“The first Great Sale has finally come to a close, and Heaven’s End Pavilion has vanished into thin air! Look forward to what the next year holds!”
“The total turnover of the first Great Sale has reached 100 million HL! That works out to an average spending of approximately 5,000 HL per capita! This is the miracle of Ashmound City!”
“A large-scale job fair jointly hosted by Dingxin Technology, Have A Cup Group, Tang Dynasty Group, Fengyun Group, Yellow Springs Company, Hanyun Group, and eight other companies will be launched in two months’ time!”
“Changes to Ashmound City: farms, pastures, orchards and industrial zones have been earmarked to be established in due course. How close will things get to the state of affairs in the mortal realm?”
Sigh… An elderly Yin spirit took off his glasses and set down the papers with a sigh of exclamation. This was the umpteenth special issue of the papers now, replete with full pages of news. He beamed at the other citizens around him, “What a masterstroke. The entire Ashmound City is booming right now. There are barely any citizens left idling about the streets. This bodes well for us.”
“That’s right…” This was a study group organized by the neighbourhood committee. A gray-haired Yin spirit chuckled with great joy, “We used to see Yin spirits idling about at every corner of the streets. But now?”
“Yesterday, I passed by the White Tiger Street located right next to the city tower, and I noticed everyone preparing for the upcoming job fair! Meanwhile, there are a number of YIn spirits queuing up to enter the city tower for permits. I was free, and I let my curiosity get the better of me, so I approached some of them to ask what they were applying for. Most of them were Yin spirits looking to set up their own small businesses, such as fruit stores, supermarkets, and so on and so forth. The representatives of the Fengyun Group, Tang Dynasty Group and other large groups that we know all too well have all taken a different route for their applications.”
A middle-aged woman smiled and sighed, “To think that we’d see these names, even in Hell. You know, Hell is truly shaping up to become no different from the mortal realm. What a masterstroke by the government. We’re seeing the establishment of industries right now, and it’s probably going to be followed by the development of arts and culture. We’re practically on the cusp of the establishment of an entire nation!”
“That’s right. Just take a look at how many Yin spirits have been lingering around the city walks of Ashmound City, over the last few days.”
Was there anyone who didn’t feel proud that their nation was becoming strong?
Was there anyone who wasn’t proud to be known as a citizen of Hell right now?
Ashmound City might have appeared like a bustling hub in the past, but the truth of the matter was that people didn’t feel assured of their livelihood. The government’s various acts of handing out entertainment amenities and facilities, the launch of currency, the establishment of banks, and even the registration of companies, was all a desperate bid to increase Ashmound City’s productiveness and spur the development of various industries. But unfortunately, after those moments of passion passed, everything went cold again.
Their production levels simply weren’t enough.
Naturally, this meant that there were a lot of citizens idling at every corner of the city with no direction in their lives. Nobody minded spending less, even on food and drinks, since it wasn’t a necessity to Yin spirits to begin with, and there wasn’t much on offer anyway. But now, things were completely different.
The Great Sale had awakened the sleeping dragon within the hearts of all citizens. And more importantly, the supply that Ashmound City received this time was more than sufficient to keep up with the demand!
They made huge gains from the sea trade, as well as the war reparations of the Russian Underworld, and these benefits naturally cascaded down into the budding industries in Hell, spurring their growth, whilst trickling down to the end users that were none other than the citizens of Hell. They now had goods of all kinds, ranging from clothes and food, to even needles and threads. This plugged the huge gap in the market and once again lit the fire in the hearts of all citizens. The construction of large factories had been announced, and that also marked the growth of production and generation of jobs. It was the dawn of a new age where the citizens of Hell would no longer be in want.
There was now lively chatter at every corner of the street. And with that naturally came citizens who had more foresight than others.
Every generation would invariably see their own fair share of self-made people. For instance, the ones who had the foresight to set up shop in the commercial streets back then would have made at least 300,000 to 400,000 HL from the Great Sale. There were even talks of some Yin spirits having become millionaires overnight, although such numbers were still few and far between.
Elsewhere, in a large hall. There were four ten-seater tables placed in the hall. These tables were from the Qing Dynasty, and they were carved with fine designs. Dozens of Yin spirits from the commercial streets sat on wooden seats around the tables.
“Everyone.” An old man with white hair stood up and waved the papers in his hand, “Hell has never eased up on improving our quality of life. Over the last six months, we’ve heard too many complaints that the government wasn’t doing enough, and there were even suggestions that the Yin spirits should defect to some other underworlds. Fortunately, we didn’t. Hell tried time and again, from the launch of currency, to the distribution of products, until now, when sea trade was finally established.”
“Today, Hell’s efforts have pulled through, and they’re starting to see the effects of change throughout Hell. In five years time, farmlands, breedings grounds and orchards would all be ripe for the harvest, and our agricultural products and poultry of all kinds would begin to fill Ashmound City, and probably even flow into the neighbouring cities!”
“Sure, we might not have the capital to compete with the industry leaders, but these industry leaders would also have to rely on us to reach out to the less accessible communities! And that’s the reason for which we’re here today - to explore the possibilities of cooperation and seize the market before everything goes down! So, here’s the deal.” He paused for a moment, and then smiled, “Have you heard of the name Huang Liangchuan, a man more affectionately known as Old Huang?”
The Yin spirits shook their heads, and the old man continued with a smile, “His name isn’t familiar to any of you? Well, then, let me tell you who he is. He’s the one who made Hell’s currency possible. Today, he also sits as the vice president of the Central Bank!”
Sss… A cacophony of gasps echoed in the room. The old man went on, “I happen to have a fairly good relationship with Old Huang, and I’ve heard over the grapevine that the amount of deposits in the Central Bank is contracting rapidly. This is a good thing, because it proves that the market is slowly coming to life. A rolling stone grows no moss. In the past, Ashmound City had to search hard for means in order to plug the growing gaps in the market, and the search was bound to come up short eventually. But now, the market has come to life, and commerce has finally taken flight.”
Everyone knew that commerce was the lifeblood of the nation. And to that end, it was important for the merchants to have a unified front.
After all, what would the merchants do if the stream of supplies one day ran out?
“According to him, Hell’s plans are to hold back on the supplies, and release them on a scheduled rate so that the supplies can sustain the demand until the next fleet of merchant ships arrive.”
“I also have some news.” Another young man in his twenties spoke up. He ran an entertainment goods store, and business was now better than ever, “First of all, I’ve got to say that the recent turn of events have spelt the best news for us. Period. And that said, it just so happens that I live just a stone’s throw away from none other than Yanluo Qin’s personal assistant.”
Everyone glanced over with bright gleams in their eyes - Are you sure?
The young man shook his head, “I can’t possibly be mistaken. He’s never introduced himself in that manner before, but I’ve seen him on several occasions, including back then when Yanluo Qin travelled around Hell, inspecting the major factories around these parts. That man was walking right alongside him, and he even seemed to know Yanluo Qin on a personal basis. It’s taken me quite some time, but I’m pleased to say that I’ve managed to get on his good side. This is also why I say we live in great times, because when else would you be able to even interact with someone as important and influential as that?”
The old man’s eyes gleamed brightly, “Then, you--...”
“He’s very tight-lipped.” The young man sighed, “But he did reveal that Hell’s immediate concern is to stimulate the market. And then… there will be further movements in Hell in the near future. Don’t look at me like that. I don’t know what these changes might be. That said, he did mention that if Hell succeeds, then Hell’s industries will receive a huge boost.”
The Yin spirits grew silent and mulled over the implications-laden words. Just then, the door suddenly flung open, and a Yin spirit rushed into the hall with another set of papers in his hand, “Are you guys still having that meeting of yours? Quit it already! Come here and have a look at this breaking news!”
“What’s wrong?” “What’s going on?”
Without saying anything further, the Yin spirit that had just barged into the room immediately laid the papers in his hand onto the table, and everyone huddled around to catch a glimpse of the headline.
These were the two words splashed in scarlet font on the headlines. At once, the old man frowned in consternation, “What about that?”
It was normal for every nation to have its own army, even if there wasn’t any war. This was an ironclad rule of every sovereign nation.
“Keep reading on!!” The Yin spirit who had just barged into the room appeared to be in his forties. He immediately sat down and poured himself a cup of tea. Meanwhile, one of the other Yin spirits in his thirties abruptly shot to his feet and pointed at the papers, “Everyone… take a look here… This is breaking news indeed…”
The old man glanced down.
The first line read: “Hell looks to the rest of the Cathayan Underworld! The Third Era of Hell is openly conscripting!”
“The trumpet of unification has been blown. Hell currently has control over two provinces, and expects to reclaim the seven provinces including Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, and the three eastern provinces in the near future. Now, Yanluo Qin, Ghost King Zhao Zilong, the Harken have called for the conscription of 200,000 Yin soldiers for Hell. After one year of training, they shall all march out to the recesses of Hell to reunify Hell!”
“The last Hell had collapsed due to unforeseen circumstances, and Hell has been directionless for the last hundred years. The third era of Hell has arisen out of the ashes of the old Hell, inheriting the virtues of the old Hell and continuing its work. Since then, Everburn City has become the capital of the new Hell, the Book of Life and Death has returned to our possession, the economic center known as Ashmound City is thriving, while both Ghost King Zhao Zilong and Hell’s divine beast the Harken have returned to serve Hell. Let all who have ambition join us and fly the banner of Hell high above the farthest reaches in Cathay!”
“You are the founding fathers of this age of unification!”
“Requirements for recruitment: All under the age of 35, without any disabilities. As we all know, one’s strength and capacity to wield weapons are directly related to their life. Those with disabilities will unfortunately be disqualified from our selections.”
“Yin soldiers shall be treated with the same regard as back in the mortal realm. Privates shall be given a monthly allowance of 800 HL. Non-commissioned officers can earn themselves a monthly wage of 3,000-8,000 HL. Officers’ remuneration start at 5,000 HL per month. Discharge benefits are dependent on the number of battles participated in, and the war merits earned. Those who have earned substantial merit may be assigned housing benefits, pension funds, or even be given opportunities to work in a selection of enterprises with job security of up to 10 years, barring vitiating circumstances.”
“During service, conscripted soldiers shall be entitled to insurance and housing allowance, which shall both be converted into domestic insurance and pension funds after their discharge…”
“Merit points can be gained in a multitude of ways, including the following:
Purging an ordinary Yin spirit known as a wandering spirit - 1 merit point.
Purging an Operative-class Yin spirit - 10 merit points.
Purging a Soul Hunter - immediate promotion to officer.
Purging a Hellguard - immediate promotion to officer, with a view to be assigned as a commander of a regiment after the war for unification.
Purging a Judge - immediate promotion to officer, with a view to be assigned as a commander of a division after the war for unification…”
Everyone stared at the papers with great disbelief.
The rewards were far too generous! It was even better than how soldiers were treated back in the mortal realm!
Allowances aside, the non-commissioned officers were easily already on par with the mortal realm. In fact, they could easily even gain monthly wages of up to 8,000 HL! This was beyond the imaginations of all Yin spirits in Ashmound City right now. After all, such monthly wages were easily equivalent to that of a high-ranking officer.
In fact, the mere fact that one was appointed an officer would in and of itself already ensure that they were earning more than any other regular Yin spirit out there. And the fact that there was no upper limit to their monthly wages spoke volumes of the potential!
But these monetary compensation was nothing compared with the intangible benefits listed below.
“Insurance and pension? And there’s even the possibility of being assigned a house?” One of the Yin spirits remarked with great disbelief, “I’ve heard of a famous development known as the Qin Gardens back in Everburn. Is the government going to build something like that here in Ashmound City? No, that’s not important. What’s more important is the fact that one can even be promoted to a division level commander by just killing Yin spirits?!”
That’s by no means a low-ranking official!
A senior colonel in an army was hardly a small fry. Sure, it might be insignificant to a protagonist of a modern fantasy novel, but this was still someone who wielded actual power, authority and influence in his hands! This was a rank that many would struggle for decades to get to! It was something that one might never attain unless they had a confluence of both opportunity and diligence.
There was no need.
So long as one was lucky enough to land the killing blow on a Judge, he would almost certainly be set for life!Previous Chapter Next Chapter