Chapter 717: Cause and Effect (2)

Zhao Yun swirled his glass about pensively as he sorted through his thoughts. Then, approximately five minutes later, he finally began, “It all began 200 years ago, when the Federation of Underworlds convened a meeting known as the Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Forbidden Arts and the Proliferation of Yin Talismanology. This conference was otherwise also known as the Yin Talismanology Summit. It was a conference jointly hosted by the four major underworlds, and all first-rate underworlds were invited to the conference. The western underworlds called it the D9 Summit.”

Qin Ye listened intently. He would soon have to step into the international arena after unifying Hell, and the more he knew, the better.

Zhao Yun went on, “There are only five other first-rate underworlds in the world. Coupled with the P4 underworlds, we derive the D9 underworlds. Ever since returning from this conference, the Second King Yanluo spent the next 30 years working on the initiation module of the second generation forbidden arts.”

“This was a matter of top secret, and not a single other person was involved. Come to think of it, I would think it was also because the Second King Yanluo had already begun to feel rejection from the Heavenly Dao that he began to undertake such a course of action, laying the groundwork for the future…”

Qin Ye raised his hand at once, “Rejection from the Heavenly Dao… Will you experience that as well? The Second King Yanluo had in passing mentioned to me that the Heavenly Dao can no longer condone his existence. What exactly does that mean?”

Zhao Yun thought about it for a moment, “Firstly, to advance to such a realm requires a certain measure of luck and fortune. After all, one of the prerequisites is to devour an evil ghost that carries with him a fragment of Heavenly Dao. To that end, the founding father of any dynasty can be said to be the executor of the Heavenly Dao of their dynasty, and that would mean he is in part the embodiment of the Heavenly Dao as well. But that also means that there are only a handful of Yin spirits who would allow one to fulfill these conditions. This is an opportunity that is hard to come by.”

“And as for this realm that I’m in…” Zhao Yun paused for a moment, before continuing, “Strictly speaking, it’s not entirely incorrect to say that the Three Realms do not condone an existence beyond the realms of a Yama-King. At the very least, it is not within the contemplations of the Heavenly Dao that such an existence would be part of the Three Realms. Right now, I’m probably unparalleled as far as any Yama-class existence is concerned. That said, I’m still miles away from the abilities of the Second King Yanluo of Hell, and so long as four or more Yama-Kings join hands against me, my hands will still be tied.”

“Furthermore, I can sense that the Heavenly Dao has already detected my presence and begun to target me. However, since it hasn’t outrightly rejected my will, I probably wouldn’t be forced to ascend in the near future.”

That’s good… Qin Ye heaved a sigh of relief - We’re all kids and infants here. You’re the only adult, and you need to take care of us until we grow up and mature. What are we going to do if you just ascend right off the cuff?

Zhao Yun gazed into the distance with some measure of reminiscence, “Come to think of it, I think the Second King Yanluo must have detected that the Heavenly Dao was beginning to outrightly reject his existence back then, and that was what inspired him to commence works on the initiation module of the second generation Forbidden Arts. After all, that would no doubt become the key to completing the Forbidden Arts. Thus, he summoned me to Zhenhai City in the Mongol Empire, saying that there’s a location that is blanketed with the aura of the Heavenly Dao, and filled with roiling, dense YIn energy, and asked me to investigate it further.”

“Apprehending high ranking evil ghosts that were on the run was one of the main duties of a Ghost King of Hell. Thus, I accepted the task without a thought and traveled straight to Zhenhai City, where I soon found the tomb of Genghis Khan.”

He took a deep breath, and his voice grew stern and somber, “But what was most surprising about it all was the fact that Temujin’s Tomb was constructed atop a bed of Resentment Crystals!”

“As one of the Sixfold Ghost Kings, I naturally knew the importance of Resentment Crystals. Thus, I immediately sent a secret memorial back to Cathay, but… the Second King Yanluo didn’t provide me with any responses.”

Qin Ye leaned back into his chair and rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “Did your secret memorial bear the emblem of a six-petaled lotus flower by any chance?”

Zhao Yun turned to stare at Qin Ye with great consternation, “You’ve seen it before?”

Qin Ye shook his head lightly, and then sighed with exasperation.

Everything made sense now.

Everything was coming full circle.

Zhao Yun had never received a response because his secret memorial had never reached the Second King Yanluo to begin with.

Instead, it was intercepted by the Confucian Family, one of the Eight Great Clans of Hell!

“In your secret memorial, did you describe Temujin’s Tomb in great detail, and only that? No, let me rephrase, what I’m trying to ask is if you’d made any mention of why the Second King Yanluo had asked you to investigate this area to begin with?”

“Yes.” Zhao Yun nodded, “The six-petaled lotus flower is the key to the seal on the door to Temujin’s Tomb, and this emblem was formed by the condensation of the arrangement of Yin Talismans drawn from Temujin’s Tomb into a simpler image. But if one reversed the technique used to condense it and blew it up once more, it would reveal the image of Tengri holding onto a lotus flower that I had found in the tomb. In other words, I was conveying two messages in this secret memorial of mine. On the one hand, it was to tell the Second King Yanluo of my discovery, and on the other hand, it’s also a request for the Second King Yanluo to personally take action to decipher this set of Yin Talismans.”

“Ahh…” Qin Ye finally understood everything - So that’s how it is… The Confucian Family must have analyzed and broken down the message sent by Ghost King Zhao. The first thing they would’ve come to realize is that this represents a masterless Yin spirit that is even the founding father of an entire dynasty!

And the second thing they would’ve realized was the existence of Resentment Crystals - and a lot of it at that! In fact, this is easily the largest Resentment Crystals mine in the world!

Just these two alone would have justified the Confucian Family’s act of treason.

And thus, they acted on their desires.

The cause and effects of everything that had been happening thus far were finally coming together, giving Qin Ye the bigger picture. Thus, he turned to Zhao Yun, “And when you didn’t receive any response from the Second King Yanluo, did you ever return to Hell?”

“Yes.”

As expected…

Qin Ye tapped gently on the table - Zhao Yun must have returned and personally reported back to the Second King Yanluo. That’s the only way the Second King Yanluo would’ve learnt that the secret memorial was actually intercepted and wrongfully retained by one of the Eight Great Clans. This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, and in his fit of anger, he made up his mind to raze everything to the ground so that things could start afresh.

In that instant, Qin Ye even began to wonder if the Second King Yanluo had a role to play in Ksitigarbha’s ascension. Otherwise, with countless evil souls going to Hell every day, how could Ksitigarbha possibly have fulfilled the Great Vow?

So, when the Second King Yanluo finally responded to Zhao Yun, he set out clearly the means used to activate the initiation module of the second generation Forbidden Art. Naturally, he thought to give the Eight Great Clans one final chance, so he’d sent it back by way of another secret memorial. Unfortunately, it was still stopped by the Confucian Family, and eventually passed on to Kong Mo.

And that’s how we came to locate the secret memorial in Ashmound City.

Having finally pieced the fragmented puzzles together, another query came to his mind, and he looked up at Zhao Yun once more, “Brother Zhao, didn’t you earlier mention that Genghis Khan’s Tomb was originally located under Zhenhai City? Doesn’t that mean that the person who shifted his tomb through a series of subterranean passageways and into the land of Cathay… was actually you?”

Zhao Yun shook his head gently, before finally nodding, “The territory of the Mongol Empire is rather special, and it’s rather tricky to excavate such a large amount of Resentment Crystal from Temujin’s Tomb at once. After all, such actions could easily implicate Hell’s reputation on the international arena. Therefore… shifting everything into Hell’s subterranean space is the best workaround.”

“That said, Temujin’s Tomb wasn’t located in Zhenhai City. Rather, it was in Khuree. His tomb was incredibly large, with eight entrances in total, which represented the eight tribal patriarchs. In Tengrism, this would be represented by eight totems. Back then, when I discovered the main chamber where his tomb was located, I summoned everyone who was buried together with Genghis Khan and forced them to create an underground massage hundreds of kilometers long.”

“Most of the people who were buried together with Genghis Khan were Han Cathayans, some of whom were artisans and workmen who built the burial chamber, while others were slaves. Unfortunately, the Second King Yanluo didn’t tell me what to do with Genghis Khan’s soul. Bearing in mind that the manner in which one was buried can influence the potential of the soul in the afterlife, I… proceeded to reconstruct the tomb of Genghis Khan, as far as possible in accordance with my understanding of the customs of the Mongols and their beliefs at that time. I’d even made references to records of the specifications of the tombs of previous Mongol emperors.”

As expected…

The last shroud of doubt had finally vanished in Qin Ye’s heart. He’d been deeply puzzled as to why Temujin’s Tomb would contain elements of Tantric Buddhism, as well as elements signifying the Great Debate between Buddhism and Taoism.

After all, Tantric Buddhism had only surfaced publicly in the latter parts of the Yuan Dynasty, when it became more proliferated among the nobles of the Yuan Dynasty. Furthermore, Temujin had never managed to claim the lands of Cathay in his time. Rather, it was his descendant, Kublai Khan, who officially founded the Yuan Dynasty. Tantric Buddhism should never have been even part of the consideration for Temujin when he first passed on!

And the same goes for the Great Debate, which was also something that only occurred in Kublai Khan’s time!

Truth be told, Qin Ye had initially thought that these had been contributed in part by Phagpa, who arranged for various additions to be made in order to boast of his own merits,  particularly when they arranged for Phagpa to be buried with Genghis Khan in death. This would explain the elements of Tantric Buddhism and Tengrism.

But upon closer inspection, was this really possible?

Would Phagpa truly dare to alter Temujin’s Tomb? Was he not afraid that Kublai Khan would act ruthlessly against everything he had tirelessly worked to build up? Or was he so bold as to think that he could conceal these things from Kublai Khan’s watchful gaze?

But now, everything made sense.

Because this tomb wasn’t built by the Mongols at all. No. In fact, Qin Ye had never set foot in Temujin’s Tomb! What they entered was the tomb of the descendants built by Zhao Zilong with the aid of the souls contained in Temujin’s original tomb!

This was why there were statues of people from different eras and timelines located along the lengthy passageway that made everything seem so suspicious and confusing.

However, there was one question that remained.

Qin Ye looked Zhao Yun straight in the eye, “Were you the one who chose the burial site located in the Tianmo Desert?”

“It was determined by the Second King Yanluo.” Zhao Yun responded truthfully, “Back then, his secret memorial in response was accompanied by an oracle as well.”

“He mentioned that the tomb of Genghis Khan must be located within 100 kilometers from Kalgan City.”

Silly child… Do you know how badly you’ve been tripped up? I can’t even say that the Dark Lord has favoured you…

Qin Ye immediately knew that the Second King Yanluo had a hand in orchestrating the events that had just occurred.

Why Northriver Province of all places?

Simple. Whether Northriver Province, or 100 kilometers within Kalgan City, both would be adjacent to the Yin Mountains, where the other Yuan Emperors were buried to begin with!

In other words, it was to unite Temujin’s soul with the rest of his successors!

“And what of the Resentment Crystals?” Qin Ye asked, “Did you manage to dig up the Resentment Crystals as well? Have they all been sent to Kalgan City?”

“Yes.” Zhao Yun cupped his hands respectfully, “The Resentment Crystals are an important commodity of the nation. Naturally, I couldn’t afford to leave them in the Mongol Empire. But, in my haste, and in my desire not to alert other underworlds to what I was trying to do, I might have missed out on some of the Resentment Crystals. Coincidentally, Temujin’s Tomb is the first great tomb to have been constructed directly above a bed of Resentment Crystals. There’s never been something like that before, and we naturally don’t know what kind of changes have already occurred to his body. In order to preserve the status quo, I’ve had no choice but to preserve the manner in which he was originally buried as well.”

Of course you would’ve missed out on some of the Resentment Crystals… Qin Ye chuckled - Otherwise, how could there possibly have been the incident with the Russian Underworld and the script of death? And how could the Russian Underworld have come to covet Forbidden Arts for themselves?

Cause and effect. Everything made complete sense.

Temujin’s grave was concealed by the massive amounts of Resentment Crystals underneath it. This was why none of the underworlds had been able to locate Temujin’s soul no matter how hard they tried. Then, when he was finally relocated to the Yin Mountains, his soul finally began to stir and awaken.

Qin Ye closed his eyes softly and hesitated for a moment, “Let me hazard a guess… Could it be that, approximately 100 years later, you received the Second King Yanluo’s instructions to guard the ancient tomb until the Third King Yanluo appeared?”

“Yes.”

“And then, after travelling the world for a bit, you returned to the Yin Mountains, only to be ambushed by a dozen Yuan Emperors, the two Imperial Preceptors, and Temujin’s soul. Thus, you used the Red Lotus of the Purgatory to seal off the entire Chonggu County?”

“That’s right.”

How ruthless… Qin Ye chuckled bitterly to himself - The Second King Yanluo is truly ruthless.

Everything was done to pave the way for the new Hell. He knew that it was going to be difficult for the new Hell to take off, so he decided to keep Zhao Yun around. However, he didn’t know if Zhao Yun would attain his breakthrough if he merely devoured Temujin’s soul, so he decided to reunite Temujin with the other Yuan Emperors and Imperial Preceptors.

That way, it would be a toss up as to who would come out on top. Either Zhao Yun advanced, or the Mongol Empire regained its footing in the world. However… the Second King Yanluo knew all too well what kind of person Zhao Yun was.

Hot-blooded loyalty. The Second King Yanluo had no doubt that even if the Mongol Empire were to come out on top, Zhao Yun would do everything he could to take them down in his dying breath. Indeed, had they not arrived when they did, the Red Lotus of the Purgatory would likely have gone off without any warning.

The Second King Yanluo had even calculated that the main battlefield would take place atop the Yin Mountains, and not Temujin’s Tomb. Thus, he had chosen to hide the initiation module of the second generation Forbidden Art in the tomb itself.

Is this an imperial mind trick? Qin Ye glanced at Brother Zhao with some sympathy in his heart, and then grew taciturn.

Would I… one day become like the Second King Yanluo as well?

After all, while I can sympathize with Brother Zhao’s innocence… I’d also say that the Second King Yanluo wasn’t wrong in what he did.

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