Honda Tadakatsu shut his eyes.
His hands were already beginning to transform into ash. Yet when he opened his eyes again, he was once more filled with a great intent to do battle.
He had been probing at Qin Ye’s intentions all this while, from the time he boarded the cruise liner, to the commencement of their duel, and up until the point where he began to treat Qin Ye with great indifference. Honda Tadakatsu had killed his fair share of people, and he knew all too well what kind of people would exhibit a great intent to do battle, and what kind of people didn’t possess a single bit of such intentions at all.
And Qin Ye didn’t possess any battle intent.
This was something he was certain of. It was something which he had identified as a foregone conclusion. Furthermore, he didn’t think he could ever be wrong about this.
Unfortunately, he had overlooked one important detail.
And that was the fact that the ones he had killed in the past were all people who were in their forties or fifties. His miscalculation arose from the fact that Qin Ye had already lived for a hundred years.
Qin Ye could no longer be considered a part of the mortal realm, and yet he had continued to live for close to a hundred years in peace and harmony with those around him. In other words, his survival had been built upon a life of pretension, and acting had almost become second nature to him.
The corollary was also true - he was second to none when it came to grasping the deepest contemplations of a person’s heart.
Qin Ye gasped for air as he picked up Ming Shiyin, “Its name is the Mirror of Eminence.”
“You might not know this, but the Mirror of Eminence was the sole cause of the earlier devastating shockwave of Yin energy. It’s practically a single step away from becoming an existence no different from the Book of Life and Death or King Yanluo’s Seal. But I didn’t think you would’ve ever seen it before, so I took my chances and hedged my bets on the fact that you wouldn’t immediately realize that it’s not what you’re looking for. Truth be told, if I didn’t know beforehand that the Book of Life and Death were located in the vicinity, I wouldn’t have been able to plan this far ahead.”
“Cough cough…” Qin Ye furrowed his brows. He was coughing up so much blood that it completely dyed his clothes a gruesome crimson colour. Yet, he had no intention of stopping right now. The fact that he was able to overcome Honda Tadakatsu, the strongest warrior in Nippon, was a battle accolade that he took great pride in.
“Your earlier flurry of attacks were incredibly powerful, but I quickly realized that you didn’t resort to a single hint of Yin energy for those attacks of yours. Instead, the only thing you relied upon was your pure martial prowess. This made me certain of one thing - that you’re a human being. At that moment, I was only able to ask the Mirror of Eminence - ‘What else can we possibly do right now?’ Fortunately, it understood the intentions beneath these words of mine. And the moment you caught the mirror was the moment your fate was sealed… cough cough…”
“Heh…” Honda Tadakatsu looked up at the vast canopy of the night sky. His second chance at life had been ephemeral, like the first dew of the morning. He didn’t even get the opportunity to savour the delights of life once more.
But this opponent… this opponent!
He’s igniting a burning passion within my heart once more!
“And thus, it mustered all of its strength to blind me with a great flash of light.” Honda Tadakatsu murmured, “And in that very instant that an opportunity presented itself, you seized it and defeated me. You didn’t even deign to avoid my attacks, and you charged straight into my Dragon Exodus Thrust… Had you been a mere mortal, you would have perished to my attacks by now.”
“Instead, you attacked me with your spirit streamer with the sole intention of distracting me while the Mirror of Eminence breaches my armor and seizes the Book of Life and Death from me. In fact, you were willing to place yourself in harm’s way and sustain grievous injuries in order to obtain it. And then, finally… you erased my name from the Book of Life and Death.”
Qin Ye nodded with a faint smile on his face.
“This is the advantage of information, a triumph of intelligence. If we look solely at martial prowess, not even ten of me could defeat a single one of you. But, unfortunately, Honda-kun…” Qin Ye took a step forward, “We no longer belong to the era where a valiant warrior can conquer the world on the back of his unadulterated martial prowess.”
“It’s your loss.”
Honda Tadakatsu’s entire body had completely turned to ash, and his head was the only thing that hadn’t disintegrated yet. Just then, he abruptly spoke up once more, “Tell me your name.”
“Qin Ye. Remember this name well.” Qin Ye wiped off the blood on his hands and as he panted heavily, “I’m going to be the next King Yanluo of Hell. Dying by my hands is by no means a disgrace to you.”
“I’ve never been one to fight head-on with a legendary warrior like you. Remember this lesson well, Honda-kun.”
Honda Tadakatsu smiled.
“Very well.” His head slowly disintegrated into the surroundings as his final words reverberated in the surroundings, “If you take Nippon one day, I’ll be willing to pledge my allegiance to you as my lord.”
“A man like you was not born for war. But a warlord like myself can rest assured having someone like you to watch my back.”
Qin Ye’s face instantly turned ashen, revealing such a contrived expression that one would have thought he had just eaten shit.
As soon as Honda Tadakatsu completely disintegrated and faded away, Qin Ye immediately picked up Ming Shiyin and began to slap it! Smack, smack, smack! Mirror! Face the music!
“What the hell are you slapping me for?! I’m still awake, you stupid idiot!” A single line of words were promptly scrawled across the surface of the mirror - it was enraged.
“What’s going on?” Qin Ye’s voice was drafty, “W-what did he mean by that last statement he made? He’s not dead yet? Should his soul have scattered to the surroundings and returned to the earth by now? What’s he doing pledging his allegiance to me?!”
Ming Shiyin responded with great indignation, “This is the effect of the Book of Life and Death’s reversal of Yin and Yang. He’s a human being, so he would naturally return to the Nipponese underworld upon death. Heh heh… looks like your pride has become your stumbling block this time. You’ve even inadvertently disclosed to him the fact that you’re the future King Yanluo of Hell? Do you know how much I wanted to sew your flapping mouth shut when I heard you make that very statement of yours?!”
Qin Ye instantly collapsed onto what remained of the ship deck and stared vacantly at the skies with great despair, “Dear heavens… how did it come to this…”
You’re telling me that the petrification and disintegration of your body earlier wasn’t the result of the dissipation of your soul?
You’re telling me that you’re still alive and well in the Nipponese underworld?
I apologize for my earlier insipid behaviour… I promise I won’t come looking for you until I’m fully prepared for it. We’ll stay out of each other’s way until then, alright?
“Stop sighing in despair!” Another line of words appeared on the surface of the mirror, “Arti is only a hundred nautical miles away from us now! Hurry up and tie up the loose ends over here! Izanami’s probably astonished by the display of authority I’ve unleashed earlier, and she won’t come here because she probably thinks that Justice Bao has personally shown up. But if we drag things out any longer, she’ll definitely sense that something is amiss. She’s an Incarnate Revenant after all. If she makes a move, everything that we’ve managed to achieve will be for naught. We might even perish right here and now!”
Qin Ye gasped and straightened his body as he gazed into the distance.
He could see that the battle between Oda Nobunaga and Azai Nagamasa had already reached a white hot state. That said, he could tell that the Umamawari horse guards were beginning to gain an advantage over Izanami’s personal forces.
He’s worthy of his title as the infamous Demon King of the Sixth Heaven after all. To think that he’s able to gain the upper hand despite the numerical disadvantage of hundreds and quite possibly a thousand or more.
Victory will be determined in less than an hour… Qin Ye heaved a sigh of relief in his human form as he squinted to watch the majestic battle taking place across the vast seas.
It’s finally over…
This was the culmination of several months’ of planning, starting with the inception of his thesis paper, all the way to his expedition to Eastsea.
The moment when Azai Nagamasa was felled was the moment when everything would be over.
He had managed to inaugurate his golden trade route of Southsea Huanghuali. There were several billions worth of supplies waiting for him back in a warehouse in Eastsea. He had also made a name for himself through the cultivation world with the publication of his thesis paper. All he needed to do to close the loop on this chapter was to return to Eastsea to participate in the academic exchange which awaited them.
Furthermore, he had even managed to snag the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl, Oda Nobunaga’s soul, and most importantly… the Book of Life and Death!
This would be Hell’s first completely primordial treasure!
He fervently suppressed the swelling emotions within his heart as he looked at the ancient book in his hands. It was a peculiar feeling - almost as though he had the world within his grasp.
It was as though… he possessed the power to alter the fate of every single person in Cathay with a single thought.
Naturally, it would constitute an abuse of his powers if he amended the fate of mortals arbitrarily. But… the Book of Life and Death still gave them an insight into the notable person within Cathay who would be dying soon, and when exactly they would be passing on. Such knowledge would give them an insight as to when foreign darkfeathers would be making their move in Cathay, and Hell can be well prepared to seize and secure these souls!
After all, underworlds moved only for talents.
“Sir!” Just then, four figures supported each other as they hobbled up to the deck of the ship.
Qin Ye had made a beeline to the deck of the ship as soon as he undid the seal on the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl, while Jingo, Dojin, Master Kamo and Iwasaki Kyouya had remained at the cargo hold to rest and recuperate.
The first thing they noticed upon arriving at the deck of the ship was the sheer destruction that left terrifying scars and marks across the entire deck. Everyone gasped immediately, and Master Kamo’s lips quivered uncontrollably, “Are you alright? This… what the hell happened to this place?”
“It was Honda Tadakatsu.” Qin Ye’s pride meant that he would never hide his achievements. Yet, his voice remained placid, “It was a bloody battle, but I managed to eke out a lucky win.”
It was an abrupt yet absolute silence.
Every single one of them, be it Dojin, Jingo, Master Kamo or even Iwasaki Kyouya, turned to look at Qin Ye with great astonishment.
“Honda Tadakatsu?” Iwasaki Kyouya gasped, “Is this… the very same Honda Tadakatsu that I’m thinking of?”
“Unless there’s a second Honda Heihachiro in Nippon, then we’re talking about the same person.” Qin Ye’s voice was cold and aloof.
“My god…” Master Kamo stared at Qin Ye as though he had just seen a ghost, “They’ve even mobilized Honda Heihachiro?! And… y-y-you… how in the world did you manage to defeat him?!”
Honda Tadakatsu was a legendary existence in the hearts of all Nipponese, one who was reputed to be an unparalleled warrior in battle. His existence was akin to that of Lu Bu or Xiang Yu in the hearts of the Cathayans. 
Imagine if an extraterritorial emissary stood in front of you, telling you that they’ve defeated Lu Bu or Xiang Yu in battle.
They should obviously be celebrating their victory and their safety right now, and yet… somehow… for some strange reason… their hearts began to feel slightly sour…
“Now’s not the time to be discussing these things.” Qin Ye restrained the smile on his face and continued with a grim expression, “Immediately mobilize the Tengu army and the battle monks to help Oda Nobunaga take down Azai Nagamasa and his forces! We can only deter the approach of Izanami for a little while longer. Meanwhile, reinforcements will soon be arriving - a Judge-class emissary is already on her way here!”
He shut his eyes and sighed wistfully, “Let’s… finally close this chapter.”
Let’s finally end the nightmarish auction of blood and terror, right here, right now…
“Yes.” “Understood.” Their attitudes towards Qin Ye was completely different from before. If one were to say that the respect extended to Qin Ye earlier stemmed from his identity as an Emissary of Hell, then right now, this respect flowed much more naturally as a result of their heartfelt admiration for him.
Here was a man who had defeated Honda Tadakatsu in battle and lived to tell the tale! What an achievement! The Cathayan underworld is far too terrifying!
How was it possible that an unknown Emissary of Hell could defeat one of Nippon’s strongest warriors?!
Ooooo… With the long blare of a horn, the Tengu army and battle monks that had previously been resting and recuperating once again appeared, and they began to charge straight towards the fray where they would clash directly against Azai Nagamasa’s forces. With their arrival, Izanami’s personal forces found their movements increasingly suppressed and formations and tactics stifled. Within moments, Oda Nobunaga’s black guards and red guards secured their advantage in battle and began to cull down their opponents!
Qin Ye didn’t bother watching the battle any longer.
The entire area encompassing several kilometers in radius from the Strait of Tsushima was pitch-black in colour.
This was the colour of Yin energy.
There were far too many Yin spirits and far too much Yin energy around these parts right now, ranging from the Yin spirits of the innocent who had perished from the ‘ghost ship’ incidents, to the Yin soldiers that had been completely consumed by the shockwave from Justice Bao’s display of authority, to the dissipation of souls arising out of the bloody battleground over the waters right now. The Yin energy had tainted these waters so greatly that it couldn’t be considered a realm for the living, at least for the next decade or so.
Regardless, there was still one thing left for Qin Ye to do.
He returned to the cargo hold, where it was completely shrouded in silence. All of the tycoons were still holed up in the security of their own rooms right now. He walked straight to the deepest chamber which remained accessible only to Guardian Auctions, and then he knocked on the door. Two voices instantly called back with great vigilance, “Who’s that?!”
It was Grandmaster Chu and Bai Yishan.
Qin Ye didn’t bother to respond. He simply turned the knob, and the door opened for him, only to see two frightened faces staring right back at him, as well as two magic tools beside them that were primed to fire at the moment’s notice. As soon as they noticed Qin Ye’s appearance, they immediately relaxed their tense disposition.
“The matter has come to some form of closure. You can count yourselves lucky.” Qin Ye was covered in blood, but he sank back into a sofa calmly, pulled out an object, and placed it on the table, “Gather all of the tycoons in the auction hall and announce to them the end of this incident. And then, I want you to light this.”
“The Incense of Paramnesia…” Grandmaster Chu gulped nervously, “But sir… this… doesn’t accord well with the rules of the auction…”
But Qin Ye leaned in closely and stared ferociously at him before he could even finish speaking, “If it hadn’t been for your insolence, we wouldn’t have had to go through such a painful, anguishing experience in the first place!”
“Mark my words, your afterlife is going to be hell… But for now, I dictate the rules around this place!”
“Do as I say. Otherwise, I’ll send you on your way to the afterlife immediately!”