Chapter 363: White Flowers

Advancement to an Infernal Judge - postponed.

Coordinating the next developmental plan of Hell - postponed.

The most pressing thing right now is to return to the mortal realm to tell everyone that I’m still alive! I’m not dead yet, so please don’t cremate me! I’ve not enjoyed the pleasures that life has to offer just yet! I don’t want to turn into ashes and be stored in an urn in a half-virgin state!

Qin Ye gnashed his teeth and rushed back to the mortal realm like a vicious, barking dog. One second later, he desperately got into character, stirring slightly in bed and slowly opening his eyes in a pretentious manner as he murmured sickly, “Who am I… where am I…”

A moment later, he noticed a bunch of wreaths surrounding him.

Ah, I mean… flower baskets.

“We wish Instructor Qin a speedy recovery.” “May Instructor Qin get over the critical period soon!” “Instructor Qin, we’re still waiting for you to imbibe us with your teachings.” Messages like these were dime a dozen, almost reminiscent of the atmosphere at the mourning hall.

Fortunately, he could tell that he was still in a hospital ward right now.

His entire body was hooked up with a whole plethora of tubes and apparatuses, while his physical body was covered with a snow-white quilt. Ye Xingchen was just revising his work right beside him when Qin Ye opened his eyes. Ye Xingchen’s jaws instantly dropped, and then his eyes narrowed, almost as though an electric bulb had fizzled and popped.

The atmosphere was somewhat awkward.

Qin Ye got into his role as soon as he returned to the mortal realm. He opened his mouth, only to realize that his lips were parched and cracked in several places, evidently a result of failing to move his fleshly body for a period of time. His limbs even ached slightly from the lack of blood flow. His eyes were confused and filled with grief, and he slowly turned his head to look Ye Xingchen in the eye.

But before he could even finish speaking, Ye Xingchen shot to his feet and dashed out of the hospital like a mad man.

It looks like… I’m going to be the source of a medical miracle all over again…

Qin Ye gulped nervously as he scanned his surroundings. Alright… I see some plants at my bedside table… plant + patient… a perfect match?! Are you suggesting that I’m already in a vegetative state right now?!!

The ward he was in was probably a critical care unit ward. There were instruments and apparatuses on all sides of the room, together with a wall-mounted television placed on the opposite side of the room. There looked to be a small kitchenette placed right next to the caretaker’s bed. The state of the bed made it clear that it was frequently used. There was even a large pile of snacks placed at the head of the bed, while the trunk that was placed in the corner of the room was stacked with a whole bunch of gifts and other items… He retracted his gaze, and his heart was filled with some measure of warmth.

Although he wasn’t wholly devoted to teaching and instructing, he had still been involved with these duties for close to a year. Throughout the course of the year, he had accrued sufficient goodwill for the students to be sending him well wishes and even watch over him on a rostered basis. It was a heartfelt, stirring sight.

But before he could indulge any further in the heartwarming sight, the door suddenly swung open, and Zhou Xianlong rushed right over and grabbed his hand. His eyes were filled with concern for Qin Ye, “Don’t say anything.”

He felt a thread of pure true energy enter his body. He cast a complex glance at Zhou Xianlong - This man… the incident with Li Jixi cannot be completely unrelated to this man, but…  given his stature, I guess it’s understandable. On the other hand, the concern that he’s showing for me right now is undeniable.

Everyone would have their own stand on certain things. As long as they didn’t do anything which offended the principles that they lived by, they would naturally be able to stand with their backs straight and look people in the eye as they declared their conscience clear. Zhou Xianlong was undoubtedly one of these persons. He was befitting of his qualifications and title as a director.

Unfortunately, the true energy which Zhou Xianlong sent probing through his body was completely incompatible with the cultivation system which Qin Ye practised. The only silver lining was the fact that the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal was barely able to keep the source of Yin energy in his body masked. Ten minutes later, Zhou Xianlong finally opened his eyes and sighed wistfully, “Does it feel uncomfortable anywhere?”

Qin Ye shook his head with much difficulty. His theatrics were on point, and he incidentally discovered that he might well have a talent for acting.

He didn’t intend to say anything at first. But as soon as he turned to look at Zhou Xianlong with a glazed look in his eyes, his parched lips immediately parted and gave way to a hoarse voice, “Thirsty…”

Zhou Xianlong immediately went over and poured out a cup of water, blowing on it to cool it down as he brought it back to Qin Ye.

Holy crap?!

To think that an Infernal Judge would one day pour me a cup of water… Speaking of which, I’ve had an Infernal Judge follow by my side for almost a year, and she’s not once poured me a single glass of water!!!

He puckered his lips and drank from the cup with much difficulty. Then, he muttered hoarsely, “Hungry…”

If only Zhou Xianlong knew the truth of Qin Ye’s condition right now. He would most certainly put Qin Ye in place in a fit of righteous indignation…

That said, Zhou Xianlong didn’t even react with the slightest bit of hesitation. He got up to his feet and made his way straight to the kitchenette, before soon returning with a piping hot bowl of porridge in hand. He picked up a small spoonful of it and brought it to Qin Ye’s lips, “Come, open your mouth.”

That’s right… that’s the feeling! Awesome!

Qin Ye opened his mouth with a pitiful expression in his eyes. And then--...

A spoon came crashing straight into his teeth.

Clink. There was a loud crisp sound, and the pain accompanying the clash between teeth and the porcelain spoon nearly caused him to jump right to his feet. Bloody hell… I shouldn’t have celebrated too soon… this guy obviously isn’t used to serving other people…

“... I’ve not had much experience looking after a patient…” Zhou Xianlong stated in a self-deprecating manner. Then, he fed Qin Ye several more spoonfuls of porridge before setting down his bowl, “Get some rest first. You’ve just woken up, so you probably shouldn’t eat too much. The doctors will be here soon…”

Speak of the devil. As soon as he said those words, the door to his ward immediately opened up. Tao Ran led the way, followed closely by a handful of doctors. As soon as the doctors noticed the alertness in Qin Ye’s eyes, one of them immediately exclaimed, “This is a medical miracle…”

… I just knew that there would be a line like that!

“Do you remember who you are?” An old doctor asked with a pleasant disposition.

Qin Ye nodded.

“That’s good. There are neither blood clots nor bruises in the brain.” The old doctor sighed softly, “Instructor Qin, you’d already been lying unconscious in your room for a full day before you were discovered by Instructor Lin. And since then, it’s been two full weeks. Over the last two weeks, we’ve run multiple tests on you, only to discover that your brain doesn’t seem to respond to any external stimulus. Thus, after ruling out all other possibilities, we’d concluded back then that you were brain dead. Your heart was still beating, but every other bodily function apart from the excretion of bodily waste had ceased to work. Thus… we all thought you would never wake up again.”

“What happened?” Concern was written all over Tao Ran’s wrinkled face, but he soon added, “Forget it. Perhaps it’s best if you get some rest and recover fully first. Instructor Lin has been looking after you all this time. It’s been hard on you guys.”

Qin Ye nodded.

A split second later, his heart thumped wildly, and his hair stood on end!

Bloody hell… ‘Every other bodily function apart from the excretion of bodily waste had ceased to work’?! Doesn’t this mean that Local Bully has been handling my untouchables all this while?!

Could he possibly have done something unthinkable to me?!

The fear in his heart instantly shot through the roof, and he nearly couldn’t resist the urge to interrogate that fool called Lin Han.

He fervently suppressed the urge to summon Lin Han in one fell swoop, and redirected his focus to the more pressing issues at hand. Then, weakly grasping Zhou Xianlong’s hand, he spoke with a slight tremor in his voice, “What about my teaching cre--... my students?”

I can’t mention teaching credits right now… that would only paint me in a terrible light…

Zhou Xianlong and Tao Ran both froze when they heard Qin Ye’s response, and the rims around their eyes suddenly felt slightly warm.

What a great instructor. To think that he would still be concerned about his duties and his students at such a time as this. How can we possibly afford to push an instructor as dedicated as this beyond the edge?

“Don’t worry.” Zhou Xianlong choked up slightly, “Everything’s fine.”

Don’t just say it’s fine! Tell me how exactly it’s fine! I’m not going to be blowing all of my teaching credits like this, am I?!

Qin Ye’s heart was on fire, but he managed to maintain a placid expression on his face, even as he tightened his grip around Zhou Xianlong’s hand. To Zhou Xianlong’s mind, this was a manifestation of Qin Ye’s heartfelt concern for his students and the academy as a whole. Qin Ye pressed the issue tactfully, “The final exams are coming up. Are the students… alright?”

So long as the students are fine, his teaching credits would be intact. In other words, he was practically doing all he could to check on the status of his teaching credits in as indirect a manner as possible.

“They’re fine.” Tao Ran was so moved by Qin Ye’s concern that he patted Qin Ye’s hand reassuringly, “Your classes have ceased, and we’ve got another replacement instructor to take your place for now. There’s no need to attend classes until you recover from this ordeal.”

Dear, that won’t do!

Let me up! I’m still fine to teach another semester altogether!

Qin Ye’s heart was filled with bitterness. He nearly couldn’t resist the urge to strangle the two cultivation buffoons at the same time - Can’t you open your eyes and take a good look at me?! How can you pass up on such a dedicated instructor to the school and the students?! Can’t you see the tears that I’ve managed to squeeze out from the corner of my eyes?

Just then, his pupils suddenly shrank. A split second later, an excruciating pain surged from his heart and shot straight through his head.

Buzz! His ears buzzed with an incessant ringing, while the pain… felt no different from being torn asunder from within. A pitch-black netherflame blazed from his chest so powerfully that it appeared to vaporize the blood in his body. Within moments, it consumed all of his internal organs and engulfed him with a heartstopping pain.

Immortals at the Magpie Bridge.

What timing. To think that it would strike at this very moment.

Fwoosh! A netherflame instantly burst out from within him and engulfed his entire being. It was as though the fire was spewing out from every pore in his body. Zhou Xianlong and Tao Ran gasped in horror, while the surrounding doctors screamed and retreated to the corners of the room. This was because every single one of them… could feel the aura of an Abyssal Prefect from the blazing netherflame!

“Hang in there!” Zhou Xianlong immediately snapped back to his senses and sent a wave of true energy rushing over to Qin Ye. But as soon as it met the netherflame, it reacted no differently from cold water meeting lava, and it instantly dissipated into a cloud of white mist. Surprisingly, the white mist generated from the clash was somewhat material in nature, and it instantly sent Zhou Xianlong recoiling back into the wall.

Beep, beep, beep!!! The instruments and apparatuses in the room began to beep and blare. Tao Ran knew that he didn’t possess the ability to intervene, and thus he immediately asked anxiously, “What do we do?!”

“I’m fine, but true energy can’t penetrate the wall of netherflames at all!” Zhou Xianlong gritted his teeth, “We can only hope that… he can pull himself through this ordeal… What the hell is going on anyway? This hints at a Prefect-class evil ghost! Why hasn’t he said anything about this before?!”

Whoosh… The netherflames only grew stronger and stronger, engulfing Qin Ye in an instant, yet hardly affecting the surroundings at all. Everyone could tell that Qin Ye was holding on by the ends of his teeth. The veins on his neck and hands were bulging and throbbing, while he gnashed his teeth with intense pain. Then, seconds later, he cried out with immense pain.

“AAARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!” The miserable scream reverberated throughout the corners of the room. His cry came approximately twenty seconds into his flare up. Fortunately, the Immortals at the Magpie Bridge soon subsided and faded away. (TL: If memory serves me well, the first two flare ups seem to have taken place in Hell, while this is the first time it has happened in the mortal realm. The author had previously mentioned that he would die after it flares up three times, so I can only conclude that either the ones in Hell didn’t count, or Arthis and/or the Book of Life and Death has managed to suppress the effects of the curse so that Qin Ye can survive for a longer period of time.)

Thud… He collapsed weakly back onto the bed, only to realize that his bedsheets were already  soaked through with his sweat. In fact, he looked no different from a person who had just been fished out from the water. The doctors in the room paused for a moment, before rushing over to examine his body once more.

Qin Ye pushed them away weakly. He knew that they needed an explanation for this strange phenomenon. Incidentally, it was the perfect means to bring closure to the matters that had taken place at New Hale City.

After all, he didn’t want to cross paths with another Albatross like Li Jixi. Furthermore… even though he couldn’t detect their presence, he knew that there was a high possibility that another Albatross was still monitoring him in the vicinity!

After all, Li Jixi had once mentioned that the Albatross would never let a task remain unfinished. To make matters worse, not even Li Jixi himself knew what the other Albatrosses looked like. Each one of them had their own point of contact, and they were trained never to disclose their true appearances to others - not even their colleagues. Naturally, they would put on a different mask or appearance whenever they were meeting others.

Qin Ye promptly grabbed Zhou Xianlong’s hands. This time, his grip was truly and sincerely weak. He mustered all of the remaining strength in his body, “Faculty Head Zhou…”

Zhou Xianlong held his hand tightly and interjected, “Don’t say anything… You must have been afflicted with a curse of sorts. Rest well. I’ll immediately look through the Special Investigations Department’s docket of talented personnel. There must be someone in there who would be able to help you out.”

Qin Ye shook his head and drew a deep breath, “Instructor S9527 has something to report…”

Tao Ran’s gaze flickered, and he promptly waved his arms, instructing all of the doctors in the room to take their leave. It was only after they had done so that Qin Ye finally continued feebly, “Back in New Hale City… we’d encountered… a Prefect-class evil ghost…”

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