The daolord of the asura took a deep breath. If he had a heart, it would be beating right out of his chest right now. Meanwhile, Qin Ye watched silently as the daolord slowly descended from the sky. The two locked eyes with each other in tense, electrifying silence, until the daolord finally spoke moments later, “Unless… Yanluo Qin is unwilling?”
Qin Ye gazed deep into the daolord’s eyes. He was almost certain by now that the daolord had sensed something amiss. But even then, he couldn’t understand what went wrong with his performance earlier.
Bluntly put, the key to playing poker was to have gonads of steel. And to this end, Qin Dogballs was clearly in a league of his own.
“Are you not afraid that the Harken would send you flying as soon as it sees you?” Qin Ye smiled faintly as he continued to maintain his pretenses, doing everything he could to leave things as open as possible.
“Of course I am.” The daolord lowered his head and concealed the palpable murderous intent stirring in the depths of his eyes, “But… you’ll be there, won’t you?”
“Besides… what I’m even more terrified about is the prospect of being used without even knowing so. I’ve had my fair share of stepping on others, and I don’t intend on having a taste of my own medicine anytime soon…”
“Fine.” Qin Ye nodded calmly.
Qin Ye could tell that this was one of those situations where the more he said, the worse things would get.
The daolord of the asura cupped his hands respectfully, “Your Excellency, there are only a few pockets of time within each calendar year where the separation of realms is least distinct. What you know as the infernal eyes and the night of the returning souls are all phenomena that would mostly occur during these pockets of time. Incidentally, the three major ghost festivals are when the barrier between realms are at an all-time low. These are pockets of time that even children would be able to see unclean things moving about within the mortal realm. Apart from that, nights of the full moon are also when the Yin energy is densest within the mortal realm.”
“If I were to vicariously roam the netherworld in the body of a mere mortal using the Auxiliary Heart Transmission technique, it would only be possible when the gates of Hell are wide open.”
The daolord lifted his head and put on his best smile, yet his expression only looked as vicious as ever, “So, then, this little one shall schedule his visit to Hell during the Hungry Ghost Festival itself. It’s just as well that I’ve got two guests with me whom I’ve picked up on their trip back to the mortal realm. I’m sure they’d be happy to show me the way.”
“As you please.” Qin Ye promptly transformed into a stream of nethergale that swept into the distance, “I don’t have the time to personally receive you.”
“Until then, Your Excellency.” The daolord of the asura lay prostrate on the ground and bowed deeply as he slowly sensed the nethergale drifting into the distance. It wasn’t until a minute later that he slowly lifted his head once more.”
“That’s 15 days away…” He licked his lips venomously, “If you’re trying to pull a fast one on me, there’s nothing you’d be able to do to salvage the situation with just 15 days’ time.”
“Granted, I’m truly astounded that you were even able to take down the Shanhai Pass. But… do you even have the strength to harness the power contained within? Do you think I can’t peer beyond that shanty farce of yours? You’ve underestimated me… Have you forgotten? I was once the chancellor of the great Song Dynasty before I died…”
“Damn it!” Qin Ye flew away at top speed. His expression right now was hideous, twisted, and filled with palpable vexation.
Where did I go wrong?
Over and over again, he ran through the entire process of negotiations in his mind, yet he simply couldn’t understand what let the cat out of the bag. That said, it didn’t matter any longer. Both sides were at risk of stumbling and falling during the negotiations. In fact, the daolord had stumbled throughout the entire negotiations, and had only managed to pick himself back up and salvage the situation towards the very end.
He wasn’t angry. After all, he knew full well that he was neither omniscient nor omnipotent. At best, he simply resented how he came so close, and was yet so far.
Anyone in his shoes would have felt as vexed as he was.
The winds rushed past his ear, while he kept his eyes fixed on his destination ahead. His hair scattered everywhere, fluttering wildly in tandem with his clothes. Ten minutes later, he finally came to a halt.
“Qin Hui used to be the chancellor of the Song Dynasty. Sure, he might be a little rough around the edges, but so long as he takes a look around Hell and makes a few inquiries, he would be able to piece together the truth about Hell as it stands right now! And the worst part about all of this is the fact that I simply can’t refuse this request of his!”
After all, the daolord of the asura wasn’t the only daolord in Cathay.
Dong Zhuo, the daolord of the beast lay in the west, slowly but surely accumulating all of the other shards of the King Yanluo’s Seal.
Granted, the Harken’s presence means that the daolords would never dare to make a move against Hell. However, what Qin Ye was more afraid about was the possibility that they would take flight!
What would happen if they took flight with the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal?
The Hall of Tremors would forever remain in a dormant state! Worse, they might even defect to other top underworlds of the netherworld! The consequences would be dire, to say the least!
“Oh, how times have changed… To think that the things that I fear are no longer the daolords themselves, but the prospects that they would escape!” He ran his fingers through his hair in great frustration as he sighed deeply and continued thinking aloud, “Fortunately, Hell’s government is already making the necessary preparations. What would be most terrifying would be the absence of hope. It’s a good thing that Hell is going to be promulgating the new system of currency and celebrating a grand festivity during the upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival.”
Just then, he paused.
The Hungry Ghost Festival… again?
Why does it seem like everything is leading right up to the Hungry Ghost Festival? The promulgation of Hell’s currency, Hell’s market stimulation, and then now the daolord of the asura’s personal visit to Hell…
Just then, he felt something at his chest.
“What’s this?” He pulled out the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal from within his garments. To his surprise, it was again emitting a faint luster on all of its facets. Just like the last time, each facet revealed a completely different image.
Having already experienced this phenomenon once, he decided to focus on a single facet this time, and he stared intently at it, ignoring the rest of the facets.
The images were blurry, but he could tell that he was clearly featured in it!
It depicted the image of some ruins. But he wasn’t the only one depicted in this image. There was also…
“Mo Changhao?” He raised his brows quizzically and brought it closer to his eyes as he carefully scrutinized it, “And he’s… striking at me? What the hell is going on here?”
In the image, Mo Changhao appeared to be speaking with him. Then, without any warning, he suddenly unleashed an attack from a bizarre angle, striking Qin Ye squarely across the back.
Whoosh… Just then, the image blurred away, and everything vanished as abruptly as they had appeared.
He held the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal tightly in his hands for some time, before frowning deeply as he stashed it right back in his garments, “There’s neither a time stamp nor any context in these images. Are these… omens? Regardless, the Hungry Ghost Festival takes priority for now. I’ll just lessen my face time with him in the near future.”
With that, he turned his mind right back to the issues at hand.
“Going back to where I was… Although I might not be able to conceal Hell’s shortcoming from the daolord’s eyes, all I need to do is to make it clear to him that Hell’s presence will overshadow anything he can possibly achieve in just ten years’ time. That way, he would never dare make another move against hell.”
“And if I’m going to do that, then I guess I’ll just have to increase the specifications for the upcoming grand festivity. I shouldn’t see him as any other Abyssal Prefect. Rather, I should see him as a spokesperson for the three strongest revolutionary forces in existence in Cathay right now. So long as they refrain from making a move against Hell, then it wouldn’t take me longer than a couple of decades to unify the Cathayan underworld once more! What’s most difficult is reaching out to them to begin with!”
Having cleared up his mind, his heart was finally at peace once more. Thus, he transformed back into a stream of nethergale and rushed right back to Martial City.
Meanwhile, back in Limbo. The Harken was just lying motionless on the ground like a stone sculpture when it abruptly opened its eyes.
Fate had begun to move once again.
“Mm?” The Harken frowned, “It’s already 6.00 a.m., and it’s only moving now? But… why?”
Furthermore, its movements this time appeared far more arduous than before. With each stroke of the brush, golden lotus of virtues would blossom in the void and erupt with a brilliant golden lustre, almost as though it were a consummate opus of creation itself.
It was beautiful.
At the same time, each stroke of the brush sent ripples flying through the air. These might not even seem like words to others, but the Harken was able to read it all the same.
“Is it… attempting to hide from something?” The Harken observed Fate keenly for several more minutes, before realization suddenly dawned on him.
“It must be because the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal has sensed its presence…” It licked its lips in surprise, but continued with some measure of excitement, “Nothing in Hell escapes the watchful eyes of King Yanluo’s Seal - even if it’s in pieces right now. If I had to guess… it must have attempted to warn Qin Ye about the things to come.”
“But even then, these warnings shouldn’t be too overt. Fate is after all second only to the three divine artifacts of Hell. It’s definitely superior to the Three Births Stone and Granny Meng’s Soup. It’s practically impossible to expect a single shard of King Yanluo’s Seal to stop the wheels of Fate.”
“Everything… will still eventually play out as scripted. Come now, let’s see whose name is written this time.”
T minus 14 days.
A few strokes were added to Lee Jung-sook’s name. In addition, another name that was completely foreign to him was added to the list.
“Yu Changle?” The Harken thought about it for a moment, and then shook his head, “Never heard of it… I don’t even know if it’s a man or a ghost. But it matters not. The fact that Fate had written this name means that this person would undoubtedly become a part of the grand play that is being scripted…”
“You… What the hell are you trying to do?!” Kim Jae-huan screamed at the top of his voice, pulling on his quilt to cover his body, but to no avail. The sheets were clearly too small to conceal the folds of his body. That said, he was still able to cover the other person in his bed.
He was dead certain that this was the place that he had rented.
He had rented a seafront villa in Azurewaters City. Although he can’t claim to be in charge of Samsung, the fact of the matter was that he had never been short changed as far as his privileges were concerned.
Even then, humans were creatures that knew no contentment.
It was both a good and a bad thing.
He had screamed because the door to his room had suddenly flung wide open, and a group of black-clad bodyguards rushed right in, ignoring his screams and shouts as they cleared all the rooms.
“It’s me.” Just then, a lady’s voice spoke from just beyond the door. Kim Jae-huan grew silent at once.
The true queen of Samsung.
He couldn’t help but glance at his cellphone. It was 5.20 a.m.
Lee Jung-sook strode into his room wearing a perfectly-fitted suit, almost as though nobody else were around. Her heels clacked heavily against the ground with every step that she took. As soon as she entered, one of her bodyguards pulled a chair over and offered her a seat.
“You’re truly living the life, aren’t you?” Lee Jung-sook smiled as she sat down. Then, she lit up a cigarette and puffed it gracefully, “Why are you always courting trouble?”
She waved her hands casually as she spoke. At once, her bodyguards bowed respectfully and made their way out of the room.
“What are you still waiting for?” She closed her eyes and leaned back into her seat.
Kim Jae-huan didn’t understand what she was driving at. But then, it soon dawned on him, “You mean…”
Lee Jung-sook tapped her armrest lightly, “Let the person in your comforter out. I’ve got something to discuss with you in private.”
Kim Jae-huan gulped nervously. For some strange reason, he couldn’t help but feel completely exposed whenever he was in front of Lee Jung-sook. His lips quivered as he turned stiffly to the person in his comforter, “Didn’t you hear what she said?”
“Now! Nobody’s going to look at you!”
“Yes…” The lady within covered her chest and lowered her head as she crawled out from under the sheets. Lee Jung-sook glanced at her, before adding softly, “At least let her have the comforter to protect her modesty.”
Kim Jae-huan tossed the comforter over with great vexation, and the lady quickly wrapped herself with it as she ran out of the door.
And then, there was silence.
Kim Jae-huan subconsciously shrank back under the sheets, while Lee Jung-sook chuckled, “Don’t worry, I’m not that hungry for food. Besides, I’m rather picky about my target of choice.”
“What is it that you want?” Kim Jae-huan gnashed his teeth.
Lee Jung-sook gently snuffed out her cigarette as she gazed out the window and into the distance. And then, she suddenly quipped, “Do you know what time it is now?”
“Five in the morning.” Kim Jae-huan snorted, “I didn’t expect you to know what time it was, given how you’ve barged in here.”
Ignoring his retort, Lee Jung-sook replied, “Wrong.”
“It’s… the witching hour.”
“The moment of dusk, is when all evil ghosts awaken. And the moment of dawn is when most would return to their slumber.” She turned around and glared icily at Kim Jae-huan, “Tell me exactly how you performed the ritual back then, and what instruments are required right away!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter