It was difficult to express in words.
It was practically indescribable.
Its sheer resplendence, splendour, majesty and glory, and the billowing tides of Yin energy… words were insufficient to describe this massive city.
Its size was incredible. It was so large that it couldn’t properly be described as a city. Qin Ye looked down at it from a god’s perspective, and the first thing he saw was a thumbnail sketch in the likeness of Cathay. In that regard, Fengdu Necropolis itself… was almost as large as an entire province!
Even though he was gazing down from above, he could still clearly see the vast vestiges of its area of influence from the billions of ghastly netherfire that hovered around. Innumerable Yin spirits were pouring in from all directions like tiny mosquitoes to a succulent prey. It was the hallmark of Hell.
The core of the underworld!
Wherever his eyes went, his vision would zoom in to that locality automatically. He saw everything clearly… every city, county, and even village had their own sets of unique structures and buildings in them.
The special structures in the cities were massive, but less so in the counties and towns. And when it came to the villages, the special buildings were generally no more than a simple temple with dozens of stone steles and sacrificial altars.
Didn’t seem like much?
No. Apart from some parts along the edges of the old Hell that hadn’t been subject to expansion works, there were thousands of counties, hundreds of cities, and tens of thousands of villages scattered all over Hell. The buildings and structures erected all over the old Hell was comparable to the glory of the sea and the splendour of the stars!
“Just… how many years is it going to take before the new Hell gets there?” His pupils quivered as he shifted his gaze towards the location where the Pearl River Delta was located, where countless mourning halls and innumerable ancient tomb steles stood. Yang City was an ancient mega-city that stood grandly in the core of the Pearl River Delta. The city itself spanned a hundred miles across!
The mega city was somewhat shrouded by the confluence of dense Yin energy and a multitude of ghostly soulfires. It didn’t have tall skyscrapers that are commonly seen in modern day society. Yet even though it was far from modernized, the prosperity it enjoyed was still undeniable. It stood solemn and austere, and as far as the eyes could see, there were countless pavilions erected everywhere. It was almost akin to the ancient Ebang Palace of the Qin Dynasty!
And if one counted only cities as large as Yang City… there would be a total of fifteen such cities in the entire old Hell!
Qin Ye knew that back in the mortal realm, there were only ten cities as large as Yang City across all of Cathay. In other words, Hell was larger than Cathay!
“Such prosperity must have been brought about by the fact that the ruling power has remained unchanged for thousands of years…” Exclaiming softly, he turned to look back at the location where Yan Capital was located in Cathay. Fengdu Necropolis was located right there.
The image zoomed in as he willed it to, and his perspective quickly homed in on his focal point, as though he were descending from the sky and rushing straight towards the heart of the necropolis. But just then, he felt his illusory body collide into an invisible force. And then, he couldn’t get any closer.
Fengdu Necropolis was still thousands of meters away. Even then, he could already see the streets in the city form a massive transportation web. Residential districts were scattered all around the outskirts of the necropolis and illuminated by a constellation of netherfire lanterns. Unfortunately, he couldn’t take a single step closer.
“Insufficient authority to draw any closer.”
Qin Ye almost spat out blood as soon as he heard the voice boom out of nowhere.
There’s still a hidden function like this?
Fengdu Necropolis is right in front of my eyes! My pants are already down, and yet you tell me now that I’ve got insufficient authority to view any further?
“The fact that you’re looking at this right now is proof that you’ve properly assumed the tall task of reestablishing Hell…” As the old voice resounded through the air, the Yin energy in the surroundings quickly gathered together to form an illusory figure.
Qin Ye was completely stunned. After some moments, he chuckled in dismay, “Why are you everywhere? You’ve got to know when to stop searching for the purpose of your existence.”
However, Granny Meng simply ignored him and continued her spiel, “Fengdu Necropolis is the essence of Hell. The placement of every structure and each of its design have all been subjected to rigorous calculations and processes. This place isn’t only the capital of Hell… it’s also a massive, powerful Hell-shattering existence that has taken thousands of years to construct. It’s a gargantuan supreme treasure of Hell.”
Qin Ye blinked, made his way over towards Granny Meng and waved his hands in front of her eyes. And then he flashed his middle finger at her. However, she still didn’t respond.
“I guess this is a form of spiritual conscience that she’d left behind in the ancient manuscript?” His hand passed through Granny Meng’s illusory body. She was nothing more than a speaking projection of her former self.
“Look.” Granny Meng slowly lifted her hands and appeared to press down onto Fengdu Necropolis in the distance. In that instant, a deep blue light blossomed from the outrageously large palace in the heart of the necropolis. And then… the entire system of buildings in Fengdu Necropolis began to light up from the very center in a chaotic yet somewhat orderly fashion! Within minutes, the entire Fengdu Necropolis revealed a massive rune formed by the deep blue light!
It appeared somewhat akin to an ancient Buddhist text, and yet there were some apparent differences as well. Regardless, it was a massive rune that was etched onto the land - grand and splendid.
“That’s spectacular…” Qin Ye murmured to himself.
Granny Meng lifted her hands gently. In an instant, the whole Fengdu Necropolis appeared to have been completely dug up from the ground, while the clouds and the sky appeared to whiz past Qin Ye’s eyes. By the time he returned to his senses, there was already a massive cross-section view of the Fengdu Necropolis right in front of his eyes. And he was only as large as an ant next to it.
And the first thing he saw was the existence of a heavily-guarded abyss filled with inferno, frigid ice and cauldrons of oil, and surrounded by a mountain of blades and a sea of fire!
He could see Hellguards carrying a mourning staff and wearing tall pointed hats as they scurried and darted about like ants with dozens of Operatives trailing closely behind. Innumerable Soul Hunters were flying about in their Hell’s Emissary states like a swarm of mosquitoes… and Qin Ye could even see the face of men, women and children peeking out of the raging tide of Yin energy that erupted from the abyss from time to time. These men, women and children bore the appearance of both the rich and the poor alike, and all of them were screaming and shrieking as they were swallowed by the raging tides of dark Yin energy. It was as though they were repenting and atoning for the sins of their past lives!
“This is the imperial prison of Hell. It is responsible for holding convicts who are to be sent to the six paths of reincarnation or the Eighteen Abysses of Punishment. No matter how much or how hard they try, none of them will ever be able to breach the surface of the ground and escape their present predicament. As things are right now, are you able to construct a prison cell that is equivalent to this?”
Before she could even finish speaking, the cross-section of Fengdu Necropolis vanished right before his very eyes. In that instant, he saw thirty-four districts in the distance with plumes of dense Yin energy rising high into the sky. There was an abyss of poisonous fire, an abyss of black ropes, and other abysses that were constantly emitting blood-curdling, miserable screams. And there were even… innumerable Yin spirits that were bound by rope being led towards these locations from every direction. All of them slowly trudged their way over as though they were stiff machines.
They looked like flocks of migratory corpses.
“Ten Abyssal Courts, Eighteen Abysses of Punishment, and the six paths of reincarnation… These are all part and parcel of Hell’s machinations to measure the weight of a person’s guilt in their lives. Are you able to rebuild these things as well?”
Whoosh… The images before his eyes dissipated like wisps of Yin energy once more. Granny Meng put her sleeves together and spoke with a hoarse voice, “The more you see, the more dazzled and confused you’ll become. The more you think about it, the more you’ll be tempted to put the cart before the horse and undertake an unreasonably tall task. I’m telling you all these things because I want you to know that now is not the time for you to be considering anything that is outside the scope of your abilities.”
“This is the state of a city of thousands of years of history under its belt. You have to take things one step at a time. Your approach to this grand construction project should start with the most basic unit of a village. Start slow, and ease in gradually. Develop your first capital, and see through the expansion of a ring of roads and facilities around the capital. And at that time, when you finally start to feel the need to shift the capital, that’s when you should start to consider the construction of Fengdu.”
Qin Ye returned to his senses and nodded deeply.
No matter how gorgeous a brocade was, it was still embroidered one stitch at a time.
He wasn’t qualified to start on the core pattern for the brocade as things stood right now. What he needed to do right now was to practice the basics and improve on his techniques.
After a protracted, deliberative pause, Granny Meng finally spoke once more, “Kid, this should be the last time we’re seeing each other…”
Her voice softened, and even developed a hint of regret and frustration, “I’ll admit that this old bag of bones had indeed deceived you in the beginning. But I still don’t believe this admission forms any basis for you to bargain with me.”
Her gaze shifted into the distance and grew hollow and vacant, “You shouldn’t think that reestablishing Hell was the result of someone’s schemes against you. Nothing happens by chance, and everything is predetermined by cause and effect. You didn’t want to die, and for that reason you accepted the appointment as an Emissary of Hell and actively sought out the first shard of King Yanluo’s Seal. In the end, you stepped above billions of living people and gained the right to eternal life and eternal youth.”
A gloomy nethergale picked up, sending her head of white hair fluttering wildly, “The greatest gift to all humans is life.”
“You’ve received the most precious gift of eternal life, and karma naturally necessitates a commensurate trade-off. This is all part of… the Heavenly Dao.”
“Nothing is free in this world. What you’re doing now is only… fair.”
Shaa… The nethergale picked up, and Granny Meng’s faint illusory body quickly passed away like a candle in the wind.
The entire realm quietened down, leaving only Qin Ye and the immeasurably vast overview of Hell in front of his eye. The moonrise and its multitude of constellations formed a backdrop of solitude behind him.
Qin Ye grew taciturn. Several moments later, he yelled, “Old granny?”
“If you don’t come out now, I’m quitting, alright?”
Still no response.
After five minutes, Qin Ye chuckled bitterly, “I was a commoner working the lands in Nanyang, only hoping to scrape by in a prosperous world, never dreaming to rank as one among the officials... Why do you insist on making me the saviour of the world?”
He looked down at the golden, gleaming map below with a complicated gaze in his eyes. Several minutes later, he smiled, “But… it’s just as well.”
He wanted to be lazy and cruise along. The world around him was incredibly prosperous, and it mattered little to him whether he lived the next century in glory or in the shadows. And yet, there was also a likelihood that he would have to constantly maintain a front of hypocrisy as soon as he rose to fame.
It was troublesome.
He had no desire to participate in the affairs of the mortal realm and the netherworld. But this was subject to the precondition that no one would interfere with his simple life either.
But now, the daolord located in Westriver was already eagerly eyeing the two shards of King Yanluo’s Seal in his hands. Furthermore, he was an Emissary of Hell, and there were certain things that he simply couldn’t turn a blind eye to, such as the incident with That Amorous Affair, or the incident involving the Li family in Mount Tai City.
The wheels of karma had already begun to turn as soon as he rescued himself from the three day limit of certain death.
“Actually, when I think about it, reestablishing Hell is a truly meaningful and fulfilling job.” He smiled as the nethergale gently tousled his clothes, “I… have lived for far too long now. I’m always looking for something meaningful to do with my life, yet, after decades of existence, I’ve seen practically all there is to see.”
“Since that’s the case, why don’t I…”
Whoosh! His gaze suddenly turned towards a village. In that instant, countless pieces of information, including names, data, and runes poured right into his pupil.
“Since I’ve given my word, why don’t I give it my all for once?”
Packets of information poured right into his mind and entered his mind, and he gradually understood the essentials of what a village-sized Hell needed.
“Sacrificial platform… soul induction platform… Hell’s Gate… ferryman…”
“The soul induction platform’s specifications are… the runic symbol required is…”
“The ferryman… is optional in the absence of the Yellow Springs. But the soul containment hall is practically an essential structure… And it seems like I’ll need more than construction materials... I’ve got to procure some writing cinnabar when I’ve got the time as well…”
1. This is a feeble translation of a poem written by the legendary Zhuge Liang, a chinese politician, military strategist, writer, engineer and inventor who served as the chancellor and regent of state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period.