Without batting an eyelid, Qin Ye walked straight back to the entrance of Hell’s Gate, looked at the Death Inquisitors and barked coldly, “What are you still looking at? Go do what you need to do.”
He spoke as though he had seen his fair share of these incidents, and what he had done was all in a day’s work.
“Nice showing.” Arthis smiled faintly at Qin Ye after the Death Inquisitors left, and they began to make their way to the annex hall, “But you’ve forgotten something.”
Qin Ye rolled his eyes at her and whispered back, “Shouldn’t you know by now that I’m a genius at anything to do with the preservation of my face… What did I forget?”
“There should’ve been a huge round of applause for you. In terms of shamelessness, you’re only the third best I’ve ever seen.” Arthis waved her hand, and countless black crystals ranging from the size of the tip of a person’s digit to the size of a fist poured out of Wrath’s corpse like a tide, gathering before Arthis in a pile, before congealing into a larger, somewhat irregular crystal. It was approximately the size of a coffin, albeit one covered in cracks.
“What’s that?” Qin Ye stretched out his hand and touched it apprehensively. It was cold to the touch, and yet it glittered and gleamed from within like a pure black crystal that seemed to contain an endless river of souls. It looked absolutely mesmerizing.
“Yin jade.” Arthis waved her hand again, and the Yin jade vanished in a puff of smoke, “All Yin marionette would produce something like that upon their death. Yin jades are a higher grade of Yin spirit stones. They are forged by extracting the essence from Yin spirit stones and fusing them together to form a piece of jade. It’s pretty rare to find them. Most of them are used as an energy core in the heart of Hell’s formation arrays. But… it’s only possible to harvest a complete piece of Yin jade with proper combat techniques. The way you man-handled it earlier… renders the Yin jade completely useless.”
Qin Ye deliberated for a moment, “In other words, I’ll need a specially trained force to deal with such situations in future? Not just to quell the uprising of riots and rebellions, but also to harvest a complete piece of Yin jade? Is this the only way I can get Yin jades?”
Arthis nodded, “So, my dear, shameless King Yanluo, I’ll ask you again - have you changed your mind about the wisp of Oda Nobunaga’s soul?”
Qin Ye grew taciturn.
It wasn’t his intention to establish a security force or armed forces right now. He knew there was a saying that ‘political power flows out of a barrel of a gun’. Hell was his territory. What if someone usurped this kingdom of his?
Especially someone like Oda Nobunaga who had been so close to unifying all of Nippon back then.
Almost as though she could hear the concerns of Qin Ye’s heart, Arthis chuckled softly, “You’re afraid that he would usurp the throne? Simple. You’ve got Hell’s Records in your hand. All you need to do is to keep his appointment a level beneath yours. Then, what other basis would he have to oppose your reign? Even Oda Nobunaga would become subdued. And believe me. As long as you promise him that you will eventually take Nippon, not only would he refrain from usurping the throne, he would even pledge his life wholeheartedly to you. Then when you finally achieve all that, all you have to do is to appoint him as prince over Nippon and confer that land upon him, and he would be ingratiated to you for the rest of eternity.”
Arthis continued, “It’s difficult for you to understand the grievances in his heart. He was so close to unifying Nippon, and yet at the very last moment, he was driven to death by one of his most trusted subordinates, Akechi Mitsuhide. His resentment has already gathered and festered in the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl for hundreds of years, becoming a longstanding obsession in his heart. If you look back at Oda Nobunaga’s life, you’ll understand that he was one of the greatest talents of his time, a capable politician and a brilliant military man. With him around, you won’t ever have to be concerned with the defense of Hell ever again. It would be far too much of a waste passing up on this opportunity right now.”
Qin Ye struggled inside. Arthis was asking the obvious. How could he not be moved by the prospects of seizing Oda Nobunaga’s soul?
This was a rare opportunity to bring a highly esteemed marshal under his command - one who possessed the abilities to even unify an entire country. Talent was the driving force of a nation’s development!
He sighed after a long time, “The Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl is going to make its appearance at the summer major auction at the end of June. I wouldn’t be on vacation just then, so how could I possibly attend the auction? And even if I could attend the auction, what would I use to purchase it?”
Arthis’ eyes gleamed brightly, “Actually… you do have the wealth…”
Qin Ye looked up and drew a deep breath, “Are you saying… the Southsea Huanghuali?”
“Trading the Southsea Huanghuali for the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl?”
“Don’t worry, the transaction price shouldn’t be more than a billion RMB. A top talent for a billion RMB. Don’t you think it’s a good deal?” Arthis continued, “Besides, the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl is nothing more than a collector’s item in the hands of mere mortals. It is only if it ends up in our hands that we can bring out its true potential!”
Qin Ye took a deep breath. A billion for Oda Nobunaga’s soul. Doesn’t this mean I’d have to bid against the wealthiest individuals in the country? It hurts my mind just thinking about these things.
Nevertheless, Qin Ye couldn’t deny the presence of a voice screaming in his heart, telling him that he would regret it for the rest of his life if he passed up on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Such talent could never be measured with money! Hell was rife with chaos and instability, and he desperately needed a general to man the fort!
A multitude of thoughts and considerations crossed his mind. And when he finally entered the annex hall, he decided, “Let’s secure a way to head out first, and then we’ll talk about him.”
If I could really find a way out of this conundrum… then, I’ll give the wealthy a run for their wealth at the auctions!
“You’re heading out?” Gu Qing and the rest overheard Qin Ye’s resolve, and they immediately responded in surprise.
They were evidently still reeling from shock from what had occurred, and they would very much prefer if Qin Ye remained here to hold the fort.
Hell’s too frightening… Mommy, I want to go home!
“Quite possibly.” Qin Ye sighed, “Unfortunately… the heart is willing, but the flesh is weak. Whatever. Protect Mr Gu Qing while I’m not around. Notify me as soon as there’s any sign of danger.”
Having resolved the critical issue at Hell and incidentally deriving the next step of the plan, Qin Ye turned around and stared at the remaining Yin spirits who were still trembling from shock. Then, his voice resounded like thunder throughout Hell, “I approve of your ambitions and desires.”
The abrupt declaration caused all eyes to fall on Qin Ye immediately. His voice crescendoed, “Desires and ambition are one of the fundamental driving forces of humanity. But… if your desires and ambition exceed the ambit of your own abilities, then don’t blame me for reining your corpse in.”
“Like I said before - there’s a multitude of things to be done for the revivification of Hell. Everyone needs to chip in. Think about it, who’s the creator of Hell?”
“Who’s the one who gave you a resting place after death, so that you won’t become a drifting ghost, whose only fate is to be murdered by the cultivators, monks and priests of the mortal realm?”
“And who’s the one who has been wracking his mind, thinking of the best possible course of action to undertake in order to return Hell to its former glory in the shortest time possible?”
The fury in his heart burgeoned, and he fervently repressed it as he swept a cold gaze around each and every one of the Yin spirits around. None dared make eye contact with him. Qin Ye gnashed his teeth, “As citizens of Hell, how dare you complain about this and that all the time rather than think of ways to resolve the issues around you? You who remain are lucky to still be alive. I hope I don’t see your soul in the next Yin marionette when it appears. Cherish each day you live.”
Dead silence blanketed Hell.
But he didn’t care about what the Yin spirits thought. As soon as he finished speaking, his body began to dissipate into a nethergale in preparation to return back to the mortal realm.
Just then, an apprehensive voice called out. Gu Qing had scuttled over and called Qin Ye softly, “M-my lord, please hold on.”
“Is something the matter?” Qin Ye immediately halted the activation of the shard of King Yanluo’s seal and turned around in surprise.
“It’s nothing much…” After much difficulty, Gu Qing managed to muster the courage to explain himself, “Lord Qin… if you manage to head out, and happen to cross Yan Capital, could I trouble you… to help me relay a dream? Help me assure my family that I’m alright, and tell them not to worry about me.”
Gu Qing looked at Qin Ye earnestly, and Qin Ye felt his cheeks begin to flush with embarrassment.
This is Hell, and yet we don’t even have the capability to relay a dream… I can’t help but feel like swearing at the extent of its poverty…
Just then, Arthis interjected, “As long as you’re in the same city, you’ll be able to relay a dream. In other words, all you have to do is to step into any part of Yan Capital. In the past, these were matters that would generally be resolved by way of a visit to the Yang revisitation platform. But until that has been rebuilt, this is the only way to relay dreams for now.”
“I sincerely thank your excellency.” Gu Qing sighed in relief. He was stricken with a debilitating illness and had been comatose for a long time before he passed on. Thus, he never quite got the chance to say his goodbyes. Nevertheless, he had always been on very good terms with his family, and he was afraid that they would grieve endlessly from his passing. This had therefore become akin to an ailment plaguing his heart.
Qin Ye laughed helplessly, “Don’t be too eager to thank me just yet… I’ve always been a little bit more partial towards the talents around me, so let me tell you something. I’m… currently at the City of Salvation.”
Gu Qing’s radiant smile quickly turned into a bitter one.
“Which City of Salvation?”
“Is there a second City of Salvation in Cathay?”
There was an abrupt silence, and Gu Qing’s expressions turned completely bitter. After a few seconds, he managed to compose himself a little bit and waved his hands, “It can’t be helped then… There’s no forcing it. I guess we’ll just have to wait for an opportunity in future. I’ll do up the plans as quickly as I can for my lord, with a hope that my lord will permit the construction of the Yang revisitation platform as soon as possible. Having something like that to look forward to would most certainly appease the increasingly restless hearts of the Yin spirits.”
Qin Ye began to activate the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal once more. He closed his eyes and quipped casually, “You know about the matters of the City of Salvation as well?”
“Naturally…” Yin energy began to sweep around him, and Gu Qing responded somewhat listlessly, “The City of Salvation’s master plan was designed by a special division within the central design institution. I don’t know the specifics. That was something that I would only have learnt of upon a site inspection. Unfortunately, I didn’t live to see that day. But that said, I wonder which part of the City of Salvation you’re in right now? There’s still hope if you’re at the First Academy of Cultivators, but if you’re a citizen… I heard from the upper echelons that there would be a lock down for at least five years before they have any hopes of leaving the city… Take care, your excellency…”
Qin Ye’s figure was already consumed by the dark vortex of Yin energy towards the end of his spiel. But just then, a hand stretched out from the vortex and simply tore it apart. Qin Ye stepped out once more and stared intently at Gu Qing.
“There’s still hope if I’m at the First Academy of Cultivators? Can you explain what you mean by that?”
He was incredibly sensitive to any prospects of leaving the city right now.
There was a sudden silence.
Without the slightest preparation, and not a shred of consideration, you suddenly appeared…  (TL: I love how we get the imagery of OST suddenly playing in the background like the cliffhanger ending of a drama serial)
Gu Qing stared at Qin Ye as though he had just seen a ghost, while Qin Ye stared at Gu Qing in bewilderment. Moments later, Gu Qing stroked his white beard and explained, “About that… my lord, you’re at the First Academy of Cultivators, and yet there’s no way to leave?”
Qin Ye shook his head, but continued to stare intently at Gu Qing.
He… knows of a way out?
Gu Qing could read Qin Ye’s thoughts like an open book, and he couldn’t help but gulp nervously, “My lord… doesn’t the school have a form of exchange programme?”
It’s such a simple solution. Back when I was in college, I’d capitalized on programmes like these to skip classes all the time… It provided a legitimate basis for skipping classes! In fact, I’d feel sorry for myself if I didn’t seize these opportunities at the earliest possible time…
This is a perfectly legal means with an upstanding justification and a reasonably easy procedure. How could Lord Qin not think of something like that? This... is part of any student’s instinct, isn’t it…?
1. This is a reference to a song called You Exist In My Song by Qu Wanting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5smI1hB22a0