Chapter 34: Decision

Qin Ye remained completely silent. Thirty seconds. Forty seconds. When fifty seconds passed, the corpses around him began picking up their knives once more.

The ghastly existence in the room had evidently discovered Wang Chenghao’s presence, but it chose to ignore him completely.

It was a waste of his energy killing yet another mere mortal like that. After all, it had already discovered the target that it was looking for, and there was no longer any reason to expend any more effort than it had to on the rabble that lingered around.

“You mentioned… your master?” Qin Ye finally spoke up.

He slowly raised the saber in his hands.

“That’s right.” The voice was completely emotionless.

“Do you know something…” Qin Ye held his saber horizontally in front of him, “The exact opposite of the term ‘master’, is slave.”

“I’m a person who’s afraid of death. But if you’re asking me to make a choice between dying, and becoming a slave to someone else… let’s just say that I’m really not inclined to the latter.”

“That’s a shame.” The voice spoke with indifference, “You shall become my one hundred and seventy-eighth human puppet.”

“Incidentally, you’ll also be my first and only Hell’s Emissary puppet.”

Whoosh! As soon as he finished speaking, the dark threads stretching out from the darkness suddenly tightened, and a cacophony of cracking sounds immediately rang out from the human puppets around Qin Ye! They first raised their heads eerily, and then… rushed towards him like rabid dogs all at once!

Clang clang clang!

Qin Ye had backed into a corner in just an instant, and there was nowhere else to retreat. Yet, the barrage of attacks remained relentless.

These corpses simply didn’t know the meaning of being tired!

Shing! An attack finally slipped through his defenses, and a deep, long gash appeared on his thigh. Blood began to gush out of it like a fountain.

The pain was excruciating, yet he simply didn’t have the luxury of time to address his mind to it. Between the wound on his body, and the necessity to protect his own vitals from the flurry of attacks, it was patently clear where his energy and focus should lay. 

Qin Ye swung his saber horizontally, instantly parrying three knives that were stabbing straight towards his chest. Unfortunately, he paid the price of yet another slip up - a footlong gash appeared on his right arm, and a fountain of blood spurted out from the wound. Arthis' voice had now grown incomparably anxious, “What are you waiting for?! You won’t be able to last for more than five minutes at this rate! Haven’t you realized? Each and every one of these corpses are at the same level as an Operative-class Emissaries of Hell!”

“You’re not going to last five minutes at this rate. All that’s going to be left of you is a severely mutilated body ridden with stab wounds!”

Qin Ye gnashed his teeth. His eyes were completely bloodshot. With a loud battle cry, his saber glinted brightly once more as he forcibly swept the corpses back. Then, leaning against the wall, he responded, “What about you?”

“This time… your anxiety is on a whole different level.”

“Kid…” Arthis' voice was practically wavering, “The leader behind the troupe of Assassins of the Underworld knows far better than you what it can do with a soul sphere! If I’m going to end up in their hands, I may as well be considered dead!”

Clank! Qin Ye teeth clacked once more as he mustered all his strength and forcefully swung his saber once more. The gleam from his saber painted a brilliant streak of light through the air that was as majestic as a waterfall, and the corpses around him were immediately sent flying once more. Unfortunately, he immediately saw stars in front of his eyes as soon as he completed his counterattack.

It was the sign of excessive bleeding.

It was the start of a long and painful death.

“Haa…” With his back to the wall, he gasped for breath and wiped off the beads of sweat percolating from his forehead. He glanced about his surroundings, yet to his dismay, the corpses around him had risen again for the umpteenth time. Some no longer had heads, while others were already missing limbs. Yet, each of them still clung fervently to the dull fruit knives in their hands and continued lunging at Qin Ye.

They were tireless; and they were unrelenting.

If King Yanluo had decreed a person to perish at 3 o’clock, no one would dare to declare otherwise.

“Arthis… you and I both know that I’ve never been able to trust you before…” Qin Ye struggled to lift his saber once more, “So if you’ve still got any aces hidden up your sleeves, now would be a good time to bring it out.”

“I’m not sure exactly how powerful an Infernal Judge is. But, that said… I refuse to believe that you wouldn’t have some other life-preserving measures up your sleeves either.”

“Idiot!!” Arthis was infuriated, “If I had, you’d be dead a long time ago!!”

Qin Ye unleashed yet another powerful swing of his saber, parrying several knives that were pointed at his vitals. However, his legs were already limp and trembling. Gasping for breath, he continued, “It’s different… our lives are bound by oath. You can’t kill me.”

“Then what does it matter if you let me out!!”

This time, more than twenty twisted figures rose from the darkness of the fog. Qin Ye sighed, “It’s because I can’t be sure that you won’t renege on the contract as soon as I release you!”

Squeeee squeee squeee!!! The twenty or so corpses let out blood-curdling battle shrieks at the same time. The threads attached to the depths of the darkness tightened again, and the corpses once again charged straight towards Qin Ye.

Damn it…

Qin Ye closed his eyes.

His whole body was soft and limp. He was no longer able to muster a single modicum of strength…

Then, just as the corpses arrived right in front of his face, the soul shackles around his waist suddenly moved. In an instant, it shot out like a raging python. One chain became two; two became three; and then an infinite number of chains appeared with a loud explosion, transforming the entire hall into a sea of chains that were flowing in all directions.

Squee squee!!! With a miserable shriek, the corpses crumbled into pieces and were sent flying in all directions. The hall was now subdivided into partitions by the countless chains that filled the entire hall. Meanwhile, Qin Ye’s vision finally faded to black, and he slumped down heavily with his back still against the wall.

Everything was silent once more.

If one were to describe the earlier silence as an oppressive one that was akin to the calm before the storm, then the present deafening silence would be akin to an all-consuming death knell.

Three seconds later, Lin Chaosheng’s voice echoed from the darkness once more, “Soul shackles and a demonhead saber… you’ve already used all the tools that are at your disposal… yet not a single Hunter-class or Hellguard-class Emissary of Hell has arrived to assist you. Something has indeed happened to Hell… Do you know something? You’re going to be the first Emissary of Hell that I’ve killed.”

“That’s a notion that was simply unfathomable in the past.”

“And to commemorate such a memorable moment, I’m going to give you the honor of dying by my own two hands.”

The black fog began to part in front of Qin Ye’s eyes. The surviving corpses who were still brandishing their knives at Qin Ye parted in a similar fashion as well.

Right in the midst of them, a tall figure stepped out of the darkness in an unhurried fashion.

Lin Chaosheng.

He was dressed in a police uniform and wearing a face mask, yet his gaze was akin to that of a dead person. He carried a black box with a one square foot base and a height of eighty centimeters. Then, he slowly opened the box and pulled out a horrifying serrated saber.

It was clear that such a serrated saber was designed not to kill a person swiftly. Rather, the serration was precisely present in order to dish out the maximum possible pain, thereby putting its victim through a period of pain and suffering worse than death itself.

“Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of your corpse.”

As soon as he finished speaking, he began dragging the serrated saber along the ground, sending sparks flying in all directions as he swung the saber straight towards Qin Ye’s head!

“You… unseal me!!” Arthis screamed. She could see that Qin Ye was unable to dodge the oncoming strike.

Clang!!

A crisp sound echoed out. Qin Ye didn’t know where he had mustered the strength from, but right now, he had barely resisted the blade of Lin Chaosheng’s saber with a muffled grunt.

His left hand was trembling immensely and its veins were bulging. His right arm hung down side side limply, evidently incapacitated. Unfortunately, how could the strength in his left arm be anywhere as strong as his master arm? The serrated blade was already pressing firmly against his neck. In fact, the serrated teeth had already sunk into his lapels, causing blood to seep out into his clothes. Qin Ye mustered everything within him as he tried his best to resist the serrated blade.

It wasn’t that his opponent wasn’t able to kill him with a single slash.

Rather, his opponent just hadn’t intended to do so. The last attack had not even been backed by the power of his Yin energy. Instead, he had relied solely on the pure physical might of his abilities. It was quite evident that his opponent was doing all he could in order to preserve Qin Ye’s body to be used as a prized conquest trophy of sorts.

“Shit…” Despite his current predicament, Qin Ye still found it within himself to reveal a sardonic smile, “The thought of you ravaging my corpse after I die… is truly unbearable…”

That’s a good thought.” Lin Chaosheng’s voice was completely devoid of emotional fluctuations. He continued to push forcefully against Qin Ye as he added, “You’ll make for a good collector’s item.”

Pssht!

Several more serrated teeth punctured Qin Ye’s body, and the excruciating pain nearly caused Qin Ye to cry out in despondence. His eyes were bloodshot as he gnashed his teeth, fighting through the pain. Blood splattered everywhere.

“What are you still waiting for?!!” Arthis was going insane. Any old ghost would tell you that the person they feared the most was not an exorcist. Rather, it was… a kindred spirit.

After all, only kindred spirits knew how to make their counterparts suffer in that much more agony.

“Unseal the soul sphere! I’ll bail you out of the current predicament!!”

Unfortunately, Qin Ye could barely hear a thing she said.

His entire focus was pinned on the blade in his hands and the single breath of air still circulating in his lungs. Arthis’ voice had already faded into the background a long time ago. Then, in the very next moment, Lin Chaosheng sneered and increased the physical force exerted. In that instant, Qin Ye felt as though the serrated saber had the weight of Mount Tai backing it.

Pshhht!

The rest of the serrated teeth plunged into Qin Ye’s body, and some of them even plunged deep into Qin Ye’s neck. He was currently experiencing such harrowing pain that his eyeballs had even begun to roll back, revealing only the whites of his eyes. The demonhead saber finally slid weakly out of his hands and landed on the ground.

Lin Chaosheng laughed.

Farewell… dear Emissary of Hell.

Just then--

When Lin Chaosheng’s serrated blade was just one slash away from severing Qin Ye’s head--

BOOM!!!

An earth-shattering wave of Yin energy erupted from Qin Ye’s right sleeves! It was a wave of energy that greatly surpassed the puppet master’s Yin energy belonging by orders of magnitudes!

It was like a towering mountain.

It was like a boundless ocean.

It was practically limitless.

Pow!

Before either of them could speak, Lin Chaosheng’s pupils suddenly constricted. Then, in the very next moment, Lin Chaosheng was suddenly blasted out of sight by something akin to the detonation of a massive bomb!

“Kid… you’re one nasty piece of work!” Arthis gnashed her teeth as her voice echoed through the air.

It was unlike before, when only Qin Ye could hear her voice and communicate with her. Right now, it was almost as though Arthis had departed from the confines of the soul sphere and become the master of this entire domain.

Qin Ye’s disoriented eyes slowly regained focus once more as he chuckled miserably, “I know. That’s why I was so sure you were still hiding an ace up your sleeves. That said… I think that we can finally trust each other completely from now on.”

In fact, just hidden under his right sleeves, his fingers were already gripping tightly onto the soul sphere’s seal.

He was but one simple exertion of force away from breaking the seal on the soul sphere.

“I acknowledge your talents.” Arthis' voice sounded incredibly calm, but anyone would be able to hear the immense fury hidden beneath the surface, “That was a gutsy wager. Despite the extent of your injuries, you were still clinging onto the hope that I would have an ace hidden up my sleeves. Haven’t you ever considered the possibility that as long as you were even a split second too slow in unsealing the soul sphere, I would never be able to rush out in time to rescue you?”

“You seem to have forgotten something." Qin Ye gasped and leaned on his demonhead saber for support as he clambered to his feet once more. Clutching on his chest, he chuckled lightly, “Those who have consumed the taisui fungus… are undying.”

“After some time, I’ll return to life once more. Since that’s the case... what do I have to lose with this wager?”

Silence.

“Very well.”

Seconds later, Arthis spoke once more. Just then, the entire Fenglai Hotel began to shake vigorously.

D-d-d-d-d… It was almost akin to an earthquake. Qin Ye glanced nervously at his surroundings, before rushing towards the window and peering out.

Waves of dark energy that was visible to the naked eye had begun to emerge from the ground and rush straight towards the Fenglai Hotel from every corner of Clear Creek County. The Fenglai Hotel had suddenly transformed into the epicenter of the convergence of energy.

As more and more energy gathered, the scale gradually grew from magnificent to majestic, as though ten thousand rivers were converging into a massive ocean. Then, the energy slowly began to swirl and form an incredible vortex of Yin energy!

“Bloody hell…” Even though he had already somewhat estimated the depths of an Infernal Judge’s abilities, he still couldn’t help but gasp in shock at this present moment.

“Cheap slave.” Just then, Arthis' voice of rage thundered in the wide event hall, “Get your ass out here right now!”

“Kneel before me and confess to all of your heinous crimes… for you have forced my hand. You should really count yourself lucky that I can do no more than to display my aura right now. Otherwise, there’s no doubt that I would immediately sentence you to the sky lantern punishment!!!”

The ground had been completely cleared of all debris, and the domain they stood at appeared like a colourless world of the primordial eras. Every single corpse, including those controlled by the puppet master, had come back to live once more to prostrate, kowtow and pay their respects to the Judge. On the other hand, Lin Chaosheng was completely flabbergasted from the moment Arthis’ domineering voice appeared and reverberated throughout the entire hall.

Boom!!

The air trembled menacingly like a crashing bolt of lightning that had appeared out of nowhere. His entire body shook like leaves in the wind, and he couldn’t help but kneel down in fear.

Then--

Without any further reservations, he prostrated himself and worshipped the domineering voice.

He was worshipping the might of Hell back in its glory days.

“Judge…” An electrifying sensation numbed his mind, causing him to blank out completely. Finally, with a trembling voice, he muttered, “Judge… th-this is actually an esteemed Judge… it is none other than an esteemed Infernal Judge!!”

“A Judge has been hiding within Clear Creek County all this while!!”

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