Qin Ye was naturally unaware of the Harken’s sentiments at this point. Nevertheless, he pointed his finger and caused a series of screens of light formed out of Yin energy to appear in front of the Harken’s face.
“Take a look at these things… Do you think you’d be able to do them for me?” Qin Ye gazed deeply at the Harken’s back and continued explaining in a deep voice, “These are just some tentative plans of mine. The primary purpose of the grand ceremony is to smoothen the rolling out of our monetary policy. These festivities will give the citizens of Hell a place to spend and a reason to buy--…”
But the Harken promptly interjected before he could finish his sales pitch, “30,000 square meters of mega structures? You’re truly hell bent on making this a grand event, aren’t you?”
Qin Ye rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he stared at the Harken’s back - Is he unwilling to face me?
These festivities are more symbolic than anything. The establishment of a new system of currency would completely sweep Kong Mo’s name into the annals of history, while the festivity itself would promote the development of culture and heritage, and through that, foster a common identity. This would seal their pledge of allegiance to Hell! There are absolutely no downsides to this, so why would the Harken speak with such a tone of voice? It’s almost as though… he doesn’t find the result satisfactory at all.
Qin Ye hunched his back and began to scrutinize the Harken - Menopause? In heat? Either ways, the Harken seems somewhat different today.
As if it could sense Qin Ye’s burning scrutiny, the Harken shrank its entire body as it finally responded, “How are you going to generate your electricity to power these amenities?”
Qin Ye immediately straightened his back and coughed dryly, “Well, there’s a majestic and mighty creature called Pikachu. If possible, perhaps you could--...”
Chat window closed.
Qin Ye coughed dryly, “There’s still a second option. I know that we’ve got no sources of energy right now, but we can still achieve the same ends by manipulating Yin talismans. So…”
“So you’re telling me to execute the entire plan all by myself?” The Harken pointed at itself. Its voice was placid, but ostensibly undergirded by a murderous intent.
Qin Ye gulped nervously, “If you would be so kind--...”
Chat window closed. Again.
Sigh… It looks like I’ve got to bring out my ultimate move… Qin Ye sighed and stretched out his palm to display all five of his fingers, “50 pounds of catnip!”
Holy shit… you’re actually pulling this move on me?!
The Harken gulped greedily, but turned away pridefully, “Ridiculous. I’m the Harken. Do you think that I’d sell myself for some treats--...”
“Deal!!!” The Harken instantly leapt to its feet and began to wag its tail like a propeller of a plane.
With that, Qin Ye left and returned to his own office back in Hell. Yet, even then, he couldn’t help but keep his brows furrowed. There was a niggling sensation in his heart that gave him a bad premonition about what was to come.
He didn’t know when it began, but he felt almost as though there was a pair of eyes staring intently at him from the netherworld. To make matters worse, a Yama-class Yin beast was unable to resolve the mystery surrounding this uncanny feeling of his!
In fact, the Harken didn’t even deign to look him in the eye.
Tap, tap… He tapped his fingers rhythmically on his desk as he replayed in his mind again and again the Harken’s earlier interactions with him. Then, after an inordinate amount of time, he finally sighed, “It must be torn.”
“It was all triggered by the mention of the Hungry Ghost Festival. And as soon as I was done talking about that, the Harken immediately reverted back to its original self. Does it know something about the Hungry Ghost Festival that I don’t? Or perhaps… something is supposed to happen at the Hungry Ghost Festival itself?”
Just as he was deep in his thoughts, a voice suddenly called out to him in his mind, “My Lord, your blessings have enabled this humble servant of yours to return to serve you wholeheartedly.”
Qin Ye immediately vanished from his office without a trace and reappeared in the mortal realm.
It was now 3.00 p.m. Qin Ye appeared right back in his own apartment. That said, he didn’t tell Shadowless of his own whereabouts out of precaution.
“I’ll see you at Old Street Teahouse in ten minutes’ time. You may attach yourself to any person of your choosing.”
“Certainly.” Shadowless answered respectfully, before adding his two cents’ worth, “That said, Your Excellency needn’t be this careful. The only Infernal Judge in Eastmount is located in Qizhou, and Yin spirits would only erupt with Yin energy when they’re hunting for food. In other words, we remain undetectable on all other occasions.”
“Fool.” Qin Ye responded coldly, “If that’s truly the case, then how do you think the mortal realm defines the boundaries of all hunting zones and predatory zones? Don’t underestimate the mortal realm. The technology available to mankind is far beyond what you can even begin to fathom.”
“I stand corrected.” Shadowless responded with his closing remark.
With that, Qin Ye departed from his room, called a cab and immediately made his way towards the agreed location. Unbeknownst to him, there was a man dressed in a Cathayan tunic suit who saw everything that had just transpired.
That man sat silently on the roof with a laptop on his knees with a thumbnail of the map of the entire city. Moments later, a red blip on the map slowly began to move away from the building that Qin Ye was just in moments ago.
“Target is moving.” The man’s face was as featureless and forgettable as it got - the kind that would easily blend into a crowd of people and vanish without a trace. His voice was also plain and bland, “I’ve checked his schedule and confirmed that there’s nothing fixed in Martial City for him this afternoon. As you’ve instructed, I’ve ensured that there will be no emergency or distress calls relayed to him this afternoon.”
Zhou Xianlong’s voice responded from the other end of his headset, “Continue monitoring and report back as soon as you have the target’s landing area. Meanwhile, I want an all-round scan conducted in the region. Include all energy readings, be it true energy or Yin energy.”
“Yes.” The man nodded, and then twisted a knob on his headset, “Stand down.”
One floor below. A man dressed in camouflage uniform promptly lowered his sniper rifle.
And he wasn’t the only one. There were easily at least a dozen iron sights trained onto Qin Ye’s body just moments ago.
Elsewhere, in an apartment building. This was by no means an office of the Special Investigations Department. Zhou Xianlong’s eyes narrowed slightly, and he propped up his head with interlocked fingers as he stared deeply into the screen in front of him.
The apartment was approximately 150 square meters large. It was by no means a small place. Yet, apart from Zhou Xianlong and another man in black, nobody else was in the room right now.
The curtains had been completely drawn, and the light in the room was somewhat dim. Six screens hung all around the room, each of which appeared to be connected to various devices and instruments. Anyone would easily mistake this room for a set used for sci-fi movies.
“Leader.” The man in black tapped gently on his earpiece, before lowering his hand once more, “Given the target’s path of travel, there’s a reasonable likelihood that his destination is the Old Street. Team One has already been instructed to stand down.”
Zhou Xianlong nodded, sighed, and then shut his eyes.
After a long time, he muttered softly, “I’m sorry.”
Zhou Xianlong’s voice was soft, but the man in black clearly heard the words spoken. After much hesitation, the man in black remarked, “Leader, all Infernal Judges would generally undergo observation for several years before we fully entrust them with their office. Such high-profile review isn’t uncommon to begin with. After all, Infernal Judges are part of the core forces of the Special Investigation Department, and they’re granted access to the most confidential files. Your caution is not misplaced.”
That’s right… there’s nothing wrong in erring on the side of caution…
Zhou Xianlong shut his eyes once more, only to reveal a bitter smile on his face.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong to act on one’s emotions.
Qin Ye used to be an instructor that he favored the most. Yet, by some sick twist of fate, he had now come to tap into the highest authority conferred upon him as a deputy director of the Special Investigations Department in order to conduct an audit of the highest specification on the very same person. The emotions involved… were something he couldn’t accept.
“Seven albatrosses who have each been in service for more than ten years... These are agents who have personally witnessed the escalation of supernatural incidents over the past decade, and can easily be considered the cream of the crop…” Zhou Xianlong glanced up blankly at the ceiling, evidently lost in the mires of his own thought, “Coupled with the Special Investigations Department’s ‘Hidden Blade’ detachment comprising over 20 Hellguard-class experts. Even Mo Changhao is stationed right outside the city, ready to fully deploy the city’s supernatural perimeter. I’m afraid nobody in the Special Investigations Department apart from us knows that there are at present three Infernal Judges and over 30 Hellguards located in the small and ordinarily insignificant Martial City…”
This was a gathering of experts that would ordinarily only be seen in the Special Investigations Department’s annual debrief!
“Have Lin Han and Su Feng arrived yet?”
“Leader, they’re both involved in their own assignments right now, and I’m afraid that they’ll only arrive around 15 August, during the Hungry Ghost Festival.”
Zhou Xianlong nodded, before turning back to the front where a photograph of the First Academy of Cultivator’s opening ceremony was placed.
He gazed deeply at the photograph without saying another word.
The room fell silent once more. After some time, one of the instruments beeped loudly, and the screens suddenly began to flash with a striking red light.
“Judge-class Yin energy detected. Coordinates: X431Y242. A mix of Yin energy and Yang energy have been detected. Suspected possession. Repeat. Alert! Alert! …”
Zhou Xianlong stood up haughtily and dragged the screen until he came to the location with the coordinates X431Y242. And then, he immediately zoomed in onto the location to get a clearer view of it.
It was a teahouse that had seen better years. Old Street was a colloquial name used to refer to such dated residential areas that were built over twenty years ago. The tall poles supporting the electricity cables were all crooked and weathered, while the walls in the region were plastered with advertisements from ages past. The edges of the buildings were even mottled and mouldy.
To make matters worse, they had just received confirmation of a report of a Judge-class evil ghost travelling in broad daylight!
The man in black instantly jumped at the alert. His hair stood on end, and chills ran down his back. But just as he was about to speak up, he suddenly froze, because he saw a cab pull over right in front of the teahouse.
Their target - the newly promoted Judge, Qin Ye - alighted from the cab, marched over to the door and entered the teahouse.
He immediately glanced at the upper left corner of the screen. Then, almost as though he had been doused with icy cold water, he seized up once more.
There were no additional alerts… The screen continued to flicker, but there weren’t the usual alerts that they received as soon as they picked up a clash between true energy and Yin energy.
In other words, a Judge-class expert from the mortal realm and a Judge-class Yin spirit were both coexisting in peace at the very same location!
And there was no way they couldn’t have sensed each other’s presence!
It was almost as though… they knew each other!
It was almost as though they were interacting with each other like old friends reunited. The Old Street remained as calm and peaceful as it had always been, yet chillingly so.
Pin drop silence. The only sounds that could be heard were the ragged breaths of the man in black. Zhou Xianlong stood stoic as a statue. The dim light of the room cast a sheen glow over his face, yet the resultant shadows caused Zhou Xianlong to look as though he had instantly aged by dozens of years. After a long time, he finally spoke hoarsely, “Could our instruments have malfunctioned?”
Three seconds later, the man in black bowed respectfully, “This is our cutting-edge ‘Vault of the Sky’ system…”
He paused for a moment, and then bit his lips and stared at Zhou Xianlong’s back as he continued, “That said, the possibility of errors and omissions cannot be ruled out…”
“Contact all albatrosses. I don’t care what means they use, I simply must see what’s going on within.” Zhou Xianlong interjected almost indifferently, “Notify Mo Changhao to be at the ready with his supernatural perimeter. Inform the Hidden Blade that they are not to go within a 50 meter radius of the teahouse. Even with their cutting-edge concealment devices, there’s no way they would avoid detection by two Judge-class entities at that kind of distance.”
At once, the man in black began to speak into his headset. Meanwhile, Zhou Xianlong sank into his sofa and held up his teacup. Even then, his hands were trembling profusely.
What the hell are you doing?!
Who the hell are you?!
Don’t disappoint me… You were my favourite instructor. I sincerely hope you don’t wrong Cathay…
Clink… He accidentally shattered the teacup in his hand, and everything came crashing to the ground at once. Even then, he simply stared at his own hand with disbelief, almost as though he were numb to all sensation.Previous Chapter Next Chapter