Limbo. Streams of nethergale whistled and howled as they gently tousled the flowers of paramnesia on the ground.
A beast that was approximately 20 meters in size lay on the ground, radiating golden brilliance all around like a bright sun in the dark crevasses of Limbo. It was incomparably dazzling and majestic.
Arthis stood beside the Harken with her head hung low, just like a schoolboy who was punished for not doing his homework.
This was the sight that Qin Ye was greeted by as soon as he arrived in Limbo.
The Harken has… become smaller?
He was stunned to see that the colossal beast that Harken was had condensed so much! That said… he could tell that the Yin energy radiating from its body was still just as intense!
It’s definitely more than the 30 million that it was back then. But that would make sense - if a gravely wounded Harken could emanate energy that was approximately 30 million on the Yin energy readers, then… its current strength might well be in the region of 40 million Yin!
The terror that filled Qin Ye’s heart was no longer something that a prey experienced when faced with a predator. Rather, it felt more like the terror and despondence of complete suppression, as though the entire realm of Limbo was now under the control of the single presence before his eyes. It felt as though the single bat of the Harken’s eyelid could cause meteors to fall from the sky and crash directly on him.
Is this what a Yama-King is like… It’s like nature - a force that could cause one’s hair to stand on end, and yet at the same time also grant lesser beings a peace of mind. He carefully set down the sack of catnip and then smiled as he respectfully cupped his hands to the Harken, “It’s been a while.”
The Harken remained silent.
It carefully scrutinized Qin Ye with its gleaming, golden eyes for some time, before nodding deeply, “True Infernal Judge. The Heavenly Dao has recognized you as a successor… Kid, you’re still not qualified to make me salute to you. But in due time…”
Just then, the Harken’s eyes flickered wildly, and its nose twitched slightly. Then, it whipped its head around and stared directly at the sack in Qin Ye’s hands.
What a familiar scent… What a familiar recipe… Is this--...
“Ahem…” The dignified divine creature of Hell interrupted itself mid-speech and pointed at the bag, “What’s that?”
Qin Ye couldn’t help but roll his eyes in his heart - Haha… as expected… not even the most divine creatures are able to elude the trappings of fragrance.
How dare you summon me to Limbo? Look at you now, wagging your tail all so eagerly at me, almost as though you’re begging me for mercy, huh?!
Of course, the thoughts in Qin Ye heart manifested in a completely different manner as he spoke with a flattering smile on his face, “This is a little snack that your humble servant has brought as an offering to you.”
With that, he untied the drawstring of the sack.
A split second later, the sack flew over into the Harken’s mouth without any warning at all.
Then, there was a series of loud chewing sounds. The Harken’s face was still filled with an expression of sobriety, but his tail was wagging so much that it looked no different from the propeller of a plane! It even kicked up a sandstorm of dust and debris behind it!
Five minutes later, the Harken shuddered softly and flopped over onto its belly. It longed to stretch lazily, but then clearly held itself back because it wasn’t suitable for the somber atmosphere of their meeting. Struggling to maintain the stern expression on its face, it muttered with a somewhat drifty voice, “N-not bad.”
Bloody hell… this is the clash between two prideful, arrogant beasts! Arthis couldn’t help but roll her eyes in her heart.
Speaking of which, Lord Harken, could you please have some self-respect and not succumb to the temptation of catnip so easily?! Do you know that you’re making it very difficult for me to retain the image I have for you in my heart? Don’t you think that your expression and body language is completely at odds with each other?
Qin Ye smiled and nodded - That’s great. Now that you’ve had a little treat from me, I hope you’ll look upon me a little bit more favourably. With that, Qin Ye cleared his throat, “Lord Harken, I wonder what business you might have with me today?”
He was only a qualified successor to the throne, but his rank was still that of a True Infernal Judge. Naturally, Qin Ye didn’t have any rights to be addressed with honorifics just yet.
Just then, a massive tail flicked to the side and slammed heavily to the ground, sending a plot of flowers scattering everywhere. But before anyone could react to the situation, the Harken’s tail promptly swept to the other side and slammed into the ground once more. Just like that, it continued to fling around its tail forcefully and with great majesty.
Holy crap… It feels so good that I can’t even breathe…
Qin Ye sensibly moved back and watched on as the Harken continued to flick its tail around ecstatically for the next fifteen minutes, until the Harken finally stood up with wobbly legs. It was ostensibly trembling with high spirits.
A moment later, one man and one Harken locked eyes, as though in a tense confrontation. Then, the Harken finally relented with a casual remark, “As far as the contents of that sack is concerned... the more, the better.”
Then, without missing a beat, it pointed straight to the ground, “Take a seat.”
Qin Ye took his seat somewhat begrudgingly - An entire sack of catnip for only the right to sit in front of the Harken? What am I to you? A kiwi fruit?
That said, he could sense that the Harken’s gaze had softened slightly. It coughed dryly and adjusted its expressions for the next three seconds, before finally looking up once more, “Three Lives, Three Worlds was very effective. I can now… assist you with a single strike.”
Qin-kiwi-Ye’s eyes immediately flickered wildly.
The Harken can finally go on the offensive?!
That’s a Yama-class strike!
To this end, Qin Ye couldn’t help but wonder if the Harken would have told him about this had he not brought the sack of catnip earlier…
“But…” The Harken promptly delivered the bad news that came along with the good, “There’s no way I can properly determine the location of this strike. Whilst I may have recovered somewhat, it’s still not to the extent that I can do as I freely will.”
Qin Ye frowned. His first thought was to use such a strike to threaten the daolord.
It’s worth it!
Once the daolord takes down Kong Mo, two problems that were weighing heavily on his heart would finally be resolved altogether. At that time, Hell would have complete control over all coastal provinces! Then, it would take only another ten years or so before Hell would once again be able to muster sufficient forces to soldier on into the lairs of the daolord of the hungry ghost in the Pearl River Delta district!
The Harken continued, “I’ve summoned you today because I want to explain to you how a True Infernal Judge is different from any other Emissary of Hell. The fact that you’re concurrently also the next successor of the King Yanluo of Hell means that these differences would be limited to merely internal changes, but also external changes that affect the entire underworld!”
“In other words, any changes to you would affect Hell as a whole!”
The Harken’s voice rumbled with sonorous majesty, “Arakshasa might be powerful as far as Judges are concerned, but there are a multitude of things in Hell that not even Judges have access to. So, today, I’d like to personally explain to you the kind of changes that have occurred.”
Qin Ye gasped.
He… was no longer in Limbo right now!
In an instant, he felt as though his consciousness were whisked off somewhere. The 9,600,000 square kilometers of land that comprised Cathay’s underworld appeared right underneath his feet and slowly rotated below as it emitted a soft golden light. Meanwhile, he hovered above with his feet dangling in the air, just like a god.
To think that the Harken is able to drag me straight into an illusory realm without any fluctuations of Yin energy… Qin Ye once again learnt something new about the terrifying powers of a Yama-class Yin spirit.
“This is the topography of Hell that Granny Meng had hidden right between your brows all this while, but you’ve never used it because you had the assistance of Arakshasa. I don’t think Granny Meng had ever thought it possible that you should subdue her spirit. Anyway, we’re currently in your consciousness right now, so there’s no need to panic.” The Harken’s voice echoed from all around, “First of all, you’ve got to understand what it means to be a True Emissary of Hell.”
“An Emissary of Hell can only be known as a True Emissary of Hell if they command an office or jurisdiction that is commensurate with their current cultivation rank. To that end, jurisdiction here doesn’t refer to territorial jurisdiction, but the submission of a corresponding number of Yin spirits. The Yin spirits consolidated in Qufu when you took command of it is equal to the total output of Yin spirits across Eastmount over the last hundred of years. Furthermore, the Yin spirits are variegated, each contributing in various ways, whether politics, economics, military or the humanities. This was why the Heavenly Dao recognized you as a True Emissary of Hell when the Battle of Qufu was about to be won.”
“And as soon as you become a True Emissary of Hell… everything becomes completely different!”
A golden brilliance erupted in the void. Qin Ye glanced about, completely startled. He could see countless white talismans fluttering and flying about like moths in the sky. Furthermore, he could tell that each of them were completely different from the other.
“Yin talismans.” The Harken spoke gruffly, “The clearest distinction between the mortal realm and the netherworld.”
“Only Infernal Judges are able to make contact with Yin talismans, and only True Emissaries of Hell are able to perceive them. Yin talismans are the building block of all things in the netherworld, just like atoms are the most basic building block of all things in the mortal realm. Whether you, I, or any other part of Hell, everything is entirely constructed out of Yin talismans.”
Just then, a giant claw composed entirely out of illusory golden light suddenly appeared in the void and slowly began to draw in the air. As it drew, the Yin talismans around would all drift over towards the tip of the claw. Moments later… a terrifying burst of Yin energy erupted from it!
Qin Ye’s hair instantly stood on ends, and his entire body shuddered!
Such terrifying Yin energy… It’s even stronger than that of the Harken as he stands right now! He got the terrifying feeling that the completion of this technique would… unleash destruction capable of levelling an entire city at once!
The Harken’s illusory claw continued to draw in the air. It moved slower and slower, but the number of Yin talismans that converged on its fingertips only increased more and more! Five minutes later… it appeared as though a radiant sun had formed right at its fingertips! It was a dazzling sun that was formed out of Yin energy!
Golden Yin energy!
Furthermore, countless Yin talismans were still pouring over from all directions, almost as though… it was a milkyway of Yin talismans!
“Forbidden Art, Immortal Sanction.” The Harken wheezed as he flung the boundless sun at his fingertips down to the ground with a mighty rumble!
Qin Ye’s perspective flickered for a moment, and it zoomed straight down onto a city below. There, he watched from a bird’s eye view as the massive sun collapsed right onto a city below, causing the city to be obliterated in its entirety. Countless bursts of Yin energy shaped like skeletons drifted up from the ground, and all creatures below were instantly annihilated. Even the clouds above the city were all swept away. Shortly afterwards, his perspective drew back further from the ground, until he could see an entire province.
A startling black shockwave ravaged the province, rushing through city after city until it consumed half of the entire province!
“Bloody hell…” He gasped in horror, “Is this… a nuclear weapon?!”
“You can say that it’s the nuclear weapon of the netherworld.” The Harken’s voice was laced with palpable fatigue as it continued, “That said, the use of this art is strictly forbidden by the global convention that has been ratified by a total of 27 underworlds of various sizes. To that end, there are four arts that are specifically prohibited.”
“Forbidden art of the Cathayan underworld - Immortal Sanction.”
“Forbidden art of the Hindustani underworld - Shiva.”
“Forbidden art of the Argosian underworld - Spear of the Divine Oath.”
“Forbidden art of the Aegyptian underworld - Wheel of Ruin.”
Even Harken couldn’t help but speak about these forbidden arts with a quiver in his voice, “This was but a simulation, and yet I’ve already consumed much of the Yin energy at my disposal. Kiddo… do you understand what this means?”
Qin Ye grew taciturn.
Seconds later, his entire body trembled as he blabbered back, “Isn’t this… a netherworld treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons?!”
The implications of such a thought was simply too frightening!
What kind of position did the nations who possessed nuclear technology hold on the global stage?
P5 of the United Nations Security Council!
They were the lords of their respective regions!
When it came to the degree of development, GDP per capita, social welfare, Cathay was still some ways away from its neighbours such as Daehan and Nippon. However--...
Why was Cathay still considered the voice of the East Continent?
National power? Economy? Their military might?
Certainly, these were contributing factors.
However, there was one main reason why they were able to ascend the global stage.
And that was the fact that they possessed nuclear weapons!
And to that end, the netherworld version of that was entirely constructed out of Yin talismans!
Even if Yin talismans could serve no other function, the fact that they could be harnessed for the creation of such terrifying arts of mass destruction could already justify sinking substantial expenses into its research and development!
Yet what was most terrifying was that…
Cathay… no longer had access to such forbidden arts or even the use of Yin talismans.
Immortal Sanction might well be an art that has been lost with the effluxion of time.
For the first time in a long while, Qin Ye felt chills run down his spine. 150 years later, when the Array of the Nine Gods collapses, I’m afraid what lies in wait for us might not simply be armies of the other underworlds arrayed against us.
We might potentially be faced with the threat of several forbidden arts all at the same time!
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