Qin Ye didn't immediately reply. Instead, he took a sip of wine, then said in a slightly begrudging voice, "I actually really hate how you chose to return at a time like this. All of the glory that was supposed to have been mine is now yours!"
"I didn't want to come back, either," the second King Yanluo replied in a lazy voice as he crossed his legs and folded his hands in front of his stomach.
"I can confidently say that my execution was flawless here. Through taking the absolute minimal risk possible, I received returns far greater in magnitude than the risk I took, but why did you have to show up at the end?" Qin Ye glared at the second King Yanluo in a displeased manner before setting down his wine glass. "And why did you leave just like that? Can't you have a bit of backbone?! Don't flip flop back and forth like this, you're really stealing my limelight, do you understand?"
The second King Yanluo's expression darkened slightly upon hearing this. "That's not what you said when you begged me to clean up after you in the past……"
"Times have changed," Qin Ye replied with a roll of his eyes. "Don't tell me you've been doing your best to minimize your presence, your existence itself automatically places you right under the center of the limelight!"
The second King Yanluo, "Like I said, I didn't want to come back myself. I came back last time for you, but this time, it really is for something different."
He made a grabbing motion as he spoke, and a black box appeared in his grasp from out of thin air before he placed it onto the table. He then cast a serious gaze toward Qin Ye and asked, "Don't you think there are still some unanswered questions in the wake of what just happened?"
Wow, your subject-changing skills are truly lacking! That was the most stiff and forced transition I've ever seen! Qin Ye repressed the urge to continue pursuing the previous topic of conversation as he cast his gaze toward the black box.
It was a jade box that had been polished to an extraordinary degree of smoothness, yet all types of patterns were engraved on its surface.
After just a single glance, Qin Ye's brows immediately furrowed slightly. There were four different types of patterns engraved on the four corners.
If they were simply different patterns, then that wouldn't be much cause for attention, but the four types of patterns were in completely different styles.
One type was in the Aegyptian style, and it bore a strong resemblance to the murals in their pyramids.
Another type came from Argosia, and it was clear to see that it was the renowned Argosian zodiac signs.
The third type was from Hindustan, depicting a death god riding on the back of an elephant.
The final type was from Cathay, and it was an inscription of the Aurogon.
How had this box managed to incorporate these four types of cultures all at once?
Qin Ye gently laid a hand onto the box, and as soon as his hand came into contact with it, his mouth immediately sprang open in surprise.
He discovered that the four types of engravings were imbued with four types of auras as well!
They were all auras familiar to him, belonging to Anubis, Yamaraja, the twin death gods of the Argosian Underworld, and…… the idiot beside him!
A reminiscent look appeared on the second King Yanluo as he looked at the box. "When power is completely passed over from one ruler to another, the previous ruler will be sure to reveal all of their secrets to their successor. Even the emperors of ancient times would only reveal their trump cards at the very end, and this is my trump card. No, it's the trump card of the entire world."
Qin Ye was very intrigued to hear this. The fact that even someone like the second King Yanluo was treating this box so seriously indicated that it was definitely no ordinary item, and on top of that, this was the true trump card of a nation!
"Is this the black box used to fire forbidden arts?" he asked in a tentative manner.
The second King Yanluo gave him a vicious glare in response. "Black boxes aren't required to fire forbidden arts! Have you thought about my question just now? What have you missed here?"
Bullshit! There's no way the wise and almighty Yanluo Qin could've possibly missed anything!
Qin Ye aimed a disdainful glance at the second King Yanluo, and all of a sudden, a thought occurred to him, following which a contemplative look appeared on his face.
He had indeed missed some things.
"Who wrote this grand script of death?" A serious look appeared on his face as he cast his gaze toward the box through narrowed eyes. "Does that have something to do with this?"
The entire situation was already very clear at this point with the exception of a single point, which was the author of this grand script of death.
He had thought that it was the Plumed Serpent God, but judging from how seriously the second King Yanluo was taking this matter, he had already abandoned that possibility.
There was no way that the Plumed Serpent God would be able to invoke such a reaction from the second King Yanluo.
"It does," the second King Yanluo replied as he looked into Qin Ye's eyes with just as serious an expression. "What if I tell you that Lao Tzu, Guiguzi, and Mencius are all still in the underworld?" [All three of the aforementioned people are vastly renowned philosophers in Chinese history.]
Qin Ye was astonished to hear this. This was the biggest bombshell that had been dropped onto him to date!
The 12 envoys and Sixfold Ghost Kings that he had under his command were already extremely renowned characters in Cathayan history, but they were nothing compared with Lao Tzu, Guiguzi, and Mencius!
Even the most renowned of Cathayan emperors weren't as well known as them! They were the soul of Cathay, the pillars of culture and civilization!
How was it possible that these monumental saints were still in the underworld, and if they were still there, why hadn't they reached out to him?
"They aren't under the jurisdiction of Hell." The second King Yanluo lit a cigarette and took a puff from it, then continued, "They're Yin spirits, but they don't belong directly to Hell. This is a very difficult matter to explain. Even I have to go through countless procedures just to be able to meet them, let alone someone like you."
"Hold on……" Qin Ye massaged his own glabella as he asked, "Didn't you say I was missing something? Weren't we discussing the identity of the author of this grand script of death? Why are we suddenly talking about them now? How are these things related?"
The second King Yanluo's eyes narrowed slightly as he replied, "Let me help you make sense of the situation. You're not the only one pursuing the author of this grand script of death."
"Nothingness and I have been watching them this entire time, but we don't care about the things on the surface, we want to track down the roots. The first time it appeared was in Wellington."
Wellington? As in Wellington, New Zealand?
Qin Ye didn't interrupt and continued listening carefully.
"After that, due to a sequence of unforeseen events, it passed through several sets of hands, traveling from Samoa to the Cook Islands, then to the Pitcairn Islands, Easter Island, and the Galapagos Islands. If you're familiar with the world map, I'm sure you know what this route entails."
Qin Ye's expression changed slightly upon hearing this. Of course he was aware of what this route entailed.
It was a route that led from the Eastern Pacific Ocean to the Western Pacific Ocean!
"We've been tracking it for over a century, and only the rulers of the other three pillars and I are aware of this matter. No other death gods know about this. For example, Anubis is aware of this, but even Osiris has been kept completely in the dark. I know about this, but Ksitigarbha is unaware."
He looked intently into Qin Ye's eyes as he continued, "This knowledge is only passed down between the absolute ruling death gods of the four pillars, and it's exactly because of its existence that the four pillars came to be. After reaching the Galapagos Islands, it was finally obtained by the three death gods of the Caribbean, and from that point onward, the grand script of death commenced."
Qin Ye leaned back in his chair with a contemplative expression as he mused, "So you're saying none of the death gods of the new continent wrote this grand script of death."
"That's right," the second King Yanluo replied with a smile. "The being that wrote this grand script of death doesn't belong to our world."
Qin Ye was starting to feel the onset of a headache. "What do you mean by that?"
The second King Yanluo patted him on the shoulder and said, "Go up and take a look. You're going to be witnessing the biggest and final secret of this world."
He pointed at the black box before continuing, "All of the information that we currently have is stored in this box, but this isn't the right time for you to open it. Only open it once you're ready."
The second King Yanluo's expression was completely stoic and serious as he looked straight into Qin Ye's eyes. "Don't treat this as a joke even for a single second. Curiosity killed the cat, and it'll kill you as well if you let it get the better of you. This thing has been in my possession for over 1,000 years, and it's time for you to shoulder this duty as well. The truth behind the four pillars, the state of this world…… You'll completely understand everything once you decide to open this box."
Qin Ye didn't say anything in response. Instead, he casually grabbed another glass of wine and began to make his way up to the deck of the cruise ship.
The cruise ship was very luxurious, and he could tell that they were in the mortal realm, but he could also sense that every single one of the servers on the ship were possessed by Yin spirits.
As soon as he made his way past them, all of them immediately lowered their heads in a respectful manner until he passed them by.
He looked into his glass as the swirling wine reflected the light overhead, and his mind was feeling quite muddled.
Firstly, the second King Yanluo's recounting abilities were absolutely horrible. If he were to fill in for a reporter, he would definitely be fired on that very same day. However, Qin Ye was already used to this. He was dealing with the most powerful being in history, so he had to accept that such a being would have some flaws.
At the same time, Qin Ye was carefully analyzing the second King Yanluo's mindset.
Even though the second King Yanluo's recount had been quite scattered and chaotic, he had still managed to catch a few things.
"Where is this ship traveling to?" he suddenly asked as he stopped in his tracks.
There was a tall and thin Caucasian male following along behind him, and this man was an Abyssal Prefect!
He laid an arm diagonally across his own chest as he extended a respectful bow, then replied, "We are at Wellington's first defensive line, esteemed underworld emissary."
The first defensive line, eh? As expected…… An idea was already beginning to take shape in his mind, but his expression betrayed nothing as he asked, "Who's the supervisor here?"
"That would be General Napoleon, esteemed underworld emissary." The server was still in a deep, respectful bow, and he continued, "We're about to reach Puerto Santa Cruz and will be entering the underworld in around half an hour, so please prepare yourself for that, esteemed underworld emissary."
Qin Ye nodded in response and didn't say anything further as he arrived on the deck of the ship.
Outside, he was greeted by the sight of the vast sea and the starry night sky.
He leaned against the railing of the ship, taking one sip of wine after another. As soon as he ran out of wine, all he would have to do was set down the glass, and within 10 seconds, a server would definitely arrive in a wraith-like manner to give him a refill. Shortly thereafter, a server carried a table over to him and placed one delicacy onto another as if these delectable dishes grew on trees here.
These were truly exceptional delicacies, and the taste and presentation were both impeccable.
Qin Ye picked up a slice of Iberian ham and took a look at it, then set it down again as he asked, "Do all guests on this ship receive this type of treatment?"
"That's right." The Abyssal Prefect level server had appeared out of thin air to answer his question. "This is well deserved for the glorious warriors."
Qin Ye nodded in response, then snapped his fingers, and the chair swiveled around on its own, allowing him to cast his gaze out toward the sea.
A black box sealed by the ruler death gods of the four pillars, a grand script of death that had drifted across the entire Pacific Ocean, a mystery that had caught the attention of the second King Yanluo and the Heavenly Dao, a ship that was traveling toward the territory of General Napoleon……
What exactly was this first defensive line defending?
He had thought that he had already reaped as much reward from this as possible, obtaining Kraken's body, progressing to the mid Yama-King level, and establishing a foothold on the new continent, but after witnessing the emergence of the second King Yanluo and the Heavenly Dao, he felt as if he still hadn't truly come into contact with the true core of all of this. Only now was he beginning to uncover the truth.
He smiled as he murmured to himself, "In your eyes, I'm still too weak, aren't I? You thought I was unfit to inherit this black box, isn't that right? That's why you were reluctant to leave this entire time. If I didn't just so happen to get involved in this matter and perform better than you had expected, I bet you would've hidden the truth from me for even longer."
Indeed, just as the second King Yanluo had said, he had come back to teach Qin Ye the final lesson.
However, he was certain that if he hadn't completely replaced Dax, torn the grand script of death to shreds, and attracted the attention of the Heavenly Dao by attempting to kill the three death gods of the Caribbean, there was no way that the second King Yanluo would've been willing to pass the black box down to him.
Despite the second King Yanluo's rough exterior, he was quite a cunning man.
"But you've overstepped your boundaries! Don't forget that I am now the Cathayan Underworld's King Yanluo!" he mused to himself with a cold expression.
An awkward look then appeared on his face as he cleared his throat and murmured, "Having said that, I'm a kind and gracious ruler, so I'll forgive you just this once……"