A man, a woman and a ghost were watching a flickering computer monitor in complete silence, while a wave of spine-tingling ghastly wails echoed from all around them.
Click, click, click… Choi Tae-min would move slightly with every frame that passed. Qin Ye stared intently at the screen, only to discover after some time that…
Choi Tae-min was actually drawing closer and closer to them!
No. Rather, he was coming closer and closer to the computer monitor, almost as if he would crawl out of it in the very next moment!
Click… Another frame passed, but… Choi Tae-min appeared to have completely vanished from sight!
All that remained was an empty photograph.
“Has he left?” Lee Jung-sook frowned.
She spoke softly, yet the silence in the room caused her voice to reverberate endlessly, almost as though someone were echoing her voice from another realm. It was chilling.
“No.” Qin Ye and Kwon Kyung-ho got up at the same time and leaned closer beside her with great vigilance, “He’s still around.”
Bzzt! Just then, the computer monitor flickered once more, and the screen abruptly turned to black and white. At the same time, the souls in the lanterns around the coffin shrieked in unison!
Whoosh… The image displayed on the computer monitor began to move smoothly. It no longer flickered like a slideshow. At the same time, a terrifying white sphere rose from the bottom of the screen.
It was… Choi Tae-min’s bald head!
Click. Lee Jung-sook cocked the pistol in her hand. Anyone could tell that something was soon about to go down. In fact, something told her that the evil spirit residing in the depths of the terrifying photograph was soon about to crawl out from within!
Choi Tae-min’s head slowly rose from the bottom of the screen, until his entire face blotted out the entire computer monitor, obfuscating the scene behind completely.
His facial features were twisted beyond belief. His eyes were wide open, revealing empty sockets that appeared to contain an endless abyss within. It was a horrific sight.
And then, he smiled.
His lips parted slightly, revealing dark, grisly teeth within. Streams of dark red blood appeared to flow out of the corner of his lips as he stared intently at the trio in the room, almost as though he were peering right into their souls.
Even Qin Ye couldn’t help but commend Choi Tae-min for his cinematography and use of lighting effects to achieve the desired shock factor.
Bzzt… A split second later, the entire screen went out, and the lights in the room came back on once more.
With a huge sigh of relief, Lee Jung-sook finally set down the gun in her hand, “What just happened?”
Where the hell did you hide your gun earlier?! Qin Ye sized up Lee Jung-sook several times, before finally clearing his throat in response, “A photograph of the paranormal. Ordinary human beings won’t be able to glean much from it, and even those with the highest affinity for the paranormal would be able to see nothing more than some moving shadows in the photograph. However, this photograph records the grievances and obsessions of Choi Tae-min, together with all who perished in the MV Sewol tragedy. To that end, you can say that it’s already gone well beyond the realms of an ordinary photograph of the paranormal.”
“It’s become like an eye that records everything around it. And because my Yin energy is far purer than theirs, it was able to reveal to me everything that was recorded. As for the final moments of what we just saw…”
Qin Ye paused for a moment, and then tutted softly, “He should have detected my presence as well.”
“Will this affect your plans?”
Qin Ye frowned.
Indeed it would, and not by an insignificant amount either.
The Russain Underworld had initially reacted with a submissive attitude, but that was clearly on the condition that Hell wouldn’t overstep its boundaries and influence the script of death. Unfortunately, he had clearly just probed into the truth that lay at the core of the script of death, and even gotten himself detected by the Yin spirit designed to be the ultimate villain in the script of death. It was difficult to say exactly what reaction this would draw from the Russian Underworld.
“I guess this leaves me with no choice but to move even quicker than the Russian Underworld can react. I’ll kill Choi Tae-min at once!” Qin Ye licked his lips avariciously. There was no way he was letting this fat piece of meat slip by from right underneath his nose.
“I hope you’ll lend me your strength. Lee--... How should I address you? Don’t you think it would feel too distant if we were to address each other by our full name?”
Lee Jung-sook smiled, “You can call me Sister Xia, or Sister Lee, whichever you prefer.”
Qin Ye paused for a moment, and then coughed dryly, “How about just Xia?”
“Xia?” Lee Jung-sook chuckled, “Are we really close enough to be on a first-name basis? And what would I call you? Ye? Get lost.”
Deep, intense darkness.
It was a massive underground cavern. At the very heart of the cavern lay a coffin with its lid diagonally open. A lantern that was lit with a netherflame was placed right above the coffin.
The rest of the cavern was shrouded in complete darkness.
Whoosh! Suddenly, the lantern erupted with a column of netherflame that was tens of meters tall, revealing the fact that the cavern was at least 30-40 meters tall, while the craggy and uneven walls were over a hundred meters apart from end to end.
“Ah… Ahhhh--!!” A soft, hissing sound came from within the coffin. A moment later, a hand covered with grisly, black fingernails and purple livor mortis spots reached out from within and rested on the edge of the coffin.
“I saw… I saw a vengeful evil spirit…” The voice from the coffin grew ragged and raspy, “He’s looking for me… H-he’s coming for me…”
Clack… At once, there was a sound of a cane striking the ground. It was rhythmic and unhurried. A dozen seconds or so later, a man dressed as an ancient marquis marched up to the side of the coffin and peered right in, “There are many cultivators who want you dead, and even more evil spirits who desire the same. You’re the root cause of Daehan’s current instability. The Tsar has searched far and wide before finally locating you. What have you to fear?”
“No… That’s not it.” The man in the coffin gasped for breath, almost as though he were exhausted to even speak, “The other side… isn’t a Daeian evil ghost… I could sense terrifying Yin energy stirring within his body. He’s completely different from us… He’s… strong… He’s terrifying…”
The man in the coffin appeared to be on the verge of tears, “Lord Rumyantsev… I’m afraid…”
Rumyantsev snorted and gently waved his hand. At once, a glass of red wine appeared before him, and he took a sip from it as he sat on the coffin.
“Do you know something? Ah… Actually, you probably don’t. How can a third-rate underworld possibly be aware that there’s an internationally accepted ranking standard for special Yin spirits?”
“There are a total of 50 types of special Yin spirits that made the list. In fact, these Yin spirits are so special that they’d all be born at least with Hellguard-class abilities.” He gazed deep into the darkness as he continued with his elaboration, “Harsh, specific conditions need to be met for the emergence of each of these types of special Yin spirits. However… every such Yin spirit that appears brings with it a possibility of another Abyssal Prefect in the time to come. In fact, the top ten on this list even have the potential to reach the ranks of a Yama-King.”
“And you…” He patted the coffin, “Are the uncrowned king of Daehan, a land mass that sits across 220,000 square kilometers. In life, you were the head of a cult, and in death, your legacy continues to spread in the country in turmoil. The Church of Spirit World continues to grow from strength to strength…”
And then, he suddenly leaned over and smiled faintly, “Do you know… what your rank is in this list?”
After some time, the voice from the coffin responded, “I do not…”
“Number 7. Extreme evil. You’re known as the Spirit of Mutilated Corpses, or alternatively the Odious Spirit of Filth. Ignore the terrible name you’ve been given. The international rules are written by the ones in power. In particular, the list of 50 special Yin spirits are specifically published by the Cathayan Underworld, also known as Hell. You should feel honored that you’re ranked 7th on this list.”
“All cultivators and evil ghosts of the same rank are no different from dregs before you. Besides…”
Boom… A far more terrifying wave of Yin energy erupted like a crashing tidal wave, causing countless spots of netherflames to soar throughout the massive cavern like dancing swallows. The coffin rattled softly in the wake of the powerful blast.
Thump, thump, thump… At once, countless heartbeats thumped in unison all around the coffin. And then, thousands upon thousands of netherflames lit all around them. The uneven ‘walls’ of the cavern weren’t walls to begin with.
Rather… they were the living dead!
They stood everywhere around the massive cavern like an endless army of the dead! The entire cavern was practically a huge morgue for which countless living dead were held! As the eyes of the living dead blazed intently, scarlet eyes slowly opened in the darkness.
“Besides, I’m here as well.” Copious amounts of Yin energy were now pouring out from every pore of his body, allowing Rumyantsev to slowly drift up into the sky. At once, the netherflames dancing in the sky began to swirl about him, transforming into a terrifying white flaming vortex.
Then, amidst the ghastly wails echoed from every corner of the cavern, a dozen or so massive golden eyes opened up amidst the sea scarlet eyes.
“Furthermore, you’ve also got the support of our strongest darkfeathers, the souls of deceased KGB agents, one of the most prestigious spy organizations of modern day society! We have five ‘swallows’ and five ‘crows’. As far as the Cathayan Emissary is concerned… I’ve given him some latitude on account for his backing. But if he dares set foot in this place… then don’t blame me for erasing him off the surface of this world. Nobody would know what happened to him!”
“Be patient. There’s only 30 days left. I’ll personally have a word with him. If negotiations break down, I’ll personally stand guard around you. But if negotiations are to succeed…”
He glanced at the coffin, “Then you can count yourself lucky…”
With that, Rumyantsev chuckled softly as he tore open a rift in the void and vanished through it completely.
The entire cavern went silent instantly.
After some time, a raspy voice muttered from within the coffin, “I’m nothing compared to you… You’re the real monster around these parts…”
The specially-modified car tore through the national highway.
As far as they could see, everything had been abandoned. The desolate winds sent dust and debris scattering everywhere. They couldn’t see any of the living dead in sight, but wherever they went, they couldn’t help but sense countless gazes landing upon them, scrutinizing their every movement.
It was almost as though they were a traveler trekking through the wilderness, with rolling fields of tall grass everywhere. That said, the traveler wouldn’t know how many prying eyes there were peeking right through the tall grass, staring intently at the potential prey in sight.
They were already at the edge of the Geumjeong District. According to Lee Jung-sook’s intelligence, the outbreak of the living dead was first spotted in Gijang County. There were two high speed rails in Pusan. One ran from Buk District into Gyeongsangnam Province, while the other one ran from Gijang County into Gyeongsangbuk Province. The Train to Pusan occurred on the latter line.
Wang Chenghao was driving the car, while Qin Ye rode shotgun. Oda Nobutada sat in the back row, together with Kwon Kyung-ho in his spirit form.
“Brother Qin.” Wang Chenghao asked as they continued speeding along the highway, “Why aren’t we going to Gonjiam Asylum instead? Didn’t you say ‘the faster, the better’?”
Qin Ye continued to study the map of Gijang County as he responded with nonchalance, “Nobutada, you tell him.”
“Yes.” Oda Nobutada nodded, and then chose his words carefully, “One Tail--…”
“Hmm?!” Wang Chenghal glared back through the rearview mirror at once.
Oda Nobutada coughed lightly, “Mr Wang, have you ever wondered how so many living dead have been transported to and from Pusan without alerting anyone?”
“Governmental cover-up? It exists, but if we’re talking about the rail system, that’s something that you simply cannot hide from the people, especially when loading and unloading at the train stations. And if that’s the case, why haven’t we heard a word about these things?”
Wang Chenghao pondered for a moment, “Are you suggesting--...”
Oda Nobutada promptly cut him off, “Chances are that there’s another direct route that connects Pusan to the Gonjiam Asylum, and this line would only be accessible from Gijang County. In fact… it’s probably quicker to take this route than to go by rail!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter