Hell. A mighty nethergale raged about the skies as Qin Ye paced about anxiously. After an inordinate amount of time, Wang Chenghao finally ran up to the wall once more. At once, Qin Ye asked, “How is it?”
“T-the preparations a-are complete!” Wang Chenghao gaped for breath as he reported back. But before he could even finish speaking, Qin Ye vanished in a cloud of Yin energy and leapt straight down from the top of the city tower.
He wouldn’t ordinarily do something like that, because he needed to set a good example for his own citizens. But desperate times called for desperate measures!
That said, he did leave something behind.
It was the gleaming tip of the Courage of Dragons Silver Spear.
“Hang on to that. If anyone disobeys orders, kill them without mercy!” Qin Ye’s parting words boomed in Wang Chenghao’s ears.
Having learnt the truth about Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction, the only course of action remaining in his mind right now was to head straight to the mortal realm and watch the grand opening of Hell’s gates and oversee the jaunt of a thousand ghosts! After all, this was an event that would be inextricably linked to the population growth of Hell in the years to come! This wasn’t a duty he could shirk at this point!
Boom! Qin Ye landed right in front of the city walls, where thousands of Yin soldiers were already waiting for him. The Black Armored Troops stood at the very front of the formation, dark and imposing. As soon as Qin Ye descended from the skies, the leader of the troops immediately cupped his hands and greeted respectfully, “King Yanluo, the 8,000 Yin soldiers of Hell have assembled, and we humbly await Your Excellency's instructions.”
The Battle of Qufu had depleted Hell’s forces substantially. Even with the new additions that Hell had conscripted after the battle, there were at best just over 10,000 troops in Hell right now. He had mobilized more than half of them, leaving the rest to maintain security in Hell, especially with the festivities taking place on Spider Lily Island.
“Good.” Qin Ye gritted his teeth, “Gentlemen, I’ve got news. The gates of Hell are opening in the mortal realm, and tens of thousands of Yin spirits are currently swarming towards Martial City from all directions. I’ll need everyone to come with me to the mortal realm to deal with the situation.”
“My Lord, what should we do?” The general cupped his hands respectfully.
Qin Ye furrowed his brows. Why does everything seem to be an issue today? What should we do? How should I know?!
He had never thought about such a situation at all, so how could he possibly know what he was supposed to do?
Neither Arthis nor the Harken had responded to his cries for help. The daolord of the asura might know a thing or two, but Qin Ye would never ask him about something as sensitive as this, even if it meant losing a million Yin spirits back in the mortal realm.
All eyes were on him, yet he didn’t have the answers. Just then, his eyes suddenly brightened up.
He noticed two figures drifting towards him from the distance. It was Arthis and the daolord of the asura.
You’ve finally come… Qin Ye took a deep breath, smiled and cupped his hands respectfully towards the daolord of the asura. Then, he leaned in close to Arthis and whispered to her, “Why didn’t you tell me that the gates of Hell were opening tonight?”
Yet Arthis simply glanced at him placidly, “You’re the King Yanluo of Hell.”
“You’re the ruler and master of Hell.”
“It’s always been the practice for Hell to open the gates of Hell during the three major ghost festivals. Why didn’t it occur to you this time? Or should I say… has it never occurred to you before?”
Qin Ye felt a lump swell up at his throat. His cheeks were on fire, and his face flushed instantly. He took several deep breaths to regulate his emotions once more, before finally addressing his mind to the situation at hand, “Fine. You can say what you want. But at least tell me how I should guide the Yin spirits out there into the gates of Hell?”
Arthis grew silent. After a long time, she finally responded, “You don’t need to guide them at all. From the gates of Hell diffuses the Yin energy of Hell. All who detect its presence will naturally be drawn towards it. After all, high-quality Yin energy is like a godsend to them. There’s simply no way these Yin spirits would be able to resist its allure.”
“But if you want to be absolutely certain, you could always draw out the Yin energy from the Book of Life and Death. But you don’t have the time for that right now. The Yin energy from Hell should suffice as far as ordinary Yin spirits are concerned.”
Her explanations eased up the tension in Qin Ye’s heart. He sighed softly with relief, “Do me a favour.”
“I’m going to take the daolord of the asura to the gates of Hell.”
“Are you crazy?!”
“No! I’d feel even more insecure leaving him here in Hell!” Qin Ye replied resolutely, “I’ll just have him stand right at the gates of Hell and not take a step from it! Only by doing so would I feel assured!”
“And I’ll need you to watch him closely.”
Arthis was just about to say something when she suddenly pulled back. Then, she simply stared Qin Ye in the eyes, “Are you certain?”
Qin Ye nodded, “Don’t worry. He’s just a scared little rat right now. So long as you remain still, he would never dare make a single move!”
Arthis smile, “Alright.”
“I hope… you don’t regret this decision of yours.”
Because you might not even get the chance for regret!
Qin Ye finally heaved a sigh of relief as he turned to the dark skies concealing the scarlet rift above, “Everyone, I’m relying on all of you to secure the vicinity of the gates of Hell.”
“For Hell’s glory!!” The cries of the Yin soldiers resounded in unison.
I hope everything goes well… Qin Ye took a deep breath, brought the daolord of the asura and rushed straight up into the skies. 8,000 Yin soldiers of Hell followed closely behind, hurtling through the skies like a reverse meteor shower that flew straight into the rift in the skies like a moving milky way.
Meanwhile, back in Azurewaters City.
Crow Tengu and Black Yaksha stood at the top of the building, carefully scanning the sea of Yin spirits below. Lee Jung-sook was sandwiched right between the two evil ghosts.
They weren’t too far away from the ground, but for some strange reason, the Yin spirits below appeared to be unable to sense their existence.
Those who straddle both realms are entities rejected by both realms just as much as they are accepted in the same.
Dong… There was the gong of a mellifluous bell. It was 1.00 a.m. Crow Tengu and Black Yaksha looked up at the same time and gazed deep into the night sky.
“Do you sense it? This is the transition between the Yin and the Yang. Get ready. Hell’s gate will be opening in just half an hour’s time.”
“Hoo… Something feels strange…” Crow Tengu’s golden eyes narrowed slightly, “Why… are there still no Yin soldiers maintaining the order in the mortal realm?”
Black Yaksha’s expression was equally grave and somber, “That’s right. Logically speaking, we should already be seeing Yin soldiers patrolling the area. All we were supposed to do was to grab their leader and escape at once. It was part of the escape plan to trigger a riot among the Yin spirits here in Azurewaters City. That will keep their hands full and away from their pursuit of us. After all, the Hungry Ghost Festivals have been celebrated for a long time now, and Hell would never send out any Emissaries stronger than Judges. The odds of escape are reasonably high--…”
But he didn’t get the chance to finish speaking, because both Black Yaksha and Crow Tengu cocked their heads in the direction of Martial City at the exact same time.
Whoosh… A terrifying nethergale picked up out of nowhere, sending their clothes fluttering all about. At once, a chilling sensation permeated every fiber of their beings.
Hell’s rift… has finally opened…
At once, countless images flickered past Crow Tengu’s mind, until it finally paused on the ruins of what appeared to be a construction site. There, he saw a huge pit spanning 10,000 square meters from which dense Yin energy was spewing out, cutting through the interlaced steel rebars above like tofu.
Clatter… clang… The ground surrounding the pit crumbled away and sank deep into the abyss below. It was clear that something was rumbling and emerging from below!
“Hoo… It’s not happening in Azurewaters City!” Crow Tengu stood up abruptly, “Hoo… It’s happening in Martial City!!”
“Let’s go!” At once, Black Yaksha grabbed Lee Jung-sook with one hand and retrieved a small Buddhist lamp with the other.
The Buddhist lamp was still lit right now, and it emitted a deep green aura of lustre about it, almost as though it had imprisoned within it countless aggrieved souls. Black Yaksha quickly flew into action, making a series of quick hand seals before clasping his hands together. Within moments, their movement speed surged well beyond that of the speed of sound, and they left afterimages in the wake of their path of travel!
With speeds like that, it would only take them 20 minutes to get to Martial City!
Neither said a word. Lee Jung-sook curled up into a ball, shielding herself from the terrifying wind resistance as they continued to fly at top speed. Soon, a large city appeared on the horizon.
Yin energy radiated from the heart of the city, filling every corner of it like a terrifying plague. Countless spots of netherflames filled the entire city, as though claiming it as a kingdom of the dead. The Yin spirits wandering the streets below and the wilderness around were all drifting towards the source of the terrifying Yin energy, as though they were answering an irresistible call. The air was filled with Yin energy as boundless as the oceans.
Whoosh… Both Nipponese Emissaries screeched to a halt as they stared at the city with an immeasurably grave expression.
Why? What’s going on? Why isn’t Hell’s gate located at Azurewaters City? And… whatever happened to the gate of Hell located in Azurewaters City?
They didn’t have the answers.
But they knew that the answers lay right in the heart of Martial City.
“Crow Tengu…” There was a tremor in Black Yaksha’s voice, “We’re soon going to face off against the Emissaries of Hell. Are you afraid?”
“No…” Crow Tengu’s voice was also trembling, but it was evidently filled with murderous intent, “We’re invincible among all below the ranks of Abyssal Prefect!”
Fwoosh!! Just then, a black glow erupted from the ground, so conspicuous that even Crow Tengu and Black Yaksha could see them from miles away.
The black lustre was brilliant and vast, just like an outpouring of stars on the vast canopy of the night skies. Within moments, the dark light soon congealed into individual entities that hovered authoritatively over Martial City itself.
The Emissaries of Hell had finally arrived!
BOOM!! A geyser of Yin energy shot straight into the sky, before promptly scattering into the surroundings and pouring right back down onto the ground like a shower of rain. However, what descended was nothing like rain. Rather, they were the silhouettes of imposing figures that appeared no different from deities in their own right.
The rest of the Yin energy converged into a vortex in the heart of the descending deities, from which Qin Ye promptly stepped out. Wisps of Yin energy continued to pour out of his body, and he looked incomparably mighty, just like the war god among deities. Even then, he couldn’t care less about how he looked right now. At once, he scanned his surroundings, only to find his heart sinking straight to the ground in an instant.
He had never expected a situation like this to occur in the mortal realm during the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Every Yin spirit in sight was laying prostrate to the ground with the lanterns of netherflames set down on the ground gently beside them. Their bodies trembled wildly as they bowed in worship in the direction that he was at.
These were Yin spirits of an entire city! There were easily more than a hundred thousand of them! The lanterns set down beside them lit up the network of paths and streets in the entire city, filling it with an eerie green hue!
It looked no different from the paradise of the dead! Without a doubt, this was the kingdom of the dead!
It was a magnificent sight. Every corner of the city was pale and bleak, while the darkness of the peripheries appeared to blend into the darkness across the horizon.
Hell’s forces were located right above the Lush Garden Acres right now.
The bottomless abyss was right beneath their feet, but the interlacing steel rebars that used to be situated right over the pit had completely vanished without a trace.
Realization dawned on Qin Ye in this very moment. Everything had become patently clear to him. “Hungry Ghost Festival” were words that he’d heard on countless occasions over the last few days, and the seemingly unrelated events were all finally coming together like the convergence of a network of streams.
The wheels of Fate had caused everything to come together.
Every single coincidence was converging together to trigger a mighty storm.
Unfortunately, Qin Ye could tell that this clearly wasn’t the time to mull over these things.
I’ve got to do everything it takes to prevent any incidents… He waved his hand, and the Yin soldiers immediately rushed down below like a ferocious tide. At once, Qin Ye roared, “All Yin soldiers are to deploy throughout the city! Escort all Yin spirits you find back to this place! All who refuse to submit are to be purged summarily!!”
His heart felt somewhat more at ease after issuing his command. But, just then, an electrifying sensation washed across his body and numbed his mind.
Who’s… watching me?
He could sense someone staring intently at him from far out in the darkness. Yet when he looked around, there didn’t seem to be anybody around.
That wasn’t an illusion…
That gaze had triggered the most primal fight-or-flight response in Qin Ye’s body. He was absolutely certain that someone was out there, watching his every move!Previous Chapter Next Chapter