They lay on the deck of the boat, resting for the next thirty minutes, until the lotus leaves hanging overhead grew sparser and sparser, and a small island appeared in view over the horizon.
Neither got up from their seats. They continued to rest lazily until the boat docked itself on the shore, before they finally opened their eyes.
“This will be your home for the next few months. Don’t even think of taking a step out of this place until you’ve learnt all that you need to.” Xu Yangyi spoke placidly, “You can leave the affairs of Hell to the Harken for now. He’ll be able to do a far better job than you for now.”
Qin Ye leapt straight up to his feet and stretched lazily.
The island ahead wasn’t large, but there was clearly a magnificent building situated on it, surrounded by forests of green bamboo, as well as an ancient peach tree whose blossoms carpeted the ground below. The entire place looked almost as though it was paradise.
It was only then that Qin Ye turned back and glanced at Xu Yangyi, only to realize that he was still gazing lazily at the sky with an annoying posture. Oh, what an eyesore…
That said, Qin Ye had also discovered that his ire for the Second King Yanluo had diminished quite substantially.
Having finally learnt of Xu Yangyi’s true identity, both King Yanluos of Hell were no longer concealing their true selves in their interactions with the other. Unexpectedly, Qin Ye actually felt some measure of affinity for Xu Yangyi.
The juxtaposition of Xu Yangyi’s sloppy appearances and unorthodox methods against the aura of nobility and dignified manner of conduct made him an interesting character to behold. More than anything, Xu Yangyi felt like just any other human being.
“How did a person like you become the King Yanluo of Hell?” Qin Ye plopped back down once more and sized up Xu Yangyi’s features - I’ve got to admit that this man is so good-looking that he’s truly an eyesore…
“No matter how I look at it, you don’t seem like the appropriate archetype to be succeeding the throne as the King Yanluo of Hell.”
Xu Yangyi pushed Qin Ye’s face away, “Some things are bound to happen, whether one likes it or not…”
“The Harken told me that you were tricked into it by your predecessor. You didn’t have any choice, did you?”
Xu Yangyi sat up straight. He suddenly felt his cheeks tingling… just like a Pikachu that was about to unleash a powerful attack. He couldn’t help but get the sense that Qin Ye was trying to test the limits of his patience and self-control.
“You’d best worry about yourself.” He grabbed Qin Ye’s shoulders and vanished from the boat, “It’s not that easy getting through Hell’s Legacy.”
A split second later, they appeared right underneath the ancient peach tree on the island. A tea set had already been placed on the table. By now, Qin Ye had shed his Hell’s Emissary state, and both men sat right in front of the tea table in their camouflage uniforms. It was a peculiar sight, no matter how one looked at it.
“That’s just for show, isn’t it? I can tell that you’re hardly proficient at performing tea ceremonies. Even the manner in which you’re conducting yourself isn’t quite suitable for the circumstances!” Qin Ye scrutinized every move that Xu Yangyi was making as he performed the tea ceremony. As soon as he heard Qin Ye’s comments, Xu Yangyi’s hands trembled, and he nearly splashed boiling hot tea directly onto Qin Ye’s face.
That shouldn’t be the case… I don’t recall him ever being such a nimrod before… In fact, I’ve always been laughing at him for being a dimwit, so… why the hell is he suddenly behaving in this manner?
Xu Yangyi fervently repressed the murderous intent in his heart as he finished performing the tea ceremony, filled up two teacups, and gingerly set them onto the table. Then, he finally looked up, “Well then, let’s begin.”
He paused and drew a deep breath. At once, the ambient noise around them vanished completely, and Qin Ye sat up straight. Then, with the soft snap of Xu Yangyi’s finger, everything around them instantly went dark, while countless images appeared amidst a dazzling curtain of golden light.
“You probably didn’t know this, but the mortal realm had already noticed you even before I decided to steer your future with the power of Fate--... What are you doing?”
Qin Ye had raised his hand into the air, drawing attention to the twitch on his cheeks. Moments later, Qin Ye couldn’t help but blurt out without restraint, “Tutor Xu, shouldn’t you soften the landing on such impactful news? How could you serve the mains without any form of appetizers? Have you considered the feelings of your dear, diligent students? I still remember the last time I went to school, my professors would always segue into the main topic for that class by doing a simple recapitulation of the preceding class. What happened to all that?”
Xu Yangyi’s temples throbbed slightly. It suddenly dawned on him that volunteering to break down Hell’s Legacy and impart knowledge of the same to Qin Ye might be no different from digging himself a pit…
How in the world did Arthis manage to put up with this on a daily basis?
Meanwhile, Qin Ye continued babbling, “Let’s take it from the top once more. Or would you perhaps like to consider recording lectures that may be reviewed offline instead? I’ll even pay for your subscription to the softwares. You can just directly send to me the content by way of QQ.”
Just then, a longsword the size of a human being plunged straight into the ground, sending a rain of sparks flying all around them. At once, Qin Ye’s face was pale with fright.
Hang on a minute… I thought we’d got off to a pretty good start back there… I’m just testing my boundaries over here. How could your bottom line be so shallow…
Besides, aren’t you a walking contradiction? You’re obviously such a lazy person, and yet you act all somber and serious. You’re just like a two-faced monster!
“Subscription?” Xu Yangyi sipped his tea and raised an eyebrow as he glared at Qin Ye.
Qin Ye shook his head in denial.
“Excellent.” Xu Yangyi flicked his sword, “Do you believe it when I say that I’ll erase these demonic things for good?”
Qin-coward-Ye shuddered violently.
I should’ve known that I can only act this way with people who are weaker than myself. I’d best watch my behaviour if I’m going to get out of this training camp alive…
Seeing that Qin Ye was no longer playing a fool, Xu Yangyi retracted the smile on his face, “Practically every relic and monuments in the museums that purport to depict some record of the King Yanluo of Hell have been replaced with your name or your likeness.”
Qin Ye glanced around, only to realize that the ancient stone monuments and artifacts were all etched with the words - King Yanluo of Hell, Qin Ye.
“It’s still early days. Give it a few months, and all Buddhists, Taoists, and even the headquarters of the seven underworldly craftsmen would discover for the very first time that the King Yanluo of Hell actually has a name.”
Qin Ye lifted his teacup and slowly ran his hand along its edge, “Is this also caused by Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction?”
“Partly.” Xu Yangyi mused, “It’s also caused in part by the fact that all previous King Yanluos of Hell have always been powerful entities that were at least of the level of a Yama-King. Since that was the case, they were easily able to use their own power to suppress all information pertaining to their identity, such that none of their details or particulars would be disclosed to the rest of the world. But you, on the other hand, are the weakest piece of--... cough… the weakest King Yanluo to ever succeed the throne in Hell. There’s simply no way you can embargo the natural flow of information. This is one of the reasons why various signs have started to appear in the mortal realm some time ago.”
Qin Ye glared at him - You actually said it - you actually called me a piece of shit?! Can you please have some respect for the Third King Yanluo of Hell?!
“This is how it all begins - with the manifestation of your identity through Cui Jue’s Law of Yin-Yang Coaction.” Xu Yangyi coughed softly as he continued, “Why do you think that the government in the mortal realm would make a move against you, despite being aware of the possibility that you could very well be the King Yanluo of Hell?”
Qin Ye retracted his gaze unwillingly, and secretly revised his earlier assessment of Xu Yangyi - This bastard… he’s definitely a no-good-thing…
“I can understand their actions.” Qin Ye gulped down his tea as he consolidated his thoughts, “As the government, my first priority would be to maintain stability in my citizens. Sure, there was a possibility that I could be the King Yanluo of Hell, but the prospects of something like this is simply too much for the government to deal with. What they want is an Emissary of Hell that they can grasp in the palm of their hand, and not a king of the underworld who can come and go from the mortal realm with impunity.”
“Come to think of it, they must already have been keeping a close eye on my movements rather early on. There were simply too many anomalies surrounding my existence, so much so that the government cannot possibly turn a blind eye to it. For these reasons, I can understand their attitude towards me. It’s all a matter of the stance that they’d take given their primary duties and responsibilities. Had I been them, I would probably have done the same as well.”
Why should the government let Qin Ye off the hook just because his name appeared right after the words ‘King Yanluo of Hell’? Besides, it might have been nothing more than a coincidence that they bore the same name.
Having relied on its own abilities for the last hundred years, it was only natural for the government to trust no one but themselves. This was human nature. When a nest of ten thousand ghosts appeared in Eastmount Province, and when an Abyssal Prefect was first discovered moving down south from the three eastern provinces, the government naturally had to get down to the bottom of these things!
They needed answers!
So long as the situation remained unclear, they wouldn’t be able to address the root of the problem. Besides, if it so turned out that Qin Ye was indeed the King Yanluo of Hell, the government could always salvage the situation at that time. After all, the government and King Yanluo were both lords of their own realms. Personal relationships aside, what mattered more was the mutual interests they shared. That would form the basis for salvaging any uncomfortable situations.
Therefore, the government had adopted an active approach in seeking out answers. They wouldn’t have hurt Qin Ye in any way, but there was simply no way they would allow Qin Ye to run about with impunity without furnishing them some answers. This was the best position to take in the circumstances. The government shouldered the weight of over one billion lives on their shoulders, and there was clearly no room for any errors.
“The big picture always entails more than a single perspective…” Xu Yangyi sighed softly, “There’s another aspect which is of vital importance.”
Xu Yangyi looked Qin Ye straight in the eyes, “And that’s faith.”
Qin Ye’s gaze grew somber, and he listened intently to Xu Yangyi.
But Xu Yangyi didn’t immediately explain everything to Qin Ye. Instead, he asked, “What is faith? Is it merely superstition?”
Qin Ye pondered for some moments, “Technically speaking, it’s all a construct of human thought. It’s the belief in the supernatural.”
“And if we go beyond the technical stuff?”
Qin Ye paused, and then smiled, “Then I’d say that faith is the final bastion in a person’s heart that protects and justifies their bottom line. This is the source of their principles. Superstition, taken to its extreme… would transform this final bastion into the answer to everything.”
“Truth be told, I’ve always thought that the loss of faith was never a good thing. Not everything qualifies as superstition, even though they might admittedly be difficult to distinguish. Superstition is a label that should only be reserved for situations where one allows his belief to get an excessive foothold in his heart. If we craft it any wider than that, I’m afraid that many other things would end up falling within the definition of superstition, including our cultures, our fantasy novels, and even certain religions that have stood strong against the test of time. In fact, there are times when I even think that societies first formed as a result of superstitions.”
“Coming back to the topic at hand, I sincerely believe that a shallow belief in the supernatural isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At the very least, the faith in such things would form the basis of certain principles and bottom lines in their hearts. It might even form the source of hope in times of darkness. With faith would always come values, principles and a bottom line. With faith also comes the belief that all men are born to do good.”
Xu Yangyi hadn’t expected Qin Ye to say so much. He raised an eyebrow and nodded with exclamation, “Very pertinent. Then, between faith and superstition, which do you think is the more important of the two?”
Qin Ye shook his head.
This was a question that was far too philosophical for his consideration right now. Since Xu Yangyi had asked it, then he naturally had an answer for it.
Xu Yangyi looked him straight in the eye, “It’s faith.”
Qin Ye gasped, “It’s him…”
“Him?” Xu Yangyi frowned, ostensibly puzzled by Qin Ye’s response.
Qin Ye cleared his throat, and danced wildly on the thin ice he’d previously been treading on, “Love~~ even in death~~, do it wholeheartedly or not at all… At the end of the universe~~ Love~~ goes~~ on!!!”
At once, a massive sword plunged three inches into the ground, thrumming with power.
1. This is a Chinese rock song known as <<死了都要爱>> You can watch it on youtube at this link. https://youtu.be/p-ehKBc9p9k