With that, the Harken sighed softly and began to mouth a mantra. The words that it was speaking appeared from its lips one by one, while countless runic symbols of Yin Talismans began to spread out from beneath its feet, transforming into countless butterflies that scattered into the surroundings. Within moments, and to Qin Ye’s great surprise, the ground began to tremble like a low-level earthquake.
Meanwhile, the Harken’s voice only grew louder and louder like crackling thunder, “... Objects of origin, before Heaven and the Earth came into being. Silent and lonesome, independent and immutable, around and uninhibited…”
Yin Talismans poured out like the flowing waters from a spring, vanishing into the surroundings and causing the entire mountain range to tremble with ever greater intensity. A few minutes later, the light tremors escalated into a thunderous roar. And then, the Harken bellowed, “Break!” At once, Qin Ye felt something different about the environment around him.
“The door to the sundered world has now opened.” The Harken walked ahead, “Follow closely, because Ghost King Zhao lies right within this place.”
It was an ordinary countryside.
If one had to find something unique about it, then it would most certainly be with its location.
Because the village was located at a mountaintop.
If one peered down from the mountaintop, they would only be greeted by a sea of fog below. It was the only mountaintop in the region.
And there appeared to be no way down into the depths.
The village was incredibly old, and it was filled with wooden houses that appeared to have been built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The houses were dilapidated, and several houses had even collapsed eons ago. The ground was covered with dust and dirt, while knee-height weed appeared to be everywhere around. There were even abandoned carts, furniture and other kinds of farm equipment located everywhere around. All in all, the entire village sported a dead and desolate atmosphere.
It was supposed to be devoid of any living persons. But, right now, there appeared to be seven people gathered in the center of the village. They appeared jaundiced and thin, with ragged clothes and shoulder-length hair. Every single one of them looked like an exile or a vagabond that had been wandering the wilderness for countless years on end.
That said, each and everyone of them also exuded trace amounts of true energy from their body. The weaker ones couldn’t be properly classified with the current system of cultivation, while the stronger one among them was well in the ranks of a Soul Hunter.
It was 4.55 p.m. Nobody said a word as they all glanced nervously around their surroundings, trembling slightly as their teeth chattered.
“It’s coming…” One of the middle-aged men among their midst spoke with a drifty voice, “He’s… he’s almost here…”
He didn’t say much more than he needed to, almost as though he felt the need to conserve as much of his energy as he could. Beside him, a teenager who appeared to be in his early twenties gritted his teeth and responded, “He… looks less human with every day that passes… I-I don’t want to die…”
His voice choked up, and yet not a single other person responded to these sobs.
After all, how could anyone respond when they could barely even take care of themselves?
Right then, the entire mountain peak shook, and an earth-shattering war drum sounded in succession, almost as though a divine army had gathered under the dense fog of the mountain peak!
“CHARGE!!!” With a loud cry, the sea of fog around the mountain peak stirred wildly, and the sound of clashing iron echoed all around them. The air was instantly filled with murderous intent. The raging winds around them scattered the hair of the seven men everywhere, and caused their hearts to skip a beat. Then, a second later, the thunderous rumble of trampling hooves roared from all around them!
Rumble! It was deafening, and it sounded almost as though it was all stirring from beneath the mountain peak and rushing straight up the path leading to the village. The grass and trees around them rustled and swayed wildly. Meanwhile, a lady among the seven gasped in horror, “They’re coming… They’ve advanced by another half a meter!!”
She bit down hard on her dry, parched lips, “Two months… They’ll probably break into the Martyr’s Shrine here in no more than two months’ time! We… we’ll be dead by then!”
“Then so be it…” An old man responded placidly, staring at the distant skies with a numb expression on his face, “We should’ve been dead a long time ago anyway. Besides, can you really say that we’re still living right now? Hahaha… It’s been so long, so what difference does it make if this misery finally comes to an end? Had we had the courage to commit suicide, would we still be standing here in this place right now?”
Some were courageous optimists, but there were naturally some who were also pessimists as well.
The old man glanced around with an ashen heart. He was astonished when he first discovered this place. But now, the only thing that lingered on in his heart was endless terror.
The monster in the Martyr’s Shrine simply isn’t a human. He’s neither willing to release us nor kill us. Instead, he continued to give us food and water, providing for our sustenance and dragging out our misery for such a long time.
Perhaps… it might not be a bad thing to let those monsters outside rush into this place after all…
He didn’t even muster any of his true energy to resist the advance of the troops. He could only hear the cries of shouting and killing fill the air, but he didn’t know what exactly was fighting with each other. Then, just as he was about to retract his gaze, the old man suddenly paused in consternation.
He rubbed his eyes violently, and then stared with great disbelief at a particular location. His jaws dropped, and his lips trembled. He raised a hand and pointed to that location, almost as though he wanted to say something, but he simply couldn’t find any words, “Ah… ah, ah!!!”
“Old Li! What’s the matter with you?” A younger man located right beside him turned over in astonishment. Old Li’s lips were parted, and he was gasping for air, almost as though he was suffering from a stroke. However, the younger man could see that Old Li was pointing somewhere, so he glanced over, and immediately froze as well.
Two seconds later, he screamed at the top of his voice, “Look! Over there! Over there!!!”
This time, everyone turned their eyes to a particular location in the fog, where they could vaguely make out a silhouette that was slowly approaching them.
Everyone glanced at each other. Even Old Li, whose heart had grown completely numb after all this time, revealed a glimmer of hope in his eyes. Everyone watched with bated breaths as the silhouette approached them. Seconds later, a teenager emerged from the fog, holding a dog in his hands.
And as soon as he did, everyone sighed softly, and Old Li slumped back to the ground with a bitter chuckle, “I knew it… It’s another one. It’s another one of us! That’s right… why would the Special Investigations Department dispatch the strongest fighting force of the nation to rescue us few insignificant souls?”
Silence. The air was filled with despair.
Qin Ye held the Harken and walked up to everyone in the village, yet not a single other person looked at him, almost as though they were all resigned to their fates. He smiled, “You guys are actually still alive. I’ve got to commend you for your tenacity.”
“You know us?” A young man in his twenties let out a muffled laugh, before sighing once more and gazing deep into the skies, “Then you must be a new investigator of the Special Investigations Department. Count yourself unlucky… To think that you’d be buried here in this place only several months after taking on this assignment.”
The others ignored Qin Ye completely.
Naturally, Qin Ye couldn't be bothered with making small talk with the rest of them. His shard of King Yanluo’s Seal had concealed the Yin energy flowing out of his body, and the group of survivors in the village clearly didn’t think that a young man of his age could possibly do anything to extricate them from this bind. He glanced around, and then raised a brow quizzically.
What’s in this fog?
There’s a lot of them. Their numbers are terrifying. We’re easily talking about a hundred thousand or more, but none of these forces are individually strong. So how did they get so powerful as a whole unit? Furthermore, they appear to be crashing repeatedly into the barriers around this place!
But on the other hand, I can sense a terrifying presence hiding here in the innermost part of this village!
“Brother Zhao, I’ve finally found you…” Qin Ye licked his lips and slowly approached the heart of the village.
“Are you courting death?” He didn’t even take more than a single step before Old Li cautioned him with a hoarse voice, “Cherish your life, little one. I’m afraid that there exists a monster within the heart of the village that not even the strongest experts in the mortal realm are able to deal with. He’s the god of the Yin Mountains… sigh… Proceed at your own risk.”
Qin Ye ignored them. From here, he could see the crumbling ruins of the buildings at the end of the road. The original shape of the building had completely faded away, and the only way he could tell what used to be in this palace was the words “Martyr’s Shrine” dangling from a crooked signboard hanging above what remained of the doorway. The surroundings were all covered with grass and cobwebs, and an immensely suffocating source of Yin energy flowed from within.
Whoosh… The surface of the ground rattled softly as he slowly approached the Martyr’s Shrine. The closer he got, the more the bricks and tiles on the ground trembled. The seven who were huddled together in the center of the village turned back and stared at Qin Ye with great disbelief.
It wasn’t as though none of them had tried approaching the Martyr’s Shrine before.
However, nobody had ever triggered such changes to the environment!
That’s right, changes.
This was a land of the dead - a prison that saw no light of the day, nor breath of the living. Change was not the norm here.
“Martial brother…” A middle-aged man stood up abruptly and spoke with a quiver on his lips, “What are you--...”
But before he could even finish speaking, the Yin energy around Qin Ye and the Harken exploded at once, just like an avalanche falling from the mountaintops, or a rushing river breaking its banks! The surrounding houses were unable to withstand the sheer force of the violent rush of Yin energy, and everything was smashed to smithereens in an instant!
“What the hell?!!” “My god!! What in the world is his cultivation level?!” “H-how old is this kid! H-he’s not even a Judge! I’ve seen Judges before! They don’t even possess a tenth of such strength!!” “Evil spirit… H-he’s an evil spirit! An incarnate revenant!”
Buzz… The seven jaded cultivators immediately shot right up to their feet, and stared at Qin Ye’s back with great trembling. The eruption of Prefect-class Yin energy and Yama-class Yin energy at the exact same time caused the Yin energy around them to swirl madly, so much so that even the ground was starting to grow blurry. Qin Ye stared intently into the shrine. And as soon as the Yin energy erupted from their bodies, two spots of golden netherflame also ignited from the heart of the Martyr’s Shrine!
“Ghost King Zhao.” Qin Ye bowed deeply, “I’ve come to bring you home.”
Rumble… Majestic Yin energy swept around them, causing their hair to flutter wildly in the winds. The tall weed growing out of the ground were practically lying horizontal due to the strength of the gale. Meanwhile, the expressions of the seven cultivators went from that of hopelessness to shock, to joy, and then to great disbelief.
Abyssal Prefect… and… the mythical existence that lies even beyond that…
To think that I would one day witness such an incredible spectacle!
But… doesn’t the fact that these two men-- No, doesn’t the fact that these two ghosts are personally making a move mean that we’ve been living together with a legendary Yama-class existence all this while?
No, no, no! What’s most important right now is the fact that… This is all coming to an end!
The long years of waiting, starting from our moments of eager anticipation to the long days of hopelessness, are all coming to an end! Ghost King Zhao? Who’s that? No, no, that’s not important at all! What’s most important is that we’ll finally be able to leave this place! We’re talking about an Abyssal Prefect and a Yama-King after all! They wouldn’t even care about us! An incarnate revenant and an existence even more powerful than that are acting together! Perhaps they might leave us a way out after their business here has been resolved!
After Qin Ye called out to the Martyr’s Shrine, he waited for a response. But three minutes passed, and yet there was still no response.
He raised his chin to the Harken, who immediately opened its lips and spat out the speartip of the Courage of Dragons Silver Spear. At once, it shot out and landed on the ground with a soft clang.
“Do you still remember it?” Qin Ye called out into the Martyr’s Shrine, “This is your weapon, the Courage of Dragons Silver Spear. How can one of the Sixfold Ghost Kings be languishing in a place like this?”
“You may not be thinking straight right now, but that doesn’t matters. There’s plenty of time for you to adjust back to the norm in the safety of Hell’s four walls. Come back with me…”
Just then, the entire mountaintop trembled slightly. With a ferocious roar, a figure immediately bolted out of the Martyr’s Shrine and appeared in front of Qin Ye, where he promptly bent over and picked up the speartip on the ground, “Courage of Dragons Silver Spear…”
“What a familiar name…”
“Why… can’t I remember it? Where have I seen this before?”
Qin Ye fervently suppressed the intense elation in his heart as he stared intently at him.
It was a man.
He was dressed in a modern camouflage uniform, standing at 1.85 meters tall. He had a deep and abstruse gaze in his eyes, replete with striking brows. His nose was sharp, and his cheeks as chiseled as it gets. His entire body was bulging with muscles, and he exuded the charms of sheer masculinity laced with a trace of haughtiness and aggression.
How striking… Qin Ye’s jaws dropped, and he gasped in horror, “Look at his waist, and those thighs of his… Holy shit… I can’t even keep my legs closed right now…”
“Can you please be more serious?!” The Harken glared at him, “Ghost King Zhao… as expected, it really is him. And look closely between his brows.”
“Someone is trying to seize his body right now! What nerve!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter