Executed… executed… executed…
The last word spoken by Qin Ye reverberated endlessly throughout the entire city. All of the Yin spirits couldn’t help but gulp nervously. None of them dared to say a single word right now.
They could all sense the palpable murderous intent undergirding Lord Qin’s voice.
“Everyone, you’d do well to bear that in mind. That is the most cardinal rule in Hell.” And then, Qin Ye silently swept his gaze across the entire city for the next thirty seconds, before continuing icily, “You were born a Cathayan, and you die a Cathayan. Loyalty and allegiance to Hell is the only possible way forward.”
He was keenly aware to keep his message short, succinct and as forceful as possible. After all, the more verbose he was, the more watered down his message would become. Thus, he only said what was absolutely necessary.
After sweeping yet another gaze across the citizens of Qufu, he slowly continued, “Secondly. Three months later, Hell will be rolling out a new system of currency. Regardless of what kind of currency you’ve been using before, everything shall be replaced by the new uniform system of paper currency of the new Hell.”
These words instantly caused a stir among the citizens.
“We’re changing a new set of paper currency?” One of the Yin spirits immediately looked up in astonishment, “Then, what about the monies of the past?”
“That’s right… I’ve painstakingly saved up over the last twenty years. Has everything just gone down the drain?” “No way… how can our savings be dissipated in just the blink of an eye?” “Even though Hell and Lord Kong are under different regimes, but… us citizens earning an honest living shouldn’t be faulted for this!”
The voices of dissent slowly burgeoned. What initially began as a whispered discussion soon grew into the buzz of a rising tide.
It was the tide of the grievances on the hearts of the Yin spirits.
This was the heart of the people.
They couldn’t care less whether they were under Hell’s rule or Kong Mo’s rule. All they cared about was what they could see before their eyes and how it affected their day-to-day living.
And as soon as this simple bottom line was threatened, they would immediately rise up against the reigning governors.
“Silence.” Qin Ye’s voice cut through the stirring buzz of the crowds below, “We shall now announce the Official Decree of Hell No. 001.”
He picked up a scroll and flicked it softly. A great flourish of netherflames instantly erupted from it, and it soon unravelled slowly.
Whoosh… Line after line of blood-red lettering appeared in the sky. What was most peculiar about these words was the fact that the words appeared directly in front of the citizens, no matter which part of the city they were staring at it from. It was mighty and authoritative.
“Proviso - Hell promulgates the Official Decree of Hell No. 001 in order to integrate all Qufu Yin spirits into Hell as smoothly and quickly as possible…” Wei Youliang softly read out the contents of the decree, “All timelines henceforth set out in this decree shall begin running as soon as the decree is officially announced to the people. Hell shall establish the Industrial and Commercial Bank of Hell by 01 August this year. Branch offices shall be opened on all major streets by 15 August. Thereafter, from 15 August to 15 November, all citizens may turn in all currency in their possession and exchange them for Hell’s new currency at par value…”
“Deposits aren’t invalidated?!” Other Yin spirits were already exclaiming with pleasant surprise before Wei Youliang could even finish reading the rest of the decree, “You mean to say that our previous savings are still intact?”
“And there’s not even a commission charged for the exchange?” Another bespectacled Yin spirit propped up his glasses and reread what he had just seen.
But… aren’t we mere commoners who had served under the rebel forces?
There were even bows and arrows trained on us earlier by the Yin soldiers on the city walls, so why did they suddenly extend such an attractive package to us?
“No… there’s more…” Another Yin spirit gasped in shock as he pointed at the sky, “Look there! Guys! Look!”
Wei Youliang turned to the sky once more as he read with great disbelief, “Over the next six months, Hell shall continue to pay each citizen’s wages in accordance with your registration information. All deposits shall remain intact, and prevailing interest rates shall be adjusted upwards slightly… You mean to say that not only are our savings intact, they’re even increasing the interest rates on our savings?”
“Increased interest rates?” “Really?!”
The tides of complaints had now completely transformed into a tsunami of excitement.
Stirring chatter rose and fell. The fluctuating emotions of the Yin spirits were well apparent from the flickering flames in their eyes. Qin Ye could see everything from his vantage point, and he heaved a sigh of relief and nodded to himself softly.
These were all Yin spirits who had spent decades under Kong Mo’s rule. He naturally understood that it was impossible to win over their complete submission with just a few words. To that end, Hell’s forces were no more than wallflowers right now. Hell as it stands now could never command as much respect as the old Hell did. Therefore, even if the new Hell did in fact manage to wrest control of Qufu from the hands of Kong Mo, there was nothing incentivizing the citizens’ recognition of their new masters, or disincentivizing the converse.
Consequently, Qin Ye knew that more needed to be done in order to win their hearts. What he needed was action - something relatable to the man on the street so that they could sense Hell’s sincerity!
And this was naturally Hell’s answer to the situation!
Hell’s response was obviously satisfactory to the Yin spirits. In an instant, the news caused a stir among the Yin spirits just as much as a spillage of blood into a shiver of sharks. A buzz of excitement filled the air. Just then, the scarlet words in the air drifted away. Qin Ye’s swept an electrifying gaze across the entire city once more, “Everyone, let me remind you of something of importance.”
“One. Over the last month, Hell’s officials have scrambled to complete a full account on all registered bank accounts and the corresponding savings to each citizen.”
“Two. Only the evil masterminds shall be punished for the Qufu war. To that end, all who have to be punished have already been so dealt with, while the ignorant leaders who have been misled by Qufu’s leadership have already submitted and absorbed back into Hell’s governance. Hell is keenly aware of everything that you had access to, including your wages and benefits.”
His eyes gleamed brightly, “Therefore, should we find anyone attempting to cheat or deceive Hell, or even conspire to further an illegal intent, all perpetrators of such crimes, regardless of how devious or harmless they may be, shall summarily be sentenced to the sky lantern punishment! Crimes shall not be tolerated in Hell!”
“Everyone, please be mindful not to test Hell’s limits with your own bodies.”
Their excitement was instantly doused by Qin Ye’s words of caution, and the citizens soon fell silent once more. It was only then that Qin Ye glanced at the scroll and went on, “Three. Effective immediately, Qufu City, Shanhai Pass, shall be renamed as Ashmound.
This was to eliminate all traces of the former ruler.
Qin Ye glanced around as he spoke, only to realize that the citizens were all just as silent as ever. Their eyes didn’t even flicker as he announced this. Obviously, the citizens couldn’t care less about nomenclature.
He drew a deep breath and glanced down, only to find himself pausing on the fifth item on the list.
This order was clearly of the most crucial importance in the current general assembly of citizens~!
Naturally, everything had to be done in good order in order to ease into what he properly needed to achieve. Every single article of the decree leading up to the fifth one had been carefully drafted out in order to smoothen the path to the most important article. First, let them taste the sweetness and goodness of Hell and appease their minds, so that Hell can dampen the effects of the fifth article to be rolled out!
And it was precisely because of this fifth article that the city walls were currently covered with Yin soldiers.
There’s no need to worry… we’ve gone through all possible scenarios several times by now… He couldn’t help but tighten his grip around the scroll in his hands as he drew closer to the fifth article, “Four. Ashmound shall gradually resume all activities over the next six months.”
“Firstly, the major governmental branch offices shall be in charge of a full verification of your job particulars. This will dovetail nicely with our record-keeping purposes. Once the verification process is completed, we will restart all major industries of Ashmound. All citizens shall be given unconditional priority to resume the work that they have previously engaged in. That said, all who are keen to change industries may register their interest with Hell’s officials at the governmental branch offices. Everything will be sorted out over the next half a year.”
Sigh… Many citizens couldn’t help but heave a sigh of relief as soon as they heard the fourth article.
And then, there was a brief moment of silence.
Qin Ye put away the scroll and looked back up at Ashmound, before slowly going on, “The next article is the last, but most important article of all.”
The citizens immediately perked up their ears.
There was silence once more.
None of them were aware of the fact that both Oda Nobutada and Yang Yanzhao’s eyes were now frosty and cold, and they had even slowly begun to raise their hands. Countless Yin soldiers softly drew the strings of their arrows and crossbows, raising their arms and aiming directly at the citizens of Ashmound!
The air of tension in this moment of silence caused the citizens to be filled with unease. Then, Qin Ye finally went on, “Before I introduce it, I want everyone to understand something.”
He paused for a moment, and swept a tense gaze across the entire city. An oppressive silence filled the air. None of the Yin spirits even dared to breath as they eagerly awaited what was to come.
It was only after a full minute that Qin Ye finally continued, “Do you know why we can call ourselves Hell?”
What’s that got to do with the articles he was previously talking about? The Yin spirits below couldn’t help but exchange awkward glances. They couldn’t understand what Yanluo Qin was getting at right now.
“Why are Hell’s rules so strict?”
There was a pin-drop silence. Qin Ye smiled faintly, as he slowly raised his hands. His garments fluttered majestically with the wind. Then, just as the Yin spirits were all baffled by what he was doing, a brilliant radiance suddenly rose from behind him like the rising sun!
It looked no different from the moment at which the sun rose in the east. The ferocious radiance of the sunbeams swept straight through the darkness of the lands, dazzling the eyes of the Yin spirits so much that their eyes instantly narrowed to a squint!
Then, just as their eyes slowly began to adapt to the glare of light, a magnificent, ancient book drifted into Qin Ye’s arm, and the dazzling light vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
All eyes were now staring transfixed at Qin Ye right now. Wei Youliang was no exception to this. Then, as soon as he glanced at the book, he gasped in horror, and his eyes flickered wildly. And he wasn’t the only one - every single Yin spirit who had glanced down at the book immediately found themselves rendered completely speechless in astonishment!
The book had a black binding, and appeared incredibly ancient. There were only a few words embossed on the cover of the book, yet it invoked the utmost reverence in the hearts of all Yin spirits.
“The Book of Life and Death?” One of the Yin spirits covered his lips, and his voice trembled, “This is the fabled Book of Life and Death? This can’t be a lie, can it? The Book of Life and Death from the stuff of myths and legends?!”
“The Book of Life and Death… Is this truly the Book of Life and Death?” Wei Youliang’s eyes narrowed - That’s what the mythical Book of Life and Death looks like? I can’t believe I’m looking at it right now!
The myth of Hell had been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. What was the most symbolic existence in Hell?
It had to be the Book of Life and Death! Not even the greatest divine artifact of Hell, King Yanluo’s Seal, held the same kind of reputation and influence in the mortal realm as the Book of Life and Death did!
It was a symbolic existence.
It was a spiritual beacon.
It was the hallmark of authenticity!
It was like living persons seeing the holy grail with their own eyes, or discovering the elixir of immortality. The Book of Life and Death was a mythical, symbolic existence that was beyond the realms of their imaginations. This was the stuff of legends that everyone had heard of for thousands of years yet never seen. The shock and awe of witnessing its’ appearance for the first time was beyond anything they had ever felt before. In fact, it even exceeded the kind of amazement that filled their hearts when they first witnessed the power of the Mythic Palace of Reflections!
After all, the Mythic Palace of Reflections might be an amazing Yin artifact, but have any of them truly heard of it before they entered the afterlife?
Sounds of discussion immediately swept through the lands like a buzzing swarm of locusts once more. Within seconds, the entire lands were filled with a cacophony of chatter!
“The Book of Life and Death… Am I reading it right?” “It really is the Book of Life and Death! Only the orthodox Hell would have possession of such things!” “It really is the Book of Life and Death… Lord Kong has never brought out something like this before!” “This must be the authentic Hell…”
“Silence.” Qin Ye’s voice wasn’t loud at all. But as soon as he spoke, the Yin spirits below immediately shut up at once.
This was the manifestation of reverence directed at the presence of a mythic existence in front of their own eyes.
Rustle… The pages of the book slowly began to rustle as Qin Ye riffled through its pages. Seconds later, he began to read, “Zhou Kun. Place of origin - Second Li Clan Village, Yangsu County, Tongzhou City, Eastmount Province. Born in 1962, died in 2019. Cause of death - car accident.”
“Wife - Zhao Fanghua. Place of origin - Chaoyang Village, Yangsu County, Tongzhou City, Eastmount Province. Born in 1962, dies in 2048. Cause of death - cerebral thrombosis.”
“Son - Zhou Xianlong. Place of origin - same as his father. Born in 1990, dies in 2074. Cause of death - diseases associated with old age.”
Thonk… He softly shut the Book of Life and Death, “Where’s Zhou Kun?”
A voice immediately yelled out shrilly from the crowd below, “I’m here! I’m here!!”
“Lord Qin! I’m here!! I’m right here!!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter