Arthis had confusion written all over her face. On the other hand, Qin Ye was already pacing up and down excitedly because he finally understood everything. So that’s how it is… That’s how it is!
Some of the fragmented notions that had been brewing at the back of his mind had finally been pieced together to form a cohesive train of thought. After spending the next dozen or so minutes sorting through his thoughts, he finally calmed himself down and turned to Arthis, “Arti, don’t interrupt me, and let me break it down for you.”
“First up, we look at the motives of the three daolords.”
“Their thoughts are centered around one main purpose, and that is to prevent themselves from being captured by Hell and being imprisoned under the six paths of reincarnation again. Thus, they split up and set up shop at three different localities. That said, I’m willing to bet that they must have some form of agreement with each other that as long as one isn’t able to hold out any longer, the others would immediately come to their rescue.”
Arthis nodded in agreement, but she obviously still had her reservations, “Do not put your eggs in one basket. There’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing.”
“But have you ever properly considered the territorial map of the vicinity?” Qin Ye’s eyes glistened brightly, “The Middle East has an underworld with a longstanding legacy, and it is located just west of Cathay. Hindustan sits atop one of the most powerful underworlds in the world, and is located southwest of Cathay. The Central Plains of Cathay sit right smack in the middle of the entire country, and that’s a region that used to be most heavily fortified by the old Hell. Think about it, if you were the three daolords, and you managed to escape from Hell, where would you run to?”
Arthis thought for a moment, and then realization suddenly dawned upon her.
It seems like… the safest place would be the region that borders Rus, or the coastal regions of Cathay.
Rus’ nameless god of death had never cared much for foreign affairs, while the coastal regions were a stone’s throw away from Nippon, which in turn was governed by the Prefect-class Izanami. She might be a terrifying existence to the mortal realm, but hardly so when considering the grand scheme of all underworlds around.
As for the three western provinces, although the tension between the various powers in the region was somewhat complicated, the upside to it all was the fact that everyone used to be under the wings of the same master. Besides, they wouldn’t be sharing the same border as the Middle East in any event.
All things considered, these were naturally the three best locations to lay down their roots. More importantly, they would be in sufficiently close proximity to be able to render support to each other as and when they needed help.
She turned towards Qin Ye with a glint in her eyes. This man… has a frighteningly acute grasp of matters of psychology… To think that he could accurately reverse engineer the thought processes of the three daolords with a few simple pieces of information. Not even ghosts are able to elude his keen senses…
“But with that, they’ve essentially become a moat that prevents the twelve envoys from returning to Cathay! Arti, tell me, what were the purposes of the twelve envoys? In particular, their obligations to Hell and the rights conferred upon them?”
Arthis didn’t immediately catch what Qin Ye was getting at. Thus, she went on, “The feudal officials are tasked with oversight of the fiefdoms of Hell, and they are required to pay tribute to Hell with every fifty years that passes. In turn… Hell would provide the feudal officials with the resources it needs, and even grant them a 30% discount on the special produce of Hell. This was a practice that had been established since the time of the old feudal dynasties, when none of the tributaries would ever return empty-handed. This was to signify the might and prosperity of their governing state… Hang on… are you saying…”
Arthis gasped deeply. She finally understood what Qin Ye was getting at, and she couldn’t help but follow the train of thought that surfaced with the fresh new notion in her mind.
Even if the old Hell had collapsed, was there still the possibility that the markets of the old Hell would still be around? If it were, then the special produce of Hell would naturally be there as well! This was the special produce that had been aggregated from 9.6 million square kilometers which the old Hell had occupied! How could the feudal officials simply swallow their pride and allow the daolords to seal off their path to potentially immense riches?!
And to think that they would have to seek permission of the daolords for safe passage through the newly created moat that separates them and the old Hell! And what if the daolords decide to rob them? These daolords were Abyssal Prefects… desperate Abyssal Prefects with no other place to turn to! They were poor and at their wits’ end! Anyone in their shoes would most certainly be worried!
“Perhaps… the three daolords hadn’t even considered the existence of the twelve envoys to begin with. There’s a real possibility that it was only after they settled down in the various regions in Cathay that they soon discovered that they had essentially blocked off all of the twelve envoys’ access routes to the old Hell. The three daolords naturally knew of the collapse of the old Hell. Upon further consideration, they would soon realize that their serendipitous positioning allowed them to obstruct the twelve envoys from seizing the old Hell’s resources and legacy! And if that was the case, why would they ever allow the twelve envoys to increase in strength?”
Arthis murmured, “I finally understand why the great war between the Yin and the Yang hasn’t broken out just yet… The interplay of factions isn’t merely limited to us, the mortal realm, and the daolords…”
“The tension between factions has lasted for a hundred years or so. The fact that three powerful Abyssal Prefects armed with the knowledge that Hell has collapsed had of their own volition refrained from waging war on the mortal realm is an aberration to the true nature of Yin spirits altogether. There was something more to it… And this is the key - the mortal realm wasn’t the only faction resisting their advances, the twelve envoys had also been keeping the hands of the daolords tied down completely! They’re practically surrounded on all sides. If not for the fact that they detected the energy signature of the Book of Life and Death from the battle at the Strait of Tsushima this time, they would probably have prioritized dealing with the twelve envoys before finally turning against the mortal realm.”
Qin Ye nodded, “Therefore, it’s incorrect for us to estimate that the great war between the netherworld and the mortal realm will break out in ten years time. Unless push comes to shove, the daolords would most certainly choose to take care of the twelve envoys that have them surrounded first!”
Arthis nodded deeply, “That means we’ve got far more time to plan our moves… What’s with that gaze of yours? Why do I get the feeling that the look in your eyes is filled with diminishing amounts of respect for me?”
Qin Ye was glancing disdainfully at Arthis, before quickly retracting the disrespectful gaze as soon as she called him out. Then, he coughed dryly, “It’s no more than an illusion… an illusion… Besides, do you really not realize… the opportunity that lies hidden within all of these circumstances?”
Arthis shook her head in bewilderment.
Where’s the opportunity?
Qin Ye signed with great resentment. Daft! Seriously daft! Why isn’t there a single person around me who can discuss such matters with me as equals? It’s truly lonely up here…
“Don’t you think that the three daolords and the twelve envoys are practically mortal enemies that long to get at each other’s throats right now?” Qin Ye scrunched up his eyes and sighed in exasperation as he explained with great pains, “Then, let me ask you, how are they supposed to get at each other’s throat?”
Arthis still couldn’t understand where Qin Ye was getting at, “By waging war with each other?”
Qin Ye nodded, and then proceeded to stare at Arthis as though she were a retard, eagerly awaiting the moment the lightbulb lights up above her head.
Unfortunately, Arthis merely blinked blankly.
A split second later, and with the swift wave of a sleeve, Qin Ye found himself sent flying back ten meters away. Arthis gritted her teeth, “Can’t you just say it all in one breath?! You’re obviously aware that my intelligence… isn’t devoted to such trivialities.”
Qin Ye rubbed his waist and pouted vexatiously. Ruffled… She’s completely ruffled… Even her lioness mane is flaring up. I’ll bet she’s completely embarrassed now, isn’t she…
The female ghost that was caught between them didn’t even dare to raise her head to look at the commotion around her.
Such an arrogant Judge… How could she even think of doing such a thing to the King Yanluo of Hell… Doesn’t this constitute an uprising…
Qin Ye grimaced for some time, and then cleared his throat before finally addressing Arthis’ query with a disdainful tone of voice, “War is the right answer. And what does one need for war? Apart from Yin soldiers?”
“Weapons.” Arthis replied. And as soon as she did, her entire body shuddered, almost as though she had just jumped straight into a clear spring in summer.
I finally get it!
Bloody hell… this guy’s heart is as black as it gets! Or should I say that this is only to be expected of the third King Yanluo of Hell? Speaking of which, how in the world does he make such a blackhearted decision sound like the most reasonable course of action in the circumstances?
“Being an arms dealer is one of the easiest ways of prospering.” Qin Ye smiled faintly as he dusted his clothes, “Do you remember Iwasaki Kyouya? Mitsubishi? Are you aware that Mitsubishi has an arm called the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries? And do you know what they specialize in? Things such as aircrafts, artillery, ships and guns that were used in World War II… Do you know how much money they made from all of that? In the end, the integrated conglomerate grew so big that the Nipponese government ordered their dissolution. Yet, even to date, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is still one of the top six major corporations in Nippon.”
“And take for further instance Formosa. Do you know how much they budget for their defense in order to stand against Cathayan reunification? We’re talking about upwards of six billion RMB, or one billion USD. Wars are costly beyond imagination. Do you think they can be fought by merely flicking and lashing your hair about? No! You’ll need the power of shampoo and conditioners as well! … Hang on… Stand down your hair at once… We were in the midst of a serious conversation over there…”
Arthis glared fiercely at him, before promptly relenting. Qin Ye was akin to a gem hidden in the rough. The fact that he could identify such opportunities amidst a crisis sent chills down her spine.
Granny Meng… Do you know what you’ve done? You’ve entrusted the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal to an unbelievable little cutie…
Qin Ye cleared his throat, “A war… can lead to great prosperity. Including the three areas of conflict between Hell and the daolords, we’re talking about a total of fifteen battlefronts. Don’t you think… Hell will be able to soar on wings by capitalizing on all of this?”
Arthis stared at Qin Ye as though she had seen a ghost. Nevertheless, she continued to play the devil’s advocate, “It’s conceptually sound, but the powerful weapons of mass destruction such as the Soul-Launching Coffin and the Yin Conflagration Cannon are all built using incredibly intricate talismans. The weapons of the underworld are completely different from the firearms in the mortal realm in that they are all built on the foundation of these talismans and powered by Yin spirit stones. Previously, Hell even had a specialized discipline called the Yin Talismanology. Only the top academic minds, such as academicians in the mortal realm, are qualified to participate in the production process of these weapons of mass destruction…”
But before Arthis was done speaking, Qin Ye had already begun to wag his finger at her, “No, no, no.”
Aarrrrggghhhh…. Are you seriously doing this to me right now…
Arthis fervently suppressed the desire to tear Qin Ye to pieces as Qin Ye continued, “Hell should never allow such weapons to leave its borders of Hell, right?”
“And it should also flow that the places in which these weapons are stored are difficult to breach, isn’t it?”
Qin Ye smiled faintly, “What I mean is… not even the blight vermin can breach the defenses of these storage facilities, can they?”
Arthis reeled back as though she were just struck by lightning. Her lips trembled slightly, “What kind of a devil are you…”
She finally understood everything. Under Qin Ye’s patient guidance, she finally understood the full extent of Qin Ye’s schemes and ploys.
Weapons of mass destruction should never fall into the hands of foreign lands - not even if they were the twelve envoys. In fact, the old Hell would never allow even the raw materials to end up in the possession of foreign entities. In other words, in the absence of such technological prowess, the battlefronts between the twelve envoys and the three daolords were bound to be fought through the simplest of melees.
And in that regard, the sharpest blade always wins in a clash between Yin soldiers.
And to that end…
The collapse of the old Hell meant that they were now in access to tens of millions of blight vermin! Bloody hell… To think that he’s so obsessed about wealth and prosperity!
Naturally, it wouldn’t be much if this was all.
Qin Ye’s plans went several steps beyond that.
His initial foray into the arms market would generate sufficient wealth in order to sustain the new markets of Hell. And then, that would cause the other underworlds to view the new Hell in the same light as the old Hell, wouldn’t it?
No. Qin Ye’s vision went even further than that.
It didn’t matter that the new Hell was already in possession of the legacy of the old Hell that had been seized from the Yin barracks, including the design drawings and blueprints of the old Hell’s latest technology. Qin Ye had already planned to channel the first fruits from the arms market into the development of Yin Talismanology. Furthermore, there were still the prospects that the old Hell’s weapons of mass destruction were still intact in the secure storage facilities of the old Hell! Even if they weren’t, the advent of Yin Talismanology would mean that they would still be able to reconstruct their first weapon of mass destruction from the blueprints available to them right now!
The wars between underworlds can never be understood through a mortal’s lens. As long as the human race wasn’t extinct, there would never be a shortage of Yin soldiers. Naturally, it would easily take more than ten years before minor skirmishes and conflicts develop into a full-blown war.
You want to instigate an uprising? You want to wage war?
Bring it on! When you finally come rushing over in your armor, I’ll blast you to smithereens with a powerful cannon!
This is… simply outrageous… It’s too much… Arthis was completely flabbergasted.
You’re going to skin them for their wool, and then herd them into the slaughterhouse?
Where the hell has all your benevolence gone?!
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