After some time, Qin Ye finally nodded, “Please continue.”
The Plumed Serpent God nodded softly, “320 AD. The Aegyptian Underworld sent troops marching out in a bloody battle for the expansion of their territory, even mobilizing their Scales of Eternal Justice to imbue their half-dog, half-men Yin soldiers with ever greater might as they marched across the Red Sea. This war lasted for 55 years. The Jewish and Christian Underworld fought hard, even calling upon their forces littered across Europa to aid them with a counteroffensive. But unfortunately, the holy city of Salem eventually fell to the relentless assault of the Aegyptian forces, led personally by Anubis and his pharaohs. And thus, the war was concluded.”
“375 AD, Anubis summoned hellfire upon the Middle Eastern Underworld, burning the Holy City of Heaven and Holy City of Darkness for one whole month, until they were both completely razed to the ground.”
The threads of information in Qin Ye’s mind were slowly coming together. 315 AD was when Galahad lifted the Holy Grail in the city of Salem. 5 years later, the Aegyptian forces marched out of their underworld. Ideally, they would have chosen to march for the weakest underworld around, that was the Alkebulan Underworlds, but instead, they chose to go straight towards the lair of the Christians in the Middle East. Was this just a coincidence?
“Do you get it?” The Plumed Serpent God smiled menacingly, “Anubis wasn’t gunning for territory to begin with. Otherwise, he would’ve turned his sword to the Alkebulan Underworlds. I hadn’t even arrived in the Alkebulan Underworlds back then, and there were naturally few Abyssal Prefects around to begin with. But the fact of the matter was that they didn’t. Instead, they marched straight for the Middle East and fought a difficult battle. Incidentally, it was only in the midst of this 55-year war that I was expelled from the New World and entered the Alkebulan Underworlds.”
Cause and effect… Qin Ye sighed softly. Death gods had to be cunning and scheming if they were to survive the ferocious tussle between the netherworlds.
“So, the only conclusion is that he was both gunning for land, as well as… a creation artifact.” Qin Ye finally revealed his deductions, “To Anubis’ mind, the Alkebulan Underworlds were never a threat to begin with, and they could be taken out at any time. But on the other hand, creation artifacts weren’t even things to chance upon, and it just so happened that he stumbled upon the existence of the Holy Grail. That was why he decided to mobilize the entire might of the Aegyptian Underworld to march against the Middle Eastern Underworld.”
“That’s exactly right.” The Plumed Serpent God licked his lips, “And it is here that we continue the story of the Holy Grail…”
He took a deep breath, “My guess is that Anubis had razed the holy cities to the ground in order to reveal any traces of the Holy Grail. Unfortunately, his search came up with no results.”
“Are you certain?” Zhao Yun’s eyes gleamed as he asked with a gruff voice.
“Absolutely. The Heavenly Dao can never be wrong. The Chalice of Preiddeu Annwn isn’t located in the Aegyptian Underworld.” The Plumed Serpent God responded with categorical certainty, “At the very least, he would’ve searched through the entire Middle Eastern Underworld, and yet to no avail. Therefore…”
Qin Ye picked up where he left off, “It can only be in the mortal realm.”
He stood up and began to pace about as he thought aloud, “The 55 years of war ended in 375 AD… 375 AD… How coincidental. I get it now.”
Zhao Yun raised his brows, and Qin Ye immediately turned back with a cold voice, “It just so happens that something earth-shattering happened in 378 AD, just three years later.”
“And that is… the division of the Roman Empire into the Western and Eastern Roman Empire.”
“The Roman Empire can be said to have been just as strong as Cathay at its peak. At that time, a group of Goths living in Dacia, known as the Visigoths, received permission from the Roman emperor to settle with his people on the south bank of the Danube. They were an oppressed group to begin with, and when famine broke out, and they received no aid from the Roman Empire, they started a great riot. This was 376 AD.” 
“378 AD was a decisive moment of the war. The Goths went up against a Roman army of 40,000 led by the Roman Emperor Valens himself, at the Battle of Adrianople. The Roman forces were slaughtered, and Emperor Valens was killed during the war. Historically, this marked the arbitrary distinction between ancient and medieval empires. Valen’s successor, Theodosius I, continued to rule over the Roman Empire as two separate courts, namely the western and eastern courts.”
He paused for a breath, and then went on, “In 395 AD, Theodosius I was succeeded by his two sons, Arcadius in the east, and Honorius in the west. The western capital was located in Milan. From that time forward, the eastern empire generally came to be known as the Eastern Roman Empire, or the Byzantine Empire.”
The Plumed Serpent God turned to Qin Ye, “Any thoughts so far?”
“Yin and Yang cannot intersect.” Qin Ye responded without any hesitation, “After confirming that the Holy Grail wasn’t in the netherworld, Anubis knew he could only turn back to the mortal realm. However, he couldn’t reach directly into the mortal realm to conduct his investigations, so he had no choice but to indirectly orchestrate a series of coincidences so that the eastern and western courts of the Roman Empire would remain divided. Honorius would likely belong to the faction that answered directly to Anubis. From then on, Honorius would have focused his efforts on the Middle East and begun his search for the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.”
The Plumed Serpent God nodded, affirming Qin Ye’s suspicions with an eager timbre in his voice, almost as though Qin Ye was drawing immeasurably close to the answer, “That’s right. Meanwhile, Cathay was currently in the period of transition between the Jin Dynasty and the Northern and Southern Dynasties. But do you know something? Back then, trade between the east and the west was incredibly lucrative, and it so happened that the silk road of the Han Dynasty stretched as far as Western Rome.”
An incredible thought welled up in Qin Ye’s heart, and he immediately looked up at the Plumed Serpent God with great consternation. However, he didn’t pursue this line of thought. Instead, he immediately sought clarification, “Were there still interactions between the east and the west during the chaotic period of transition between dynasties?”
He knew full well that the ‘west’ that the Plumed Serpent God was talking about wasn’t the present Europa or the New World, but Western Rome and the Byzantine Empire!
“There was, and it wasn’t unsubstantial at that.” Zhao Yun answered, “These events have all been recorded in our historical records. The various dynasties in Cathay at that time all had extensive interactions with the west, especially the Former Qin and the Northern Wei. In fact, these trade routes were one of the main sources of their income.”
The Plumed Serpent God drew a deep breath, “Then, do you still remember who Zhang Tianxi is?”
Qin Ye frowned slightly. Meanwhile, Zhao Yun responded with a deep voice, “The last emperor of the Former Liang?”
“Yes.” The Plumed Serpent God continued, “History records has it that he was an eloquent man. He surrendered twice, and eventually died of old age. But that’s not important. What’s more important is his father, Zhang Jun…”
Zhao Yun immediately continued, “In 327 AD, during the second year of Xianhe of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, he captured Dunhuang County. Then in the fourth year of Xianhe of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, he officially established Gaochang County where Dunhuang County used to be located. Thereafter, in 345 AD, he conquered Yanqi… and… these places all happen to be entrances to the Silk Road?”
“And I do recall that as a result of his merit to the emperor of the Former Liang, he would often receive tributes from other countries through the Silk Road.”
Zhao Yun’s drew a deep breath, “Are you suggesting--...”
The Plumed Serpent God’s voice grew somber and stern, “It so happens that these tributes included a chalice shaped like a skull. It was fixed on a base of gold, and then reinforced with jade. This matter isn’t recorded in any of the history books, but nothing eludes the eyes of the Heavenly Dao.”
The Holy Grail!
If not for Zhao Yun’s firm reminder earlier, Qin Ye might well have shot up to his feet by now! But, even then, he gripped the armrest of his throne so hard that he nearly broke it.
The Holy Grail… the Chalice of Preiddeu Annwn… is actually in Cathay!
It was an incredulous turn of events, and yet it was the incontrovertible truth given the weight of the evidence before them right now!
300 AD. The Knights of the Round Table travelled to the Middle East in search of the Holy Grail.
315 AD. Galahad held up the Holy Grail, causing a heavenly rift to appear, through which he immediately ascended into Heaven. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to bring the Holy Grail with him, and it remained in the mortal realm. But as it so happened, the nearest god of death, Anubis, discovered this peculiar turn of events.
320 AD. Anubis sent his forces marching out of the Aegyptian Underworld, taking the holy cities of the Middle Eastern Underworld and razing them to the ground in search of the Holy Grail, and yet to no avail. Thus, he deduced that the Holy Grail was still in the mortal realm, and he began to indirectly orchestrate a series of events that caused the division of the Roman Empire into the eastern and western courts. Honorius, a faithful of Anubis, received guidance from his god of death to search through the Middle East.
Meanwhile, as a result of the war in the Middle East, a large number of people and Yin spirits were forced to move east to avoid Anubis’ faithfuls, as well as the pursuit of the army. Unfortunately, nobody knew what Anubis was searching for. As it turned out, the strange chalice had actually been transported along the Silk Road, and straight into the lands of Cathay no less!
That said, Cathay was rife with turmoil at that time, and it so happened that the first country that came into contact with the Chalice was the Former Liang of the Sixteen Kingdoms. Perhaps those who were transporting the cup didn’t know the value of the Chalice, or perhaps they knew but were desperately seeking shelter from the faithfuls of Anubis. Whatever the case was, it still somehow found its way into Zhang Jun’s possession!
And it was a creation artifact at that!
Qin Ye couldn’t help but exclaim in shock and awe - No wonder the western forces weren’t able to locate the Holy Grail no matter how much they tried searching for it. It was actually in Cathay all along! But… Cathay was just as chaotic back then. This was a period of time when war was rife, and territories and possessions changed hands frequently. If nobody knew of its value back then, would it even be possible to trace its location right now?
The Plumed Serpent God’s breaths grew ragged, “Back then, Zhang Jun didn’t have the intention of making his youngest son, Zhang Tianxi, heir to the throne, and it was why he gave the oddly-shaped chalice to him as a reward. However, nobody expected Zhang Tianxi to plot against his brother and eventually usurp the throne, to become the ruler of the Former Liang…”
And the rest was history.
Qin Ye clenched his fist tightly around the hem of his robes. By his recollection, Zhang Tianxi would’ve eventually surrendered to the emperor of the Former Qin, Fu Jian. Shortly afterwards, Fu Jian would have been defeated by Xie Xuan at the Battle of Fei River, and Zhang Tianxi once again fled to Western Jin, where he managed to gain the favour of Sima Yuanxian, grandson to the renowned Sima Yu.
“Where is it now?” Qin Ye asked placidly.
“I don’t know.” The Plumed Serpent God smiled, “But… is that really a difficult thing for Hell?”
Not at all…
There were only three possible targets.
One. Fu Jian’s tomb. If Zhang Tianxi had offered up this chalice as a curio when he surrendered to Fu Jian, then it is entirely possible that it would be located in West Shan Province’s Salt City. After all, an emperor would generally be buried with his treasured possessions.
Two. Sima Yuanxian’s tomb, and for the same reason as stated above. To that end, it was possibly located in Dusk City.
Three. If he didn’t pass it on to anyone, then it would likely have been buried together with Zhang Tianxi in his own tomb.
Unfortunately… Sima Yuanxian and Zhang Tianxi’s tombs have never been found!
“My Lord, there’s no need to feel too concerned about that.” Zhao Yun’s voice sounded somewhat muffled from excitement, “Don’t forget that there’s always the Laws of Yin Yang Coaction. There’s bound to be anomalies near the vicinity of the tomb of a great person, and these anomalies might even affect the mortal realm. In fact, these changes may even be beyond our imaginations! What we need to do right now is to unify the Cathayan Underworld as soon as possible! And only then will we be able to turn our eye to the invaluable Holy Grail!”
“As far as I’m aware, there’s no underworld that holds two creation artifacts in its possession right now!”
“Therefore, Yanluo Qin, please unify the nation as soon as possible! There’s no time to lose! Don’t forget, Dusk City and Salt City are both not far away from the Daolord of the Beast…”
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