Qin Ye raised his eyebrows slightly, “Have you checked on the corpses below?”
“No…” Shen Mo gulped as he responded cautiously, “All of the people who have attempted to head into the pit… are dead…”
“The casualties included two investigators and the workers who were working on the foundation… As soon as they went into the pit, the scaffolding and steel beams that were erected over the pit immediately collapsed, falling straight into the pit like a rain of steel…” His voice trembled slightly, and he shut his eyes, “It was appalling… some of the steel bars plummeted straight through their skulls or their mouths, skewering the full length of their body and emerging from their pelvis, almost as though they were targeting by homing arrows!”
Qin Ye nodded, and his eyes experienced a brief moment of colour inversion. Nothing can escape from the all-seeing eyes of the King Yanluo of Hell. At a glance, he could tell that the pit of the thousand in front of him… was in fact billowing with copious amounts of Yin energy, as though it were the sea!
The Yin energy was incredibly dense, far more than any other hunting zones that he had ever witnessed before. However…
It appeared turbid.
Just like the Yin energy within the mortal realm, it was a murky green colour. That said, the generally murky green hue of the sea of Yin energy was mixed together with some wisps of pure black. Furthermore, nothing beneath the surface could be seen clearly at all. It was strange. He was able to see the bottom of the pit with his naked eye, yet the eyes of an Emissary of Hell could only see the surface of the sea of Yin energy billowing from the pit.
The roiling Yin energy made it look no different from the depths of Hell. From time to time, an illusory image of a pained expression would surface from the Yin energy, wailing and hissing before being swallowed up by other similar faces. It looked… no different from a boiling cauldron of dense Yin energy.
If that’s the case, then what the human eye sees must be nothing more than an illusion… This place must have been sealed up by someone. Was it the old Taoist’s handiwork? He’s most certainly at least a Hunter-class expert… Qin Ye retracted his gaze and squinted at the pit. An unusual chilling sensation washed over his heart.
It was his sixth sense that was warning him - what lay beneath the surface of this pit cannot possibly be a good thing! The danger that Ksitigarbha and Arthis’ Arya Sense so desperately warned Qin Ye against could well be lying in wait below right now!
His infernal eyes were able to see the wisps of green Yin energy in the air converging on this location. There was no doubt that this was the core of the supernatural outbreak that was occurring throughout Valley County. Incidentally, the fact that it was a land of extreme Yin made it the best location to set down the Beacon of Light.
Having noticed Qin Ye’s somber expression, Chen Nian prompted, “Mr Qin?”
Qin Ye shook his head softly, before looking down and carefully scanning for any traces of clues or hints he could pick up. If not for the grave warnings he had received from both Ksitigarbha and Arthis’ Arya Sense, he would almost certainly have dove headlong into the pit by now.
The fact that the Yin energy is so thick… means that there’s only an immeasurably thin veil separating Limbo from the mortal realm. I’m willing to bet that we wouldn’t need to dig further than another ten meters or so before we discover the rift that leads straight into Limbo.
Furthermore… He huffed softly.
This land of extreme Yin is no ordinary land.
Not only is it filled with dense Yin energy, I can even catch a whiff of the nauseating corpse stench that is emanating from within. But what’s most peculiar is that… there is another sensation that is completely new to me. It’s obviously Yin energy, but for some reason it appears to be infused with a sense of brilliance and even righteousness within.
A gathering of three Yins… Yin energy, corpse stench, and an unknown sensation… And to think that I can’t even see what lies in the depths of the pit? Qin Ye furrowed his brows deeply. I’m not even surprised to see the emergence of a Hellguard-class evil ghost. A gathering of three Yins… had we left it unchecked for another few decades, it wouldn’t even be far-fetched to witness the rise of a Judge-class Yin spirit. That said…
I’ve got to take into account the fact that the evil ghost has been sealed within. Is he emerging from the depths of the pit because he cannot resist the sight of flesh and blood? Or is it… murdering in order to conceal something else which lays within?
The difference between these two possibilities were far too great. If it were the former, then the question remained who his assailant back at the train station was. Not only did the assailant possess attributes that could be considered anomalous among Yin spirits, it was undoubtedly of high spiritual intellect as well. The ability to silence another evil ghost to conceal a greater secret is not something that could be done by just any Yin spirit with no spiritual intellect whatsoever.
After a long time, Qin Ye finally asked, “Shen Mo, have you detected any movements from the evil ghosts lately?”
“No.” Shen Mo responded affirmatively, “The entire county has been incredibly high strung ever since the construction site was formally recognized as a predatory zone, so I’ve naturally been keeping a close watch over the situation on a daily basis. The array outside can contain incarnate revenants for three full hours. No matter how tense the situation may be, we’re certain that stronger reinforcements would arrive before the array’s effects wear off. I can personally guarantee that the array outside has never once been activated.”
The creases in Qin Ye’s brows deepened even more.
If the surroundings have already been completely sealed off… then how did the evil ghost get out in the first place?
He glanced at the rest of Valley County beyond the construction site - If it’s true that this evil ghost remains unable to escape, then that leaves us with only one other possibility.
Someone else is around…
There’s something else lurking in the shadows of Valley County, scrutinizing every single step that I take.
Is this… what Ksitigarbha and Arthis’ Arya Sense were trying to warn me about?
He had slowly but surely begun to get a feel of the second layer of the magic box he was so desperately trying to unlock. Unfortunately, it was as elusive as smoke, and he wasn’t able to get a clear glimpse of its contents at all.
He stared intently at the pit of a thousand for several more seconds. And then, he drew a deep breath and rushed straight in without any warning!
In the end, seeing was believing. All Yin spirits that were Judges or below were unable to hurt him at all.
“Mr Qin!” Everyone standing around the pit gasped in horror and cried out in alarm.
Unfortunately, their desperate cries were too little, too late. They didn’t receive any response from Qin Ye. As soon as he leapt in, he could sense himself being sequestered from both the Yin and the Yang. The colour of the sky above him quickly darkened as he descended. Finally, by the time his feet touched the ground, his surroundings were completely pitch-black in colour!
Countless blackish-green Yin clouds had at some point already begun to flow overhead, obscuring his surroundings from any sources of light. His surroundings were chilling, and the temperature was at best three degrees Celsius. Qin Ye was just about to straighten his body when he suddenly paused where he was.
He could sense that he was standing right on top of a skeleton.
In fact, he was standing right on top of the skull of this skeleton.
The skeleton was yellow, and even turning black at certain portions. Clearly, this skeleton had been here for ages by now. It lay on the ground with its arms crossed before its chest. Most of it had already sunken into the earth, leaving approximately only a fifth or a sixth of its remains visible externally.
“This is a woman’s skeleton.” Qin Ye squatted down and ran his finger along the skeleton’s shoulders and pelvis. The shoulders and the hips are of the exact same width. It must be a lady. Furthermore, women tend to have larger bones at their pelvis, while men tend to have more elongated femurs.
Then, he gently scratched the surface of the bone, carving off the yellowish outer layer and revealing the snow-white bones within. Incidentally, human bones were the only bones that wouldn’t turn black, even if incinerated completely.
“This tells me that they were already dead before they were burnt. This isn’t cremation, because the process of cremation would never leave a person’s bones intact. On the other hand, if she had truly been burnt to death, she would have convulsed and spasmed before her death, and not been laying in such a peaceful posture.” He ran his finger along the sternum until he reached the skull. And then… his pupils suddenly shrank.
Because what lay above the skull… was another pair of feet.
The feet of a skeleton.
He drew a deep breath and looked up around him, only to discover that… every part of the ground he could see was completely covered with skeletons that were arranged in an incredibly orderly fashion!
They were all over the place! By his estimate, there were at least a thousand sets of skeletons!
Furthermore, all of them were women’s skeletons!
A prickling sensation of terror immediately surged throughout every part of his body. The surrounding Yin energy and the occasional spot of netherflame drifted by slowly, while echoes of ghastly moans continued to reverberate from the clouds of Yin energy above. His shoes made a soft rustling sound as he carefully trod upon these skeletons. Eee… kkkk… Their macabre interaction was like the rise and fall of sobbing voices. The surroundings were so silent that he could hear the deafening thumps of his own heartbeat. He was undoubtedly standing right in the heart of the pit of a thousand!
And he was the only living person here right now.
These bones appear to be spelling out something... Just as he was preparing to straighten up his body, he suddenly felt a chill run down his spine.
He took a deep breath and fervently fought back the mind-numbing sensation that was surging from his heart as he glanced down, only to realize that another hand that was covered with livor mortis spots had just reached out from the ground and firmly grabbed hold of his hand!
Even an Emissary of Hell couldn’t help but shiver at such a sight. He instinctively stood up. But as soon as he did… Thud!
He… bumped into something.
Something… had at some point in time… appeared right behind him.
It stood there silently and motionlessly, staring straight at Qin Ye as though it were a corpse.
Qin Ye remained absolutely still. He didn’t even turn his head.
The only thing he knew was that something was standing behind him right now.
Then a soft tap cut through the tense silence of the darkness - a pitch black hand had just landed on Qin Ye’s shoulder.
Simultaneously, he sensed the soft breath of the person behind as a hoarse female voice croaked uncomfortably close to his head, “Silk… silk…”
The voice was filled with extreme bitterness. It was incredibly soft, but her words strangely lingered throughout the space below, almost as though countless dead people were whispering back in response to her.
The hair on the nape of Qin Ye’s neck instantly stood on end and only calmed down once more after Qin Ye took a deep breath of his own. Things down here… are far worse than I had imagined. He tilted his head slightly and glanced at his shoulders.
The hand that was resting on his shoulder wasn’t black because of her garments.
Rather… it was because the hand was completely charred! It was the hand of the dead!
The skin was completely blackened and even cracking in parts, revealing the grotesque, scorched red flesh that lay hidden underneath. A trickle of blood continuously dripped down her arm.
Just like that, Qin Ye found himself caught in a compromised position, with a charred corpse leaning over his back in complete darkness.
“Turn around… and look at me…” The woman repeated that phrase over and over again with great grievance.
It was often said that if you’re walking back alone in the darkness at night, and you hear someone calling out your name, never, ever turn back.
Because as soon as you do, an unclean entity would immediately blow out two of the lanterns on your shoulders. And then… you would forever be forced to see things that you’d rather not see.
Qin Ye snorted contemptuously, and then finally responded, “Do you know something? You stink.”
With that, his Judgment Pen appeared out of thin air and thrusted backwards!
“AAARRRRRGGGHHHH---!!!” A shrill shriek instantly erupted, but it quickly drew further and further away.
It was only then that Qin Ye finally turned back to look behind him. However, his line of sight was no longer obscured by a dense layer of fog. Instead… he saw a massive factory!
Furthermore, he found himself standing right in the middle of a wide road.
He was familiar with the architectural style of the 40’s and 50’s. After all, he had personally experienced life during those times.
He was the only one standing in the middle of the lonesome road. The two rows of houses on both sides of the road were flying Nipponese flags. An eerie wave of desolation rushed straight at him like a rising tide. The roads appeared endless. Two neat rows of black electric lamps lined the sides of the road, while a faint mist of Yin energy lingered about his surroundings. He could also see stores interspersed among the houses, including those which sold medicine, grain, and handicrafts. There was even a vague silhouette of a person manning each store.
But upon closer inspection, he could tell that the silhouette wasn’t a person.
Rather, it was merely a humanoid paper effigy!
Some were locked in a pose as though they were speaking with customers, while others simply appeared to be taking something from the shelves of the store. Yet, the somewhat laughable attempt at mimicking the reality of those times looked incomparably grim given Qin Ye’s current circumstances. It felt no different from stepping into a funerary street in the middle of the night. There was an unspeakable sense of terror and oppression that seemed to loom over his head.
“Is this… what this place originally looks like?” He glanced around warily at his surroundings. Bzzt! Just then, one of the electric lamps suddenly flickered and came on at the end of the road.
And then, a second lamp came on, and then a third… within seconds, the electric lamps lining both sides of the road came on completely!
It was startling. The electric lamps shone with a scarlet red hue, painting a striking red sheen over the already terrifying ambience of the land. And then… the humanoid paper effigies that were frozen in action… suddenly moved.
They still maintained the exact same posture that they were in before. However, each of them had now swiveled about on their feet such that they were all staring straight into Qin Ye’s eyes - the eyes of the only living person standing in the middle of the road right now.Previous Chapter Next Chapter