Chapter 258: Principles (1)

Boom!!

A scarlet fog of true energy exploded across the surface of the waters. As the true energy spread, the plumb corpses under the waters shrieked in unison as they broke their ranks and scattered about in fear.

The scarlet true energy was like a blood mist that condensed just as quickly as it first erupted, forming the figure of a man on the bow of the cruise liner.

It was the very same cultivator, but he appeared to have aged substantially. Right now, he looked almost as though he were at the tail end of what one would consider to be a middle-aged man. Nevertheless, true energy abounded from his body with such exuberance it appeared no different from a regular Hellguard-class expert. A dazzling display of blood mist enshrouded him, almost as though he were a god that had just descended from the heavens.

“The paths of the Yin and the paths of the Yang should never intersect. Any party in breach of this ironclad rule shall be punished by purgation!” His voice boomed across the surface of the waters like the rumble of thunder. Then, he leapt up lightly, and then slammed down onto the bow of the ship like a meteorite. CRASH! Instantly, the cruise liner that was already sinking into the depths of the seas suddenly floated out once more, almost as though he had counterbalanced a seesaw by that one powerful step. A rain of seawater splattered all around.

ROAR!!! The two giant clumps of netherflames beneath the surface of the waters trembled and violently. Kuki Yoshitaka hadn’t expected his opponent to have such a powerful trump card hidden up his sleeves, and he immediately dispelled the swirling whirlpool. Nevertheless, a massive figure continued to stir right underneath the ship. His body was now ostensibly covered by innumerable spots of netherflames, each of which represented the plumb corpses that had now adhered themselves to his body.

Moonless night; bottomless waters and endless darkness.

And there was a throng of plumb corpses and the massive shadow of a ferocious sea monster darting about underneath the surface of the waters. This was a sight no different from man’s worst nightmare - a terrifying sight that was sure to strike fear into anyone’s hearts.

The colossal shadow darted about quicker and quicker. And then, with two loud splashes, the two massive heads of the sea monster burst out through the surface of the waters, gleaming eerily in the darkness of the night.

“My… god…” Nishino Mio covered her mouth in horror and shook her head in despair. Her eyes were completely glazed over as she struggled to take in the developments.

The other tycoons presented themselves with similarly ashen expressions. Nobody had expected to see their greatest fears come true this very night.

Is this what they call an evil ghost…

This is why we’ve spared no expense to hire Soul Hunters for our own protection, right?

I mean… this is ten thousand times more frightening than what I could’ve ever imagined!

Sss!!! A terrifying screech cut through the silence of the night, followed quickly by a great splatter of seawater. A split second later, all four fiery eyes turned to look at the cultivator standing on the bow of the ship.

“Unsealing your twelve major acupoints and eight hidden meridians. Your strength has now come infinitely close to that of an Anitya Hellguard. But you’re no different from a moth… burning up the rest of your life energy just to flutter with a moment of radiant brilliance.” The revulsive gnashing of his razor sharp teeth echoed in the wake of Kuki Yoshitaka’s mocking voice, “Even if I ignore you right now, you won’t live to see the light of day tomorrow.”

Then, Kuki Yoshitaka bared his fangs, revealing the grisly remains of human bones within, “But… death approaches.”

With that, his massive head lurched straight towards the cruise liner. Countless plumb corpses shrieked as they clung fervently to Kuki Yoshitaka’s scales. Meanwhile, the cultivator that had unlocked the physical limitations to his body dashed forward like a cannonball, punching out with all of his might! There was an earth-shattering tremor, and Kuki Yoshitaka’s massive head was actually knocked away to the side in the wake of their clash of might!

“Everyone!!” The cultivator turned around and stared at the remaining twenty or so cultivators who were now standing on the bow of the ship once more. His eyes grew bloodshot as he barked hoarsely, “What’s the first article of the United Nations Coalition of Cultivators?! Have you already forgotten something so fundamental?!”

A ferocious gale swept across the waters before he could continue. Kuki Yoshitaka’s other head had flailed right out of the waters and was rushing over madly once more. The giant mouth that had devoured innumerable lives instantly closed in on the cultivator once more.

“Get lost!!!” A furious cry thundered across the waters once more. The abilities of a powerful, evil ghost was qualitatively different from that of ordinary Yin spirits, and the cultivator knew that he no longer had the luxury of time to chide the other cultivators. Thus, he mustered everything he had to dart out of harm’s way in the nick of time. Kuki Yoshitaka’s jaws clamped down on nothing, and it immediately rode its momentum straight back into the sea, sending great waves billowing around it and sending copious amounts of seawater splattering everywhere.

“Have you forgotten the oath you’ve sworn that day with your hand over your chest?!” The cultivator’s body appeared on the bow of the ship a split second later, and he gritted his teeth and swept a ferocious gaze at the other cultivators around him, “Do you remember the hopes and dreams we had back then?!”

“Do you even remember the source of the luxuries you enjoy on a daily basis?! Do you even know who’s been providing for us all this while?!!”

But before he could continue any further, the sea around them suddenly began to boil and gurgle.

Segment after segment of the sea serpent’s massive body began to emerge from the surface of the waters at several parts, almost as though they were an endless mountain range emerging from the sea!

“Ehh?!” “What the…” “What dense Yin energy…”

Back in the cargo hold, Jingo, Dojin and Master Kamo looked up in unison and exchanged a look of disbelief with each other.

“Is this… a pampus soul?” Dojin gasped in shock, “It’s also known as the corpse of the deadly cicada. These are existences that must be annihilated at all costs upon their discovery. The genesis of these mutations are the result of one’s corpse being devoured by fishes before they can even sink to the ground. Their souls aren’t even given the chance to be tied to the earth or the heavens, and their only natural course of progression is to become ferocious evil ghosts. Born with a single head, if left unchecked, it would eventually become an eight-headed hydra!”

“Do pampus souls even exist in Nippon?”

A Hellguard-class ghost has made its move…

There was no doubt about it - this would most certainly be one of the great names from the Nipponese Warring States era. Such was the power of an underworld with a history of well over a thousand years. Any powerful evil ghost in their ranks would most certainly have been a great name in the annals of history. This was on a completely different scale from the nascent state of development which Qin Ye’s Hell was presently in.

“It must have concealed its Yin energy earlier, and that’s probably why we’d thought it was no more than a peak Hunter-class Yin spirit…” Jingo gritted his teeth with bloodshot eyes, “Should we take action?”

There were only three Hellguard-class experts on the cruise liner right now, one of whom was presently in an immovable state.

Wisps of dark energy swirled around Qin Ye’s body, forming peculiar arrays and symbols around him from time to time.

He was currently right in the midst of breaching the formation array that was trapping Oda Nobunaga and his forces. The only way to fight through an encirclement formed by the great generals of the Nipponese Warring States era is with the core forces of the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven. This was their only hope at survival.

“No…” Dojin bit down on his lower lip and folded his hands with resignation, “Although this would run counter to the creed of Mount Koya, we absolutely cannot afford to make a move right now!”

It had to be mentioned that even though their teachings were built upon the chanting of sutras, and there were hardly any restrictions on their diets and lifestyles, and hardly any precepts to maintain altogether, the creed of their belief was still terrifyingly firm.

That is, they were bound to slay all Yin spirits that they discovered, even at the expense of their own lives.

This was the creed of Nipponese Tantric Buddhists.

Jingo’s expressions darkened, and he shut his eyes and sighed wistfully, “I pity those kinds on the deck right now.”

“Soul Hunters… even if they tap on the potential of their hidden acupoint, they wouldn’t be able to compete with a true, blue Hellguard-class Yin spirit. Moreover, their opponent right now is none other than a corpse of the deadly cicada that is several hundred years old. Even Mount Koya would have no choice but to mobilize its guardian monks to deal with such a great crisis…”

Just then, numerous soft clanking sounds could be heard in the otherwise silent cargo hold.

It was incredibly soft.

In fact, it was so soft that none of the others on the cruise liner would have noticed these sounds. And yet, as soon as the sounds were heard, the Moonlit Night that encased the entire cargo hold instantly brightened with a brilliant radiance.

Their true energy flourished. The Moonlit Night flickered softly, while the illusory image of a fairy could be seen patrolling vigilantly within its domain. Everyone’s expressions instantly grew somber and grave.

“Is this…” Iwasaki Kyouya gasped deeply, “Them?”

Dojin and Jingo had already shot to their feet once more, clutching tightly to their zen staff and evil-subduing pestle respectively as they glanced around warily, “Mr Iwasaki… guard yourself well. I’m afraid we might soon be unable to keep an eye out for you any longer.”

True energy was already flourishing from Dojin’s body, “That’s right… The corpse of the deadly cicada undoubtedly carries with it a throng of plumb corpses that adhere to its body, all of whom are the corpses of people who have been eaten alive by it. They bear great resentment at their death, and they naturally turn into a plumb corpse after death, with no lingering attachment to heaven or earth… I wonder how many such plumb corpses a Hellguard-class pampus soul would carry with it…”

Iwasaki Kyouya shut his eyes and clutched tightly at his chest as he asked with great trembling, “And what are they… trying to do?”

“Sink the ship.” Jingo chuckled bitterly, “It’s only going to be a matter of time before the kids up there perish. By my estimations, they should be able to hold out for at least half an hour. But it seems like the pampus soul doesn’t want to wait so long at all. It’s personally occupying the cultivator who has unlocked the physical limitations of his body, while simultaneously instructing its plumb corpses to bore a hole on the undercarriage of the ship. How vicious.”

And then, he turned around to give Qin Ye a deep, long gaze, “You’d better hurry. We’re facing the corpse of the deadly cicada in the middle of the sea. There’s no guarantee we’d be able to hold out for too long… Moreover, this is only the first wave of Azai Nagamasa’s forces. I’m most certain that something even more terrifying has yet to appear…”

Dense Yin energy began to pour through the nails that were being driven into the hull of the Ship. However, they were neutralized almost as soon as they struck the surface of the Moonlit Night’s domain.

Master Kamo waved his hands, and ten shikigamis appeared right next to him.

A bead of cold sweat rolled off the tip of his nose. Even his usually steady hands were trembling from fear.

After all, he knew full well that one of the most terrifying battles he had ever encountered in his entire life was soon about to unfold.

They were facing thousands of evil spirits led by the ghosts of several great Nipponese daimyos, all of whom represented the authority of an underworld with over a thousand years of history.

Furthermore, Master Kamo understood that the moment that the plumb corpses were able to bore a hole through the hull of the ship… was also the moment when the battle at the Strait of Tsushima heats up into a white hot state.

With the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl right in front of his very eyes, I’m afraid that… Azai Nagamasa must be going mad, isn’t he?

“How long more till your battle monks arrive?” His voice sounded normal, yet in truth, it was already tense to the extreme.

“Thirty minutes.” Jingo and Dojin glanced warily at their surroundings, “And what about your Tengu army? I hope that the famous lineage of Onmyojis won’t disappoint us members of Mount Koya…”

“They’ll be arriving soon…” Master Kamo ripped apart his garments, revealing the illusory emblem of a Tengu that appeared to be glowing right underneath his skin. He gritted his teeth, “Don’t you worry. The Onmyojis have a lineage that runs deep. We won’t disappoint you!”

……………………………………………………

Krr… krr… krr… Back in Honnoji. Qin Ye abruptly looked up, and the image of a collapsing world was reflected right in the heart of his gleaming white pupils.

The originally boundless canopy of the skies above Honnoji appeared to be collapsing like a tattered roof. The small crack in the sky had already widened substantially, while the collapsing pieces of the skies hovered weightlessly in the air.

“What’s this?”

“This is a visible sign of damage caused by a great external impact. It’s the physical manifestation of an imbalance in the equilibrium within Honnoji.” Oda Nobunaga grabbed his head and affixed into his own neck. The scarlet flames in his eyes lit up with a burning passion. There wasn’t a single trace of fear in his voice. In fact, one could even make out trace amounts of burgeoning excitement, “In other words… one of my old friends has probably just arrived on scene.”

A Hellguard has made its move?

Qin Ye gasped, and channeled even more energy into dismantling Honnoji from within.

Arthis’ incantation is far too ineffective! It’s already been half an hour, and yet there’s not a single sign of success just yet…

But before he could continue his train of thought, he suddenly smelt the burning stench from Honnoji intensifying. And then, the temple building… actually began to billow with smoke!

“What’s this?” Nohime muttered with surprise. But a split second later, she, Oda Nobunaga, as well as all of the other evil ghosts in the Honnoji realm immediately exploded with a great rush of Yin energy. Within moments, the leaves and branches of the surrounding trees began to wither at a pace that was visible to the naked eye.

“The heart of the formation array has finally been broken…” Oda Nobunaga’s entire body was trembling with excitement.

Four centuries of longing…

Four centuries of earnest anticipation…

Nippon. I, the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven, have finally arrived!

Akechi Mitsuhide, Azai Nagamasa, and my old rival, Takeda Shingen… I wonder how thrilled you guys will be to finally reunite with me?

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