The next few days passed by rather uneventfully, both in the netherworld, as well as the mortal realm.
Qin Ye was incredibly vigilant. His wealth of life experiences had taught him to be wary of everything that happened around him, and it didn’t help that he even felt as though the things happening around him were being orchestrated by a greater being that seemed to loom over him.
To that end, it wasn’t an overt sensation that he experienced, because it wasn’t as though everything had happened all at once. On the surface, everything appeared fine, but the cumulation of many small incidents seemed to hint at undercurrents of change and trouble brewing on the horizon.
The few days of calm and peace appeared to assuage the tension in his heart slightly. But, even then, he couldn’t shake off the niggling feeling that this was more indicative of the fact that the pieces had all fallen into place, and the storm was ready to erupt. The fact that no other incidents were happening was no different from the calm before the storm. Thus, he was unable to let up completely.
Regardless, he didn’t have the luxury of time to address his mind to these suspicions on his heart.
Qin Ye’s secretary knocked on the door to his office, “Sir, Mr Wang has arrived.” Moments later, the door opened, and Wang Chenghao walked right into the room.
Qin Ye glanced at the documents in front of him as he spoke with a deep voice, “Good. I’d like you to start showing him the ropes about how things are done around here. He will be my assistant in future, while you’ll continue to act as my secretary. There’s nothing more from me for now. Anyway, it’s already 2.00 a.m. in the mortal realm. Go get some rest.”
“Yes.” With that, the secretary left the room.
Wang Chenghao surveyed Qin Ye’s office curiously, obviously astounded by what he was seeing. He’d just been transferred from the City of Salvation to Martial City because Qin Ye sincerely believed it was better to have his trusted aides close by his side.
Time trickled by quickly as Qin Ye went about his duties, while Wang Chenghao continued to inspect the grand office space he was in. Twenty minutes later, Qin Ye finally set his documents down and massaged his temples as he leaned back into his seat to get some rest. He picked up a teacup without a word.
“Have a taste.” He somewhat offhandedly nodded at the other cup of tea on the table in front of him, “This is one of Ashmound’s specialties. I call it the Ashmound Tea. The plantation is rather small right now, but I’m planning to expand productions.”
Wang Chenghao could sense that there was something different about Qin Ye from when they’d last met.
It was a gradual change, one that those who were habitually around Qin Ye could never detect. However, those who hadn’t seen Qin Ye for a period of time would most certainly find things somewhat different. To this end, Wang Chenghao could sense that Qin Ye now carried himself with an air of nobility and authority about him.
Perhaps this is only befitting of the leader of a sprawling city having charge over 20 million Yin spirits…
As he mulled over these matters, Wang Chenghao picked up the cup of tea in front of him and took a sip. And then, his eyes suddenly lit up.
The tea is actually warm!
Items that bore or transmitted warmth were incredibly precious in the netherworld because they gave Yin spirits the illusion of being alive. Sure, Wang Chenghao might have already gotten used to living in the icy cold reaches of Hell by now, but that only made the warm cup of tea even more surprising and pleasant to the taste.
“This would belong to… the botanical industry? Agricultural industry? Or perhaps the food industry?” Wang One Tail commented thoughtfully.
Qin Ye set down his teacup, leaned back into his seat and chortled softly, “What’s the matter? Looks like you’ve picked up a thing or two in your previous few internships, haven’t you? Are you finally getting used to things around here?” He had been far too busy with official matters in both the mortal realm and the netherworld that banal interactions such as these were actually a breath of fresh air to his weary mind.
Without missing a beat, Qin Ye continued, “I’m so busy here with official affairs that I don’t even have the time to walk the ground. Ashmound City has a population size of over 20 million Yin spirits. There’s just too much to do around here. Once we get it up and running proper, its influence in the region would even extend to the farthest reaches of Eastmount Province itself. Thus, it’s all the more important to start things off around here on the right foot. As mentioned earlier, I’ve transferred you over to act as my assistant around these parts. There’s a shortage of manpower everywhere.”
Wang Chenghao nodded, “So, what exactly is the difference between an assistant and a secretary?”
Qin Ye responded in earnest, “The secretary is the one that gets screwed over.”
“......” Wang Chenghao was momentarily dumbfounded by Qin Ye’s response - Bloody hell… what a good response. But why does it still feel like there’s something amiss here…
Several seconds later, Wang Chenghao probed cautiously, “So… is the assistant the one who screws him?”
And then, both men began to guffaw at the idiocy of their exchange.
Sure enough, those who had lived in the mortal realm would always behave the same way. Qin Ye was still the same Qin Ye as before.
Having laughed their fill, Qin Ye rapped the table softly, “But, seriously, if we look at the two, the secretary’s role would be to take charge of the clerical affairs, including writing letters, handling correspondence, and so on and so forth. On the other hand, the assistant would be tasked with the more administrative affairs, including attending executive meetings on my behalf when I’m not around. You will be conferred the authority to handle these administrative matters as you deem fit and call the shots where decisions are concerned. These are all functions that the secretary cannot perform.”
Wang Chenghao responded with some apprehension, “But… I’ve got no experience in this regard. I mean… sure, I’ve taken notes before, but… don’t you think you’re suddenly throwing me in the deep end over here?”
“One must start somewhere.” Qin Ye massaged his temples, “Besides, with the backing of someone as powerful as I, are you truly satisfied with simply getting by as an ordinary Yin spirit? What do you think your other classmates from the First Academy of Cultivators are going to say when they finally descend into Hell? You’re going to become a huge laughingstock!”
Ouch. It was a comment that stung Wang Chenghao where it hurt most.
Even then, Qin Ye didn’t bother giving Wang Chenghao any further room for retort. Besides, no measure of retort would change Qin Ye’s mind, “How’s things in the City of Salvation been?”
“Excellent. The news of Ashmound’s great victory has been announced to the citizens through Hell’s Media Group, and everyone is talking about it right now. In fact, curiosity about Ashmound is rising like the tide. To this end, there are two things that I’d like to talk to you about.” Wang Chenghao paused for a moment to sort through his thoughts, “Firstly, we’ll need to develop transportation infrastructure between the two cities in order to stimulate mutual economic growth and development--... Don’t look at me like that! Do you think I can’t improve either?!”
Qin Ye retracted the incredulous look on his face and nodded in agreement, “Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy to achieve something like that in the near future. I’ve also had this discussion with Arthis, and it would seem that transportation between cities is largely dependent on the particular type of Yin beasts available to us. Now that the ecosphere of the entire netherworld has changed completely, we’ve been unable to locate any suitable Yin beasts to facilitate transportation. Plans in this regard will have to be shelved for now. What’s the other point you were going to raise?”
“The second point pertains to Yin Construction’s worksites. Hell’s undergone a complete overhaul, and you should make a trip there when you’ve got the time. Many of the works have already been completed, and we’re simply waiting for you to officiate the grand opening of these buildings. We’re in the process of clearing up the debris right now. I was specifically tasked by Mr Oda Nobunaga to make arrangements in this regard with you.”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows and nodded, “I’ve got it. I’ll get down to it some time this month, I suppose.”
With that, he wrapped up the discussion on the two matters, before shoving a one-centimeter stack of documents over towards Wang Chenghao, “Right now, what’s most pressing is the upcoming grand festivities in celebration of the Hungry Ghost Festival. These festivities will be held in conjunction with Hell’s launch of its currency. Without currency, there would be no incentive to motivate citizens to work, and productivity would stagnate… Don’t you look at me like that as well! It’s the assistant’s duty to be of the same mind as the leader! Listen to what I have to say while you read the documents!”
Wang Chenghao looked up, only to find Qin Ye standing to his feet and gazing out into the deep night sky - he was probably the only one still hard at work at this ungodly hour at night. Qin Ye stretched lazily and cracked his joints as he continued, “To make the new currency more appealing to the masses, I’ve dangled the fruit of higher interest rates to the citizens. However, all of that is still contingent on their acceptance of the new currency. Therefore, my intention is to smoothen the path to acceptance with a great sale.”
Wang Chenghao skimmed through the documents within dozens of seconds, and his eyes immediately gleamed brightly. He gasped deeply, but continued to listen intently to Qin Ye’s explanations, “Everything you see there will be sold at 50% off. Value-hunting runs deep in the hearts of all Cathayans, as does snapping up bargains. Making the new currency of Hell the foundation of this upcoming great sale will naturally smoothen the transition and the citizen’s acceptance of it.”
“And what about this? What purpose does this serve?” One Tail pointed to the plans for a massive amusement park with great astonishment, “You plan to erect an amusement park in the middle of the underworld? Who’s going to do it? How will we power its operations?”
“The Harken will do it.” Qin Ye responded placidly, “Naturally, its operations will be driven by his Yin energy. We’re talking about 20 million Yin spirits in Ashmound. Even if each Yin spirit is only worth one Yin, we’re talking easily about Yin energy amounting to 20 million Yin. These are figures that only the Harken can achieve. I’ve also asked him whether he would require any specific materials, such as soil or wood, but he’s told me that it’s possible to construct everything entirely out of Yin energy.”
“However, this method can only be used to power a single city.” Qin Ye opened the door and allowed a soft breeze to sweep into the room, “Meanwhile, Hell will still need to find a more sustainable source of energy to support its operations. The Harken was only willing to make an exception for Hell because these upcoming celebrations coincide with the first celebration of the Hungry Ghost Festival in the last century. The gates of Hell will be open once again. It’s symbolism is undeniable.”
Wang Chenghao wondered aloud, “Hell’s gates are open… but where are the Yin spirits supposed to come from? Aren’t all of them already in Ashmound?”
“Are you an idiot?” Qin Ye rolled his eyes at Wang One Tail, “On what basis would Kong Mo be receiving Yin spirits from the mortal realm? Qufu was established decades ago, and the Yin spirits he’d received back then are all Yin spirits who were already wandering about the mortal realm back when Qufu was first inaugurated. But it’s been decades since then. Who knows just how many more Yin spirits are wandering the mortal realm again? What do you think these Yin spirits are? Dead?”
Wang Chenghao coughed lightly, “Well… technically, they are…”
Qin Ye glared ferociously at Wang Chenghao. At once, Wang Chenghao made a mental note never to kid around about the volatile King Yanluo of Hell ever again.
The plans that he was currently holding were the culmination of all the efforts of the various ministers and directors of various departments. This was an action plan that had been repeatedly scrutinized by the administrative elites of the prevailing elite talents in Hell. Everything was carefully considered, while the approach was spot on.
Yet what was the most astounding about these plans was simply the sheer scale of its implementation!
The grand festivities were going to see the launch of a new district on the outskirts of Ashmound - the Yin Spirits Amusement Park!
And the only means of entry is through the purchase of tickets using the prevailing currency of Hell! In fact, that wasn’t the only condition to enter the amusement park. All who had satisfied the first condition of purchasing a ticket using the new currency of Hell would even have to register their unique Yin energy signature with Hell’s government for verification before they would be allowed entry! Such registration was something that closely involved Hell’s arts, and its operations naturally required the personal oversight of both Qin Ye and Arthis!
Beyond that, the sheer magnitude of the amusement park was also nothing to laugh at! In fact, it was even sub-divided into two zones, an old school zone and a new school zone!
The old school zone would be filled with entertainment facilities designed around themes that have traditionally been popular throughout Eastmount Province, including commentaries of the region, operas, lanterns, and even pear garden districts. On the other hand, the new school zone would feature the more popular and trendy new-age themes, including Naruto, LoL, Starcraft, Diablo and other big names!
The sheer magnitude of the amusement park’s design caused Wang Chenghao’s heart to thump wildly.
Ah, that’s right - he had no heart.
For instance, the Diablo-themed spaceship ride would be built around a colossal Diablo situated in the middle of it all. Take note - Diablo would be alive! Alive! Alive! Repetition was the key for emphasis!
This was a remarkable feature that the planning committee had ironed out with Qin Ye. They would be creating a giant robot Diablo that moved just like the real thing. Numerous spaceships would shuttle about around the Diablo replica, dangerously avoiding the destructive burns of its “lightning fury” attack as they swooped about on one of the most thrilling attractions in the amusement park. The specifications of the rides here were absolutely through the roof!
For further instance, the Naruto ferris wheel featured a colossal statue that could move independently. And as it operated, it would even from time to time employ a technique known as Chibaku Tensei, during which the entire ferris wheel would be completely engulfed in netherflames! Even then, none of the Yin spirits situated within the rides would be hurt by these flames. To repeat… the statue can move independently!!!
“Holy crap…” Wang Chenghao gasped in amazement, “That’s awesome…”
And that wasn’t all. There were still Star Wars themed pirate ship rides, Independence Day space shuttle rides, and so on and so forth. Whether old school or new school, the rides were guaranteed to shock the visitors out of their souls!
Ah, that’s right… they’re already nothing more than souls…
For the next ten minutes or so, Wang Chenghao continued to scan through the document before setting it down with a great sigh of exclamation, “Fantastic… Absolutely fantastic! I’m almost certain that this would be the knock-out punch that would seal the implementation of Hell’s new monetary system!”
“But I’ve got a question.” Wang Chenghao wondered aloud, “Brother Qin, how do you deal with the issue of security at such a massive amusement park?”
“I’ve looked at the specifications of all of the rides. Whether admissions or rides, everything seems to require the oversight of an Infernal Judge. Lord Harken is only in charge of the supply of Yin energy and acting as a generator, so how is Hell supposed to manage with just you two Judges?”
“This is going to be the first grand festivity celebrated in an entire century! We simply cannot allow for any mistakes! Besides, the occurrence of the Hungry Ghost Festival is also when the Special Investigations Department will be on full alert. You’re now known as an Infernal Judge back in the mortal realm, and would be regarded as one of the mainstay pillars of existence in the mortal realm. How… would you balance these commitments of yours?”
1. A black hole-ish technique. https://naruto.fandom.com/wiki/Chibaku_Tensei