Chapter 367: Sudden Revelation About the Ecology of the Netherworld (1)

Just then, Arthis suddenly asked, “Lord Nobunaga.”

Oda Nobunaga looked up at Qin Ye for his cue, only to receive a nod of approbation. It was only then that he responded, “Yes.”

Regardless of how strained their relationship had been, Arthis had always given Qin Ye the respect due to his stature and office, at least in the public eye. Thus, he knew that her interjection meant that there was something of importance to be raised for their consideration.

“How’s the training of the new recruits going?”

“I’ve recently managed to conscript more troops, and the total headcount of our army has now reached eight thousand men. Their training is going fine, but…” Oda Nobunaga paused for a moment, “None of them have experienced actual combat just yet.”

Are we already going to be mobilizing troops? The prospects of that immediately sent a rush of adrenaline coursing through their veins.

These were matters that they had only seen on television back at the mortal realm. Who would’ve thought that they would directly be involved with the mobilization of troops in the underworld?

All eyes were transfixed on Arthis. She nodded, “It’s about time for them to draw blood. Prepare an expedition to the old Hell within a week’s time. No matter what happens, we’ll have to let them experience a proper battle before the next stage of Hell’s development.”

Oda Nobunaga frowned slightly, “Forgive my impudence… but could I know why?”

Arthis turned to Qin Ye, only to be given the discretion to act as she willed. Thus, she drew a deep breath and stood up, before glancing at the meeting attendees, “I believe everyone would have been apprised of the updates that Su Dongxue has disseminated just a few days ago. We’ll be focusing all of our attention on the next stage of Hell’s development in the near future! If we fail to meet the two-year time limit that had earlier been agreed upon, nobody would be willing to trade with us again. Having made such headway, the new Hell simply cannot afford to slip up at the eleventh hour. Thus, it’s time for us to crank things up yet another notch!”

“But before that, it would be important to let everyone know what exactly we’re facing. Establishing a trade route necessarily means opening our borders and forging a path to the locality at which we’re establishing the new sea port city. This is an incredibly dangerous process. If luck isn’t with us… Let’s just say that records of the loss of ten thousands or records of mishaps in some way or another, are dime a dozen in the annals of Hell’s history.”

Everyone listened intently. Everyone was familiar with the districts of Hell that were enclosed within Hell’s Gate and its borders. But what was there outside? Nobody knew.

It seems like… this journey isn’t going to be a smooth-sailing one.

“I’ve prepared something to show all of you.” She stood up and waved her hand, and a Yin energy screen immediately unfurled at once.

The image on the screen revealed a three-headed beast that roared at the sky. Its majestic wings were unfolded, and thunder and lightning dazzled the sky amidst a torrential downpour. The ground was ablaze with the chaos of war, and humans that appeared no larger than the size of rice grains would occasionally scramble underfoot in great despair. The great monster flapped its wings madly at the object it was staring at.

Right across it, there was another equally huge monster that appeared no different from a standing lizard, replete with a back full of bony barbs. The barbs on its back lit up with a brilliant blue hue. WIth a great roar, the lizard-like beast rushed right over towards the three-headed monster!

Boom, boom, boom! Dust and debris scattered wherever the beasts passed, and the ground shook like a terrifying earthquake. Within moments, the two behemoths clashed powerfully against each other.

“This is…” “What the hell are these things?” “Could it be that… we’ve got to face creatures like this out there? How is it even possible?”

There was an instant clamor below. Qin Ye blinked his eyes blankly, before slowly tugging at Arthis’ clothes and whispering softly to her, “Did you put in the wrong disc? Isn’t this Godzilla: King of the Monsters? Wasn’t this released in the cinemas just a few days ago?”

Arthis froze and took a closer look. Then, she coughed awkwardly, “Sorry about that… the image was too similar, so I’d mistaken it for something else…”

The Yin screen toggled to another image in an instant. This time… the image depicted was that of a giant snake.

It was pale white, and its body was covered in mud, woods and trees. From a distance, it looked no different from the size of a small mountain! Countless spots of netherflames flared up from underneath its scales, almost as though it were a sojourner in Hell. It appeared unusually thin, but was undoubtedly colossal. In fact, one could even see that its scales were attached directly to the bones of its body, almost as though it were a skeletal snake!

SSS!!! It raised its head to the sky and hissed menacingly, even as it continued to slither through the ground at the colossal beast in front of it. On the other side, a skeletal wolf whose head alone was fifty meters large with a body of about the same size roared at the top of its voice and charged straight towards the skeletal snake!

Rumble… The ground trembled at the incredible clash of powers. A shockwave of netherflames erupted from the epicenter of their collision, turning the area within a ten-mile radius into a domain of death and destruction.

The sight was so astonishing that not a single person watching spoke a single word. The projection lasted for a full minute, before the Yin screen slowly vanished.

“This is a video of the territorial war of two Yin monarch beasts in a locality under my charge while I served in office as an Infernal Judge three hundred years ago. The one on the left is called the Mutant Snake, and the one on the right is called the Nightmare Wolf. Their battle lasted for half a month and an entire county was completely razed to the ground in its aftermath.”

Everyone immediately understood what Arthis was getting at. After some time, Wang Chenghao was the first one to break the silence with a tremor in his voice, “Are you saying that… we’re going to have to face these things?”

That’s impossible…

That’s practically asking the impossible! Each one of these beasts are at least thirty or forty meters tall! Are things like that really existences that our Yin soldiers can overcome?

Arthis didn’t answer the question directly. Instead, she simply glanced around the meeting room with a solemn expression on her face, “Before I answer this question, you should first be apprised of the composition of the mortal realm and the netherworld. They’re akin to the earth. The mortal realm represents the surface of the earth, while the netherworld represents the core of the earth. That said, there’s still a large layer of space that exists between the surface of the earth and the core of the earth, and that’s the mantle.”

“The mantle represents Limbo. Lord Qin, do you still remember what that is?”

Qin Ye nodded. Limbo was exactly where Lord Harken was resting. It was also the area where Incense of Paramnesia could be harvested.

Arthis nodded in satisfaction, “You can think of the mortal realm, Limbo and the netherworld as three different realms that are rolled into a single plane of existence. That said, that’s no more than a conceptual view that oversimplifies things.”

“Because… the existence of these worlds can also transcend dimensions. For instance, we have Lord Harken residing below us right now. But, in reality, Limbo is in fact a realm that exists above all netherworlds… How do I put this… Think of it as a set of rules that apply in a particular order. Notwithstanding the actual location of Hell, whether above or below, or lateral or even within Limbo, the overarching principle remains that Limbo would always remain a realm that exists above the underworld. Its location has nothing to do with what one perceives with the human eye.”

The scribes desperately recorded everything which Arthis was talking about. It was a difficult concept to understand, but fortunately, their job only requires them to take down the meeting minutes verbatim.

All that they needed to know was the three-layer structure in the order of surface-mantle-core. The actual orientation of matters perceived by the naked eye did not affect the immutable rule that Limbo would always be located above the netherworld. It was no different from how the ozone layer would always exist over the surface of the world.

Arthis waved her hand, and one of the scrolls she had extracted from the old Hell’s legacy appeared out of thin air. It was two meters large and half a meter wide. She waved her hand once more, and the scroll slowly unfolded, “And since it’s a complete realm of its own, there are naturally beasts and creatures which reside within it. Do you remember the flowers that exist in Limbo? The ones that were blooming around Lord Harken when we first arrived there?”

Qin Ye nodded. And then, his eyes gleamed brightly, “Are you saying… that those are plants?”

Arthis nodded.

Everyone grew silent. They fully understood what Arthis was getting at.

The existence of plants generally meant the existence of animals and beasts. In other words, it lent credence to the existence of an entire ecosystem! And the existence of an ecosystem naturally meant that there would also be in existence such monarch beasts that sat at the top of the food chain, no different from the Mutant Snake and Nightmare Wolf!

“Are you saying that… the entire journey would be filled with Yin beasts similar to those we saw earlier?” A female minister asked with a somber expression, to which Arthis nodded softly. She immediately probed further, “Then, why haven’t we seen any to date?”

“Because of Hell.” Arthis pointed to the roof, “Hell is the most crucial realm among the three realms we’ve been talking about. The Yin energy in this place is the purest it can be, and can even be described as the source of all Yin in the world. So long as we don’t leave Hell, there’s no way those terrifying creatures outside would ever be able to step foot into this place. In fact, they wouldn’t even be able to discover Hell’s location as it stands right now. It’s only when Hell expands to the size of a county or a city that we risk our existence being discovered by these beasts.”

Nobody said a single word.

The implications of what Arthis was saying was clear as day - Hell was absolutely safe, but everything would change as soon as they stepped out!

That was why they needed the protection of Yin soldiers! This was why Arthis was urgently telling Oda Nobunaga to get some combat experience under his soldiers’ belts! 

Qin Ye wiped the sweat that was beading up on his forehead. Arthis referred to those things as ‘terrifying’... If a Judge that was ranked among the top of all Judges in the old Hell found these things terrifying…

“That settles it.” He resolutely stood up, “This concludes the meeting. Inform the Lord of Hanyang that we’ll be rescinding the agreement. Hell will mind its own business, and we’ll never take a single foot outside of Hell’s borders--…”

Yet, cold sweat immediately bristled on his forehead even before he could finish speaking.

Arthis had at some point in time formed a frightening pair of scissors and sent it threateningly close towards Qin Ye’s nether regions, right above his thigh and between his legs. She glared menacingly at Qin Ye - Say that again?

“... Of course I’m kidding!” Qin Ye continued in earnest, “As a part of the new Hell, we must devote all efforts in pursuing growth and development. We have to keep with the times, reform our policies and open our borders at the necessary junctures to seize all opportunities presented to us! Thus, Oda Nobunaga, I’ll entrust to you the tall order of paving the way to Hell’s new frontiers. I eagerly await your good news.”

Oda Nobuanga was somewhat stunned, “Your Majesty, wouldn’t you be going? We’re talking about establishing a new city over here. Without you around, we’ll have to rely on messenger birds to relay the news and take your instructions. It would be far too troublesome and inefficient.”

Qin Ye snorted, “My existence is important to the security of the world. It’s only natural that I should take the backlines… and send logistical support your way in order to ensure your success!! And then, I’ll join you in battle until we finally break new grounds and arrive at the promised land!”

Shk shk. The scissors poised at his nether regions made two startling snipping sounds.

Bloody hell…

Qin Ye wiped off the cold sweat on his forehead. You’re too cruel… How could you threaten me with such inhumane torture… What happened to all the respect I deserve as the King Yanluo of Hell…

And I’ve already agreed to enter battle with Oda Nobunaga, so why are you still threatening me?!

And how can you even threaten me with the two snips of the scissors?! Get lost! You’re encroaching into the personal space of my untouchables!! Do you think this is something that you’ve got permission to access?

It had to be said that some people shine most in moments of crises. Qin Ye’s mind spun, and then he abruptly looked up, “Naturally, I should lead by example and take charge of the army myself!”

Oda Nobunaga immediately looked up with an expression of great concern, “Your Majesty, it would suffice that you remained in the middle of the army. It’s too dangerous up front.”

“No! We’re talking about the lives of the new Hell’s citizens after all. I’m on the verge of becoming an Infernal Judge, so how can I simply hide behind my citizens?!” Qin Ye boomed with a righteous indignation.

The scissors under the table finally retreated, and Qin Ye slowly sank back to his seat. Oh god… dear lord! What have I just committed to?!

Qin Ye’s expressions immediately grew ashen. This was the first time it had actually dawned on him just how terrifying his survivalist nature could actually be. I’ll stake everything on the line that I’ll be the first one to betray Hell if I’m captured by enemy forces…

But… is there really anything wrong with fighting for my own survival?! Why does the world have to oppose this simple desire of mine?!

Arthis finally nodded with a sullen expression, “That’s right. As an Infernal Judge, it’s only natural that you lead the troops into battle. Since that’s the case, let me tell you a piece of news that is neither good nor bad.”

Qin Ye could sense the dangerous undertones of what Arthis was alluding to, and he immediately interjected, “If it’s neither good nor bad, then why don’t you just keep it to yourself?!” 

Please, stop… I’ve had enough! I don’t think I could handle another shocking blow today!

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