Chapter 1228: Collapse (1)

Nagasaki.

The surprise attack had been a resounding success, and Sasebo wasn't able to muster up any meaningful resistance before it was conquered.

The surface of the sea was illuminated by the light of countless flames, and the counties near Sasebo had also sensed that something wasn't quite right. Nagasaki and Fukuoka were already frantically gathering their troops, preparing to defend their land against enemy attacks.

Sasebo was quickly razed to the ground under the hooves of the Cathayan Underworld's cavalry, but Qin Changxin didn't stop there. The army was like an unstoppable wave, charging toward the nearby counties along the main roads.

Blitzkrieg tactics had been adopted here, and given the abrupt nature of the assault, and the crushing advantage the Cathayan Underworld's army had in terms of military formations, Qin Changxin's plan was to ride this wave and conquer as much of the Nipponese Underworld as possible in one fell swoop.

However, right as the lights of the next county appeared in the distance, all of the cavaliers tugged on their reins in unison, and the entire army drew to an abrupt halt amid a string of raucous neighs.

Qin Changxin's eyes narrowed slightly as he looked up ahead. In front of each Yin soldier was a mirror that was around 10 meters tall and roughly five meters wide. No matter where they tried to go, the mirrors remained directly in front of them.

These were inter-realm mirrors, and it was undoubtedly the case that enemy Yin soldiers were already rapidly gathering on the other side of the mirrors.

The Nipponese Underworld had reacted very quickly, and it was forcing the Cathayan Underworld's army to face the full brunt of the enemy forces through the use of these inter-realm mirrors.

This was clearly not the time to be charging ahead.

The troops on the ships still hadn't landed yet, and scant preparations had been made. With that in mind, Qin Changxin swiveled around on his horse and ordered, "Let's go back!"

Right at this moment, several cavaliers rushed toward Qin Changxin before cupping their fists in respectful salutes. "General Qin, we have received news of resounding victories on the islands of Ukushima, Nakadori, Fukae, and Hirado. At this point, our forces have already completely seized control of the four islands and are awaiting further instructions!"

Out of those four islands, the first three were situated just outside of Kyushu, forming a barrier on the sea. With those islands under their control, no matter how arduous the invasion turned out to be, it was at least ensured that there was no way the Nipponese Underworld would be able to launch a counterattack. 

"Good!" Qin Changxin replied with a nod. "Instruct all of the troops to assemble at the four islands, and we'll be holding a meeting between all of the high-ranking military officials right away!"

"Yes!"

……………………………………………….. 

The sound of wooden clogs on floorboards rang out along the entire corridor as a Yin spirit hurried forward, panting heavily as he did so.

In front of him was a tall mountain, and there were two shimenawa ropes tied around the entire mountain. The mountain appeared to be over 1,000 meters tall, and it was impossible to calculate its area. A series of timber paths were erected from the ground, leading to all parts of the mountain like stairs to heaven.

The paths were constructed in a very intricate fashion, and each one was over 20 meters wide, with torii gates positioned at 100-meter intervals. As the paths rose up higher and higher, the torii gates also followed that trend, and at the highest point, the torii gates were close to 1,000 meters tall!

On either side of the path above the torii gates were countless white lanterns, and there was a giant cave that had been dug onto the mountain peak, within which was a massive rock. Every single part of the entire mountain was constantly being patrolled by Yin soldiers.

This was the center of power in the Nipponese Underworld, Amano-Iwato.

The underworld emissary was panting heavily as he rushed toward one of the paths, and just as he was about to step onto it, he was stopped in his tracks by a guard.

"All of the yokai have already gathered for a meeting three minutes ago. At a time like this, I think it would be best not to make their jobs any more difficult."

The underworld emissary gulped nervously as he looked up at Amano-Iwato with an uneasy expression.

Can this conflict really be resolved? This is the Cathayan Underworld, one of the four pillars! What right does the Nipponese Underworld have to negotiate with them? 

Thump! Meanwhile, a large hand slammed heavily down onto a table in a conference hall of Amano-Iwato.

"Those shameless bastards!" Susanoo-no-Mikoto spat through gritted teeth.

This was a spacious conference hall with clouds of Yin energy surging through it, and at the center of the hall was a round stone table. At the moment, there were 100 underworld emissaries seated around the table, and they came in all different forms and sizes.

They included the nine yokai, as well as Izanami and Susanoo-no-Mikoto, the most powerful group of underworld emissaries in the Nipponese Underworld.

"How could they attack our nation without any warning like this? They're not fit to continue as one of the four pillars!"

Izanami was seated at the head of the table, and all of the Yin energy parted around her. Her black hair was gently drifting above her, and she was wearing a pristine white kimono. She looked up with a cold expression as he said, "If denouncing the Cathayan Underworld could resolve this issue, then I would be glad to join you, but if it can't do that, then I suggest you stop wasting time and actually do something useful!"

Her gaze swept over everyone like a pair of daggers as she continued, "Even with the inter-realm mirrors at our disposal, it'll be very difficult for us to ward off the Cathayan Underworld's invasion given the massive disparity between our military formations. I'd say that we'll only be able to last a maximum of six hours, and this is the final period of time we'll have in which to save ourselves! This is the most shameless invasion to have taken place in the last century! Our Nipponese Underworld will never yield, but at the same time, we must be objective and concede that our army is definitely no match for the Cathayan Underworld."

The air seemed to have completely congealed, and she slowly rose to her feet as she gnashed her teeth together. "We are the only ones here, so I'm going to be candid. Even though we don't want to admit it, if the Cathayan Underworld is determined to destroy our nation, we'll only be able to last one or two years at most. The only possible way that we can be saved is to receive international reinforcements before our nation falls! So long as Amano-Iwato doesn't fall, our Nipponese Underworld will have a chance at making a recovery! Hence, I don't care who you are, you must listen to my orders from now on!"

No one said anything.

No matter how much in-fighting there normally was between them, everyone knew that this was the time to unite as one.

After around half a minute of silence, Izanami swept a hand through the air, and a map of the Nipponese Underworld that was completely formed by Yin energy silently took shape.

Most of the map was green, and only the left third of the map that encompassed Kyushu was bright red. Furthermore, there were nine arrows on the map, all of which were pointed at the same area.

"Within three hours, the nine of you must arrive in Kyushu with your armies! I will issue an order to temporarily requisition the cities of Chikuzen, Hyuga, and Satsuma from the daimyos. We'll use the tenshu pavilions of those three cities as our strongholds, and we must withstand the first wave of the Cathayan Underworld's assault at all costs!"

As soon as her voice trailed off, a series of small red dots lit up all over the map, and there were too many of them to count.

Susanoo-no-Mikoto also stood up as he said, "The fate of our entire nation is at stake, so I want all of you to be present on the front lines in person. I know that the core resistance of our Nipponese Underworld won't come from our Yin soldiers, and we've never had many Yin soldiers, either. Hence, we have already issued an order for the four million Kunitsukami to assemble no matter where they are right now. All you need to do is hold on for six hours, and I'm willing to guarantee you that every single one of the four million Kunitsukami will arrive on the scene with no exceptions!"

"We'll be counting on you, everyone!" Izanami said as she extended a deep bow. "This is the most peril that our Nipponese Underworld has ever been in, and it's imperative for us to be united as one at a time like this. Due to the properties of the inter-realm mirrors, there's no way we'll be able to reclaim the territory that's already been conquered. We have to fight to ensure that we are not enslaved by the Cathayan Underworld!"

That night, countless underworld emissaries were sent out with messages to be delivered to all parts of the nation.

At Feathersheen City.

The sound of armored boots stomping onto the ground rang out in a passageway at the very top of the city, and a male Yin spirit wearing samurai robes with a katana strapped to his waist was walking toward the door up ahead, accompanied by several other Yin spirits in the same attire.

This man was Yoshizawa Hiroshi, an emissary of the Nipponese Underworld and one of the few daimyos who had submitted themselves to the current administration.

He wore a grim expression, and right as he was about to make it to the door in front of him, he suddenly stopped in his tracks, then turned around and took a brief glance at his surroundings.

Everything in Feathersheen City seemed to be the same as usual, with a spear-wielding footsoldier standing on guard duty every five steps, but for some reason, there seemed to be something different.

His brows furrowed tightly as a sense of unease quickly welled up in his heart, but after looking a few more times, he still couldn't sense anything different. Thus, he shook his head and turned around before opening the door.

Beyond the door was a room, which was separated into small parts by wooden poles. Bamboo curtains were hanging in front of each of these sections, and he could see the outlines of everyone seated behind the bamboo curtains, so he could tell that they were all fully armored.

That same sense of unease welled up in Yoshizawa Hiroshi once again, and his brows furrowed slightly as he extended a deep bow. "General Honda, the Cathayan Underworld has invaded, and half of Nagasaki County has already fallen! Mistress Izanami wants us to deploy our troops as reinforcements right away!"

The door was gently closed.

The sound of the door closing was very faint, but for some reason, Yoshizawa Hiroshi's soul shuddered slightly upon hearing it.

The room fell silent, and only after a long while did he receive a response from Honda Tadakatsu. "Alright, I understand."

"General Honda..."

Before he had a chance to finish, Honda Tadakatsu's voice rang out once again. "It's finally begun. I've waited so many years for this day to come!"

Yoshizawa Hiroshi immediately raised his head as an incredulous look appeared on his face, and right at this moment, the bamboo curtain right in front of him was abruptly raised, following which a burst of bright light pierced toward him in a flash.

It was as fast as lightning, and all of the bamboo curtains in the entire hall were destroyed, while a deep trench appeared on the ground.

In the blink of an eye, Tonbokiri had already plunged into Yoshizawa Hiroshi's chest. His lips were trembling, and his eyes were filled with incredulity as he watched Honda Tadakatsu slowly emerge in his full suit of armor. 

"You..."

Before he had a chance to finish what he was saying, he had already disintegrated into Yin energy.

Honda Tadakatsu strode over and gently grabbed onto the shaft of his spear, and all of the figures behind the bamboo curtains stood up in unison.

The first person to open their curtain was Tokugawa Ieyasu.

He was also wearing a full suit of armor, and his hand was resting on the hilt of his katana as he looked up at the ceiling and took a deep breath, as if he were desperately trying to remain calm.

The long-awaited moment had finally come! The history of the Nipponese Underworld was about to be rewritten, and it was no longer going to be Izanami's divine nation!

Even having experienced the Sengoku period, Honda Tadakatsu was struggling to maintain his composure, and his chest was heaving violently as he said in a slightly hoarse voice, "According to our agreement, the Cathayan Underworld will launch its main assault in five hours to completely conquer Kyushu. After that, their army will cross into Chubu and Shikoku to take over the three eastern regions."

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was very short, but the killing intent radiating from his body seemed to enhance his stature significantly as he said with a cold smile, "The Nipponese Underworld won't be able to stop the Cathayan Underworld's army. At the very most, they'll only be able to put up some resistance in Kyushu. Once they realize that's not going to work, they'll most likely immediately abandon Chugoku and Shikoku to focus their efforts entirely on defending Kanto and Chubu, and that is when we'll strike!"

Once the Nipponese Underworld's forces were all drawn to the front lines, it would be time for Amanozako to make her move.

There was no way that the Nipponese Underworld would be able to anticipate that there would be a hidden army marching directly toward Hokkaido to deal the nation a lethal blow!

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