Yeouido High-speed Train Station. The trio sat in their seats, staring out of the window with great interest at the pedestrians that were passing them by.
They were leaving after one night on Yeouido Island. Their next destination was Pusan.
The night that they had spent in Yeouido was dedicated to assessing the attitude of the Russian Underworld. It was no secret that Hell had shut its borders for the last hundred years, and they were even missing from the international arena. Were the other underworlds attempting to even get in touch with Hell? If so, how were they trying?
Qin Ye didn’t know what the Russian Underworld was thinking, but the one thing which he knew was the fact that they were incomparably wary.
This was borne out from the things which he saw last night. Nothing changed apart from the steep increase in the number of Brain Mite carriers patrolling the streets. Everything accorded well with his deductions and Fate’s assessment of the matter. The Russian Underworld was likely exploring the possibility of eliminating the Hanyang Underworld as a conduit and reaching out directly to Hell. The passiveness in spite of the presence of an Emissary of Hell was a discreet statement to Hell. It was an expression of sincerity.
“They’ve made no contact. Perhaps Rumyantsev is still considering how exactly to make contact, and what exactly they should talk about. Are they going to show their hand all at once, or are they going to probe at our existence slowly? If the talks fall apart, they’ll probably still want to fall back on the Hanyang Underworld as a conduit to reach out to Hell…” Qin Ye leaned back in his chair as he thought aloud, “Or is he simply sitting back and observing Hell’s actions to see what they can deduce about Hell after radio silence for a hundred years?”
“Whatever the case might be, Fate’s right about one thing - both the Russian Underworld and the Hanyang Underworld have been blindsided by one thing, and that is the fact that I’ll be making a move on the script of death. And since that is the case, all I have to do…”
He stared blankly at the flashing sign boards outside. After a long night of deliberation, he had finally come to a decision.
I cannot be soft!
I cannot afford to appear weak and any less domineering than Hell used to be before it shut its borders to the world! I need to make a statement and show them that Hell is still the peerless underworld in the netherworld! This is the true legacy of Hell - the most invaluable inheritance that I’ve obtained from the old Hell!
Secondly, I’ve got to act prudently. I’m only an Emissary of Hell that has been sent out on a mission by the King Yanluo of Hell, not the King Yanluo himself.
Finally, I’ll have to minimize contact with the script of death as much as possible. After all, that’s the incontrovertible function that will be safeguarded by the nameless god of death.
This seemed to be contrary to what he wanted to do, but he knew that there was nothing more he could do about it right now. After all, Qin Ye was willing to bet that Tsar Arturo had issued standing orders to destroy the script of death as soon as they detected an unstoppable threat. After all, there was no doubt that they would much rather destroy a decade’s worth of hard work than leave it as a legacy to any other underworlds.
“Huurrgh…” There was a gagging sound beside him. Qin Ye ignored it and continued to think aloud.
“Meanwhile, Rumyantsev should be following our movements closely. He’s traded blows with me, and he should have managed to get a track on my energy signature. He’ll probably be following me closely for two reasons - to observe my actions, and to prevent the script of death from falling into the wrong hands. If I continue to seek out No. 2 endlessly, they would most certainly understand that my real target is the script of death.”
Qin Ye massaged his throbbing temples. He didn’t have a better plan for now. Thus, he shelved these thoughts of his for now and turned his attention to the other agendas he had.
Seizing food from the mouth of the tiger was a decision that he had made on an impulse. His prevailing objectives were still to learn as much as he could from the nameless god of death. As the Second King Yanluo of Hell had mentioned, practical experience is invaluable. Casting myths and fabricating miracles was a long-drawn process. It was important to consider the implications on the netherworld, the attitude and reactions of the mortal realm, and even the timing of the harvest. Most importantly, the storyline had to be compelling.
In short, it wasn’t something that a fledgling King Yanluo could easily master.
He had already gleaned much from his trip thus far, and it was a good time to sort through his thoughts and digest everything.
“Simply put, the script of death is no different from a reality show, albeit a far more dangerous and bizarre one that takes place on a far grander scale. It’s as though… the film, A Chinese Ghost Story, is acted out in the mortal realm so the mortals would slowly begin to believe in the existence of ghosts on earth.”
“These supernatural incidents would trigger a wave of fear, and fear would open the doors of their hearts to the possibility of faith. Faith in who? It all depends on who steps up.”
“So, in the end, we still need a hero to reap the harvest and become the subject of the people’s faith. Anyone who steps up to this role would be the one to claim sovereignty as the orthodox underworld of Daehan.”
“To this end, we would also have to consider the attitude and reactions of the mortal realm. Allow the supernatural incidents to occur too frequently, and the mortal realm might devolve into chaos and instability. For instance, Daehan’s government might seek help from Cathay. Or if a nation’s supernatural resistance is strong enough, then their supernatural fighting force would be mobilized in full force. If either of these exigencies occurred, then the stage that was set for the grand appearance of the hero would likely collapse. Apart from that, there’s also the need to consider society’s level of tolerance for terror and fear...”
Admittedly, Tsar Arturo was truly a seasoned god of death. The MV Sewol incident was truly ruthless and horrific, but its effects were outstanding. Meanwhile, Qin Ye was willing to bet that Tsar Arturo would have left something at the scene of the incident which would have been picked up by investigation agencies and led them to consider Liu Yu. This would sow the seed for his eventual appearance as the protagonist and hero of the script of death.
Unfortunately, he was not going to get a chance to do so.
A certain younger King Yanluo was about to outshine him.
“Huurrgh…” Just as Qin Ye was about to delve deeper into his thoughts, there was another gagging sound beside him. He rolled his eyes and glared impatiently at Wang Chenghao and his pale, sickly expression, “Are you pregnant?”
“No…” Wang Chenghao opened a bottle of mineral water and took a huge gulp, “Brother Qin… don’t you smell that?”
Wang One Tail slumped limply into his seat, rubbing his stomach listlessly, “I don’t know if my nose is just being oversensitive, but… I’ve been picking up a revolting smell ever since we’ve boarded the train.”
Qin Ye frowned. He was just about to give him another rude retort when his eyes suddenly flickered.
There really is something…
He caught a whiff of it, but it seemed to be mixed in with a bunch of other scents. It bore the scent of chemicals. It wasn’t pungent, but it was most certainly revolting. Furthermore, it was a stench that lingered everywhere in the air. He hadn’t noticed this earlier because he was too deeply engrossed in his own thoughts.
At once, Qin Ye glanced around at the other passengers, only to realize that nobody appeared to be showing any signs of uneasiness.
Yin spirits were naturally far more sensitive to the smell of flesh and blood than regular human beings. That said, this clearly wasn’t the smell of flesh and blood. The smell was adulterated with a variety of other scents, and it was difficult to pinpoint the source of the nauseating smell. He turned back to Wang Chenghao, “Can you hold it in?”
“I should be--... Huuurggghh…”
Qin Ye sighed, “We’re just about to move off. Hang in there for a little bit more, and I’ll help you to the washroom.”
Within moments, the train attendants entered the carriage, and the door slowly closed. A minute later, the train began to move.
Qin Ye began to help Wang Chenghao out of his seat. At once, an attendant immediately walked over with a smile and addressed them in Daeian, “Sir, you’re not allowed to leave your seat in this carriage. Please understand.”
Unfortunately, they clearly didn’t understand what was being said.
“[in English] What?”
The attendant immediately understood what was going on, and repeated herself in fluent English, “Sorry, you’re not allowed to walk freely in this carriage.”
Unfortunately… she received the exact same response.
The attendant froze.
Kiddo, are you messing with me?
“She… said that… we can’t move about freely in this carriage.” Wang Chenghao gasped for breath, “[in English] I’m feeling ill. I want to go to the bathroom.”
The attendant turned and glanced around her. The high speed train wasn’t even vibrating in the slightest. She turned back to Wang Chenghao at once.
You’re both messing with me, aren’t you?
I’ve seen motion sickness before, but I’ve never heard of someone feeling sick on a high speed train. That said… he does look a little bit pale and worse for wear…
The corners of her lips twitched for a few seconds, before she finally turned back to them, “[in English] Follow me, please.”
That’s something I can understand… Qin-flunkee-Ye supported Wang Chenghao and followed closely behind the attendant.
They were in the tenth carriage of the train, which was also the last carriage of the train. Daehan trains were generally short. Most of them were only ten carriages long at best. They were just walking past one of the connecting segments between carriages when Qin Ye’s eyes flickered abruptly.
The door to the crew’s room was slightly ajar, and Qin Ye noticed out of the corner of his eye that the inside of the room was plastered all over with talismans!
Furthermore, these talismans were all tied up with a silver chain, and the words on them were all written in Cathayan characters!
“Sorry.” The attendant paused for a moment, and immediately marched ahead of them to shut the door. She turned around in relief and smiled faintly at them, “Please?”
“Brother Qin… huuurrggh…” Wang Chenghao whispered to Qin Ye as they both followed closely behind the attendant.
“Shh. I saw it.” Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed with vigilance. Over the last few months, he’d learnt a multitude of things about some of the techniques employed by the mortal realm against supernatural occurrences. And he knew exactly which method this set-up was.
This was the full name of the technique employed. One could probably tell from its name that its function was to suppress evil spirits. However… that wasn’t its main function.
Its ability to suppress evil ghosts was far weaker than most of the other techniques of its class that required talismans. Its true function… was in fact to protect evil spirits!
By suppressing their physical and auditory presence so that they would be invisible to both senses of sight and sound.
Put differently, something has happened on this train, and they were forced to keep things concealed using the technique of Demonic Suppression! What they were seeing wasn’t what it actually was!
Nobody keeps their infernal eyes or Yin-Yang eyes open at all times - not even Qin Ye. After all, who would want to discover a headless ghost seated right behind their backs at all times - How did you die? Free for a chat?
Endless interactions with the unseen like that was only going to earn him a free stay at the mental asylum…
Meanwhile, the Demonic Suppression technique was also able to suppress the five senses of mortals. That said, its effects naturally weren’t as strong when it came to people like Qin Ye and Wang Chenghao.
“Keep her occupied.” Qin Ye whispered softly as he slowed down to a half. At once, his eyes turned black, and he scanned his surroundings. A split second later, his lips parted in astonishment.
It was still the same old carriage.
The passengers were still one and the same.
However… there were traces of blood stains strewn everywhere within the carriage!
And it was by no means regular blood stains from accidents. Rather, they appeared to be splatters of blood, almost as though one’s arteries were cut right open in a horrific incident, sending showers of blood splashing everywhere in the carriage!
The entire carriage was filled with blood! It was clear that this carriage had been cleaned countless times to rid it of the stains. Unfortunately, nothing could deceive Qin Ye’s eyes.
Anyone would be horrified to see a carriage stained with blood on a regular and unassuming train that was plying one of its usual routes.
At once, he understood what the peculiar, mildly nauseating stench he had detected earlier was.
It was the stench of blood and rotting flesh that was masked by layers upon layers of detergent and disinfectant.
“What the hell happened in this place…” He slowly walked forward, only to realize that…
They had just marched right past the bathroom!
Yet they didn’t stop there.
He turned to look at the bathroom door, only to notice a yellow sign hanging on the door with the words “Under Repair” written in english. Furthermore…
He could detect a far stronger stench of the same nauseating smell coming from within the bathroom!
It was almost as though there was a rotting corpse hidden right behind the bathroom door!Previous Chapter Next Chapter