Li Jixi was stunned.
At least, he appeared stunned.
“How is this possible?!” He stared aghast at the monitor, as though he were filled with astonishment, “That’s impossible… How could there be such an issue with the academy’s magical artifacts? This is a Hunter-class evil ghost! Student Wang won’t be able to last more than ten minutes!”
“Instructor Qin, what do we do now?”
Qin Ye’s mind instantly began to spin.
Wang Chenghao was his friend. Although he wasn’t as close to Wang Chenghao as he was with Lin Han, he nevertheless still considered Wang Chenghao a friend of his.
Friends were one of the things he cherished most in life, especially given his age. After all, he had seen the departure of a friend too many.
Furthermore, there was an added realm of complexity in this matter given how Li Jixi had placed the problem on his shoulders.
It seemed like a benign response to the situation, didn’t it?
But just put yourself in his shoes. When an emergency arises, and someone beside you asks how they ought to react to the situation, what would be the first thing that comes to mind?
Surely, one would almost instinctively disclose their proposed emergency response.
It was an almost primal response - one that arrived at the conclusion without passing through the usual logical thought processes.
Is he… suggesting that I should rescue Wang Chenghao?
But, given the distance, a mere Soul Hunter would never be able to arrive in time! Unless…
Without a shred of emotion on his face, Qin Ye looked up at Li Jixi, before calmly sitting down - Wang Chenghao… unfortunately, we’re not that close… at least, we’re not close enough for me to risk everything I have in order to preserve your life… But don’t worry, I give you my word that I’ll take good care of you after your death.
“Didn’t you earlier vow to take all responsibility for any problems that arise?” Qin Ye snorted coldly, “Why are you asking me about the situation now? What do you think I can do? How could a Soul Hunter possibly arrive in time to save him? Professor Li, you don’t take your students’ lives seriously, do you? Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to report all of this to the academy as soon as we’re back.”
With that, he grabbed the communicator on the table, “Instructor Qin to all students, an unforeseen circumstance has arisen…”
Unfortunately, Li Jixi switched off the intercoms before he could even finish speaking.
“What do you mean by this?” Qin Ye asked coldly.
“We’re not calling it off.” Li Jixi responded with an equal measure of frigidity in his voice, “Student Wang is the only one who has encountered a problematic situation thus far. The other hunting zones are still fine. Let them continue. We’ll make our way towards Student Wang in the meantime to retrieve his corpse.”
Li Jixi didn’t think that Qin Ye could be so cold-hearted.
Wang Chenghao was definitely related to Qin Ye. Although he hadn’t verified the extent of their relationship just yet, he still never expected Qin Ye to be so indifferent to Wang Chenghao’s death!
Wang Chenghao was technically still alive.
But… wasn’t it pretty much a foregone conclusion by now?
They were five kilometers apart from each other. Coupled with the fact that Li Jixi had tampered with the magical artifact issued to Wang Chenghao, there was simply no way he would be able to survive for longer than ten minutes. But since your heart is so hardened to the death of Wang Chenghao, let’s see if you care about the lives of the other students as well!
“You’re crazy!” Qin Ye felt a wave of anger surge from the bottom of his heart, and he shot to his feet, “You’re toying with the lives of others!”
“What is it that you’re looking for?” He stared Li Jixi dead in the eye, “What exactly are you after?”
“Whatever it might be, you should never be toying with the lives of other human beings! You’re practically sending them to the slaughterhouse right now!”
Li Jixi finally began to laugh uproariously, “Instructor Qin, are you finally admitting to your knowledge that we’re coming onto you right now?”
“What are you so afraid of?”
“What are you concealing?”
“Or should I say that you’re… afraid we’ll finally discover what you’ve done back at the Strait of Tsushima?!”
Qin Ye was just about to swear right back at him when he suddenly noticed Li Jixi’s hands shifting about in his pocket.
Recording device… And probably one that transmits the message real time at that…
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” He barked back, sat down, and picked up his cup of tea.
Li Jixi was dumbfounded.
He never expected Qin Ye to be able to hold himself back in the face of such provocations.
But a split second later, just as he began to let down his guard, he suddenly noticed Qin Ye’s lips curling up right at the edge of the teacup.
Unfortunately, before he could even react, Qin Ye flicked a small drop of water at his fingertip straight into Li Jixi’s pocket.
Like a bullet, the drop of water ripped right through the pocket, and the wrecked recording device immediately fell out of his pocket.
That’s not something that a Soul Hunter can do…
It’s impossible for a Soul Hunter to breach my defenses so easily… So, this means that he’s…
An eighteen years-old Hellguard?!
Li Jixi’s battle-hardened reflexes immediately kicked in, and a silver chain as thick as his fingers shot straight towards Qin Ye’s throat with the quick flick of his hand. Just then, all of the lights in the vicinity suddenly fizzled in unison and went out at exactly the same time!
Clatter… As expected, Qin Ye grabbed the chain before it could strike his vitals. And then, his voice echoed out in the sudden darkness of the room, “So it seems like the Albatross did send you…”
“Qin Ye!” Li Jixi was screaming at the top of his voice, “Turn yourself in! You’re a human being! The Albatross won’t do anything to you! Everything will be fine if you just return to the headquarters with me for questioning!!”
“What is there to ask?” Qin Ye’s voice was cold and menacing, and even laden with a trace of laughter, “About the incident at the Strait of Tsushima?”
It’s him… IT’S HIM!!!
Li Jixi’s body trembled with excitement as he continued hoarsely, “I promise that no harm will come to you as long as you turn yourself in! All you need to do is to tell us the truth!”
Qin Ye snorted, “Then… who’s going to return Wang Chenghao’s life to us?”
“There are bound to be sacrifices under these circumstances!” Li Jixi roared loudly, and tried tugging hard at the chain in his hand. Unfortunately… the chain didn’t budge an inch.
“Even if it means I have to sacrifice my own life! Do you know how important such information would be to Cathay?!”
Qin Ye muttered indifferently, “Then, are you aware of the fact that you should never tempt humanity?”
“Don’t make me all of these empty promises… I’m fully aware that an anomaly like me would only end up being dissected as soon as I enter the SRC. You don’t have to deny it adamantly either… Humanity… is laden with far too many complexities. For instance… have you realized what I’m doing right now? Do you know why I’ve suddenly been so forthcoming with you?”
A bad premonition rose from the depths of Li Jixi’s heart, and he gasped deeply, “You…”
“I’ve already warned you earlier that a Hellguard-class Yin spirit has finally entered the area. It’s none other than an Assassin of the Underworld - an entity which would never trigger the alarm of the supernatural perimeter in the area. Do you believe me?”
Qin Ye’s voice was filled with satisfaction, “And now… he’s right behind you.”
“Now, be a good boy and die with these secrets. I’ll leave you to him, and I’ll gladly avenge your death later on…”
With that, Li Jixi felt the chain in his hands loosen limply, and he could tell that Qin Ye’s voice had already grown distant and far.
Clang… The chains fell to the ground with a crisp, clear sound. Li Jixi gritted his teeth. Just as he was about to pull back the chains, he suddenly heard a tapping sound.
Why was that sound so crystal clear?
He blinked his eyes vacantly. Then, a split second later, the hairs on his body began to stand on its ends!
It was a rainy night, filled with thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour outside. But for some strange reason, he couldn’t hear a single buzz of sound right now!
It was practically as quiet as the morgue.
Then, there was a sudden slamming sound. Bang! The doors and the windows around were suddenly flung right open, and the torrential rain poured right into the room! Just as he was about to raise his hand to shield himself from the pelting rainwater, he abruptly froze.
Footprints had begun to appear on the ground, made clear only by the dampness of the ground.
In fact, the series of footprints were preceded by a series of handprints, almost as though someone was crawling into the room on all fours!
But, for some strange reason, the entire room appeared as empty and desolate as it had ever been.
“You’re courting death!!” Li Jixi’s hair stood on end. He tightened his grip around the chains and was just about to lift his hand when he froze once more. Moments later, he stiffly lowered his head and looked down at his feet.
Something had just grabbed him by the legs of his trousers.
To be precise, he could see a pair of white hands wrapped tightly around his legs.
Turning back, he noticed that it was a five-or-so years old child dressed only in its undergarments that was tugging tightly at his chains with a vice-like grip.
The child’s entire body was pale, save for the countless spots of livor mortis that speckled its skin. The child’s hair was tied in dreadlocks, and its gaping wide eyes were completely devoid of colour, akin to an intense black hole!
“You… look tasty…” Black corpse fluid dribbled down the sides of the child’s mouth, and it cracked open its lips and stared greedily at Li Jixi, “Mummy… can I… eat him?”
“Shit!!” Li Jixi cursed aloud as he scrambled backwards. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to get far before his body struck something behind him.
It was cold.
It was a familiar feeling to him. It was a… corpse.
“Little baby, let’s do it together, alright?” A hoarse voice reverberated through the corners of the surveillance room, and Li Jixi promptly shut his eyes in despair.
“Once we finish devouring him… we’ll go for the other man that was here earlier…”
There really was a Hellguard-class spirit…
Crack! Two pale hands suddenly grabbed him by the throat. The deprivation of air quickly caused his eyes to go bloodshot. Then, with the remainder of his strength, he turned to look at the glass window.
He could see from its reflection a woman in a navy blue dress and red embroidered shoes standing right behind him. Her hands were nearly a meter long, and bore two or three joints to them, and they were currently wrapped tightly around his neck.
Damn… it… This was the last conscious notion in Li Jixi’s mind.
Hunting Zone D-69.
Wang Chenghao ran frantically upstairs. No matter what it was, he knew he couldn’t afford to remain behind in this terrifying stairwell.
Thus, he soon arrived right in front of the exit on the thirteenth floor. It was peculiar. The “EXIT” sign on the door was illuminated with a scarlet hue, almost as though the blood from Hell had tainted and tarnished it. He turned the doorknob desperately, but it just wouldn’t open for him no matter what he did!
“Damn it… DAMN IT!!!” The panting sounds from below were drawing closer and closer! It was now no further than a single floor from him. He twisted and kicked on the door, yet the door simply wouldn’t budge!
“Ahhh!!!” Moments later, he slumped back down onto the floor and ran his fingers desperately through his hair in abject despondence, “No… I don’t want to die… I don’t want to die!!”
Tap… Just then, a soft sound came from right around the corner, followed by the soft rustle of footsteps.
A pale hand emerged from the stairs and held tightly onto the railing.
The hand was pale. Abnormally pale. Deathly pale. It was covered with dark livor mortis spots, and the pale complexion was accentuated only by the grisly, black claws on its fingertips. Rustle… The hand rustled across the railing softly, yet it somehow felt incredibly menacing.
“No… NO!!” Wang Chenghao shot to his feet like a madman, and began to kick and beat at the door, but to no avail.
What do I do?!!
He didn’t want to die. Not one bit! But what could he possibly do to get out of this predicament of his?
“Why are you running from me…” A husky male voice called out from around the corner, “Won’t you… stay a while with me?”
“Everyone runs… Everyone! I’ve pleaded time and again for the cars to stop… but everyone ignored me!!!”
Wang Chenghao’s mind was on the verge of collapse. He didn’t dare to even look back. Open the door… open the door please!!! As long as I can open this door, I can risk everything and jump down from the top of the building! With some luck, I might still survive! But staying right here would mean certain death for me!
How can I open the door?
Just then, his eyes suddenly brightened, and he pulled out a talisman from his uniform in an instant.
This was a talisman that Qin Ye had given to him. It was for self-defenses purposes, and it was something that he had never thought would come in handy one day.
He wrapped the talisman around his hand, and desperately twisted the doorknob. A terrifying screech resounded from the door handle, and the unbudging door… suddenly opened.
It was pouring right outside. This was the thirteenth storey rooftop of the building. And yet, it looked no different from paradise to him right now.
“I’ve escaped… I’ve…” The expression of despair promptly turned into one of hope. But just as he was about to shout in joy and rush out into the pouring rain, he suddenly felt a chill around his neck.
A pale, mangled corpse was already leaning heavily on his back, and it whispered softly to his ears, “Why… are you running?”
And the corpse bit down with its sharp fangs the very next moment!Previous Chapter Next Chapter