Qin Ye shut his eyes and took a deep breath.
Calm down and endure… calm down and endure… Isn’t this just akin to experiencing a rejected phone call? Do I really lack such bad friends as this? No… not at all… there’s no lack of such people out there…
“I’ve just gone to the design department to inquire about the drawings.” He opened his eyes and spoke, “They mentioned that…”
“A flower in my left hand and a sword in my right, a million years of snow falls from the lashes of my eyes. A drop of tear, ahhh ahhh ahh… This is I, ahh ahh ahh!!!”
Qin Ye had just been dealt several heavy blows in quick succession by the outlandish silicone doll. Fortunately, he was already numb to her attacks, and he continued without any expressions on his face, “We’re on the cusp of the great revivification of Hell. All that we need for the commencement of works now is a topological map of Hell. Seeing that the chairman of the board of the new Hell is working his ass off, shouldn’t you, the CEO, be pulling your weight as well?”
The noise on the other end of the light screen immediately paused, and Arthis responded suspiciously, “To think that I would be able to see you working diligently in my lifetime… Apologies for being slow, things have changed far too quickly, and I’m still trying to get used to it… Could your drastic personality change have resulted from readers’ complaints of your craven and cowardly behaviour?”
“... I’m warning you. We may be close, but I’m still prepared to sue you for slander if you dare say another word! Haven’t you noticed my domineering display over the last ten chapters?!” Qin Ye retorted with great indignation.
“Oh hehehe… Seems like a certain young man’s ego has become overly inflated… have you already cast the fear of Lin Han’s domineering display to the back of your mind?”
Some confrontations weren’t matters that could be easily resolved in the span of a few minutes.
The two vicious serpents bit back at each other for close to half an hour before they finally ran out of venom in their venom sacs. Both sides were defeated and panting hard when Qin Ye finally stretched out his hand towards the light screen, “I don’t want to discuss such banal things any longer. Hand over the topological map of Hell!”
“What makes you think I have it?” Qin Ye could only imagine the look of delight on Arthis’ face right now as she picked her nose pettily, completely devoid of any dignity concomitant with her rank as an Infernal Judge - How dare you give me such an attitude? Go on! I want to see how you’ll still end up begging at my heels!
He gritted his teeth and exploded, “How am I supposed to know what special buildings and facilities to construct in Hell without a topological map? You’d previously even mentioned the soul induction platform and the Yin mourning hall - are these all but a bunch of baloney?!”
Arthis paused, and her voice grew somber, “You don’t have it?”
“How could I possibly have something like that?!” Qin Ye stared at the screen in horror, “You… really don’t have it either?”
Arthis grew silent for a few seconds. Then, the light screen rippled, before quickly revealing the image of the City of Salvation. Then, Arthis continued, “That’s not possible. You must have it! I’ve seen these things whenever I’d visited the Yama-Kings back then. Every Yama-King has one such map hanging at the back of his office. Unfortunately, I wasn’t qualified to have access to something like that. I’d heard that the map was something that was drawn up by one of the founding Yama-Kings, who’d then painstakingly surveyed and measured the land inch by inch. This was something that was put to use and updated whenever Hell expanded again. It’s something of great importance.”
Qin Ye thought hard about it, but he couldn’t recall ever receiving something even remotely close to that of a topological map. Then, just as he was about to respond, he noticed that Arthis had already vanished from the screen. She reappeared several seconds later, “It’s hard to discuss these matters remotely. Wait there. I’ll come right over.”
One second later… the talisman was suddenly dyed with a reddish hue that quickly spread out into the surroundings, transforming into a two square-feet light screen. Following that… a silicone doll with disheveled black hair began to slowly crawl through the red screen of light…
She crawled out…
Out of the screen…
For some strange reason, Qin Ye found this scene particularly reminiscent of something.
Why do I suddenly get the urge to cut the connection midway as she’s climbing through the screen… I want to kick this Sadako cosplayer back to where she’s come from… What do I do? I don’t think I can hold myself back any longer! Help!
Arthis crawled out from the screen in a horrific, twisted manner. Midway through the efforts, she suddenly paused, and lifted one of her hands, “Help me out?”
“Turn off the TV?” Qin Ye responded unkindly.
“No… I must have eaten too much and my belly is a little bit bloated. I’m stuck… do me a favour and pull me out… Say, do you think I’ve eaten too much and gone out of shape?”
Bloody hell, you’re a silicone doll! Are you seriously asking me if you’re out of shape?!
Qin Ye fervently repressed the urge to shove her back into the screen, and slowly but surely pulled her out of the light screen. As the light screen retracted back to its original size, he asked curiously, “This thing…”
“You can’t.” Arthis straightened her clothes, “The new Hell can’t even support the use of a ‘Yin sharing talisman’. You’ll at least have to set up the Palace of Yin Talismans, as well as have Hell expand to the size of a hundred thousand square kilometers before we revisit this possibility.”
Are you a bloody roundworm in my belly?!
Arthis ignored Qin Ye’s unspoken criticism and sat down on the bed in an elegant manner. Then, glancing about, she continued, “Back to the topic at hand, you were just saying that you don’t have the topological map. Do you know why I say that’s impossible?”
Qin Ye shook his head.
Arthis responded placidly, “Because if Granny Meng didn’t have the foresight to hand over something of such importance to you, she wouldn’t deserve to be called Granny Meng in the first place.”
“Do you think Granny Meng’s abilities are weak? Just a mere cook who sits at Naraka Bridge, dishing out the soup of forgetfulness to random passers-by? You’re wrong… the Naraka Bridge has stood for three thousand years. How many Yin spirits have crossed it to date? The spirits that have crossed it range from qi cultivators from the Qin Dynasty, scholars from the Tang and Song Dynasties, grand advisers from the Yuan Dynasty, and even great teachers of the Ming Dynasty. What would happen if these people refuse to drink the soup?”
Qin Ye blinked, “You make an ox drink water by forcing its head into the trough?”
“... You should be glad that these Yin spirits can’t leap out of their coffins and send you flying… But you’ve got the gist of it right. Just think about how strong she must be. In fact, she had even delayed her journey to paradise and remained in the mortal realm for such a long time just to entrust the final hope of reestablishing Hell to you. Do you really think she wouldn’t have anticipated the greatest potential obstacle in your great rebuilding efforts?”
“It doesn’t matter how brave or how determined you are. As long as you don’t have the topological map of Hell, or the exact specifications of the special buildings and facilities of Hell, you need at least three thousand years before Hell can be restored to its former glory. And three thousand years… is more than sufficient time for the multitude of Yin spirits to overthrow the mortal realm!”
Qin Ye suddenly got a brainwave, “Are you talking about… the manuscript that Granny Meng had previously left behind?”
Before he finished speaking, an ancient manuscript floated up into the air and began to riffle through the pages. As Arthis gently lifted her hands, Qin Ye suddenly felt as though he had been transported into a whole new realm. It was almost as though… he had just been isolated from the rest of Mount Tai City.
“World of Sequestration.” Arthis saw the gleaming look of anticipation in Qin Ye’s eyes and immediately dealt Qin Ye a heavy blow like the roundworm she was, “Now that you’re a Soul Hunter, you should have already been granted access to some of Hell’s Arts. Unfortunately, since you were only appointed as an Emissary of Hell after Hell’s great collapse, you don’t have any imprint of the old Hell on you. The new Hell is only the size of a village, and it can’t even be called a town. Thereafter, you’ve got to work your way through the county, city, province and district levels…”
“When Hell expands to the size of a county, and you manage to construct the various county-level buildings and maintain a certain level of manpower, you will finally be able to start utilizing the most basic, Operative-class Hell’s Arts. Likewise, in order to gain access to a particular tier of Hell’s Arts, one must at least be an Emissary of Hell of that corresponding level.”
Qin Ye sighed begrudgingly.
It seems like there’s still going to be a long road ahead of me where I’ll have to rely solely on the Yin energy at my disposal… This isn’t right… it doesn’t accord well with the script of all protagonists… Shouldn’t I already have access to some heaven-defying martial arts that will enable me to seal the heavens or something…
The current image is just decrepit beyond belief…
Arthis ignored his self-abasing thoughts and turned to look at the ancient manuscript with slightly bloodshot eyes. Several seconds later, she chuckled lightly, “As expected.”
Even before she could finish speaking, Arthis shifted her silicone hand at lightning speeds, and the Yin energy within the room suddenly rippled with a bang. Then, the ancient manuscript began to riffle through its pages quicker and quicker as the Yin energy swirled more and more intently!
Whoosh… Arthis finally finished her nine complicated hand seals. Qin Ye gasped deeply and took a step back. The air was filled with dense Yin energy that was on the verge of turning corporeal. The intense pressure bore down on Qin Ye so heavily that he had to lean against the wall for support.
He suddenly recalled that Arthis had vanished from the light screen for a few seconds earlier. She must have gone out to retrieve this ancient manuscript at that time!
“Sealing technique…” Arthis muttered with a solemn expression, and then she suddenly flicked her hands outwardly, “Reaper Death Seal!!!”
Unable to resist the urge that instantly swelled up from the depths of his heart, Qin Ye immediately picked up some nearby objects and flung them straight at Arthis.
“... Hey, kid! Why are you being so grumpy?”
“... I’ll be damned… I knew I shouldn’t have trusted a stupid human implement that has become an internet addict degenerate!!!”
Arthis waved her hands, and everything that was flying through the air immediately hung in mid-air - pen, notebooks and pillows alike. Then, she pointed to the manuscript, “Don’t you think the technique sounds super cool… Alright, alright, alright, don’t look at me with those puppy eyes… And why do you care what it’s called anyway? What matters is that it has been unsealed, isn’t it?”
Qin Ye was on the verge of bursting out with a sardonic laughter - You call this puppy eyes? Come over here and take a closer look! This is what you would call a look of contempt!
For some strange reason, I get the feeling that her IQ has fallen substantially ever since she’d plunged headlong into the abyss of the internet. What do I do?!
He couldn’t be bothered to exchange banal banter with Arthis any longer, and he simply turned to look at the ancient manuscript that was still hovering in mid-air, emitting a boundless amount of Yin energy with it. In fact… the Yin energy radiating from it was comparable with that surrounding Hell’s Records itself!
Whoosh… If Arthis hadn’t sealed the room earlier, the ground nearby would most certainly have begun to tremble uncontrollably. Boundless Yin energy swirled around like a raging ocean, creating a massive pitch-black vortex right in front of Qin Ye’s eyes. Seconds later, the heart of the vortex cracked open, revealing a striking, crimson eye!
Thud! Just then, Qin Ye’s legs crumbled, and he collapsed to his knees. Arthis was likewise astonished. Their clothes were fluttering wildly with the powerful nethergale, and even the wig on Arthis’ head had been swept right off to a corner of the room. She stared in horror as the crimson eye glanced about at its surroundings, and she exclaimed with abject disbelief, “Mirror of Eminence  … She’d actually brought out something like this…”
“Do you really have the time to be awestruck right now?” The pressure was so immense that ripples had started flowing along the surface of Qin Ye’s face, “If you don’t do something soon… the last genuine Emissary of Hell might well be relegated to a permanent station in Hell!”
Arthis immediately snapped back to consciousness. Her hands flickered quickly, leaving a slew of after-images in its wake as she made dozens of hand seals in a matter of just seconds. And then, she finally pointed at the mirror.
Clink… It sounded like something had struck the surface of the mirror. Instantly, innumerable wisps of Yin energy scattered into the surroundings, and even the crimson eye simply vanished into thin air. The remaining Yin energy spun around wildly, before finally materializing into a palm-sized mirror, falling into Qin Ye’s hands with a soft thud.
“What the hell is this thing?!” Qin Ye gasped as he wiped off the cold sweat beading up on his forehead.
Arthis looked at the ancient mirror with a complicated expression on her face. After some time, she finally responded, “The Mirror of Eminence… is… a powerful weapon used for the purposes of supervising Emissaries of Hell, and it’s also… an all-seeing eye.”
“Nothing in the mortal realm and Hell can escape its all-seeing eye… I’d thought that… this mirror had already shattered under the immense might of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva… It’s not one of the primordial treasures of Hell, and it’s not a divine artifact like Hell’s Records, but… it can still be called an immortal treasure.”
“In normal terms.” Qin Ye sat on the bed somewhat dejectedly. The earlier feeling of suppression was still fresh on his mind, and his heart continued to suffer from some residual palpitations.
It was as though… something terrifying in Hell had just opened its eyes and stared straight into his heart!
And as soon as he did something, he would immediately be expunged from Hell altogether!
“Stop reading so many fantasy novels… Come on, tell me exactly what this god damned thing is! And use human words!”