Qin Ye knitted his brows deeply as he silently surveyed the sparse machinery around the construction grounds.
The road to establishing a kingdom was fraught with many difficulties and hardships. The journey from humble beginnings to a thriving city of skyscrapers could practically be called a magnificent epic spanning all disciplines, from necessities of clothing, food, housing and transportation, to the fields of humanities and physics. The development of early civilizations depended largely on manpower, while the development of modern civilizations that stood on the shoulders of their predecessors relied on money and wealth.
And this was the most difficult hurdle that they were faced with.
Wealth of a few million RMB was akin to a drop in the ocean. He was desperate to secure a stable source of wealth for the future development of Hell, but he didn’t know where to begin at all. He possessed several pieces of priceless artifacts from Huang Chuanliang and the other tycoons worth well in the region of tens of millions, but he didn’t know where to go about liquidating these assets either.
The sequestration of the City of Salvation was the greatest barrier hindering his plans, because it practically cut off any opportunities he had to interact with the outside world.
“Don’t think too much about these things. The problems you’re currently faced with are much better than what the old Hell faced in its nascent years, when they were constantly faced with incursions to their territories and conflicts and strife. In the very worst case…” A cold gleam flashed across Arthis’ eyes, “Slaughter them all, and wait for a new batch of Yin spirits to gather, and then start anew.”
… This idea of yours is rather inhumane... Qin Ye pouted his lips. I never knew a gamer girl’s thoughts were so dangerous… How could you talk about such slaughter so casually? What if you scare the poor plants and flowers around?
As an upstanding citizen who has gone through nine years of quality education and lives in a burgeoning era of socialism, how could I possibly do something as tasteless as that?
“Will you do it? Or should I do it?” Qin Ye coughed dryly and responded, to the terrified gazes of the three division heads.
Arthis stared at him as though she had seen a ghost. Then, several seconds later, she responded with slight twitches at her lips, “... That was no more than a passing remark, so don’t take it to heart… a hundred thousand Yin spirits aren’t easy to come by. You’ve got to cherish them. This can be considered one of the benefits you’ve started off with… Speaking of which, don’t you think your ego is a little bit over the top right now? As King Yanluo, how can you not show love and care for your beloved citizens and subjects…”
So it was just a passing remark… Qin Ye glared at Arthis. His poverty was pushing him to the limits of madness. He straightened his face and forcibly turned away from the thoughts of his destitution, “Then… what of Gu Qing’s soul?”
It’s pretty amazing you’re still able to keep a straight face right now. Arthis rolled her eyes and responded, “Hang on.”
The two of them made their way towards the soul induction platform, attracting the watchful gazes of all who were idling about. Arthis took out her lantern and placed it in the center of the soul induction platform. Then, with a set of complicated hand seals, the surroundings were soon filled with cold gasps.
The newly arrived Yin spirits stared blankly at the sky above the soul induction platform. The pitch-black sky canopy trembled slightly, and then suddenly swirled around, forming a hole in the sky that was dozens of meters tall. Thousands of spots of netherflames surged towards the hole and began to spin around it madly.
Rumble… Flashes of pale lightning arced menacingly across the skies, revealing the looks of astonishment on the faces of the Yin spirits below. In the next second, the countless ghostly netherflames rushed towards the lantern in the center of the soul induction platform and transformed into a jade-green vortex of flames, while the lantern transformed into a black hole like existence that began to absorb the netherflames.
Whoosh… More and more netherflames gathered in the powerful vortex, and the lantern soon showed signs of cracking as it trembled more and more vigorously. Then, slowly but surely, a faint golden chain extending straight from the hole into the lantern below appeared, and the vortex of netherflames began to coil itself around the golden chain like a vicious fire serpent.
Ten seconds later, the crisp sound of shattering resounded through the surroundings. Simultaneously, the lantern on the soul induction platform collapsed, and a Yin spirit slowly rose in the wake of the vortex of flames with a long sigh. Its figure started out small, but it soon expanded to the size of a normal Yin spirit as it stepped out of the lantern.
Gu Qing’s soul has been released!
The nethergale swept across, scattering the thousands of strands of hair on Arthis’ face. But she didn’t raise her hand to brush her hair away. Instead, she simply turned to look at Gu Qing’s dazed expression as she whispered somewhat emotionally, “All souls that had been seized by extraterritorial emissaries must have their seals broken like how I did earlier… This was a Yin artifact that had been blessed by the god of their underworld, and it’s naturally inextricably interlinked to their god. When the artifact was shattered, he would have felt it as well.”
She gazed up and looked at the hole in the sky, “And that hole isn’t just a hole in the cloud cover. Rather, it has at this moment opened a rift between Hell and the underworld which the Yin artifact belonged to. The old Hell used to have a specialized term for this. They called it the ‘underworld wormhole’.”
Qin Ye nodded softly. Then, before he could respond, he suddenly felt a chill down his spine, and the hairs on the nape of his neck began to stand on ends. He gasped in horror and stared at Arthis, “Are you saying that… the god of another underworld is staring at Hell right now?!”
Just then, a thunderous sound reverberated through Hell, and a majestic presence fiercely descended upon the entire lands!
“Ahh--...” The Death Inquisitors who were watching this sight unfold before their very eyes cried out in astonishment, and they immediately knelt to the ground with fierce trembling. In fact, the other Yin spirits couldn’t even scream as they collapsed to their knees. Thud thud thud… Just like that, over one hundred thousand Yin spirits knelt down in an instant, and all of Hell was enshrouded in silence.
The overbearing might had no form or shape, and nobody could tell where it came from. However, it was so powerful that it appeared to cause the air around them to contract and grow dense, and the weight of the pressure was completely crushing.
Ka-ka-ka-ka-ka… The hole in the sky began to split open, revealing a crimson crevice. It looked almost as though somebody had slowly but forcibly torn open the void, pulling it wider and wider, until a wave of Yin energy poured in like mercury, filing every corner of the five square kilometers of Hell in an instant!
This was the might of a god of the underworld!
“You bloody…” The overbearing pressure completely restrained Qin Ye’s body. In that moment, Qin Ye felt as though he were being stalked by a mighty prehistoric beast. He turned his neck stiffly and glared at Arthis, “Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?!!”
“Be quiet! Maintain your nobility!” Arthis gnashed her teeth and barked back, “This is a glimpse of the god of their underworld! We might not know who he is, but it doesn’t matter! This is Hell, the underworld of Cathay! Any god stepping into our realms would find their abilities severely restrained! Their power here is equivalent to that of an Infernal Judge at best!”
As she spoke, a formless squall blew out of the tiny crack in the void and engulfed the new Hell! The trees rustled, and some of the netherflames were blown out. But everything was silent. It was as though the sounds of this world had been swept away by the formless squall, engulfing the lands with a silence so still that one could only hear the thunderous thumps of their heartbeats.
Not a single person said a thing across all of Hell.
Arthis drew a deep breath and continued, “It doesn’t matter who the entity on the other end is right now. You are the face of the new Hell! You’re the future King Yanluo! Although you’re just an Anitya Hellguard right now, this is undoubtedly a confrontation between Yanluo and Yanluo! Don’t you dare back down right now!”
Bloody hell… Qin Ye desperately fought to adjust his mentality. What the hell is this?! The god of another underworld… Are not the surviving underworlds of this day and age all entities that have been forged from the flames of underworldly conflict through the test of time? I’m only an Anitya Hellguard! How could I possibly face something like that?!
Whoosh… Just then, the crimson crack finally opened up fully, and an illusory projection of an upper body appeared in the sky.
It was blurry.
The projection was composed entirely out of Yin energy. However, one would be able to clearly see that the constituent Yin energy was stirring with the endless cries and moans of Yin spirits. It was as though the illusory body itself were the embodiment of a thousand hells and endless cycles of reincarnation.
The quality of its Yin energy was on a completely different level!
They locked eyes at practically the same time. These were two entities that were separated by thousands of miles and countless mountains and rivers. Yet with that simple exchange of glances, both knew in an instance that the other was undoubtedly the god of their own realm.
Nobody said a single word.
Qin Ye’s palms were sweating profusely and shivering vigorously, but he desperately hid them behind his back. The Yin energy of the god of the underworld was absolutely stifling, and he could only barely prevent his body from trembling uncontrollably. Nevertheless, he forcibly eked out a smile on his face.
This was already the best he could do in the circumstances.
“My name is Thanatos.” Seconds later, a hoarse voice boomed in the air, reverberating endlessly through Qin Ye’s heart.
It was light, and it was calm.
And yet, it also felt like a massive thunderstorm accompanied by a powerful gale. If Qin Ye’s heart was likened to a door, then his succinct introduction can be said to have shattered the door and poured straight into the inner sanctums of his heart!
“Calm down! Hang in there!” Arthis lowered her head and whispered through gritted teeth, “This is only his projection! He’s not actually here! Thanatos… is the Argosian god of death! He’s far away in the underworld of Athenai! You’re as safe as it gets here!”
“I know that much…” Qin Ye’s lips were on the verge of bleeding. But knowing is one thing, while reacting was quite something else altogether. Thanatos’ voice carried with it such terrifying authority that his heart and mind nearly collapsed in an instant.
It had never occurred to Qin Ye how a single sentence, and the simple introduction of the self could strike such intense fear into the hearts of others.
Is this what someone who once used to contend with the old Hell is like? It’s truly… terrifying and imposing…
Qin Ye didn’t respond. Thanatos continued, “Roman mythology knows me as Mors. I am the twin brother of Hypnos, the god of sleep; and I am the child of Nyx, the goddess of the night.”
“He’s asking for your background.” Arthis whispered, “An encounter between Yanluos… He has met with the former King Yanluo, and he’s now curious about you. According to the convention, as long as he introduced his background, it would only be courteous if you responded back with your own background as well. These are the conventions among those in power.”
Shit… Qin Ye’s back was soaked through by now. Several seconds, he lifted his head and faintly responded, “My name is Qin Ye, a Yanluo that represents the next generation of Hell. I am… the son of the former Yama-King of the first palace, King Qin Guang.”
I’ll just borrow his name… Who cares about these things at a juncture like this?
“So, it’s him…” Thanatos’ voice lingered with a trace of reminiscence, as though he hardly minded the fact that he had failed in his attempt to seize Gu Qing’s soul, “The fact that you’re able to defeather these darkfeathers of mine suggests that Cathay’s underworld… isn’t as useless as I had thought it would be…”
“Your excellency.” Arthis stood strong against the terrifying pressure and refuted, “It’s true that Hell is undergoing some changes, but if your kingdom even thinks for a moment that this means a license to covet the billions of Yin spirits of Hell, I’m afraid that you might want to check first with the Sixfold Ghost Kings and the Yamas of the Ten Palaces.”
“I’m guessing that your kingdom hasn’t forgotten the two holy wars between our kingdoms in the last millennium, have you?”
There was a protracted pause. Then, after a long time, Thanatos finally responded, “Cathay’s assassins of the underworld ventured west, clashing directly against the underworld of the Holy Roman Empire. This was the first war between the underworlds of the east and the west, and it even involved Hindustan’s underworld and the seven great underworlds of the west. This was the first holy war.”
“Then, when the great powers invaded Cathay at the end of the Qing Dynasty, ten different factions of underworlds also rallied together and attacked Hell on all fronts, but to no avail. This was the second holy war… Hell’s greatness, and the indomitability of the ghost kings and Yama-Kings are unforgettable.”
A blood red eye suddenly lit up from the hole in the sky as he stared intently at Qin Ye, “Can you guys still do the same now?”
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