As the middle-aged man sat down, filled with gratitude, another bespectacled young man stood up, stammering with excitement, “M-m-my lord! What about the gaming industry? Will Hell be bringing in the games that are available in the mortal realm? Will there be national gaming competitions? Will we see any of the well-known players or teams right now?”
Qin Ye no longer had the capacity to explode at him, so he simply responded truthfully, “Don’t worry… once the game giants of Cathay pass on, they will undoubtedly come to Hell. All you have to do is to wait for their arrival…”
And wait for the day when you won’t be able to continue gaming without loading your account with more gaming credits…
Ten minutes passed in the blink of an eye. Just as Qin Ye was about to heave a sigh of relief and take his leave, an old man who didn’t get a chance to ask his question abruptly stood up and yelled at the top of his voice, “My lord… will the future neighbourhoods be just like this? Would they be as gorgeous as Qin Gardens, Phase One?”
He wasn’t on his own. Several other old men had stood up at the same time as they looked at Qin Ye with a burning gleam in their eyes.
Qin Ye thought for a moment before responding, “No, Qin Gardens, Phase One is the benchmark. The rest that are to be constructed are going to be regular accommodations.”
“So that’s how it is…” The old man heaved a sigh of relief. Then, just as Qin Ye was about to march off the stage, the old man suddenly opened his palms and displayed an inviting gesture, “Two million.”
“Two million RMB. Mortal realm currency. I would like room 111 on the ground floor.”
What the hell?!
The entire venue was silent. Qin Ye stared at the man as though he had just seen a ghost.
Are you even allowed to do something like that?
Something like that hadn’t occurred to anyone else. The seven division heads were also flabbergasted. Arthis blinked her eyes vacantly. The entire assembly was shrouded with complete silence.
Doesn’t this feel somewhat like a mad rush at the grand opening of a store?
No… we shouldn’t promote or incentivize speculative purchasing of real estate in Hell… Otherwise, what are we going to do when property prices skyrocket… Wouldn’t the Yin spirits who are unable to afford proper housing commit suicide by jumping off the building?
“Sir, you might be…” Despite those thoughts of his, Qin Ye was practically rejoicing in his heart. Bloody hell… this almost feels like someone has sent me a fluffy new pillow just as I’m about to doze off…
That’s right. He might already have started on the first phase of construction works in Hell, but who knows how much more capital outlay he might incur in the future projects? The capital required to construct a single neighbourhood numbers well in the hundreds of millions. Next to that, the two million he had injected into the first project in Hell is completely insignificant. And this was not to mention the number of other ancillary things he would have to acquire for the purposes of Yin Construction’s future projects. He would probably need other equipment and machinery, right? And then, there’s still the tentage for covering the equipment and machinery. After all, he couldn’t possibly have people collecting the equipment and shifting them back every time it rained, could he?
And then there was the issue of procurement of raw materials for construction… Things may look good right now, but who knows how long the list of procurement might be in future? How could he be so certain that the machinery and equipment would still be chugging and whirring away in just a few months time?!
Therefore… Qin-Pauper-Ye even began to speak with salutations.
“I’m just proposing a business transaction here.” The old man glanced around and continued sensibly, “Everyone, it’s not that I’m trying to get above the law. It’s just that… there seems to be a good number of us here who can be considered the elderly, isn’t there?”
“Of the tens of thousands of ghostly citizens here right now, approximately two-thirds can be considered the elderly. How could we, the frail and feeble who had died of old age, ever compete at arms’ length against the young ghostly citizens around? I do want to register with Yin Construction if I could, but I don’t know a thing about construction for one. And besides, would they welcome me there even if I volunteered?”
He bowed repeatedly as he continued, “Many of you would probably have discovered by now that the conditions of our bodies largely reflect the state of our health while we were still in the mortal realm. We won’t die of old age again, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re unable to exert as much strength as the young amongst us. That doesn’t change the fact that we have no stamina, and have to take more frequent breaks than the young. Doesn’t this mean that we can only be relegated to ranking last among all who are present?”
“Fortunately, I’ve been dead for decades now. I passed on even before the cultural revolution, and I’ve got some savings buried in the ground that haven’t been dug up to date. My lord, you’ve been scuttling about with transactions within the mortal realm. Wouldn’t you require money for such transactions as well? Therefore, I propose that those who have the strength and stamina should put in their best efforts, while those who have money can contribute in their own ways as well. This solution marries the best of both worlds.”
“Allow us a moment to discuss your suggestion among ourselves.” Arthis desperately gave Qin Ye a knowing look even before any of the other Yin spirits could speak up. As soon as Qin Ye finished speaking, a tiny voice immediately resounded in his ears, “Agree to it! Don’t underestimate his proposal of two million. Something like that… isn’t easy to come by.”
“It is indeed a little too little.” Qin Ye furrowed his brows, “Based on market price, each apartment in this building should sell for at least seven or eight million.”
“But like you just mentioned, this is merely the market price!” Arthis quickly retorted, “This is Hell. There aren’t many people who are able to bring with them the money of the mortal realm. You have to make these count! You can’t look at RMB in Hell as you would in the mortal realm. It’s value is way higher down here!”
But before they could even finish their discussions, another voice called out, “Number 111… That’s the room that directly faces the pond, isn’t it? It’s just as well, because this old man has also taken a fancy to those rooms over there.”
It was once again the much-hated nouveau riche to play a melody that was music to Qin Ye’s ears. The crowd parted slightly, and an old man who was playing with two walnuts in his hands walked out with a spritely gait. His face was radiant and rosy, hardly anything that one would expect of a person who was dead, “Ten million RMB. I would like two rooms. I’m preparing one for when my aged companion arrives in Hell.”
As soon as this man appeared, the eyes of the seven division heads immediately brightened up. Song Ming hurriedly scooted over to Qin Ye’s side and whispered with a soft voice, “Glass magnate! Huang Liangchuan, the man who single handedly dominated at least half of the entire glass industry across all of Cathay! He started out from a humble shop, and grew his business to a listed mega-company that even exports its products to foreign markets! He grew up in Mount Tai City of Insignia Province, and he was among the first and greatest entrepreneurs of his time - one with an incredibly keen sense for business. The construction companies that each of us were from had all habitually ordered glass from him in the past!”
“Ranked 148th of last year’s list of richest individuals in Cathay. This is… a billionaire we’re talking about! The real deal!”
Qin Ye’s heart was suddenly thrown into chaos.
There are many things in life that one would only properly discover or realize when they experienced it for themselves - Ah, so that’s how it’s done? Ah, what the hell was I doing earlier?
And now was exactly one of those moments when he immediately got the urge to give himself a tight slap across the cheek.
Why didn’t I get Arthis to do up an ink painting earlier?! This is an investment! Do you think that these people lack discretion or judgment? Would they really be unable to tell that Qin Gardens Phase One is the benchmark development? Do you think they really wouldn’t know what these places mean?
Everything else aside, they need only ask whether it was possible that the leaders of Yin Construction wouldn’t reside within the building! Was it even possible that Arthis wouldn’t stay there? And what about Lord Qin?
Where else would they stay?
They would naturally stay at Qin Gardens Phase One!
Besides, ten million was hardly anything substantial to a billionaire, especially if it would secure him a close proximity to the leaders of Hell and its corollary, opportunities.
Song Ming continued, “I’d heard some time ago that he had taken seriously ill, and the Huang family’s shares immediately plummeted as a result of it. It’s no wonder they didn’t announce his death to the public. They must have been afraid that the shares in his company would crumble and collapse… My lord, this is a great opportunity. Ten million would enable us to purchase more equipment and machines to facilitate our works!”
Qin Ye nodded his head. His mind was already made up, but he knew better than to agree off the cuff.
Just like any other government, they needed time to “consider” the matter.
And then consider some more.
Then, finally, they would reluctantly accede to the request in a cold and distant fashion. And all of these were done just to communicate a single notion - I’m showing you face by acceding to your request. This shall be the one and only time such indulgence is given.
“Let’s revisit this another time.” Qin Ye surveyed the burgeoning chaos among the audience and felt the onset of a headache. He didn’t have any security forces at his disposal at all… and even though he had the power to quell any unrest as soon as they started, did he truly have the luxury of time to concern himself with these nitty gritty details? On the other hand, given that the strong, young men around already had their hands full with Yin Construction’s works, was he really going to entrust a group of elderly folk to take charge of peacekeeping and maintain the law and order of the land?
Mm… the aging population of Hell is another problem that needs to be addressed. This can’t go on indefinitely. We’ll need to let these old folks pull their own weight too. After all… weak or not, the fact remains that they can still continue to work forever…
The more I think about these things, the more I fear for Hell’s future…
With a loud chime signifying the end of the general assembly, Qin Ye returned to the annex hall of Hell’s Gate. He needed to sort out his thoughts about everything that had transpired today.
Arthis and the seven division heads were present as well. All of their faces were filled with excitement that was bursting at its seams.
This was the feeling of true power.
“Calm down, everyone.” Qin Ye maintained his cold and distant persona as he addressed the caucus with a faint smile, “Our first step has been done fairly well. But there are still a multitude of problems we’ll have to address following that.”
“Arthis and I have had our discussions about these things. Generally speaking, the following are the more pressing ones so far.”
“Firstly, neighbourhood councils.” Qin Ye held up a finger and continued, “The neighbourhood is bound to be filled to the brim. I’m sure everyone here is fully aware of how vibrant the neighbourhoods are back in the mortal realms. There’s no need to be too concerned about the possibility of a low take-up rate in this regard. We’ll need to provide things such as recreation rooms. In this regard, I intend to head to the mortal realm to purchase some entertainment systems and equipment. After all… the old ghostly citizens are far too idle for their own good.”
Everyone nodded their heads in approval as their excitement dwindled. Zhao Guangliang deliberated for a moment and chipped in, “That’s not all. We should look to establish the financial system in Hell as quickly as possible. We can’t be doing charity work all the time. The old Hell must have had some kind of financial system in the past.”
“And there’s also the issue of security.” Qian Tianyi added, “With a community of tens of thousands of citizens, we can’t overlook the issue of security. If we want to discourage or quell any possible instances of affray or uprising like that incident with Gao Dahu, we would need to establish an armed force that is directly under your charge. After all… authority extends from the barrel of a gun - laws are nothing without enforcement.”
“Take note of these discussions.” Qin Ye turned around and instructed the scribes seated behind him before adding thoughtfully, “We’ll have to do our due diligence and survey the grounds to ascertain the best time to launch each society or group. This way, we would be able to stabilize the number of elderly ghostly citizens that are just idling about… ahem… I don’t mean to look down on them; I was just stating these things as they were…”
He continued, “Once we’ve taken a registration on the hobbies of these old folks, the neighbourhood council would be able to start making arrangements to deal with the idlers, especially since they won’t be able to contribute to Hell’s construction efforts. As for the financial system… Minister Arthis, do you have any thoughts?”
Arthis was dressed very formally today.
She had revealed her true form earlier when she clothed herself in her Hell’s Emissary state, and her tongue hung out from her mouth and stretched all the way to the ground. However, her appearance right now was truly silicone perfection, replete with the attire of an office lady, and she looked… well… very competent.
“There’s no need for a financial system as long as hell still remains a village. Practically speaking, Hell can only support a financial system when it expands to the size of a county. More specifically, it’s only at that time that the Yin energy in Hell would finally be able to support the materialization of the specialized structure on which Hell’s financial system is built upon - the Heaven and Hell Bank.” She paused for a moment of deliberation, “Once this is established, you would finally be able to normalize the society in Hell. Furthermore, electricity, water, and communication channels are amenities that hinge on the establishment of Hell’s financial system. Simply put, the amount of Yin energy aggregated in a village-sized Hell is far too small to support such massive projects that would have lingering repercussions for all of Hell.”
“Hang on…” Qin Ye felt like he had misheard something, “Electricity? Water? Are you sure you had access to such amenities in the past?”
Arthis rolled her eyes at him, “What’s so unusual about that? Hell has to keep with the times as well. The illumination from the Torch Dragon is already an antiquated story of the past. When the old Hell collapsed, Lord Aurogon had held the title of ‘Chairman of Netherworld Electricity Holdings’, also known as Yin Energy. The chairperson of Yin Water was the 3,242nd generation descendent of Goddess Mother Earth. The related companies were even on the brink of collapse, having faced intense competition from other water-purification companies. Fortunately, King Yanluo took into account Goddess Mother Earth’s great deed of transforming her body into the six paths of reincarnation. Otherwise, Yin Water would already have become a thing of the past a long time ago.”
What the hell…
Everyone’s eyes widened as they exchanged awkward stares.
The old Hell… it really kept up with the times back then…
“As Hell grows, it’s only a matter of time before you see the emergence of major chambers of commerce and companies. You’ll even start to see a parallel between Hell and the mortal realm. Unfortunately, the old Hell collapsed before it could develop the internet… Why are you guys staring at me like that? The forefathers of the internet in Cathay were already propelled into the spotlight when they first entered Hell, and a good number of them were enjoying incredible salaries as they laid infrastructural cables underground. Who would’ve thought that Lord Ksitigarbha suddenly gained enlightenment before we could enjoy the fruits of their labour…”
Very well. Very Hell.
Why do I feel the swelling sensation of a thousand spiteful words in my heart…
Mom, Hell’s a little different from what I’d thought. What should I do?
Just then, Su Dongxue suddenly entered the annex hall and bowed gracefully, “My lord, a group of five spirits that call themselves the ‘Radiant Sunset Support Group’ is seated at the entrance, requesting an audience with you.”
“Bloody hell…” Qin Ye could feel his brain pulsing with pain - What’s going on… How’s there already a support group in Hell? It’s only been several minutes… And what do you mean seated at the entrance? Have they already learnt to protest?
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