Whoosh… Countless wisps of Yin energy congealed into a vortex of crows overhead, and a dark figure promptly stepped onto it and slowly descended from the sky.
What powerful Yin energy… The three hundred or so cultivators silently pulled out their magical artifacts and primed them with their true energy. There were neither Hellguards nor even Soul Hunters in the vicinity, so how could they possibly know of such pure, dense Yin energy to begin with?
A bead of cold sweat rolled off Guan Gen’s cheeks. Hellguard… This is the very first Hellguard that I’ve seen in my entire life… Is it friend… or is it foe?
It stood to reason that any entity emanating Yin energy wouldn’t likely be a friend. But if that were indeed the case, then why didn’t the unknown entity attack them? Why was he acting as though he wanted to talk?
The unknown entity drew closer… and closer… Guan Gen gulped nervously. His heart was in a complete mess, and his heart was in turmoil. Then, amidst his great hesitation, the vortex of crows suddenly shrank into the center, and then promptly scattered away. In an instant, all spotlights, infrared sights, guns, and magical artifacts were pointed directly at the unknown entity. If he even made the slightest of abrupt movements, he would immediately face a massive salvo of attacks.
But, just a split second later, everyone gasped in unison.
The Yin energy dissipated, revealing a man in a long black robe wearing a tall cap with the words “World Peace” embroidered on it. His hair was white, his pupils were white, and his tongue hung three feet down from his lips…
“Hellguard?” Guan Gen stared at the man. The pistol in his hands was ostensibly trembling violently, “Hellguard… Anitya Hellguard?! A living Anitya Hellguard?!”
He wasn’t the only one. Everyone - both mortals and cultivators alike - found themselves completely dumbstruck by the sight.
They had already sensed that the Yin energy emanating from his body wasn’t anything like the ones that they faced on a regular basis. It wasn’t evil and cold, nor did it bear any stench of blood or vicious incisiveness to it. That said, they would never have imagined him to be one of the Hellguards of the legends!
Xie Bi’an? Or is it Fan Wujiu? 
The entire scene was silent.
Seconds later, Guan Gen drew a deep breath, took a step forward and cupped his hands respectfully at the man, “Who might this honourable guest be?”
Qin Ye got straight to the point. He ran his finger along his waist, and a bright light shot straight towards Guan Gen. Then, just as several guns cocked and readied themselves to shoot, Guan Gen suddenly held up a hand, before turning to look at what was now already in his other hand.
It was an identity token.
One that was dark and grim. The words “Anitya Hellguard” were etched onto its surface with striking scarlet lettering. The flipside of the token bore the words “Emissary of Hell”. The token blazed endlessly with a jade-green netherflame.
Hellguard… He’s really a Hellguard? A living Hellguard at that!!
His rationality told him that he shouldn’t believe his eyes, but reality seemed to state otherwise. His chest rose and fell as he heaved deeply for some time. And then, finally, he cupped his hands respectfully once more, “Lord Hellguard, please come with me.”
“No need.” Qin Ye responded indifferently, “I’ll be leaving immediately.”
“Hang on.” Guan Gen continued hurriedly, “Please, Emissary of Hell sir, could you tell us what happened over here?”
“I am here to hunt for souls that have escaped from the three eastern provinces. I’m not aware of anything else.” Qin Ye responded placidly, “I think it’s best you ask your own people.”
“Our people…” Guan Gen paused, and then replied promptly, “What exactly happened? Where’s Li Jixi? Is he still alive?!”
“They’re all dead.” Qin Ye’s figure began to vanish mysteriously into a vortex of Yin energy crows once more, “Ah, there seems to be a survivor. But… I’m afraid if you don’t hurry, he might go soon as well…”
Nobody dared to stop the Hellguard from leaving.
Nobody even said a word.
Everyone exchanged awkward glances. The short exchange with the Hellguard of legends had been far too incredulous, and nobody knew just how to react to it. After all, today marked the day that they had seen a bona fide Hellguard from Hell.
All of the cultivators widened their eyes in astonishment. Hell has moved… After a hundred long years of silence, Hell has finally moved! The exact implication of this mysterious encounter was far too profound for their simple minds.
“Chief…” One of the orderlies finally snapped back to his senses and looked to Guan Gen for directions. Guan Gen trembled slightly, and then gritted his teeth as he picked up the intercoms, “Everyone, listen up.”
“Seal off the scene immediately. Nobody is to enter or leave without my permission. All discussions and speculations are strictly prohibited. Immediately report the incident back to the Special Investigations Department headquarters. All company commanders, battalion commanders, instructors and trainers are to assemble for an emergency meeting right now. All details of this incident strictly constitutes embargoed information! All offenders… shall be dealt with severely!”
With that, he walked straight over to the jeep.
But just as he was about to enter the car, he whispered to another cultivator beside him, “Old Ji, I want you to take your men and seal off Hunting Zone D-69. Additionally, I want you to personally record the exact state of the incident, and then report it directly to the SRC. We cannot afford any slip ups at this crucial juncture!”
With that, Guan Gen departed. Old Ji suppressed the roiling emotions in his heart and led the three other cultivators in his team to the top of the building.
“My god…” They all gasped as soon as they arrived at the rooftop.
It was a sea of blood.
No… there was even a sea of lingering Yin energy.
Three Hellguard-class entities had traded blows on the rooftop, leaving the entire place in tatters. Wang Chenghao lay in the middle of the roof, completely bloodied, while Qin Ye lay unconscious within the building.
“Hurry! Mobilize the Special Investigations Department’s medical team right now! Detecting vital signs!” With that, he picked up the phone and made a call, “Chief Guan… at present… Mr Qin is barely breathing, while Student Wang Chenghao… has been martyred in the line of duty.”
Qin Ye could sense that he was being transported to the hospital. Naturally, all of the wounds and injuries on his body were no more than disguises. He had induced a comatose state in his physical body by causing his soul to leave his body. His heart was still beating, but none of the medical experts would be able to detect what’s wrong with his body, much less awaken him or recall his soul.
He had more important things to attend to right now.
After the grand performance below, he immediately returned to the rooftop while cloaked with the invisibility that accompanied his Hell’s Emissary state. The reason why he had chosen the interior of the building was because there were no surveillance cameras that lay within.
Otherwise, given Cathay’s extensive surveillance network, they would easily be able to detect the sudden appearance of an unconscious person on the rooftop, down to the exact minute and second it happened.
His soul lingered about in the air, invisible to all who were around. He glanced carefully around the hospital, and then trembled softly, before vanishing completely from the mortal realm.
When he opened his eyes once more, he was already standing in front of Hell’s Gate. There were approximately only a hundred or so Death Inquisitors stationed at Hell’s Gate right now. Su Dongxue was nowhere to be seen in sight.
Hell was developing well, and it was starting to show signs of great prosperity and growth. All kinds of machinery were whirring in motion, while large tracts of land were ostensibly earmarked as construction sites. One could see Yin spirits drifting here and there hurriedly at every second of the day as they went about their various businesses. Soon, Qin Ye discovered that… he had been completely ignored…
Didn’t they use to fawn over every single one of his appearances in Hell in the past? There would even be a multitude of Yin spirits glancing eagerly at Hell’s Gate, wondering what news Qin Ye was going to bring this time. And yet… not a single soul appeared to care about him right now.
“Alright. I’ve made a record of it. Fengdu Literary Society, right? Applying for a start-up capital of 500,000 Yuan? That shouldn’t be an issue, but your proposal to return to the mortal realm for immersion and to gather materials isn’t very practical. After all, Hell doesn’t have the technology to support that just yet…” A Death Inquisitor recorded everything swiftly. But before he was even done, another Yin spirit wearing a helmet drifted over and reported loudly, “Mr Chen, the production factory in Lot No. 2 has run out of production materials. Could we trouble you--... Lord… Qin… Lord Qin…”
His voice wasn’t loud, but all of the Death Inquisitors instantly perked up their ears and shot to their feet, before bowing respectfully, “Greetings, Your Majesty.”
Qin Ye nodded, before pressing down with his hand to instruct them to be seated. He glanced at the other Death Inquisitors who obviously heard that he was present. Their bodies trembled, but they weren’t able to shift their bodies to greet him.
This was a good sign.
After all, it was only when they were swamped with work that they would ignore such matters of formality to begin with. Did Qin Ye really need people to rise and formally greet him?
Not at all!
He would very much rather have everyone preoccupied with work than to have them waiting on his arrival like how Hell used to be in the past! Hell was growing, and there were a multitude of things to be done. Rather than waste their time on such trivialities, it would be far better that they dedicate their time to their duties and obligations. In fact, he would deal harshly with anyone who shirked their responsibilities in favour of idling about.
After all, anyone who wanted to rise through the ranks would first have to prove their abilities.
“Why have you come?” Arthis drifted out of the annex hall.
“Something’s come up. Come with me to the soul induction platform.” Qin Ye walked alongside Arthis and asked casually, “How’s things been recently?”
“Busy.” Arthis responded placidly, “Much busier than when I first became an Infernal Judge at that. In fact, you couldn’t have come at a better time. There’s something that I need to tell you - we’ve got several special buildings that require Yin spirit stones for their foundations, and you’ll have to find some way to obtain more Yin spirit stones from the mortal realm. Your standing instructions are to have some special buildings of Hell ready by the end of the year, so that we can show Hell’s developmental capabilities to the feudal officials at the imperial court meeting. We won’t be able to achieve this if we don’t have sufficient Yin spirit stones.”
Qin Ye nodded.
This wasn’t too difficult. If worse comes to worst, he could always churn out yet another research paper to bag himself the merit points he needed for the exchange of spirit stones. After all, everything he needed for a research paper was recorded in the Qiankun Pouches he had recovered from the old Hell.
“Apart from that, after extensive discussions, we’ve come to the conclusion that it might still be better to open up some of the land around the money tree. Otherwise, we’re talking about an area of ten square kilometers that would be completely cordoned off. That would be far too much of a waste… Also, the Ministry of Communications have been established, and we’re preparing the first edict of Hell to be sent to the neighbouring nations in November.”
She paused, and then supplemented, “These are diplomatic documents.”
Qin Ye continued to nod in agreement. There was truly a mountain of work to be done in Hell, and he neither had the time nor the effort to personally issue edicts to the feudal officials.
As their discourse flowed, the two soon found themselves already at the soul induction platform. Arthis continued, “Ah, speaking of which, now that the new Hell is already a town, the soul induction platform should also be able to withstand some measure of Yang energy. In other words, you should now be able to designate an entrance to Hell within the City of Salvation. Yin spirits can still enter Hell even if you don’t designate one. However, it will naturally be a more arduous process before they can arrive in Hell. More importantly, the entrance to Hell would signify… order. It shows that Hell is finally regaining some measure of control and order in the vicinity… Eh? Hang on…”
Arthis glanced at the soul induction platform, only to realize that there were already clumps of white netherflames blazing above in the shape of a… round, white cloud.
“Cultivator?” Arthis stared at it for several seconds, before turning to Qin Ye, “And two of them at that? Are you here for them? Hang on a minute… one of them appears to be rather familiar at that… Is this… the little handsome guy from back in Clear Creek County?”
“Eh? Did somebody say handsome?” Su Dongxue suddenly popped out of nowhere and stared intently at the soul induction platform, “About that… Lord Qin, as the Chief Secretary of Hell, you can leave something trivial like that to me…”
Qin Ye glanced coldly at her, “You’re very good at spotting a needle in a haystack.”
Su Dongxue coughed dryly, “That’s a rather graphic description… but the word ‘needle’ is a little bit of a wet blanket… Why don’t we change it to spotting a pestle in a haystack instead?”
Smack! Before she could even finish speaking, she was sent flying by a swift strike from Arthis. However, she flew back like a persistent cockroach.
Meanwhile, the Yin energy about the platform suddenly trembled. Gusts of Yin energy swept through the area, converging onto the platform before swiftly condensing into two blurry silhouettes.
1. These are the names of the Anitya Hellguards of the Black and White. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heibai_Wuchang