Lifting his head, Qin Ye could see that Su Feng’s mouth was opening and closing. However, he couldn’t hear a single word that Su Feng was saying. He gritted his teeth and mustered all the strength he could just so that he could speak, “You… did you feel that?”
Each and every word he spoke felt like it took as much effort as lifting a massive boulder.
Su Feng stared at him. He took two seconds to ascertain that Qin Ye was absolutely not joking this time. Then, he immediately opened up his outer coat and pulled out a compass. His actions attracted the looks of several people around, but he could hardly care less at this point in time.
However, the needle on the compass was as still as ever.
“What did you feel?” Su Feng held Qin Ye gently and asked.
Unfortunately, Qin Ye couldn’t hear anything. He only saw Su Feng’s lips continue to move.
Thump. Thump… Qin Ye’s heartbeat inexplicably increased in tempo. It was as though he had been completely isolated from the world. This was even worse than the experience of being put through the three-day limit at the start of his journey as an Emissary of Hell.
He could tell that Zhou Xianlong was still speaking. He could tell that the people around him were chattering. However, he couldn’t hear a single thing that was being said.
There weren't even the chirping sounds of birds around. There was nothing at all. In fact… he couldn’t even hear the breaths of the people around him!
“A ghost in broad daylight…” Arthis gnashed her teeth, “To appear in broad daylight… Something’s really wrong with the City of Salvation! Come to think of it, this must have something to do with the creatures that had survived Hell’s collapse… After all, there’s no way they would be able to stand against the might of the entire mortal realm on their own… But if they joined forces…”
“But why… A Hunter-class ghost like Cao Youdao was able to survive for such a long time… and all this while, nobody thought to seize from him this succulent piece of meat that the City of Salvation is? And the defenses of Insignia Province are substantially lower than that of Westriver Province to boot…”
“The only possible explanation is that there’s something else amiss with this place - something that only the old ghosts know about. This is why nobody dared to seize the City of Salvation for themselves to begin with!”
“What do we do?” Qin Ye had already placed his hands at his waist. He could tell that nobody apart from him could even perceive the presence of the mysterious entity bearing down on him. It was highly likely… that he was the target of this mysterious presence!
There was nothing around his waist at the moment. But adopting this stance meant that he was ready to pull out his saber at the moment’s notice as soon as there was a real crisis.
“Be ready to run.” Arthis’ voice drifted through the air. Yet before she could even finish speaking, the silent world that Qin Ye was in suddenly echoed with a clear, distinct thud.
It sounded as though something had stepped on the ground.
For instance… the sound of shoes.
He was bowed over slightly, and he could hear that the sound came from a location that was approximately twenty meters away. Then, the same sound repeated itself. Thud. Thud.
It was a dazzling day, and there was a large gathering of people around him. Yet his hands and feet felt inexplicably cold.
It was as though… something was headed straight towards him!
Thud… thud… The sound was neither quick nor slow. Qin Ye glanced about him, yet he saw nothing out of the ordinary.
“I can’t see it!”
“Naturally… The fact that it’s able to show itself in broad daylight… means that it is at least an incarnate revenant! I’ve got it! You can use the oldest possible trick in the book… bend over and peek through your legs!”
Qin Ye drew a deep breath and bent his body even lower, until his head bumped against the seat in front of him. Then, he peeked through his legs!
And he nearly screamed out loud in the very next moment!
They were seated in rows after rows of seats.
Logically speaking, he should only see pairs after pairs of feet if he peeked under his seat and through his legs.
However… when he looked under his seat, he didn’t see a single pair of legs behind him. Instead, the only thing he saw… was another head!
It was as though someone seated behind him was doing the exact same thing and staring straight back into his eyes.
An intense feeling of terror spread surged from his face straight through the depths of his heart.
The person looking back at him was a woman.
A dead woman.
Her hair dangled down loosely in a disheveled fashion. Her pale face was covered all over with greenish purple livor mortis spots. Two deep, dark orifices stood where her eyes ought to have been. The woman had her mouth wide open, and grisly, black worms could be seen crawling madly from within. To make matters worse, the two of them were hardly half a meter apart from each other!
“Ugh!” He covered his mouth and forcibly maintained his hunched posture. But just then, he suddenly heard another clear, distinct sound coming from just beside him.
The sound had finally stopped.
That thing… had stopped just beside him.
T-t-t-t-t… This was the first time he had experienced such a chilling, blood-curdling sensation in the depths of his heart. His teeth chattered uncontrollably. He was nearly unable to resist the urge to enter his Hell’s Emissary state and pull out his demonhead saber. If not for the fact that Arthis had been gently swaying about in her soul sphere, bumping and nudging him repeatedly in his pocket, he would already have caved to the pressure and armed himself by now.
It was an incredibly oppressive and stifling presence.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a colourful robe flow into vision.
There were seven colours, all of which appeared to have been haphazardly stitched together. The colours were bright and vibrant, but the material looked shoddy, as though the robe had been worn for eons on end. Just like that, the entity wearing the robe stood just beside him.
Qin Ye gulped nervously. He didn’t dare to move a single muscle. The presence didn’t move any longer. Despite the fact that it was daytime now, he could tell that this entity didn’t cast a single shred of shadow on the ground!
One second, two seconds… five seconds… ten seconds.
The ten seconds that had passed felt almost like ten years to Qin Ye. Then, on the eleventh second, he suddenly felt an icy, marrow-chilling breath caressing the top of his head.
This entity… was gently combing his hair.
Slender, icy fingers were running gently through his scalp, combing and neatening the hair on his head. Qin Ye’s neck stiffened, and he remained absolutely still.
A ghost was combing his hair in broad daylight.
And this was in the presence of several Judge-class experts and innumerable Hunter-class experts to boot!
“Haa…” He breathed out nervously through his gritted teeth. It had only been three seconds, yet his entire back was already covered in sweat.
Then, after the third second, the presence suddenly vanished as peculiarly as it had first arrived.
The sounds of the world around him slowly began to ebb back into his reality.
“9527, 9527? Are you alright?” When he finally returned to his senses, he discovered that there were already several other cultivators standing around and supporting him and asking if he was fine.
“I’m alright…” Qin Ye shut his eyes and leaned back into his chair. His heart was still thumping wildly from the intense encounter. Su Feng glanced at him with a complicated expression in his eyes, but he knew that now was hardly a good time to ask about his experience. Just as he was about to retract his arm to pull out a packet of tissues for Qin Ye, he found Qin Ye grabbing onto his arm instead.
Qin Ye’s grip was incredibly tight, and his voice was hoarse, “Tell me exactly how you discovered that anomalous wave of Yin energy. And… how you’d managed to assess its energy levels…”
Su Feng’s gaze quivered, and he immediately responded, “Did you… discover something earlier?”
Qin Ye nodded silently.
“But now’s not the time for these discussions…” Su Feng coughed dryly, “Take a look around…”
Qin Ye looked up and discovered that all eyes were on him
Even the panel of experts on the main stage were staring straight at him, some of whom even appeared somewhat displeased.
“What’s going on?” He glanced about in horror as he asked Su Feng with a hushed tone of voice, “Did something happen whilst I was out of it?”
“Mr Qin.” Just then, Zhou Xianlong’s slightly bemused voice resounded throughout the entire plaza, “Why aren’t you coming up? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the fact that you’ve been awarded the title of top ten exemplary investigative officers for the year?”
Qin Ye slowly got to his feet in a daze, and the entire venue erupted with thunderous applause. His close-up was distinctly captured and projected to the large LED screen, as well as all of the televisions in the households of the citizens.
“This is an investigative officer?” “He’s pretty good-looking… it’s quite different from what I’d expected them to look like.”
The television room in Insignia University was suddenly enshrouded in silence.
The student union room was also abruptly silent.
Zhang Linhua stared at the screen with a completely flabbergasted expression on his face. The first thought on his mind was - Are you kidding me?!
And his second thought was - Godfather?
“This person…” One of the student leaders who had processed Qin Ye’s matriculation exclaimed with astonishment, “This man… is one of the students who had just transferred to our school?”
“Seriously?!” “You’re kidding, right? We had an investigation officer at our school all this while?” “No… it seems true. I vaguely remember him collecting something from our office some days ago…” “What the hell… we’ve… we’ve been in such close proximity with such an awesome person all this while?” “Which dorm is he staying in?”
The thunderous applause around Qin Ye caused his heart to flounder in turmoil!
What the hell is going on?!
Can someone give me an explanation?
Even the terrifying experience he had just encountered was somewhat washed away in the fact of the awkward situation. He grimaced and looked at the main stage in embarrassment.
“Was it too much of a surprise?” The Judge-class expert was incredibly sharp, and he had already noticed that Qin Ye was earlier feeling somewhat unwell in his seat. Thus, he smiled faintly and improvised, “That’s fine. I’ll read it again.”
“Newly-appointed sentinel S9527. His most spectacular contribution to the safety of the City of Salvation includes breaching nine hunting zones in a row two nights ago. Ever since joining the Special Investigations Department, he’s always been diligent and hardworking, never shying away in the face of adversity. He’s hereby awarded the accolade of a third-class merit and an accompanying twenty thousand points.”
Clap clap clap! The applause grew even louder, as though encouraging him to take the stage. Meanwhile, several gazes from the third row of seats landed on the body of “history’s youngest Hunter-class expert”.
“That’s him?” A masculine and handsome young man raised his eyebrows, “Why does he look so stunned?”
“Don’t underestimate him.” Su Feng continued to applause as he looked back curiously, “Do you think you can do what he did and breach nine hunting zones in one night?”
The man applauded perfunctorily, “Who knows whether it’s true or not? Either ways, we’re all slated to be teachers of the academy, and we’ll have plenty of chances to exchange pointers with each other in future. I’m not the only one who thinks this way either… look at them.”
Su Feng glanced around at the rest of the third row.
Every single Hunter-class expert that was under the age of thirty was staring at Qin Ye right now with overflowing battle intent!
Su Feng shrugged his shoulders and continued to applaud absent-mindedly, “It looks like our days ahead at the Academy of Cultivators are going to be quite interesting…”
Qin Ye was completely oblivious to these chatter going on behind his back.
How could he turn his attention to these trivialities? Even that feeling of the terrifying presence was currently being pushed to the corner of his mind, because he was presently faced with an even greater terror!
He had to receive his award in front of Zhou Xianlong and two other directors of the Special Investigations Department. That was a total of three Judge-class experts…
He felt akin to a bright moon rising out from among the sea of stars right now. All eyes were on him. Yet, the moon knew that it was slightly askew.
My feet aren’t listening to me. What should I do?
Just then, Zhou Xianlong’s voice rang out once more, “May I now invite Sentinel S9527 to come on stage to receive his award!”
He’s prompting me… he’s absolutely prompting me…
Qin Ye’s head was percolating with sweat once more, yet he still had to maintain the radiant smile on his face. Meanwhile, Arthis was exclaiming in his pocket, “Always diligent and hardworking? Never shying away in the face of adversity? Are you sure they’re talking about you? The government of the mortal realm is far too good at distorting the truth!”
“Is this really the time for such comments?!” Qin Ye’s face was starting to cramp up from maintaining the pretentious smile on his face. He slowly minced his way towards the stage as he gnashed his teeth and muttered under his breath, “I won’t let the cat out of the bag, will I? I can feel my stomach churn with reverence from standing so close to a Judge-class entity!”
He didn’t even know what he was saying in the heat of the moment right now.
Shock comes too quickly like a hurricane, there’s nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide… 
“Bloody hell, you carry me around with you all day long. Have you once revered me at all?!” Arthis bellowed in rage. Then, she lowered her volume somewhat, “It should be alright. The shards of King Yanluo’s Seal are first-rate divine artifacts across all of Hell. The mortal realm shouldn’t be able to see through your disguise. Furthermore, you’ve still got your proof of identity…”
Can’t you at least give me a more definitive answer?!
Qin Ye’s heart was feeling incredibly stifled. He could tell that even though the people on stage wore a smile on their faces, their gazes had some form of incisiveness to them, as though they were barking - Hurry up!
Dear… I think you might have been mistaken? I really didn’t want to stand out so much!
Haven’t you noticed that the colour of my fur is different from everyone else?
An Emissary of Hell is going on stage to receive an award from the Special Investigations Department in front of an audience of over three million… Why does it feel as though the husky is soon going to be appointed king of the pack...
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