Chapter 57: Evolution (1)

The bespectacled man, the tall man, and the man with the chiseled face were presently at the bottom of the building in the first hunting zone.

They had sensed the massive ripple of energy explode from the top of the building just a little while ago. Fortunately, the eruption of Yin energy was disguised by the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal, and nobody discovered anything amiss with the situation. The only thing they felt was a powerful tremor emanating from the top of the building, before everything turned silent and still once more.

“Is it over?” The bespectacled man looked at the roof with incredulity, “It’s over just like that?”

“That can’t be… This is the first hunting zone after all. In other words, this is the first hunting zone that has appeared in the City of Salvation. Fifteen year ago, teacher Zhang Xingyue was raped and mutilated. However, her corpse vanished a day after it was taken to the morgue. The murderer’s entire family died soon after, and the incident was classified as an E-grade supernatural incident. This… this is a fifteen year-old ghost we’re talking about…”

If Arthis were present, she would have verbally slapped this man senseless - Are you sure you understand what the word ‘old’ even means?

Just because I’ve remained silent all this while doesn’t mean that riffraff like this Operative-class ghost should qualify an old ghost. If that’s the case, shouldn’t I be referring to myself as an ancient grandma?

Just then, their cell phones rang.

“It’s me.” Zhang Chenghai’s voice was at the other end of the call, “Where are you right now?”

“At the bottom of the building of the first hunting zone. Sir…”

“We’re already roughly aware of the situation over there. Who’s the person that just arrived? Is he registered under our system?”

“No!” The trio responded in unison, before recounting Qin Ye’s appearances in detail. Zhang Chenghai deliberated for a few moments before continuing, “Think carefully about it. Are there any other features of his that stand out?”

The trio exchanged glances and shook their heads at the same time.

Does the fact that he comes from Nebula M87 count?

“Hang on!” Just then, the bespectacled man spoke up, “There’s something that came to mind, but I’m not sure whether it counts. It’s the fact that his camouflage uniform doesn’t appear to be those issued by the military.”

“Rather… they seem to be imitation goods sold by the vendors on the streets.”

On the other end of the line, Zhang Chenghai’s lips twitched slightly. Great… just great… Now we’ve got someone on our hands wearing imitation goods as he purges evil ghosts? Doesn’t he feel indisposed stealing the identities of our esteemed cultivators? If he’s truly as poor as he seems, why doesn’t he just take the plunge and join the nation’s forces?

“By my calculations, you’re probably in no condition to get to the next hunting zone anymore, so let me assign you another task instead. Do your best to follow this civilian expert, and explain to him the situation in the City of Salvation if you get the opportunity to do so. I want you to do your best to recruit this man. After all, a person who’s able to instantly purge an Operative-class ghost from the first hunting zone… is likely not far away from the Soul Hunter level.”

“His strength is something that the City of Salvation desperately needs right now!”

“Yes!”

Qin Ye wasn’t aware of what transpired behind his back. At this moment, he was simply making a beeline for the next hunting zone.

Whenever he passed by densely populated residential districts, he would notice innumerable Yin spirits with their blood red lanterns drifting through residences, triggering cries of terror in response. There were far too many such incidents. After all, the number of Yin spirits gathered in each neighbourhood numbered well in the thousands! The gathering of such numbers was sufficient to form rivers and seas. Tonight was truly the night of a thousand ghosts!

However, Qin Ye didn’t take any action against these Yin spirits. He had far more important things to do. He quickly zipped through another street and an alley. He soon came to realize that the closer he drew to the heart of the city, the stronger the force of resistance against these Yin spirits.

The opposing force was none other than an austere and somber army of the mortal realm.

Under the moonlit night, the Yin spirits flowed about like a rushing river, while the army stood firm like a large boulder damming up its flow. They stood firm at each strategic pass, holding their ground like a magnificent line of shields that were not to be desecrated!

The National Guard, the army, and the police were all united on the same front as they formed the steel dam. Right in front of them, the innumerable floating Yin spirits carrying scarlet lanterns were enshrouded in a gloomy cloud of Yin energy, appearing as though they were a daunting mountain that was ten meters tall! As they slowly drifted forward, they looked like a massive tidal wave that was ready to crash onto the soldiers at any second.

Nobody said a single word.

Nobody uttered even a single peep of sound.

They were like a sleeping dragon - somber and cold-blooded. The hundred-man formations stood silent and firm like an immovable stronghold.

However, these soldiers were not armed with guns. Instead, they were holding onto a small compact crossbow, and they half-knelt on the ground as though they were cast iron sculptures. The bolts of the crossbows gleamed coldly in the dark.

The nethergale accompanying the tidal wave of Yin energy sent all of their camouflage uniforms fluttering about. Qin Ye could see that some of the soldiers had sweat drops building up on their foreheads, while others were trembling slightly. However, not a single person took a single step back.

These soldiers initially didn’t know what exactly was approaching them in the dense clouds of Yin energy. But, as soon as the tidal wave of Yin energy was only fifty meters away from the military formations, the soldiers positioned at the front of the formation finally saw with their own eyes what hid within the cloud of Yin energy.

It was closing in.

Closer and closer… Forty meters, thirty meters… Then, as soon as they were twenty meters away from the military formation, a resounding cry cut through the tense atmosphere, “Fire!” The mechanisms of the crossbows triggered, sending hundreds of crossbow bolts shooting through the air.

Shk! Shk! Shk! In that instant, a large portion of the Yin spirits leading the charge were felled. When the back lines charged forward, a patch of fire ignited out of thin air, reducing innumerable Yin spirits to ash amidst their miserable screams.

It was only then that Qin Ye noticed a rope of ancient copper coins stretched from end to end across the road, cordoning off the area approximately ten meters in front of where the military formation lay. The rope was also densely plastered all over with all sorts of talismans.

“True energy isn’t strong, and it won’t have much effect on vengeful apparitions that are on the same level as Operative-class Emissaries of Hell. That said, it’s more than enough if used against such rabble.” Having gained some level of insight over the Special Investigations Department’s capabilities, he collected his gaze and cautiously made his way past the conflict zone. The next hunting zone was only five hundred meters away from them.

Minutes later, he arrived in front of an abandoned hospital building.

The surrounding area was in shambles. Construction debris was strewn all over the place, and not a single neighbourhood remained around in the region.

Qin Ye stepped boldly into the hospital. After ascertaining that nobody else was round, he released his disguised Yin energy. Amidst the flurry of energy, he transformed into his Hell’s Emissary state once again.

His Hell’s Emissary uniform, replete with his demonhead saber. The flaming saber left glowing embers of netherfire on the ground. With a harsh grinding sound, he dragged the saber on the ground indiscreetly and rushed straight to the third storey of the building.

“Ssssss!!” As soon as he entered the second floor, several ghosts wearing nurses’ uniforms shrieked and hissed as they pounced madly at him. Qin Ye’s grip tightened around the demonhead saber and promptly unleashed a backhanded swing, painting a beautiful arc of jade green flames across the otherwise dark room. In the very next moment, a series of miserable cries echoed out in unison, and over twenty Yin spirits vanished into wisps of Yin energy in an instant.

“I’m a person who firmly believes in a democracy.”

Kkkkkkrrrr… The demonhead saber dragged along the ground with a harsh grinding sound as Qin Ye exclaimed aloud, “So, why don’t we have a little chat? Is there any chance that you’ll submit and offer up your neck for my taking? This would save me the trouble of working for my pay.”

“Hissss…” A wave of Yin energy undergirded by traces of rage echoed from the third floor, “Demo-... cracy?”

“Hiss… you… must… die!!”

Qin Ye slowly stepped onto the third floor, “In the so-called democracy I was referring to, you are the people, and I am the president. Besides, you can’t say that I haven’t already asked you nicely, can you?”

Before he finished speaking, the demonhead saber gleamed brightly, and a bright blade light was sent cleaving towards the entrance to the third floor.

Boom! As soon as the light from the blade faded, the entire surroundings trembled slightly, and a Yin gale began to blow.

A twisted figure emerged from the heart of the explosion. This figure wore a white lab coat and a stethoscope, and his entire body was covered with greenish purple spots of livor mortis. He shrieked as he charged towards Qin Ye!

………………………………

8.00 p.m, underneath the city hall. Zhang Chenghai watched the monitors with a grave expression on his face.

The monitors revealed that the heart of the city was gradually changing from red to yellow. The surrounding regions three kilometers from the city center were tainted with a striking red colour. Nevertheless, the yellow region in the heart of the city was slowly but surely expanding outwards!

“No… it’s still not fast enough!” His eyes darkened. What this battle stood for was of far greater importance than mere victory and defeat. He didn’t want to see a single bit of red left on the map of the City of Salvation by dawn the next day. At the very least, he wanted the entire map to be covered in yellow. If possible, the heart of the city should even be a green hue!

“9 p.m. If the situation still isn’t improving by then, be prepared to activate the ghost eradicating treasure at a moment’s notice.” He commanded in a stern voice.

The surrounding officers immediately acknowledged in unison. But, just then, a man in a white suit stared at the screen in front of him and rubbed his eyes with disbelief. Then, he stood up abruptly.

“Sir!!!” His voice had already grown shaky, “Seventh… seventh!!”

What about the seventh?

Everyone, including Zhang Chenghai furrowed their brows and stared at the man.

The man’s face had already turned red with excitement, “Seventh… the seventh hunting zone has been breached!!”

“What?!” Zhang Chenghai’s immediate response was that of incredulity. He immediately rushed in front of the monitor and took a look for himself.

The computer revealed the situation at the abandoned mental hospital. Right this moment, the originally glaring red dot had completely vanished altogether!

“Who… who is it?” He stood up abruptly and looked around, “Who’s requested for backup?”

Everyone glanced at each other awkwardly, but nobody responded to this query.

Just then, Zhang Chenghai’s gaze gleamed brightly, almost as though he’d thought of something. His fingers immediately darted about the computer’s keyboard, and he promptly brought up a map of the locality.

“The seventh hunting zone… is a distance of four kilometers from the first hunting zone. A cultivator at the Operative-class level would take at most ten minutes to traverse this distance. But… right here! The second military formation is clashing directly against the Yin spirits with energy readings of seven hundred Yin on Third Fragrant Grass Street… If he doesn’t want to be spotted, he would necessarily be delayed by a detour. And since he’d clearly never considered joining hands with the governmental forces, he must not want to be detected at all! Professor Wang! Get me the camera feed from Stilltown Street all the way to the Third Fragrant Grass Street! Pronto!!”

The nun standing beside him pondered for a few moments, “Are you saying that this was caused by the same civilian cultivator that was responsible for the breakthrough in the first hunting zone as well?”

“It’s most definitely him!!” Zhang Chenghai slammed the table as he barked excitedly, “He didn’t even take five minutes to purge the evil ghost! Moonwater Priestess, do you think you can achieve these results? What about you, Elder Mei?”

The nun shook her head, “This is something impossible for me. This man… is he trying to attain a breakthrough in his cultivation using the gathering of nether forces tonight?”

“After all, the fact that he can instantly annihilate vengeful apparitions naturally means that he’s already not far away from the Soul Hunter level.”

Zhang Chenghai drew a deep breath, “That’s highly possible… Disseminate my orders - all units who encounter Ul-... Ultraman are to make way for him immediately without question!!”

It wasn’t that he couldn’t personally attend to these hunting zones at all.

Rather… it was a tacit agreement.

Cao Youdao had never personally killed an ordinary citizen before. Zhang Chenghai firmly believed that there was a Hunter-class entity who was commanding all of the ghosts in the entire City of Salvation. Yet, as long as he remained unable to locate the whereabouts of this entity, he was forced to swallow his pride and tacitly condone the existence of these hunting zones which were devouring human lives almost every week.

He even had to cover up Cao Youdao’s existence on a weekly basis!

He was both afraid and concerned about what would happen if he eliminated a single one of these hunting zones that was ostensibly under the head honcho’s command. If the head honcho flew into a fit of frenzy and wreaked havoc on the citizenry in retaliation, what would he do?

Nobody would be able to bear the responsibility of such a terrifying calamity. Nobody would even begin to consider such things at all.

As a special agent of the Special Investigations Department, such bizarre developments were practically tantamount to tight slaps across his face! Yet the only choice available to him right now was to endure this torment endlessly until he had a way out.

And tonight, his way out had finally arrived. Yet he still didn’t dare to make a single move.

After all, his opponent hadn’t made his move yet. He needed to bide his time and be ready to move as soon as his opponent struck.

But that said, someone else had begun to move instead.

Tiga Ultraman had arrived from the distant Nebula M87 and stepped onto the frontlines of battle!

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