“Are they following behind us?” Honda Tadakatsu was leading the charge on the surface of the waters, and he glanced back momentarily, “You didn’t disappoint me. You’re worthy of your name, Azai-kun. Although I don’t have any intentions of helping you in your quest to slay Oda Nobunaga, but… I’ve got no qualms helping you reach the cruise liner safely.”
With that, he turned back to look at the cruise ship once more with eyes that burned with great passion. Something told him that if he were able to slay the people on the cruise and retrieve the divine artifact in their possession, then… he would be able to reach new heights in his cultivation and be on par with Izanami!
He had earlier chanced on this book upon his arrival at the Strait of Tsushima. Then, upon closer inspection, he realized that it could well be one of the primordial treasures of Hell, the Book of Life and Death.
Thus, he did his best to keep the news of his discovery to himself. He even went about discreetly testing the powers of the artifact he had gained, thereby resulting in the incidents with the several ghost ships. And as soon as he ascertained the authenticity of the divine artifact, he no longer harboured any thoughts of remaining at the Strait of Tsushima.
In other words, he had already been making plans to leave Yomi-no-Kuni altogether. However, things changed.
I need to kill that man. Although I don’t know what treasure he might be in possession of, the fact that it can create such resonance in the Book of Life and Death means that it’s no ordinary artifact!
And what if I’m unable to kill that man?
Honda Tadakatsu suddenly smiled - That’s impossible.
He was the strongest among all of the daimyos of the Nipponese Warring States era. He had been completely unscathed despite personally participating in dozens of battles. In other words, he was akin to a Nipponese Lu Bu.
He was confident that there wasn’t a single person under the heavens that he couldn’t kill.
“Especially since… I’ve regained the use of my body again…” He clenched his fists with great satisfaction as he continued to plow straight towards the cruise liner with the three hundred cavalrymen under his command.
Rumble… Justice Bao’s display of authority was right in front of them. The tide of Yin energy had completely blotted out the skies, while the tsunami had risen a hundred meters into the skies! However, Honda Tadakatsu didn’t back down at all. He had a feeling that the Yin energy wouldn’t be able to stop his charge at all.
He drew closer and closer. The tide of Yin energy was hundreds of meters high, and one could even hear the mournful cry of innumerable souls echoing from its depths. It was almost as though one would find himself transported to hell as soon as he plowed into the dense cloud of Yin energy. Despite his fearlessness, even Honda Tadakatsu couldn’t help but hold his breath and tighten his grip around the reins as he closed in on the daunting wall of Yin energy. However, his skeletal war horse only increased its speed, galloping so fast that it appeared no different from a meteorite.
One hundred meters… fifty meters… twenty meters… ten meters… The violent tide of Yin energy caused the surface of the seas to slosh about wildly. Honda Tadakatsu took a deep breath and pointed the legendary spear known as the Tonbokiri, or the Dragonfly Cutter, ahead of him. It was a scene almost akin to Don Quixote and his jousting attack on windmills.
“Break!!!” He roared at the top of his might as he plowed straight through. With a great crashing sound, the three hundred cavalrymen behind him were instantly swallowed up by the great tide of Yin energy.
Azai Nagamasa followed closely behind him. He gritted his teeth, and a brilliant red glow lit up from underneath his great armor. He pulled out the two katanas on his side and bellowed at the top of his voice, “Break, break, break!!!”
With that, he, too, followed Honda Tadakatsu straight into the wall of Yin energy without looking back.
Boom, boom, boom! Thousands of paper airplanes followed closely behind, plunging straight into the wall of Yin energy as well.
“They’ve gone mad…” The rest of the daimyos who were fleeing for their lives personally witnessed what happened, but they weren’t under any obligations to charge in after them. Instead, they only increased their speed and fled as quickly as they could. It didn’t matter where they were running right now. The only thing that they cared about was escaping from the great shockwave of Yin energy that was quickly approaching them.
Unfortunately, what they didn’t realize was that the shockwave of Yin energy was only growing faster and faster, and it only closed in on them as time went by. Approximately ten seconds later, the shockwave of Yin energy grew so tall that it formed a towering curtain of Yin energy that appeared to hang down to the ground from the dark canopy of the skies!
This was the heaven-defying might of a Yama-King.
“What kind of monstrosity is this?!!” Tokugawa Ieyasu cried out with great alarm. He was already among the quickest of the daimyos. Those who lagged behind had already been consumed by the devastating shockwave without a single trace, and he could tell that the shockwave didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Instead, it was only a few hundred meters away from him at this very instant!
“Damn it…” He gritted his teeth and turned back abruptly, “Guards…”
But he immediately froze in shock as soon as he turned back.
He was fully aware of the fact that he was an evil ghost.
But, even then, the scene that was playing out right in front of his eyes was sufficient to send chills and shivers down his spine.
This was because the expanding shockwave wasn’t just a blooming wave of Yin energy. He could see innumerable hands congealed out of Yin energy that were reaching out of the shockwave, desperately attempting to grab hold of them as though their life depended on it. To make matters worse, he could see twisted and contorted faces writhing about in the cracks of these hands, wailing and shrieking in agony and anguish.
It was a living hell.
It was almost as though they would immediately be transported to the Great Anguish Abyssal Court. The mere thought of it caused his fiery pupils to flicker so dangerously that it almost went out completely.
Clatter… Just then, one of the Yin energy hands managed to grab hold of his helmet. Tap, tap, tap… Several other Yin energy hands soon caught on, holding the daimyo firmly down in place. In turn, he was treated to the macabre, close-up display of the anguished faces, squirming and squealing in pain.
“No….” His mind went blank - How could it be so quick? How could an Anitya Hellguard be no different from fodder in the face of this terrifying existence?!
What the hell is this thing?!
“No… NO!! Let me go! I don’t want to go to Hell!!”
And he wasn’t the only one screaming. In that instant, the shockwave swept across the entire Strait of Tsushima, and extended as far Iyoshima, as well as Pusan. All of the Yin spirits wandering the seas, regardless of class, strength and willingness, were all swept away without resistance.
Then, just as all of the daimyo’s were screaming in despondence in the depths of the Yin energy, a cloud of white smoke suddenly appeared right in front of each of them. Within moments, the daimyos soon discovered to their great astonishment that the hands that were desperately pinning them down… suddenly loosened.
But before they could even react to the situation, the white cloud of smoke instantly transformed and congealed into the pale face of a lady who instantly opened her mouth and swallowed them up.
“Hmph… ahh….. AHHHH!!!!” A lady’s heart-rending scream reverberated through the Strait of Tsushima for dozens of seconds before finally dissipating into nothingness.
No one was aware of the things that had happened in the heart of the cataclysmic Yin energy.
Qin Ye had already transformed into his Hell’s Emissary state and was standing at the bow of the cruise liner. Two thousand Umamawari soldiers formed up in their ranks behind him. He gazed into the distance where the storm was dying down and raised his eyebrows quizzically, “Is it over?”
“What a pity.” He sighed wistfully in an attempt to play up his strength in front of his new subordinates, “To think it ended so abruptly before I could even make a single move… Lord Ming, you’ve done well. I’ll be sure to report your achievements to Justice Bao as soon as we’re back. You should take credit for this.”
If Qin Ye had said these words at any other time, the response he would’ve gotten would most certainly be along the lines of, “I’ll credit you with @$#(&*^$&!” However, Ming Shiyin simply remained silent. The surface of the mirror flickered endlessly. But each time it did, the image that it revealed was completely pitch-black in colour.
“Pardon me.” Qin Ye cupped his hands to Oda Nobunaga, before walking towards Ming Shiyin. Oda Nobunaga didn’t mind him at all. Instead, he simply grabbed hold of the cruise liner’s railing with trembling hands, staring into the depths of the seas with bloodshot eyes.
“What’s wrong with you? What mischief are you up to this time?” Qin Ye grabbed Ming Shiyin with furrowed brows and forcibly turned it around to face him.
“No…” Ming Shiyin drew a deep breath. It didn’t respond with words on the surface of the mirror. Instead, it directly whispered back to Qin Ye, “Something’s wrong!”
“What do you mean?”
Ming Shiyin paused for some moments, and then hoarsely responded, “They’ve… simply vanished.”
“The armies led by the daimyos have nearly been completely wiped out. But… the daimyos themselves have been rescued by someone… It shouldn’t be like this… something’s up!!”
Qin Ye lowered his eyes, “The Strait of Tsushima isn’t too far away from Nippon’s territorial borders. It’s not unreasonable to expect Izanami to make a move. After all, I did sense the presence of a formidable source of Yin energy earlier that came and went without a trace…”
“That’s not what I’m talking about!!!” Ming Shiyin trembled all over, “Don’t you understand?! If the Book of Life and Death were in Azai Nagamasa’s hands, he would most certainly have unleashed its power! The display of Justice Bao’s authority might be immensely powerful, but it still wouldn’t contain enough power to completely suppress one of the three primordial treasures of Hell! Unfortunately, he didn’t do that…”
Qin Ye’s expressions promptly turned grave and solemn, “Conversely, it’s precisely because the Book of Life and Death isn’t in Azai Nagamasa’s hands that the owner would rather let everyone be obliterated than to risk having his secret discovered by Azai Nagamasa. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to eviscerate the Yin soldiers of Yomi-no-Kuni so easily!”
“That’s right.” Ming Shiyin spoke with an austere tone of voice, “Furthermore… I’ve done a quick scan of the surface of the waters earlier, and I discovered that I was unable to see a single thing. And this isn’t because I’ve gone blind. Rather… it’s because the owner of the Book of Life and Death is still around! When divine artifacts come into close proximity with each other, they would naturally generate resonance between them. As long as the resonance is still active, all lesser artifacts will naturally be disable, and they won’t be able to function!”
“Kid…” Ming Shiyin gulped nervously, “The owner of the Book of Life and Death… is looking for you.”
“Furthermore… he’s filled with confidence. He doesn’t fear Oda Nobunaga, and he firmly believes he’s able to seize the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal from you!”
Qin Ye immediately broke out in cold sweat.
Who is ‘he’?
Which person of the Nipponese Warring States era could possibly possess such great confidence in his own abilities?
A name immediately surfaced on his mind.
The strongest warrior during the Nipponese Warring States era!
The legendary warrior who had never once been wounded despite having participated in dozens of battles!
If I retreat, the Book of Life and Death would likely be lost to me for an inordinate amount of time.
Stay and fight?
Impossible. How could an amateur martial artist like me possibly go toe to toe against a legendary Nipponese god of war? I’d be whittled down to a stick in no time…
But before he could follow his train of thought any further, he abruptly looked up and stared across the surface of the waters with great disbelief.
He wasn’t the only one. Oda Nobunaga looked up from his lamentation and stared across the waters with an electrifying glint in his eyes.
Murai Sadakatsu, who was standing right beside Nobunaga, drew his katana. Mori Ranmaru pulled out his dagger. In fact, all of the other samurais standing before them instantly looked up and stared warily across the surface of the waters, as though they were primed to react to an enemy ambush. Even the Umamawari horse guards raised their spears warily. In an instant, the entire cruise liner was filled with a tense atmosphere.
Just then, a clattering sound could be heard in the distance.
It was a galloping horse - a sound that they were all too familiar with.
The sound was quickly followed by the faint image of a banner in the horizon. It bore… the emblem of the Honda Clan.
Oda Nobunaga’s pupils instantly blazed with a great netherflame, while the Umamawari horse guards gasped in shock. If the atmosphere earlier had been one filled with tension, then the ambience right now would be no different from a taut bowstring that was ready to fire.
Here was a man whose name precedes him. There wasn’t a single person who lived during the Nipponese Warring States era who hadn’t heard of the conquests of the god of war, Honda Tadakatsu. Everyone knew of the legend who had never been hurt throughout the course of his conquests.
The closer they drew, the faster they came. Within moments, three hundred cavalrymen could be seen galloping across the waters with billowing Yin energy that trailed behind them like a steam engine’s charge. Honda Tadakatsu’s long spear generated massive waves across the surface of the sea. Most of all, a faint lustre of black and white light could be seen glowing from the chest area of Honda Tadakatsu’s great armor.
Qin Ye drew a deep breath, and his adrenal glands immediately flared up with great intensity.
He’s here… He’s actually here!
To think that he would come charging straight through the destructive shockwave of Yin energy where the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven awaits. Is he truly that confident in levelling our forces with those three hundred cavalrymen of his? What gall of steel must he possess to come charging into the open arms of his enemies with just the Book of Life and Death in tow?
Can he really do this?
Qin Ye clenched the railing on the side of the ship tightly. He could hear a still small voice cry out in the depths of his heart - He can do it… He truly possesses the ability to do so! Leave this place… this isn’t an opponent you can handle right now!
He’s earned every bit of his nickname, the god of war! Look at how Oda Nobunaga and his dreadful Umamawari horse guards are reacting to his presence! Their reactions speak volumes of just how terrifying the name Honda Tadakatsu truly is!
However, just as Qin Ye was about to commence his great retreat, his attention was drawn to something else, and he turned to look at the sky with great surprise.
There are more than three hundred people approaching us right now…
As soon as he looked up, he immediately noticed the silhouettes of three thousand paper airplanes bursting through the rolling clouds of Yin energy and following closely behind the approach of Honda Tadakatsu and his forces. The man leading the charge was dressed in a white great armor, and the palpable murderous intent he exuded was no less than that of Honda Tadakatsu, the god of war!
However, the murderous intent wasn’t directed at Qin Ye.
“Oda Nobunaga!!!” Azai Nagamasa roared at the top of his voice as soon as he saw the cruise liner, “Four hundred years… the blood debt that has been owing for four hundred shall be paid by blood today!!!”
His eyes were staring transfixed at Oda Nobunaga, and his mind had already blotted out the other existences around.
Blood had to be spilled in the grand finale of their final clash, regardless of whether it was his blood, or the blood of Oda Nobunaga. The curtains wouldn’t close on the final act as long as either one of them was still standing.
“Brother-in-law…” Oda Nobunaga looked up and laughed uproariously. And then, he led the charge straight towards Azai Nagamasa, followed closely by the two thousand five hundred Umamawari horse guards that bolted after him like lightning.
“You’re right. It’s finally time for some closure…”
“After all, I’ve regretted my failure to personally take your life these last four hundred years…”
Clatter… clatter… The sound of rampaging horses echoed through the Strait of Tsushima. It was almost as though they had returned to the bygone times of the Nipponese Warring States era. However, Qin Ye’s attention wasn’t on the clash between Oda Nobunaga and Azai Nagamasa, because he could sense that a strong murderous intent had locked its gaze on himself.
Azai Nagamasa’s target had never been Qin Ye to begin with. However, Honda Tadakatsu’s gaze had been transfixed on Qin Ye all this while.
The pressure that bore down on him was simply overwhelming. In fact, the murderous intent was so powerful that Cao Youdao and the other darkfeathers he had earlier clashed against were no different from little babies next to Honda Tadakatsu!
1. Lu Bu was a Chinese military general and warlord known to be an exceptionally mighty warrior that was practically unchallenged in his time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%BC_Bu