Chapter 478: The Grand Festivity of the Hungry Ghost Festival

His suggestion instantly eased up the tension in the air, and it also caused Qin Ye to grow taciturn.

There were a great number of things in Hell that needed to be addressed and aligned, but now clearly wasn’t the right time to broach these issues.

For instance, there were issues pertaining to languages and dialects, ancestry, and even ideals and aesthetics. These might seem trivial, but the impact of such matters was incredibly far-reaching.

Why did the Qin Dynasty require everything to be unified and streamlined?

It was because these were all ideologies that affected citizens on a subconscious level. It was a means of giving everyone a sense of collective identity. For instance, most Yin spirits present in Hell right now would be dressed in modern clothes, but from time to time, one would be able to spot a Yin spirit dressed in ancient clothes. This was in and of itself a form of tear in the fabric of society.

The odd ones out were what others viewed as a deviant of social norms.

Unfortunately, the spirit may be willing, but the flesh was weak. He had previously considered unifying the ideologies of his people through clothing and aesthetics. However, it was impossible given the current technology available to Hell right now. To this end, not even Kong Mo was able to develop the textiles and clothing industry, because that was a secondary industry built upon the pillars of various industries, including the chemicals industry, light industry, farming industry, and even the forestry and agricultural industries. No industry can exist on its own without the aid of others.

Having personally experienced the effects of reform since Cathay opened up its borders, Qin Ye resolved in his heart - I can’t ignore the construction of spiritual civilization. Otherwise, people might lose their sense of community and responsibility to each other… and the entire fabric of society would completely fall apart.

He had to start somewhere, and the pronouncement of festivals was certainly one of the best places to begin.

“Give me the specifics.” Qin Ye responded curtly.

“A festivity.” Zhang Zeguang was obviously prepared for this, and he spoke with great eloquence, “But before I get there, I’d first like to speak about how Hell is in the process of replacing the paper notes of the old regime. The adoption of a new currency is the best way to replace an old collective identity with something new. After all, money is something ubiquitous and easily accessible to all citizens, and the possession of the same would serve as a constant reminder that they currently live under Hell’s regime.”

“Your Excellency’s portrait is printed on the front of Hell’s notes, while the images of the two predecessor King Yanluos are printed on the back. These notes are separated into denominations of 1 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 20 yuan, 50 yuan, 100 yuan, 500 yuan, and 1,000 yuan. We have adopted the same denominations as that found in the mortal realm to facilitate familiarity with the use of these notes. We’ve also regulated the market such that the value of Hell’s notes qua a fixed basket of goods would also be pegged to a rate that is similar to that of the mortal realm.”

Qin Ye nodded, “Any trouble so far? How’s the acceptance level of the citizens?”

“Very high.” Zhang Zeguang chuckled, “After all, the population explosion in Cathay had only occurred after the founding of modern day Cathay. 70% of the citizens in Ashmound are Yin spirits born in the last 50 years, while the Yin spirits born in the preceding 50 years account for the remaining 30% or so. There’s no impediment to implementation at all. And this leads me to my point about the upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival. Having considered these things, I’ve taken the liberty to draft up a plan for a great celebration during the Hungry Ghost Festival.”

He turned and nodded to the side, and Deputy Minister Gao Ming immediately held up a stack of documents that was collectively approximately one foot thick, “We’ve made some copies of the proposal that we’ve come up with to facilitate our discussions.”

Arthis pointed her finger at the stack of papers lazily. At once, the stack of proposals distributed themselves and flew into the hands of each minister around. Qin Ye and Arthis naturally had a copy of the document each as well.

Qin Ye immediately delved straight into its contents. Within moments, he couldn’t help but smack his thigh with great joy - Wonderful!

The Department of Ghost Resources’ plan was simple, and that was to hold a great celebration during the Hungry Ghost Festival itself. It would be a grand festival celebrating the Hungry Ghost Festival!

Festivals were a type of ritual that served the twin purposes of carrying culture and also transmitting a particular manner of thought. Given Qin Dogball’s intellect, he immediately appreciated just how ingenious this idea of celebrating a festivity was.

Firstly, it would officially mark the closure of Kong Mo’s reign. Broadly speaking, it was a form of ideological and political education that informed the citizens that Hell could do everything that Kong Mo could, and then some!

It was a declaration that they were now part of the orthodox underworld of Cathay, otherwise known as Hell! It was intended to help all citizens who still had lingering thoughts about Qufu to finally put it behind them!

Secondly, and most crucially, it would give rise to an inflow of funds!

The plan thought up by the Department of Ghost Resources was patently clear, and that was to put Hell’s current inventory of goods on the market for a clearance sale! This would cause a surge of supply on the market and drive prices down such that everything could be sold on a 50% discount!

But the genius of it lay in the fact that everything could only be traded with the new currency of Hell. Not even barter trade was allowed!

This was a masterstroke that would instantly blow away all lingering resistance to adoption of Hell’s notes!

Finally, it would be the creation of a landmark.

High streets or commercial districts were things that had existed in every major town and city since time immemorial.

In the past, these streets would generally be located near the homes of high-ranking officials. Likewise, they would be located in the most built up and accessible areas in modern cities and towns.

Such districts were also a form of landmark that bore both cultural and spiritual significance!

Rustle, rustle, rustle… All of the Yin spirits scanned through the contents of the written proposal, before glancing up at Zhang Zeguang with a look of approbation.

It was impossible not to accept his proposal!

This was the might of a provincial governor of the mortal realm! Sure, the proposal might not be watertight, and one might even argue that it still reeks of predisposition to a certain perspective, but these minor drawbacks were absolutely insignificant next to the benefits to be reaped with such a proposal! It was well-balanced, judicious and even logical when an incremental developmental approach was to be considered! He was obviously the real deal through and through!

Kong Mo, oh Kong mo… Had you not been so set in your old ways and failed to consider tapping into the vast pool of talent you have right in front of your very eyes, do you really think I would have even stood a chance against Qufu to begin with? Behold, these are my spoils of war - the most wonderful, intangible returns on the investment of war!

Qin Ye suppressed the great excitement in his heart and glanced around at the ministers around who were all either whispering excitedly to each other or immersed in their own thoughts. This was a gathering of talents, all of whom were at least as competent as Zhang Zeguang, if not more! Qin Ye was almost certain that Hell’s progress was only going to skyrocket from now on.

This wasn’t the first time he had done a stocktake on the spoils of war in Ashmound City, and yet he still found himself overwhelmed when he took a closer inspection at the rewards reaped. He took the next few moments to calm his heart and mind, before finally plastering a faint smile on his face as he looked up at Zhang Zeguang, “An excellent proposal.”

“But I’ve got a few queries. Firstly, Ashmound has 17 industries, most of which pertain to the provision of basic necessities for our citizenry. Do we have sufficient inventory for your plan to work?”

Indeed, to a sprawling city occupying more than a hundred square kilometers in space and containing at least ten million Yin spirits, the existence of merely 17 industries was absolutely dismal. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter was that Ashmound City was clearly already stretched to its limits.

“We’ve got sufficient inventory of goods.” Zhang Zeguang cupped his hands respectfully, “But barely enough. I’ve already touched base with the other ministers around as soon as the proposal was firmed up. If we keep the industries fully operational and run productions through day and night, we'd be able to produce sufficient goods to meet the needs of the upcoming grand festival.”

Qin Ye nodded, “Secondly, I recall that the shops in the commercial districts are all privately-owned businesses, and not state-owned enterprises. The government doesn’t own anything apart from the energy supplies and banks. Do we have any measures in place to compensate these merchants for their cooperation?”

“We’ve already reached out to them and put our ears to the ground. To this end, we were thinking that if Lord Qin could satisfy their deepest desires to listen to the voice of their loved ones once more, they would be more than willing to cooperate. Most if not all of the merchants were in support of the plans. They were even willing to offer discounts on their goods.”

Yin and Yang are two sides of the same coin… Qin Ye was suddenly filled with a deeper understanding of this statement.

The best incentive he could provide in the underworld were still things of the mortal realm. The ability to relay dreams to loved ones or return to the mortal realm was one exclusive to Hell alone. This privilege alone already sets him miles apart from his nearest competitor!

“Excellent.” Qin Ye smiled and nodded, “I’ll take the lead from here, and I trust that the Department of Ghost Resources would give me their fullest support. Incidentally, it just so happens that we’d held a grand ceremony during the spring festival last year, so we’ve got something to work with. I’ve also got some other thoughts brewing at the back of my mind which I’ll have to discuss with you in greater detail.”

Zhang Zeguang nodded and sat back down with a bright smile on his face.

This was his first political achievement!

Tension?

Please feel free to carry on this battle between the hawks and the doves.

I’ll just watch silently from the sidelines. Then, when the tension gets red hot, I’ll douse it all out with my cool proposal that’s impossible to reject. Sure, you may have your eyes on the horizon, but what I’m proposing is something that Hell needs right now.

“Minister Zhang.” Qin Ye spoke up just as Zhang Zeguang took his seat, “This was a great proposal. Apart from wages, we’ve also got an important measure of contribution, which is merit, otherwise known as Yin virtue.”

Every Yin spirit instantly perked up their spirits and looked up at the main stage with a bright gleam in their eyes.

Qin Ye continued, “This is a form of evaluation that will be unique to the civil servants of Hell. Your promotion and transfer of duties will all be based on the Yin virtues you accrue. The exact particulars and details will be disclosed at the appropriate time in the near future. But before that happens, I’ll personally see to it that all deeds of virtues are manually recorded.”

“And to that end, Yin virtue will be directly linked to the privileges of returning to the mortal realm or relaying a dream to a loved one. Only those who make direct contributions to Hell will be attributed these Yin virtues.”

How utterly convenient.

The Book of Life and Death allows one to return to the mortal realm, relay dreams and even check on when a loved one will pass, and the cause of death itself. No wonder it’s known as one of the three divine artifacts of Hell! No wonder Liu Yu’s face instantly turned sour as soon as I threatened to withdraw all privileges of using the Book of Life and Death back then!

Without any access to the services provided by the Book of Life and Death, can one truly call himself the Yanluo of an underworld?

So what if you’ve gained independence? You don’t even know when a living person is going to die! Qin Ye clearly bore a grudge with a certain Mr Liu.

In the meantime, Qin Ye wanted to know just how desirable these services provided by the Book of Life and Death truly was. Thus, he cast the bait to test the waters, and spontaneously rolled out a benefit package...

“Minister Zhang’s proposal was excellent. According to the current reward system, he is hereby awarded with 5,000 merit points.”

5,000 merit points… All of the ministers nodded softly as they made a mental note in their hearts on the award granted to a policy of such implications.

Qin Ye smiled, “Incidentally, 5,000 merit points is just enough to be traded in for a three hours return trip to the mortal realm.”

Boom!!!

The ministers immediately reeled back from the impact of this bombshell!

Every single minister, regardless of when they were born, instantly looked up at Qin Ye with an intense glint in their eyes.

“Return trip to the mortal realm?” One of the ministers couldn’t help but remark aloud.

“That’s right.” Arthis spoke up, “Yanluo Qin and I will refine the rules from time to time, but as things currently stand, 5,000 merit points is exactly what one needs for a three hour return trip back to the mortal realm, from 12.00 a.m. to 3.00 a.m.”

Qin Ye added, “The location is entirely up to one’s own preferences. If you’re not aware of where the person you wish to see is currently located, Hell can even provide complimentary GPS services.”

Dead silence.

Several ministers' faces were completely flushed by now. It was obvious how stirring these news were!

Since when did we get access to such benefits?!

To think that someone has just earned himself a trip back to the mortal realm right in front of our very eyes!

Was there anyone of them who didn’t want to return to the mortal realm?

Who could possibly be unmoved by the prospects of seeing their loved ones, their former homes, and their descendants back in the mortal realm?

In fact, this was one of the greatest desires of any Yin spirit! Kong Mo had never been able to do something like that, yet to think that Qin Ye was able to drop such benefits without even batting an eyelid!

In an instant, everyone’s hearts were filled with the desire to contribute and identify with Hell!

But at the same time, they were also filled with great remorse.

Why wasn’t I the one who came up with that?

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