Qin Ye was completely stunned.
He looked at the registration desk that was long enough to seat well over a hundred Censors. And then he looked at the surrounding darkness around him, and his body trembled violently, “Is it too late to resign now?”
Before he could even finish speaking, one of the trees nearby suddenly collapsed to the ground. Arthis waved her arm and revealed a splendid smile on her face, “What do you think?”
I guess… that’s not too possible right now…
“So… I’ll first have to find some trustworthy Yin spirits to act as the Death Inquisitor?” Qin Ye rubbed his chin as he gnashed his teeth.
Just then, a thumping sound resounded throughout lands.
“Oh, it seems that your very first clientele have just walked through the door.” Arthis exclaimed with delight and watched with interest as rows after rows of Yin spirits made their way through the boulevard towards the palace.
What the hell… Qin Ye took a glance and immediately scrunched up his face. What kind of ghosts are these?!
Countless spots of netherfire floated out of the roiling Yin energy in the surroundings like fireflies in the night sky. Then, as soon as each spot of netherfire struck the ground, it immediately transformed into the figure of a startled soul.
It was completely different from what he had expected. Things were completely in disorder. There were at least a thousand Yin spirits, comprising both men and women alike. Some were employees wearing suits, carrying each their own briefcases, while most were old folks with a full head of white hair. All of them glanced about their surroundings curiously, pointing at this and that. Some even appeared to be reaching into their pockets as they chattered with each other.
What are they fiddling with in their pockets?
Qin Ye clutched at his forehead in dismay. What else could they be thinking of doing apart from taking photographs of their surroundings to update their circles of friends?
These Yin spirits were hardly displaying any fear at all!
In his imagination, he had expected rows after rows of Yin spirits, bound and strung together with ropes, heads hung low, silently following the lead of Netherworld Operatives and Soul Hunters. It was evident that the two rows of scarlet-leaved trees and the Hell notes flying throughout the skies were insufficient to create an atmosphere of anxiety and fear in the hearts of the Yin spirits. Should I laud them for living up to their name as the new generation of Yin spirits in Cathay?
“No… why aren’t they afraid at all?” Qin Ye shook his head with surprise, “Did I not do a good job in designing Hell’s ambience?”
Arthis pulled a vaping device out of nowhere and took a puff from it, “Honestly speaking, it’s pretty well done. But the previous Hell was equipped with a surround sound system sponsored by the Black Mountain Group. The equipment was installed across every corner of Hell’s Gate, and the total cost of such installation amounts to tens of millions. It was also equipped with ambience lighting worth tens of millions sponsored by the Painted Skin Group. And then, there was also the path that was constructed by the Dawn of Evil Construction Group…”
Qin Ye rubbed the temples of his head, “I understand now… I’ve got the set, but the atmosphere in Hell is lacking because I’ve got no ambient lighting, sound effects, and supporting actors, am I right?”
“That’s not all.” Arthis spat out a puff of greenish blue vapor from her silicone lips as she swept a glance at Qin Ye, “Without any Emissaries of Hell and their accompanying suppressive effects around, how would these Yin spirits know what place they’re at? In their ignorance, they might even think they’re the chosen ones in the Infinity Games.”
“... Are you even reading the Infinity Games… should I be limiting your internet usage…”
“Be quiet and listen to me. Don’t interrupt me with nonsense.” She rapped Qin Ye’s head with her vaping device as she rolled her eyes at him, “The main source of merit points for Emissaries of Hell isn’t actually the purging of evil ghosts. Rather, it comes from the assessment at the end of every ten-year cycle of an Emissary’s assignment. At every such assessment, each Emissary stands to earn a tenth of the merit points required for his promotion to the next official rank. Do you understand now?”
Qin Ye frowned and nodded his head.
Arthis didn’t have to make everything explicit. The implication of what she had said was essentially that even the esteemed King Yanluo had once started off as a mere village official.
Since he had already accepted the tall order of rebuilding Hell from scratch, he would naturally have to take things one step at a time.
And the first thing that he needed to do was to attempt to get in contact with the Yin spirits.
Arthis swiftly leapt to the roof above with a quick flicker of her body. Qin Ye drew a deep breath, and a terrifying amount of Yin energy erupted from his body. He quickly transformed into his Soul Hunter state and sat on one of the chairs on the long table.
“How are you going to handle things?” Arthis gently rapped her silicone fingers that had been delicately painted with nail-polish on the roof rafters. Then, with a gentle smile on her face, she murmured to herself, “Without the fearsome suppressive force of the collective Emissaries of Hell, these Yin spirits are truly carefree...”
Qin Ye sat in the main hall with some measure of apprehension in his heart as he watched the throng of Yin spirits pour towards him. He took several deep breaths.
“Calm down… calm down!” He patted his chest, “Isn’t it all about putting on a front, and then executing the usual routine? I can do it… When it comes to pretense, I’m practically second to none!”
Approximately half an hour later, all of the Yin spirits finally made their way towards the palatial gate. They were immediately greeted by the two striking words on the signboard - “Hell’s Gate”. As soon as they read the pair of couplets, the gaze in their eyes became incomparably complex. All of the Yin spirits quickly grew sullen and silent.
Even though there was already a placid expression on his face, his heart was still incredibly antsy.
Damn it… Is this really a job that a newbie Emissary should be doing?!
There was silence everywhere. The only sounds were that of Hell’s notes fluttering endlessly in the air. After an inordinate amount of time, the sounds of soft discussions began to buzz from the gathering of Yin spirits once more. Finally, an elderly Yin spirit was selected by the others to be their representatives, and he slowly walked forward with the aid of his walking stick.
Their eyes met, and the old man’s heart was stricken with a chilling sensation.
The entity in front of him wasn’t a human at all. His irises were black, while his pupils were white. He had a full head of white hair. He immediately recalled the two sprawling words on the signboard at the entrance to this place, and he shuddered and knelt down with a loud thud, “My lord… is this… Hell?”
“Yes.” Qin Ye’s voice was flat, yet it reverberated endlessly through the hall, “You’re all already dead.”
The old man trembled as he crawled two steps forward. When he raised his head again, his white hair had already become disheveled. His lips trembled as though he was suffering from stroke, and he choked up, “My lord… I… I’m Huang Zhengweng, the thirty-fifth wealthiest man in Insignia Province. If… if you could just allow me to return to the mortal realm… I’m willing to pay any price, no matter the cost!”
“Yes! My lord! I beg of you! I don’t want to die!” “My lord! Please spare us! My daughter is still waiting for me at home!” “My lord, have mercy!”
“Silence!!!” The incessant clamoring at the front of the palace was no different from a thousand gaggling ducks. It was so noisy that Qin Ye’s head spun with giddiness.
But as soon as he bellowed for silence, every single Yin spirit shut their traps immediately.
“Life and death are all matters that accord with the flow of destiny. How could Hell countenance such shameless haggling? Where do you think you are? A market?!”
Arthis raised her eyebrows curiously, but said nothing.
“My lord…” A scarred man stepped out from the crowd. There was regret written all over his face, “Is this… really Hell?”
“What do you think? Do you think this is the Lord’s Game?” Qin Ye sneered.
The big man gritted his teeth and steeled his heart, “Is it true that… those who have sinned in the mortal realm… will all descend into the depths of the Eighteen Abysses of Punishments, before entering the six paths of reincarnation?”
As he spoke, many people standing around him immediately gasped and took several steps back.
Qin Ye gazed coldly at him, but remained completely silent.
This was a normal question. But it was also tricky to respond to.
He didn’t have anyone under him right now! The future Yama-King had to do everything himself. Yin spirits weren’t under any suppressive effects, and they all had a mind of their own. The six paths, the Ten Abyssal Courts, and the Eighteen Abysses of Punishments were all yet to be constructed. He didn’t even know where the Book of Life and Death was, and he would have no means of verifying the merits and transgressions of these people during their time in the mortal realm. Where was he going to hold them?
It suddenly dawned upon him the true implications of what Arthis had been saying earlier.
This was none other than a test for a newly-minted official of Hell. It was to test the level of control he had in the process of establishing the new order of Hell from scratch.
“My lord…” The burly man was ostensibly nervous. Yet there was also some measure of madness in his hoarse voice, “Is it?”
“There are some special circumstances in Hell right now.” After deliberating for a long time, Qin Ye decided that he would still reveal the truth to all the Yin spirits around. It was impossible to keep things under wraps forever. Furthermore, these were a thousand Yin spirits… even he didn’t have the confidence in taking down the entire lot of them. Qin Ye continued, “Hell is in a state of disrepair. We will need everyone’s cooperation to rebuild Hell.”
Up on the roof, Arthis let out a long sigh.
He’s still far too rough around the edges.
Certainly, Granny Meng had undoubtedly picked the right candidate for the job. He was the only one who had any hope of accomplishing the tall order that was to rebuild Hell from scratch. But at the same time, he also possessed a fatal character flaw.
It was precisely because he had consumed the fungus of aeons that he had steered clear of stepping into the mortal realm’s high society. As a result, Qin Ye didn’t have a single clue of how to handle even a village’s affairs, much less knowledge of governance of an entire kingdom!
Just like now. He had just been forced to reveal his bottom line. Arthis could already predict that things were not going to go well today.
“How can you be speaking like that with Yin spirits who still have the memories from their past lives? How is this different from negotiating with a living person…” Arthis remarked softly, “The human heart is the most unpredictable thing. It might be easy to deal with a single person, but as soon as they gather in groups of tens or even hundreds, everything becomes a complete enigma… I sincerely hope that you’ll forever etch this painful lesson today to the deepest parts of your heart.”
“Rebuilt? Broken?” Just as the burly man heaved a sigh of relief, a bespectacled, middle-aged man suddenly exclaimed, “Rebuild… that means Hell is no more? Then where are we going to stay? And are we… still going to be involved in the construction?”
“My lord.” A woman asked aloud, “I haven’t committed a single sin in my past life. Do I have to participate in the construction works as well?”
“What’s going on here?” “Isn’t Hell supposed to be a place where good and evil are rewarded accordingly? I’m just an innocent citizen!”
“Insolent!!” Qin Ye bellowed. His thunderous voice echoed throughout the hall. It suddenly dawned on him how his interactions in this palatial hall was a glimpse to the life of a lord of the entire realm.
Clatter… All of the Yin spirits immediately knelt down like quails. But upon closer inspection, each and every Yin spirit had a different expression on their faces.
Every single Yin spirit had the same look of fear and apprehension in their eyes. But apart from that, each of them presented themselves with a mix of other emotions hidden beneath that surface. Some were delighting in Hell’s misery; some were contemplating something, while others kept stealing glances at Qin Ye. And there were yet some who were even gnashing their teeth.
The tension of extreme fear and apprehension were like a single tightrope. What Qin Ye had to do was to keep sufficient tension in it, yet prevent it from snapping altogether.
“How dare you make such a racket in Hell. Are you tired of living?” Qin Ye swept a cold gaze across each Yin spirit, as though brandishing his saber menacingly. Not a single person dared respond to him.
Just then, Arthis’ soft voice broached a suggestion to him, “You can order them to explore uncharted grounds, level forests and even construct buildings. Kid, this is only the first batch of Yin spirits. There will be more in future. If you just leave them idling around alone like this… something massive will happen sooner or later.”
Qin Ye had a bad premonition of what she was about to say, “For instance?”
Arthis chuckled, “Keke… what do you think will happen when you have a gathering of Yin spirits who are completely unrestrained, and yet have maintained the memories of their past lives?”
Qin Ye drew a breath of cold air.
Mutiny of spirits!
Especially since he’s the only Emissary of Hell in this place!
In the worst case scenario, the newly established Hell might quickly experience an upheaval, and the mutiny of innumerable spirits would seek to overthrow him and appoint a new leader in his stead!
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