Boom! 9.02 p.m. Qin Ye was enshrouded with gloomy Yin energy as he stood in front of a dilapidated house.
He was now in Sunflower Village, a village located in the suburbs of the city. He was presently surrounded by block after block of high-rise buildings in the neighbourhood. This was the village’s best neighbourhood. Despite that, the house he was standing in front of was the only house in the neighbourhood that had been built with prefabricated panels and bricks. The house comprised a living room and two bedrooms that stood on a reasonably large piece of land.
The brick house was also located in the deepest part of the Sunflower Village. Qin Ye had heard rumours of this as well. Eight years ago, a couple and their daughter were living here. The couple was already somewhat jaded with life and simply cruising along when they were suddenly informed that their entire neighbourhood was slated to be demolished, and that they would be relocated.
Ecstatic over the prospects of a sudden windfall, the family offered to agree to the demolition works in exchange for a whopping RMB 20 million!
It had to be said that the location of their house was hardly anywhere close to the imperial capital in terms of stature and demand. It was at best a third-rate city within the Insignia Province. The developers naturally disagreed, and the family remained stubborn and unbudging. Half a year later, when the developers realized that they were going nowhere with this family, they commenced with their demolition and construction works on the surrounding areas in a fit of rage, leaving only the family and their land around.
From then on, the family was faced with the rumbling and clanging sounds of construction everyday, and yet they could only watch on with envy as their neighbours all moved into their new homes. They immediately applied to the developers to be included once more. But changing their plans would necessitate revising all of their ongoing construction work. How could they possibly agree to that?
About one month later, the despondent family brought a bottle of pesticide with them and headed over to the construction grounds once more. When they failed in their application for the umpteenth time, they ingested the pesticide.
They intended to use their death to threaten the developers.
They didn’t drink too much of the pesticide. In all likelihood, they had probably hoped that they would be conveyed to the hospital in time so that their lives would be preserved. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as planned, and they weren’t saved in time. Thus, the brick house continued to stand firm where it was since then.
“What grievances do you vengeful apparitions have?” Qin Ye laughed contemptuously as he kicked open the front door.
Boom! The rotting wooden door was thrown straight into the house. Qin Ye had already armed himself with the demonhead saber. The demonhead saber was covered with jade green flames, and even the edge of its blade had shown some traces of unevenness, almost as though it would eventually transform into a sawtooth edge.
However, the evil ghosts didn’t show up as expected. Rather, it would be more accurate to say that nobody was looking at him at all.
The house was incredibly dark, and the only source of light came from an ancient oil lamp. Three Yin spirits crouched on the floor right next to the oil lamp. They were dressed shabbily, exactly the same as how they had appeared just prior to death. But right in the midst of them lay a large pile of objects, including candles, human bones that had been exhumed from the graves, fragments from coffins, burnt paper money…
The three Yin spirits stared warily at each other as they held tightly to each their own wad of torn or burnt bits of Hell notes. And they completely turned a blind eye to the presence of an Emissary of Hell. It was almost as though they were more wary of the existence of the other two Yin spirits around them.
A nest of ghosts.
Their love for money exceeded their love for life.
Qin Ye sighed wistfully, “Dredging a man’s grave just so that you’ll have someone to accompany you in death… Your avarice transcends even death itself… Let me send you all on your way.”
He swung his saber before he finished speaking. The girl’s ethereal body shrieked as she vanished into a wisp of smoke. However, her parents didn’t even glance at her for a single moment. Instead, they shrieked at the top of their lungs and pounced at each other at practically the same time, tearing at each other’s throats as though they were nemeses with blood feuds.
Qin Ye tutted his lips in disgust and slashed a second time.
Whoosh! The paper money on the ground was sent flying. Almost as though a time-out bell had been rung, the two who were tearing at each other’s throats finally quietened down.
They both cocked their heads and stared at Qin Ye. Their eyes grew from calm and placid to bloodshot and filled with fury. With a shrill shriek, they opened their mouths incredibly wide and charged madly at Qin Ye.
Beep beep beep beep… 9.20 p.m, underneath the city hall. Zhang Chenghai and the men wearing white coats stared at the screen, unable to say a single word.
The tenth hunting zone had been broken!
“It’s… unbelievable!” One of the men in white coats drew a deep breath and adjusted his glasses, “Is he… trying to get through all of the hunting zones?”
Zhang Chenghai’s gaze was blazing with passion. Seconds later, he barked, “Anyone? Has anyone managed to make contact with the mysterious man yet?!”
The nun shook her head, “No. His speed is just too quick, and he’s also intentionally avoiding us. However, the number of hunting zones are getting smaller and smaller. If his intentions are indeed to capitalize on the situation tonight to breach the bottleneck to Soul Hunter, all we have to do is to wait for him at the remaining few hunting zones. We’ll definitely be able to encounter him that way!”
“I want you to head there personally.” Zhang Chenghai drew a deep breath to suppress the delight in his heart as he added, “You must make sure to invite him to join the ranks of the Special Investigations Department. The speed at which he disposes of these ghosts, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t even stopped to rest a single time, all points to the fact that he’s not far away from the Soul Hunter level!”
“Separately…” He gazed deeply at the monitor, “Keep a close watch on the movements of the Yin spirits as well… There’s most certainly a head honcho residing in the deep recesses of the City of Salvation that is commanding all of these Yin spirits. I refuse to believe that the leader of these Yin spirits will remain indifferent to the fact that three of his vengeful apparitions have already been purged!”
The nun nodded her head. Just as she was about to take a leave, the chiming sound of bells cut through the tense atmosphere in the room once more.
Everyone was taken slightly aback. Shortly after that, the City of Salvation’s map vanished from the central monitor, only to be replaced by the appearances of an old man wearing a black cloak. He had deep sunken cheeks and dark rings around his eyes. It looked almost as though this old man had just climbed out of his coffin.
“Greetings, supervisor.” Zhang Chenghai bowed deeply to the monitor. The old man smiled genially, “Kid… don’t bother… I heard that something’s happened to the City of Salvation?”
“Indeed. Sir, the Yin spirits within the City of Salvation have begun moving on a large-scale basis. I’ve issued orders… that this is a battle that we must win at all costs!”
“A good decision.” The old man chuckled coldly and snorted, “I’ll be there in an hour’s time. I want to see for myself whether this elusive head honcho dares to flaunt his abilities under the watchful eyes of this old bag of bones!!”
Under Insignia University, at the Orchid Clubhouse. If one were to describe the Special Investigations Department’s reaction to the developments as plain shock, Cao Youdao’s reactions could only be described by a confluence of extreme astonishment and intense fury.
He no longer drank from his glass of wine.
The red wine was just by his side, but it remained still and untouched.
“How did he do it?!”
“That’s impossible… The energy signature of Hell’s Emissaries are completely different to that utilized by cultivators in the mortal realm! Why is the mortal realm just turning a blind eye to the situation like that?!”
He had always believed that he was an incredibly lucky man.
Hell was vast and boundless, and it contained hundreds of billions of Yin spirits on end. The powerful officials had been whisked away by Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva when he attained enlightenment. Infernal judges had departed, while Anitya Hellguards weren’t in a place to refuse. And there was no need to talk about the insignificant Soul Hunters.
He was the only one who remained amidst the grand upheaval.
He had always believed that this must be heaven’s will.
Heaven had intended for him to establish a new order of Hell.
This was why he had been searching far and wide for his own Emissaries of Hell. He needed new civil servants to help him in establishing the new Hell.
The vengeful apparitions, for instance, were evil ghosts that he had painstakingly cultivated for his own purposes. He had diligently nurtured them with blood and nutrients while refraining from making any moves against the citizens of the City of Salvation in exchange for Zhang Chenghai’s tacit compromise. This was what allowed the ten hunting zones to remain intact in the City of Salvation today.
But now, three hunting zones had been completely wiped out in a matter of three hours! Decades of his blood, sweat and toil had just gone up in ashes!
“You… you’re courting death!”
Boom!!! A furious gale of Yin energy began to swirl around his body. His Hell’s Emissary uniform began to take shape, and a long white sword appeared on his back. With a furious shout, he transformed into a rushing river of Yin energy and shot out of the Orchid Clubhouse.
If I don’t kill this son of a bitch, I’ll never be able to get rid of the hatred in my heart!
However, it didn’t take long before Cao Youdao suddenly stopped in his steps and cursed aloud, “Damn it!!!”
He sliced down with his longsword in fury, sending a roaring tremor echoing throughout the Orchid Clubhouse. The expensive dance floor, the topnotch sound systems, and even the custom made chairs were instantly cut to pieces!
He had suddenly figured out where the problem lay.
“There’s a great likelihood that the mortal realm is only turning a blind eye to all of this because the piece of primordial treasure on that little bastard’s body is concealing his energy signature!”
I can’t make a move…
My opponent is also a fully-fledged Emissary of Hell who had survived Hell’s great collapse because he possesses a piece of Hell’s treasures…
If I make a move, and I can’t kill him right away, there is a high likelihood that the mortal realm is going to get a read on my energy signature and be able to track me down afterwards. At that time, everything I’ve done over the last hundred years would go up in blazes!
“I can’t believe that an official of Hell is actually stooping so low and mixing with these mortals just for the sake of his own survival! Shameful!!” His hands trembled hard, and he gritted his teeth, “Disseminate my orders… All Yin spirits are to immediately surround the remaining hunting zones! As soon as you discover that man…”
He drew a deep breath and gnashed his teeth, “Exterminate him, no matter the cost!!!”
Qin Ye was oblivious to Cao Youdao’s rage.
10.40 p.m. Qin Ye kicked down the rooftop access door that was covered in blood and scratches and sealed by chains. The demonhead saber on his back had already grown to a length that exceeded one meter. The scabbard had also turned an intense, dark colour, with the shape of the big dipper constellation etched on its surface, connected by a thin, red line.
The rooftop was painted with an eerie sheen by the dim moonlight. The ground was covered with aged blood stains that had already turned a grisly black hue. The railings on the rooftop were covered with innumerable talismans that were tied together with a thin red thread. A single, small body was curled up in the center of the rooftop that looked just like a mourning hall. Even when the door to the rooftop was opened, the little figure didn’t turn around at all.
Kkkkkrrrrr.... Qin Ye removed his Ultraman mask and dragged his saber on the ground like a menacing executioner. The huge sheath ground against the floor with a harsh, metallic sound. When the door to the rooftop finally slammed with a bang, the little child finally moved.
Whoosh… The gentle night breeze swept by, sending the talismans all over the rooftop fluttering about ominously. The little child spoke with a soulless child’s voice, “Play with me?”
“Alright.” Qin Ye unsheathed his saber, “This brother has a toy that you might enjoy playing with…”
“Play with me?” It was almost as though this were the only line the child knew.
“What’s the hurry?” Dragging his saber, Qin Ye shot forward. As the saber flew through the air, it made a soft, humming sound. Then, just as he was three meters away from the child, the child suddenly lifted his head.
The opening to his mouth had already extended to the sides of his ear, and his mouth was filled with razor sharp teeth. The child opened his mouth a full half-meter wide and promptly charged straight at Qin Ye!
“Hooooh!! … Ah… hah… mis--... mistake… everything’s been a misunderstanding…”
The appearance of this vengeful apparition was truly frightening.
That said, what greeted the apparition was an even more frightening demonhead saber.
The blade was massive and strong, while the edge of the blade had already transformed into a fully serrated edge. Three rings were attached to the back of the blade. Yet, upon closer inspection, it would be evident that the three rings weren’t corporeal objects at all.
Rather… they were souls!
The souls of the vengeful apparitions he had purged before had transformed into souls that were bound to the blade of the saber, howling endlessly under the torment of his boundless netherworldly flames.
Anyone standing close to Qin Ye would be able to hear the heart-rending, miserable cries from these harvested souls.
Right then, the saber cleaved through the air and short straight towards the child’s head.
“Eh?” Qin Ye raised his eyebrows and held back at the very last moment. The green flames shot forward with the momentum of the blade, burning the body of the little child. Yet, even though he screamed miserably in pain, he fervently remained on his knees and struggled to speak with a hoarse voice, “S-sir… this is… mistake… I-I was… too excited…”
“You’ve transformed into a coward pretty quickly.” Qin Ye said with a wry smile on his face and completed the slash in the very next moment!
“What’s a support like you doing frightening a carry like me?! Don’t you think you’ve acted out of line?”
“Sssssss!!!” With a miserable shriek, the child’s ethereal body vanished, sending the Yin energy around the demonhead saber flourishing with ever greater vigor. Qin Ye’s proof of identity shot out of his chest and began to record his next achievement.
“Purged one vengeful apparition: 20 merit points awarded.”
“Currently accumulated: 100 merit points. Total points required for promotion to the Soul Hunter rank: 100 merit points.”
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