Arthis didn’t say anymore. She was suddenly filled with a sense of gratification and some measure of regret.
The kid’s all grown up now…
No, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he’s finally getting used to the responsibility on his shoulders.
There was a time when Qin Ye’s first instinct was to dodge and hide. After all, the words ‘trouble’, ‘burden’ and ‘responsibility’ were absent from the dictionary as far as he was concerned. That said, she didn’t find it strange at all. After all, a person who had lived in human society for more than a hundred years while remaining hidden under the radar would undoubtedly be deeply entrenched in the ways of safety, caution and precaution.
But now, having entered the First Academy of Cultivators, been forced to interact and integrate with different segments of society, and especially after witnessing the birth and growth of the new Hell, he had finally begun to develop a sense of responsibility for the things around him. There might perhaps still be instances when his first instinct would be to run in the face of great danger. But… at least he chose to answer the call of his responsibility and stand tall, even when faced with Nippon’s strongest warlord, Honda Tadakatsu, as well as the invincible Cathayan general, Liu Yu, also known as Emperor Wu of Song.
In fact, she had even begun to realize that Qin Ye was exceeding her expectations on several fronts.
The intricacies of human societies were incredibly complex, and the human heart was far less predictable and far more terrifying than the heart of an evil spirit. It was for this reason that Arthis could fully appreciate how inhuman it was that Qin Ye could navigate such complex interpersonal relations, remain invisible, and even resist the innate desire to express, be heard, and be recognized all this while. He had been patiently biding his time, accumulating knowledge and honing his skills, only to use it slowly as and when it was necessary and required. Admittedly, this was something that Arthis would never have the patience for.
Thus, for the very first time, she had truly and sincerely recognized Qin Ye as the future King Yanluo of Hell.
So what if he didn’t possess overwhelming martial strength? Did King Yanluo need absolute strength? Cathay had a population of over 1.5 billion people, and over a billion Yin spirits are reincarnated every century. With all these resources at his disposal, would King Yanluo truly have to personally take to the battleground?
Martial prowess was a deterrence, just like how each of the Ten Abyssal Courts struck fear into the hearts of all evildoers in the past. However… the fact that the new Hell was able to experience such immense growth in the span of a single year was a far greater deterrent!
After all, they were currently in an era where an underworld was measured by its national strength.
“I’ve got one more question.” She sighed softly, “How did you even come up with the trick of reciting a governmental report to him? Emperor Wu of Song has existed for over a millennium, so how were you so certain that he doesn’t understand a thing about modern times?”
Oblivious to the fact that Arthis had already elevated his status in her heart, Qin Ye leisurely crossed his leg and continued to lay on the bed, “It’s simple… It all has to do with his character.”
Arthis’ eyes flickered - Ah, that’s right. This man is most adept at grasping the true nature of a person’s heart. He’s practically a talent when it comes to matters of politics!
Qin Ye elaborated, “Put nicely, he’s extremely self-confident. Put bluntly, he’s obstinate and self-opinionated - perhaps even dictatorial. But it’s understandable… He’s a valiant warrior, one that is unparalleled across the history of Cathay. Furthermore, he’s also an emperor in his own right. When I saw how he didn’t even prepare a seat for you in the great hall of his throne room, I immediately knew that… he’s a man who’s steeped in the practices of antiquity. In other words, he can’t be bothered about anything of the modern day era.”
“Admittedly, he would probably have a basic understanding of a thing or two. But that said, he could never fully understand the things which make modern society tick as it stands right now. Furthermore, there wasn’t electricity or internet in Hell back in the days when he was still around. After a thousand years of being entrenched in his old ways, anyone in his shoes would instinctively begin to resist change or a new way of life. At the very least, he wouldn’t be among the first to abandon the old ways and adopt modern lifestyles. Instead, he would continue to resist change until everyone around him begins to embrace modern conveniences and mindsets. Naturally, he would never of his own volition attempt to understand how a modern day government works. To his mind, his way has been, is, and will always be the best way.”
“How can you be so sure?”
Qin Ye’s expressions grew ashen, “I once had the experience of being adopted by an old couple who were both in their seventies. They were exactly like that. In fact, most parents who were born in the 90’s and 80’s are already beginning to act this way, much less folks older than them. It’s not surprising at all.”
Eh? You’ve got yet another delightful experience to share with me?
Arthis sat up straight without saying a word. She flicked her lush hair back like a Head & Shoulders advertisement, and then continued to gaze intently at Qin Ye with a profound glint in her eyes - Come, tell me more about your unpleasant experiences of ages past. Let me delight in your misery.
Qin Ye rolled his eyes at her, snuggled into his sheets, and began to play with his mobile phone.
Eh? I’d expect nothing less of Eastsea. To think that the Special Investigations Department would be filled with such illustrious and elegant flora and fauna… His hands began to tap on the divergent buttons on the screen that signified approbation and reprobation.
Number one is pretty decent. Sharp features and large eyes. Female cultivators like this are perfect for me… Number two is also extremely beautiful. Round face, and well-proportioned figure. Eh, to think that she’s 177cm tall… I’ll pass… Ohh number three looks quite pure and innocent. Lady, you’re qualified to have my babies…
What else is there to do but to sieve through the options for my harem in future? I’ve even already planned out the preschool for my children to attend…
The large mound under the sheets burst out into an extremely lewd and peculiar chuckle. It was just about to tap down on the screen when a hand suddenly reached into the darkness, swiped away the female profiles and tapped on the male ones.
“Bloody hell!!!” Qin Ye was shocked out of his wits and kicked off the sheets immediately. Arthis had somehow slipped in beside him and snuggled up close with a highly ambiguous posture as she browsed the Momo app with great interest.
“Pull the sheets back up. It’s cold… Ooooh~ This guy’s good looking~~” Arthis ‘liked’ his profile without any hesitation, completely oblivious to the ashen expression on Qin Ye’s face right now. It was only when she noticed Qin Ye’s lack of response that she turned around and glared at him begrudgingly.
Just like that, they locked eyes, and there was a tense silence.
“Don’t you find there something wrong about all of this?” Qin Ye’s temples were throbbing uncontrollably.
Arthis glared at Qin Ye with great incredulity, and then turned to the blanket, before a strong wave of realization struck her.
A split second later, Qin Ye found himself evicted from his bed, while Arthis covered herself with the sheets once more and began to mess around with his phone.
I’ll be damned… Do you have problems reading the situation?!
You can hit me if you want, but you’ve completely crossed the line when you take control of my phone… Qin Ye drew a deep breath and pounced back onto the bed, grabbing the sheets like a vicious wolf, “You’re a damned Infernal Judge! And you’re a lady at that! Don’t you find it in the least bit inappropriate to be snuggling up in the bosom of another man?!! Or did you think that I’d fall for you when I saw your tongue hanging to the ground?! Lady, can you please wake up?!”
“Get lost! Have you taken a look in the mirror recently? Who gave you the confidence to even suggest that a Rakshasa would even deign to take a second glance at a mere human being?!” Arthis obstructed Qin Ye’s approach with a foot to his chest, and began to filter through the men’s profiles in his Momo app.
Qin Ye swiftly pushed Arthis’ leg to his shoulder and gnashed his teeth as he desperately reached for the phone in front of Arthis’ chest, “Of course I’ve taken a look in the mirror! I’m better looking than every single one of these guys here! There’s not a single person in the First Academy of Cultivators who’s better looking than me!”
Arthis continued to skim through the profiles with great interest as she casually rebuffed his claims, “Lin Han.”
“... Are you just trying to pick a fight with me today?”
“Wang Chenghao, Ye Xingchen.”
“You’re just a supernumerary! What are you doing paying such close attention to students all day long?!! And you would even deign to prey on such tender subjects?! Eighteen?! Not even I would do such a thing… hang on… I would never do something like that to them!!”
Arthis covered her face abashedly, “Centimeters?”
“I’m going to--...”
Just then, the door flung open, “Hey, Brother Qin, our flight tomorrow morning at eleven…”
The words drifted away, while Lin Han stood at the door, completely flabbergasted.
He was greeted by a rather passionate scene.
Qin Ye was holding onto one of Arthis’ legs, while his hand appeared to be reaching for Arthis’ bosom. On the other hand, Arthis’ hair was scattered and disheveled, and she appeared to have been struggling for some time. At least… this was what Lin Han had seen.
He instantly understood everything.
The wheelbarrow posture.
Three seconds later, he gently shut the door once more, “Pardon my intrusion.” And then, he even sensibly tried the handle once more, confirming that the locking mechanism had properly clicked into place.
There was silence back in the room. Then, almost as though they were struck by a great realization, both sides glared at each other like they had just seen a ghost as they pushed each other away.
Then, they even proceeded to wipe their hands in disgust, muttering soft “yucks” under their breaths as they did so.
Neither suited the taste of the other.
Qin Ye took several deep breaths to regulate his heart, adjusted his attire and hair, and then opened the door once more, only to realize that Lin Han was leaning in with his ear to the door. Qin Ye’s lips trembled with fury.
How could you even--... Can’t you two leave me in peace for a day?!
He curled his finger threateningly at Lin Han and led him to a cafe on the ground floor of the hotel. After ordering their coffee of choice and taking their seats, Lin Han broke the silence with a somber expression on his face, “Don’t worry, I completely understand. I promise not to tell anyone. But you have to be careful. We’re at Eastsea after all. It would be embarrassing if someone discovers this…”
Qin Ye’s hands twitched uncontrollably as he fervently resisted the urge to splash his hot coffee all over Lin Han’s face. Several moments later, he finally managed to plaster a smile on his face, “Shut up.”
Lin Han immediately nodded to show his understanding. Then, he coughed dryly, “Well then, as I was saying earlier, our flight tomorrow is at eleven. We’ve got to check out by nine. Please don’t be late.”
Qin Ye’s emotions were all over the place, and he rubbed his eyebrows, struggling hard to pull himself together. It had suddenly dawned on him that school term was over, and they had already entered the stage of summer vacations.
“I got it.” They continued to exchange ideas for a little while, primarily pertaining to the contents of their academic exchange that had just been concluded. They had already gathered more than enough points from this academic exchange of theirs. That said, the exchange of ideas was still crucial for the road ahead.
Qin Ye returned to his room after some time. Arthis was currently seated on the chair, playing with her phone. Qin Ye kicked her gently and furrowed his brows, “That’s right, where’s Oda Nobunaga?”
“Shopping. That’s right, he’s borrowed half a million. Make a note of it. He’s taken Nohime out, saying that he wants to experience the glories of life after four hundred long years, and that we shouldn’t expect his return tonight.” Arthis responded absent-mindedly.
Qin Ye slumped back into his chair and tapped on the desk as he muttered back, “He… could he have--...”
“Not a chance.” Arthis set down her phone and explained earnestly, “He won’t leave, because there’s just nowhere for him to go. There are three main tasks at hand right now. The first thing is to appease Oda Nobunaga. He won’t be pleased when he realizes the exact state which Hell is in once we return to the City of Salvation. But you can leave this part to me. The second task pertains to the great construction works of Hell.”
“Now that you’ve given your word, we can most certainly expect several feudal officials to arrive at the end of the year. Half a year should be more than enough time to get something sorted out so that Hell is at least presentable. I’m not an expert in this field, so you’ll have to deal with it yourself.”
Qin Ye nodded.
End of the year… We can consider it an imperial court meeting of sorts. At the very least, we’ll have to show the feudal officials that Hell is thriving, and that there are several great construction projects in the works.
Arthis held up a third finger, “And the third thing to address is your own cultivation.”
Qin Ye’s first instinct was to refuse. But in the end, he swallowed those words right back where they came from, and then continued to listen intently to Arthis.
“Although you’re the future King Yanluo, the fact remains that you’re still an Anitya Hellguard right now. You’ll need to possess abilities that are commensurate to the office you hold. I can’t always be by your side. The battle at the Strait of Tsushima was a taster of what could possibly come. We’ll never know if other underworlds would be sending more and more darkfeathers into Hell to probe at the situation here. Besides, you can’t possibly meet up with those feudal officials with your abilities at this level.”
Qin Ye sighed in resignation, “Then, what should we do?”
“Once we return to the City of Salvation, we’ll make a trip back to the old Hell.” Arthis muttered, “And… it’s also about time that you learn of certain things…”
“For instance… where Cathay had its garrisons and vassal states, and who the feudal officials assigned to these places are.”
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