All of the trees in Gwangju City swayed wildly as though there were a Category 5 typhoon sweeping through the area. They shook their crowns in unison and bent over as though bowing in the direction of Gonjiam Asylum.
Meanwhile, invisible to ordinary people, countless Yin spirits trembled and fell prostrate to the ground in deep reverence and awe. They could all sense a boundless source of unadulterated Yin energy spilling out from underneath the haunted house. There wasn’t even the slightest intention to keep this source of energy concealed, almost as though it were a declaration of sorts that an Abyssal Prefect had arrived.
The chaotic citizens standing all around the buildings and streets in the midst of their evacuation operations abruptly raised their heads in unison and then subconsciously pulled out their cell phones. They were all dumbfounded by the scene, and they hurriedly took photographs to document what they had seen.
Click… A teenager snapped two photographs, and then exclaimed with a tremor in his voice, “Holy shit… W-what the hell is this supposed to be?! Is this a natural phenomenon? Or is it a supernatural one?!”
“My god…” A middle-aged man was just marching down the stairs when he suddenly looked to the sky. The suitcase in his hand fell straight to the ground with a soft clatter.
“Let’s get going, then!” His daughter tapped him from behind, “Dad, what’s the matter? Didn’t you say that there’s been an incident with the bio-weapon facility nearby? We’ve got to get going!”
Seconds later, the father took a few steps back, and leaned heavily against the wall as he pointed at Gonjiam Asylum in horror, “Is… is this something we would see from a mere incident at the bio-weapon facility?”
“This has got to be… a divine encounter…”
Gonjiam Asylum was one of the top seven places in the world for supernatural phenomena. Incidentally, it was also located at the heart of the purple haze in the sky. A split second later, the light congealed into countless wisps of purple energy, that swiftly turned black as they rushed straight into the heart of Gonjiam Asylum!
The entire Gwangju City trembled as the black vortex poured straight into the haunted asylum!
Rumble… The heavens and earth trembled, while dense black clouds tossed about wildly in the skies, swirling madly as a hole appeared in the heavens, forming a tornado-like channel that ran straight into the ground. It was astounding!
As soon as the black vortex made contact with the ground, a ring of pitch-black shockwave immediately erupted, tearing through Gwangju City, sweeping through Gyeonggi Province, before spreading to the far-flung reaches of Daehan. In fact, it even swept past the national borders of Daehan, rushing straight across the Daehan Peninsula and straight through the adjoining Strait of Tsushima!
At once, the incredible supernatural phenomenon was picked up by special organizations across Cathay, Nippon, South Daehan and North Daehan alike!
Beep, beep, beep!!! Their surveillance instruments and devices blared frantically with alarms, attracting the attention of all of the cultivators on duty as they watched the numbers rise on their Yin energy detectors.
Cinnabar City, three eastern provinces, Cathay. Surveillance Station 8742, easternmost surveillance station on Cathay.
There weren’t many people on duty - just one cultivator, one researcher, and five soldiers.
That said, the researcher and the cultivator couldn’t help but stare incredulously at the screen in front of them, which revealed the image of Gyeonggi Province, together with a red dot that was expanding incredibly quickly!
“6 million Yin… 8 million Yin…” The cultivator was a middle-aged man. He’d already shot to his feet as soon as the alarm sounded, and he soon tightened his grip around his armrest. A lump swelled up in the bottom of his throat.
Beside him, the SRC researched likewise felt his lips dry up and his throat go parched in an instant, “8.7 million… 9.2 million… 9.6 million… 10 million!!!”
It was the level of an Abyssal Prefect!
BEEEEEEP--!!! The alarm blared with an ear-piercing tone, and a female voice immediately prompted them, “Yin energy readings of 10 million Yin. Energy signature detected from a single source. Prefect-class Yin spirit detected in Daehan. Satellite scans reveal the source of these energy readings to be one of the top seven locations for paranormal sightings, the Gonjiam Asylum.”
“As this is a national-level alert, the system has already automatically notified the Headquarters of the Special Investigations Department. Please contact Central immediately.”
BEEP! “Emergency. Ten seconds ago, three Judge-class investigators have been deployed from the three eastern provinces. All existing military commands have been placed on hold, and all authority to dispatch military forces have been diverted exclusively to the Special Investigations Department.”
BEEP! “S-class crisis detected. The system has activated emergency protocols and automatically contacted the military commander and political commissar of the three eastern provinces. Military personnel will be taking over all border defenses within the next three hours.”
BEEP! “One of the three top powers of Cathay has been notified of the emergency, and is currently making his way over from Kunlun Mountain.”
Cathay wasn’t the only place reacting in this manner. In fact, all four countries would have reacted in the same manner at almost the same time. However, their reactions couldn’t hold a candle to the citizens of Gwangju City who were witnessing the incredible sight with their own two eyes.
Yin energy darkened the skies all around them, and everything was completely silent. Even the birds of the air and the stray cats and dogs of the streets were huddled up in the corner, cowering in fear and refraining from making even a single peep of sound. After all, they were far more in tune with their primal instincts than humans could ever be.
And their instinctive fear told them everything they needed to know about the terror rising from the depths.
“Holy shit…” The vice mayor’s jaws dropped as he stumbled back at the situation. He was a cultured man who would generally refrain from cursing and swearing. But under such circumstances, cursing and swearing was the best and only way to describe his current feelings. He stared blankly at the sky.
“Sir! We have to go!!!” The secretary ran over and tugged the vice mayor by the arm, “It’s all over if you don’t leave right now!!”
The vice mayor took a few steps forward, before turning back to the secretary, “Where’s the LSD?!”
“What did they say?!”
Back at the edge of Gwangju City, 10 kilometers outside the heart of Gonjiam Asylum. Countless soldiers, LSD agents, and researchers alike were gathered around a massive tent in the center. A dozen or so leaders, each of whom bore different emblems on their coats or robes, stood in the heart of the tent with a grave expression on their faces as they stared at the central monitor.
It depicted a detailed map of Gwangju City.
The Gonjiam Asylum was located right in the centre of the map, and it was overlaid by a red dot, scarlet as blood. The atmosphering Yin energy reading of the area around Gonjiam Asylum read 9.7 million Yin!
Meanwhile, the red dot was clearly formed from countless smaller red dots that surrounded a larger red dot in the center with energy readings of 15 million in total. The total Yin energy readings of the smaller red dots amounted to 8 million Yin. That said, what was most startling was the fact that there was another massive red dot that was slowly emerging out of nowhere!
“This can’t be… That’s impossible!!” An old, white-haired LSD agent’s lips trembled as he stared at the screen, “There’s simply no basis for the emergence of a Prefect-class Yin spirit here in Daehan! This is absolutely illogical!!”
But nobody responded to him. All eyes were fixed on the screen. The existence of a Prefect-class Yin spirit would bring about huge changes to the delicate balance between the mortal realm and the netherworld in the East Continent. Nobody wanted something like that to happen.
Unfortunately, this was the reality of the situation unfolding before their very eyes.
Beep… A crisp beep cut through the tense silence in the tent. The red dot beside swelled violently, until it finally exceeded 10 million Yin!
The entire room was dead silent. Moments later, several important members of the LSD even passed out without any warning.
“Senior Jeon!” “Senior Lee!” “We need a doctor! Where are the combat medics when you need them?! Men!!!”
“No need!!” One of the bald old men who had passed out momentarily abruptly came back to his senses again, and he promptly grabbed hold of the arms of the two men beside him to stabilize his footing. His lips trembled for a moment, but he remained silent. He was completely lost for words.
Moments later, he bowed deeply to everyone in the room, “Everyone… Please…”
However, there was no response.
There were several foreign cultivators sent here by the surrounding nations in response to Daehan’s distress call. However, it was only natural that none of these nations would be sending their nation’s top fighting force into the fray. After all, this was a Prefect-class Yin spirit.
It wasn’t a matter of the costs involved. Rather, it was simply that the risks were too high! None of them were willing to allow the strategic figureheads of their own nation’s fighting force to undertake such an immense risk for the benefit of another nation.
There was a brief period of silence. Somewhat unexpected, but not entirely unreasonable. The old man sighed wistfully as he straightened out his body and looked to the screen again.
The scarlet text spelling out 10 million was ever as striking as before. It spelt disaster for Daehan.
If the Abyssal Prefect so desired, it could immediately turn Daehan into a living hell!
“Activate the special psychic transmission protocol.” The old man gritted his teeth and spoke softly. At once, several colleagues immediately turned to him with immense shock.
Silence. Some time later, a middle-aged man from LSD gritted his teeth, “Daehan… has never activated the special psychic transmission protocol before.”
“THEN DO IT NOW!!!” The old man snapped back and roared, “This is an Abyssal Prefect - a Yin spirit that indubitably possesses intelligence no less than that of a human being! Talk to him, and ask him what his conditions are for leaving Daehan! Do it now! At once!!”
“Mr Jeon.” A foreign cultivator finally spoke up, “Did you just say… to let it leave, rather than to destroy it? Where is it supposed to go after it leaves?”
“How should I know?!” Mr Jeon grabbed a teacup and swallowed a pill as he turned back to Gonjiam Asylum with bloodshot eyes, “An Abyssal Prefect can go anywhere it wants! So long as it doesn’t stay here in Daehan, it’s none of my business!”
You guys want to use Daehan as fodder?
You want us to keep such a devastating evil here in Daehan? In Gyeonggi Province, near Hanyang?
Even if we’ve got to fight it, we’ll do everything we can to drive it out of Daehan!
And as for what comes after that… why should I care even if it spells disaster on other nations?
Qin Ye shut his eyes tightly, sensing the rush of the tide from every direction around. He felt like a firm rock in the center of the ocean, buffeted by crashing waves, but immovable and immutable.
The balls of light around him that represented faith all began to converge onto his body. It was a strange feeling that felt slightly warm to the touch, almost as though it bore the warmth of the mortal realm. He could hear a multitude of words echo from everywhere around him. However, these weren’t the usual curses of anguish or cries of pain. Rather, they were warm words that were filled with gratitude and thanks.
“Thank you…” “Thank you, foreign emissary.” “It’s only because of your deeds that my loved ones can finally rest in peace…” “I’ve vowed that I would worship the one who can uncover the truth about the MV Sewol tragedy. Thank you…”
There were words of thanks from the souls that had died at the hands of Choi Tae-min with grievances and resentment in their hearts. They were swimming over from the crevices all over Daehan to register their gratitude for Qin Ye. There were also words of faith emanating from people who were still alive, especially relatives of the ones who had been lost to Choi Tae-min’s acts of travesty in some way or other. At once, at least half of the people of Daehan began to bow down and worship Qin Ye with deep faith and gratitude.
The warm streams of energy around him poured straight into his bones and blood, and he felt his entire body transform.
An Infernal Judge could still be considered somewhat akin to a human being, but an Abyssal Prefect… was of a whole other class of its own. It could no longer be considered a living creature. Rather, it was now closer to that of a spiritual existence that straddled the fine line between the mortal realm and the netherworld.
His flesh and bones were undergoing a baptism by faith and enhancement by refinement. The changes were palpable. In fact, he was so confident in the strength of his own body that he was willing to stand in front of an anti-tank gun and allow it to fire point blank at him. By Qin Ye’s estimations, he wouldn’t even sustain a scratch on his body.
No… In fact, it wouldn’t even touch his body.
His body grew stronger and stronger. His flesh, blood and nerves were all transforming on a qualitative level. The unknown source of energy was rapidly transforming his body, so much so that even the Yin energy in his body was growing denser and purer as well. Then, finally… it breached a critical point.
Something in him clicked, and he felt his entire being metamorphosize!
These words surfaced in his mind, yet he didn’t quite know how to react to the situation. It was just a sensation of unprecedented calm and peace in his mind.