It was clear that Bu Wantian had already left by the time that the personnel from the Imperial City Division arrived. Even he didn't dare to live among a village of zombies. However, the arrival of the Imperial City Division opened up some new possibilities to him. The equilibrium talismans set up here forced the zombified villagers into century-long cycles where they would lose their memories once every 100 years, and he was alert enough to catch onto this fact.
Day after day, year after year, he killed his own loved ones countless times over. Amid the mountain of heinous crimes that he had committed, Chu Renmei's murder really was quite insignificant. Perhaps he really did just get sick of her someday and decided to kill her for the sake of it. Just as he said, what excuse did he need to have for killing a dog?
Everything appeared to be simple and straightforward, but only after truly coming into contact with this would one realize just how difficult it was to crack.
The first obstacle was the Heavenly Dao. The Heavenly Dao here in this forsaken land was completely different from the Heavenly Dao elsewhere. It was like a game in which all of the villagers were NPCs, and NPC interactions through which leads could be secured could only be unlocked once certain "game events" were completed.
The second obstacle was the Taisui fungus. Only those who had consumed the Taisui fungus would notice the peculiarities present within the villagers, thereby identifying them as zombies. Only then would they be able to realize that there was someone who was once among them currently hiding outside the earthen building.
The third obstacle came in the form of Chu Renmei and Huang Jiansen.
Only a cultivator of a very high caliber would notice that Chu Renmei didn't want to actually kill people, and was more intent on possessing someone. However, all of the people who had previously discovered this had been silenced forever as Abyssal Prefects were currently the most powerful beings in the mortal realm.
Similarly, the presence of Huang Jiansen made it impossible to access the fourth floor, and without getting to the fourth floor, it would be impossible to find leads on Bu Wantian.
Who would've imagined that a name that had only featured in a movie would actually belong to an actual person who had lived for over 1,000 years?
On top of this, the deeds that he had committed were far more horrifying and reprehensible than the events that took place in the movie.
"It's a pity that you encountered me." Qin Ye's train of thought concluded here as he turned his attention back to the courtyard, only to find that there was already no trace of Bu Wantian left. All that remained of him was a puddle of blood on the ground, around which all of the villagers were kneeling and bawling like children.
"Retribution will always come. It may be late but it'll never be absent, and you're only just beginning to taste the bitter fruit that you've sown..."
He rose to his feet, and at the same time, the elderly man from before stepped forward and fell to his knees before kowtowing in Qin Ye's direction. "From this day forth, the Huang Clan will be content to reside here. If you ever need us for anything, we'd gladly lay down our lives at a moment's notice!"
Qin Ye nodded in response. "You've suffered for over 1,000 years, it's time for you to take a good rest now... Chu Renmei, Huang Jiansen, take Bu Wantian with you, and let's leave this place."
The events unfolding here still weren't serious enough to warrant his personal intervention. On top of that, which realm was this? Was it the mortal realm or was it the underworld?
It seemed that this place was under the jurisdiction of either realm, so why not just let them fall under the jurisdiction of the Heavenly Dao here?
"Yes," Chu Renmei answered in a respectful manner. All of her hatred and hostility had already completely vanished, and she picked up the coffin with her hair before opening her mouth up to over a meter, then swallowed the coffin like a python swallowing its prey whole.
Qin Ye couldn't help but think of Principal Wang Eating Hot Dog Whole.JPG, and he quickly shook his head to rid himself of that mental image. "Where's his soul?"
"It's in the coffin," Chu Renmei replied with a smile as she stroked her own stomach. Strangely enough, even after devouring such a massive coffin, her figure hadn't changed in the slightest. "Rest assured, Your Excellency, I wouldn't be able to bear the thought of letting him die so easily. He owes us a debt of blood compounding over 1,000 years, and it would be much too lenient to kill him like this."
Qin Ye nodded in response before curling a finger, upon which Chu Renmei and Huang Jiansen flew up his sleeve as two streaks of light.
Currently, the roster of Yin spirits under his command included the Porter Spirit, Ryu Changmin, Kwon Kyung-ho, Chu Renmei, and Huang Jiansen, which was a lineup of two Abyssal Prefects and an Infernal Judge, while the rest were all Anitya Hellguards. This was already an extremely formidable army at his disposal...
Upon emerging from the earthen building, it was already very deep into the night.
The sound of chirping cicadas rang out incessantly in the night, and the air was very fresh. After several consecutive days of highly intensive and stressful investigation, Qin Ye couldn't help but stretch lazily as a wave of exhaustion washed over him. He turned to take one final glance at the Huang Clan's earthen building as he heaved a faint sigh.
It's finally over...
This trip had been full of twists and turns, and it had finally drawn to a close. From here onward, it was time to work on rebuilding the six paths of reincarnation. As for this place, he was most likely never going to return here again.
The elderly woman at the entrance was just about to shut the gate when a thought suddenly occurred to Qin Ye, and right as the gate was about to swing completely shut, she suddenly said, "Hold on."
The elderly woman's wizened face extended out from behind the gate as she asked with a smile, "Is there something else you need, Your Excellency?"
A contemplative look appeared on Qin Ye's face as he asked, "The Taisui Crossbred Karmamudrā has already been removed, but the Taisui fungus is still buried under that locust tree. Will that lead to mutations among the residents of the earthen building?"
"It shouldn't," the elderly woman replied in a respectful voice. "In any case, you've already left us with a way to contact the local city god, so if anything happens, we'll be sure to contact them right away."
Qin Ye nodded in response before his brows furrowed slightly as he asked, "In that case, why is it that the residents of this village who go out to seek employment don't undergo mutations?"
"Residents who go out to seek employment?" The elderly woman was very taken aback by this, and she replied in a confident manner, "Your Excellency, I can assure you that none of the residents of our Huang Clan's earthen building have ever gone out to seek employment. Ever since the talisman array was set up in the Song Dynasty, our Huang Clan's earthen building had become completely isolated. Only tourists can visit and leave, but none of our residents have ever left!"
Qin Ye always had this nagging feeling this entire time that he was forgetting something, and he finally knew what it was now. He looked straight into the elderly woman's eyes and asked in a serious voice, "Are you sure?"
"I'm absolutely certain," the elderly woman replied just as seriously. "I've been here for close to 1,000 years, and I remember every single person who's entered and left our earthen building during this time. I can assure you that none of our residents have ever left this place!"
"What about your descendants? Do you recall a man by the name of Huang Yunqing?
The elderly woman was even more perplexed upon hearing this. "Zombies like us are incapable of producing offspring, and I've certainly never heard of this Huang Yuanqing. Could it be that you're misremembering something, Your Excellency?"
Qin Ye's expression darkened slightly upon hearing this, and only after a long while did he nod in response. "Perhaps so. I'll be leaving now, if anything abnormal happens, notify the city god right away."
After that, he quickly departed. Lee Jung-sook had left before him, and she was waiting for him with her bodyguards on the outskirts of Anjing Village. She raised an eyebrow at the sight of his troubled expression and asked, "What's up?"
"Do you remember Huang Yunqing?" Qin Ye asked as he made his way toward her.
Lee Jung-sook nodded in response. "I do. He was the villager who left to seek... Hold on!"
She had also realized that something was amiss here. "No one from the Huang Clan's earthen building has left in the past 1,000 years, where did he come from?"
"Not only that..." Qin Ye peered into the darkness of the night as he said, "But the woman at the entrance says that she's certain there's never been a Huang Yunqing in the village!"
Lee Jung-sook's expression stiffened slightly upon hearing this, and she immediately said, "His body was sent to the county police station, and it should currently be under examination by the county's Special Investigations Department. After all, this is a supernatural corpse. Did you think of something just now?"
The bodyguards had already opened the doors of the car, and Qin Ye and Lee Jung-sook got into the backseats. Only then did he massage his glabella with a troubled expression as he asked, "Do you recall the Peach Blossom Spring?"
"You mean the place fabricated by Bu Wantian's imagination?"
"What if it isn't just a figment of his imagination?" The car began to speed through the night, and Qin Ye watched the rapidly receding scenery flash past his window as he said in a grim voice, "I just did some reflection on our conversation with Bu Wantian, and I recalled that he said it was his second time meeting immortals who had devoured the Taisui fungus. At the time, my mind was entirely fixated on the Huang Clan's earthen building, and I completely forgot about that detail."
Lee Jung-sook's eyes narrowed slightly upon hearing this. "So that means he met other immortals at some point before us!"
Before Qin Ye had a chance to reply, she leaned back into the soft cushioned seat and continued, "I think that's very likely to be true. Bu Wantian isn't an idiot, so there's no way that an empty promise from a Taoist priest would have him so thoroughly convinced of the Peach Blossom Spring's existence. Perhaps he could be fooled for a time, but he definitely wouldn't have been fooled for over 1,000 years. Unless this so-called Peach Blossom Spring displayed some kind of divine miracle to him to prove its existence, there's no way he would've believed in it so devoutly for such a long time. Thinking back to his emotional state when telling us about the Peach Blossom Spring, he was very much a fanatic, which means that this Peach Blossom Spring had to have shown him something to have kept him hooked this entire time. In that case, that Huang Yunqing was most likely someone from the Peach Blossom Spring."
Qin Ye was feeling a little agitated.
As the leader of a dynasty, what did he detest the most?
Cults definitely ranked very high up on that list.
Cults could easily gather devout followers to create armies of absolutely loyal fanatics, and this was definitely not good news for the stability of a recently established dynasty like his own, particularly when this cult was influential enough to have even strung along an immortal for such a long time.
"The more I think about it, the stranger everything seems," Qin Ye mused. "What exactly was Huang Yunqing supposed to be? Was he a zombie? But no one in the Huang Clan's village was anything like him, and the final form he adopted before his death definitely can't be classified as a normal zombie. In addition to that, he wasn't a Yin spirit, yet he somehow possessed Yin energy."
He flicked a finger, and Kwon Kyung-ho's voice immediately rang out beside his ears. "What do you need, my Lord?"
"Go to Everburn right away and get the Harken or General Zhao to come here. Tell them that once everything is resolved here, we'll travel to Sichuan together to rebuild the six paths of reincarnation."
Thus, Kwon Kyung-ho departed. Qin Ye gently skimmed his fingers absentmindedly over the window beside him. His wariness of this so-called Peach Blossom Spring stemmed from his instinctive urge to protect his position as a ruler. However, the more he thought about the matter, the more questions arose.
For example, Bu Wantian had proclaimed that the Peach Blossom Spring would send someone for him once they saw the light tower that he created in the mortal coil. Why would they do that? What was the purpose of their existence? Assuming this organization really did exist, what was it supposed to be? A league of zombies?
This was a mysterious organization that had at least one immortal among its ranks, and the only records of it that existed were in a poem[The poem being referred to here is the aforementioned "Account of the Peach Blossom Spring" by Tao Yuanming.]. If it really did exist, then it would've been around far longer than even the Huang Clan's earthen building. Perhaps it could even date back to the Tang or even the Han Dynasty.
It had left virtually no trace in history, so what was its purpose? What was its objective? What was it setting out to achieve?
Even Jesus had founded a religion to spread love for god among the people, so what was this Peach Blossom Spring doing? Was it not interested at all in spreading its influence?
Qin Ye couldn't think of any good answers to all of these questions, and this wasn't a good time to interrogate Bu Wantian's soul. At the very least, he would have to wait until Bu Wantian's soul was instated as a part of the six paths of reincarnation before conducting an interrogation. With that in mind, Qin Ye heaved a faint sigh and cast aside this train of thought for now. At this point, the car had already driven into the central business area of the county.
The car was parked near the county government building, and black and white revolved in Qin Ye's eyes, upon which he was immediately able to glean all of the true energy and Yin energy within the entire central business area.
Oh? They switched locations? It's not underground, beneath the county government building anymore?
He cast a surprised gaze toward a small building beside the county's police stations. That was where true energy was most concentrated in the area. As expected, following the conclusion of the supernatural disasters, the status of the Special Investigations Department had suffered a corresponding decline.
Hold on... Holy fuck! This true energy... Could it be that it belongs to Lin Han? Oh boy, he's really grown since the last time I saw him. Looks like it's time for me to make an appearance and show him that there's always going to be a taller peak out there. That way, he'll learn the valuable lesson of humility and he won't get too full of himself. It is through adversity that one grows the quickest, after all.Previous Chapter Next Chapter