Just then, one of the waiters in the eatery hurriedly walked over to Qin Ye’s table, “Sir, what happened?”
“This gentleman here is a talent scout, and he was just talking to us when he suddenly fainted.” Qin Ye added, “Hurry up and call an ambulance to take him to the hospital.”
They didn’t leave. The waiter wouldn’t allow them to leave at this point anyway. Meanwhile, Oda Nobutada scanned his surroundings vigilantly, “I can’t tell whether there are any other Brain Mites surveilling this area right now.”
“There are none.” Qin Ye shook his head and motioned to wipe off the remaining Yin energy on the table. And then, he suddenly froze.
He noticed a trace of golden light spilling out from within his sleeves. He pulled up his sleeves for a closer look, only to realize that there was a faint golden light shimmering at his palm!
“What’s this--...” He immediately got to his feet and marched for the bathroom, straight into the cubicles, and then set up a barrier sequestering himself from the rest of the world. Then, he transformed into his Hell’s Emissary State once more in the shadows of the domain he had carved out for himself.
He carefully inspected his hands, only to realize that the golden light weren’t coming from his palms, but rather from further up within his sleeves!
My sleeves… He blinked his eyes vacantly, lifting his sleeves slowly, only to notice… a multitude of small golden words written right beneath!
They appeared somewhat faint and illusory. The words were written in gold, but they rested on a bed of dark Yin energy, almost as though they were innumerable small golden lotuses growing on a sea of Yin energy. At once, he took off his robes, only to realize that… the inner portion of his robes, including the sleeves and the back, were all covered with words!
Qin Ye gasped. He knew full well that there was only one thing that could do something like that…
Upon closer inspection, he could tell that Fate was moving discreetly. It had transformed into an inch-sized golden brush, writing line after line in a spellbound fashion. Incidentally, it was just about done with its writing, and the words finally revealed themselves in proper prose as soon as it was done with the final statement.
This was Fate’s true form. It was also a spirit pen.
“When did this thing activate itself?” He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He glanced over at the start of the prose - This has been active since day one of our journey to Hanyang? It even began keeping its records before we departed from Cathay?
The only person who could possibly activate Fate was the Second King Yanluo of Hell.
Are you telling me that while Xu Yangyi has been furiously whipping me into shape, he’s simultaneously been watching over me? With Fate, wouldn’t I practically be an undefeated god of war here in Daehan?!
Liu Yu aside, not even the death god Arturo could hurt me one bit!
But… if you’ve already used Fate, then why did you still have to egg me on with a shiv behind my back? Are you trying to stimulate the development of initiative on my part? What’s the purpose of that? Sheer theatrics?!
And besides, when did this all begin?! Are you a cosmic weasel? Did you make all the requisite hand seals with your feet?!
There were more questions than answers in Qin Ye’s mind right now. Nevertheless, he took a deep breath and sighed softly. The situation here in Daehan might be dangerous, but it could hardly be called life-threatening by any means. At best, things were just treacherous and hazy for now.
He swore in his heart a little bit more, before calming his heart down and addressing his mind to the actual prose written by Fate.
“A short story. Characters: Yanluo Qin; Marquis Rumyantsev; Catherine the Great; Lord of Hanyang, Liu Yu; Lee Jung-sook; Kwon Kyung-ho; Ahn Somi; Mukov… The cast members are hardly as illustrious as those during the Hungry Ghost Festival…”
“Introduction: Hell has collapsed. The twelve envoys are filled with doubt. Everyone knows that without Hell’s support, it was only going to be a matter of time before they were annexed to the other underworlds…”
Qin Ye eyes flickered softly. This was written from the perspective of the twelve envoys. This was a unique learning opportunity for him. This was his first foray into issues of governance, and he didn’t quite have a clear grasp over the mindsets and perspectives of his feudal officials and other political participants. Who would’ve thought such an opportunity would present itself to him right now?
“Liu Yu’s thoughts are unsurprising.” Fate’s prose was written in the form of a third-person narrative, “That said, he’s still proud and arrogant, and unwilling to pledge allegiance to any other underworld. The rest of the twelve envoys are similar in that most of them would not have given Hell their unqualified nod of approval. That said… as the only envoy who had once been a founding emperor of a dynasty, Liu Yu’s thoughts ran far deeper than any of the rest.”
“He realized that this was the perfect opportunity to unify the Cathayan Underworld. That said, he could tell this is impossible with his own abilities. Quite apart from the fact that the three daolords would stand in their way, the other envoys might not necessarily see eye to eye with him either. Thus, after decades of scheming and deliberation, and even attempted visits back to the old Hell, he chose to look for external help.”
“This was quite understandable. Truth be told, all twelve envoys would have contemplated or pursued a similar course of action to varying degrees. That said, everyone continued to keep the truth about Hell concealed to external forces. This was their hidden trump card after all. Unfortunately, even though Liu Yu was widely acclaimed as a hero of his generation, he was still nothing compared with the leaders of underworlds that have been in existence for over a thousand years. He was still a fledgling in their eyes.”
“Tsar Arturo realized the opportunities that lay hidden in such a potential collaboration, and he happened to have something of great importance with which he sought to discuss with Hell. Unfortunately, he discovered to his great dismay that his efforts to reach out were all stymied by the Array of the Nine Gods that had been set up by the Second King Yanluo of Hell. Tsar Arturo knew his limits, and naturally did nothing to attempt breaching the boundary that sequestered Hell from the rest of the netherworld. Then, just over a decade ago, he crossed paths with Liu Yu, and they hit it off right away.”
“Tsar Arturo needed Liu Yu’s help to reach out to Hell, while Liu Yu needed the Tsar’s might and backing. To this end, Liu Yu appreciated the fact that things had to be done sequentially. If he were to unify Hell and become its leader, he would first have to establish his own underworld and become the Lord of the Hanyang Underworld. The first step in his grand plans was naturally to establish first the Hanyang Underworld.”
“Tsar Arturo personally penned down the script of death for Liu Yu. It was a fabricated supernatural incident that was designed to incite the fear of countless people like a terrifying tsunami. However, he still didn’t dare step foot into Daehan, because Daehan had historically always been a vassal state of Hell. Entry without approval was tantamount to a declaration of war. This was no trifling matter, especially when the territory concerned were a fiefdom of the revered Hell.”
Qin Ye read on carefully. Fate’s writing confirmed his conjectures to date. In fact, it even clarified certain points of doubt that were previously on Qin Ye’s mind.
“Thus, Tsar Arturo decided to send one of the Ten Great Marshals of Rus, the Lord of the Danube, Marquis Rumyantsev. The Abyssal Prefect was conferred with the script of death personally penned by the nameless god of death on the hide of a demonic mountain goat. This was an artifact that was in and of itself a miraculous existence. All mortals who laid eyes on this artifact would instantly find their Yang energy forcefully sucked out from their bodies. Armed with this terrifying artifact, Marquis Rumyantsev slipped through the barrier, arrived at Hanyang and got in touch with Liu Yu.”
“Meanwhile, Liu Yu also acted discreetly in order to keep things hidden from the rest of the twelve envoys, and he entrusted these operations to one of his Hellguard-class aides. This was done under Tsar Arturo’s instructions as well, especially since he was concerned that the relatively young envoy’s inexperience would result in a mistake and militate against the smooth execution of the script of death.”
“Thus began the process of casting myths and fabricating miracles. These clandestine operations would eventually give birth to a terrifying force that would ravage the mortal realm. Then, when the time was ripe, Liu Yu would personally make his appearance, bring salvation to the mortal realm, and thereby reap the harvest of faith. He would be the Fahai of the ‘Legend of the White Snake’; the Yin Chik-ha of ‘A Chinese Ghost Story’ or the nameless Daoist from ‘Painted Skin’.  The resultant faith in Liu Yu would act as the foundation upon which the Hanyang Underworld can be built. Once the foundation was established, all that was left was the accumulation of ghostpower that would naturally come with the effluxion of time.”
“Daehan has no mythological systems of its own, and it would take far too much time to sow such seeds and slowly nurture the growth of a brand new mythology. Thus, the quick and dirty plan set out in the script of death was put into motion more than ten years ago, slowly but surely giving rise to the tense situation of present-day Daehan. All that was needed right now was a catalyzing event to push Daehan over the precipice of despair and despondence.”
Qin Ye nodded softly. This was exactly what he had thought. That said, it was far more easily understood through the clear descriptions set out in Fate’s records.
He read on.
Such international strife would never occur out of the blue. In fact, most tense international situations were culminations of hundreds or even thousands of years of little incidents, triggered only by the last straw that broke the camel’s back. For instance, the tension between Rus and Turquia right now was clearly the result of Rumyantsev’s actions some hundreds of years ago.
For further instance, one need only look at the situation in the Middle East. The tension culminating in unceasing conflict had already begun brewing since hundreds of years ago.
Qin Ye was currently attempting to look at the world from the lenses of a King Yanluo of Hell. This was something he would eventually have to do anyway.
“The preparations were complete in the netherworld.” There was a twist in the story, “But, what about the mortal realm?”
“It cannot be understated that the script of death was designed to stir an inclination to faith in a nation with a dearth of native beliefs to begin with. In other words, not only would Liu Yu have to bring salvation to the mortal realm, they would likewise need the assistance of an influential person to suppress the reactions of the mortal realm and bring them back to normalcy thereafter. After all, faith was something to be assimilated into the daily lives of mortals. Thus, the Russian Underworld and Liu Yu began their search, and they soon found the distinguished and illustrious Lee Jung-sook.”
“With the promise of an open gate to the Russian Underworld, Lee Jung-sook also became embroiled in the script of death. She went on to jot down everything she was tasked to do and stashed them away in a safe hiding place. Then, five years ago, tragedy struck with the incident of MV Sewol.”
“This incident was the trigger point that tore a rift between Lee Jung-sook and the two underworlds. Since then, she intentionally kept her distance from the others, communicating with them only through the safety of her ironwood and copper mirror. Never again would she willingly disclose her whereabouts to them.”
“But this didn’t mean much to Rumyantsev. After all, her existence in the mortal realm was as glaring as a brilliant sun in the dark night. That said, everything that Lee Jung-sook did was an expression of her attitude. It revealed an attitude of being prepared to make a clean break.”
“Her status was unique and special, and her role in the script of death was equally as important. Her cooperation would make things flow far smoother, but making an enemy of her would equally mean a spanner in the cogs. Sure, she might not possess the power to stop the plans of a first-rate underworld, but she could easily disclose everything she had done to the rest of the world. Such indiscretion would clearly run counter to the interests of both Liu Yu and the Russian Underworld.”
“Thus, in order to prevent Lee Jung-sook from asking too much, they decided to communicate with her through a zombie - a living dead without spiritual intelligence. It was only able to perform the task it was instructed to execute. Rumyantsev programmed the zombie with an ‘activate’ switch so that Ahn Jun-ho would only respond when Lee Jung-sook called. This would of itself act as a natural barrier to stem the flow of information to Lee Jung-sook.”
“Unfortunately, coincidences abound, and they also interfere. Zombies are strictly speaking not Yin spirits, because they have a physical body. By a stroke of misfortune - which, for the avoidance of doubt, Fate had no part of - Ahn Jun-ho perished in an accident. The underworldly faction had no choice but to send a second liaison officer, otherwise known as Ahn Somi. In turn, she… was the start of the snowball effect. She was the most crucial character involved in disclosing the true purposes of the script of death.”
“Ahn Somi spoke about No. 2.”
“Coincidences never came in isolation. A terrifying Yin spirit far more powerful than No. 2 was born from the tragedy of the MV Sewol incident five years ago. His name was Kwon Kyung-ho. What No. 2 didn’t realize was the fact that his interaction with Lee Jung-sook back then had actually been witnessed by Kwon Kyung-ho. Thus, the mysteries surrounding the tightly bound script of death slowly began to unravel as soon as Ahn Somi disclosed the truth pertaining to the MV Sewol incident.”
“This story follows the moment when the esteemed Third King Yanluo of Hell, Yanluo Qin, first stepped foot onto the Daehan Peninsula.”
“The stars were aligned. One by one, coincidences began to come into place and flow into one another like a series of dominoes that caused the wheels to come off.”
1. These are all the heroes of the show who help purge the evil from the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_Skin:_The_Resurrection https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Chinese_Ghost_Story https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_the_White_Snake