Ashmound City, Hell.
“You’re smiling?” The Harken stared at Xu Yangyi and blinked its eyes with great disbelief, “You’re actually smiling?”
The Second King Yanluo opened his eyes, revealing a gaze so deep and abstruse that it appeared to contain the entire universe, “Before embarking on this learning journey to Daehan, I’d at best give my successor a passing grade of 60 marks. That said… he’s undoubtedly earned himself the right to be assessed with full marks.”
“It’s remarkable.” He looked up at the magnificent Ashmound City and laughed heartily, “When he first took over, he was still a coward concerned about his own survival. However, he’s since then metamorphosize into a valiant man worthy of being called the Third King Yanluo of Hell. To think that he’s actually able to stand firm in the face of a Lord of the Danube without even thinking of retreating. I’m pleased… I’m truly pleased…”
“After all, what’s an opulent city full of gold good for without a domineering leader filled with righteous pride and haughtiness?”
“Both preceding King Yanluos of Hell have built their empires on the foundation of bloodshed, before proceeding to reshape their civilization. It’s not sufficient to only be competent with the matters of politics and economy. After all, modern day Cathay is surrounded by superpowers who have long oppressed them with sanctions and the like, and the Yin spirits borne of these nation are bound to carry such notions with them to their respective underworlds. Without ambition and boldness, the only road ahead of Hell would be down to the pits.”
“He’s… finally complete.”
“Complete?” The Harken couldn’t understand what the Third King Yanluo was getting at.
The Second King Yanluo smiled faintly as he gazed deep into the skies, “Take over the rest of the King Yanluo’s tests.”
“There are other tests?” The Harken shook its head in bewilderment.
However, the Second King Yanluo didn’t say another word. Seconds later, an inch-sized, gold-coloured man emerged from between the Second King Yanluo’s brows and knelt on his palm, “Greetings, Yellow Emperor.”
“Although I’m no longer the King Yanluo of Hell, Hell will always have a special place in my heart.” He tapped on the inch-sized man, “Do you still remember the tenets of Hell?”
The inch-sized man kowtowed respectfully, “An instance of infraction, a life of requital! An instance of ignominy, an eternity of penance!”
“Very well.” The Second King Yanluo waved his hand, and the inch-sized man instantly vanished, “Go.”
“If the tiger slumbers for too long, all kinds of rabble will come out to play.”
Yin energy bloomed like glorious rose petals, drifting softly to the ground like velvety feathers. From afar, the Gonjiam Asylum appeared to have been blanketed by these soft, black petals within a ten-mile radius. It was beautiful.
Rumyantsev had reverted back to his human form, and he stared blankly at the black rose petals congealed from Yin energy that were still descending from the sky. Liu Yu stood some distance behind. The ground around them was as flat as the surface of a mirror. Every single tree within a ten-mile radius had been cut so cleanly at the trunk that the surface was absolutely smooth.
There wasn’t even the slightest bit of gravel, debris or bones and skeletons around them. Everything had been completely swept away by Rumyantsev’s earlier blow.
“Is he dead?” Liu Yu asked with great reservations as he glanced anxiously around him.
Something told him that there was something peculiar about Rumyantsev’s mental state right now.
Five seconds later, Liu Yu pressed the issue, “My Lord…”
“Damn it!!!” Rumyantsev roared at the top of his voice, and the entire Gwangju City trembled, almost as though it were struck by a tiny earthquake. The buildings, streetlights and trees that were still standing shook wildly about, and only calmed down after ten seconds.
“He didn’t die… He’s actually still alive!!” Rumyantsev turned back and glared at Liu Yu, revealing the fact that the netherflames in his eyes were flickering wildly, “Lord of Hanyang… Tell me… Tell me where he has gone? Where is the place that you least hope to see him at?!”
Liu Yu gasped, “Room 402… The dean’s room…”
“Then what are you still waiting for?!!” At once, Rumyantsev turned into a violent nethergale and rushed straight into the vortex.
Whoosh… The wind rushed past his ear, while copious amounts of Yin energy poured right out of his body. His eyes had turned completely scarlet with rage, and an indescribable sense of terror surged from the base of his spine through the top of his head. The Tsar’s orders came to mind once more - “Nobody must learn about the truth of these operations. No one must take Choi Tae-min’s life at all costs. And in the event that an exigency arises, and things get out of hand, then you must see to it that you take Choi Tae-min’s life yourself.”
The journey to the substratum of Gonjiam Asylum would entail a transition from the mortal realm into the underworld. Even for an Abyssal Prefect, this was a journey that would take at least five minutes!
It was only five minutes, yet the lapse of time was potentially disastrous to him!
Please don’t be there… Please don’t be in the dean’s office right now… His hair stood on end as he screamed in abject frustration, “AAAAARRRGGGHHH!!!”
BOOM!!! He rushed right onto the black vortex at top speed, hoping to arrive at the substratum of Gonjiam Asylum at the quickest possible time!
None shall act in defiance of the Tsar’s orders. I will take him down, even if it costs me my life!
Room 402. “Haa… Haa..” Wang Chenghao’s entire body was covered with countless wounds, from which Yin energy poured out like a river with broken dikes.
He panted violently and leaned against the sarcophagus. His chest heaved and fell with every breath he took. His arms hung limply off his shoulders, almost as though they were completely dislocated. Black blood and Yin energy were strewn everywhere on the ground like discarded black petals.
This was the aftermath of a fierce battle between two evil ghosts. It was a fight to the death, where neither party held back. In the end, one side was forcibly torn to bits, and had its soul completely shattered.
The room was large and spacious. He could sense that there could be countless living dead hidden amidst the shadows of the darkness around, but he couldn’t be bothered with them at this point of time. Choi Tae-min was clearly lying within the open sarcophagus behind him. He was so close to the truth that explained the presence of the Russian Underworld here in Daehan, and yet he didn’t even have the strength to stand right now.
“Who the hell are you?! And what are you trying to do?! Do you know who brought me back to life? How dare you rebel against such a mighty power?!!” Choi Tae-min spoke with an anxious tremor in his voice as he sensed the soft approach of the MV Sewol.
Yet, the only response he heard was the raggedness in Wang Chenghao’s breaths.
“Do you even know the consequences of your actions?! Do you know who I am? What are you after? Money? Power? That’s not an issue at all! Mr Park and I are close friends. I can give you anything you’re looking for!!!”
Wang Chenghao chuckled hoarsely. He had already reverted back to his human form, and he leaned limply against the coffin.
He suddenly understood the meaning of the couplets at Hell’s Gate.
Sins of three lives in the mortal realm are accorded to thee.
Hath Hell spared any since ages past?
Everyone would have their just desserts in due time.
Choi Tae-min’s hands had been stained by the blood of countless people, beginning with his establishment of the Church of Spirit World, to the Train to Pusan incident, the MV Sewol Tragedy, and even the organized mass suicide incidents of the followers of his sect. It wouldn’t even be an overstatement to say that thousands of people have died because of him!
And that’s not to mention the fact that his influence had pervaded every corner of Daehan, tainting the hearts of men and becoming the root of all darkness here in Daehan.
And now… the time had come for him to finally pay for his debts.
Just then, the MV Sewol finally crossed the entire length of the corridor and entered the massive iron gate. By this point, it was already immersed in an ocean of Yin energy. Meanwhile, Wang Chenghao gasped for breath and transformed his hand into the shape of a long spear, desperately hefting it with all his might.
There’s one final step to this process…
And that was to drag the MV Sewol right out of the Yin Yang Mezzanine.
Unfortunately, his steps felt incredibly heavy. He took two steps, and then fell face flat onto the ground. Yin energy continued to pour out profusely from his body, and his vision slowly turned blurry.
“Look at you… You can’t hold on any longer… Do you really have to do this?! Surrender to the Russian Underworld, and pledge your allegiance to the true god of death! I can assure you that so long as you defect to us, there will only be endless benefits to you! Eternal life! Immortality! Power! Women! Money! You… You just need to name it!!!”
Wang Chenghao couldn’t hear a single word of his rambling. His eyes were staring transfixed at the MV Sewol.
Is this the end of the road for me…?
I feel like a worm, destined to crawl forward slowly on the ground. Speaking of which, the ground is rather comfortable… Perhaps I should just take a nap…
Just then, Choi Tae-min’s face at the bow of the MV Sewol abruptly opened his eyes, and its expression grew twisted. A split second later, it opened its mouth and unleashed an ear-splitting shriek!
The Kiku-ichimonji had been plunged right into the bow of the ship. A hand was wrapped weakly around the hilt of the sword.
“You’ve… done well…” Oda Nobutada gasped as he sat on the prow of the ship, glancing down at Wang Chenghao with a nod of approbation for the very first time, “Excellent… You’ve even exceeded my expectations…”
Whoosh… Just then, the candles around the coffin went out abruptly. The sound of rattling chains echoed from the surroundings, almost as though a tide was rising. Meanwhile, starting from the prow of the ship, the MV Sewol slowly began to disintegrate into wisps of Yin energy that slowly began to coalesce around the coffin.
“No… damn it! NO!!!” Choi Tae-min screamed hoarsely. This wasn’t the end he was looking for!
That’s not how the script ended!
Rumyantsev had told him that if the ones captaining the ship weren’t Richard or himself, then he should immediately take his own life. Otherwise, Rumyantsev would see to it that he took Choi Tae-min’s life instead. That said, he did qualify these statements with another sentence, as if in jest - “But nothing of the sort would happen.”
But… who would’ve thought that their worst fears actually came true?
And he didn’t even know who these perpetrators were!
He didn’t want to die. He wasn’t willing to die! He wasn’t willing to take his own life either, especially not after coming back to life after two long decades. This was his dream come true, even if he knew that he wasn’t resurrecting as a human being! That said, he also appreciated the fact that the current circumstances meant that the Russian Underworld’s plans had failed, and he wouldn’t be able to live for much longer.
Where exactly did things go wrong?
Just then, the void around them trembled violently, and Yin energy filled with murderous intent pervaded Room 402, followed closely with an overwhelming pressure that symbolized the might of a King Yanluo of Hell!
“Heh…” Wang Chenghao finally relaxed his body and slumped to the ground. Back on the bow of the ship, Oda Nobutada did exactly the same thing.
The source of the nightmares that had plagued Daehan for decades on end would finally pay for his crimes in this very place.
Hundreds of teenage lives that had been lost on the fateful day of the tragedy of MV Sewol… The couples, mothers and sons, and fathers and daughters who had perished in the Train to Pusan…
The despair of unpaid injustice would finally come to an end today.
Spirit of Avernus, absolute domain. The time for your hunt has come!
Rumble! A rift tore open in the void, and Qin Ye stepped staggered out, completely covered in blood. Ryu Changmin appeared right beside him.
“Five minutes…” Qin Ye looked ahead, “We’re located at the intersection between the mortal realm and the netherworld. They’ll need some time to get to us…”
The MV Sewol had already transformed into a terrifying vortex of Yin energy that swirled violently around the sarcophagus. A man’s silhouette could be seen hidden within.
The sky was strewn all over with paper talismans, while chains rattled restlessly amidst the dense fog of Yin energy. It quickly grew to the size that was a hundred meters from end to end. Innumerable spots of netherflames darted about the sky, almost as though a hell rift had opened.
“Rumyantsev will definitely arrive in five minutes.” Qin Ye glanced around at the swirling vortex blankly. Just then, it suddenly exploded and filled the entire room with a dense fog of Yin energy.
“AHHHHH!!!” A bald man wearing a cross over his black robes with netherflames blazing from his pupils screamed at the top of his voice as he glanced at his hands. He stood right at the heart of the vortex that had just erupted..
It had been decades. The source of the chaos plaguing Daehan had finally stepped out of his sarcophagus and into Gonjiam ASylum!
He screamed and embraced the void with excitement, unfolding his arms as though praising God for his divine mercy. That said, his face was filled with an amalgam of complex emotions.
It was his long-awaited resurrection, but not quite on the same terms as he had desired!
“Who are you?” Moments later, he turned around and gnashed his teeth at Qin Ye, “What do you want?”
Qin Ye smiled faintly and took several steps back. Then, with a light flick of his finger, a thread formed from Yin energy shifted, while a broken ballpoint pen also landed on the surface of the ground.
BOOM!! Two sources of Yin energy no weaker than Choi Tae-min’s in any way suddenly erupted from nowhere!
“Choi! Tae! Min!!!” Two bloodthirsty voices roared at the same time, “We’re here… to claim what is rightfully ours…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter