"What is the meaning of this?
Nipponese Underworld, Tokyo Bay.
Iwasaki Kyōya had already passed away, and at this moment, he was seated in Takeshigerō as a Yin spirit. Takeshigerō was the Mitsubishi Corporation's first restaurant, so Iwasaki Yatarō viewed it in very high regard, which was why it had been replicated in the underworld as well.
A stack of banknotes were placed on the table. Looking out from here, one had a clear view of the vast Tokyo Bay. At this moment, a series of fortress-like pavilions had risen up over the surface of the water, and standing in front of Iwasaki Kyōya was a man in an official's robe. The man was tapping the center of his own palm with his closed hand fan, looking on with an intrigued expression as Iwasaki Kyōya extended a respectful bow.
The man picked up his teacup before casually taking a sip. "As I'm sure you're already aware, the Cathayan Underworld launched a surprise attack on Nagasaki an hour ago, and at the moment, Sasebo and the islands of Ukushima, Nakadori, Fukae, and Hirado have all already fallen. Mistress Izanami has already issued an order to seal off all waterways and land routes, so you're putting me in a very difficult position here."
There was a fawning smile on Iwasaki Kyōya's wizened face as he said, "Kobayashi-san, we wouldn't want to do things this way either if it weren't for the fact that our clients are urging us to deliver their goods to Hokkaido. This is the first large order our Mitsubishi Consortium has ever received, and we have to fulfill it no matter what!"
The man heaved a faint sigh as his brows furrowed slightly. "It's not that I don't want to help you. The problem is that all of the checkpoints in the waterways are being overseen by the daimyos, so how am I supposed to help you?"
"All you need to do is sign a clearance notice, and we'll take care of the rest."
The man remained silent and offered no response.
Iwasaki Kyōya lowered his head again, and on this occasion, he picked up a black suitcase before placing it onto the table. The suitcase was then opened to reveal orderly stacks of underworld currency.
"I know that this isn't much money considering the size and number of our ships, but this is already the largest amount of cash that our Mitsubishi Consortium is capable of mustering up at this point. Please grant us your assistance."
Iwasaki Kyōya extended a deep bow until his forehead was almost in contact with the table, and after a few seconds of silence, the man finally conceded, "Alright, but I'm only making this exception just this once."
"Yes!" Iwasaki Kyōya immediately extended another respectful bow.
"Sometimes, I think I'm a little too nice," the man said with a smile, but his smile then immediately faded as he continued, "I can sign the clearance notice, but the cargo of all of your ships must be inspected."
Iwasaki Kyōya was just about to raise his head again, but he kept it lowered, and even though a cold look had appeared in his eyes, his voice remained as respectful as ever. "Surely there's no need for that. The Mitsubishi Consortium isn't the Mitsubishi Corporation of the mortal realm, and we're only transporting normal cargo."
"Those are the rules," the man replied in an implacable voice. "We are in times of war. There's no way that the Cathayan Underworld's army will be able to reach all the way here, but this is still a matter that has to be taken very seriously. If I don't examine your cargo, I won't be able to answer to my higher-ups."
Only after a few seconds did Iwasaki Kyōya heave a faint sigh. "I see. In that case, there's no helping it."
A sense of foreboding suddenly welled up in the man's heart, yet before he even had a chance to stand up, Iwasaki Kyōya abruptly stood up straight and plunged a dagger into the man's chest like lightning with both hands.
The man's expression immediately became twisted with shock and agony, and he stared intently at the dagger protruding out of his chest. His mouth slowly sprang open as if he wanted to say something, but his soul disintegrated into netherfire before he had a chance to say anything.
At the same time, the door of the room was opened, and several armored warriors stormed in. The leader of the group took a glance at the scene before him, then asked, "Has it been taken care of?"
Iwasaki Kyōya was still in the same pose as before. He had struck with incredible ruthlessness and precision, but at this moment, his hands were trembling and bulging with veins.
"It's alright, the first time killing someone is always the hardest," the man said. "We don't have any time to waste, Iwasaki-san. Everyone's lives are on the line here! Have you taken care of things or not?"
"It's done." Iwasaki Kyōya's hands were still trembling as he put the dagger away, then picked up an official notice from the table. "Torii-san, please get your people to allow the Mitsubishi Consortium's ships free passage right away. The ships will immediately travel to Aokigahara to welcome the troops of the Cathayan Underworld!"
An hour after the landing at Nagasaki, Maeda Toshiie's tenshu pavilion had become the scene of a horrific slaughter. Maeda Toshiie had invited the commanders of the Nipponese Underworld's army in this region under the guise of wishing to discuss countermeasures against the Cathayan Underworld's invasion. During the meeting, he had slain them all and cleared away the first barricade leading to Aokigahara.
Mōri Terumoto's tenshu pavilion was situated in Brightmoon City, and the 50,000 Yin soldiers under his command vanquished the local forces with karmic flame arrows to open up the second barricade.
In addition to that, the tenshu pavilions of Kobayakawa Takakage, Ukita Hideie, and Tokugawa Ieyasu had all become sites of bloodshed. They had been planning in secret for years, and they were acting with extreme stealth and caution. Those at Amano-Iwato were completely oblivious to the fact that their defensive efforts were being undone from the inside.
"A new era is coming." At the top of the tenshu pavilion, Tokugawa Ieyasu was holding tightly onto his hand fan as he looked at the Sanzu River under the moonlight. The river was flowing peacefully past his tenshu pavilion. It was over a kilometer wide and had no end in sight, stretching all the way from Aokigahara straight into the Nippon Sea.
Amanozako, it's about time that you made a move!
In one more hour at most, the Cathayan Underworld's army of 200,000 was going to enter from the mortal realm through Aokigahara, then travel to the Nippon Sea through the Sanzu River to attack from Hokkaido.
Once the army of the Nipponese Underworld and the four million Kunitsukami gathered at Kansai and Chubu, the final battle would commence.
He spread his arms open and closed his eyes as he felt the wind blow against his face.
"Come! Let us see who will have the last laugh!"
Right at this moment, a smoke signal was lit at the foot of the tenshu pavilion, and the flame illuminated countless cavaliers, footsoldiers, and artillery troops.
Their eyes were all glowing with determination and battle intent, and the netherfire inside them was like a galaxy of stars clustered around the tenshu pavilion.
The largest city in Nagasaki, Sasebo, had fallen, and directly neighboring the city were the towns of Hasami and Sechibaru. Thanks to the activation of the inter-realm mirrors, the cavalry of the Cathayan Underworld was temporarily kept at bay, but the atmosphere in those towns was still extremely tense.
Due to the existence of the inter-realm mirrors and the limited number of Yin spirits that could enter through them at a time, the Nipponese Underworld was extremely difficult to invade, but much easier to defend. It was exactly because of this that the structure of the nation's military was decentralized, and the number of Yin soldiers directly under the underworld's command was no more than 200,000. The backbone of the military were the yokai and the four million Kunitsukami.
The father of the four million Kunitsukami was Susanoo-no-Mikoto, so in the Nipponese Underworld, Susanoo-no-Mikoto was the supreme figure in the military, while Izanami was able to rule with her superior cultivation rank.
However, the Kunitsukami didn't have any set areas where they dwelled. Even yokai had to be worshiped, and worship came from humans. Hence, most of the yokai were in the mortal realm. Even though they had already been notified of the situation as quickly as possible, it would still take them at least two to three hours to get to the Nipponese Underworld.
As a result, the two towns were waiting extremely anxiously, and even the slightest of pin drops would be audibly heard.
On the border between Hasami and Sasebo, 50,000 Yin soldiers from the Nipponese Underworld were already gathered and prepared for battle. In front of them was a row of at least dozens of inter-realm mirrors. In other words, the Cathayan Underworld would only be able to send through a maximum of several hundred troops at a time, and they would be met by an army of 50,000.
The footsoldiers were standing at the forefront with their spears raised, and behind them were the archers and artillery soldiers. On either side of the army were the cavalry units, and there was an armor-clad general standing atop the tall platform at the center, waiting with a fierce look in his eyes.
The atmosphere was extremely tense. They knew that the army of the Cathayan Underworld was on the other side of the inter-realm mirrors. The two sides were separated by nothing more than the inter-realm mirrors, and they couldn't see one another, but they could clearly sense the frosty killing intent coming from the other side.
Ashikaga Yoshiaki's hand was resting on the hilt of his katana, and his chest was heaving violently as he stood atop the tall platform. A strong gust of wind blew past, causing all of the nearby flags to flap audibly. The tense and oppressive silence was enough to drive one insane.
Unbeknownst to everyone, beneath the visor of his helmet, his teeth were tightly clenched, and he was waiting with bated breath for all hell to break loose.
Right at this moment, a Yin soldier quickly rushed over to his side, then whispered something into his ear, and he gnashed his teeth together forcefully. "Alright, you can go now."
The daimyos were refusing to follow their orders, despite the dire nature of the situation!
They had accepted Izanami's edict, but they were making up all types of excuses to buy time for themselves, leaving Ashikaga Yoshiaki on the front lines to face the Cathayan Underworld's army alone.
How can they still be playing mind games at a time like this? Do they not know how serious the situation is?
Right as he was fuming internally, a burst of loud rumbling suddenly rang out from behind him, immediately following which a vast expanse of powerful Yin energy erupted across the entire space.
Ashikaga Yoshiaki faltered slightly upon seeing this, then immediately swiveled around with an ecstatic expression.
Behind them were eight massive teleportation arrays, each of which was over 1,000 meters in size. A sea of dense Yin energy had appeared above one of the arrays, forming an enormous cloud of darkness.
The cloud was divided up into tiers, and it was slowly expanding in all directions. Within the Yin clouds, hundreds of thousands of specks of crimson netherfire were burning in unison.
At the base of this enormous pillar of Yin energy was a woman in a red kimono with her head cocked to the side. Her hair flowed down in all directions like black silk before vanishing into the Yin clouds.
She was dressed in a very elegant fashion, but her mouth was split open all the way to her ears. From the back, one would be able to see that the back of her kimono was drooping down slightly to reveal her smooth back, and there was another face on her back, a crimson ghostly face!
This woman was Futakuchi-onna, a yokai of Shikoku.
The reinforcements from the Kunitsukami have arrived!
Ashikaga Yoshiaki heaved a long sigh of relief, and right as he was about to say something, vast Yin energy erupted out of six of the teleportation arrays in unison, surrounding the entire town of Hasami in the blink of an eye.
One scarlet eye sprang open, followed by a second one, then a third... All of a sudden, thousands of scarlet eyes had appeared within the darkness!
The Kunitskukami had descended upon the battlefield!
The war was about to begin, and both sides were already raring to go.Previous Chapter Next Chapter