Chapter 298: Monetary Crisis (2)

Huang Liangchuan’s subordinate appeared ordinary and unassuming.

He wasn’t tall. Apart from a slightly squarish face of his, nothing else stood out in particular. He was fraught with anxiety when faced with Qin Ye’s sudden line of questions, and he rubbed his hands together nervously as he replied, “Your Majesty, all of the banknotes in Cathay come from Central Mint of Cathay and its eleven subsidiary companies. Three of these eleven subsidiaries are banknote factories, located in Lotus City, Kunshan City, and Baoding City. I’ve had the privilege of working in the Kunshan banknote factory in Su Province.”

“These are the only three factories across all of Cathay that are authorized to print banknotes. Any banknotes printed anywhere else in Cathay - even if they are banks - is illegal. That said, I only worked there for a short period of time before deciding that it wasn’t where I wanted to make a career for myself. Thus, I signed a confidentiality agreement and left for greener pastures. To that end, I would say that I’ve only learnt the basics of printing banknotes, and my knowledge of the differences between cotton paper and ordinary paper is cursory at best. At least, it wasn’t enough for me to realize that ordinary paper isn’t good enough for the purposes of banknotes. As far as colour shifting inks are concerned, that’s something that I know even less about.”

No wonder they only discovered something amiss after carrying out the abrasion resistance test. Qin Ye sighed. The fire in his heart had completely subsided by now.

At the end of the day, this issue had only arisen because Hell wasn’t well-prepared enough for the purposes of a monetary system. The printing of money was a matter of top secret for each nation that existed in the mortal realm. Even the constitution of the paper used in the production process differed from nation to nation.

They were at a critical juncture of Hell’s development right now, and Qin Ye knew that it wouldn’t be appropriate to strip Huang Liangchuan of his title and order a sudden and abrupt change in leadership. Since Huang Liangchuan had already been in charge for such a long time, it was definitely the more prudent thing to let him continue being in charge.

However…

“I’d previously thought that the minting and the banking industry were one and the same.” Qin Ye remarked, “I was wrong. Su Dongxue.”

“Yes.” Su Dongxue bowed respectfully.

“Make preparations for the establishment of the Central Mint of Hell. As for the director…” He glanced at Huang Liangchuan’s subordinate, “You’ll take charge for the moment.”

“Ah--?” The man was visibly stunned at the sudden turn of events. As soon as he managed to gather himself, he immediately bowed deeply to Qin Ye with a great cry of surprise, “Thank you, Your Majesty! Thank you! I-I will definitely work hard at it!”

Huang Liangchuan couldn’t help but sigh to himself. His heart was fraught with surprise, gladness, and remorse, all at the same time.

He was glad that Qin Ye had raised him to a high elevation, and then gently set him back down.

He was remorseful because he felt that he didn’t handle the quandary well.

Most of all, he was surprised by how Qin Ye had handled the situation - How old is this man?! His handling of the situation isn’t commensurate to his age at all!

This was Qin Ye’s warning.

It was telling him that he could originally have been given control over both the minting industry as well as the banking industry at the same time. But the decoupling of these industries was a manner of Qin Ye’s expression of his dissatisfaction, and it made it patently clear that if he screwed up again, he wouldn’t even have the banking industry to have oversight of in future.

“You guys are dismissed for now. Let me sort out my thoughts.” Qin Ye massaged his temple as he waved his hands dismissively, and Huang Liangchuan and the rest promptly took their leave. It was only then that Qin Ye leaned back into his chair and stared vacantly at the ceiling, asking aloud, “What should we do?”

Arthis chuckled bitterly and shook her head, “We can obtain the necessary supplies. But the question is whether you’re prepared to face the risk of jail term? If not, perhaps it might be best to consider the next best alternative of the ancient currency of copper coins, and silver and gold ingots.”

Qin Ye shook his head. The amount of those things they could produce was far too low. Besides, the raw materials of gold, silver and copper were far too expensive, and it wasn’t something that they could obtain with just several billion RMB.

This was something that would require a capital of at least a hundred billion RMB.

“Su Dongxue, what are your views?” Having discovered Su Dongxue to be a gem in the rough when it comes to matters of governance, Qin Ye made it a point to guide her along as and when he could.

Unfortunately, Su Dongxue chuckled bitterly as well, “Your Majesty, this is a quandary indeed. Banknotes look unassuming, but the design that can be printed on these materials are a constant reminder to your citizens which nation they come from. It’s something that subliminally deepens your citizens’ sense of belonging. I would even go so far as to say that it’s an indispensable part of governance altogether. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend implementing the system of currency prematurely before we have something we’re properly certain of.”

That’s true. Qin Ye sighed and stood up, tapping his fingers gently on the table as he fell into deep thought.

This wasn’t a problem that could be fixed right away.

That said, the establishment and implementation of the monetary system could even be said to be crucial to the further development of Hell! Hundreds of tons of goods were flooding the market, while several production lines were in the process of being set up. Hell needed a system of currency in order to support its burgeoning market! And if they were to establish trade routes with other feudal officials at the end of the year, then the existence of a common currency would be even more crucial!

What about bartering?

Out of the question. It was far too antiquated. Besides, everyone used paper currency. Was Qin Ye really about to tell the feudal officials that the new Hell didn’t even have a system of paper currency in place? How primitive would they appear to be?

Not even Yang Jiye and Yu Qian would want to be part of Hell if they heard something like that.

He mulled over these matters for approximately half an hour more, before finally sighing wistfully, “Issue a notice. Inform all of our citizens that the implementation of the monetary system will be slightly delayed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing to them. After all, the system of currency is a form of restriction since it forces them to go to work. But given how things are, it looks like I’ll have no choice but to give them some latitude to be mischievous now.”

None dared to speak in light of Qin Ye’s self-debasing remarks.

The scribes behind recorded everything which Qin Ye said without even lifting their heads. Then, just as Qin Ye was finally about to take his leave, Arthis quipped, “How about asking what’s-his-name, that old man who you saved the last time?”

“Impossible.” Qin Ye shook his head, “Even Mitsubishi couldn’t possibly send me controlled items such as these.”

Su Dongxue raised her hand and boldly asked, “Your Majesty, then will next month’s induction ceremony for the divine artifact go on as scheduled?”

“It’ll go on as scheduled.” Qin Ye began to channel Yin energy into the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal, and his body began to vanish from Hell, “The entertainment and recreational amenities that I’ve brought back should be sufficient to buy us some time for now. I’ll think of a way to deal with our monetary crisis in the meantime. After all, we’re not going to be able to rely on these entertainment and recreational amenities in the long run, and the establishment of the system of currency is still going to be the foundation of our national development…”

As soon as Qin Ye returned to his dorm room, he immediately flipped open his laptop and began searching fervently.

Unfortunately, the more he searched, the more bitter he appeared.

“Banknote paper is a resource that is unique to each country. Both the materials required and the production method are generally considered top secret. All who are discovered in possession of these items can be prosecuted by law.” -- Baidu.

“The quality of cotton paper is superb. It is composed largely of textile fibres that are generally much more valuable than ordinary wood pulp, from which regular paper is made from. The texture of cotton paper is smooth and fine, yet tough and malleable. The material makes a crisp and clear sound when one pulls, shakes or flicks it. Most counterfeiters resort to using straws, stems and rags as constituent ingredients, and the resultant texture of the paper, soft and rough, brittle and flimsy, and becomes easily tearable. If one shakes it in the air, it makes a muffled sound.” -- Sogou.

“Cotton paper is generally free from impurity, is naturally white, and requires no fluorescent brighteners. If exposed to ultraviolet light, it remains devoid of fluorescent reactions. In contrast, ordinary printing paper contains considerably more fluorescent brighteners, and they would tend to glow with a blue or violet light under ultraviolet light.” -- Google.

“Banknote paper is a state-controlled material, and possession of these items are restricted.” -- Sina.

Colour shifting ink was something that was even more precious than cotton paper, and Qin Ye didn’t even want to open that can of worms. After all, these were controlled items that were exclusively transported by way of military convoys.

“Well?” Arthis returned at dinner time, only to see Qin Ye trawling through the internet with his glasses on.

“Not good.” Qin Ye tapped on his keyboard, “The only conclusion I have after an entire afternoon of research is this - forget about it.”

“Hell is simply too lacking right now.” He poured himself a cup of coffee, “If only we had a thousand years of legacy under our belt… all we’d have to do is to say the word, and we’ll have teams of researchers scrambling to experiment and come up with the best possible solution for us. We might even still be able to meet the deadline which I’d originally set.”

He sipped his coffee gently and glanced out of the window at the basketball court. Even though it was already end-July, there were still several well-built figures playing basketball on the court.

“The monetary system must be established by the end of the year. The recreational facilities, books, sports equipment and the like can only keep the citizens pacified for a period of time, but these can never be a long term solution in and of themselves. Only a system of currency can stabilize a nation, giving citizens a long-term goal to work towards. Besides… what medium of exchange am I supposed to use for the trade route with the Lord of Hanyang if I don’t have a system of currency in place?”

He snorted coldly as he set down his coffee mug heavily, “I refuse to believe that I’ll get tripped up by something like this!”

Arthis was taking a sip from her coffee cup when Qin Ye said this. She paused, and then silently set down her cup.

………………………………………..

As Qin Ye had anticipated, the announcement postponing the implementation of the monetary system in Hell didn’t cause a single ripple among the citizens of Hell. After all, every single citizen had their hands full of the entertainment supplies, books, sports equipment and the like, so who could be bothered about such things right now?

If a government were intent on suppressing the true effects of a piece of news, the citizens generally wouldn’t be able to sense anything amiss at all. It was just like news of the US-China trade war of 2018. What happened then?

Wasn’t news about that suppressed by the emergence of other headline news? Humans these days tend to be easily distracted by the hottest news around town after all.

With that, Qin Ye temporarily shelved his concerns about the monetary system and invested his time and effort into the construction efforts of Hell. He began to distribute and allocate the resources to the various departments, and he soon saw more and more citizens applying to be part of the construction team in Hell. Soon, new divisions were formed, blueprints were approved, and the booming construction industry finally entered into full swing.

10 August. Qin Ye approved of his newly established governmental organization and informed his citizens about it.

The entire organization was temporarily located in the left annex hall of Hell’s Gate. The right annex hall was designated as the hall where important meetings requiring Qin Ye’s personal attendance were conducted. When no such meetings were ongoing, it would be occupied by the village committee of Hell instead.

Three hundred or so Death Inquisitors were seated at the front of Hell’s Gate, while the Central Mint of Hell temporarily occupied the space located right behind the statue of Ksitigarbha.

In other words, every inch of space within Hell’s Gate was completely and fully utilized. Unfortunately, there weren’t any alternatives available right now. The governmental building, the village hall, and buildings holding the other major institutions of Hell were all still under construction, and they would only be available next year, at the very earliest.

The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Political affairs, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education, and all forms of signs and plaques were littered around the left annex hall, and each ministry was separated only by quickly constructed Southsea Huanghuali screens placed neatly throughout the hall. The government wasn’t large, and each division had at most ten people working frantically at their tasks.

15 August. Gu Qing heaved a huge sigh of relief. He had finally completed his surveying and planning works. Following that, he began to delve into the design works of the important buildings which Hell needed as soon as possible.

22 August. There was now only six days left before the induction ceremony for the first divine artifact of Hell. Oda Nobunaga also heaved a sigh of relief. To his great surprise, the conscription efforts of Hell had seen the recruitment of ten thousand Yin spirits in total! The conscription of one in ten was practically a dream come true!

After all, the age of military prowess was generally consonant with the age of prosperity.

Report after report was constantly burnt up in Hell and sent to Qin Ye back in the mortal realm for his approval. The preceding month had seen Hell completely devoid of a single idle person. In the blink of an eye, 28 August finally arrived.

The great induction ceremony of the first divine artifact of Hell was finally at hand.

“Are you ready?” Qin Ye scrutinized his appearances in the mirror as he buttoned up sharply. Both he and Arthis were going to appear before their citizens in the form of Emissaries of Hell today.

“We’re all set.” Professor Li and Professor An were waiting just outside the door. Qin Ye responded, “Have you decided on which of the five unparalleled units we should be summoning?”

Both professors exchanged a glance, before answering in unison, “The Black Armored Troops!”

Qin Ye paused for a moment. He didn’t expect them to have chosen the Black Armored Troops. The two professors promptly explained, “My Lord, Mr Oda has said that we’ll soon see an influx of heavy armor. Incidentally, the Black Armored Troops are known to be an indomitable force, akin to tanks in modern warfare if you will. Of the five unparalleled units, the Black Armored Troops would best complement the heavy armor spoken of by Mr Oda.”

Qin Ye nodded, “Arti, what do you say we induct the Book of Life and Death to Hell, summon the Black Armored Troops, and then usher in the next great expansion of Hell?”

“Rest assured.” Arthis’ voice came from the rafters above, “We’re going to put on a show that will forever be etched in their memories. Not even I have experienced any of the things you’ve just mentioned… so these Yin spirits can truly count their lucky stars that they’ll personally witness all three at the same time!”

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