Without delay, Qin Ye immediately activated his shard of King Yanluo’s Seal, and he was right back in front of Hell’s Gate within ten seconds.
Boom!!! As soon as he appeared, he was immediately overwhelmed by the powerful rush of sound that enveloped him from all directions. He was standing at the entrance of Hell’s Gate, and he could tell that the protective barrier had already been activated. An eerie nethergale swept through the lands. Rows of gleaming Sanskrit texts flowed slowly along a dazzling barrier right in front of Hell’s Gate that was pulsing with innumerable little ripples.
The pulses were clearly a result of someone or something striking the barrier. And these pulses didn’t emanate from a single source. In fact, it was almost as though countless raindrops were pelting down on the surface of the lake, striking it endlessly.
“What the hell is going on here?!” Qin Ye turned his head abruptly, only to be greeted by over two hundred Death Inquisitors who had already risen to their feet. As soon as they heard Qin Ye’s furious cry, all of them knelt to the ground respectfully. Su Dongxue knelt right in front of all of them and explained with a pale expression on her face, “Your subject… your subject isn’t sure either… It all happened just half an hour ago. It sounded like someone was quarrelling, and then… a scuffle broke out. When the Yin Construction division heads attempted to mediate the situation, they got embroiled in it as well…”
She glanced around apprehensively. And just as she did, a thunderous boom resounded around them, and the gleaming barrier of light that surrounded Hell’s Gate shook so violently as though the entire sky had just collapsed. The Death Inquisitors cried out in fright, and some were even on the verge of getting back up onto their feet!
“Kneel properly!!” Qin Ye’s cry was just as thunderous. The eerie netherflames on the sculptures flickered dangerously, casting a dark shadow over the grand hall.
Nobody dared to speak up again. Qin Ye didn’t even care how things looked on the outside. He slowly walked in front of Hell’s Gate and past each Death Inquisitor kneeling on the ground. The Yin spirits that he passed couldn’t help but shudder in fear.
“Look at yourselves.” Qin Ye chuckled coldly, “Death Inquisitors… You’re representatives of Hell. And yet not a single one of you is able to react properly in the face of a Yin spirit riot! Are you no different from a rabbit that has passed out?!”
“I haven’t spoken a single word, and I haven’t turned tail and escaped, so what are you all so afraid of?!”
A gutsy reprimand was surprisingly effective in calming the hearts of the Death Inquisitors. Qin Ye noticed that everyone’s palpable breaths had calmed down substantially. He could tell that the protective barrier was still rippling endlessly due to the barrage of Yin spirits, but he didn’t care. He turned to Su Dongxue once more and lifted his chin, “Continue.”
“Yes.” Su Dongxue’s voice sounded much calmer, and she continued softly, “We originally thought that this was no different from the usual quarrel and scuffle between Yin spirits. However… after just half an hour, the heart of the scuffle suddenly glowed with a black luster that caused a powerful nethergale to sweep across Hell. Immediately afterwards, we began to feel gentle tremors on the ground, as though something massive were charging over here. And that was when the protective barrier automatically lit up.”
Qin Ye nodded, “Are all of the division heads of Yin Construction back here? And what about Mr Gu? Did Mr Gu suffer any injuries?”
“Your subject is here.” Gu Qing’s somewhat meek voice echoed out from the annex hall. Qin Ye immediately walked over to ensure that they were alright. Gu Qing and the seven division heads were all pale with fright, and restlessly discussing the incident back in the annex hall.
He glanced about the hall and discovered that a one meter square shelf had been erected to hold up an engineering drawing, and there were several pens strewn all over the side. It seemed that Gu Qing had already begun working on a grand design plan for Hell.
“Are you guys alright?” It felt like a heavy rock was lifted off his heart - Gu Qing’s fine… I was fortunate that a national-level talent like him had come to the City of Salvation. It wasn’t easy securing his soul either. I would rip someone’s heart out if something really happened to him.
“Yin spirit riot.” Yin energy converged in mid air and transformed into a vortex from which Arthis stepped out. She sighed, “This is an issue that is faced by all new hells alike. In fact, you can say that until Hell has properly established itself, we can expect this to become a common phenomenon. But don’t worry. With us around, all who incite riots and rebellions are dead meat. That said…”
She tilted her paper umbrella slightly, revealing her wildly scattering hair that appeared like vicious vipers. Copious amounts of Yin energy spewed out from her seven apertures incessantly, and she stared at everyone with a horrific appearance, “How the hell did this all begin! Someone explain it to me right now!”
“It’s…” Hu Feng was just about to speak up when he happened to lock eyes with Qin Ye. He immediately lowered his head, “It’s your subject who has been incompetent…”
Our leader cannot be wrong. The only person who can be at fault is me…
“Whether or not this was a result of your incompetence is for us to decide.” Qin Ye tapped on the table lightly, “Speak. Truthfully. If you conceal any details…”
His eyes gleamed coldly, “Then you can join them out there.”
Qin Ye hadn’t expected the Yin spirit riot to arrive so quickly. But because it did, there was all the more reason to urgently establish his firm authority right here in Hell. After all, there can only be one voice in Hell!
“Yes!” Hu Feng drew a deep breath and stood up, “Actually, the cause is extremely trivial… The dispute had arisen… over the right to use the excavator.”
“My lord… it was all because I’d failed to manage my teams properly. They’ve been idling about for far too long. The second team was originally rostered to the use of the excavator today. But it so happened that the first team hadn’t completed all that they had set out to do, so I had thought to let them finish up their work before handing over control of the excavator to the second team. Who would’ve thought that the second team leader grew upset at the decision, and rallied his entire team to create a ruckus at the work site. I don’t even know who began to cuss at the other’s mother, but the entire situation quickly devolved into an altercation…”
“At first, it was just two people, but soon, hundreds of people got embroiled in it… until… thousands of people began to riot and fight. We knew that something was wrong, but we truly didn’t know where to go about resolving it. Then, just as we were about to inform you, a bright black light exploded from the heart of the crowd. We barely made it back to the safety of the protective barrier in Hell’s Gate.”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows, and his heart sank.
I knew it would be like that… I just knew it would be triggered by the smallest, most inconsequential thing!
The internal compass of morality and virtue quickly unravels and disintegrates into nothingness in the absence of law. And this process was only expedited by the growing idleness and lethargy of Yin spirits around. Nobody had any worries, whether for food, or for clothes. Everyone simply sat under trees wondering about their bleak future all day long. They were once blazing with passion about the Qin Gardens Phase 1 project. But after a few months of lukewarm progress, the raging inferno of passion quickly grew tainted and black. Anyone could guess just how displeased the Yin spirits were towards his leadership.
“Talk is cheap, now walk the talk!” “That’s right! We don’t even have a roof over our head. We’re exposed to the elements all day round. What kind of a damned place is this?!” “This is where a person goes after he dies? It sure sounded a lot better when I heard about it! And what’s this about them living in houses, while we’re forced to crouch down for shelter under the trees? What the hell?!”
That was exactly like how humans behaved. Man never suffers from scarcity, only inequity.
Whenever they saw the multitude of Death Inquisitors moving about within Hell’s Gate and laughing and chattering with each other, the Yin spirits outside would feel green with envy, and the waters of tension would heat up that much more. It was as though more and more gunpowder were stacked onto piles outside, ready to blow at the light of a fuse.
Nobody could stand long hours of boredom. This was why everyone was fighting for the use of the excavators - they needed something to do. They needed something to enrich their lives. And this seemingly inconsequential and unimportant thing was the final straw that broke the camel’s back - the spark that lit the fuse.
And the gunpowder of discontentment had exploded without warning.
He went over the details in his mind, and then sighed as he stood up, “Stay here. Don’t leave Hell’s Gate. I’ll go sort things out on the outside.”
Both he and Arthis left Hell’s Gate and flew straight to the protective barrier of light and looked out to the open. Everything outside… was like hell unleashed!
Countless netherflames flew about in the skies, while a sea of Yin energy with waves as high as twenty meters filled the lands! It was impossible to see what lay within its midst, save for the occasional red leaf or branch peeking out of the sea, as well as… a flicking, lantern-sized golden eye.
Just a moment ago, a dark wave of Yin energy had crashed into the protective barrier around Hell’s Gate, but he was unable to see what exactly the cause of it was.
“What is that thing?” Qin Ye exclaimed in dismay. He had never seen a creature like that before!
“Lord Ming.” Arthis didn’t reply to him directly. As soon as she spoke, a bright pillar of light erupted from the peak of Hell’s Gate like the rising sun. Ming Shiyin directed the beam of light to a particular area on the ground, scattering the sea of Yin energy and revealing what lay within in an instant.
Right there, in the heart of the tide of Yin energy… was a giant skeleton, approximately forty to fifty meters long. It crawled along the ground, shrieking and screaming as it slammed its fists wildly into the protective barrier of light around Hell’s Gate!
The barrier of light trembled again. Qin Ye could clearly see that there were countless Yin spirits swimming along every crevice of the giant skeleton’s body. Netherfire immolated around its entire being. The skeleton only had the upper half of its body, replete with golden eyes. With every shriek it cried out with, a wave of illusory Yin spirits would pour out and strike the barrier of light.
“Stunned, aren’t ya?” Scarlet words appeared on the ground, evidently written by Ming Shiyin, “This is called a Yin marionette. Did you think that a Yin spirit riot caused by tens of thousands of Yin spirits would be no more than a barrage of individual Yin spirits patting on Hell’s Gate? Did you really think it would be that simple? Stupid.”
Arthis picked up from where Ming Shiyin left off, “All sentient Yin spirits have their own desires. When these desires intensify to its peak, the Yin spirit’s feeble illusory body would no longer be able to cope with it. Think of it this way - a Yin spirit’s body is composed of the dualism of souls and his seven emotions and six desires. The agglomeration of these factors constitute a type of ‘spirit’ without a corporeal being. When any particular one of these aspects grows beyond what the spirit can bear, it would explode with a particular indicia, also known as a mark of dao. The burst of light which Su Dongxue was talking about was precisely the manifestation of one of these indicia.”
“This mark of dao would automatically draw to it all who possess similar desires around. As soon as it exceeds a certain balance, it would trigger a Yin spirit riot. The form it takes would be dependent on the emotion that manifests. These can be any one of the five negative emotions, namely anger, anxiety, grief, fear or fright, each of which would manifest in the form of monsters or demons known as Chi-fiend, Mei-fiend, Wang-fiend, Liang-fiend and Yu-fiend. Each form is further differentiated into different grades in accordance with the number of Yin spirits that form them, with a hundred thousand, a million, and ten million, each of which corresponds to a Yin spirit riot, rebellion and insurgency.”
Qin Ye gasped.
He had never expected the riots in Hell to look like this. It was on a completely different scale from the ones in the mortal realm!
“So what do we do now?”
“Kill it.” Arthis looked at the giant skeleton crawling on the ground, “This is the embodiment of anger, and its name is wrath. Its transformation into this form is irreversible.”
“Riots of this scale happen every year across the vast lands of Hell. This is why a security force is an indispensable department in Hell. Things are still alright for now. But once Hell begins to expand, and Yin beasts start to appear… Trust me, those things are just as pervasive as mercury - they get everywhere. Without a strong army and a powerful commander, Hell would sooner or later be scourged and scarred by these skirmishes.”
She gazed deeply into Qin Ye’s eyes, “Now, do you understand why I was so excited to see the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl?”
1. This is the concept of hun and po, which correlate with Yang and Yin respectively. The ethereal hun soul is the one that leaves the body after death, while the physical po soul is the one that remains with the corpse. Taoism believes that all living humans have three hun and seven po in their bodies.
2. This is a reference to another concept of the seven psychological or emotional states, namely joy, anger, anxiety, grief, thought, fear and fright, as well as the six physiological needs or desires of one’s eyes, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind.
3. The author actually names them each after the words 魑魅魍魉魊 (chi mei wang liang yu). The phrase 魑魅魍魉 (chi mei wang liang) actually has its origins in ancient chronicles, and was used to refer to monsters of the mountains and monsters of the river, with the former half of the phrase referring to monsters of the mountains and the latter half referring to monsters of the river. 魊 refers to a ghost child. However, given that the author’s intention was to refer to each of these words separately as a different class of monster, I’ll just label them as X-fiend for now.