Hell’s procession soon vanished without a trace.
Yet Qin Ye’s carriage remained parked in the middle of the national highway without a single Emissary of Hell or Yin soldier standing around him. That said, he continued to lean back relaxedly in the luxurious carriage, gently stroking the Harken’s fur.
Truth be told, confronting Su Daji with a stern warning was just an incidental purpose of his visit to Pearl River City. His true purpose here was to locate Abra Babulu, because Abra was his only key to getting in touch with the Mythic Spirits of Alkebulan. Besides…
“Are you going to depart for Alkebulan immediately after locating Abra?” The Harken opened its mouth languidly, and Qin Ye tossed a snack into the dog’s mouth like a well-oiled machine.
Hang on… well-oiled machine?
Why does it feel like I’ve been conditioned to do this action on instinct…
“Mm.” Qin Ye nodded softly, “Time is of the essence. It won’t be long before the new year. I’m essentially circumventing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Forbidden Arts and directly inviting the Mythic Spirits to act upon the Russian Underworld’s bold actions… Damn, am I glad to be born in Cathay right now.”
Had he been born in Nippon or Daehan, would he find himself speaking with the same amount of clout right now? The response would’ve been more akin to this… “Ah, got it. You may be dismissed.” “Isn’t that under the purview of Hell? What are you doing looking to us for help?” “Kiddo, I’m not saying that circumventing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Forbidden Arts is absolutely out of the question, but, as for the fees…”
In other words, he would in most other circumstances be rejected outright.
Only one of the P4 underworlds would possess the latitude and clout to seek an audience with the Mythic Spirits of the Alkebulan Underworlds and get their attention of something of such importance.
And it all stemmed from the fact that Hell held sufficient power and influence to change the netherworld.
However, all of that only extended as far as gaining an audience with the Mythic Spirits.
“It would be easiest to get to Alkebulan from here… Do you really not intend to travel through the netherworld?”
“No. The movements of an Abyssal Prefect would most certainly catch the eye of countless other underworlds. But, chances are, they would be far less guarded against one who straddles both the mortal realm and the netherworld.”
“... Should I praise you for your quick-wittedness?”
Knock, knock, knock. Just then, there were three soft and respectful knocks on the door to the carriage, followed by an old voice who immediately called out to them, “Did benefactor leave his carriage here because he intends to give this old monk a few minutes of his time?”
Within moments, Qin Ye disembarked from his carriage together with the Harken in his hands, and he smiled faintly at Master Chan Ming, “Of course.”
Master Chan Ming gazed Qin Ye deep in the eye for some time, before finally asking, “Master Qin? Yanluo Qin? Or would you prefer it if I addressed you as… Instructor Qin?”
“As you please.” Qin Ye lifted his chin towards the seemingly endless national highway before them, “Shall we take a stroll?”
“I was just thinking the same thing.” Master Chan Ming smiled and nodded. However, he consciously maintained half a pace behind Qin Ye.
Qin Ye noticed this, but he chose to remain silent. His heart was currently swamped with emotions.
At the beginning of this journey of his, he only joined the Special Investigations Department because of the threat of the daolord’s pursuit. Two years swept by in the blink of an eye, and yet how times have changed. For one, he’d gone from a nobody to one who had gained an audience with two of the strongest battle powers in the mortal realm, and… they didn’t even dare to walk side-by-side with him.
It wasn’t an issue of courage.
Rather, it was an attitude of respect that the mortal realm maintained towards him as an agent and representative of Hell!
The situation with the supernatural outbreaks in the mortal realm was tragic, to say the least.
They remained silent for the most part of their stroll of solitude. Then, after a few minutes, Master Chan Ming began to chant a Buddhist mantra, before finally addressing Qin Ye with a deep voice, “Master Qin, did you know that ever since the Hungry Ghost Festival, Cathay has unearthed a total of 12 archaeological finds containing reliefs and articles of poetry about you? And each and every one of these archaeological finds contains your name on it.”
“In fact, the museums, and even the Taoist and Buddhist temples containing artifacts or statues relating to the King Yanluo of Hell have all somehow been found to be... ‘updated’ with your name.”
“The government has already allocated funds for each city to construct a statue of the new King Yanluo of Hell. Furthermore, every one of the existing statues erroneously bearing your image or name have all been directed to be taken down and replaced with one that bears your name and your likeness.”
Qin Ye listened silently, and a certain phrase appeared in his mind - Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction. Anything seen in Hell will be seen in the mortal realm, and anything found in the mortal realm will likewise appear in some form in Hell.
Master Chan Ming finally turned to Qin Ye, “Furthermore… all of the myths in Daehan relating to death have all been redirected and attributed to you.”
“Whether history books, records, images or artifacts… It’s almost as though, overnight, the notion of mythology has been modified and updated such that everything points to you.”
“Therefore, if I might be so bold as to act on behalf of the whole nation, I’d like to ask you something - Yanluo Qin, how long will it take until this supernatural calamity finally ends?”
“There are places unseen to you and I, where soldiers and cultivators with feeble and frail lives have been desperately tussling with hunting zones and predatory zones. There are places unseen to you and I that a mother and daughter, or a husband and wife, or a father and son, have no other option but to hold tightly to each other in the dark of the night… praying hard that they would be granted at least the mercy to die together. There are places not even marked on the map where countless villagers and even villages disappear without a trace.”
His voice trembled, “Yanluo Qin… these are all human lives. The tussle with the supernatural has gone on for well over a decade, and the casualties number in the millions. The weight of the burden on our shoulders is unfathomable. Even an old bag of bones that should’ve been in the grave by now has had no choice but to stand up and take to the battleground again. I don’t care much about what others call me, but if it is even remotely within my ability to do so, then I would never hesitate to trade my own life for the peace of the nation.”
He clasped his palms together and bowed deeply.
Qin Ye sighed. What could he possibly say in response to that?
Should he tell Master Chan Ming that Hell was only established two years ago?
No. He couldn’t allow the light of hope in their hearts to fade like that. On the contrary, every time he heard about the plight of the mortal realm, he knew better than ever what he had to do as a King Yanluo of Hell.
He wanted to take the throne properly.
He wanted to take to the throne and bring Yin and Yang back into balance.
Certainly, he might once have been a selfish, ordinary person that only cares about his own survival, but… even an ordinary person could dream big and achieve something great one day.
“Soon.” Qin Ye responded sincerely, “I’ve sought an audience with you today to tell the mortal realm that so long as you are willing to lend Hell a hand, then you have my word that the supernatural outbreak in the mortal realm will be fully quashed in the years to come!”
“The three eastern provinces, Eastmount Province, and Insignia Province are already under our control. Next, we’ll be moving into the Pearl River District. From there, we plan to head up the river and reclaim the rest of our lost homeland!”
These were words that he’d repeated many times over on various occasions. However, this time, it was different. It was spoken to one of the strongest experts in the mortal realm. It was a statement of Hell’s intention, and a display of Hell’s sincerity.
This was an indication that Hell would henceforth be actively participating in the rebalancing efforts to regain equilibrium between the Yin and the Yang. Hell would be striving towards regaining order and control. What Qin Ye feared wasn’t his own ability to see things through to the very end. Rather, he feared that the mortal realm would fall before the break of dawn on the broken lands.
Besides… it was also an opportunity to take advantage of the mortal realm…
N-no… What are you talking about?! How can you call the affairs of an Emissary of Hell taking advantage of the mortal realm?
Sensing the sincerity behind Qin Ye’s response, Master Chan Ming bowed deeply, “I wish Hell success in its endeavours.” He had obtained the answer he was looking for.
He had come forward seeking an answer from Hell. And this answer… was completely different from the ones relayed by others in the past!
The meaning behind his words were different. The status of the persons conveying those words were different as well.
What the mortal realm required was a reliable, affirmative response that it could cling tightly to in hopes of a better time to come.
That way, they could finally lay the foundation of their cooperation and begin building on it.
“Speaking of which… will I… also end up in Hell when I pass on?”
“... Although it might not be a good thing to say, but… I can assure you that there’s not one day that goes by where I’m not praying for your safe passage into Hell… And in this regard, might I trouble you to pass on my sincerest blessings to the rest of the Special Investigations Department… Oh, and let’s not forget the SRC as well…”
Chan Ming: ……
I’m just asking a question in passing! Can’t you respond to me properly for once? There’s no need to add so much drama to that!
Abra Alkebulan Restaurant. It was a restaurant located in Pearl River City, particularly famous for its Alkebulan specialites.
From potjieko to five-coloured pilau, ingira to muamba, they served everything that one could possibly ask for. Moreover, the prices were very fair.
The head chef was known as Abra. It was the same in each generation, and the business was currently in the hands of the third generation. Nobody knew his real name anymore. Everyone in the neighbourhood was used to calling him Abra.
And as with any other creature, Abra was also a creature of habit. For instance, he would have to turn in at 10.00 p.m. every night, especially in these times of spiritual unrest.
He wasn’t married, and had no children. In fact, nobody had even heard of him having any family or friends either. Naturally, nobody knew that at 10.00 p.m. each night, he wasn’t actually turning into bed. Instead, he would stand in his own cloakroom and write on the mirror with a single lipstick in his hand.
“Still no response… It’s almost as though something has isolated Cathay from the rest of the outside world…” He sighed, and then tossed the lipstick to the window in despair as he buried his face into his hands and plonked down onto a chair.
It wasn’t a lipstick.
Rather… it was the bone of a human finger!
The center of the bone had been hollowed out, and a viscous red liquid appeared to flow within… almost as though it were the marrow of the bone!
The cloakroom wasn’t large, and the isometric mirror in front of him appeared incredibly old. In fact, it wouldn’t even be an overstatement to say that it was probably easily over a century old. Abra sighed softly and let his arms hang loosely by his side for some time, before finally getting up to his feet again.
It doesn’t matter what others say. It’s the greatest honor of the Abra tribe to be able to serve our ancestral totem with our lives!
This was how he would console himself each time he gained no response. But this time, he froze as soon as he lifted his head.
A thick fog of Yin energy appeared out of nowhere, and the room temperature dipped abruptly. A split second later, he saw a pair of black shoes on the ground. He slowly looked up, only to see vermillion robes above those shoes…
Suddenly, a wave of terror surged into his mind, and he got down on his knees and kowtowed to the ground at once, “Greetings to the Emissary of Hell!!!”
“You speak Cathayan pretty well… But that’s only to be expected of someone who’s effectively naturalized as a Cathayan after three generations.” A young man’s voice spoke from directly overhead. Then, before he could even respond, the young man continued.
“Tell me, which Mythic Spirit is your totemic master? What tribe do you belong to?”
Boom! These words came crashing down like a bolt of the blue, causing him to leap right up to his feet. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given the chance to do so. An unspeakable force resisted his advances and pinned him dead to the ground.
“Did your ancestors tell you to befriend and get on the good side of the Zhu Clan of Cathay?”
“Has anyone from the Zhu Clan ever sought you out in these last hundred years?”
Clatter clatter… The glass, furnishings, tables and chairs rattled loudly like thunder crackling in the air. There was only despair in Abra’s heart.
I’ve been discovered…
He would already have expected a day like this ever since he took on this mission. But, knowing was one thing, and the feeling of being overwhelmed with helplessness and despair was quite something else.
Is this the might accompanying the entity that sits at the top of the world?
The electric lights in the apartment were still brightly lit, yet they did nothing to offer him any sense of security.
“I… I’m sorry!!!” He gnashed his teeth, not daring to disclose anything more.
Seconds later, he heard the voice above his head address him again, “You must’ve misunderstood something.”
Qin Ye smiled, “Hell doesn’t have the intention to press any charges. But…”
Rustle… A ticket landed directly in front of his face, “Pack your things and take me back to your tribe back in Alkebulan.”
“Right now.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter