In the Russo-Turquian War of 1768-1774, Rumantsev took command of the army and thoroughly defeated the Turquians in significant battles. He was promoted to the rank of field marshal in 1770, and thereafter went on to force the Turquians into such a difficult position that they signed the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji with many concessions to Rus. Rumantsev was conferred the title of Zadunaisky, which means Trans-Danubian, named after his great victory at the Danube.
It can be said that the modern day tensions between the two nations was the culmination of the seeds of conflict sown by Rumantsev hundreds of years ago.
Qin Ye felt conflicted - How do I put it… This feels as though I’d transcended time, only to discover that my opponent is the infamous Napoleon.
His heart was awash with emotions, yet the most dominant emotion right now was that of caution.
This is definitely going to be a difficult opponent!
After a few seconds of deliberation, Qin Ye spoke, “Continue.”
“Yes.” Ahn Somi felt as though the shackles came off her body as soon as she spoke his name. After all, this simply meant that there was no turning back.
Sometimes, all a person had to do was to loosen the drawstring of a bag. Everything would flow out on its own after that.
“What this envoy brought me was a secret technique, known as… the Eternal Serpent.”
She opened her mouth, and a scroll of parchment flew out. Without hesitation, Oda Nobutada immediately received it and carefully examined its contents. After some time, he finally nodded and passed it on to Qin Ye.
The scroll depicted a serpent in the shape of a ring, with its head biting its own tail.
This serpent was so ubiquitously known that there was no need for explanations. Qin Ye scrutinized the etching, only to discover that the snake… was in fact composed by countless Yin talismans!
Each one was incomparably complex in their own right, and he knew full well that these weren’t symbols that he would be able to break down and understand right now. His mind began to spin after staring at it for merely ten seconds.
“Ouroboros…” He tapped his armrest and muttered to himself, “It symbolizes the unity and eternity of the universe. In ancient Norse mythology, it represents the giant serpent, Jormungandr, that encircled the world and bit its own tail. Its shape represents immortality, completeness, infinitude, the world, and a multitude of other meanings. But, most of all, this isn’t a technique of the Russian Underworld.”
He glanced at Ahn Somi, “Furthermore… this can also be used to represent the living dead.”
“Is this the root source of the zombies that you’ve been creating?”
Ahn Somi nodded with gritted teeth, “Yes. The envoy told us that it was a foreign forbidden art. However… it wasn’t to be given to us. Rather… it was to be given to me.”
Qin Ye’s eyes flickered wildly at once.
This is the crux of the matter!
He had gone to great lengths to capture Ahn Somi in order to pursue the lead he had on the nameless god of death’s script! This one one of the primary reasons why he was in Daehan this early on!
He needed to watch and learn how other gods of death would slowly tip the scales of balance between the Yin and the Yang in their favour whilst promoting their own works and in so doing sow the seeds of faith. Little by little, they would raise the influence of their underworld and take it from strength to strength.
By now, Qin Ye had already braced himself for the reality that casting myths and fabricating miracles was going to be an incredibly difficult process. Everything would have to be well-considered, while the implementation would have to be done like a tightly-run ship. Even the script would have to be as watertight as possible.
And today, he was finally drawing close to the core of the script of the nameless god of death.
“They’ve selected a total of three persons. This little one doesn’t know their identity…” Ahn Somi delved deep into her memories, “The first time we came together was 14 years ago. Back then, we all wore masks, and I could tell that we were all Anitya Hellguard. I’m not quite sure where the meeting location was as well. It was almost as though I was suddenly whisked off to oblivion, only to suddenly appear in the meeting a moment later… I-I know it sounds outrageous, but I’m telling the truth! Please believe me!”
Qin Ye nodded.
It was a simple task for an Abyssal Prefect to drag a few Abyssal Prefects to a particular location.
Ahn Somi took a deep breath, “That meeting was for the sole purpose of briefing us on the rules of engagement. We weren’t informed of any means by which we can use to get in touch with each other. Instead, we’d only see each other at certain crucial junctures or intervals of our operations.”
“Whenever a crucial phase of our work is complete, there would be a need to handover the work properly. That’s the only instance that the three Yin spirits involved would all be present at the meeting. Otherwise, we’d ordinarily pass on our work to each other through the envoy as a conduit. There’s no chance for us to meet up with the other Yin spirits involved at all.”
Everything works through point-to-point interactions. None of them would ever be given the opportunity to get in contact with each other… The Russian Underworld clearly knows that they’re playing with fire, but I’m willing to bet that they’d never have expected Hell to not give a damn about these things!
We’re far too busy with our own affairs right now! If not for the fact that Lee Jung-sook is here, and the fact that this is a perfect learning journey for me, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have made the trip down to Hanyang in eight lifetimes or more!
“Details.” Qin Ye spoke curtly.
Ahn Somi pursed her lips, “My mission… is situated in Pusan. It’s called… the third chapter of the miracle.”
“The Eternal Serpent Technique was given directly to me. I’m not sure if the other two Yin spirits received the same technique or not. Regardless, my mission…”
She gritted her teeth, “Is to create the living dead, and then send them straight to Gyeonggi Province!”
“Over the last ten years, I’ve transported at least hundreds of zombies in the exact same fashion!” She gritted her teeth, “I was only responsible for manufacturing and shipping, but nothing else beyond that. I don’t know where exactly it was sent to, or who the intended recipient was. I only know that… my task is only complete when a train full of zombies arrives in Gyeonggi Province at the scheduled intervals.”
These strictures are borne out of the fear of disclosing the functions of a god of death… Qin Ye took a sip from his teacup.
Three Yin spirits, three roles and functions. It is only when these functions are stitched together that one would finally have the full picture of the nameless god of death’s script, and the corollary myth and miracle that he was attempting to fabricate in order to give the Hanyang Underworld proper footing to stand on.
This is an eternal legacy of horror that he’s creating using the lives of tens of millions of people as pawns… Something clicked in Qin Ye’s mind, but he didn’t manage to grasp hold of the fleeting notion.
The three ghosts clearly didn’t know each other. This would ensure that none were any wiser as to the true form, means and purposes of the nameless god of death’s script. Sure, there weren’t many Hellguard-class Yin spirits in Hanyang, and it wasn’t entirely impossible for them to get in touch with each other privately. However…
With Rumyantsev keeping overwatch, who would dare do something so bold?
Three was the perfect number. Involving only two Yin spirits would mean that there were only two pieces to the puzzle. They’d easily be able to reverse engineer the workings of the other Yin spirit from the overall results and decipher just what exactly the script entailed. But with three parts to the puzzle, things would only be far more complicated. Not only would each of their roles be smaller and more limited, and they would be that much further away from the truth.
The first rule was… security.
The true function of King Yanluo should never be disclosed to others.
Qin Ye made a mental note of this rule in his heart and shelved it for a later day.
Ahn Somi remained silent. She had said everything there was to be said about the duties entrusted to her. Their roles were broken up like an assembly line. Each Yin spirit was responsible for one component, but Tsar Arturo was the director who was putting everything together behind the scenes.
Naturally, Qin Ye still wasn’t satisfied. He still had a multitude of questions on his mind.
“Firstly, why did you reach out and contact Lee Jung-sook?”
“Her status in society, as well as the privileges extended to her.” Ahn Somi responded without hesitation, “Initially, it was someone else who was in charge of contacting Lee Jung-sook. Unfortunately, he’d passed on as a result of a car accident. Lord Rumyantsev didn’t want any more people involved in the matter than was necessary, so he entrusted this task to me as well.”
She took a deep breath, “It was only after I took over this portfolio that I finally understood how terrifying this woman was. She’s obviously a mortal, but she’s got the conglomerate Samsung dancing in the palm of her hands. That’s Samsung we’re talking about! It’s one of the pillars of the Daeian economy!”
“My role was to release a zombie in a train from Pusan that would pass through Gyeongsangnam Province, cross Daegu, run through Gyeongsangbuk Province, Chungcheongbuk Province, and then finally enter Gyeonggi Province. Everything pertaining to this journey… would require her approval…”
Qin Ye gasped. Did Lee Jung-sook actually wield that much power in Daehan?
Bloody hell… We’re talking about a giant alligator in the river! How peculiar would a train containing that many zombies be? Yet… she’d actually been able to obtain the approval of the Ministry of Railways all this while?!
Furthermore, there’s got to be innocents harmed in the process of such transportation. We’re talking about the cleanup of innumerable people who are implicated! Was she actually able to deal with all of these things alone?!
Qin Ye looked up with a complicated gaze, “What were her views on these things?”
“She wasn’t a willing party. One of the conditions was that we would do our best to avoid involving innocent passengers. She finally relented… because the envoy asked me to relay a message to her.” Ahn Somi recalled the contents of the message, “The envoy mentioned that… if she was willing to provide some limited assistance to the Russian Underworld, then… she would be given access to the real underworld.”
Qin Ye’s lips parted slightly, and his lips grew parched.
She’s… seeking death.
She wanted access to the underworld so that she could be given eternal death. This was one of the means she was pursuing to end her life once and for all.
Was she tired?
Qin Ye’s heart was wrenched with pain.
But he promptly shook off these thoughts from his mind. Now wasn’t the time to be thinking about these things. He addressed his mind to what Ahn Somi had said once more. Everything checked out.
“Secondly.” He gazed deeply into Ahn Somi’s eyes, “About Daehan… Did anything happen here recently that caused a stir in society, or quite possibly even tore the fabric of society and struck fear into the hearts of the citizens?”
Qin Ye had expected to get an affirmative nod on this one. But, unexpectedly, Ahn Somi shook her head, “No.”
“Think again. It was something triggered by you!”
Ahn Somi frowned. After some time, she shook her head firmly, “I’m certain that there was none.”
“There was indeed one incident that was a result of my mistake. I’d inadvertently allowed the carrier of the zombie-making spell to manifest on the train, causing an unexpected outbreak affecting the entire train. A particular film director took notice of this event, and made a movie about it named ‘Train to Pusan’. I’ve heard that ticket sales at the box office were pretty decent. But, apart from that, I’ve not heard of anything else--...”
Just then, she paused. Qin Ye immediately caught on, “You’ve thought of something else?”
From what she was saying, he was almost certain that the Daeian government was doing everything within its means to suppress the flow of information within Daehan.
Unfortunately, it was impossible for any suppression of information to be completely watertight.
Ahn Somi’s eyes flickered wildly, “I’ve heard rumours that just last month… tens of thousands of people have perished in Gyeonggi Province…”
“That said, these are just rumours and hearsay. We’re strictly forbidden from probing into each other’s areas of responsibility, and that area... “ She paused for a moment, “Is the responsibility of No. 2.”
Qin Ye leaned back into his seat and stared blankly at the ceiling. It wasn’t until three minutes later that he finally spoke again, “Are you aware of where the dossiers about the supernatural might be kept in Daehan?”
Daehan had no military sovereignty.
There were only four possible places where these dossiers may be stored. The first is that of the top secret national archives. The second was the LSD headquarters. The third was within the Usonian Army’s Special Agency.
But Qin Ye had a feeling that none of these were the places he was looking for.
There was one other possibility.
And that was in the headquarters of the Catholic Diocese in Daehan!
He didn’t have the luxury of time to search out each location. All four locations were definitely guarded by Judge-class entities or defenses, and he could only afford to visit each place once. Furthermore, he would have no choice but to do his research about each place before visiting it. There was no way he would have the time to do all of these things!
Ahn Somi shook her head. She glanced at Qin Ye’s expression, only to realize that he was frowning deeply. Thus, she immediately went on, “But… I’m sure there’s a person who would definitely know! And she would even be granted free access to these places!”
Qin Ye blinked vacantly, “Lee Jung-sook?”
“That’s right!” Ahn Somi nodded affirmatively, “All you need to do is to locate her, and all of your problems will be resolved!”
And with that, they came full circle to right where they started.
Qin Ye frowned once more.
I guess… there’s no point pursuing the lead on the script anymore. But should I look further into the identity of ‘No. 2’... or should I search for Lee Jung-sook?Previous Chapter Next Chapter