Qin Ye rested his saber on his shoulder and glanced coldly at the corridor outside that was covered in dark shadows.
Thud… thud… The sound reverberated through the empty dormitory building as it rhythmically drew closer and closer towards him. One minute later, a pale hand landed on the door with a soft smack.
“Sss… sss sss…” There was a series of short and truncated goosebumps-inducing sounds, almost as though someone were licking the gray matter of a person’s brain with his scarlet tongue.
And then, there was an abrupt silence. Qin Ye tightened his grip on his saber.
In the very next second, amidst the dead silence, a huge head peeked out from the corner of the wall outside.
It was a meter-large head of a humanoid paper effigy! The paintwork on the effigy was quite poorly done, and its facial features were hardly straight or proportionate for that matter. The miserable, twisted face appeared all the more creepy under the eerie glare of the setting sun.
The humanoid paper effigy wore a tall white hat over its head. Its eyes were bloodshot, and its neck extended from the corridor as though it were a snake. Dishevelled human hair hung loosely underneath its tall white hat. At the same time, its nose continued to twitch and sniffle as though it were a vicious, rabid dog. And then, finally, it turned its pair of bloodshot eyes towards the bathroom.
The final rays of sunlight for the day cast a dappled shadow across the bathroom. As the two pairs of eyes met, Qin Ye waved genially to the paper effigy, “Hi.” (TL: This was said in english.)
“Sss!!!” The humanoid paper effigy let out a gut-wrenching scream. Like a shark that had seen blood, its haphazardly drawn lips tore open to its ears, extending as wide as the door to the bathroom and revealing rows after rows of razor-sharp teeth replete with a snake-like tongue.
Yet before it could even scream, a cold gleam of blade light shone brightly.
Shk… The dazzling saber drew a beautiful crescent across the air akin to a splash of bright moonbeam across the dark night sky. A muffled sound echoed into the surroundings. Before the humanoid paper effigy could even react to the situation, the cold glimmer of blade light had already cleaved a half-meter wide gash across its head, igniting the rest of its body with a jade-green netherfire.
A single strike was all it took to turn the humanoid paper effigy’s menacing cries to that of mournful groans. The massive head immediately shrank back into the corridor, and Qin Ye dashed out, giving chase. As soon as he stepped into the corridor, Qin Ye finally saw the ghastly being’s appearances in full.
It was huge.
If it stood straight, its body would be approximately five to six meters tall. But right now, the humanoid paper effigy had shrunk its body into a corner of the relatively small corridor, and it simply looked like an incredibly bizarre-looking pile of discarded paper.
The humanoid paper effigy’s body was completely white in colour, and it wore clothes that had also been cut out of paper. Hair hung over its body in a disheveled fashion, while its feet stood on half-meter tall stilts. The terrifying thuds earlier had been caused by the striking of the stilts on the ground.
It lay on the ground like a hungry wolf with a twisted stance. What would otherwise have been a ridiculous expression on its face as a result of the poorly drawn features now appeared incomparably hideous and vicious. As soon as Qin Ye stepped out onto the corridor, the small mountain of paper rushed straight towards him!
“Blood food… fresh blood food!! Sss!!!”
Thud thud thud! Wild thuds echoed throughout the corridor as its stilts struck the ground. The decrepit narrow corridor was completely empty and cold, and the approach of the massive flurry of paper made it impossible for Qin Ye to retreat at all.
“Hunter-class?” Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed coldly, “The City of Salvation is really a thriving place, isn’t it… I’ve heard that other cities have only two or three Hunter-class ghosts at best, yet they’re actually appearing in groups in the City of Salvation? And I can’t even detect their Yin energy to boot… tsk tsk tsk…”
He slowly drew his saber, “Is this the might of the Exalted Father?”
As his last word fell, the hilt of the demonhead saber exploded with a raging netherfire that was several times fiercer than ever before! In the very next moment, a towering gleam of blade light burst forth and filled the entire corridor!
Qin Ye’s attack was as tall as the corridor itself. The ground immediately blossomed with a web of cracks that extended everywhere. When the blade light finally dissipated at the end of the corridor, everything was silent once again.
Clink… Qin Ye sheathed his saber once more. The humanoid paper effigy was frozen in his last posture, and it was no more than half a meter away from where Qin Ye stood. Its grisly black nails were even merely centimeters away from Qin Ye’s face.
But it wasn’t able to move a single inch forward.
“You… you…” It spat out two words with great difficulty before a thin green flame appeared straight down the middle of its body, splitting the humanoid paper effigy in two halves and before quickly reducing it to ashes.
A single slash was all it took to cleave the Hunter-class ghost into two!
Emissaries of Hell were peerless against evil ghosts of the same rank as they were!
Qin Ye remained motionless.
He looked silently at the pile of ash on the ground. After a long time, he finally added, “There’s one more.”
“I’d left behind three humanoid paper effigies back then. Two of them have experienced a mutation, so I can’t imagine the last one being an exception either. But the crux of the matter is…” He furrowed his brows deeply, “What caused their mutation?”
“And these mutations are exactly the same as the ones that we’d seen in the fourth hunting zone. All of them broke through to the Hunter-class rank in a matter of days, yet not a shred of Yin energy can be detected from their bodies. The mutations from the fourth hunting zone had been caused by the Exalted Father, but what about these ghosts?”
Arthis paused for a moment, and then suddenly flew out, exclaiming with a slight tremble in their voice, “Are you suggesting… that they’ve been in contact with the Exalted Father as well?!”
Qin Ye drew on the ground with his saber. The implications of these words were just far too immense. It was also a thought that had just struck him.
“Come… let’s break down the issue properly.” His voice burgeoned with excitement. If they could come to a breakthrough in this regard, then everything would fall into place, including the revelation of the Exalted Father’s true identity and the establishment of Hell!
“Firstly, the Exalted Father’s existence causes Yin energy to become undetectable throughout the entire City of Salvation. But it’s only when Yin spirits come into direct contact with the Exalted Father that they would be able to break through to the Hunter-class rank in a short period of time. This is a distinctive trait of the Exalted Father’s influence.”
Arthis’ voice also grew incredibly grave, “But is it even possible that the three humanoid paper effigies would visit the fourth hunting zone in broad daylight and thereby become affected by the Exalted Father’s energy?”
“That’s impossible!” Qin Ye categorically denied the possibility, “Don’t forget that these are earthbound spirits as well!”
Qin Ye’s last statement rang in Arthis’ head like the deafening toll of a bell, causing her entire body to tremble with excitement.
Both of them had a feeling that they were only a door away from discovering the Exalted Father’s true identity this time!
And they had just inadvertently found the key to this door as well!
Every train of thought in her mind was now laced with unprecedented clarity. Suppressing the roiling emotions in her heart, Arthis chose her words carefully, “Earthbound spirits are tied down to a single location, and they can only move free about within that area. Therefore, there’s simply no way they could have visited the fourth hunting zone during this period of time. In other words… they had made contact with the Exalted Father within these campus grounds!”
Qin Ye’s chest also heaved and fell heavily. The precious gemstone that they thought was lost to them forever had just been found in a different place, “So… what place is there in these campus grounds that could possibly bring us to the Exalted Father’s location?”
Both of them paused for a moment, and then their eyes glowed brightly, and both Qin Ye and the soul sphere shot downstairs in an instant.
Reception office on the first floor!
Cao Youdao’s lair was located right below.
This was the only possibility!
They quickly arrived at the reception office. The old man was no longer manning the station here, and they immediately shot into the room that doubled up as an elevator. As the elevator went down, Qin Ye’s breath trembled slightly, almost as though it had once again detected the breath of Yin energy!
None of them spoke a single word. There was too much at stake right now. Who exactly was the Exalted Father, and how did he possibly survive Hell’s collapse and escape to the mortal realm? The scarlet numbers appeared on the surrounding mirrors once more. -1. -2. … And when it finally arrived at -6, both man and sphere rushed out of the lift as soon as the doors opened.
It was still the same long, narrow ancient corridor that they had seen before. The surroundings were carved with the exact same patterns, while the lamps that lined the sides remained lit.
Qin Ye was rushing forward when he abruptly paused mid step and ran his finger along the patterns on the wall. Then, he hammered firmly on the wall before Arthis could even chime in, “It’s here… this is definitely the place!”
“Do you still remember the ancient door at the SRC?”
Arthis immediately recalled it.
That’s right… we should’ve known earlier. The patterns on SRC’s main door are exactly the same as these ones!
Cao Youdao’s lair was clearly an enormous tomb that had yet to be discovered by humanity.
This massive tomb was so large that it stretched across the entire City of Salvation!
And the Exalted Father must have escaped from the netherworld, straight into this ancient tomb!
The entire path leading into the Orchid Clubhouse was still a complete mess. Everything was covered in dust, and there were still some lights that were flickering dimly. Yet in this world of dark and light, a white figure could be seen crouching in the corner with something sticking out of its mouth as it emitted a soft hissing sound.
Hearing the noise behind it, it immediately turned its head around, only to be greeted by a long blade that was blazing with green netherfire.
“Sss!!” The final humanoid paper effigy transformed into a wisp of smoke that quickly dissipated into the air. On the other hand, Qin Ye and Arthis quickly ran towards where the humanoid paper effigy had just been at and stared in amazement at what they had just discovered. Both of them looked as though they had just been struck with an epiphany.
“So that’s how it is…” Qin Ye sighed, “I should have thought of this a long time ago…”
It was the pit…
It was the pit that had earlier housed Hell’s Records!
At this moment, a clump of dark corporeal Yin energy was swirling about constantly just underneath the pit, yet unable to breach the surface of the ground.
There was no golden scale here. There were no obstructions!
“Wrong… we’ve been wrong the whole time.” Arthis trembled with excitement, “I’d earlier thought that Hell’s Records had simply been washed up. But… if the most precious of primordial treasures such as King Yanluo’s Seal would be smashed into smithereens and scattered across the ends of the earth, why didn’t it occur to me that there was simply no way Hell’s Records could naturally be preserved and remain completely intact?”
“In other words, something else had preserved it and brought it to this place…” Qin Ye gasped, “And that thing is none other than the Exalted Father!”
“And this hole.” The duo peered into the deep hole which was filled with roiling Yin energy, “Leads to where the Exalted Father is located!”
This was also the place where the three humanoid paper effigies had fed on the Exalted Father’s Yin energy, resulting in their mutation.
“Can you guarantee my safety?” Qin Ye took a step forward towards the pit. Even though the corporeal Yin energy was unable to breach the surface of the ground, the endless nethergale that was pouring out continued to cause Qin Ye’s clothes to flutter wildly.
“No.” Arthis gritted her teeth, “But… I’ll try my best!”
Damn… Qin Ye clutched at his hair. He wouldn’t be able to set his heart at ease until he went down personally to have a look.
I’ll take a look… just one look! The potential gains far outweigh the risks involved! As long as I can ascertain that there’s no danger, the returns would be hundreds of millions of times more than the investment itself!
“Having been a coward for so many years now… I’d never thought there would come a day when I would be taking the initiative to fight…” Qin Ye gritted his teeth, steeled his heart and leapt into the pit.
The soul sphere turned into a beam of light and shot straight down after him.
Whoosh… It was pitch-black in the pit. As far as the eyes could see, the only thing in plain sight was the rolling dark clouds everywhere. That said, they could at the same time vaguely make out a cacophony of painful, mournful howls coming from all around them as well.
Despite all that, Qin Ye focused on peering through the gaps in the clouds to make out what was below in the depths of the pit.
It got bigger and bigger. The further down he fell into the pit, the wider the space grew! After approximately ten seconds, he could no longer see the walls around him.
It’s approximately a thousand meters…
Then, Qin Ye heard something coming from just below him. It was a thunderous snort that rumbled through the dense clouds of Yin energy.
With every breath it took, the clouds of Yin energy would tremble and contract.
Qin Ye dared not imagine what kind of entity this was if its breath alone could already shake the heavens and devour the earth!Previous Chapter Next Chapter