Chapter 675: Arxan Protocol (1)

Late night, 11.50 p.m.

Bayin shuddered as he hid behind the windows. He didn’t leave his station. The Arxan Port Bridge was located approximately 50 meters in front of the customs compound. That said, everything was dark, and he could barely see anything. Meanwhile, Xiao Guolong did the same form the other end of the bridge, leaning close to the window with gritted teeth as he gazed intently at the end of the bridge.

The winds howled and whistled in the cold winter night, sounding no different from the whimpers and wails of a group of ghosts. There wasn’t the usual rustling of leaves because the branches were all covered with deep frost. The lands were completely barren and desolate, and yet the deathly solitude also exuded a sense of beauty and grace.

Both sides of the border crossing were already closed by now, and the lights on the bridge were all completely shut off. Only the guards and soldiers who were on duty were still standing sentry in the vicinity or patrolling about. Only the lights on each end of the riverbanks were still lit up like beacons in the snowy winter nights. The muffled footsteps of the soldiers trudging through the thick snow was completely drowned out by the howling winds around them.

Xiao Guolong didn’t switch on his light at all. He’d already received instructions earlier that afternoon, after combing through his surveillance monitors and sending an image of Qin Ye’s appearances to the upper echelons. Their response was to comply with Qin Ye’s instructions. However, he wasn’t able to stay away from these matters. After all, he felt it was his duty to keep a close record of all large-scale supernatural activities occurring on his turf.

Everything was silent, so silent that even the second hands of the clock sounded almost deafening to him. Dong, dong, dong… Just then, the clock chimed 12 times, causing him to jump slightly and jerk his head back. However, he promptly wiped the cold sweat off from his forehead, took a deep breath to suppress his wildly thumping heart, before staring intently at the bridge once more.

It was silent, so silent and still that it was almost suffocating to him.

A split second later, his entire body suddenly trembled, and he nearly cried out in alarm!

The silhouette of a man had suddenly appeared at the edge of the bridge!

It was very faint in the dim moonlit night, but he could’ve sworn that it was the silhouette of a man! He appeared to be dressed in Cathayan clothes, and more importantly… holding a little dog in his hands.

That’s him… that’s the teenager who called upon me earlier this morning… Xiao Guolong shivered as goosebumps crept up all over his body. Just then, almost as though he recalled something of great importance, he rushed straight back to the door where five soldiers were standing guard.

“Have the surveillance instruments been set up?” Despite his distance to the silhouette in the distance, he couldn’t help but reduce his voice to a hush, almost as though he was afraid that Qin Ye would hear him, “Remember… don’t ever head out, under any circumstances. Stay close to our national emblem, and have your Yin energy readers, and all surveillance devices--...”

He suddenly paused.

No response.

The light in the hallway was still well lit, but he couldn’t help but sense a chill run down his spine. The soldiers outside appeared to be standing stiffly like zombies, and not a single one of them gave any form of response to him.

Clatter!!! Just then, the windows around them suddenly opened wide, allowing a chilling gale to sweep right into the room. The woods outside stirred and rustled wildly.

Xiao Guolong’s heart constricted with an intense sense of fear. Then, almost as though to rub salt in his wounds, the lights in the hallway suddenly flickered and fizzled out in unison. And it was only then that… the living, breathing soldiers who were all previously standing so stiffly, finally turned around and stared at him with dull eyes.

It was as if they were warning him to stay right where he was, or perish outside.

Everyone would perish as soon as they took even a step out of this place.

This wasn’t the place for weak cultivators like him.

Thump! The intense fear in his heart caused Xiao Guolong to run right back into the room and slam the door shut behind him. He panted with ragged breaths as he glanced out of the window once more, only to realize…

That the skies looked different.

Boundless Yin energy was coalescing towards the direction of the boundary bridge with such intense darkness that was visible to the naked eye. Dark waves appeared to slosh about on the surface of the snow, but not a single bit of the Yin energy appeared to flow beyond where the silhouette was standing on the bridge. An illusory image coalesced right above the silhouette on the bridge.

This image was dressed in black and red garments, with sleeves that almost appeared to be formed from Yin energy. His eyes gleamed brightly with netherflames blazing half a meter high into the sky, and he stood right on the boundary bridge holding a dog in his hands.

Meanwhile, the lights on both sides of the riverbanks went out. And when they came on again - including the lights that lined both sides of the bridge - they were all lit with an eerie green netherflame, almost as though they depicted a bridge that led right into the pits of Hell

“My god…” Xiao Guolong folded his hands and peeked out from beneath the windowsill.

Such terrifying Yin energy… And such a suffocating sight… Is this what the appearance of a powerful evli ghost is like? T-this is far more terrifying than anything I’ve ever seen or heard or even read of to date!

It was a good thing he hadn’t sought assistance from the rest of the province. Otherwise… the investigators of the Inner Mongol Province would all be doomed to perish tonight in this place.

After all, these were powerful evil ghosts that required a commensurate force to stop. What could a Hunter-class expert or even a Hellguard-class expert possibly do to such monsters?

On the other side of the bridge, Bayin reacted in almost a similar fashion. He saw Yin energy converging on the bridge from every direction, and he had already scrambled to take shelter under his desk, not daring to even take a peek outside any longer.

Qin Ye stood at the bridge placidly. He could see that there was a magnificent and opulent carriage already parked just a dozen or so meters in front of him.

The entire body of the carriage was gilded with gold and constructed out of bones. It was inlaid with the emblem of a grizzly bear with ribbons beneath. Exquisite lanterns lit with netherflames hung from the four corners of the carriage, and the coachman… turned out to be none other than Marquis Rumyantsev himself!

There was no masking the endless outpouring of Yin energy from within. Even the wisps of Yin energy seeping out of the gaps between the carriage doors would reveal faces of wailing, agonized spirits before melding with the rest of the Yin energy around.

The only ones qualified to have a Marquis-class coachman… is none other than a Duke!

In other words, it was a god of death.

One of the three Russian gods of death… Qin Ye watched silently for dozens of seconds, before he slowly stepped forward and stepped out of the Array of the Nine Gods.

This was the final chapter in the episode pertaining to Forbidden Arts. The main characters were all present, and nobody would act with any measure of reservation any longer. The invisible tussle between the two underworlds would finally be settled in the dust of tonight’s negotiations!

Surprisingly, Qin Ye didn’t feel in the slightest bit nervous. In fact, the anxiety in his heart wasn’t even a fraction of that which he experienced when he was negotiating with the Alkebulan Underworlds.

After all, the most important thing in any storyline was the rising action of the plot that would determine how the climax would pan out. But as soon as this was over, all that awaited was the intense venting of emotions in the already-decided climax of the entire storyline.

As soon as he crossed the bridge, the carriage doors opened up, and a skeleton dressed in ancient European aristocratic garments stepped out slowly, before courteously placing his left fist to his right breast and bowing slightly, “Pyotr Alekseyevich.”

It was calm and ordinary. He didn’t play up his identity either, presumably because his reputation preceded him.

Qin Ye smiled back. Even though he’d already prepared himself for this moment, he still couldn’t help but feel amazed by his presence.

Peter the Great. One of the most famous rulers in world history. Without him, there would be no Rus. He was the one who led Rus from strength to strength, setting off a series of reforms and opening it up to the rest of the world. There was no need to say more about his endeavours. That said, the fact that he personally led these upcoming operations only went to show just how much the Russian Underworld attaches to the upcoming negotiations.

The skeleton didn’t present himself with any unique features apart from a ring of white hair on his head. From time to time, Peter the Great’s image would surface on his skeleton, before promptly fading away. Seconds later, his elegant figure stood right in front of Qin Ye, and they shook hands. Peter the Great smiled and bowed gently once more, “Mr Harken, it’s been a while.”

“Indeed, it’s been several hundred years since I’ve last seen you.” The Harken nodded softly. Meanwhile, Peter the Great took the lead to board the carriage once more, “This way, please.”

Qin Ye naturally complied. As soon as they boarded the carriage, he heard the crack of a whip, and the scenery beside them immediately became a blur. Qin Ye’s eyes narrowed slightly - This direction… Are we headed straight for Khuree?

He didn’t say much. The undercurrents were clearly stirring, and the tensions ran as high. It was the calm before the storm.

Hell, the Russian Underworld, and one of the P4 underworlds that was acting from the shadows were all on board the boat that was drifting along the stirring waves.

None of them bothered with any platitudes. Two minutes after the carriage started, Peter the Great finally withdrew his deep gaze from the windows and bowed deeply for the third time, “The Russian Underworld is grateful for Hell’s generosity.”

A peculiar smile crept up the corners of the Harken’s lips.

Generosity?

Hehe… Laugh while you can, because you might not be laughing in a little while…

“You can’t really consider this generosity.” The Harken remained just as haughty even in the face of a god of death, “Or is the Russian Underworld so presumptuous as to think that they could pose a threat to Hell with the development of Forbidden Arts?”

“Of course not.” Peter the Great chuckled hoarsely, “On the contrary, I believe that there will only be more opportunities for collaboration in future, such as in the fields of Yin Talismanology, or even in the research and development of second generation Forbidden Arts. Believe me, I speak for my underworld when I say that the Russian Underworld will always be the best ally Hell can find.”

Qin Ye gently stroked the Harken’s fur and smiled faintly.

Do you think we’re idiots?

You’ll side with whoever gives you the Forbidden Arts initiation module. But… it matters not.

Because you’ll soon learn the hard way who the masters of the East Continent truly are.

“We’ll see.” Qin Ye said with a smile.

“Prefect Qin.” Peter the Great turned to him with a jovial tone of voice, “Once again, the Tsar sends his sincerest apologies for what happened back there in Daehan. Rest assured, we have no intentions of supplanting your authority and dragging Liu Yu to our side. It’s just that the urgency of the times called for desperate measures. If one doesn’t excavate the Resentment Crystals soon after its discovery, they would once again sink back into the ground and vanish from sight. Once this all blows over, we’ll give Hell a proper account that will be satisfactory to you. Furthermore, we’ll give Hell our assurance never to interfere with the affairs of your vassal states again.”

Qin Ye smiled back, “Then I look forward to it.”

Peter the Great leaned back into his seat. He was satisfied with the responses he’d got so far.

They were only at the start of their discussions, and it was important to suss out Hell’s attitude to the upcoming negotiations. After all, they haven’t managed to obtain Hell’s nod of approval just yet. And until they had that, they would never dare to make a move. But this time, it was clear that Hell wasn’t overtly objecting to their advances.

Naturally, this was quite different from a nod of approval, but… having come so far, they had no choice but to see their actions through.

He looked out and gazed upon the open plains and wilderness outside.

There were currently already 50,000 Yin soldiers from the Queen’s imperial army and 300,000 Cossacks cavalrymen arrayed and waiting patiently. 1,000 KGB agents had already taken over all major hubs and nodes in the vicinity as well. As soon as he gave the command, the Mongol Underworld would vanish from the netherworld map in a matter of hours!

The land size didn’t matter. After all, how large was it compared with the rest of Rus?

The number of Yin soldiers mattered not as well. After all, how many soldiers could they possibly have compared with the Russian Underworld?

Right now, all that mattered were the Resentment Crystals lying in wait for them! All that mattered were the few hours that they needed to excavate the Resentment Crystals. Anyone who dared stand in their way - even Hell - wouldn’t be spared!

They had remained allies with Hell all this while not because they were loyal, but because nothing of sufficient interest had come up just yet.

At least… not until now.

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