The most beautiful ancient cathayan residential courtyard in the mortal realm right now was called the idyllic traipse.
Qin Ye quickly contemplated the costs and benefits of such a suggestion. The benefit of such an approach was that the residential area would immediately become one of Hell’s great attractions as soon as it was completed. And the fact that it couldn’t house everyone meant that only the more important ones would be housed first. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it would only greatly motivate the other Yin spirits to participate in the great wave of construction efforts! After all, what people were most afraid of wasn’t scarcity, but an uneven distribution.
The new Hell… was soon going to be transformed into a massive construction site!
It was the core of his expansion efforts, and this was of particular importance because of… the Harken that was deep in slumber just a short distance beneath Hell.
The downside to proceeding with such plans was that the ghostly citizens were most certainly not going to have any of it. Why should they put so much effort into the construction works when they wouldn’t be given any part of it?
Fortunately, he still possessed the strength to forcibly suppress the citizens. He had already hardened his heart, and he was prepared to empower the seven division heads of the Netherworld Construction Incorporation to deal with any form of insubordination as they see fit.
With manpower, he could slowly increase the number of residential neighbourhoods around. Then, after settling in most of the Yin spirits and pacifying any instances of unrest, he could finally move onto the next phase of works and begin to consider any prospects of expansion. That would be the time to start scheduling the construction works for the special buildings and facilities that were unique to Hell.
Looks like I’ll have to make another trip to Hell to discuss these things with the various division heads. The groundbreaking project of Yin Construction is going to be that of an upscale residential district. In what style should it be constructed? How are we going to decide who gets to live there?
Damn it… We’re establishing a whole new realm, yet the first residential district isn’t carved out of a cave. We’ve immediately been forced onto the path of real estate construction… there’s no other option available either… Sighing, Qin Ye added, “Alright, then I’ll leave the design drawings to you. Next… I’d like to ask, what if I want to build a city hall near the residential district?”
“What?!” This time, it wasn’t Old Li who responded; Sun Kangliang had practically jumped out of his seat before Qin Ye even finished asking his question, “City hall? If I might just speak my mind… Mr Qin, what kind of development are you looking at? City hall… Wouldn’t that be in breach of the regulations?”
“Do you really want to know?” Qin Ye blinked naturally as he looked at Sun Kangliang with anticipation.
Say the word, and I’ll gladly send you down under to enjoy a life of eternal bliss…
Qin Ye’s gaze probably let the cat out of the bag. Sun Kangliang immediately capitulated and swallowed back the words in his heart as he chuckled dryly, “I was just asking… just asking…”
What a liar!
Qin Ye was sincerely dismayed. Talent… Hell doesn’t lack manpower right now. What it lacks is talent… That’s right, the upcoming residential district can be allocated in accordance with their talents… Eh? Once I’m done with the groundwork for the construction industry, I can begin to work on the financial system in Hell. After all, we’ve got some goods to be sold soon…
I’m thinking too much… Qin Ye coughed dryly again, “You don’t have to concern yourself too much with what I’m going to do. In fact, you can simply treat the five square kilometers as an undeveloped county. I’ll need to set up the county government and all of its departments. And the reason why I need this drawing is because it is the bottleneck to all of my plans.”
Old Li felt his lips dry out. He pushed up his glasses and opened his mouth several times, yet he simply couldn’t find the right words to speak. He glanced desperately at Sun Kangliang, hoping to be bailed out of the difficult situation. On the other hand, even though Sun Kangliang had been mentally prepared for something like this, he still found himself completely flabbergasted by the gravity of the situation.
Both men exchanged a knowing look, and they had a single thread of thought on their minds - Is he nuts?!
“L-let me clarify something…” Old Li took a deep breath and pulled himself back together, “Are you saying, the Land Authority, the Labour Authority, the Employment Bureau, the Public Works Commission, Archives…”
Qin Ye nodded his head with an intense expression, “I need them all.”
“Sss…” Old Li gulped nervously and took a deep breath, “Ministry of Societies, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Law and Policy…”
Old Li’s voice began to tremble, “Society for the Disabled, Society of Sciences, Labour Union, libraries, hospitals…”
“I don’t need the Society for the Disabled. As for Society of Sciences… I think you can just set aside some land for it.” Qin Ye smiled and turned a blind eye to the fact that both men had already risen from their seats anxiously.
“Oh god!!!” Sun Kangliang ran to the entrance and opened the door, only to see several people stare right back at him, and he immediately slammed the door shut and locked the door. Then, with a trembling voice, he muttered, “Mr Qin… a-are you…”
Are you rebelling?
Are you building a county within Cathay?
So the neighbourhood we were discussing earlier was something that simply had to be done either ways? Was that just a test of our abilities?
“What are you thinking?” Qin Ye chuckled, “I’ve only got a piece of land this large. Shouldn’t the island be modeled after the needs of a county? Or should I simply gallivant around an entire deserted island?”
So it’s an island… Sun Kangliang still had many questions on his mind. For instance, which part of Cathay was the island located at? But that said, the mention of an island immediately eased the tension on his anxiety-stricken heart.
“Forgive me, but I’m unable to accede to your request.” Old Li smiled bitterly at Qin Ye, “Mr Qin, I’m afraid you might really have to look for the experts from the Cathay Construction Group.”
“We’re far too insignificant to be involved with matters pertaining to county and city planning. Besides, most of the experts who are adept at these planning works are all involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and working outstation in Alkebulan. What other place would there be to use their talents, given the state of Cathay’s developments right now?”
He waved his hands, “I can help with things like neighbourhoods, and perhaps even landmarks. But planning an entire county… is completely beyond me.”
Qin Ye responded in dismay, “Can’t you just expand the size of a neighbourhood by a thousand times?”
This time, it was Sun Kangliang who chuckled in response, “Mr Qin, I think you’re oversimplifying the construction industry. Let’s leave everything else aside for now. Do you have a topological map of the land you’re referring to? Did you actually have someone measure it?”
Qin Ye blinked blankly, “What’s that?”
Sun Kangliang didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at Qin Ye’s response, “Even if you’re going to develop a county for your own entertainment, surely you must at least have a topological map of the island, right? What is the size of the land to be subject to land planning? Where is it located? Which parts are to be preserved? Which parts are to be used for residential areas, and which parts are to be designated as office spaces? Without a topological map, you simply can’t do any of these things.”
“Must I have one?”
“Absolutely!” The two others exclaimed in unison, “The topological map is the first port of call in any large-scale development projects. An accident is bound to occur if you proceed with construction works without a topological map. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that you may as well raze everything to the ground and rebuild it from scratch!”
Old Li continued, “And, judging from your tone of voice… you seem to be intent on building a city? Alright… I’ll just take it as a joke for now. But, say you were going to build a city, there’s just far too many other things you’ll have to consider.”
“Electricity.” He held up a finger, and then a second finger, “Optical fiber.”
And then a third finger, “Roads.”
Qin Ye wanted to tell them - We don’t need any of that. We can simply use oil lamps, and generate electricity in the air through the love in our hearts.
But on second thought, he held himself back.
Did he really not need these things?
He couldn’t be certain. He had never asked Arthis how matters of illumination, transportation and communication were dealt with in the past.
Getting started is always the hardest part. His ghostly citizens were starving, and they didn’t even have a roof over their heads. Luckily for him, ghosts didn’t need food for sustenance. Otherwise, Hell would already have exploded with strife by now.
“And there’s still the considerations of sewage and drainage, whether there are natural resources in the area to tap on, how the terrain should be used or manoeuvred around, and how to defend it against potential invaders. How and where would you attack the invaders from? Whether your offensive attempts would be blocked by the development of the city; what the fastest way out of the city is… All of these things pertain to the establishment of a city. Unfortunately, all of the experts in city planning have already been posted abroad. I’m afraid you won’t have much luck asking around within Cathay.”
“I see.” Qin Ye stood up, “Thank you very much. Could I please trouble you with the drawings and renderings of the neighbourhoods in the meantime? We can discuss the rest in greater detail after I look further into it.”
With that, he nodded at Sun Kangliang, and both of them left the design department together.
They didn’t take the escalator downstairs. Instead, they pressed the top floor button of the elevator and went to the roof of the building.
There was a cafe there.
From here, one had a panoramic view of all the tall buildings in Mount Tai City. This was one of the most modernized locations in the city, and 99% of all of the buildings in the vicinity were high-rise buildings. Besides, the construction of high-rise buildings required tearing down the old building in place and rebuilding it from the ground up, and such demolition works might prove too challenging in other localities.
Block after block of high-rise buildings reflected the radiance of the sun on its sheeny facades. The rooftop cafe was only accessible to those who were at least middle management within the company. As soon as they saw Sun Kangliang, they immediately smiled and nodded at him.
The duo made their way to a table in the corner of the cafe. An attendant quickly brought over some cakes, pastries and coffee - all of which was on the house. Qin Ye stirred the coffee with his spoon as he asked, "How much construction materials can you secure for me?"
Sun Kangliang's hands immediately trembled, and his lips quivered, "Mr Qin… what… are you looking to use these for?"
What island are you talking about? Since when did Cathay allow an individual to own a plot of land like that? You must be pulling my leg!
Qin Ye gripped tightly onto his hand and declared, "Re-volt."
The spoon in Sun Kangliang's hand trembled violently, and he nearly knocked over his cup of coffee. Coffee spilt all over the table, and several patrons immediately turned around to look at their table. Sun Kangliang flushed red with embarrassment and quickly waved his hands, "It's nothing, it's nothing…"
After taking his seat once more, he took several deep breaths to regulate his emotions before responding bitterly, "Mr Qin… please don't joke with me like that…"
Qin Ye pouted with a discontent expression on his face - This man is lacking. He can't take a joke at all.
"Don't read too much into it. I'm just doing my duty." He adjusted his expressions, "I'm only commissioning a drawing plan and purchasing resources from you on account of our friendship. Otherwise, I would have asked someone else a long time ago."
Then go ahead and ask someone else!
And who's your friend?! We've at best shared only one meal together!
"Alright…" Sun Kangliang was already beginning to regret his decision to connect with Qin Ye that day. He responded lifelessly, “What do you need? Send me a list via WeChat, and I’ll get it for you within the week. But you will have to collect them all within a day…”
Why do I get the feeling that these construction materials are like time bombs waiting to explode on me?
“Deal. Also, rent me an incinerator.”
You’re just relying on me now, aren’t you?
Sun Kangliang’s mind was constantly processing and attempting to break down the great enigma that associated the alleged revolt, the incinerator and the construction materials. His face twitched uncontrollably as he responded, “Certainly…”
After sorting out everything on the agenda, Qin Ye finally returned to his dorm room and shut the door. Then, he pulled out the stack of red talismans for the purposes of contacting Arthis, and burnt one.
Now, there was one crucial thing remaining.
After that, all he needed to do was to wait patiently for the design department to finish up his drawing, and then he would return to Hell and sort out a detailed schedule of the timelines expected, and Yin Construction could commence with their works immediately.
The multitude of loose ends were finally coming together, and the rebuilding efforts of Hell were finally coming to a head.
Whoosh… The talisman burnt up with green smoke, but it didn’t produce the burning smell like ordinary paper. The green smoke immediately dissipated into the surroundings.
He waited patiently. However, three minutes later…
“Counterfeit goods?” He blinked his eyes and burnt another talisman.
Still no response.
Yet another talisman.
Yet, still no response!
“Bloody hell… did she give me these placebo talismans for psychological assurance? Didn’t she say that I was to burn one if I needed to get in touch with her?” This time, he picked up three talismans at once and burnt them all at the same time. Finally, an infuriated voice reverberated throughout the room, “Are you done calling me?!”
“What do you mean, ‘I’?! Do you think I didn’t notice it when you burnt the very first one? Why did you have to burn the second, and then the third? What’s the hurry?! Are you rushing to get reincarnated, or are you rushing to mourn for someone?!”
“... Didn’t you say…”
“Yes, I did say you can contact me, but didn’t you realize that this is the precious time I’ve set aside to catch up on my dramas and serials? I was just at the good parts, and my tears were on the brink of rolling out of my eyes! Your untimely interruption has ruined the mood!”
So these talismans are also dependent on whether she’s willing to respond to the call or not?
What’s the damn use of that! You’re just a stupid silicone doll that’s doomed to die in front of the computer screen!
1. The Belt and Road Initiative is an initiative by the Chinese government to provide finance and engineering expertise to build infrastructure across Eurasia and northeast Africa. The plan was first unveiled in 2013.