Chapter 474: The Second Essential

“That’s not all.” The Harken could tell that Qin Ye understood the implications of what it was saying and thus went on, “The concept of Yin talismans can be implemented in many places, ranging from defense technology, to the design of armaments, and even to the improvement of standards of living. This is no different from the concept of science in the mortal realm - the underworld that is furthest ahead in their understanding of Yin Talismanology would naturally be considered a superpower to be contended with.”

“To that end, the four underworlds that are most developed in this regard are known among the United Underworlds as the four pillars, or the council of four. This may be a term that is adapted from the mortal realm equivalent of the United Nations Security Council, but it’s indubitably a useful term of reference. Furthermore, Cathay is generally considered the strongest among the four.”

“The basis for comparison is quite different from that in the mortal realm. In the mortal realm, you’d look at a variety of factors, such as a nation’s economy. But as far as the netherworld are concerned, the underworld with the largest population size is generally known to be the strongest. That said, the management of Hell’s development isn’t as simple as it sounds. Once you establish the six paths of reincarnation, you’d have to decide who to make a Yin soldier, and who to send for reincarnation. These are privileges that the rest of the lesser underworlds don’t even have access to. But as far as we are concerned… we can even work with the mortal realm to maximize the returns on our demographics. This is what we call the demographic dividend.”

The Harken paused to allow Qin Ye to take in all of the information, and Qin Ye mulled over it for a good, long while before finally heaving a long sigh.

Yin Talismanology… It looks like I’ll have to delve headlong into this fresh new discipline as soon as I’m done with processing the spoils of war in Ashmound.

He definitely didn’t want to find several forbidden arts aimed straight at Hell as soon as the effects of the Array of the Nine Gods was finally lifted. After all, he could tell that the forbidden arts at the disposal of the council of four were clearly far more powerful than any nuclear weapons in the possession of any mortal realm nation! It was practically a hard reset button for an entire locality!

“But… how am I supposed to get started?” He sighed as he turned to Arthis.

Trash!

You don’t even know a single thing about Yin Talismanology! What use do I have for a person who’s only good for reading books?!

Qin Ye knew he could never show himself at the netherworld congress or the netherworld summits at this rate. After all, he risked revealing the current state of affairs of Hell in an instant.

I’ll have to push it aside for as long as I can. Ideally, I’d like to have the full 150 years to establish Hell proper again…

The Harken chuckled, “I personally witnessed the sight of Hell’s great collapse. I was even there when Lord Ksitigarbha pleaded for the second King Yanluo of Hell to step in and rescue Hell from certain death.”

“The second King Yanluo was savage and ruthless, but also incredibly smart. The only drawback to his personality was that he was also lazy. He only ended up assuming the throne as the second King Yanluo of Hell because he was set up and entrapped by his predecessor. Thus, he wasn’t fully invested in Hell’s growth, and relied largely on ruling with an iron fist. That said, there is one incredibly good trait about him.”

It smiled brightly, “And that’s the fact that he kept with the times.”

“Cathay was practically a warmonger while he was in power. And it was precisely because of how outward-looking he was that the top gentries in Hell had such latitude for growth and development. But alas, I digress. Back to the topic at hand - I wonder if you’ve heard of a concept called an academic exchange?”

“I’ve heard of--...” Qin Ye furrowed his brows for a moment, before jumping up abruptly as though he was struck by a bolt of lightning!

Academic exchange…

Are you saying that… there were foreign celebrities in Cathay?! Renowned scientists?!

The Harken chuckled, “I vaguely remember a few names. For instance, Dalton.”

Hang on a minute…

Qin Ye stared at the Harken as though he had just seen a ghost, “Please say it again. That doesn’t sound like a Cathayan name at all…”

“Of course it isn’t. Year 1844 in the mortal realm. The second King Yanluo of Hell formally launched what he called the Dalton plan in order to reap his soul back to Hell. To this end, the old Hell mobilized 17 darkfeathers for the operation, all of whom were the elites of elites. 16 perished in the line of duty, but the surviving darkfeather barely managed to succeed in the operation.”

Qin Ye rubbed his temples - Dalton… bloody hell… why does this name sound so familiar?

Dalton… Dal… ton…

Holy shit?!!!

Qin Ye suddenly looked up, “The father of atomic theory? That Dalton?!” [1]

How amazing was this man, you ask? Quite apart from his other achievements, the mere fact that nuclear bombs were built on his theory spoke volumes about how stellar his mind was.

He was a trailblazer for his time - a man who broke the balance of the world with his theories alone.

The Harken proudly added, “Did you really think someone less stellar than he would be deserving of King Yanluo’s personal attention? Apart from that, Hell had also sent a number of its talents out for such academic exchanges when Hell collapsed. Some of the more noteworthy people included Zu Chongzhi, Zhao Youqin, Zhang Heng, Lu Ban, Mo Zhai, Li Chun…”[2]

Holy crap! Qin Ye was so overjoyed that he nearly leapt straight to his feet!

Bloody hell… Who could’ve thought that something like this was possible?!

But it all makes sense when I think about it. After all, how could one of the top underworlds gather its talents in only a single place? I should’ve thought of this right from the onset!

“I’m pretty sure that all of these renowned persons must already be desperately attempting to get in touch with Hell. You… would be wise to pay close attention to any signs of their whereabouts.” The Harken muttered softly.

The Harken’s final statement instantly doused the flames of excitement in Qin Ye’s heart. Qin Ye looked up with a slight pout on his lips, “In other words, you don’t have any clues where they might be at?”

“I know where they have been assigned, but not where they are right now. That said…” The Harken paused for a moment and began to pick at his own scales, “They are most likely residing in the neighbouring countries around Cathay.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because it’s only there that they would be able to keep a close eye over the Array of the Nine Gods.” Arthis responded even before the Harken could say a thing, “They’re no different from vagrants and illegal immigrants right now. Certainly, other nations would probably receive them with open arms if they so desired, but… they probably wouldn’t defect. And if that is indeed the case, the next best thing would be to wait right next to Cathay’s borders and keep a close eye on whether they have any opportunities to slip right back home. In other words, the best place to be right now would be in the neighbouring countries around Cathay.”

Qin Ye nodded and made a mental note of these details. Then, he turned to stare at the Harken with a bright gleam in his eyes.

Lord Harken, what other goodies do you have for me? Hurry up!

The bright glint in his eye made the Harken uncomfortable. After a momentary pause, it continued, “The second essential you have to keep in mind would be the two great laws of the netherworld.”

“Arthis has probably already informed you of the five divine abilities that are now at your disposal. You probably don’t know a thing about the fifth divine ability, otherwise known as the Spirit Particle Affinity, but… you’ll soon understand its significance.” [1]

The Harken paused for a moment to consolidate its thoughts, “The first law is called the Zhao Youqin’s Law of Yin Talismans.”

Zhao Youqin again? Who the hell is this person? Qin Ye scratched his head as he made a mental note to look him up on the internet as soon as he was back in the mortal realm.

“He posits that there are three kinds of spirit particles. The term ‘spirit particle’ is used to refer to the form which Yin talismans take as soon as they constitute an object. It can be likened to an atom back in the mortal realm. The three kinds of spirit particles are, namely, that which constitutes living beings, that which constitutes inanimate objects, and that which constitutes treasures and artifacts. He managed to prove his theory true after a long period of study and research.”

“Once you master the technique of arranging spirit particles , you’d possess the ability of creation. Unfortunately, the practical reality of it is that this is practically a road with no end in sight. The reason this fifth divine ability is called Spirit Particle Affinity is precisely because True Emissaries of Hell have a greater affinity for spirit particles, and would be able to attract and manipulate them with greater ease. As for the technique and abilities, one can even omit the step of making hand seals and the like.”

Qin Ye nodded slightly. It sounded simple, but he knew that these were matters of profound mystery.

After all, it was one and the same as breaking down the composition of all matter in Hell, including Yin spirits!

A comparable concept in the mortal realm would be that of breaking down the human body into parts, including blood and bones, and understanding how each of them function, and how they all come together to form the whole.

Unfortunately, such knowledge was hardly useful to him right now.

“The second law is… Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction.”

Cui Jue? Isn’t that one and the same as Prefect Cui? To think he would actually also be a man of knowledge… Qin Ye cussed in his heart as he continued to listen intently to the Harken.

“Always bear this in mind. This law is crucial!” The Harken reiterated the importance of this law before going on with the explanation, “The first law deals with the basics, and it suffices that you should know about it. But this law… would affect how you perceive and interact with the underworld!”

“The Law of Yin-Yang Coaction states that anything that exists in the netherworld will certainly appear in the mortal realm. So long as you establish a city befitting of an Infernal Judge like you… the same thing will appear in the mortal realm as well! And there would also be an entrance to the netherworld located in the commensurate city!”

“Take Fengdu Necropolis for instance. Fengdu Necropolis first started out in the netherworld, and then a corresponding city soon appeared back in the mortal realm. With your founding of Ashmound City, I can say with the utmost certainty that a corresponding Shanhai Pass will soon appear in the mortal realm in due course! There may be some variance in the size and scale of the city that appears, but you can be sure that something like that will still appear!”

“Furthermore, you can rest assured that such cities wouldn’t suddenly appear overnight as though they were the result of a supernatural incident. Rather, they would slowly sprout up over time, almost as though it were due to the logic of cause and effect. For instance, it could be catalyzed by the discovery of antiquities or an ancient underground city, and the like. If we take a proper count of the qualifying cities, the mortal realm should have 35 main entrances to hell, and countless smaller entrances such as hell rifts and the like. Some of these are unnatural rifts which will have to be closed properly, but most of them can be considered smaller entrances to the underworld that are a byproduct of the operation of this law!”

Qin Ye fell into deep thought. Two words came to mind - Mirror world.

Yin and Yang were but two sides of the same coin. What’s present in the netherworld would naturally also be present in the mortal realm. Meanwhile, the establishment of a netherworld city would cause a natural rift to appear in the netherworld. It was also understandable that all other unnatural rifts must be closed up, because the rifts would allow Yin energy and Yin spirits alike to pour into the mortal realm. Fortunately, the extent of this problem was diminished by the presence of a buffer zone between the two realms, also known as Limbo.

That said, Limbo was an unregulated zone. So long as Yin spirits entered these lands, they were bound to either end up dead… or become a terrifying evil ghost that would one day find its way back into the mortal realm through another rift.

So that’s how it is… But how is this supposed to be useful to me?!

Qin Ye began to develop a begrudging attitude towards these seemingly useless laws.

We want tangible benefits! Do you even understand what benefits mean? I don’t want mere knowledge!!

Besides, how can you expect the heir to the throne to waste his time delving into such trivial fundamentals of the netherworld? Do you expect me to slowly grind my way up to the top?

“About that… How does it affect me?”

The Harken gazed upon Qin Ye deeply as it responded, “The fact that you’re a True Infernal Judge means that a corresponding entrance will appear in the mortal realm, and the Yin energy which flows out into those lands would naturally change the balance of forces. In future, you might see the resurgence of more people with infernal eyes, netherwalkers, or other ancient professions dealing with the supernatural.”

Qin Ye continued listening intently, but there was a period of silence.

Seconds later, Qin Ye finally looked up and asked, “That’s all?”

“Mm.” The Harken grunted back.

“Ah-haha… Well, then… would you look at the time. I’ve answered your summons today to check on the esteemed Lord Harken’s state of recovery. Besides, I’ve got an important ministerial conference that would soon be taking place back in Hell. We’re going to talk about important things, such as the future developmental path that Ashmound is going to take. I hope you don’t mind that… I’ll be taking my leave.”

This was just like Qin Dogball’s usual modus operandi of slipping away after securing all the benefits he can.

The Harken flopped over onto its belly lazily, “Mm.” Meanwhile, Qin Ye cautiously retreated a few steps, before vanishing from where he was just moments ago.

Dead silence.

Limbo was now as quiet as ever. After an inordinate amount of time, Arthis finally sighed, “Lord Harken, I suppose I’ll take my leave as well. This upcoming ministerial conference is indeed of great importance, and my attendance is crucial as well.”

“Mm.” The Harken grunted lazily for the third time.

With that, Arthis took her leave. But before she could get far, she promptly turned back with a question she couldn’t hold back any longer, “My Lord… Why didn’t you tell him what you actually had to say?”

The Harken responded lazily, “I’ve already said all that needs to be said. Some things don’t have to be made explicit. If he doesn’t get it on his own, then perhaps it’s just his sense of danger that is lacking and wanting.”

“But--...”

The Harken immediately interrupted with another query, “Arakshasa, don’t you think he’s been in the mortal realm for far too long?”

“The longer one stays, the more he would pick up the habits of human beings. Humans… are fundamentally different from Yin spirits! Where’s your sense of duty? You’re the only Emissary of Hell that is around him right now. You’re even an Emissary of Hell that has survived the great collapse! Why haven’t you warned him of what is to come?!”

Arthis grew taciturn.

“Seize this opportunity. It’s about time that… his interactions with the mortal realm comes to its close.” The Harken shut its eyes placidly.

“My Lord…” Arthis hesitated, “But… he’s… not too bad now, isn’t he?”

“Not bad?!” The Harken snapped his eyes open and glared at Arthis, “He’s the successor to the throne! Does a King Yanluo of Hell only work eight hours a day? And only in the middle of the night to boot? Do you think there’s a reserve King Yanluo covering for his absence?! If we can’t develop a forbidden art as powerful as Immortal Sanction in 150 years, we’ll all be subjugated and made into slaves for other underworlds! I’d much rather die than submit!!”

“Have you already forgotten the great tragedy that befell Cathay a hundred years ago?! Have you forgotten about the blemish of Cathay’s history triggered by the Eight-Nation Alliance?! And what about the great blaze that consumed the Old Summer Palace?[3] Or the great massacre in the ancient south capitol?! The destruction of those places would also trigger the fall of the corresponding cities in the netherworld! We’ve only got 150 years to accomplish a multitude of tasks. Do you think he would be able to do everything that is required of him with his current rate of efficacy? Having wasted away the last hundred years, how can we afford to be slacking around like this?!”

“Mark my words, we’ll regret it if we don’t nip this problem in its bud! The office of King Yanluo isn’t a ceremonial one! Since he’s chosen to tread this path in Hell, he will have to forfeit his presence in the mortal realm. He can’t both have his cake and eat it at the same time! And if you’re not going to steel your heart to help him overcome the demons in his heart… I’ll do it for you!”


1. For those who are interested in reading more about him - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dalton 

2. These are all Chinese astronomers, mathematicians, scientists and the like.


1. Thanks retired_penguin for the suggestion on the term to use!

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