Qin Ye looked around at the formation of bladed warriors and asked with a deep voice, “What is the meaning of this?”
It was a rhetorical question. Of course he understood what it meant.
The Russian Underworld was already risking a lot, and they couldn’t afford to lose on this gamble of theirs. Push had come to shove, and everything depended on the outcome of these final moments. The payout from this gamble could potentially even change the balance of power in the world! This was why, despite being confronted by Hell, they were still willing to go all-in on this. And this was especially the case when Hell had only sent two Emissaries.
“The ball is in your court.” Peter the Great gazed intently at them, “I respect the Emissaries of Hell, just as much as I respect Hell itself. Therefore, I would sincerely urge you to choose carefully.”
“Since you’ve already given us your word, then please stay true to your words!”
Qin Ye fervently held the Harken down. He could sense that the hair on its body was already flaring up once more, and if not for the fact that he was still holding it down, its Yin energy would quite possibly have already erupted and filled the entire Khuree, and then some. Qin Ye looked up at Peter the Great silently, “And how should we do that?”
“Tell me what you released earlier.” The formation of bladed warriors lowered their blades slightly. At once, an indescribable weight like that of a mountain bore down onto Qin Ye’s back, causing him to subconsciously let out a muffled grunt. And then, he slowly fought back the weight and straightened his back once more.
A lavender-coloured runic symbol appeared on the surface of the blades. It was the colour of death - dreamy, and yet dangerous at the same time. There were a total of 17 blades pointed straight at them, and the runic symbols clearly came together to form the figure of an illusory purple idol.
The figure was incredibly thin. He wore a tattered cloak, and held a long scythe in his hands. Jet-black feathers continued to flutter all around it. The Harken’s eyes widened, and it gnashed its teeth, “Second Dark Covenant of the Romans… Peter, if you dare to even touch a single hair on his head, I’ll fight you to the death today!”
“And why wouldn’t I dare?!!” Peter the Great barked back, exploding with boundless Yin energy. At once, the Yin energy from his body swirled together to form a dark vortex, assimilating his bones completely as though they were constellations in a dark night sky. It was the eruption of Duke-class Yin energy!
Whoosh… The entire city of Khuree was instantly blanketed by Peter the Great’s Yin mighty Yin energy. The trees around swayed wildly, almost as though they were bowing to the descent of a god of death. Meanwhile, the glass windows of the buildings in the city instantly shattered at once, raining down onto the ground like a torrential crystal rain.
Then, with a shrill whistle on his part, the entire city appeared to respond with the cries of countless ghosts. It was no different from hell on earth. As the illusory image of the god of death slowly became clearer and more vivid, Qin Ye’s entire body trembled softly.
It wasn’t fear.
Rather, it was more of an innate physiological response to the presence of a god of death at the door.
An indescribable chill coursed through his bloodstreams, causing his heart to pump slower and slower. His breath slowed down to a crawl. By now, Peter the Great’s entire body had already completely assimilated with the mighty vortex of Yin energy, and two intense spots of netherflames opened up from within and stared intently back at them, “Duke Harken, you should be keenly aware that such tactics of threats and deterrence only work when it doesn’t push one beyond its bottom line.”
“But we’ve invested far too much in these operations to even tolerate the possibility of failure. Since you’ve already given your nod of approval, then you shouldn’t be playing any more games with us!”
“You’re courting death!!” The Harken’s body expanded sharply. At once, a source of Yin energy more terrifying than Peter the Great’s rushed out of its body, and the building they were on began to crumble and collapse. Simultaneously, the vortex containing Peter the Great’s body roared with the cries of millions as the two scarlet netherflames exploded with a flare that rose hundreds of meters into the sky!
Yama-King versus Yama-King! God of death versus god of death!
It was also at that moment that every supernatural alarm in the vicinity was triggered - not just that of the Mongol Empire, but including even northeastern Cathay! A terrifying scene appeared right before Qin Ye’s eyes.
Two colossal monsters dozens of meters tall stood on the ground facing off against each other, leaving cracks on the ground in the wake of their approach. The space between these creatures tore apart completely, revealing a scarlet rift that… slowly expanded.
It was almost as though the duel between Yama-Kings was tearing apart the fabric that constituted the mortal realm, forcibly opening a rift leading straight into the underworld.
“Are you really going to make a move against me?” Peter the Great’s voice boomed like thunder, completely inaudible to mere mortals, “If two true Yama-Kings like us break out into battle right here and now, the Mongol Empire would be completely wiped off the surface of the map. You should know that I harbour no malice and ill-will towards Hell. All I ask for is some assurance on your part! An assurance that you won’t do anything that will threaten our end of the deal!”
“Granted… Hell might be strong - so strong that it was even able to repel the coalition of seven underworlds that had joined hands against you. But…”
“Since you’d given the nod, there’s no backing out of this agreement! By Tsar’s name, I shall defend the rights and dignity of the Russian Underworld, even unto death!!”
As he spoke, flares of karmic flames burst out from the darkness, before dissipating into the night sky like the falling leaves of autumn. The Yin energy around gradually came together to form the Harken’s illusory appearances, and it licked its lips coldly, “Dignity? There’s not an underworld in this netherworld that dares act with such disrespect to Hell!”
“But since you clearly know nothing about respect, let me teach you what respect for Hell entails!!”
“By Hell’s Dictum, all rabble shall disperse! An instance of infraction, a lifetime of requital!!”
The void trembled slightly. It was a clear sign of the crossing of blows between two Yama-Kings. Their speed had already well surpassed the speed of sound, and the exchange of blows was practically invisible to the untrained eye. But just then, the Harken suddenly paused. Noticing the sudden ceasefire, Peter the Great also sighed softly and stayed his hand at the same time.
Qin Ye wiped the blood off from the corner of his lips indifferently and patted the Harken’s hind legs. The Harken turned back and stared intently at Qin Ye, and Qin Ye likewise gave the Harken an unrelenting look. Seconds later, the Harken grunted and transformed back into a little dog that fell straight into Qin Ye’s arms.
“It was just a message to Fengdu to notify them of our safety.” Qin Ye spoke calmly as though nothing had happened, “I know, you guys must be terrified that we’re sending word back to ask Hell to send troops, but I can assure you that that isn’t the case. I swear upon the name of Hell that Hell would never call upon its troops to make a move against you.”
Peter the Great sighed softly, “Then why didn’t you send it in front of me? Why did you have to send it so furtively in that moment when I tore a rift through space?”
“Would you believe it had I sent the message in front of your eyes?” Qin Ye gasped for breath before speaking again, “You wouldn’t. Does that mean that I’ll have no choice but to reveal its contents to you before you allow the message to be sent?”
Peter the Great grew silent.
He wanted to retort, but he dared not - at least not until the nail had finally been driven into the coffin.
Seconds later, the mighty vortex of Yin energy promptly dissipated, and Peter the Great once again reappeared in his gorgeously dressed form, bowing courteously to Qin Ye and the Harken, “I’ve been presumptuous.”
“We’re both in the process of trying to feel each other out, and there’s bound to be misunderstandings. We’ve admittedly been high-strung during this period of time as well. So…”
He snapped his fingers, and the 17 blades pointed straight at Qin Ye and the Harken immediately retracted back into their sheaths. The illusory god of death also vanished at once.
Qin Ye glanced around. The array that had them surrounded appeared to have vanished, but he could still see lingering traces of purple netherflames that appeared to still hover placidly about them.
“Please remain here and enjoy this glorious closing ceremony.” Peter the Great’s figure gradually faded away. Meanwhile, countless Yin soldiers appeared around them, “These lands… will soon devolve into chaos. If you remain here, I’ll at least be able to guarantee your safety. But if you even take a single step out of this place… then, I cannot say for certain anymore. After all, swords have no eyes…”
Whoosh… With that, he led his 17 attendants out of the formation array like a receding shadow, revealing the fact that hundreds of Yin soldiers had at some point already had them surrounded.
They were all knights.
Ancient knights of the west.
They all wore silver armor, all of which were covered in cracks and blood in every possible spot. But instead of making them look unsightly, these flaws only appeared to accentuate the terrifying aura emanating from their bodies. Furthermore, Qin Ye could sense that there were dozens of Hellguards among them, and the rest were at least Soul Hunters to boot!
None of them had knelt down to the ground even when Peter the Great had appeared. Instead, they simply stood tall with their longswords resting on the ground before them, and their arms resting on the hilt of the longsword. The nethergale gently tousled the scarlet flowing capes behind their backs. Not a single Yin spirit dared even draw close to these mighty warriors.
“Hey…” As soon as he left the formation array, Peter the Great abruptly turned back and gazed deep into the depths of the array, “Watch them closely.”
“So long as there’s any movement from within, immediately activate the Second Dark Covenant of the Romans, and hold out until either Queen Catherine or I arrive back here.”
Back in the heart of the formation array. Qin Ye remained completely still, staring icily at Peter the Great’s back as he departed from sight.
“Do you think… he will really make a move against us?”
“No.” The Harken licked its lips, and then gnashed its teeth, “This is where their bottom line ends. The Russian Underworld would never instigate an all-out war with Hell. That said… why did you hold me back earlier? I may be grievously wounded, but I still have sufficient strength to pull a fast one against him.”
“There’s no point.” Qin Ye retracted his gaze and turned to look deep into the skies beyond, “After all, our victory isn’t dependent on whether or not we can pull a fast one on him.”
“He’ll learn what despair truly means when he sees the appearance of a dozen Mythic Spirits across the horizon.”
“He wouldn’t believe every word that we say.” Qin Ye watched as the purple netherflames darted about from runic symbol to runic symbol, before burning out into nothingness in the air, “They’ve put all their eggs into one basket, and because of that, they would never be able to rest at ease. Any sudden movements on our part would only trigger a war involving Yama-Kings. Since that’s the case…”
He turned and gazed deep into the distance, “Then perhaps it might be better to watch the grand finale play out silently.”
Just then, a bell suddenly tolled, and its reverberations filled the entire city of Khuree.
This time, even the mortals of the mortal realm could hear every bit of the toll of the death knell. The citizens of Khuree who were already on edge from the city-wide power outage suddenly turned to the sky in astonishment.
A scarlet rift had opened up in the sky, and it was still growing larger and larger, almost as though it was hell bent on tearing apart the entire canopy of the skies. The rift revealed a scarlet sea of blood beyond. And right from the heart of this rift poured out countless shadowy figures that surrounded the entire city!
Dong, dong, dong! However, the tolls didn’t stop, but only grew louder and louder. The Harken sat idly in the middle of the formation array, sighing softly, “Take a good look…”
“This is the end of an underworld…”
Qin Ye stared at the scarlet rift, “Do they… even count as an underworld?”
“Why not? It is regrettable that the Mongol Underworld is far too weak. The Laws of Yin-Yang Coaction would directly affect the existence of their underworld, and they don’t have a heritage as deep as ours that would allow them to tide through this period of darkness. The march of the Yin soldiers of the Russian Underworld… would undoubtedly spell their end.”
“The Russian Underworld doesn’t even need to communicate with them. The toll of the bells marks the beginning of their final struggle.”
As the Harken spoke, copious amounts of Yin energy coalesced in the air within the city, transforming into six colossal creatures that shrieked and howled as they commanded the Yin soldiers numbering well over 100,000 that stood at their feet. The soldiers charged straight for the scarlet rift outside.
It was bleak and tragic. It was almost a heart-rending call to arms, summoning the Mongol Yin spirits for one final hurrah in a desperate attempt to protect their own sovereignty.
White deer, brown bear, bull, swan, eagle and treant. Six monsters towered over the lands of Khuree, roaring at the top of their voices. Unfortunately, their heaven-defying roars didn’t even shake the hearts of the Russian Yin soldiers.
This was hardly an evenly matched battle.
Rather, it was a one-sided slaughter.Previous Chapter Next Chapter