Beside Freddy stood around a dozen other individuals who were also wearing leather jackets and metal-tipped claws. However, all of them were wearing white masks, and they were extending bows in unison in an inviting gesture toward Qin Ye. Behind them was a tall staircase that was lined with around a dozen more evil ghosts in leather jackets, as well as rows of antiquated Cathayan palatial lanterns that were burning with netherfire, presenting quite an intimidating sight to behold.
He's a nascent Abyssal Prefect... Qin Ye was able to determine this with just a single glance. It seemed that the Usonian Witch Hunter Association was quite powerful to have been able to drive such a fearsome evil ghost to the Peach Blossom Spring. After all, an Abyssal Prefect could already be considered to be a high-grade underworld emissary. The death gods of the Usonian Underworld were on the verge of death, so they certainly didn't have the spare time and energy to focus on disciplining their subordinate evil ghosts.
He gave a slight nod and was just about to make his way toward the staircase when Freddy suddenly reached out with a hand.
The meaning behind this gesture was very clear. He was a gentleman, and he was extending a hand toward the madam in accordance with gentlemanly etiquette.
Thus, Qin Ye had to put his delicate and frail hand onto his metal claws. Freddy held his hand out before him for several seconds, and after receiving no response, he looked up with a slightly taken aback expression. "Madam Teana?"
A trembling skeletal hand was placed onto his sharp claws, and Freddy extended a gentlemanly bow before giving the back of the skeletal hand a gentle kiss. "Your skin seems to become finer and smoother every time I see you, Madam Teana."
Qin Ye's entire body immediately stiffened upon hearing this.
He stared intently at Freddy as the netherflames in his eyes flickered erratically, and only after several seconds did he reply, "I don't have skin! You should be complimenting me by saying my bones are whiter every time you see me! Thank you!"
He then abruptly withdrew his hand and made her way toward the staircase alone without even turning his head once. Of course, as he did so, he didn't forget to pick up his skirt while sticking up his pinkie fingers. He was a professional actor, and he wasn't about to let himself down here!
"Madam Teana." Freddy followed along behind her like a wraith as he said with a smile, "Just a friendly reminder that there is an extremely important figure present today, and he's most likely already grown rather impatient from waiting, so I would advise you not to go against him."
Qin Ye didn't say anything in response. He was afraid that he wouldn't be able to repress the urge to erase this heinous evil ghost out of existence. He gritted his teeth as he was led to the entrance of the building by Freddy, and as soon as she arrived, the door immediately swung open.
This was a small side hall, and there were currently eight evil ghosts seated in it.
The seat directly to the left of the main seat was occupied by an advanced Infernal Judge wearing a white metal mask with a head of disheveled blond hair. His figure was very burly and imposing, and he was dressed in an impeccable suit.
This was Michael Myers, one of Usonia's four most feared evil ghosts.
Seated further down the table from him was a Yin spirit wearing a metal mask and a set of bloodstained overalls. His eyes were visible through his mask, but there were no eyeballs to be seen, only a pair of black holes. Just like Freddy Krueger, he was also a nascent Abyssal Prefect.
This Yin spirit was Jason Voorhes, also known as Black Friday, ranking among the top two of the four most feared evil ghosts in Usonia.
After him was a tall and broad man wearing a mask made from human skin. His hair was just as disheveled as that of Michael Myers, and his facial features were extremely twisted, making it look as if some type of monster were constantly on the verge of bursting out from behind his human skin mask.
This Yin spirit was Leatherface, an advanced Infernal Judge.
With Freddy Krueger also present beside Qin Ye, all four of the most feared evil ghosts in Usonia were gathered here! Who would've ever thought that these four heinous individuals would be present just outside of the Cathayan Underworld's territorial sea?
The killing intent that Qin Ye had only just managed to repress immediately welled up in his heart again. He cast his gaze toward the right to discover that the main seat was occupied by a handsome blond man. He was wearing noble attire from the Middle Ages, and if it weren't for the sharp fangs that were revealed when he smiled, Qin Ye would've struggled to identify him for what he was.
This was a vampire, and he was at least a Count.
Seated right next to him was a human wearing a long black robe.
It was a woman with reddish-brown hair and a set of beautiful features, but what caught Qin Ye's attention was the fact that she was giving off advanced Infernal Judge level true energy fluctuations!
This woman was a black witch.
After her came a burly dark-skinned man, and he also wasn't a Yin spirit. He was giving off an extremely strong odor of blood and gore, yet he was wearing a pristine and immaculate suit, presenting a rather paradoxical sight. Just a single glance was enough to tell Qin Ye that this man was certainly no saint.
Not only were there Yin spirits here, there were also vampires and black witches from the Middle Ages. All of the most putrid existences in the world were gathered here! He took a deep breath before casting his gaze toward the evil ghost occupying the main seat.
It was a Nipponese evil ghost.
His face was quite thin and gaunt, and there was a pair of horns growing on his forehead. He was wearing a suit of antiquated Nipponese Ō-yoroi, and his eyes were completely pitch-black with no white sections whatsoever. His skin was deathly pale, and there were some scarlet marks etched over its surface.
He was only an advanced Infernal Judge, yet he was occupying the main seat in this meeting when there were several evil ghosts present that were more powerful than him. This was virtually undeniable proof that the Peach Blossom Spring was collaborating with the Nipponese Underworld.
In that case, was it possible that the Nipponese Underworld already knew the truth about the Array of the Nine Gods?
Had they managed to sneak a peek at the rift in the array with permission from the owner of the Peach Blossom Spring? Just this thought alone further exacerbated the killing intent in Qin Ye's heart.
He sat down in silence next to the burly dark-skinned man.
"Greetings, everyone." After Qin Ye and Freddy took their seats, the evil ghost occupying the main seat stood up and said, "Now that everyone's here, allow me to make a self-introduction, although some of you may have heard about me before. I am one of the three ghostly deities of the Nipponese Underworld, Otakemaru. In contrast with other underworlds, there is no distinction between ghosts and demons. Currently, I have the honor of serving as one of the two stand-in mayors of Mirage City."
No one said anything, and Otakemaru continued, "Currently, there are a total of 78 wanted evil ghosts in Mirage City, yet only those of us present here in this room can be truly referred to as evil ghosts..."
"I think you have some type of misinterpretation toward the concept of evil ghosts," the brunette woman countered in a cold voice, "You should know that I serve only his Excellency, Lord Satan, I have no interest in the worlds of souls and spirits."
"But you're still sitting here today, aren't you?" the vampire said with a smile. "The wording is only semantics, there's no need for you to be worked up, Madam Talina."
He then turned to everyone else with a smile and continued, "The fact that everyone is gathered here means that we've already agreed with Mr. Otakemaru's proposal. At a time like this, shouldn't we be working together for the greater good? Why start needless quarrels in relation to pedantic details that don't really matter?"
"My thoughts exactly." Otakemaru released his Yin energy without any reservation as he licked his lips with his bright red forked tongue. He then said in a raspy voice, "My master is very interested in my plan, so I was granted some assistance. Through the assistance granted to me by my master, we'll be able to travel along the trade route leading to the Cathayan Underworld to reach the Array of the Nine Gods!"
The netherfire in Qin Ye's eyes flickered slightly upon hearing this, and all of the evil ghosts present fell silent.
All of them had massive bounties on their heads, and all of them wanted to return to their native soil.
Right at this moment, Qin Hui's voice suddenly rang out beside Qin Ye's ears. "My Lord, we've already tracked your Yin energy and arrived near the city that you're currently situated in. All we need is 10 minutes to prepare before we launch an all-out assault."
"Hold on!" Qin Ye opened his hand fan and covered his own mouth with it as he replied in the quietest of voices, "Wait for my orders, no one is allowed to do anything until I say so!"
There was one thing that had been bothering him this entire time.
Throughout his time here, he hadn't detected any Yama-King level auras.
The one who posed the biggest threat to him in this Mirage City was none other than Xu Fu, who was in possession of the Judgment Pen. There was no way that he wasn't residing somewhere in Mirage City. The city was extremely close to the Cathayan Underworld, and all of these powerful evil ghosts were constantly plotting trips to the Array of the Nine Gods, so there was no way he would leave them completely unsupervised.
As such, Qin Ye couldn't strike right away. What he wanted was to wipe out everyone, including Xu Fu, and if he were to strike too early, he would only startle Xu Fu into fleeing. All those who could've possibly seen the Array of the Nine Gods had to die, and he would rather kill innocents than allow those who had seen the Array of the Nine Gods to slip through the cracks!
However, the troops that he had brought with him wouldn't be enough to accomplish this. Never did he think that there would be three or four Abyssal Prefects in this city alone, as well as an unknown number of Infernal Judges. He had only brought 10,000 troops with him, and that wasn't enough to ensure that no one escaped.
If he was going to strike, then he was going to make it count and not let anyone escape.
At the same time, there was another question that had to be answered.
The master that Otakemaru had been referring to... Was it Izanami? Or perhaps Susanoo-no-Mikoto?
What were they intending to do?
This was an opportunity for him to ascertain whether the Nipponese Underworld had learned about the rift in the Array of the Nine Gods, and for him to assess just how deep the ties between the Nipponese Underworld and the Peach Blossom Spring ran. Of course, he could capture Otakemaru and search his soul, but that wasn't possible under the current circumstances. On top of that, Izanami had already been stung before, so surely she had learned her lesson, and there was a chance that she would've placed some restrictions on Otakemaru's soul.
The opportunity was sitting right in front of him, and he didn't want to let it slip. He set down his hand fan, only to discover that everyone was looking at him.
"Do you have a question, Madam Teana?" Otakemaru asked.
Qin Ye's mind was racing as he scrambled for a question to ask. "I'm just wondering how you're going to keep the mayor from finding out about this."
Otakemaru chuckled, "If you were doing this alone, he would definitely 'find out', but with me involved, he won't 'find out'."
The implication behind his words was very clear.
Perhaps others may not have caught onto these implications, but they were clear as day to Qin Ye. There was no way that the Nipponese Underworld hadn't contributed to the construction of Mirage City here. This was the high sea, and under these circumstances, where the Cathayan Underworld was shut off from the rest of the world, there was no way that Xu Fu would've been able to construct such a massive city by himself.
Where was the labor coming from?
Where were the resources coming from?
In exchange for this assistance, Xu Fu had to let some things slide and grant the representatives of the Nipponese Underworld differential treatment, and this was one of those instances.
"Then I'm even more curious," Qin Ye mused as he gently flapped his hand fan. "The mayor is a Duke, yet he isn't going to help us. How are we supposed to get to the Array of the Nine Gods by ourselves? This is the seabed, in order to get to the Array of the Nine Gods, we must possess Duke level power. The only other alternative would be for the mayor to lend us his origin Yin artifact. If we don't have either of those things, how will we be able to track down the route taken by the merchants of the Cathayan Underworld and reach the Array of the Nine Gods?"
It had to be said that Qin Ye really did have exceptional talent when it came to acting.
He had no idea why Otakemaru had summoned all of these formidable evil ghosts for this meeting, yet he was able to think on the fly and find a point of breakthrough. Furthermore, he was raising a hidden question that had to be answered, which was "why isn't the mayor participating in this? Is he not here in the city or is it because of some other reason?"
If he's not here, then the Asura Legion and the Hungry Ghost Legion will reduce this place to a true seabed graveyard! Qin Ye thought to himself as the netherflames in his eyes flickered slightly.
Otakemaru took a meaningful look at Qin Ye and replied, "Your impression of the mayor is still from that time he came to Mirage City and quelled the unrest here, right? However, that was not the mayor."
He swept his gaze across everyone present and declared, "That was the owner of the entire Peach Blossom Spring, and he doesn't reside in this city. What's going on with you today, Teana? Don't you know that this Mirage City is only one of the Peach Blossom Spring's twin cities? The true location of the Peach Blossom Spring is on the untraceable Fantasy City, and even I don't know where that city is. Hence, on this occasion, we won't have a Duke to assist us."
Inky-black netherflames were finally ignited in his eyes as he continued with a hint of excitement and reverence in his voice, "Instead, we'll be using the power of a true divine artifact! Everyone, prepare to worship the first divine artifact you've ever seen! It's one of the three divine artifacts of the Nipponese Underworld, which has stood for over 1,000 years, and it will show us the way!"
Whoosh! Yin energy abruptly descended upon the entire city like a massive wave.
The seawater began to churn violently, and all of the Yin energy around Mirage City began to revolve rapidly, forming a terrifying vortex! The city was at the center of the vortex, and at the center of the center was an antiquated artifact formed by inky-black Yin energy hovering in front of Otakemaru.
"Illuminate all of the world's secrets, Yata no Kagami!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter