Chapter 255: Self-Extrication

It was a moonless night.

The time now was 10.00 p.m.

The Strait of Tsushima was enshrouded with an endless fog of Yin energy. From the vantage point that Qin Ye was at, it appeared as though a menacing rift that swallowed up everything around had opened up between the seas and the skies.

In fact, the Yin energy was so dense that it had even begun to materialize. This was the result of the gathering of Anitya Hellguards, Soul Hunters, as well as thousands of Yin soldiers in preparation for the battle of Tsushima. The concentration of Yin energy in this area was sufficient to tip the balance in the mortal realm in favour of Yin.

“What the hell is this?!” One of the tycoons looked out to sea with a grim expression on his face. He was staring right at the massive banner of war that was somewhat obscured by the towering fog of Yin energy.

“This is the manifestation of evil.” The priest’s robes were fluttering endlessly as he gazed coldly at the embankment at the end of the horizon, “And… I’m afraid that these are powerful evil beings to boot. Sir, I’d like you to return to your room as soon as possible and stay there. This isn’t a battlefield you can even afford to take a single step into.”

“Those things are murderous, bloodthirsty and ferocious evil ghosts.”

Zzzzzzt! A valiant warrior’s shirt split open, revealing golden glowing runes all over his muscular body. Another old Cathayan man with a long beard stepped forward in his long robe, accompanied by dozens of gleaming mahogany swords hovering by his side. There was yet another man dressed in a thawb, holding the Koran in front of him as the pages rustled softly on its own.

One after another, the specialized bodyguards reassured their apprehensive paymasters as they stepped forward to the bow of the ship - regardless of nationality.

The Yin and the Yang were two realms that were diametrically opposed to each other. If the world of Yin were intent on interfering with the affairs of the Yang, they, as Yang cultivators, could never afford to take a single step back.

And this was notwithstanding the fact that they might very well perish in this engagement of theirs.

“The gathering of forces ahead is so strong that it’s giving me the shivers…” An old woman gently brushed the white hair at her temples, “This is no ordinary Anitya Hellguard… I can sense the deeply entrenched grievance emanating from the heart of the dark fog. I can even detect the great murderous intent despite the distance between us right now.”

Clatter, clatter… The path ahead was lined with eerie lanterns that clearly belonged to the underworld. This was no different from a water channel leading straight to the sea of the dead. The cultivators watched on silently with their eyes transfixed on the emblem on the banner of war flying high in the distance - it was one formed by three flowers joined together in a tortoiseshell formation.

Azai Nagamasa!

The embankment of a nameless island was drawing closer to them by the second. Right in the heart of the rolling fog of Yin Energy, a man dressed in a snow-white great armor stood on the bow of an ironclad warship. He was very young. He couldn’t be considered handsome, but he was undoubtedly tough and ferocious. Two red tassels hung down the sides of the great armor’s helmet. He looked up, and then spread his hands to the side and lifted them with majestic poise. He obviously could no longer control the excitement in his heart, “Here it comes… finally…”

“Oichi… do you see that?”

“That’s the man who drove your husband to committing seppuku, and then went on to murder all of your children in cold blood… He’s finally being dragged over to this killing zone by me…”

“I’ve sworn to get my revenge one day, no matter how long it takes. And after four long centuries… the time for revenge has finally come!!!”

He lowered his hand slowly. There were several Nipponese generals wearing great armor standing tall behind him at this moment. However, their existences were all… illusory.

More accurately speaking, they appeared to be straddling the realms between the corporeal and the illusory. Some were armed with twenty foot polearms, some had an eyepatch over one of their eyes, while others were fanning themselves with a gourd-shaped fan. They looked ordinary, yet the emblems of the banners each of them carried on their backs would undoubtedly strike fears in the hearts of anyone who saw them.

One of the most prominent ones was Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the man who unified Nippon, bearing the emblem of the Toyotomi Clan. [1]

Then, there was Tokugawa Ieyasu with the emblem of the Tokugawa Clan.[2]

One of the first great warriors of Nippon, Sanada Yukimura, bearing the emblem of the Sanada Clan.[3]

There was the emblem of the Date Clan, representing the heroic Date Masamune. [4]

And not to mention the simple yet fear-inducing emblem of the Tiger of Kai, Takeda Shingen of the Takeda Clan.[5]

Here was a gathering of one of the most feared generals throughout the history of Nippon. Even though some of these men had been of a higher stature than the man in white armor while they were still alive, they were standing behind that man today.

These were all of the warlords of the Nipponese Warring States era!

The man standing right in front continued to gaze at the distant sky for several seconds, before finally instructing, “Raise the flag.”

“Let our guests know whose territory they’re stepping on right now.”

“After four long centuries, we’ll finally show the notorious Demon King of the Sixth Heaven who’s the true lord of the lands once and for all!”

He took a deep breath, and his chest rose greatly, “Kill them!!!”

His war cry thundered throughout that domain of his. He had opened his mouth a full meter wide, and murder and hatred was written all over his face, just like what anyone would expect of a terrifying evil ghost. With his cry, the banner of war was raised, and the cloak of Yin energy around them flourished in an instant. Back in the Strait, the skeletons dressed in light armor on the Atakebune warships finally opened their eyes with an eerie green glow.

Ssssss!!!! A thunderous battle cry echoed the cry of their commanding general, and the mischief of ghosts thus began their doomsday dance in the Strait of Tsushima.

…………………………………………………………….

Back on the ship. Qin Ye led Mr Iwasaki and Master Kamo straight back to the hull of the cruise liner, accompanied silently by the two Hellguard monks.

The first sight of the hull caused everyone’s eyelids to twitch uncontrollably.

This was because hundreds of thirty centimeters nails had at some point in time been nailed straight through the hull of the ship. This was the source of the soft clinking sounds which Qin Ye had heard right from the onset.

Qin Ye could already piece together what exactly happened over here. While they had been at the auctions earlier, the Kappas had snuck to the bottom of the ship and drove these nails straight through its hull. The other end of the nail was probably tied to their individual bodies. And then, by some orchestrated effort on their part, they were able to sail away with the ship without alerting anyone to the movement of the ship. Their target? Obviously the Strait of Tsushima.

In that regard, it could be said that the Kappas’ plans were a great success. The cruise ship was no more than a stone’s throw away from the Strait of Tsushima right now. Qin Ye had done everything he could to avoid a full-on confrontation with Izanami’s dispatch forces, and yet it had still somehow become an eventuality.

Retreat?

That would be akin to laying all the groundwork for a thesis paper, only to abandon it at the eleventh hour. Retreat was most certainly out of the question.

“Great monks, where are your battle monks?” Qin Ye turned around and asked urgently.

“They’ll arrive within the hour!” Dojin responded with gritted teeth.

Then, Qin Ye turned to Master Kamo. Before he could even ask his question, Master Kamo immediately responded, “The Tengy army has already set off. They’ll also be arriving within the hour!”

“Good.” Qin Ye took a deep breath and sat down on the ground, “Protect me.”

Now was the time to reunite the great warlords of the Nipponese Warring States era!

Azai Nagamasa had wedded Oichi, a lady reputed to be among the most beautiful women to have lived during the Nipponese Warring States era. Incidentally, Oichi was also Oda Nobunaga’s younger sister. However, their blood relationship did not prevent Nobunaga from driving her to suicide together. Nobunaga killed her eldest son, and then banished her second son into the depths of the monastery, where he would remain for the rest of his life. This was a feud so deeply ingrained in their souls that it would have to be repaid in full, even if it means tearing the sky asunder and traversing realms!

It was a blood feud.

Yet what was perhaps most distressing of all was the fact that Azai Nagamasa could very well be in possession of the Book of LIfe and Death. The display of Justice Bao’s authority might be useful, but it would never be able to completely sweep away the throngs of Yin soldiers dispatched by Yomi-no-Kuni!

Arthis had taught him the method to release the seal on the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl before he had even departed. He closed his eyes, and then began to call out to Oda Nobunaga with his mind.

Ming Shiyin couldn’t help but mutter with great surprise, “That’s not right… You would usually be yelling at the top of your voice in an attempt to retreat. Why are you reacting differently today?”

Qin Ye responded with indifference, “It’s because there’s no longer any prospects of retreat.”

“Since there’s no longer such prospects, then what’s the use in attempting the hopeless?”

Sure. He was cowardly, but his cowardice didn’t get in the way of his judgment of the situation. In fact, he knew far better than anyone else right now that the more he reacted in fear and cowardice, the quicker he would perish. There’s no mercy on the battlefield. His only hope for survival was to steel his nerves and fight through the encirclement of death in order to carve out for himself a path of survival.

He placed the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl in front of his eyes, and then began to make a series of hand seals imbued with the strength of his Yin energy. Seconds later, with a soft hum, the bowl tumbled over and flew up into the air. The other broken piece of the bowl which Bai Yishan had earlier given to him flew out of his garments and adhered together silently.

Thump, thump, thump… A rhythmic thumping resembling a heartbeat reverberated coldly through the corners of the cargo hold. The Yin energy enshrouding the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl became thicker and thicker with time. And then, Qin ye abruptly opened his eyes and slapped his palm together with a thunderous clap. At that moment, the symbol of a copper coin appeared at the bottom of the bowl.

Within moments, the small symbol of a copper coin grew larger and larger, until it finally transformed into a pitch-black vortex.

“You absolutely must hold out until I return!” Qin Ye reminded them once again. And then, with a shrill whistle, wisps of Yin energy wrapped around his body for several seconds, before revealing Qin Ye in his Hellguard emissary state, replete with his tall fretwork skullcap and a mourning staff in his hands. With that, he charged straight into the realm of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl.

All formation arrays, including the realm of the bowl, could only be opened from within, unless they were shattered from outside with a power that qualitatively surpassed the strength of the array.

There was a dead silence in the cargo hold.

Taking a deep breath, Dojin’s evil-subduing pestle flew out of his robes and began to glow with a bright golden light. With a series of quick hand seals, a small cloud appeared under his feet and promptly carried him straight to the center of the cargo hold. Then, he lifted his arms, and a seemingly endless scroll opened up with a soft rustling and began to surround the entire cargo hold.

Innumerable Sanskrit words glowed and quickly faded away on the surface of the scroll. Similarly, Jingo also promptly flew into action, making a series of hand seals before slamming his hands straight to the ground. Likewise, another scroll flew out, glowing with a bright golden hue.

“This is the most powerful secret technique of Mount Koya, The Moonlit Night.” He closed his eyes and gripped hard on the scroll, “To think that I would actually have the opportunity to fully open and utilize its powers.”

“Azai Nagamasa… what an awe-inspiring name. Well, then, let us see whether the great daimyo of four centuries ago, or the Mount Koya of the modern day era is more formidable!”

Whoosh!!! A bright silver light erupted from the surface of the scroll, and a numinous flower grew larger and larger, blooming with layers upon layers until it finally faded into the walls of the cargo hold. In the wake of the lotus flower’s dissipation, the walls of the cargo hold were now plastered all over with countless talismans.

Qin Ye wasn’t aware of all these things. His only choice right now was to trust them whole-heartedly - in the fierce enmity between the Scourge of Buddha on one side and Master Koya and the Onmyojis on the other side. He didn’t have the luxury of time to mull over these matters either, because he was currently flying through a narrow passageway, and an ancient temple had appeared on the horizon at the other end of the passageway.

Thud. As soon as he stepped out, his eyes immediately quivered slightly.

The sound of horses and cavalrymen shook the lands.

Honnoji was still the same old temple, but there were currently more than two thousand Yin soldiers formed up in ranks before it right now. They were heavily armored, and the masks of evil ghosts obscured each one of their appearances. Yin energy billowed from the entire formation of soldiers who were mounted on their own skeletal war horses. The Oda Clan’s banner of war flapped wildly like a fiery ocean in the depths of hell.

Qin Ye could tell that these cavalrymen were different from ordinary cavalrymen.

They wore red and black clothes, and they each wore a bamboo frame covered with cloth over their backs, almost like a tortoise shell.

These were the Umamawari, or his horse guards

These were the elite cavalrymen who had followed the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven throughout his campaign as he unified most of Nippon back in the Warring States era. These were Nobunaga’s red guards and black guards!

Nobunaga was positioned right at the front of the formation, with a golden mask covering his face. Murai Sadakatsu was positioned to his left, while Oda Nobutada was on his right. Both were riding on a huge skeletal horse that was as tall as two people combined. Boundless Yin energy poured out from their bones, and they stood out like stars, even among the rest of the skeletal horses. Seeing Qin Ye’s arrival, Oda Nobunaga immediately threw his head back and laughed boisterously as he pointed his katana at Qin Ye, “Cathayan emissary, is that your true appearance?”

“That’s right. I’ve come.” Qin Ye stood in front of the ranks of cavalrymen, and he could sense the palpable ferocity exuded by the troops. The eyes of the cavalrymen were blazing with a scarlet flame. This meant that they had killed mercilessly while they had still been alive.

“Come, tell me…” Even Nobunaga’s body was trembling slightly right now, “Who’s waiting for me outside right now?”

Qin Ye smiled. His smile in his emissary state was somewhat terrifying, but it happened to be perfect for the situation.

“It’s Azai Nagamasa.”

“Hahaha!!!” The Demon King of the Sixth Heaven laughed uproariously as he stabbed his katana into the air, “Finally! The heavens have answered my pleas!!!”

“Come! Undo this seal that has kept me bound and restrained for centuries.” An abyss of resentment erupted from underneath Nobunaga’s golden mask. A tide of Yin energy erupted, causing even Honnoji to creak and the trees around it to go wild.

“I’ve waited far too long for this day to come.”


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