Lin Han blinked somewhat in disbelief as he proceeded to teach Qin Ye how to use the card. Qin Ye pretended to listen, but never really took his eyes away from under the bed.
Ten minutes later, Lin Han stretched lazily and stood up, “Shall we go out for a drink or two? The canteen isn’t even open today. They’re so horribly miserly. And I’d even forgotten to bring back some local delights back from Mount Tai City too… Eh? Why do you have such a large suitcase with you? Do you have any snacks and foodstuffs inside?”
The mischievous hand immediately reached out towards the suitcase that Qin Ye had earlier placed on the ground. In the next second, Lin Han found himself thrown back heavily against the room door some distance away, and he stared at Qin Ye with a look of astonishment in his eyes, “Holy shit, it can’t be… you’re hiding a child inside?!”
Qin Ye gently stroked the suitcase with a palpable sense of relief as he glared right back at Lin Han - The people I hate the most are such overly curious idiots!
Who the hell says that the most dangerous place is also the safest place? Who the hell says that it’s darkest under the lighthouse?
After all, there’s always the creature known as the husky. With its curiosity, it would always find the most unique way of uncovering the thing you wish to hide the most, regardless of whether you’re hiding things in the safest or most dangerous place. Wherever it goes, it ruins, and it conquers - and Lin Han was one of the best of these!
“Are you seriously hiding a child inside? Can’t I just hold him for a bit… I won’t open the bag?” He looked at Qin Ye with a curious “pika-pika” gleam in his eyes. Lin Han stood behind Qin Ye and stared intently at the suitcase with great interest as he reached out his sinister hand once more. Qin Ye immediately rebuffed him with a flying kick as he simultaneously stashed the suitcase under his bed cautiously. Incidentally, he felt the suitcase push back against Arthis, who promptly let out another muffled groan.
I am an Infernal Judge! Can’t you show me a little bit more respect? It’s already humiliating enough to be hiding under the bed, and yet you’ve still got the nerve to stuff a suitcase in here?!
Lin Han was just about to crouch down in pain when he suddenly paused and furrowed his brows. Then, glancing warily at his surroundings, he asked, “Wait… did you really not hear that? I thought I heard someone groan again? And it sounded as though it was somewhat disgruntled too.”
Bloody hell, you guys are going to be the death of me one day… Qin Ye lifelessly helped Lin Han back to his feet, walked towards the window and patted his back heavily, “Local Bully, after all these years, you’re one of the few people I truly consider a friend.”
Lin Han: ???
Weren’t we already friends a long time ago?
“Do you know how I treat my friends?” Qin Ye held tightly onto Lin Han and began to slowly push his body out of the window without any signs of stopping.
From here, one could clearly see the view of a thriving city.
“Do you see that building? Come, come, come, stand up there and gently hop off the top of it. All it takes is just one single leap of faith, and all your worries will instantly vanish. No longer will you need to worry about life. Even the earth will cry out in amazement at it, because that jump will exceed any jumps ever accomplished by our dear friend Ke Shouliang back then... And then, we shall together be friends for the rest of eternity.”
The red seat representing the red of the Death Inquisitors is reserved for you. Don’t be shy. Come, come, come, Hell is short of talents like you right now… Since we’re friends, why don’t you lend me a hand in this regard?
Lin Han reacted quickly by straightening his body and squirming his way out of Qin Ye’s tight grasp. Then, he made a hasty retreat back out of Qin Ye’s room, peeking his head out for a short farewell before shutting the door promptly, “The students will be arriving from 6.00 a.m. the day after tomorrow. Each faculty will be welcoming its own students. I’ve checked the schedule - you’re the first one, and your duty is from six to nine. That’s all. See you?”
“Aren’t you an idiot?” As soon as the door shut, a silicone face peeked out while gnashing her teeth, “Why didn’t you just force him out of the window and be done with it? What’s with all these banal banter?”
“I couldn’t bring myself to do it…” Qin Ye sighed, “But enough nonsense. Arti, take a look at this.”
He plugged in the card, and the download immediately began. It took twenty minutes before the download completed. Qin Ye immediately opened the Momo app as soon as it finished, and the first thing he noticed was that there was an additional treasure chest icon right below the chat icon.
“What’s this?” Arthis asked quizzically.
“The treasures accumulated by the Special Investigations Department over thousands of years are all listed in here.” Qin Ye took a deep breath and gently tapped the button. The screen to his phone immediately turned black, before a series of 3D images began to surface on his phone as though they were placed neatly on shelves.
Arthis was immediately taken aback. Then, she snatched his phone and began to scroll through its contents excitedly.
Nobody spoke for the next few moments. Qin Ye watched intently as Arthis’ gaze grew brighter and brighter. After approximately one hour, just as she was enthusiastically scrolling through the rest of its contents, a notification suddenly appeared on the screen - "Insufficient authority to access the rest of the database. Please work hard and gain more teaching credits”. It was only then that Arthis finally let loose a long sigh as she returned the phone to Qin Ye.
“Well? See anything that Hell could use?” Qin Ye asked promptly.
Arthis didn’t respond immediately. Instead, she simply shut her eyes and sighed once more, before murmuring, “Base of the Divine Protectors? I’d heard of the existence of such an organization in the mortal realm since a long time ago, but it was so difficult to locate that I’d even begun to think that these were just rumors. However, this list of treasures verifies that the rumors are indeed true. After all, they couldn’t possibly have such a massive trove of treasures if not for the cumulative effort spanning across thousands of years.”
She opened her eyes, tapped gently on the screen and scrolled through the Hunter-grade treasures until she arrived at the picture of a lotus flower, “Take a look at this.”
Qin Ye looked closely at it. The lotus flower appeared plain and simple. The only thing special about it was that it was crimson-red in colour. 10,000 merit points were required for its redemption.
“The seed of the Ninth-Grade Lotus Throne…” Arthis explained with some measure of lingering incredulity, “These mortals don’t even know what they have in their possession… No, perhaps it’s simply because these items are completely useless to them. But this is undoubtedly a top-grade treasure that Hell can’t do without.”
“The Ninth-Grade Lotus Throne is also known as the Ninth-Grade Lotus Platform that the pious ride on into the afterlife. They sit on the lotus throne, wrapped by the petals which only bloom upon arrival. Only those who have attained feats of great virtue or great heroism have the right to ride the lotus throne straight into paradise. As far as lotus platforms are concerned, they are further divided from the top-grade, top rebirth platforms to the lowest-grade, lowest rebirth platforms as follows: vajra platform, purple gold platform, golden lotus flower, lotus flower platform, seven treasures lotus flower, treasure lotus flower, lotus flower, and golden lotus flower. In other words, the more merits one accrues in the mortal realm, the better the quality of the lotus platform one would be entitled to ride, and the higher the odds of arriving at paradise.”
Qin Ye responded with abject disbelief, “You-- hang on… Hell’s even got the function of sending its citizens straight to paradise? Why haven’t I heard of something like that before?”
“Because you’re a loner.” Ming Shiyin flew out, took a close look at the phone and revealed a line of words on its surface, “I would never have imagined the Ninth-Grade Lotus Throne to only cost ten thousand. Is the mortal realm out of its mind? They would be able to sell something like that to Hell for at least fifty million!”
Before Qin Ye could respond, Arthis grabbed the mirror and stuffed it back under the pillow as she continued, “The things you’ve learnt about Hell are at best only the tip of the iceberg. Even someone like me who has been in office for hundreds of years can’t be said to even have a good grasp of everything that goes on in Hell. That said, I can responsibly confirm that paradise does in fact exist.”
“The world is divided into three realms - heaven, hell, and the mortal realm. You can think of Hell as a type of transit point. Think about it, where would dead people end up eventually? Isn’t the ultimate end of it reincarnation? Those who have done too much evil would be forced down the path of the beast; while others who have been extensively virtuous would be reborn as a royalty in their next life. Then, there are those who have attained great virtue or deeds of heroism who would proceed straight into paradise.”
“One would never be able to enter paradise if they don’t have the vehicle of the corresponding lotus platform. I remember that Ma Han, one of Lord Bao’s direct subordinates, used to run a company known as ‘Hell’s Environment and Horticulture’, otherwise known as Hell’s Horticulture. They grew thousands of such lotus platforms and practically commanded a monopoly over any access into paradise. That said, these things are rarely ever used. In fact, these people of great virtue or heroism come so few and far between that you might not even see a single one in twenty years. Nevertheless, Hell would still be incomplete without it. In other words, if we simply likened Hell to a company, it would be akin to a company that looked down all the time and never up. Hell is supposed to punish evil and reward good, so how exactly are we supposed to reward good?”
Qin Ye drew a breath of cold air and looked at the lotus flower on the screen. He was rendered completely speechless.
“And there’s more than that.” Arthis took full advantage of his speechlessness and Ming Shiyin’s inability to speak as she scrolled to another item and tapped on it, “There are many good things in here. In fact, I would estimate that two or three in every ten here are artifacts that Hell could really use… Take a look at this one. Have you heard of the ghost tears?”
Qin Ye shook his head.
“Ghosts don’t shed tears. Ghosts only shed blood. However, there is one exception to this rule, and that is when a parasitic spirit kills its host’s spirit, and yet the host’s body remains alive. In such rare cases, the ghost would be capable of tears. The ghost tears are in and of itself useless. However… do you see the Yang restoration water over here? These are harvested from the land of great Yang. You can say these are places akin to a clear spring located in the Mountain of Flames. Combine these two items, and you’ll end up with an incredibly precious Yin-Yang Flask.”
“And what’s that?” Qin Ye was beginning to feel inadequate. As the future King Yanluo of Hell, how could he know so little about his own realm?
Arthis revealed a nostalgic look on her face, “Yin spirits are unable to come into contact with any physical objects of the mortal realm unless they attain the level of Infernal Judges and above. That said… water that is poured out of the Yin-Yang Flask can be touched by all Yin spirits. Furthermore… its temperature is lukewarm, neither too hot, nor too cold. It would enable a Yin spirit to experience the most nostalgic feeling of being alive…”
Qin Ye blinked his eyes, “Wouldn’t that make this thing…”
Arthis immediately cut to the chase, “That’s right! Back then, when the wealthy merchant Shen Wansan died, he founded the Shen Hot Spring Manors, which grew to practically monopolize all of the luxury clubs and societies in southern Hell. In other words, he’d built his entire empire of hot springs from an unassuming Yin-Yang Flask… Speaking of which, I’ve not been to a hot spring for centuries now…”
Sigh. Qin Ye didn’t even know what to say to that.
“None of these are important. After all, these things aren’t really considered essentials. Even the ninth-grade lotus throne is something that you might only use once every hundred years… But, this over here, is something that you absolutely must get!” Arthis’ voice grew grave and somber as she scrolled to the end of the database and pointed to an ink-black seed.
Qin Ye was among the ranks of the outstanding instructors.
It wasn’t official just yet, since there was always the possibility that someone would outdo him in the second part of the instructors’ evaluation. Nevertheless, he was already able to access the database of redemptions available to outstanding instructors. And most importantly… official outstanding instructors would be entitled to an incredibly important benefit.
Once a year, they would be entitled to redeem a treasure from a higher-tiered vault!
The seed which Arthis singled out belonged to the third-tier of artifacts. In other words, it was above the Operative-class Alpha-grade artifacts; above the Hunter-class Beta-grade artifacts; and ranked among… the Hellguard-class Gamma-grade artifacts!
“Eight Million Soul-Devouring Grass.” Arthis drew a deep breath and continued without missing a beat, “This is the best defensive item for a fledgling county or city!”
Qin Ye looked at the unassuming seed, “What does it do? Defensive? Who am I supposed to be defending against?”
The three daolords?
No, that can’t be it. Their fate would almost certainly be sealed as soon as they take a single step into the City of Salvation. Defenses against the mortal realm? There’s no need. Those who are able to enter Hell would necessarily have to be dead.
“So… is it supposed to defend against any possible riots or revolutions?” He probed.
Arthis grew taciturn for some time, before sighing softly, “Kid… you truly know nothing about what Hell is like. Sometimes… the enemy might not be within, but is instead the kindred spirit around…”
Without waiting for Qin Ye’s response, she immediately turned off the phone, “You’re going to be teaching in the City of Salvation for the next two years. The security here is tight like a barrel. There’s no way you’re able to leave this place either. Therefore, I think it’s quite unlikely that you’ll encounter such a situation. But if you do… then I’ll tell you more then. But no matter what, you absolutely have to redeem and obtain this seed before your tenure here ends!”
“Plant it in the land of great Yin, and raise it with blood. Sprouts in one year, grows in ten years, and matures in fifty years. This is a plant that is unique to Hell, and it feeds off Yin spirits. Regardless of what kind of Yin spirit it might be, the plant would immediately surround and swarm it as soon as it senses its presence. Planting it around Fengdu, and it would prove to become the best defense to Hell at this stage!”
She then cast a deep and abstruse gaze at the distant sky outside the window, “After all… it’s better to be safe than sorry…”
1. Ke Shouliang is a stuntman best known for his involvement in flying car stunts. He holds several records, including a motorcycle jump over the Great Wall of China on 15 November 1992, as well as a jump over the Hukou Falls of the Yellow River on 1 June 1997.
2. I know that golden lotus flower appears twice. This is how it appears in the original text, unfortunately. I’ve tried searching more about it, but to no avail. If anyone can shed any light about the different types of platforms, I would be very grateful!