The traditional music was befitting of the grand magnificence of Hell’s Gate. A second later, a slew of netherflames lit up all around them like constellations littering the skies at night, gently illuminating Hell.
However, Yin Xiangnan wasn’t startled at all. Instead, the mystical opening only whetted his excitement for what was to come. The netherflames in the sky appeared no different from stagelights illuminating concert halls, except that this was made of real flickering flames. But, just a moment later, all of the Yin spirits gasped in great astonishment - Yin Xiangnan included.
Click. There was a soft sound, and Ming Shiyin instantly blossomed with a radiant light that flooded the entire area. Following that, the space right in front of the gathering of Yin spirits suddenly rippled like water, and four ten-meter tall pillars of Yin energy suddenly erupted from the ground, forming an illusory light screen on which the ceremony could be watched. Simultaneously, the main stage rose from the ground right in front of Hell’s Gate. For the very first time, they noticed Hell’s Gate was now decorated in red and white silken cloth. Countless paper money drifted across the skies. It was an awesome and incomparably grand sight.
Their eyes turned back to the area around the incense burners at the front of Hell’s Gate, where a hundred or so young Yin spirits were now formed up in ranks. They were half-naked, wearing only traditional trousers replete with red belts and black shoes. Each of them had a one-meter large drum placed right in front of them. Their leader waved a majestic flag around, while the rest of the young Yin spirits struck their drums with great vigor.
The rhythmic sounds of the drums reverberated across every part of the new Hell. Meanwhile, as soon as the first beat of the drums rang out, the vault of the heavens above suddenly trembled, before abruptly turning into a crimson red colour.
“Holy shit…” Yin Xiangnan’s jaws dropped. This wasn’t just a light show and a magic performance put together. In fact, it was far more shocking than anything that could possibly be seen back in the mortal realm! This was a gathering of a hundred thousand Yin spirits, watching the unearthly ceremony intently with their mouths agape as a million spots of flames danced eerily in the skies. It suddenly dawned on him just what it meant to be in Hell.
It was like the mortal realm, yet it wasn’t quite the same.
The opening of the ceremony had a massive impact on their perspective of Hell. There was no electricity, no sound, no equipment, and yet… everything that’s happening right now was made possible solely due to the existence of Yin energy!
And he wasn’t the only one. Every single Yin spirit around watched the ceremony pan out on the Yin energy light screens with great astonishment. There was a buzz of subconscious exclamations, “How did they do all that?” “Yin energy… right? Didn’t Lady Su previously mention that even regular Yin spirits can get stronger by cultivating with Yin energy?” “I’ll be damned… That’s unbelievable… Everything is being done without the aid of modern equipment. In fact, the entire setup is more primitive than anything you can find in the mortal realm, and yet the effects are a thousand times more spectacular!”
Prrr prrr prrr… Trumpets sounded, instantly overpowering all chatter in the audience. Just then, the second round of drumming began, If one was to describe the earlier series of drumming as a slow and rhythmic beat, like the regular pounding of one’s heart, then the second series of drumming could only be described as a torrential downpour of beats, yet with some measure of order amidst the chaos.
Dong dong dong dong dong!! The drumbeats were loud and declaratory, almost as though it were announcing that the age of lethargy had passed, only to give way to the age of prosperity and passion! There was no rest between the beats! Something was happening with every minute and every second that passed!
The vibrant beats were transmitted to every corner of Hell by virtue of Qin Ye’s authority, and the entire realm thumped to the beat of the drums. Simultaneously, the constellation of netherflames in the sky pulsed lightly with every beat, changing colours every now and then, from a desolate black, to a miserable white, and a striking crimson red, each of which represented the three main colours of death that filled every corner of Hell.
“Pretty good.” Qin Ye stood at the top of Hell’s Gate. Su Dongxue was standing right beside him, and she couldn’t help but blush with excitement at his words of praise. Qin Ye smiled faintly and turned around, “It seems like you’ve been learning from concerts in the mortal realm? You’ve tied in the various elements rather cohesively.”
“I sincerely thank Your Majesty for the kind words!” Su Dongxue bowed respectfully as she half-knelt on the ground, “It is as Your Majesty has said - I’ve watched some concerts, only to realize that we can replicate those effects by simply manipulating the Yin energy at our disposal. Hell isn’t the mortal realm. An opening like this might be ostentatious, but it will surely make a statement and attract the attention of all Yin spirits around.”
Qin Ye nodded his head. It had just the right amount of sobriety and ostentatiousness. That said, these didn’t mean much.
After all, the only thing he wanted today was the attention of all citizens of Hell!
He would give them a show they would never forget. He wanted all of them to bring back a single message today - that they were all dead.
The world they were in right now was the afterlife. No matter how similar it was to the mortal realm, they would still have to adjust and reset their worldview to suit their new environment.
This was a world where the principles of steam energy and magic ran in parallel. Whether labourers, civil servants or scientists - especially scientists - all would do well to keep this thought at the back of their minds at all times.
The trumpets sounded for the third time. This time, it played a joyous, celebratory tune laden with expectancy, as though paving the way for what was to come right after. It was like the sun rising in the east, painting a bright sheen across a great flowing river. It was as though declaring to all of the Yin spirits that the future was here, and it was glorious, magnificent, and would never fail them!
DONG!! The drums ceased amidst a vibrant display of netherfireworks. And then, there was an abrupt silence.
Yin Xiangnan’s mouth was agape, excitedly discussing the proceedings with the young Yin spirit beside him when he realized the entire world appeared to be muted once more. Not a single word could be heard from his lips. And right at that moment, all of the netherflames in the sky suddenly turned black.
“Hoo…” Yin Xiangnan took a long breath. It’s about to begin… It’s finally about to begin… That said, the earlier opening ceremony was truly refreshing!
Drums are amazing instruments.
The pulsing sound they made felt as though they were beating at one’s heart, sending blood coursing through one’s veins instantly. In fact, there were several Yin spirits who were even subconsciously tapping their hands to the beat of the drums and shouting with great excitement. The performance of drums had evidently struck a chord with the Yin spirits around, as though validating their emotions of the bygone era, and assuring them of the times that were to come.
“It’s truly… awesome… Looks like death isn’t too bad after all…” As his earlier ecstasy faded away, he stared intent at the light screens once more.
Everything was silent. And then, the void suddenly trembled, and countless spots of netherflames began to tremble, converge and swirl about, until… it opened a hole in the clouds that was tens of meters wide. Wisps of Yin energy whistled through the area as it converged and swirled about the hole, just like the eye of a typhoon. Finally, with a loud tremor, Arthis’ figure began to drift out from the hole.
She had pushed her Hell’s Emissary state to the extreme this time.
She knew she wasn’t made for governance, so she chose to trust Qin Ye on this. Otherwise, he would never have been given the privilege of seeing Arthis’ true form for a second time. Incidentally, this was the form which Arthis had been in when he first crossed paths with her over a year ago, back at the Naraka Abyss in the old Hell.
“Holy shit…” The appearance of her figure instantly struck fear in the hearts of all Yin spirits around. Yin Xiangnan was no exception to that, and he couldn’t help but curse out loud.
“What the hell is that?!” “Dear heavens! That’s a ghost… That’s an evil ghost, is it not?!” “Run? S-should we run?! T-t-t-this is an evil ghost!” “But… we’re ghosts too…”
There was instantly a thunderous clamour, but even that was completely drowned out by the overwhelming roar in the air that accompanied the glorious descent of a beautiful head that was dozens of meters large. She had a mouth full of sharp teeth, striking red lips, as well as the imposing gaze of a war god in her eyes. Most of all, the hair on her head appeared no different from thousands upon thousands of writhing snakes that were scattering about menacingly across the sky.
This was the true form of an Infernal Judge!
Countless Yin spirits immediately began to retreat from Hell’s Gate, while the other Yin spirits witnessing this sight couldn’t help but shudder coldly as they remained rooted to the ground in fear. Finally, Arthis’ descent came to a complete halt, and her head hung in the sky as she opened her mouth to speak, “Silence.”
None dared to disobey.
However, one could tell that each Yin spirit now had an incomparably complex gaze in their eyes right now.
It was as though many of them were finally coming to terms with the fact that they were actually in Hell right now.
This otherworldly sight completely shattered their worldview of Hell. Unfortunately, what they didn’t realize was that this was only the beginning of the whole host of surprises lined up for them.
“Fellow citizens of Hell.” Arthis glanced around, “Don’t be afraid. We will be establishing a School of Hell in due course. If you work hard at your cultivation, it’s possible for each and every one of you to attain the same prowess as I.”
“I am none other than the prime minister of the new Hell, Arakshasa. Cathayans know me simply as Rakshasa. Now, I formally announce the commencement of the divine artifact induction ceremony. First up, please join me in welcoming King Yanluo of the new Hell, Lord Qin!”
Boom! A brilliant beam of white light erupted from Ming Shiyin’s surface and cast the spotlight on Qin Ye in an instant. He walked out with great austerity, with his long hair flowing behind his head, basking in the splendour of the baptism of gazes from his citizens.
One could say that the earlier opening events were still somewhat similar to that of a modern day concert. However, there was no way anyone would be able to justifiably say that the present events still bore any form of semblance to the mortal realm in any way.
Nothing that was happening right now was something that could be seen in the mortal realm.
In fact, everything happening right now could easily be considered a miracle by the standards of the mortal realm.
Su Dongxue stared quizzically at the throng of Yin spirits, all of whom were completely lost for words. She furrowed her brows - That’s not right… I’ve done a public opinion poll over the last few days, and it seems that his public approval rating is as high as 97.52%. So why isn’t anyone saying a single thing?
“They’re probably still reeling from shock.” One of Su Dongxue’s subordinates remarked. “Lady Su, should we intervene?”
Su Dongxue nodded, and several subordinates that had been planted in the crowd immediately felt their fingers moved. Then, three seconds later, someone suddenly cheered with great elation, “Lord Qin is awesome!”
The single cry was soon followed by sparse exclamations of gratitude and support from various parts of the audience, “Lord Qin! We’ll support your reign forever!” “Thank you for doing so much to improve our quality of life!” “I’d never expected the afterlife to be something like this… and you’ve led us out of the most difficult time imaginable! Thank you!”
It was important to give the citizens a nudge in the right direction.
Fortunately, Qin Ye’s public approval rating was at an all-time high.
Thus, the simple exclamations of the planted supporters were like a trigger that opened the floodgates. After all, the gathering of Yin spirits was just like a sea right now, and seas were naturally subject to the ebb and flow of tides.
Three seconds passed… five seconds passed… And then, the first Yin spirit finally cried out, “Thank you Lord Qin! Long live Your Majesty!”
“Thank you Lord Qin! Truly, from the bottom of our hearts!” “We’ll support your re-election! We’re all for your reappointment as the ruler of Hell!” “Thank you for giving us a glimpse of hope for tomorrow!” “Things… things are truly moving right now… I’ve waited for this moment for far too long! Thank you, Lord Qin! Thank you, Hell’s government!!”
There was one, and then two, and then three… and then a thousand, and then ten thousand! A minute later, tens of thousands of Yin spirits were cheering at the top of their voices - “Lord Qin is awesome! Hell’s governance is the best!” “We support Lord Qin!!” “You’ve opened our eyes to a whole new world!” “We’ve come so far in just a year! We truly and sincerely want to express our gratitude to you!”
The tide of voices appeared to transform into a soft nethergale of approbation that swept across the entire Hell as it stood right now.
This is the heart of my people… Qin Ye sighed with great emotion as he took in the amazing sight. He had never expected to hear such cheers and praise for his efforts. Their cheers were like the senzu bean in Dragonball that instantly rejuvenated him and dispelled all of the weariness that was plaguing him just a moment ago. All that was left was satisfaction, fulfillment, recognition, a great sense of fullness, and… a stirring determination to make Hell better than it ever was before.
The voices were like a tidal wave that washed straight into his heart and lingered there for a long time.
Everything he had done thus far had culminated in this single grand moment. He had sacrificed much for the path he had chosen. The road ahead was long and arduous, but the true danger lay in lethargy and the fizzling out of his passion
But Qin Ye didn’t give up, and his efforts finally paid off. He finally received the heartfelt approbation of his people.
Looking back, he could still recall those moments when he was actually on the verge of shrugging off these burdens and escaping from his responsibilities. In fact, if not for the fact that the Harken was stirring right under the recesses of Hell, Qin Ye might very well have escaped to the ends of the earth by now.
But as things stand now… are all these things even still options?
Qin Ye continued to take in the sight with great emotion. Countless Yin spirits were waving to him and raising their arms to cheer him on. These are my people… They may be annoying and frustrating at times, but… they’re still my adorable subjects.
Unbeknownst to him, his heart had already turned away from the question as to whether escape was an option, to the firm resolution that he wouldn’t want to betray his own people.
He was still young at heart. Thus… he was willing to push on and give it his all.
Qin Ye raised his hand and gently made a pressing motion in the air. Slowly, but surely, the clamor began to die down and fade away. His image was projected onto each of the light screens at this very moment. A minute later, he slowly swept an austere gaze across the entire gathering of his subjects, and then cleared his throat, “Everyone, today marks the very first time that the entire populace of Hell is gathered in this one place. And not for a meeting, but to celebrate a joyous occasion. This may be the first time, but I sincerely believe it won’t be the last!”
He waved his hand at the roiling black mist, “As we continue to develop, so, too, will Hell continue to expand. Over time, our reign shall surely extend to the ends of the earth!”
“Everyone, there is hope! Together, we shall work towards these goals of ours, until our dreams are finally fulfilled and realized!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter