Chapter 854: Final Present (2)

This was an entirely grey space.

There was no sun and no moon, and boundless grey mist was drifting through the air, making this place seem like an illusion.

However, right within this vast expanse of grey mist was a small island that was over 100 square kilometers in area, rapidly moving through the sea in a peculiar fashion.

The small island was complete with pavilions and buildings, as well as countless pedestrians wearing wooden expressions and stuck in different poses, as if they had been frozen in time. At the very center of the island was the tallest pavilion of all, and within it sat a handsome man with an extraordinary disposition. At this moment, he was seated in his chair with a slightly fearful expression, inspecting his surroundings with a complex look in his eyes.

It was Xu Fu.

He reflexively laid a hand onto his own neck. Just now, he was almost unable to save his own soul, but thankfully, he was just barely able to save himself.

He cast a grim glance at the golden pen in his grasp, and with a wave of his hand, the golden pen vanished into nothingness. He wanted to pick up the teacup on the table beside him to take a sip, but his hand was trembling extremely violently, and he had only just picked up the teacup when tea was spilled all over his hand.

In the face of an all-out assault from two Yama-Kings and an Abyssal Prefect, how could he actually have been as carefree and relaxed as he had looked?

My heart is no longer still... He heaved a long sigh and gently set down his teacup, then closed his eyes before reopening them five minutes later, by which time he had already returned to his normal calm and placid state.

“Ozato Koroku,” he called out, and as soon as his voice trailed off, a male voice rang out in response. 

"What are your instructions, your Excellency?"

"Where are we right now?" Xu Fu rose to his feet and placed his hands onto the railing before casting his gaze toward the distance, but unfortunately, even for him, all that could be seen was boundless greyness.

"We are currently in the Nipponese Sea," Ozato Koroku replied, "Mistress Izanami has already moved the army of atakebune ships out of our way. As you're aware, the Nipponese Underworld is situated extremely close to the Cathayan Underworld, and she doesn't dare to go directly against the Cathayan Underworld, so there's no way that she can assist us directly."

Xu Fu remained silent for a few seconds before speaking again. "Do you think the army of the Cathayan Underworld will catch up to us?"

Ozato Koroku replied, "This is the Nipponese Sea, your Excellency. Most of the information we have on the Cathayan Underworld has come from our collection and the Nipponese Underworld. According to past conventions, no matter how ruthless the Cathayan Underworld has been, they still respect the international boundaries of the underworlds. On top of that, Asia is the continent with the most complex circumstances in the entire underworld. There is the Russian Underworld, which has the largest landmass, and also the Hindustani Underworld, which is one of the four pillars. No matter how powerful the Cathayan Underworld is, it's unable to dominate the continent like the Argosian Underworld and the Aegyptian Underworld have dominated their respective continents. With that in mind, I think we should be safe once we pass the Nipponense Sea."

Xu Fu nodded in response.

Ever since the strange activity taking place in Gui Xu and Qi Nü's disappearance four hours ago, his first reaction had been to flee right away! He had to get out of the Cathayan Underworld's sphere of influence!

Even an advanced Yama-King like him had no intention of combating an entire underworld on his own, particularly when he didn't have sufficient information on the current state of the Cathayan Underworld.

Thus, he had carefully traveled out of Cathay's territorial sea, then gone around the Strait of Tsushima. That alone had expended several hours, but the rest of the journey would be a lot faster. 

As soon as they passed by Nippon, the Pacific Ocean would be right up ahead, and once they passed through Xolotl's Screen...

The continent of Usonia was a massive place, and the state of the continent was even more chaotic than that of Asia, so there were many opportunities for him to take advantage of, and he was sure that he would be able to forge a new legacy there!

"Due to the crisis in the mortal realm, the death gods of the Usonian Underworld are suffering from a severe lack of worshippers, and their deaths are imminent," he murmured to himself as a contemplative look appeared in his eyes. "All of the death gods below them are waiting to seize the throne, while those two are just barely holding on. I'm also a Yama-King, and an advanced one at that! Once I reach the new continent, there will be many death gods willing to extend an olive branch to me! No matter how influential the Cathayan Underworld is, there's no way that it can reach across the Pacific Ocean to apprehend me! Full speed ahead! We must reach Xolotl's Screen within an hour!"

"Yes!"

…………………………………………………..

At the six paths of reincarnation, Qin Ye, Zhao Yun, and Arthis were still deliberating on what to do next.

In front of them was a world map formed by Yin energy, and there was a faint red line inscribed onto it. All three of them wore extremely grim expressions, and the silence in the air was deafening.

It was so quiet that it was as if one could hear the countdown timer to the self-detonation of Gui Xu slowly ticking down.

An hour later, an explosion as powerful as a forbidden art was going to take place in Ashmound, and currently, all of the Emissaries of Hell and netherworldly citizens were completely oblivious to this. If any other Emissary of Hell had received word of this, such as the governor or procurator of a province, they would've most likely already issued an urgent report, but they couldn't do that.

Their actions would decide the direction that this crisis was going to take. Qin Ye wanted nothing more than to capture Xu Fu and execute him using the most torturous method possible, but he had to repress his fury and face the situation objectively.

Qin Ye's eyes were slightly bloodshot as he stabbed a finger down right between the Marshall Islands and Hawaii before asking a question of the utmost importance, "General Zhao, Xolotl is something that actually exists, right?"

Xolotl was the name of a death god. 

There were more than just two death gods on the continent of Usonia. To be more specific, during their heyday, the continents of North and South Usonia had over 10 death gods! However, in the wake of the crisis in the mortal realm, times had changed significantly, and only five or six were left, the most renowned of which were obviously Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa, both of whom were on the verge of death. As for the rest, Xolotl was supposed to be one of the other surviving death gods.

Even more importantly, if he recalled correctly, this death god also had a brother.

They were related by blood, and the name of the brother was Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent God!

The fact that the Plumed Serpent God existed meant that there was a very good chance that Xolotl also existed. As long as this landmark actually belonged to Xolotl and wasn't just named after him, then there was still a chance that the tables could be turned!

They failed to anticipate that Xu Fu had hidden such a trump card within Gui Xu, but there was no way that Xu Fu would be aware that Qin Ye was familiar with the Plumed Serpent God!

Each side had their own hidden trump cards, and as this treacherous game of chess was about to reach its conclusion, it was time to unveil all of these trump cards.

"That's right!" Zhao Yun immediately understood what Qin Ye was implying by asking this question. Qin Ye hadn't withheld information from him. In particular, a being like the Plumed Serpent God had a strong bearing on the Cathayan Underworld's connection with the Usonian Underworld, so this wasn't something that he could hide. As a result, Zhao Yun was also aware that Qin Ye had ties with the Plumed Serpent God, and upon hearing this question, he immediately realized what Qin Ye was thinking.

"You want to ask for the Plumed Serpent God's help to convince his brother to prohibit Xu Fu from entering the Pacific Ocean, right?" Time was of the essence, and even Zhao Yun's voice had become extremely urgent. He knew that in the Harken's current state, there was no way that it would be able to withstand the explosion from a forbidden art, even though he had already sent out a messenger bird to contact the Harken, urging him to travel to Ashmound right away.

"Exactly!" Qin Ye replied as he slammed palm heavily down onto the map with intense killing intent in his eyes. "Usonia is the only place that Xu Fu can flee to, and if he wants to get there, he has to pass through Xolotl's Screen. As long as we can stop him there, we'll still have a chance to apprehend him!"

This was a matter where he didn't want to make any compromise.

Xu Fu had dared to threaten him with the destruction of one of the Cathayan Underworld's two major cities, how could he ensure that his reputation would stay intact if he were to let Xu Fu get away even after such blatant provocation?

"But where are our naval forces going to come from?" Arthis asked with tightly furrowed brows. "Brother Yun is currently unable to leave the nation, and you and the Harken most likely aren't a match for that old monster. On top of that, there's no way that he's the only one in the Peach Blossom Spring. In order to apprehend him, we need to mobilize a naval army of Yin soldiers..."

All of a sudden, her voice abruptly cut off, and she turned to stare in the direction that Qin Ye was pointing in with a stunned look on her face.

He was pointing at the Felipinas on the map.

"Past the Caroline Islands are the Marshall Islands. The terrain of the Felipinas is like a wall. Even if the Hindustani Underworld detects what's happening, troops from the Felipinas can hold back the Yin soldiers of the Hindustani Underworld in the Strait of Malacca. At the same time, it acts as a barrier to the Marshall Islands and Hawaii, and it's not far away from Xolotl's Screen."

Qin Ye licked his own lips in a bloodthirsty manner as he gently stroked the Felipinas island chain with a cold smile. "Even if the Peach Blossom Spring is denied passage by Xolotl's Screen, we still won't be able to catch up to them. However..."

Arthis drew a sharp breath, and the netherfire in her eyes flickered erratically as she continued where Qin Ye left off. "If we can get the Lord of Luzon, General Yang, to deploy his troops and delay them for a while, we'll definitely be able to catch up to them!" 

"That's right!" Qin Ye extended a hand forward, and his gaze swept over Arthis and Zhao Yun as he ordered, "Arthis, you restore Qi Nü's soul right away."

Arthis immediately nodded in response. At a time like this, there was no time for hesitation or delay, and after briefly considering the situation, she immediately understood why Qin Ye was issuing this order.

Why was it that Xu Fu had told them that Gui Xu was going to explode in an hour? It was because he had no choice but to reveal this!

In other words, there was a very good chance that there was a method in Qi Nü's memories that could allow them to forcibly summon the Peach Blossom Spring within an hour. Thus, he had to delay Hell by an hour to ensure his own escape.

"With that in mind, Arthis wasted no time and made a grabbing motion toward Qin Ye's shoulder, following which both she and Qi Nü disappeared in unison."

Qin Ye heaved a faint sigh before turning to Zhao Yun, and the latter immediately cupped his fist in a salute. "Rest assured, my Lord, even if I have to sacrifice everything, I'll ensure that no harm befalls Ashmound!"

"No." Qin Ye grabbed onto Zhao Yun's hand and looked straight into his eyes. His lips began to tremble a little as he said, "All I ask is that you try to withstand this explosion."

Zhao Yun faltered slightly upon hearing this, following which his eyes narrowed slightly. "Try?"

"That's right." Qin Ye closed his eyes and gnashed his own teeth together tightly.

Even with the Plumed Serpent God's immense power, he still almost suffered backlash from the Heavenly Dao after withstanding a forbidden art, and he didn't want the same fate to befall Zhao Yun.

When Qin Ye said "try", what he meant was for Zhao Yun to attempt to withstand the explosion, and if he couldn't... then just give up.

He was asking Zhao Yun to give up the millions of netherworldly citizens in Ashmound. As for Ashmound itself, aside from the new constructions, all of the others are reflections created by the Reflection Palace. Even though the new buildings took up a quarter of the area of Ashmound, if the explosion couldn't be contained, then it would be much better to take the Reflection Palace away rather than suffer a complete wipeout.

"Why?"

"Because you're more important than Ashmound!" Qin Ye cut him off in a forceful voice. "If the education system had already been set up, and there were cultivators of all types of different levels among the millions of netherworldly citizens of Ashmound, perhaps I would be making a different decision, but right now, you're more important!"

Silence.

Zhao Yun didn't say anything. Ashmound was a city that they had dedicated far too much blood, sweat, and tears to. They had watched the city grow step by step. How could they give up so many netherworldly citizens just like that? How could it not pain Qin Ye to make such a decision?

However, there was no other choice. 

Even though the Cathayan Underworld could do everything in its power to keep this incident strictly confidential, the consequences of giving up an entire city would still be unimaginably catastrophic. However, despite this, Qin Ye's decision was still to prioritize Zhao Yun over Ashmound.

"My Lord..." Zhao Yun's lips quivered slightly, and a hint of emotion crept into his voice as he said, "I'm still somewhat confident in my ability to withstand the explosion."

Qin Ye released his hand, and it was as if all of the strength had been sapped from his body, but he still shook his head in a resolute manner. "Prioritize your own safety above all else."

Even though his heart was bleeding, he had to put on a calm facade. 

Zhao Yun nodded in response and didn't say anything further. Qin Ye cast his gaze upward, hoping to use gravity to fight the tears that were threatening to overflow.

After taking many deep breaths, he finally turned with a murderous expression, and his chest began to rise and fall rapidly as Yin energy revolved around his entire body, giving him the appearance of an Asura who had just emerged from the depths of the abyss as he slowly made his way outside.

As he strode along, he massaged his own glabella with his trembling fingers, and he was seeing red as he spat through gritted teeth, "Xu Fu, I'll kill you if it's the last thing I do!"

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