Arthis remained silent for a while, as though she were gathering the thoughts on her mind. Several moments later, she explicated, “The Mirror of Eminence… is essentially a sword.”
“It had been forged from the very same five-coloured stone that Nuwa had used when she patched up the sky. It observes humanity, and judges the netherworld. Furthermore, everything it has ever witnessed will be recorded within the mirror. You will be entitled to view these records at any time as long as you are an Emissary of Hell.”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows. His intuition told him that there was something more than meets the eye. After all, the bone-chilling sensation that he had experienced earlier was evidence that the mirror… had earlier exhibited killing intent towards him.
“Did you feel a sense of danger or threat to your life earlier?” Unexpectedly, Arthis hit the nail on the head, “That’s proof right there. The Mirror of Eminence is Hell’s code of conduct. It condones neither evil going unpunished nor good being obstructed. It has its own judgment criteria, and it’s… got a life of its own.”
“As soon as you do something that tarnishes the identity of all Emissaries of Hell, such as messing with the records of the Book of Life and Death, or even outrageously setting up your own private hell, it… will wipe you off the surface of this world without mercy!”
“Alive?” Qin Ye stared at the mirror in his hands in astonishment, yet the mirror simply reflected his own image like any other mirror. He flipped it around several times, but received no unusual response from it whatsoever.
Just as he was about to set the mirror down, he paused. After a moment’s hesitation, he couldn’t resist the urge to straighten and comb through his hair with the aid of the mirror.
Arthis’ expression turned ashen right away.
Qin Ye remained unfazed, and continued to admire his skin in the mirror - Ah… you’re just as gorgeous as ever…
“... Terminal narcissism. Incurable.” Arthis sighed compassionately.
“Ahem… A habit of mine has become almost second nature…” Qin Ye coughed dryly, “That’s not the point! The point is… I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve that will surely induce a response from it, no matter how cold or arrogant it might be to me.”
“... You must be kidding!” Arthis looked at Qin Ye as though she’d seen a ghost.
Even Arthis hadn’t seen the soul of the Mirror of Eminence in all her years in Hell thus far.
Qin Ye sneered, and then began to gently stroke the mirror, “Mirror, mirror…”
The smile on Arthis’ face faded away, only to be replaced by a look of seriousness.
“... on the wall, who’s the fairest Emissary of them all?”
“God damn @#%*&*$(&%!!” Arthis immediately felt the onset of the urge to slap the most heretical Emissary in the entire history of Hell! I should’ve known better than to have been hopeful like that! I was a fool!
She was so mad that her Three Corpsegods were practically on the brink of leaving her body. But just as she was about to explode on Qin Ye, the surface of the mirror… suddenly rippled.
Arthis couldn’t believe her eyes!
The last Emissary of Hell had asked the most ridiculous question, and yet the mirror… the Mirror of Eminence had actually responded?!
Are you freaking kidding me?!
Qin Ye was somewhat taken aback as well, but then he quickly put on an expression as though he were peerless, and gazed out of the window and into the distance, “As expected… attractiveness is synonymous with righteousness…”
“Pah!” Yet, before Qin Ye could finish his overly romanticized spiel, a blast of green netherflame shot straight out from the demonic mirror. Then, a line of somewhat skewed, crimson text began to appear on the surface of the mirror, almost as though it were written in a fit of extreme anger and indignation, “Hands off, ugly punk!!”
Qin Ye immediately grew silent.
Two seconds later, Arthis exclaimed in horror, “What are you doing?! Let go… put your hand down! Don’t you know that this is an immortal treasure of Hell?! Believe it or not, damaging even a corner of this artifact can get you a life sentence in Hell!”
“Nobody’s stopping me!! I’m hellbent on making it tell the truth today! Say it to my face!! Touch your heart and speak from your conscience!” Qin Ye barked through gritted teeth as the bulging veins on his temples throbbed uncontrollably. The upper half of Qin Ye’s body was already leaning out of the window, while Arthis was desperately pulling at his clothes. It was an incredible sight.
Even as the mirror swayed dangerously from his hands, rows after rows that appeared to taunt Qin Ye continued to show up on the mirror’s surface, “Go on and throw! Throw, if you dare! Let’s see if you’re even able to shatter this mirror!”
“Of course I can! Be careful what you wish for! Do you think I really don’t dare?!” Qin Ye was already holding the mirror dangerously between his thumb and middle finger by now. Arthis stared at Qin Ye in horror as she leaned helplessly on his body.
“Hahaha… the topological map of Hell is here with me! I’m so scared, I beg of you, let go! Or if you don’t let me go, I’m going to go ahead and yell rape, huh?”
Qin Ye gulped nervously. He suddenly turned his head and retracted his body back into the room. Then, he glanced at Arthis with a grave expression on his face, “Arti, how many times have I told you that you can beat and kill, but you should never humiliate a person. Integrity means to live as a paragon, and die as a hero. How can Emissaries of Hell allow Yin spirits to walk all over them like that? How many times do I have to tell you to stop pulling on me?! Some Yin spirits just need to be taught a lesson so that they know who’s boss!”
Arthis looked belatedly at her own hands that were wrapped tightly around his waist, and she stared coldly at Qin Ye, “Kid… are you looking to die?”
“But since you’re begging me so sincerely and wholeheartedly, I’ll extend it an extra portion of mercy this time and accede to your request - I’ll agree to spare its life.” Qin Ye nimbly worked his way back to his bed as he spoke and quickly set the mirror down by his side. Then, he picked up the pillow cloth and began to wipe and polish the mirror gently.
His movements were incredibly natural and smooth.
“Oh? Wasn’t someone just trying to break this mirror a moment ago? Let me warn you, I’m never going to let you live this down! Even though I’ve spent thousands of years ruling Hell to date, I’ve never once seen someone act so arrogantly in front of me before!” Line after line of words appeared in quick succession on the surface of the mirror.
Qin Ye frowned, “As an immortal treasure of Hell, couldn’t you just exhibit a little bit more tolerance?”
And then, he quickly turned around, “Arti, hurry up and apologize. Can’t you see how much you’ve angered it?!”
Three seconds later… Thud. Qin Ye’s entire body slammed squarely onto the door of the room and slid down to the ground weakly.
“My lord, you don’t need to bother with him.” Arthis smiled as she walked up to the Mirror of Eminence and bowed before it, “I…”
“I know, Arakshasa. Weren’t you the one who caused the Wanggongchang Explosion back then and got banished by me to the depths of the Naraka Abyss? When did you manage to escape your banishment? Tell me more, entertain me?” Another few lines of text appeared.
Qin Ye keenly noticed the cracking sounds coming from Arthis’ hands.
The fact that a silicone doll could even begin to emit such sounds spoke volumes about the fullness of Arthis’ rage meter.
“My lord…” Qin Ye minced over and smiled awkwardly, “I’d only been kidding earlier… About that… I mean, the mortal realm is on the cusp of a massive supernatural outbreak, while I’m the only person managing all of Hell’s affairs. It was hard, but I’d finally been able to scramble together a proper construction team. They’re ready to start on the works, and the only thing we’re lacking right now is the topological map. Do you think you could… be good and spit it out?”
“Everything depends on my mood.” The Mirror of Eminence responded languidly. But before it could finish its words, Arthis immediately interjected with a cold voice, “My lord, this is no laughing matter. Although the Mirror of Eminence is an immortal treasure, how much damage did you sustain when Hell collapsed? We’re the only ones who can help restore you to your original condition. Yin spirits will run rampant as soon as the mortal realm collapses. When that time comes, we won’t even be able to handle the affairs of the mortal realm, much less have the time to extricate your soul and repair the immortal treasure!”
There was an abrupt silence in the room.
After some time, the Mirror of Eminence finally responded, “Young gal… you can see the injuries on my body?”
Arthis bowed softly, “I’d once been an Infernal Judge in charge of an entire province after all. You’re an immortal treasure that is unable to manifest its soul. Furthermore, when I unsealed you earlier, you’d been unable to break through my World of Sequestration. All these things mean… that your abilities are at best no greater than that of an Anitya Hellguard.”
After ten minutes, the Mirror of Eminence finally put away its thorns, and its voice deepened somewhat. It was impossible to tell whether its soul was a man or a woman, “How’s the situation in the mortal realm?”
For the next thirty minutes, Qin Ye broke down the situation in the mortal realm and explained all of the preparation works he had undertaken in Hell.
The Mirror of Eminence grew silent. After a long time, it finally sighed, “The path of the beast… the path of the asura, and the path of the hungry ghost… To think that three daolords didn’t get whisked away when Hell collapsed...”
The mirror turned around and faced Qin Ye squarely. But this time, Qin Ye’s reflection spoke, “I’ll give it at most ten years before war breaks out between the mortal realm and the netherworldly forces. They… aren’t benign folks! Notwithstanding the fact that I’d seen my fair share of evil ghosts in my lifetime, the daolords… rank well among the most depraved, iniquitous ghosts I’ve ever seen!”
“You’ve seen them before?” Qin Ye’s gaze flickered.
“Of course…” The Mirror of Eminence took a deep breath, “Back then, when the six paths were first formed, it was incredibly unstable, and we needed the vilest of souls across the ages to act as their foundation. In order to capture them… Hell mobilized a total of eighteen Abyssal Prefects, three Ghost Kings, over two hundred Infernal Judges, and innumerable Hellguards, Hunters and Operatives… And don’t you think for a moment I was able to reveal their true appearances. Not even I… can shed light on the source of such diabolical evil.”
Qin Ye gasped, “Then… what’s the level of their Yin energy index, assuming that the Harken’s index is at thirty million?”
The Mirror of Eminence pondered for a moment, and then spoke solemnly, “Each of them would at least be at twelve million!”
Both Arthis and Qin Ye felt their minds instantly go numb.
“Peak Abyssal Prefects… ones that are at the bottleneck approaching the level of a Yama-King. No wonder… no wonder Hell needed to mobilize such a huge force…” Arthis murmured, “Even if they’d sustained severe injuries in the process of escaping Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva when he gained enlightenment, their Yin energy indexes would still be in the region of millions right now!”
In other words, there were three pairs of bloodshot eyes in the mortal realm that could very well be scrutinizing their actions right now.
The Mirror of Eminence took a deep breath, “Kid… on account of the fact that you’re an Emissary of Hell chosen by Granny Meng herself, I’m willing to look past the previous incident. When the time comes, place this mirror at the top of Hell’s Gate. It’ll be worth your effort.”
It paused, “As for the topological map, I do have it with me. In fact, Granny Meng was just reporting to Lord Bao when she sensed that Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva had gained enlightenment. Her first reaction back then was to grab me and show me the entire topological map of Hell as it stood. Such brilliance…”
Qin Ye asked in a soft voice, “Ahh… Granny Meng’s that strong? She can instantly go straight from Lord Bao’s office to where you were located?”
Arthis responded indifferently, “Lord Bao was the person in charge of the fifth palace of Hell. His full name is Bao Zheng. You should be aware of who he is. The Mirror of Eminence was bestowed on Lord Bao by King Yanluo himself. It hung directly over the fifth palace, measuring all crimes and wrongdoings alike. Granny Meng’s retrieval of the Mirror of Eminence wasn’t that miraculous.”
Qin Ye nodded his head, and then looked sincerely at the Mirror of Eminence, “Then… when will you give me the map?”
Before it even finished speaking, a golden beam of light shot straight into the center of Qin Ye’s forehead. Qin Ye felt his entire body tremble vigorously, he blinked once, and then fainted and collapsed onto the ground with a dull thud.
“Is he alright?” Arthis asked casually.
“He’ll be fine.” The Mirror of Eminence responded, “The old Hell was massive. It’s total size spanned an area of millions of square kilometers. I’d directly imprinted the information into his mind using a technique. Unfortunately, there’s just too much information, and he was unable to process it all at once. He’ll come to his senses within a few days’ time.”
Qin Ye could no longer hear what they were saying.
At this very moment, his physical body was unconscious, but his soul had just been transported into an incomparably vast world.
A wealth of Yin energy flowed through this world. The sky was covered with flashes of scarlet lightning, while immense pillars of netherfire rose ten thousand feet from the ground. A massive megalopolis, completely intact, appeared right in front of his eyes.
Hundreds of millions of Yin spirits converged from all directions. The terrifying Yin energy in this place made his breaths grow ragged. But at the same time, he felt as though he were looking at everything from the eyes of a heavenly emperor staring straight down onto the unimaginably majestic megalopolis!
A towering stone monument was placed right at the gates to the megalopolis, and there was a single, blood-red word written on it with powerful, imposing strokes!
The six paths of reincarnation, the Ten Abyssal Courts, the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment, the Naraka Bridge, the Three Births Stone, etc. Everything was here. This was the exact snapshot of the state of Hell just before the calamitous event that threw Hell into a massive upheaval!
1. Often called the Three Corpses or the Three Worms, this is a Taoist physiological belief that demonic creatures live inside the human body, and they seek to hasten the death of their host. For a Taoist to gain eternal life, he would have to expel these supernatural beings from their body.