Qin Ye had no benevolence at all.
And even if he had, it would already have been sapped away by the desolate atmosphere and chaotic destruction in the old Hell.
This was the new Hell’s true road to riches! It’s something that not even an entire land of Southsea Huanghuali could measure up to! After all, flooding the market would lead to a saturation in the supply, thereby lessening the market value of his goods. Besides, he was already beginning to worry about where his source of funds would come from as soon as he ran out of Southsea Huanghuali to harvest.
Some might suggest the printing of more money. However, those who knew any better with money would know that indiscriminate printing of money would lead to hyperinflation and the eventual collapse of an entire economy.
On the other hand, the failure to print more money would lead to the inability to pay his own conscripted Yin soldiers.
He was caught between a rock and a hard place.
But now, he was finally given a way out of the conundrum!
No… it was more than just a way out. It was practically a godsent opportunity for a lasting road to riches!
War money! Arms dealer!
Qin Ye suddenly discovered that he loved war.
If not for the discovery of the tension between the three daolords and the twelve envoys, his mind would still be circling around the confines of the borders of his little townish Hell. He would still be thinking about how to tighten his belt while strengthening his army. But the discovery of this key had unlocked innumerable possibilities for him, and resolved all problems plaguing the new Hell at this point in time!
His previous plans for Hell had brought some certainty to Hell’s near future to the tune of a five years plan. But the present earth-shattering discovery had essentially enabled him to crystallize the direction of Hell’s development for the next few decades.
“So, what do you think? I wasn’t lying back then when I said we were going to march against Nippon within the next fifty years, was I?” He lifted his chin with a light cough, and a faintly devilish smile crept up the corner of his lips, “And... that’s not all.”
“We were previously thinking of beefing up Hell’s muscles in order to keep the twelve envoys in line and deter them from any thoughts of uprising. While that intention might still hold true for us, how could beefy muscles ever compare with the security that lies in the privileged position of an arms dealer?”
“As long as the new Hell is able to become an arms dealer to the factions around us and establish for itself a reputation of being non-discriminatory to all, then, believe me… these conflicts in our vicinity will continue to abound in the next hundred years. And over the course of this hundred years, I’ll expand Hell to at least the size of a district!”
Once cities are built, and their economies pick up, Hell would no longer have to rely on their arms dealing road to riches, and can instead finally shift the focus of their economy away from the military and towards their various domestic markets.
It’s a perfect solution!
Qin Ye couldn’t help but praise himself for his brilliance.
Clap, clap, clap… Arthis applauded after a protracted pause. She had to admit that Qin Ye was practically born to be a politician. She couldn’t understand the intricacies and details of most of what Qin Ye was explaining, but she was nonetheless enthralled by the sheer brilliance of his plans for Hell.
“I’ll give you my full support.” She gazed deeply at Qin Ye, “I know that what you’ve said is nothing more than the big picture, and the details will still have to be considered and ironed out. Furthermore… everything would turn on the reactions of the twelve envoys at the imperial court meeting at the end of this year. That said, the fact that you’re able to spot such a well-concealed opportunity amidst the chaos in the region has fully convinced me to place all of my trust in you.”
Qin Ye rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “I’ll go back and discuss the exact details with Oda Nobunaga. I’m afraid that he’s the only one who will understand the intricacies of these plans. That’s right, Arti…”
He turned to Arthis, “About Ksitigarbha’s ascension… I was just wondering if there’s any possibility of survivors located in the other cities of Hell?”
“There must be!” Arthis responded affirmatively, “Ksitigarbha’s ascension was a cataclysmic event that ravaged the entire Hell. Fengdu Necropolis has undergone several rounds of reinforcements and reconstruction over the thousands of years of its existence. This was why it was able to withstand the impact of Ksitigarbha’s ascension and remain completely intact. It is also the main reason for the appearance of the blight vermin. Conversely… the neighbouring cities closest to the epicenter of the blast would most certainly be completely razed to the ground. That said, the dampening effect of a radiating blast would certainly mean that some cities on the fringe of Hell wouldn’t be completely levelled.”
“It would be incredible if we could find some of these lost cities and ruins. At the very least, we’d be able to learn from how Hell used to construct its houses, buildings and facilities. Don’t worry, these places aren’t difficult to locate. The collapse of the old Hell and the loss of their source of Yin energy would cause these structures to gradually become visible. I estimate that this is a phenomenon that we will begin to see in a few decades’ time. When that time comes, we can simply head over to recover these lands.”
She drew a deep breath, “It’s precisely also because of these locations that the twelve envoys have more reason to turn against the three daolords. I don’t give assurances easily… but I’m willing to guarantee the existence of some surviving places!”
“The first place is the Kunlun Institution, otherwise known as the holy grail of Hell’s academia. It’s located on the peak of Kunlun Mountain, where the shockwave of Ksitigarbha’s ascension wouldn’t be able to reach.”
“The second group of places would be the armories of five main military bases of Hell. I don’t know the exact location of these places, but I’m certain they exist because I’ve once seen mention of it in the records of Hell! These five armories are chock full of super lethal weapons that are akin to the Soul-Launching Coffin. There are also copious amounts of Yin spirit stones stashed within these armories. Unfortunately, their location is secret, and it’s still very much an uncertainty whether we will be able to locate them or not.”
“The third group of places is the three main mining districts. These are located in the three eastern provinces, the vicinity of the Pearl River Delta, and the three western provinces. I’m personally of the view that this is one of the reasons that drew the three daolords to these localities as well. After all, each of these locations sits on a huge vein of Yin spirit stones. As to the exact size of the reserves… Have you heard of Nippon’s world famous silver mine, the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine?
Qin Ye gasped.
But before Qin Ye could jump for joy, Arthis continued placidly, “But all of this belongs to the old Hell. Although these places exist out of the range of travel for the blight vermin in Fengdu Necropolis, they will still eventually fade away and vanish in accordance with the Heavenly Dao.
“How long will that take?” Qin Ye nearly cursed aloud. What kind of a Heavenly Dao is this?! I couldn’t get Wang Chenghao’s legacy, and now, even the old Hell’s legacy is about to slip right through my fingers?!
Do I naturally repel the legacies of others?
He finally understood why Arthis hadn’t asked him to locate a physical treasury when they previously returned to the old Hell.
Fengdu Necropolis was the political centre of the old Hell, and it was naturally where the written and documentary legacy of Hell was stored. Other things, such as mineral veins and armories would most certainly not be located within Fengdu Necropolis.
“There’s still time.” Arthis paused for a moment, “It’ll probably take two hundred years… ah, which means that there’s approximately ninety years left. Besides… you wouldn’t be able to enter it right now anyway.”
“What’s the hurry?!” Arthis was increasingly vexed by Qin Ye’s response, “The new Hell is no larger than fart right now, and yet you’re already thinking of expanding into other provinces? If you want a port city, fine, but there’s really no need to consider anything apart from that! And I’ve got my reasons for withholding these information from you. Everything will be revealed to you when the time is right!”
Qin Ye paused, and then probed boldly, “Like… that day, when the existence of blight vermin just slipped your mind?”
And that marked the end of their friendship.
Arthis turned to leave in great exasperation. Just then, Qin Ye grabbed hold of her sleeves, “Hang on… one final question.”
Arthis turned back with an expression that was incomparably ashen, “Let go.”
Qin Ye squinted, glanced at the female ghost who was still lying prostrate on the ground, and then lowered his voice to a hush, “You mentioned that the twelve envoys and the three daolords are all illegal overstayers who are living on borrowed time… so… say I were to lend them a helping hand in this regard, do you think they would be grateful? And then collectively defect and pledge their allegiance to me? After all, you did mention that all who aren’t formally registered under the wings of an underworld can’t be promoted, and they would sooner or later be reduced to nothing more than a cloud of smoke and dust. Besides, wouldn’t it be incredibly dangerous for them to be looking for blood and flesh everywhere in the mortal realm? What if they encounter a cultivator as handsome as me? Wouldn’t they be scared soulless and be reduced to dust as well?”
Arthis’ eyes flickered for several moments, and then she finally responded, “You don’t have to be in such a hurry… First, you’re trying to recruit them, and then you’re trying to be an arms dealer to them. You might just be the first one to get killed if you go about doing things like that. Besides, there’s no harm waiting until we’re stronger before attempting to recruit them… That’s right, you’ll be undergoing actual combat practice next semester, so rather than purge evil ghosts, why don’t you try to recruit them then? You’ll be able to get a feel for their attitude towards you then.”
“So, you’re telling me that you actually don’t know the answer?” Qin Ye responded with astonishment.
“I’m an Infernal Judge! Where do I have the time to consider the perspective of small fries like this?” Arthis rolled her eyes at Qin Ye as she finally slipped away.
Moments later, Qin Ye picked up the soul sphere on the ground and sealed the female ghost back within it, before operating his shard of King Yanluo’s Seal and returning to the mortal realm.
New Hale City, the First People’s Hospital.
This was the best hospital in all of New Hale City. If this were any other regular day, the entire hospital would already be empty and desolate. After all, few would deign to even consider working in places like the hospital ever since the supernatural broadcasts began - even if they were offered an outrageously high salary. But now, the entire third floor was brightly lit.
Qin Ye lay on the bed within one of the wards. His face was pale, and he was covered with a quilt. Guan Gen, several other cultivators, and the students from the First Academy of Cultivators sat by the side of his bed, watching him apprehensively.
Various instruments were placed all about him, while several doctors were huddled about, frowning as they stared at the instruments blankly.
“Dr Chen, what’s going on?” Guan Gen asked anxiously.
Dr Chen shook his head, “It’s hard to say… His heartbeat, plasma levels and even his metabolism are completely normal, and yet he’s still not regaining consciousness. His brain waves are simply too unstable. It’s almost like…”
He thought for a moment, “Depersonalization-derealization disorder.”
Guan Gen furrowed his brows deeply.
Depersonalization-derealization disorder isn’t baseless. He had gone through great pains in order to gather these doctors at night, and to think that this was the only result he got.
Things have blown right out of proportion. An Anitya Hellguard from Hell has appeared; a Hellguard-class evil ghost has entered New Hale City for the very first time; the death of an Albatross; an outstanding instructor of the First Academy of Cultivators rendered comatose; and the death of a student…
“Sigh…” He sighed. I’m afraid this is the end of the road for my career…
The most troublesome part about all of this was the death of the Albatross. They were most certainly going to send others to investigate the incident and get to the bottom of it all. After all, he knew just how precious the lives of Albatrosses were.
Just then, a nurse exclaimed. Dr Chen turned around with some measure of dissatisfaction, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you making a fuss? You should watch your volume at night.”
“About that…” The nurse paused for a moment, before responding hesitantly, “Dr Chen… didn’t you notice it? Did the patient’s finger… just move?”
“What?” Dr Chen immediately got to his feet. Then, almost as though affirming the nurse’s observations, Qin Ye’s fingers twitched several more times, before he finally opened his eyes.
“Where am I…” Qin Ye acted all weak and confused.
“Instructor Qin!” “Instructor Qin, you’re awake?!” “It’s great that you’re fine! Professor Tao just called!” “Wuu-wuu-wuu… Instructor Qin, you gave us a huge scare there.”
His awakening triggered a clamor of voices around. Dr Chen whispered forcefully, “The patient has just regained consciousness. Hush! I want everyone to wait outside now. You can come back when we’re done with the medical examination of the patient.”
The students left promptly, leaving only Dr Chen and the nurses in the room. After checking on Qin Ye’s condition, Dr Chen nodded to Guan Gen, and then took his leave as well.
Thus, the only persons remaining in the room were Guan Gen and Qin Ye.
After several minutes of silence, Guan Gen extended his hand and sighed wistfully, “Guan Gen. Bureau chief of the Special Investigations Department, New Hale City Branch. I’m very sorry about this incident.”
“The martyrdom of an instructor and a student was completely outside our expectations. However, I hope you can understand that it is a cultivator’s duty to stand in the front line against the incursion of Yin spirits, and such incidents are regrettably part and parcel of the vicissitudes of our lives.”
Qin Ye nodded. However, Guan Gen remained where he was, gazing deeply at Qin Ye as he lit up a cigarette. Qin Ye remained silent as well.
Guan Gen took a deep drag, before gazing at the ceiling with great emotion and regret, “Truth be told, I’ve known Li Jixi for several years now.”
Qin Ye looked down, and a cold gleam flickered across the depths of his eyes.
1. At its peak production, it produced 38 tons of silver a year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iwami_Ginzan_Silver_Mine
2. This is actually a thing. It’s when someone feels disconnected from himself. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depersonalization-derealization_disorder