Who was it?
Qin Ye’s eyes immediately swept around, scrutinizing even the minutest shadows in the distance. Several minutes later, he finally retracted his gaze. He couldn’t find anyone.
Was it really an illusion?
Perhaps… I’ve been so high-strung that even my eyes have been playing tricks on me…
He shook his head to dispel these thoughts in his mind. Even then, he found himself unable to shake off that niggling feeling at the back of his heart. And then, he furrowed his brows once more.
The Yin energy… is stirring.
And it’s stirring greatly.
He was the master of all Yin spirits around. Naturally, he was able to search through the consciousness of all Yin spirits in his mind. Even then, he could see several spots of particularly dense Yin energy swirling about in vortices over ten meters large. The surrounding Yin spirits would lay prostrate on the ground, crying desperately for mercy as they were slowly sucked into the vortices. Meanwhile, Qin Ye could also sense a presence coalescing in the heart of each vortex.
“What’s going on? Is this an illusion?” His mind was on fire. Everything had been done in haste, and hasty decisions were never good decisions. He fervently suppressed the anxiety that was brewing in his heart as he delved deeper into the consciousness of the Yin spirits in the vortices.
But as soon as he approached them, the Yin spirits in the vortices would scream at the top of their voices and escape in an instant!
He recoiled with a huge gasp. He immediately understood what was going on and glanced about, only to realize to his dismay that there were thousands of such vortices showing up across Martial City!
Thousands of evil ghosts… were being born right now!
The anxiety in his heart escalated, and he clenched his fists tightly and hatefully, “What the hell is going on here?!”
A nethergale swept past and Arthis soon coalesced right by his side, “The gates of Hell are open. The attraction I was talking about is a natural, primal response to the Yin energy that pours out from within. The three major ghost festivals are when the separation between realms are the weakest, and countless beings of the netherworld ride on this opportunity to return to Hell. That said, these are also times when the pure and dense Yin energy of Hell permeate the mortal realm, feeding the Yin spirits around and causing many to awaken and develop spiritual intelligence.”
“As far as those Yin spirits are concerned, coming to Hell is one and the same as dying completely. Escaping from the grasp of Hell is only part and parcel of their instincts.”
Qin Ye massaged his throbbing temples - Instincts. Damn them and their stupid instincts! The jaunt of a thousand ghosts may mean the influx of Yin spirits to Martial City, but it also means a greater number of evil ghosts taking shape! I’ve been too poorly prepared for a situation like this… But… who can I blame?
After all, it wasn’t as though the Harken hadn’t cautioned him time and again of the calamity to come. This was the first time that it dawned on Qin Ye that he wasn’t quite as competent as he thought he was.
His perspective of things was slowly transforming and taking shape in the face of the harsh realities of the world.
But he didn’t make a move. Right now, he could only trust in the Yin soldiers that were under his command. Besides…
He turned to the daolord of the asura, only to be greeted by a flattering smile. “Stay right there.”
“As you command.” The daolord of the asura bowed deeply in response.
“Are you certain?” Arthis whispered back softly.
“What are you trying to imply?!” Qin Ye finally exploded, “Is it really that fun to watch me make a fool of myself?! Is there really any point to this?!”
“Then don’t ever forget who it was who allowed this all to pan out in the first place!” Arthis retorted with incisive words spoken from the moral high ground, “It’s been two months since you’ve taken Ashmound! Had your heart and mind been more focused on the matters in Hell, do you think we wouldn’t have warned you about these things to come?!”
“Do you know what kind of rare opportunity it was to have the Harken personally enlighten you on the matters of Hell? Yet you didn’t even bother listening to his teachings in full before skipping off back to the mortal realm! Do you think Ashmound City is still the same as the City of Salvation?! No! It’s not! Whether territorial size, quality of Yin spirits or quantity of Yin spirits, everything is different!”
“Do you think you can continue to manage Ashmound City just like you’ve governed the City of Salvation? That’s wishful thinking! Has it finally gone through that thick skull of yours that Hell and the mortal realm are completely different places?!!”
Qin Ye was incensed, but there was nothing he could say to that.
At once, there was a tense silence. But, just then… the entire city turned red.
Well, not literally, but the netherflames in the lanterns carried by the Yin spirits suddenly turned a striking red colour. Simultaneously, the Yin spirits raised their heads and looked over with a glint of avarice in their eyes.
Whoosh… All at once, hundreds of thousands of Yin spirits looked over towards Qin Ye, and not even he could help but feel a chill run down his spine.
“One of the other ironclad rules of Hell.” Arthis stared at the sky as she explained, “All Yin spirits would naturally be attracted to Yin spirits of a higher order.”
The entire Martial City fell silent.
All that remained were deep, ragged breaths that rustled softly in this kingdom of the dead.
“Last time, you ran away without listening to everything that the Harken had to say.” Arthis went on, “This rule of attraction has nothing to do with conscious thought or intelligence. Instead, it’s borne entirely out of the instincts of a Yin spirit. Yin spirits who have developed spiritual awareness would be able to weigh their attraction to a Yin spirit with the risk of danger, while those without such spiritual awareness…”
She glanced to the rest of the city, “They would simply swarm over - eager to devour, or be devoured.”
At once, a cacophony of cries rang out throughout the entire city as hundreds of thousands of Yin spirits shrieked at the same time. These shrieks were evidently laced with greed and yearning. A split second later, the entire city moved. Every single Yin spirit, together with the devilish red lanterns, moved.
At once, the previously prostrated Yin spirits clambered back to their feet like maddened spirits, shrieking at the top of their voices and rushing right over like a furious tide, eager to consume all in its path.
SSS!!! Screams tore through the howl of the night wind. Countless corpses drifted along the skies, with outstretched arms and mouths agape, forming a towering tsunami of the dead that charged straight towards the Lush Garden Acres!
It was a chilling sight.
So chilling that even Qin Ye’s heart grew cold.
His mind went blank in an instant. He no longer asked Arthis why she hadn’t told him about all these things. Instead, he simply glanced about in all directions, watching vacantly as the netherflames around him poured directly towards him.
He finally understood why Arthis had earlier asked him whether he was certain of his decision.
He didn’t know that the gates of hell were going to be open tonight. His preparations were made in haste, and he didn’t even have time to properly muster the Yin energy from the Book of Life and Death. Then, as the gates of Hell opened, the Yin energy that poured out drew to it all Yin spirits, and even triggered the development of spiritual intelligence in some.
Meanwhile, he’d brought the daolord of the asura up from the depths of Hell because he didn’t feel at ease leaving him down there where he belonged. Unfortunately… the daolord was none other than a Yin spirit who had spent the better part of his afterlife in the pits beneath the six paths of reincarnation! In other words, he was a Yin spirit that bore the fragrance of the paths of reincarnation!
The six paths of reincarnation… According to legends, the six paths were formed out of the body of Goddess Mother Earth…
If the daolord of the asura weren’t around, Qin Ye would easily have been able to suppress the evil ghosts. Unfortunately, the presence of the daolord meant that the scent of the six paths had appeared. It was tantamount to dangling the temptation of reincarnation in front of the Yin spirits, telling them that they would be reincarnated so long as they could reach the gates of Hell.
How could they not go wild in the face of such temptation?
Beyond that, there was also the interplay of the rule that Arthis had just explained to Qin Ye. Qin Hui was an Abyssal Prefect, and the Yin energy at his disposal was naturally far denser than that which was at Qin Ye’s disposal. Under the confluence of both the rule of attraction and the allure of reincarnation… the Yin spirits of Martial City naturally went wild.
Qin Ye finally realized his mistake. With a great shudder, he immediately turned back and bellowed at the daolord, “Get back down to Hell right now!!”
The daolord of the asura was clearly a little startled, “Huh?”
“Right now! Head back to Hell immediately!” Qin Ye drew a deep breath - No… you cannot lose your cool! If the daolord of the asura discovers that the Hungry Ghost Festival isn’t being handled as well as he thought, his subdued attitude might take a turn for the worse.
In that instant, Qin Ye couldn’t help but feel pressed on all sides.
The invisible threads that were spread all around him had finally come together, binding him up so tightly that he could barely breathe.
Fate would never allow any to escape from its grasp.
The wheels of Fate would always give rise to results.
And if one took his own fate too lightly, it would only be a matter of time before he found himself in a life-threatening situation.
“Yes…” The daolord of the asura responded. Then his lips parted slightly, almost as though he were saying something.
Unfortunately, nobody could hear what he was saying.
RUMBLE!!! An earth-shattering sound rumbled from the abyss beneath the daolord’s feet. In that instant, the pit had already expanded to tens of thousands of meters wide, swallowing up the countless streets and parks around it. Soon after, a monstrous pillar of Yin energy erupted from behind the daolord of the asura, sending his clothes and hair scattering everywhere.
Moments later, a massive, black building slowly rose from the ground and towered majestically over the entire city.
“It’s too late.” Arthis muttered softly under her breath, “The gates of Hell have finally surfaced.”
Qin Ye stared at the abyss below as the building appeared. The first thing that he saw was a statue. At once, he sighed wistfully and shut his own eyes.
It was a statue of himself.
He recognized it at once. It was him in his Hell’s Emissary state.
The base of the statue was etched with a few words - ‘King Yanluo of Hell, Qin Ye’.
When did something like this show up in the mortal realm?
Is something like this also surfacing in the other Cathayan cities?
Has my cover been blown?!
Unfortunately, he didn’t have the luxury of time to ponder over these things. With a great rumble, the building continued to rise higher and higher into the sky! What lay right beneath the statue was an ancient-looking ceremonial door. The height of the ceremonial door wasn’t yet visible, but anyone could tell that the width of the ceremonial door was already thousands of meters wide.
The top of the door was draped with innumerable white streamers that were scrawled with scriptures. At once, the sky was filled with paper money scattered everywhere. Two rows of red lanterns adorned the sides of the arch.
Rumble… The rise of the building lasted ten full minutes, until finally, a massive door appeared right in front of Qin Ye’s eyes.
It was approximately four hundred meters tall, and thousands of meters wide! The door appeared to be a portal between realms, and it exuded an aura of inexorable majesty.
The red lanterns swung hanging on the sides of the doorway swayed with the wind, depicting the words of a pair of couplets.
The first couplet read: Let the virtuous enter without fear.
The second couplet read: And the wicked with trepidation.
The sign above the arch read: Hell’s Gate.
The three major ghost festivals marked the appearance of Hell’s gate where Yin spirits roaming the mortal realm could finally make it to Hell. Qin Ye stared vacantly at the massive door before him. Just then, there was a soft click.
Following that, the door slowly creaked open. K-k-k-k-k-k… As the door slowly opened, wisps of dark Yin energy began to pour forth from within. The entire process took yet another ten minutes, until the door was finally opened completely with a loud bang!
Oooooooo… A faint moan of ghosts emanated from within. Even then, what took Qin Ye by surprise was the fact that it wasn’t Ashmound City that appeared in the doorway. Instead, they were… hands!
An endless sea of hands!
It was almost as though anyone who drew too close to the entrance would find themselves forcibly dragged down to the pits of Hell.
A massive door had opened up in the dark night, revealing countless hands that were desperately grabbing anything they could find. Countless paper money scattered everywhere about it, while the rest of the city was tainted with a sheen of red from the multitude of scarlet lanterns around. It was a blood-curdling sight!
To make matters worse, there was clearly a wave of Yin spirits that were rushing straight towards him like a rapid river!
And if he didn’t avoid it right now, he would find himself completely submerged by the great tide of Yin spirits.
In that instant, Qin Ye felt immeasurably helpless.
Have I not tried hard enough?
Was I… truly abdicating from my duties and responsibilities?
If not, why would things end up in their current state? Why would everything be completely outside of my expectations and out of my control?
“Hoo… What a coincidence…” Just then, a hoarse voice cut through the tense silence of the night, jolting Qin Ye right back to his senses.
Qin Ye looked up, only to see a dog-like Yin spirit dressed in the uniform of an ancient Nipponese deity, together with a devilish-looking Tengu. The Tengu appeared to have a tight grip on Lee Jung-sook as it stared intently at him.
Qin Ye’s mind prickled up with alarm at a single glance of these spirits.
They’re definitely stronger than Arthis! In fact, they’re probably not far off from Liu Yu’s strength. Furthermore… they’re wearing a Nipponese uniform, which means that they’re extraterritorial emissaries! There’s no way I’d be able to instakill these Yin spirits!
Qin Ye looked to his left, and then to his right.
There was only Arthis around.
The other 8,000 Yin soldiers… had already been deployed to various other parts of the city.Previous Chapter Next Chapter