Qin Ye’s Yin energy erupted in an instant and engulfed him completely!
Like a blooming black spider lily, the talismans around them abruptly rose into the air and fluttered wildly with the wind. Dense, dark Yin energy filled the entire roof of the building, and even began to pour down the sides of the building like a majestic waterfall.
Whoosh… Just then, juxtaposed against the dark canvass of the night, two gleaming spots of netherflames silently flourished like brilliant stars in the sky. An icy nethergale roared furiously at the roof of the building. Shadowless raised his hand in front of his face, desperately shielding himself from the force of the wind, even as his robes continued to flutter wildly.
How is this possible?
The netherflames in his eyes had narrowed so much that they were practically the size of the needle tip right now. His nerves were stretched to its limits. He could tell that the Yin energy flourishing in front of his very eyes was unprecedentedly vast and boundless! Even though he was likewise an Infernal Judge, he could tell that the entity in front of him was orders of magnitudes more powerful than he! In fact, he felt no different from a man standing right in front of Mount Tai!
They were equals in terms of cultivation rank, but the quality of the power at their disposal was on a completely different level! It was akin to comparing the director of a Forestry Bureau in charge of desert wastelands, and a director of the same that was actually in charge of vast jungles and forests. He felt like a mere digit faced with the wrath of the vast oceans and skies. Perhaps not even the daolord possessed such dense Yin energy at his disposal!
The threatening words he had directed against Qin Ye just moments ago were still fresh in his mind, but he couldn’t be bothered about his pride any longer. As soon as the boundless Yin energy erupted from Qin Ye’s body, his feet immediately kicked off, and he scrambled to dash away without any hesitation. Simultaneously, he flicked his finger, causing over ten wisps of netherflames to rush out from the ancient lamp in his hand and hurtle straight towards Qin Ye.
“You collect Yin spirits for your own use, hence the name, soul collector?” Qin Ye mused aloud. His voice carried a tone of indifference, and yet it made Shadowless’ entire body tremble profusely.
He can’t even be bothered with this… Does it mean that my attack is completely powerless against him?
Where in the world did he come from? How could there possibly be a human that coexists in both the netherworld and the mortal realm?!
Shadowless screamed in his heart. His journey to Judge-hood had been paved with the merciless slaughter of ordinary humans and cultivators alike. He could tell how critical the situation was - a split second could spell the difference between survival and the dissipation of his soul. There was simply no room for hesitation.
Thus, he tossed out the lamp in his hands. Every single chain tethered to it broke off in an instant, and the netherflames in his eyes suddenly surged a meter into the sky. Then, he collapsed his hands together as he dashed away as quickly as his feet would take him!
Faced with an opponent like this, he knew that he couldn’t afford to hold back. Otherwise… he might not even get a chance to use his trump cards at all!
No… I’ve got to alert the daolord about the situation here! This man is far too bizarre! He’s obviously a Judge as well, but my heart and mind are both telling me that I’m no match for him!
“SSSSS!!!” The lantern in his hand exploded, and hundreds of Yin spirits rushed out all at once. Like a tsunami of black and green, the wave of Yin spirits abruptly swept towards Qin Ye. But before they could even get close to him, the entire rooftop suddenly trembled. A split second later… the Yin spirits shrieked in unison and began to scatter desperately. Unfortunately, they soon found themselves forcibly dragged back to the ground, almost as though there were a giant, invisible hand restraining them completely.
Bang! Meanwhile, Shadowless had finally managed to arrive at the edge of the formation array’s domain. Mustering all of his force, he smashed down hard against the invisible wall that stood in his way.
There was a loud sound, and the mighty impact sent ripples running through the entire formation array. However… it remained completely intact!
Damn it… Shadowless gritted his teeth and turned around, ready to place his life on the line to make a final stand. But as soon as he did, he was greeted with a terrifying sight.
He noticed a Yin spirit dressed in ancient armor standing right in front of Qin Ye. That Yin spirit had his mouth open almost a meter wide, just like a black hole, and hundreds of Yin spirits that had been unleashed from the confines of his lantern earlier were currently in the process of being swallowed up by that single Yin spirit. Boundless Yin energy poured out from every orifice of this Yin spirit, while Qin Ye stood behind, watching casually as he remained completely unharmed!
“This skill is practically tailor made for a lazy oaf Yanluo like me…” Qin Ye tutted to himself and sighed as he walked forward, “There’s actually no need for me to even personally make a move. How awesome… don’t you think?”
Shadowless remained rooted to the ground, completely speechless.
That single Yin spirit… is by itself stronger than the hundreds of souls I have combined. Furthermore… it’s one of the special spirits that occurs once in every thousand or so Yin spirits. It’s what we more commonly know to be a bizarre spirit.
I’m… supposed to be a Shepherd of Soul - the cream of the crop among the Assassins of the Underworld. Yet, to think that I can’t do a single thing against this man standing in front of me right now?
We’re both Judges, so how could the gap between our skills be this large?
Am I missing something?
“Tsk… look at you. You’re obviously in a misanthropic mood right now. Like I said, quality trumps quantity. Take a look.” He waved his hand, and to Shadowless’ horror, another Yin spirit dressed in ancient armor materialized out of thin air.
Another bizarre spirit… Shadowless gasped in horror. Was he truly qualified to call himself a Shepherd of Souls in front of this man?
But I’m already strong enough to command three hundred Yin spirits under my charge!
We walk the same path, so why the hell are you that much more outstanding than I?!
“This is called the Yoke of a Hundred Ghosts. Don’t you find it fascinating? For ease of reference, I call it the Red Secret Technique - Performance of a Hundred Puppets.” 
“Who the hell are you?” Yin energy spewed out of Shadowless’ seven apertures. It was a manifestation of abject fear. Qin Ye responded softly, “Hidden Sand Village, Sasori of the Red Sand.” 
Sasori? Hidden Sand Village?
Shadowless firmly etched these names in his heart. Meanwhile, Qin Ye muttered placidly, “Destroy his fleshly body, but leave the soul intact. I’ve got my uses for him.”
“I’ll admit defeat.” Instantly, Shadowless knelt straight to the ground with a soft thud, before kowtowing to Qin Ye with the utmost respect and submissiveness.
Qin Ye was promptly filled with a sense of melancholy.
Bloody hell… did you really have to admit defeat that swiftly? I’ve not even had time to try on my other Yin spirits yet. Thus far, Qin Ye had only used two of the Yin spirits subjugated by his spell, the Yoke of Hundred Ghosts. This left him feeling terribly unaccomplished.
“You need only ask!” Qin Ye found himself cut off by Shadowless’ concessions once more, “So long as I know it, I’ll definitely say it.”
“Your enemy is my enemy! From now on, Shadowless operates under the banner of the Hidden Sand Village. I no longer consider the daolord of the asura the master of Shadowless!”
“You know, I’d be happy to allow you some latitude to consider acting all heroic--...”
“Lord Sasori!” Shadowless looked up with the utmost flattering smile on his face, “Your humble servant would like to partake and share in your burdens and woes! Let me take some of the responsibility off your shoulder! I’ll live as the ghost of the Hidden Sand Village, and die by the steles of the Hidden Sand Village!”
Bloody hell… Did you really have to cut off all ties so swiftly and decisively? What pretext do I have left to kill you with?
I mean… are all of the Yin spirits under the charge of the daolord of the asura as disloyal as that? What’s with the instantaneous surrender without the slightest bit of struggle? Do you know that you’re tarnishing the integrity and reputation of Yin spirits as a whole?
Shadowless gulped and stared at Qin Ye with great apprehension. After a long time, Qin Ye finally looked up at him, “Get up.”
“Thank you, My Lord.” Shadowless finally heaved a sigh of relief and scrambled to his feet. What Qin Ye didn’t notice was the fact that Shadowless’ hands and feet were all trembling profusely under his long, loose garments.
He feared eternal death.
As soon as he noticed how Qin Ye could easily crush him like an ant, he immediately understood that it was already impossible for him to return to the daolord’s side.
It had been a long and difficult journey to Judge-hood, and between his pride and his life, the choice was patently clear to him. If he struggled, he would certainly die. On the other hand, there was a chance that he might still live if he surrendered, no matter how small that might have been. What did one’s pride matter in the face of death?
Yet, little did he expect the terrifying existence before his eyes to actually spare his life with great magnanimity!
“Do you think you’re lucky?” Qin Ye suddenly stared at Shadowless soullessly with a faint smile on his face.
Without missing a beat, he continued, “Because the truth of the matter is this - I’d never thought of letting your soul dissipate to begin with.”
Shadowless hung his head low and furrowed his brows deeply. His heart began to palpitate once more, and his adrenal glands fired up like a roaring engine. Within moments, the netherflames in his eyes began to flicker wildly.
It had only been mere moments, but his mind had already processed countless possibilities.
Eastmount Province originally belonged to the Umbral Mount Tai Alliance of Darkness. To that end, there’s no way that the Alliance of Darkness could have gained the cooperation of such a domineering Judge as Lord Sasori over here. But… the fact remains that Lord Sasori has never shown up in the past.
His sudden appearance… seems to coincide with Kong Mo’s bizarre withdrawal of troops. Are we… talking about a third faction in the fray?!
A third faction has appeared in Eastmount Province?!
Someone actually dares to enter the clash of forces between an Abyssal Prefect on the one hand and an alliance of a dozen Infernal Judges on the other? They dare to insert themselves into a great war involving millions of Yin soldiers?!
The netherflames in his eyes flickered wildly as he looked at Qin Ye once more, but in a whole new light. Qin Ye didn’t say a word either - he simply allowed Shadowless’ thoughts to run wild.
Kong Mo must die!
Qin Ye knew that he could never run the daolord over. Next to the aggressive daolord who had always taken the offensive, Kong Mo was clearly the weaker of the two who was relegated to passively defending against the encroachment of enemy forces. Yet, even then, it didn’t change the fact that Kong Mo commanded a million Yin soldiers, and had over 20 top-grade Yin artifacts at his disposal!
Now was the best opportunity to run Kong Mo into the ground and destroy him completely. He had to be thinking of escape and fleeing for his life right now. After all, with the daolord in front of him, and Hell’s forces behind him, Kong Mo was currently trapped between a rock and a hard place. But if Hell didn’t seize the opportunity to eliminate the Alliance of Darkness right now, and instead allowed them to escape down the river and into the hinterlands of Cathay where other stronger forces lay hidden, then the consequences might well be unfathomable.
Besides, Hell’s forces currently had their hands full with the work in Ashmound and the processing of their spoils of war. Where would they locate the manpower and military force to go after Kong Mo?
The war might be taking place in Limbo, but Limbo was still the gateway between the netherworld and the mortal realm! Qin Ye didn’t want to have another kingdom appear and establish their base of operations in Limbo, regardless of who it was!
Qin Ye had a somewhat naive idea to close the loop on this, but he knew he couldn’t execute it on his own.
But that didn’t mean he couldn’t kill with a borrowed knife.
“First of all, I’ve got a few questions for you.” Qin Ye placed his hands behind his back and began to pace around, “Your previous boss is none other than the daolord of the asura, an advanced Prefect-class Yin spirit, is he not?”
“He is…” The mere mention of the daolord’s name caused Shadowless to tremble profusely. The daolord possessed might that was worlds apart from Shadowless!
Abyssal Prefect… The mightiest among all Yin spirits and experts in Cathay right now!
Qin Ye took a step closer to Shadowless and stared him right in the eye, “Tell me his name.”
“Which one of the great sinners of the history of Cathay is he? How long has he been alive for?”
Shadowless struggled in his heart. Seconds later, he kowtowed to Qin Ye, “Lord Sasori.”
“As Abyssal Prefects are concerned… If someone calls their name, they would know of it no matter where they are currently located! Are you… aware of what that means?”
Qin Ye’s eyes flickered, and then he nodded deeply.
He actually knows the true name of the daolord!
He would know if I called out his name. This is something that Arthis had mentioned briefly in passing, but she unfortunately didn’t know the daolord’s true name. Who would’ve thought that one of the daolord’s subordinates actually would?!
Oh, three daolords… we’re finally about to make an acquaintance, aren’t we?
“You’re seeking asylum?” Qin Ye forcefully suppressed the ecstasy in his heart as he responded to Shadowless’ cryptic request.
“Yes.” Shadowless gritted his teeth and boldly made his request, “As soon as I mention his name… he will immediately know that I’ve betrayed him. I… don’t wish to die!”
Qin Ye looked him straight in the eye, before finally straightening up, “I give you my word.”
“Alright…” Shadowless finally shut his eyes, concealing the madly pulsating netherflames beneath. Three full minutes later, he finally spoke up once again with great trembling and fear in his voice, “The daolord of the asura… was in life known as… Qin Hui.”
Someone from the same lineage as I?
Qin Ye furrowed his brows as he began to comb through his memories. And then, a notorious figure suddenly surfaced in his mind!
“Qin Hui, born of Jiangning, Huangzhou?! It’s him?!” 
“That’s him!” Shadowless trembled, “The daolord of the hungry ghost is known as Su Daji… She’s a lady from the Shang Dynasty in life, more commonly known as the fox spirit or demon queen!” 
“The daolord of the beast is known as Dong Zhuo, or Dong Zhongying. He was known in life for torturing captives by tying them up with fat-soaked clothes and starting a fire from their foot, watching their expressions and enjoying their screams as they burned to death. In death, he was banished to the path of the beast where he suffered for his crimes for thousands of years!” 
“These three are all notorious figures whose misdeeds have been spoken of with great disdain for thousands of years! But I don’t know why… after thousands of years… they would come to be reunited back in the mortal realm once more!”
1. This is a technique of a puppet master in Naruto called Sasori. https://naruto.fandom.com/wiki/Red_Secret_Technique:_Performance_of_a_Hundred_Puppets
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