“First time I opened a shop; the first time I sharpened a blade; the first time I received my wages; the first time I was appreciated for my work…”
He paused, and then suddenly smiled, “Haven’t I been far too indolent and unambitious in the past?”
“I don’t blame you.” In a rare turn of events, Arthis didn’t berate him, “It’s only natural for anyone who has lived a long life to steer clear of harm’s way. It’s also natural for anyone who has lived a long life to grow sick and tired of it as well. It’s precisely because life is finite that people cherish each and every day they live. You, on the other hand, have a limitless life ahead of you. There’s naturally no impetus for you to cherish what you have before you and not take things for granted.”
“Whether a day is good or bad, or whether it’s boring or busy… none of these things change the fact that you’ll continue to live on endlessly. Since that is the case, what others covet and pursue quickly turns bland and pointless in your eyes. If I were you, I wouldn’t bother cherishing anything around either. That said…”
She smiled, “The ‘you’ right now isn’t too shabby either.”
She gazed into the distance where the roaring machines were located, “There’s no hurry. Can this feeling of accomplishment really count for much? We’re talking about the establishment of an entire realm. When you finally complete your first building; or your first city, that feeling of accomplishment would take you over the moon, and what you’re experiencing now would simply pale in comparison.”
Qin Ye nodded his head. When he first started out on this arduous journey, he felt completely lost, and at his wits’ end. Even though Hell was still destitute, and he was still living like a pauper, he had nevertheless managed to scramble some pieces of the puzzle together and ignite a flame of hope in his heart. At the very least… things were getting better, weren’t they?
The time to ascend the throne and pronounce judgment over the evil and misdeeds in the mortal realm was still well on the horizon. That said, it was still better late than never.
“No… the first step is still incomplete.” He collected his gaze and glanced down at the drawing in his hands. Then, he turned to Su Dongxue and instructed, “Summon the division heads of Yin Construction for a meeting right away.”
The first step could only be considered complete when this first stabilizing force was in place.
No… it had to be more than that!
Everything had been prepared, and the east wind was already blowing. The establishment of the new Hell was the headline news of the year! How could he not announce such a glorious turn of events to his citizens?
A government cannot simply do well. They also had to be seen performing up to par!
They would have to let all of the ghostly citizens know that the presently destitute Hell was only going to get better over time.
They would have to make it clear to the ghostly citizens that their boss is presently wracking his mind and pouring his heart into improving everyone’s life after death.
They would have to help the ghostly citizens understand that even though Hell was small, its future was infinitely bright.
Hmm… how do I put on a political display? Qin Ye had never done such a thing before. However, the thickness of his skin was probably… no weaker than any of the politicians around.
Several probationary Death Inquisitors immediately drifted off to inform the various division heads. That’s right, Qin Ye could always call out to them on his own. But he was in Hell right now, and he had a cold and distant persona to maintain. Did the future King Yanluo have to do everything himself? What would be the point of having subordinates if that were the case?
Several ghostly shadows drifted over promptly in no time. They were the seven division heads of Yin Construction. All of them displayed some measure of fatigue, but these were overshadowed by the ostensible excitement written all over their faces.
“My lord!” “My lord, you’ve returned.” The seven men stood before Qin Ye and reported to him. Qin Ye casually nodded his head and led everyone to the annex hall.
“The drawings have arrived. In the upcoming meeting, I want to talk about the development of the first high-end neighbourhood, including its name, its space allocation, and the direction of the actual operations. Let me know if you have any thoughts. I can’t be supervising in Hell all the time.” Half an hour later, Qin Ye sat on the main seat in the annex hall and led the discussion.
The drawings were laid out on the table in the room. The division heads scrutinized the drawings, while Qin Ye stared intently at each of them.
All seven men looked incredibly excited, and not a single one of them revealed a negative response in any way. Despite a large age gap of thirty years between the oldest and the youngest of the lot, they continued to discuss the drawings excitedly amongst themselves as equals. If Qin Ye didn’t know any better, he would never have been able to tell that these were important members of rival companies in their respective past lives.
“Well?” Qin Ye asked after approximately one hour of such discussions, when the seven division heads finally looked up.
“It looks pretty good.” Qian Tianyi responded, “But there are a lot of specifications that aren’t present. We won’t be able to guarantee any lack of incidents or accidents with just this drawing alone. But, that said…”
He coughed dryly, and then smiled, “We don’t have to be afraid of any incidents or accidents to begin with…”
Take it or leave it. That’s how cocky the Yin Construction can be.
Compensation for the loss of human lives?
That’s entirely non-existent… Everyone’s already dead. As things were right now, it was practically impossible to die a second time unless Qin Ye personally made a move against them…
The collapse of an entire building?
All they needed to do was to start over from scratch… After all, the Yin spirits who were buried underneath would sprout up from the surface of the rubble and debris like mushrooms after a rain, and then excitedly exchange their experiences about having been buried alive…
There would be no compensation in this regard either. Joint statement by Qin-Emperor-Ye and Minister of Justice: Letting you live is the greatest compensation you can hope to receive…
With a thick and black company that’s not afraid of any occurrence of death and not inclined to making any payments, how could they possibly be afraid of any incidents or accidents?
And the so-called ‘thick and black company’ means thick-skinned and black-hearted. Arthis and Qin Ye are each responsible for one aspect of these… Tsk tsk tsk, they’re practically an ideal combination…
Qin Ye thought for a moment, before continuing with a deep voice, “Then let’s execute the works in accordance with this drawing. Furthermore…”
He paused for a moment and drew a deep breath, “Gentlemen, I intend to convene the ghostly citizens for a general assembly to announce the direction of Hell over the coming two years.”
The eyes of the seven division heads immediately glistened with burning passion. They stared back at Qin Ye, and their chests began to rise and fall slightly in tandem with their escalating breaths.
This was the sign of recognition and approval.
“I’m a veteran in Smooth Sailing Construction, and I’ve experienced my fair share of projects, including massive governmental projects that are always accompanied by glorious groundbreaking ceremonies and press conferences. So, why is it that I’m feeling so especially excited this time?” Hu Feng smiled with a sigh as he fervently repressed the burgeoning emotions in his heart.
“Old Hu, you’re no longer in Smooth Sailing Construction. We’re all part of the Netherworld Construction Incorporation right now, and we’re working directly for Lord Qin.” The oldest Yin spirit in the group, Song Ming cupped his hands together and smiled with blossoming wrinkles all over his face, “I’d never thought that there would come a day… when we would all be able to work for the government once more…”
It was unlike anything they had experienced before.
This was a whole new experience that was completely fresh to them.
They used to be representatives of a company, but how many people did they have to beg and plead with throughout the course of an entire construction project? From the internal politics at the beginning, to the bidding and tender process, and then to the most difficult aspect of negotiating with the respective governmental departments… These struggles they faced were comparable with battles in a war.
But here they stand today, representing a newly founded nation and a whole new realm, declaring to their ghostly citizens the latest decision once and for all!
This was the feeling of being at the top and wielding absolute power. It was a feeling that greatly stimulated their adrenal glands!
“What do you guys think?” Although Qin Ye wielded so much power he could for all intents and purposes be called a dictator right now, he still asked this of his division heads’ opinions courteously.
“Excellent!” Li Chuanyi slammed the table and blurted, “Lord Qin is truly conscientious. I’ll be honest with you. The current atmosphere out there on the ground is laden with worry and concern. None of the ghostly citizens even has an idea of what’s in store for them tomorrow. Yin spirits don’t have to eat or sleep, but what they do want is to know what the future holds for them!”
“That’s right.” Qian Tianyi exclaimed, “Hell is a type of society after all… and the fabric of societies these days is vastly different from what it was before. We can’t afford to go on like this. We need to give them something to look forward to - something to assure them that Hell will only get better with time! We need to let them know that Hell will prosper, just like the mortal realm!”
Song Ming sighed, “Hundreds of years later… we’ll see a series of skyscrapers rise from the ground and stretch into the skies at the Pearl River and the mouth of the Yangtze River… And today marks the beginning of it all.”
“Then, let’s take a vote.” Arthis suddenly spoke up, “Although we don’t have a proper constitution yet, this isn’t a feudal society either. We should formalize and regularize everything from the outset. Since this is part of the Yin Construction’s affairs, the decision should be decided by a show of hands among the seven division heads.”
Sha… One hand shot into the air, followed quickly by another, and then another, another, and yet another! Within three seconds, all seven hands were raised high into the air.
“Good!” Qin Ye stood up and glanced about the room with his hands on the table, “The first general assembly of Hell shall commence in exactly two hours’ time! Now, prepare the podium at once!”
Everyone left the room promptly, while Qin Ye turned his gleaming eyes up to the dark sky above. Although his expressions looked steadfast and stoic, the overflowing feeling of accomplishment in his heart was unconcealable.
This is my kingdom.
This is my Hell.
I am King Yanluo!
Hell quietened in an instant. Qin Ye noticed from the window that the seven division heads had already gotten busy in preparation for the general assembly ahead, and he sighed and shut his eyes. Just then, Su Dongxue’s voice resounded throughout Hell, “Fellow citizens, breaking news…”
At the construction site. The Yin spirits who were presently shifting the felled trees, most of whom were strong, young adults, glanced at the dark sky in astonishment. Even the technician who was operating the sawmill halted his operations temporarily.
Even though there were many things to be done in Hell, most of them were incredibly bored.
There was no internet, no cell phones, no dawn and dusk, no playing cards, and no mahjong. Every day saw the exact same scenery, and the exact same people around. Things were still fine if they were merely for a day or two, but a week or two with the exact same things was sufficient to drive the citizens of Hell crazy.
Therefore, something different was always something worth looking forward to.
“... The new King Yanluo of Hell, Lord Qin, shall be holding the inaugural general assembly of Hell in two hours’ time. Please note that this isn’t an assembly organized by mere representatives of the government. There are a multitude of things to do in Hell, but all affairs are temporarily under Lord Qin’s direct supervision and control…”
A frail and skinny elderly Yin spirit wearing hospital garbs near the trees in the distance immediately gasped and stood up. A number of Yin spirits just beside him also stood up and looked into the sky with amazement.
“General assembly?” The old man in hospital garbs murmured, “Is there going to be some new general policy?”
“Will this enrich our lives right now?” "If life after death is going to be like this, I’d rather not have died at all.” “It’s far too boring…” “Finally, something to look forward to? I’ll take anything right now - anything!”
The voice echoing throughout Hell continued, “... The general assembly shall be presided over by Lord Qin himself. The subject matter is: the first five-year plan of Hell. We hope that all ghostly citizens will take it upon themselves to spread the news, and that all who can attend, will attend.”
A soft buzz of chatter immediately broke out throughout the various venues in Hell, and it quickly burgeoned into a cacophonous roar of clamour and discussions all around. Like a rising tide of noise, Hell was instantly set abuzz with excitement that could even be heard from within Hell’s Gate!
“Five-year plan?! Is Hell going to undergo massive construction works or expansion?” “It’s finally here… We haven’t been neglected…” “Lord Qin… is this the name of King Yanluo?” “I don’t care who it is. I only know that I might as well die again if life in Hell is going to maintain the status quo!”
“It’s a little bit rudimentary.” Arthis sighed as she listened to the fiery discussions taking place outside Hell’s Gate, “I’m looking forward to the day when all of this will be broadcast on television. There would be countless ghostly citizens of Hell surrounding the palace, and I would be making this announcement live on national television amidst the dazzling flashes of innumerable cameras.”
Qin Ye chuckled lightly - Dear, you’re getting ahead of yourself…
Let’s do our best with a village-sized Hell first. Then, we’ll work our way up towards a town… and then develop the technology skill tree, discover and establish the local power grid…
He glanced towards the Yin spirits that were slowly congregating at Hell’s gate with expressions of expectancy as he smiled, “But… for now, let’s get Hell up and running proper.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter