Rumble… Hell trembled to the effects of the Book of Life and Death. What was originally thick, rolling clouds of Yin energy slowly began to thin out and transform into a massive hallway that stood as tall as the heavens. A colossal door just as large remained tightly shut.
With a command, the army of seventy thousand immediately turned to face the majestic door. Incidentally, the army was lined up neatly on both sides of the door, with a ten-meter aisle running straight down the middle of the army like Moses parting the red sea. Qin Ye took to the front of the army, while Arthis took to the rear. Both Infernal Judges hovered in the air in their Hell’s Emissary state. It was a grand sight. They were a glorious army of magnificent proportions, yet they were still nothing more than a speck compared with the size of the towering door.
Something about the scene simply felt awe-inspiring and poetic, almost as though they were standing tall against the giants of the world.
The army of Yin spirits looked like they were preparing to challenge the vast world out there. The juxtaposition of the insignificant and small against the boundless reaches of the world filled everyone with sobriety. Not even the rest of the citizens who were witnessing the grand face-off between david and goliath could help but watch with bated breaths.
They were both shocked at the vastness of the world out there, and amazed at how much the world had to offer.
“I’m starting to feel as though I’m cut out to be a god of the world.” He swept his gaze around the army of tens of thousands that were staring right back at him. His body trembled slightly, and he smiled softly to himself, “Looking back, I truly can’t help but wonder how innocent and naive I used to be just a single year ago. To think that I even have to be a cult leader right now…”
“Shut up.” Arthis looked askance at Qin Ye, almost as though she were a senior nun in the convent that was chastising a junior nun. Yet the only response she got was the soft gnashing of teeth, “Mind your manners! Do you even know how many people are watching right now? Can’t you let me have my moment over here?!”
“... Anyhow, I’m absolutely flattered that you think of me that way… Speaking of which… I really need to use the bathroom right now. What do I do?” Qin Ye clamped his legs firmly together, “I can’t help but feel the urge to visit the washroom whenever I’m nervous… I might need to get it checked out--…”
Just then, Qin Ye felt an immense wave of murderous intent that swept over him in a palpable fashion. Arthis muttered soullessly, “Would you believe me if I say that I can make it such that you don’t have to worry about using the bathroom… ever again?”
Qin Ye felt a spine-tingling sensation of fear wash through his heart. It didn’t matter whether Arthis was referring to number one or number two…
Speaking of which, this is why one should never take it for granted that lecturers and leaders are always discussing matters of importance whenever they have their private exchanges. For all you know, they might just be talking about something as trivial as these matters.
Just then, a violent tremor echoed out in the distance. It was so startling that it even drove away Qin Ye’s desire to relieve himself. Then, a split second later, a crack opened between the majestic door, revealing a brilliant, dazzling light behind.
K-k-k-k-k-k-k…. The colossal door slowly cracked open, flooding the dark world they were in with a glorious radiance.
“What’s that…” Back in the construction grounds, a Yin spirit raised his head and stared at the door in the sky with great disbelief. Hell only knew three colours, black, white and red. And yet, in that moment when the towering door cracked open, the entire surface of Hell was covered with a soft golden sheen. It was something that they were all familiar with, but which they hadn’t seen for more than a year.
“The sun… this is sunlight!!” “It’s the sun… there’s actually sunlight outside of Hell?” “Unbelievable! It’s really sunlight!” “My god… there’s sunshine outside? Does this mean that sunlight would once again pour into Hell as soon as we inaugurate the first leg of our national highway?”
A buzz of chatter instantly swept through the lands like a flood of sound. Even the trees in Hell began to rustle softly, almost as though they were discussing these developments.
Meanwhile, amidst the clamor, Arthis and Qin Ye both froze, before turning to stare at each other in palpable horror.
“There’s sunlight in Hell?” Qin Ye asked.
“Impossible! The only source of light is the torch held by the Torch Dragon, but even he has been whisked off into paradise by Ksitigarbha. His corpse is even resting under the Naraka Bridge!” Arthis’ voice was filled with the same measure of anxiety. A split second later, Arthis turned back slowly and peered out of the door and scanned the lands outside with great horror.
There were green skies and warm sunshine all around. Although the ground wasn’t filled with lush, green grass, they could still see that it was filled with pale yellow sand and rocks of all kinds. It wasn’t quite the desolate and barren lands that they had expected. In fact, they could even see all sorts of vegetation thriving outside in those lands.
Yet, it was precisely the vitality of such vegetation that caused Arthis’ back to shudder coldly.
“There’s only one possibility…” She gnashed her teeth, “Hell’s collapse has caused a complete overhaul of the entire ecological system out there. This is exactly what I’ve alluded to in the past! Everything outside has changed completely.”
“Nobody knows what we’re dealing with outside anymore. It could be better than what we’ve prepared ourselves for… but it could also be worse.”
Qin Ye gulped nervously, “What about your Arya Sense?”
Arthis drew a deep breath, before turning to stare outside again, “There’s no need. Intuition tells me that the dangers outside are far worse than the expeditions I’ve been on in the past before! Let’s go… we cannot afford to dally any longer. The longer these gates remain open, the more Yin energy will leak out. If there truly exists any horrors out there… they… will most certainly notice our existence in no time.”
Qin Ye nodded. An unknown fear quietly spread from the depths of his heart. He lifted his hand slowly, and then swung it down with great determination. At once, a long horn sounded, and war drums beat with great vigor. With a thunderous cry, the entire army of seventy thousand Yin soldiers immediately rushed out into the uncharted world out there like a crashing ride.
Dong, dong, dong… Prrrrrrr-prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It was a magnificent sight that caused all of the Yin spirits’ blood to boil. Every single citizen of Hell immediately dropped everything they were doing and turned to stare at the march of Hell’s Yin soldiers. The sense of ritual and the sobriety in the air caused their breaths to sizzle with the flames of passion. Everyone stared transfixed at the Yin soldiers as though they were pouring out their souls to them and wishing them the best. In that instant, everyone was filled with pride as the witnesses of Hell’s first war of expansion. They were witnessing history in the making - they were witnessing Hell’s first foray into the unknown world out there after the great collapse!
Nobody could tell if it was new lands out there to be explored, or simply the Bermuda Triangle that was waiting to swallow up anyone that stepped into its deep abyss.
Clatter, clatter, clatter! A cavalry of skeletal war tigers led the way, followed closely by tens of thousands of infantrymen dressed in paper armor and wielding paper spears and paper shields. Finally, the last ones out were the bowmen who were armed with their crossbows and bows. The march of the Yin soldiers were neat and orderly, almost like a river with its direction all charted out. Qin Ye and Arthis hovered above their army like the sun and moon in the sky, illuminating and overseeing the flow of their army below.
Just then, someone shouted, “May the new Hell return triumphantly!!”
Immediately after that, everyone around them began to cry out their hopes for the eastbound expedition from the bottom of their hearts. Within moments, the outpouring of well-wishes grew so loud that they even drowned out the thumps of the war drums and trumpets alike, “May Your Excellency return in glorious victory!!”
Meanwhile, the colossal doors had finally opened completely. A sea of light poured in, lighting the way for the onward march of seventy thousand soldiers. With that, Qin Ye and Arthis both stepped out into the new world at the exact same time.
Whoosh… It felt as though they had stepped out of the darkness and into the light. The brilliance of the sunlight outside made them feel slightly uncomfortable. But before they could even get a closer look at what they were up against, they instantly felt their bodies grow heavy, and they promptly fell straight to the ground.
A Judge’s ability to remain afloat in the air had completely vanished here.
Arthis surveyed her surroundings with great vigilance, “It looks like this place isn’t even governed by the Heavenly Dao… I fear things may be far worse than we expected.”
“What do you mean?” Qin Ye asked. He could sense something amiss as well. Sunlight, grass, trees, sand and rocks… Everything appeared peaceful, but… it felt almost too peaceful to be true.
There was neither the sound of wind nor the call of beasts. It was almost as though they had just stepped into lands that were abandoned by the world.
They could see mountain ranges in the distance and all sorts of vegetation around. In all likelihood, there would even be water bodies flowing somewhere close by. However, there wasn’t a single trace of sound of nature to be heard. It wasn’t anything like the real world experience at all.
Instead… it felt almost as though they were trapped in a horrific nightmare.
It appeared no different from a beautiful, tranquil facade that was ready to be shattered at any moment, only to reveal the true horrors of the lands beneath.
Whoosh… The Yin soldiers had already arranged themselves into a massive square, protecting their two leaders right in the midst of their formation. Arthis responded, “Previously, no matter what Hell went through, everything would invariably still fall within the jurisdiction of the Heavenly Dao. Nobody knows what exactly the Heavenly Dao is, or what it entails. Some say that it’s the natural laws which the world has to abide by, just like how humans have to breathe, or fish have to swim. These are all laws and rules that simply exist, and aren't questioned by any means.”
She paused, and then squinted into the distant sky. There was clearly sunlight in the vicinity, yet she couldn’t see the sun no matter where she looked.
It was almost as though… everything was coming from the gaze of a gargantuan monster that was peering down at them from above the canopies of the sky.
“But if this place is completely sequestered from the effects of the Heavenly Dao, then you can take it that anything that appears would no longer be considered a part of the three realms of the world. This is a concept that is practically inexplicable, and unfathomable, but you’ll know it when you finally see it. Believe me, we’re talking about things that are far more terrifying than the Elder Soul Devourer.”
Boom! Just then, the overcast clouds behind them promptly became distorted. The two Infernal Judges turned back, only to notice that the colossal door had shrunk substantially in size… and that it was still rapidly diminishing by the second! Within moments, it became no larger than the size of a fist, and then… it vanished completely!
Buzz!! Even the Yin soldiers on the ground immediately erupted into a soft clamor!
Pair after pair of eyes flickered wildly with fear. If not for the regimentation and discipline instilled in the Yin soldiers, everyone would have fallen into chaos in an instant! Even then, some of the soldiers couldn’t help but fidget with unease.
“Silence!!!” Qin Ye bellowed almost reflexively, “What’s there to be afraid of? Hell’s still here. All we need is my permission to enter.”
Prrrrr-prrrrr-prrrrrr!! The military trumpet sounded, as though echoing his declaration. Several moments later, the Yin soldiers finally quietened down.
Qin Ye’s back was covered with cold sweat. None of the other Yin soldiers were any wiser to the fact that Qin Ye had earlier shivered uncontrollably as well. What the hell is going on?! How could the colossal door just vanish like that?! This is truly the stuff of nightmares!
“What the hell is going on around here?”
Arthis didn’t respond. Instead, she glanced warily at the edge of the horizon for several more seconds before finally responding, “This is… Hell’s automatic self-defense mechanism.”
“Think about it. What happened back in the early days of the old Hell, before the national highways were established? We’re talking about the era when mythologies and legends thrived. There were epic monsters like Rain Dragons and Soaring Serpents all over the place, just like how giant pythons and giant mammoths used to roam the earth at the beginning of humanity ages ago!”
“Underworlds would almost certainly be razed to the ground as soon as it’s discovered by these existences. It would be impossible to develop any underworlds like that. Thus, the Heavenly Dao has equipped the underworlds with some self-defense mechanisms. So long as an underworld was weak and small enough, and on condition that there were existences around powerful enough to threaten that underworld’s existence, then that underworld would gain the ability to remain undetected by the more powerful presences around!”
Qin Ye’s teeth began to chatter as he murmured back with great trembling, “You mean… the only reason why Hell wasn’t attacked by Yin beasts earlier was simply because… it has managed to conceal itself? And this is also because there are other existences around that can raze it to the ground?”
“At the very least, this was true when Hell was just formed.” Arthis sighed as her eyes narrowed slightly, “Moreover, the new Hell had obviously detected something alarming… Come to think of it… I finally understand why we don’t hear any sounds of Yin beasts around here. Our environment here can be considered a proper ecosphere, so why is it still so quiet?”
Qin Ye felt an electrifying sensation surge from his spine straight through to his head. And then, he turned his neck stiffly around and gazed at the exact same location that Arthis was staring at.
Why was it so quiet?
The answer was clear.
If there exists a tiger in the woods, its surroundings would be absolutely silent as well.
It wasn’t so much that silence was the norm. Rather… the surroundings were conditioned to be silent!
Just then, Qin Ye noticed some movement from behind a mountain range. It was a pair of wings.
A pair of colourful wings.
It was a sight as beautiful as a butterfly breaking out from its chrysalis.
But Qin Ye knew better. This was no butterfly.
It was a tiger. In that instant that it spread out its wings, a tide of Yin energy that was ostensibly on the verge of breaking through to the ranks of an Abyssal Prefect immediately swept over!
Cooooooooo!!! A crisp chirp caused all of the vegetation in the area to tremble softly. The Yin soldiers raised their weapons nervously. Just then, Yang Yanzhao stood tall in front of the mighty army and roared at the top of his voice, “Shields up! Tighten the formation! Incoming!!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter