A huge whirlpool appeared right in front of the Pyotr. It was a rift in the mortal realm, through which one could enter the mysterious lands that had been shut off to the rest of the netherworld for over a century on end.
Ivantov stood aboard the Pyotr, drifting into it together with the Alkebulan fleet. His mind was already dull and buzzing numbly, and he could no longer see or hear anything clearly.
Whoosh… The Anglo remained completely still until the moment they were spat out from the other side of the vortex. At once, they saw a city appear right in front of their eyes, together with the adjoining Ashmound Port.
In the past, they would have been elated to see landfall after sailing for such a long period of time. But now…
His heart was simply filled with shock and awe.
It was just any human being’s reaction when they saw Heaven for the very first time. Who would dare look up and gaze at the gods straight in the eye, or openly marvel at the glorious golden gates?
It didn’t occur to Ivantov that he hadn’t even taken a proper look at the appearances of any Emissaries of Hell. After all, it was deeply etched in his heart never to look a god directly in the eye…
“My Lord…” Just then, the lips of one of his adjutants quivered as he recalled the orders of the Council, “We… we’re here…”
“I’m aware…” Ivantov stared blankly at the port. Then, he adjusted his clothes, bowed slightly and cupped his hands respectfully as he disembarked from the Pyotr. And then, he lay prostrate on the ground and kowtowed deeply, “Baron Ivantov of the Russian Underworld seeks an audience with Hell!”
With that, he immediately turned back slightly and hissed as his adjutant, “Have all of the Yin soldiers begin unloading! And forget the damned Council’s orders if you still want to live!”
He didn’t dare look up this whole time.
After approximately 10 minutes of laying prostrate on the ground, a pair of black brocade boots embroidered with patterns of clouds finally appeared in front of him, and a young voice spoke flatly, “Why did you send the Pyotr?”
“Because it has the highest cargo capacity, and occupies the smallest space!” Ivantov kowtowed once more without any hesitation.
The voice above responded at once, “Hmm? That’s all?”
“That’s all!” The netherflames in Ivantov’s eyes flickered wildly as he continued with great trembling, “The Russian Underworld will always remain subservient to Hell! We’ll never do anything that will risk straining this relationship that we have!”
Seconds later, the voice spoke for the third time, “Very well. I appreciate your underworld’s sensibility.”
“Get up. You can do as you please, so long as you keep in mind the rules of this place. Otherwise… the Russian Underworld might well have to call another fleet to pick up the Anglo’s corpse.”
WHOOSH!!! The surface of the waters bubbled violently, transforming into a massive whirlpool that twisted and swirled wildly.
“Here it comes. Here it comes!!!” Tens of thousands of Yin soldiers stood at the docks with their hands wrapped around the hilts of their weapons. Meanwhile, even more porters and labourers strained their necks from outside the docks as they looked curiously at what was happening on the inside.
The fleet of ships from the other underworlds had finally arrived, and this was the first time that any of them had seen traces of foreign underworlds. Then, right in the middle of their torturous apprehension, a massive silhouette rushed right out of the whirlpool, followed closely by 20 large ships!
These weren’t Cathayan ships. Rather, they were the three-masted sailing ships often seen in movies and films. The ships were covered with seaweed and grime, almost as though they were ghost ships that had sailed through time and into the netherworld.
“Ohhhhhhhh!!!” “That’s the Alkebulan fleet and the Russian flotilla?!” “Holy crap! What the hell is that thing? A sea beast? A monster?” “What an eye opener…”
Everyone had their preferences. For instance, many female ghosts would prefer not to set foot into this place, and would much rather wait at the gates of Heaven’s End Pavilion so that they can be the first to rush in. Meanwhile, there were many other male Yin spirits who wanted to be here in order to witness the first moment that Hell opened its borders to the rest of the netherworld. Naturally, these Yin spirits also took the initiative to apply for porter jobs at the port.
Unlike the festivities in Ashmound City, nobody cheered wildly or screamed at the top of their voices. Instead, there were only brief gasps of shock and surprise. Fortunately, there wasn’t any panic and mad scramble either, because they trusted in the Yin soldiers to keep the peace and maintain the order at the docks. Naturally, there was a solemn atmosphere at the docks, at least until the Yin spirit known as Baron Ivantov kowtowed to the ground and requested an audience with the Emissaries of Hell.
What did that mean?
It meant that Hell’s authority extended well beyond the borders, and even to foreign underworlds!
And that was just the beginning.
“The Golden Rhino Tribe’s fleet has arrived. We humbly ask the Emissaries of Hell to verify the cargo on board.” A Yin spirit dressed in vibrant colours drifted out of the ship and bowed deeply with his hands cupped respectfully. Everything was done in accordance with the customs of the Cathayans.
“The Black Mamba Tribe’s fleet has arrived. May the Emissaries of Hell verify the cargo on board.” “The Sunbird Tribe’s fleet has arrived. May the Emissaries of Hell verify the cargo on board.” “The Ntuga Tribe’s fleet has arrived. May the Emissaries of Hell verify the cargo on board.”
Golden Rhino, Sunbird, Lioness, Emerald Wolf, Seema, Hornets, Zawa, Vidala… And the list went on. One by one, a series of names was announced by their corresponding captains in the same respectful fashion. Not a single one dared to speak with even the slightest measure of arrogance.
It was almost as though things had gone back to the Tang Dynasty, when Cathay was standing at the apex of the world.
“Hehe… Cathay is still reeling from the attack of the Eight-Nation Alliance. Who would’ve thought that we’d see a completely different sight here in the netherworld?” An old man stroked his beard with great emotion, “How many years has it been since Cathay has dreamt of becoming a frontrunner of the world once more? And yet, who would’ve thought that the netherworld would actually beat them to it?”
“That’s right…” A middle-aged man standing close by couldn’t help but chime in, “We’ve been oppressed for far too long. It’s time to stand up for ourselves.”
But… was that it?
Just then, the cargo on the ships suddenly lifted themselves into the air, transforming into an entire river of cargo that flew straight towards Ashmound City!
Three seconds later, everyone began to cheer and shout with great joy!
This was a display of their nation’s might! It was the culmination of thousands of years of culture! Everyone knew that trade meant an equal exchange of goods, and yet Hell had lifted the goods right off their ships without even promising anything in return!
This wasn’t an insignificant action.
This was a statement. A declaration by the Third King Yanluo of Hell that they were the superior underworld!
Meanwhile, were the foreign Yin spirits afraid?
Of course they were! They were absolutely terrified!
Unlike the excited workers of Hell, the captains of the foreign vessels reacted with far more restraint. And this was particularly the case for Ivantov, whose tall frame curled up helplessly like a shrimp. He didn’t even want to entertain the thought of fighting with Hell.
After all, he knew too well Hell wasn’t simply seizing the cargo without first inspecting them. Rather, Hell had probably already verified the cargo on board the ships by probing the goods using their Yin energy! In other words, an Abyssal Prefect, or quite possibly a Yama-King was actually presiding over the handover of these goods!
“It’s… spectacular…” The second floor of the Yellow Springs Pavilion was already packed full of Yin spirits, all of whom were staring intently at the river of cargo in the skies with gleaming eyes.
They were all located in a room that was hundreds of meters large.
And the room was constructed in a tiered fashion, with a main stage located right in the center of the room, and approximately 200 booths cascading outwards in a radial fashion. Every single booth in the room was packed with Yin spirits.
Each booth was equipped with a table and three chairs. It looked as ordinary as ever, but everyone in the room knew better.
After all, this place was soon going to turn into a battleground!
This was the place where the auction for rights to the cargo was going to take place!
Meng Zhiming sat on one of the seats, staring at the sight of goods being unloaded from the docks. It was a sight that he had seen countless times back in the mortal realm, but he couldn’t help but feel his heart stirring wildly.
It’s begun… This place is going to devolve into a war zone in no time.
Which company is going to become the next unicorn? Which company is going to disrupt the entire industry and shock the world? This room was the place where everything would go down.
Ashmound City, Heaven’s End Pavilion.
An endless shower of spider lily petals field the skies. The thousand-meters wide staircase was already packed full of Yin spirits, all of whom were staring intently at the main gate, suppressing their raging emotions as they kept the order about these parts. But, just then, a constellation of brilliant lights suddenly appeared on the horizon.
More and more, and denser and denser! The speed of approach of this river of light was frighteningly fast! And then, in less than 10 seconds, every Yin spirit saw clearly what exactly it was. And it was precisely because they did that their hair stood on end.
An endless river of cargo!
Wrapped in brilliant netherflames, they approached from every direction, hurtling towards Heaven’s End Pavilion like meteorites. Meanwhile, the windows of Heaven’s End Pavilion opened all at the same time!
BOOM! The ground trembled slightly as the goods rushed straight into Heaven’s End pavilion.
The Yin spirits were all speechless.
It was almost as though they were afraid that the slightest peep of sound they made would instantly jolt them back from this delightful reverie.
The Yin spirits had been left wanting for a long time.
After all, Ashmound City’s output was hardly sufficient to sustain the entire city of Yin spirits. And this meant that only the most privileged in Hell had access to goods not deemed to be essentials to them. But… was there any Yin spirit out there who didn’t want to decorate their own home and make it truly their own?
And that’s not even to mention the clothes that they wore, the jewellery, the accessories and cosmetics, and so on and so forth. Everyone had sported the same look ever since their death, so who could possibly pass up on the opportunity to change things up once and for all? Who wouldn’t want to show themselves at their best, and dress up every once in a while?
Sure, they might have been dressed up in their favourite clothes when they passed on, but they would’ve grown sick of them by now, having worn them for well over a year.
It’s not too much to be asking for these things…
For the next ten minutes or so, the river of cargo continued to sort themselves out before flying straight through the windows of Heaven’s End Pavilion. And then… Clatter… Bang! The windows finally shut, and the Yin spirits slowly turned their eyes back towards the main door.
Kkkkkkrrrrrrr…. The massive wooden door slowly creaked open, just like the opening of a portal to a whole new world out there. At once, the Yin spirits that had just been lined up orderly outside the pavilion immediately rushed in like a tsunami!
Unfortunately, it was only when they entered that they discovered… they were blocked at the door!
“Hey, those in front, please hurry up!” “That’s right! What’s the holdup?!” “Can you please make way for us? Don’t block the way! We’ve got some shopping to do!”
But nobody paid any attention to them.
There was an obstruction ahead because the Yin spirits leading the charge were overwhelmed with shock at the luxury of the Heaven’s End Pavilion. They stood there, frozen in place like statues in an immortal’s palace.
This is the Heaven’s End Pavilion?!
It was… a million times more glorious than any of them had imagined!
No. In fact, they had simply extrapolated from their preconceived notions of what an ultra-scale mall was like. But the reality of what they saw was on a completely different level!Previous Chapter Next Chapter