The annex hall was considerably silent compared with the great clamor of chatter and discussions going on outside. Even then, Qin Ye didn’t do anything to control the commotion taking place among the citizens of Hell.
Presently, the annex hall of Hell’s Gate was the highest office of Hell where the most important developmental decisions were all being made. Yet, the conditions under which they were working could only be described as sorely lacking. For instance, they didn’t even have the amenities for making themselves a good cup of tea.
The five minute takers were already ready and primed to record everything that transpired this meeting. Qin Ye finally continued, “There are a few things. First, we have to distribute the recreational and entertainment amenities within a month’s time. The longer we drag this out, the more we risk any hard-earned gratitude from our citizens turning into bitter resentment.”
Everyone nodded. Just then, a gust of nethergale swept through the door. Arthis stepped into the annex hall and nodded at Qin Ye, “You know your priorities. I couldn’t sense your aura back in the mortal realm, so I thought to make a trip here to take a look. Turns out that you’re here after all. Indeed, there’s much to do, and little time to waste. It would be important to plan and prioritize the next steps moving forward.”
Qin Ye raised his eyebrows quizzically.
I’m surprised… Arthis is classified as the type who are lazy to the extreme. What has she done as a Judge thus far? Cause an earth-shattering calamity that sent her straight to the abyss for centuries on end? Why would she go out of her way just to be here?
No… In fact, she seems to be a lot more concerned about me ever since I’ve managed to retrieve the Book of Life and Death.
Could she have… fallen for my heaven-defying beauty?
Brrr…. Qin Ye shuddered and hurriedly dispelled the thought as he continued, “This is of top priority. Since that is the case, the first thing we will need to do would be to establish a proper rental system. If anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to chime in.”
Gu Qing immediately spoke up, “I do have a suggestion. We could, for instance, model the rental system after the book loaning system in mortal realm libraries if we label the recreational and entertainment amenities with unique registration codes. However, for a system of loans and returns to be workable, we will need to address two underlying issues.”
“The first issue would be that of identification.” He held up two fingers, “And the second would pertain to the establishment of a system of currency or money.”
Qin Ye nodded deeply - I’d expect nothing less from a talent like him. Qin Ye hadn’t even considered these issues at all, and yet he was immediately enlightened as soon as Gu Qing mentioned them. Indeed, he would be able to ride the wave of the distribution of entertainment and recreational amenities to establish a system of identification and currency! That would be the most desirable outcome!
It was a blessing in disguise to be reconstructing Hell in this time and age. After all, he couldn’t be said to be truly starting from scratch, especially since everyone already had a fair understanding about the governmental structure back in the mortal realm. At the very least, there wasn’t the need to give everyone a crash course on how governance was to be conducted.
Seeing that his comments were met with Qin Ye’s tacit approbation, Gu Qing continued, “We won’t be able to roll out the system of loans and returns without first having in place a system of identification. After all, how would we know who’s borrowed what? If Qin Gardens Phase 1 were already complete, we could implement a rental system using the registered households instead, but that’s not possible right now. Besides, we will need to roll out a system of identification sooner or later, so there’s no harm getting down to it right away…”
“If I might interject.” Arthis sat in her seat and tapped gently on the table, “Hell has its own way of rolling out the system of identification. As soon as Hell expands to the size of a county, a Yin beast known as the Hundred Eye Beast will show up. This beast is extremely intelligent, and its body consists of dozens of sensory and perception functions that can be used for both identification and verification. The beast can also be domesticated and nurtured with a simple investment of ghostpower. With the aid of these beasts, we won’t have any concerns with the identification of Yin spirits around. I recall a time when there were at least a dozen Hundred Eye Beasts within each county of the old Hell. The system of identification can be implemented with little to no hassle.”
“So, that’s how it is.” Gu Qing nodded softly, “That’s great news. This would save us a large amount of manpower. Then, I think we can shelve this issue for now. As for the establishment of the system of money… Lady Arakshasa, might I ask how the old Hell addressed this issue?”
Arthis paused for a moment, “The old Hell used a system of paper currency. You could say that these are true Hell’s notes. Hell’s fiat currency used to be printed by a team of specialists at Hell’s Finance Department. In that regard, the director of the Finance Department used to be a peak Abyssal Prefect, a man who was known to have competed with King Qinguang for the position of Yama-King three times. As far as I knew, he used to leave an imprint of his Yin energy on each and every Hell’s note produced in order to guarantee authenticity.”
“This branding process is somewhat similar to the special watermarks left on the fiat currency in the mortal realm. With it, you’ll know whether the note you’re using is authentic or not. However, we don’t have the capabilities to perform such functions right now. The alternative method is to employ the use of spirit stones. However, this would only be possible when we uncover the existence of Yin spirit stone mines in Hell. Incidentally, Yin spirit stones are one of the most widely accepted forms of currency across underworlds.”
So, neither option is open to us right now...Gu Qing furrowed his brows. However, Qin Ye suddenly smiled, “Actually, there’s no need to overthink things.”
Without missing a beat, he explained, “We’re the only ones who are in possession of the print and minting machines. How would the other Yin spirits even begin to make counterfeit money? The only thing we’ll need to do is to fix the amount of money in circulation so that it’s neither too scarce nor overly inflated. Huang Liangchuan.”
Huang Liangchuan was surprised that Qin Ye had suddenly called out to him, “Yes, what instructions does Lord Qin have for me?”
Qin Ye gazed at the sky in the distance, “How are the preparations for the system of money coming along?”
“I was just about to report this to my lord as well.” Huang Liangchuan pulled out a thick folder of documents. He opened it, revealing page after page of writing and scribblings, “Since the issuance of your last command, the first thing I did was to source talents in order to form a core working group. At present, I’ve managed to secure a team comprising approximately one dozen art majors, none of whom have any experience in the print and production of currency, as well as four experts in economics. Together, we’ve already come up with a working idea of how the system of currency is to be implemented. However… the devil is really in the details, as well as the regulations involved.”
He coughed dryly, “After all… we’re all first-timers when it comes to managing a system of currency from scratch…”
“What do you need so many art majors for?” One of the division heads of Yin Construction was evidently baffled.
Qin Ye smiled, “Of course it would be necessary to gather art students to develop the template which will be used on each Hell’s note to be produced. Do you have a sample template ready?”
“Would you like to take a look?” Huang Liangchuan immediately flipped through his folder, “We’ve taken the liberty to use your image…”
Eh? What did you say?
Qin Ye’s eyes lit up - To think that my image would actually be printed on fiat currency one day! What an abrupt yet pleasantly surprising honor…
Arthis could immediately tell the thoughts that were running through Qin Ye’s mind with a single glance at him, and she promptly interjected, “There’s no hurry. We can firm up the details in future. Hell’s notes will have to be produced in several varying denominations. I’ll head back to the old Hell to get you a few portraits of the first and second generation King Yanluos for you. We shouldn’t dismiss their achievements and accolades after all. Well, we’ve digressed. Back to the topic at hand, Mr Gu, do you have any other queries or clarifications you require?”
Such was the issue of governance - a single issue could easily implicate various aspects of their citizens’ lives, and the discussions of these ancillary matters could go on indefinitely at length.
“There’s nothing further for now.” Gu Qing paused for a moment, “But might I suggest to slow down the developments a little bit? These are national-level issues with wide-reaching ramifications, and it would always be more prudent to err on the side of caution with multiple reviews before implementation. Furthermore, we would ideally roll out the system of loans and returns at the same time that the system of currency is established. A joint implementation would be far smoother in terms of logistics.
The minute takers behind struggled to record everything down. Qin Ye nodded, “Well, that concludes the discussion on the first item on the agenda for now. We’ll convene again in a few days’ time to discuss these matters in greater detail.”
He smiled, “Everyone, I imagine that there will be many things that will need to be discussed in a tabletop setting like this in the near future. The burden resting on each of our shoulders is incredibly heavy, but I also recognize that it is equally important to keep a clear mind about things. Therefore, I’ll adjust and lower the frequency of meetings as much as I can. I only ask that everyone be mentally prepared for the rigour that is to come in the time ahead of us.”
There were no objections.
Everyone smiled and nodded knowingly.
After all, everyone knew that the sudden influx of goods and materials would naturally lead to the establishment of charters, departments and companies. These weren’t matters that could be summarily dismissed or dealt with by a simple lip-service discussion. Each and every policy to be made would have to be discussed in great detail and reviewed over and over again before finally being implemented.
However, the benefits of their current involvement far outweighed the costs, especially when it came to their future political resume!
In fact, they might one day even become a provincial governor at this rate!
“Second item on the agenda.” Qin Ye held up two fingers, “Hell’s needs a voice.”
“Hell can be said to be back on track to its days of glories past. We’ll need to let our citizens know what our goals are, what we’re working on, what difficulties we face…” He paused for a moment and drew a deep breath, “And about our enemies.”
“Enemies?” Everyone’s eyes flickered as they probed further.
Qin Ye glanced at Arthis, only to receive her blessings for the disclosure of this information. He drew another deep breath, and then continued, “Everyone, surely you didn’t think that we were the only underworld in existence, did you?”
It was a simple statement, and yet it caused everyone to gasp in horror. Some even came close to shooting straight to their feet.
After all, the implications underlying that simple statement were far too profound!
Everyone came from an era of information explosion, and they naturally understood the meaning of Qin Ye’s words!
All who failed to keep up would be rendered otiose in an instant. This was a painful lesson which Cathay had learnt through blood, sweat and tears! It had used to be among the most powerful countries in the world, and yet the incursion of something so seemingly benign as opium led to the opium wars, which eventually led to the downfall of an entire nation. Its present path to recovery was literally forged from blood, sweat and tears. Hell… was no different from its mortal realm counterpart.
“There will be a famous historical general who will be joining the ranks of Hell as a military commander in just a little while.” Qin Ye paused for some time and glanced about the table. Then, as though talking about a completely different matter, he continued, “His name is Oda Nobunaga… That’s right - the Oda Nobunaga. We’ve just fought a great battle at the Strait of Tsushima in order to secure his soul.”
His words were highly provocative, “There’s an interesting theory promulgated by a book that might be applicable here - every underworld is just like a hunter residing in the deepest recesses of a dark forest. Any existence that is discovered to possess insufficient defences and firepower would instantly be destroyed by the rest!”
He drew a deep breath and took in the frightened and apprehensive gazes that were staring right back at him, “Hell used to be one of the world’s most powerful underworlds. However, that was the past! If any of the other underworlds discovers the state of the new Hell as it presently stands, they would most certainly rise up in arms and challenge our authority! We’re still relatively safe for the time being. However, nobody knows how long our moment of peace and stability is going to last. Therefore, Hell will need to develop an ability to defend itself before any true danger comes knocking on Hell’s doors!”
Everyone was silent.
Gu Qing’s mouth was slightly agape, and his eyes were as wide as they could be. Everyone else around the table revealed looks of abject disbelief as Qin Ye’s words slowly sank into their hearts.
“These are startling news, and I’m sure you guys will need some time to digest it and let it sink in. However, it’s something that is better known sooner rather than later.” Arthis chimed in, “I’ll bring over the power maps of the other underworlds so that you guys would have a better understanding of what we might potentially be faced with…”
Qin Ye interjected and drew the discussion back to the topic at hand, “Therefore, we’ll need a platform for discourse and communications!”
He stood up and slammed both of his hands onto the table as he leaned forward with a glint in his eye, “It’s not a permanent solution to kill all citizens who are dissatisfied with our efforts. Who’s going to join our army and participate in the redevelopment of Hell if we keep culling our numbers indefinitely? Therefore the platform for discourse and communication serves a multitude of purposes. Not only do we want to tell our citizens about the potential enemies that we’re faced with, we also want to strengthen the cohesion of our citizens through public discourse! This will be a beautiful two-pronged approach of our government! The department of communications shall act as the government’s mouthpiece!”
“We need both the threat of fists and the glibness of tongues. This is the only way Hell would be able to play catch-up with the other underworlds that have had millennia’s worth of headstart over us.”
Everyone was still completely silent.
The breaking news was far too shocking, and they could only find it within themselves to nod in concurrence with a grave expression on their faces. Just then, Gu Qing asked, “My lord, at the risk of knowing too much, might I ask which underworld is presently the most powerful one right now?”
Arthis responded, “It should be the European underworld. I’ve learned through a few old friends of mine that after the recent establishment of the European Union, the various European underworlds are similarly attempting to open up their borders to one another and meld into each other. If they succeed, they would undoubtedly become the strongest underworld on earth. Incidentally, their underworlds include the home of Hades, one of the four oldest underworlds in the world.”
“That said, each and every underworld that they’re attempting to merge have been in existence for at least a thousand years on end, and it’s not going to be easy for them to open up their borders to one another. Therefore, it’ll at least take several decades for them to finally realize this great dream of theirs.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter