Chapter 625: Return to the City of Salvation (2)

An exquisite carriage stopped right in front of a light barrier formed by Yin energy.

Several figures stood right in front of the barrier of light, including Qin Ye, Shang Yang, Wang Chenghao and Kwon Kyung-ho. Behind them, there were approximately 300 Yin soldiers holding high banners with the word “Qin” embroidered on them.

These were the veterans who had survived the great Battle of Qufu and experienced the massive upheaval during the Hungry Ghost Festival. There wasn’t the slightest bit of slack in their postures. Each soldier stood erect as a javelin. The contingent wasn’t formed by many soldiers, but it exuded a sharp and oppressive aura.

It was awe-inspiring.

White words flickered about on the golden barrier of light that appeared to flow endlessly, thousands of meters long, almost as though it were composed of the galaxy of stars in the sky.

They had just arrived back at the capital of Hell.

Back then, when they first stepped out of the City of Salvation and marched towards Ashmound City, the portal of light that represented their only gateway back into Hell promptly shrank and vanished before their very eyes. Back then, all that remained was a vast world out there, filled with wild monarch beasts prowling about, waiting to devour them. And right now, they were all back, standing right before Hell’s Gate once more.

Qin Ye stretched out his hand and placed it on the barrier of light. The City of Salvation lay right beyond this screen.

This was the place where it all began.

Bit by bit, he had slowly stepped out of his comfort zone, consolidating his allies that included Wang Chenghao, Arthis, and Oda Nobunaga. And now, he even had Kwon Kyung-ho, the Harken, and the Daolord of the Asura standing behind him. The afterlife had taken him straight from the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl to the expedition to Martial City, and then right past the first Hungry Ghost Festival in Hell. Without even realizing it, two years had passed.

This was also where he first purged Wrath, mustered tens of thousands of troops, and departed for Eastmount Province. As soon as his hand made contact with the barrier of light, it immediately blossomed with golden ripples like a glorious haze. And then, the barrier of light split open right in the middle.

Whoosh… Like a tide, it parted ways, allowing passage.

Buzz… At once, even the Yin spirits back in Ashmound City sensed that the vault of the heavens had opened, and a scarlet light that symbolized death erupted from within. Following that, a somewhat familiar source of Yin energy erupted like a powerful volcano, and its outpouring of energy blanketed the entire City of Salvation at once!

It was familiar because the old ghosts in the City of Salvation had endured one of the darkest years of Hell under the leadership of the owner of this Yin energy.

That said, it felt strange… because it was far, far stronger than what it used to be when it first left Hell!

Oda Nobunaga and Gu Qing were both in Qin Gardens Phase One when they both looked up at the same time, staring with great disbelief at the scarlet sliver in the skies. A split second later, they were buffeted with the enormous influx of Yin energy. Gu Qing shuddered uncontrollably, and he murmured with great disbelief, “Abyssal Prefect… Abyssal Prefect?!”

“He… Lord Qin is actually a Prefect now?!”

Oda Nobunaga remained silent as he stared intently and longingly at the red sliver in the skies.

Oda Nobunaga had spoken of this a little while back. However, witnessing the might of a Prefect and experiencing it with his body was quite something different. After all, Qin Ye wasn’t even a Judge back when he departed from Hell back then! His rate of growth was simply astonishing!

“Excuse me.” He spoke curtly, before promptly vanishing into a gust of nethergale. Moments later, he appeared right in front of Hell’s Gate. Su Dongxue was already standing there, in front of the 200 Death Inquisitors who were all hard at work.

There were a row of Yin soldiers standing in front of them, each of which were equipped with black armor that was forged from the carapace of the blight vermin. They also carried three-meter longhorns made of the white bones that were harvested from the marionette of Wrath.

Oda Nobunaga raised his hands. At once, the sound of celebratory trumpets echoed throughout the entire city.

OOOOOOOOOO!!!

A moment later, all of the Yin soldiers, regardless of where they were, turned around to face the scarlet sliver in the skies and knelt to the ground with great respect, “Greetings, King Yanluo of Hell! May King Yanluo reign forever!!”

Clatter! A deafening clatter of armor striking the ground resounded throughout the City of Salvation, followed quickly by another wave of trumpet blare from all directions. Meanwhile, a majestic flag bearing the Qin emblem fluttered gloriously in the wind.

“He’s back…” An elderly Yin spirit glanced blankly into the distance, almost as though he was reminded of Lord Qin’s glorious endeavours. And then, he bowed respectfully.

Meanwhile, countless Yin spirits throughout the entire city did the same. So long as they had once experienced life under Qin Ye’s leadership, all bowed respectfully and deeply to the scarlet sliver in the sky. As a result, even the Yin spirits who had never seen him before couldn’t help but bow in reverence because of the solemn sense of ritual that filled the air.

It was the worship of tens of thousands of ghosts!

Buzz… the sliver in the sky opened up bit by bit, until, with a loud bang, the scarlet light melded together with the darkness around, transforming into an avenue a hundred meters wide. A figure dressed in a vermillion garments stood right at the other side of the avenue, followed closely by hundreds of Yin soldiers.

There were more than a hundred thousand Yin spirits witnessing the sight right now, yet the entire scene was completely shrouded in silence. At least, until a shrill voice cried out, “Yanluo Qin has arrived~~!”

The ghastly citizens of Hell wanted so much to lift their heads to see what exactly this fabled young King Yanluo of Hell looked like. However, not a single one of them dared look up in the slightest.

After all, they could feel the terrifying weight of Yin energy bearing down on them like a towering mountain, so much so that it felt as though the simple task of lifting their heads would be adjudged a sin.

Just then, Qin Ye finally walked forward.

It was the same old little City of Salvation, and the same old Hell’s Gate. He couldn’t help but walk along the avenue slowly, taking in the marvelous sight of the changes all around him.

The forest was gone. An urban forest of towering buildings stood in its place. The seeds he had sown - the works he had started before he left, had all come to fruition and become reality.

It was almost as though a desert had transformed into an oasis in just the span of a single year.

I guess… I’m not that incompetent after all…

He couldn’t help but smile at the sight of his accomplishments. But he wasn’t given much opportunity to relish in this moment, because as soon as he stepped into the new Hell, the ground suddenly trembled.

“Hmm?” Oda Nobunaga glanced around in consternation - Enemy attack?

No… it’s not… This is…

The look in his eyes quickly changed from surprise to shock, and then to abject disbelief, because he could see that the Yin energy surrounding Hell was suddenly rapidly dissipating!

It was almost as though a whole new world was unraveling before his very eyes!

He had experienced something like this before!

“This is… Hell’s expansion?! A second expansion of Hell?!”

But just because he knew what was going on didn’t mean that others knew just as well.

One by one, the Yin spirits looked up with dropped jaws, staring in horror as the “borders” around them receded wildly, revealing pieces of new land, including mountains and huge lakes! They even saw new forests with trees full of seven-coloured flowers which they had never seen before!

And there was more!

There were mountains and fields filled with countless spider lilies!

There was even a mound that bore a flower the size of an entire basin that sported the appearance of a beautiful woman!

Countless idyllic sights appeared all at once! Idyllic sights and sounds that belonged exclusively to Hell!

“My god…” A Yin spirit looked around, completely dumbfounded, “What the hell is going on here?”

“Hell… is expanding?” “Not just that! The skies are getting higher as well! What the hell is going on here?!” “Expansion… Hell is expanding once more! What’s going to appear this time?”

At the beginning, there were nothing more than a few whispers. But, within ten seconds, the entire city was abuzz with excitement!

And the citizens weren’t the only ones. Even the Yin soldiers and Death Inquisitors were completely flabbergasted by what they saw. At the very least, they hadn’t expected their King Yanluo to return bearing such an immense gift for them!

That said, even Qin Ye was astonished.

Hell’s Records had already flown right out of his chest, and the accretion of merit points and faith appeared to pour forth like a tidal wave, pushing back the rolling black fog that appeared to form the boundaries of Hell in the past!

BOOM!

The black fog in every direction scattered wildly with an earth-shattering bang, and a massive valley appeared right before their very eyes. Meanwhile, a violent nethergale picked up and swept through the lands, buffeting so hard against the Yin spirits that many of them even found it hard to keep their footing.

The entire process of expansion lasted for what felt like an inordinate amount of time, before everything calmed down.

And it was only then that Hell’s Records finally ceased riffling through its pages, shut itself and flew right back into Qin Ye’s chest.

“Arthis mentioned before that Hell has its own defences. Back when I first departed from the City of Salvation, I wasn’t even an Infernal Judge yet…” Qin Ye could sense his fingers tingling with excitement, “Does this mean that… Hell no longer sees the need to defend itself anymore? Does it already feel ready to unveil the fangs of Hell’s current civilization to the great unknown that exists in the surrounding ecosystem? Was it… waiting for my return to indulge in the second great expansion?”

He was currently an Abyssal Prefect.

However, he wasn’t a True Abyssal Prefect.

In order to be a True Abyssal Prefect, he needed to hold an office of equivalent stature. For instance, if he was made an official governor of a city-sized Hell, then he would be a True Anitya Hellguard at best. And if he was made an official governor of a province-sized Hell, then he would be a True Infernal Judge.

Sure, even though he might not be a True Abyssal Prefect, but that doesn’t change the fact that his official status is still that of a True Infernal Judge, and that was because Eastmount Province was for all intents and purposes already under his command! The largest armed group belonging to Kong Mo had already been defeated!

That said, what had slipped Qin Ye’s mind was the fact that his promotion would also affect Hell’s capital located in the City of Salvation!

He glanced around, murmuring to himself, “The City of Salvation and Ashmound City can be likened to the Yan Capital and the Eastsea Province of the mortal realm. My official status is closely intertwined with the size of Hell’s capital here in the City of Salvation! This…”

This… is no different from suddenly gaining an entire province!

If I’m right about Hell’s capital being of a size commensurate with my official status, then the City of Salvation probably has the area of a province right now!

In other words, even though he had only been the mayor of a town just a year ago, he now had two full provinces under his command - and the full extent of each province at that!

Put differently, 2 of the 34 provinces in Cathay had already been reclaimed by Hell!

He suddenly understood why the Second King Yanluo had stressed time and again that the City of Salvation was still the heart and core of Hell.

This was the place where he had founded Hell with the investment of a shard of King Yanluo’s Seal. His return had practically cut his time investment required to unify the entire country by as much as half! To this end, the current expansion wasn’t quite like his ventures in Eastmount that entailed exploration, clashing against the incumbent powers and seizing land and territory for Hell. Rather, the entire province could already be considered part of Hell as soon as its expansion was complete! They were able to travel anywhere they wanted to go!

This was the might of a divine artifact of Hell!

Just then, a violent roar suddenly came from the mountains around the valley. Shortly afterwards, a colossal head peeked out from behind the mountains, scanning its surroundings warily with its eight eyes.

“So, it’s you…” Qin Ye smiled, and promptly vanished from where he was.

Only a year had passed, but it felt like such a long time that he’d nearly forgotten how his sproutling army was trampled all over at the start of their eastbound expedition.

The first threat that they had encountered was the monarch beast of these valleys - the Broodmother.

To think that you’re still here?

………………………………………………

The Broodmother carefully surveyed his surroundings.

Just a little while ago, it felt something change - almost as though an immutable restriction had been lifted from the lands. Following that… he saw a bustling city appear out of nowhere.

Moreover, it couldn’t sense any traces of danger from the city. In fact… all it could detect was the fragrance of delectable food. Naturally, all eight eyes gravitated towards the city that had just appeared. But, just then, a violent nethergale promptly coalesced at the top of the valley, and a Yin spirit dressed in vermillion garbs suddenly appeared.

At once, the Broodmother felt as though it had just fallen into an icy cellar.

It saw churning netherflames and a roaring abyss. It saw… endless desolated lands covered with a blanket of white bones!

Run!

Run away immediately! This Emissary of Hell is a monster!

It obviously wasn’t able to sense any Yin energy from the man standing just a little distance from it, but it could still feel its eight feet turn icy cold at once. Unfortunately, the sheer size of its body obstructed its great escape. Almost instinctively, it curled up into a ball and fell right back into its own web, shivering and shuddering violently.

The man’s aura is incredibly familiar. I could’ve sworn that it had encountered this man just a year ago. But… how could he possibly be so terrifying? If he were as terrifying as this, I would’ve abandoned this nest a long time ago!

Even fighting with other monarch beasts for dominance over land is safer than remaining in this place!

Qin Ye smiled at the monarch beast that had caused him much anguish back then, “It’s been a while.”

With that, he unleashed a mighty backhand swing.

SMACK!!!

A tide of Yin energy surged into the air, blotting out the skies at once.

“I’ve missed you.”

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