Chapter 289: Oda Nobunaga's Pledge of Loyalty

Arthis sighed softly and looked at Qin Ye.

There’s no mistake… His cowardly personality that rears its ugly head at the earliest sign of trouble has already dwindled substantially. But I suppose that only stands to reason. After all, Emissaries of Hell deal with a plethora of supernatural incidents all the time, none of which are matters that one can truly escape from. Furthermore, a good number of these incidents are matters of life and death. As time wears on, even the most cowardly hermits would soon come to terms with the fact that there’s no reason to run or hide any longer.

Habits become second nature over time.

In fact, it is only when Qin Ye discovers that there is no room for escape that he begins to gleam like a precious gemstone, shedding its thick encasement of dirt to reveal its sparkling clarity within.

His ability to react to exigencies and his masterful grasp over the human heart are both qualities that a top-politician should possess.

Granny Meng… You’ve truly got a good eye for hidden talent… Arthis sighed inwardly and closed her mouth.

Oda Nobunaga’s eyes gleamed brightly. His initial thought had merely been to arm his troops. After all, this was the only way he could develop his troops further to put them on par with the armies of the Nipponese underworld. In other words, it hadn’t even occurred to him that the old Hell could be used as a proving ground for training!

Arm Yin soldiers with the carapace of blight vermin, and then use them to wipe out more blight vermin. It’s a virtuous cycle! We wouldn’t even need half a year… Two months would be more than sufficient to develop a battalion of elite soldiers!

“And that’s not all.” Qin Ye placed his hands behind his back and spoke with an air befitting of a future King Yanluo. He smiled faintly, “Let me ask you, what do you call it when an ordinary Yin spirit is equipped with a full set of blight vermin carapace?”

Arthis thought for a moment, and then responded with uncertainty, “Skins?”[1]

Then, she promptly heard the sound of cracking knuckles coming from Qin Ye’s hands, accompanied only by a menacing gaze.

What’s the meaning of this?

Do you even know what you’re saying right now? Huh? Do you? If not, can you have the self-restraint not to respond altogether? Would you die if you didn’t speak for a moment?!

“Cough… I’m sorry… It’s a force of habit… please continue…” Arthis coughed dryly.

Qin Ye withdrew his frigid gaze and declared with a sonorous voice, “It’s called the establishment of the Yin artifact manufacturing industry!”

As soon as he said that, both Oda Nobunaga and Arthis looked up with a bright gleam in their eyes with great surprise.

Both of them once used to be rulers in their own rights, and they naturally understood what benefits the establishment of a brand new industry would bring to the nascent Hell! How many jobs would something like that create for them?

“With this many blight vermin around…” Oda Nobunaga’s eyes blazed brightly as he drew a deep breath and looked at the distant Fengdu Necropolis, “If we can equip the first batch of troops quickly enough… we might even be able to seize millions… no, perhaps even tens of millions pieces of carapace! The industry could last for years on end!”

“No-no-no. There’s more, there’s more.” Qin Ye wagged his finger as he continued to explain, “Most importantly, this would constitute a special product of Hell. Do you understand what that means?”

He looked at Arthis. She looked back vacantly at him, before suddenly gasping in shock.

“You’re… looking to sell skins?” Her voice rose substantially, “This would be the first set of skins produced by the new Hell! The artwork must be perfect, and the workmanship has to be exquisite! First-timers can even earn… Cough, cough… What I mean is that you can use it as a bargaining chip at the imperial court meeting with the feudal officials at the end of the year!”

Qin Ye glared at Arthis as though she were the devil’s incarnation, forcibly breaking the curse of skins that had been plaguing the gamer girl and enabling her to complete her statement with a proper tone of voice.

Qin Ye heaved a sigh of relief, and he finally let go of the slight measure of reluctance and regret in his heart.

What’s one of the most terrible things that could possibly happen in the world?

It would have to be the passing of a person who was unable to enjoy his wealth.

What could be more tragic than that?

It would be where the money remained unspent, and his biological child wasn't able to inherit his wealth!

Was there anything worse than that?

It had to be the situation where the child was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth, only to discover that his father had only willed him a sliver of it worth no more than a hundred dollars!

Either keep me completely oblivious to your wealth, or just give everything to me! Isn’t it adding insult to injury that you would give me a 100 dollars out of your fortune worth a hundred million?!

Unfortunately, Qin Ye was in that exact situation with the old Hell right now.

After all, Hell’s legacy was definitely not localized to the few places that they had been to. How much had they managed to grab? One of the most painful and traumatic experiences in life was to be able to see a low-hanging, delectable fruit yet be unable to even reach for it! That said, having taken a second glance at it, he discovered that there were still means available for his exploration.

“There are no lousy heroes - only lousy players.” He uttered the oft-cited maxim with great emotion as he swept an arrogant gaze past Arthis. It was clear what he meant underneath the facade of his words - Trash, look at how the expert would handle the game on Hell-difficulty settings. Has any other underworld thought to approach the start of the game this way over the last thousands of years? I don’t think so. Watch, and learn.

Arthis immediately understood what Qin Ye’s lofty gaze meant. She rolled her eyes back at him and suppressed the surging murderous intent in her heart - Endure… must… endure… We won’t have anyone to take charge of the revivification of Hell if I kill him… I’ll just have to endure this for a few hundred years longer… Speaking of which, why does the third King Yanluo of Hell give off such a different vibe than his two predecessors anyway? Crowdsourcing ideas - please help.

“Then, esteemed Lord Yanluo, shall I begin with the preparations?” A calm voice interrupted Qin Ye’s thoughts, causing him to snap out of his great fantasies. He turned to look at the man who had just spoken, and the smile on his face was promptly replaced with a grave expression, “Lord Nobunaga, are you certain?”

“Once you board this ship, there’s no turning back.”

That’s right… THIS is the greatest haul from this trip!

He could always establish his own path even if there wasn’t any legacy of Hell to speak of. The new Hell would develop its own set of cultural identity like the old Hell over time, and it would have its own unique flair to it. That said, having a decorated general to assist him at the start of this Hell-difficulty game was no different from inheriting the full extent of Hell’s legacy.

Oda Nobunaga… had finally taken the step to pledge his loyalty.

Ever since they first arrived in the old Hell, Oda Nobunaga had been ostensibly silent about the elephant in the room. And whenever he spoke, he would speak respectfully, albeit in his capacity as a lesser regent. But now, it was obvious that Oda Nobunaga had always recognized Qin Ye’s stature as that of a Kanpaku, or an effective ruler of Hell[2].

Oda Nobunaga didn’t respond immediately. Instead, he simply gazed deeply into the vast reaches of Hell for a long time, before he finally gently, but cautiously nodded his head.

“Good!” Qin Ye drew a deep breath, and a black lustre glowed from his chest. Hell’s Records flew out and landed in his hand. He made a grabbing motion with his other hand, and a brush immediately appeared. Then, he wrote down four characters.

General Zhenyuan!

But just as Qin Ye began to pen down Oda Nobunaga’s name, he suddenly felt as though an invisible force were obstructing his efforts to do so altogether. No matter how hard he tried, he was unable to get around it.

“This is because you’re only an Anitya Hellguard right now. Given that Oda Nobunaga is also a Hellguard, you don’t possess the rights to confer such an appointment on him.” Arthis muttered softly, “Bite the tip of your finger and wipe your blood across the palm of my hand. I’ll do it.”

I’ve got to bite the tip of my finger again?

Qin Ye stared at Arthis as though he had just seen a ghost - Haven’t I already told you more than a dozen chapters ago that I can still fight if there’s a knife in my body, but I’ll equally still scream and shout like a little girl when the nurse draws blood from me during a routine examination at the hospital? I mean… whose fault is it that you’re asking me to bite my tongue or bite my fingertips all the time? Do you have a vendetta against tongues and fingertips in particular?

She caught sight of Qin Ye’s gaze, and immediately knew that she was currently facing the aspect of Qin Ye that she couldn’t wait to murder. Fortunately, she had already grown well-accustomed to dealing with the unambitious, pathetic side of the third King Yanluo of Hell. Thus, she stiffly picked up Qin Ye’s hand, swiftly cut a gash across his fingertip, and then grabbed that finger and began to draw on the palm of her own hand.

Whoosh… As soon as the talisman diagram on the palm of her hand was completed, the entire space around them trembled softly. Arthis’ right hand suddenly erupted with innumerable wisps of boundless Yin energy that rose high into the sky like a blazing inferno that was dozens of meters tall. Her hair and her clothes instantly began to flutter wildly.

“Only Emissaries in the realm of Infernal Judge and beyond are entitled to hold administrative rights under the system of the old Hell…” Hell’s Records blossomed with a white lustre that echoed the Yin energy pouring out of her right hand, “This is the true form of Hell’s Records. Watch and learn.”

As soon as the first stroke of the brush landed in Hell’s Records, Oda Nobunaga’s entire body trembled, and the space around him instantly began to clatter violently. Copious amounts of Yin energy lingered about him, while innumerable spots of netherflames surrounded him.

“My lord…” Murai Sadakatsu cried out in dismay, but he soon found himself in the exact same predicament.

What they didn’t realize was that in that very same instant, Nohime, Oda Nobunaga’s closest aides, as well as the remaining thousand or so Umamawari horse guards all found themselves experiencing the exact same circumstances!

A violent nethergale swept around them like a tornado of Yin energy. Arthis immediately called out to them, “Do not resist it! Your names are being etched into Hell’s Records. Henceforth, you shall be considered genuine Emissaries of Hell, and you shall be imbued with the strength and authority to annihilate all Yin spirits under Hell’s jurisdiction!”

Whoosh! The brush continued to paint calligraphic strokes, and Oda Nobunaga’s full name was etched into Hell’s Records in no time. As soon as that was completed, a strand of golden soulfire flew out from Oda Nobunaga’s forehead and landed onto Hell’s Records, instantly igniting his name with a faint golden netherflame.

Boom! Moments later, the nethergale instantly wrapped itself tightly around Oda Nobunaga, transforming into a two-meter tall cocoon of Yin energy, where it continued to swirl slowly about him for some time. A few minutes later, the Yin energy cocoon erupted. Oda Nobunaga stood right where the cocoon had been just moments ago, completely stunned at the changes to his body.

The Nipponese armor had vanished without a trace, and it was now instead replaced by an ancient Cathayan armor. He wore a full platemail over his body, while the buckle of his belt was etched with the face of a golden beast. He was further protected by two copper mirrors over the front and back of his body. An embroidered scarlet robe replete with a green velvet tie peeked out of his armor. He carried an identity token around his waist. The words “General Zhenyuan” were inscribed on the front, while the words “Oda Nobunaga” were etched clearly on the back.

If not for the Yin energy that was billowing out of his seven apertures, as well as the blazing netherflames in his eyes, he would undoubtedly have been the embodiment of the word “majesty”.

Hell’s first general… Who would’ve thought that it would be a Nipponese to boot? Qin Ye chuckled helplessly. It couldn’t be helped. Talent was something that he desperately needed right now. That was the privilege he was willing to extend only to the very first general in Hell. If other foreigners came along right now, he would most certainly make them work for their title.

Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Qin Ye got the feeling that ever since being conferred the title of General Zhenyuan, his entire being appeared to be… emanating far more Yin energy than before.

As though sensing the bewilderment in Qin Ye’s gaze, Arthis promptly explained, “This is only natural. All Yin spirits must have a place of anchor. Otherwise, they would be no different from drifters. He couldn’t be considered a part of any underworld in the past because the Nipponese weren’t willing to extend that courtesy to him. That was why the Yin energy from his body was naturally weaker back then. But now… I daresay that his strength has increased by at least 20%.”

Oda Nobunaga scanned his new body and clenched his fists tightly. Seconds later, he cupped his hands respectfully to Qin Ye, “General Zhenyuan, Oda Nobunaga, humbly greets King Yanluo!”

Murai Sadakatsu stood right behind Oda Nobunaga in his new Cathayan armor. With a loud thud, he knelt to the ground and declared at the top of his voice, “My life belongs to Hell!!”

And he wasn’t the only one. Back at the Honnoji quasi-realm, Nohime also found herself dressed in a brand new set of Cathayan women’s clothing, and she promptly knelt down and cried out, “Congratulations, Lord Nobunaga, for finding a new master. Nohime… is willing to die for Hell!”

Right behind her, a thousand or so Umamawari horse guards knelt down in unison and looked to the sky, where they promptly bellowed with a thunderous roar, “Our lives belong to Hell!!”

Henceforth, they were all no longer drifters.

“Excellent…” Back in the old Hell, Qin Ye shut his eyes and nodded with deep satisfaction, “Don’t worry, the Cathayan underworld will see to it that your dreams are fulfilled.”

“Believe me. You’ll personally witness our march into Amano-Iwato within a hundred years’ time!”

1. This is a reference to cosmetic sets in MOBA game, when you can change the appearance of champions of heroes.

2. A japanese term that was akin to a chief advisor for the emperor that encompasses both the offices of the first secretary and regent. They were the effective rulers of Japan during the Heian period, before the shogunate took over.

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