“What?!” Wang Chenghao exclaimed, “Y-you’re saying… I-I’ve just been sitting together with a dead person? How can this be?! I was still with her last night! You… what evidence do you have?”
“Evidence… hahaha…” Qin Ye burst out into laughter. He really is an ignorant teenager. If he was an adult, the remotest possibility that this was true would be more than sufficient to cause his nuts to shrink.
Truth be told, Qin Ye had also questioned his decision to drag the well-built Wang Chenghao along with him. After all, Wang Chenghao was the one who had always been clinging to him, and someone like Wang Chenghao was most certainly going to be a burden.
“Intuition.” The door clanged once more as Qin Ye kicked it forcefully. Finally, the door was opened.
“Ahhhhhh!!!” Before Qin Ye could finish speaking, innumerable shrill shrieks echoed from the main dining hall, and a thick stench of blood immediately assaulted their senses.
“Things are going crazy…” Qin Ye drew a deep breath and pulled Wang Chenghao as he dashed downstairs. He had never expected the evil ghost to be so deranged as to make his move from the onset of the demonic hour. It was as though he didn’t have the slightest regard for the lingering Yang energy in the area!
“What about our classmates? What’s going to happen to them?” Wang Chenghao knew that something was amiss, yet he continued to ask about his classmates even as he continued to run wildly and gasp for breath.
“You’re still bloody concerned about the others?! If not for… do you really think that I would bring you along?” Qin Ye exploded with frustration. Then, he drew a deep breath and continued, “I’m sorry, but this evil ghost is much more powerful than the one in your house. There’s nothing I'd be able to do about it.”
“So, let’s just hope that the rest can buy us a little bit more time.”
Before he even finished speaking, the scream coming from behind had changed from screams of terror to screams of misery and despondence. Both students no longer spoke a single word as they dashed towards the fourth floor. However, as soon as they turned the corner at the third floor, both students were instantly taken aback.
An iron gate blocked their way down any further.
The iron gate was hardly a cause for concern. After all, any ordinary Emissary of Hell would be able to dispose of an iron gate without even breaking a sweat. However, the thing that caused Qin Ye’s pupils to constrict immediately was a black talisman seal that was invisible to mere mortals.
Yin energy. Overwhelming Yin energy!
It only took Qin Ye a single probe at it to understand that this was hardly a seal he could break on his own accord. By way of extrapolation, he knew for certain that he would never be able to defeat a ghost that could set up a powerful talisman seal like this.
“This is...the Seal of the Assassins of the Underworld?” Arthis exclaimed suddenly, “Does this mean that the evil ghost that showed up is an Assassin of the Underworld?”
Arthis paused for a moment before explaining, “Kid… run as fast and far as you can right now. The Assassins of the Underworld… even when Hell was still in existence, they were considered one of the most elite forces around.”
“This talisman is called the nine vectoral demon suppressing talisman. As long as the seal remains intact, Yin energy would never leak out at all. Unless you have the power of an Infernal Judge at your disposal, don’t even think about breaking it apart. This escape route is a write-off. There’s no way you’d be able to circumvent this.”
Qin Ye turned around and ran towards the event hall. If this was a dead end, then it was clear that only one path remained.
A full-on confrontation with the Assassin of the Underworld.
“Qin- Qin Ye…” Wang Chenghao trembled in fear - even he could feel an oppressive might overwhelming him.
“Rodent.” The seven apertures on Qin Ye’s face were already rippling with waves of Yin energy, gathering and congealing wisps of black smoke in front of him, “Later, your only job is to run. I won’t be able to look after you. Whether you live or die is entirely dependent on you.”
Whoosh… Qin Ye’s saber had begun to grow corporeal and appear by Qin Ye’s side now. Qin Ye’s voice grew cold and frigid, “If I die, remember to offer me an incense during the annual Qingming Festival. I’m from the Liu Er Mound Village, Gazi Gully, Tang An County, Qinguang City.”
This place was already tightly locked down, and there was no way for anyone in the mortal realm to discover them. Since it was impossible to avoid a full-on confrontation, then there was no reason to avoid it any longer.
Qin Ye’s Yin energy erupted fully in the instant he began charging back into the main event hall, and it looked almost as though a small stream of energy had filled the entire passageway. Ddespite the fact that it was still evening, Wang Chenghao could tell that the entire passageway was covered in billowing black smoke. He could even hear the cries of a hundred ghosts from afar.
Flutter flutter… Qin Ye’s clothes began fluttering about wildly. He had already transformed fully into his Hell's Emissary state. Long flowing black robes embroidered with three round black-and-white patterns. The soul shackle was wrapped around his waist, and he wore a black skullcap to top it all off. It was as though a free-spirited ghost had appeared amidst the stream of Yin energy. Qin Ye’s arm gripped tightly around the hilt of his demonhead saber, and the veins around his arms were already bulging and ready to explode. His eyes were trained on the great hall at the end of the passageway.
At the same time, in the midst of the bloodbath in the event hall, the puppet master suddenly lifted his head and stared transfixed at the passageway in the back of the hall. Then, he cried out in a hoarse voice, “Emissary of Hell!!!”
With his loud cry, the Yin energy in his surroundings - tens of times thicker than the energy flowing out of Qin Ye’s body - began to surge like a tidal wave. Following a second blood-curdling cry, he transformed into a gale of thick Yin energy and fled downstairs.
Crash! The chandeliers on the ceiling shook violently, and the tables and chairs in the event hall were swept about furiously by the gale. However, as soon as he arrived at the fourth floor, he suddenly paused in his steps.
“Something’s not right…”
“This is undoubtedly a genuine Emissary of Hell… The purity of his Yin energy is unmistakable… However…”
“... It’s just a mere Operative-class Emissary of Hell. It’s not even a Soul Hunter… how dare he flaunt his power in front of me?!”
“He’s courting death!!”
Before he could finish speaking, the gale of Yin energy made an about turn and charged directly back towards Qin Ye.
Meanwhile, Qin Ye felt slightly more at ease having already made his way back into the event hall. After all, the most frightening thing about retracing his steps back from the security passageway was that the evil ghost could be waiting at the other end of the passageway for him. Given how narrow the passageway was, there would be no room for manoeuvre or escape at all. Unexpectedly, he had managed to reach the main event hall without encountering his opponent at all.
However, notwithstanding the fact that he had already prepared his heart for the scene of devastation, he was still astounded by the bloodbath in the event hall.
Blood was everywhere.
And the massacre left nobody alive.
Most of the chairs and tables had been smashed to smithereens, while the walls and ground were covered in gashes and slash marks that were evidently left by a powerful blade. The students that had just been laughing and joking with him just ten minutes ago were now… all hanging as adornments on the chandeliers in the hall!
The students were all dangling by some dark threads with their limbs tied up. They had all died grievously.
The students spun about eerily as they continued to be suspended in mid-air, while blood continued to trickle down from their body into the rivers of blood that ran below. Incidentally, the pool of blood formed the mark of a beast.
Gusts of Yin energy swept about chillingly as black smoke hovered about. The present venue was currently a far cry from how Fenglai Hotel’s prestigious event hall used to look. Rather, it looked more like a terrifying graveyard of Asuras!
“Huurggghh…” Wang Chenghao had never seen such a grotesque sight in his entire life, and he immediately turned to the side and threw up. Qin Ye remained still, yet his focus was already tense to the extreme. A rush of violent Yin energy was charging straight towards them from the entrance, and he could tell that this source of energy was clearly stronger than him by a mile, and then some!
Shhhkkkkk!!! His entire body was swept back some distance. His stance had been firm and solid, yet his entire body had still been forced back three full meters under the powerful impact of the wave of oncoming Yin energy!
If Qin Ye’s Yin energy could be described to be a small stream, then his opponent’s Yin energy was no different from that of a raging river that instantly engulfed the hall, obscuring all sources of light and turning day into night!
In the very next moment, in the wake of a series of bizarre chuckles, a figure emerged abruptly from amidst the billowing black fog, shooting through the air. Its hands gleamed with an intense, cold light, and shot straight towards Qin Ye like a bolt of lightning - ready to kill.
The figure grew larger and larger in Qin Ye’s eyes. It was Lin Yue. Trace evidence of cut marks could be seen on every single joint on her body, including her mouth. The usually quiet and demure lady was now shrieking as her hair flailed about madly. As Lin Yue charged towards Qin Ye, she also brandished a chilling, bone carved blade in her arms.
Qin Ye also made his move. He unsheathed his long saber and unleashed a Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer attack that was several meters tall. The Yin energy in his surroundings was immediately forcibly dispersed!
The explosive clashing force sent a massive tremor rippling through the surrounding Yin energy like a powerful wave on an ocean. Qin Ye let out a muffled groan as he slammed onto the wall behind. An intense wave of pain spread through his entire back, and his bones even made sickening cracking sounds. On the other hand, Lin Yue’s entire body simply disintegrated, and parts of her body were scattered in all directions.
“Be careful.” Arthis warned Qin Ye seriously, “This is a puppetmaster - one of the sub-specialized professions among the linkers! They never personally participate in battles. The moment they appear is also the moment that they’re defeated. If you can’t locate his body, you’ll simply continue to face an endless wave of puppets controlled by him! Don’t forget that there are countless bodies all around you right now!”
Before she could finish speaking, Qin Ye shifted his demonhead saber abruptly. A figure by Qin Ye’s side hissed as it charged at Qin Ye with a fruit knife, attempting to stab him straight in the ribs. Fortunately, Qin Ye parried that attack with his massive saber.
Su Chaoyang was a student that was oft-rated as 7/10 in terms of his looks. But right now, his face was completely pale, and his eyes were bloodshot. Purplish livor mortis marks had already appeared all over his body, while incessant drool marks covered his jaws. Despite all of that, his speed was actually comparable with Qin Ye’s speed.
Just then, out of the corner of his eye, Qin Ye noticed Wang Chenghao sitting on the ground nearby with his legs limp and shaking, and he couldn’t help but yell at him, “Get lost!”
As soon as he finished speaking, a multitude of blade lights suddenly gleamed menacingly. The roiling black fog around him shuddered like vigorously boiling waters; while the pattering rain in the background continued to echo incessantly in his ears. He had just realized that there were suddenly seven or eight students standing around him. All of them were holding onto fruit knives, and each of their bodies were contorted and twisted beyond recognition. That said, all of them moved nimbly as they surrounded him in a concerted fashion.
Every joint on their bodies were connected to a black thread which faded into the darkness behind them, and every student emitted a chilling “kaka kaka kaka” sound that made anyone’s hair stand on end.
The puppeteer’s act had just begun.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
“Haa… ahhhh…” Wang Chenghao shuddered. His entire mind had been blank until Qin Ye’s holler had jolted him to his senses like a bolt of lightning. Immediately, he began to crawl desperately towards the elevator.
Qin Ye held his demonhead saber in his hand, surrounded by a fright of ghosts. Amidst the stifling silence and roiling black fog, Qin Ye perked up his ears to listen for movements of the other ghosts.
Yet, as the boundless Yin energy engulfed him from all directions, the only thing he could hear was the sound of his own thumping heartbeats. A drip of cold sweat rolled off the corner of his forehead. His concentration was now at its limits. In fact, practically every single pore on his body was constricted tightly at this moment. It was the calm before the storm; the recession of the tide just before a flash flood… This was the most dangerous situation he had found himself in after having lived for such a long time.
“The living?” A somewhat astonished voice echoed through the roiling black fog, “You’re… a living person?”
“Your mastery of the saber tells me that you’ve practiced it before… A living Emissary of Hell is far too rare… Taisui? The stuff of the legends? Upon consuming it, an entity would be empowered to straddle both the mortal realm and the netherworld… therefore, you were chosen to be an Emissary of Hell?”
His speech was slow, yet Qin Ye understood that the only reason for his opponent’s calm disposition was because he knew that victory was well within his grasp.
After all, the chasm between their skills was just too vast and wide to be bridged.
Swish… Just then, he was astonished to discover that all of the corpses around him had simultaneously set down their knives.
“I’ll give you one chance.”
“If you pledge allegiance to my master, you can remain alive today. You should be thankful that you possess a fleshly body that’s as precious and rare as a panda’s.”
“I’ll give you one minute to decide.”
Qin Ye’s eyes flickered with a bright gleam, yet he remained completely silent. This was because Arthis had been speaking to him all this while.
“You’re no match for him. Nobody will be able to protect you apart from me!”
“Besides, he’d just mentioned something about a ‘master’. If you don’t kill him right now, and he escapes and reports this incident to his master, what do you think will happen? You might be able to escape death this time, but what about next time?”
“If you’d just let me out right now... I simply refuse to believe that his master is also a Judge-class entity! Even if he was, the difference between Judge-class entities can be vast as a chasm.”
“And I… am undoubtedly a top-tiered Infernal Judge that was able to survive the great collapse of Hell caused by the ascension of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva!”
1. The ‘Hao’ in Chenghao is a homophone for the word ‘rat’ or ‘mouse’, which is why the classmates nicknamed him ‘Rodent’.