Right at the moment that the soul induction platform was built, the hole in the cloud cover suddenly erupted with a powerful thunder-like rumble. Following that, the golden figure in the sky finally moved.
Then, almost as though it had just awakened from its slumber, it glanced down, and then hurtled straight towards the soul induction platform like a mighty meteorite!
Arthis explained, “As long as his last wish was to be buried in his hometown, then regardless of where he died, he would most certainly appear in the soul induction platform of his hometown. If we didn’t have the soul induction platform, he would act like he did earlier, hovering about in a daze, not knowing what to do. Even though he knows full well that this is where he should be after death, he wouldn’t know how to get down, or where to go.”
Qin Ye nodded and drew a deep breath as he stared at the Yin spirit with a great, burning passion in the depths of his eyes.
It’s finally here!
Arthis had mentioned that all Yin spirits who could trigger the special receiving order are invariably talents that had accrued great merit for themselves during their time in the mortal realm.
It might be a county-level; or it might be a city-level, or perhaps… Qin Ye licked his lips that had become dry with anticipation. What if… it’s a provincial-level one, or an impressive district-level Yin spirit?
Would I have to specially construct a laboratory for him? It might be a problem if his profession was in the arts... And if his talents were in the field of network technology, I might well have to act more in a supporting role, wouldn’t I? Or perhaps I should let them register with Yin Construction?
The golden figure’s descent took no more than a few short seconds, and yet it felt indescribably long to Qin Ye. The speed of its descent was incredibly quick. As it drew closer and closer to the soul induction platform, the platform began to glow with a bright golden luster, and a golden lotus even began to bloom at the heart of the platform!
Yet, just then--!
The startling sound of chains suddenly echoed from mid-air. Both Arthis and Qin Ye looked up abruptly, only to discover…
That there was actually a massive pitch-black coloured chain shackling the Yin spirit’s ankles!
The chains were taut and bound tightly around the Yin spirit’s ankles. It was only hundreds of meters from the platform, and yet it couldn’t move a single inch closer!
“This is…” Qin Ye’s gaze darkened. He could sense an aura from the chain… that was similar to the peculiar Yin spirit he had earlier encountered at the Great Dipper Vault!
It was absolutely formless, and its presence could only be detected when it revealed itself.
In fact, it was nefarious, vicious, and repugnant, as if heaven and earth rejected it completely.
“Freakin’ hell!!” Ming Shiyin’s furious roar resounded like thunder from the top of Hell’s Gate, “How dare they intrude into Hell?! Are they trying to take advantage of the fact that Hell has been emptied out?! What are you waiting for?! Kill him!!”
Arthis drew a deep breath and closed her eyes.
“What the hell is this?” Qin Ye turned around and asked Arthis.
“Is it… the thing that was in the First Academy of Cultivators?”
“How did it end up in Hell?”
Arthis didn’t respond.
However, her garments had already begun to flutter on its own, and her face was devoid of any smiles. In fact, even her body had begun to float up gently.
It was a sign of extreme anger that was seething within her.
“Ar--...” Qin Ye gasped and took a few steps backwards. He had a bad feeling about where things were going.
But before he could finish his sentence, an incomparably terrifying wave of Yin energy swept across the vast skies.
And countless bloodshot eyes slowly opened up across the dark canvass of the skies.
Arthis opened her eyes.
“This is the third time.”
Arthis stepped out lightly, and the entire new Hell began to tremble violently, “I finally understand… so that’s what’s going on…”
“Foreign underworld, back then, you were beat back by us all the way to the Moyinkum Desert. Yet… having sensed a lack of response from Cathay’s Hell, is your leader… attempting to incite the next great war of the underworlds?”
Qin Ye was dumbfounded.
It was as though a bolt of lightning had just crashed into his mind, and he suddenly understood everything.
He knew deep down that something was amiss when he saw the dried corpse the other day. Yet when he thought rationally about the matter back then, he simply couldn’t figure out just where the anomaly lay. However, as soon as he heard Arthis’ exclamations in her fit of anger, the puzzle pieces suddenly fit together, and he quickly figured everything out.
Several professors and instructors were all in agreement that Mo Jun’s corpse didn’t bear the mark of Yin spirits from Cathay.
His hands were folded, and his expression looked at peace. His body had been doused and cleansed with water, his stomach was split open, and all of his innards had been completely dug out…
This was most certainly not the work of Cathayan Yin spirits.
This bore the mark of extraterritorial Yin spirits!
When Qin Ye sensed something amiss earlier, it had been in respect of the aesthetics, the method and the form of it all.
Qin Ye’s scalp grew numb as he thought through these things, because it meant that… Cathay wasn’t the only nation with an underworld - other nations had their own versions of the underworld as well!
“No… it might not even be a nation. It could be a sect!” He sighed wistfully as he massaged his temples, “Every major sect falls under the jurisdiction of a particular Yama… That’s right, they might not even call them Yama, but… Hades? Death? Regardless of what they call it, they don’t belong in Cathay! This was why even someone as strong as Zhou Xianlong wasn’t able to detect the Yin energy emanating from their bodies!”
He didn’t dare to pursue this train of thought any further. No wonder… no wonder Arthis and Ming Shiyin mentioned that it was better for me not to know about these things. Indeed, I do sense an urge welling up within me to step down from becoming a King Yanluo and simply escaping into the recesses of the mountain and becoming a hermit.
There were underworlds in other nations as well. So what exactly did this mean?
The effective non-existence of Cathay’s Hell meant that the extraterritorial underworlds were all eyeing a piece of the same pie. After all, Cathay occupied the third largest mass of land in the world, and there were at least a billion souls thriving in their mortal state right now. It was practically a gourmet buffet spread set right in front of a bunch of gluttons!
We’ll deal with this when we get to it… He gazed into the distant sky. Arthis had already gradually risen to the zenith, and she was surveying her surroundings in all directions.
The crowd of Yin spirits were completely silent at this moment. They were still shellshocked from the sudden overwhelming sight earlier.
One by one, everyone gazed at Arthis. Some began to gulp nervously, while other more timid Yin spirits felt their knees buckle and their legs give way as they nearly crumbled to the ground again.
The sky canopy consisted of four focal points - countless bloodshot eyes, the golden figure of a special Yin spirit, ink-black chains, and finally a mighty Infernal Judge.
There was absolutely nothing that didn’t speak of the might and awe of Hell.
Arthis slowly reached out with her hand.
Simultaneously, ten thousand ghostly netherflames neatly blossomed behind her. Yet before anyone could take a closer scrutiny at these flames, they immediately transformed into countless jade-green Yin spirits that rushed madly towards the chain in the sky.
Clatter clatter! The pitch-black chain was extremely thin. It wasn’t even as thick as the girth of a thumb! And yet, under the relentless barrage of countless Yin spirits, it began to clang with a spine-chilling clatter.
“How dare you extraterritorial Yin spirit misbehave yourselves here?!” Arthis sneered as she bellowed, “Get down here!”
The chain extending out of the sky tightened.
However, it remained completely unscathed.
“Don’t waste your energy…” A female voice called out from the distant sky, “Although I don’t know your exact location, but… no matter how strong you are, do you think you can really resist a treasure bestowed by Hades himself?”
Arthis’ pupils contracted abruptly. But before the female voice could even finish speaking, the Mirror of Eminence suddenly released a thin beam of light, and a pair of soul shackles bearing an earth-shattering amount of Yin energy charged straight into the sky and hurtled straight for the chains!
“?παινο? Θε?ν!” The female voice in the sky rumbled like thunder as soon as the soul shackles appeared. As she spoke, the chains suddenly erupted with a massive tidal wave of black light, and the special Yin spirit… No, not a single person could even react as the special Yin spirit got pulled into the cloud cover in the blink of an eye. Immediately after that, the hole in the cloud quickly closed up amidst the rumbling tremors in the sky.
It didn’t even take a single second for all of this to take place.
Qin Ye only saw a blur in front of his eyes, and suddenly everything was gone.
The innumerable bloodshot eyes that Arthis had summoned across the canopy of the skies wasn’t able to achieve anything, and they slowly faded back into the darkness.
Qin Ye didn’t respond. He swept his gaze around his surroundings, and then poured his Yin energy into Hell’s Gate, causing his voice to echo throughout every corner of Hell instantly, “What are you still looking at? Is the work here going to do itself? What’s with your rubbernecking over something so trivial? Haven’t you heard that curiosity killed the cat?!”
Rumble… All of the Yin spirits trembled in unison at Qin Ye’s thunderous bellow.
“Get back to your task at hand. Anyone who slacks off because of this…” He paused, “Can forget about your life in Hell.”
The Yin spirits exchanged awkward glances, before quietly dispersing. None dared to say a single word to another.
Then, as soon as Arthis landed on the ground, Qin Ye grabbed her by the sleeves and looked straight into her eyes, “Now, are you still not going to tell me what’s going on?”
This time, Arthis didn’t object.
Nevertheless, it took some time before she finally collected herself, “You’d probably have guessed most of it even if I don’t say a thing right now, haven’t you?”
“I want the truth!” Qin Ye gritted his teeth, “How much more have you guys been hiding from me? How could you even think to hide such things from me?! I want to know everything! NOW!!”
Arthis waved her arm casually and shook off his hands. Then, gazing deep into the sky, she sighed with deep resignation, “Follow me.”
The two didn’t enter Hell’s Gate. Instead, they circled around it and walked along the circumference of the new Hell, none of them speaking a single word while they were at it.
A gentle nethergale swept by, and Arthis tucked her hair behind her ears. After some time, and just as Qin Ye was starting to grow impatient, she began with a soft, hoarse voice, “This is the world.”
“And Cathay is only part of the world. Likewise, that goes for Hell as well.”
“All underworlds can never exceed the size of their nation.”
After her preface, she continued softly and calmly, “We didn’t want to apprise you of these things because we didn’t want you to think too much. What’s the point of knowing all these things right now? We’re currently… not even able to deal with an officer of their standing forces. Rather than to worry about these things on a daily basis, wouldn’t it be a better idea to focus our heart and mind on reestablishing Hell? After all, it’s only when we get our foundation stable that we can begin to fight for our survival.”
Without missing a beat, Arthis continued, “And it’s precisely because underworlds cannot exceed the size of their national territory that… as you’ve probably guessed, we’re not the only hell in the world.”
“Nippon has them. Rus has them. The Middle East has them. Europa and Usonia has them as well. Back in our glory days, the old Hell easily ranked among the top, together with the underworlds of Europa and Usonia.”
“They don’t call it hell. They call it the underworld. I remember that their King Yanluo, or the lord of the underworld, is called Hades. The death god of the Middle East is called Serapis. And then there’s also Shiva of Hindustan… These are the four strongest underworlds. And there are countless smaller underworlds too.”
She sighed softly, “The collapse of the Cathayan Hell… Let’s just say that the three daolords aren’t the only ones who have started to grow restless. After all, how could the extraterritorial underworlds be able to resist the temptation of such a feast before their eyes? The effluxion of time has worn down their patience as well.”
Qin Ye’s expressions were unusually calm.
Seconds later, he let out a bitter laugh, and then gazed into the distant skies as he sighed wistfully.
What was this?
He could avoid the danger posed to him by the three daolords by hiding under the wings of the City of Salvation. However… even if the three daolords were to stand against the invasion of the other underworlds, did they really have the power to stop them?
Hades, Anubis… these were all stuff of legends and myths, and yet they were standing right before his eyes, as real a threat as it could be. No… perhaps this was something he should already have considered before agreeing to the tall order of reestablishing Hell.
Just like the diversity among peoples, cultures and societies, there, too, was diversity among the underworlds.
2. Serapis is a Greco-Egyptian syncretistic god that combines Osiris, the lord of the underworld; the Apis Bull, a sacred bull deity that represents strength and fertility; Hades, which needs no explanation; Demeter, the goddess of harvest and agriculture; and Dionysus, the god of debauchery and excess.
3. The author actually states that this is 中东语, which is directly translated as Middle Eastern language, but generally understood to be arabic. But the words are actually written in greek, so I have translated this as Argosian instead. Do note that the author seems to treat Greece as part of the Middle East, so further reference to that region should be considered as inclusive of Greece as well.