Chapter 601: Sincerity

He was now an Abyssal Prefect.

Qin Ye opened his eyes and scanned his surroundings.

I imagine that several days must have passed by now… The surroundings were still shrouded with boundless dense Yin energy, acting like the amniotic fluid in a mother’s womb. Just then, a vortex appeared on the crown of his head, pulling in all of the Yin energy around and absorbing everything straight into his body like a parched container.

Whoosh… A majestic, scarlet robe soon fell to the ground.

The Eighteen Abysses of Punishment were embroidered across the sleeves and chest of his garments made of an unknown material far finer than silk. The fabric was silky and lustrous, and incredibly soft and cool to the touch.

A jade belt ran around his waist, with the exquisite designs of a dragon’s head carved directly onto the belt buckle. A fine crown inlaid with precious pearls rested on his head, and adorned with two striking jewels carved in the shape of the Harken on the left, and the xiezhi unicorn on the right. Every bit of the crown could be described as a brilliant piece of art.

The faux Judgment Pen and the Book of Life and Death had transformed into a heavy, black token that was hung by his waist. Three words were written in calligraphic lettering on it - Abyssal Prefect Zhong.

Wang Chenghao, Oda Nobutada, Ryu Changmin and Kwon Kyung-ho appeared around him as soon as the Yin energy vanished. At once, they stared at Qin Ye with great astonishment.

“Abyssal Prefect?” Wang One Tail was filled with disbelief, “You’ve actually done it?”

Qin Ye closed his eyes and sensed his abilities for a moment, and then nodded softly, “I think so.”

“No…” Wang Chenghao stared at him, “It shouldn’t be this way… Shouldn’t it come with some incredible phenomenon, such as a prophetic vision, or perhaps the birth of a glorious golden lotus in the middle of an ocean somewhere in the distance? How could you have become an Abyssal Prefect so silently? That’s it?”

“You’ve actually succeeded.” Oda Nobutada looked at Qin Ye with great excitement. He was clearly more powerful than a particular one-tailed colleague of his. And it was precisely because of his acute senses that he could tell how… Qin Ye’s appearance was clearly different.

It looked no different from Hell.

In fact, it wasn’t wrong to suggest that his being was akin to the embodiment of Hell.

So long as he looked at Qin Ye’s body with the eyes of a Yin spirit, Qin Ye’s physical form would vanish and be replaced by a spiritual body that resembled a swirling vortex. In fact, he could tell that the swirling vortex was spewing raging netherflames, and that it concealed countless sinners that were screaming and crying with pain and anguish. In fact, he could tell that Qin Ye’s appearances were fluid and shifting all the time!

Yin spirit beyond the ranks of Infernal Judges had no permanent form to their body! This was one of the fundamental reasons why history had never been able to record the appearances of such powerful Yin spirits.

Even though there was a detailed portrayal of Zhong Kui, a mere Infernal Judge, none of the historical records about Hell would reveal any descriptions of the appearances of an Abyssal Prefect or even the previous King Yanluos of Hell!

It was precisely because they had no true form.

Their existence alone was tantamount to a proxy for the punishment of sin. They were the executioner’s axe. They were the scales of justice. They were the embodiment of law. And most of all, they were the eyes and hands of the system of Hell, and not just a mere creature existing in the netherworld.

“Heartiest congratulations to Lord Qin for your ascension to an Abyssal Prefect!!” Oda Nobutada exclaimed with unbridled excitement as he bowed deeply to Qin Ye.

An underworld led by an Abyssal Prefect was undoubtedly one well on its way back into the international arenas. It was only in this moment that the new Hell could truly be considered to have developed a proper pillar of support!

Qin Ye smiled. He could clearly sense the power welling up from within. And along with that, came confidence.

“How long has it been?” He asked with a sigh.

“It’s been two days since Marquis Zhong breached the bottleneck.” Strangely, it wasn’t Wang Chenghao or Oda Nobutada who answered Qin Ye’s query. Rather, it was another hoarse voice that came from right behind him. A moment later, the door to Room 402 opened with a bang, and a magnificent carriage rolled in.

It was Rumyantsev’s carriage.

It was still the same carriage as when they had first met. There was still the same skeleton coachman, the same skeletal war horses, and the same gorgeous, gothic carriage he had seen in the past. The difference this time was the fact that the body of the carriage clearly bore Rumyantsev’s clan emblem this time. It was the emblem of a grizzly bear surrounded by ribbons on a white background. One word was emblazoned with golden Russian words - Pyotr.

The Pyotr clan.

Pyotr Alexandrovich Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky.

As soon as he arrived, Oda Nobutada, Wang Chenghao, Ryu Changmin and Kwon Kyung-ho immediately raised their heads with a great tremble and subconsciously took a few steps back.

In their eyes, the world had suddenly turned completely monochromatic in colour. All ambient noise had faded away, and the only sounds that they heard were the stifling sounds of the horses’ hooves clopping away as it dragged Rumyantsev’s carriage forward. Each sound pounded hard on their souls with unbearable force!

Whoosh… They also saw an ink-black cloud of Yin energy suddenly fill the room, and countless souls of suffering wailing and crying from beyond the graves as they desperately attempted to climb out from the tide of Yin energy, but to no avail. It was a twisted distortion of reality that ebbed away at their souls. The imagery was so bloodthirsty and horrifying that it made them almost want to clutch at their heads and scream out loud.

Just then, Qin Ye stepped forward and stood right in front of the other four. At once, all of these illusions vanished into thin air, and they discovered to their surprise that the carriage had already stopped 10 meters in front of them.

“What’s this?” Wang Chenghao’s forehead was covered in cold sweat.

That feeling just now… felt no different from falling straight into the abyss of the underworld. It’s almost like the source of all nightmares.

“I’m guessing it was a spiritual manifestation of the authority of an Abyssal Prefect.” Qin Ye placed his hands behind his back and muttered softly, “I don’t know how to unleash that just yet. But I can tell that this was a test to see if I’ve truly become an Abyssal prefect…”

Dead silence. Seconds later, the coachman jumped off the carriage and respectfully opened the door to the carriage. A swanky leather boot stepped out onto the ground. Rumyantsev had already transformed back into his human form, and he walked out of the carriage with great decorum and dignity.

“Mr Zhong.” He wore an amiable smile on his face and bowed respectfully, “Congratulations on your advancement to the ranks of a Marquis.”

The warmth in his attitude was completely dissonant from the manner in which he had been treating the Emissaries of Hell just a few days ago when they were just tearing at each other’s throats.

Is this his true face? Or should I say… the manifestation of his specialty in political affairs?

International politics could be described as two men dining at the dinner table. Under the cover of the tablecloth, both men would be kicking wildly at each other, desperately trying to gain the upper hand, but outwardly, they would appear to be seated elegantly, pouring champagne and reminiscing about the good old times when they had both first met.

Such skill…

It suits my taste well!

Qin Ye smiled even more warmly than him, “Appreciated. Credit where it is due, if not for Marquis Pyotr’s kindness and generosity during this period of time, I’m certain I would never have been able to progress this quickly.”

The veins on Rumyantsev’s forehead instantly bulged and throbbed. However, he still managed to maintain the same cordial smile on his face like a well-oiled machine.

He didn’t want to be here. He would never be here if he could help it at all!

Unfortunately, a loss was a loss, and a loser had to be able to lose graciously, because… he was dealing with a top underworld of the netherworld after all!

Until he received further instructions from the Tsar, he had no choice but to manage his own failure and mitigate the losses to the Russian Underworld, even if it meant dragging his face through mud!

“It was my honor to have been involved in the process.” Rumyantsev bowed gracefully once more. He was faultlessly complying with the strictest rules of etiquette, “The Russian Underworld has no intention of straining relations with Hell. In order to clear the air and consolidate the friendship between the Russian Underworld and Hell, we’ve specially prepared a sumptuous banquet reception for you. I wonder if… Marquis Zhong would be available at midnight, in exactly one week’s time?”

Would you look at that?

Such phrasing. Such mannerism of speech.

He spoke with such eloquence that he even managed to convince Qin Ye for a moment there that they were long lost friends!

“We?” Fortunately, they were now dealing with each other on terms that Qin Ye was most comfortable with, “Liu Yu?”

“That’s right.” Rumyantsev straightened his body with a straight, professional smile that clearly signified an arms’ length transaction, “I think that a hearty dinner would most certainly help us to clear the air and resolve some of the past misunderstandings, wouldn’t you say? What do you think?”

“If you think that trespassing on the lands of a vassal state and staging a coup is merely a misunderstanding, I wouldn’t mind passing on that message to the King Yanluo of Hell.” Qin Ye responded coldly.

Endure it… Endure it!!!

Rumyantsev took a deep breath and suppressed the anger in his heart. What blunt contempt… We’ve always been the ones dishing it out to other lesser underworlds around us. Yet… to think that we would one day be given a taste of our own medicine, and by a top underworld no less!

But this confirms my suspicions. Zhong Kui doesn’t know international etiquette at all! Such barbaric practices are completely unlike how an official of a top underworld would conduct himself!

Regardless, you’ve won. I’ll admit you’ve got all the right to claim whatever spoils of war you desire.

That said… do you really have to give me a tight slap to the face even at times like this?!

Rumyantsev maintained a humble gesture. He couldn’t afford to make any more mistakes. Thus, he held his tongue and made a simple inviting gesture.

Qin Ye remained rooted to the ground.

The awkward situation was so humiliating it was painful to watch. Rumyantsev gnashed his teeth in pain. Such condescension made his life feel even worse than death itself!

Unfortunately, the defeated have no dignity!

For the next 20 seconds, he maintained the exact same posture. It was similar to how he had invited Qin Ye up onto his carriage just a little while ago, yet his attitude was worlds apart from before. Qin Ye finally shook his sleeves and placidly asked, “Address.”

Rumyantsev took a deep breath, adjusted the expressions on his face, and then raised his head with a pleasant smile as though he was completely unfazed. Then, he pulled out a lacquered black envelope surrounded by gold accents and handed it straight to Qin Ye.

“We eagerly await your presence.”

With that, he turned back and boarded his carriage once more.

As the carriage drove farther and farther away, his expression grew colder and colder. Then, as soon as the iron doors to Room 402 shut once more, the entire carriage exploded with a bang, and half of the carriage was instantly reduced to ashes.

The carriage collapsed into a wreckage in an instant. Meanwhile, Rumyantsev waved his skeletal fist in the air, and his hideous muscles and nerves bulged and throbbed.

“Blasted Hell! Screw you and your international standing!!”

“I’ll remember the humiliation I’ve suffered today. You’d best pray hard that Hell never experiences a moment of weakness!!’

“Damn it!! Wastrels!”

Back within Room 402. Qin Ye raised the invitation and examined it with great interest. Tsk, tsk… It’s even brushed gently with the fragrance of some perfumes…

“My Lord, are you going?” Oda Nobutada asked with great reservation.

Qin Ye nodded at once, “Of course.”

“Aren’t you afraid--...”

“Nobutada.” Qin Ye interrupted him at once with a smile, “Things these days are very different from back in the warring states era. Banquets are no longer a front for assassination attempts. Do you know about nuclear weapons? Do you think taking the life of a leader will change international politics? No. The threat of a nuclear weapon will bite back with ever greater ferocity. There’s no way they would dare do a single thing against me.”

“Besides…” He licked his lips excitedly, “Isn’t this the best time to be scavenging for the spoils of war?”

Spoils of war?

The four other ghosts glanced at each other blankly. None of them were quite on the same wavelength as Qin Ye.

“Don’t you know about the Qing Dynasty?” Qin Ye sneered as he rubbed his fingers together, “One war, one treaty. We’ve fought the war, so why are we in such a hurry to get back home without even signing the treaty?”

“Don’t worry, I can assure you that over the next few days, we’ll be treated as gods of the Hanyang Underworld. The defeated must lose graciously. Besides…”

He glanced around within Room 402, “How can we pass up on all of these spoils of war?”

Everyone stared at Qin Ye as though they had just seen a ghost.

“By spoils of war… are you actually referring to… them?!”

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