Qin Ye stared aghast at Xu Yangyi. Should I say that such malice is only to be expected of a King Yanluo? I’d thought that Arthis and I were bad enough, but we’re still light years away compared to the preceding ruler over Hell…
That said, I’ve got to hand it to him! This suggestion might be wicked, but its effect is undeniable!
I wasn’t powerful enough to keep my identity from being disclosed to the mortal realm. Soon, everyone will know that Qin Ye is none other than the King Yanluo of Hell. But since that’s the case, I can simply ride on my newfound fame and let people talk among themselves and proselytize about me. Let everyone know my name, and know how they may pray to me from their temples and shrines. Meanwhile, I’ll show up in visions, and also answer their prayers and manifest in the mortal realm in order to resolve the supernatural incidents that have been plaguing their lives…
There wasn’t even a shred of doubt in his mind at this point.
Given mankind’s inclination to self-preservation, the amount of incense offered to him would most certainly grow if he followed Xu Yangyi’s proposed course of action!
And there were even incidental benefits to be had, such as the stimulation of growth of powerful Yin spirits!
After all, these were Yin spirits that were sent out by Hell for a specific purpose. There was simply no room for them to turn their backs against Hell!
But… doesn’t this mean that the living would have to live in fear at night? How can I perpetuate something like this as the King Yanluo of Hell? It goes against the grain of my moral integrity and principles…
Xu Yangyi sipped his tea calmly, and then slowly set down his teacup with a raised brow, almost as though he were provoking Qin Ye, “What’s the matter? Afraid?”
Qin Ye coughed dryly, “Not at all… But do you mind persuading me a little bit more? I feel like I’ll need something more concrete to go on if I’m going to climb down from this pedestal of mine and adopt your suggestion…”
The corners of Xu Yangyi’s lips twitched uncontrollably.
“Unfortunately, this is the quickest way to enhance Hell’s might and its foothold in Cathay.” He sighed softly, “The strongest medicines are often bitter. Once the concentration of Yin energy in Hell goes beneath a critical point, you might even find it hard pressed to groom an Infernal Judge in a hundred years, much less an Abyssal Prefect. Do you think nuclear arms such as the Immortal Sanction would still be on the horizon at that time? Dream on.”
He gazed intently at Qin Ye, “All means are permissible. So long as the execution is right, there will be no casualties. Besides, you’re not the only one. The other underworlds out there have already been employing such means. Why do you think the other underworlds are able to maintain and even grow faith in their existence so well? Why do you think religions have been coming up with concepts that can never be explained, such as the Holy Grail?”
“Everyone is simply looking for means in which to manifest their presence and win the faith of men! Their respective gods of the underworld are simply discharging their duties and function! What reservation do you still have?”
Qin Ye nodded, “And the specifics?”
Xu Yangyi nearly spat out a mouthful of tea when he heard Qin Ye’s response, “Have you even been listening to what I’ve been saying?!”
“Ah? Those were the specifics?” Qin Ye stared at Xu Yangyi with some measure of disbelief, “Your specifics can be summed up in less than a hundred words… I mean… can they really be called specifics if they’re that vague?”
Just then, Qin Ye noticed Xu Yangyi’s eyes glance back to the longsword on the ground, almost as though he were calculating how he could pick it up and thrust it right through Qin Ye in the swiftest possible manner. At once, Qin Ye fidgeted with unease.
“Isn’t there even the slightest sense of responsibility in your heart?” Xu Yangyi pushed his point.
“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!” Qin Ye puffed up his chest, “How could I possibly hesitate when the safety and security of Hell hangs on the balance? I’ve got no choice but to deny myself and do it all for Hell’s glory!”
Oh how I wish I could just wrangle him to death right now… The Second King Yanluo lowered his head and sipped his tea quietly as he did everything he could to suppress the raging flames of murder in his heart. After several moments, he looked up once more with a placid expression, “Miracles are the culmination of stories of legends and myths, existence of artifacts, and presence of witnesses. In this regard, you’ll have to find the appropriate artifacts and legends and myths to latch onto. For instance, the legend of the Holy Grail, or the stories about the Christian Ark of the Covenant…”
Qin Ye stared intently at Xu Yangyi’s expressions, “Why do you appear to be in such a sour mood? It’s almost as though you’re not quite willing to converse with me.”
“... How rare that you would have such self-awareness…” Xu Yangyi turned to gaze into the distant sun - I wonder if I’ve been overcomplicating these things for myself all this while. To think that I’d even been concerned about his bottom line. It seems that my worries and concerns have all been in vain…
Xu Yangyi’s silence gave Qin Ye a window of opportunity to delve deeper into the matters he had just learnt.
Everything was like a large game of chess.
Cathay was the chessboard, and the millions and millions of human beings were all pawns under his control.
The first thing he needed was a perfect script. Then, he would have to enlist the aid of an ‘antagonist’, select the city that would set the stage for his performance, and then mobilize Hell’s forces to make it all happen. Finally, he would rise up from the pits of Hell as the hero, rescue everyone from the terror of a powerful Yin spirit, and finally etch his name into the hearts of all citizens, where his deeds would be spoken of in the years to come.
This isn’t simply about elevating my status to that of a god… We’ll even have to create an evil ghost, and then use that ghost to validate my existence as the lord of a realm…
It was far more easily said than done!
After over a dozen minutes of silent contemplation, Qin Ye finally looked up at Xu Yangyi once more, “Have you ever done something like this before?”
Xu Yangyi didn’t even look at him. He was sincerely afraid that he’d picked the wrong man for the job. It wasn’t until Qin Ye asked several more times that Xu Yangyi finally relented, “I have.”
“Yan Capital’s demonic cat lady, and the rumours of the empty buses that run in the middle of the night, are both rumours spread by yours truly. But I didn’t see things through to the very end because I lost interest soon afterwards.”
Forget it… Qin Ye is still someone I’ve personally selected at the end of the day. Who cares if he’s going to act shamelessly. I suppose it’s not a bad thing. After all, have Thanatos or Anubis ever acted with modesty in the first place? The preservation of one’s face is a costly thing, especially on the stage of international politics. Back then, I’d lost control of a netherjade mine precisely because I was too concerned about my reputation and image. Hmm, come to think of it, there seems to be a little part of me that can’t wait to see what Qin Ye does to these folks…
Perhaps he might even give those old fogeys a taste of their own medicine or two…
These thoughts loosened up the earlier tension in his mind, and he smiled faintly at Qin Ye, “Come to think of it, you’ll have to orchestrate a situation that strikes terror into the hearts of all citizens so much so that news about it spreads like wildfire. And then, you validate your own existence by conquering that ghost. There will be many things to consider leading right up to it. I imagine that you’ll have to scramble together a team of intellects, but you might have to start from scratch in that regard. Unfortunately, you won’t have anyone experienced in this field to work with.”
“As far as the specifics are concerned, you’ll have to devise the origin or source of the legend, preferably something that was already existing deep in the recesses of the mortal realm. It can be something like a murder case that has remained unsolved all these years. Ideally, you’d want it to be a shocking case that had become a widespread sensation in society. In fact, these cases would usually produce several evil ghosts, most of which would linger on in the mortal realm, especially given Hell’s reach over the mortal realm right now.”
“Then, given how easily and quickly information spreads these days, you can make it go viral over the internet and social media. But everything would have to be kept under control - including who to involve, and who to spare. All in all, the entire script would have to be perfect if you want it to achieve the end it’s intended for. Moreover, you’ll have to consider other variables such as the interference of the Special Investigations Department. How much would they inhibit the movement of the evil ghost? What if you end up drawing investigators stronger than you’d intended? How can you maximize public exposure while preventing it from being exterminated?”
Xu Yangyi smiled, “If the evil ghost gets exterminated even before Hell can do something about it, then the entire script would be a flop. Believe me, such examples abound throughout history. Unless things are directed perfectly, it would be nigh impossible to achieve the intended result. Why else do you think there are so few famous netherworldly tropes for each underworld that are so often talked about?”
Qin Ye coughed lightly, “Koji Suzuki?”
“Who?” Xu Yangyi responded reflexively, only to regret his actions. Something told him that there was a stumbling block ahead in their conversation.
“Um… The author of the Ring Trilogy? What do you think of the tropes he’s written? If you don’t like him, I can recommend others. How about Leung Hung-Wah? Eh? You don’t know him? He’s the screenwriter of the horror film, A Wicked Ghost! If foreign screenwriters won’t do, we could always settle for the local ones! What about Liu Xiaowei, screenwriter for Troublesome Night? Xu Yuezhen, the screenwriter for The Eye?”
“C’mon now, don’t be silent! Look, we should be bouncing ideas off each other so as to come up with the best possible solution. We could even take a trip to various parts of the underworld to do our research. Who knows, this might inspire in us a second wind for our film-making careers! Eh? What are you doing brandishing your sword? Hey… Stop!!!”
The cold edge of the sword appeared right beside Qin Ye’s neck in an instant.
Xu Yangyi took several deep breaths. His hands trembled violently. Something told him that if Qin Ye went on speaking any longer, he might well have to start looking for the Fourth King Yanluo of Hell in no time…
Qin-cowardly-Ye’s eyes instantly narrowed, and he sensibly raised both hands slowly, surrendering to Xu Yangyi.
“Perhaps I should’ve made myself clearer.” Xu Yangyi forcibly maintained the smile on his face, “The functions of a King Yanluo of Hell should never be disclosed to others. You have a total of two primary functions. The first is to administer laws, and the second is to create god. Anyone involved in the execution of these functions of yours… may inadvertently usurp your function.”
“Do you understand what this means? It means that they will be tainted with your divinity and godhood so long as you give them the nod! Sure, they might not realize what it means at once, but unless this is someone that you’re willing to entrust your life to, then, believe me, you don’t want to know how dire the consequences might be.”
“Do you understand?!!”
“I do…” With that, the blade suddenly vanished, and Qin Ye finally heaved a sigh of relief.
What the hell is all this about…
First, you ask me to do something. And then, you tell me not to do it. Can’t you make up your mind, or speak with a little bit more precision?
“Well, I’ve said everything about the big picture that needs to be said. Now, let’s start with the classes proper.” Xu Yangyi continued placidly, “From today, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about being a King Yanluo of Hell, including the coordinates of several hidden locations in the mortal realm, as well as some of the other details that only King Yanluos are qualified to know of.”
“I’ll also give you periodic tests of what you’ve learnt to date. If you fail…”
Qin Ye asked with trepidation, “What will happen?”
Shk! At once, the longsword in his hand plunged so deep into the ground that only the hilt could be seen.
I completely get what you’re driving at…
Thus, Qin Ye remained obsequiously on the island.
Days passed. Xu Yangyi’s pedagogy could only be described as rough and tough - the slightest bit of misbehaviour would be met with the punishment of beating. Within two weeks, Qin Ye discovered that there wasn’t a part of his body that wasn’t sore from beating.
Three weeks later…
Qin Ye opened the door and hobbled over to the peach tree with gritted teeth. Xu Yangyi was lazing about a bed under the peach tree with a bountiful bowl of melon and fruits laying right in front of him. He lazily twisted a grape off its stem and popped it into his mouth as he glanced at Qin Ye as though he were considering which part of Qin Ye’s body he should strike next.
But Qin Ye still sighed with relief.
Because he noticed another figure standing by the side of the peach tree at that instant.
It was Arthis.
“Does Hell have urgent business? Did an emergency crop up?!” At once, Qin Ye hopped over and held up Arthis’ hands gingerly. “You’ve got to report these things to me at once! Don’t delay! Hurry! Let’s head right back to Hell to resolve any issues that have arisen!”
Arthis glared at him, “Should I praise you for hitting the nail on its head? There is indeed a document that we unfortunately need you to cast an eye over. Here’s the thing - Liu Yu has sent to Hell a congratulatory gift. But at the same time, he’s also extended to you an invitation to participate in the opening ceremony of Hanyang’s new underworld at the end of October.”
Smack… At once, there was a cold chuckle from the bed under the peach tree, “What gall…”
Qin Ye probed cautiously, “Why don’t you… attend to it on my behalf?”
“This is perfect for you.” Xu Yangyi responded indifferently, “If it’s useful, use it. If not, kill them.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter