Three seconds later, Mbunba spoke calmly, “Prefect Qin… I… didn’t quite get you earlier. Did you say something about a… treasure ship?”
“What else would it be?” Qin Ye set down a cup of coffee before Mbunba and furrowed his brows, “I haven’t given a proper introduction of myself just yet. I was planning to do so before the Lord Mythic Spirit.”
“But now that things have come to this, let me make the introductions proper - Twelfth Generation of the Zhu Clan, son-in-law to the emperor and husband to Princess Jia Ning, Qin Ye.”
What the hell is this?!
Who the hell is Princess Jia Ning? Why didn’t I receive any reports about this? And how did you suddenly become the son-in-law to the emperor?!
Mbunba stared at Qin Ye with great disbelief. He couldn’t quite accept what Qin Ye was saying.
That said, Qin Ye’s acting skills were admittedly top-notch.
“It’s only normal that you’re unaware of these things.” Qin Ye smiled casually as he continued sipping his coffee, “After all, Hell is currently locked down due to some circumstances that I’m not at liberty to disclose. It wasn’t easy for us to reach out to you like this.”
He sighed, “The last century or so hasn’t been easy for the Zhu Clan, especially in the absence of foreign trade.”
Mbunba had at some point in time already pulled out a clean handkerchief to wipe off the imaginary sweat on his forehead. It was a habitual response.
He was completely swept away by Qin Ye’s sudden disclosure.
The news might have been delivered casually, but he certainly appreciated the weight of the implications behind Qin Ye’s words. In fact, this was something that was potentially more earth-shattering than even the news pertaining to the Russian Underworld’s Parasitic Inkstone Mine!
To that end, Mbunba was keenly aware that even if the Black Mamba Underworld had managed to get a foot in the door to the Parasitic Inkstone Mine, they would never be allocated the best mining locations. That was something that was reserved for the P4 underworlds, as well as the more influential underworlds in the international arena. Naturally, the Alkebulan Underworlds were generally more likely to be relegated to the scraps of the mine.
However, sea trade was something of quite a different character!
To put things into better perspective, back when the Southern Song Dynasty first opened their sea ports, they were able to gain so much that they were even able to support the existence of an entire dynasty! Securing a sea trade route was definitely no less profitable than what the Volgograd Parasitic Inkstone Mine could offer to the Alkebulan Underworld! Who knows, there might even be a mining quota on the Parasitic Inkstone Mine! On the other hand, the establishment of a sea trade route was a far more stable source of income. Additionally, the fact that it was a smuggling route meant that there wouldn’t be any inordinate taxes imposed on the import and export of goods.
In fact, ever since the closure of Cathayan borders, there has been a dearth of Cathayan artwork in the rest of the netherworld. If they were able to secure themselves a bountiful harvest through a backdoor sea trade with Hell, their national finances would easily be all sorted out for the near future. After all, he knew full well the kind of prices Cathayan artwork could fetch.
Why didn’t you mention this important identity of yours from the onset?! Do you know the kind of difference your identity makes?!
By now, Mbunba already had a sincere smile plastered all over his face, “I truly didn’t expect you to be a member of the Zhu Clan. Pardon the ignorance on my part.”
In other words - How can you prove your identity?
Appearance-wise, Qin Ye wasn’t half bad. At the very least, he exuded an air of youthful heroism about him. Needless to say, Qin Ye wasn’t half bad as far as his cultivation was concerned either. Everything appeared to check out on the surface, and Mbunba couldn’t quite find any loopholes in Qin Ye’s claims.
Qin Ye smiled back faintly, “Unfortunately, there’s nothing to show for it. You can choose not to believe me if you wish, but all I can say is that I’m out on private business, and it wouldn’t be convenient for me to bring proof of my identity. Besides… does it really matter?”
“Does it really matter who’s smuggling goods? We’re traversing the entire span of the Hindustani Ocean to get to the Malagasy Underworld. Does the person sending these treasure ships truly matter?”
“Quite apart from the fact that we’ve been working together for such a long time, you would never reject these opportunities even if I represented a different clan, say for instance, the Li Clan or the Zhao Clan, would you?”
Mbunba’s gaze softened slightly, and the placidness in his eyes was slowly being replaced with a bright gleam. Indeed, their identity didn’t matter.
Besides, Hell was the one who would be sending goods over first, so what does it matter who they are?
Given Qin Ye’s explanation, Mbunba slowly but surely began to buy into his cover story…
Since the identity didn’t matter, there was clearly no reason to bring up the Zhu Clan’s name in the first place. That said, the prospects of them being old business partners also helped to ease up the wariness in Mbunba’s heart.
Qin Ye’s guess was right. The Zhu Clan - no, in fact, any underworld sending shipments to the Alkebulan Underworlds would necessarily call upon the port in the Malagasy Underworld.
Malagasy was an island that was a strategic gateway into the entire Alkebulan Continent.
Mbunba’s heart thumped wildly. After a few seconds, he sighed softly. But before he could respond, Qin Ye swiftly delivered the killing blow, “I’d just taken over this matter as well. Due to certain circumstances in the old Hell, we’re missing some of our old records right now. Therefore, I’d wanted to discuss the prospects of our cooperation in detail with the Mythic Spirit. Who would’ve thought…”
Qin Ye sighed and shook his head, “I came here with my eyes on the prize, but the prize was clearly out of my reach.”
Mbunba nearly got straight up to his feet - No! The prize is still there! It’s still within your grasp!
“Mr Qin…” Mbunba’s breath grew hot and ragged, “Why don’t you… Wait just a little bit longer?”
Qin Ye frowned, “I’m in a rush. The Zhu Clan hasn’t sailed out to sea in a hundred years, and we cannot afford to send too many treasure ships at once. The first shipment will only entail a small fleet of ships. I don’t have much time now. At best, I’ll only be able to stay here in the Alkebulan Underworlds for 20 days. And I’ve already spent nearly half of that here. Since the Black Mamba Underworld isn’t available to meet me, I’ve got no choice but to turn to the Sunbird Tribe. After all, they’re located within the Red Sea right at the end of the Gulf of Aden. That’s not too shabby either--…”
Before he could finish, Mbunba had already scrambled up to his feet with a soft smile on his face, “I’ll check in with Deputy Chieftain Babulu right away. Truth be told, it’s not as though molting isn’t a process that cannot be suspended mid-way through. If what you say is true, then as a sign of our sincerity, I’ll humbly urge the Lord Mythic Spirit to halt his molting process and prioritize the bilateral relations between us two underworlds.”
This kiddo… understands things.
Qin Ye feigned a frown as he glanced at his watch, “I can at best remain here in the Black Mamba Underworld for only one more day. To be honest, our fleet is already at the port. Unfortunately, the recent investigations have been incredibly thorough. We cannot afford any losses in that regard.
“I’ll definitely let you have an answer within the day!” Mbunba bowed deeply and immediately left.
And as soon as the door shut behind him, Qin Ye promptly lifted his cup of coffee to his lips to conceal the smile that had crept up the corner of his lips.
It grew wider and wider, until Qin Ye finally burst out laughing.
“Hahaha!!” He pounded the sofa in great delight, “As expected, there’s no underworld that doesn’t love money and wealth!”
He’d finally found his point of entry!
It all boiled down to a matter of interests. In the absence of any potential benefits to them, the Black Mamba Underworld had chosen to give Qin Ye the cold shoulder so as to preserve the status quo as much as possible. But when Qin Ye finally placed his cards on the table to reveal the potential benefits to the Black Mamba Underworld, the tides immediately changed in his favour.
And as for his identity?
How could they possibly know any better?
Hell was currently sealed off by the Array of the Nine Gods that was set in place by the Second King Yanluo of Hell, and nobody could possibly know any better what was happening within Hell right now. If Qin Ye said he was the husband to Princess Jia Ning, then he was the husband to Princess Jia Ning. And if he was a son in law to the emperor, then so be it!
Besides, what does it matter?
This was a smuggling operation. Hell was sending goods to be disposed of in the Alkebulan Underworlds. All the Black Mamba Underworld needed to do was to await the shipment and receive the goods at their port. There’s no risk of loss at all!
Only a fool would reject such profitable propositions.
And to that end, the reason why Qin Ye had decided to pass himself off as a member of the Zhu Clan was simply to smoothen the path for his dealings with the Black Mamba Underworld.
And as for evidence?
With the Longxing Temple in hand, the entire treasury of the Zhu Clan was completely at his disposal. It would easily take Hell at least three to four months of non-stop operations in order to come up with a full inventory of the treasures within the Longxing Temple. Just how many artifacts were contained within the massive expanse of the Longxing Temple? He could simply show them a random carved seal that he found within the first floor of the Longxing Temple at that!
In fact, he could easily produce a whole host of other artifacts to prove his identity, including coveted treasures such as the Hotan Blood Jade, the imperial green jade, the South Red Agate, and so on and so forth.
“Furthermore… I can cash in right now.” He gently tapped his armrest, “The Zhu Clan’s treasure trove is filled with piles and piles of precious jewelry and ornaments. These are hardly useful to Hell right now, and they would be far more useful if sold and converted into cold hard cash!”
Speaking of which, I’ve heard that the Cathayan artwork is rather popular in the international arena.
Let’s embark on the first ever state-run money laundering operation!
Time flew by, and four hours passed in the blink of an eye. And then, there was another knock on the door.
“Mr Qin.” Qin Ye opened the door, only to notice Babulu standing right outside. And as soon as he did, Babulu immediately pulled Qin Ye into a warm embrace, “Brother, I’m truly sorry for neglecting you these last few days. The molting process of Lord Mythic Spirit is an important event that only takes place every 50 years, so I sincerely seek your kind understanding.”
“Naturally.” Qin Ye patted his back gently, and they released each other from embrace. Then, Qin Ye continued, “So, Mr Babulu, I take it that you’re no longer as busy now?”
Babulu coughed somewhat bashfully, and then smiled faintly, “No, rather, we’ve become busier than ever. After all, we can’t possibly leave the esteemed Emissary of Hell out in the lurch. Therefore, we’d especially urged our Lord Mythic Spirit to suspend his molting process to free up time to meet with you. I wonder if you would be available now? Lord Black Mamba would like to meet with you, together with three of our elders.”
“No problem. Truth be told, we’d come here first because we would prefer to work with someone that we’ve had a history with before.”
“Hahaha, that’s for sure. When it comes to honesty and quality of goods, the Black Mamba Underworld is second to none other here in the Alkebulan Underworlds. What’s more, we’ve had a deep history of friendship and cooperation with each other.”
Just look at how your posture and tone has changed over the last few days… Qin Ye shuddered softly as he nodded his head.
Babulu stood up and waved his hand casually. At once, a rift appeared in the void, from which a multitude of snakes emerged, intertwining with each other until several seconds later, a mystical door appeared right between the live snakes.
Qin Ye didn’t reject his advances. The tables had now turned. Qin Ye was now the one with the leverage, while the one filled with urgency was clearly the Black Mamba Underworld. Additionally, they would even have to contend with how to salvage the situation after having given Hell the cold shoulder for the last few days.
Qin Ye stepped through the door without hesitation. His vision blurred out at once, and his mind spun. A split second later, he found himself appearing right in the middle of a grand hall.
The hall was indeed grand - incredibly grand. The circumference of the grand hall alone stood at approximately a thousand meters from end to end, while the ceiling was at least hundreds of meters from the ground he was on.
A series of stone pillars carved with all sorts of living beings supported the entire grand hall. The lampstand was carved with intricate totemic designs of the birds of Alkebulan, and it blazed with netherflames that rose several meters into the sky. The corners of the walls and the roof of the grand hall were also etched with remarkable reliefs. Anyone who stood in the heart of these halls would find themselves unimaginably small and filled with a desire to worship the object of their religion.
Qin Ye took a moment to survey his surroundings, before finally turning his gaze to what lay straight ahead of him.
A circular altar was located right in the depths of the grand hall, and a 100-meter long skeletal serpent lay right atop the altar!
Its entire body was covered with striking scarlet tattoos that appeared chaotic and messy. However, Qin Ye felt his entire world tremble as soon as he saw this being.
This was undoubtedly the master of the Black Mamba Underworld, the Black Mamba Mythic Spirit.
Terrifying Yin energy cascaded down to the ground like a grand waterfall. Even though the Black Mamba was clearly already restraining its abilities, Qin Ye still couldn’t help but feel as though he were a mere mortal standing in the face of a colossal dragon.
This was the might of a divine being.Previous Chapter Next Chapter