline, replete with piles and piles of disused equipment. Life buoys, fishing net, and other equipment were strewn all over the place. However, there was a luxury cruise liner that was berthed at the docks.
It was clad in a pristine, white frame, with three full decks, sporting a modern, streamlined look. It was well-maintained and brightly lit. Qin Ye was not the first one to have arrived at the docks.
In fact, there were Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Humvees, and several other luxury cars parked along the dilapidated docks. Ultra rich businessmen who were often only seen on television were presently boarding the ship under the cover of night, accompanied by their entourage of personal bodyguards.
Qin Ye waited until nobody else was around, before slowly making his way out of the shadows and onto the cruise liner.
Furthermore, he didn’t bother to conceal the Yin energy that was radiating from his body.
Copious amounts of Yin energy poured out like a tide, probing each person who was standing guard at the entrance to the ship. He stood at the pier, gave the men in black suits at the door his registration number, and awaited his verification.
“If you’re smart enough, you wouldn’t pass up on this opportunity…”
“I’ve got no time to play hide-and-seek with you guys. Since you’re unwilling to show yourself, then… why don’t I fire a warning signal to everyone around? I wonder how you guys would react when you detect the existence of Hellguard-class energy boarding the ship?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter