Chapter 506: Hungry Ghost Festival (3)

The daolord of the asura’s heart sank to rock bottom when he received no response from Qin Ye whatsoever - Is this it?

Perhaps he might have been caught off guard at our first meeting, but he’s undoubtedly extended me an olive branch at our second meeting. But I’ve failed to seize it properly!

Thud!

He kowtowed so hard that there were even cracks on the ground, “This sinner… deserves nothing but death! I’ve transgressed against the authority of Hell! But… on account for the fact that this great sinner may still be useful to Hell, please be merciful to me! I’m willing to do anything for Hell!”

It took Qin Ye several moments to return to his senses, before finally nodding softly at the daolord with a placid expression, “Get up.”

“Yes.”

“Tell me, what exactly do you mean by Shadow Replica? I’ve just assumed the throne, and I’ve not had the opportunity to go through in detail the records of the old Hell.”

“Yes.” The daolord responded with the utmost respect and caution, “Shadow Replica is a concept derived from Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction, and it refers to the phenomenon that whatever appears in the netherworld would most certainly appear in the mortal realm.”

“What Your Excellency saw earlier… was the projection of the gates of Hell into the mortal realm, and the mortal realm will also see it as such. My Lord, this is the first time in over a century that we’re going to be seeing the jaunt of a thousand ghosts! Endless Yin spirits would pour forth from every direction towards the gates of Hell tonight. May I take this opportunity to congratulate Your Excellency for easily increasing the population of Hell by yet another million at the very least!”

Qin Ye froze.

He was absolutely dumbfounded.

An intense sensation of fear surged from his spine and filled every fiber of his being, because it finally dawned on him the implications of what he had failed to realize.

The Harken had time and again asked him about Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction, but he failed to consider the implications of such a question altogether. Having been straddling two realms, his mind was completely stretched to its limits dealing with the affairs of both realms as best he could. Where would he find the time to address his mind to this seemingly irrelevant law of the netherworld?

Come to think of it… The implications are indescribably immense! No wonder it’s called one of the two great laws of the netherworld!

What appears in the netherworld would also appear in the mortal realm. Yin and Yang are but two sides of the same coin. Since that’s the case, then what appears in Ashmound City in the netherworld would naturally also show up in its equivalent back in the mortal realm!

“So… Ashmound City… is located right beneath Martial City!”

“I’ve removed the Mythic Palace of Reflections from Qufu, brought it to the netherworld and placed it right beneath Martial City… In other words… the projection of Ashmound… is going to appear in Martial City itself?”

A wave of chill instantly filled his heart.

This was a calamity!

He had failed to consider how the Yin spirits in the mortal realm were going to enter the netherworld.

That’s right… The existence of a rift means that Yin spirits in the mortal realm can easily enter Hell. But with the establishment of an entire city here, and the projection of Hell’s gates, who would take the narrow road of a rift in the mortal realm?!

Tonight is going to be the night of a thousand ghosts! What’s the mortal realm government going to do? How will it affect Hell?

These were matters that he had never considered before. In his selfish ambition to straddle both realms, he had inadvertently bitten off far more than he could chew. This was a lacuna of his considerations that only those who had lived in the old Hell would have known about. But why didn’t anyone warn him about it?

“My Lord?” Having received no response from Qin Ye again, the daolord of the asura prompted him cautiously. Qin Ye’s eyes flickered wildly, and he immediately responded, “I’ll have Lady Arakshasa show you around for a bit. You may return in an hour and a half.”

“Yes.” Whilst bewildered by his response, the daolord of the asura knew it wasn’t in his place to question Qin Ye’s decision. Thus, he humbly took his leave.

Qin Ye watched the daolord’s figure vanish around the corner of the city walls, before clenching his fist tightly and slamming it against the city wall.

He knew full well that had the daolord of the asura even raised his head earlier, the first thing he would notice would be the ashen expression on his own face.

His heart was in a mess right now.

Hell’s gate is open, and all of the Yin spirits of the Eastmount Province are going to be pouring over in no time! What should Hell do? Should we deploy some Emissaries of Hell to maintain the order in the mortal realm? And what should I do?

We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of Yin spirits lining up on the national highway. What’s the mortal realm going to do about that? How will this affect the negotiations I’ve got lined up with the mortal realm?

No. We’ll shelve that. There’s nothing to talk about unless I can see Hell through this crisis!

This is far worse than even the implementation of Hell’s new currency!

“Calm down… calm down… I’ll have to think it through carefully…” He glanced at Spider Lily Island as his mind spun at full speed.

He refused to admit it. He simply refused to admit that this was a result of the dereliction of his own duties!

“Oda Nobutada isn’t here either… DAMN IT!” Oda Nobutada had been captured by the daolord of the asura, and the daolord clearly hadn’t released him from captivity just yet.

Who else is there… who else is there?!

He hated the fact that he couldn’t just split himself into two beings.

“That’s right… Lush Garden Acres in the mortal realm… That must be where Hell’s gate is located! The Yin energy pouring out from within should have alerted me to that fact! We’re talking about the energy of 20 million Yin spirits after all! The allure of such land of milk and honey is most certainly going to draw a multitude of Yin spirits towards it…” Qin Ye shut his eyes in agony and sighed wistfully. The signs were all there, yet he simply didn’t think to address his mind to it.

It’s not that these didn’t seem important. It’s just that each sign and symptom appeared to be completely unrelated to the other, and it’s only when the puzzle pieces all fell into place that the big picture finally appears…

“I’ve definitely got to head towards the mortal realm. That’s something I’ve got to do as the King Yanluo of Hell. Incidentally, this is also the best way of increasing Hell’s population size. That said… how could I possibly leave the daolord of the asura here unattended?!”

“How am I supposed to feel assured leaving an Abyssal Prefect running loose in Hell?!”

“Granted, I can ask Harken to keep an eye out for him, but… that’s about all the Harken can do! It’s currently still severely wounded, and it’s not able to return to Hell. If I allow the daolord of the asura to wander about freely, he’d most probably discover what’s truly going on in Hell. And to that end, he doesn’t simply represent himself, because he’s undoubtedly still in contact with the two other daolords - it’s three Abyssal Prefects we’re talking about! These are the three largest rebel forces that are currently hindering Hell’s reclamation of the rest of the Cathayan underworld!”

“What he sees will most certainly be relayed to the two other daolords, and the intelligence they gain will enable them to properly weigh all considerations, and effectively put the ball right back in their court. Sure, it’s not entirely impossible to regain control of the entire nation, but Hell as it currently stands certainly doesn’t possess the military prowess to withstand repeated wars. The death of Yin spirits would mean that Hell will have to wait for the next major ghost festival for the next inflow of Yin spirits, and this is in turn only going to delay the expansion plans of Hell indefinitely! Therefore, by hook or by crook, I simply must confine the daolord of the asura to the best possible perspective of Hell! And if I’m going to have him act as my mouthpiece, then… I simply have to keep a close watch over him!”

“I’ll need full control over where he can go, and where he can’t; what he can see, and what he can’t! Nobody knows the intricacies of such an operation better than I. But… how am I supposed to do that when I’ve got to head straight back to the mortal realm right now!!!”

His mind was filled with thoughts, while his heart felt as though it were being scratched by a hundred claws. Moments later, he summoned a messenger bird and sent it flying straight into the amusement park.

At times like this, the ones he could trust were naturally only those closest to him.

He stood on the city tower, pacing about anxiously as time trickled by slowly. Forty minutes later, a Yin spirit finally barged through the door with a huff in his breath, “Brother Qin, what’s going on?”

“Immediately mobilize all troops… We’re deploying to the mortal realm right now!” Qin Ye spoke with great urgency as he grabbed Wang Chenghao’s hands, “Have the generals rally the troops! As soon as they’re ready, have them assemble outside the city walls!”

What unprecedented urgency… Wang Chenghao had never seen Qin Ye like this. He paused for a moment, and then responded gravely, “Brother Qin, what’s going on?”

“Just get it done!” Qin Ye bellowed back, before shaking his head with resignation, “My intentions have been far too obvious thus far. And now that the daolord is here, I daresay that he’s watching every single one of my moves closely. At a time like this, there’s simply no way I can publicly make an announcement to notify everyone of the exigent situation that has just arisen! The Hungry Ghost Festival… The perfect start to the Hungry Ghost Festival must go on! I can’t let the citizens panic at this moment!”

And therein was the source of the bind.

They were like invisible threads of silk, weaving around and all over Qin Ye’s body, so much so that he suddenly felt bound and restrained. The events this night felt much too coincidental, almost as though it were all scripted and designed to trap him in an inextricable mire.

“I understand!” Wang Chenghao knew better than to say more, and he immediately motioned to rush straight down the city walls.

“Hang on.” Qin Ye added, “Make it a point to notify the Black Armored Troops first. They’re the most adept force Hell has when it comes to resisting an onslaught of Yin spirits! We’re going to see an influx of Yin spirits tonight. I’m afraid that something terrible is going to happen if we leave the mortal realm completely unguarded. This is a situation that we’ve never experienced before! We’ve got to be prepared for anything!”

“Yes!”

……………………………………………….

Back in Limbo. The Second King Yanluo of Hell stood in front of a screen made of Yin energy, “Not bad. He’s reacting well to the situation. However… it’s still too late.”

“As a Yanluo, you’re clothed with duties and responsibilities, and everything has its causes and effects. Well… I’d ask that you have a good taste of the karma which you’ve sown for yourself…”

“One must understand where his primary allegiance lies. It’s impossible to have your cake and eat it as well. Straddling two realms without getting your priorities right is never a good thing. One who has assumed responsibility for Hell as its next King Yanluo must not have any lingering attachments to the mortal realm!”

“This is your duty. The King Yanluo of Hell has to shoulder the heavy burden of billions of Yin spirits while keeping things in balance.”

The wheels of Fate had clearly already begun to turn.

Bit by bit, everything was slowly coming together to set the stage for the climax. Arthis respectfully got down to a knee, “Mr Lord… Regrettably… I’m afraid that we’ll lose hundreds of thousands of Yin spirits tonight.”

“If memory serves me well, the influx of Yin spirits on a night like this would trigger a surge in the density of Yin energy, thereby causing many Yin spirits to develop spiritual intelligence in an instant. Many will find themselves unwilling to be reincarnated, or even unwilling to leave the mortal realm and head down to the pits of Hell. They will run and hide, while others who move merely by instincts would naturally follow the lead of stronger Yin spirits around them. If left uncontrolled, the situation would only escalate, and the aggregation of emotions would eventually congeal to form Yin marionettes such as Wrath.”

“Historically, Hell has always deployed a multitude of troops to stand guard against any exigencies in the mortal realm. The same situation must be taking place in the City of Salvation right now, but I’m not too concerned because there’s Oda Nobunaga taking charge there. Conversely, given the sheer size and magnitude of Ashmound City, the gates of Hell that will be appearing in the mortal realm around these parts is going to be absolutely extraordinary. Furthermore, the mortal realm must already be aware that something is brewing on the horizon. The Yin spirits of the entire Eastmount Province must be heading over right now. In fact, the allure of Hell’s gate might even be affecting the Yin spirits of Breakwaters Province. After all… we’re talking about the fragrant allure of the Book of Life and Death.”

“And it’s already too late to salvage the situation. Losing this many Yin spirits will truly be a pinch for Hell as it stands…”

“But that’s on him.” The Harken interjected, “I’ve tried to explain to him Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction, but he left in the middle, clearly disinterested in all this. I didn’t even get the chance to tell him about the changes that would affect him. But if he’s not interested in listening, I’m not going to waste my efforts on him.”

“And see where that got him?” It went on, “He’s completely unaware that the management style for a city the size of Ashmound City is completely different from that of the City of Salvation. We’re talking about a transition from a small town to a massive city. Have you ever seen the mayor of an entire provincial capital running off into the woods everyday to frolic as he pleases?”

“He needs a year, but do we really have that luxury of time?! There’s a multitude of things to be done! Do you know that I was initially hesitant to even assist him with his idea of the amusement park. If not for the fact that it concerned the lives of 20 million Yin spirits, do you really think I’d have relented in the end?!”

“One must always pay the price for their own wrongdoing. That’s how this world has always been.” It stared into the skies in the distance, “Look… It’s already begun. The jaunt of a thousand ghosts in Eastmount Province. What a rare sight to behold…”

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