Chapter 447: A Dirty, Scheming Heart

Wei Youliang’s ears were buzzing.

He felt as though he was going completely mad!

Was anyone even still thinking about Kong Mo and his distant manner of governance? Did anyone still remember what Qufu was? Wei Youliang glanced about at the Yin spirits around them. The older they were, the more their breaths were ragged and their eyes flickered. He could even see how much their hands were trembling at the news.

The younger Yin spirits appeared to be in a better condition, and yet their breaths were still equally heavy and intense. There were even several Yin spirits who immediately buried their faces in their hands and began to bawl at the top of their voices.

Granted, Yin spirits didn’t have tears, but the intense flames that were peeking through the gaps in their fingers still spoke volumes about the pain and anguish in their hearts right now.

Everyone had clearly fallen, hook, line and sinker. The bait set by Qin Ye had ostensibly latched onto the deepest and softest parts of their hearts!

“My daughter…” Wei Youliang’s eyes blurred somewhat, and his entire body began to feel drifty, “Do I… actually have a chance of seeing her again?”

He fiercely turned to another Yin spirit beside him and grabbed his arm, “I-I haven’t heard wrongly, have I?”

“No! Not at all!!” The middle-aged man choked as he screamed back at Wei Youliang emotionally, “Your ears aren’t playing tricks on you!! You’ve heard exactly the same thing we have!!”

The Yin spirits below soon gathered together in small groups of threes to fives, regardless of whether they knew each other or not, and they shouted with unbridled excitement, “That’s right! I don’t care how many work credits it takes! My grandmother has been paralyzed all this while. I… I’m going to return to see her! We’re going to get a chance to return to the mortal realm… the mortal realm!! Lord Kong… No--! Kong Mo has never mentioned something like that before!” “This has to be the authentic Hell! This is the true royal lineage that is approved by the gods! I-I’m suddenly thankful that they’ve come to take down and seize control of Quf--... Ashmound City!”

Wei Youliang was on cloud nine. His memories of the mortal realm suddenly flashed past his eyes - his gentle wife, his obedient daughter… Wait for me… You must wait for me!

Dad… will be right back to visit you shortly!

Turmoil.

The hearts of the Yin spirits in the entire city were all in turmoil, and Qin Ye simply allowed them to get carried away in their own thoughts. Then, after some time, someone yelled out at the top of their voices, “Long live Hell!!”

Following that, a second voice echoed the same message, and then another… then there were five… ten… hundreds… thousands… ten thousands!

Within the span of a minute, what started out as soft, sparse cries soon spread like a contagion throughout the entire city, until everyone was chanting in unison, “Long live Hell!! Long live Hell!!”

Qin Ye nodded with a smile and heaved a sigh of relief in his heart, before chuckling softly, “I can sense your readiness and enthusiasm. Very well. Effective immediately, we will be setting up a registration desk in the inner city, where the altar of the Mythic Palace of Reflections once was. The registration desk shall be open 24/7, and we are accepting applications for all positions on the Frontier Brigades, including leaders, technicians, professionals, and regular citizens. Registrations shall be concluded in one month’s time.”

“I will definitely go!!” Wei Youliang shouted at the top of his voice, almost as though that would increase his chances of being selected. It was a naive approach, yet the irony was that there were a multitude of other Yin spirits who were just as naive as well.

With that, Qin Ye’s projected figure slowly began to fade away from the sky, “The first general assembly of the citizens is hereby concluded. Dismissed.”

As soon as he finished speaking, a row of lanterns within the inner city suddenly lit up with flickering netherflames.

Scarlet flames.

They were all located on a massive plaza spanning 10,000 meters from end to end. As far as the eyes could see, there were dozens of rows of neatly-arranged desks and chairs, with 3,000 Yin soldiers seated across the entire plaza. Apart from that, there were tens of thousands of Yin heavily armed Yin soldiers standing guard around these desks and at every corner of the plaza.

It was a simple design.

The desks and chairs appeared plain and simple, and were lacquered with a layer of glossy-black paint. However, the sprawling sight of the same desks, chairs and Yin soldiers across the entire plaza was incredibly imposing, to say the least.

Yet, whether plain or imposing, nothing seemed to matter, because in the next second, at least 60% of the entire city instantly began to rush towards the registration desks!

“Stop pushing! Do you think you’ll be able to register more quickly by jostling?!” “Please give way! My wife and son are still waiting for me back in the mortal realm!” “What do you mean give way?! My husband is still waiting for me back home!” “Stop pushing! Stop squeezing! Who the hell is touching me?!”

…………………………………….

The sprawling plaza was located right in front of the six-storey building that was originally already located within the inner city. Qin Ye stood at the terrace of the fifth floor, sighing softly as he saw the ugly sight of jostling Yin spirits below. But it wasn’t long after that a disdainful voice remarked from behind, “Tsk, tsk, tsk… How dirty… how unbelievably dirty!” 

It was classmate Wang One Tail.

“Don’t you think it’s a rather spectacular sight?” Qin Ye didn’t even look back. Instead, he simply enjoyed the breeze and allowed the wind to gently tousle his hair.

It was a magnificent sight.

There was a berth of 1,000 meters between Qin Ye and the start of the registration desks, and yet he could already see millions of ghastly netherflames converging all around the desks - no different from that day when Qufu was still consolidating its forces!

Wang One Tail walked up to his side and leaned on the railing with a cold chuckle, “I know for a fact that they will have to work incredibly hard under the current system of work credits. And even then, after all pioneering works in Ashmound City are fully completed, they will only get exactly one opportunity to inquire of the Book of LIfe and Death, one chance at relaying a dream, and one chance to return to the mortal realm. Lord Qin, you’re truly unparalleled when it comes to making the best of the situation…”

“Nonsense! Do you know what kind of privilege returning to the mortal realm is?!” Qin Ye rolled his eyes at Wang Chenghao, “If not for the fact that these new buildings have appeared in the inner city, not even I would dare make such promises to them!”

I mean… if you ask me honestly… I think you’re absolutely capable of making such empty promises to them… Really…

Wang One Tail pursed his lips tightly and remained silent for the next few minutes, before finally quipping back softly, “What comes next?”

Qin Ye sighed and turned around. Then, he threw his head back, leaned on the railings and stared blankly at the ceiling above with a bitter smile, “What comes next? To hell with you!!”

“Seriously, do you even have to ask something as obvious as that? Are you even aware of how large Qufu is? I’ve not even had the chance to take a quick look around. Qufu--... Ah, I mean, Ashmound’s industries and specialties are still mysteries to me. We’ve been so busy with the census and registration of the twenty million or so people over the last month that I haven’t even had the chance to see the treasury of Ashmound that we’ve brought back with us! I haven’t even seen the Mythic Palace of Reflections after the Harken brought it back together with all of us!”

“Furthermore, Ashmound was a city that was already running on a system of currency under Kong Mo’s reign. This means that we’ll have to push on with the launch of Hell’s system of currency as soon as possible! Apart from that, we’ve still got to properly set up the security forces of Hell in Ashmound, as well as sort through the registration for the Frontier Brigades… My god! I feel horrendous just thinking about the sheer amount of work in store for us!”

Yet Wang One Tail continued to rub salt in his wounds, “Ah, don’t forget, there’s also the possibility that Kong Mo might launch his counter-attack against us at any moment. And then, there’s also the threat of the daolord… Oh, that’s right, weren’t you saying something about trading with the mortal realm as well? You’ll have to head back there to begin liaison efforts and negotiations with them once more. Tsk, tsk, tsk… I dare say that you might just run yourself into the ground with the sheer amount of work piling up, eh?”

“... Are you delighting in my misery?”

“... Is it obvious?”

“... No, not at all. Here, why don’t you tap me on the shoulder again…”

Wang One Tail immediately stared back at Qin Ye as though he had just seen a ghost. He could tell that Qin Ye was looking for a target to vent all of his anger and frustration on, but…

He wasn’t going to fall for the same trick twice!

“The ministers are all waiting for you…” Wang Chenghao weakly rebuffed Qin Ye’s approach, before promptly scuttling off into the distance with his tail tucked between his legs.

Qin Ye stared blankly at the Rodent scuttling away into the distance, while he began to massage his own temples.

Over the last month, he had relied largely on the reports of the Chief Secretary of Hell, Su Dongxue. To that end, he hadn’t even had the opportunity to meet with his newly-promoted ministers at all!

This was testament to how busy he had been.

“Once the matters that need to be sorted out have finally been addressed, I should head back to the mortal realm as originally promised… I’m already late by one month. I imagine that the government officials in Martial City must be going mad by now. Mmm… I’ll stay here for at most another week.” He sighed softly. Truth be told, he didn’t know whether one week was sufficient time for him to sort through everything else that needed his attention.

Today was the day when he was scheduled to meet the ministers of various departments, as well as receive reports and updates of all works done to date.

There were still a multitude of things to be done. Hell was all ready to overtake the other cars ahead of it on the bend. They had successfully approached the turn, and they were even on a Lamborghini. However, as the driver, he would still have to steer Hell in the right direction and set the course for overtaking. To that end, his various ministers could be likened to the car’s mechanism - everyone would have to come together nicely with the same goal in mind so that the car that is Hell wouldn’t plunge off the cliff and into its demise.

One could only imagine how busy he must have been in the last two years, when he had been busying himself with the affairs of the mortal realm by day, and in Hell by night. Fortunately, the fact that he was now an Infernal Judge meant that he no longer required sleep or food. Otherwise, there simply wouldn’t be enough time for him to discharge all of his duties and obligations.

Ah… and then there’s still Kong Mo and the daolord, and then the resumption of negotiations with the mortal realm… The sheer thought of everything piling up ahead of him practically drove him mad!

“I’ll just take things one step at a time…” His temples throbbed in pain as he chuckled bitterly to himself. Then, just as he was about to head down the stairs, he suddenly paused.

Whoosh… Hell’s Records had of its own volition flown out from his chest, and it opened up with a faint lustre on its pages as it began to scribble down lines after lines of updates.

Qin Ye’s eyes immediately brightened as soon as he saw what page Hell’s Records was on. He read on keenly.

Name: Qin Ye (Nickname - Dogballs)

Place of Origin: Liu Er Mound Village, Gazi Gully, Tang An County, Qingguang City

Family Members: Grandfather (deceased), Parents (deceased)

Date of Birth: 1 October 1938

Occupation: Infernal Judge. 

Merit Points: 370,000/5,000,000

“Awarded 300,000 merit points for capturing a colossal city and suppressing rebel forces. The full particulars are set out below…”

370,000 merit points!

Qin Ye was so elated that he couldn’t help but develop the urge to jump up and down for joy!

It was an unprecedented surge of merit points under this name!

This was undoubtedly the charm of war!

That said, he immediately noticed some peculiarities as well, “Hang on… why is it only being recorded now? We’ve already taken Ashmound City over a month ago! Ah, that’s right… today marks the day when the citizens of Ashmound have completely submitted to me. In other words, Ashmound City couldn’t be said to be fully mine until the citizens have pledged their allegiance to Hell. And this is only when we’ve properly finalized the numbers within the city, counties, townships and villages around, as well as stabilized the hearts of the citizens. Is that why these merit points are only being accrued to my name right now? And there’s even a list of detailed breakdown on the merit points I’ve earned! This is something that I’ve never seen before!”

Plans and strategy - 50,000 merit points.

Leading the charge - 20,000 merit points.

Establishing the first national highway of Hell - 100,000 merit points.

Conquering Qufu - 30,000 merit points.

Earning the trust of the citizens - 100,000 merit points.

Accretion of entries in the Annals of the New Hell (in progress). Initial stages - 50,000 merit points.

First Inspector-General (in progress). Initial stages - 20,000 merit points.

There were six items on the breakdown in total, and Qin Ye finished reading everything in an instant. And then, he began to mull over them.

“The ones that accumulated the highest merit points was to establish the national highway, as well as earning the people’s trust.” He ran his finger gently across the railing as he pondered aloud, “Needless to say, establishing the national highway is one of the most important steps in restoring Hell to its former glory. After all, such a move is symbolic of the new Hell’s preparedness to step into the underworld once more. 100,000 merit points is reasonable given the significance of its symbolism itself. Besides, the achievement clearly indicates ‘first’, which means that the next time won’t get me anywhere near that many merit points.”

“On the other hand, earning the trust of the citizens might not be a reliable method moving forward. Ashmound had a population size of 20 million Yin spirits, and yet this only translates to 100,000 merit points. Furthermore, all future developments within Eastmount might not even count as achievements in future, given how I’ve already been recognized as a provincial governor.” He furrowed his brows, “But… what about Insignia Province?”

“Can I still fulfill the criteria required for the achievement of earning the trust of the citizens there? Hmmm, perhaps I should let Oda Nobunaga try his hand at that instead… Ah, that’s right! Given the overpopulation in Ashmound right now, perhaps it might be high time that we migrated some of them towards the Insignia Province instead. But… are we really going to be able to scramble together an army to escort them all the way back? The costs might outweigh the benefits involved. But I can’t ask the Harken for another scale to use the Universal Grand Shift, can I? He'd give me a tight slap across the face!”

The war had opened his eyes to a whole new world out there, and he suddenly discovered that there were in fact a multitude of ways to earn merit points for his promotion!

He still didn’t have a clear picture of what exactly he needed to do to attain more merit points. After all, he had a bunch of hypotheses that needed trying and testing. That said, he at least knew now that the 5,000,000 merit points required for his promotion to an Abyssal Prefect wasn’t a remote dream of his!

Abyssal Prefect… I’d be one of the strongest forces in Hell apart from the Harken!

Once I’m an Abyssal Prefect… even if I might be the most cowardly Prefect in the history of the world, I’d still be powerful enough to be the god of death of a small country!

And once I’m there, it probably wouldn’t be impossible to rise once more to attain the ranks of a Yama-King, would it?

“No! Calm down… calm down!” He yelled at himself to calm his mind down, before turning back to the last two lines etched on Hell’s Records.

It was quite clear where his credit lay in the first few lines. However, the last few lines were where things appeared to be somewhat enigmatic!

“If my guess is right… this might be a euphemism for recording the conversion of achievements under the Heavenly Dao to that of merit points… and it might just be the best way to accrue merit points moving forward!”

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