Nobody disturbed him.
The only thing that was shifting and stirring in the distance were the 17 Mythic Spirits hidden in the darkness as they scrutinized the responses given during the divine inquisition.
Qin Ye could practically feel their gaze. It was almost as though they were breathing down his neck, tickling the pores on the nape of his neck as they whispered among themselves.
He glanced around at the immeasurable darkness around him, and thought through his response until 59 seconds on the clock, before finally responding, “No.”
At once, the 17 pairs of netherflames in the skies pulsed wildy, and they turned towards the scales.
Kkkkrrrr… This time, the scales began to shake violently. Unfortunately, the scales were tilted against Qin Ye’s word this time, and several seconds later, the word “no” crashed down onto the ground with a loud bang, kicking up a cloud of sand and dust.
Have I failed?
Qin Ye stared at the scales in astonishment - How is Hell supposed to resolve this matter on its own? Where have I gone wrong with my response?
There was a moment of abrupt silence.
Following that, a number of soft voices echoed from the darkness, “The divine inquisition is over.”
As they spoke, Qin Ye could sense the various sources of Yin energy around him slowly receding into the distance like an ebbing tide. Meanwhile, the Mythic Spirits that he had never met before slowly began to depart in the wake of a chorus of Yin spirits.
He wanted nothing more than to speak up to justify his response, but he knew that it was hardly his place to be making statements right now. Fortunately, someone else spoke up, “Everyone, please wait a moment.”
It was none other than Black Mamba.
Qin Ye felt as though a huge rock was lifted off his chest. Cold sweat was already beading up on his forehead, and his heart was already thumping right out of his chest.
“Take a look.” Under Black Mamba’s prompting, they all turned to look at the scales once more. To their surprise, they all noticed that the side that had crashed right into the ground had once again lifted up slightly!
“What’s this?” Another voice spoke up in consternation, “How is that possible…?”
“There’s never been a divine review recorded in the history of divine inquisitions… Was the first review of his response inaccurate?”
Then, in front of everyone’s eyes, the Scales of Justice continued to rise and fall as it desperately sought to establish equilibrium. But even after ten minutes, it still showed no signs of stopping.
The 17 pairs of colossal netherflames in the sky turned to each other awkwardly as they continued to watch the Scales of Justice undertake review after review of Qin Ye’s response. After yet another five minutes, the result was still the same. With that, Black Mamba finally sighed softly, “Everyone, what shall we do?”
Qin Ye didn’t say a word. Black Mamba was clever. He didn’t want anyone to know of the Black Mamba Underworld’s relationship with Hell, so he naturally refrained from making an overt proposition to continue so that he wouldn’t arouse any suspicions. Instead, he simply left the ball in the courts of others…
He was willing to bet that he wasn’t the only Mythic Spirit who wanted to know more about what was happening in Hell after having been locked down to the rest of the netherworld for a hundred years on end!
Nobody said a word.
Black Mamba glanced around for a moment, before speaking hoarsely, “Does anyone have any thoughts? If not, let me speak first. I propose… to end the divine inquisition right here and now.”
Pin drop silence.
“The divine inquisition is the highest standard of verification available to the Alkebulan Underworlds. Since the scales have already fallen to the ground, there’s naturally no reason to proceed any further.” He was clearly putting on a show right now. As soon as he finished speaking, another voice responded almost immediately, “I propose to continue.”
Qin Ye’s lips curled up slightly under the hood of his robes, and he couldn’t help but lick his parched lips.
It was the elegant male voice that he had heard a little while ago, “The Scales of Justice can only be said to have come to a decision if the scales land on the ground and not rise again after that. However, that’s clearly not the case here. The fact that it hasn’t stopped vacillating tells us that not even the Scales of Justice can judge the current situation in Hell.”
“According to the information provided by Prefect Qin, Hell is currently undergoing a change of regime. Moreover, the Second King Yanluo is clearly preventing its emissaries from leaving the borders of its underworld. However, it’s not entirely right to say that Hell is unable to resolve this situation if it truly wished to. Therefore, the answer is probably somewhere between the two binary options to be furnished by Prefect Qin. That’s probably why we’re seeing this unique response to the Scales of Justice.”
“Seconded.” “I second the proposition.” “No objections.”
Black Mamba grew taciturn. Several seconds later, another voice spoke up, “Then, we’ll carry on.”
Three more questions… Qin Ye took several deep breaths to calm his heart as he eagerly awaited the third question.
Silence. The surroundings were so silent that even the slightest sounds around him sounded deafening to him.
The punctuation between statements felt like an eternity to Qin Ye, “If the Mythic Spirits of the Alkebulan Underworlds accede to Hell’s request and travel eastwards, can Hell truly guarantee our safety?”
Qin Ye paused.
What kind of a question is this?!
“Your time starts now.”
The ticking sound of the second hand rang out through the darkness once more. Meanwhile, Qin Ye’s mind immediately flew into a frenzy as he mulled over the question.
It was a peculiar question - The first question was whether the information I’d provided to them is accurate or not. The second question in their mind is whether it was indeed convenient for Hell to make a move. The entire series of questions thus far appears to be cutting deeper and deeper into the core of the incident surrounding the Russian Underworld’s development of Forbidden Arts. Given the line of questioning, the third question should have been something along those lines, just like how one would peel an onion layer by layer!
Unfortunately, the third question appeared to have gone completely off tangent.
Going by the logic of the earlier two questions, the third and fourth question was expected to have gone something along the lines of - “Has the largest Resentment Crystal Mine in history truly been found in the Mongol Empire?” or “Is the Argosian Underworld truly involved in the shadows of the Russian Underworld’s foray into Forbidden Arts?” However, the third question clearly didn’t cohere with this train of thought.
Did something go wrong?
“30 seconds remaining.” A lady prompted him. Qin Ye clenched his fists and cleared his mind of all previous thoughts.
What have I overlooked?
Tick, tock, tick, tock… Time trickled by slowly. 10 seconds, 9 seconds, 8 seconds… 5 seconds… 3 seconds…
1 second remaining!
It was only then that Qin Ye lifted his head, “Yes.”
Kkkrrrr… The massive scales began to find its equilibrium once more. This time, the side with the feather landed on the ground with a bang.
“Haah…” Qin Ye sighed softly.
It wasn’t until the final 10 seconds that he managed to figure it out.
What he had overlooked was the weight of the first question, on whether the information contained in the documents was true and accurate.
His response had been “yes”.
And since that was the case, then everything, including the possible involvement of the Argosian Underworld, and their discovery of the Resentment Crystals Mine in Khuree, as well as the Russian Underworld’s ambitions and intentions, and the situation in Hell, everything was encompassed within this simple question that had been asked. There was naturally no need for them to follow this line of inquiry any longer!
Naturally, the third question to be asked was in fact… whether Hell would make a move against the Alkebulan Underworlds.
Even if they gave Hell their word to take action, they still couldn’t afford to send all of their Mythic Spirits. They would still need to keep some of their forces around to hold down the fort after all. But if they were to send only eight Mythic Spirits travelling straight into the hinterlands of Hell instead, they would easily expose the Mythic Spirits to be sent to the dangers of ambush. Granted, Hell was currently under lockdown right now, and their means might be limited, but given the fact that Hell had been one of the top underworlds for the longest time, it was still prudent to be safe rather than sorry.
And as far as international affairs were concerned, it was common knowledge that there was no such thing as unwavering loyalty and trust between allies.
“If the Russian Underworld and the Argosian Underworld eventually form an alliance, will Hell also form an alliance with the Alkebulan Underworlds? If the underworld acting from the shadows behind the Russian Underworld imposes sanctions on the Alkebulan Underworlds, will Hell take action?”
“We may be asking two questions, but they come from the same source of inquiry. Prefect Qin, please.”
Qin Ye pondered deeply. After a minute, he nodded softly, “Yes.”
Boom… The end of the scales containing the feather fell to the ground once more. At once, the tension in the air appeared to ease up slightly.
“One final question.” Without giving him any breather, a noble voice proceeded to ask the final question, “Who are you?”
Qin Ye clenched his fists tightly.
Things had taken an unexpected twist. He had never anticipated them to pose him a question like this!
He understood the intentions beneath the question at once. They were asking whether he had the authority to represent Hell. Was he sufficiently qualified to do so? What exactly is his true identity?
His heart skipped a beat, and then he suddenly loosened up once more.
This question… couldn’t possibly be answered with a yes or a no.
But just as he was about to heave a sigh of relief, a golden light suddenly erupted from the Scales of Justice, and a vast cloud of Yin energy erupted from the scales. Simultaneously, the thunderous voice of a transcendent god appeared to rumble from every direction.
“There is no time limit to this question.”
As soon as the voice appeared, the Mythic Spirits immediately gasped in horror, and then turned to stare intently at the Scales of Justice. At once, the lady Mythic Spirit cried out in consternation, “Lord Quetzalcoatl?”
Whoosh… At once, all 17 boundless sources of Yin energy in the skies bowed down to the ground.
They were all worshipping the golden shimmering Scales of Justice. Meanwhile, the Yin energy around them slowly began to converge upon the Scales of Justice. Even then, the domineering voice in the sky didn’t pay the slightest heed to the 17 Mythic Spirits behind him. Instead, it simply continued, “However, the examinee must respond as accurately as possible.”
Shit… Qin Ye nearly cursed under his breath - What the hell is going on here?!
He was supposed to be asked simple, yes-or-no questions! Why didn’t the Plumed Serpent God appear in the earlier four questions which all carried implications that would affect the balance of powers in the netherworld? Why did he choose only to appear on this last, fifth question of the divine inquisition?
Unfortunately, Qin Ye knew that it wasn’t the time to be thinking about these things.
His mind was spinning rapidly right now - Should I disclose my own identity? What should I say?
It’s not possible to fabricate an identity for myself on short notice. Then… does that mean I’ve got to disclose the fact that I’m going to be the next King Yanluo of Hell? That’s far too dangerous--... Hang on a minute!
His eyes suddenly gleamed brightly - That’s right… I did inform them that Hell was undergoing a change of regime…
And if that’s the case, what’s so unusual about there being several successors to the throne?
Moreover, the fact that a successor to the throne has personally come forward to negotiate on Hell’s behalf might even reveal Hell’s sincerity in these operations. Perhaps it’s not a bad thing to disclose this piece of information right now!
He scrambled to sort through his thoughts. Moments later, he slowly raised his head and stared at the Scales of Justice as he slowly explained, “One of the successors to the throne of Hell.”
Time seemed to slow down to a crawl at this very moment. As he spoke, the 17 pairs of netherflames immediately turned and stared intently at him.
There were looks of shock, astonishment, and disbelief, all of which were laced with several other complex emotions.
A successor to the throne of Hell… is actually standing before us?
This Abyssal Prefect of Hell… is actually one of the candidates vying for succession as the Third King Yanluo of Hell?!
Seconds later, Black Mamba couldn’t help but speak up from the darkness, “You mean that… you’re actually one of the successors to the Second King Yanluo of Hell?”
Qin Ye hardened his heart and bowed courteously, “Yes.”
“This, too, is probably one of my trials. Or perhaps I should say that this assignment is probably one of the questions that has been posed to me by the Second King Yanluo of Hell.”
That’s right, I’m a successor to the throne.
But what you don’t know is that I’m also the only successor to the throne!
You can’t say that I’m lying.
As soon as he said these words, the boundless Yin energy in the sky vanished, and the side of the scale containing the feather landed onto the ground.
“The divine inquisition is over.”
“You have passed.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter