Chapter 723: Meeting at the Ashmound Port (2)

Every high-ranking official of Hell would invariably have their own scribe who followed them around.

Their task was to record everything their master did, including every word that was spoken, and every deed that was done, lest anything be forgotten.

And this time, Yanluo Qin’s words were so laden with meaning that every other Emissary of Hell immediately fell silent as they mulled over the gravity of his words. Meanwhile, every scribe around recorded all that was said furiously.

Qin Ye didn’t say much more. Instead, they simply walked along the docks, taking in the sights and the sounds around, allowing it to wash away any anxieties in their hearts.

“There is a way we can achieve a live broadcast.” Zhao Yun was the first one who broke the silence as he walked up beside Qin Ye, “Truth be told, transmitting the images of the mortal realm directly to projection screens in the netherworld shouldn’t be possible, but given my abilities right now, I do have some ways of circumventing the ironclad rules governing the relationship between the mortal realm and the netherworld. By my estimates, I should be able to sustain the broadcast for approximately four hours.”

“That would be sufficient.” Qin Ye smiled, “We wouldn’t want to be giving off the wrong impression that Hell is ready to return to the international arena anyway. Meanwhile, like you’ve mentioned, there’s clearly someone more anxious than us about the conclusion of the last supernatural incident at the Yin mountains.”

“And that’s incidentally also our true target this time - the Cathayan government. With their support, Hell will finally be able to get all of its industries back on track and stand on its feet once more.”

“What we need most right now is to show them Hell’s might and influence, and the works that we’ve been doing to date. Every bargaining chip is just as important as any other. And to that end, the peace and stability of seven provinces is the greatest bargaining chip we have on hand. These are our trump cards to dispel all thoughts in their minds and prove to them that Hell is going to make good on its word!”

Qin Ye walked around with his hands behind his back, while the Emissaries of Hell around him nodded ceaselessly. The magnitudes and rate of nods were extremely important. Too fast, and it would give the impression that they were being far too dogged. Too slow, and the leader might think that they’re reacting too slowly. Thus, the entourage soon became one full of bobbleheads, nodding in unison at a moderate tempo.

Qin Ye went on, “Moreover, there will be several other occasions when we will have to cooperate with the mortal realm. Therefore, it’s extremely important to start off on the right foot. For instance… when we actually commence research and development of Forbidden Arts.”

This hadn’t occurred to any one of the Emissaries of Hell before. But as soon as it was mentioned, the scholars immediately understood what he was getting at, “Are you suggesting… the mining locations of super rare materials, such as that of Resentment Crystals?”

Qin Ye nodded with approval.

Li Chun rubbed his chin as his eyes gleamed brightly, “The Law of Yin-Yang Coaction. The locations of super rare materials in the mortal realm would likely be where materials of corresponding rarity can be found in the underworld as well! For instance, the most sought-after jade, or large oil fields, or rare minerals… To that end, all we need is the disclosure of such information by the mortal realm, and Hell would be able to home in on specific locations, rather than comb through the entire region aimlessly. For one, we’d be able to achieve the mortal realm’s support and for another, we’d be able to embark in sustainable development!”

Qin Ye glared at him.

What the hell are you talking about?

What’s up with the talk about sustainability these days?

The only thing I care about is a sustainable relationship with the mortal realm so that more benefits can be had…

Zu Chongzhi frowned slightly, “Forbidden Arts… My Lord, if you’re considering Forbidden Arts, might I suggest a trip to the old Fengdu Necropolis? Though it might be swamped with blight vermin right now, perhaps--...”

But Qin Ye immediately shook his head, “No. It’s far too dangerous. Besides…”

He glanced at Zhao Yun, “No. It’s still too early to say these things right now. I’ll let you in on more of these plans of mine in due course. You’d best be prepared not to stare aghast at me at that time. But for now, what’s more important is to focus on our sea trade and external diplomacy. After all, this will constitute the first impression we’re leaving on others ever since the founding of the nation. Anyone who makes a mistake will have to answer directly to me!”

“Yes!!”

…………………………………………………

The winds whistled and howled as it swept across the surface of the seas, just like the elegy of a multitude of Yin spirits. The sky flourished with spots of netherflames. Meanwhile, Ivantov sat at the bow of the ship, glancing out of the window with great boredom as he sipped at his vodka.

The clear liquid flowed smoothly out of the bottle and right into his lips. He glanced around at the fleet of ships around, at the skeletons scuttling on board each of the ships, and then to the Yin beasts with pulsating flames in their eyes. Then, he sighed.

These were painful war reparations. What a shame it was for a first-rate underworld to be put to such expenses. But unfortunately, the reality of the matter was that they were paying Hell, one of the P4 underworlds.

He didn’t know the specifics. All he knew was the fact that the Russian Underworld had lost badly, and the cargo contained in this fleet of ships was merely a tribute to Hell. Of course, they would be receiving some items of trade in return, such as Cathayan artwork that hasn’t been seen on the international market for over a century.

“There are still approximately ten days until the New Year…” He pulled out a gold-encrusted pocket watch and glanced at it, before shutting his eyes, “Why did Hell suddenly establish a sea port and trade routes? I wonder how many other underworlds would be trading with Hell after such a long period of absence?”

Just then, there was a clamor on the deck, and Ivantov paused, before rushing out of his room. At once, he saw the rest of the crew pointing towards the sky in surprise.

What’s going on?

He followed their fingers and looked in the direction that they were all pointing towards. At once, his eyes twitched.

The Array of the Nine Gods lay right ahead of them.

But right before that, they could already see a fleet of approximately 20 ships anchored to the spot, and the flagship was none other than the legendary Black Pearl!

Thud… The bottle of vodka in his hand fell straight to the ground, sending its contents spilling everywhere. Even then, he stared ahead, completely dumbfounded.

This is a fleet from the Alkebulan Underworlds…

Just how many underworlds have Hell established trade routes with? Is this… a sign that Hell is about to emerge onto the international arena once more?

……………………………………………….

Yan Capital, Headquarters of the Special Investigations Department.

This was probably the only place in the mortal realm where there was no need to station troops and investigators in the residence of the leaders. After all, not a single Yin spirit would dare to encroach upon these parts if they valued their lives…

Many of these homes were formed from a mix of investigators and ordinary human beings. Quite surprisingly, it was a rare sight for two investigators to form a family nucleus. That said, few were aware that the courtyard located nearby, next to Yan Capital’s 54th Primary School, was in fact directly affiliated with the development where the investigators resided. And it was precisely because of this affiliation that many elderly folks would even take their grandchildren out, walking around these parts, even until late at night, after the sun went down.

The courtyard was very well designed, and filled with green elements, almost as though it was a large park. Given its location in Yan Capital, the value of such a courtyard would be through the roof. And that wasn’t even to mention the luxurious nature of the development, replete with high-rise villas served by private lifts. That said, the conversations between the residents of the development were often a little bit peculiar…

“Has Mr Wang from your family been returning home late these last few days?” A white-haired old lady held the hand of her grandson and carried a basket of vegetables as she conversed with another old lady. The other old lady nodded and sighed, “That’s right. I’ve heard that the Yin energy index in the Pearlriver region has plummeted, so the top brass is now keeping a close eye on it and deliberating on whether to withdraw the alerts previously issued.”

“That’s a good thing!” The old lady with the vegetable basket smiled, and then sighed, “What kind of a world are we living in anyway…”

After saying their goodbyes, the old lady entered the lift with her grandson. Incidentally, there was a young man dressed in an ancient Cathayan tunic already standing inside. As soon as the old lady entered, he immediately made room for her, “Aunt Ma, what’s for dinner tonight? Are all those things meant for dinner?”

“I’m just going to whip up something simple.” Aunt Ma was somewhat plump, and she smiled back radiantly, “Speaking of which, aren’t you back rather early today?”

“Eh… It’s not really that early, is it? Besides, I’ve still got to head back to the office later. Things have been rather busy these days…”

The display on the lift revealed that they were on the ground floor. Aunt Ma was just about to enter the lift when the young man looked up, somewhat astonished, “Aunt Ma, where’s your grandson?”

Aunt Ma paused for a moment, and then immediately glanced down, only to realize that her grandson had vanished at some point!

“How can this be! T-t-this… What’s going on?!” Two seconds later, Aunt Ma’s vegetable basket fell to the ground with a dull thud, and she covered her mouth and screamed at the top of her voice. But it was also just then that the lights around snapped and fizzled, and the doors of the lift immediately shut with a loud clatter. Then, amidst the darkness, the elevator slowly descended!

-1… -2… -3… And it went down all the way until it finally arrived at -18! What’s more, the numbers were all displayed in a peculiar pale blue colour!

Is someone hiding in the darkness?

“Aunt Ma…” The young man in the lift crouched down slightly, and Hunter-class Yin energy immediately began to flow out of his body, “Later, as soon as the door opens, I want you to run away at once. Ignore me, and don’t turn back.”

Aunt Ma covered her mouth. She, too, came from a family of investigators, so she was able to keep her senses about her after her initial scream. That said, it didn’t change the fact that she was still trembling with fear and trepidation.

But the lift only paused for two seconds at -18, before soon ascending straight back up until they arrived back at 1. Then, with a soft ding, the elevator doors opened with a clatter.

Nobody.

There was no one, but the investigator could clearly see wisps of Yin energy seeping out from the cracks of the lift.

Aunt Ma finally let her arms down, “N-nobody?”

The young man didn’t say a word. Instead, he continued to glance about vigilantly as he whispered hoarsely, “Where are you from, evil ghost? How dare you enter the gated development of the Special Investigations Department? Are you courting death?”

Still no response.

The young man took a deep breath, “There are two Judges that reside here. If you even dare--...”

“Hang on a minute…” Just then, a voice interrupted him from out of nowhere, “Gated development? Have I got the wrong address?”

It was only then that the young man discovered another young man dressed in ancient garments and wearing the cap of a Hellguard emerging from the walls of the lift.

What the--... He blinked vacantly at the man, before plucking up his courage, “Who are you?”

“Emissary of Hell.” Wang Chenghao patted his chest, “Please let the way to the Headquarters of the Special Investigations Department.”

“... Why do you need me to lead the way?”

“Cause I can’t find it. Yan Capital is way too big, and that stupid old oaf that you know as the Lord of the Land keeps telling me about north and east. Where I come from, we just say left of this place or right of that place! Isn’t he just trying to trip me up?!”

Something seems to be strange about this man… The young man in the lift stared aghast at Wang Chenghao for a long time, before finally asking, “What’s your business there?”

After all, the young man knew better than to have Director Lei waste his time with any other person claiming to be an Emissary of Hell.

“Plenty.” Wang Chenghao gazed deep into the eyes of the young man, “After March, the three eastern provinces and the Pearlriver Province will be officially liberated by Hell. Meanwhile, Hell will continue to send troops across the entire nation, reclaiming all lost land and doing its part to bring the supernatural outbreak to an end. As a personal assistant to the King Yanluo of Hell, I’ve been tasked to come here to broach the topic of negotiations with the mortal realm.”

The young man’s eyes gleamed brightly, and he immediately responded with much sensibility, “Please follow me.”

……………………………………………….

Ashmound City and Everburn City. These were the only two cities in Hell right now, just like two pools of water.

The pools of water remained as placid as ever, almost impervious to the number of stones that were cast into them in a futile attempt to stir up some waves. What ought to be done had already been done. Stimulation by entertainment and amenities, triggering consumption, integrating a system of currency, development of Hell’s Media Group, launch of real estate, and so on and so forth. But even the daftest of citizens could tell right now that the crux of the matter lies not with the abilities of the government right now, but with Hell’s ability to keep up with these forward-thinking policies that were being launched by Hell.

Thus, everything went from a hustle and bustle of excitement straight back to a state of waiting with eager anticipation. Everyone was waiting for Hell to come online, and the next big update.

Meng Zhiming was a Yin spirit who had experienced Yanluo Qin’s reign since the beginning, and he had seen everything, from the quelling of the first uprising, to the distribution of entertainment equipment and amenities, to the march of Yin soldiers, and to the current period of silence. Everyone on the ground could tell that the current government was trying its level best to change the living environment in Hell for the better, but they also knew that certain changes took time.

However, this tense silence was completely shattered at 10 a.m that morning.

“Old Meng!!” His neighbour, Zhao Xinggang, burst through his door, gasping for air with great excitement, “Have you read today’s newspaper?”

“Are there new policies going to be launched?” Meng Zhiming glanced up as he continued to set up his chessboard, “Come on, let’s play a game…”

“How can you still be in the mood to play chess?!” Zhao Xinggang sat across from him with netherflames blazing from his eyes, “Today’s 4 February, is it not? Do you recall back then when we discussed taking up a loan to launch the Xingming Transport Company? Have you submitted the documents?!”

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