This was an ancient-looking hall.
It was located in the middle of a row of houses styled in a similar fashion, replete with clear glazed roof, carved fretwork doors and brand new windows. The place looked new, but a trained eye would know that these all dated back to the Qing Dynasty.
The row of houses were guarded closely with a series of armed soldiers, all of whom carried live rounds with them. From time to time, there would even be women dressed in suits or Cathayan tunics patrolling the area silently. The grave expressions on their faces only deepened the air of sobriety around them.
Surprisingly, there was an office located in the middle of the hall. A lean old man with white hair sat across a table from Lei Jun, “So, his answer was six months later?”
He coughed as he spoke. At once, an attendant behind immediately popped open a pill bottle with no markings on it and poured out a yellow pill for the man. The old man waved his hand and stared intently at Lei Jun.
“That’s right.” Lei Jun was standing earlier, and he finally sat down once more with an erect posture. He might be known as one of the three strongest experts in the mortal realm, but he still carried himself with great respect before the old man.
After all, anyone who worked for the nation’s well-being and development deserved his utmost respect.
After all, they were the ones who had helped Cathay get back onto their feet and propelled them to the top of the international arena once more.
The old man raised the cup of tea on the table and took a sip from it, “Specifics.”
“Hell will reach out to us anytime between six months to a year from now for negotiations. He didn’t say much in our brief exchange at the Yin Mountains, and I was at best only able to hazard a guess at Hell’s intentions at that time. That said, we’ll probably only learn of their true interests at the negotiation table later on.”
The old man set down his teacup and tapped his fingers on the table, “And what are your thoughts on this?”
Lei Jun deliberated for a moment, “According to the Divine Protector records, Yin and Yang have a symbiotic relationship with each other. In fact, it might not even be too far off to say that the mortal realm is the foundation upon which the netherworld is built. And since that is the case, I think that the odds of something bad happening should be quite low. This is something that only occurred to me later on. After all, if Hell’s intention is to rise up against the mortal realm, then the three strongest experts would be the first to go. But… I’m still alive.”
“You’ve already seen the footage. That man… is Zhao Yun, one of the legendary Ghost Kings of Hell. There’s no way I would’ve survived an attack as powerful as that. Chonggu County is located in Kalgan City, and given his speed, Yan Capital is no more than 10 minutes away. But… Yan Capital remained completely unaffected by this entire episode. I think…”
He paused for a moment, “They can be trusted.”
The old man nodded, “Indeed. I concur. If Hell truly wanted to do something against the mortal realm, then I’m afraid the entire government would already have been wiped completely off the surface of the earth. But they said nothing of the sort. And that is in and of itself proof of their intentions - that Yin and Yang are but two sides of the same coin.”
“You may take your leave. I’ll consider this a little bit more, before relaying my instructions directly to the Special Investigations Department for their implementation. For now, I’d like the leaders to remain hidden for security purposes. We will follow up accordingly.”
He took a deep breath and gazed out of the window, “After all, anything we do right now might well affect the future negotiations…”
Truth be told, Cathay was prepared for a hard fight given the state of supernatural incidents across the nation. In fact, they were already on the cusp of revealing the truth of these incidents to the citizens of the nations when Qin Ye suddenly emerged out of nowhere and brought renewed hope to them all. And then, things gradually took a turn for the better, and there were even a number of provinces that were slowly but surely returning to green zones!
In other words, this was the best state the nation had been in the last ten years. The old man shut his eyes, and his heartbeats quickened.
We’ve sacrificed much over these last ten years… Our GDP… our population… our technology… Cathay was just a step away from returning to the peak of its influence when the supernatural incidents first broke out. Currently, our GDP is still no more than three-fifths of that of Usonia. But once this all ends, then the panic and anxiety wreaking havoc throughout the citizenry would finally be swept away, and Cathay will once again return to its period of rapid growth!
“Finally… We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel…” The man opened his eyes after a long time, and then gazed deep into the open skies.
Perhaps the brief exchange between this man and Director Lei wouldn’t be recorded in the annals of history.
Or perhaps their exchange might simply be recorded with a few short sentences.
Or perhaps nobody would even learn of the truth of these supernatural incidents, and how the secret departments of the state, the military police and the armed forces have been sacrificing to bring things back in order. But, this man didn’t care.
Everything was done to bring revival to the nation.
Elsewhere, in an exquisitely-designed booth. Qin Ye fidgeted with his chopsticks anxiously, while the Harken tapped on Qin Ye’s cellphone. Naturally, the Harken was on the pet channel.
The booth sported ancient Cathayan decor. Bright yellow palace lamps hung directly overhead, while faux palace lampstands also cast a gentle illumination on the table. The large table in the room was surrounded by grand seats, while the walls in the private booth were surrounded by famous paintings. Several topiaries hung around the room for some greenery, while a few plum blossoms in vases brought a tasteful splash of vibrant colour to add vitality to the room.
“Why isn’t Brother Zhao here yet?” Qin Ye set down his chopsticks and sighed softly, “Does he prefer Nipponese cuisine? Hey…”
He tapped on the cellphone with his chopsticks, “I’m talking to you. Do you think Brother Zhao will feel dissatisfied with a meal in this palace? Would it alienate us before we even begin to forge a good relationship with each other?”
“No, I’m happy with this place.” Just then, the door to the private booth opened up, and Zhao Yun marched in dressed in his camouflage uniform.
It had to be said that if a person was good-looking, it would remain that way regardless of what he wore.
Some people looked like drill sergeants wearing camouflage uniforms, while others… with their bulging muscles, would cause hormones to abound with their camouflage uniforms…
A certain Dogballs Qin was incredibly jealous.
Damn, that torso, those legs, and those muscles… Why don’t I exude the same air when I’m dressed in uniform? Do clothes these days give people preferential treatment as well?!
“Brother Zhao.” Qin-sour-grapes-Ye stood up, reached out and shook Zhao Yun’s hands with a flattering smile on his face, “You’re finally here… Come, take a seat, take a seat…”
And then, he found Zhao Yun awkwardly wrestling his hand free of Qin Ye’s grasp. At once he took three steps to the left, and then took his seat to the left of where Qin Ye was seated, “King Yanluo, you… You’re too kind…”
So kind that I’m wondering if you’re harbouring any ulterior motives…
“Naw, don’t say that. I just feel a special affinity with you, just like how I’ve seen my brother who passed on many years ago, and I can’t help but get drawn closer to you…”
The Harken paused for a while, and then leaned in closer, “Tell me more?”
Zhao Yun subconsciously shifted to a seat that was directly opposite Qin Ye.
At once, Qin Ye glared at the Harken - I’m gonna disown you, you terrible excuse for a dog!
Then, just as the awkwardness in the room escalated, there was a soft knock on the door, and a male waiter walked in, “Sir, can we serve the dishes now?”
Qin Ye nodded, and the dishes began to be served one by one. Given the immense cultivation level of both the Harken and Zhao Yun, both of them were naturally able to manifest themselves physically and enjoy the delectable cuisines of the mortal realm. Naturally, the awkward tension in the room dissipated, and they got right back on track.
“King Yanluo.” Zhao Yun poured Qin Ye a cup of wine and raised it with both hands, “Forgive me for not having called upon Hell earlier. I could sense it when the new Hell was first formed, but back then, I was already embroiled in a bitter tangle with the soul of Genghis Khan, so--…”
“It’s fine.” Qin Ye clinked his cup with Zhao Yun’s, “Speaking of which, since the Ghost Kings were all missing from Hell back in its nascent years, I had no choice but to stake my life on the line on several occasions. I even came close to death back on the Strait of Tsushima…”
“This is all due to the incompetence of your humble servant here.”
Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed, and he immediately sighed softly, “No matter. Don’t worry about it. As the King Yanluo of Hell, I live for Fengdu, and die as an Emissary of Hell. There’s nothing to complain about. Unfortunately, the heart was willing, but the flesh was weak. Despite dancing on a knife's edge on several occasions, I wasn’t able to do as much for Hell as I’d liked. To put it bluntly, it was unfortunate that Hell didn’t have a pillar of support. After all, I was only a Hellguard back then. No, perhaps even just a Soul Hunter. Any other Yin spirit out there was able to bully me into submission back then--...”
Zhao Yun lowered his head and gulped down the entire cup of wine. Then, he poured himself yet another cup of wine and held it over his head, “King Yanluo, this is all on me. From now on--...”
“Like I said, it’s not your fault!” Qin Ye raised his voice, “What’s in the past is in the past. So what if I didn’t have a grand reception at the inauguration ceremony when I was crowned the King Yanluo of Hell? And sure, things might have been difficult at the start, but is there anything we cannot achieve so long as we put our minds to it? You might not have been around, but I was somehow still able to hold Hell up with my own two hands. That said, it’s a huge relief that you’ve finally returned…”
Zhao Yun nodded deeply, and once again gulped down his cup of wine, “Then, if there’s anything you need of me in the future, please do not hesitate to ask!”
The Harken glared coldly at Dogballs’ act, lapping furiously at its wine as it fervently suppressed any thoughts of giving Qin Ye a tight slap across the cheeks.
How dare you bully an honest man like this?!
Even Liu Bei had stumbled several times before he started employing tricks like this. And you? Starting like that right off the cuff? Someone’s clearly been learning from history, hasn’t he?
“I’m relieved with General Zhao’s assurances.” Qin Ye sighed and took a sip from his cup of wine, before smiling radiantly, “Come, let’s eat, let’s eat. Like I said, what does it matter? Besides, if there’s anything that I’m unable to do right now, then it would only be testament to my failure as King Yanluo. Don’t worry about me. Even if I die, I’ll make sure to set things up well for the next successor in line! The gods of death of the other P4 underworlds don’t scare me! Who cares if I’m but an Abyssal Prefect right now. I’m not afraid of death--...”
“My Lord, anyone in Hell can perish, but not you!”
The Harken glanced up at the ceiling haplessly, subconsciously slamming its tail down onto the surface of the table - Bloody hell, you may as well be telling him to sleep by your side every night!
What a shameless King Yanluo! I can barely resist the urge to send him flying into oblivion…
“Alright already!” After another ten minutes or so, the Harken finally cut Qin Ye off with great impatience, “Old Zhao, what the hell is wrong with you? Where have you been these days? Hurry up and tell us more about it! I keep getting this niggling feeling that the Second King Yanluo has been doing something bad behind my back. No! In fact, he wouldn’t even hesitate to do something bad in front of my face!”
This was the Harken. Guardian of all things good in Hell.
Zhao Yun retracted the placating expression on his face and revealed a grave expression. With the wave of his hand, a barrier shrouded them, sequestering them from the outside world such that they were the only ones who could hear the contents of their conversation. Then, with a grabbing motion, a ball immolating in netherflames appeared in his hand.
“Is that… a soul sphere?!” Qin Ye stared intently at it. Upon closer inspection, he could tell that there was the Censer of the Song Dynasty, as well as a dozen or so dormant Yin spirits resting within the soul sphere!
“The Yuan Emperors and the Censer of the Song Dynasty… Weren’t they all destroyed with that mighty attack of yours? How were you able to drag them right out from the flow of time?!” The Harken cried out, “The realm beyond a Yama-King… Is that a realm that transcends even time and space?! That’s right… that’s right! The Second King Yanluo has always been that unreasonable after all…”
Zhao Yun toyed with the soul sphere in his hand, “The Censer of the Song Dynasty is engraved with the Array of the Kundali Wisdom King. So long as the array continues to be powered by an external source, anyone in this military formation would remain immortal and never perish. This is one of the top military formations that exists through all time. As for the Yuan Emperors… there are far too many ways in which their souls can be used.”
Qin Ye’s eyes narrowed at once. With this military formation in hand, they would never have to worry about Yin soldiers perishing in the upcoming battles for the unification of Hell! After all, there exists no power in the Cathayan underworld that can deplete Hell of all energy sources!
And as for energy sources?
That’s not a problem.
After all, there was still a massive vein of Yin spirit stones located right beneath Ashmound City!
We’re getting there…
Qin Ye licked his lips and leaned back into his chair.
Now, they could finally turn their attention to the unification of Hell. And to that end, there were still two things he had to do before finally mobilizing his forces.
Sea trade, and the negotiations with the mortal realm!
Once those matters were resolved, then they would surely be on the cusp of the new era of Everburn!
“General Zhao.” He took a sip of his wine cup, “So, what in the world happened to you at the start?”
“How did Temujin’s soul get to you back then? That doesn’t seem too likely! And how did they manage to lure you into the heart of the Yin Mountains?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter