Chapter 368: Sudden Revelation About the Ecology of the Netherworld (2)

Unfortunately, how could Qin Ye possibly stifle what Arthis wanted to say? She smiled faintly, “The situation that we’ve discussed was a thing of the past. Back then, Yin beasts were rife and rampant, and you could count on the fact that encountering one between cities was only to be expected. In fact, the more reputable mountainous regions and swamplands would see an even higher occurrence of Yin beast sightings. Furthermore, the existence of Yin beasts in such numbers naturally means that each locality would see the appearance of each their own monarch beasts.”

Everyone heaved a sigh of relief, especially Qin Ye.

But what followed soon caused everyone to hold their breaths once more.

“But now…” Arthis glanced at Qin Ye mischievously and chuckled delightfully at his misery, “The collapse of the old Hell means the crumbling away of the old ecological system. Not even I can predict what we’ll see after the span of this last hundred years of uncertainty.”

“Perhaps the Yin beasts have all died out and become extinct, and the wilderness would resemble a scene from the ice age. Or perhaps… even more terrifying Yin beasts would appear in the wilderness. Oh, I’ve forgotten to mention something. The surface, the mantle and the core correspond with the mortal realm, Limbo, and the netherworld. Naturally, the concentration of Yin energy in these places are also in increasing order. To that end, the Yin beasts that are able to exist outside the netherworld… would minimally be Hellguard-class Yin beasts. Moreover, the Yin spirits of underworlds are no different from delicacies to them. They’re nothing more than wild beasts, and they naturally succumb to their most primal desires, just like a tiger innately has the propensity to devour a man. There’s no magic about it. As soon as you run into them… the only outcome would be the death of either party.”

“What?!” “Hellguard-class… that…” “Doesn’t that mean we’re going to see a land sprawling with Judge-class Yin beasts? Perhaps even Prefect-class dogs?!” “On the other hand, even if Lord Qin becomes an Infernal Judge, we’ve only got two Infernal Judges with us…”

“Silence.” Arthis spoke placidly, “If you’re already that apprehensive from the existence of Yin beasts, then I’m afraid the news that is to follow would only make you shiver in your seats.”

There’s more?!

Qin Ye clutched tightly at his heart. He could feel some twinges of pain. Screw you, Qin Ye… screw you and that stupid mouth of yours! What were you doing coming up with that stupid idea of establishing a sea trade route?! Don’t you know that ambition kills?! Couldn’t you just settle for holing up inside a small building? What are you doing learning from the founders of our country?!

Nobody said a single word. Amidst the deafening silence, Arthis continued, “The other threat… is the netherworld itself.”

Oda Nobunaga tilted his head slightly in bewilderment, “The netherworld?”

“That’s right.” Arthis drew a deep breath, before glancing out of the window with a glint in her eye, “Hell is simply too small right now… So small that we can’t even begin to fathom what we can expect of the netherworld. There are two main sources of elements in the netherworld, what we call the Great Yin and the Great Yang. There’s also the elements of wind, rain and thunder, and frost and hail… I happen to have another video footage that I’m going to show you right here… Take a gander at this. Incidentally, let me just state that the footage you’re about to see is a once-in-a-century snowstorm that had occurred in the Province of the Great Heavens that I was charged with oversight.”

She waved her hand, and a Yin screen appeared once more. This time… the footage revealed an ancient city that was constructed beautifully. The rolling skies were idyllic, like that of wuxia novels. A magnificent screen of light covered the entire city, and it flickered in and out of existence from time to time. But what immediately drew their attention was the rolling clouds in the sky above, from which a scarlet flurry poured out.

It was snow.

Scarlet snow.

Moreover, the snow that poured out was almost knife-like, striking the screen of light like an incessant series of vicious slashes. They could tell that the trees outside of the light screen’s protection had already been punctured with a thousand holes, and the aftermath of their destruction… was actually burning in a massive green conflagration!

From a distance, it looked no different from a rain of fire descending upon a city that was struggling feebly against the elements.

Astonishing.

Everyone, including Qin Ye and Oda Nobunaga, were completely dumbfounded.

To think that what was once known to be soft and harmless snowflakes would in Hell transform into something so violent and destructive! There was no need for further examples. Everyone immediately understood that whether Yin beasts or natural phenomena, prudence would have them avoid these like the plague.

“Such phenomena are things we can expect, especially on a long journey like the one we are soon to embark on.” Arthis waved her hand and dissipated the Yin screen, “The new Hell is like a greenhouse, and outside of its walls… is the wild, overgrown forest.”

“There are a few immutable rules to always keep in mind if you’re looking to survive in the wilderness of the netherworld. Number one, hide when it gets dark. Number two, seek shelter when you encounter a natural phenomenon, such as rain, snow, windstorms and thunderstorms. Number three, run if you encounter Yin beasts. If you can’t escape, then do yourself a favour and take your own life. Otherwise… you might be subject to an eternity that is worse than death itself.”

Silence.

Deathly silence.

Nobody had expected there to be such hefty costs to exploring new frontiers!

It was unbelievable. Nobody could say for certain whether they would be able to return from such journeys alive.

Gulp… Qin Ye gulped nervously. How terrifying. Can a dainty flower like me truly take on the vast, cruel world out there?

“Something’s not right…” He probed deeper, “There used to be Yin beasts around, so what about those that still exist from the old ecological system? Wouldn’t they attack us? Are you sure they wouldn’t ambush the Mountain Beasts that we’ll be riding upon?”

“Do the math yourself! How strong do you think the old Hell used to be?” Arthis snorted coldly, “We had over a thousand Infernal Judges in Hell, and yet there are only thirty-odd provinces in Cathay. Most of these Judges naturally didn’t end up as governors of these provinces. Instead, they took on roles more commonly known as bodyguards. Large transport companies generally have Judges at their beck and call, and the more powerful ones had Prefect-class Yin artifacts at their disposal. Not even the Prefect-class Yin beasts were spared from the Yama-Kings’ subjugation for labour and grunt work!”

So that’s how it is…

Qin Ye lowered his head and ruminated over the information he had just received. He finally understood why Zhou Yu had earlier sent him the Karmic Fire Divine Crossbows.

Such a journey was no different from the Journey to the West, and he didn’t even have Sun Wukong’s godly strength at his disposal!

“That’s all from me. Everyone, please.” Arthis sat down and made a gesture of invitation, “Now that you fully understand the difficulties we face on the journey ahead, I’m sure you’d be far more comprehensive in your decision on the actual destination of the sea port.”

It took thirty more seconds before the meeting hall finally began to stir once more.

Everyone was mulling over how different the netherworld was from the mortal realm. Although they already had a glimpse of this earlier, Arthis’ explanation had given them a far deeper understanding and appreciation of what exactly they were dealing with. More than anything, they were completely astonished at the sheer magnitude of dangers faced by the simple action of exploring new frontiers. It was on a completely different scale than what was seen back in the mortal realm, when all they had to do was to send a convoy of cars and a freight of goods, set up the bordering fence, complete basic construction and infrastructural works, send workers, establish the policies and then a city would be completed.

Cities in the netherworld, on the other hand, were built on the foundation of blood!

What they were tasked to do right now was to consider where best to locate the new city of Hell. This would include considerations of the distance from the City of Salvation, the number of potential Yin beast territories they would encroach upon, the number of natural disasters they might encounter, whether the new Hell had the ability to deal with these threats, and… whether they would be able to return from their expedition alive.

Ah, and they would even have to protect the copious amounts of supplies and Yin spirit stones. After all, if Yin spirits are already considered delicacies to the wild Yin beasts hiding in the unchartered territories to be explored, then what about Yin spirit stones?

Without the requisite amount of strength, how were they to protect tens of billions of Yin spirit stones?

“L-let’s disseminate the information first.” Qin Ye forcibly calmed himself down and began to pass around copies of the documents that he had obtained from the First Academy of Cultivators. Simultaneously, he turned furtively to Arthis and whispered to her, “You weren’t intentionally frightening me, were you?”

“Why would I?!” Arthis responded curtly.

Just look at how frightened you are with the truth. Had I intentionally added my own set of embellishments… Arthis’ lips curled up slightly at the thought of such possibilities.

Qin Ye’s fingers were practically twisted into knots under the table. Bloody hell… how can things be so damn difficult?! How is this any different from asking a mere pawn to challenge the Monkey King?! I’m going to die this time… I’m most certainly going to die… Perhaps I should prepare a proper coffin for my own burial…

Having noticed the ashen expression on Qin Ye’s face, Arthis finally relented and brought his mind to consider the silver lining, “Truth be told, there are only benefits to be had in leaving the City of Salvation.”

“... Might this be the only silver lining to this?”

“Of course.” Arthis chuckled softly, “The terrain of the netherworld is inextricably linked to the terrain of the mortal realm, and their sizes are exactly the same. If one were to explore unchartered territories in the netherworld, someone has to first place landmarks back in the mortal realm.”

“Landmarks?”

“As it happens, I’ve previously done this before, and I can vaguely still recall how to go about doing it. The more Yin spirit stones you have, the better it is for you. Ten tonnes of Yin spirit stones can be condensed into a single landmark. We don’t know just how much will be required, but a landmark will be required with every two hundred kilometers you travel. These landmarks that you’ll be planting are called the Beacons of Light. They serve as beacons to guide the armies of the new Hell, and it allows your men to remain calm and collected even when your armies are scattered and routed by a throng of Yin beasts. Those who have strayed from the main force wouldn’t lose hope either.”

“... I can sense a strong undertone of hopelessness in these statements of yours…”

“Stop interrupting me! Listen carefully! The netherworld outside of Hell is a bleak place, and it’s easy to get lost in there. The terrain is also completely different from what we’re used to back in the mortal realm. Not even compasses would work in these places. The Beacon of Light is an essential element to any exploratory efforts of Hell! From the moment you’ve decided to splinter off and set up a sea port city of Hell, you’d already sealed your fate and decided that you would no longer be staying at the First Academy of Cultivators. This is something that can only be done by you and you alone.”

Qin Ye nearly wrangled off his fingers underneath the table.

I sincerely wonder how the first generation King Yanluo of Hell had managed to achieve all of these things… We’re talking about a Judge-class or even a Prefect-class Yin beast… To think that I’m now forced to tread the very same path taken by the first King Yanluo of Hell… That’s incredible…

He continued to encourage himself in all possible ways he could. This was probably the only good thing about him - when there was nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide, he would shed off his skin of cowardice… and instantly flourish with great intellect and martial prowess, all for the sake of survival. It only took Arthis a single glance to realize that Qin Ye was right in the midst of this great transformation…

The ministers had broken up into groups of five for their discussions, and none of them noticed the soft exchange of the first-in-command and second-in-command of Hell. Time passed by quickly. An hour went by in the blink of an eye, and the time for discussion was nearing its end. There was a dearth of information about the places to be considered. Everyone was just as blind as the other, and there was naturally little to be discussed.

Soon, Su Dongxue got up and began to round up the documents in everyone’s hands. After a quick tally, she did a double take at the results, before promptly looking up and rendering her report, “Lord Qin, the ministers are done with their discussions.”

Ahhhh… Has the location of my burial finally been decided…? Qin Ye slumped back into his seat in despair, “Go on.”

Lord Qin seems to be in a peculiar mood… Su Dongxue could sense something strange in his demeanor, but she knew that it wasn’t her place to be asking too much. Thus, she responded softly, “My lord… everyone has unanimously decided on the same location.”

“Where’s that?” Qin Ye looked up with some measure of surprise.

“Eastmount Province!”

Why?

Doubt was the best way to distract the mind. Qin Ye immediately sat up straight, furrowed his brows and began to mull over their decision. The Eastmount Province isn’t close by. From Insignia Province, we’d have to traverse across Breakwaters Province before finally arriving at Eastmount. Granted, Eastmount is located extremely close to Nippon and Daehan… Daehan… That’s it!!

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