The Harken speaks our language?
Qin Ye’s first instinct was to mitigate the situation, “Don’t be angry, dear, it hurts your liver. We didn’t have a choice either…”
Compared to the last time they were here, it was evident that the wounds on the Harken’s body had recovered slightly. That said, it was still no more than a drop in the ocean.
“My lord.” Arthis bowed respectfully, “Former Judge of the Province of the Great Heavens, Arakshasa. Together with me is the third King Yanluo of Hell. We’ve come today to pay our respects to you.”
Qin Ye could clearly hear the sound of gnashing teeth. The Harken’s single open eye swept a nonchalant gaze at Arthis, before turning to him and sizing him up.
Strong… His entire body was instantly engulfed in a marrow-piercing chill that spread from his heart. Cold sweat poured out of his forehead and trickled down the sides of his cheeks. And the stronger his opponent was, the more he could sense the insurmountable chasm that separated them. He felt no different from a baby in front of the Harken right now.
He felt naked and bare.
After a protracted pause, the Harken finally spoke again, “Third King Yanluo of Hell…” And then, before Qin Ye could even respond, an all-consuming murderous intent suddenly surged from below like a rising tsunami that swept across the skies!
“Have you ever sought my permission?”
“Who in the world allowed a mere human being to call himself the third King Yanluo of Hell?!”
“Does he think that he possesses unparalleled cultivation like the second King Yanluo?! Haa… haa… haa…” The Harken spoke with such great force and authority that both Arthis and Qin Ye couldn’t help but be swept tens of meters back from where they were. The Harken continued, “Damn it… you’re an Infernal Judge… How dare you make a move against a divine beast of Hell! Such guilt can never be pardoned… And I shall never… ever recognize that measly speck of human trash as the third King Yanluo of Hell!”
“You just wait… As soon as I rouse from my deep slumber proper… I’ll let you know the consequences of founding your own kingdom… The Eighteen Abysses of Punishment is insufficient for your transgressions… I’ll personally see to it that you’re afflicted with a sky lantern punishment and banished to the boundless sea of souls, where you’ll light the way for the ferryman for the rest of all eternity…”
“Lord Harken, please watch your words.” Arthis’ voice grew cold, “The office of King Yanluo has never been one subject to the appointment of any higher authority. Not even Lord Ksitigarbha would dare repeat the words you’ve just spoken…”
Krrr… The Harken dug its claws deep into the ground, leaving several deep grooves in its wake. Its voice was trembling with intense rage, “I’m not going to sit still and listen to all this bullshit…”
“Immediately decouple the new Hell from me right now! Otherwise…”
“Otherwise what?” Arthis bowed gently, “The Book of Life and Death is already in our hands. You won’t be able to touch a hair on our body before you recover fully. Besides, Lord Harken, you’d do well to note that we’ve not linked Hell to you for our own personal gain…”
Arthis desperately sought to make eye contact with Qin Ye, while Qin Ye stubbornly refused. Realizing that her efforts were in vain, she gnashed her teeth and yelled telepathically to Qin Ye, “Stop dallying about! The Harken isn’t someone who completely disregards stature and hierarchy! Even if my cultivation is stronger than yours, I’m still lower than you in stature! After all, until you’re able to confer a title on me and officially instate me as an Emissary of the new Hell, I’m no different from a homeless Yin spirit! Lord Harken wouldn’t even deign to bat an eyelid at me!”
“But you’re different! Regardless of what has been said, you’re still the future King Yanluo of Hell! It has to speak with you as an equal! To do otherwise would be to besmirch its own name and reputation as a divine beast of Hell!”
BUT I DON’T WANT TO!
Qin Ye shook his head fervently - Who the hell wants to talk to a monster like that?! How could a conversation like that ever possibly be a pleasant one?! Seriously, it would’ve been a far better idea to have headed home to check on that stew of mine…
But before he could even say anything, a tide of hair suddenly wrapped around his body and dragged him to a location that was right between Arthis and the Harken.
The situation was somewhat awkward.
Then, several seconds later, Qin Ye waved his hand feebly at the Harken, and a drop of sweat trickled down the side of his cheeks, “Hi. My… my…”
“Just say it!!!” Arthis bellowed telepathically at Qin Ye, “Think about what’s riding on this! Think about the sacrifice we’ve made so far! Speak to it in your capacity as King Yanluo of the new Hell! And stop trembling for heaven’s sake!”
Qin Ye gulped nervously, “My… mynameisqinye…”
The atmosphere went from awkward to embarrassing in an instant.
Arthis looked up to the heavens in despair, while Qin Ye drew heavy breaths as he scrambled to lay his hand on the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal once again. Just then, there was a loud sound, and his heart suddenly sank.
The sound was a familiar one.
Too familiar. It was none other than the sound of the Harken’s reverse scale.
The last time he heard this sound was also the time when Arthis nearly lost her life. And now, as far as he could see, the Harken had all of his scales upturned, primed and ready to fire!
“Huu… Haa….” It breathed heavily, and then burst into an uproarious laughter, “King Yanluo… HAHAHA! KING YANLUO!!”
It coughed violently, and golden blood began to seep out of its gaping wounds once more. Nevertheless, there was only a contemptuous sneer on its face right now, “You do not deserve that title at all.”
As soon as it said that, Arthis screamed at the top of her voice and took on her true form in an instant. The massive head of a woman hung suspended in the sky with thousands of strands of hair dancing about wildly like venomous snakes. Tens of thousands spots of netherflames drifted about both her and Qin Ye, shielding them and protecting them within.
“What do you count for? A living human being who has consumed the fungus of Aeons dares to covet the position of King Yanluo of Hell?!” The Harken licked its lips as its body continued to heave in tandem to its ragged breaths. It was evident that it was mustering all of its might for the purposes of a single attack, “King Yanluo… is the being that reigns supreme among tens of billions of Yin spirits. He is the hero among ghosts. How could you, a measly human being, so terrified by my presence, possibly fill those great shoes of the King Yanluos that have stood before you?!”
The flattering smile on Qin Ye’s face suddenly subsided, and he simply stared intently at the Harken.
“What’s the matter? Dissatisfied? Bitter?” The Harken opened its mouth wide and laughed uproariously. The scales on its back continued to stand menacingly as it continued to berate him with great contempt and condescension, “The first King Yanluo was brilliant and wise. The second King Yanluo was unparalleled in his cultivation. And what are you?!”
“You’re a nobody! You’re just a mere human being that has stumbled upon the opportunity to take the throne by an incredible stroke of luck, so how dare you talk terms and conditions with me?!”
BOOM!! This time, the Harken spoke with all of its might, and the Yin energy around him erupted in an instant, transforming their surroundings into a swirling storm of Yin energy, interspersed only by endless netherflames that flickered dangerously.
These were the Harken’s true thoughts.
It had never intended on recognizing Qin Ye at all.
On what basis?! On what grounds?!
Even if Hell has collapsed, there are still the twelve envoys to choose from, or perhaps even some fortunate Emissary of Hell that has managed to elude the great calamity. So on what basis should a living person be made the next King Yanluo of Hell?! Did he think he was as unparalleled as the second King Yanluo?!
Furthermore… how dare this puny ant-like existence team up with a trifling little Infernal Judge to take advantage of my injuries and seize my Yin energy?!
If Qin Ye had been an unparalleled existence like the second King Yanluo of Hell, then he wouldn’t have had much to say.
But the meddlesome man was as insignificant as a speck of dust in its eyes. Thus, it refused to even acknowledge his existence!
Hell had a legacy spanning more than three thousand long years, so why in the world would a mere human being be ascending the throne of Hell to the exclusion of all others?!
“Ahh…” Qin Ye rubbed his nose and coughed dryly, “About that… well… if you’re not happy about it, then why don’t I simply… resign?”
“Hahaha… trash… you’re truly a piece of trash through and through!” The Harken roared, “No guts, no guts, and absolutely no guts! Do you think that the office of King Yanluo is something you can simply ascend to and descend from at your whims and fancies?!”
It wasn’t even looking at Qin Ye any longer. Instead, it turned to Arthis and continued, “Cough… haa--... The so-called third King Yanluo of Hell, huh? Cough cough… I’ll do you a favour and give you a way out - decouple the new Hell from my existence, and I’ll spare your lives…”
“That threat of yours is meaningless.” Qin Ye sighed, “Even I can tell that you’re simply posturing right now. The move that you’re preparing now… By my estimate, you’ve got at best a 50% chance of preventing us from leaving. I mean, just how much could you possibly have recovered in a year’s time? You weren’t able to kill me the last time, so with all due respect, I’m afraid you still won’t be able to kill me this time.”
The Harken smiled.
It had the appearance of a beast, so it wasn’t apparent that it was smiling. Nevertheless, Qin Ye’s intuition told him that the Harken was smiling.
A split second later, an upturned scale shot out like lightning.
It couldn’t be seen.
It was so fast that Qin Ye couldn’t even react instinctively to the imminent danger that had arisen. Instead, he simply felt a violent wind rush past him, followed quickly by Arthis’ shrill shriek from right behind him. Everything happened in just the blink of an eye.
“The hell…” Qin Ye drew a deep breath and turned around with incredulity, only to see that Arthis had weaved her hair together in an instant, forming an impenetrable barrier to block the blazing attack of the inverse scale that had shot out from the Harken’s back. However, the scale was still gleaming brightly with a golden hue, forcing Arthis back some distance away.
“Cough cough cough…” The Harken’s wounds began to bleed with golden blood once more. Then, gritting its teeth, it painstakingly clambered to its feet. Its entire body was so large that even the simple act of getting up caused a massive nethergale to sweep violently about them, sending a sea of ash and dust scattering around chaotically.
“Not only are you gutless, you’ve even got poor eyesight.” It’s breaths were ragged, and its towering body undulated wildly as it slowly but surely plodded towards Qin Ye. On the other hand, Qin Ye remained rooted to the ground, looking intently at the Harken as it slowly grew larger and larger in the reflection of his pupils.
Dong… There was a muffled sound, and the Harken’s towering body that was hundreds of meters tall stopped right in front of Qin Ye. A pair of golden eyes stared emotionlessly at him. Tension filled the air, so much so that everything appeared to freeze at that very instant.
“Break the connection, and then scram.” Its voice was filled with indifference, “Be good and relish that throne of yours while it lasts. Then, a few hundred years later, when I’ve recovered from my injuries, I’ll smash your ridiculous government once and for all, and allow those who deserve it more than you take your place instead. As for you…”
It cast another fleeting glance at Qin Ye, “Considering the fact that you’ve got some merit to your name as well, I’ll give you a county to play king on your own. That way, you can stay out of the upper echelons of Hell and cease to be an eyesore for the rest of eternity.”
Qin Ye smiled.
Not to the Harken, but to the realms of the new Hell that hung overhead. And then, he shut his eyes.
He was King Yanluo.
The future King Yanluo of Hell.
No matter how unwilling he had been about it, he had still taken the throne at the end of the day. It had been incredibly troublesome and burdensome, but he had managed to see Hell through some of the toughest times of its formative years.
So why should he listen to the accusations of someone who hadn’t even invested the slightest bit in the new Hell?
The Harken had crossed the line, and Qin Ye simply couldn’t hold back any longer.
As though she sensed something amiss, Arthis promptly called out, “Qin--...”
“Shut it!” Qin Ye snapped back, and then locked eyes directly with the Harken, causing it to be slightly taken aback. Qin Ye quipped, “Playing king?”
Without missing a beat, he continued, “Then, what does that make you?”
“You’re a divine beast of Hell. Right now, the mortal realm is in chaos, and the three daolords are scourging the earth. The twelve envoys harbour ill intentions against the new Hell. We’re desperately trying to establish a footing for ourselves, while you… not only are you shirking your responsibilities as one of highest powers of the old Hell, you’re even attempting to obstruct the new Hell in every way you can!”
The Harken was stunned.
It had never expected a mere human being that it could easily squash with a single finger to castigate it with such a tone of voice.
“You’re courting death!!” Copious amounts of Yin energy erupted right in front of Qin Ye’s eyes, so much so that its entire figure became blurry and hazy amidst the roiling black fog.
“You’re no King Yanluo… Nobody is going to recognize a coward like you! Do you really think I dare not kill you, right here, right now?!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter