After a year of intensive studies, even the dumbest of idiots like Wang Chenghao would understand the importance of the entertainment industry to Hell. In fact, It wouldn’t even be an understatement to say that this was one of the necessities in any underworld out there.
After all, what were Yin spirits supposed to do whilst waiting to be reincarnated?
Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Without the presence of any entertainment amenities and facilities, the next best thing they would be doing would be to plan for the next Yin spirit rebellion or insurgency of Hell!
Therefore, this amusement park stood for far more than mere entertainment facilities. It represented both the longevity of Hell’s governance, as well as a simple probe at the entertainment appetite of the Yin spirits currently in Hell.
It also coincided with the introduction of Hell’s new currency, as well as the first celebration of the Hungry Ghost Festival in over a century. It was a declaration to all the wandering spirits out there in the mortal realm that they once again had a home to return to. Hell wasn’t strong in terms of military might, so it naturally needed another means of making an impression as soon as the Yin spirits arrived. All things considered, the amusement park represented Hell’s answer to the culmination of several major events all at once. Therefore, they simply couldn’t afford to make any mistakes at all!
Qin Ye responded softly, “The shard of King Yanluo’s Seal would enable me to go anywhere in Hell I so desire, so long as it forms part of Hell’s territory. I’ll do my best to return as often as I can. Besides, the Yin spirits would only become even more orderly when the gates of Hell open up. Furthermore, the mortal realm wouldn’t be too concerned about one of their own, so I wouldn’t be too concerned on that front.”
Yet, for some strange reason, Wang Chenghao couldn’t help but sense something amiss.
He blinked and stared intently at Qin Ye, “Brother Qin… are you… still living in the mortal realm?”
Qin Ye raised an eyebrow quizzically.
“Don’t you think that… that’s rather inappropriate?”
“What’s wrong with it?” Qin Ye set down his teacup.
Wang Chenghao gulped and went on, “Brother Qin, you’re the King Yanluo of Hell! Don’t you think it’s not appropriate to be habitually absent from events as major as this? Are you planning to throw it all to Arakshasa? The Frontier Brigade hasn’t been commissioned yet, so we’re expecting the complete attendance of 20 million Yin spirits! Do you think she’d be able to have oversight of everything happening all on her own?”
And even if she could, what do you think she would make of you once everything is over? What would the ministers of Hell think about their leader?
Wang Chenghao wasn’t a fool. He knew full well that if these were questions that had occurred to his mind, there was no way Qin Ye wouldn’t have considered these things as well.
But Qin Ye didn’t say anything in response. Wang One Tail waited for thirty seconds for Qin Ye’s response, before finally going on, “If you ask me… I sincerely think that it’s no longer appropriate for you to be messing around back in the mortal realm any longer…”
“There’s no longer a need, is there? Doesn’t Ashmound give you more than enough to go on? You’ve got over 20 million Yin spirits, and a multitude of things to be done! What good would remaining in the mortal--...”
Yet, before he could go on, Qin Ye simply tossed his head back and stared blankly at the ceiling, “Have you met with Arthis?”
“N-no.” Wang Chenghao was somewhat stumped by Qin Ye’s question.
Qin Ye nodded softly. Then, after a period of tense silence, he snorted contemptuously, “Everyone seems to think the same way. Everyone seems to think that I should remain in Hell. That’s right… I think so too, but… I just don’t think the time is ripe for that yet.”
“What do you mean by ripe? All you need to do is simply to fake your own death…”
“Because I’m not willing!” Qin Ye bellowed back, “Of course I’m not going to be irresponsible. Having assumed responsibility for Hell as the Third King Yanluo, I’m naturally going to discharge my obligations and do what I must. But, One Tail, don’t you think you guys should at least give me some time to transition into my role?”
“One year! That’s all I’m asking! Why is everyone forcing me to sit in the throne right away?!!”
Qin Ye’s indignation burgeoned, and he practically roared towards the end of his great spiel. He slammed his hands down hard on the table, and his breath instantly grew ragged. Even the lids on the teacups rattled as a result of his actions.
Wang Chenghao opened his lips to respond, but found himself rendered completely speechless.
He was just about to disagree with Qin Ye. He was about to say that a year was far too long. Ashmound’s current state meant that there were a multitude of things to be done, yet nobody could locate Qin Ye whenever they had problems to be resolved, or policies to be passed. Everyone was waiting for Qin Ye to take the reins proper, and something was bound to go wrong if Qin Ye didn’t do something soon.
Unfortunately, he didn’t dare go on.
This was clearly a conflict between a subordinate and a superior. He didn’t have the eloquence to convince Qin Ye of his views. Furthermore, this pertained to an issue of sacrifice of either the greater good or the self. He knew that this was a decision which Qin Ye had to make himself. Unfortunately, Qin Ye had come to a late realization on the need for such an election.
“There are only eight days until the grand festivities celebrating the Hungry Ghost Festival.” Qin Ye waved his hand somewhat wearily, “I’ll be addressing the citizens tomorrow to notify them of the details of these festivities. Everything has already been vetted through and approved by Hell’s ministers. We’re well on track as far as the Hungry Ghost Festival is concerned. You may take your leave for now. Go inquire of Secretary Zhou as to where your lodging is going to be. He will show you where you can get your supplies as well. I’d like to be alone for a while.”
Wang Chenghao left without another word.
Qin Ye crossed his arms, shut his eyes and lowered his head, where he languished in his own thoughts. After some time, he got to his feet and took his leave from the building located in the heart of the Mythic Palace of Reflections.
He made his way straight to the sixth floor of the building, where he had a full view of the entire expanse of the city. There, he silently observed his subjects scuttling about with their daily affairs.
Damn these plethora of loose ends…
He knew full well where his focus ought to lie. Once the grand festivities were done and dusted, he would have to commission the Frontier Brigades, prepare the itineraries for those who were to make a trip back to the mortal realm, formalize the claims system for the merit points to be awarded in Hell, and source for an appropriate Yin beast to be used for transport purposes. He would even need to stabilize the governance of Ashmound, as well as officially claim the rest of Eastmount Province as his own.
He felt terrible that he couldn’t always be around for the upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival celebrations. It was almost akin to the head honcho making nothing more than a cursory appearance every now and then during the grand national day celebrations.
The complexion of my role and responsibility has changed…
Qin Ye sighed wistfully in his heart. Hell’s needs had completely changed ever since he’d seized control of Ashmound. After all, the moment he seized control marked the moment that he had discarded his role as the mayor of a small town and assumed responsibility as the mayor of a large municipality. It marked a qualitative change in his role and responsibilities. Naturally, he knew that it wasn’t appropriate to continue straddling both realms. He lusted after his old lifestyle back in the mortal realm, and he also wanted to do well as the mayor of the city. That said, he knew he couldn’t have his cake and eat it as well.
Unfortunately, it was difficult to let go.
It felt like getting used to the high life, only to have to take the plunge in pursuit for something more.
Perhaps what he lusted was the freedom that straddling both realms proffered him.
Then, just as he was walking down to the fifth floor of the building, he heard a voice suddenly call out to him, “It’s rare to see you in such a plaintive and contemplative mood.”
It was Arthis.
The sixth floor of the building was where the Mythic Palace of Reflections was located, and not a single Yin spirit was allowed to come close to those parts - not even Arthis. This was a barrier that the Harken had personally erected, and Qin Ye was the only exception to the rule.
“Why are you here?”
“Because I couldn’t find you during the day.” Arthis responded placidly, “You’ll be addressing the people tomorrow to inform everyone about the details of the upcoming festivity. That said, don’t you think you’ve forgotten to fix a time for the same?”
“We’re facing a shortage of paper right now, because we simply don’t have sufficient electricity to produce paper. The few generators we’ve received from the mortal realm simply isn’t enough for these purposes. Moreover, all of our spare generators have been channeled towards the production of the special yellow paper that will be used for the purposes of recording and registering the citizens’ Yin energy signature. These would be immediately used for verification purposes for their entry to the amusement park. Therefore, as far as tomorrow’s public announcement is concerned, I’m afraid I’ll have to trouble you once again to manifest your spiritual presence across the entire city to inform each of the citizens.”
Arthis paused for a moment, and then responded with some measure of disdain, “Well, then, Lord-Busy-Qin, when would be a good time for you? I hope you’re not thinking of holding a general assembly in the middle of the night like our meeting today, right?”
“Sure, Yin spirits might not need sleep, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t need rest either.”
Her words were filled with undeniable sarcasm, yet Qin Ye didn’t even know where to begin with a retort. Thus, he paused for a moment, and then responded curtly, “Seven.”
“Kindly notify the citizens during the day that I’ll be addressing the general populace at 7.00 p.m.”
“Nah.” Arthis flatly refused as she motioned to take her leave, “It’s probably better that I refrain from doing something like that. I wouldn’t want to have to do all the legwork, only to have you cancel on us because of something you have to attend to in the mortal realm. Besides, as soon as you manifest your spiritual body, everyone in Hell would be able to see you.”
7 August. 8 days until the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the gates of Hell were opened once more.
Qin Ye opened his eyes back in the mortal realm. It was already 7.00 a.m.
He was somewhat drained from having to deal with all of the documentation at night. Truth be told, there were a number of questions that arose in his mind when he was going through the documents, but the Yin spirits responsible for the paperwork had all retired for the night, and were nowhere to be seen.
Even if they didn’t need sleep, nobody would be working at 2.00 a.m.
Qin Ye was just about to head out for breakfast when he received a phone call.
It was Wu Wenqing, “Mr Qin, we’ve already received a preliminary investigation report on the worksite at Lush Garden Acres. Could I know when might be a good time to review the same with you?”
Qin Ye thought about his engagements for the day, and then promptly responded, “Let’s do it right now.” With that, he hung up, flagged a cab down and made his way straight towards the Special Investigations Department.
When he arrived, he was ushered straight to the conference room. Then, as soon as he entered, he suddenly paused.
Mo Changhao’s here as well?
He immediately recalled the image that he had seen on the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal, and he subconsciously chose a seat slightly further away from Mo Changhao.
Mo Changhao nodded at Qin Ye, “I didn’t intend to head down personally, but I was informed that Mr Qin had personally investigated the site and determined that the threat might be at the level of an incarnate revenant. There are only two Infernal Judges in the Eastmount Province right now, so I’d thought to head over in person to take a closer look at matters.”
Qin Ye nodded as he surveyed the rest of the room. At once, he realized that most of those present right now were white-coated men from the SRC. Furthermore, most of them appeared to be on the elderly side.
Given their age, they must each be subject-matter experts…
For some strange reason, his heartbeats began to accelerate.
The notion of the calm before the storm once again surfaced on his mind.
It was calm, yet there was a looming sense of foreboding.
It felt almost as though everything were stirring beneath the facade of calmness, ready to erupt at the slightest of catalysts.
The strong sense of premonition washed through his heart, causing him to fidget uneasily in his own seat. Within moments, Qin Ye suddenly stood up once more, “Sorry, I’ll make a quick trip to the washroom.”
Naturally, none of them would object to an Infernal Judge’s use of the washroom. This time, as soon as Qin Ye entered a cubicle, he immediately retrieved his shard of King Yanluo’s Seal and took a glance at it.
At once, his pupils narrowed.
This time, every facet of the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal depicted the exact same image.
And that was the image of Qin Ye in his Hell’s Emissary State, sitting at his seat on the sixth floor of the building located at the very heart of the Mythic Palace of Reflections, basking in the glorious worship of hundreds of officials!
Even then… he could sense that the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal felt slightly different from before.
Even the simple act of holding it caused him to feel almost as though he were situated in the eye of the storm. It felt almost as though the shard was prompting and alerting him to the fact that something unseen had begun to shift around him.
And right now, he was experiencing the calm before the intense, raging storm.
He shook his head and dispelled these thoughts, before soon returning to the conference room. As soon as he sat down, a middle-aged man bearing the emblem of the SRC stood up and addressed him, “Mr Qin, we’ve actually arrived yesterday, and we’ve taken the liberty to conduct some preliminary investigations, only to discover that the Yin energy down under… is completely off the charts.”
“Furthermore, our investigations reveal that there are some mega structures located below that appear to have been in existence for the longest time. We’ve already sent word back to the SRC headquarters to request support from the most professional archaeological team. They should arrive shortly, and the excavation date is presently slated for 15 August.”
Qin Ye was just running his hand along the lid of his teacup when he suddenly paused.
Alarm bells immediately went off in his mind. There were simply too many things coinciding with 15 August for things to be a mere coincidence.
Everything appeared to be converging together like the tightly knit fuse of a pack of dynamite, whose fuse had just been lit.Previous Chapter Next Chapter