Chapter 323: Grappling with Life and Death

AHHHHHH!!! SSSS!!! The miserable screams of the evil ghost rippled through the air, sending a visible shockwave of dirt and dust expanding outward from its epicenter of death, instantly repelling all of the raindrops that were pelting down.

Qin Ye gently supported Wang Chenghao and used his Yin energy to temporarily keep Wang Chenghao alive, “Did you see that? I’ve avenged you, so go in peace. Besides, you don’t have any next of kin in this world any longer.”

Wang Chenghao smiled faintly as he watched copious amounts of Yin energy erupt from the evil ghost’s body, and then contract violently once more, transforming into a swirling, unstable vortex that promptly dissipated, leaving only a spot of soulfire in its wake.

Qin Ye held Wang Chenghao’s bloody hand and placed the spirit streamer in his hands, “Come, I’ll let you deal the final blow.”

With that, he grabbed Wang Chenghao’s hand and swung the spirit streamer past the spot of soulfire that was lingering in mid-air. The flame flickered wildly and vanished, while a mournful scream reverberated through the still, dark night, before slowly but surely drifting further and further away. At the same time, the evil ghost’s body finally transformed into ash and quietly crumbled away.

The rooftop was silent once more. Wang Chenghao felt slightly better, but he knew that this was no more than a momentary reprieve.

“Ugly…” Seconds later, Wang Chenghao mustered every measure of energy in his body and quipped softly, “Brother Qin… you should turn back into a human being…”

Qin Ye promptly reverted back to his human form, and he continued holding Wang Chenghao in his hands. It was strange. He knew full well that he could simply end Wang Chenghao’s life right now, and it wouldn’t take long before they were reunited in the depths of Hell. That way, Wang Chenghao wouldn’t have to go through all this pain and suffering either. However, he simply couldn’t bring himself to do so.

Life was free. Nobody had the right to dictate in what manner another should live or die.

“Am… I… cough cough… about to… die?” Wang Chenghao sputtered blood as he spoke intermittently. It was an ugly, laughable sight, yet Qin Ye couldn’t bring himself to even smile at this moment.

Instead, Qin Ye nodded, and then promptly shook his head again, “I can stabilize your condition for another ten minutes at most. And then, you’ll most certainly die. But, don’t worry. We’ll see each other again soon enough.”

“You’re… cough… not lying?” Wang Chenghao’s eyes gleamed brightly.

Qin Ye shook his head.

“But… I want to live…” The second wind granted by Qin Ye had somehow ignited Wang Chenghao’s passion for life, and his spirits clearly brightened. Nonetheless, Qin Ye sighed softly and placed his hand gently on Wang Chenghao’s forehead, “I’m sorry. I was selfish.”

Without missing a beat, he continued, “Truth be told, I did have every opportunity to rescue you before it was too late. However, I didn’t want to expose myself. And from my perspective, there isn’t any difference between life and death. Thus… I hesitated, and ended up arriving late.”

Wang Chenghao grinned, and his voice was no different from a drawl, “You were... torn between friendship… cough cough… and duty… I don’t blame you…”

“I just didn’t expect…” He glanced longingly at the mortal realm around him. The cold, icy city and the oppressive dark clouds in the sky had never seemed more appealing to him.

“I didn’t expect it to come so soon… There are still so many things that I want to do… Yet, to think that I would die here…” He chuckled bitterly, “I haven’t even cleared that game yet.”

“Idiot.” Qin Ye chuckled indignantly, and held Wang Chenghao closer, “Get some rest…”

“When you open your eyes again, everything will be fine once more.”

He gently ran his hands down Wang Chenghao’s eyes.

Time to go.

But Wang Chenghao’s eyes remained open.

You shouldn’t die with your eyes wide open like that… Qin Ye sighed, and tried to brush down his eyelids once more. But before he could do so, Wang Chenghao grumbled, “Brother Qin… I can still hold on… You’re blocking my view of the sky…”

Bloody hell…

Qin Ye gritted his teeth and set down his hand. Whatever happened to the fear of death?! Why do you seem so unafraid of what is supposed to come?

“Aren’t you afraid of death?” Qin Ye asked.

“I am…” Wang Chenghao coughed and smiled at the falling rain, “But, you wouldn’t lie to me… cough cough… I trust in you…”

Haven’t you thought about what might happen if I’m lying to you? Qin Ye’s lips trembled slightly, but he didn’t say a word.

“Truth be told… I feel like my entire life has been a complete failure…” Wang Chenghao muttered softly, “Come to think of it, I’ve lived off my parents assets my entire life… and I couldn’t even make a name for myself after their death… You know… there was a time when I fantasized about becoming as powerful as you…”

“No. You’ve already done very well. Most people can’t even move their legs as soon as they see a Yin spirit.”

Blood continued to pour out of his wounds, while Wang Chenghao held tightly to Qin Ye’s hands, “Brother Qin… a man named Albatross approached me before…”

“I didn’t… say anything…”

“I know.” Qin Ye patted his shoulder assuringly, “Speaking of which, your condition is getting dangerous. You’ll want to go in peace. I’m not lying to you - we’ll be reunited in Hell in just the blink of an eye. I’m going to confer you with a title, and you’ll be able to return to the mortal realm to purge all the Yin spirits you want. How does that sound?”

Wang Chenghao was so maddened by Qin Ye’s response that he chuckled painfully once more, “No chance. Haha… I’m filled with vigor and vitality right now… Cough!”

With a sputter of blood, his face began to grow more and more ashen by the minute.

Meanwhile, Qin Ye could see that the final lamp over Wang Chenghao’s body was finally dimming into nothingness.

“Take out your cell phone…” Wang Chenghao mustered the remaining strength in his body and continued weakly, “Open a voice recording app…”

Qin Ye did as he was told.

“I… Wang Chenghao… dead by the hands of an evil ghost… hereby bequeaths all of my property…”

Qin Ye’s eyes flickered, and he stared at Wang Chenghao in great disbelief.

How could… you still be thinking of me at such a time like this?!

Wang Chenghao gazed deeply into Qin Ye’s eyes, and then continued with a murmur, “Amounting to over 10 million RMB... Everything…”

He tightened his grip around Qin Ye’s hand, and Qin Ye sighed wistfully, “Don’t worry, I’ll use it well…”

“... shall be donated to the Red Cross Foundation…”

Ding!

Qin Ye’s anger meter instantly went through the roof.

You imbecile! Can’t you just die well for once?!

Do you have to be so salty even in death? It’s your prerogative, but why do you have to tease me so?!

Do you believe it when I tell you that I’ll send you as a gift to Su Dongxue’s bedchambers? I’m perfectly certain that you’re just the type she would covet!

He nearly couldn’t resist the urge to smack Wang Chenghao to death. Fortunately, he managed to hold himself back. Sigh… forget it. But… damn - this is 10 million we’re talking about! And I’m even holding onto you so tightly right now! Haven’t you been taught to love and respect your elders? Why haven’t you thought about my feelings?!

Nevertheless, Qin Ye responded softly with some measure of frustration, “Mm.” Then, Wang Chenghao’s eyes finally began to dilate, “Brother Qin… do you recall… the song that we heard when we were escaping from Clear Creek County?”

Qin Ye thought for a moment, “The Ordinary Path?”[1]

“Could you… sing… two lines of it?”

I once used to be like you, like him, and like all of the wild grass and wildflowers of the fields. Hopelessly, longingly, laughing and crying like everything was ordinary… Qin Ye’s singing was terrible, yet as he continued to hold Wang Chenghao in his hands and sing and hum the tune of the song, Wang Chenghao’s body finally grew limp and still.

His nose was cold, and his lips were pale.

He was finally gone.

“Some people say that life isn’t worth it.” Qin Ye sighed and gently set Wang Chenghao down, “But this life of yours has undoubtedly been spent well.”

“Your time in the mortal realm might have been on the shorter side, but the things you’ve seen and experienced are well beyond what most would across the span of their entire lives. You’ve caught a glimpse of the situation across Cathay, and you can count yourself far better than those who perish without even realizing what struck them…”

He slowly got to his feet. And then, with a flick of his wrist, his spirit streamer casually carved out a deep groove along the ground as he gazed into the corner of the rooftop, “Come out. You’ve been watching from the shadows from some time now. Did you enjoy the show?”

No one answered.

Qin Ye shook his head, and then flicked his finger, causing one of the talismans hanging from the spirit streamer to shoot straight through the door. A split second later, two shadows burst through the door and rushed onto the rooftop.

Hellguards!

Qin Ye immediately understood the extent of their abilities in a single glance.

The woman was wearing a long blue robe with red embroidered shoes. Her hands were two meters long, and she sported hair that appeared to be scattering about wildly. Her skin was deathly pale, and a bloodshot eye peeked out from the curtain of hair that covered her face. The cloud of Yin energy diffusing from her body was so thick that they were almost material in form.

Her entire body appeared to be twisted beyond belief, almost as though she had suffered from some inhumane torture right before her death. She lay on the ground on all fours like a spider. Next to her, there was a child with dreadlocks dressed only in underwear. The child opened his mouth from time to time, revealing rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth laced with traces of grisly corpse fluid.

The Yin energy which they emitted was orders of magnitudes stronger than the evil ghost that Qin Ye had just purged, so much so that even the slightest movement on their part resulted in mournful, ghostly cries about them.

Ka… ka… The woman’s head began to swivel around stiffly in a horrific manner as she chuckled hoarsely, “How touching… To think that an Emissary of Hell would develop lingering feelings of attachment for the mortal realm… Kekeke… I nearly shed a tear for you back there…”

“What do you know.” Qin Ye responded placidly.

“In life, I was a shamaness of the seven underworldly craftsmen… Kekeke… Little Emissary of Hell, have you ever heard of the Assassins of the Underworld?” The shamaness cackled huskily. Then, she promptly added, “Oh, that’s right. I’ve got a gift for you.”

With that, her robe lifted up slightly, and a lump of flesh crashed straight into the ground in front of Qin Ye with a dull thud.

It was Li Jixi.

And he was actually still alive!

His limbs had already been chewed right off his body, yet he still managed to survive despite the excruciating pain of the ordeal he had been through.

“Hellguard… You’re a Hellguard.” His gaze was soft, because he knew that his fate was sealed as soon as Qin Ye appeared.

“Shh…” Qin Ye raised his finger to his lips and searched through Li Jixi’s body before softly patting his face, “Do you know that you’ve murdered someone today?”

Li Jixi smiled coldly, and he continued to stare intently at Qin Ye as though he were a hunter staring down a prey.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be accompanying him shortly. Even if these evil ghosts were to spare your life, I wouldn’t.” Qin Ye spoke emotionlessly, “You must still be wondering if I had anything to do with the incident back at the Strait of Tsushima back then, aren’t you?”

Before he even finished speaking, the Yin energy around him suddenly erupted and transformed into a massive Yin vortex. White hair fluttered menacingly, his irises turned black, and his pupils turned white. The black robes of an Anitya Hellguard appeared right in front of Li Jixi’s eyes, while a long scarlet tongue gently slithered forward and licked Li Jixi’s face. Qin Ye smiled faintly, “That’s right. You’ve guessed right.”

Li Jixi’s heart thumped wildly, and he struggled desperately, almost as though he had a multitude of things to say. Unfortunately, he couldn’t say a single word.

I was right! I’d followed the right person!

It was him… It really was him!

His mouth had been completely gagged by a clump of Yin energy just a moment ago.

“I sincerely respect you. The Albatross certainly lives up to its name. To think that you were actually able to track me down all this way.” Qin Ye straightened his body, and continued with a cold voice, “Unfortunately, curiosity also killed the cat.”

With a quick flick of his wrist, he sliced open Li Jixi’s carotid artery with the spirit streamer in hand. Blood instantly poured out like water.

“You wouldn’t be able to live even if I don’t kill you. Your body has sustained the incursion of copious amounts of Yin energy, and death is but an eventuality. So, let me… finally provide you with release. You should be grateful that I’m repaying your evil with good.”

Blood spurted out of his artery like a fountain. Then, just as Li Jixi’s teeth chattered softly in his final breaths, the female ghost began to clap loudly in the distance, “That’s right… That’s what I’d expected of an Emissary of Hell… What use is the life of a mere mortal after all?”

“Aren’t you afraid of me?” Qin Ye turned to look at the female ghost.

“Mom, he’s laughing at you.” The child pouted.

“Dear, he won’t be laughing soon enough. It’s been fifty long years since we’ve been dead, and we’ve already killed far too many unsuspecting cultivators.” The female ghost responded huskily, “Even though the daolord had only instructed us to head over for reconnaissance work, it wouldn’t be bad if we could… capture the target alive either…”

Qin Ye smiled faintly. Moments later, he threw his head back and began to laugh uproariously.

When he was done, he slowly lowered his head back down and shook his spirit streamer in hand, “Things are truly as Arti had mentioned.”

“The ignorance of a fifty-year evil ghost truly knows no bounds.”


1. First appeared in Chapter 36.

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