Chapter 283: Return to Hell (2)

“Monarch vermin?! One that has gained sentience?!” He bellowed back telepathically, “What realm are they in?! Do you know how badly you’ve screwed up this time?! You best believe it when I say I’ll quit if we can’t retrieve Hell’s legacy this time!!”

Arthis was fully aware that the oversight on her part had led to potentially cataclysmic consequences. That said, the appearances of blight vermins were part and parcel of the natural order pertaining to death and decay, just like how it was part of an ordinary course for the dead to be cremated. Furthermore, having been locked up in the depths of the Naraka abyss for hundreds of years, how could she be expected to have thought about such things?

Indeed, sometimes, it was the most ordinary and regular of things that were easiest to take for granted and overlook.

“According to the records of Hell, a monarch vermin would appear in every hundred thousand blight vermins. There was a time when Hell was surrounded and besieged by the joint coalition of several underworlds all at once. Western Hell fell, and hundreds of Infernal Judges perished in the line of duty, giving birth to the appearance of a monarch vermin. The presiding King Yanluo back then personally subjugated the monarch vermin and appointed him as the warden of one of the abysses of Hell… Based on past records, the monarch vermin should be no stronger than an Infernal Judge. After all, the blight vermin have only appeared no more than a year ago. Even if a monarch vermin has appeared, he can never be stronger than an Infernal Judge. In fact, he could even be as weak as a Soul Hunter!”

“So is there a monarch vermin or not?!”

“I’m just guessing…” Arthis sighed, “Blight vermins have already spread beyond Hell’s Gate. The prospects of the situation at Fengdu Necropolis aren't looking good at all. Our best bet right now is to seize and retrieve as much of Hell’s legacy as we can. My guess is that Fengdu Necropolis will be completely reduced to dust within a year’s time.”

“Bloody hell…” Qin Ye scratched his head in great exasperation. Then he drew a deep breath, “Then what are we waiting for?! Let’s pick up the pace!”

Boom! As soon as he finished speaking, Arthis’ hair instantly fluttered menacingly, and she began to chant a mysterious spell. Within moments, almost as though they had heard the summons of an imperial decree, the Yin energy and netherflames in the surroundings rushed over and converged at their feet, transforming into a long bridge made of netherflames that extended straight into the distant Fengdu Necropolis. Instantly, their speed was boosted so much that they dashed forward at speeds comparable to a maglev train, even leaving afterimages in their wake as they continued to dart forward at top speed.

They crossed the Naraka Bridge in no time, yet Qin Ye didn’t have the heart to look back and reminisce over the good old times. The bridge was densely packed with traces of blight vermin. Yet, everything seemed to pale in comparison with the astounding sight that greeted them in the horizon, where an ink-black pillar extended into the sky.

“What’s that?” Oda Nobunaga gasped in shock.

What do we do…

Qin Ye felt as though his heart was on fire. He was swamped with anxiety that was borne out of an innate sense of responsibility over Hell. He had wracked his brain for ways and acted on means to spur the growth in Hell, including writing a paper, leading the charge in the great battle at the Strait of Tsushima and even seized souls for Hell. Having invested so much, how could Qin Ye be willing to now give up on obtaining the legacy of the old Hell to further spur the growth of the new Hell?

“That’s Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s vajra body… It’s also a spirit molt. No… rather, you could call it a divine molt… Who would’ve thought that these blight vermin would even be able to invade Ksitigarbha’s body? This must be the natural order of death and decay that is spurred on by the unstoppable force of the heavenly dao.”

“The old Hell no longer exists because of Lord Ksitigarbha’s sudden ascension into paradise. His great vow has been fulfilled, and Hell has been emptied out. Innumerable Yin spirits now ran rampant throughout the mortal realm, and I’ve been appointed as the next lord and master over the new Hell.”

Such revelation should have been shocking news.

However, Oda Nobunaga was completely unfazed by it. Instead, he simply narrowed his eyes and nodded placidly.

He was a great general, and the sights he had witnessed earlier had already given him an inkling of the news that was to follow. If anything shocked him, it would be the fact that Qin Ye was the next lord and master over Hell.

“I’ve given you my word that I’d help you invade Nippon. This isn’t impossible. In fact, it wouldn’t be a tall order if we can obtain the legacy of the old Hell. Therefore…” He cupped his hands and bowed respectfully, “Lord Nobunaga, I humbly ask you to lend me your assistance. We’ll grab as much of Hell’s legacy as we can. Our safety is assured with the protection of the Book of Life and Death.”

Oda Nobunaga didn’t respond immediately. Instead, he turned to gaze deeply at the towering pillar, before finally muttering with a hoarse voice, “I can sense a terrifying aura from Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s body. I’m afraid that we would be crushed to dust as soon as we draw close to him.”

Fengdu Necropolis was already in sight, and they could tell that the vast city was covered in black spots. In particular, the darkness in the southeastern part of the necropolis appeared no different from a tide that splashed about from time to time, sending darkness spreading everywhere around it.

There was an endless number of blight vermin that was devouring the entire Fengdu Necropolis!

“No, it wouldn’t.” Arthis suddenly interjected, “It might have in the past, but it most certainly wouldn’t now. The blight vermin have already pervaded every bit of the divine molt, and their presence in fact prevents Ksitigarbha’s crushing aura from reaching us. We won’t be turned into dust as long as we act cautiously. Unfortunately…”

She stared at the southeastern part of the necropolis with great vexation, “If memory serves me well, that’s where the Fengdu Necropolis’ chamber of commerce is located. In other words, that’s where all of the most precious supplies of the old Hell are located. If not for the fact that the artifacts there can only be used by an underworld that is minimally a city, I would’ve retrieved them all by now…”

Her words cut deep into Qin Ye’s heart - These are priceless artifacts that have been accumulated through Hell for thousands of years on end… and yet, to think that they are all fated to perish and be consumed by such terrible things.

We’re getting closer… As they drew closer, they began to see that each and every house in Fengdu Necropolis was covered with blight vermin. That said, what surprised them was the fact that the blight vermin around the houses hardly appeared as dense as the blight vermin located back at the Yellow Springs Road. In fact, some of the streets within the necropolis were even empty.

Qin Ye thought for a moment, and then immediately understood that this was the result of the Ksitigarbha’s presence. In particular, the divine molt had drawn over 99% of the blight vermin in Fengdu Necropolis over to it, leaving them… with a sliver of hope!

“Arthis! Where are the most important places in Hell?! Hurry up!!” He practically barked at Arthis.

Arthis’ forehead was already percolating with cold sweat. She thought for the next three seconds, and then immediately responded, “The barracks! That’s where all of our research, intelligence, strategies and details of operations are located. There are even design plans and ideas for weapons of war located in the barracks!”

“Murai-kun!” As soon as she spoke, Oda Nobunaga immediately bellowed, “Go retrieve these immediately! And don’t you dare come back if you miss out on even a single article that can be salvaged!”

As a famous warlord, he could fully appreciate the importance of the items that can be salvaged in the barracks.

Furthermore, he knew that helping Qin Ye was the top priority of all his options right now.

“Yes!” Murai Sadakatsu drew a deep breath, and his entire body erupted with Yin energy, clothing him with a scarlet great armor instantly. His white hair scattered everywhere, and he donned a mask that appeared to bare its teeth. His eyes lit up with blazing netherflames, and he unsheathed his two-meter long blade, roaring with a great battle cry as he dashed towards his objectives.

There was no time for further discussion. Arthis’ hair instantly transformed into a massive hand that smacked Murai Sadakatsu, propelling him straight towards a tall building like a pellet shot from a slingshot. Arthis called out after him, “Hell has collapsed, and the previous restrictive arrays have all been disabled. Look out for all the Qiankun Pouches you find inside, and bring back every single one of them!! Do NOT leave anything behind!”

Qin Ye blinked vacantly, “Qiankun Pouches?”

“They’re also known as the Pouches of the Cosmos. It’s similar to the interspatial rings you read about in webnovels. You don’t actually think that we still use storage boxes in Hell like back in the mortal realm, do you?” Arthis sighed softly and pinched between her brows. Several seconds later, she sent Mori Ranmaru flying away, straight towards an expansive palace, “The Infernal Hall! That’s where the records of all darkfeathers, feudal officials, foreign garrisons, as well as spies are located! Bring it all back!”

Of these people… a good number of them should still be alive out there!

Although the old Hell has collapsed, and they are technically evil spirits without an identity right now, but… all we’d have to do is to register their names in Hell’s Records! Furthermore, we can be sure that these are none other than the best of the best among all Yin spirits!

This is a source of strength that we simply cannot afford to lose!

Having sent the two retainers on their tasks, Arthis then turned to Oda Nobunaga, “Nobunaga-san… there’s a place which you must personally go.”

She looked towards a place where a tide of blight vermin appeared to be swarming around, “The Mystic Hall… That’s where thousands of years of research on talismans, restraints and arrays are located. You may not understand how important these things are, so let me put it this way - they’re even more important than the contents of the barracks!”

“Understood…” Oda Nobunaga drew a deep breath, and his entire body erupted with Yin energy a split second later. His chest opened up with the cracking sounds of bones, and his ribs stretched out like willow branches, revealing a white skull within. Two spots of golden netherflames immediately flared up. With a great battle cry, copious amounts of Yin energy erupted from his body as he charged towards his destination as well.

Arthis and Qin Ye were the only two who remained right now. It was only then that Arthis turned to look at Qin Ye, “Looks like you’ll still have to attend to the most crucial place…”

Silence.

Seconds later, Qin Ye coughed dryly, “Why don’t… we recall Oda Nobunaga?”

Arthis stiffened up, “Pavilion of Transcendence. That’s where all of Hell’s secrets, research pertaining to the formation and development of Yin spirit, as well as experimental data and postulations are contained. That’s also where the sealed evil ghosts are located. You’ll even find records of how to deal with the strongest ghosts, including incarnate revenants and stronger existences. These are all classified documents that give Hell an edge over other underworlds. If outsiders even get a chance to look at it…”

“I understand, I understand. I’ll go, I’ll go…” Qin Ye massaged his temples as he sighed in resignation. Then, before he could say anything else, a massive hand formed out of hair smacked him from behind, sending him flying straight towards a tall building.

Arthis didn’t move from her spot. Instead, she simply hovered about in mid-air for some time, before sighing begrudgingly as she turned and gave a particular location an incisive glare.

It was a black-coloured lake.

It spanned an area ten meters wide, and there was an entire ring of buildings constructed around it in uniform fashion.

The Palace of Eternity!

It was the center of all governmental affairs! Furthermore, all international correspondence since the collapse of Hell would have been automatically directed to that location. This would include invitations from foreign lands to congress meetings, and world conferences. And that was because of a particularly important artifact that was located in this place.

It was a skeleton.

Legend has it that these were the bones of Goddess Mother Earth. Imbued with talismans of Hell, the skeleton sat in the depths of Hell, constantly absorbing the Yin energy around to perform its functions. Given that the three main divine artifacts and the other secondary divine artifacts of Hell have all been washed out of Hell to unknown localities, this was undoubtedly the only other precious artifact which remained in Hell right now.

Incidentally, it was where Yin energy appeared to be densest.

Just as Arthis looked over to the lake, two scarlet netherflames suddenly lit up from the depths of the lake and stared right back at her with an unyielding gaze.

“So, it’s true that there’s a monarch vermin after all…” Her body swayed lightly. Then, she traversed the distance of a thousand meters in a split second, “If I subjugate you... would I be able to control the tides of blight vermin around?”

………………………………………………..

Qin Ye was oblivious to all these things.

The Book of Life and Death wasn’t with him. Arthis still had it with her, and she had sent him flying away so suddenly that Qin Ye couldn’t help but spew out a string of curses under his breath.

“This is usurpation, isn’t it? It definitely is! You’re finally showing your true colours after hiding them for such a long time, aren’t you? I knew you were coveting the position of King Yanluo! I knew you were up to no good! Otherwise, why wouldn’t you give the Book of Life and Death to a weakling like me?!”

His body didn’t slow down one bit as he continued to curse and slander Arthis. Fortunately, he didn’t encounter many blight vermins as he flew through the air. It wasn’t that there were few blight vermins around these parts. Rather, it was simply because of the sheer size of Fengu Necropolis. It looked worse from up on high than it actually was down below.

Sss!! A sudden shriek startled him just as he rounded a corner. With a great hum of buzzing wings, dozens of dark figures suddenly came rushing towards him. Their lust and greed for food could even be heard through their otherwise unintelligible hisses and growls.

“You’re courting death!” Qin Ye snorted coldly and opened up his spirit streamer immediately. Boom, boom, boom… He felt his arms tremble slightly as the blight vermin crashed directly onto the surface of the spirit streamers and fell down below.

Whoosh… He closed up the spirit streamer once more, only to discover the true appearances of the blight vermin around.

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