The scene was increasingly awkward. After exchanging profound glances with each other, the three professors coughed dryly and returned everything to their place.
Women’s clothing and so on… I guess everyone is entitled to their own fancies and hobbies… This is an academy, so we should do our best to be inclusive… Well, that’s that. We can’t discriminate against him because of that…
The cabinets and drawers closed up, and Qin Ye leapt out of his bed, “That’s it, then?”
Lou Chuan nodded awkwardly. But before he could say another word, Chen Zhili suddenly exclaimed, “Hang on… what’s this?”
The true climax of the story was just around the corner.
Just as he spoke, an object that completely blew the professors’ minds flew out from under the bed!
A female silicone doll dressed in ancient garments hovered in mid-air. No matter how one looked at it, one could tell that this was meant for human use.
And it looked used too.
This revelation was as earth-shattering as a nuclear bomb explosion. The three professors went absolutely silent. Then, after several seconds, Professor Chen finally managed to gather himself, “Well then… I guess we’re done with our search… and we should be on our way…”
And much to Qin Ye’s dismay, the other two professors promptly added, “Don’t worry, Instructor Qin, we’ll keep everything we’ve seen here strictly confidential.” “Everyone has their own hobbies. As long as it doesn’t affect your teaching, we’ll pretend not to know anything about it. It won’t affect your instructor’s evaluation either.”
Tao Ran didn’t say a word. Instead, he simply patted Qin Ye on the shoulder and sighed wistfully.
It’s true… Everyone has their quirks. A fetish for dressing up as a woman, and this… this… doll. Although he’s a genius that appears only once every century, it’s only natural that he’s got his own dark secrets as well… Speaking of which, it now makes sense that his preliminary instructor’s evaluation wasn’t too high. Perhaps it might have been influenced by these things…
“Venting and release should be done in moderation.” After leaving Qin Ye with parting words of wisdom, the three professors finally took their leave.
“No… It shouldn’t be like that… can you listen to my explanations, please… Oh my god! Please don’t say a word of this!!”
Qin Ye slammed the door and immediately stared daggers under the bed. Arthis acted as though she were dead and remained completely silent.
“Playing dead?” Qin Ye’s anger had come to a head. The flames of fury surged from his belly, and he yanked the silicone doll out from under his bed, flicked on his lighter, and swung his hand towards Arthis’ hair.
At that moment, the silicon doll that had just been playing dead suddenly opened her eyes and locked eyes with him.
“About that.” Arthis had nothing to say about it. She combed her hair and sat back down onto the bed in a graceful, womanly manner as she cleared her throat, “It was an emergency…”
Qin Ye grabbed her by the neck and cried out with bloodshot eyes, “Emergency?! I’ll show you what an emergency is like! Haven’t you heard of precautionary measures?! What are you doing playing games all day in my room anyway, huh?! What are you doing trying on various bras in my room, huh?! And what’s the point of opening Whispers when you don’t even have a need for them, huh?!!!”
“... Let go of me… let’s talk things through slowly…”
“I refuse! We’re dying together today! I’m telling you, I’ve had it with you!!”
A moment later, Qin Ye covered his head in pain as he crashed into the door behind him. However, he quickly scrambled back to his feet like an undying cockroach and cried out with great displeasure, “What was that for?! Have you got an excuse now?”
Arthis straightened her clothes and frowned at him, “Don’t be so rough with me… look at how you’ve messed up my clothes. Be careful I don’t report you for rape.”
Sensing that Qin Ye was on the verge of exploding, Arthis calmly shook her fist at him, “I’ve got no excuse, but that’s an excuse in and of itself.”
Alright… that’s perfectly reasonable…
Qin Ye felt a spittoon of blood well up from his throat, and he forced it back down again. Calm down and endure… Just endure…
He took several deep breaths to calm his heart and mind before looking up again, “Do we have closure of this matter?”
Arthis looked back with a somber gaze in her eyes and nodded, “We do. It takes a lot for extraterritorial emissaries to infiltrate another country under the national restrictive barriers, and these operations are naturally incredibly costly. Furthermore, word can only be spread by word of mouth. In other words, once the extraterritorial emissaries perish, there’s no way their respective underworlds would know of the truth about Hell.”
Her gaze grew somewhat icy as she continued, “They wouldn’t dare risk challenging what was once known to be the strongest underworld around a second time. It doesn’t matter what conjecture their respective council of elders make. Everything is dependent on proof and evidence. And what could be more conclusive than the ability to reap the soul of an important person from Cathay?”
Qin Ye nodded thoughtfully. This incident had given him new insights to Hell as an underworld. Hell develops in tandem with the development of human society. And likewise, the balance of powers among underworlds is also contingent on pure, absolute strength.
The weak would be invaded by the strong without rhyme or reason, even if this meant disrupting the balance of the cycle of reincarnation.
Therefore, one could easily conclude that any underworld that was able to survive the endless tensions and conflicts between underworlds for thousands of years would certainly not be something to be trifled with.
“The Dark Forest Theory.” Qin Ye gazed out of the window and murmured to himself.
“Eh?” Arthis looked baffled. She hadn’t read such profound literature yet.
Qin Ye explained calmly, “Every civilization is like a hunter with a gun living in a deep, dark forest. Anyone who reveals his position and weaknesses would immediately attract the attention of the gun barrels of all other hunters.”
Arthis nodded thoughtfully. Then, she made a grasping motion in the air, and a lantern that was lit with a brightly burning netherfire appeared in her hands. She gently caressed it and muttered softly, “Then… do your best to become the most seasoned hunter as quickly as possible.”
A soul was resting peacefully in the heart of the lantern.
Gu Qing, the master of architecture and urban planning. Seizure of his soul was the reason why the extraterritorial emissaries had made the long trek to Cathay!
But today, the soul was safely in his hands, to be delivered straight to Hell.
“Shall we go?” Qin Ye gazed at Arthis. It was far easier to muster a thousand troops and foot soldiers than to find a competent general. And yet, he had found that general today. He couldn’t wait to see what kind of big splash he would make in the new Hell.
Arthis didn’t turn down his request. The shard of King Yanluo’s Seal activated, and the duo vanished from the room in an instant.
When they opened their eyes again, they were greeted with a vast dark sky that saw innumerable spots of netherflames hovering eerily about. Crimson trees filled the lands, while Yin spirits were gathered everywhere. The mild chaos in the lands was a glimpse to the former glory of Hell and its bustling lands. It was a familiar sight.
They stood before Hell’s gate. As soon as they appeared, hundreds of Death Inquisitors stood up at the same time. Then, taking the lead of their leader Su Dongxue, they bowed in unison, “Greetings, Your Excellency.”
“Mm.” Qin Ye had habitually maintained a noble and cold persona in Hell. He nodded, “How have things been?”
Su Dongxue bowed courteously, “Responding. There are 33,400 new Yin spirits in Hell. Their registration has been processed by my subordinates. A total of 2,651 Yin spirits have joined the ranks of Yin Construction. Compared to last week, the number of new Yin spirits in Hell has fallen by 78%. The rate of growth has dwindled quite substantially.”
“This is very normal.” Arthis responded without delay, “The only ones who can detect the establishment of the new Hell are the Yin Spirits in the surrounding regions. And even then, there are others who are seizing Yin spirits away from Hell for their own following as well.”
“For instance, the masters of the hunting zones that have been especially tagged with numbers for tracking by the mortal realm, and even the masters of other hunting zones that aren’t even disclosed to the public. Yin spirits that are unable to detect Hell’s existence would naturally gravitate towards the stronger existences in the region and form part of the forces of a particular hunting zone. Furthermore… there’s also the existence of the three daolords to consider as well. Some Yin spirits might choose to pledge allegiance to the immense forces of the daolords even if they sense the presence of the new Hell… How many Yin spirits do we have right now?”
Su Dongxue bowed again, “There are a total of 186,420 Yin spirits. Yin Construction has approximately 24,000 of these under their charge.”
Qin Ye looked out in amazement. He could see a sea of Yin spirits resting under the trees that hadn’t been felled just yet. He looked further out, and saw a large plot of land being prepared for the construction works. The red trees were being cleared out. However, there were no traces of Yin spirits. Instead, there were only the vague silhouettes of a few small machines moving about.
Something’s about to happen…
He furrowed his brows deeply. Back in the mortal realm, even the president could be impeached if he let the unemployment rate go too high. Hell was different in that they still didn’t have the system of money or wages, but if this situation went on… if an entire society remained completely idle with nothing to occupy their time or minds, then something would most certainly happen!
“Where are the people of Yin Construction?”
“Lord Qin.” Several voices responded in unison as soon as he spoke. Qin Ye turned around, only to see Li Chuanyi, Zhao Guangliang and Hu Feng running over from the annex hall with their hardhats on.
Qin Ye glared at them. The three Yin spirits trembled, and their lips quivered, but none of them said anything.
None of them dared to speak a single word.
They had once been supervisors in the mortal realm, and they knew full well what supervisors hated.
Speaking first before they were addressed was presumptuous conduct tantamount to an arrogation of authority.
Tick tock tick tock…
It was only after about a dozen seconds that Qin Ye finally expressed his displeasure, “24,000 Yin spirits in Yin Construction, the first official establishment of Hell’s government, and incidentally also the most well-staffed organization around. You’ve got at least over a hundred times more ghostpower than the Death Inquisitors. It’s been over a month now. Tell me, how much progress have you made?”
“My lord!” Despite Qin Ye’s calm and emotionless expression, the three Yin spirits found themselves sweating profusely. They knelt to the ground in an instant, and Li Chuanyi cried out, “Your subordinates… are unworthy of your expectations…”
“I’m asking how much progress you’ve made!” Qin Ye’s voice rose sharply, “Do you not understand my question?!”
“Yes!” The three men answered in unison. Then, Zhao Guangliang sighed as he wiped off his sweat, “Approximately 1%...”
“Did you round up or did you round down?!”
This time, it was Arthis who spoke up, and her voice was so powerful that it caused the entire Hell’s Gate to tremble. The three men prostrated themselves in fear. Hu Feng kowtowed as he answered softly, “0.6%... thereabouts…”
“Twenty thousand ghosts, and only 0.6% of progress in an entire month of time?” Wisps of Yin energy began to erupt from Arthis’ seven apertures as she sneered, “Is it because you think there’s nothing in it for you? Then, let me tell you. The privilege to live is the greatest benefit you can ask for.”
Qin Ye didn’t interject. The new Hell was in a tragic state right now. He knew full well that the slow progress was a result of the lack of machinery. Was his monthly wage of 100,000 very substantial? Next to the development of Qin Gardens Phase 1, it was barely an ounce in a pail of water. No… it was probably even more insignificant than that.
Nevertheless, the more chaotic the situation was, the more he would have to exert his authority.
Therefore, he couldn’t afford to be wrong.
The mistake could only fall on the shoulders of the division heads of Yin Division. This was precisely why Arthis was berating the three men. (TL: Poor guys. My heart goes out to them)
“Alright.” It was time for Qin Ye to make his appearance. The bad cop had done her job. Arthis and Qin Ye worked seamlessly in this regard, and he interjected with perfect timing, “Did you encounter any difficulties?”
“Indeed…” The three men exchanged a glance, and then Hu Feng kowtowed and explained with much difficulty, “My lord… Qin Gardens Phase 1 is a massive project, and none of us have dealt with ancient-style construction before. Furthermore, the construction works require a lot of materials, including wood. With the current progress of logging works… we might not even be able to harvest sufficient wood required for the entire project in five or six years.”
He closely scrutinized Qin Ye’s expressions, and then boldly continued, “And the limiting factor right now is in the machinery. My lord, this phenomenon is called the capital chain rupture in the mortal realm. If we don’t get a subsequent injection of resources… I’m afraid everyone’s passion for the project will soon grow cold.”
He took a deep breath and lowered his head, “I’ve personally encountered an instance of capital chain rupture back in the mortal realm… The stimulus brought about by capital injection is extraordinary. But the converse is true. If the project doesn’t see any such stimulus in a month, or even in several months, and the equipment and resources continue to languish in a primitive state… My lord, I’m afraid that the newly established Yin Construction could even crumble before it properly takes off…”
1. This is a theory promulgated by an author, Liu Cixin, in his book entitled ‘The Dark Forest’, which is the second installment in a trilogy of books known as ‘Remembrance of Earth’s Past’. The theory holds that civilizations fear each other so much that they won’t dare to reveal themselves, lest they immediately be considered a potential threat and destroyed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Forest