Chapter 641: Defection? Negotiations?

Qin Ye paused for three seconds, and then smiled, “Interesting.”

Even though there wasn’t an Abyssal Prefect here in the First Academy of Cultivators, it still wasn’t a place where any other evil ghost could come and go as it so desired. So what was the messenger bird of an evil ghost doing around these parts? And why?

After all, Qin Ye knew of only three Abyssal Prefects in Cathay.

Are you… searching for me?

Is it because you aren’t able to enter the underworld, so you’ve got no choice but to search for me in the places that I’ve remained at for the longest time?

He glanced over. At once, a gale swept by, causing the crown of the trees on the campus grounds to rustle and sway about. Approximately 100 meters away, a pair of scarlet eyes hidden in the canopy of the trees shrieked as it turned abruptly to stare at Qin Ye.

Meanwhile, Qin Ye’s body flickered softly, and he vanished from the spot. When he next appeared, he was already located right next to the messenger bird. But just as he reached out to grab hold of the messenger bird, it suddenly flapped its wings and transformed into a stream of nethergale that charged straight to the outskirts of the city.

“You daren’t reveal yourself here at the First Academy of Cultivators?” Qin Ye raised a brow quizzically, before promptly transforming into a nethergale that followed the messenger bird.

It flew incredibly quickly. In the blink of an eye, it swept right across the downtown districts of the city and arrived at the outskirts.

The farmlands were quiet and quaint under the soft glow of the moonlight. Even then, the messenger bird only flew faster and faster, right out of the City of Salvation, and straight towards the deep mountains across the horizon.

It flew at top speed for an entire minute, before finally coming to a stop at a building.

It was a temple.

A dilapidated temple.

The temple appeared to have been abandoned years ago. The wooden structure and frames were already rotting in several places, while the cobwebs were so profuse that they almost formed a white gauze that covered the plaque on the gate. One side of the temple gate had already collapsed, and tattered streamers were scattered everywhere on the temple grounds, rustling ever so softly against the wind.

This temple was surrounded by dense mountain forests. The road leading up to the ancient temple had already been overgrown with weed and foliage. The wind rushed through the temple’s door and window, howling and whimpering as though announcing the arrival of a foreboding presence. It was a chilling sight.

Crackle… As soon as he arrived, the two stone lamps standing at the entrance to the abandoned temple suddenly flared up with eerie, crackling netherflames. A dark silhouette wearing a white palace maiden dress immediately drifted out of the temple, before laying prostrate on the ground with fear and trepidation, “Greetings, esteemed Emissary of Hell.”

“Forgive this little one for not daring to meet you at the First Academy of Cultivators. I am humbled and obliged by your willingness to make the trip down.”

No response.

She lay prostrate on the ground in front of a terrifying evil ghost, whose footsteps rustled softly against the ground as he walked closer. Yet, even then, she remained absolutely still, just like the stone lamps that stood at the front of the temple. She didn’t even dare move in the slightest. Instead, she fervently maintained the posture of prostration even as she shuddered slightly in fear.

How terrifying…

Her terror didn’t arise from the difference in their cultivation levels. Rather, it was a more innate source of fear that coursed through her blood. It was a kind of indescribable fear that one had to experience to believe it.

It was a primal fear.

An instinctual fear that caused her entire being to seize up like a taut wire. The unbridled Yin energy of the Emissary of Hell bore down on her, weighing heavily on her nerves, causing her to feel stifled and oppressed. A deep sense of vexation welled up in her heart within moments.

To think that even I would feel such intense fear… Is this the entity that I’ve been hearing so much about? Is this none other than the legendary Emissary of Hell?

“Daolord of the Hungry Ghost? Or Daolord of the Beast?” Just then, a seemingly nonchalant voice addressed her from right overhead. At once, the tide of oppression seemed to be washed away. The five seconds of silence had felt no different from five long days. Her body nearly went limp, but she held on fast and continued to lay prostrate on the ground as she held up a letter above her head in humility, “D-d-d-daolord of the Hungry Ghost… T-t-this lowly one, Ch-ch-chen Yin, humbly greets the esteemed E-e-emissary of Hell.”

“The Daolord of the Hungry Ghost h-h-has instructed me to relay an i-i-important message to the Emissary of Hell.”

Qin Ye picked up the letter and read it. 30 seconds later, the letter simultaneously combusted and vanished without a trace. And then, Qin Ye went silent.

The letter was written with great humility and respect.

In fact, it was almost as flattering as one would expect of a vassal state’s letter.

However, Qin Ye could tell that this was all wordsmithing. Her true intention was to negotiate.

“... Dong Zhuo occupies the southwest, and he currently holds eight shards of King Yanluo’s Seal. In other words, he only requires two more shares in order to reconstitute the divine artifact of Hell. If Hell is willing to spare me and release me to live in seclusion overseas, I vow that I shall never stand in Hell’s way, regardless of the endeavour, nor eat another Cathayan person in my life.”

“Furthermore, I would be willing to join hands with the Daolord of the Asura to seize the soul of the Daolord of the Beast. This is something that I shall be willing to swear on oath against the Heavenly Dao, and so long as I shall violate this oath, I shall be subject to a thousand years of sky lantern punishment, and thereafter be banished to the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment for all eternity!”

“Apart from that, as a show of sincerity, this lesser one has already dispatched twelve of its generals to assist in the search for traces of Kong Mo in the Eastmount Province. Rest assured, I shall be presenting a great gift of Kong Mo’s head to Hell in three months’ time.”

“If Hell is prepared to grant me this little bit of mercy, I shall take it upon myself to personally hand over the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal to Hell as soon as we take down the Daolord of the Asura. I only ask that Hell acts mercifully to me.”

This was Su Daji’s request. This was the request of the titular Daolord of the Hungry Ghost.

Yet, Qin Ye remained taciturn, not because he was considering the request, but because he was enraged!

There were two things that enraged him. Firstly, how did Su Daji know that Hell was offering a bounty on Kong Mo’s head?

Qin Hui… He’d actually acted and even reached out to the other two daolords without notifying anyone of his intentions?!

Doesn’t he know just how sensitive things are right now? Doesn’t he realize who the three largest coalition of forces in the Cathayan Underworld are?

Intentions aside, the fact that he had even thought to act without an imperial edict was already tantamount to an act of rebellion!

Apart from that, the second thing that enraged Qin Ye was… the tacit threat that undergirded Su Daji’s letter.

“If I give her my word, she would be willing to join forces with the Daolord of the Asura. But… what if I don’t?” Qin Ye snorted coldly and flicked his robes, “Does that mean she would instead be joining forces with the Daolord of the Beast?”

“Using the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal as leverage? How dare mere evil ghosts dictate their terms to Hell?! Do you think Hell had just come into existence for just over a year? Do you think you have the right to negotiate with Hell just because you’re Abyssal Prefects?”

Qin Ye boomed at the top of his voice, causing Chen Yin to shiver and shudder at the wrath of his anger. In fact, even with her head to the ground, she could tell that the dense Yin energy pouring out from Qin Ye’s body was almost like a giant beast that was staring straight at her, raring to tear her soul to bits at a moment’s notice!

Moments later, Qin Ye promptly vanished from where he was in a soft gust of wind, “Go back and tell Su Daji that she neither has the right nor the standing to negotiate with Hell.”

“Hell will only extend it’s grace to her once. She can choose not to comply, but she must be prepared to face the consequences of death. Additionally, tell her that I will be arriving in Pearl River in a few days. Tell her to be prepared to receive me. Otherwise… she’d better be prepared for the worst!”

It wasn’t until ten seconds after Qin Ye’s Yin energy had completely vanished that Chen Yin finally clambered to her feet once more, gasping for air.

This is bad… Really bad!

She didn’t know the exact relationship the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost had with Hell, but… she could hear the palpable murderous intent in the Emissary of Hell’s voice!

In fact, Qin Ye had made it clear through his murderous intent that they had every means to completely wipe out the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost and all of her forces from Cathay!

Thus, she transformed into a stream of nethergale and vanished without another word. She absolutely had to transmit news of her encounter today to her master back at the Pearl River Delta!

………………………………………………

Time passed in the blink of an eye.

Three days later.

Pearl River Delta, Pearl River City.

This was once known as one of the three tier one cities in Cathay. Unfortunately, the southern part of the city had been completely abandoned and locked down. Beyond that, a perimeter had been set up by the nation’s authorities. Countless military forces and armed policemen, as well as the investigators of the Special Investigations Department, researchers of the SRC, and other members of the top brass, were all gathered in the headquarters of the perimeter.

Most of the armed forces were still armed with firearms, but the ammunition that they used was clearly specially made from the blood of black dogs, cinnabar, and other special materials, before finally being topped off with an infusion of true energy. These weapons were generally lethal against regular Yin spirits.

Incidentally, this was also one of the largest regions of supernatural activity in Cathay. Mount Jasper in the southwest, Pearl River District, as well as White Mountain of the northeast. That said, the supernatural activity in the northeast had been on a constant decline in recent times. Naturally, this meant that more and more attention and military strength was being channeled and diverted to the other two locations.

The incursion of any Prefect-class Yin spirit would create a nest of ten thousand captive ghosts - a phenomenon so devastating that it could easily wipe out a small country. Fortunately, Cathay had sufficient resources to hold their ground and fight back against the spread of the supernatural forces. This was how they had managed to achieve some form of tense equilibrium to date.

That said, the national highway was already a complete trainwreck. Master Chan Ming sat suspended in mid-air like a stone statue. With each breath that he took, dense white wisps of true energy would diffuse from his seven apertures into the darkness of the night sky.

Meanwhile, the forward command center of the Special Investigations Department and the SRC was located right behind him. Master Chan Ming was the only thing that stood between them and the Prefect-class Yin spirit in the south of the city. The moment he fell would also spell the fall of the rest of the city to the supernatural forces.

Therefore, the atmosphere around these parts was incredibly tense and somber. Spiritual and physical, Yin and Yang - everything was separated by this single perimeter that they had set up. The rest of the city rested north of the perimeter.

Nobody could retreat.

There was no room for retreat at all.

“Master Chan Ming.” A SRC researcher walked up to him and whispered, “The nest of ten thousand captive ghosts in Pearl River City… is already exuding Yin energy readings as high as 20 million…”

“Amitabha…” Master Chan Ming opened his eyes, only to reveal a look of compassion, “These Yin energy readings have begun to surge only two days ago. And to think they’ve already breached 20 million Yin…”

“Master…” The researcher was an old man in his seventies. Yet, even then, he still spoke to Master Chan Ming with the utmost reverence, “The directive from above is… to be prepared to evacuate at any moment. The evil ghost here in Pearl Right… might very well be on the cusp of launching an all-out attack against the mortal realm…”

With Pearl River City as the launching pad, it could easily engulf the entire Pearl River Delta in moments, just like how the evil ghost did in the three eastern provinces. Otherwise, it was impossible to explain why the evil ghost station in Pearl River City had suddenly decided to consolidate its forces.

It was almost as though it were… waiting for something.

“Evacuate?” Master Chan Ming sighed, “Then… what about the 10 million or so citizens in the city? What about them?”

“An emergency evacuation notice has been issued since this morning. Transport planes from all major military bases have already been diverted to the city. If, and I mean if, an all-out war does break out, we need only hold on for a little while, and the transport planes would be able to evacuate most of the citizens here.”

Master Chan Ming grew silent.

His gaze drifted across the armed forces in front of him - Hold out for a little while, huh… How many lives would be sacrificed as a result of that?

Some of these soldiers were in their late teens, while others were just in their early twenties. Did they all have to be buried in this hopeless place?

“Amitabha…” He clasped his palms together and recited a Buddhist mantra. Then, he suddenly spoke up, “Actually… we might just be able to hold out for a little while longer.”

“Huh?”

Chan Ming’s eyes gleamed brightly as he stared at the horizon, and into the abandoned part of the city.

There, he could see a cloud of dense Yin energy, far thicker and more terrifying than when Qin Hui had arrived. In fact, it was so thick that it completely engulfed the abandoned buildings across the horizon. It was so dark that it consumed practically everything.

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