7.25 p.m. The fifth floor of the Fenglai Hotel suddenly erupted with a dense ring of pitch black light.
The ring of dark light was of such incredible magnitude that as soon as it appeared, the luster of the City God’s sculpture was dimmed in an instant. Like lightning, the ring of dark light swept throughout the entire Clear Creek County, causing the supernatural perimeter in place to shatter feebly. Shortly after that, it continued to sweep into the surrounding regions like a seasonal gale, past Rivergorge City, Santong City, Lintian City…
Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! All of the supernatural perimeters that had been set up in the neighbouring cities were completely and utterly devastated in just an instant.
The ring of dark light continued to expand outwards, declaring the presence of its master until… it pervaded the entire province. That was when the ring of dark light began to fade away.
The authority of an Infernal Judge extends to the far reaches of an entire province!
Rumble… Black clouds instantly coalesced above Clear Creek County, and lightning flickered as though dragons were dancing in the sky. At this moment, everyone looked up into the sky in awe, whether they were from Clear Creek County, Rivergorge City, Santong City, Lintian City, etc, and regardless of whether they belonged to the mortal realm or the netherworld.
“This is… an Infernal Judge… a Judge?! A surviving Judge?! Does this mean that the gates of Hell are open once more?! The gates of Hell have opened again!!” In Rivergorge City, the lady in red who had been combing her hair in front of a mirror let out a shrill shriek, transformed into a gust of Yin energy and hid under her bed, cowering in fear.
“This is… a genuine Infernal Judge!!” At the cemetery where the cracked tombstone lay, a hand stretched out of his grave, desperately attempting to cover up the small pit it was in with dirt once again.
“A Judge… it’s really a Judge! Is Hell… back in charge again?” In Santong City, a coffin lay that was originally half open at the bottom of a reservoir was immediately shut from within by a pale, white-haired skeleton.
Tens of thousands of ghosts were instantly silenced.
As long as they were survivors of Hell’s great collapse, any mention of Hell or its Emissaries would immediately strike fear into their hearts.
It was akin to how humans were afraid of death or how insects were afraid of birds.
Meanwhile, at the epicenter of the entire incident, all of the cultivators in Clear Creek County found themselves completely stunned by the situation.
Zhang Fengzi rushed out of his hotel like a madman. He was almost certain that there was something going on in Clear Creek County that had completely eluded them. Something incredibly significant was taking place!
“My god…” As soon as he left his hotel, the endless gale buffeted against his magnificent beard, sending it flying everywhere. But despite that, his gaze was transfixed at the apocalyptic sky in the distance, almost as though he were completely oblivious to the mess his beard had become.
“What the hell… is this…”
Ominous clouds had gathered, and lightning was snaking everywhere in the sky.
The heavens and Hell were dancing in tandem. Flashes of lightning weaved in and out of the converging Yin energy that culminated in a majestic vortex in the sky. The hundreds of troops stationed in the hospital were completely flabbergasted at the shocking phenomenon they were witnessing. None of them could find it within themselves to attribute this to natural causes.
“Fuck…” A young soldier couldn’t help but curse aloud. Several fellow soldiers stood beside him, staring at the distant sky with their mouths agape.
Whooooooosh… The netherwind billowed, causing the black robes of a man standing in the midst of all the soldiers to flutter wildly. After being seized by the phenomenon for several seconds, the man hurriedly retrieved a compass like a madman and scrutinized it carefully.
Yet the needle on the compass simply spun round and round, faster and faster, until… it finally exploded!
“How is this possible!!” He stared aghast at the compass. Then, seconds later, almost as though he had recalled something of extreme importance, he dashed straight out of the hospital. Unfortunately, he was immediately rendered speechless as soon as he witnessed the incredible scene outside.
“Daofathers above… this Yin energy… is simply… overwhelming…”
In another part of Clear Creek County, a young Taoist priest was standing in front of a store on the Ethnic Minority Street, haggling over the price of an item.
“Hey, are you going to buy it or not? I’m already selling this to you at cost!” Anyone who dared to keep their shops open after 6.30 p.m. were invariably people who had a trick or two up their sleeves. Naturally, this shop owner was also a priest. Just as he was about to continue his spiel of vexation, “Two thousand is a good price! If you go elsewhere… else… else…”
His voice suddenly drifted off before he could finish speaking.
“Let me have another look.” The young Taoist priest inspected the wooden sculpture of a monkey before asking several seconds later, “Can’t you go any lower?”
“Hey, fellow Taoist, I’m talking to you here.” The young Taoist looked up in displeasure, only to witness the blank expression on the shopkeeper’s face.
The shopkeeper was staring at the sky with a vacant expression on his face.
What’s going on with the sky?
The young Taoist felt somewhat baffled, and he looked up at where the shopkeeper’s gaze was transfixed at. In the very next moment, his pupils abruptly contracted, and the wooden monkey in his hand fell to the ground with a dull thud.
“Daofathers above…” The two men stood under the imposing shadows of the roiling black clouds with their mouths slightly agape. They shook their heads from side to side, yet their minds drew a complete blank.
They were not the only ones who were stupefied by the majestic phenomenon. Practically every single mortal around was a witness to it as well!
“Wife! Come over here. What is that thing?!” “A 3D projection? My god. That resolution is far too unbelievable, isn’t it?!” “Brother! You’ve got to come see this! The gods have descended!”
Countless people were gazing into the skies right now. There, in the distance, the imposing figure of a woman’s silhouette stood majestically, as though connecting the heavens and the earth.
In fact, the woman appeared almost akin to a sculpture that held up the skies. Three thousand strands of green-coloured threads danced in the air behind her head, spanning thousands and thousands of meters across the sky where black clouds continued to roil menacingly. She had extremely beautiful features, with sharp, striking eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes, and vermillion red cherry lips. She wore a colourful silken robe, and held in her hands a massive umbrella congealed out of the dark clouds in the sky. The umbrella even sported a faint design of magpies declaring the gaiety of spring.
That said, the feature that stood out most was the fact that her tongue extended right out of her mouth and straight to the ground, just like a galactic waterfall that was thousands of meters long!
The fingernails on her hands were painted a deep jet-black in colour. She appeared to be holding what looked like a massive brush with one hand, and a form of book or manuscript on the other hand. If one looked closely enough, the title of the book in her hands would immediately send any person’s heart racing with astonishment - The Book of Life and Death.
It was a massive, towering silhouette that connected the heavens and the earth!
Truth be told, the silhouette combined so many clashing elements that it was somewhat ridiculous.
However, not a single peep of laughter could be heard across the lands!
The towering silhouette stood there silently as the rolling clouds continued to sweep past her. Then, gradually, her clothes, features, hair and umbrella began to fade away and become ethereal.
In that instant, the lady was practically synonymous with the sky in Clear Creek County.
Meanwhile, all of the ghosts in Clear Creek County fell down to the ground and paid their respects to her. For as long as the imposing figure stood tall in the sky, not a single spirit dared to lift its head at all.
This was the display of an Infernal Judge’s authority!
Another fierce tremor reverberated in the direction of Fenglai Hotel, and yet another massive wave of dark light swept out in a massive ripple. In that instant, all of the Seals of the Assassins of the Underworld were completely and utterly destroyed, disintegrating into pure, simple molecules just like how snow melts in the bright, shining sun.
A loud voice echoed throughout the lands, “Attention all citizens, this is a military exercise. Weapons projecting a large-scale corporeal display have been activated. For your own safety, please remain within your own homes and refrain from leaving. Any non-compliance shall be dealt with in accordance with the fullest extent of the laws. We repeat, this is a military exercise, and weapons projecting a large-scale corporeal display have been activated. For your own safety, please remain within your own homes…”
Meanwhile, in the guesthouse, Zhang Fengzi had finally regained consciousness and he hurriedly bellowed at the top of his voice, “Men!!”
“Go to the Fenglai Hotel immediately! Pronto!!”
His command had been superfluous.
Innumerable vehicles had already been mobilized! Several silhouettes from all four corners of Clear Creek County were presently charging straight towards the Fenglai Hotel like bolts of crackling lightning!
Meanwhile, in the Fenglai Hotel, the door to the hotel’s elevators opened, and Qin Ye gasped for breath as he stumbled out.
The puppet master was still upstairs, but he knew better than to stay around. After all, he knew full well what Arthis had mentioned - this was merely the display of her authority as an Infernal Judge of Hell. However, a display of authority… was not one and the same as actual power.
The puppet master was unable to move under the immense oppressive weight of her domineering display, while all of the restrictive seals had also been shattered to pieces simultaneously. That said… he knew that if he didn’t leave right away, and instead dallied for another three minutes more, he would have missed his only opportunity at escape!
This was a supernatural phenomenon that was visible to the naked eye. What kind of repercussions would it hold for Clear Creek County as a whole?
What kind of impact would it do to an already nerve-wracked nation?
What kind of people would such a phenomenon attract?
The true top brass of the Special Investigations Department?
The top Buddhist and Taoist cultivators?
Qin Ye could be considered fortunate to have encountered That Amorous Affair right from the start of his journey as an Emissary of Hell. However, this was almost immediately completely negated by his great misfortune in encountering the puppet master next.
Both the netherworld and the mortal realm were immeasurably vast, to say the least. There was no way that a meagre Operative-class Emissary of Hell could afford to be prominently domineering anywhere he went.
“But… where do we go from here?” He grimaced as he opened the door to the hotel and walked out into the darkened streets of night. Nobody was around right now. This was the advantage of a country-wide curfew.
Needless to say, Zhang Fengzi and his men were most certainly on their way here right now. Given his current condition, there was no way he would be able to deal with them in a head-on confrontation. Furthermore, Arthis appeared to have fallen into a state of deep slumber - no matter how much he called, he received no response from her whatsoever.
In other words, he was unable to channel the Yin energy from the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal into his own body and leave using its accompanying abilities.
That’s right. Arthis had never taught him how to use the abilities accompanying his ownership of the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal. He had never asked about it either. Now that he thought about it, the withholding of such techniques was clearly one of Arthis’ means of keeping her cards close to her chest.
“Damn it…” He clutched at the burning pain in his chest as he glanced about his surroundings. Oncoming sirens could already be heard in the distance. Mustering all the strength he could, he began running away from the hotel. Unfortunately, his speed was no different from that of a turtle.
There were cars everywhere around him. Unfortunately… he didn’t know how to drive cars!
After all, a driving license these days was tantamount to a photograph ID, and he didn’t dare to register for one at all!
“Qin Ye!!” Just then, two horns sounded. Qin Ye looked up, and his originally despondent expression was once again reignited with vigor.
Wang Chenghao ran over to Qin Ye and helped Qin Ye board his car. Then, Wang Chenghao hopped onto the driver’s seat and immediately drove off.
“Haa…” Qin Ye heaved a sigh of relief approximately one minute after the car had shot off onto the highway. His incredibly tense spirits had finally loosened after some time, yet there was still some residual ringing and buzzing noise in his ears.
“Is… is it finally over?” Wang Chenghao asked with a shaky voice as he continued to drive into the distance. At the same time, he kept stealing glances at Qin Ye.
“It’s finally over.” Qin Ye muttered huskily.
Nobody spoke for the next few minutes. As the car continued to speed away from the Fenglai Hotel, they noticed wave after wave of police cars and army trucks carrying armed soldiers pouring towards the Fenglai Hotel in every direction. All of them were speeding to boot.
“Why are you looking at me?” Qin Ye forcibly smiled, keeping his bloodshot eyes open as he struggled to stay awake.
“Nothing…” Wang Chenghao bit down on his lower lips. Several seconds later, he muttered hesitantly, “You… are completely different from the Qin Ye I know… You were completely different today…”
Qin Ye didn’t reply immediately. Instead, he continued to stare blankly at the roof of the car. After a long time, he finally smiled, “People have a thousand faces.”
“There’s not a single person with only one personality out there.”
Regardless of how cowardly or afraid of death one was, he would never deign to give it his all unless he knows his limits and recognizes that he had been backed into a corner. In this regard, Qin Ye knew full well his limits - after all, he had already experienced a close shave with death a number of times over the last few decades.
Granny Meng had been spot on in her assessment of Qin Ye’s personality. She was certain that Qin Ye’s cowardice and desire to stay alive was the moving force that had birthed his habit of putting on pretences. Yet her intuition nevertheless told her that he was the right man for the job.
She knew that given Qin Ye’s personality, he would always keep up his act unless he was backed into a corner.
Wang Chenghao nodded, before forcibly changing the subject. With a somewhat drifty voice, he pleaded, “Shall… shall we head back to my place?”
“I-I don’t dare to stay there on my own tonight…”
Qin Ye closed his eyes and deliberated for a moment, before finally shaking his head.
“Qin Ye…” Wang Chenghao was on the brink of tears.
“We can’t stay any longer in Clear Creek County.” Qin Ye opened his eyes and declared resolutely, “We’re graduating soon anyway… I have to be elsewhere. And I have to leave right now.”
“You’re leaving?” Wang Chenghao was taken aback. Yet, without any modicum of hesitation, he continued, “Can I go with you?”
“There’s no need…”
“It’s absolutely necessary!” Wang Chenghao yelled in exasperation, “Qin Ye… perhaps you’ll laugh at me for the rest of my life, but I now know that you live in a completely different world than I do… The way I’ve been thinking in the past has been far too naive!”
“I-I don’t think I’ll dare to live on my own in the near future. Stay with me, please… even if it’s just across the street from me! I’ll make arrangements for you regardless of where you want to go! But… right now… I’m really afraid to leave your side. And… and after witnessing so much with my own two eyes, do you really think I can still live like a normal person?”
Qin Ye looked at Wang Chenghao with some measure of astonishment. After some time, he finally caved in and nodded his head. However, his gaze immediately grew frosty and cold, “However, there’s still one thing we need to take care of before we leave!”
“You… you can just speak your mind!”
“Take me to a certain place… right now.” Qin Ye shut his eyes once more to recover his spirits, “This is the only shot we’re getting at this… Clear Creek County… I’m afraid that this place is going to be under the government’s strictest of surveillance measures for the next decade.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter