“Stop, stop, stop!!” Wang Chenghao grimaced in pain, “I mean… if everyone does their part and shows a little bit of love, the world would become a better place…”
“Love? Who’s going to love me after you give everything away?! We’re talking about 10 million RMB here… 10 million!!! I granted you a measure of mercy, and yet you chose to donate every cent under your name to the Red Cross Foundation… If the heavens ever gave me the opportunity to have another go at life, I’ll seal your lips the moment they even begin to tremble!”
After some moments of tomfoolery, Wang Chenghao began to realize that this… wasn’t so different from the mortal realm after all…
“I’ll give you two choices.” Qin Ye extended an olive branch to him and granted him an access route to the inner chambers through the back door.
“Number one. Hell will soon be opening a portal that leads directly into the City of Salvation through the soul induction platform. I can confer upon you the title of Soul Hunter, and you can go mess around in the mortal realm at your own free will.” Qin Ye straightened out his clothes and flicked his sleeves, “Number two. Become Mr Gu Qing’s understudy, learn from his wealth of knowledge and experience, and then enter my inner chambers.”
“... I-I-I-I-Inner chambers?!” Wang Chenghao stared at Qin Ye as though he had seen a ghost. What the hell do you mean inner chambers? Do you really want to be an emperor that badly?!
Three palaces, six courtyards and three thousand concubines? Your ambition is all too clear, brother…
“Well, that’s how it is anyway.” Qin Ye’s smile faded, and he patted Wang Chenghao on his shoulder, “Rodent, you’re the second person from my inner circle who has come to Hell. I hope you choose the path of discipleship. As more and more Yin spirits arrive in this place, the management of this place would only become more and more difficult. Everyone has their own agendas. In fact, we might even see other political parties emerging in due course…”
He gazed deeply at Wang Chenghao, “Therefore, I hope you’ll be willing to help me.”
“Me?!” Wang Chenghao pointed to himself as though he had just seen a ghost, “Are you messing with me?”
Qin Ye turned around and swept his glance over Hell as it continued to stir like a pot of good stew, “Of course, you wouldn’t be able to render any measure of help right now, but… if you can earn yourself a spot on a pivotal position in Hell in future, such as the… Yama King of the Ten Palaces, then that would be a different story altogether.”
Wang Chenghao blinked with a vacant look in his eyes, “King Qinguang? You think too highly of me, don’t you?”
“No, I’m just trying to make a general out of a midget.” Qin Ye rolled his eyes and smoothly took a jibe at Wang Chenghao.
“Besides, you shouldn’t call it the Yama King of the Ten Palaces anymore. That’s so old fashioned. We’ve got to keep up with the times.” Qin Ye rubbed his chin for a moment, “My kingdom naturally isn’t going to be the same as the previous Hell. I’ve already thought of a far better title.”
“One-Tail!” Qin Ye declared with great determination, “If you become a Yama King, you’ll be known as Wang One-Tail, also known as Shukaku. And I can formally be known as the Third Yin Shadow, the Ultimate Flying Thunder God… What do you think?”
Wang Chenghao reacted with such a contrived expression, as though he had just taken a mouthful of excretion. Like hell you’re going to be a stupid Yin Shadow!
Fervently suppressing the thumping sensation on his temples, Wang Chenghao responded, “Then… is Hell going to be called the Fire Village? Something seems rather familiar about that name… Speaking of which, Brother Qin, are you sure it’s good to flaunt your abilities in your title… And apart from that, are you sure Wang One-Tail isn’t the name of a fish?”
Wang One-Tail, Song Two-Tails, Ouyang Three-Tails…. And then Qin Ten-Tails? Are you sure you’re not going to turn this place into a seafood market?!
Can you please be more serious about things like these?!
“That’s not the point. The point is to have aspirations and ambitions!” Qin Ye decisively launched his switch and bait technique, “Well, I guess it’s settled then. I’ve already informed Mr Gu Qing about this. You’ll report directly to him in a little bit.”
… So what the hell was the point of giving me two options to begin with?! Wang Chenghao’s cheeks twitched uncontrollably. Several moments later, he lowered his head in exasperation, “Alright… You’re the boss, and it’s not like I’ve got anywhere else to go anyway… Speaking of which, what exactly am I supposed to learn from Mr Gu Qing?”
“Cheating… No! I mean, you’ll have to start off by writing papers!” Qin Ye loosened a breath of relief - Phew… I nearly let slip my true intentions there…
Wang Chenghao stared at Qin Ye with disbelief, “Paper? Speaking of which… Instructor Qin… I recall that you’d published a paper just a little while ago in the mortal realm… Could it be…”
“Ahh? Do you really have to act all serious about a matter as trivial as that…”
“Shit! So that’s how it is… that’s how it is! H-how can you still hold your head up high after all that?! T-that’s tantamount to cheating! Ah, by the way, would I ever get the opportunity to see the other students again?”
“Sure… I can send them down here tonight if you wish. But it would probably be a one way trip…”
After forcing Wang Chenghao into the machinations of the existing government, he sent him off, and then his warm expressions faded away once more.
He slowly walked away, not in the direction of Hell’s Gate, but in the direction of… the money tree.
A factory was already being constructed right underneath the money tree. Some distance away, there was another construction hoarding cordoning off an area spanning one square kilometer, and there were also construction works ongoing within. However, the hoarding around this construction area was actually ten meters high.
There weren’t many Yin spirits around these parts. Most of them would bow deeply to Qin Ye as soon as they saw him, but not a single one of them spoke to him. More importantly, the man supervising the construction in this area was actually none other than Murai Sadakatsu.
The Central Mint of Hell was going to be the core of Hell in the near future, and all of the Yin spirits who are participating in the construction works would have to sign confidentiality agreements prior to receiving their assignments. In fact, they weren’t even briefed on what exactly they were constructing. Qin Ye’s last standing order was to complete the construction of the Central Mint within a single month no matter what it took.
Given that Yin spirits needed no rest nor food nor drinks, it was actually possible to accomplish this nigh-impossible feat.
However, he didn’t walk towards the construction area of the Central Mint. Instead, he walked towards the location where the ten-meter tall wooden hoarding had been erected
The ones patrolling the vicinity were all Yin soldiers who were dressed in ancient armors. They were none other than the Umamawari horse guards of the Oda Clan.
The brief details of the project were set out on a board right in front of the construction site, and the words Department of Prudence was written in striking red ink.
“Lord Qin.” Murai Sadakatsu immediately walked over as soon as he noticed Qin Ye’s approach. Qin Ye nodded, “Get everyone to leave this place. I’ll need to use this place for a short while.”
Naturally, none dared disobey his orders. Within moments, everyone left the vicinity, and there was not a single Yin spirit left in sight. The entire area was suddenly enshrouded with a deafening silence.
And it was only then that Qin Ye pulled out a soul sphere from his robe, infused it with his Yin energy, and the soul sphere promptly unraveled like a golden spider lily. A stream of Yin energy poured out promptly, only to notice Qin Ye standing right in front of her with a faint grin on his face. She immediately materialized, collapsed onto her knees and cried out with a tremor in her voice, “G-greetings, my lord.”
This was none other than the female ghost Qin Ye had captured back at New Hale City.
Murai Sadakatsu had sensibly prepared a chair for Qin Ye before he left earlier. Thus, Qin Ye sat majestically on it, crossed his legs, and tapped his fingers on the armrest softly, “Welcome to Hell.”
This is Hell?
The female ghost glanced around warily, reserving any comments she had to herself.
“This is going to be Hell’s Department of Prudence. The works are still in progress, but I imagine that as soon as works are done, we will be furnishing it with some sky lanterns, the six paths, as well as many other facilities and amenities.” Qin Ye smiled faintly at her, “Do you like it?”
The female ghost trembled all over, before gritting her teeth and kowtowing desperately to Qin Ye. She still didn’t dare to say a single word.
Qin Ye continued, “I’m prepared to consider allowing you entry to Hell. Naturally, you can forget about getting any high appointments, but you’ll most certainly be able to lead a stable and quiet life in these parts. Once the six paths of reincarnation are ready, I’ll send you on your way. However…”
He lifted the chin of the female ghost with his feet, “All of that is on condition that your responses are satisfactory.”
Naturally, he was a world-class expert when it came to selling a particularly desirable outcome in order to obtain the information he wanted.
The female ghost didn’t dare to say a word, and simply nodded in response.
“I’ll ask, and you can answer.” Qin Ye calmly rubbed his fingers together, “Who’s in charge of the three eastern provinces? How many Yin soldiers are there under his command, and what does the upper echelon of his management look like? What role do you play in all of that?”
The female ghost immediately bowed her head, “My lord… we all know the head of the three eastern provinces as the daolord. Specifically, the daolord of the asura. Nobody knows his real name. He has 200,000 Yin soldiers under his command. However, none of them are of high quality.”
Qin Ye nodded placidly. Her answer was within his expectations. After all, there was clearly a dearth of talents in Cathay right now.
The only remaining sparks of fire lay in each of the twelve envoys that were scattered around.
To have been suppressed under the weight of the six paths of reincarnation naturally meant that each of these daolords once used to be individuals so notorious that their names would be recorded in the annals of history. Looking back, it was clear that none of these men with such notoriety to their names were men of the military. Instead, they were generally either eunuchs, or powerful ministers.
Three daolords that occupy three large districts in Cathay. They have a great number of Yin spirits under their disposal, but I wonder who lies in the background, training their armies for them?
Quite unlike modern day armies, Yin soldiers fought without firearms. How many people of modern day society knew martial arts that could be imparted to these soldiers? How rare were people who were learned in the ways of battle formations and movements of armies? Who could possibly watch the flow of battle with an eagle eye and change the battlefield with a single command like a famous general in ancient times?
Numbers were just numbers. He didn’t mind it at all. After all, Arthis had once told him that the strongest part about Yin soldiers were the magic formations that they could employ. Without such formations, a single Judge could easily slay ten million Yin soldiers without any issue. But once they begin to employ formations, even a hundred thousand Yin soldiers could easily take a Judge’s life. In any event, the one that he was truly concerned about was the daolord himself.
He was a true blue millennial ghost that possessed such intense Yin energy that it would easily read ten million on the scale. Qin Ye would never dare to pluck the tiger’s whiskers before he had a million Yin soldiers under his command.
The female ghost continued, “In addition to the 200,000 Yin soldiers under his command, there are 36 noteworthy ghosts known as the 36 Heavenly Spirits. All of them are Hellguards. Additionally, he has two guardians who are Infernal Judges. These entities form the core of the daolord’s inner circle. I… happen to be one of the 36 Heavenly Spirit, ranked twentieth. I’ve heard that the top three… were once praised by the daolord himself as Yin spirits that are unique in their own rights. Although they are Hellguards, they can already be spoken of in the same breath as an Infernal Judge…”
Special Yin spirits?
Qin Ye rubbed his chin and mulled over these things. Seems like the strength of a daolord isn’t too overbearing after all. To think that he would only be able to assemble a force of thirty-six Hellguards and two Judges after a hundred long years. These forces may be sufficient to turn Skytribute City into a forbidden zone for the living, but it’s going to take far more than that to seize control of all of the forty-one cities in the three eastern provinces.
He wouldn’t even be able to send one Hellguard to each city in the vicinity.
He’s anxious… A bright gleam flashed in the depths of his eyes. The daolord of the asura is anxious. The incident at the Strait of Tsushima has stirred up an immense amount of fear in his heart, and he finally decided to come out of hiding and openly search for the new Hell.
Qin Ye sneered inwardly. Even if you locate us… would you dare to come here?
His safety was assured in the City of Salvation. Furthermore, with the Book of Life and Death in place, the new Hell was hardly the same defenseless little village that it once used to be.
“But…” Almost as though she were recalling something, the female ghost paused for a moment, “I recall… someone had once called the daolord of the asura Lord Qin… But I can’t be sure about that…”
Surnamed Qin? From the same clan as I? Qin Ye’s jaws dropped slightly. Some moments later, he asked, “Who was the one who addressed him that way?”
It was only natural to divulge as much information as she could. After all, all the female ghost wanted was to live for another day. Thus, she immediately kowtowed, “Liu Jinu. That’s what the daolord called him.”
Emperor Wu of Song, Liu Yu?
Qin Ye’s eyes widened. Then, everything became clear. The three eastern provinces and the Hanyang underworld… share the same borders!
That’s right… that’s the crux of it all!
The relationship between the three daolords and the twelve envoys was something that he had wanted to know in greater detail all this while! In fact, it wasn’t longer than a week ago that he developed a niggling suspicion in his heart that the relationship between these entities… were much more complicated than he had thought.
The Pearl River Delta was located right above the four southern regions, including Lan Xing, Siam, Malaya and Singapura. On the other hand, the three western provinces were adjacent to Boutan and Birmania. He simply refused to believe that the twelve envoys would remain indifferent to the advances of the three daolords altogether!
Why did the daolords choose these locations as their base of operations?
Why did they place themselves in the vicinity of the twelve envoys?
This was the crux of it all. In fact, this might even be the key to a greater opportunity that would present itself at the imperial court meeting at the end of the year!
2. A Naruto reference. The great demons are all known as the One-Tail straight through to the Nine-Tails. The demon sealed within Naruto’s belly, from where his chakra flows, is incidentally the Nine-Tails Demon Fox.
3. The Third Yin Shadow is a reference to the Third Hokage in Naruto, who is also known as the Third Fire Shadow. The Ultimate Flying Thunder God is a reference to the space-time ninjutsu used by the Fourth Hokage (also Naruto’s dad) to teleport around the battlefield.