Qin Ye’s shard of King Yanluo’s Seal began to spin, and their entire entourage soon returned to the new Hell.
The first thing they saw was a row of Death Inquisitors sitting neatly and tidily right at Hell’s Gate. Ming Shiyin was perched right atop the roof of Hell’s Gate, basking in the glories of the new Hell. At first glance, it was almost as though nothing had changed.
But if one looked further, they would soon realize that it was anything but that.
Gu Qing had his hardhat on, and he was moving about from place to place with the other division heads of Yin Construction, surveying the grounds and making markings on his drawings and diagrams with easels in tow. If this had taken place just a month or two ago, it would most certainly have been a sight to behold. After all, they only had a few sets of machines and tools that could only occupy that many people at any one point in time, while the rest had to be resigned to their fate of idleness. But now, Gu Qing’s group of men were no more than a drop in the ocean - one that was hardly conspicuous amidst the other shifting sights in Hell.
The ghostly citizens around them were abuzz with activity. The Death Inquisitors seated at the front of Hell’s Gate only appeared to be orderly. But if one just looked closer, they would see that the Death Inquisitors appeared to be desperately processing certain applications. Su Dongxue was no longer seated where she usually was. Rather, she had temporarily shifted to the annex hall, and she was surrounded by a large group of people, chatting and discussing matters with them.
When Qin Ye and his entourage appeared right behind the statue of Ksitigarbha in the heart of Hell’s Gate, they immediately heard the contents of the clamor.
“You’re applying for the establishment of a soccer club? And a professional one at that? Who’s going to pay them? It’s a good idea, but it’s not practical right now! You’ll probably have to wait for the capitalist sharks to show up before you’ve got any chances at establishing these clubs! After all, you can’t expect mere citizens to be crowd-funding these clubs of yours, can you? And who’s going to be responsible for the initial capital injection? Brother, I’m not trying to take a jibe at you, but you probably haven’t run a business before, have you? So who’s idea are you trying to promote and have approved?”
Qin Ye smiled slightly and walked over. Oda Nobunaga and Murai Sadakatsu frowned slightly and followed along behind him.
The new Hell appeared to be completely different from what they had expected it to be.
To their minds, Hell was meant to be a solemn and silent place. And yet… the new Hell appeared to be… cheerful.
It was boisterous, and it appeared to have lost the sobriety that should undergird every underworld.
Nevertheless, they didn’t express their thoughts. Their names were already etched into Hell’s Records now, and they knew their place.
Qin Ye walked over to the annex hall. As he drew closer, he could tell that it was packed with over a hundred citizens. Su Dongxue sat right in the middle of the crowd with a pale face, desperately staring at the documents in front of her. There were several other old men standing at various parts of the crowd, sparing no efforts to explain everything in great detail to the citizens around.
“Social Chess Association? That’s possible, but unfortunately we won’t be able to support you with any funds right now. We’re still in the process of calculating the amount of funds to be allocated to each large institution, and everything is going to be subject to King Yanluo’s final approval… Moreover, most of our spare funds have already been dedicated to the rental and management of recreational facilities and amenities…” “Fitness Association? … Friend, are you sure now is the best time to be thinking of building muscles?” “Hey chap… Could you not bother us with insipid requests like a Stargazers Association? We’re incredibly busy right now! Have you even seen a single star around these parts? Have you?!!”
It was bustling, clamorous and chaotic, and yet everything appeared to be undergirded by a great amount of passion. It was like a burgeoning fire, crackling with sparks that flew everywhere, consuming the silence and stillness that used to plague the new Hell.
The solitude of idleness.
The dreariness of boredom.
Just then, Su Dongxue raised her head and suddenly caught sight of Qin Ye, and she immediately cried out with relief, “King Yanluo, welcome back!!”
And then, she promptly knelt to the ground.
One couldn’t be too obvious when it comes to using their lord and master as a pretext for escaping work.
Her surroundings immediately fell silent. Qin Ye’s tyrannical disposal of the rebellion was still a sight that was fresh in the hearts and minds of those around, and everyone promptly parted ways to allow him passage.
“You may rise.” Qin Ye raised his hand, “The rest of you may take your leave. I’ve got matters to discuss over here.”
None dared to object. As soon as they left, he asked, “Su Dongxue, what’s happening over here?”
“My lord!!” Su Dongxue was actually on the brink of tears as she related her difficulties, “Your subject humbly prays that you will increase the manpower available to deal with these applications and administrative issues! And also for the construction of more dedicated government facilities! We’ve been swamped and overwhelmed by everything that’s going on! We’re truly on the verge of collapse! Your subject… ohh… so handsome… who might this be…”
Su Dongxue was instantly dazzled by the beauty that had appeared in front of her, and she promptly slid over to Murai Sadakatsu’s side, snuggled into him and placed his arms around her neck, “My lord must have noticed that I’ve been overworked lately, and thus brought a gift for me? Your loyal subject humbly accepts this gift with great gratitude…”
Murai Sadakatsu’s cheeks twitched uncontrollably, and he fervently repressed the urge to kick the bold female ghost away.
Qin Ye’s expressions instantly turned ashen as well - Image! Watch your image! Do I not have a single reliable person under my charge in Hell?! I’ve got a foul-mouthed mirror, a gamer girl, and a female ghost who can’t live without men… Ah… the only normal one I have under my charge is Gu Qing…
Bloody hell… can you please not ruin our image in front of our international friends? Ah, corrections… they’re already part of our family now… But this is still an incredibly shameful sight…
“Cough…” Su Dongxue coughed lightly and peeked out from behind Murai Sadakatsu. She completely ignored Qin Ye, and instead gently caressed Murai Sadakatsu’s face with her hair and begana speaking with an unbelievably enchanting voice, “I’m so busy~~! There are just too many people patronizing the business of this poor young lady. Mr Charming, don’t you feel sorry for me? Ever since King Yanluo brought back tons of goods the last time, idleness has already become a thing of the past~~”
Qin Ye silently pulled out Hell’s Records, flipped to the page on which Su Dongxue’s name was recorded, and then motioned to erase her name. It was only then that Su Dongxue hurriedly knelt before Qin Ye and responded softly, “Reporting back to King Yanluo. Ever since Your Majesty brought back the supplies the last time, we’ve spent the next week sorting through the supplies, categorizing and organizing them. The full inventory list of goods has been prepared. After seeking Mr Gu’s approval, we made the list of supplies public. That night, Hell… exploded with ebullience.”
“Over the last two days, we’ve seen countless groups come forward, applying for the establishment of various organizations, clubs and societies. And this is especially in light of the knowledge that Hell is soon to roll out the system of currency. I’ve not seen any fewer than thirty people around these parts over the last two days. I’ve even got people coming forward, asking us when the companies managing the production lines would be set up, whether the central bank would provide loans, how interest is calculated, and so on and so forth. I’ve fended off these queries and made a tally of the most frequently asked questions for your review upon your return.”
That’s more like it…
Qin Ye kept Hell’s Records and remained silent.
The last few hundred tonnes of goods was like a master key to unlocking the soaring growth of Hell and the enrichment of the lives of his citizens. It served the primary purpose of keeping their minds occupied so that their thoughts wouldn’t stray to rebellion. It also served a secondary purpose of promoting the birth of the system of currency by giving the citizens tangible goods that they could long to purchase!
Furthermore, the system of currency is predicated on the printing industry, which in turn is inextricably tied to the media industry that is so dear to Qin Ye’s heart. One thing begets another. Besides, this was an industry that entailed the occasional use of machinery, and required no more than the engagement of a group of editors and hundreds of reporters. Such a profitable, low cost industry was the exact thing that inspired Qin Ye’s passion and joy.
Look at North Daehan, and how its three plump leaders are overflowing with happiness and joy… How did they achieve all that? Through media and a glib mouthpiece of the government! If one is surrounded by news media that reports things such as ghosts around the world are in dire straits, XX underworld is starting a war, a protests has broken out in YY underworld, or ZZ underworld has fallen into a financial crisis, wouldn’t that make our own citizens count their blessings?
And this was particularly when one could tangibly see the works of the government for their own citizens.
Pulling a veil over the eyes of their citizens isn’t uncommon after all… I mean, you don’t even need to look past the works of Cathay to realize this…
Su Dongxue grew serious and began to relay her gripe to Qin Ye, “And if that’s all there is, that’s still not too bad. Unfortunately, we’re not only suffering from a lack of manpower, there’s also the lack of space! We’ve only got two annex halls in Hell’s Gate right now! Just yesterday, Yin Construction, us, and Huang Liangchuan’s group found ourselves in a situation where we had to split the annex hall into several areas for our own purposes. The discussions were so loud that we couldn’t even hear our own thoughts at times…”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows.
Governance was tiring. And good governance was even more exhausting.
All Qin Ye had been trying to do was to push for the establishment of the system of currency, and also launch the prints and media industries along the way. But it was only when he began to take steps towards implementation that he soon realized that it involved several other ancillary matters.
Civil servants, the delineation of responsibilities between governmental departments and agencies, reassignment of work, issuance of orders… Qin Ye had a skeletal plan in mind, and he knew the direction that they should be headed. Unfortunately, it was difficult to see exactly where to start working from when the mess came crashing down like a huge tangle of rope.
“Establish a secretariat.” Arthis, who had been silent all this while, finally spoke up, “I had ten secretaries under my charge back when I was governing the Province of the Great Heavens. With them around, we didn’t have to do much ourselves. All we had to do was to endorse our agreement and give our consent or approval for works…”
Eh? Lady, is that something to be so proud of?i
Qin Ye rolled his eyes at Arthis - How can you compare this diligent King Yanluo to a lazy Infernal Judge like you?
He promptly cleared his throat, “Let’s begin by recruiting a secretariat comprising a hundred people…”
“... Wouldn’t that be a little too many?” Arthis asked stiffly - Our dear King Yanluo’s shamelessness has just risen to new heights. Congratulations are in order for the level up…
Qin Ye coughed awkwardly. He, too, was well aware that he couldn’t afford to be too lazy. After all, laziness would beget shoddiness, and the problems arising out of such shoddiness would be far more difficult to remedy when it finally takes root.
He collected his thoughts, sat down and tapped the table gently as he began to process the countless threads of information and considerations running through his mind. Just like that, he stared vacantly at the bustling sight of Hell outside. Over ten minutes later, he finally instructed, “Su Dongxue, I’d like you to consolidate the jobs and duties of all major governmental departments around right now. I want everything to be kept simple. I don’t want to see the type of bureaucracy like that in the mortal realm, where you would have to shuttle about various departments for a period of three days before you can even get a seal of approval for a simple request. Do your best to locate all the major departments within a single building.”
“Secondly, I’d like you to assign civil servants to their respective jobs and duties. I’ll allow you to allocate a special privilege - all civil servants shall be given first dibs on Qin Gardens Phase One upon its completion.”
“Thirdly, I want you to suspend all official duties for now and reassign the current Death Inquisitors as civil servants of the various departments. In three days’ time, I’d like you to appoint fresh Death Inquisitors to take up the newly vacated positions, where they would start out as interns all over.”
He thought for a moment more, and concluded that there was nothing else. But before he could end off his instructions, Arthis promptly added, “Four. Summon all Yin spirits to witness the induction ceremony of the Book of Life and Death. Five. Have Gu Qing halt all construction works in progress to erect a high-profile monument, earmarked as a cultural heritage, to commemorate the induction of the Book of Life and Death in Hell. This is a groundbreaking event that should be recorded in the history books, and celebrated by all citizens of Hell.”
Qin Ye nodded, and then casually muttered, “But it’s not that urgent, is it? We can induct the Book of Life and Death into Hell anytime. There’s already so many things going on right now. Can’t we shelve it for the moment?”
Arthis shook her head, “No… we must prioritize the induction ceremony of the Book of Life and Death, by hook or by crook.”
“You’re… still analyzing things from the perspective of mortal realm governance. There may be numerous similarities between the governance in Hell and the governance in the mortal realm. That said, there are just as many differences as well. For instance, the induction of a divine artifact would cause Hell’s power to surge and even undergo a qualitative transformation. As for what exactly it entails, you’d understand as soon as you saw it. In any event, it would be far more prudent to plan and work around Hell after its transformation. Who knows, perhaps some of your present considerations might even fall out of the picture after the transformation of Hell?”
Is the expansion of Hell truly that magical?
Qin Ye stared quizzically back at Arthis, and she promptly chuckled softly, “Don’t look at me like that. Are you aware that… the expansion of each and every underworld is completely unique and different?”
“Just like how the various countries in the mortal realms each have their own sets of natural resources, climate, and unique ecological environment, the same goes for underworlds alike. What the old Hell gained with each expansion may not necessarily be present in the new Hell. Every expansion of an underworld brings it closer to perfecting the rules undergirding that underworld. I’ve never personally experienced an expansion of Hell, but I’ve gleaned from the records of Hell that it would invariably suspend all work first, give priority to the expansion, and then rejig and rework its plans after taking into account the changes from the expansion.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter