Five minutes later, Mo Changhao spoke up once more, “He seems fine to me.”
He still maintained his perspective, but it was now obviously laced with some measure of uncertainty.
Unexpectedly, Zhou Xianlong responded with some sullenness, “I’d once acceded to an albatross’ request to investigate him.”
“You did what?” Mo Changhao instinctively thought that to be ridiculous, but soon capitulated on second thoughts, “Actually… had I been in your shoes, I would’ve done the same as well.”
“But the albatross is dead.”
“What?!” Mo Changhao was startled again, “The albatross is dead? They’re true survivalists that never seem to perish in the line of duty. They’re elites in every right! How did they die?!”
Zhou Xianlong responded with indifference, “His life was claimed by a Hellguard. That particular albatross was one that had just joined the organization, and he was merely a Soul Hunter. On the surface, everything seems to check out.”
They had unwittingly begun to speculate and speak about their uncertainties.
Mo Changhao responded with a grim expression, “But in reality?”
“I don’t know.” Zhou Xianlong sighed, “Truth be told, I’ve kept a close watch over Little Qin over the last year or so. There’s no way he would have had any opportunities to execute his duties and functions as King Yanluo. But still… don’t you think that everything happening right now is far too coincidental?”
“He advances at godspeed, almost as though his progress isn’t obstructed or impeded in any way. He’s not been involved in many tasks thus far, but what is more important is the fact that…”
Zhou Xianlong turned around and gazed deeply at Mo Changhao, “Ever since enrollment, he’s only redeemed his merit points on one single occasion. And do you know what he asked for? Neither treasures nor artifacts, but Yin spirit stones. It’s almost as though he can advance in his cultivation without putting in any effort at all.”
“I’ve wanted to wash my hands clean off this matter for a long time. The last time I gave the albatross free reign over the investigations, it cost me the life of one of the academy’s students. That’s a blemish on my reputation and a regret that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Back then, I steeled my heart and declared that so long as Little Qin is human, I would no longer care less about what secrets he’s got hidden up his sleeves. But now, everything is different!”
He got to his feet and began to pace about, “Have you heard about Valley County? Two Emissaries of Hell have shown up to broach the idea of interoperations between the netherworld and the mortal realm!”
Mo Changhao finally managed to calm his mind down, “A little.”
“And do you know what the top brass’ assessment of this matter is?” Zhou Xianlong turned around and recited their conclusion word for word, “The mannerism of speech and action of these two Emissaries of Hell tells us that they have an intimate understanding of the mortal realm… They definitely know everything that is happening in the mortal realm! In other words, Hell has an insider in the mortal realm!”
Like a bolt out of the blue, Mo Changhao gasped in horror, “I recall that Mr Qin was in Valley County some moments ago, but… he was said to have vanished.”
“That’s right. What a perfect coincidence.” Zhou Xianlong shook his head wearily, “Over the last month, we’ve escalated this matter and been granted full authority to thoroughly investigate these coincidences.”
“And do you know something? Qin Ye’s identification papers have been registered by someone presently in power! That man has personally seen to it that it was done, but our investigations reveal no conclusive evidence when Qin Ye might even have crossed paths with that man!”
Mo Changhao shut his eyes.
“Then, what do the top brass say of this matter?”
Zhou Xianlong sighed, “The master of the Sword of the Yellow Emperor has emerged from reclusion.”
“What?!” Mo Changhao sputtered, “Master of the Sword of the Yellow Emperor?! One of the three strongest experts in Cathay?!”
“That’s him.” Zhou Xianlong glanced up at the ceiling wistfully, “He has personally instructed us to stand down. To his mind, it doesn’t matter whether Qin Ye is human, or if this is a mere coincidence, or otherwise. What’s more important is that it has already been two years since Qin Ye’s emergence in the cultivation realm. Anything he has set out to do would have already been completed, or at least be near completion. The fact that he’s not harmed the interests of the mortal realm in the slightest means that there’s no harm in letting the matter rest.”
Moments later, Zhou Xianlong continued hoarsely, “But… how do you expect me to let things rest like that?!”
“What’s going on?! How did the words appear on the stone tablets? Why does the King Yanluo of Hell have the same name as Qin Ye? Is this a coincidence, or is this not?!”
He gazed deeply into Mo Changhao’s eyes, “And I’ve come here precisely because I’m looking for answers.”
Mo Changhao could empathize with Zhou Xianlong’s feelings. It wasn’t an exaggeration to state that Qin Ye was absolutely outstanding. The rate of his cultivation growth was incredible. He was neither arrogant nor impatient, and had even propelled the First Academy of Cultivators into stardom with the publication of his paper. A talent like that would most certainly be the centre of attention of any institution around.
But the sudden dawn of a potential scandal naturally turned everyone’s worldview topsy turvy. Granted, nobody was harmed in any way in the process, but the feeling of being betrayed would cut deep into the heart. Anyone implicated with firsthand knowledge would certainly want to get to the bottom of it all.
“I’ll render my fullest cooperation.”
The car slowly rumbled along the city’s main avenue.
It was a burgundy Ferrari hybrid supercar with F1 technology, 6.3 liter V12 engine with an electric motor that could achieve 949 horsepower. The acceleration of the car was so intense that it wasn’t even an exaggeration to suggest that it gave any passengers the feeling of flying close to the ground. The car easily costs upwards of 20 million RMB, and it was known as one of the three god-tiered cars that currently exists.
It cruised along, whizzing past the regular cars around them with ease as it attracted a series of envious stares.
“Holy crap! Awesome! I wonder which young master this is? What’s he doing cruising along in his car this early in the morning?” One of the cab drivers couldn’t resist the urge to whip out his cell phone in the hope that he could snap a photograph or two of the car. Unfortunately, he was too slow, and he could only watch on softly as the supercar rumbled into the distance.
“Brother, I’m afraid this isn’t a local car.” The passenger behind the cab driver yawned lazily, “Earlier, while you were enthralled by the car, I managed to get a look at its license plate. It’s just a series of numbers. I think it might be a car from Daehan.”
“A Daehan car driving along the Cathayan expressways? Who are you kidding?”
The supercar whizzed along the roads. The glass on both sides were tinted, and nobody was able to peer into the vehicle. Otherwise, they would have realized that the driver was in fact a lady.
And a beautiful lady at that.
She was dressed in a dapper woman’s suit with an earphone stuffed into her ears. She wore a pair of exquisite earrings that were clearly encrusted with diamonds. Even the pendant on her chest was clearly carved from the most luxurious jade piece.
Her figure was soft and beautiful, but the sunglasses added a touch of mystery to her appearances. Even then, one could easily tell that it was a superb beauty hidden beneath the shroud of her shades.
All eyes were on the supercar. If they could see past the tinted mirrors, they would realize that the lady was the only one in the car right now.
Screech… The supercar screeched to a halt at the traffic junction. The lady kept her foot on the brakes as she muttered softly, “Do you know something? It’s not good to wake up so early in the mornings. It’s easy to look old if I don’t get the requisite beauty sleep I need.”
Just then, a red coloured hand suddenly reached out from behind her.
It suddenly appeared out of nowhere from an otherwise empty vehicle.
It looked like a human hand, but a closer inspection would reveal that there were only four fingers on the hand. Furthermore, the red hue wasn’t anything like the usual pink hue of the healthy human body. Rather… it appeared grisly, almost as though someone had been flayed alive, revealing the scarlet muscles beneath the human skin!
The veins on the arm bulged abnormally, almost as though there weren’t any muscles or bones, and were instead composed entirely out of dense veins that appeared no different from the roots of an old tree. It was a frightening sight.
A hoarse voice spoke from behind. It was daytime, but the voice had a bizarre property that sent chills down anyone’s spine, almost as though it were claws on a chalkboard. Moments later, there was a sound of a zip being undone, and then a mist of Yin energy soon filled the inside of the vehicle.
Drip… There was the sound of a water droplet landing in the vehicle. The lady immediately raised her brows without flinching in the slightest, “This car is very expensive…”
But before she could even finish, a hand covered with white, long hair reached out from behind and pinched the lady’s head between its claws. Yet another voice spoke from within the vehicle, “Lee Jung-sook… you truly aren’t afraid of death.”
Lee Jung-sook completely turned a blind eye to the presence of the clawed hand. Instead, she simply flicked open her cigarette case, picked out her cigarette of choice, and then pulled out her diamond-encrusted lighter. Then, she lit up and took a deep drag of her favourite orange-scented cigarette, “Crow Tengu, Black Yaksha… I would be grateful if you could truly kill me and dispose of me for all eternity.”
She glanced up at the rearview mirror, only to notice two monsters seated on the backseats of the otherwise empty vehicle!
The one on the left sported hideous appearances, with one eye and a mouth filled with canine teeth like a ferocious beast. His entire head was covered with white hair, while its body was covered with bloated veins. He wore an onmyoji’s cap over its head.
Dark, grisly saliva would drip from its mouth from time to time, transforming into Yin energy that dissipated throughout the entire vehicle. He wore tattered black shorts with dusty white underwear, and rested its feet on geta, the traditional footwear of samurais. A necklace of skeletons hung from his neck, while a pair of wings about the size of a baby’s arm were neatly tucked behind him.
The other entity appeared far less daunting. However… he was a dog!
And a white dog at that. To be more precise, he was half-dog, half-man. An Inu Yaksha!
The head of the dog appeared no different from that of a human being. He wore the snow-white robes of an ancient hunter with a high black hat. Soft strands of black hair hung loosely by the sides of his head. He appeared completely calm and placid - a stark contrast next to the ferocious creature beside him that appeared ready to explode in fury at any time! That said, the Yin energy emanating from the Inu Yaksha was far more terrifying than that of the Crow Tengu beside him!
And the fact that they were out in the day meant that they were Yin spirits capable of dawn voyage, or in other words, incarnate revenants!
“You’d best not be playing any tricks on us.” The Inu Yaksha crossed his legs and ran his razor-sharp claws along the windows of the car, emitting a hair-raising screech, “You might be immortal, but… immortals still feel pain…”
But Lee Jung-sook didn’t appear to be in the slightest bit daunted. She chuckled softly, “What happened to the Nipponese underworld anyway? It’s already been so long since the incident back at the Strait of Tsushima, and yet they’re only sending agents for Oda Nobunaga’s soul right now? And do you actually fear hell so much that you need an ageless immortal like me to smuggle you in?”
Her headrest promptly exploded into smithereens, and Crow Tengu leaned in ravenously with his jaws wide open. Even the fishy saliva dribbling from his lips was now dripping directly onto her head, “You… dare disrespect Lady Izanami?!”
Yet Lee Jung-sook wasn’t frazzled at all. She continued to chuckle softly, “But that also makes sense. After all, I’m the only one who can freely enter and exit the Array of the Nine Gods. Who else could you approach for help but I?”
SSS!!! With a ferocious hiss, Crow Tengu abruptly opened his mouth and wrapped his lips around Lee Jung-sook’s head, almost as though he were ready to bite down at the moment’s notice.
“[in Nipponese] Fool! Stop!” Black Yaksha snapped as his entire body erupted with terrifying Yin energy. In an instant, his hair turned black, and his eyes turned bloodshot, just like a hellish asura.
He stared intently at Crow Tengu, while Crow Tengu glanced back angrily at him.
“Cough, cough…” Just then, Lee Jung-sook coughed softly. The eruption of Yin energy had caused the temperature within to suddenly dip, so much so that the interior of the vehicle was now covered with a layer of frost. Crow Tengu’s golden pupils narrowed slightly. Then, with a cold snort, he sat back down onto the rear seats.
“Don’t do anything stupid.” Black Yaksha reverted back to his original form and cautioned coldly, “If she dies, we won’t be able to return home. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in Cathay?”
The car continued driving into the outskirts of the city. The entire journey lasted another twenty minutes before they finally stopped.
There was a stretch of factory buildings ahead, and Samsung’s trademark blue logo glistened in the sunlight. A large group of people were already waiting at the entrance of the building when they finally arrived.
Lee Jung-sook was in attendance personally. Naturally, every single key Samsung personnel located in Eastmount had to be present as well!
Click… The car door opened slowly. Meanwhile, Crow Tengu and Black Yaksha both sensibly vanished from sight.
Lee Jung-sook first put her slender, pale leg and her scarlet heels out of the car, and then with her head held high and a graceful poise, she finally stepped out.
1. So the author provides these details, but then goes on to talk about the car as though it’s a 4 seater. I’ll presume that this is one of Ferrari’s 4 seaters that have 949 horsepower in the parallel universe.