Ten seconds later, Shang Yang sincerely cupped his hands towards Qin Ye and responded, “We live as Cathayans, and die as Cathayan souls. None of us have ever harboured the thought of defecting to foreign underworlds. Otherwise, Yanluo Qin wouldn’t see us standing before you today!”
“That’s right.” Zhang Heng expressed with great determination, “Sure, there may be a multitude of things to be done, but we’ve all got to start somewhere. In fact, it’s our honour and joy to be able to share in the First King Yanluo’s experiences of founding Hell from scratch.”
“Your Excellency, there’s no need to test our hearts. The fact that we’re all here today means that we have every intention to dedicate our lives to Hell.” “Fengdu was first built on a foundation of ruins and bloodshed. The situation right now is far better than the warring states era that Fengdu had previously risen out of! Furthermore, Cathay has a far larger population size than before. I refuse to believe that we can’t do this if we all put our minds to the task!”
The threads of Yin energy emerging from Qin Ye’s fingertips slowly faded away. Nodding his head, he responded in a deep voice, “Then, I’ll have to trouble all of you.”
Everyone stood up and cupped their hands respectfully, “We’re willing to live and die for Hell!!”
Qin Ye made a pressing gesture, “Excellent. I assure you that the new Hell will never betray you either. But before that…”
He picked up a glass of wine and sat down, “I’d like to hear your opinion on what you think we should do.”
This could be said to be a test of sorts.
After all, each of them were famous in their own rights, but they lived in a completely different era right now. He needed them to keep up with the times. Most importantly, he wanted to learn from the mistakes of the previous eras, and weed out all traces of residual poison of the feudal lord system that Hell had been steeped in for the longest time.
Furthermore, he didn’t have the kind of courage that the Second King Yanluo had to allow Hell to be broken before rebuilding it once more.
Silence. Everyone was clearly mulling over the question that had just been posed to them. After tens of seconds, Shang Yang finally stood up and cupped his hands respectfully, “There is one thing that is of crucial importance.”
“Immortal Sanction!” Shang Yang spoke without hesitation, “Times are changing. Armies are no longer a sufficient source of deterrence. We will need a nuclear-class weapon!”
“And that’s not all…” Zu Chongzhi added, “While I was in the Argosian Underworld… I learnt that they were already developing the second generation of nuclear weapons. They’re seizing the initiative! You may not be aware of this, but the Argosian Underworld is known to delve deepest into the study of Yin Talismanology among the four major underworlds. These efforts are spearheaded by the ‘sages’ of the academia, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Euclid, Thales of Miletus, Diophantus of Alexandria, and Apollonios of Tyana. They’re known as the frontrunners in the field of Yin Talismanology, and their status in the netherworld is equivalent to that of the Silicon Valley in Usonia right now.”
Qin Ye felt a little bit stifled by the mention of these names. These names… have frequently haunted me back when I was in junior high… To think that they’re back to haunt me once more…
Every name was like a towering figure. Perhaps their names had faded into obscurity because of the emergence of the more popular scientists such as Newton and Einstein, but the academics of ancient past were definitely no less smart than Einstein, Oppenheimer and other ubiquitous names of the modern era!
He sighed softly. Truth be told, Cathay was hardly as strong in the fields of philosophy, arts and sciences. If not for the fact that Cathay could make up for these weaknesses with their Taoists and alchemists, then… Cathay’s shortcomings in this regard might well have been a crippling weakness to Hell.
After some moments of hesitation, Qin Ye asked, “By your assessment, how far do you think we are from their understanding of Yin Talismanology right now?”
Yin Talismanology was clearly of the greatest importance to any underworld out there. Both the Harken and the Second King Yanluo had time and again stressed its importance to Qin Ye.
The fact that nuclear weapons could be forged from delving deep into Yin Talismanology was in and of itself sufficient to justify its importance.
Zu Chongzhi paused for a moment, and then responded politely, “Truth be told, the four major underworlds are all comparable when it comes to actual scientific breakthroughs. That said… we’re admittedly a little bit lacking. After all… of the four Forbidden Arts, Immortal Sanction of Hell and Shiva of the Hindustani Underworld are both ranked at the bottom of the list.”
Bloody hell… Qin Ye could still recall the day that the Harken revealed the power of Immortal Sanction to him - That was a calamity in and of itself, and yet it’s still ranked at the bottom of the list?!
“Then… would it be possible to poach the sages of the academia that you’d mentioned earlier?”
At once, he received a baptism of slightly judgmental gazes, just like the kind that Qin Ye habitually showered upon Wang Chenghao. Some of the Yin spirits immediately poured themselves a drink, while the other immediately lowered their heads.
I guess our new leader still isn’t too learned about the status of scientists around underworlds… I guess we’ll have to educate him in this regard…
“My Lord.” It was Shang Yang who relieved the awkward tension in the room. He was clearly the most mellow of the lot, “That would be impossible. Not in your lifetime--... Sorry, what I mean to say is that no matter how difficult things are going to be, Hell would still have to prioritize research of nuclear weapons!”
Lu Ban nodded, “That’s right. Rebuilding Hell will be a long journey for us. Sure, the hardware might take only a few decades to be rebuilt, but we’re talking about hundreds of years as far as the software is concerned.”
Qin Ye nearly choked… I mean… how are you guys using such modern terminology? Are you guys really from the ancient past?
“We’re talking about the thorough development of education and pedagogy. The launch of the discipline of Yin Talismanology and the development of society isn’t something that can be completed in just a few decades, and only the development of Forbidden Arts can possibly buy us the time we need to catch up with the rest of the underworlds!”
Zhang Heng’s eyes turned bloodshot as he hissed, “Back then, when Cathay first launched its nuclear research programmes, how many people thought it was a waste of time and a waste of national resources? But what was the truth of the matter?”
“It was precisely because of nuclear weapons that Cathay actually earned its place as one of the P5 in the United Nations! It’s an unshakable position! Likewise, we’re at the point of inflexion in the history of Hell right now. We’re facing the exact same situation as the early days of the Cathayan Empire. Given the circumstances, it’s absolutely crucial to develop a Forbidden Art, even if it means mobilizing the entire population of Hell! This is something that has been tried, tested and proven throughout history!”
“Besides, we wouldn’t need the participation of Hell’s citizens in general. All we need is to earmark some talents for nurturing and cultivation!”
Qin Ye nodded deeply. He already had some vague thoughts of his own as to the things he would have to do in Hell.
“Well, it’s probably not the time or place to be discussing these things in detail.” Qin Ye raised his cup, “Come, everyone, drink up. These are matters that will have to be decided in the long run. We’ll speak more of these things once we return home. For now, let’s drink to our heart’s content and set aside our worries and concerns for the morrow!”
Time flew by in the blink of an eye.
Three days later, the LSD, Lee Jung-sook, and several other representatives from the mortal realm called upon Qin Ye for negotiations. Just as Lee Jung-sook had suspected, Qin Ye’s request was rejected, and they eventually came to a landing on approximately half of what was demanded from the onset.
Qin Ye relented. After all, he knew that it was important not to harm the sheep while shearing its wool. Otherwise, there would be no harvest in the long run. This way, he could return five years later, create another incident just like what happened back in Gonjiam Asylum, and then hop over for a gentle traipse through the park. It was a thought that brought a wide smile to Qin Ye’s face.
Therefore, Qin Ye stared at the inventory list of the items promised by the Daeian government, cackling with joy as though he were a 200-pound kid who had just found his picnic basket.
There was steel, concrete, all kinds of machinery and tools, and thousands of generators all listed under the first batch of delivery. Each delivery would come with a complete inventory list for the next batch to be delivered as well. With these deliveries, the development of Eastmount Province will indubitably take off! The engineering corps accompanying the Frontier Brigades wouldn’t even feel stretched with such immense logistical support!
“Now, all that’s left is the negotiation with Rumyantsev.” Qin Ye massaged his throbbing head. His negotiation with Liu Yu and Rumyantsev was coming up tomorrow at midnight. The negotiations with the Daeian government had taken him three days. It wasn’t too long, and it hadn’t been too difficult. After all, he had Lee Jung-sook on his side, and her inputs had helped to smoothen the process quite substantially.
However, this was clearly the warm-up to the real negotiation - that which was to take place between two underworlds!
Qin Ye could already feel his heart burning with passion in the earlier negotiations with the Daeian government. After all, even the difference of 0.1% of a particular item represented millions and millions of dollars on end. He wasn’t experienced in negotiations of such a scale, and the three-day negotiation with the Daeian government had most certainly familiarized him with the scale and magnitude of the discussions that were to ensue.
It was now late at night on the sixth day. He had just returned from the negotiations with the Daeian government, and yet he already had to delve straight into his revision of the paperwork for the upcoming negotiations with the Russian Underworld. He was going through and familiarizing himself with his bottom line, and the kind of materials he would have to claim from the Russian Underworld.
Whilst he was negotiating with the Daeian government, the job of brainstorming and coming up with the list of what Hell wanted from the Russian Underworld was entrusted to Wang One Tail. He was currently presiding over the final review of the list together with a select few others, which included Oda Nobutada and Shang Yang of the scholars.
The chancellor who had cleared the way for Qin Ye’s hegemony couldn’t be unfamiliar with negotiations.
The entire room was silent. Qin Ye carefully brewed a pot of tea, while Shang Yang flipped through the list of spoils of war. After a few seconds, he gently set down the pages and lamented, “Although Lord Qin hasn't been in power for a long time, you clearly know what the citizens need. The list is fine. However--...”
“You can just speak your mind.” Qin Ye nodded at him.
This was the difference between a man trained in the art of negotiations. Even his manner of speech was completely different, and it subconsciously invited a positive response. Had Wang One Tail been in his shoes, he would immediately have pointed out the problem and shot it down tactlessly - “This XXX isn’t right! And we don’t need this YYY!!”
He doesn’t have the slightest bit of respect for a higher authority! Piece of trash!
Shang Yang immediately cupped his hands and bowed deeply, “I’m of the view that the request for transportation Yin beast can be given a second look at. That said, I would of course defer to your wisdom and preferences.”
Look at that… look at his level of speech! Even these statements calculated to curry favour is of a completely different class of its own. Deference to wisdom and preferences? Why do I even keep this stupid tailed beast around me?
Qin Ye glared at Wang Chenghao at once, as though telling him to watch and learn. At once, Wang Chenghao fell into deep thought.
He didn’t think much of the statement at first. But then, after several moments of consideration, he suddenly realized something.
Qin Ye didn’t immediately state his inclinations. Instead, he looked at Wang Chenghao and asked, “What do you think?”
Wang Chenghao coughed dryly, and then spoke with much hesitation, “I think… well… is it because we didn’t specify whether the Yin beast should be tamed or not? And if it’s tamed, wouldn’t it mean that we would have to communicate with it using Russian? Wouldn’t that be rather inconvenient?”
Qin Ye took a sip of his tea and then waved his hand, “Nobutada.”
Oda Nobutada immediately stood up and rolled up his sleeves. Meanwhile, Wang One Tail immediately shuddered violently.
“Beat him up, but keep him alive.”
“AH!!! Y-you can’t do this!! Holy shit! Damn it! I’m the one who saved your life! Don’t… not the face! That’s all I have!!!”
After dozens of seconds of pummeling, Qin Ye finally snorted, “Don’t you think that the request for Yin beasts, and in particular those made for transport, would be tantamount to telling other underworlds that Hell doesn’t even have a means of transportation? Nobutada, go through the list again and remove all similar items.”
Hell couldn’t afford to allow foreign underworlds to get even a sneak peek into the actual state of Hell’s condition within.
“Weren’t you the one who added that onto the list?! Wang Chenghao grumbled, “Why did you beat me up for it?!”
“How dare you question your superiors? Insubordination. Nobutada…”
Wang Chenghao automatically shrunk into a ball.
By the next afternoon, the four finally finished their review of the list and came to a landing on their demands of the Russian Underworld. Almost everything had to do with the agricultural and farming industries, as well as any incidental products. In other words, all that they were asking for were raw goods used in production, rather than finished products. And this was notwithstanding the fact that finished goods were probably easier to demand and implement back in Hell.
Furthermore, they were asking for several specialty products, all of which were available in the Russian Underworld.
“Is it five yet?” Qin Ye massaged his temples. He was tired. But as soon as he turned to the thick stack of papers in his hands, he couldn’t help but reveal a satisfied smile.
These were his spoils of war.
However, the precondition to this was that he would have to do well and succeed in the upcoming negotiations.
Everything would culminate in his performance tonight.Previous Chapter Next Chapter