Whoosh… The wheels of the carriage suddenly burst into scarlet netherflames, and the carriage suddenly sped up, causing the scenery around them to become a blur. They rode through the forest and meadows, until they saw the lights from a multitude of homes.
They had arrived at Khuree. The carriage continued to plow through the empty streets until it finally came to a halt right in front of a church.
The church was magnificently built. Most churches would be closed by now, but this one wasn’t. Its gates were open, almost as though they were waiting to welcome someone’s arrival. Furthermore, there were hundreds of soldiers standing tall right in front of the church.
Their bodies were all clad in silver-white armor, gorgeous and elegant, and obviously forged with excellent workmanship. There were even beautiful reliefs etched on the surface of the armor and gilded etchings on the edges of the armor. These ensembles made the soldiers look little like war machines, and far more as though they were beautiful pieces of art.
“Palatial armor.” Having noticed Qin Ye’s intensely curious gaze, Peter the Great chuckled and explained, “These are ceremonial soldiers who don’t possess actual combat abilities. Since we’ll be addressing some matters of utmost importance tonight, we’ve naturally got to pull out all the stops.”
Qin Ye walked up to the church together with Peter the Great. Then, with a casual word of apology, Peter the Great walked ahead into the church, leaving him behind to marvel at the church’s grandeur. But before he could take a closer look at his surroundings, a Yin spirit dressed in priest’s clothing knelt in front of Qin Ye respectfully, “Welcome, Emissary of Hell. Please follow me to the conference hall.”
He pushed on a hidden stone door, revealing a narrow passageway ahead of him. This passageway was adorned in ancient European decor, and the walls were even sinuously carved with continuous reliefs of various gods of death. It felt almost as though he had stepped into the ruins of an ancient hermitage. Wisps of netherflame flared up from below.
As he followed the spiral stone staircase down into the depths of the church, the area below opened up in front of his eyes.
He couldn’t quite tell which era these chambers had been created, but they appeared to be ancient yet well-cleaned out. The stairs opened up to a chamber of approximately 100 square meters in size, with fine reliefs carved on the walls all around. Even the candlesticks were beautifully sculpted and designed for staggered candles. A rectangular stone table was placed right in the center of the room.
There were several parchment scrolls placed right on top of the stone table. Several Yin spirits stood at either side of the table. As soon as Qin Ye arrived, they immediately knelt down onto the ground, “Mongol Empire… Bogd Khan, greets the esteemed Emissary.” 
But before Qin Ye could say another word, the Harken promptly sneered at him, “This is the meeting between Hell and the Russian Underworld. What are you doing here?”
“My Lord…” Bogd Khan kowtowed fearfully and responded with a hoarse voice, “The Russian Underworld has arrayed a hundred thousand troops at the borders. I… have no choice but to be here.”
Qin Ye carried the Harken and took his seat at the table. Then, he chuckled coldly, “No wonder your name sounded so familiar. Bogd Khan… You must be the Jebtsundamba. Rest assured, even if the Mongol Underworld is destroyed, I won’t do anything to you.”
It finally occurred to him just who this was.
On 28 December 1911, the Mongol Empire declared its independence, and Rus declared the Mongol Empire to be its protectorate. The leader in charge at that time was none other than Bogd Khan, or the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, otherwise known as the reincarnation of the scholar Taranatha of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism.
That said, Bogd Khan had always had an inclination for Cathay. Or rather, the international politics of the time caused him to pick Cathay over others. Thus, in November 1919, they ceded autonomy to Cathay once more. That said, the government was still dominated by political appointees from Rus.
Later, on 3 February 1921, the White Guards of the Russian Baron Roman Fyodorovich von Ungern-Sternberg defeated the Cathayan Beiyang army and once again installed the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu to the throne and established the so-called autonomous government. On 10 July that same year, the Mongol Empire formally declared independence. Three years later, the Cathayan government and the Soviet government signed the Sino-Soviet Outline Agreement on Unsettled Issues that stipulated that Outer Mongol was still a part of Cathayan territory, over which Cathay enjoyed sovereignty.
But in May of the same year, the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu fell ill and died. One month later, Mongol abolished its constitutional monarchy and established a republican system, creating the Mongol People’s Republic. It was also announced that Taranatha would no longer be reincarnated, and there would no longer be a Jebtsundamba Khutuktu.
These were the rough details of what transpired during those tumultuous years, and the exact details aren’t known. That said, there was an alternative theory that posited that the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu was murdered by Rus to propel the Mongol Empire to independence.
The fact that he was here right now was of reasonable significance.
Just then, before Bogd Khan could even say a word, Peter the Great walked right back into the room in a different, more formal set of aristocratic garments, “The Mongol regime needs to undergo some reorganization.”
His garments were incredibly flamboyant, tied with a cumberbund at the waist and with beautiful frills at the chest, all of which were lined with gold lace. He wore a scarlet tailcoat embroidered with swans and sunflowers, and white baroque frills flared out at the cuffs. His trousers flared out slightly at the ankles, and he wore men’s boots to complete the elegant and magnificent look.
All in all, he exuded an aura of nobility that seemed almost innate. Even if he was nothing more than a skeleton, his outfit didn’t do anything to take away from his brilliance and radiance.
“Prefect Qin.” He bowed gently before taking his seat right across the table from Qin Ye, “Before the negotiations begin, please allow me to reveal a token of the Russian Underworld’s sincerity.”
Then, he began to spread out all of the scrolls on the table one by one, “These are all of the original treaties relating to the Mongol Empire and its independence.”
He looked Qin Ye straight in the eyes, “Once this all blows over, we will in accordance with due process send these treaties to Hell, and you may do as you please.”
Qin Ye’s eyes flickered softly - What determination.
They were prepared to deny the Mongol Empire’s declaration of independence and submit it right back to Hell!
The first reason for this was naturally to curry favour with Hell. The second reason was such that if the Federation of Underworlds takes issue with this, Hell would clearly be able to show that this was a decision undertaken pursuant to consultation with both underworlds. Finally, the third reason for this was to give Hell a taste of the sweetness of this deal so that Hell wouldn’t hesitate to snap up the offer! This was a bold offer that instantly sweetened the deal on three fronts! Qin Ye couldn’t help but revisit his assessment of international affairs once more. In fact, it even dawned on him that he still had much to learn.
“Sounds decent.” He lifted his brows, “So?”
“So… the Russian Underworld will send troops for the Mongol Underworld.” Peter the Great completely ignored the still-kneeling 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu as he stared straight into Qin Ye’s eyes, “Tomorrow morning, 5.00 a.m., at the witching hour, the 300,000 Cossacks cavalrymen and the Queen’s 50,000 imperial soldiers will march for the Mongol Underworld.”
Rustle… Thud… Just then, there was a soft sound. However, everyone stared intently at Peter the Great, only to realize that he was completely unfazed as he continued, “We expect to capture the four largest cities of Erdenet, Darkhan, Choibalsan and Khuree in no more than 6 hours. Prefect Qin…”
He paused, and the entire room was filled with an eerie silence. A Duke and an Abyssal Prefect locked eyes for several moments. About ten seconds later, Peter the Great asked, “Does Hell… have anything to add?”
Qin Ye continued to stroke the Harken’s fur for several moments, before finally responding, “Will the Mongol Empire become a part of Hell once the Russian Underworld cedes all of the treaties to us?”
“Yes.” Peter the Great didn’t let up in the slightest as he continued to take in the micro-expressions on Qin Ye’s face, “The Laws of Yin-Yang Coaction means that whatever happens in the mortal realm would affect the netherworld, and vice versa. These are treaties signed in the mortal realm. So long as you burn them up, they will appear in Hell and become something under your control.”
“The Russian Underworld will immediately withdraw our ambassador to the Mongol Empire and enter trade and border negotiations with Cathay in respect of the Mongol Empire.”
At that instant, Bogd Khan couldn’t help but let out a soft whimper as his entire body went limp.
What humiliation. Two powers were discussing how to destroy the Mongol Empire right in front of one of the former kings of the nation, and there was nothing he could do about it at all.
In fact, he had no choice but to suppress all inclination to react right this moment, because he knew full well that if he lost his temper here, nobody could guarantee his survival. These were the negotiations between a Duke and an Abyssal prefect. Neither bothered to dignify him with even a glance.
Qin Ye nodded, “And can you confirm that the Russian Underworld only intends to take the Resentment Crystals from the Mongol Empire?”
“Just the Resentment Crystals!” Peter the Great nodded decisively with a touch of imperceptible excitement in his voice - Hell hasn’t objected to our requests thus far! Are they… really going to give us their nod of approval?
As a Duke, he was willing to cast his pride aside and act respectfully to an Abyssal Prefect, so long as it meant he could gain Hell’s nod of approval in return.
“Moreover, the Russian Underworld guarantees that Hell wouldn’t have to mobilize a single Yin soldier, and that the day the Resentment Crystals leaves the border of the Mongol Empire is the day we withdraw all of our Yin soldiers from within! Additionally…”
He took a deep breath and then pulled out another scroll from his pocket.
He slowly spread it out and then read it with allure, “The Red Queen. Pom Ice Crystals Mine. Grade A+ Mine. Located in Vladivostok, and never been mined. We estimate its contents to weigh six billion tons. So long as Hell gives the nod, this entire mine is yours.”
“And to this end, we give you our word that apart from the usual applicable taxes, no fees shall be charged for your mining and excavating operations, and you’ll have exclusive access to this mine. This is the Red Queen Entry Permit, and the license, and the draft agreement setting out everything I’ve just mentioned.”
He sat up straight, “Prefect Qin, we’ve already come this far, so there’s no need to beat about the bush any longer. I believe that you’ve seen a token of our sincerity and determination to make this all worthwhile for the both of us. Now, please let us have your answer.”
Their eyes met, and Qin Ye responded with a somber expression, “Of course.”
“Hell will never participate in the current operations, nor will it pursue the matter or condemn it in future. We’ll take it that… this never happened before.”
The netherflames in Peter the Great’s eyes flickered wildly, and his heart instantly leapt for joy, “Are you certain? Can the Harken also confirm this?”
“I confirm this.” The Harken responded, “I swear upon the name of the Second King Yanluo and Lord Ksitigarbha that Hell will not interfere in these operations of the Russian Underworld.”
“Very well.” As he spoke, Peter the Great sat down at once. Yin energy poured out of his seven apertures as he continued with great excitement, “Deal! Then… I’ll have to trouble both of you to wait here patiently till tomorrow. Rest assured, I’ll be staying right here with you so that you won’t feel in the slightest bit bored.”
It was only then that Qin Ye finally understood what the soft rustle and thud sounds from earlier was.
That was the sound of the stone door shutting behind them!
There was no need to look any further. He could already guess that the stone door was probably sealed shut with countless Yin Talismans. The underground chamber had been completely sealed shut!
But before Qin Ye could even say a word, the Harken immediately rose to its feet with its hair standing on end and copious amounts of Yin energy pouring right out of its body, “How dare you imprison the Emissaries of Hell?! Peter, you’re playing with fire!”
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