Sss! Roar! At once, the monarch beasts roared in acknowledgement.
Qin Ye nodded, and departed at once. He knew he could entrust the administrative matters that followed to Oda Nobunaga. Henceforth, there would be no other force that could possibly threaten Everburn City’s existence.
The entire surroundings fell silent. After an inordinate amount of time, the Yin spirits finally manage to snap back to their senses.
“My god…” An elderly Yin spirit fanned himself as he craned his neck and peered over at the six monarch beasts, “Are these Yin beasts? What a colossal being… and to think that they would be kneeling in obedience, just like a docile house cat…”
“So this is Hell…” A middle-aged Yin spirit standing close by shut his eyes, relishing in the feeling of having just survived a crisis, as well as basking in the glory of Hell, “If not for Yanluo Qin, I wonder what would’ve become of us today…”
“Do you know something? Yanluo Qin didn’t conceal from us the fact that Hell had undergone a massive upheaval. As things stand right now, Hell is but the size of two provinces if we take into account Ashmount City of Eastmount Province.” “That’s pretty bad, but I think we can count ourselves lucky. I wonder how many Yin spirits there are out there in the other provinces, wondering what to make of the lack of an underworld?” “They’d practically be homeless, drifting Yin spirits. I sincerely pray that Hell will regain all of its lost land soon.”
The older Yin spirits were able to break down the current situation with greater clarity of mind. Meanwhile, the younger Yin spirits were simply blown away by the outrageous sight that they had just witnessed.
What the hell is this?
Aren’t they immortals? Where are the elixirs? Where are the ascended cultivators?!
These are things that only appear in wuxia novels and films augmented with computer graphics! This is… indescribable!
Realization had finally sunk in that they were currently in a completely different realm - one that operated under a completely different set of rules from the mortal realm.
“Is Hell still recruiting civil servants?!” A young Yin spirit turned excitedly and looked at his friend, “Did you see that? Holy crap! Awesome! How did he make such a colossal beast fall down on its knees?!”
“I don’t know… Shall we approach someone and ask them?” “Forget it, do you really think that a regular civil servant can do something like that? We’ve got to join the army!” “Then, about that, do you know if Hell is conscripting troops this year? I can’t wait to sign up! My blood is practically boiling right now!’
Qin Ye was naturally unaware of the reactions of the Yin spirits out there.
By now, he had already returned to his own residence where Gu Qing and Oda Nobunaga were already waiting. Before the other two could even rise to greet him, Qin Ye promptly held up his hands, “Sit. You can dispense with the formalities.”
As soon as he took his seat, Wang Chenghao immediately approached him with a pot of freshly brewed tea. This was what Qin Ye had brought along with him from Ashmound City. After all, Everburn didn’t have any agricultural produce or livestock in its possession. He gently lifted the lid to the teacup and then raised two fingers, “There are two things we need to do right now.”
“Firstly, Insignia Province is now completely accessible. This is something I hadn’t planned for previously. Therefore, time is of the essence.”
“Mr Oda, after today, I’d like you to enhance our efforts at conscription for the army and recruitment of civil servants. I believe that with the allure of Qin Gardens Phase Two and my show of power today, this probably wouldn’t be too much to ask of you. From there, this group of new recruits should be sent out together with the existing civil servants to survey the new frontiers that have been unlocked to us. All are to head out unless their presence is for whatever reason required here in Hell.”
“Wherever you find trees or mines or resources of other sorts that Everburn doesn’t already have, I want them sampled and tested. Before the new year, I’d like to have a detailed topographic map of Everburn, complete with the particulars of all our specialty products. These are the fundamental works that need to be done before Mr Gu can commence with his planning works.”
Gu Qing nodded, “That means that before the new year, I’ll only be able to work on the terrain that has already been explored. The design of a city, whether it be square or round, high-rise or low-rise, large or small, are all things that have to be adjusted in accordance with the conditions on site…”
Qin Ye waved his hands and interjected, “There’s still something of even greater importance.”
He lowered his voice and whispered softly, “Remember, you’re the only ones who know of this thing.”
“I’m asking you to look around Everburn. Mr Oda is to look out for strategic locations, while Mr Gu is responsible for the designs and plans. So long as we find a strategic location, I want a city constructed there. Furthermore, the cities in these strategic locations must either be constructed like an ancient city, or must at least need to have city walls.”
Oda Nobunaga’s eyes gleamed brightly, “Lord Qin, are you concerned about…”
Qin Ye responded softly, “It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.”
After all, who can say what will happen after 148 years, when the Array of the Nine Gods finally falls?
“Secondly.” He knocked on the table and continued, “We will need to send troops to maintain the route that we currently have between Ashmound City and Everburn City. Once I return to Ashmound City, I’ll immediately have them fund the construction of some rest areas along the route between the two cities, much like those that we have back in the mortal realm. Once we open up our sea port in Ashmound City, the two cities will have to work even more closely with each other. Besides, the exploration of Eastmount Province should be complete by then. From there, Inter-city trade and communications will form the basis of Hell’s further development.”
And once both cities are fully developed, then all that’s missing from the trifecta of the coastal regions would be the Pearl River Province!
Qin Ye was finally beginning to feel better about Hell’s current status. Eastmount Province was only a stone’s throw away from Yan Capital. In fact, if they followed the river, they would easily be able to gain access to Westriver Province. At the same time, they were well-placed to monitor the situation back in Daehan and Nippon. Meanwhile, the close proximity between Insignia Province and Eastmount Province meant that they could shuttle reinforcements back and forth incredibly quickly, especially if they sent scouts strategically out into the Breakwaters Province. Additionally, there was even the Yangtze River and the Yellow River running through Insignia Province, both of which granted them further access to the inner regions of Cathay!
So long as the issue with the three daolords were resolved, then the warring states era of the netherworld would practically be over before it even began!
Besides, even if there might be some armed forces hidden in the more recluse parts of Cathay, none of them would ever be able to match Kong Mo in terms of power.
The more Qin Ye thought about these things, the more he felt that his taking of Ashmound City could be considered one of the greatest points of inflexion in Hell’s development to date.
No wonder they all hail me as the wise and brilliant king… Hell really has to thank its lucky stars that they managed to snag such a good leader…
“Yes.” Oda Nobunaga recorded Qin Ye’s instructions in a little book that he carried about with him, and then asked curiously, “Then… would Your Excellency be heading back right away?”
“There’s no rush.” Just then, a voice spoke out of the blue, followed closely by the coalescence of Yin energy, and then the appearance of a little dog panting with shallow breaths.
Qin Ye could’ve sworn that the Harken was wearing a look of slight excitement on its face.
“You’re dismissed for now.” He waved his hand casually, and both Oda Nobunaga and Gu Qing clasped their fists and bowed deeply, before leaving the room.
Click… The door shut gently behind them. Gu Qing sighed softly, and then turned to Oda Nobunaga, “Did you sense that?”
“Sense what?” Oda Nobunaga didn’t understand what Gu Qing was alluding to.
Gu Qing sighed in exclamation and walked some ways beside Oda Nobunaga, before finally looking up once more, “Might and dignity.”
“Lord Qin had never displayed such might and dignity before.” He glanced back at the door in the distance, before turning back once more, “Just now, when I was standing before him, I didn’t even dare to say much. He already has the aura of a superior being - one that rises in accordance with his status. Back then, when Hell used to be a pea-sized village, he didn’t have much to show for it. But now, with two provinces under his belt, Yanluo Qin… is no longer the same person that he used to be.”
Gu Qing continued softly, “Furthermore, these two provinces are crucial regions that occupy the bulk of the coastal region in Cathay. The daolord residing in the Pearl River Province must be shaking in his boots right now. Our access inland is now secure through the rivers that run through our provinces… The unification of the Cathayan Underworld… will probably happen in no more than a few decades from now. All that remains is to rebuild and restore.”
His voice quivered slightly, “Who knows… perhaps we might actually see the complete revivification of Hell in just a little over a hundred years from now. Just imagine… We’d actually be eye-witnesses to that.”
“We would be pioneers of the new Hell. Don’t you think that… this is truly an honor for us?”
“Done already?” Qin Ye asked immediately as the door closed, “What was it?”
The Harken shook its head, but did nothing to conceal the excitement in its voice, “You tell me first - what did you see back there in the clouds?”
Qin Ye recounted his experiences at once. The Harken listened intently in silence, and then finally exclaimed when Qin Ye was done, “As expected… No wonder…”
“No wonder what? Can you please tell me what’s going on properly? I hate it when people whet my appetite like that…”
As he spoke, he suddenly vanished from the room. When he reappeared again, he was already high above the ground, and still ascending into the sky. In fact, he could already see a vague trace of greenish Yin energy in sight - a clear sign of Limbo in the distance.
BOOM! Then, before he even realized it, he crashed straight through the barrier between Limbo and the netherworld, and then… continued to rise!
He went higher and higher. Then, at some point, he slowly began to see the warm glow from the mortal realm penetrating the greenish-white clouds of Yin energy above. He raised his brows in consternation, “It’s in the mortal realm?”
The Harken finally responded, “Have you read Hell Legacy’s records of the noble clans in Hell?”
The Harken would never mention anything unrelated at a time like this… Qin Ye looked at the Harken deeply in the eyes, and then shook his head.
“You should spend a little bit more time reading it. The matters set out in Hell’s Legacy are invaluable and priceless. But since you haven’t read it, I’ll give you a synopsis for now.”
“Cathay’s top gentry is naturally the Confucian Family, or the Confucian Clan.”
“Formed by the direct descendants of Confucius, the Confucian Clan in Hell had at its peak 34 ministers and 10 more who were understudies to ministers. The Confucian Clan in Hell was quite different from the corrupt members of the Confucian Clan during the Song and Ming Dynasty. Their elites in Hell are far more enlightened, and excellent in utilizing the strengths of others and making it their own. The only ones who could compare with the Confucian Clan was the Zhang Clan.”
“Zhang Clan?” Qin Ye frowned at the thought, and then immediately understood who the Harken was referring to, “Taoism? The Celestial Masters?”
The Harken nodded, “That’s right. Don’t interrupt me, and listen to me. These are the two top Clans in Hell. Following that, you have the Ji Clan of the Zhou Dynasty, which is also the clan of the King Yanluo of Hell. Following that, we have the Liu Clan, the Li Clan, the Zhao Clan, the Zhu Clan, and finally the Aisin-Gioro Clan. These are the Eight Great Clans in Hell, otherwise known as the Eight Houses. You’d best not bother considering the extent of their power and influence, because… it’s absolutely unfathomable.”
Qin Ye could only imagine the kind of power these Eight Great Clans wielded in their hands. The fact that the Second King Yanluo of Hell was prepared to allow Hell to collapse before restoring order to it once more only went to show how terrifying the Eight Great Clans truly were.
I’m afraid… they were probably afraid of nothing apart from the Second King Yanluo alone…
He paused for a moment, and then queried, “That’s not right. How come the Ji Clan is followed by the Liu Clan of the Han Dynasty? And that’s followed by the Li Clan of the Tang Dynasty? What about the Sima Clan of the Jin Dynasty? What about the Yang Clan of the Sui Dynasty? And what about the Yuan Dynasty?”
The Harken responded placidly, “Their reign was too short, and their legacy was short-lived. Naturally, they didn’t have the requisite resources to found a powerful clan of their own after death. As for the Yuan Dynasty…”
The Harken paused for a moment, “Temujin’s soul has never been found to date. Besides, the Yuan Dynasty has only had a few emperors to date. If Temujin’s soul had in fact come to the underworld back then, he would alone have been sufficient to found a powerful Clan of his own. Unfortunately… Hell has never discovered the whereabouts of his soul.”
Qin Ye nodded.
“The Eight Great Clans possess boundless depths of resources and an equally profound heritage. Granted, they knew full well that they would never be able to defeat the Second King Yanluo even if they joined forces. However, that didn’t change the fact that 90% of the civil servants from Hell came from the Eight Great Clans. Just as much as they weren’t able to do a thing to the Second King Yanluo, the Second King Yanluo likewise had nothing on these behemoths either. It was under such circumstances that the two factions maintained a bizarre and somewhat strained equilibrium. Unfortunately, it was also an open secret that this equilibrium was built upon the knowledge that the Second King Yanluo would never be so ruthless as to lay a finger on the Eight Great Clans, because that would cause Hell to cease functioning and collapse altogether. In other words, Hell had always been thriving on the particularly thin ice.”
“It was for that reason that… the Eight Great Clans… were always prepared for the worst crises. Come to think of it, this might well have been the reason for which the First King Yanluo had beseeched the Second King Yanluo to assume the throne at all costs.”
“Had someone else taken over, then I’m afraid that there might well be blood on the throne of Hell by now!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter