Hell was now in high gear.
Even the blind could tell that Hell was currently filled with tension right now. Furthermore, Qin Ye hadn’t embargoed the flow of any information, so word soon got around that Hell was going to be mobilizing its troops in the near future. That said, nobody knew for sure when it was going to happen, or who or where the target was.
“Some say that we’re marching against Nippon, some say that we’re marching for the old Hell, while others are saying that we’re heading out on the expedition for the new port city. But the most popular rumour is still that Hell is going to march against the twelve envoys… In short, there’s practically rumours about everything.” Su Dongxue stood beside Qin Ye, staring at the flickering lights in the distance as she reported to him in a low voice.
The sprawling Hell’s Gate was right in front of their very eyes, and the Mirror of Eminence hung at the very top of the structure, shimmering with dazzling light as it shone a conspicuous dark beam of light across Hell like a massive searchlight. What it was doing right now was to locate Yin nodes where the concentration of Yin energy was the densest, because the special buildings of Hell could only be constructed upon such places. Incidentally, these nodes could only be spotted by the Mirror of Eminence that hung high above Hell’s gate.
On the other hand, Qin Ye had long appreciated the fact that such Yin nodes were limited in number. When Hell was no more than the size of a village, there was only in existence a single Yin node that allowed Hell to construct a single soul induction platform. But following the initial expansion of Hell, they now had three other Yin nodes to work with, and they were in the process of using one of them to construct the Hall of Tremors.
The Hall of Tremors was the only location where Yin armaments could be forged. Nobody knew exactly what it was supposed to look like, or how the armaments were to be forged. Qin Ye had initially intended for the Hall of Tremors to be constructed right before the twelve envoys when they assembled for the imperial court meeting, so as to shock them into submission. However, he didn’t need to do so. This was the sole reason for deferment of the construction of the Hall of Tremors to date.
The construction of special buildings of Hell didn’t require physical manpower. Just like that, pieces of Yin spirit stones hovered around in mid air, swirling together to form a massive Yin spirit stone vortex that even punctured a massive hundred-meter large hole in the clouds. Dark greenish Yin energy poured out from the hole in the sky like a massive waterfall, sending wisps of Yin energy scattering everywhere upon striking the ground. Simultaneously, innumerable runes glowed brightly on the surface of the ground, right where the Mirror of Eminence had cast its bright beam of dark light.
Buzz! The beam of dark light suddenly flourished and erupted, and countless Yin spirit stones immediately fell from the sky. A split second later, the land below suddenly bulged upwards.
Tens of thousands of Yin spirits gasped and watched with bated breaths as the bulge in the ground grew higher and higher, until it was a whopping hundred meters high! The surrounding land mass rushed up from the ground as well, transforming into a man-made mountain that appeared like a perfect parabola. Shortly afterwards, the dark light in the surroundings abruptly converged into the mountain, and a magnificent building instantly emerged to the great bewilderment of the onlooking Yin spirits.
Clatter, clatter… Excess sand, mud and dirt were shaken off the side of the building, leaving a majestic, ancient Cathayan-style building in its place, replete with black-glazed tiles and mahogany pillars. The entire building was in excess of twenty floors, and it covered an area of approximately one thousand meters. Spirit streamers lined the eaves of the building, each of which fluttered and flapped in the wind with great elegance.
“Ahh…” “That’s unbelievable…” “This is really the underworld… it’s completely different from the mortal realm…”
A series of exclamations resounded from the onlooking crowd. Qin Ye had personally witnessed the construction of the soul induction platform, so he was hardly as surprised as the Yin spirits around. That said, he hadn’t expected his armaments center to occupy a space as large as this.
As soon as the Hall of Tremors was completed, Qin Ye suddenly quipped, “How’s the reaction?”
Su Dongxue was marveling at the construction of the Hall of Tremors, and was naturally taken by surprise at Qin Ye’s query, “Ahh?”
“I’m asking you how the citizens’ responses are.”
“Ah. Response to Your Majesty - the reactions are very good.” She quickly gathered her thoughts and responded with eloquence, “For some reason, they’ve responded positively to the changes, and… even appear to be behind the erection of this building.”
Qin Ye smiled faintly. This was only natural.
The Yin spirits were currently filled with an emotion also known as a nationalistic pride and faith. Their nation was sending troops, rather than being oppressed by external forces. These actions were an embodiment of pride and self-confidence in their abilities. Naturally, their pride and faith had also slowly accrued in light of the successive victories in recent tussles.
How did Usonia’s confidence come about?
It came from war and tension.
In fact, the propensity to develop such feelings would only burgeon and flourish when the citizens saw that their government’s actions hardly affected their lives negatively, and in fact even brought about positive changes to them. Who would condemn the government’s actions in the present circumstances? To this end, Qin Ye was keenly aware that if he wished to continue deploying his soldiers, he would have to show his citizens the benefits of war in a manner that they could appreciate.
But that was that for now. Qin Ye shelved these thoughts and turned to the Hall of Tremors. Its establishment was a good step forward for Hell. With it, they could finally start thinking about fulfilling Liu Yu’s orders, and even begin considering the next armament to be produced in Hell. An artisan needs the best tools in order to do a good job. After all, even a beast knows that it needs to keep its fangs sharp if it were to hunt its prey well. The moment the next harvest of blight vermin carapace arrived was also the moment they departed for their eastbound expedition.
Arthis led the way to the Hall of Tremors, while Oda Nobunaga, Gu Qing, the Minister of Logistics, and Qin Ye and his entourage followed closely behind.
The first thing that caught their eye was a hundred-meter hall with a four-meter tall roof.
There were spirit-summoning scriptures plastered everywhere in the hall, giving the place a hellish, atmospheric vibe. The first thing that they were greeted by was a twenty-meters by ten-meters mural of Zhong Kui capturing ghosts. The image of Zhong Kui and the hundred ghosts that he was after was portrayed vividly.  The other decor adorning the surroundings were also perfectly suited to the hellish ambience of the hall, including statues of the Harken, the xiezhi unicorn, and so on. Even the bonsai plants were twisted in eerie, startling fashion. The first impression of the great hall immediately told them that this wasn’t something that would ordinarily be seen in the mortal realm.
The atmosphere was eerie and ghastly.
The Hall of Tremors was completely devoid of Yin spirits, and they could clearly hear the sound of their footsteps reverberating in the cold, empty hall. Qin Ye walked around the great hall, and soon discovered that there was a sign hanging on each door leading from the great hall.
Yin Talisman Section, Yin Armaments Section, Yin Materials Section… and so on and so forth. Each room was approximately forty to fifty meters large, and the things inside were so odd and peculiar that it wasn’t immediately apparent how they ought to be used.
Finally, Qin Ye stopped right in front of the Trimming Section and asked with a frown, “How in the world are we supposed to use these things?”
Things were completely different from the factory production lines back in the mortal realm. Even the Trimming Division had nothing more than a ring of colossal toad sculptures sitting around the room. That said, it was clearly incomplete, almost as though it had been spliced from something. The nine sculptures had their backs propping up the roof, while their feet were firmly planted on the ground. That said, nobody could tell in what way they were used to trim or cut materials.
“If the materials to be used are minerals, they would be sent to the Melting Section. But if they’re part of a living creature, it would be sent to this location instead.” Arthis ran her hand across the toads with some measure of reminiscence, “Don’t underestimate Hell… The fact that it looks dated and ancient doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not advanced technology. Be careful of what you say now, cause you might just end up eating your words.”
She waved her hand, and a Yin spirit carrying a box full of Yin spirit stones immediately came running over.
With another wave of her hand, a blight vermin corpse appeared in her hand. She threw the corpse towards a toad’s mouth and promptly made a series of hand seals. At once, the Yin spirit stones in the box immediately scattered in every direction. It was only then that Qin Ye discovered that the sculptures around the room, as well as the adornments along the walls of the room had some cleverly concealed nooks that were locations where Yin spirit stones could be socketed.
These locations included inconspicuous indentations in the corners of the rooms, or the eye of Harken sculptures, and even holes in the flower pots. As soon as the Yin spirit stones were socketed to these regions, the entire room suddenly erupted with a violent buzz.
Humm… The toads’ eyes began to light up all at once. Then, before the entire entourage of leaders could even gasp in surprise, the ground beneath their feet actually sank down below!
Rumble… They slowly descended as though they were on an elevator itself. Seconds later, a completely different sight appeared right in front of their eyes!
“This is…” Oda Nobunaga felt a rush of blood straight to his head as he glanced around with great disbelief, “It’s… simply unbelievable!”
Gu Qing also froze in shock and stared at his surroundings. After some time, he drew a deep breath, “I can’t believe this… to think… to think that this was already present in Hell a hundred years ago…”
Even Qin Ye’s lips were slightly agape as he turned his head around stiffly like a rusty robot. Seconds later, he swore under his breath, “I’ll be damned…”
It was a massive cavern.
A cavern that was at least tens of thousands of meters large!
A cavern located in the subterranean space below Hell itself!
The cavern appeared no different from an upturned bowl. The ground was like a turntable formed by rings of large stone materials. Furthermore, each ring was formed using smaller crescent-shaped stone slats that were approximately a hundred meters long and tens of meters wide.
There was a massive ancient Cathayan-styled alchemy furnace set right in the center of the room. It was approximately a thousand meters large from end to end! A Taiji symbol was painted on its surface, and a large trench extended out from the mouth of the furnace.
Next to them, the entourage of Yin spirits appeared no larger than ants. The difference in size was as vast as the heavens from the earth. None of them could resist the urge to lament the wisdom and grandeur of their predecessors, the ancient Yin spirits. The ceiling above was adorned with tens of thousands of relief sculptures of ghosts, while the walls of the cavern were adorned with several sculptures of the Harken’s head, each of which was at least fifty-meters large.
It was the same kind of rush that assaulted a person when he saw the vast interior of the pyramid for the very first time. None of them could fathom how this could possibly have existed in Hell almost a hundred years ago!
How could the Yin spirits of a feudal society… create something as incredible as this? It’s practically as unfathomable as the construction of the Great Wall of Cathay around the entire nation itself.
“It’s no time to be dumbfounded.” Arthis pointed at the surroundings, “Take a closer look, especially you, Mr Nobunaga. This is probably one of the places you’ll be frequenting in future.”
Oda Nobunaga’s mind was already drifting aimlessly. To think that this is but a glimpse of the true majesty of Hell… Next to the armaments factories of the Nipponese world and the individual kilns that we used in the past, this is on a completely different scale altogether! In fact, it’s simply beyond belief!
Haha… how amazing could she possibly be? I’d once caught a glimpse of the Nipponese underworld before. It’s nothing compared to this.
Not even Yomi-no-kuni had an armaments production facility as large as this. And the kicker was that this facility was only a provincial level armaments production facility of Hell.
The thought of the potential armaments he could produce at this facility itself caused Oda Nobunaga’s blood to boil intensely.
“Mr Nobunaga?” Arthis’ words finally jolted him right back to his senses, and he promptly looked in the direction where her finger was pointing, only to discover that each of the stone slats had dozens of tables and benches surrounding them.
The benches were made of wood, while the tables were made of stone. Upon closer inspection, one could even see several instruments and apparatuses placed around various parts of the table. Taking a step back, Oda Nobuanga could tell that the stone tables were lining the sides of the larger rings of stones. He immediately understood the intention behind the layout.
“Assembly line…” He stepped forward and touched the stone tables, “This is… an armament production line?”
“That’s right. The old Hell was also keeping up with the times.” Arthis smiled faintly, recalling how she had once been just as surprised when she first saw the interior of this place.
“This is where the Hall of Tremors manufactures armaments. Directly upstairs is where raw materials are processed. Beyond that are simply floors where research and development is carried out. To that end, bows, spears, shields and armors have each their own rooms. Furthermore, each floor would have their own research focus pertaining to a different aspect of these armaments. The lowest floor is where these research theories are put into practice.”
“Do you want to see what this behemoth looks like when it’s up and running?” She pointed proudly to the middle, and it was only then that Qin Ye realized that a dozen or so boxes had already been placed in a ring around the furnace.
Could these be…
A notion flitted across Qin Ye’s mind, causing his eyelids to twitch and the veins on his forehead to bulge. But before he could even react, Arthis pointed her hand, and the thousands of Yin spirit stones within the boxes began to pour out like a tide and into the furnace. It was as though the ‘on’ switch had been flicked, and the entire furnace immediately roared into action.
Kakakakaka… The ground began to tremble, and the massive stone turntable finally began to shift. Each adjacent set of rings moved in opposite directions. The movements weren’t quick, but these undoubtedly enabled the production lines to dovetail perfectly into each other!
Their thoughts were soon interrupted by the massive ball of netherflame that promptly erupted within the mouth of the furnace. Following that… a bright glow of light lit up the entire underground cavern.
The golden netherflames danced like a brilliant torch in the darkness, spreading its golden hues in all directions around through the crevices in the ground. It was as though the entire Hall of Tremors had just come to life.
1. Zhong Kui is a folk legend who was said to have been appointed as the king of ghosts by King Yanluo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhong_Kui#:~:text=Zhong%20Kui%20(Chinese%3A%20%E9%8D%BE%E9%A6%97),his%20name%20is%20pronounced%20Sh%C5%8Dki).