The mention of the Special Investigations Department was rather poignant, and it paved the way for smoother discussions to come. Neither Mi Gaozhu nor Mi Lan had doubts about Qin Ye’s identity any longer, and they all felt comfortable enough to discuss things openly.
“I’ve come this time bearing a potentially massive political achievement for you. But naturally, I’ll need some help in exchange.” Qin Ye hated beating about the bush, and he got straight to the point, “Everything that I’ve told you over the phone yesterday is absolutely true. Genghis Khan’s Tomb is located here in Northriver. I’ve just been there because of some private business. I’ll let you in on the details later on. Apart from that…”
He continued, “I’ll need access to the files recording the supernatural incidents here in Northriver Province.”
Mi Changqiu frowned slightly, “But this pertains to the jurisdiction of the Special Investigations Department. Why didn’t you approach them directly? Aren’t you on rather good terms with them?”
“It’s not all too convenient. You’ll understand in a few months’ time. That’s incidentally when the next political achievement will be coming your way.” Qin Ye smiled, “I’ve worked in the Special Investigations Department for some time, and I understand that all records are collated and sent to the archives each year. Naturally, I’m aware that the Special Investigations Department has an archives section, and the people who have access to this place…”
He turned to Mi Gaozhu and Mi Lan, “It shouldn’t be too difficult for the both of you.”
Mi Lan was puzzled, “Mr Qin, aren’t Emissaries of Hell able to turn invisible and travel through walls and our security defenses? Why do you need our help?”
It was clear that she was rather interested in the abilities of Emissaries of Hell.
Qin Ye shook his head, “You’re right to suggest that the archives probably aren’t too heavily guarded. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are still monitors that can pick up traces of my existence, and I don’t want the mortal realm to learn that an Emissary of Hell has been going through these files. Moreover, the national insignia is rather effective in warding off evil spirits, and it is usually accompanied by other formation arrays or spell arrays.”
Mi Lan and Mi Gaozhu nodded softly. Although they weren’t experts in the field, they would still have dealt with the Special Investigations Department on several occasions. After all, as part of the armed forces, they had collaborated with the Special Investigations Department on several occasions, especially when large paranormal activities were involved. Both agencies complemented the other's existence. Naturally, it wasn’t difficult for each to gain access to the other’s archives and databases.
“Okay.” Mi Changqiu nodded, “Then, Gaozhu, I’ll have to trouble you to bring Mr Qin about on his business tomorrow. I trust this wouldn’t be too much trouble, would it?”
Mi Gaozhu shook his head, “Not one bit. Leave it to me. I’m part of the armed police force, and we maintain an archive of the supernatural incidents in my office as well. Naturally, these are duplicates, but it should suffice for your purposes.”
He smiled, “I’m the Deputy Chief of the Yan Capital’s Internal Security Division after all. This is something that is still within the scope of my authority.”
“Great, then we’re all set.” Mi Changqiu stood up, “Mr Qin, I’ve taken the liberty to book us a table at He Chang Gardens. There’s much to talk about!”
The meal lasted for several hours, and everyone enjoyed themselves to the fullest. It wasn’t until the evening that Qin Ye returned to the hotel which Mi Changqiu had booked for him.
5 star hotel… Seems like Mi Changqiu is really doing well now. Qin Ye was almost unable to relate to Mi Changqiu’s down-and-out appearance back then.
Life was like that. There were highs and lows in every person’s life, and one should never judge a person by his appearances. Nobody can tell whether someone was going through a valley or a peak in their life.
Be kind to all, and perhaps… we’ll have our just rewards one day…
Qin Ye didn’t turn in right away. Instead, he simply opened the window and gazed into the stars in the sky in deep thought.
The Harken lay by the window and quipped, “What’s the matter? Thinking about life?”
Qin Ye snapped back to his senses. He gazed down at the ground which lay 28 floors beneath his feet, and then turned back to the Harken.
This height… and our relative location… almost makes me feel like committing a crime…
The Harken glared daggers at him, causing him to dispel all thoughts of wrongdoing at once.
Then, he coughed lightly and explained his thoughts, “I was just thinking where we should go next.”
“There are still several important milestones lying ahead of us right now. Firstly, we’ve got the negotiations with the mortal realm that are originally slated to take place two years later. Unfortunately, Hell needs Yin spirits, including both highly talented ones, as well as many educated, but slightly more ordinary Yin spirits. Most of these will likely be gathered at the major provincial capitals and centers of commerce as a result of the siphoning effect.”
The Harken listened for a moment, and then chimed back, “You’ll have everything as soon as you unify the underworld.”
Qin Ye shook his head, “That’s only true in theory. But what about the preparatory work required leading up to the unification of the underworld?”
“In reality, the unification of the underworld is only second on the list of agendas.”
“How should we unify the underworld? Firstly, conscription. Secondly, military remuneration. Thirdly, treatment and placement. Currently, Hell doesn’t even have more than 10,000 Yin soldiers remaining. If we want to unify the underworld, we’ll need at least 200,000 troops. And that’s just to start things off. They’ll be divided to the various provinces to march throughout Cathay. But what happens after we take a province? We’ll need additional forces to be garrisoned in those lands to hold the fort and keep the peace in the region. My plan requires not only 200,000 troops. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I’ll need at least 1,000,000 troops to make this work. These will all form part of the construction corps that will march out from Hell, of which 150,000 will be our official Yin soldiers. As the Yin soldiers reclaim territory for Hell, the construction corps will see to the settlement efforts.”
“Once that is done, they will start developing the cities. Naturally, we’ll need resources. To this end, we’ve secured two sources of that, one of which will come from the Russian Underworld, and the other would come from the mortal realm. If we’re to convince the mortal realm to send resources, the precondition is that we’ll have to be able to show that Hell has sufficient strength to pacify the Yin spirits that have been running rampant throughout their cities.”
Qin Ye went on with great consideration, “Then, for now, Pearlriver, Breakwaters, and the northeast provinces are the chips that we can potentially hold in our hands as far as negotiations are concerned. The more chips we hold, the more willing the mortal realm would be to send resources to us. It’s only with these things in hand that we can finally execute the construction corps plan. And that's only one aspect of things. Remember, we’ll still have to address the issue of military remuneration.”
“Right now, Cathay has a population size of 1.5 billion, and a corresponding military size of over 2.3 million. Securing a million troops of a population size of 20 million citizens of Hell is definitely going to be a tall task. After all, everyone knows that death is part and parcel of war, and the risks are especially high given that we don’t even know what other dangers might lurk in the fog of war. This is why military remuneration has traditionally been high. Besides, the army that we’ll have to raise are all seeds that have only experienced the great battle of Qufu, or those who have experienced the great conflict of the Hungry Ghost Festival. Who’s to say what will become of them in a hundred years’ time?”
“So, like I said, military remuneration is an issue. The system of currency has currently only been rolled out in Ashmound City. It’ll take time to roll out the system of currency for the rest of the underworld and make it accepted throughout. But until that’s done, how are we supposed to remunerate our armed forces?”
The more he thought about it, the more his head hurt. Finally, he sighed, “But first things first, let’s inaugurate our sea trade route before looking to anything else. Our internal market isn’t able to sustain itself, and we’ve got no choice but to rely on external sources. Then, with each city that we reclaim, we’ll immediately see an influx of Yin spirits to the corresponding city, just like how we did for the earlier cities that have been taken. Naturally, we’ll need to also garrison troops there in order to keep the peace and quell any potential riots. Thus, we’ll need far more troops than we have right now…”
The Harken nodded with a sigh, “Take things one step at a time. You’ve already secured a great start to Hell, so let’s work at it together. One day, Hell will be restored to its former glory, and then some.”
“Besides, the more cities you take down, the more Yin spirits there will be, and we’ll naturally also start to see more and more talents pouring into Hell. With their addition to the team, our government will become stronger and more efficient than ever. After all, the government here in the new Hell is admittedly still weaker than any other major ministries back in the mortal realm.”
They had a long way ahead of them.
The founding of underworlds used to be far more laid back and relaxed in the past.
Unfortunately, globalization had caused the world to grow infinitely smaller. The entire network of flights and transportation systems had caused underworlds to grow far more intertwined with each other, and every underworld had no choice but to constantly speak up for its own interests.
Time was of the essence.
“Furthermore, after the latest run-in with the Russian Underworld, I’ve finally come to realize something.” The cool breeze swept straight into Qin Ye’s room, gently tousling his fringe, “Hell has been out of the international political arena for far too long - so long that even the surrounding underworlds have started to stir anxiously. First, it was Nippon, and then Rus, and then even the P4 underworlds. We’ve gone at great lengths to extricate ourselves from a potentially difficult situation this time, and managed to come out on top of it. But what about the next time?”
“What are we supposed to do?”
The Harken grew silent. After a long time, it sighed, “Unfortunately, we need to grow stronger. We’re not in a position to get into a political tussle just yet.”
“But have you thought about it before?” Qin Ye ran his finger gently across the windowsill, “The longer we remain silent, the more they will keep eating away at our flesh like voracious maggots. Protracted silence will be seen as a tacit agreement - a tacit agreement to our neighbours building forts at our borders; a tacit agreement to other underworlds claiming our vassal states as their own. Then, when Hell finally opens its borders, the first sight that would greet us would be the horrific sight of foreign flags flying all over territories which we used to call ours in the past. And trust me when I say that none of them would be willing to enter discussions with Hell when Hell finally seeks to reach out to them in future.”
“How are we supposed to talk to them? They’re going to shrink back into their shell, just like cocoons.”
The Harken paced about on the narrow windowsill, “So, what are you thinking of?”
“We’ve got no choice but to show our strength from time to time.” Qin Ye responded with categorical determination, “Let everyone know that Hell is still keeping track of international politics. And once we successfully unify the underworld, I plan to… participate in some important international conferences in my capacity as the successor to the throne.”
The Harken quipped back, “And what might be considered important?”
“Matters that require Hell to speak out without sending troops. I can send a delegation, but I can’t afford to send any troops at all. In short, the smaller the delegation to be sent out, the better. After all, most of the territory in the world has already been divided among the major powers of the world, save for the territory in the New World. And as far as that is concerned, the division of those territories would coincide nicely with when Hell is about to open its borders again.”
The Harken pondered, “But wouldn’t it be practically impossible to sustain something like this for the next hundred years or so? No military exercises or parades? No joint peacekeeping missions or deployment of troops? You’ve got to realize that as soon as the gods of death of the New World understand that their underworlds are bound to collapse, they’d resort to anything to keep their legacy alive.”
Qin Ye nodded, “And that’s why I’ve decided to funnel all of the talents in Hell towards the research and development of second generation Forbidden Arts.”
The Harken gasped, “I’m afraid we might be biting off more than we can chew! First of all, you’ll have to develop the pedagogy for educating the younger generation of Yin spirits on the concept of Yin Talismanology. Then, you’ll have to unify the nation, because that’s the only way to discover what mineral deposits are available to you, and possibly enter into discussions to acquire the resources you might need…”
“So it’s still early days.” Qin Ye gazed deep into the distance, and then turned back to the Harken, “We’ll need to take the next 5 to 10 years to lay a proper foundation for the unification of the underworld. Then, the discussions of deployment and the actual unification efforts will take the next 2 or 3 years. Afterwards, we’ll spend the next few decades recovering from the unification wars. Over this period of time, we’ll keep our borders closed and focus all of our efforts in developing internally and tackling the development of second generation Forbidden Arts. Then, as soon as we’ve made some headway in this regard, I’ll assemble a team to make our presence known on the international arena once more.”
He straightened up, closed the window and turned back towards the bed, “But it’s still too early for all these things right now. For now, let’s focus our attention on rendering assistance to Brother Zhao. With his help, not even the Daolord of the Beast, Dong Zhuo, will be able to stand in the way of our unification efforts.”
His mind felt weary from all that thinking. With that, he finally retired to bed, pulled up the blanket and began slipping into dreamland.
But just as he was on the verge of falling asleep, he suddenly opened his eyes abruptly and furrowed his brows.
Eh? Why does it feel like I’ve forgotten something.
Alas, he didn’t notice a particular dog that had inadvertently been shut out on the other side of the narrow windowsill, staring daggers at him - HELP! I’M GOING TO DIE!!!Previous Chapter Next Chapter