Chapter 521: Duty (5)

Damn it… Damn it!!!

A river of wrath poured out of Qin Ye’s heart, built upon the twin foundations of murderous intent and resentment. His negligence and stubbornness in his own ways had resulted in his failure to address his mind to Cui Jue’s Laws of Yin-Yang Coaction and the opening of Hell’s gate in the mortal realm. To make matters worse, his lack of preparation was aggravated by the arrival of Black Yaksha and Crow Tengu to the mortal realm, culminating in a night of complete and utter chaos.

He should have ended the night of the Hungry Ghost Festival with over a million new Yin spirits in Hell. Unfortunately, there were only several hundreds remaining that were waiting in front of Hell’s gate right now. He’d caught up with Black Yaksha, but only at the witching hour. There was no choice but to turn back to shut Hell’s gate before the break of dawn.

It was like a chain reaction. The dominos were falling. To think that the only thing I’d managed to do… is to save Lee Jung-sook?!

He wasn’t willing to let things end like this!

Black Yaksha’s right in front of my very eyes! How could I possibly vent all my anger on Crow Tengu alone?! Qin Ye gritted his teeth and glanced around him, wondering if anyone was able to help him slay the monster before his eyes within the next 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, Zhou Xianlong and Mo Changhao were the only Infernal Judges in sight. The others were mere Soul Hunters, no different from fodder before Black Yaksha.

Do I really have no choice but to release him?

He glanced at the lady in the eye, only to witness her scan her surroundings placidly. Just then, her lips parted slightly, and she revealed an expression of disbelief.

She saw Lee Jung-sook moving. Lee Jung-sook’s chest was covered in blood, and she was leaning on a broken tree stump, beckoning to Qin Ye with great difficulty, almost as though she were saying something to him.

Her gaze was somewhat frail, and her lips trembled ceaselessly. A wisp of blood trickled down the corner of her lips.

How… did this happen?

Qin Ye was completely dumbfounded.

Did I truly accomplish nothing tonight?

That’s right. They had momentarily forgotten about Lee Jung-sook’s existence as a result of their intense tussle earlier.

His feet shifted. But before he could even spring into action, Lee Jung-sook’s shadow suddenly rose up from the ground, and transformed into the likeness of the lady in the eye.

Qin Ye’s mind went completely blank in that instant.

He reflexively turned to look at the eye, only to see it vanish in a cloud of Yin energy with the glow of dawn. The lady was no longer residing in the heart of the eye!

“How dare you!!” At once, anger, regret and resentment erupted from his heart all at once. He roared at the top of his voice as he burst forward. Unfortunately, he was still a step too late.

“Leave us!!!” At once, the lady wrapped her claws around Lee Jung-sook’s neck, causing a trickle of blood to flow down in an instant.

Lee Jung-sook’s outstretched hand immediately flopped down limply, and her pupils began to go blurry and hazy.

Qin Ye grew taciturn. He gritted his teeth and stared intently at the demonic lady.

Why…

Why, why, why?!!

Haven’t I worked hard enough?

What am I still lacking?!

I’ve assumed responsibility as the King Yanluo of Hell. I’ve done everything I could to discharge the duties I have. Yet the perfect occasion to open Hell’s gate was completely ruined by my moment of negligence. Everything in Hell is going so smoothly, so why didn’t I think about the fact that Yin and Yang are two sides of the same coin?!!

A painful lump swelled up at the back of his throat. He looked up and stared at the distant skies with great resentment as he tightened his grip around the handle of his scythe.

He wasn’t saddened by the prospects of losing Lee Jung-sook. Their relationship was hardly on such a deep level. This was simply the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Ever since midnight, a multitude of emotions had already begun to stir in the depths of his heart, churning and festering until it finally ignited with a great explosion.

And Lee Jung-sook was exactly the catalyst required to set off the chain of reactions.

“Leave!!!” The lady hissed wildly. Her clothes flapped wildly in the frightening eruption of Yin energy, while the ground began to crack and split in every direction. Qin Ye might have been despondent, but it was the lady who was incomparably anxious at this point in time.

The manifestation of her presence… would at best last only another two minutes!

Crack! The demonic lady tightened her grasp around Lee Jung-sook’s neck, causing Lee Jung-sook to grimace miserably.

Qin Ye lowered his head.

He’d made up his mind.

He… was going to leave.

This was his duty as the King Yanluo of Hell. He had to choose to sacrifice Lee Jung-sook at this turn of events.

“I’m sorry.” He shut his eyes, and the Adam’s apple on his throat shifted slightly, “I’ve failed you.”

He spoke softly, but clearly. Then, as he looked up once more, he saw the members of the Special Investigations Department staring directly at him in shock.

Zhou Xianlong shook his head with his mouth agape, clearly in great disbelief. The albatross next to him sighed tersely. His hand was trembling profusely.

Lin Han and Su Feng were also staring at him with their mouths agape. They even subconsciously retreated several steps back, as though they were attempting to escape from the reality that had just presented itself to them. Their lips trembled as though they wanted to say something, but they forcibly repressed their remarks.

Everything happened as though it had been scripted.

Qin Ye felt the urge to explain himself, but words eluded him.

He’d… spoken.

Just then, the tense silence was shattered by the sound of a loud bang. Time seemed to pause in that very instant. Qin Ye froze, and then turned to the source of the sound abruptly.

He carved every bit of what he saw in that instant into the deepest recesses of his heart. The trees were keeled over. Everything was in ruins. And… Lee Jung-sook held a gun in her hand.

The gun was pointed straight to her chest, and blood and gore splattered everywhere.

Even then, she revealed a faint smile of release on her face. It was an expression of fulfillment and satisfaction.

“To save… is… affection…” She spoke with great difficulty, “What you chose… was duty…”

“What a pity… I thought… I’d… be able to… live on… but… at least I died… with dignity…”

“I’ve… lived… well--...”

Her head slumped down before she could finish her last words.

Dead silence.

Everyone froze in horror. A split second later, the lady revealed a twisted expression on her face as she thrusted all five fingers of hers deep into Lee Jung-sook’s head, “[in Nipponese] You bastard!!!”

“How dare you die?!! How dare you die?!!”

Whoosh!!! Her intense rage caused Yin energy to erupt from her body, sending her clothes scattering everywhere.

Lee Jung-sook is dead… Black Yaksha is doomed!

The twin sons of Susanoo… two of the most powerful evil ghosts in Yomi-no-Kuni… are going to end up in the hands of the Cathayan underworld!

She simply couldn’t accept it!

“No… NO!!!!” She screamed in anguish, clutching at her face so hard that her nails dug right into her flesh. With her other hand, she tightened her grip around Lee Jung-sook’s corpse, as though determined to turn her body into nothing more than a pile of blood and gore.

Just then, a spear immolating with flames thrusted straight into the demonic lady’s chest at supersonic speed.

Qin Ye’s heart was filled with complex emotions that pushed him beyond the point of all reason, and he bellowed at her at the top of his voice, “How dare you mutilate her corpse?!!”

The demonic lady looked down at her own chest, before revealing a gnarly smile on her face, “One day… I’ll make all of you… eat your words.”

“I’ve seen your true appearances… I’ll always remember you!”

Boom! As she spoke, a black Sanskrit seal branded itself into Qin Ye’s chest. Then, a grim, black sun formed entirely out of Yin energy appeared right behind her, consuming her altogether. Moments later, the body of Black Yaksha emerged from the heart of the black sun and fell straight to the ground, kicking up a cloud of dust and debris.

Meanwhile, Qin Ye couldn’t even be bothered with her. Instead, he dashed right over to Lee Jung-sook and supported her back.

Her face was pale and supple, and her hair fluttered softly with the wind. She was still as beautiful as ever, and yet she showed no semblance of life.

“Hey, wake up…” He patted her cheeks softly, “I’ve come, haven’t I? Didn’t you pray to me twice?”

No response.

Qin Ye head drooped down low. The countless thoughts of regret were gnawing away at his heart like voracious rats.

He wasn’t anguished by the death of Lee Jung-sook. Rather, it was the fact that her death… carried with it a multitude of implications.

If only I’d been that much more attentive…

If only I’d listened to Arthis and abandoned the mortal realm more decisively…

If only I’d paid more attention to the Harken during those lessons, and if only I’d thought about these things in a little bit more detail…

I mean… aren’t I already doing it?

I didn’t even respond to the calls of the Special Investigations Department tonight!

Unfortunately, there was no use crying over spilt milk. Nothing could reverse what had already been done.

You reap what you sow. That has always been the way the world worked. Nobody could have their cake and eat it as well. Chase two rabbits, and you’ll catch none.

He wanted so much to return to that day when Arthis had sternly warned him against the dangers of doing too much. If he could have a do-over, he’d have done everything to ensure that the Hungry Ghost Festival went as smoothly as it could.

“I understand…” Just then, Lee Jung-sook’s body transformed into countless butterflies made out of Yin energy as they scattered away into the surroundings.

He reached out and attempted to grab one, only to have it slip right through his fingers and flutter off into the distant skies.

“I’ve messed up.”

“I took pride in the fact that I’ve lived for a hundred years, and yet I don’t even know some of the simplest truths. It’s impossible to have your cake and eat it as well…”

“Truth be told, I’ve always known that… but I’ve always thought better of myself than I really am. I shouldn’t have been so naive. It’s only human to be irrational…”

Just then, a black lustre suddenly erupted from his chest, and then… the roaring Yin energy from his body slowly began to recede like the ebbing tide.

The Sanskrit word left by the demonic lady had begun to take effect, and the power Qin Ye had earlier borrowed from the daolord of the asura slowly faded away, returning Qin Ye’s abilities to the ranks of an Infernal Judge.

It was a process that took time. He saw his human hands, and even his camouflage uniform peek out from right underneath the billowing Yin energy.

Yet he remained completely still, staring blankly at his hands as the Yin energy faded away.

A soft nethergale swept across the lands.

An Infernal Judge once more… Having tasted the might accompanying the abilities of an Abyssal Prefect, an Infernal Judge was truly no more than a drop in the ocean.

Just then, it suddenly occurred to him that the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal in his possession had once revealed these sights to him.

So… those prophetic visions are fulfilled here?

With a complex smile, Mo Changhao marched forward and patted Qin Ye’s back, affixing a talisman onto his body. It was ancient and yellowish, and yet the cursive writing on it appeared as striking as ever.

Whoosh… At once, copious amounts of Yin energy billowed from Qin Ye’s body. And then, ten seconds later, he reverted back into his mortal form and appeared right before the eyes of all onlooking investigators.

“Impossible…” Lin Han felt his throat go parched as he stared at the man he thought he knew well. It was the young man who had given him a terrible nickname. It was the same young man who had been competing with him, only to come out a head and shoulder above his competition to be touted as a genius among his contemporaries. And now… that same young man was covered with copious amounts of Yin energy.

Realization suddenly dawned on him.

He finally understood how this young man advanced so quickly.

He finally understood why this young man knew so much about Yin spirits.

He suddenly had answers to all the mysteries that appeared to be enshrouding this young man.

But, even then, his heart felt as though it had been cut with a knife.

It was betrayal! It was deception!

Whether for good intention or bad, it didn’t change the fact that he’d been deceiving the entire Special Investigations Department right from the onset! They were played like a fiddle by him!

Then… What about the friendship we once used to share?

Was that nothing more than a lie as well?

“Instructor Qin.” Zhou Xianlong finally spoke with a deep sigh, “We meet again.” It sounded placid, but Qin Ye could tell that he was speaking with great despondence in his voice.

Qin Ye looked up, right past the crowd that was before him and into the distance from which the sun was about to rise, “When did it begin?”

“When did you begin to harbour suspicions regarding my identity?”

“Right before Li Jixi died.”

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