Qin Ye didn’t sleep that night.
He stared intently - almost avariciously - at the campus grounds of the First Academy of Cultivators, because he knew that he would never contact them again as soon as he departed. They had just earlier waved at each other, saying that they would ‘see each other again soon’. But Qin Ye knew better. With this, it was likely to be farewell for good.
After all, he could never maintain a particular identity in the world for too long. Five years was the limit, and then he would have no choice but to fake his own death, before restarting afresh elsewhere with a different image and a completely fresh slate.
After a long time, he finally averted his gaze and sighed wistfully, “Everything stems from the imbalance between the netherworld and the mortal realm.” His heart was suddenly filled with a strong desire to rebuild Hell and make it stronger than it had ever been before.
Doesn’t it mean that I’d be able to declare my identity openly in the mortal realm as soon as Hell is restored to its former glory?
He would no longer have to worry about the daolords, nor be too concerned about the threat of foreign underworlds. He wouldn’t even have to fear that there were evil ghosts who were stronger than himself.
He would even be able to communicate with everyone through the relaying of dreams, revealing the fact that he was from the underworld, and not have to sneak about the underworld and assume a brand new identity every five years on end.
Yet, at the same time, he suddenly realized that there was still an incredibly long road ahead to the restoration of Hell. Not only were there certain hard conditions that had to be fulfilled, because… if possible, he wanted to openly reveal the existence of Hell to the mortal realm, and declare to the world that the evil which goes unpunished in the mortal realm would not go unnoticed by Hell. The crimes that slip through the rule of law in the mortal realm would be captured and accounted for when each individual passes through the gates of Hell.
Gods and deities would become a mainstay in the mortal realm. At that time, wouldn’t it be possible for the netherworld and the mortal realm to coexist in harmony? Wouldn’t all deceased persons be able to reverse any lingering regrets they may have? Wouldn’t it cause wrongdoers to feel ashamed and terrified of the prospects of having to answer to their victims?
“But I don’t know if that’s even possible…” He closed his eyes and listened to the chirruping insects and croaking frogs as he murmured softly, “But it’s not as though it costs an arm and a leg to give it a shot…”
Give it a shot… His heart cried out.
For yourself, and for your country.
After all, it’s been a hundred years since you’ve stolen by like that. Now that the prime opportunity has arisen, why not give it a shot?
Soon, the night passed, and dawn came quickly. Last night, he had a long chat with Xu Anguo before returning to his dorm room, and Xu Anguo had specifically informed him of the things to look out for on his next assignment, including what he had to do, as well as where he had to go. Xu Anguo had taught him how to regulate the number of hunting zones in a particular region such that they no longer affected the lives of its citizens, as well as the best ways in which he could monitor the predatory zones under his charge. Finally, Xu Anguo had asked Qin Ye if he would prefer to fly directly to the next place of his assignment.
Qin Ye naturally refused.
He bought a train ticket for the afternoon. When his alarm clock rang at 7.00 a.m., there were already students working on their morning exercises. Qin Ye activated his shard of King Yanluo’s Seal and promptly returned to Hell.
“You don’t look so good.” Arthis was already waiting patiently for him back in Hell’s Gate. She promptly looked up and glanced at him with a curious expression, “That expression of yours… tells me that there’s something on your mind. Are you unhappy about something?”
But that’s not possible, is it? Most people would only act this way when their conscience ached, but since when did Qin Ye even have a conscience to begin with?
Qin Ye didn’t respond to her question. He silently picked up the Qiankun Pouch that Arthis had handed over and infused it with his Yin energy, and a hexagonal, transparent stone no larger than the size of his thumb soon flew out of the pouch.
It was the landmark, also known as the Beacon of Light. Arthis had worked endlessly since their last meeting in Hell just so that she could condense the landmarks before Qin Ye’s departure.
“The destination is eight hundred kilometers away, so we have four pieces right here. Don’t lose them.” Arthis explained solemnly, “Once you depart from the First Academy of Cultivators and leave the borders of the Insignia Province, you should immediately return to Hell. I’ll help you breach the bottleneck and become an Infernal Judge. Once you’re a Judge, and coupled with the fact that you’re the master of Hell, you’ll be able to perceive the location of Yin nodes without the aid of the Mirror of Eminence. But you’ve got to be careful as well, because Yin spirits and evil ghosts naturally congregate near these nodes of Yin energy. In other words, you’re almost certainly going to encounter some form of resistance when you attempt to plant one of the Beacons of Light in the mortal realm. They’ll only scatter when you successfully set the landmarks in place.”
Qin Ye nodded and casually tossed the Qiankun Pouch into the air, “Say… do you think there’s any possibility that Yin and Yang could coexist?”
Arthis raised her eyebrow quizzically, wondering why he would suddenly ask her a question like that.
“If… the mortal realm knows of the existence of the netherworld, and the netherworld can establish some form of symbiotic relationship with the mortal realm, for instance, through mutual trade, do you think… there’s a remote possibility of successful coexistence?” Qin Ye ignored Arthis’ reaction and continued to press the point. His expression was placid.
“Have you taken the wrong medicine this morning?” Arthis was completely baffled by the question. It wasn’t characteristic of Qin Ye to be considering such troublesome things. After all, Qin Ye had historically only ever been concerned about his own survival, whether now or in future.
“Just tell me if there is such a possibility or not! There’s no need to skirt around the issue!” Qin Ye barked back with some measure of exasperation.
I’ve been reprimanded… Unexpectedly, Arthis didn’t get angry. Instead, she simply gazed deeply into Qin Ye’s eyes, before slowly smiling faintly at him.
“Although I’m not sure what kind of stimulus you’ve been given back in the mortal realm… but, the answer to your question is ‘yes’.”
Qin Ye finally looked up at Arthis in surprise.
Arthis drew a deep breath and continued, “Do you know… why there used to be more myths passed down in ancient times?”
Qin Ye shook his head.
“It’s because… there was once a time when the three realms were living in symbiosis. The so called gods and immortals didn’t use to reside in heaven. But instead, they used to reside in the mountains and great swamps. Even the Primeval Lord of Heaven wasn’t an exception to this. But, as time passed, the emperors of earth wanted to consolidate their power, and they could no longer condone the existence of the other two realms within the same plane of existence as them. This was all in accordance with the Heavenly Dao. Thus, the three realms were separated from each other.”
“And such true separation was completed through the Heavenly Investiture of the Gods, Mankind’s Classic of Mountain and Sea, and Hell’s Book of Life and Death. These three divine artifacts bind each of the three realms to the Heavenly Dao, never to interact with each other again. From then on, myths and legends began to dwindle. If you want to restore things to the time of the First King Yanluo of Hell, when Yin and Yang coexisted with each other, then you’ll first have to show the mortal realm the benefits of reestablishing communication between them and the netherworld.”
“Be more specific.”
“How do you expect me to be any more specific?” Arthis rolled her eyes, “These are all part of the records of Hell that I’d read through in the past. Why would anyone pay any attention to the particulars of how exactly these are to be achieved, or what exactly the situation was back then? You’ve seen how large that scroll is, haven’t you? There’s probably well over ten million words in the entire records alone. Besides, even if you don’t want to govern Hell like the first King Yanluo of Hell, you could always model your governance after the second King Yanluo of Hell. Be the strongest entity across the three realms, so much so that you live above the laws of the Heavenly Dao. At that time, you can do anything you want, and anytime you so wish. But… forget it. It’s best if you don’t consider these things now. After all, the second King Yanluo of Hell was unparalleled across all five thousand years of the history of Hell. What makes you think you could possibly match his abilities?”
What do you mean by that? I’m the Third Hokage, alright?! 
How could an arrogant person like Arthis possibly understand the thoughts running through Qin Ye’s hearts right now? With a quick wave of her hand, the massive scroll documenting the records of Hell appeared in front of Qin Ye’s eyes, before promptly transforming into a wisp of Yin energy that shot straight into a Qiankun Pouch, “Even if you’re looking to reestablish the coexistence of realms, that’s going to be a complete upheaval of mindsets that would take several centuries to achieve. Perhaps the records might give you a clue as to how to go about achieving something like this. That said, you cannot rush these things. Take the scroll along with you and see if you can find anything within. The records can take the shape of any book in accordance with your imaginations.”
Qin Ye nodded, before transforming into a stream of nethergale that promptly left Hell.
Arthis’ explanations had given him some food for thought.
“Does it benefit the mortal realm to be interconnected to the netherworld, huh…” Qin Ye’s eyes narrowed, and some unorthodox contemplations began to stir at the depths of his mind.
“Forget it. I’m afraid this is something that I can only attend to after Hell is properly restored. It’s still too early to consider these things now in any event. Right now, the first order of priority is to pave the way to Martial City.”
He returned to his dorm room, but remained within his room. Then, at 3.00 p.m. sharp, right after classes ended, he left through the main gate of the First Academy of Cultivators, carrying only his backpack.
The academy had already made arrangements for the rest of his suitcases, because they knew that he would have wanted to take a last walk around the academy before finally departing for his next assignment. Qin Ye naturally didn’t refuse. He slowly made his way towards the main gate of the academy, brushing past the area where some citizens were chatting heartily with the students of the school. And then, he turned back to take one final look at the First Academy of Cultivators.
It looked no different from the first time he saw it. The gilded sign that read ‘First Academy of Cultivators’ glimmered blindingly in the sun.
“Farewell.” He smiled, before forcibly shutting the gates of emotion in his heart. He hailed a cab and went straight towards the train station.
The City of Salvation wasn’t connected to any high-speed rail facilities. That said, Qin Ye didn’t mind taking a traditional train. It was nice to slow down once in a while, to watch the scenery pass by without a care in this world.
He boarded the train and settled into the seats of his cabin, where he put on his headphones and silently watched as streams of people walked past in the crowded train station. Soon, several others also settled down into their seats in the nearby booths.
There was a middle-aged man seated opposite him who looked like a wage worker, while a couple that appeared to be college students occupied the booth on the other side. The couple was glued to each other as soon as they boarded the train. The girl whipped out her phone and immediately began watching Netflix, while the boy promptly pulled out some snacks and fed them directly to the girl from time to time.
Qin Ye turned away from them and ignored the rest who shared the same cabin as him. In fact, he wasn’t even in the mood to exchange a single word with them.
Kacha… kacha… The train was about to depart. He couldn’t resist the urge to look up once more at the train station, almost as though the train station were built in the likeness of the First Academy of Cultivators. And then, he suddenly froze.
He froze because he saw Local Bully standing on the platform right in front of his window, giving him the middle finger.
Qin Ye finally smiled, and flashed back his middle finger as well.
The feeling of being sent off… is great.
Just then, Local Bully drew a deep breath and bellowed at the top of his voice, “Get lost!!!” The people who were just standing around on the platform were startled, and they glared at Lin Han as though he were a psychopath. However, he ignored them, and only cupped his hands around his lips, “You’d better come visit when I get married!! I’ll go visit you in Martial City next year!!!”
Tssss! The train finally started to pull off.
Qin Ye waved his hand unwittingly as he watched Local Bully’s tall frame slowly but surely vanishing into the horizon. It was only then that he retracted that smile of his and set down his hand.
I’m afraid… it’s goodbye forever.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to respond to either Ye Xingchen or your invitation.
“Life’s but a long, continuous journey that’s meant to be made one step at a time...” Qin Ye smiled and retracted his gaze, “Unfortunately, it seems like there are some glitches causing fragmentation in my life…”
It was at that moment that he suddenly recalled Xia Jinse’s name.
He longed for a partner who could travel together with him on this journey called life. He longed for a partner so that he would never feel so lonely again.
He didn’t know what she looked like, nor what her personality was like, but Qin Ye still… wanted very much to meet Xia Jinse if possible.
It didn’t matter what they were going to do. Even sharing a cup of coffee would suffice for him.
Because they were the only ones in this world who could truly understand the loneliness of the other.
Fortunately, humans were also forgetful beings, and their hearts were also prone to change. Thus, by the time the train reached the wilderness outside the heart of the city, Qin Ye’s heart had already calmed down completely.
Modern day society was distant and aloof. Qin Ye could still recall that it wasn’t even twenty years ago when the train passengers who were sharing a ride together would invariably start a conversation with each other to kill time and lay waste to their boredom. And they were so comfortable doing so that it wouldn’t even take them half an hour to begin treating each other as family.
Everyone would simply poke and prod at their cell phones or tap rapidly on their laptops. It was almost as though there was an invisible screen that sequestered each passenger from the other.
That said, he wasn’t interested in actively breaking down these walls that others had built up around themselves. It wasn’t necessary. In fact, nobody in the train car was more comfortable with the cold atmosphere than he.
He activated his disguised Yin energy and pulled out the scroll of the annals of Hell which Arthis had earlier passed to him. Incidentally, it had already transformed into a book entitled ‘Cultivation System of A Heavenly Sovereign’.
Mm… A novel authored by a fatso. Looks pretty good. It just so happens that I’ve been reading his book over the last few days, so I’ll just borrow the appearance of this book.
This was the first time he had taken a look through the annals of Hell. He flipped to the first page, only to notice a sprawling directory of records, ranging from King Yanluo’s birth, to the establishment of Hell, the maturing of Yanluo… He continued skimming through the contents page, until dozens of seconds later, when his eyes suddenly brightened up.
“There’s something called the Dusk Legionnaire?” He pointed to one of the lines within and mumbled to himself.
There’s something like that?
1. Primeval Lord of Heaven is said to be one of the highest deities of Taoism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuanshi_Tianzun