Clap clap clap… Before he could consider the matter in greater detail, a resounding applause erupted, interrupting his thoughts.
The third row was already filled with approximately twenty people. He looked up at the main stage and noticed that eight people had already taken centerstage. Each of them were at least in their fifties, and none of them smiled. Instead, they simply nodded to acknowledge the uproarious applause before taking their seats.
“Hello, S9527.” Just then, a hand stretched into Qin Ye’s field of vision.
It was a young man dressed in a ramrod straight suit with a rather elegant disposition. He sported a trendy side parting, and also wore a pair of black-framed glasses. There was a presentable smile on his face.
“S2328?” Qin Ye shook his hand, “You’re different from what I’d expected…”
“...” S2328 didn’t quite know how to respond to that.
“Su Feng.” He pushed up his glasses and he squinted at Qin Ye for a moment before changing the topic, “Did you feel that earlier?”
Qin Ye looked him straight in the eye for several seconds, and then he closed his eyes once more before muttering softly, “That time… had somewhat been erased?”
“You’re steadier than I’d thought you’d be.” Su Feng smiled faintly as he leaned back into his chair, “You’re hardly anything like the Muscular Pretty Boy that you portray yourself to be online… I might have found myself a decent research subject.”
“You’re more unrestrained than I’d expected too.” Qin Ye chuckled as he leaned back on his chair as well. Then, Qin Ye added with a voice that was audible to only the two of them, “Is there any danger?”
Su Feng muttered, “Naturally… A few days ago, we investigated the anomalous Yin energy fluctuations that were emitted that night. As it turns out, Styx’s records show that the Yin energy fluctuations lasted only 0.001 seconds long. And this burst of Yin energy has never appeared at any other time in the history of the City of Salvation spanning close to two thousand years.”
“Furthemore, we haven’t been able to find the source of the burst of Yin energy to date. But…” He lifted his eyes and suddenly changed the topic, “Do you see that man seated in the center? That’s the esteemed Mr Zhou, Deputy Chief Investigator of the entire Special Investigations Department. Next to him is the Provincial Governor, the Deputy Provincial Governor, the Mayor of the city, the Deputy Mayor of the city, and the last three are the two major directors of the Special Investigations Department - the Director of Finance and Political Affairs, and the Director of Operations…”
Qin Ye heaved a sigh of relief, “I feel much more assured seeing such esteemed members of the organization here.”
In other words, even if the sky collapses, he wouldn’t be the one bearing the brunt of the burden on his own.
Then again, the fact that these esteemed people are present further confirms his earlier suspicions.
The source of that anomalous burst of Yin energy was not in an active state.
“Cough.” Just then, a majestic wave of true energy swept across the entire plaza. The Deputy Chief Investigator was a plump man with a mix of black and white hair. He appeared genial and kind. That said, the entire venue was silenced in that moment!
Whoosh… It was as though an invisible hand had swept gently across the entire venue, and even the birds of the sky and the winds had ceased completely.
“A peak Judge-class entity…” Arthis muttered softly, “He’s one level stronger than I am… By way of extrapolation, I think it’s safe to say that there must be a Prefect-class entity within the Special Investigations Department’s forces. Kid, now that you’ve infiltrated their organisation, it might be prudent to remain cautious in your future dealings with them.”
The plump man didn’t immediately speak up. After that single cough, he looked around at the audience and nodded meaningfully. Then, he smiled genially.
“Let us begin.”
Three simple words. No unnecessary rambling.
Almost everyone in the audience drew a deep breath and sat up straight.
It has begun…
Today, the world of cultivation of the mortal realm and the world of ghosts and spirits of the netherworld would be publicly revealed to the 3.2 million citizens residing in the City of Salvation!
9.10 a.m. Not a single person was on the streets. The citizens of the City of Salvation were all at their own homes.
A woman in trendy clothes sat in front of her computer while holding a drink. However, she didn’t drink from it. Her eyes were transfixed on her computer screen.
Three middle school students in school uniforms sat together, breathing faintly as they stared intently at the television screen.
Another family was eating breakfast together. But as soon as the broadcast began, they increased the volume of their television to the maximum and waited with bated breaths.
The entire city - countless streets and countless homes - had stopped entirely as they turned their attention to the nearest LED screens around them, watching the very same historic moment unfold before their very eyes.
“Perhaps some of the civil servants among you might have heard of us, the Special Investigations Department. Let me make some formal introductions. I’m the Deputy Chief Investigator of the Special Investigations Department, Zhou Xianlong.” The plump man was incredibly commanding, yet his words were also concise and succinct, “Our department is considered a top secret establishment in Cathay, and we are in charge of all supernatural phenomena occurring across the entire country.”
He nodded his head intently. Suddenly, a massive LED screen that was ten meters wide and three meters high slowly rose from the bottom of the stage.
Those who were seated in front of their own televisions watched intently without a single word. Old men with white hair gripped tightly to their walking sticks; children holding onto lollipops stared at the screens with widened eyes; while other young men and women watched with blazing passion in their eyes.
The entire City of Salvation was completely silent at this very moment.
Everyone had a vague inkling that the highly unscientific organization that sat high among the echelons of Cathay’s top organizations would soon open their eyes to a whole new world!
Ssst… A set of images lit up on the LED screen. It revealed a plain, white book that was about an inch thick. A few words were mechanically etched onto the cover of the book - Records of Supernatural Incidents.
Then, before anyone could react to it, the image pulled further away, revealing that just under this book… was yet another one of the same! And then some more!
Four or five books filled a single shelf. As the image pulled further and further away, everyone saw that… this was a massive room that was filled with twenty to thirty storage cabinets! And innumerable personnel in white coats zipped about the room, retrieving volumes of these records from time to time.
Each of the cabinets were filled with at least dozens of shelves full of records! There were easily hundreds of volumes of such records within the massive room!
Zhou Xianlong looked straight at the audience once more, “These books here all have the exact same cover.”
“They’re all entitled - Records of Supernatural Incidents.”
“It… records all of the supernatural incidents that have occurred across all of Cathay since time immemorial, from the minutest of incidents to the largest of disasters! The final three bookshelves contain records of modern day society. And then we have the records of the time of the founding of the People’s Republic, and then the Republic of Cathay, and then the end of the Qing Dynasty!”
“Going further, we have the Qing Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Song Dynasty… each and every dynasty had its bookkeepers religiously recording every supernatural incident across the entire country since time immemorial!”
He stood up and slammed his hands forcefully onto the table like an awakened dragon, “I don’t like beating about the bush, and I know you probably can’t wait anymore either. Thus, I’m going to get straight to the point.”
He took a deep breath and continued, “There are things in this world that have existed since the dawn of time that the common men on the street aren’t able to see and perceive.”
“The popular term for these existences are ‘ghosts’. We know them as ‘Yin spirits’. As soon as they develop some form of sentience, these entities would immediately recognize their innate thirst for flesh and blood. How many thousands of human beings do you think have perished to ghosts since the founding of our nation? We, the Special Investigations Department, act as the vanguard in this war against the netherworld. We are fighting for humanity!”
“Unbeknownst to you, there have been countless sacrifices and valiant martyrs from the Special Investigations Department and the military soldiers under their charge. All of these brave deeds of heroism remain uncelebrated and undisclosed to the public. But it is precisely because of all of them that you are able to sit where you are in peace, listening to the great revelation of the truth right now!”
His chest undulated a little bit, “The number of soldiers who have perished in the hunting zones over the last few decades… have already well exceeded the tens of thousands.”
His voice crescendoed to a deafening boom, “So, I will not be questioned! The Special Investigations Department won’t accept any invectives, and neither will our nation!”
“We’ve sacrificed far more than any of you could even begin to fathom!”
His voice reverberated throughout the city, through radios, televisions and computers alike, and reached the corners of each and every household in the city. Millions of people were silenced and somber.
The three days of buffer time had already prepared the millions of people across the entire city to hear the truth about the existence of ghosts.
But what they didn’t expect to hear was the sacrifices that had taken place behind their backs, even as they were grumbling about the curfew and complaining about the lack of accountability on the government’s part.
Everyone had expected the public broadcast to be humble and tender in order to appease the wrath of the public. They had expected to hear a long, detailed explanation of everything that had occurred. But this was clearly not the case.
Instead, there was simply a thunderous ventilation of what was in the minds of the Special Investigations Department.
It was a revelation of the brutal and horrific truth.
The Insignia University’s television broadcast room was already packed full of people, including girls who hardly deigned to enter such places. Everyone was watching the broadcast silently with hearts filled with an amalgam of complicated emotions.
Those holding onto drinks stopped drinking from their cups entirely. Those who had snacks also stopped snacking altogether. Some bit down softly on their lips, while others shut their eyes silently. After some time, a plump student muttered, “About that night… My house is located just beside one of the battlegrounds…”
“And I saw… many soldiers being carried to the back of their lines…”
Humans are humans precisely because of their conscience.
“What they’re saying is probably true…” After a long time, the student leader seated at the front of the room finally echoed sullenly, “Truth be told… I also personally witnessed everything… It’s just that I still can’t quite believe it…”
“I know everyone finds it hard to believe.” Almost as though he could sense the queries and doubts in everyone’s minds, the Provincial Governor, Governor Gao, stood up from his seat and swept his gaze around the audience. The looks on the faces of those in attendance was quite different from those hiding behind the televisions and screens. Those who were in attendance, whether young or old, had a bright gleam in their eyes, almost as though the revelation had ignited their hearts with renewed vigor.
After all, every single person in attendance at the plaza was a cultivator.
All this while, they had silently stood in the shadows of humanity, shrugging off mankind’s lack of understanding as they forged on and broke hunting zone after hunting zone.
Yet today, there was finally someone publicly validating their efforts and affirming their identities!
If they died in battle right now, they would no longer be another digit that had perished in their call of duty. Rather, they would be accorded the dignity of having their names and cause of death recorded, and their lives would be celebrated for everything they had achieved! The world would even know which evil ghost they had perished to!
Governor Gao spoke clearly, “But, everything is indeed true.”
“Every single inspector present right now has put in unimaginable amounts of effort to fight for your survival and freedom!”
“Likewise…” He drew a deep breath, “The curfew and the public broadcast of announcements in the evenings were implemented by us as well. That said, the provincial government and the municipality will not be questioned as well!”
“Just ask yourselves - how many valiant soldiers and brave warriors have sacrificed their lives just so that you can sit there in the comfort of your own homes while listening to the revelation of the truth right now?”
“I can tell you… It’s 491 soldiers, many of whom are much younger than those of you watching this broadcast to boot! It was the first time on such a battlefield for many of the soldiers as well! They didn’t even know what they were fighting against!”
“Their opponents were evil ghosts that had gathered and grown their forces in the shadows of the City of Salvation over the last century! Yet… not a single one of them retreated!”
Gulp… Qin Ye heard the sound of someone swallowing nervously beside him, and he turned his head to take a look. A white-haired old man wearing a chinese tunic suit was seated some distance away. He was also a Hunter-class expert, but he was already approximately seventy years old. In all likelihood, he was going to remain a Hunter-class expert for the rest of his life.
That said, the old man’s eyes were presently bloodshot. His Adam’s apple trembled slightly, and he subconsciously tightened his grip around the armrests on his seat.
“That’s Section Chief Li of the provincial branch.” Su Feng explained with a soft voice, “He comes from a lineage of pallbearers. All three of his sons had perished in the call of duty, yet none of them were given a proper sendoff as heroes… A newbie like you won’t be able to understand the feelings that they’re experiencing right now…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter