These were man-made grottos that had obviously been chiseled out from the Yin spirit stones.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw it either.” Qin Ye exclaimed under his breath, before taking the lead and walking down the steps, “And what lies within is none other than Kong Mo’s treasury.”
“This is where he has stashed all of his belongings with which he’s made off from Hell! Extravagance. Such extravagance! This is the most ostentatious treasury I’ve seen in my entire life!”
“Unfortunately, you won’t be able to follow me into the grottos. The Yin energy down here is far too dense for your bodies. Without a formal conferment of title as an Emissary of Hell, you would never be able to survive a trip down there. The only reason why I’ve decided to bring you here is so that you know the resources we have on hand, and you can begin to think about how to integrate the use of Yin spirit stones in each of your industries. The underworld is completely different from the mortal realm, be it considerations in development or in life in general. You have to be able to adapt to these changes.”
With that, Qin Ye, Yang Yanzhao and Arthis finally vanished from sight as they entered the depths of the pit below. The rest of the Yin spirits stood at the edge of the pit, deep in thought. After a long time, one of the Yin spirits couldn’t help but exclaim to himself, “I still can’t believe that there exists such a colossal vein of resources… And to think that everything belongs to Hell right now!”
“Everyone.” Another Yin spirit interjected before the first Yin spirit could even finish speaking, “Truth be told, it’s not as though we haven’t witnessed the use of Yin spirit stones before. Do you remember the time when a monarch beast entered a 5,000 meter radius of Ashmound in the past? That was the only time when the Soul-Launching Coffin was activated. If memory serves me well, I recall that the military had loaded the Soul-Launching Coffin with a piece of crystal that was one meter long. Come to think of it, that must have been a Yin spirit stone.”
“I used to work on a farm.” Another slightly plump Yin spirit rubbed his brows as he recounted his experience, “I also remember the feed that they used on the Yin beasts on the farm. To that end, they would take pieces of Yin spirit stones and smash them to bits before feeding them to the Yin beasts. The Yin spirit stones were used as an effective substitution for other kinds of Yin beast feed. To be honest, I was rather surprised at that time. Who would’ve thought that Yin beasts would enjoy munching on stones after all? How could something like that be even remotely possible?”
Meanwhile, just as the Yin spirits engaged in discourse about the potential uses of Yin spirit stones in various industries, a jade-green netherflame slowly ran down the ladder, leaving a trail of netherflame that softly illuminated the path down. Then, as the flame spread, it slowly began to turn white!
Whoosh! Just like a thin fire snake, it ran around the stairwell straight down into the pit. Within minutes, the entire stairwell was lit up from top to bottom.
“Such an antiquated lighting installation.” Qin Ye looked up and around him.
The entire pit appeared no different from one of the underworldly abysses in Western mythology, where a circle of spiral steps ran down a five-hundred meter wide pit, replete with iron handrails and iron suspension chains hanging overhead. A groove ran in the wall for the purposes of their antiquated lighting installation, and it soon lit up the entire pit with a soft, eerie glow.
It felt no different from entering an ancient tomb that was lit with flames in coves that ran along the sides of the walls.
“Do you think Kong Mo would be able to come up with anything like our modern day innovations?” Arthis glanced overhead, “But… that said, I find that the lighting is fairly decent.”
What rubbish are you spouting? Of course any source of light would look great in absolute darkness! Qin Ye complained under his breath, but soon caught himself and glanced up with great disbelief, “Indeed, it’s more than just decent.”
The lighting was soft - neither harsh on the eyes, nor unduly dim at that.
It was no different from the lights back in the mortal realm!
“Were you suggesting that we should consider adapting this system as a substitute for electrical lights?” Qin Ye thought aloud.
Arthis immediately did a double take at the lights, before coughing dryly, “Ah, that’s it! Electrical lights! No wonder they looked familiar for some strange reason…”
Qin Ye froze for a moment, before turning back to glare viciously at Arthis, “So are you saying that all of your remarks made earlier were borne entirely out of the fact that the lighting looked familiar to you?”
“What do you mean… I’d just happened to think about electrical lighting as well! Ah-hahahaha…”
Qin Ye’s voice was as frigid as a cold-hearted murderer, “What a pity. I was hopeful that you would finally have attained some measure of spiritual awareness, just like apes evolving into human beings. Unfortunately, you’re just as primitive as a pacific saury.”
“Kiddo… What happened to you and your honeyed words? Why do I get the feeling that you’ve been treating me with far less reverence ever since you’ve become recognized as a True Infernal Judge?”
“Hahaha… you make it sound as though I used to treat you with respect and awe. Let’s get this straight - it was simply because I couldn’t defeat you in the past! I’ve put up with the endless humiliation for long enough!”
Yang Yanzhao walked behind them both in silence.
I can’t hear anything~~ Can’t hear anything~~... I don’t hear anything, and I don’t see anything~~...
The two figureheads of Hell continued to spew venom at each other for the next three minutes or so, before Arthis finally changed the subject, “This netherflame burns on Yin beast blood mixed with Yin spirit stones. Furthermore, given the fact that the sustenance of netherflames doesn’t consume much resources, this is a source of light that can remain illuminated for a long, long time. Separately, the fact that this source of fuel is being used tells me that there is a colony of Yin beasts nearby.”
Qin Ye rubbed his chin for some time before turning back, “General Yang, was this pit only opened today?”
“That’s right.” Yang Yanzhao could have sworn that he was being led astray by the two ill influences walking ahead of him. He was filled with confidence in his newfound ability to cuss out his brothers and sisters back in the Yang Clan. Coughing lightly, he dispelled these thoughts from his mind and responded to Qin Ye’s query proper, “This pit appeared as soon as the Mythic Palace of Reflections was previously disabled. That said, the chambers in the grottos have been tightly sealed shut with Confucian seals. Forcibly breaking through the seals would only result in the destruction of everything stored within. Fortunately, the stronger the seal, the greater the restrictions as well. These seals have to be refreshed on a monthly basis, but Lai Junchen is no longer here to carry out Kong Mo’s standing orders. It is for this reason that the chambers within the grottos have remained closed until today.”
Whilst they spoke, they soon arrived in front of the first chamber. Qin Ye coughed pretentiously, and then…
Rushed in like a madman!
Empty… oh god… Arthis entered the chamber soon after Qin Ye did, only to notice Qin Ye seated on the ground, listless and forlorn.
It was because the entire chamber was completely empty.
The entire chamber was constructed out of Yin spirit stones. There was only what appeared to be an offering table located in the heart of the chamber, but there was nothing placed on it right now. Although the altar looked plain and simple, it still felt luxurious because of the fact that it was constructed entirely out of Yin spirit stones.
“How can this be…” Qin Ye stared at the offering table, completely dumbfounded. It was almost as though his innards were twisted and wrenching about in abject pain.
“Lord Qin…” Yang Yanzhao instinctively thought to approach him, yet his intuition immediately told him not to fall for his pretenses. Three seconds later, the upstanding young man, Yang Yanzhao, continued, “There are over thirty such chambers in the grottos. Kong Mo cannot possibly have left everything here. He must have taken some with him in his confrontation with the daolord after all.”
Qin Ye neither turned around to face Yang Yanzhao nor did he get back up to his feet. Instead, he spoke with a trace of sulkiness in his voice, “Mine.”
“Huh?” Yang Yanzhao blinked vacantly. He couldn’t understand what Qin Ye was getting at.
“It’s my stuff!” Qin Ye suddenly leapt up, “The stuff originally placed here is mine to begin with, and I’m just taking back what is rightfully mine! How can I just allow that old fogey to abscond with everything like that? Do you understand what I mean?”
Father, I know you’ve mentioned that Lord Qin is a rather interesting leader, but don’t you think you’ve used the term ‘very interesting’ far too loosely this time?!
“Let’s go!” Qin Ye snorted as he began to head down, “I don’t believe he’s capable of making off with everything that is mine! What’s the point of keeping a seal in place if there’s nothing here to begin with?! That would be a complete waste of time! There must be something of vital importance here! There has to be something deserving of such immense protection!”
Unfortunately, Qin Ye’s dreams and his reality were just as distant as Qin Ye was from his girlfriend. The cruel reality was just as elusive as the beloved woman that was the love of his life.
Empty… empty… and still empty?!!
He was still considerably calm at the start of this journey of despondence. Yet, twenty such chambers later, Qin-Dogballs-Ye’s eyes were fuming with dazzling netherflames. He appeared far more diabolical than the evilest of ghosts.
But, even then…
Nothing. Nothing at all!!!
Ten minutes later, the troupe of three finally arrived at the bottom of the pit, where the last stone chamber was located.
Qin Ye’s breaths were already ragged and shallow, while his eyes were flourishing with flickering flames. Kong Mo’s actions had stripped him bare of all of his senses and sanity.
Did you have to go so far?!
How afraid of death do you have to be?! How could you even think of bringing all of your belongings with you just for a stupid little daolord?! Can you please take a leaf out of my book? Have you ever seen a Netherworld Operative tag alongside an Infernal Judge since the beginning, without once shrinking back at all?!
“General Yang…” Qin Ye shut his eyes and fervently repressed the desire to curse out Kong Mo as he gnashed his teeth, “You go take a look.”
Yang Yanzhao raised his eyebrows quizzically. Without question, he transformed into a nethergale and shot into the chamber.
Qin Ye paced up and down the stairs with great vexation. Arthis frowned, “Calm down. If there’s anything to be had, then everything is fine and dandy. But even if there’s nothing, life still goes on! Besides, what you’ve gained from Ashmound more than sufficiently makes up for all of these things.”
“Then what reason does he have to be making so many holes in the pit?!” Arthis’ words instantly triggered an explosive response, “Is he a rabbit?! Why is he digging so many holes?! Do you know how it feels thinking that you’ve seen a burrow full of rabbits, only to realize that the entire nest is empty?! His conduct is completely lacking! Let me tell you something--...”
“Lord Qin!! I’ve found something!!”
“Stop interrupting me!” Qin Ye bellowed back with great rage, “Let me tell you something! He’d better pray hard that he never crosses my path ever again! Otherwise, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind! Afraid of death, huh?! Survivalist, huh?! All who are more afraid of death than I am should be--...”
Just then, he suddenly froze and blinked vacantly, before glancing at the final chamber, and then turning back once more.
The silver lining was here!
In an instant, he vanished from where he was, and appeared right in the heart of the final stone chamber.
The design of the chamber was just like the other chambers from before. That said, there was a scroll placed right atop the offering table in the middle of the room.
It was an ancient scroll.
Pure black in colour, and painted on the surface with the design of waves of water. A brilliant golden string tied the entire scroll neatly together. It looked worn and tattered, evidently used by Kong Mo on innumerable occasions. In fact, it looked so brittle that it almost appeared to be on the verge of collapse at the slightest touch.
“What’s this--...” Qin Ye furrowed his brows. It was strange. The scroll exuded a sense of crisis. The danger seemed to emanate from the scroll, and yet… be completely apart from the scroll at the same time.
It was a peculiar paradox.
He inched forward, trying to get a better look at it. But, just then, a bolt of Yin energy flashed like lightning and instantly struck him back. A split second later, Arthis bellowed with fury, “Back off!!”
Qin Ye’s eyes flickered. Without hesitation, he immediately retreated to the entrance of the stone chamber. Although he was now more powerful than Arthis, she still possessed far greater insights on such peculiar artifacts of the underworld.
A tense silence filled the chamber. After a protracted pause, Qin Ye finally pulled himself together and asked Arthis, “What’s that?”
Arthis stared intently at the scroll for a full minute, before finally murmuring, “I’d never thought that I would see something like that here…”
Without missing a beat, she continued with a deep, hoarse voice, “You--... can just take a look for yourself with the Judge’s Glance.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter