Chapter 720: Ashmound Port

Qin Ye nearly couldn’t suppress the urge to give Arthis two tight slaps across the cheeks - Oppa?! Are you seriously calling him oppa?!

Forget it… I guess this is what happens when older women meet the idol of their dreams. This is a price I’ve got to pay for having Zhao Yun around… But before Qin Ye could even go on in that train of thought, Arthis began to march down the aisle towards Zhao Yun, just like she was waltzing down the catwalk, twisting her waist and striking elegant poses.

Zhao Yun froze in shock.

He searched through his mind - Who’s this supposed to be? My record is rather clean. After all, I’d only been intimately engaged with the same few women in the past, so… who exactly is this?!

Just then, Arthis’ heels snapped, and she stumbled midway through her catwalk.

Qin Ye watched coldly as a certain silicone doll began to make her play.

Zhao Yun instinctively stepped forward, reaching out his hand at once, “You are…?”

At once, Arthis fell right straight into his embrace, and she clutched tightly at his bulging biceps and nestled her head into his muscular bosom, revealing a look of great contentment, “It’s fine if you don’t remember me… but there weren’t many survivors back then, and to the best of my memory, I was the only female Emissary of Hell around…”

Qin Ye: ?!?!?!

Sister, you’re playing a dangerous game over here…

“Enough is enough!” Qin Ye rolled his eyes at her and took his seat at the desk, “How’s the situation been over the last few months--...”

But before he could even go on, he was promptly interrupted with Arthis’ soft voice, “Please, have some tea.” At some point, she had already made a cup of tea, and was now personally offering it up to Zhao Yun with great elegance, “This is a specialty tea from Ashmound City. You must be tired after walking for such a long time.”

And then, she glared at Dogballs, daring him to interject.

Qin Ye’s eyes widened. He could’ve sworn that he saw her mouth the words “do not disturb” to him earlier.

“Cough…” He coughed dryly, and then gnashed his teeth as he queried once more, “What’s the situation like these last few months?”

“Do you know…” Arthis continued to stare intently at Zhao Yun, bringing her gaze from ZHao Yun’s eyes, to his shoulders, then down to his chest, his naval, and then… as soon as she heard Qin Ye’s question, she chuckled bitterly, “Do you know how hard things have been over these last few months?”

A minute later, Arthis recomposed herself and pointed to a pile of documents on the table, “The specifics are all in there. What’s most crucial right now is the supply index and the manufacturing PMI. The second on the list of priorities is the amount of deposits, and the third would naturally be the rate of loan takeups. All things considered… things are very bad.”

Qin Ye paused for a moment, and then stared at Arthis.

It shouldn’t be this way…

How did this silicone woman actually know about economic indicators such as the Purchasing Managers’ Indices? I can’t accept this. Oh, and hang on, she doesn’t even have the looks of her silicone doll right now…

Even the last good thing about her is completely gone! What a piece of trash!

Ignoring Qin Ye’s look of disdain, she put on a pair of black-framed glasses, completing the look of a competent intellectual as she explained, “The manufacturing industry continues to underperform. The scholars believe that we’ll soon be entering a harsh period of winter for the manufacturing industry, but this is only expected to rebound and take a turn for the better in due course. If we stay the course now, we can expect the manufacturing industry and the light industry to both show a significant upturn in the trends, either at the second half of next year, or the start of the year after. But for now, we’re still stuck in the investment period, where firms are largely focused on construction, infrastructure, talent-scouting, market research and other ground work. In other words, it’s not quite time for the harvest just yet.”

“Secondly, on the point of deposits, we’re generally seeing high amounts of deposits. Although this may in part be attributed to the habits of the Yin spirits around, it is also a telltale sign of the fact that the Yin spirits don’t have things that they can purchase right now. After all, Ashmound may be developing its industries, but there isn’t enough raw materials to go around. And unless we locate new sources of raw materials, the manufacturing industry can’t develop any further. It’s a chain reaction that can potentially lead to an implosion.”

“The Construction Corps have already ventured out into the Eastmount Province, but their search for raw materials isn’t something that can be completed in just a few months. The list of raw materials that have already been found have been placed on your desk. You’ll have to go through these lists and allocate the resources accordingly, as well as make arrangements of the exact volume to be excavated over a period of time, as well as build the necessary processing plants. These are all things that will need your approval.”

This definitely isn’t Arthis!

Qin Ye could sense his hair standing on end as he heard Arthis explain everything in an uncharacteristic fashion.

How could she possibly come up with such a solid presentation off the cuff? Hurry up and tear down that mask of yours! Let me see which talent you truly are!

But Arthis couldn’t be bothered with the matter that her King Yanluo was currently preoccupied with. Instead, she simply pointed to another document on the desk, “The rate of loan takeups is also languishing. Our central bank has already issued the first batch of its low-interest loans, but the number of Yin spirits who have taken up our offer amounts to less than a thousand. To that end, we’ve done a brief check on our census, and we’ve discovered that there are a grand total of 30,000 people who used to be part of the management of large or medium sized enterprises back while they were still alive. The fact that we have such low loan takeup rates indicates that they simply lack confidence in the prospects of Ashmound City’s manufacturing and other light industries.”

“Moreover, we’re talking about figures accrued since your announcement of the low-interest loans. The loan takeup rate for the first month was the highest, and then things naturally went downhill from there.”

With that, she stood to the side and gave Qin Ye space to mull over his own thoughts. Like a typical secretary, she bowed deeply and then muttered softly, “Please give us your guidance, esteemed King Yanluo.”

Silence.

Qin Ye picked up the dockets of information and began to read through their contents. That said, he couldn’t help but quip to the Harken on the side, “What’s the matter with her? Did Zhao Yun’s presence trigger her too much? This isn’t like her at all! I’m not used to how she is right now…”

I mean… shouldn’t a silicone doll act pretty much like a bimbo?

The Harken leapt right up to his shoulder and then lifted his chin towards Zhao Yun, who was reading other documents on the sofa some distance away, “Perhaps the arrival of her idol might have unlocked her latent intelligence. After all, is there anyone who doesn’t like a competent and attractive woman? Tsk… Why didn’t I notice this side of her before?”

Qin Ye glanced at Arthis as though he’d just seen a ghost, and then grew silent as he delved into his documents. Just then, the door swung open, and Wang Chenghao marched in with another stack of documents, “Gah--...”

He was just about to address Qin Ye as Brother Qin when he noticed Zhao Yun seated on the sofa. At once, he changed tacts, “Yanluo Qin, the Daolord of the Asura and the Daolord of the Hungry Ghost humbly requests an audience with you.”

The smile on Qin Ye’s face immediately faded away, and he lifted the lid on his teacup, “Su Daji? What’s she doing here?”

“Kong Mo has been taken down.” Wang Chenghao bowed, “Additionally, they have urgent business for which they’re seeking an audience with Your Excellency. They are currently located in Ashmound Port right now.”

Ashmound Port?

At once, the frustrations in his heart vanished in a flash, and he asked with a somber tone of voice, “How’s the construction of the port coming along?”

This was his greatest concern right now. It was currently 20 January, and it was only ten days before the new year, when the new Hell was slated to open their ports for the very first time! To that end, he’d given both the Russian Underworld as well as the Alkebulan Underworlds a list requesting the materials that both the light industry and the manufacturing industry needed most.

For instance, he had asked for a variety of ores, plastics, as well as other forms of production-line related resources. Perhaps the first shipment might not be able to satiate the demand in Eastmount Province, but so long as he could satisfy the pent-up demand in Ashmound City, that would be sufficient!

After all, Hell only needed a boost to bridge the gap before Hell’s economy could rebound properly!

And as for the rest of the underworld, that would all depend on the rate at which Hell could reclaim all of its lost territory, as well as how smooth his negotiations with the mortal realm would go.

Ever since experiencing the incident in Daehan, Wang Chenghao also handled himself far better than before. He nodded slightly, and then continued, “With the assistance of engineers trained in ancient architecture, coupled with Lady Arthis magic techniques, the works are already completed. We’re now waiting on Your Excellency to inspect the construction efforts and give the nod to officially launch the port. After all, we don’t know how large the incoming fleets might be.”

Qin Ye frowned slightly, “Didn’t I tell you that the bigger the port, the better? This is going to be the new Hell’s first port, and the face that other underworlds are going to recognize us by. We simply can’t afford to give people the wrong impression!”

“Time constraints.” The Harken quipped back, “We’ve been gone for a total of only six months. You’re asking for the impossible given the manpower constraints.”

“Do you really think that the construction of a port is just like the construction of any other building in Hell? Wrong! Those were modelled directly after the buildings in the old Fengdu Necropolis, and we just happened to have the blueprints on hand. Let me put it in simpler terms. Let’s say you can use magic to suspend a huge stone in the air and cut it up into bricks of equal sizes. Do you think you’ll be able to construct an arena right away?”

“It’s impossible. Combining and reinforcing the blocks of stone is something that cannot be done by magic. The fact that Mr Gu was able to build a port in six months is already a feat in and of itself. By my guess, he must have promised the citizens of Ashmound City a huge reward at the end of the day as well. Want something bigger? I’m afraid you’re asking the impossible.”

Tap, tap… Qin Ye gently tapped his fingers on the table. Seconds later, he stood up, “Brother Zhao, Mr Harken, come. Let’s go take a look.”

“Whether Rus or Alkebulan, the purpose is the same - these are all done in order to pave the way to Hell’s future development. We don’t need money right now. The Yin spirit stone mine in Ashmound City and the treasure trove left behind by the Zhu Clan in Longxing Temple is more than sufficient to last us for a while. What we need right now is the opportunity to communicate with the rest of the world!”

Not a single one of them objected.

Ashmound Port was located directly north of Ashmound City. There weren’t any transportation beasts in Hell just yet, but fortunately, the high-ranking Emissaries of Hell could travel extremely fast, and they soon arrived in front of a glorious coastline.

Originally, this should have been a boundless beach - almost a travel destination of sorts. But now, everything was built over with rows of piers lined up and waiting for the arrival of merchant ships. To that end, there were easily at least 50 piers!

The space for mooring ships was easily about 100 meters, and the ground was covered with green, flat stone. Furthermore, there were 5-meter wooden poles extending out of the ground at 10 meter intervals, and a scarlet lantern hung from each of these poles, bearing the words “Eastmount Ashmound” written in black. Warehouses were located just a stone’s throw away from the piers, interspersed by thoughtfully placed management offices. At a glance, Qin Ye knew that these works had the makings of someone adept at urban planning, just like Gu Qing.

Had it been someone else, the design of the docks would have been far inferior to this. After all, there were too many things to be considered, including the location of aisles, the cargo channels, the size of the ships, the width of the roads, the load-bearing factor of the paths, the overall aesthetics, the warehouse areas, the floor of traffic, accommodation, and so on and so forth. Without the experience of someone adept at designing a small city, it would be impossible to design a harbour worthy of Hell’s name like this.

The Ashmound Port was clearly ready for its opening. Countless Yin spirits were located everywhere. Yet, what pleased Qin Ye the most was the fact that several monarch beasts were lying obediently in the middle of the pathways, allowing the Yin spirits to load and unload goods from their backs.

He would’ve forgotten about their existence by now, if not for the fact that he saw them today.

Furthermore, he could see Gu Qing, Zu Chongzhi, Zhang Heng, Li Chun, and a series of other citizens waiting for him right at the port of entry. That said, what was most striking were the ones behind them.

………………………………………………………..

Qin Hui and Su Daji stood anxiously behind Gu Qing, holding up a foot-long scroll and staring anxiously at the direction of the national highway. Even though they were of a far higher cultivation than Gu Qing, they behaved far smaller than him right now, almost as though they were no different from the neighbourhood puppy. Neither one of them dared to make any sudden movements.

Merit… We’re on the cusp of a great merit! How could we not personally come to claim this credit for ourselves?

But just as they were reeling from apprehension, a terrifying source of Yin energy erupted from mid-air, and a somewhat familiar voice thundered into the ears of the two ghosts, “Dear daolords, how have you been?”

What a familiar voice…

As soon as they heard this voice, the two daolords trembled at once. Even though they weren’t able to immediately put a finger to the name, the fear associated with the owner of this voice was already clearly etched into the marrows of their bones.

“This is…” Su Daji’s eyes twitched at the corners. Then, two seconds later, she shuddered all over, and immediately lay prostrate on the ground, screaming at the top of her voice, “Great sinner, Su Daji, humbly greets the esteemed Ghost King Zhao!!!”

Ghost King Zhao!

That’s right… I remember him…

Qin Hui’s hands trembled violently, and the scroll in his hand fell to the ground as well. Sixfold Ghost King… They were the ones who had captured us and dragged us back to Hell in the first place! The terror was engraved so deeply in his soul that his mind instantly went blank, and he instinctively flopped to the ground just like Su Daji, “G-g-g-great sinner, Qin Hui, humbly greets the esteemed Ghost King Zhao!!”

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