“Hmm?” A headless samurai wielding his katana marched slowly along the middle of a wide street. His ribs protruded out of his chest like sprouting willow branches, while hundreds of blight vermin surrounded him on all sides.
The willow branches appeared to have a mind of their own. Whenever they drew close to a blight vermin, they would nimbly avoid the blight vermin’s carapace and plunge straight into their bodies through the mouths or soft joints. And then, the blight vermin’s body would promptly shrivel up before they could even cry out in misery. There were innumerable blight vermin corpses in the wake of the samurai’s path of travel, yet he had proceeded so stealthily and silently that the blight vermin not in direct line of sight of the samurai remained completely oblivious to his presence.
The headless samurai turned around, revealing Oda Nobunaga’s head which rested in his chest cavity. He gazed into the distance, “That’s not the direction that Murai-kun had gone. Then… the one causing a stir there must be none other than Qin-kun…”
“Such great commotion… Could he have encountered the same obstacles that I’m faced with?”
He looked on for several seconds more, before turning around and continuing on his unhurried trek to the end of the street, where a stoic temple sat silently. The temple was completely black in colour, and there was a statue of the Harken on the left, and a statue of the xiezhi unicorn on the right. Countless spots of netherflames hovered everywhere in its vicinity, while scarlet lanterns hanging from its eaves swayed gently with the wind. It appeared imposing and terrifying, no different from a haunted temple in the middle of the night.
The Yin energy about it was so thick that it was practically on the verge of materializing. One could even see howling phantasms that drifted up from the ground, before promptly fading away once more.
There wasn’t a single blight vermin in sight at the latter half of the street. Oda Nobunaga’s crimson cloak dragged along the ground until he finally arrived in front of the gate to the temple. Then, he chuckled with a hoarse voice, “Show yourself… I know you’ve been waiting for me for a long time now.”
“What’s the use of such pretension?” Oda Nobunaga cast aside his katana, and his blazing pupils instantly flickered wildly, “That avaricious stench of yours is repugnant and revulsive… Do you think you can evolve further by devouring me? Too bad…”
Just then, an earth-shattering roar interrupted his monologue, and the roof of the temple promptly exploded as though a giant had just stomped on its roof. A shockwave of Yin energy, dust and debris rushed forward from the temple and completely levelled the main gate to the temple. With a loud bang, a massive blight vermin the size of twenty meters appeared right in front of Oda Nobunaga, staring him down with a row of bloodshot eyes and fetid saliva dripping down the sides of its mandibles.
“Too bad…” Oda Nobunaga repeated himself. Then, a split second later, his entire body clattered violently, and every joint began to extend bizarrely as his entire body began to grow with intertwining willow branches. Seconds later, his entire being transformed into the appearance of a massive, thirty-meter giant scarecrow!
“Too bad for you… I was just thinking of the exact same thing…” The massive scarecrow licked its scarlet lips. Then, to the blight vermin’s great horror, thousands of willow branches suddenly erupted from the scarecrow and plunged straight towards it in an instant!
“Count it your honour that you can become one with the body of the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven!”
“Holy crap!!” Qin Ye cursed at the top of his voice - I’ve only poked you once! Do you have to react in such an exaggerated fashion?!
How terrifying was the sudden impact caused by the collision of thousands of blight vermin all at once? The ground quaked violently, and the structural pillars on the ground floor of the Pavilion of Transcendence cracked and snapped in an instant. Qin Ye instinctively transformed his spirit streamer into a giant umbrella and took shelter underneath it.
Crack… He hid beneath the eaves of the spirit streamer’s protection with great trepidation. And then, he suddenly heard the crisp sound of cracking coming from right beside him.
Just like a gun salute, the first crackle was soon followed by others in quick succession - Crack, crack, crack, crack… Then, before Qin Ye could even mentally prepare himself for what was to come, there was an earth-shattering snap, and the entire Pavilion of Transcendence collapsed altogether!
CRASH! From the outside, the building that was over a hundred meters tall suddenly lost one foot of its height, and the impact with the ground below instantly kicked up a massive shockwave that rippled outwards, scattering dust and debris everywhere.
The tremors felt no different from an earthquake of magnitude eight on the richter scale. Back on the second floor, Qin Ye fell sideways, and his head struck a pillar on the side with dull thud. Countless tables, chairs, vases and plants promptly slid along the slanted ground, striking the massive umbrella that was protecting him with a clatter of sounds.
The violent tremor was so intense that it caused Qin Ye to see stars. After some time, the shaking finally stopped, and Qin Ye rubbed his head with a grimace on his face as slowly opened his eyes.
The Pavilion of Transcendence was already tilting at a forty degree angle, and various instruments and implements of all shapes and sizes had slid across the floor and accumulated right at the bottom, including screens, desks, stationery, paper, and so on. Qin Ye gulped and cursed under his breath as he glanced at the entrance to the third floor that was now located directly over his head.
Bloody hell… How did this suddenly change from a simple ascension of thirty flights of stairs to a rock climbing game…
Eh, no, we’ve still got to consider the zombie apocalypse factor as well…
Unfortunately, Qin Ye didn’t have the luxury of time to wallow in his misery. He could hear the horrific gnawing sound emanating from the first floor like a miserable spring rain. Rustle… rustle… It was so passionate and persistent that it gave Qin Ye goosebumps. He drew a deep breath, transformed into a nethergale and began to look around.
“The blight vermin haven’t come upstairs… Is this because they can’t detect my exact location, and they can only sense the presence of my Yin energy signature?” His eyes quivered slightly as he shifted the office furniture that had piled up all around him, “So you can detect my presence in the Pavilion of Transcendence, but you can’t determine my exact location?”
“It would be great if that were the case. But, even then… I wonder how long the Pavilion of Transcendence can hold up, given the rate at which they’re gnawing at the foundation of the building?”
He swung the spirit streamer, and another bunch of furniture in front of him flew aside, revealing a noticeboard embedded in the wall in front of him that read - ‘Directory’. He immediately rushed over.
“There are a total of thirty storeys to the building. The twenty-eighth floor is the resource centre, the twenty-ninth floor is the archives, and the thirtieth floor is where the conference rooms are located.” He ran his finger across the directory as he committed everything to memory. Seconds later, he looked up once more with an abstruse gaze in his eyes, “Then… all that’s left is a timed race against these termites gnawing at the base of the building.”
With that, he completely transformed into a nethergale and began to rush straight up to the twenty-eight floor.
The mere tilting of a building could never properly obstruct the advances of an Anitya Hellguard. Ten floors… fifteen floors… twenty floors… Qin Ye managed to traverse twenty-seven floors in less than eight minutes’ time. And then, everything seemed to broaden and open up in front of him.
There was a ten-meter large door right in front of his eyes. Despite being tilted forty degrees to the side right now, Qin Ye could still see the traces of runic symbols all over the door. Yet everything paled in comparison to the imposing images of the two previous King Yanluos that had been etched on the surface of the door. It gave the landing to the twenty-eighth floor an air of sobriety. A half-meter lock shaped in the image of the Harken hung high in the center of the door.
Qin Ye took a step forward and touched the lock on the door. As soon as he did, the locking mechanism dropped with a loud clang.
Kkkkrrrrrrr… The massive stone doors opened up slowly, revealing a completely dark chamber within. Qin Ye took a deep breath, and was just about to charge in when he suddenly paused and doubled back to the front of the door. Then, he took a closer look at the lock itself.
It was an ancient padlock.
It was modeled after the Harken’s head, and there was a bar made out of a dark composite metal running through its ears. That said… the bar had clearly been pulled out of the locking mechanism itself.
Even though Qin Ye was keenly aware that he was racing against time right now, he couldn’t help but slow down for this. He ran his fingers lightly across the lock, and he gazed intently at the metal bar.
“This definitely wasn’t caused by the blight vermin.” He murmured softly to himself as he scanned the depths of the dark chambers ahead with great vigilance, “If it were the blight vermin, they would’ve consumed the entire door by now.”
“This is clearly the work of a sentient being… This lock had been primed to act like a warning sign to the sentient being. It was hung precariously such that a simple touch would cause the locking mechanism to fall with loud clang… so as to alert him that someone’s coming…”
Kkkrrrr…. Just then, the stone doors finally opened fully. The darkness within appeared to creep out with a soft nethergale, while the shadows within appeared to flicker about menacingly, as though something were looking right back at him.
Qin Ye narrowed his eyes.
He didn’t know whether it was a person or a ghost, or something else altogether that had entered this place before him. Furthermore… he didn’t know whether that entity was still around right now.
Whoosh… He stepped into the darkness, and the colours of his eyes inverted, allowing him to perceive his surroundings with absolute clarity, even in darkness. He glanced around, and everything appeared still and silent.
There were silver-coloured pouches everywhere!
The leaning Pavilion of Transcendence had caused rows of data cabinets that should have been leaning against the walls of the building to collapse to their sides. Furthermore, the cabinets had all opened up as a result of the violent tremors earlier, causing the pouches stored within to be strewn all over the place.
“These are the Qiankun Pouches?” Qin Ye’s heart burned with passion, yet his mind remained completely calm and considered. The room on the twenty-eighth floor was massive. It spanned the entire floor, and there were countless cabinets everywhere. Everything stored in this place was undoubtedly the most valuable of resources in Hell, and the order in the ostensibly chaotic manner it was stored naturally proved to be the best hiding place for these resources.
There were no clandestine strikes or foreign entities hiding in the shadows. The only sound that could be heard in the entire room was the soft creaking sound of the wooden floorboards as he walked slowly across the room. The stifling silence resembled that of a morgue, where even the slightest of breaths was deafening to those around. Yet for some strange reason, Qin Ye couldn’t shake off the feeling that… something was watching him in the darkness. It was a creepy sensation, almost as though his own shadow would rise from the ground in the very next moment.
Qin Ye was certain that the hidden entity had suppressed his breaths and completely masked his killing intent… so much so that it was completely undetectable. Qin Ye’s suspicions had been aroused entirely out of his keen sense of intuition.
And he was one who had never trusted intuition to begin with.
He silently walked towards the windows of the room where the large pile of cabinets had fallen towards. A mountain of Qiankun Pouches sat on the ground in the corner, right between the windows and where the mountain of cabinets had piled up.
He maintained his vigilance about him as he bent over and picked up a bag. But as soon as he touched the bag, he abruptly straightened his back once more and called out indifferently, “Come out. I’ve already discovered your presence.”
Qin Ye stood in silence for a moment, and then bent down again. This time, he actually picked up the Qiankun Pouch.
As soon as he touched it, he immediately sensed the Qiankun Pouch emanating a wisp of Yin energy that promptly suffused into his body and promptly probed about it. Then, the Qiankun Pouch appeared to twitch slightly as though it were alive, before growing still once more in the next moment.
“Interesting.” He smiled faintly, tossed the bag up, and then swung his spirit streamer right at it with full force.
“You…” A voice from the darkness reacted in great astonishment. Then, sensing that something was wrong, the hidden entity immediately shut his mouth again. Meanwhile, Qin Ye’s spirit streamer stopped one centimeter short of the Qiankun Pouch.
Qin Ye smiled.
A second later, Yin energy erupted from his body, and the talismans on his spirit streamer fell off, transforming into black and white arcs of energy that pelted towards the direction of the voice like torrential rain.
Tak, tak, tak! The talismans flew straight into the pile of wooden cabinets. Unfortunately, the wooden cabinets appeared to be made with an unknown material that was impervious to the attacks of mere Hellguards. Nevertheless, a cloud of Yin energy soon erupted from behind the pile of cabinets, and a shadowy figure promptly dashed out from behind and rushed straight back towards the entrance to the room.
“Trying to run?” Qin Ye sneered and waved his hand. Instantly, the talismans that had pelted into the mountain of cabinets immediately transformed into a long, black-and-white chain that rushed towards the escaping figure like a bolt of lightning.
The figure may be quick, but Qin Ye was quicker! With a loud clattering sound, the chain wrapped itself accurately around the shadowy figure’s waist. Then, Qin Ye tugged hard at the chain and promptly stopped the man’s approach, causing him to fly back towards him. In the next moment, Qin Ye held the spirit streamer tightly over his head and smashed it straight down onto the shadowy figure’s head.
Boom! A resounding bang reverberated through the corners of the room. The shadowy figure had managed to block Qin Ye’s powerful strike with a white bone fan. Unfortunately, it was evident that this opponent was no match for Qin Ye. With a muffled grunt, the shadowy figure flew back several meters, revealing his true form for the very first time.Previous Chapter Next Chapter