Martial City. Qin Ye opened his eyes back in the restroom cubicle of the city hall building.
He frowned deeply. In that instant when his consciousness was forcibly cut off, he saw two monsters standing right by Lee Jung-sook’s side.
They were strong.
In fact, they were so strong that he wasn’t even sure if Arthis could hold her own against either of them. Perhaps they weren’t as strong as Liu Yu, but they definitely weren’t far off. Furthermore, he could tell that they were both dressed like Nipponese Yin spirits.
“Did she… ask me to save her?”
Qin Ye rubbed his chin and slowly walked out of the cubicle and to the sinks where he began to wash his hands - Was she forcefully captured by the two evil ghosts? And what was she saying about the hungry ghost? What hungry ghost? Daolord of the hungry ghost? No, she wouldn’t know anything of it. And if that’s the case, she must be referring to the Hungry Ghost Festival.
But what of it? What are they going to do then?
Why does everything seem to be happening on the very same day?
Soon, he shook his head and dispelled these thoughts from his mind. There was simply too little information to go on. The Nipponese evil ghosts were far too astute. They didn’t even give her the opportunity to say much. But, even then, he took her plea to heart.
It had nothing to do with romantic feelings. Instead… it was more of a trust between kindred spirits.
After all, she was just like him, and only she could truly understand what he was going through. In fact, only those who had experienced what they had would be able to sympathize and even render advice to one another
With that, he walked out of the washroom. Wu Wenqing walked right up to him with a genial smile as soon as he was out, “The executive committee in Prosperity Developers have indicated their preference to halt all works until investigations are complete. I’ve already notified the top brass of the Special Investigations Department, and they’ve asked you to go take a look at the site, and then give them your preliminary thoughts. You’re also given the latitude in accordance with your discretion.”
Qin Ye was somewhat vexed at the developments.
The most important thing to him right now was the grand festivities at the upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival, because that was exactly when the daolord of the asura would be visiting Hell. He had to do everything he could to take things up another notch at the upcoming festivities! Where was he supposed to find the time to care about such trivial matters such as the excavation of an artifact right now?
Unfortunately, this wasn’t something he could simply ignore.
It was part of his duties and responsibilities.
“Let’s go resolve it quickly then.” He shook his head with a sigh and beckoned to Wu Wenqing.
“Yes. Our transport is ready and waiting.”
Martial City wasn’t large by any means. It was a city originally developed for its idyllic seafront beauty. Unfortunately, most of the seafront villas couldn’t be sold due to the uptick in the number of supernatural incidents. Instead, the properties that received greater interest from the general populace were those that were located closer to the city hall, because most citizens found solace in their proximity to governmental buildings. It was more psychological than anything. To that end, perhaps one of the few silver linings of the outbreak of supernatural incidents was that it completely shattered Cathay’s real estate bubble, provided the government an opportunity to reorganize matters.
They boarded the car, and the driver soon sped off towards the Lush Garden Acres worksite, while Qin Ye shut his eyes to get some rest. Approximately ten minutes later, Qin Ye abruptly opened his eyes and glanced around the vehicle, before immediately yelling at the top of his voice, “Stop the car!!”
The car immediately screeched to a halt, and Wu Wenqing spoke with great consternation, “Mr Qin, what’s wrong?”
But Qin Ye remained completely silent. He simply gazed at the canopy of the skies with a grave expression on his face.
After some time, he finally lowered his head, “Do you not see that?”
“See what?” Wu Wenqing was baffled.
Qin Ye didn’t respond directly. Instead, he glossed over the question which Wu Wenqing posed to him, and simply pointed to the distance, “Is that the direction of Lush Garden Acres?”
“Yes… How did you know that?”
Qin Ye took a deep breath and suppressed his throbbing temples, “Drive. Head over as quickly as you can.”
The car moved off immediately, and Wu Wenqing remained completely baffled by Qin Ye’s sudden outburst. Unfortunately, he didn’t notice that Qin Ye’s attention was completely enraptured by the sky above Lush Garden Acres.
In his eyes, the sky had turned completely scarlet in colour!
In fact, the vast canopy of the skies above appeared no different from the tranquil surface of the waters, while drops of red dye appeared to be added slowly to it, gently diffusing throughout the skies with a smoky, wispy presence. Then, as the redness slowly tainted the skies, it gradually transformed into a massive vortex!
It was a reverse vortex at that, with a large base that gradually narrowed the higher it went into the sky. And the Lush Garden Acres was located directly beneath the vortex!
Whoosh… Just as Qin Ye was staring intently at the night sky, countless dark silhouettes suddenly appeared in the skies above like the rolling waves of the seas, crashing and swirling menacingly around the vortex in the middle.
These dark silhouettes were messenger birds congealed entirely out of Yin energy. All of them sported gleaming red eyes that appeared to flow like an endless river of spirits in the foreboding skies above.
Dear heavens… Qin Ye retracted his gaze and began to massage his temples - What the hell is going on here?! How am I supposed to rest in peace like this? Why do these things keep happening around me?!!”
The Yin energy that was gathering in the area… was beyond anything he had ever seen before.
In fact… he could tell that the aggregate Yin energy easily exceeded the Harken’s Yin energy readings!
It was in a league of its own - one which was completely beyond all human comprehension.
What in the world is this thing?! And why wasn’t it here when I returned earlier? Why aren’t these mortals able to detect it?
Screech… Just then, the car screeched to a halt. They had already arrived right in front of the worksite of Lush Garden Acres. At once, Qin Ye was buffeted by a wave of Yin energy so dense and thick it was well beyond his belief!
All works had been halted, and the usual construction and engineering equipment had all been removed. As soon as Qin Ye entered the worksite, several others bearing the emblem of the Special Investigations Department immediately came forward to receive him.
“Greetings, chief.” “Good day to you, sir!” At once, several investigators greeted Qin Ye and promptly sized him up. That said, Qin Ye could hardly be bothered about these things right now.
The closer he drew to this place, the more his heart palpitated. This was a netherworldly phenomenon well beyond what he had ever witnessed before. Indeed, not even Arthis’ earlier display of her Judge’s authority could even come close to comparison. Yet, even then, the daunting phenomenon didn’t attract any trace of fear from his heart. Instead… he even felt a strange sense of familiarity to it.
Unfortunately, he feared such a response the most, primarily because he was also in charge around these parts.
Wu Wenqing was the first one to sense Qin Ye’s peculiar silence, “Mr Qin?” However, Qin Ye simply marched forward, and the rest of the investigators soon followed closely behind him.
A tall boundary fence had been erected around the worksite.
Construction sites were generally cordoned-off with a plastic fence together with prominent signs designating the cordoned-off areas as construction sites and to caution all potential trespassers. However, this construction site was in particular different. Instead of the usual plastic fence, it was cordoned-off with wooden hoardings.
In fact, the wooden hoardings were by no means normal either. They were clearly reinforced with other materials that made them look dark and sullen, while the surface of the hoarding was even carved with intricate designs of Zhongkui capturing ghosts, the palaces of Hell, and even the eighteen abysses of punishment. A closer inspection of the designs would also reveal that there appeared to be veins running along the hoarding within which a dark energy appeared to flow. Furthermore, the outer hoarding was bound tightly by thick chains wrapped by paper talismans.
It’s already been sealed. I’ve got to hand it to Wu Wenqing for his efficiency. To think it would already be sealed so well in such a short span of time. But, no matter.
Qin Ye kicked a rock nearby with some measure of frustration on his heart. He couldn’t help but get the niggling feeling that… something was going to happen here.
I shouldn’t stay here for long if I can help it…
Unfortunately, he couldn’t shirk his responsibilities right in front of everyone’s watchful eyes.
Just then, the chains rattled softly.
They opened up.
The wooden hoarding was easily over two meters high, and the door was naturally as large as the gates to a grand home. In that instant that the chains rattled, a talisman slowly floated onto the ground. Following that, a hand gently pulled the door to the hoarding on the other side and opened it with a soft creak.
A dark figure peeked out from behind the narrow gap, before slowly shrinking back like an old corpse in a desolate mountain village.
Not a single person spoke. Everyone gasped deeply and took a step back at the same time.
Qin Ye’s eyes flickered softly. He was used to observing the minutest details to pick up traces of the supernatural, so while the others might have been focused on the opening hoarding, he had instead noticed the figure inside reaching out with several fingers, before slinking away into the depths of the inner reaches.
Therefore, he noticed that the figure had no shadow at all, whether from his hand or his body!
It was broad daylight, yet things were as chilling as opening a cursed closet in the depths of a musky home.
“Who’s in there?” Qin Ye asked with a deep voice.
“Mr Qin…” Wu Wenqing gulped nervously, “Nobody’s in there…”
“Not a single person is in there at all…”
“This work site has been earmarked as a special location, and none are authorized to enter save for the strongest cultivator in the region..”
Qin Ye drew a deep breath and stared at the crack between the wooden hoarding the door.
If that’s the case… who opened the door?
A deep chill rose from the hearts of all who saw the peculiar sight, and all of them turned to look at Qin Ye in unison.
It’s just as well… Qin Ye calmed his heart and mind down, “I’ll head in to investigate. You guys wait outside.”
And then, he rushed headlong through the crack in the hoarding before the others could even respond.
He crossed a hundred meters or so in the blink of an eye. And then, as soon as he entered the wooden hoarding, the door slammed shut with a loud bang.
Not a single sound of the traffic or pedestrians outside could penetrate the wooden hoarding in the area. It was almost as though he had stepped through a portal to Hell.
Furthermore, he didn’t see a single person in sight.
It was almost as though that man from earlier was nothing more than an illusion.
He could see that the area enclosed by the wooden hoarding was clearly a construction site. The excavated portions of the ground were covered with neatly placed rebars, clearly intended to form the foundation of the next development in this locality. That said, what lay below the rebars wasn’t the usual hard soil. Rather… it was a bottomless abyss!
And this was the case across the entire work site. In other words, this was an abyss that was tens of thousands of meters wide!
Wisps of black energy rushed out from the depths, spiralling into the skies above, where they would congeal into the Yin messenger birds that would fly high into the vortex in the sky, blotting out the sun like a boundless black tide. Even then, this was a sight that was completely hidden to the eyes of mere mortals.
That said, what was most bizarre was the fact that his arrival only appeared to make the Yin messenger birds fly faster and chirp even more joyously.
It was almost as though they were all welcoming the arrival of the King Yanluo of Hell, and what lay at the very depths of the seemingly bottomless abyss was none other than his mighty throne.
Can you please keep it down?! I don’t want my cover to be blown over here!
Qin Ye gritted his teeth and began to walk over the intertwining rebars to get a closer look. He peered down through the gaps between the rebars, only to be buffeted by the chilling winds below.
As he plodded on, he felt almost drawn to the abyss below, almost as though there were thousands of invisible hands reaching out from within and dragging him down.
“What the hell is that thing?” He felt conflicted. As the Infernal Judge of Martial City, he knew that resolving matters pertaining to the supernatural was a part of his duty. However, his own intuition told him that what lay below was closely related to him as well.
He was faced with a dilemma. Should he deal with it, or should he not?
After several seconds of silence, he took out his cell phone and captured a five minute video of the incredible phenomenon, together with dozens of photographs. Then, just as he was about to leave, his hand suddenly trembled so hard that he nearly dropped his phone.
He could’ve sworn that he heard… someone calling him.
Someone was calling him from the bottom of the abyss.
Qin Ye was emboldened by the fact that he was an Infernal Judge, “Who are you?”
The voice from below was faint, yet it seemed to carry traces of both bitterness and joy, “Can’t you… tell?”
Qin Ye frowned deeply as he searched through his memories for where he had heard this voice before.
Seconds later, his eyes quivered softly, and then he peered over into the abyss once more.
That was… his own voice!
“Who are you?” Qin Ye asked again with an incomparably somber gaze.
“I… am you…” The voice sounded like it was both chuckling and whimpering at the same time, “Do you know… why King Yanluo exists…?”
“The faith of man… and the faith of all living things…”
Then, the voice trailed off.
Qin Ye stood there on the rebars for the next ten minutes, waiting patiently for any further response. Unfortunately, he heard nothing more of the voice below.
There was a grave expression on his face. Moments later, he snickered, “Do you think you can bully me just because I’m new?”
“Try me. You’ve messed with the wrong person now.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter