Arthis explained as though Qin Ye were an idiot, “Why is this surprising to you? Where are you going to stay after becoming Yama? Where would you eat? With what? Don’t you need servants? Don’t you need a bed chamber? Wouldn’t you need to collect taxes for the administration of your Fengdu Necropolis? Don’t you need to enrich the lives of your netherworldly citizens with some form of entertainment? Aren’t you afraid that they’ll revolt?”
“Furthermore, don’t you want to establish and develop the spiritual culture in Hell? Don’t you want a publishing office? What about sustainability in Hell’s development? What if a tragedy occurs on earth, resulting in the sudden death of innumerable people? Aren’t you going to establish some emergency departments to deal with contingencies? Aren’t you going to feed your Emissaries of Hell? Everything requires money!”
“And where do you get your funds from? Taxes, naturally! Let me tell you something, these things aren’t the only things that require funds to maintain. There’s still the eighteen Abysses of Punishment, the six paths of reincarnation, and the Ten Abyssal Courts to consider! Governance! Everything requires money! Additionally, dealings with the mortal realm, the construction of buildings in Hell, the development of aesthetics, guidance in theology… you can treat this as a completely empty canvas where you’ll have to establish a new world order all over again!”
Qin Ye was astounded.
He was completely astounded.
He had never thought that the burden of something so massive would fall on his shoulders just like that.
Bloody hell… why does it feel like I’ve got to rebuild an entire world all by myself?!
Can you imagine the last Emissary of Hell having to painstakingly lay bricks and build walls every night?
“Won’t I have the tiniest bit of help?”
“Of course you would have help! In the past, King Yanluo would only have to approve the plans for construction works that were submitted to him. However, you’ll have to start from scratch. The first thing you’ll need to do would be to collect all of the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal. After all, it’s only when the Yellow Springs begins to flow again that the Yin spirits would automatically find their way to Hell once more. You’ll naturally need to reconstruct the netherworld odyssey as well…”
Qin Ye felt his head begin to hurt, “Didn’t you say that Hell can only be reestablished as soon as all of the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal have been assembled?”
“The choice of words is important, kid. I’d said that the order of Hell can only be reestablished as soon as the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal have been assembled. Do you understand? Order! Order implies rules and regulations. You can think of it as the laws governing the vicissitudes of life. It’s a type of moving force.”
“That said, all forms of moving force require the undergirding support of fundamentals. So what if you assemble all of the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal? If you haven’t rebuilt the Fengdu Necropolis by then, what are you going to use to operate the machinations of Hell? It’s true that the establishment of Fengdu Necropolis is redundant without the key that is the completely assembled King Yanluo’s Seal. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lay the groundwork and rebuild Hell first!”
Qin Ye chuckled coldly, “Hahaha… rebuild Hell first… you make it sound like it’s only going to take two to three years of work!”
“Listen to what I have to say! You’re a scumbag who knows nothing about the machinations of Hell!” Arthis bellowed in rage, “Even though everything is going to be an empty shell when it’s built, some places don’t need the Yellow Springs to begin functioning! More accurately speaking, haven’t you realized that you don’t even see the Yellow Springs until you reach the end of the yin-yang road?! Think about it. Which part of the netherworld odyssey were you on when you first learnt of the existence of the Yellow Springs?”
The Naraka Bridge… Qin Ye pondered for a moment before finding his answer.
“In other words… are you saying that the yin-yang road before the Naraka Bridge, and the Ferryman’s Creek both don’t require the existence of the Yellow Springs? And they can be put to use immediately as soon as they are built?” He asked somewhat suspiciously.
Arthis nodded her head, “You finally understand… You can’t even begin to describe how massive the rebuilding of Fengdu Necropolis is going to be. To put things into perspective, back when we first opened a site for the construction of an entertainment plaza for Hell’s citizens, there were a total of twelve developers who submitted tenders for the project. How could you possibly complete the construction works on your own? Fix the yin-yang road and invite Yin spirits to return to Hell so that they can do the grunt work for you. All you’ll have to do is to work out the blueprints and construction plans!”
Qin Ye was mind blown again.
After a long time, he muttered, “Can you repeat that last part? Tenders from construction companies? Blueprints?”
“Of course!” Arthis spoke with ridicule as she proudly added, “What kind of place do you think the Fengdu Necropolis is? It houses an entire society of ghosts! Most of the ghosts are regular human beings with no merits or faults in their lives, and they don’t qualify to enter both paradise and the Abyssal Courts or the Abysses of Punishment. Thus, they can only draw lots and wait patiently for their turn at reincarnation. However, since the number of spots available for reincarnation is limited, most of these ghosts end up living at the Fengdu Necropolis as a long term resident. Incidentally, they also become one of Fengdu Necropolis’ largest sources of income! Did you think that Hell still relies on the Hell notes offered to them during the Qingming Festival? Hell would have gone bankrupt a long time ago if that were the case!”
There’s even stuff like bankruptcy… It looks like these construction companies must have been operated by the financial experts of the netherworld… Speaking of which, does Hell really have to be so similar to modern day human society? Do I still have to work from nine to five even after going to Hell?
“... Isn’t this akin to holding an office job?”
“Naturally… why don’t you think about it? How are you going to establish and ascribe economical values without work?! What you need to do now is not merely establish the yin-yang road - you’ll still have to construct the soul induction platform and banks! Otherwise, the ghosts might just revolt on you!”
“... I suddenly feel like resigning and returning to my hometown… Do you accept refunds for my proof of identity?”
“Dream on!” Arthis delighted in Qin Ye’s misery.
Moments later, Qin Ye broached another issue with some measure of resignation, “What does this have to do with the Special Investigations Department anyway?”
Arthis responded proudly, “It’s because they possess a large number of Yin energy crystals. Well, let’s call it the Yin spirit stones as the mortals do. This will save you an immense amount of energy and time. As mentioned earlier, Yin spirits absorb Yin energy, otherwise also known as lunar essences. When you possess enough Yin energy, you’ll be able to establish the first soul induction platform. This would allow you to attract Yin spirits and increase the manpower available at your disposal… That’s right, you’ll also need a receptionist… Do your calculations carefully - there’s money to be had everywhere!”
Qin Ye’s gaze grew deep and abstruse as he stared into the distant sky.
Arthis paused for a moment. She knew full well that she couldn’t afford to put too much pressure and overwhelm the last remaining Emissary of Hell. Otherwise… he might just give up altogether.
After some deliberation, she finally added, “Speaking of which, you’d single handedly broken and dismantled nine hunting zones last night, haven’t you? Don’t you think you’d be rewarded with quite a number of Yin spirit stones?”
Qin Ye’s spirits finally took a turn for the better, “But the prerequisite is that I’ll have to agree to join the Academy of Cultivators. Otherwise… I may as well expect no more than a token reward.”
“Join them!” Arthis encouraged him, “Worst case scenario, I’ll help you with an absolutely painless death in a few years time!”
“... You’ve wanted to do this for a long time, haven’t you?”
“... What are you talking about? Aren’t we like dear siblings?”
When Qin Ye returned to the private room, Zhang Chenghai discovered that his expression had turned somewhat complicated.
There was hatred, and then there was some measure of agony arising out of the fact that he couldn’t indulge in his laziness anymore - almost like the expression someone made when he was dragged out of bed at five in the morning. Finally, there was also a trace of expectancy and greed undergirding all of these emotions.
How in the world do you communicate such clear and distinct emotions through your micro-expressions? Zhang Chenghai almost thought aloud. He coughed dryly, “So, Mr Qin, what’s… your decision?”
“I’ll join.” Qin Ye nodded his head, “However, shouldn’t I be rewarded for expunging so many ghosts last night?”
Zhang Chenghai laughed, “Naturally. Three days later, you should personally attend the event at the downtown plaza where all of the city’s residents will be given a proper account of the incident. You will be presented your prize at that time as well.”
“Alright.” Qin Ye sighed wistfully, “I’ve got some requests as well. Firstly, you’re not allowed to ask about my past and my profession.”
“Don’t worry. The Special Investigations Department is made up of oddballs and strange people alike. We never ask about such private matters.”
“Secondly… I hope that the teaching stint won’t take too long - one term at best. After that, I’d like to continue focusing on my own training.”
Zhang Chenghai nodded affirmatively, “That can be arranged. In fact, most of our Soul Hunters have been designated to keep watch over a city each. If not for the fact that we’re establishing the Academy of Cultivators, you would most definitely be assigned a city to keep a close watch over. The first term of the Academy of Cultivators wouldn’t last too long. According to my sources, the term would last a maximum of two years.”
Qin Ye nodded, “That’s fine… So, that’s it?”
Was the process of joining the Special Investigations Department that simple and straightforward?
Zhang Chenghai laughed.
“How’s that possible?”
“There are procedures for everything, and the registration process for the Special Investigations Department is no exception to this either. Even though it suffices that you are a human being, there’s nevertheless still some documentation that needs to be processed, including your work permit, for instance.”
Before he even finished speaking, Qin Ye felt the entire room tremble slightly. And then… it suddenly descended like an elevator!
“This is…” He looked out of the window in great astonishment. The movements were incredibly light, but making a room of such size sink was no mean feat either.
Zhang Chenghai explained placidly, “The Special Investigations Department was founded over fifty years ago, and has constantly maintained an incredibly tight relationship with the government. Incidentally, our base is also the most well protected location across the entire city. Therefore… our headquarters in each and every city is located directly underneath their respective city halls.”
Fwoosh… The entire room came to a complete halt. Zhang Chenghai led the way. He adjusted his suit and opened the door with a smile, “Welcome.”
“Welcome to the base of Cathay’s top secret department that holds the widest scope of authority in its hands - the Special Investigations Department!”
Qin Ye blinked his eyes. Everything in front of his eyes looked as though it had come straight out of a science fiction story.
It was no longer a teahouse outside the room. Instead, it was a circular room that was approximately three hundred square meters large.
A giant futuristic supercomputer sat in the center of the room. Complex equations and information were constantly being processed and transmitted across dazzling belts of light that made the central column appear like an alloy column inlaid with precious gemstones. More than a dozen computers and consoles were lined neatly in rings around the supercomputer, leaving only a single aisle for access. If one looked at the layout from above, the access paths would look no different from a maze.
LCD screens were embedded into the walls on the side, displaying topological maps of both the City of Salvation and Insignia Province. Red and yellow coloured overlays constantly shifted around the maps, representing the supernatural occurrences in the mortal realm. Real-time data was transmitted straight from the fiber optic lines on the floor into the central supercomputer before being disseminated to the computers around.
A futuristic gate with numerous gleaming implements was located just a short distance away from where they were.
“This is… the Special Investigations Department?” Qin Ye gasped as he exclaimed.
Zhang Chenghai responded proudly, “Naturally. Mere mortals aren’t aware of its existence, but I can responsibly claim that everything you see within this place implements the most ground-breaking technology that hasn’t been replicated anywhere else in the world! These were all independently developed and produced here in Cathay!”
He pointed at the central columnar supercomputer, “The supercomputer ‘Styx’. Its sub-processors can only run calculations at a rate that is two hundred times slower than the main processor here.”
“You should be aware that the most powerful supercomputer in the world is currently the Milky Way 2’ that is used by our National Defense University, right?”
“The Milky Way 2 can run 33.86 quadrillion calculations every second. But… Styx can achieve more than twice that number! It’s speed is over 70 quadrillion calculations every second! It’s a whopping four times more powerful than the current second-placed supercomputer ‘Titan’ located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Usonia!”
He grew a little bit excited, and restrained himself, “Unfortunately, the general public isn’t aware of its existence.”
“Please follow me.”
Qin Ye entered the room after Zhang Chenghai and glanced about at his surroundings with disbelief. It was too futuristic. If not for the fact that he had just personally witnessed it, he would never have expected the advancement of Cathay’s technology to have already reached such a degree! Furthermore, he would never have fathomed just how well prepared Cathay was for the impending war between the mortal realm and the netherworldly forces.
But why do I get the feeling that I’m like a husky that has just infiltrated a pack of wolves...Previous Chapter Next Chapter