The only reason why he was certain that their ghost city would be located in Qufu… was because it was so inextricably interlinked to Confucianism that all Confucianists would never be able to pass it up.
With this, the playing field would be tipped in Hell’s favour. After all, the opposing forces were still in the dark as to where the new Hell was located!
In other words, Hell’s greatest advantage right now laid in the fact that the rival forces were unable to strike at their base of operations!
That said, there were still many questions that Qin Ye was unable to figure out for now.
For instance, he had noticed that Yin spirits would generally appear on the surface of the mortal realm, but such a phenomenon would immediately be rendered impossible as soon as a ghost city was established. This was peculiar, because not even the great and powerful Fengdu Necropolis was able to do any more than to open a portal on the mortal realm that led Yin spirits directly towards Hell’s Gate.
Therefore, Qin Ye postulated that the Confucian Family’s ghost city might very well be located in Limbo itself. This was how they had managed to attempt an assassination on Qin Ye at the material times.
That said, everything remained no more than postulations and speculations. Arthis would probably know the specifics, but he had no intentions of disclosing these terrifying news before personally ascertaining its veracity.
“If this much is true, then there’s just too much to be done moving forward… Everything, including the eastbound expedition, would be affected…” Qin Ye sighed and murmured softly, “We’re going to be sending the expedition through the ‘mantle’ of the earth, and subsequently opening up in the mortal realm an entrance to the next sea port city that is to be established. If the Eastmount Province is indeed under the control of the Confucian Family right now, they’d most certainly take notice of our movements. And when that time comes…”
He looked up, and a cold glint flashed across the depths of his eyes.
Everything can only be resolved through warfare.
“You may take your leave. Ride the momentum of your first victory, and don’t let the Yin soldiers slacken off. Make all preparations necessary for the upcoming march to Valley County.”
With that, Nobunaga took his leave. Qin Ye paused for a moment, and then made a quick hand seal and summoned a messenger bird. He recorded his message, before promptly sending it on its way.
Soon, another Yin spirit pushed on the door and entered with a respectful bow, “Lord Qin.”
It was Li Jixi.
Qin Ye looked at him with nary an expression on his face. As an albatross, Li Jixi was hardly fazed by something like that. Seconds later, Qin Ye finally instructed, “I’ve got two secret missions to entrust to you. If you do a good job, and Wang Chenghao is willing to forgive you, then everything that has happened between us will be written off completely. You’ll be allowed to officially enter the ranks of civil servant of Hell, and… I might even begin to entrust other tasks to you.”
It had to be said that these were but empty threats. Li Jixi was a talent that was much needed in Hell, and Qin Ye naturally wasn’t going to let any of that go to waste. That said, wasn’t making empty threats and using them as leverage one of Qin Ye’s greatest talents?
“Yes.” Li Jixi responded equally placidly.
Qin Ye gazed deeply at him for several more seconds, before finally lowering his voice to a hush, “I want you to immediately depart for the Felipinas, seek an audience with Lord Yang Jiye, and request him to immediately send troops to the City of Salvation. I’ll also pass you a sealed letter that you must personally hand over to Lord Yang. This is a mission that we simply cannot afford to fail!”
Great sinner of the Confucian Family… Although I don’t know who you are… but did you really think you’d be able to dominate the world with a measly army of sixty thousand Yin soldiers?
If I muster all of my forces and march straight for you, I’m afraid you won’t even know what hit you…
That said, Qin Ye didn’t intend to mobilize Lord Yu Qian of Licchavi. After all, Lord Yu Qian was located in a precarious position, namely, the sole buffer zone that separated the Hell and the Hindustani underworld. In a hundred and fifty years’ time, he might well require Yu Qian to take the vanguard and lead the great defence against the assault of the alliance of other underworlds!
To think that the third King Yanluo of Hell would be required to repay the debts of the second King Yanluo of Hell… What kind of logic is this…
“Apart from that…” Qin Ye pondered for a moment, “When you return, I want you to immediately train other albatrosses at the fastest possible speed! I’ll give you charge over all of the worst criminals from the mortal realm, so that you’ll have free reign to do what you wish to all of them. Anyone that is assigned to you will have his or her name completely written off from Hell’s Records altogether. It’ll be as though none of them have ever existed.”
Li Jixi listened silently, before slowly responding, “Lord Qin, it takes approximately two years to train an albatross in the mortal realm. But in Hell… given that Yin spirits neither require sleep nor rest, I believe I’d be able to deliver results within a single year.”
“Very well. After one year, I want you to send them out to scour Cathay for any locality with a particularly dense concentration of Yin spirits. As soon as they locate one, I want them to enter these places and investigate it thoroughly. All information pertaining to the situation in these locations must be personally delivered to me.”
“You may take your leave. Please invite Arthis over on your way out.” Qin Ye shut his eyes and slowly sorted through his thoughts, prioritizing everything that he had to do next for Hell. His brain cells had been whirring at top speed for some time, and he was feeling rather drained and worn out.
Li Jixi promptly took his leave, and Arthis soon knocked on the door and entered the room. She glanced at Qin Ye with some measure of displeasure, “What instructions do you have that can’t be said in my presence? Huh? Is there some little secret between you and Oda Nobunaga that you’re desperately trying to protect?”
“... No… Do you know that you’ve got a very peculiar outlook on life in general…” Qin Ye complained playfully, before reverting back to the topic at hand, “I’ve asked someone to invite Yang Jiye to send troops to Valley County as soon as possible. What do you think?”
“... What’s that got to do with me?”
“... C’mon, tell me. I don’t want to go down in history as a dictator who rules with an iron fist or an executioner that kills all who stands in his way.”
Arthis glared impatiently at him, “So what if you’re known as a killer or the one who massacres? I used to be renowned for my ability to slay thousands of Yin spirit with a single sweep of my blade! Such a puny place like Valley County can’t even begin to withstand the chaotic tip of my destructive blade. Have I ever told you what my nickname used to be? Meat Grinder of the Great Heavens! Hunting zones and Yin spirits are only kept around to maintain some form of balance between the realms. It’s fine if you purge them completely from the surface of this world. As for the rest of the wandering spirits, they aren’t even creatures with spiritual awareness to begin with, so they’re arguably no different from the weeds that grow in fields and plains. Just kill them all. What does it matter?”
I like your candour, girl!
Qin Ye silently gave Arthis a nod of approval in his heart - You certainly live up to your name as the prince of Lordaeron… I’ll keep such profound teachings on the outlook on life in the depths of my heart…
He, too, knew that wandering spirits were only allowed to remain in the mortal realm in order to add Yin energy in order to balance out the overwhelming amounts of Yang energy there. He even knew that Yin spirits would only regain their spiritual awareness upon returning to the netherworld. However, as soon as his mind turned to the fact that the drifting spirits had once used to be living human beings, he began to feel torn about the decision he had made. He didn’t want to cause a genocide. Fortunately, a lady known as Arthis immediately dispelled these thoughts with her candid, simplistic outlook on life, and Qin Ye immediately felt much better about his decision…
I guess my heart isn’t hard enough to completely disregard my humanity after all…
“Let’s get back to the point.” He retracted the burgeoning smile on his face and continued with a deep voice, “Here’s the problem. Valley County is about two hundred kilometers away from the City of Salvation, and we’ve not yet managed to pave any roads between the two locations, so how are we supposed to get there?”
Arthis was somewhat taken aback as well, “Weren’t you going to wait for the eastbound expedition before destroying Valley County along the way?”
Qin Ye shook his head and flatly refused, “No. The troops must be sent to Valley County at the quickest speed possible.”
Arthis finally furrowed her brows. She huffed and got up in exasperation, and then began to pace about the room. After a long time, she finally threw her head into the air and murmured softly, “Universal Grand Shift.” 
You’re pulling my leg, aren’t you?!
Qin Ye stared at Arthis with a look of disdain, almost as though he were castigating Arthis for being so callous and trivial at a time like this.
However, Arthis maintained a completely somber expression on her face, “I’m not even kidding over here. This is the name of one of Hell’s most complex arts. Depending on the level of Yin energy at its user’s disposal, it can potentially shift anywhere between a hundred thousand to a million Yin soldiers all at once. I used to call it the Call the Wind, Summon the Rain, Magic Arsenal, Lands Collapse, Mountains Crumble, Dark Moon, Clear Skies…”
“Wait right there.” Qin Ye raised his hand, “Please stop plagiarizing the works of Renegade Immortal, alright? That’s a book that was written almost a decade ago… So let’s not digress, and get back to the point.”
Arthis paused for a moment, and then glared viciously at Qin Ye, “It’s all your fault for introducing the world of the internet to me! Do you even know how much you’ve ruined my youth ever since opening my eyes to that damned, hellish place?! Are you a demon?!”
Qin Ye sneered as he turned a blind eye to Arthis’ reproach. How can you blame me when you’re the one who got addicted to the internet in the first place? What’s next? Are you going to blame the Heavenly Dao for giving you a voracious appetite, huh?!
“Back to the topic at hand, Universal Grand Shift. How many Yin soldiers can you shift given your current cultivation level?”
Arthis stared at Qin Ye as though she had just seen a ghost, “Were you not listening to me? Which part of ‘one of Hell’s most complex arts’ do you not understand? That’s a technique that only upper grade Emissaries of Hell are able to perform! Besides, do you think I’d look so perplexed earlier if I could resolve your problems with the use of the Universal Grand Shift?!”
That’s just like Arthis, isn’t it?
“But…” Before Qin Ye could even unleash the verbal assault had prepared against Arthis, she immediately explained, “This is a technique that can barely be used by an Abyssal Prefect. That said, the fact that I’m unable to perform a technique like this doesn’t necessarily mean that nobody in Hell can perform it.”
“Who are you talking about?” Qin Ye asked reflexively, only to realize who Arthis was getting at, “The Harken?!”
Arthis had already pulled out the Yin Beast Bell that Qin Ye had earlier handed to her, “How about it? Are you keen on meeting up with our old friend once more? If you can wake it up once more, then even if you tear up the trading city agreement right in front of Liu Yu’s face, he still wouldn’t dare do a single thing against Hell.”
With that, a man and a ghost immediately transformed into a swift nethergale and shot straight to the depths of Hell.
Logically speaking, they had already transcended the walls of an entire realm and entered Limbo, but Qin Ye wasn’t able to distinguish between the two realms.
Almost as though she could sense the perplexity in his eyes, Arthis explained softly, “Actually, you can even try to understand it through cultivation terms. Limbo and Hell are both built upon the use of Yin energy. That said, the only difference is that Hell is a more refined version of Limbo, almost as though it is a realm that is superior to Limbo. On the other hand, Limbo can be considered the ‘starting village’ of all protagonists in wuxia novels. The only distinction between the two is the quality and density of Yin energy in these realms.”
Understood. Qin Ye stared at the Harken with an intense, burning gaze in his eyes. A thick, dense mist of Yin energy was rising from its body and drifting up towards the base of Hell’s foundation where it was summarily consumed. Had I known I would be given the Yin Beast Bell, I would never have added to the Harken’s woes in the first place…
Unfortunately, it was too late for regrets. Qin Ye drew a deep, long breath, and then slowly began to shake the Yin Beast Bell.
Ding… It hadn’t made a single sound when Qin Ye first shook the bell back in the mortal realm. But now, a simple shake of the bell actually sent visible golden waves rippling out into the surroundings.
Simultaneously, the Harken’s ears suddenly twitched slightly.
Qin Ye licked his lips. The Harken… We’re talking about a powerhouse that represents thirty million Yin! With it around, would there still be any Yin beasts that can threaten Hell’s existence? Would the daolords even form part of my considerations anymore? I sense hope on the horizon!
His hand shook quicker and quicker, and the sound of the bell grew more and more intense. Below, the Harken’s huge body shifted for the very first time in a long while, almost as though it were trying to open its eyes. Unfortunately, it appeared to be unable to do anything no matter how hard it tried.
“What’s going on?” Qin Ye was practically shaking the bell to the beat of the March of the Volunteers, and yet the Harken simply twitched softly, without showing any signs of its eyes opening up at all.
“Stop it.” Arthis sighed. The sound abruptly stopped, and she glanced up into the sky, ostensibly filled with exasperation, “Lord Harken is too badly injured. If it could move, it might already have reduced us to a gory mush by now… It’s clearly picking up the call of the bell, but unable to react in the slightest bit.”
Qin Ye frowned deeply. It was only because they had no choice that they had built Hell over the Harken. Who would have thought he would soon after encounter Lord Ksitigarbha and even obtain the treasured Yin Beast Bell?
Everything had come full circle. The Harken was powering Hell’s existence right now, but… the drain on its energy meant that he was no longer able to move, even in the slightest.
Sigh… As they say, everything has its predetermined causes and effects.
“Rather than worrying about Lord Harken right now…” Arthis remarked abruptly, jolting Qin Ye back from his thoughts in an instant. Qin ye looked up, only to realize that Arthis’ hair was already scattering about menacingly, while her Judge-class Yin energy was pouring out of her body like a fountain, “Why don’t we… first entertain these aborigines that have also responded to the call of the Harken’s cat toy?”
Qin Ye froze. His gaze promptly flickered, and he turned to look at a particular direction where the depths of Limbo was located.
Dong… The ground trembled softly. A colossal figure emerged from the shadows of the black-and-white mist, trudging towards them with heavy footsteps.
It was incredibly tall. By Qin Ye’s estimates, it was practically five to six hundred meters in height! In fact, it was arguably even taller than Lord Harken itself! Qin Ye and Arthis could only vaguely make out its haze shadow in the distance, and yet they could tell that the uninvited guest appeared no different from a majestic ancient mammoth that was slowly making its way to answer the bell’s call.