It was an unexpected moment of dazzling inspiration. Furthermore, after a cursory discussion, they discovered that… it was actually plausible!
In fact, it was an extremely feasible solution!
What the Russian Underworld desired was a nod from Hell. So long as Hell gave the go ahead, they wouldn’t mind even if Hell didn’t send a single soldier to lay waste to the Mongol Empire. In other words, the Russian Underworld would do all the hard work, and then offer up half of the territory of the Mongol Empire as tribute to Hell, while keeping the Resentment Crystal Vein and the other half of the Mongol Empire for their own use. It was a tacit deal.
And to that end, Hell had been caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, it had no Yama-King, no military formation to enhance the ability of its soldiers, and no trained ambassadors to be sent forward for these negotiations. On the other hand, backing away from the negotiations would be seen as a tacit agreement to allow the Russian Underworld to seize the Resentment Crystal Vein for their own use. How would the other underworlds view Hell at that time? If news of this spreads, how many other underworlds would immediately begin to eye the coveted title as one of the P4 underworlds?
They were truly caught between a rock and a hard place.
However, the latest set of developments had finally gained them some wiggle room.
We can acquiesce to your seizure of the Resentment Crystals, and we’ll take a step back and watch your grand performance at the Mongol Empire. But as soon as you lay your hands on the crystals and gain full control and possession of them…
The dozens of Yama-class Mythic Spirits of Alkebulan will immediately teach you a lesson about greed and avarice!
The entire hall was filled with only sounds of ragged breaths. The Harken’s first thoughts were that it was possible. It was absolutely possible!
To think that there was really a solution to this seemingly impossible puzzle!
That said, this was only a preliminary postulation. Furthermore, the result that they desired would only occur in the best case scenario. Therefore, it was still important to discuss the specifics of this plan in order to maximize their chances.
“I’d expected nothing less of you…” After a long time, the Harken finally sighed and remarked, “To think you were able to find a solution in such a bind. That’s what I appreciate most about you. But… how do you plan on going about with these plans?”
“Three steps.” Qin Ye responded with a burning gaze in his eyes, “First step. We’ll enter into negotiations with the Russian Underworld and agree to their conditions.”
“Second step. Contact the Coalition of Alkebulan Underworlds. Third step. Convince them.”
The Harken immediately leapt to the ground and began to pace about. After some time, it responded, “These are the main steps. Let’s leave aside step one for now. Step two, contact the Coalition of Alkebulan Underworlds - how are we supposed to do that? Hell has been in seclusion for the last 100 or so years. There’s simply no means of reaching out to them anymore. And then, there’s still the third step of convincing them. They’re not stupid. Although this is a topic that presses on their pain point, it’s still quite something else to have them mobilize so many Yama-Kings!”
“Would they even attach weight to the Russian Underworld’s endeavours? And if so, how much weight would they attach to it? The Russian Underworld has already informed us that they would be mobilizing two Yama-Kings for the upcoming expedition, while we clearly won’t be sending any Yama-Kings. We’re essentially trying to pit a tiger against a wolf. But if the tiger that comes isn’t strong enough, it would end up getting devoured instead! It wouldn’t help our case if the Coalition of Alkebulan Underworlds sends only a handful of Yama-Kings! And to make matters worse, we don’t even have any conclusive evidence of the Russian Underworld’s endeavours!”
“Granted, it doesn’t matter whether they’re trying to research and develop the first or the second generation of Forbidden Arts. That said, we’ll still need something more than what we currently have on hand. Yama-Kings aren’t entities that underworlds would mobilize frivolously after all! This is going to be an inordinately difficult plan to execute. Not only would we have to play all our cards right so that Hell doesn’t have to mobilize a single troop, we’d even have to fully convince the Mythic Spirits of Alkebulan of our claims…”
The Harken sighed, “The key is on how to contact them, and how to gain access to enter Alkebulan. And then, we’ll finally move on the persuasion efforts. So, let me ask you again, how exactly do you plan on going about these things?”
Qin Ye slowly unraveled the scroll and ran his finger along its contents, “Suppose I make a request in my capacity as an Emissary of Hell for an audience with one of the Mythic Spirits in Alkebulan. Do you think they would grant me access that way?”
The Harken’s eyes flickered softly, “You’ll likely be rejected. Yama-Kings aren’t entities that anyone can just meet.”
“So… We’ll just have to figure out a way to get in touch with them through other means!” Qin Ye’s finger finally paused on a name.
Alkebulan’s last surviving mission in Cathay, Abra Babulu. Pearl River City, chef of Abra Alkebulan Restaurant.
“This is the last piece of the puzzle.”
He would follow the vine to the fruit, and have the surviving mission of Alkebulan bring him right back to the destination that he desired. Everything would come a full circle back then.
His thoughts spun rapidly, and sparks of inspiration flew everywhere. However, the Harken knew it was better to address all of the loopholes as early as they could. Thus, it continued, “How do you know whether he’s still alive? This is a scroll from a hundred years ago.”
Qin Ye shook his head and responded, “There’s no way to be certain. However, if I were in the shoes of a Mythic Spirit of Alkebulan, I’d never pass up the opportunity to keep an eye on the movements of one of the P4 underworlds. And even if something were to happen to the surviving mission, they must have gotten in touch with Abra’s child, or his friends and relatives. We’ve got to follow this only lead of ours no matter what happens! So long as the Mythic Spirits of Alkebulan aren’t daft, there’s a 70% or so chance that we might find someone who can lead us straight back to them!”
“Then, how are you supposed to locate the key point of contact?” The Harken continued to play the devil’s advocate, “We’re talking about the Pearl River Delta! That’s the territory of the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost! Pearl River Delta is currently one of the darkest spots in Cathay, so how do you expect to go about with this business of yours?”
Qin Ye responded softly, “For one, the Special Investigations Department isn’t merely an ornament. I’m pretty sure they would oblige a personal request of an Abyssal Prefect. Wouldn’t you say that they’d pull out all the stops to locate a single person in exchange for favor with an Abyssal prefect?”
The Harken continued, “And then, even if you manage to pinpoint the point of contact’s exact location, how are you supposed to enter the Pearl River Delta? We can’t be said to be on good terms with the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost…”
“I’m an Abyssal Prefect.” Surprisingly, Qin Ye didn’t back off from a potential altercation this time, “Besides, weren’t you the one who told me that the King Yanluo of Hell must know when to seize the initiative?”
The Harken drew a deep breath, “Last question, who do you plan on sending to Alkebulan to negotiate with the Mythic Spirits over there?”
The emissary to be sent had to be of sufficient importance to represent the gravity of the situation. Moreover, the emissary to be sent also had to possess the gift of the gab, and even have sufficient insight to understand what he or she was talking about.
Naturally, this left only one plausible candidate.
“Me.” Qin Ye sighed as he glanced at the treasures lying around him, “I’m the only one who can do it. There’s really nobody else that fits the bill. Any other questions?”
The Harken sighed softly, “None.”
“Well considered. You’re unbelievable. In just ten minutes, you’d actually come up with a plan as comprehensive and well-considered as that. All that is left is to refine the process as we go along with the flow. Leave the rest of the details to me. I’ll liaise with Shang Yang and the rest to assemble a diplomatic team that we can send out for negotiations with the Russian Underworld.”
Qin Ye nodded. His mind was slightly worn out from his thought processes earlier, so he massaged his temples as he responded softly, “Well then, time is of the essence. Let’s head back to Ashmound City right away. Once the preparations are done, I’ll immediately depart for Pearl River. Ah, that’s right, do have Assistant Wang help Arakshasa sort through and organize the information once she’s back. As soon as my trip to Pearl River bears fruit, I’ll be heading for Alkebulan in the quickest possible time.”
It was already 4 November.
It wasn’t long before the arrival of the new year. That was the deadline on which Hell had to give the Russian Underworld a response. Any further delays… would be hard to explain away.
It had nothing to do with the obligation to respond to the Russian Underworld.
Rather, it had everything to do with the attitude that the master of a region should carry itself with - if you come to me with a request, I’ll naturally respond as quickly as I can.
After all, that was what it meant to be the master of a region.
“Everyone, our data shows that the number of supernatural incidents have been decreasing dramatically. To be more precise, we’re talking about a dip of approximately 20% year-on-year.” Zhou Xianlong was participating in a conference with the First Academy of Cultivators. An old man dressed in a white coat was just reading from a report.
“More importantly, reports have shown that the number of Hellguard-class Predatory Zones have been vanishing at a rapid pace. At the same time last year, Insignia Province reported 24 such Predatory Zones. But today, we have only 17 such Predatory Zones remaining. The exact reason for this phenomenon is unknown…”
9.00 p.m. Director’s office at the First Academy of Cultivators.
The First Academy of Cultivators had undergone an expansion in the last semester, and its efforts have been rather well received thus far. It was also for this reason that Zhou Xianlong had been incredibly busy, so much so that he had to make time in order to tune in to the important conferences. After all, he was still in title the Head of the Faculty of Combat.
He was the only one in the office right now. This was the office of the deputy director, and the deputy director’s seat was currently facing the window, almost as though someone were looking out into the campus grounds, or gazing upon the distant lights of the dormitory buildings. Not many of the rooms in the academic buildings were still lit at this moment.
Just then, the lights suddenly flickered, and then went out with a snap.
Whoosh… The documents on the table rustled softly with a breeze. However, one would be able to tell upon a closer inspection that the windows and doors to the room were all tightly shut. Moments later, the deputy director’s chair… silently swiveled around!
“Who goes there?!” Zhou Xianlong’s eyes narrowed slightly. He could sense that the uninvited guest was emanating powerful Yin energy even though he was clearly already suppressing it. There was no way the uninvited guest was weaker than Zhou Xianlong in any way!
However, the voice that responded sounded absolutely familiar to Zhou Xianlong, “Faculty Head Zhou, we meet again.” Zhou Xianlong saw a man he recognized seated cross legged in the deputy director’s seat, and he immediately relaxed the true energy from his body.
He hadn’t expected Qin Ye to come calling upon the place he once used to call home again!
Unfortunately, Qin Ye had his back to the bright ambient lights of the campus grounds that were shining in through the window, and he couldn’t see Qin Ye’s appearances no matter how hard he tried. Just then, Qin Ye spoke softly, “Hell has a request to make of the mortal realm, and I wonder if the Special Investigations Department would be willing to consider such a request?”
Five seconds later, Zhou Xianlong finally responded, “Please tell us your request.”
He was slightly surprised by the fact that he wasn’t too astonished by the fact that Hell was actually reaching out to the mortal realm.
Perhaps… this was something that had been a long time coming…
“The former chef of Abra Alkebulan Restaurant in Pearl River City. Hell wants to know his exact location. But do not alarm him. May we know when we can expect a response?”
But it was also laced with indifference and distance, so much so that it was impossible to tell that the two had once used to work closely together.
“Sigh…” Zhou Xianlong looked up at the roof, and then responded with deep emotions in his heart, “Three days.”
“That’s too long.”
“That’s because I’ll be tapping on my own contacts and resources, and not that of the entire Special Investigations Department. If this were an official task to be handed to the entire agency, it would still take at least a day and a half. Besides, Pearl River City… is currently already a forbidden zone for the living.”
After several seconds, Qin Ye finally responded, “Then, I’ll have to trouble you with our request. Hell will most certainly remember the assistance that you’d rendered. Please text me as soon as you have news.”
What was once master and disciple now appeared no different from acquaintances.
As soon as he finished speaking, Qin Ye’s form and figure vanished without a trace.
However, he didn’t depart immediately.
Emissaries of Hell weren’t visible to human beings. Thus, he’d chosen to take a little stroll around the once-familiar campus, taking in the unfamiliar sights and faces around him. He also saw Zhou Xianlong run up to the window, open it and look around.
Tweet tweet! Just then, Qin Ye was startled by the crisp tweet of a bird.
Is this… a messenger bird?
Moreover, Qin Ye could tell that the Yin energy of the messenger bird didn’t bear the energy signature of an Emissary of Hell!
Is this… an evil ghost?
No… that’s not all. This evil ghost is… incredibly strong! It’s probably at the same level as I am!
In other words… a Prefect-class Yin spirit?Previous Chapter Next Chapter