A car hurtled through the city. Cheng Jianfeng looked high-strung with tension, glancing at the back seat from time to time. But as soon as the teenager seated in the back seat even shifted in the slightest, he would immediately retract his gaze and continue driving on with a somber expression on his face.
All of his previous thoughts of what to expect had gone completely out the window as soon as he saw Qin Ye. The terrifying Yin energy almost akin to the ominous clouds in the sky caused his heart to palpitate wildly. In that moment, he immediately realized that Walkers and Emissaries of Hell were existences that were practically worlds apart.
“There’s no need to be afraid.” Qin Ye crossed his legs and leaned back comfortably into the back seat, stroking the Harken’s fur from time to time. It had only been two years, yet his disposition had clearly changed from that of a hapless, cowardly teenager to that befitting of a lofty and haughty King Yanluo of Hell.
Qin Ye continued, “I’m also just a civil servant of Hell. You can think of Hell as a form of government, and not a gathering of evil ghosts and spirits. Your consternation arises from the simple fact that you haven’t been exposed to many Emissaries of Hell. Once you get used to us, you’ll come to realize that we’re just as normal as it gets.”
“Yes…” Cheng Jianfeng pursed his lips tightly together and responded stiffly.
Tsk… The entire journey from Yan Capital to Chonggu County of Kalgan City spans 240 kilometers from end to end. That’s several hours of driving. We can’t be having such a tense atmosphere between us all this while. My interaction with the living shouldn’t be as serious and tense as the parade commander’s inspection of a parade…
“Are you a local of Chonggu County?” Qin Ye desperately searched for a topic to break the ice.
“No…” Cheng Jianfeng gulped nervously and explained, “I’m from a neighbourhood located right next to that…”
“Oh? How did you come to be a Walker?”
Chen Jianfeng slowly eased up as he began to look back into his memories of the past, “My parents died early, and I was subsequently diagnosed with leukemia. There was no way to be cured, and I was just wandering around aimlessly, waiting for death to come knocking on my door. During a spontaneous journey to the Yan Capital, I paid my respects to an idol of the Lord of a Land. Then, when I finally returned home, the Lord of the Land actually came knocking on my door, offering me the opportunity to become a Walker!”
Qin Ye nodded, “Then, I take it that you know about the Yin Mountains as well? Is there anything different about that place now?”
“There is.” Cheng Jianfeng responded, “Over the last few years, they’ve begun to erect high-voltage fences around certain parts of the Yin Mountains. Furthermore, we’ve been seeing a rise in the number of residents in the neighbourhood nearby. I can sense that those who have come in recent times are mostly people who possess some level of cultivation.”
Qin Ye nodded softly. They had successfully broken the ice, and the conversations flowed far more smoothly than before. After three hours, they finally arrived at the toll gate leading into Chonggu County.
It wasn’t a large toll gate by any means, and the rolling hills of the Yin Mountains were even in sight in the distance.
Yet there was a roadblock formed by an entire row of armed forces located right in front of the toll gates!
And Qin Ye could even see several lanes forming inspection corridors located right behind the toll gates, replete with rows of instruments within each one.
Qin Ye paused at once. He’d seen something like this before.
It was exactly the same sight he’d been greeted by when he first went to the City of Salvation!
The situation within the City of Salvation back then could hardly be considered bad compared to some of the other parts of Cathay, and yet Qin Ye had eventually discovered the existence of one of the divine beasts of Hell within. To think that he would see the very same sight located right around Chonggu County…
“Strange…” Cheng Jianfeng obediently lined up behind the row of vehicles ahead. Fortunately, there weren’t many vehicles entering the county, and the queue wasn’t too long, “What kind of military gateway is this? It wasn’t like this when I visited earlier in June this year.”
“Something must have happened…” Qin Ye leaned back into his seat and stared straight ahead, “It’s not a trivial matter, and they’ve not been able to find a solution for it. Drive on ahead, and head straight in. Don’t worry, they won’t be able to see me.”
With that, Qin Ye’s figure instantly vanished from sight. Cheng Jianfeng stared blankly into his rearview mirror, and he nearly swerved his car in horror.
Qin Ye had just entered his Hell’s Emissary state, and he shut his eyes softly. When he opened his eyes once more, his pupils had already inverted in colour. The first thing that he did was to turn his gaze right onto Chonggu County that lay behind the toll gates.
Sigh… He couldn’t help but sigh softly at what he saw. Likewise, the Harken had already entered its Hell’s Emissary state, and was already staring dead into the distance where Chonggu County was.
Countless dark clouds were swirling madly about in the sky, forming a massive cave of jet-black clouds. These were obviously ghastly clouds, but for some strange reason, they could also make out beams of golden light peeking through the clouds in a lofty and magnificent fashion.
It almost radiated righteous brilliance.
“Ghost King Zhao is nearby.” The Harken licked his lips and swept its gaze across the surroundings, “His Yin energy is vacillating between sanity and insanity. Yin energy is flowing out of his body in an almost-uninhibited fashion, but he’s barely holding on. If we don’t find him quickly and jolt him back to his senses, then I’m afraid that… we might see the emergence of the most terrifying Yin Spirit in the mortal realm yet!”
“Furthermore, he must be carrying some Resentment Crystals with him, thereby causing his Yin energy to remain undetectable to the mortal realm, and only visible to us Emissaries of Hell. We’re only 250 kilometers away from Yan Capital right now. If things go south… the consequences could potentially be unthinkable!”
Qin Ye stared at clouds churning along the canopy of the skies. Despite being so far away right now, he could still sense the intense struggle flowing through the Yin energy in the sky. It was clear that Zhao Yun was barely holding on. And as soon as he fails, then… there is no doubt that the world would devolve into chaos.
What could possibly make a Ghost King’s soul go out of control?
“Step on it.” He addressed Cheng Jianfeng with a grave expression on his face, “As soon as we make it into the city, I’ll need you to head straight towards the restricted zone. Don’t dally, and leave any barriers along the way to me.”
He didn’t want to ask the mortal realm for any more favours than he had to. Furthermore, he would sooner ingratiate the mortal realm to Hell so as to gain himself more bargaining chips for the negotiations ahead of them. Naturally, he was most willing to resolve the more pressing issues faced by the mortal realm for them.
“Yes.” Cheng Jianfeng nodded. It was soon their turn to drive through the military gateways, and sure enough, the instruments prepared by the mortal realm weren't able to pick up anything amiss, and they proceeded without a hitch. But as soon as they cleared the gateways, they were greeted by an astonishing sight.
No Yin energy might have been detected by the mortal realm, but it was clear that the Special Investigations Department had acted on sheer instincts right now, because they had pulled out all the stops for Chonggu County’s defenses.
Every home and household had a talisman pasted on their doors. And as soon as Qin Ye saw them, he could tell that they were by no means the usual talismans designed to assuage more than to defend. These talismans were imbued with the true energy of Hunter-class experts. Furthermore, the corners of the walls were all bolted up with black iron chains that ran along a network of chains which eventually converged onto a four-pronged iron cauldron located in the center of the county.
The supernatural perimeter was operating in full force!
And it was even supplemented with a high-grade formation array!
They could tell at a glance that the iron cauldron dated back to the Spring and Autumn Period , and the carvings etched on the cauldron were ancient and majestic. Meanwhile, the swirling clouds would pulse with waves of soft golden glows from time to time, almost as though something was desperately trying to break through the dense clouds of the skies and emerge from the seemingly boundless purgatory of death. Unfortunately, it was feeble at best.
This was the Yin energy of one of the Sixfold Ghost Kings. The mortal realm might feel like they had done enough to suss out the cause of these supernatural phenomena, but the truth of the matter is that they had barely scratched the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, the dark clouds in the sky appeared almost like an inverted bowl, covering the ground like the lord of a domain, and causing the Yin spirits of the land to wail and moan as they endlessly rose into the skies like wisps of Yin energy, before transforming into runic symbols that dazzled like the stars in the dark night skies.
“Sixfold Imprisonment…” The Harken gasped, “The sixfold here refers to North, South, East, West, Yin and Yang. The Sixfold Imprisonment keeps all Yin spirits within its domain. And then, when the formation array is finally completed, it… will burn everything within its domain to ashes! This is otherwise known as the Red Lotus of the Purgatory! It’s an extreme formation array that destroys absolutely indiscriminately! I’m the only one who can break the formation array!”
Qin Ye gasped, “Is Brother Zhao looking to die?”
The Harken’s gaze flickered wildly, “He’s got no choice but to resort to this. The situation could be far worse than we’d imagined! He must have triggered the formation array on the last vestiges of his sanity. After all, he didn’t want to become an evil ghost and tarnish the reputation he’d built up for himself over all these years.”
Qin Ye bit down onto his lips and gazed into the distance, “You mentioned earlier that destruction will occur when this formation array is completed? How long will it take to reach completion?”
“Given its speed right now, I estimate that there’s still approximately half a year before it comes to that.”
Qin Ye heaved a long sigh of relief. And then, he turned to instruct Cheng Jianfeng to charge full speed ahead towards the Yin Mountains, regardless of the speed limit.
Meanwhile, back in the office of the county government. Several personnel from the Special Investigations Department monitoring the traffic cameras looked up at the screen at once.
“He’s speeding.” “This is a local car. But doesn’t this road… lead directly to the restricted zone?” “Should we intercept it? Is there a cultivator located nearby?” “Should we inform the branch chief?”
“No need.” Just as they were discussing amongst themselves, a middle-aged man entered the room and immediately issued his orders, “Notify the guards at the second entrance to the restricted zone. Give them a brief description of the vehicle and its license plate number, and tell them that they’re to keep this vehicle 1,000 meters away from the entrance. If this vehicle ignores these orders and pushes beyond the 1,000 meters mark… they should know what to do.”
Naturally, Qin Ye was unaware of the orders that had been issued. Instead, all he knew was that his car was going quicker and quicker. Soon, a high wall appeared right before his eyes, flashing from time to time with arcs of bluish lightning. A 10 meter wide iron gate was locked tightly and chained together for good measure. Furthermore, there were even countless yellow talismans hanging from the chains.
The Yin Mountains lay right beyond the iron gate.
Then, just as their car appeared on the horizon, the loudspeakers erected on both sides of the road immediately sounded, “Restricted zone ahead. Entry is strictly forbidden!” A column of soldiers had already lined up in front of the iron gate like a stoic wall, and the dark muzzles of their rifles were all pointed straight towards the oncoming car. Furthermore, several cultivators stood directly in front of the iron gate.
Yet, the car didn’t show any signs of stopping.
In fact, it only sped up towards the iron gate.
“Warning, warning. This is a military restricted zone. Trespassers enter at their own risk.” “Warning, warning…” As soon as the car entered the arbitrary line of 1,000 meters from the iron gate, the speakers blared with alarms at the same time, and the soldiers raised their rifles. Cheng Jianfeng felt his scalp go numb at the sight. He’d never expected Hell to instruct him to do something as defiant as this!
“M-m-m-m-my Lord!!” He was practically crying out at the top of his voice, and yet Qin Ye didn’t even bat an eyelid, “Keep going.”
Vroom! Cheng Jianfeng floored the gas pedal, and the car hurtled straight through the 500 meter mark. Right then, the alarms suddenly stopped.
A split second later, the mechanical voice of the alarms immediately ceased, and a man spoke through the loudspeakers instead, “This is your final warning. If you do not turn around and leave immediately, we will shoot on sight.”
It was a stern warning. At once, the soldiers standing right in front of the iron gates cocked their rifles.
“My Lord!” Cold sweat percolated Cheng Jianfeng’s forehead. It was also right at that moment that the car suddenly erupted with a ring of Yin energy, black as ink, that quickly swept across a span of 10,000 meters in all directions! One could even hear the cries of panic from the Yin spirits around!
“This is…” Time seemed to freeze at that very moment. A split second later, the cultivators standing at the iron gate exclaimed in unison, “Incarnate revenant!”
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