The killing intent in his heart grew even more pronounced as this thought occurred to him.
Initially, he had only been concerned that the Nipponese Underworld had been made aware of the rift in the Array of the Nine Gods. However, with so many evil ghosts gathered here, how many of them were also aware of this?
"You've already been banished by your native underworld, so why do you want information on the Cathayan Underworld?" Qin Ye asked with a smile. Before she had a chance to reply, he continued, "I'm guessing most of the evil ghosts here chose to seek refuge in other underworlds, and the condition they raised in return for safe refuge was for you to find out the true condition of the Cathayan Underworld, is that correct?"
A smile seemed to have crept into Teana's voice. "You really are very smart."
She looked up at the ceiling of the church in a forlorn manner and continued, "Who wants to be a homeless evil ghost, destined to roam aimlessly for all of eternity? Unfortunately, none of us have dared to travel to the array of the Cathayan Underworld even once. There is a rule here strictly prohibiting that, so if we want information, we can only obtain it from you and the others."
Under the table, Qin Ye was wringing his hands together so vigorously that his joints were cracking. This was the first time since his inauguration that he had been overcome by such fierce rage and killing intent.
He was enraged by the betrayal of the Emissaries of Hell, willing to collaborate with external powers for personal gain. They received the same benefits as every other Emissary of Hell, but they were selling the Cathayan Underworld's lifeblood at the same time!
He was enraged by the Peach Blossom Spring establishing a nation outside his own, thereby undermining the stability of his reign.
He was even more enraged by the fact that his authority as a ruler was being provoked. After over a century as a fractured nation, the Cathayan Underworld had finally been reunited following a six-year-long war of unification, yet in return for his efforts, he received deceit and betrayal. He was working day and night, painstakingly building up the nation step by step, yet his own subordinates were working to undo his efforts! Did they even see him as their ruler? Did they even consider themselves to be Emissaries of Hell?!
Never did he think that he would want to kill a power or an individual so badly.
Right at this moment, Teana closed her hand fan and asked, "So what's your choice? Are you going to wait until you perish by the wrath of the Cathayan Underworld or side with us and ultimately begin a new life in a foreign underworld?"
Qin Ye was silent for a few seconds before replying, "I have one final question. You still haven't told me when you came here?"
Teana countered, "I think I've already provided enough information for you to make a choice."
"It's not enough," Qin Ye insisted in a grim voice. "This is the Cathayan Underworld we're talking about here, I'm more aware than you are of just how terrifying the Cathayan Underworld is. If you want me to tell you everything, then I have to know what my chances of survival are if I side with you! Your power is only one factor of consideration, what's more important is whether you've been noticed by the Cathayan Underworld and whether you're able to organize for me to defect from the Cathayan Underworld at a moment's notice!"
Teana heaved a faint sigh upon hearing this. "This is why I hate working with people who are too shrewd for their own good."
She was silent for close to a minute before finally revealing, "I came here 40 years ago. That was when I first heard about the legend of the Peach Blossom Spring. The legend is well known among all evil ghosts who have devoured blood food in the past, and it was seen by us as our final resort. At the time, I was being hunted by the Britannian Witch Hunters Association. Several of their elders were sent out to pursue me, and I had no choice but to flee all the way here to the Peach Blossom Spring. Upon my arrival, someone immediately contacted me, and only then did I learn that the Peach Blossom Spring was established 30 years before I arrived! Most of the evil ghosts here are from the Nipponese Underworld, and other evil ghosts from other foreign underworlds like myself only made up the minority."
She took a deep breath, and the netherflames in her eyes flickered wildly as she continued, "Of course, we were able to survive, but surviving and living a good life are two completely different concepts. In order to live a better life, we chose to initiate contact with our native underworlds. In response to our pleas, the response from underworlds was that if we could act as scouts and find out the true state of the Cathayan Underworld for them, then we would receive amnesty for all of our crimes! Can you imagine? Amnesty! For an evil ghost like me with so much blood on my hands!"
Her voice abruptly sprang up a few octaves before she calmed down again. "While I'm at it, I'll tell you something else."
In Teana's mind, she was the first evil ghost who had been able to convince an Emissary of Hell to leak the information that she wanted to her, so she was willing to take a gamble. "Almost all of the underworlds hold the same attitude. After we ascertained the attitudes of our native underworlds, we immediately arranged a procession, hoping to be able to take a trip to the renowned Array of the Nine Gods to see it for ourselves. Due to the fuss that we kicked up, the owner of the Peach Blossom Spring arrived, and that was the first and only time I ever saw him. He's a living human, a cultivator, yet he's somehow reached the Yama-King level! He quelled all of the unrest and set an ironclad rule stating that Mirage City could act as the central hub for all underground trade in the entire continent of Asia, but no one is permitted to travel to the Cathayan Underworld, and anyone caught doing so will be killed."
She gritted her teeth with frustration as she continued, "That's why we could only stay here for the past few decades. It has to be said that the Peach Blossom Spring is truly a formidable power. This place is only around 200 nautical miles away from Cathay's Wuyang Port, which is not very far away at all, but no Emissaries of Hell have found this place! It's very likely that he holds a divine artifact, one that's of a very high caliber. So what do you think now? Do you believe that we have the power to help you defect when required?"
Qin Ye understood everything now. He leaned back in his chair, and a bloodthirsty smile appeared on his face.
Thank heavens this rule existed. With this rule in place, it was presumably the case that only the Peach Blossom Spring was aware of the rift in the Array of the Nine Gods.
Why was he prohibiting evil ghosts from traveling to the array?
In Qin Ye's mind, there could only be two possible reasons, the first of which was that this information was the Peach Blossom Spring's trump card. They were able to enter the Cathayan Underworld and had most likely gained a rough understanding of its current situation. A trump card could only be referred to as a trump card when it was only held by one person, why should he let emissaries of foreign underworlds in on the secret? He was constantly worrying about being discovered by the Cathayan Underworld, so it was much better for him to hold this trump card alone rather than share it with everyone else.
If everyone had access to this information, then it wouldn't be valuable anymore.
The second reason was for personal profit.
The Peach Blossom Spring had established a massive black market here, as well as a paradise for evil ghosts all over the world. They didn't allow these evil ghosts to glean the true situation of the Cathayan Underworld, but they didn't prevent them from contacting their native underworlds to act as spies for them. If any danger were to arise, he would immediately contact those underworlds through these evil ghosts, securing his safety in exchange for information on the state of the Array of the Nine Gods.
This was a city of sin that was constantly preparing to betray the Cathayan Underworld.
As for why it hadn't been discovered, that could be attributed to the Judgment Pen.
Teana had arrived here four decades ago, yet Mirage City had already been established here over three decades before her arrival. This meant that this city of sin had stood for over 70 years.
100 years ago, Hell collapsed, and the three divine artifacts were lost. The Judgment Pen had flown into the sea through the Array of Nine Gods, and the only one who could’ve obtained it from there was the owner of the Peach Blossom Spring.
The rulers of the Nipponese and Daeian Underworlds weren't even Yama-Kings, so what right did they have to claim the divine artifact over the owner of the Peach Blossom Spring?
"So what is your choice?"
A smile appeared on Qin Ye's face. "My choice is... Actually, before that, I want to show you my soul."
Teana was rather taken aback to hear this. "Your soul? Is there anything special about it? Hold on..."
She suddenly rose to her feet as she stared at Qin Ye in an incredulous manner. "When did you seal off this room?"
She suddenly discovered that her soul and Yin energy were completely unable to exit this room!
This could only have been set up by a Yin spirit of an even higher cultivation rank than her!
The Cathayan Underworld has caught on to the existence of this place... After 70 long years, Mirage City has finally been discovered... This terrifying thought instantly surfaced in her mind, and she screamed with all her might, "Enemy attack! Enemy attack!!!"
However, there was no reaction at all outside.
"Save your energy," Qin Ye said with a cold smile, and in the next instant, his Yin energy erupted forth violently, only to be contained by the restrictions he had set up earlier, thereby preventing it from leaking out of the room.
Boom! Stark white netherflames were ignited in the entire room, and Teana screamed as she frantically retreated until her back hit the wall. There was no escape for her, and she could only look on with shock and horror at the person standing before her.
This is a Yama-King... His Yin energy is on the Yama-King level! A Yama-King has come here in person! Not only has Mirage City attracted Hell's attention, it's been discovered by one of Hell's top brass!
"No!!" Her voice had become extremely strained and sharp as she stared at the indistinct figure within the netherflames. "Spare me... Spare me!! I told you everything!"
"Of course I'll spare you, I couldn't bear to let a valuable tool like you die." Qin Ye raised a hand to inscribe a rune into mid-air. "Come and join my Dusk Legionnaire. You'll become a zombie, but at the very least, you'll be alive."
Teana was gritting her teeth so tightly that they were creaking and groaning. How could this have happened? Even now, she still couldn't believe the situation that she was in. All of a sudden, her body disintegrated into countless tendrils of Yin energy that fled toward the door.
A cold smile appeared on Qin Ye's face as he made a grabbing motion, and the tendrils of Yin energy fell away like ink, following which a stark white soul was grabbed out of the mass of Yin energy.
"ARRRRGH!!!" Teana let loose a blood-curdling howl before begging for her life. "Spare me, Your Excellency! Please spare me! I've never eaten blood food in Cathay! I..."
Her howls were drowned out as her soul was drawn into the nether fire before vanishing after just a faint ripple. Immediately thereafter, the Yin energy in the entire prayer chamber silently vanished, and "Teana" emerged from the room.
"What a hideous body this is." It was Qin Ye's voice that came out of Teana's mouth as he examined his new form. "Having said that, this is quite a nice place."
This was a paradise for evil ghosts, all of whom had no less blood on their hands than Chu Renmei. Perhaps this place alone would be enough to supply all of the troops required for his Dusk Legionnaire.
"All of the other ghosts can die as well..."
He flicked a finger through the air, and two messenger birds flew out, one of which was headed for Qin Hui, and the other for Su Daji.
The message that they were bearing was that every single person in this city was to be killed!
Right at this moment, the sound of door-knocking rang out, and his brows furrowed slightly as he curled a finger, upon which the Yin energy that sealed the door shut instantly vanished. The door was opened, and a skeletal nun immediately bowed as she stood in the doorway. "Madam Teana, you have an appointment with Mr. Jason in an hour. Would you like to set off now?"
Teana had been forced into the Dusk Legionnaire, and currently, her sentience was still intact, so there was no way that he could release her. Qin Ye did his best to replicate her regal and prim mannerisms as he replied, "Scratch the appointment for me."
"But Madam Teana..." The skeletal nun said in a hesitant voice, "This is a meeting on The Mirage, and strictly speaking, it can't be missed..."
"Scratch it," Qin Ye repeated in an indifferent voice as he opened Teana's hand fan.
"Alright..." The skeletal nun turned to depart in a reluctant manner, yet just as she was about to close the door, Qin Ye suddenly stopped her.
Qin Ye stared directly at the wall, and just now, a thought had occurred to him. It was something extremely important, and it allowed him to tie all of the available leads together, but it passed through his mind so fast, like lightning, that he was only able to latch onto some indistinct morsels of information.
The Mirage... Mirage City... The seabed... A terrifying thought began to take shape in his mind, and he abruptly raised his head as he exclaimed, "It's him!"
Qin Ye immediately rose to his feet as he inspected his surroundings in a worked-up manner. "Could it really be him? Could he be the true owner of the Peach Blossom Spring?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter