Scarlet 01 felt an excruciating pain surge through legs like electricity.
It was pain that cut straight through his soul, almost as though Izanami had been forcibly interrupted in the process of transforming his existence into that of a Nipponese emissary back then. This was pain that was unbearable, even to an evil ghost. It felt no different from being banished to the depths of the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment. A second later, he held tightly to both his feet, screaming in pain as he fell from the sky.
Master Kamo, Dojin, Jingo and Mr Iwasaki were completely taken aback.
Just a moment ago, there was a sudden, thunderous bang in the cargo hold, followed quickly by the diffusion of copious amounts of Yin energy. And then, a figure appeared in mid-air, fell straight to the ground, and slammed heavily into the hull of the ship with a loud crash. There was even a small shockwave visible to the naked eye.
This wasn’t a person.
It was a body that appeared to emanate Yin energy from its entire being. There was a blood-red eye on its chest that was now twisted and distorted by the debilitating pain surging through its body. He clung tightly to his knees, screaming miserably as he convulsed on the ground.
“The emissary is grievously wounded, and the laws protecting him have been shattered. This is why you’re able to see him now.” A familiar voice placidly explained everything to them. Everyone looked up, only to gasp in shock.
It was the very same Emissary of Hell with flowing white hair, armed with a mourning staff, that was descending back to the ground to the chorus of ten thousand ghosts.
Everything was over.
Dojin, Jingo and Master Kamo couldn’t quite believe their eyes.
Has it really ended just like that?!
They knew full well how strong their invisible enemy had been. After all, they had barely been able to protect themselves when they crossed swords with their assailants. They weren’t even given the chance to fully deploy their hidden trump card, The Moonlit Night. Yet, it had barely taken the Cathayan emissary more than five minutes.
How the hell did he do it?
Meanwhile, Grandmaster Chu was just catching some shut-eye when he suddenly heard a loud crash. The bag under his arm trembled slightly, and then, he opened his eyes.
None of the people in the cargo hold noticed Grandmaster Chu stirring from his slumber. In fact, Qin Ye didn’t even care about how the others viewed him right now. Armed with the indomitable force that was Ming Shiyin, he slowly strode over to the squirming Scarlet 01 and chuckled sadistically.
And then, with two muffled sounds, Ming Shiyin came crashing down once more.
This time, Scarlet 01’s arms were shattered.
“AHHHHHHH!!” Scarlet 01’s entire body was now practically drained of all his Yin energy, and the figure of a man dressed like a ninja soon appeared in front of everyone’s eyes. What appeared like a series of squirming tree roots appeared where his limbs were shattered, while he presented himself with an incredibly pale face replete with spots of livor mortis all around.
The intense pain caused his entire body to convulse wildly on the ground, and he desperately slammed his head on the ground as he screamed miserably. The horrific state of his body caused the other four humans to tremble with fear.
“Does it hurt?” Qin Ye walked over and kicked him, “I can only imagine that those back at the Eastsea North Station must have begged you for mercy too, haven’t they?”
“But you still went ahead with what you did. I wonder how you’re enjoying my little gift of reciprocity, hmm?”
“Ahhh… hahh…” Scarlet 01 drew another deep breath, and then a tree branch extended out of his body and covered his face. Then, gnashing his teeth, he begged with great trembling, “We’re both emissaries... Please… end my misery…”
“No can do.” Qin Ye sneered as he stepped on Scarlet 01’s chest, “That’s seventy innocent lives we’re talking about. How did you even bring yourself to do that?”
“Therefore, I’ve prepared a special place just for you.” Qin Ye turned his head, “Lord Ming.”
“Hmph.” A haughty voice responded from the side. Ming Shiyin was attempting to display its ashen expression, so much so that even the surface of the mirror was presently black, while a string of scarlet words appeared on the mirror like a scarlet scrolling marquee, “Scram, scram, scram, scram.”
“Be cooperative.” Qin Ye gnashed his teeth and rolled his eyes, “The future King Yanluo is just making his debut appearance. Give him some face.”
Ming Shiyin gnashed his teeth for several seconds. Finally, in the wake of an awkward silence, a bright white light began to shine from the mirror, enveloping Scarlet 01 altogether. Scarlet 01 immediately froze. Then, the branch that was covering his face slowly retreated.
“You’re… you’re…” He gasped as he stared at Ming Shiyin in horror, “The Mirror of Eminence… You’re the Mirror of Eminence…”
“You know too much.” Qin Ye interjected with great indifference, “As thanks for the gift you’ve prepared for me, I now cordially invite you to Hell, where you can slowly revel in the full course of the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment for the rest of eternity.”
“You’ve got to do your best to hang in there, dearest.”
“No… NO!” Scarlet 01 screamed desperately, “Let me go! Please, let me go! I’ll do anything you want!”
“Just… don’t send me to the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment! Please, don’t!”
How great was the name of the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment!
Qin Ye was somewhat taken aback. However, he quickly collected himself. And then, glancing at the four men to his side who were ostensibly stunned, he was immediately struck by a brainwave.
"Two questions." He raised two fingers. Under the influence of Ming Shiyin’s beam of white light, Scarlet 01’s body appeared illusory, almost as though it was devolving into wisps of Yin energy. Then, slowly but surely, Scarlet 01 found himself being drawn into the mirror.
“Firstly, who did Izanami mobilize to command the army at the Strait of Tsushima?”
Scarlet 01 hesitated for a moment. And in that moment of hesitation, the light emanating from Ming Shiyin’s surface quickly brightened, and Scarlet 01 immediately found the lower half of his body sucked straight into the mirror.
“I’ll talk! I’ll talk!” Scarlet 01 shrieked, and then quickly responded without further hesitation, “It’s Azai Nagamasa--... Lord Azai Nagamasa!!”
Qin Ye nodded, “Secondly, what does Izanami want with Oda Nobunaga’s soul?”
Having learnt his lesson, Scarlet 01 dared not hesitate at all. But just as he motioned to speak, a voice suddenly whispered in his ears, “Respond according to my instructions.”
“Declare it loudly - Izanami is looking to bring back the Warring States era. And her first target is the Daehan underworld.”
Scarlet 01 was stunned.
He suddenly understood what Qin Ye was trying to achieve.
His breaths immediately grew ragged as he glanced at Master Kamo. His lips trembled, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to say a single word.
This was a statement that would make the Nipponese underworld the public enemy of every single faction around.
And this was exactly what Qin Ye was trying to achieve.
A war of the underworlds would most certainly implicate the mortal realm, and evil ghosts from Daehan would undoubtedly pour into Nippon as soon as war broke out. This was something that neither the Onmyojis nor Mount Koya wanted to see. Therefore, a single statement like this could very well make Izanami turn against him.
I can’t say it. At the very least, I can’t say it here. There wasn’t any harm telling them about Azai Nagamasa’s presence earlier, since the mainstay forces of Yomi-no-Kuni aren't something that the Onmyojis can easily stand against. But the implications of this single statement are far more wide-reaching.
Qin Ye smiled faintly, and his gaze grew deep and abstruse. This was precisely why he had decided to stay his hand, instead of outrightly slaughtering Scarlet 01.
This was a showing of strength. As the weakest faction around, Qin Ye simply had to make the best of every opportunity he was presented to consolidate his strength. And this was a prime opportunity. After all, as long as he could coerce a Nipponese emissary into saying something like that, he would be able to raise to 90% the odds of successfully persuading the Onmyojis to stand on his side.
In fact, he would even be able to convince Mount Koya to band together with him.
The most effective schemes didn’t always have to be the most sophisticated and complex ones. Sometimes, they just needed to be the right words, spoken at the right time and place, and to the right audience.
After all, every single scheme in the world was built on the basis of smoke and mirrors.
“Unwilling to cooperate?” Ming Shiyin had decided to temporarily shelve its grievances with Qin Ye, and it chuckled coldly, “That’s fine. You know who I am. There are plenty of ways to make you talk.”
Scarlet 01’s eyes instantly widened in horror as soon as Ming Shiyin finished speaking, because he had just heard his own voice respond in spite of his will.
In fact, the voice didn’t even come from his lips.
And yet, it was perfectly clear - audible enough to everyone around, “Izanami is looking to bring back the Warring States era.”
There were even the regular pauses for breaths and punctuation for emphasis. It had to be said that Ming Shiyin’s reproduction of Scarlet 01’s voice was incredibly accurate.
As soon as they heard “Scarlet 01’s response”, Dojin and Jingo immediately widened their eyes and shot to their feet. With their palms clasped together, they stared at Scarlet 01 with great disbelief.
Crazy… Is Izanami crazy?!
How can they consider bringing back the era of war?!
How can she even entertain such a dangerous and reckless plan?! Not even Hell dares to consider throwing the world into chaos like that, so what basis is there for the Nipponese underworld to do so? Does she even know what this means for the world? Countless evil ghosts would pour out from every corner of the world and flood Nippon like a tidal wave! The east would be thrown into chaos!
But little did they know this was merely the start of their astonishment.
“Lord Nobunaga… is a crucial part of the plan. Lady Izanami needs to seize his soul at any cost. Millions of Yin soldiers that have already formed up in ranks at the Strait of Tsushima. Once they secure his soul, Lady Izanami need only give a single command, and they would immediately unleash a full-scale assault at the Daehan underworld. We will soon complete what we have failed to accomplish over the last three hundred years!”
Even Master Kamo was completely flabbergasted.
Crazy… They’ve gone completely bonkers…
“How is this possible…” Master Kamo fell back onto the ground, “Crazy… The Yin spirits of the underworld have gone insane… How could the Nipponese underworld possibly do something like this?”
Scarlet 01’s pupils dilated. Yet, Qin Ye simply glanced coldly at him and silently mouthed - You’ve lost your chance.
No… NO! NO!
Scarlet 01 opened his mouth and struggled to muster every last bit of strength to protest - It’s not like that! You’ve been bamboozled! Unfortunately, Ming Shiyin promptly foiled any such attempt. The white light glowed brightly, and Scarlet 01 was sucked straight into the mirror in just an instant.
“Bring him back.” Qin Ye muttered mercilessly, “Once the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment is rebuilt, we’ll give him a taste of what punishment truly is. This will deter others as well.”
“We’ll let our actions declare to the world that all who commit an instance of infractions shall be subject to a life of requital! I may be a new King Yanluo, but the undergirding principles of Hell still apply.”
Ming Shiyin promptly grew silent.
Qin Ye didn’t expect a response from him either. But, seconds later, he suddenly heard a soft, “Yes.”
Qin Ye looked up unexpectedly. However, he knew that now wasn’t the time to engage in such trivial discourse.
After all, they would have just dealt with the appetizer. The main course was just underway.
A cloud of Yin energy converged on Qin Ye’s position once more. Then, approximately ten seconds later, Qin Ye’s human body stepped out from the heart of the swirling vortex of Yin energy once more. He casually glanced about at everyone around, yet every single person couldn’t help but gasp slightly as they retreated several steps.
“I ask that you kindly keep my identity a secret. I might well be the only Cathayan emissary you’ve ever met. Nevertheless, do bear in mind that we’re probably still in Cathayan territorial waters. Thus, you would do well to keep your mouth tightly shut if you don’t wish to die.” Qin Ye maintained his cold and distant persona.
He had only revealed his true identity to instill fear in the hearts of men. This was all calculated to give him more leverage to work with.
Mr Iwasaki remained silent, while the other three obsequiously responded in unison, “Understood.”
This was slightly different from what Qin Ye had originally planned. However, the variables were indubitably working in his favour.
After all, Qin Ye had initially intended to negotiate with the Kamo Clan after resolving the issues with the extraterritorial emissaries. After all, it had always been an option for the Kamo Clan to work with Izanami’s faction as well, since their interest only lay in keeping Oda Nobunaga’s soul away from the mortal realm, so it didn’t really matter who they worked with in the first place. In that regard, the natural inclination would have been for them to work with their own underworld rather than a foreign underworld.
That being the case, Qin Ye would have had to beg the Kamo Clan to work with him if not for the present developments orchestrated by Qin Ye’s scheming mind. But now that they had bought the smoke and mirrors employed by Qin Ye, coupled with the agreement that was signed sealed and delivered by Oda Nobunaga, the scales had definitely tipped in Qin Ye’s favour.
“I’ve come to deal with some peculiar developments.” Qin Ye’s authoritative voice reverberated throughout the spacious cargo hold, yet not a single person present put up any form of resistance whatsoever. He placed his hands behind his back and continued, “I’m sure you already know about Oda Nobunaga’s soul.”
“He’s about to awaken, and the lady of your underworld has made a questionable decision about what to do with his soul.”
He glanced at each person slowly, and then added, “I’ll give each of you a choice as well.”
“One. Hand over the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl to me right now, or…”
Then, he turned to look Mr Iwasaki straight in the eye, “If I gouge out your eye and chop off your hand, I’ll still be able to unlock the security measures protecting the Obdisian Heaven’s Eye Bowl.”
“Isn’t that right, contemporary owner of the Mitsubishi Corporation, Mr Iwasaki Kyouya?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter