A beam of light drove the clouds of darkness away.
Everything, from ghastly faces to centaurs to netherflames, were all swept away and reduced to black butterflies that fluttered softly as they dissipated into nothingness.
The glorious beam of light drove away all darkness shrouding the horse’s head peak, and the dwindling black butterflies left dappled shadows on the desert of the mountaintop.
It was like the light of dawn, when darkness and light intersected for a fleeting moment. There used to be countless Yin soldiers, dozens of Yuan Emperors and two Imperial Preceptors surrounding the mountaintop, sieging it with everything they had. But now, everyone was frozen in place.
Phagpa shut his eyes in despair. Everything was over.
The winners… are neither Temujin nor Tengri… but an ancient Yin spirit. To think that someone would one day defeat the alliance of a god and the emperors of an entire dynasty. How unbelievable…
He tried to clasp his hands together, but realized that his hands were simply frozen in place. No matter how he tried he wasn’t able to clasp them together.
The Yuan Emperors stood right before him. Every single one of them was staring at the Martyr’s Shrine with an abyss of emptiness in their hearts. Everyone knew that the dream of the everlasting Yuan Dynasty had finally come to an end today.
It was strange.
There was neither sadness nor resignation in their hearts. None of them felt like screaming in anger and rage.
Kublai Khan silently sheathed his sword, glancing around at the sights and the sounds at the mountaintop that he noticed for the very first time. After a long, protracted pause, he finally murmured, “I’m but a sojourner in this world, lusting after a long night of revelry…”
The Yuan Dynasty was ambitious, and rightly so. They once rode peerless throughout the Central Plains, conquering lands wherever they turned their sights to, until they became the hegemon of the world. But alas, everything was as fleeting as a dream of a warm midsummer’s night.
Qin Ye’s fingers trembled equally hard. Truth be told, he’d never thought that he would be able to stand toe to toe against an army of a mighty dynasty backed by the favour of a trace of Heavenly Dao. He’d never thought that he would stand at the forefront of a battlefield, quelling violent incursions like a valiant King Yanluo of Hell.
In life, you might well have been an emperor, but in death, you’re no more than a soul that is bound to submit to Hell’s immutable authority.
And in that regard, Hell has only one source of authority - me! The King Yanluo of Hell!
In the past, when facing Honda Tadakatsu in the Strait of Tsushima, Susa Boy during the Hungry Ghost Festival, or even the Confucian Family back in the Battle for Qufu, Qin Ye was never afraid of failure because he knew there was someone who always had his back. In fact, there were even times when he knew the Second King Yanluo was always watching him from the shadows, such as when he was acting in the dispute with the Russian Underworld. But this time was the first time when he had actually fully shouldered the burden as the King Yanluo of Hell and faced the incursion of rebel forces on his own.
There were a multitude of feelings in his heart right now, indescribable, and yet understandable. Kublai Khan’s voice wasn’t loud, but it was clear enough to be heard across the silence of the lands. Qin Ye flicked his bamboo sword and returned it to its sheath, “Years of prosperity rise and wane, may we meet again on fairer grounds.”
Nobody made any other moves as they turned their attention towards the Martyr’s Shrine.
Back in the Martyr’s Shrine. Zhao Yun’s body was covered with wounds. His armor was broken in even more places than before, and these wounds on his body appeared so dark and grisly that they looked no different from a hell’s rift, from which copious amounts of Yin energy poured out ceaselessly. His long, dark hair flowed gracefully in front of his eyes.
He was staring blankly into the distance. Meanwhile, there was a body located right beside him, crumbling into pieces and turning into wisps of Yin energy.
It wasn’t the body of a god.
Rather, it was a legend.
A divine lineage.
A god of death.
And a trace of Heavenly Dao.
Just then, the Yin energy that was flowing gently from its crumbling body suddenly exploded violently, engulfing the entire horse’s head peak in a mighty vortex!
“So…” Zhao Yun shut his eyes and revealed a cold smile on his face, “Is this what it feel like… to be beyond a Yama-King?”
The expanding vortex of Yin energy trembling with a deafening bang. At once, numerous scarlet spider lilies began to blossom all across the ground, while a hundred-meter large hole opened up in the clouds, from which a golden beam of line shone down without warning.
It was so majestic and boundless that even the hair on the Harken’s body began to stand on end. It woofed, and then immediately leapt onto Qin Ye’s shoulders for a better perspective, “This is… virtue… The endowment of virtue… H-he’s actually done it?!”
“Does this mean that Hell will finally have another existence beyond that of a Yama-King in Hell?!!”
Meanwhile, the dozen or so Yuan Emperors and the centaurs all stared blankly at the shrine. They wanted some closure. They wanted to see for themselves what kind of hero it was that had crushed their champion.
Whoosh… Their surroundings slowly grew hazy. Soon, everyone found themselves transported to an ancient battlefield that was full of corpses, where water percolated the ground along with rivers of blood. Broken weapons lay everywhere, while a banner bearing the “Cao” word was flying high in the skies.
A four-meter tall mound lay in the middle of the field of corpses, and a single man sat at the top of this mound.
It was a man who wore armor that was white as snow.
He sat silently on top of the mound of corpses, propping his head up across his interlocking fingers as he gazed vigilantly across the battlefield with eagle’s eyes. Then, before anyone could say anything, the thousands of corpses around him spontaneously ignited with netherflames, and then converged upon the man in a wild frenzy!
Light. Boundless light. The convergence of the field of netherflames transformed this man into a blazing sun. His presence seemed to blend right into the heavens, almost as though he was the bearer of the Heavenly Dao that ruled this world. The dazzling light consumed the clouds around and blanketed the earth, spreading across the lands of Chonggu County, Kalgan City, Northriver Province, and then… across the entire land of Cathay!
Beep, beep, beep!!! The supernatural alarms of the Northriver Province Special Investigations Department went off at once. The lights started out yellow, and then red, and then began to emit wisps of green smoke before it exploded into pieces.
The investigators stationed at the surveillance room stared at each other sheepishly, before one of them muttered, “Did the instrument… malfunction?”
Special Investigations Department, Yan Capital. Beep, beep, beep!!! A man located deep underground opened his eyes and gazed upwards, “What’s this…”
Thump, thump, thump! But before he could even finish his statement, his heart suddenly began to thump wildly, forcing him to crouch down and clutch tightly to his chest. At once, the man broke out into a cold sweat, “What’s this feeling… Heavenly Dao? Did someone… no… did a Yin spirit… actually manage to make contact with the Heavenly Dao?!”
Boom!!! True energy erupted from his body, flinging the door to his room wide open, and revealing a long passageway leading up to his room. The two sides of the passageway were lined with soldiers standing at ten meter intervals. As soon as the door opened up, they immediately stood at attention and saluted in unison.
“Director Lei.” A man dressed in a suit bearing the emblem of the Special Investigations Department immediately rushed up with bloodshot eyes, “A moment ago--...”
“I’m aware.” Director Lei stood at approximately two meters tall, and yet he appeared to only be in his late thirties. His appearances were gruff, replete with a full beard and a crew cut hairstyle. Dressed in military uniform, he marched forward with a grim expression on his face, “First of all, immediately notify the Special Investigations Department branch offices, and tell them that the instruments have malfunctioned.”
“It’s… ah?” The man in the suit paused and gasped in horror, “You know of the Yin energy reading instruments malfunctioning?”
“Nonsense!” Director Lei gnashed his teeth and gazed deeply at the skies, “This level of Yin energy… has never been detected before - not even in our records! Our instruments can only pick up Yama-class levels of Yin energy, and this is the first time we’ve detected Yin energy beyond that. This is Yin energy that has easily engulfed Cathay as a whole! And it’s far stronger than any simulations of Yama-class Yin energy that I’ve experienced before!”
“Secondly, notify the old monk and the sword master immediately! And apply for access to all satellite monitoring sources! I want to know the exact location of the Yin energy outburst!”
“Thirdly, I want you to pacify all investigators! And immediately activate the highest levels of alerts in the regions closest to the source of Yin energy, and evacuate all citizens. No need to furnish any reasons! Mobilize the military and the armed police to curb any resistance at once! And forget about their belongings! Lives are at stake!!”
“Director!!” Just then, a young investigator knocked on the door and rushed into the room, red-faced and sweaty, “I-i-i-i-it’s out!!”
“Yin Mountains, Chonggu County, Kalgan City! The chief of Northriver Province is there right now! But… the situation seems rather complex, and h-he has requested to speak directly with you!”
Director Lei put on the headset and took the call at once. After about a minute, he sighed softly, nodded, and then raised his hand. At once, a black cloak fell from the sky and wrapped itself around his body.
“Arrange for a helicopter to the Yin Mountains. You have five minutes.”
Anything that could shock the Special Investigations Department like that would most certainly strike terror into the hearts of the rest of the ordinary citizens.
The sight that they witnessed was completely different from the usual solar eclipse. Rather, it was a spectacle of a lifetime.
Back on the Mongol grasslands. A shepherd stood on the plains, staring aghast at the phenomenon occurring in the skies. The sun and the moon appeared to be alternating between each other, while the white clouds and black fog swirled together, forming a massive cloud cave in the sky. Meanwhile, the flora and fauna growing on the mountain range went through several cycles of life in a short span of time, withering and dying, and then sprouting repeatedly. Meanwhile, a shadow of something unseen flew across the skies over and over again, almost as though it spelt the descent of a god!
“Oh, Tengri…” The shepherd knelt down onto the ground and clasped his palms together in reverent worship.
But what the lone shepherd on the field didn’t notice was the fact that there were countless Yin spirits located right behind him. Some of them were dressed in modern clothes, while others were dressed in ancient garments, yet they all equally as pious, if not even more pious than the shepherd. The Yin spirits trembled and bowed deep as they worshipped the image in the skies.
It was the descent of the Ghost King. All ghosts must bow in reverent worship.
Potala Palace, Bod Province. The monks stared aghast at the endless black fog ahead of them that seemed to consume both the heavens and the earth. Furthermore, they could see that the fog appeared to be slowly shifting in the direction of Cathay, almost as though it was declaring something to all who could witness this phenomenon.
Elsewhere, the statue of Celestial Master Zhang suddenly opened his eyes. The candles beside him that had been lit for the longest time flickered softly as the master stared at the vault of the skies.
There, just behind the dark canopy of the skies, an existence deeper than the abysses of darkness itself… had finally awakened after a thousand years…
Shaolin Temple. Several abbots stared up at the starry skies. The moon and the stars were dim and sparse, but what they saw was the movement of a shadowy, colossal hand that threatened to obscure all of the stars and swallow up the moon.
“A thousand-year evil ghost has appeared…” An old monk with white beard shut his eyes, “But I sense neither evil nor aggression in its aura… What… exactly is this thing?”
It was still early in the morning, and the internet wasn’t stirring with activity just yet. But within half an hour, the radios and public broadcasting stations throughout all urban areas, counties and townships broadcasted the same message at the same time, “All citizens, please be at ease. A rare comet is just passing by, and has just rushed past in close proximity to the moon. Scientists have named this comet the Jade Rabbit. Please enjoy this rare celestial spectacle…”
Back on the horse’s head peak. Zhao Yun slowly opened his eyes.
The ancient battlefield, banners and corpses vanished at the same time.
While he stood right before everyone else.
“Brother Zhao!” Qin Ye skipped over, “Did you succeed?”
The Harken immediately peeled his face away with his paw and leaned closer to Zhao Yun, “You’ve succeeded? You’ve actually succeeded? W-why don’t I see any changes on you?”
“I’m glad I haven’t made a fool of myself.” Zhao Yun cupped his hands respectfully, “The realm beyond Yama-King is truly difficult to describe. If not for the guidance of the Second King Yanluo of Hell, I would never have been able to make it to this place. And even then, I’m still miles away from where the Second King Yanluo was.”
“You’ve actually done it?!” The Harken’s voice trembled, “To think that other Yin spirits apart from that monstrosity that we call the Second King Yanluo are able to break through the realms of Yama-King as well! But how come I don’t sense any changes apart from those celestial spectacles that we’ve just witnessed?”
Qin Ye didn’t say a word.
Because he noticed a change!
He couldn’t even sense Zhao Yun’s Yin energy right now! And when he first noticed Zhao Yun, he even mistook him for a living person! In fact… Zhao Yun had a shadow!
He’s overcome the ironclad laws of the netherworld… This is a realm that had always been thought to be an impossibility… Just the fact that he possesses a shadow is already completely astounding!
“This isn’t the time to be talking about these things.” Zhao Yun smiled and raised his hand, “First, let us bring things to a closure here.”
“This represents the end of a dynasty, as well as the hero of a dynasty.”
“He deserves a grand funeral.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter