Chapter 96: Those Who Pass, and Those Who Exist

The Fengdu Necropolis, formerly known as the Haunted Capital, was established by Emperor He of the Han Dynasty in the second year of the Yongyuan Era, and it has a history of close to 2,000 years. It is located on the north bank of the Yangtze River, in Fengdu County. The Fengdu necropolis is also known as the “Ghost City”, the “Capital of Ghosts”, and “Birthplace of Cathay’s Dante’s Divine Comedy”[1].

A part of Fengdu County was eventually submerged underwater with the establishment of the Three Gorges Dam. Underneath the surface of the water at this moment, structural pillars and columns and houses alike appeared to be drawn down by some mysterious force as they all collapsed with a muffled sound.

Numerous boulders collapsed and crumbled to the seabed. Anyone who possessed the infernal eyes would be able to see the congregation of hundreds of thousands of Yin spirits just underneath the surface of the waters! All of them were gathered around the Fengdu Necropolis.

It was almost as though they were waiting for something with eager anticipation. And the more they waited, the more anxious they grew. Some of them had even begun to show signs of transformation into vengeful apparitions. But just then, they all paused at the same time.

They raised their heads in unison and looked to the east.

Each and every one of them had the exact same expressions on their faces. They were silently sensing.

And then, in the very next second, they suddenly charged straight in the direction of the City of Salvation like maddened ghosts!

Hell summons. None dared disobey!

Just above, at the Three Gorges Dam. The rumbling rivers sat at the back, while rolling green hills sat on both sides of the dam. There was a huge drop on the other side of the dam, where water continuously spewed out like a spectacular tsunami. In contrast, the jade-blue water that collected at the top of the dam appeared completely calm and tranquil, giving off the feeling of a boundless ocean.

A Taoist priest sat at the center of the Three Gorges Dam, at the location often known as the “mouth of the dragon”.

Winds billowed furiously about the dam, while wild apes cried out on both sides of the river. Yet the Taoist priest never once opened his eyes.

“Do you think he’s a rock?” One of the employees at the work station nearby stared at the Taoist as he asked in bewilderment, “It has been ten years. He only eats once a month and drinks a single vat of water. And then he just sits here. Those who don’t know any better might even think he’s trying to suppress something?”

As soon as he finished speaking, the Taoist abruptly opened his eyes.

“This is…” A look of abject shock appeared on his otherwise calm, tranquil face. He immediately ran to the edge of the dam, “This… how is this possible?!”

Rumble… To the mortals standing around, the skies had quickly darkened. Within ten seconds, the previously bright skies were suddenly overcast with dark clouds, replete with flashes of lightning that dazzled the sky.

But to the Taoist priest… those were hardly dark clouds at all. Instead, they were countless Yin spirits that were flying across the dam, screaming at the top of their voices as they filled the skies!

Many. Too many! Their numbers were endless! The number of Yin spirits was at least in the millions! No… it was much more than that!

Like a flock of birds flying in close formation, the multitude of Yin spirits formed a massive cloud that completely blotted out the sky!

The phenomenon lasted for a full ten minutes before the cloud of Yin spirits finally vanished. Just then, he suddenly heard a cry of alarm, “Look! What’s that?!” “My god… it can’t be… why are there so many?!” “Have the gates of Fengdu Necropolis opened up?”

He immediately looked down.

There, in the rushing river waters below, one after another decaying coffins had suddenly surfaced from the depths of the riverbed.

The exact number was unknown. But regardless… there was sufficient to cover the entire surface of the Yangtze River in sight![2]

Crash… Simultaneously, at a villa some distance away. An old man wearing a silken imperial robe was just holding a cup of tea when his hands suddenly trembled. The tea cup fell to the ground and shattered into innumerable pieces.

“This feeling…” He immediately got up, walked to the window and gazed into the distance, “How could it be…”

“Why do I suddenly have palpitations in my heart…”

“It’s reminiscent of those days… Thousands of years ago, when I first arrived in Hell…”

……………………………………………

Insignia University, at Cao Youdao’s lair.

Time trickled by slowly. Qin Ye lay by the side of the pit. His Hell’s Emissary uniform was in tatters, and sparse amounts of Yin energy lingered about his body. His muscles were twitching uncontrollably, but his eyes remained tightly shut.

“Haa…” Then, after a protracted period of time, he suddenly sat up. His entire forehead was percolating with cold sweat. Almost as though he remembered something important, he immediately peered into the depths of the pit.

“Arti?” He tried shouting, only to realize that his entire body was throbbing with pain. However, Qin Ye didn’t care. He continued to peer into the hole.

However, there was no response.

“Cough cough…” He opened his mouth to call out to her again, only to end up hacking and coughing. Clutching desperately at his chest, he finally managed to hoarsely cry out, “Arthis?”

Is-is-is-is… The only response he got from the deep, dark pit was the endless reverberations of his own voice.

There was still no response.

“Arak…” He cried out a third time. Yet before he could even finish calling out, a bright glimmer of light shot out from the depths of the pit like a tiny meteorite.

As soon as the bright light shot out, it quickly landed on the ground like a broken ball that had lost all of its strength.

Tak tak tak… A desolate sound echoed throughout the corners of Cao Youdao’s lair. Qin Ye’s lips turned dry as he slowly picked up the object on the ground.

It was a soul sphere.

There were scorch marks all over it. The wrapping that had initially been tightly wound around the soul sphere had been reduced to bare scraps, and only dim traces of the innumerable complex Sanskrit words now remained. 

As soon as Qin Ye’s hand touched the soul sphere, it shattered like sand, revealing nothing but darkness within.

Arthis’ spiritual body wasn’t there.

Neither was her physical body.

It was as though there had never been anything inside the soul sphere. It was completely empty.

Qin Ye looked wistfully at the soul sphere, before finally sighing after a long time.

“Why don’t you talk about yourself for once…” He carefully put away the wrappings of the soul sphere as he revealed a complex grimace on his face, “You’d been courting disaster right from the onset…”

“I’m the protagonist of the story, yet you attempted to assassinate me in Hell. According to the rules of these stories, that already means you are bound to die. But you didn’t, and you remained behind, journeying with me for such a long time. I was already on the brink of trusting you wholeheartedly. And then, you suddenly pulled out a ‘damsel rescuing the hero in distress’. Were you trying to etch your mark in my heart like a cinnabar mole? Naive. Truly naive…”

He slowly put away the charred wrappings, ignoring the fact that the ashes had already stained his long fingers.

“And I’d told you a long time ago that you should show your hand before it’s too late. What’s the point in keeping one ace up your sleeve after another? Life’s just like that… the worst thing that can happen to a person is if he dies before he can spend his hard-earned money.”

“Look at yourself. The first part of your life was glorious. The middle portion of your life had its ups and downs. And finally, you grew old and had nothing to rely on in the latter part of your life. The multitude of twists and turns in your life caused a promising young woman like you to end up distrusting people. Even on the brink of death, you refuse to tell me how to rebuild Hell, you refuse to teach me the secret arts of Hell, and you even make it your life goal to berate me and put me down… But look at you now. I’m still the one who ends up having to collect your corpse…”

The charred wrappings might have been long, but there was still an end to it.

He bunched everything up in his hands and shook his head, “Rest in peace. I’ll make it a point to burn paper money for you every year on this day…”

“You’ve summed up my life pretty succinctly, haven’t you?” A lady’s cold voice came from behind him.

Qin Ye was somewhat startled, and he immediately turned around in disbelief.

Arakshasa stood right behind him. But this was no illusion. It was her complete, corporeal being.

This was the second time he had seen Arakshasa’s true appearances.

And this was the closest he had ever been to her.

She was beautiful.

When she wasn’t in her Judge-state appearances, her beauty was sufficient to cause any man’s heart to tremble and palpitate. Her shape of her face was sharp and pristine, and her skin was soft and tender. Her lips were a striking vermillion colour, while her almond-shaped eyes were clear as the autumn waters. A pair of ebony eyebrows further accentuated the abstruse gaze that she had.

That said, she presently cut a sorry figure.

Her face was abnormally pale, her hair was frazzled and all over the place, and her colourful robes had been completely charred. Most importantly, she was staring at Qin Ye with extremely unkind eyes.

Still alive?

Well… That’s rather awkward…

Qin Ye looked at the soul sphere in his hands, and then looked back at Arthis once more. She had evidently managed to free herself with the aid of the Harken’s powerful attack. Then, he slowly unrolled the wrappings and began to coil it around Arthis’ head, “Be good. This is all an illusion. This is all foam. This is all fireworks…”[3]

Boom! He only managed to coil the wrappings around Arthis’ head once before his entire body was struck by a powerful force and sent flying. And then, a mysterious force caught him in mid air and brought him back to Arthis’, where he stopped just one decimeter away from Arthis’ ink black nails.

“Cough… cough cough cough cough!!” The Yin energy around her scattered wildly as Arthis coughed away. Seconds later, she continued gravely, “You never would have guessed it, would you? That my greatest misfortune would turn into the greatest blessing and free me from the trappings of the soul sphere?”

Qin Ye eked out a stiff smile as he continued to hang limply in mid-air, “About that… We might have had some small misunderstandings in the past…”

“Small misunderstandings?!” Arthis grabbed Qin Ye’s ear and yanked it so hard that Qin Ye cried out in pain, “Don’t… please dont! Calm down! The world is an amazing place! You shouldn’t be so grumpy! It’s not good for you!”

“Arti?! Huh?!” Arthis had practically twisted Qin Ye’s ears a full one hundred and eighty degrees by now. The tide of resentment that had been bottled up within her was finally unleashing itself.

“Lazy?! Huh?! Useless? Huh!! Cowardly?! Hmm?!!”

“Arthis?! Hmm?!!”

“Minithel?! Hmm?!!”

In the end, she kicked Qin Ye forcefully on the buttocks, causing Qin Ye’s buttocks to sink in as he flew three meters backwards.

“Heh….” Arthis didn’t even look at him. Instead, she trembled with excitement as she stared at her hands. And then, she threw her head into the air, “Hahahaha… Sss!!!”

Boom!! A wave of terrifying Yin energy that was practically corporeal erupted from her body. The entire room shook violently. Qin Ye let out a muffled groan. Something came up in his throat, but he forcibly swallowed it back down.

I’ve miscalculated…

How are you still alive?

Isn’t this a waste of my emotions earlier?

Qin Ye had never expected the Harken’s powerful strike to shatter the soul sphere and release the former Infernal Judge within. Furthermore… Arthis had been acting so pure and innocent over the past few months that he had practically forgotten all about her capriciousness.

Swish… Right after the ferocious explosion of Yin energy, everything suddenly became strangely calm and tranquil once more. The circumstances spoke volumes of Arthis’ erratic temperament.

The dark clouds around her settled, and she inhaled the air with such drunken stupor that even her voice had begun to tremble, “I’m out…”

“I’m finally out. Kekeke!!”

After laughing uproariously for a few seconds, she gracefully lifted the green silk beside her ear. Her deep, abstruse eyes were so beautiful that it would make hearts tremble. She looked coldly at Qin Ye, “I’d said it before. The debt between us isn’t something that can be accounted for in just a single day…”

“Misunderstanding. It’s all been a misunderstanding.” Qin Ye chuckled dryly, but his hand had already gently reached for the hilt of his saber.

But how could his discreet movements possibly elude the keen senses of the Infernal Judge standing before him? Arthis chuckled coldly, and she immediately sent Qin Ye’s demonhead saber flying away, plunging straight into a wall ten meters away as though it had been shot from a bow.

Arthis stepped in front of Qin Ye and lifted his chin with her slender fingers.

“A mere Soul Hunter dares to disrespect an Infernal Judge? Tell me… how do you think I should punish you?”

Qin Ye was sweating profusely. The female ghost’s temperament was completely unpredictable.

It was completely capricious.

“Speaking of which, you’re pretty decent-looking.”

Arthis smiled faintly. Her lips parted, revealing a scarlet-red tongue that slithered out like a snake and gently licked Qin Ye’s cheek, “You suit my tastes.”

“... Chief, that wouldn’t be a good idea, would it? Man and ghost are far too different. We’re never going to get anywhere with this…” Qin Ye held up his hands and muttered softly.

“Are you afraid now?” Arthis continued to smile faintly as she suddenly squeezed her hands, tightening her grasp around Qin Ye’s throat in just an instant. Her charred clothes and ink black hair suddenly fluttered wildly with an imposing flourish, and her appearances turned vicious and incomparably hideous, “When you so casually and repeatedly addressed the esteemed Arakshasa as Arti and Arthis, did you ever consider the possibility of a day such as this?!!”


1. This is a really famous piece of work that talks about Hell and Purgatory, and the like. It’s actually an Italian literature, but the author calls it a ‘chinese version’, presumably to please his audience.

2. Just to put things into perspective, the Three Gorges Dam is approximately 40 meters across in width.

3. This is a reference to a song by G.E.M., a Hong Kong singer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGeiABBB5f8 

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