“Don’t you find it strange?”
“If it’s truly intended to be an all-out war against the mortal realm, then why have they merely been consolidating their forces even though we’ve likewise mobilized the Judge-class experts from the other regions? Why haven’t they sought external help? Sure, we can exclude the northeastern district given the most recent developments we’ve seen there, but we’ve not even begun to sense any movements in the forces in southwest Cathay. It just doesn’t add up.”
The old researcher looked up, and then furrowed his brows.
That’s right… It doesn’t quite add up.
Qin Hui had come by before, which means that the three daolords must be connected to each other in some way or another. If one of them is in trouble, others would most certainly come to their aid. Even if they aren’t willing to send troops, they would at the very least be willing to stir up some trouble so as to draw Cathay’s attention right back to southwest Cathay. After all, we’re talking about a major transportation hub and a larger population in the provinces in that region.
“And if they were truly bent on an all-out war, then why haven’t they sent any scouts ahead of their forces? It’s so much easier for Yin spirits to spy on our military affairs than the other way around. But, strangely enough, it’s actually us humans who have been far more active on these scouting missions of ours.”
The old researcher finally responded, “What do you mean?”
“She’s… probably waiting for something.” Master Chan Ming frowned as his gaze remained transfixed at the end of the national highway, “But, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that rather than waiting for the right opportunity to start the war, she’s probably waiting for the arrival of something that frightens her even more. That’s probably why she has no choice but to be on full alert…”
“And if that’s the case, chances are that this terrifying entity that she’s waiting for is likely to be arriving soon…”
The old researcher finally sighed softly, and then shook his head.
An existence that causes even an incarnate revenant to feel fear?
An existence that frightens them so much that they have to consolidate all of their forces and put their entire army on alert?
The old researcher couldn’t think of any existence in the mortal realm that was worthy of such a reaction from an incarnate revenant. Not even the joint forces of the three strongest experts in Cathay would be able to draw such a reaction from the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost.
“Is there actually an existence like that?”
Master Chan Ming glanced back languidly. There were certain things that only he was privy to.
All eyes were on Pearl River right now. The gentle waves of hope had first been triggered by a certain report from the deputy director of the Special Investigations Department, Zhou Xianlong.
In his report, Zhou Xianlong had reported that Hell has finally emerged from reclusion, and is slowly but surely returning to its former glory. If they were sending a powerful Emissary of Hell in pursuit of the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost, then that would explain everything about the present reaction that they were seeing.
After all, it was a well known fact that evil ghosts were terrified of Emissaries of Hell.
“Let’s watch and see.” With that, he shut his eyes once more and began to meditate.
Time passed by quickly. Whether cultivator or soldier, everyone had already been standing guard around this place for several days and nights on end. In fact, they’d been here so long that they had already begun to lose all concept of time. That said… they could all sense a little stirring in their hearts. Something told them that tonight was going to be different.
Everyday, when the sun vanishes across the horizon, they could all hear wails and moans echoing throughout the abandoned regions in the south of Pearl River City. These were the mournful cries of all who had died in vain. These were the anguished whimpers of the prisoners forcibly taken by the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost. Every night, the lament of these aggrieved spirits would torment the living that were standing guard outside at the perimeter, tugging endlessly at their heartstrings and vexing them to no end.
But, it was different tonight.
It was quiet.
In fact, it had been like this since two days ago. If not for the netherflames that still came on and flickered eerily as soon as the sun went down, they might even have assumed that the evil ghosts had mysteriously vanished overnight.
Tick, tock, tick, tock… Minutes passed. Soon, the clock struck twelve. And at that very moment, Master Chan Ming suddenly opened his eyes and turned to the national highway.
Almost simultaneously, two scarlet netherflames appeared in the dense clouds of Yin energy over the southern part of the city. Like dazzling searchlights, the scarlet eyes immediately began to scan the national highway. Prefect-class Yin energy immediately rushed into the surroundings like the raging waters of the seas, buffeting against the plastic cordons and causing the talismans and chains to flutter and clang loudly.
“All troops on alert!!” Every garrison of troops along the perimeter heard the same order being issued at the very same time. With a soft clatter, their firearms were all locked and loaded. The ends of thousands of gun barrels were aimed into the darkness of the abandoned southern city. Meanwhile, thousands of cultivators began to operate their true energy, triggering the dispersion of a soft white mist around them.
However, the scarlet netherflames in the clouds above didn’t even care to look at the mortals below. Instead, it continued to scan the national highways. Furthermore, if one looked close enough, they would be able to tell that the netherflames were even flickering wildly, almost as though it were… trembling.
It was as though something terrifying were slowly but surely drawing closer and closer.
“What terrifying Yin energy…” Master Chan Ming took a deep breath as he slowly drifted into the air.
At this moment, the other end of the national highway was already starting to look like the end of the mortal realm and the start of the netherworld. A soft wind swept out of the southern part of the city. It started out soft, but then slowly but surely grew wilder and more violent!
The wind was chilling and harsh, almost as though they had poured forth from the frigid abysses of Hell. Moments later, the street lights along the national highway slowly fizzled out one by one in an orderly fashion. Meanwhile, the otherworldly gale continued to pick up and toss their clothes around violently!
Yet, despite the howling winds and the cacophony of chaotic sounds around, everyone heard the next peculiar noise that appeared.
Clack, clack, clack!
It was the orderly sound of footsteps that appeared to be plodding along the national highway.
It was a dull, soft sound, but it carried with it an unspeakable air of sobriety. Within moments, rows of vague silhouettes started to appear at the end of the national highway.
“The march of Yin soldiers…” Master Chan Ming gazed at the end of the national highway, stepping aside without any hesitation.
He could already smell the stench of iron and blood emanating from these soldiers.
This was undoubtedly the Yin soldiers of Hell!
And he wasn’t the only one. Everyone else, be it soldier or armed police, investigator or researcher, everyone watched the march of the Yin soldiers of Hell with bated breaths. The notion of a march of Yin soldiers surfaced in everyone’s mind, but nobody expressed their thoughts.
They might have been standing guard in this place for a long time, but this was the most bizarre thing that they had seen yet!
Just then, a flash of golden light cut through the somber darkness around them, followed closely by an identity token that whizzed through the air. It shot straight into the clouds of Yin energy in the sky. And as soon as it did, the two scarlet eyes in the sky trembled violently.
Su Daji was standing on the other side of the dense clouds. Her entire body was trembling. The identity token that had hurtled through the air had flown straight into her palm.
There was already a sea of evil ghosts gathered behind her. She appeared in her human form, donning the garments of a Shang Dynasty queen. 12 Infernal Judges of different shapes and sizes stood right behind her, each of whom wore the armor resembling Shang Dynasty generals. Beyond that, an endless sea of hungry ghosts stood behind them all.
That said, not a single one of them even dared make a peep of sound right at this moment. Their instincts were screaming out to them from the bottom of their hearts to stay absolutely silent, otherwise… they might very well end up vanishing without even realizing what struck them.
Su Daji didn’t even glance back at her subjects. She hadn’t expected Hell to arrive so quickly - Why would a high-ranking Emissary of Hell arrive so quickly? It’s only been three days! And I could’ve sworn that I’d taken care to omit anything of disrespect in my letter to him!
“My Lady--…” An evil ghost with a half-meter long tongue rasped. But before he could even finish his statement, Su Daji shook her head gravely as she loosened the identity token in her hand.
This familiar pattern… and this familiar texture… Her heart wrenched with a chilling sensation, while electrifying sensations rushed straight from the base of her spine through to the top of her mind. As she loosened her grip around the identity token, the first thing she saw were the words “Prefect Qin” staring her right in the eye. At once, she tossed away the identity token with great revulsion and shrieked at the top of her voice.
BOOM!!! A terrifying shockwave of Yin energy swept out at once, knocking every Yin spirit behind her below the rank of Infernal Judge off their feet. Even then, she was completely oblivious to the chaos that she single handedly created. Instead, she simply hugged herself tightly and trembled in fear as she continued to stare transfixed at the identity token, “They’re here… they’re here! They’re coming to get me… they’re coming to get me!!”
The memories of the distant past immediately surfaced in her mind once more. From the days of endless struggles under the six paths of reincarnation with no reprieve in sight, to the day when she was first convicted of her crimes, everything came rushing back like a towering tsunami. She had initially thought that the last hundred years would have completely blotted out these fears from her mind, only to realize that…
It hadn’t done anything to dampen these fears at all.
They had already been etched deep into the marrows of her bones. And as soon as she encountered the right trigger, they would be unlocked like the floodgates to a dam.
“My Lady, why are you so terrified?” “That’s right, he’s just an Abyssal Prefect! You’re an Abyssal Prefect too! Besides, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of Yin spirits on our side. Why should we be afraid of him?” “Kill him! Let’s seize his soul and refine his body! Let Hell know never to set foot in our territory again!”
“Shut up!!!” Su Daji screamed back at them. Her hair scattered everywhere, revealing a terror-stricken expression on her otherwise beautiful face, “You don’t understand…”
“You should be glad that you weren’t even born in the same era that I was… You don’t know what Hell means!”
“Her lips trembled, “You’ve never encountered an Emissary of Hell before… you fools!”
“Open the gates… Open the gates right now!!”
“All are to kneel before the Emissary of Hell. Anyone who shows even the slightest signs of objection…” Her eyes grew bloodshot as she turned back to the gates, “Then don’t blame me for not being able to save you…”
Nobody outside the southern part of the city knew exactly what transpired within the dense clouds of Yin energy. However, as soon as the gates opened, they all saw a sight that shook them to the core!
“Sigh…” Master Chan Ming’s jaws dropped slightly as he watched the roiling clouds of Yin energy slowly disperse in front of his very eyes. He wanted to say something about the situation within, but he simply couldn’t find the words to express himself. Seconds later, with deep resignation, he clasped his hands together and sighed once more, “Amitabha…”
Meanwhile, everyone else, be it cultivators, researchers, soldiers, armed policemen, or government officials, everyone stared at the sight with complete disbelief.
“What’s this…” “My god… H-h-how is this possible?” “Surrender? Are they actually surrendering?! The southern part of the city that we’ve been keeping under lockdown… has actually just surrendered?!”
The barrels of the guns were still trained on the billowing clouds of Yin energy in the south. However, not a single person pulled the trigger.
The astonishing sight had rendered them completely speechless.
Su Daji lay prostrate in the middle of the national highway, with her forehead resting on her folded hands in front of her. Countless candles as tall as a regular human being illuminated the vicinity with soft, flickering flames. Her 12 generals and countless Yin spirits under her command were all kneeling on the ground behind her with their heads bowed low!
Su Daji couldn’t even be bothered that human beings were witnessing this humiliating sight. As the cloud of Yin energy slowly dispersed, she kowtowed to the ground without hesitation and exclaimed with great trembling, “Your servant, Su Daji, humbly pays her respects to Lord Qin! May Prefect Qin be merciful to me! It wasn’t easy to become an Abyssal Prefect. I urge you to give me a chance to live!!”
Thud, thud, thud! She kowtowed three more times in a row. Meanwhile, the Yin soldiers of Hell finally crossed the line demarcating Hell and the mortal realm, and the cultivators finally realized what they were looking at.
There were approximately one thousand Yin soldiers dressed in pitch-black armor, exuding an air of grave sobriety. An exquisite carriage was located right in the heart of the formation of Yin soldiers, pulled by sixteen skeletal war horses.
Meanwhile, black and white coloured Yin soldiers dressed in high hats and toting spirit streamers and mourning staves were dancing wildly on both sides of the carriage. These Emissaries of Hell had their hands tucked into their sleeves. A soft nethergale swept by, causing their clothes to flutter wildly.
It was an eerie, ghastly sight, but it was also just as majestic as a royal procession. Large black flags bearing the “Qin” words fluttered wildly with the wind.
The procession wasn’t large, but it was sufficient to strike terror and fear into Su Daji’s heart. It wasn’t until the Yin soldiers of Hell arrived a hundred meters from Su Daji that they finally came to a halt. Then, as though they had practiced the motion countless times, the Yin soldiers slammed the base of their spears on the ground and bellowed at the top of their voices, “By Hell’s Dictum, all rabble shall disperse!!”
Whoosh!!! The copious amounts of Yin energy drifting endlessly about within the southern part of the city were blown away at once, revealing the dilapidated sight within the city.
“I… I…” Su Daji felt her ears ringing and buzzing endlessly. She wanted to say something in return, but words eluded her mind.
Just then, a man gently lifted the curtains from within the carriage and glanced at the blazing candles around Su Daji. At once, he snickered contemptuously, “As they always say… Only the guilty tremble when they see the enforcers of law.”
“The virtuous would never shun us.”
“Daolord of the Hungry Ghost, Su Daji, do you know your crimes?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter