Guan Gen didn’t notice the cold gleam in Qin Ye’s eyes, and he naturally continued speaking, “But that was before he left abruptly. Who would’ve thought that we’d no longer be in the same realm the next time we meet?”
“Condolences.” Qin Ye responded somewhat hoarsely.
Guan Gen turned around and stared intently at Qin Ye. His lips trembled softly for some moments, before he finally asked, “How… how did he die?”
“Hellguard-class evil ghosts. I was lucky to have survived.” Qin Ye replied weakly.
“You don’t seem to be too emotional about this.”
“Why should I?” Qin Ye’s response was placid, “More than ten investigators from the Special Investigations Department perish to Yin spirits everyday. Am I supposed to feel sad and sorrowful for each of their passing? Mr Guan, this is probably the reason why you can never be transferred out of New Hale City.”
His response was blunt, but Guan Gen couldn’t help but nod in agreement. Then, sighing, he stood up, “I was being paranoid.”
“Then… Mr Qin, farewell. Also, your flight back to the City of Salvation leaves in three days time. Apart from that… I sincerely hope you’ve been truthful with me.” He paused, and then continued meaningfully, “His colleagues will definitely get to the bottom of the matter.”
Qin Ye remained silent. Dong. The door to the ward shut.
With that, he was finally the only person left in the room. He peeled and ate a fruit, and then an intense rush of weariness filled his heart.
He had been so busy the last few days that this was the first time he could fully indulge himself in rest. Both his mind and body were completely worn out.
It’s time to rest… He breathed a sigh of relief. The light switch was located at the head of his bed. He twisted the knob, and the lights went out. But… just as he was about to retract his hand, he suddenly jumped, almost as though he had been given violent electric shock.
Whoosh! Wisps of Yin energy masked as true energy began to pour out of his seven apertures. He rolled to the side, ripped off the medical instruments and then remained on all fours, like a cheetah that was ready to pounce. His eyes glanced warily about his surroundings. His heart thumped wildly.
Just a moment ago, when he retracted his hand, he felt… another person’s hand touching him.
It was cold and stiff.
It was most certainly the hand of a person who had been dead for a long time!
In other words, there was another person hidden somewhere in the room together with him. And a dead person at that. A dead person that moved!
Clatter! The windows in the room suddenly flung wide open, and the curtains fluttered wildly. Under the dim glow of the moonlight, Qin Ye soon discovered that… there was suddenly another silhouette seated right beside his bed!
This was a two-man ward, and the bed beside his was meant to be empty. But now, the silhouette was obviously seated on the edge of the second bed with his back erect and straight. Following that, he began to cry and whimper.
Wuu… wuuu… His voice was hoarse, and bore a trace of unspeakable horror. An empty ward in the dark night. The windows slammed open suddenly. The howling winds rushed in and sent the curtains flapping wildly. Everything caused goosebumps to creep up Qin Ye’s skin in an instant.
Wuu… wuu… Wuu-wuu-wuu…
The man’s voice faded in and out of the howling wind, and it sounded almost as though he were sobbing. And it was so bleak and horrific that Qin Ye’s hair stood on end. He took a deep breath and placed his hand over the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal.
This is the arrival of an evil ghost.
Furthermore… he’s definitely stronger than a mere Hellguard! To think that it could remain completely undetected despite being right beside me all this while!
But just as he was about to activate the shard of his King Yanluo’s Seal, the television in front of him suddenly flickered and switched on.
It was clearly a television, and yet the image that appeared was grainy and purely black-and-white. Qin Ye looked at the image, only to realize that the image depicted a passageway that was filled with people.
People who were entwined with copious amounts of Yin energy. The living dead.
He couldn’t see their faces clearly, but he could tell from the different shades of grey that they wore colourful garments, green, black, blue, and white. And they even toted some tall, tattered oil paper umbrellas that reached the ceiling. They were lined up neatly in two rows, and they held a bell in their hands, drifting slowly through the hospital corridor. Copious amounts of Yin energy trailed behind them like a tidal wave. SHK! Right then, the door to his room suddenly opened up a crack.
Qin Ye’s hair stood on its end.
This was a kind of horror that was completely different from what he had encountered in the past. It was silent, oppressive and suffocating.
Cold sweat beaded up on his forehead, and his palms were damp. He gripped the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal tightly. This was the final card up his sleeves.
Arrrghhh… Arrrrgghhh… The cries of the evil ghosts lingered endlessly, as though his door led straight into the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment. Each cry seemed to pile on the weight of fear on his heart. He gritted his teeth and began to infuse his energy into the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal, only to realize…
It wasn’t working.
“An Abyssal Prefect possesses the power to influence the use of Yin energy in an area…” A hoarse ghastly voice echoed down the corridor outside, “Puny Hellguard… stay right where you are…”
Qin Ye’s scalp went numb. He immediately understood what was going on!
This was the arrival of the daolord!
He had personally underestimated the importance which the daolord attaches to the emergence of the new Hell! A bead of cold sweat rolled off his forehead. He had never expected the daolord to have personally made a move.
Tap… A hand abruptly opened the door to his room.
Dong… The door slammed against the wall with a dull thud. It was deafening amidst the still silence of the night.
The hand was pale, stiff and cold. It was covered in livor mortis spots, and the corner of his sleeves revealed a smattering of colourful clothes. A split second later, an oil paper umbrella peeked around the corner and opened up, shielding the man beneath from the dim glow of the moonlight. And then, a man’s head finally peeked around the corner. His hair was disheveled, and he gazed intently at Qin Ye with bloodshot eyes.
“Haa--...” Qin Ye sighed, biting his lips as he forcibly suppressed the roiling emotions in his heart. And then, right outside the door, a second oil paper umbrella appeared… and a third… Within moments, the entire corridor outside was filled with oil paper umbrellas carried by ghosts with disheveled hair, twisting their heads as they gazed at Qin Ye with their bloodshot eyes. Then, it finally dawned on Qin Ye that all of these entities were… humanoid paper effigies.
Ding-a-ling… ding-a-ling… Bells rang at the entrance of their room. As the crisp, clear sounds of the bells reverberated through the corners of the room, Qin Ye discovered that the walls of his room suddenly began to peel away and become mottled, almost as though it had aged decades in an instant.
The walls blackened, while mould bloomed in the corners of the room. Damp patches appeared on the ceiling, before… drops of blood began to drip onto the ground like leaking rain. Within moments, he felt as though he had been locked up in an abandoned room for ages.
Finally, a figure appeared in the doorway. He was the first one who wasn’t carrying an umbrella. And as soon as he appeared, the humanoid paper effigies around immediately knelt to the ground. The figure promptly transformed into a swift nethergale and drifted forward, before finally transforming into a vortex of Yin energy in front of Qin Ye.
“Emissary of Hell.” The Yin energy toiled within the vortex, before condensing into the image of a twisted face, “A genuine Emissary of Hell… So it’s true that Hell exists… That’s unbelievable…”
“Daolord of the asura?” Qin Ye spoke with great vigilance. A sense of primal terror stirred in the depths of his heart, causing his breaths to grow ragged and difficult.
“This is a projection. Heavenly Spirit Twenty bears a mark of my Yin energy with her. No matter where she is, I can temporarily activate this mark on her and create a passageway between us. Even though this passageway is too narrow for my personal traversion, it’s still not an issue to send a projection of myself through the same to kill you.” The human face in the vortex spoke slowly.
To think that a mere projection could actually be so stifling and oppressive… Is this the power of an Abyssal Prefect…? Qin Ye grew taciturn. His mind was already racing, assessing the possible responses he could give to extricate himself from the situation.
What could I possibly do to appease him?
There must be a way… Where’s the most fundamental point of conflict between the daolord and myself? As long as I can approach it from that front, I’m sure I’d be able to appease him for now.
Nobody said a word, and it was only after a full minute that the daolord of the asura spoke again, “How’s… the new Hell looking?”
“Not good.” Qin Ye sighed in dismay.
There was another period of silence.
The daolord was somewhat surprised and confused by his response.
What… kind of a response is that?
Shouldn’t the usual response be - ‘The new Hell is strong and powerful, and it’s not going to be a problem to rid the world of a slag like you’?
That’s how the previous Emissaries of Hell would respond, isn’t it?
Yet you… The sudden concession by Qin Ye came without any warning at all, and the daolord was clearly not prepared for it.
But before the daolord of the asura could collect himself, Qin Ye promptly elaborated, “Neither the six paths of reincarnation nor the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment have been constructed. The old Hell has collapsed, and blight vermin have appeared to devour everything. Nothing of the old legacy has been passed to us, so the new Hell has no choice but to be rebuilt from scratch.
Daolord of the asura: ……
Dear, please wake up!
You’re an Emissary of Hell! When you etched your name into the records of Hell, weren’t you clothed with the obligation to rid the world of us evil souls? Aren’t we supposed to be natural enemies of each other? And speaking of which, why are you confiding your problems with the new Hell with me? Do you know how much that’s breaking the tension between us? What the hell is up with that…
I’ve never seen an Emissary of Hell that tramples on his own pride of his own volition… Have I encountered a fake Emissary of Hell…?
But Qin Ye didn’t give him the luxury of time to collect his thoughts at all. He promptly added without missing a beat, “Do you think I’m lying to you? I’m not. Think about it - do you think the new Hell has any talent at all? Everyone has already been whisked off to paradise by Ksitigarbha. There’s only a single King Yanluo in Hell right now, and we’ve got our hands full dealing with the primary construction, so do you think we’ve really got the time to focus on you at all?”
Words poured out of Qin Ye’s lips like a rushing river. He knew full well that a single misstatement could very well spell death for him. The extreme impending danger gave him a great rush of adrenaline, bringing clarity of thought to his mind and broadening his perspective. He continued, “Resources? We’re breaking grounds on a whole new plot of land, and without any of the legacy of the old Hell, so where are our resources supposed to come from? And besides, if there were indeed resources, don’t you think you three daolords would have seen some resistance from the new Hell by now? You would surely have seen some Emissaries of Hell vying with you for territory and Yin spirits by now. We wouldn’t even have to do much more than randomly appoint some hundreds of Soul Hunters to run amok in your territory. How many Hellguards do you have? Would you really be able to deal with all of our troops like that? Do you think you’ll be able to outpace Hell if that were the case?”
That seems… rather logical… Qin Ye’s rhetorics and arguments began to untangle the tension in the room further. But I get the feeling that something is still a little bit off about all of this…
“Without resources, how are we supposed to develop and grow? You should know far better than me just what it takes to construct the six paths of reincarnation from scratch, shouldn’t you? I dare say that the new Hell wouldn’t have the capacity to turn its focus to you within the next couple hundreds of years.”
That’s right… That’s the fundamental point of conflict that I’m looking for!
Hell’s purpose was to punish the evil and reward the good. The six daolords must have done something unpardonable in life, and they were naturally afraid of being arrested once more. However…
That was only true of the old Hell.
The purpose of the new Hell was easily summarized in a single word - survive. Refrain from provoking powerful factions; curry favour with whoever they can; and muster a strong force before thinking about marching against others once more.
Evil of the six paths?
None of Hell’s business.
“In fact, I’ve heard King Yanluo mention something before.” Qin Ye pressed the point astutely, “If you promise not to do any more evil and remain good and peaceable until the new Hell regains its strength, then… it wouldn’t be out of the question to confer a title upon you and enlist you into the ranks of the new Hell.”
“What?!” The daolord of the asura was completely shaken up.
This is the third… the third King Yanluo… Is he a dog?!
I’m afraid the first and the second King Yanluos of Hell would jump right out of their graves if they heard this declaration right now!
This is an aberration to the decree of Hell! You… you’re traitors! The daolord of the asura had never in his wildest dreams fathomed the possibility of the present King Yanluo pulling something unorthodox out of the hat like that!
He wasn’t playing by the rules at all!Previous Chapter Next Chapter