“Why?” Qin Ye pulled out his saber and pointed it towards the soul sphere as he gritted his teeth, “Why do you all have to keep forcing me to do things I don’t want to do?”
Arthis was unrelenting, “As I’d mentioned before, you’ve traded your life in exchange for the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal. This is a responsibility you’ve taken on for yourself!”
“I understand where you’re coming from. I’m not blaming you this time. It really is a huge burden to carry, and giving up is completely excusable. But the question is… is it really an option for you?”
“Did it ever occur to you that… there’s still someone in Westriver who’s holding onto shards of King Yanluo’s Seal?! Even if they’re unable to look beyond the province and pinpoint your exact whereabouts, their strength is definitely no lower than that of a mere Hellguard-class ghost. In fact, they might very well even be of the same strength as me! Do you think he wouldn’t be aware of the true purposes of King Yanluo’s Seal?”
“A person who would even consider breeding fodder using shards of King Yanluo’s Seal would most certainly be someone that requires the intervention of the Sixfold Ghost Kings to apprehend. Do you think such an entity would spare anyone holding onto his shard of King Yanluo’s Seal? Do you think you’ll be able to rest easy by hiding in the crevices of the City of Salvation?”
The soul sphere shook its head, “Kid… you’ve never seen an incarnate revenant, have you? Ghosts that exceed the strength of Hellguard-class Emissaries employ such horrific killing techniques…”
“Let’s just say you’ll be dead before you even know it. The supernatural perimeter won’t be able to do a thing against it.”
Qin Ye closed his eyes and regulated his intense breathing. Seconds later, he responded placidly, “I think we need to have a good chat about this matter. We’ve had a bit of a rough patch lately… That said, things have never really been rosy between us.”
“There’s nothing much talking about, little one. There’s just no way you can back away from this. The fact that Granny Meng has personally shown up at your door means that she has already chosen you. I don’t know any ways of circumventing this issue. Truth be told, if it were even possible, I’d be far more inclined to be the next King Yanluo myself.”
“Think about it - King Yanluo… the ruler of the underworld! You hold the all-important proof of identity as an Emissary of Hell, as well as the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal! Your opening act couldn’t have been much better! Hundreds of years later, all the Yin spirits in the world will tremble at your command, a harem of women will be ripe for your picking, the world will be under your sole authority - what else can you ask for?”
“You’ll be able to mold Hell from scratch to perfection at your desires. You can create an all new Naraka Bridge, and even mandate everyone to drink Coke! You can appoint a new Ferryman, and no one would be able to say a thing against you even if you collect fees for the ferry. You can even personally interrogate the evils who had eluded capture and punishment in the mortal realm… for instance, those who commit insurance fraud, or those who abuse their age or sex to get away with their crimes, or even those who bow down to their own greed… Good will be repaid with good, and evil with evil, and all it requires is a single word from you.”
Qin Ye sighed wistfully.
“But I just want to gaze out into the ocean and smell the flowers....”
Arthritis responded softly, “Kid… every single person in this world has their purposes and duties. From the moment you ate the fungus of aeons, you’re no longer considered a normal human being. This is part of the natural order of cause and effect. If you don’t accept this, then… nobody will be able to protect you.”
“The opportunity to reestablish Hell is far too tempting. Even if it means being battered down by the forces of the mortal realm until he’s barely hanging onto his life, he will undoubtedly still come after you no matter what the cost!”
Many of the things which Qin Ye had attempted to keep hidden and concealed were slowly but surely being unraveled, bit by bit. Qin Ye was no longer annoyed. Rather, it might be more accurate to say that he had already been expecting the arrival of a day like this ever since he discovered his lot in life.
“Perhaps… embracing my lot as King Yanluo’s successor might not be a bad choice after all.” After a long time, he finally smiled softly in resignation.
Arthis smiled as well, “It’s certainly much more than that. You’ll know it when you commence the reestablishment of Hell. That sense of accomplishment and ecstasy that comes with the creation of a realm truly knows no bounds.”
Qin Ye shook his head with a complicated smile. Seconds later, he puffed up his chest and raised his eyebrows, “So, the first thing we’ve got to do is to dig up Hell’s Records?”
Arthis responded, “That’s right. Hell’s treasures abound, and they aren’t easily destroyed either, even with the ascension of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. Unfortunately, they’ve probably been scattered all over Cathay. That said, each and every piece you find will be of immeasurable help.”
“For instance, with Hell’s Records in your possession, you’ll be able to appoint your own Emissaries of Hell. With your present strength, you’ll only be able to appoint Emissaries that are one rank lower than you. In other words…”
Arthis paused, before continuing indistinctly, “Even if the people around you pass on, you’ll still be able to keep them alive through other means.”
Qin Ye nodded. Then, he reached his hand into the pit below abruptly.
Since things were going to be an inescapable inevitability, then there was no longer any reason to continue avoiding it.
The precondition to his life of hiding and survival is that it shouldn’t affect his lifestyle. But now that his own life had been subject to a complete overhaul, he would naturally deal with the upheaval like how he dealt with the Wang clan female ghost or Cao Youdao.
He would probe at it, get used to it, crack it, and master it.
After all, it’s only when one is forced to the precipice between life and death that he would realize just how precious life truly is.
Laziness and apathy had been nothing more than a mere pursuit of a better life.
The pit in front of him wasn’t just an empty hole.
Rather, there was an intense gathering of Yin energy which congealed into each their own rolling clouds.
And right at the heart of the rolling clouds sat a glimmer of golden light that was incomparably striking, almost as though it were a dazzling star.
Shalalala… A long chain shot out of Qin Ye’s sleeves and wrapped around the mysterious object. Then, with a powerful yank, an ancient manuscript landed right in the palm of his hands.
The appearance of the manuscript was hardly remarkable.
It glowed with a faint golden hue. Both the edges of the pages and the blue cover of the manuscript were slightly tattered. Two words were written on the cover in flamboyant lettering, “Hell’s Records”.
Qin Ye stared intently at the manuscript, and then shook his head and smiled to himself as he tightened his grip around it.
Just then, his soul suddenly flew out of his body and drifted further and further out, and his surroundings grew darker and darker, until finally… a door to the heavens appeared right in front of his eyes!
The white marble door appeared ancient but simple. The eighteen abysses of Hell were all etched onto it in an incredibly realistic and lifelike manner. It was awe-inspiring at a glance.
Kkkkkrrrrr… The doors opened up, and a mellow yet incomparably thick wave of Yin energy slowly drifted out.
It was majestic and lofty. The Yin energy that drifted out was so thick that it had even materialized. As soon as Qin Ye touched it, his scalp immediately went numb, and his breathing even became ragged and unnatural.
Kkkkkrrrr… It was as though an invisible giant were bearing down on him. Qin Ye gritted his teeth and fought against the immense pressure. Unfortunately, his knees buckled and he collapsed to the ground mere seconds later with profuse sweat covering his entire head.
“Whose aura is this…”
“It’s too powerful… it’s almost as though… I’m facing Hell itself!”
At the exact same time that Qin Ye’s knees buckled, the door opened up fully, revealing… a ghastly scene within.
Countless people, all of whom were naked, were dangling from black ropes from above, while innumerable knives and axes continuously hacked away at their bodies. Many of these people perished under Qin Ye’s watchful eyes, and those who did were immediately reduced to wisps of Yin energy that quickly dispersed into the surroundings.
Those who remained alive would then be dragged down from the ropes by the countless ghostly peons and pressed face down onto a slab of red-hot iron, where they would scream miserably as their flesh sizzled, emitting billowing smoke and the nauseating stench of burning flesh. Searing flesh, scorched bones, and burnt marrow.
More people turned into a wisp of Yin energy that quickly dissipated into the surroundings. Those who still didn’t perish were then strung up using red-hot iron chains and exposed to an endless Yin gale that battered their bodies, turning them into nothing more than dried, withered corpses.
A man wearing a crown and dressed in black was located right in the middle of where all these things took place.
He had his back faced towards Qin Ye, and his appearances were hidden. That said, his towering body stood as tall as the heavens, just like the materialization of Arthis’ aura a little while ago.
Suddenly, Qin Ye’s body trembled violently. When he returned to his senses, he discovered that he was already back in Cao Youdao’s lair once more.
“That’s… the Blackrope Abyssal Court? Was that Yama-King Songdi?” Qin Ye gasped. However, he was surprisingly undaunted, and he muttered with some measure of complex emotions in his heart, “Good and evil will be repaid accordingly… I’m sure those who witness such a dreadful sight would never do evil again.”
Arthis also seemed to understand the vision he had just seen, and she softly added, “That’s right. Ghosts aren’t by nature evil beings. Their evil nature is only an extension of their past. Hell’s existence is simply meant to set things back in order by dealing with the evil that had managed to elude sanction and retribution in the mortal realm.”
“There are seventy year old elderlies who collapse in front of a vehicle and blackmail the driver for millions.”
“There are those in their sixties or seventies who return from their groceries and covet the seats of others on the pretext that they are tired - even those who are sick or ill. As soon as others refuse to give in, they would lambast the others with hurtful words, alleging that they ‘disrespect the elderly’.”
“There are those who commit matricide at the age of twelve, but are acquitted because of their age.”
“And there are those who get incensed by a biased story, hurl abusive words and vicious allegations against their target of wrath on the internet, forcing their target to turn to suicide for an answer.”
“Not all ghosts are evil; and not all humans are perfect. Any sin committed in one’s life will be… repaid accordingly. Those who harbour evil in their hearts are bound to face a plethora of retribution eventually.”
Her voice softened somewhat, “What you’re doing will be the greatest achievement since time immemorial. It will also bring about the greatest blessing to the world. There’s no need to be troubled - good and evil must be repaid accordingly before entering into the cycles of reincarnation in accordance with the Heavenly Dao.”
Qin Ye nodded his head, “Then what punishment awaits a person who reads novels without upvoting, subscribing, recommending and donating?”
Arthis’ expression grew grim and somber, “They’ll taste the punishment of each of the Ten Abyssal Courts. Amitabha…”
“Of course. It’s akin to disregarding the fruit of one’s labour… It’s simply unacceptable to take things for granted like that…”
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, at Tranquility Province. The prayer flags hanging just above the door to a tall temple suddenly shook violently.
Prayer flags shaped like lotus flowers adorned the place with glazed golden tiles and beams made out of chinese cedar. A massive one-meter tall incense burner sat stoically at the door.
It was 4.30 a.m. The sky was filled with sprawling constellations, and the sound of a chinese temple block could be heard from far in the distance. Wisps of smoke rose gently in front of the incense burner, and the surroundings were serene and tranquil.
Whoosh… As the wind grew, the prayer flags fluttered about even more vigorously until it flew completely horizontally, slapping against the plaque on the wall which read, “Hall of Great Strength.”
A bald old man sat in front of a statue of a golden Buddha. He wore a silken robe and knelt on a mat, quietly sensing the increasingly ferocious gale outside. Then, he opened his eyes.
In the next moment… the golden Buddha in front of him suddenly made a crackling sound, opened its mouth and spoke with a human voice, “My lord, the City of Salvation has been reclaimed by the mortal realm.”
“That’s within my calculations.” The old man responded placidly, “He’s far too inexperienced.”
“It wasn’t easy, but we’d survived Hell’s great collapse that was triggered by the ascension of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. A hundred years is nothing compared to the future we have ahead of us. Even the one at Westriver still has his reservations despite everything having been laid out for him. Yet this man was so brash that he’d even considered testing the depths of the mortal realm’s forces.”
“Humans…” The old man gently touched the chinese temple block in front of him, “Are truly an existence that is far more fearsome than us…”
The golden Buddha’s voice continued, “My lord… if I may ask on behalf of my lady… are we going to keep on biding our time?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter