Chapter 62: Blood Sacrifice

Cao Youdao’s headless corpse swayed in the hall. Shortly afterwards, copious amounts of Yin energy began to pour out of the severed neck, transforming into a whirlpool of Yin energy that screamed as it swept violently about the entire room. 

“Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh…” The Yin energy transformed into a powerful five-meter vortex that hovered ominously above Cao Youdao’s headless corpse. Moments later, the Yin energy congealed into innumerable black butterflies that disintegrated in no time and vanished into the surroundings.

Meanwhile, the horde of Yin spirits scattered across the entire City of Salvation instantly fell silent.

The City of Salvation’s Second Avenue. A long convoy of police and military vehicles were parked along the side of the wide road, while hundreds of soldiers were lined up in four neat rows in front of them. A rope with innumerable copper coins established a protective cordon around the soldiers, while talismans hung loosely from them. Approximately three thousand Yin spirits holding onto scarlet lanterns were gathered right in front of them, drifting slowly towards them like a raging tide of spirits.

“Ahh…” “Sss…” The miserable cries of the Yin spirits echoed eerily throughout the night sky. They slowly rose like a massive wave, threatening to crash onto the soldiers in front.

“Shit…” The soldiers deployed at the front of the formation gritted their teeth. Strict regimentation had instilled in them a sense of duty and deference. Yet the reality right now was that they were faced with an immensely threatening tidal wave of Yin spirits while protected only by a thin line of copper coins. Any soldier that claimed to be fearless in such a situation would be lying. Yet, despite that, nobody retreated.

Even though their legs were trembling slightly, their arms remained straight and their backs were erect. “Release!” A domineering voice yelled. Crossbow bolts immediately filled the sky, dragging blazing talisman through the air as they crashed straight into the tide of Yin spirits.

Unfortunately, there were just too many of them.

They had annihilated the first wave of Yin spirits, but the second wave of Yin spirits immediately charged forward with wanton disregard for their own lives. Rattle rattle… The protective line of copper coins rattled violently with the wind. As the Yin spirits continued to pour in, they began to pile up in front of the line, just like a rising mountain. They were on the verge of breaching the protective cordon.

“Damn… There’s just no end to these ghosts!!” One of the officers sitting in a car located in the center of the convoy hammered hard on the steering wheel and stood up abruptly, “Hold the front!! We’ve got to hold the front no matter what! The battle is now at a critical juncture in other parts of the city! We cannot afford to screw up!!”

“Commander!” The orderly beside him cried out anxiously, “A third of our men are already down for the count! How do you expect us to hold the front?!”

A number of soldiers lay motionlessly just behind the commander’s vehicle. There were no wounds on him at all. However, his face was pale and ashen, and his entire body was freezing cold and numb. His heart pounded on feebly and faintly.

It was almost as though he were in cryostasis.

Yin energy had pervaded every corner of his body. If they continued to fight on like this, the incapacitated soldiers would most certainly lose their lives within the hour.

“This is an order!” The commander gritted his teeth and barked despondently, “Even if we have to throw our bodies at the enemy, we must not lose this garrison!!”

Yet, before he could even finish speaking, a loud explosion occurred, and the rope of copper coins shattered to pieces, scattering the coins across the sky like twinkling stars in the night.

Time seemed to pause at this tragic, somber moment.

The stunned commander turned his attention straight towards the frontline. Without the protection of the copper coin rope, the multitude of Yin spirits would be able to run amok without restraint. The commander drew a deep breath and bellowed at the top of his voice, “Hold--...”

Yet he froze before he could complete his orders.

And he was not the only one who had frozen in place - even the frontline soldiers were completely flabbergasted by what they saw.

They had already folded their arms across their chests in a defensive posture in preparation to make a final stand. However, the chilling wave of energy that they had expected never quite arrived.

“This is…” One of the young frontline soldiers covered in cold sweat was stunned as he stared vacantly at the tide of Yin spirits in front of him. He could even see the vicious expressions on the greenish-white body of the Yin spirit closest to him. That said… the entire wave of Yin spirits had simply stopped moving.

They were moving like a rushing tide just a second ago, yet they were simply still as a rock right now.

And this phenomenon wasn’t merely localized to the Second Avenue. Right this moment, the tidal waves of Yin spirits ploughing down the City of Salvation’s People’s Park, Prosperity Street, Dragonhorse Avenue… had all ceased to move entirely!

“He’s done it…” Back at the city center, Zhang Chenghai’s eyes gleamed as he stared at the monitor in front of him, “This means that the head honcho is finally defeated. The Yin spirits have lost their master…”

Boom!!

In the next instant, the congregations of Yin spirits located at various parts of the City of Salvation immediately scattered wildly in all directions, right in front of the eyes of the two thousand soldiers that had been deployed.

The ghosts had lost their leader; they had been completely routed.

Whoosh… The cultivators who possessed the ability to perceive Yin spirits also suddenly discovered that the innumerable scarlet lanterns that were strewn all over the place had silently extinguished their flames within.

The thick aura of Yin energy began to ebb away into the darkness from where it came, leaving the lights of the mortal realm blazing brightly like a beacon at night.

It was as though the moon had lost its luster, and the surrounding stars had all ceased to twinkle brightly. Within ten minutes, all of the scarlet lanterns on the ground extinguished their flames automatically. Shortly after that, they spontaneously combusted with a radiant blaze, consuming the entire lantern together with the stark “Cao” character on it until nothing was left.

Zhang Chenghai, Elder Mei and the nun stood shoulder to shoulder on the television tower, gazing down at the receding tide of Yin energy throughout the city. They could vaguely make out the gleaming vibrancy of life echoing from the heart of the city once more, and they all heaved a sigh of relief.

“With immediate effect…” Zhang Chenghai’s eyelids twitched excitedly as he hoarsely ordered, “This morning at dawn, all soldiers are to raise the flags of our nation on every street lamp on every corner of the city!!”

“This is a declaration to all ghosts who dare infiltrate the mortal realm… that we are the ones who stand sovereign over these lands!”

As soon as he finished speaking, a man in a suit rushed over to his side and whispered into his ears, “Sir, the orders from above have arrived.”

“It pertains to… the future of the City of Salvation. It’s a red docket, and it’s of utmost priority. The mayor and the bookkeeper are both already waiting for you.”

………………………………….

Qin Ye was no longer aware of the affairs taking place throughout the City of Salvation.

As soon as he purged Cao Youdao, his proof of identity floated out of his chest once more, and a line of red words appeared on its register, “Purged: one Hunter-class vengeful apparition: 200 merit points awarded.”

“Currently accumulated: 200 merit points. Total points required for promotion to the Anitya Hellguard rank: 1800 merit points.”

Qin Ye couldn’t be bothered.

What’s the difference? I’ve got no plans to go any further. So what if it’s 1,800 points? Even if it’s 18,000 points, it’s all the same to me.

He looked at the inch-tall humanoid figure and asked in bewilderment, “What’s that?”

“It’s your blade release.” Arthis responded, “All the artifacts used by genuine Emissaries of Hell are treasures that have been infused by the breath of the Sixfold Ghost Kings. As soon as you attain the Soul Hunter level and have your name recorded and recognized by Hell’s Records, you’ll be able to summon the breath of the Sixfold Ghost Kings by dripping your blood on the blade of your sword."

“A blood sacrifice?”

“In a manner of speaking…” Arthis continued resentfully, “The more blood you use, the stronger the breath of the Sixfold Ghost King summoned… I’d never expected you to have made only a one-centimeter cut on the palm of your hand! You’re a coward to the extreme!”

“Haven’t you ever contemplated the possibility that the breath of the Sixfold Ghost King summoned wouldn’t be able to kill Cao Youdao? What would’ve happened to you then?”

Qin Ye was incredibly displeased, “What do you know? I’ll never give what I don’t need to give. This is the result of my meticulous calculations! Let me ask you - what was the outcome in the end?”

Arthis remained silent.

The most annoying thing was the fact that Cao Youdao was simply too weak! He had cost her a prime opportunity to educate the piece of trash from her moral high ground!

And now, she couldn’t even argue against him!

“You just got lucky this time…” Arthis gritted her teeth, “You should pick up Hell’s Records now. If my guess is right, this pit should lead directly to Hell. In fact, it probably used to be one of the passageways between Hell and the mortal realm. Hell’s Records should have been washed out of this pit during the great collapse. This was probably what gave Cao Youdao a chance at survival to begin with.”

Qin Ye stood by the side of the pit and stuck his neck out as far as he could as he cautiously peered into the pit. Triggered by his cowardice, Arthis fantasized about the prospects of smashing his head into the pit.

“Passageway to Hell?”

Arthis responded, “That’s right. There are many such passageways spread out all across Cathay, most of which are located in places that humans won’t be able to find. How else do you think Hell does its work in the mortal realm? ‘Boop’, and we appear on earth?”

Qin Ye nodded his head.

Then, just as Arthis’ gaze was exploding with frustration, Qin Ye began to pick up the surrounding wreckage and threw them into the pit!

“What the hell are you doing?!!” Arthis felt as though her menopause had just set in - as she got to know Qin Ye better, she also found herself getting increasingly triggered by his actions. She practically screamed at him, “Even though Hell’s Records aren’t one of the three primordial treasures, it’s still a prized treasure that was in possession of the Yama-King of the third palace, Yama-King Songdi! It possesses the power to suppress the Blackrope Abyssal Court! It’s practically a single step away from being considered one of the primordial treasures! Without it, you’ll at best be able to rise through the ranks, but you won’t have the ability to bestow promotions on other people!! You won’t have the ability to establish your own people!”

Qin Ye looked at Arthis in bewilderment, “Why would I want to bestow promotions on others?”

“Let me do the math for you. I’m already holding onto a shard of King Yanluo’s Seal, and the other heretic who’s been threatening my survival has already been expunged from the face of the world. In other words, as long as I hold onto this shard, I can continue to live in peace until the end of time!”

Arthis was suddenly silent.

“Arti?” After minutes of silence, Qin Ye became fraught with concern that his bombshell on Arthis had caused her to pass away from shock. Thus, he probed for her response uneasily.

“Haha… so that’s what you’ve been thinking all this while…” After another minute or so, Arthis chuckled coldly, “Why don’t you think back a little bit more carefully. With Granny Meng’s status as a key figure of Hell, why was she in the mortal realm for such a long time? What was she trying to achieve?”

Before Qin Ye could respond, she continued with a low voice, “If it were merely for the sake of a shard of King Yanluo’s Seal, do you think I would’ve tried so hard to seize Wang Zemin’s soul in the first place?”

“Kid… I don’t know whether you’re unwilling to consider these things seriously, or whether you’re simply in denial. But the truth of the matter is that this is something you’ll never be able to run away from…”

Her voice grew incomparably somber, “King Yanluo’s Seal… is the first of the three primordial treasures of Hell. The Yellow Springs, which is core to the foundation of Hell, is hidden within King Yanluo’s Seal. In other words, the assembly of King Yanluo’s Seal is tantamount to the revivification of Hell!”

“The gates of Fengdu Necropolis would open its gates once more, and order would reign in the underworld! Everything in hell would be restored to its previous glory! This… is no different from the genesis of the underworld!”

“Enough!!” Qin Ye bellowed with a cold, chilling voice, “I don’t want to hear anymore.”

Arthis laughed, “Hiding… you’re hiding again? I naturally don’t blame you for this. The duty of the one who holds onto the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal is massive. Anyone in your shoes would want to shirk this responsibility. However, Granny Meng hasn’t ever given you the opportunity to do so!”

“Do you think she dallied the departing of her spirit just so that she could entrust you with a card collecting game?”

“Wrong! She was looking for the next King Yanluo! The person who assembles King Yanluo’s Seal would be able to bring forth the Yellow Springs and reestablish Hell once more! He would possess the authority to appoint Yama-Kings, Abyssal Prefects, Infernal Judges and Anitya Hellguards! He would restore Hell to its former glory, and restore order to the mortal realm once more!! This is as glorious an achievement as things get!”

“And this is why I’d been trying my hardest to steal Wang Zemin’s soul from you that day! This is why Granny Meng looked for you! It’s because you’ve eaten the fungus of aeons, and you’re practically an immortal! You’ve got an infinite amount of time ahead of you to accomplish this magnificent task! In other words, you’re the single, best candidate for the job!”

“Shut up!!” Qin Ye violently grabbed the soul sphere and threw it against the wall.

As the soul sphere tumbled down with a grunt, Arthis glanced over at Qin Ye’s heaving and falling chest as she laughed contemptuously, “As expected… you’ve already guessed as much… I knew that you were smarter than a monkey. You’ve been refined through decades of life experiences, so how could you possibly have failed to consider these things? You must have guessed all of this when I first mentioned that the Yellow Springs were hidden within King Yanluo’s Seal, haven’t you?”

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