With that, the old monk took a gentle step, and his entire body traversed dozens of meters at once, appearing in the middle of the national highway in moments. The leaves and branches in front of him began to swirl chaotically, but they didn’t scatter away. It was almost as though they were wrapping themselves around a terrifying, invisible beast.
After chanting a passage from a scripture, the old monk clasped his palms tightly together and asked with downcast eyes, “What business does this benefactor have here in the humble Pearl River City?”
“Hehe…” A shrill chuckle resounded in his ears, “Master Chan Ming of the White Horse Temple… To think that you’re still alive… I’ve heard that you’re honored as one of the three top fighting forces of the mortal realm. Were you sent here to suppress my comrade? You should go peacefully when it’s time to die. Aren’t you worried that you’ve lived for far too long?”
“Amitabha…” The old monk’s eyes remained placid, “This venerable monk cannot afford to pass on while evil remains in the mortal realm.”
He counted the golden beads in his hands as his voice grew somber, “Therefore, this venerable monk has no choice but to stand in your way tonight.”
“I can sense that you emanate the same kind of revulsive Yin energy as the other Prefect-class Yin spirit here in Pearl River. This tells me that… you stand in the way of humanity.”
“Dare I ask what your name might be?”
A gentle breeze swept by, causing the leaves on the ground to rustle endlessly, “I come under the auspices of the new Hell. Daolord of the Asura, Qin Hui.”
Chan Ming’s eyes flickered wildly as he stared intently at the national highway ahead. Three seconds later, he shook his head, “If you come under the auspices of the new Hell, you must be an Emissary of Hell. Emissaries of Hell are invisible, but I can see you.”
“You are an evil ghost, and not an Emissary of Hell. Qin Hui… Amitabha… My weakness is a sin to the mortal realm.”
“Stupid! Pedantic!” Qin Hui sneered, “I didn’t bring any paperwork of authenticity with me because I’d left Hell in such a hurry. Let me ask you something - if I truly intended to meet with her, would I have had to take the high road of the national highway? Do you think I can’t sense the presence of an intermediate Prefect-class expert waiting for me? Why didn’t I make a detour? Does that make any sense to you?”
“Do you detect any stench of blood or flesh from me?”
Chan Ming froze.
I actually can’t…
No. Impossible. How can they get by for several months without consuming blood and flesh?
How is that possible?
Could what he’s saying actually be true?
Recognizing the preliminary success with his reasoning, Qin Hui smiled, “Old monk, you’d best head back to your White Horse Temple and retire in peace. Let me tell you something, I’m here today on the orders of the King Yanluo of Hell! In fact, I’ve specifically been tasked to sway the Prefect-class Yin spirit that resides here in Pearl River. If I succeed, Pearl River will no longer face the threat of a Prefect-class Yin spirit anymore, and the entire Pearl River district will once again fall under the banner of Hell. How great would such merit be? So, would you allow me to go about my business, or would you still stand in my way?”
Master Chan Ming remained silent, staring intently at the middle of the national highway. He could see a magnificent carriage parked in the center of the road behind the countless leaves that had fallen. The ancient Cathayan carriage was pulled by four skeletal war horses. Four palace lanterns hung from the corners of the carriage, lit with eerily flickering netherflames. The carriage was driven by an ancient corpse, and there were no other attendants around.
Time seemed to come to a standstill, and they stood at an impasse for approximately a minute. After that, Master Chan Ming smiled, “It would indeed be a great merit. Benefactor Qin, please.”
As his orders trickled down the chain of command, the army standing behind him slowly parted ways, allowing passage for Qin Hui. There was a soft chuckle from within the carriage. Moments later, the corpse tugged the reins, and the skeletal war horses cantered forward in an instant.
Back in the carriage, Qin Hui gently lowered the curtains at the windows. He rubbed the string of Buddhist beads that hung in his fingers, while the netherflames in his eyes pulsed softly. After a long while, he tutted softly to himself.
He had acted presumptuously, coming without an official edict.
He was in a hurry, and he was incredibly anxious.
Yanluo Qin had pointed out that he had failed to complete his task of taking Kong Mo’s head. He knew full well that Kong Mo had several Yin artifacts in his possession, many of which were Prefect-class. He didn’t want to get hurt too badly if he could help it. Naturally, the next best thing he could do was to get in touch with the other daolords, join forces with them, and launch a full frontal assault against Kong Mo. That way, no matter how tactically dominant Kong Mo was, he would be destined to fall to the coalition of daolords.
Furthermore, Qin Hui got the feeling that Yanluo Qin didn’t seem to have a very good impression of him to begin with. Thus, in order to reverse this, he sincerely believed that the best thing to do would be to convince the other two daolords to pledge their allegiance to him. If he could fulfill these objectives of his, he would most certainly be able to gain the favour of the King Yanluo of Hell.
Unfortunately, they had never met before.
He knew neither the habits nor the thought patterns of the other two daolords. After all, there was a stiff competition among Yin spirits - even Yin spirits of that level, especially since the quickest way to advancement was to devour each other!
“I’ve got no choice but to make this trip in the hope that I would be able to gain the favour of King Yanluo…” He sighed softly as he snuggled into his luxurious brocade robe.
Just then, an odd sound found its way into the carriage.
Knock, knock… It sounded like the sound of a temple block. However, it didn’t come in calm, rhythmic beats. Instead, the beats were frequent and densely packed together.
The lonesome carriage rolled along the streets of the abandoned city, surrounded with an ever-present beat of a temple block. The winds around the carriage stirred, whimpering softly as though he were approaching a different world altogether. Qin Hui lifted the curtains, and his eyes immediately shrunk.
They were passing by a main road in the city. What was once a road bustling with activity was now filled with dead silence. The towering skyscrapers stood like massive tombstones marking the death of the city. Wisps of dense Yin energy visible to the naked eye drifted softly with the wind. With every building he passed, he could hear countless chilling ghastly cries echoing from the corners of the streets.
For the most part, the city was dark and dreary. However, there were some splashes of white and red.
The splashes of red came from the rickety lamps made from the hollowed-out human skulls that lined both sides of the road like street lamps. The grotesque black holes of the skeletons spewed scarlet flames from time to time.
The splashes of white came from the pale human bones that hung from the street lamps. The bones of practically every part of a human body were hung with black ropes in a manner that caused them to act like wind chimes, jangling with a horrific tune as the night breeze swept by. This was where the temple block sounds had come from. To make matters worse, if one looked close enough, they could probably even see traces of the bones being gnawed clean before being repurposed as wind chimes.
No… these aren’t black ropes… They’re blood-stained hair that have been woven into strings!
There were even numerous skulls hanging from the lamps that hadn’t completely been cleaned out, with pieces of rotting flesh still glued to the skull with patches of dried blood.
“What a poor sense of aesthetics.” Qin Hui shook his head. But just as he was about to let the curtains fall from the window of his carriage once more, there was suddenly a loud gong, followed by the shriek of a shrill voice, “By Hell’s Dictum, all rabble shall disperse!”
Qin Hui’s lips parted slightly, and he immediately rolled up the curtains once more. A split second later, he vanished into a trace of nethergale and appeared outside the carriage.
He stood at a crossroad that appeared to have been abandoned since eons ago, and a murder of crows perched atop the street lights around him. Just then, a one-meter-tall humanoid paper effigy emerged from nowhere.
He was dressed in red clothes, but his face was completely pale and devoid of colour. Following that, a second humanoid paper effigy emerged from nowhere… followed by a third… until there were approximately a dozen or so humanoid paper effigies!
Midnight in a desolate street lined by human skulls and bones, and standing face to face with a procession of humanoid paper effigy. It was a frightening sight, no matter how you looked at it. Qin Hui took a quick count and found 16 humanoid paper effigies standing on the road. Silence. Moments later, with a soft clatter, a claw almost half a meter in size emerged through a wall in the corner, sending a shower of bricks and glass pouring down like rain.
“My Lord, would you like me to clean up the mess?” The corpse seated at the front of the carriage asked placidly.
“No need.” Qin Hui calmly counted the golden Buddhist beads in his hand, “This is ‘dinner’. Legend has it that the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost goes by an unwritten rule, and that is that anyone who interrupts her feeding time would be treated as her mortal enemy. It’s just as well. I can take a look and see for myself just how dignified this demon queen truly looks.”
As he spoke, two four-meter tall figures suddenly emerged from around the corner.
They had massive heads, while their hands were so long that they hung straight to the ground. Their entire body was scarlet in colour, and they wore completely incongruous clothes belonging to that of Anitya Hellguards. They carried a mourning staff each, while their bellies were so large that they protruded from their clothes.
They were hungry ghosts.
The only thing they knew was hunger and an insatiable appetite. The desire for flesh and blood was an undying obsession of theirs. So long as it moved, there was nothing they didn’t eat. Legend had it that the western world had a means of creating a living dead that was inspired by the existence of hungry ghosts. Before Qin Hui could delve any further into his thoughts, the eyes of the two hungry ghosts immediately looked over. Following that, they parted.
At once, a procession of hundreds of Yin spirits marched out from between them!
“An Emissary of Hell?” Qin Hui couldn’t help but look up with some measure of ridicule.
Having witnessed the majesty of Ashmound City, he knew full well how lame the furnishing around these parts were.
And having seen what a true Emissary of Hell was like, he knew full well that the arrogance and dignified aura accompanying their pride as the agents of a top underworld couldn’t be feigned.
He stood right at the crossroad, yet the procession simply ignored him completely. It went right past him, turned at the intersection, and then marched straight for the bridge ahead.
This was the famous bridge that connected the two banks of Pearl River. However, it appeared somewhat… strange.
For one, it was completely red in colour.
Furthermore, it appeared to be… writhing.
The massive procession of Yin spirits separated Qin Hui from the massive bridge that connected both banks. Qin Hui stood motionless as a statue, while his coachman stood silently behind him. Both of them watched intently as the procession of Yin spirits finally marched up to the bridge.
And right at that moment, the ‘bridge’ trembled violently, before slowly rising up and rolling back! Qin Hui’s eyes flickered wildly, but he continued watching intently as the massive ‘bridge’ rolled all the way back until it arrived at the other side of the river bank. And then, he saw it. There, the dark clouds at the other side of the bank swiftly dispersed, revealing a hideous face.
Whoosh! The Yin spirits weren’t even able to struggle as they were swallowed right into the mouth of the hideous monster. As it turned out… the bridge was actually the tongue of a ferocious monster situated at the other bank of Pearl River!
Even the emotionless corpse standing behind Qin Hui couldn’t help but shudder in fear.
It was a startling, demonic sight. And they were separated from it only by the river that ran straight through the city. The north bank of the river was shrouded in darkness, while the skies above were filled with countless spots of netherflames. Just then, a colossal being suddenly rose up from within the dense black fog, rising hundreds of meters high into the sky! Copious amounts of Yin energy poured out of her body, as she stretched her neck.
Her head was oddly large, and it was only possible to tell that she was a lady from her naked appearances. She was largely bald, save for small patches of white hair that ran down the side of her head, fluttering wildly as though making up for the lack of hair. Her scarlet skin continually writhed in a gruesome fashion, almost as though there were rats constantly scuttling about underneath her skin. Just like Qin Hui, her eyes were sunken, and two needle spots of red rested where bright netherflames ought to have been.
This was the clear sign of having had their souls burned away by the Karmic Fire in the six paths of reincarnation.
She was one of the ultimate evils that existed in the mortal realm.
This was the true form of the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost, Su Daji!Previous Chapter Next Chapter