A so-called stigmata was a complete set of remains left behind by a saint, and a saint was a being who had performed at least one divine miracle in their lifetime, such as Jesus's resurrection, and Moses's parting of the sea. Access to stigmatas was granted only to the bishops of each major area.
In the face of an Abyssal Prefect, a stigmata possessed far more explosive power than an Infernal Judge. The golden shockwaves swept through the entire earthen building, and they managed to force back the all-engulfing black wave!
Countless ghastly howls rang out in the surrounding area as the black wave quickly converged towards the locust tree again. Aside from the plaza at the very center of the Huang Clan's earthen building, the entirety of the earthen building had already been transformed into a black hole. The plaza was like the eye of the black hole, the only sanctuary within the pitch-black abyss. The black sea formed by countless Yin spirits was revolving violently around the plaza, but on this occasion, they refrained from attacking.
The fierce Yin winds sweeping through the area were causing the flames of the holy candles to flicker erratically, and Emoven's cloak was flapping loudly around him as his hood was blown back for the first time.
As it turned out, Emoven was a thin middle-aged man with shoulder-length blonde hair. It was impossible to tell his exact age from his appearance, and there was an eyepatch sitting over his left eye. At this moment, he was holding tightly onto a stigmata with both hands, and both he and Othilie were gently chanting passages from the holy bible as they stood with their backs touching one another.
At the same time, radiant golden light was erupting out of the barrels of all the guns being held by the mercenaries. The silver chain rose up into the air in preparation to lash out at the surrounding darkness again, and right before their eyes, the Yin energy within the Huang Clan's earthen building began to disperse and tremble slightly, as if an earthquake were taking place.
It's coming! This terrifying earthen building is finally about to reveal its true appearance...
Both sides were pulling out all the stops, and there was certainly not going to be any holding back...
All of the mercenaries and two preachers knew what was coming. They could sense the Yin energy within the earthen building growing more and more powerful, and the aura of that Prefect-level evil ghost was also becoming clearer and clearer. Several seconds later, a resounding boom rang out, and the earthen building finally shed its facade to reveal its horrifying true form.
Yin energy exploded, sending enormous black waves surging in all directions, and everyone's clothes were blown vertically upwards by the ferocious Yin winds. The black light was so blinding that everyone was forced to close their eyes, and only after a full 20 seconds had passed did Emoven reopen his eyes. He was using his arms to shield his own face, and as his arms returned to his sides, he was greeted by the sight of a boundless abyss.
There was nothing but complete and utter darkness all around them, and the only source of light came from the holy candles.
This was an inky-black sea of Yin energy that was slowly revolving on the spot. It was fueled by over 1,000 years of pent-up hatred and agony, and within the Yin energy, one pair of scarlet eyes after another sprang open. The eyes stared at the mercenaries and preachers from all directions, and it was as if they were being scrutinized by unspeakable hellish beasts.
At the same time, rows of cold suits that resembled strung-up lanterns began to drift in the wind at the positions where the first, second, and third floors had previously been situated. Each cold suit had been ignited by deathly white netherfire, and the sinister sense of eeriness in the air was enough to send chills running down one's spine.
Othilie gulped nervously as the cracks began to appear on the cross sitting in front of his chest, and he said in a trembling voice, "Out of all of the places we've been to, this is the one place that we should've never visited!"
"What's the point in saying something like that now?" The veins on the backs of Emoven's hands were bulging as he held his stigmata in a white-knuckled grip. "We're up against two Marquess-level vengeful spirits! Hehe, we can only pray that we'll be able to leave this place alive. If we do, I swear I'll never take on any mercenary jobs again, especially not in Cathay! There are some supernatural things in this nation that I can't even begin to fathom!"
Right as his voice trailed off, an anguished howl resounded, followed by the earth-shattering voice of a distraught man. "I hate... I hate this world!!"
Accompanying this gut-wrenching cry was the emergence of hundreds of ghostly hands formed by Yin energy, hands that were riddled with scarlet eyes.
Inky-black Yin energy that was emanating from the ghostly hands converged toward the mercenaries and preachers from all directions in a torrential downpour.
On the third floor, Qin Ye was waiting with bated breath as he laid in a messy room. He moved ever so slightly upon witnessing the scene unfolding outside, but he then immediately stopped.
It still wasn't the time to strike yet...
The two Abyssal Prefects had to be lured away if he wanted to access the ancestral hall on the fourth floor, and that’s why he had allowed Lee Jung-sook to take her people into this place. He only had one opportunity to strike, and he had to make it count.
Currently, that hidden Abyssal Prefect's attention still hadn't been entirely attracted to the events unfolding outside. He was confident that Lee Jung-sook's people would be able to weather the storm and wear down the patience of the hidden Abyssal Prefect until it had no choice but to strike.
"Those two are Catholic bishops of a major area..." he murmured to himself as he wrung his hands together tightly. "The history of the Catholic religion is no shorter than that of Cathay, and no one knows just how much wealth it's accumulated over the course of its extensive history. I'm certain they have some trump cards that they've yet to reveal. If not, then I guess they'll have to act as the bait. Rest assured, I'll treat you well after your deaths. I'll ensure that you get to enjoy a lavish life of luxury on the other side..."
In the instant that the ghostly hands emerged, Emoven and Othilie unleashed the power of their stigmatas again, resulting in another clash between radiant golden light and Yin energy. However, on this occasion, the fortress formed by the golden light failed to encompass the entire earthen building. Instead, it was restricted to a radius of only around 10 meters by the oppressive Yin energy!
"We can't hold on much longer!!" Emoven yelled. "There's far too much of a disparity between Barons and Marquesses! We can't oppose even with our stigmatas!"
"Fuck..." The veins on Othilie's forehead were bulging as his cloak flapped violently around him. In the next instant, their fortress of holy light was abruptly shattered, disintegrating into countless specks of golden light that faded into the darkness.
A string of elated screeches rang out as the sea of ghostly hands converged from all directions, and in response, the two preachers grabbed the crosses sitting in front of their chests before hurling them through the air without any hesitation.
The crosses transformed into a vast expanse of silver light, and countless cross-shaped silver swords of light rained down from the heavens, forming another protective barrier around them. However, before they even had a chance to catch their breaths, all of the silver swords shuddered in unison.
It still wasn't enough!
"What kind of vengeful spirit is this?! How can it possibly harbor so much hatred?!" Goosebumps were being raised all over Othilie's skin.
Right at this moment, the ground transformed into a sea of blood, and vengeful spirits of the MV Sewol emerged on the land of Cathay. These vengeful spirits were also harboring enormous hatred and resentment.
"ARRRRGH!!" This was a battle between evil ghosts, and even though there was a vast disparity in rank, the vengeful spirits of the Daiean students were completely fearless. Reddish-black blood was pouring out of all of their orifices as they screeched and pounced toward the countless oncoming ghostly hands.
However, Kwon Kyung-ho was ultimately only an Anitya Hellguard and he was no match for an Abyssal Prefect.
In the blink of an eye, the dozen or so vengeful spirits charging at the forefront were reduced to nothingness, while the ghostly hands didn't display any sign of stopping. However, right as the ghostly hands reached the next row of vengeful spirits, they suddenly faltered before somehow being forced back by around 10 meters.
This was Ryu Changmin's Untouchable Love!
Similarly, even though Ryu Changmin was an extremely powerful Infernal Judge, his power was still far too lackluster when pitted against a Prefect-level Yin spirit that had existed for over 1,000 years. After being forced back by about 10 meters, all of the ghostly hands immediately pounced forward again.
"Die... All of you... All of you must die!" The shrill male voice was shrieking in a deranged manner. "I hate this world... Why... Why...."
"What are you waiting for?!" Ryu Changmin yelled as his infantile body swiveled around to face the pair of preachers with an enraged expression. At this point, the two preachers had already fallen into a stunned stupor.
"If you have any trump cards and you don't want to die, then now would be the time to use them!! This is an Abyssal Prefect, a being that can slaughter an entire city on its own! What are you doing spacing out at a time like this?! What a pair of idiots!"
The stunned mercenaries finally returned to their senses upon hearing this, and they began to open fire once again.
Bursts of scorching flames erupted out of the barrels of their guns, intertwining with the holy light to resist the overwhelming darkness together. However, their efforts only managed to delay the oncoming ghostly hands by a fraction of a second. After all, even a pair of bishops were unable to stop the sea of ghostly hands, so some bullets filled with holy water and holy ashes were naturally nothing more than fodder.
Emoven gritted his teeth as he turned toward Othilie. The latter's facial muscles were spasming as if he were being forced to make an extremely difficult decision, but after half a second, he gave a firm nod of his head.
Whatever happened next, they had to survive this ordeal first.
He reached into his sleeve and pulled out a box that was crafted from gold. In the instant that the box appeared, the ghostly hands that were completely overwhelming Ryu Changmin, Kwon Kyung-ho, the holy bullets, and the stigmatas suddenly retreated a little. At the same time, a shriek of terror rang out within the darkness.
"... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me..."
The two preachers began to chant in unison, and their voices grew louder and louder. The red threads binding the box silently fell away, following which one sheet of ancient parchment after another fluttered through the air, forming a series of barriers around them. The brightness of the golden holy light reached an unprecedented peak, and the surrounding Yin energy subsided like the falling tide.
"This is the second-ever copy of the holy bible..." Emoven finally heaved a sigh of relief as he stared intently at the center of the Yin energy. "Even a Marquess like you cannot infiltrate beyond these holy walls!"
The holy light was like the radiance of the sun shining down upon all things. It seemed to be capable of eradicating all disease, suffering, and all things evil, forcing the Yin energy into retreat amid a loud sizzling sound. The light was even able to illuminate the deepest part of the darkness, where a thunderous roar of fury abruptly rang out!
With that resounding roar, the black tide that had just fallen began to surge once again. A deathly pale figure emerged from the darkness, and the Yin energy in the surrounding area immediately converged toward them in a frenzy.
Qin Ye had already gotten up into a squatting position. He could sense that the evil ghost had been injured. The second-ever copy of the holy bible had to have at least been created by a certain generation cardinal of the Catholic church, and it was definitely an extraordinary artifact.
Using this prized artifact, they had managed to hurt the evil ghost.
It was only the slightest of injuries, much like a big ant taking a vicious bite of a human. For a human, it would only be a short burst of sharp pain, but for evil ghosts that were sorely lacking in intelligence, this was the ideal provocation!
"Get ready..." The soul orb was hovering beside his left shoulder as he said, "We strike in a minute..."
All of a sudden, the sound of sorrowful singing rang out, cutting him off before he could finish.
"You're reveling in joy, while my gut is wrenching from pain... Separations are always so long while reunions are so short..."
It was Chu Renmei!
She finally came... The black wave that had already subsided in the face of the holy light immediately enjoyed a resurgence, and from within the Yin energy, a blue-robed figure emerged. The figure had a head of disheveled long hair and was holding a tattered oil paper umbrella as it drifted forward through the air.
The Yin energy around her was just as vicious and powerful, and the two seas of Yin energy combined to sweep up an all-encompassing tsunami! The surrounding Yin energy exploded up to over 30 meters tall, and all of the cold suits burst into flames in unison, while the countless crimson eyes in the darkness had already completely sprung open to appraise this world with inhuman ferocity.
Qin Ye had almost stood up straight at this point, but he immediately squatted back down again.
Chu Renmei's head turned 180 degrees amid a string of gruesome cracks, and she cast her gaze toward a certain direction as she urged in a raspy voice, "You... Go... Go back... to... where you should be!"
Qin Ye's expression had turned extremely grim, and he was wringing his own hands tightly together.
His heart was thumping so violently that it was the only thing he could hear, and 10 seconds later, all of the Yin energy subsided, returning to the gap between the third and fourth floors.
"Shit!!!" Qin Ye abruptly stood up as he swore out loud.Previous Chapter Next Chapter