Qin Ye wasn’t aware of the plans that Li Jixi had made. At this very moment, he was simply walking through the still, desolate streets of the city.
He masterfully avoided all of the nearby patrols. Furthermore, it didn’t matter if his image was captured by the surveillance devices in the region. After all, he could justify his presence as an attempt to understand the situation a little bit better. As far as the mortal realm was concerned, he was a Soul Hunter, and he was fully entitled to do so.
That said, his eyes had already become bicoloured in both black and white, and all of the Yin spirits around him were visible to his eyes. Wherever he went, they would all scream and retreat. None dared to approach him at all.
“They’re too weak for my purposes…” He shook his head. The Yoke of Five Ghosts should never be used on regular wandering spirits. It minimally required the subject ghosts to bear some measure of grievances. That was the only way to ensure that the spirits remained with him for a long time.
After some measure of deliberation, he changed his target, and began to make his way towards the funeral home.
Like Moses parting the red sea, the Yin spirits around cleared a path for him wherever he went until he finally arrived at his destination.
The funeral parlor had long been abandoned. Given the circumstances, not a single soul would dare to be around these parts, even in the day. Everyone would much rather send the bodies straight to the crematorium instead. That said, this was still one of the few places with the highest concentration of Yin spirits.
And for that reason, it didn’t take long for Qin Ye to spot his very first target.
It was a lady.
Rather, a female ghost.
She wore a black dress and red high heels, while her body was stained with blood. Her hair was scattered about and somewhat disheveled, and she appeared to be dancing merrily on the ground in the middle of the funeral parlor. The surrounding leaves rustled in the absence of wind, swirling about eerily on the ground in circles.
A dance of solitude under the moonlit sky. The image would have been somewhat romantic if not for the fact that the female ghost’s neck was also twisted a full 180 degrees.
Apart from that female ghost, all other Yin spirits had already retreated in fear. “Ahem.” Qin Ye coughed, and the female ghost turned around in great astonishment. One moment later, she immediately knelt down and bowed to Qin Ye, “M-m-m-my apologies sir… you are…”
An innate yet inexplicable sense of fear welled up in her heart, and her instincts told her that Qin Ye was vastly different from other cultivators.
He was obviously a living person, but she didn’t feel the slightest bit of desire for his flesh and blood. Instead, she was simply stricken with such overwhelming fear that she couldn’t help but bow down in worship of him.
It was a primal response.
“Have you heard of the phrase - ‘By Hell’s Dictum, all rabble shall disperse’?” Qin Ye asked.
The female ghost shuddered all over. The fact that she possessed spiritual awareness meant that it wouldn’t be long before she evolved into a vengeful apparition. Naturally, she would also possess her memory of her previous life. Hell… She couldn’t help but shudder at the mention of this word.
“My lord, are you an Emissary of Hell?” The female ghost’s voice was drifty, “C-c-couldn’t my lord p-p-please turn a blind eye to my existence here?”
“Come with me.” Qin Ye turned around, “Take me to four other Yin spirits that are similar to yourself. You’ve struck the lottery.”
The female ghost immediately caught up to him and followed obsequiously behind.
Soon, with the help of the female ghost, Qin Ye managed to gather a following of five different Yin spirits - an old woman, a middle-aged man, a woman in a dress, a child, and a young man.
He searched for a spot that was a dead zone to the surveillance devices around. Then, he turned to the five Yin spirits behind him, “I’ll make you an offer.”
“I don’t care what kind of sins you might have committed in your past life. But from now on, you’ll submit to me and be at my disposal. Don’t resist the bindings of my technique, and I’ll guarantee you entry to Hell.”
As he spoke, a wave of pure, Hellguard-quality Yin energy gushed out of his body like a tsunami. The five Yin spirits gasped, and then nodded their heads obediently.
“Smart. This is probably the only opportunity you’re ever getting to enter Hell without first receiving any form of punishment whatsoever.” Qin Ye smiled and began to make a series of hand seals. As he progressed, the Yin energy around him began to intensify. And then, he yelled, “HAA!” The surroundings trembled…
And then, it failed.
He glanced at the unchanged Yin spirits, and then looked at his own hands in dismay. A blood red runic symbol had already appeared on his hand, and countless wisps of Yin energy were already pouring out from his fingertips and swirling in a faint vortex. So… why did I fail?
Did I make the wrong seal?
“My lord… is this… the Impure World Reincarnation Technique?!” The youth asked with great excitement.
Impure your ass! Do you think I’m Orochimaru?
Qin Ye nearly leapt to his feet and gave him a slap across the face. The most appropriate thing to do when your superior makes a fool of himself is to keep your damn trap shut! How dare you step forward and plunge another knife into my heart like that!
He continued to fail over the next several attempts, and the five Yin spirits even began to yawn arrogantly in boredom. Finally, on his eighth attempt, with yet another despondent cry on Qin Ye’s part, the surroundings suddenly shook, and a little little spot of soulfire on the Yin spirits’ foreheads flickered. Then, before they could even cry out in alarm, the surrounding Yin energy suddenly surged like a tidal wave, engulfing them all in the blink of an eye.
Whoosh… The Yin energy congealed into five black cocoons, almost as though they were five swirling storms that scattered the leaves and dust around them. Three minutes later, everything quaked violently, and the five vortexes silently crumbled, leaving five Yin spirits dressed in ancient Cathayan military uniforms. They stood at the very same place, rooted to the ground with abject shock.
“This is…” The lady looked at her own clothes with astonishment. She was dressed in a dark blue robe and wearing an ancient constable’s hat. An identity token with the word “Trainee” etched on it hung from a black belt tied around her waist. There was even a long chain with a hook at the end hanging from her waist.
“Are we… Emissaries of Hell?” The middle-aged man was similarly startled. Emissary of Hell?! That’s the stuff that we only see in movies and television! It’s a bona fide civil servant of hell! We’re no longer homeless, drifting spirits like we used to be! We can even help rid the mortal realm of evil!
“Not yet.” Qin Ye glanced at his own fingertips with great interest. The lower body of the five Yin spirits were still formed by Yin energy, and a wisp of energy linked each of their bodies to Qin Ye’s fingers like five long threads.
“You no longer have to linger about in the mortal realm now. That said, complete this mission, and you may well earn yourself the chance at a promotion to a fully-fledged Emissary of Hell.”
As soon as he finished speaking, he closed his eyes and began to sense the effects of the technique.
It was peculiar, almost as though five new perspectives had opened up in his mind, and he could view the world through each of their eyes. Everything that went on in their minds was also transmitted directly to him. It was a technique that was far better than the useless Five Wealth-Generating Ghosts.
That said, he wasn’t able to decipher all of their thoughts. For instance, he could clearly feel that all but the old woman were brimming with gratitude, while the old woman was still somewhat indifferent.
So, I’m only transmitted the general emotion in their heart, and I won’t be able to know any more than that, huh… Qin Ye nodded. It was still fairly decent. At the very least, this technique was akin to gaining five additional pairs of eyes.
“Listen up.” He opened his eyes and instructed, “From now on, you’ll spread out in all directions and remain within a five hundred meters radius around me. Report back as soon as you detect any Yin spirit stronger than a Soul Hunter!”
Then, after deliberating for several more moments, Qin Ye turned to the old lady and nodded his head, “I want you to tail the man living next door to me. Don’t make any rash movements. He’s a Hunter-class expert, so you won’t be able to conceal your existence from him. Keep a distance of more than two hundred meters from him, and report back as soon as you notice any suspicious movements.”
After disseminating his instructions, Qin Ye finally returned to the hotel.
When he passed by Li Jixi’s room, he casually swept a glance at it, and his eyes instantly grew cold.
He’s gone out…
He immediately turned to look at the card on his door handle. It wasn’t shifted. It was only then that he swiped his card and opened the door slightly - but only to a crack.
A barely visible dark thread lay inside the crack of the door, just above eye level. He ran his finger gently across it, and it snapped in an instant.
The card was simply a cover. The nigh invisible thread was the real trap over here.
If anyone entered his room, the thread would most certainly snap. Furthermore, the thread was exactly the same colour as the carpet in the room, making it impossible for the culprit to notice this. Besides, the intruder would never switch on the light in the room and attract the attention of others.
Is this just a coincidence? He glanced at the discarded card. But why now of all times? Is the dead of the night particularly attractive to some people?
However, he didn’t think too much more about these things, and he simply shut his eyes and rested for the night.
He slept straight through breakfast and woke up at only 11.00 a.m. After lunch, he met up with the rest of the students, and began to run through the reports of the local garrison.
Their objective this time was to clean up twelve hunting zones. It was a large number to get through, especially in light of the fact that they were involving relatively inexperienced students. To make matters worse, they had only one week. Therefore, time was clearly of the essence.
The officer standing at the front of the conference room had just finished his briefing on the first hunting zone, and was taking a break to drink some water. Li Jixi took the opportunity to rap on the table and address the students, “Students.”
Everyone looked up.
“I hope you’ve been taking notes.” Li Jixi continued, “You’ve all just embarked on your long journey of cultivation, and none of you can be considered strong right now. When it comes to hunting zones, the greatest advantage you can gather for yourself is to do your due diligence and prepare well.”
“The manner in which a Yin spirit manifests and acts is inextricably linked to the grievances of his past life. Chances are, you’ll find these spirits at places or objects that they were once most attached to in life. Inadequate preparation prior to your entry to hunting zones increases the risk factor dramatically.”
“But…” He glanced at the students around, and then revealed the huge twist in what he was saying, “I’m afraid that there will still be students who won’t take these lessons to heart regardless of how many times we repeat ourselves. Therefore…”
He smiled faintly, and then glanced at Qin Ye, “I’ve decided that tonight, each group shall only comprise a single person, and you will all enter a hunting zone at the same time. You will have your communication devices with you, and Instructor Qin and I will be right outside of the hunting zones. The twelve hunting zones that we’re dealing with are located in twelve neighbourhoods within an area no larger than five kilometers wide. We’ll arrive immediately as soon as we detect any one of you in danger.”
Qin Ye frowned slightly, “Professor Li, that’s not a good idea, is it? They’re all newbies, and most of them haven’t even reached the level of an Operative just yet. I’m afraid that they might find it difficult to protect themselves as soon as they encounter danger.”
“That’s why the academy has distributed talismans and magical artifacts to everyone just prior to our departure.” Li Jixi took a sip from his teacup and remained firm in his position, “With these artifacts in hand, they’ll be able to hold out for at least half an hour. Instructor Qin, you’re an outstanding talent who has managed to attain the level of Soul Hunter before you’re even twenty. You should know better than anyone here that it is only by personally experiencing these dangerous encounters that one can truly learn what they’re facing in the shadows.”
“Students, these aren’t enemies that you can see, touch or even kill conventionally.”
“Rather, they are unseen, untouchable ghastly creatures that appear on a whim and vanish without a trace.” His voice grew stern and somber, “If you don’t develop such awareness now, then it’s only a matter of time before you perish to these things. Do you have confidence in yourselves?”
“Yes!!” Ten students responded impassionately.
Qin Ye shook his head and stopped talking altogether.
The professor in charge had already called the shot, so what reason was there for him to say any more?
Unfortunately… do you young calves truly understand what these Yin spirits are?
They’re not just words in a book. They’re souls that harbour grievances and grudges, the byproduct of a human life lost unjustly. They… cannot be considered people anymore… Humans are no more than vessels, instruments, and sustenance to them.
“Very well.” Li Jixi swept a gaze past Qin Ye, before drawing a deep breath, “Dinner at 5.30 p.m. We gather right outside the D-72 hunting zone at 6.30 p.m. Then, we’ll commence our operations at 7.00 p.m. sharp. No matter how the situation goes, all are to return back to our rendezvous point at twelve midnight. Everyone… please take care.”
His gaze paused momentarily on Wang Chenghao, and he continued with a meaningful undertone to his voice, “I sincerely hope that I’ll still see each and every one of you standing right here before me tomorrow… and not at the morgue.”
1. This is a reference to Naruto. Orochimaru is a villain in the story, while Impure World Reincarnation is one of the strongest skill he used to bind the soul of the dead to a vessel. https://naruto.fandom.com/wiki/Summoning:_Impure_World_Reincarnation