“Insolence!!!” Ming Shiyin bellowed as soon as they returned to their bedroom, “Absolutely shameless! Doesn’t he know a single thing about the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven? He’s a cultivator as well! Doesn’t he know what the resurrection of Oda Nobunaga’s soul means?!”
“There’s no use scolding him behind his back. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place after all.” Qin Ye laid down on his bed lazily and began to play with his phone.
“Ah? You seem to understand him fairly well, don’t you? Come here, let’s talk about how to unleash the full potential of this mirror…”
“No.” Qin Ye set down his phone, and a cold glint flashed in the depths of his eyes, “I understand his thought processes, but that doesn’t mean I agree with his methods. And even if I agree with his methods, it doesn’t mean I’d let him off the hook. He’s just lost his only chance at securing an afterlife of glory and honour in Hell. Furthermore, the only thing he’s managed to do is to incite the wrath and hatred of the future King Yanluo. I’ve never been a magnanimous person to begin with. The road to Hell’s revivification would be paved with the sacrifices of many souls. My compassion to him was a privilege, not an entitlement.”
Ming Shiyin grew taciturn momentarily, “I’ve discovered that you exude a very different air of disposition about you whenever you get serious about something. That said, I’m glad you’ve got that kind of self-awareness about you.”
“Kid, hold fast to that thought. You’ll encounter many similar encounters in future where you’ll be forced to sacrifice a person for the greater good. If you’re a person who seeks to understand everyone’s plight and empathize with them, then you most certainly aren’t fit for the throne that awaits you.”
Just then, the cruise liner suddenly trembled lightly. Following that, Qin Ye could sense that the subsequent tremors grew smaller and smaller, until they finally came to a complete stop altogether.
“This is…?” He furrowed his brows as he walked to the windows and peered out.
It was already 7.30 a.m. The waters outside were calm and tranquil, and the sun was just peeking out over the horizon, painting the entire surface of the sea a shimmering golden-red hue.
There weren’t any of the usual waves stirred up by the ship as it sailed through the waters. In fact, there wasn’t even any trace of movements whatsoever.
The ship had stopped altogether.
“Greetings, distinguished guests.” A sonorous, sprightly voice cut through the silence of the cruise liner, “We apologize for interrupting your rest this early. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Guardian Auctions has been forced to make last-minute changes to its plans. We seek your kind understanding.”
“More specifically, something unexpected happened earlier in the cargo hold, and we’ve therefore had no choice but to bring forward the auction to 6 p.m. in two days’ time. All VIPs who are not present then shall be deemed to have forfeited their rights to participate in the auctions. Again, we seek your indulgence for these last-minute changes.”
The announcement was broadcasted everywhere in the ship.
Room A221. Room to one of the twenty richest people in Cathay, Tian Shengtang, chairman of one of the Cathayan real estate giants.
A tall man twirling his wedding band frowned slightly, “Brought forward? And they’re not even waiting for the other VIPs to come on board? That’s not like Guardian Auctions at all. Something huge must have happened. Master Huiyen, is it something on that front?”
The question was directed at a bald, middle-aged man dressed in a suit beside him. The man had a scar running through his head, and his entire body was lifted slightly off the ground, supported only by a single finger of his. That man responded placidly, “I can sense strong energy fluctuations of both true energy and Yin energy in the air. Something must have happened in the cargo hold. After all, even a fool would have guessed when Guardian Auctions would choose to verify the contents of the goods in their cargo hold.”
The tall man nodded and mulled over the situation for several seconds. Then, he snapped a finger, and another man dressed in a black suit promptly walked over, “Mr Gu.”
“Make the necessary preparations, and check the status on the fund transfers.” The tall man leaned back in his seat, “I can’t say I’m not interested in the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl after all.”
Room B111. Room to one of the fifty richest people in Cathay, Yun Tianfang, chairman of a liquor and luxury goods group of companies.
“It’s all going down in two days’ time.” A gorgeous lady armed with a smoking pipe took a puff as she remarked, “Mr Zhu, go check if the transfer has arrived. If not, tell them to make haste. If the funds don’t come in before the auctions begin, you can fire the entire finance department.”
A172, B322, A117, B451… The exact same announcement was played throughout the entire cruise ship without exception, and the tycoons residing in each of these rooms stirred with great excitement.
After all, an auction was akin to the battlefield for tycoons - everything would come down to who possessed the most disposable wealth.
Tak-tak-tak-tak… The keyboards rattled with great ferocity in each and every room. Everyone was rushing to verify the liquidity of their funds leading up to the upcoming auctions.
Qin Ye was no exception to this either.
“He’s finally pushing for it.” Qin Ye drew a deep breath, “Is he starting to be scared now? Has he finally realized what era Oda Nobunaga hails from? I mean, does he even know what exactly a 400-year ghost is?”
“He wants to dispose of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl as soon as possible so as to leave himself a way out in light of the decision he'd made earlier. I’ve got to say that he’s not a daft man by any means.”
“So what do we do?” Ming Shiyin asked.
Qin Ye licked his lips greedily, “Of course we’ll fight them head on.”
“I didn’t think that things would actually come to this. But, the sooner, the better.” He stood up and gazed into the distant horizon, “I can already smell the stench emanating from the Strait of Tsushima. It’s the stench of the great Azai Nagamasa who has been buried for centuries on end.”
Qin Ye booted up his laptop and logged into his account, only to discover that the funds transferred from Imperial Group had arrived just one hour ago - exactly when the confrontation had taken place back in the cargo hold.
Three billion was a massive sum of money. Not even Qin Ye could contain himself when he finally realized he was the one in possession of these funds.
This is three billion RMB! Guardian Auctions has valued the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl at one and a half billion RMB, but this is still a national treasure we’re talking about! The sky's the limit! After all, each and every single tycoon slated to attend the auctions was an industry leader in their own rights. Three billion RMB was a huge sum of money, but Qin Ye still couldn’t help but feel somewhat uneasy in the face of his competition.
Meanwhile, the fund transfer was also accompanied by a message from Gao Youliang stating that the list of items he had requested for, including the construction materials, daily necessities, production lines, etc, have all been procured for him, and they have all been stored in one of the warehouses within Eastsea. Qin Ye could pick them up anytime he liked. Furthermore, Gao Youliang had even taken the initiative to make payment on the warehouse rental space amounting to the sum of 200,000 RMB.
Qin Ye was incredibly satisfied with Gao Youliang’s efficiency.
The completion of the transaction with Gao Youliang had already made this trip to Eastsea worth it. The progress on Hell’s redevelopment would soon take off.
Everything would be perfect if he could return with the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl.
“Having already come this far, I simply cannot allow the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl to fall into the hands of others.” Qin Ye closed his laptop gently and lit up a cigarette.
Just then, there was a knock on the door to his room.
Qin ye opened the door, only to see Bai Yishan standing right outside his door with an apologetic expression on his face. He rubbed his hands together shyly and asked, “Mr Qin, could I have a word with you in private?”
Qin Ye raised his brows with a slight measure of surprise, but allowed him to enter the room nonetheless. Once they settled back down, Bai Yishan smiled bitterly and explained, “Mr Qin, I know that what I’m about to say may sound rather offensive to you, but I do seek your understanding. Please believe me when I say that this isn’t done under my own volition. Everything I’m about to say is under the instructions of Grandmaster Chu alone. I was unable to dissuade him.”
“You may speak candidly.” Qin Ye blew out a puff of smoke as he responded placidly, “I know of the plight you’re in.”
But he soon followed up with a statement that filled Bai Yishan with great embarrassment, “But it doesn’t mean that I’m obliged to understand your plight or grant you indulgence.”
“Grandmaster Chu has stepped on the toes of a number of important people. Here’s a word of advice - resign immediately after the auction closes, close the chapter on Guardian Auctions, and leave them behind as far as you can. Guardian Auctions’ days are numbered.”
Bai Yishan nodded without hesitation, and then steeled his nerves, “Mr Qin... Grandmaster Chu... hopes that the esteemed guests who know of... the truth about the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl would keep it a secret to themselves. Otherwise…”
Given his stammering, Qin Ye could already tell what he was getting at, “I got the message loud and clear. You may take your leave.”
“Mr Qin, believe me. I’m only here as a mouthpiece, and this is by no means a reflection of my intentions at all.”
Qin Ye waved his hands dismissively and sent Bai Yishan on his way. He hadn’t fallen so far as to take out his anger on a mere messenger.
The room was silent once again.
Several seconds later, Qin Ye remarked aloudm “A man who irks others is only going to suffer great misery.”
“But, so be it.”
“Rules are there for a reason. There’s no harm in following them once in a while. I refuse to believe that I can’t win myself a bowl with a capital of three billion RMB!”
The cruise liner was still within Cathay’s territorial waters.
It was anchored in place, surrounded only by the vast expanse of waters out there. The early morning sun painted the surface of the cruise liner with a magnificent, golden sheen and caused the deep blue waters to sparkle with crystal clarity. Everything appeared dreamy and surreal.
Flutter flutter… Nobody took notice of a few seabirds that promptly took flight from the deck of the cruise liner, flapping its wings gracefully as it flew into the horizon from where the sun rose.
Its flight was initially slow. But the farther it got from the cruise ship, the faster it flew! Within ten minutes, its speed accelerated so much that its feathers began to fall off its body, until it finally revealed its true form of a skeletal bird shrouded with Yin energy. The skeletal bird shrieked as it bolted to its target.
After a few hours of flight, the skeletal bird finally appeared in front of an island.
The island was peculiar. It was almost as though the sun couldn’t shine on it. The time now was clearly already past seven in the morning, and yet the island still appeared to be enshrouded in gloom and darkness, almost as though there were a thick layer of black fog lingering about it. Anyone within hundreds of meters from the island would feel an unusual chill emanating from it.
Flutter flutter… The skeletal seabirds flew straight through the dark fog enshrouding the island. The fog hid a massive strait cutting through the island, on which were anchored a number of ships.
The kind that were often seen in naval battles in the 1800’s but were obsolete in modern day naval warfare. Ironclad warships also happened to form the bulk of the Nipponese fleet during the Sino-Nipponese War. There were two such warships anchored side by side right now.
Not a single soul could be seen operating on the deck of these ships, and yet their lights were brightly lit, almost as though they were ghost ships laying in wait for something within the dark fog.
The seabirds finally descended. They swooped down onto the ship and glided through an empty corridor of armors and clothes. Then, as it drew close to the door at the end of the room, it opened on its own, as though inviting the seabird in. The seabird flew in and finally landed on a hand that was covered in white armor.
“Is that so?” A man’s voice reverberated through the corners of the room. Seconds later, he added, “They’ve brought it forward? And they’re not even coming to the Strait of Tsushima? What ‘unforeseen circumstances’ have they encountered? You don’t know? Then… what’s the use of keeping you around?”
The armored hand mercilessly tightened his fist around the skeletal bird, reducing it to wisps of Yin energy in an instant.
The man stood up and gazed out of the window. From his perspective, the entire deck of the ship was filled with headless foot soldiers, bowmen and red-armored cavalry who were lined up in ranks and awaiting his command.
Their numbers were vast. There were even close to a thousand paper planes zooming about in the skies above. The entire army was enshrouded in boundless Yin energy, dense as ink and roiling like the tide.
The morning breeze swept by, but did nothing to disperse the thick Yin energy in the area. There were several banners flying high, including the sun flag of the Ryuzoji Clan, the black flag of the Kuroda Clan, the emblem of a cross of the Shimazu Clan, the emblem of the Rokkaku Clan, the six coins of the Sanada Clan. Practically every single one of the famous clans of the Nipponese Warring States era were all gathered at this place right now!
“Since they refuse to come to us, then we’ll just have to take the fight to them.” Two crimson glows lit up under the helmet of the great armor, “This is a rare opportunity to have all of the forces from back then gather in one place. How could we possibly pass up the appearance of our beloved Demon King of the Sixth Heaven?”
“Pirate of Hachiman, mobilize the Kappa Corps immediately. I, Azai Nagamasa, have waited for four centuries just for this moment of vengeance... both for my death... as well as the death of my child... I can’t wait any longer…”
“Yes.” A ghastly voice responded from the shadows. The surface of the waters around the ironclad warships immediately fluctuated strangely, and countless dark figures instantly sank into the depths of the waters like a swarm of piranhas.
6. In Japanese religion, Hachiman no kami is the syncretic divinity of archery and war, incorporating elements from both Shinto and Buddhism. He was often worshipped by samurais. This is a nickname for a general whose name will be revealed later.