“Shit!” A loud tremor rippled through the cargo hold. An illusory vajra projection of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva hovered over the evil-subduing pestle. At the same time an eerie netherfire appeared to wrap itself around the projection of Ksitigarbha, almost as though this were a scene from hell.
“Their strength isn’t beneath ours!” “What the hell are they? Why can’t we see them?” Dojin and Jingo were standing back to back, glancing warily about their surroundings. The two evil ghosts were hiding right in the midst of the roiling fog of Yin energy.
But… they were unable to see their assailants.
Dojin and Jingo had already resorted to several secret arts, and yet they were still unable to make their assailants reveal themselves. Right now, both men had a white toad resting on each of their shoulders. Whenever these toads croaked in a particular direction, they would immediately respond with the necessary countermeasures. Otherwise, they would already have been reduced to dust by now.
We can’t hold out for much longer…
Dojin probed at his remaining reserves of true energy - There isn’t much left. The attacks of the assailant aren’t quick, but they’re relentless, and each attack is filled with dense Yin energy that is difficult to dispel… He glanced at Jingo, only to see a firm look of determination in his eyes as well.
Dojin was slightly taken aback, and then he bit down on his lower lips, “Do we really have to resort to that?”
“Or should we wait obsequiously for our deaths?” Jingo wiped off the trickle of blood from his lips, “Do you really think anyone is coming to rescue us under such circumstances? I’d never expected there to be others eyeing the life of Oda Nobunaga. And to think that they’re so strong as well!”
Dojin took a deep breath, and then motioned to reach into his inner robe. Just then, almost as though the evil ghosts hidden in the fog could sense their desperation, the roiling Yin energy began to swirl menacingly. And then, just a split second later, they began to condense into countless illusory ninjas of the Nipponese Warring States period, each of whom were wielding bows that were trained directly on the four men who were still standing.
They were everywhere - boundless and innumerable!
A hoarse voice finally called out from the void, “You’ve got the blessings of meritorious deeds, and the Blessings of Virtue. We would probably have to recover for hundreds of years after killing you. But… it’s still your fault for having harboured the wrong intentions.”
“Ninjutsu… Dance of a Hundred Ghosts!!”
As soon as these words were spoken, the figures in the darkness immediately rotated their heads stiffly one hundred and eighty degrees. Dense Yin energy swirled menacingly where their heads were located, accentuating the crimson eyes that had opened up right in the center of their faces. A boundless killing intent erupted from these shadowy figures of darkness. And then, they unleashed a rain of arrows on the four men in the center!
Shk, shk, shk, shk! The cargo hold was located at the bilge of the ship, and the space it occupied was incredibly large. From the perspective of the four men, it appeared almost as though arrows were pouring out at them from every single direction. The tip of the arrows also blazed with an eerie green netherflame. In an instant, the entire surroundings were filled with a sphere of blazing arrows that closed in on the four men!
It was a tragic, yet beautiful sight.
It was almost like a swarm of fireflies on a warm summer’s night that suddenly took flight and revealed the bright glow from their bodies. That said, this swarm of lights carried with it an oppressive amount of murderous intent.
Then, a second later, the figures in the roiling dark fog drew their katanas from their waists and charged straight towards the four men with a great battle cry. Backed by the force of a tide of Yin energy, they looked no different from a thousand snakes pouring out of a deep, dark nest, rushing in unison for their very next prey!
Their blades gleamed menacingly in what appeared to be a milkyway of netherflames!
Jingo’s heart grew cold and frigid - Since when did Nippon have evil ghosts of such great strength? Has Mount Koya fallen out of touch with the world for too long?
“Hurry!!” He immediately snapped to his senses and barked at Dojin.
Needless to say, Dojin had already pulled a silver scroll out of his sleeve and was already in the midst of unravelling it. He swiftly made a series of hand seals, and the light from the scroll quickly grew brighter and brighter. And then, a female figure appeared to step out from the scroll.
“The Moonlit Night!” Dojin yelled as he slammed his palms together! But it was too late. The attacks of the assailants had come far too quickly, and he was unable to unleash ‘The Moonlit Night’ in its strongest state. All he could hope for right now was that he had done enough to neutralize their attack!
There was an earth-shattering tremor. The elderly monks gritted their teeth and closed their eyes.
Whoosh… whoosh… A desolate nethergale picked up. One second… two seconds… three seconds… And then, he opened his eyes again, only to discover…
The fog of Yin energy in his surroundings had been completely torn asunder!
In fact, the remaining Yin energy had now retreated to one side of the cargo hold, where they grew so dense that they appeared to be on the brink of materialization. It practically looked like… sloshing ink.
“We’ve done it…” Master Kamo’s head was percolating with sweat. He blinked his eyes vacantly, and then turned around with a celebratory cry, “You’ve done it! Esteemed elders, you’ve done it!!”
“No…” Dojin and Jingo appeared incomparably pale at this moment. Dojin’s lips trembled greatly as he continued, “That wasn’t us… We didn’t manage to activate ‘The Moonlit Night’... That was our hidden trump card, and it contains the power to obliterate a thousand evil ghosts at once. If not for the fact that the Scourge of Buddha has resurfaced in this world, Mount Koya would never have entrusted us with an artifact so powerful. That said, its activation takes a commensurate amount of time, and what you’ve just witnessed… wasn’t us.”
It’s not you?!
Master Kamo was about to go crazy - Then who could it possibly be? That explosion earlier was mind-numbingly powerful! Who could possibly have done that apart from the joint forces of two Hellguard-class experts?
And then, he suddenly froze.
Another source of Yin energy had just appeared behind him in the cargo hold.
And this source of energy wasn’t inferior to the previous two sources, to say the least. In fact, he could tell that it was an even purer source of energy. If one were to describe the earlier sources of Yin energy as frigid, murderous and irrational, then this source of energy could only be described to be the embodiment of fairness in life and death.
Everyone turned their heads stiffly to look at the entrance to the cargo hold, only to notice that the silhouette of a young man was currently leaning leisurely against the door, almost as though he had been watching their confrontation for a long time now. He met their gazes, and immediately waved his hand, “Hi.”
“Who… are you?” Jingo gasped as he asked with great wariness.
“Do you need help?” Qin Ye stretched out his hand, and Ming Shiyin turned into a stream of light that shot right back to his hands. Then, he turned to look at Master Kamo and smiled genially at him, “Mr Kamo, we meet again. Are you… here to witness the theft with your own two eyes?”
“It’s you?!” Master Kamo couldn’t believe his eyes. This was none other than the same man whom he had encountered back at the phantom market. And here he was, standing right before him on the very same cruise liner as well!
And… has he always been this strong?
That day… when I was beaten to a pulp like a gopher in a gopher game… was that actually not without basis?
But this wasn’t the time for ruminating over the past. He gritted his teeth and flicked his wrist. A paper crane shot straight towards Qin Ye like lightning, “Although I can’t say that I’m happy to see you again, but… thanks. The Kamo Clan will remember this debt of gratitude! Please bring this paper crane to the bow of the ship and release it! Kamo Clan has 300 Onmyojis and 1,000 tengu soldiers waiting for my command in the vicinity! As long as they receive this signal, they’ll be here in an instant!”
Approximately 1,500 people…
Qin Ye’s heart burned with excitement. Nobunaga had 2,000 men, while the Kamo Clan had approximately 1,500 men… That would be a total of 4,000 soldiers!
And these were all elite soldiers to boot! With a coalition like that, they would most certainly be able to put up a fight against Izanami’s forces at the Strait of Tsushima!
No… perhaps there won’t even be a need to make it all the way to the Strait of Tsushima…
He swept his gaze across the unconscious bodies on the floor. There’s no better opportunity than right now… But, I’ve got to deal with the most pressing issue that stands before me first.
He stared soullessly at the empty space in front of him. He could see two slender ninjas standing in the heart of the roiling Yin energy. Qin ye chuckled and lifted the ancient mirror in his hands, “Dearies, do you find us familiar in any particular ways?”
Two seconds later, two hoarse cries suddenly erupted through the cargo hold, “It’s you!!” “You’re the one who killed Scarlet 17!”
Their cries came concomitantly with an explosion of the swirling Yin energy! Then, the Yin energy in the air twisted about, before quickly condensing into two spears that were aimed right at Qin Ye’s chest!
“Hand over your life!” “Vermin! How dare you do this to the noble secret ninjas of Renpu?!!”
The Yin energy spears shot through the air with unbelievable speed. Hellguards were entities that took charge over an entire city in Hell. In other words, they possessed the power to raze an entire city to the ground should the entire city stir up an uprising. One could therefore only imagine the sheer amount of power that backed these powerful spears.
The air even resounded with a great sonic boom. As the two spears bore down at Qin Ye, the sheer pressure of these attacks even resulted in two horrific dents in the floor of the cargo hold.
“Dodge it!!” “There’s only hope if we join forces! They’re invisible to us!” Dojin and Jingo cried out at the same time.
But Qin Ye remained right where he was.
Just as the tips of the spears were about to strike his body, Qin Ye suddenly made a grasping motion at the air. A chorus of blood-curdling ghastly cries roared in an instant, causing Master Kamo and the other men in the room to reflexively cover their ears. A spirit streamer suddenly appeared in Qin Ye’s hands.
The entire cargo hold quaked violently, so much so that it could even be felt on the deck of the ship. Incidentally, Grandmaster Chu's eyes flickered slightly in the wake of the tremor.
The others who were still awake also furrowed their brows as they wondered what was going on.
Qin Ye had made a single sweep.
The tips of the spears had crumbled completely to a single sweep of his spirit streamer!
“You can’t see them?” Yin energy began to pour out of Qin Ye’s seven apertures, just like an evil ghost crawling out of his shell. In an instant, a massive vortex of Yin energy began to gather around him, concealing his entire being apart from his eyes which were slowly turning scarlet.
“That’s right… I can’t see them either…”
Whoosh! Yin energy erupted from his body like a tide. Then, right in front of everyone’s watchful eyes, the vortex of Yin energy exploded, revealing a figure dressed in a pointed fretwork skullcap, black robes, white hair, and a three-foot long tongue. The man stepped out from the raging nethergale.
“By Hell’s Dictum, all rabble shall disperse.”
“I’ve been in pursuit of you guys since the Eastsea North Station. It’s about time to conclude this chase, isn’t it? After all, I can still vividly remember the gift which you’d left for me back there…”
Whoosh… Qin Ye’s figure was only visible to the humans in the cargo hold for a single moment. A split-second later, he vanished right into thin air.
The others were completely dumbfounded.
“Emissary… He’s an Emissary of Hell!! A Cathayan emissary!” Dojin finally jolted back to his senses as he stared vacantly where Qin Ye had been just moments ago, “Then… what about those whom we’d encountered before…”
“They’re emissaries as well.” Jingo’s expressions turned ashen, “But… those were emissaries who were trying to kill us.”
“He’s… actually an emissary?!” Master Kamo exclaimed with great astonishment, and then cold sweat began to pour out of his forehead.
I’d… been courting death back then!
A palpable sense of relief filled his mind, and he couldn’t help but clutch at his chest as he took several deep breaths.
Meanwhile, completely invisible to their eyes, three underworld emissaries squared off against each other in a silent confrontation.
One of the ninjas stuck out his foot-long tongue and licked his lips greedily, “Cathayan Emissaries… haven’t shown themselves for the last hundred years. You’re like a dog without a master. You don’t even hold much authority over your own lands right now… And you actually dare to show your face in front of the noble, mighty emissaries of the Nipponese underworld? I commend you for your courage.”
Qin Ye laughed.
But it was a cold laughter - one that was frigid and austere.
Neither of the ninjas kenw what Ming Shiyin was. Instead, Ming Shiyin simply hovered close to Qin Ye’s side, whispering, “We’re not out of the Cathayan borders just yet, so their strength should still be under some level of suppression. Their abilities right now are barely on the same level as yours, a nascent Anitya Hellguard. I’m not sure what price Izanami must have paid to allow a Hellguard to step into Cathayan lands. But the possibility of something like that occurring is most definitely the byproduct of Hell’s collapse, and the weakening of Cathay’s protective borders.”
“When push comes to shove, you can unleash my abilities upon them.” Ming Shiyin continued to speak as though chanting scriptures in Qin Ye’s ears. However, Qin Ye simply frowned slightly, “Shut up.”
Eh? You want to take them on of your own abilities?
Ming Shiyin sensibly shut his trap.
Qin Ye glared at the two Nipponese emissaries and responded, “Cathay is naturally also a place that prides itself on its etiquette. It’s not polite if we don’t reciprocate. So, tell me, how do you think I should reciprocate your precious gift of seventy human lives, hmm?”
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