Whoosh… The Harken’s Yin energy erupted, and so did another equally violent source of Yin energy. At once, both sources of energy clashed mightily in the air. Peter the Great interlocked his fingers and leaned back into his seat. His voice was soft, yet his attitude remained hard, “Don’t be so excited, Duke Harken, since you’ve already agreed to the terms of our proposal, what difference does it make if you spend an additional day here?”
As he spoke, the Harken slammed its paw onto the table, shattering it at once. The walls on all sides echoed with agonized wails due to the violent impact of Yin energy, so much so that cracks even began to appear slowly on the sides. The Harken sneered and stared at Peter the Great, “Our agreement is one thing, but doesn’t this reveal your distrust for us? This is the first time someone’s ever had the gall to imprison us Emissaries of Hell!”
“Don’t put it so bluntly.” Peter the great continued to downplay his actions. He finally got up to his feet, and the billowing Yin energy caused his exquisite clothes to flutter as wildly as a dragon. He, too, placed his hands on the table and locked eyes with the Harken, “This is only done to guarantee the safety of our two esteemed guests. After all, with only four hours left until the troops arrive, nobody can say for certain whether there would be any dangers or not.”
“Are you threatening me?” The Harken’s pupils narrowed.
Peter the Great smiled grimly, “I believe your underworld has already seen the extent of our nation’s determination, and naturally… there’s a price to pay for that as well.”
As he spoke, the Harken raised its paws and sent a powerful swipe straight towards the door.
There was an earth-shattering crack. However, the relief images and statues in the room suddenly blossomed with a faint white light, revealing a web of channels that appeared to converge onto the stone door. At once, the stone door emitted a correspondingly brilliant flash of radiance, and it actually stood up under the mighty power of the Harken’s attack!
“Scythe of Death.” Peter the Great was obviously a skeleton, yet his chest continued to rise and fall heavily as he spoke gruffly, “This is the Tsar’s personal sealing technique. Don’t worry, I give you my word - I’ll release the both of you at the moment of the witching hour! I’ll even promise a commensurate compensation for your period of patience in ehre!”
“You’re courting death!!” The Harken’s hair flared up, and its figure abruptly began to expand and swell. Just then, it felt a hand suddenly touch its back, and it knowingly ceased its transformation.
“Released at five?” Qin Ye held the Harken with one hand and stroked the Harken with the other as he lifted his chin towards the door.
Peter the Great eased up slightly and nodded, “I swear it upon my name.”
“Very well.” Qin Ye stood up, “I hope your generous gift will be of sufficient sincerity so that we don’t need to escalate this matter further to the King Yanluo of Hell.”
“You can be most certain of that.”
“Also, we’ll need a quiet room.” Qin Ye glanced around and continued, “After all, I’m sure you wouldn’t want us to be staring at each other for the next four hours, do you? I believe that neither you nor Lord Harken would look upon each other if you could help it right now.”
Peter the Great sighed, “As you wish.”
He gazed deeply at Qin Ye - Who the hell is this? How could he actually suppress the Harken’s fury? Peter the Great was already poised to make his move in response to the Harken’s explosion of fury, and little did he expect the fire to be doused before it even flared up.
No… This isn’t the time to be asking such questions. He could be the next successor in line for the change of regime, or he could also be one of Ksitigarbha’s closest aides. In any event, there’s no time to hazard any guesses about his identity right now. What’s more important is to ensure that nobody stands in the way of the Russian Underworld’s march!
Dead silence. Nobody said a word for the next three seconds. Even Peter the Great remained absolutely still, just like a statue. Then, three seconds later, Qin Ye finally walked into a smaller chamber behind the stone wall.
Boom… The stone door shut behind him. At once, he released the hand that was covering the Harken’s mouth, and the Harken leapt right out of his bosom at once. Yin energy erupted from all over its body. Its fur flared up, and its eyes turned scarlet, “Reason.”
“Hell has never taken such insults lying down! Give me one good reason for your actions!”
“And don’t say it’s because of my grievous wounds right now. He still can’t kill me, and he would likewise never dare to touch a hair on your body, so tell me why you’re lowering your voice in front of this top-notch hellion?!!”
“Then tell me first - why do you think he’s treating me with such respect?!” Qin Ye’s voice was even louder than the Harken’s. He consciously sealed off the room with his own Yin energy, and then proceeded to stare back at the Harken with a deadly glare in his eyes, “This is the embodiment of their attitude and determination in this entire episode! They’ve already come so far in their pursuit of Resentment Crystals. They wouldn’t hesitate to set aside their pride nor strain relations with us!”
“Had you insisted on leaving just now, a Yama-class battle would’ve broken out immediately! You’re grievously wounded, so are you sure you can face up to his attacks? Is there any meaning in suffering any more than you have to? Do you really want him to guess what we’re really up to?”
The Harken stared back into his eyes, “But you’re always afraid of the situation in Hell being revealed to others! Aren’t you afraid that your actions would disclose too much right now?!”
“Of course I’m afraid of that!” Qin Ye sighed as he slumped back onto the sofa in the room and grunted, “But we’ve already given them our word that they can have the Resentment Crystals. That alone is in itself an act that doesn’t cohere with Hell’s usual domineering attitude! And that’s what the Russian Underworld thinks right now! They think that our compromise is all a farce! Why do you have to go about reversing that impression now?”
“Weren’t you the one who always told me that a moment of intolerance can lead to grave consequences? Those who achieve great things don’t count the small things--...”
“I’ve never said that.” The Harken stared back with icy contemptuousness, “What I’ve taught you is that Hell never waits to repay any transgressions against us. Everything is done right there and then.”
Qin Ye glanced up and sighed softly, “It doesn’t matter. For now, all I ask is that you remain patient.”
Then, he lowered his eyes softly, revealing an impassioned glint in his eyes, “Four hours.”
“And then, I’ll let them see who gets the last laugh!”
“This minor transgression wouldn’t count for a thing at that time! We’ll come out of this entire episode the champions!”
The Harken grew taciturn.
It wasn’t that these things hadn’t occurred to it. Rather, his reactions had all been borne out of its instincts.
After all, Fengdu’s reign of glory has existed for thousands of years. Who dares imprison an Emissary of Hell? A fool?
But today, not only did someone actually do so, it was even a lesser underworld, and at the hands of a mere Duke. Naturally, its first instinct was to bark and bite back!
After several more moments, the Harken finally managed to calm itself down and retract all the Yin energy pouring right out of its body. Then, it turned to Qin Ye, “Have you already managed to send out the message?”
“No. Didn’t you notice that the Duke had our Yin energy under complete lockdown? He’ll notice it as soon as we make the slightest of movements. But… there’s no rush.” He crossed his hands across his chest and rubbed his thumbs together placidly, “After all, it wouldn’t take more than a few hours for the Mythic Spirits to arrive in this location.”
Time passed by quickly. 4.30 a.m. The stone door opened silently, and a skeleton wearing a butler’s garments walked in with his hand on his abdomen and bowed deeply at the Emissaries of Hell, “My Lord, the emperor has called for you.”
Qin Ye followed him out. The spell on the stone door had finally been lifted. Peter the Great stood right in front of a new stone table. A gentle breeze swept down through the entrance, gently tousling the hems of the Duke’s garments.
It was silent, so silent that it was practically stifling. Peter the Great turned back and glanced at Qin Ye, “Have you ever been to the Blue Sky Tower?”
“Pity.” Peter the Great sighed softly, “That’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Khuree. It’s the tallest building there. Of course, this is nothing compared to some of the infrastructure that you can see in Cathay, but the top of the building offers you a panoramic view of the whole of Khuree.”
He smiled softly, “Even though you haven’t been there before, I suppose tonight’s a better night than any other.”
As he spoke, his figure transformed into a boundless nethergale of Yin energy. Illusory human faces emerged endlessly from the Yin energy before fading away into nothingness. Within moments, the terrifying nethergale swept into a vortex that spun around the room, tainting everything black with its intense darkness. It was almost as though the darkness of the night had pervaded every corner of this room.
“Yama-class technique… Big Dipper Stars.” The Harken drew a deep breath, “Prepare yourself.”
The Harken didn’t specify what needed to be prepared, but Qin Ye sensibly waved his fingers, and a golden scale appeared on his fingertips. At the same time, the Harken’s Yin energy erupted at once.
Without hesitation, Qin Ye flicked his finger, and the faint golden light in his hand dazzled through the darkness.
At the same time, the countless illusory faces emerging from the Yin energy around them suddenly grew that much closer to them, wailing and moaning at the top of their voices. A split second later, the Yin energy around them suddenly scattered, and Qin Ye discovered that they were already standing at the top of a tall building!
He looked around, only to see the brilliant lights of Khuree all around him. These lights stretched on for thousands of meters. And then… right at the end of the horizon, an ominous cloud of billowing Yin energy could be seen rushing over like a tsunami. It was a charge led by thousands of cavalrymen.
Qin Ye turned to gaze deeply at Peter the Great.
Despite his respectful demeanor, Qin Ye had no doubts that the man standing before him was a Duke through and through. The technique earlier had come incomparably close to tearing a rift through space itself. Qin Ye knew full well that he wouldn’t be able to stand up for more than a minute under this might.
“Sigh…” Peter the Great stood at the roof of the building overlooking the city. He took a deep breath, and the white bones of his ribs expanded slightly. Then, he pulled out a pocket watch and took a glance at it, “It’s now 5.00 a.m. sharp.”
“Soon, 50,000 soldiers from the imperial army will storm the Khuree boundary lines with Catherine the Great. This is a grand spectacle that hasn’t appeared on Earth for the last century now. They’re currently charging in the Reverse Cross Military Formation - one of the most powerful military formations available to the Russian Underworld. With just 50,000 imperial soldiers and a Duke, they would be able to take down other Dukes with ease.”
He turned to Qin Ye, “So… might I be so bold as to ask what Mr Qin had pulled out earlier? To think that it was actually able to break through a Duke’s spatial movement, and even fly so fast that I wasn’t able to see it clearly?”
“Mr Qin…” The winds swept through the gaps in his skeleton, making a whimpering sound at the netherflames in his eyes surged, “I sincerely hope that we can remain as allies, and that these 50,000 imperial soldiers would continue to march for the Mongol Underworld… and not you.”
The Harken and Qin Ye both turned back and gazed coldly into Peter the Great’s eyes, “Peter the Great… is this a declaration of war against Hell?”
“No.” Peter the Great turned back and stared into the deep darkness of the night, “I give you my word that the ones who stand behind me are allies, and not enemies.”
And it was right at that moment that the sky… transformed.
The wilderness surrounding Khuree was suddenly filled with copious amounts of Yin energy, that raged wildly with the intimidating rumble of horses’ hooves!
Countless figures appeared across the horizon, visible only to the eyes of underworldly emissaried. These figures were riding skeletal war horses, clad in iron armor and holding jousting lances. Their entire bodies were practically crouched on the backs of their horses as they charged straight for Khuree!
Intense scarlet netherflames that raged from their eyes dyed the entire skies a grim red in colour. A split second later, the magnificent lights in the entire city of Khuree began to go out, starting from the edges!
Pop, pop, pop! Within five seconds, the entire city turned completely dark!
The entire city of Khuree was surrounded by Yin soldiers!
The Harken froze in horror for three seconds, and then turned and gave an incisive glare at Peter the Great, “You’re courting death! The army you claim to have stopped at the border has appeared in Khuree in less than three minutes? Do you even accord any respect to Hell?!”
“Ah… It seems that my memory has failed me.” Peter the Great responded hoarsely, “They were actually at the borders of Sukhbaatar, a stone’s throw away from Khuree. But… does it really matter?”
He turned back and looked the Harken in the eyes, “Like I’ve said before, the ones standing behind me are friends, not foe.”
“And since they’re friends, why can’t you be just a tad more tolerant of their existence? Or is it that--...”
There were a dozen or so Yin soldiers standing around them at the edge of the rooftop. At once, they pulled out and brandished their blades.
These blades gleamed with the pallor of death under the dark moonlit skies.
Silence. These blades were all aimed straight towards Qin Ye and the Harken, while the dozen or so Yin soldiers were clearly standing in a twisted spell formation. Like a hungry pack of wolves that had just smelled blood, they slowly began to approach Qin Ye and the Harken.
“Are you in fact a foe sporting the appearances of a friend?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter