Perhaps he had sensed Qin Ye’s gaze. Section Chief Li promptly turned around and smiled.
His smile was hideous. His eyes were bloodshot, and his voice was choking up.
That said, it was also a radiant smile.
“Ever since I’d joined the Special Investigations Department, my boss had predicted that a time would come when everything would be made public.” He sighed wistfully, before continuing in an insightfully reflective manner, “But I’d never thought that whilst my grandchildren and I would witness this day, my sons would not…”
There was a stifling silence across the entire plaza, broken only by the soft sounds of whimpering. Qin Ye bit down on his lower lips and remained silent and still.
He couldn’t empathize with them. Not now, and not ever.
After all, he wasn’t someone who strictly belonged to the mortal realms.
But, that said, why did he feel vexed and stuffed in his heart?
He tried to ignore the uncomfortable feeling, but it simply kept coming back to the forefront of his mind.
This was the purpose of Hell to begin with.
If Hell had done its job, just as it did back in the days of its former glory where the Sixfold Ghost Kings wandered about purging evil ghosts from the corners of the earth, countless wandering spirits would pour to the underworld instead of linger about in the mortal realms. Furthermore, with powerful Abyssal Prefects and Infernal Judges maintaining order in the mortal realm, would there still be any evil ghost acting so brazenly like Cao Youdao did?
Unfortunately, Hell had been razed to the ground as soon as Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ascended.
Granny Meng had entrusted Qin Ye with the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal! In other words, he was the world’s only hope in the reestablishment of Hell!
The sounds of whimpering had nothing to do with him. Yet for some strange reason, it made his heart sour inexplicably.
Qin Ye narrowed his gaze and grew taciturn. Arthis spoke up with a soulful voice, “That old hag Granny Meng must also have seen the compassion hidden in the depths of your heart…”
“Do you know something? You were born in one of Cathay’s most tumultuous times. Years of war had led to the establishment of a powerful nation. You’d experienced and seen too many things. This was what led you to develop a slippery personality, hiding when you can, and refraining from making any moves unless you’re forced into a corner. That said, you’ve also been blessed with the gift of being undying. This is why you’re the prime candidate for reestablishing Hell.”
“It’s commendable that you’ve retained that shred of conscience despite having been through such vicissitudes of life. Furthermore, you possess a personality that is young at heart. I think I can understand why Granny Meng had decided to pick you in the end…”
Qin Ye acknowledged Arthis’ comments softly, but refrained from responding any further. He didn’t listen to a single other word that the Provincial Governor was saying.
Arthis deliberated for a few more moments, “What’s the point of being downcast and doleful? Your personality isn’t bad. You’re wimpy, but when push comes to shove, you’ve got the ability to harden your heart and stand strong against adversity. You may act silly, but you’re well-considered whenever it truly matters. Just like Xiang Yu the Conqueror, blindly doing doesn’t in and of itself give rise to achievements. Rather, the ones who are truly able to achieve great things in life…”
“Are people who are just as wimpy as you, such as Liu Bang.”
“If you feel that your conscience is overwhelmed; and if you feel that, with every day you continue to hold onto the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal, you continue to face the silent condemnation of the countless soldiers and cultivators who have martyred for the survival of the mortal realm, then all the more you should do everything in your ability to reestablish Hell as soon as possible…”
Qin Ye sneered as he lowered his head and muttered hoarsely, “But I’m just an Emissary of Hell… You, a Judge, are asking me to bear the burdens of the entire mortal realm? Don’t you find that quite ridiculous?”
Arthis responded, “You’re wrong. The true purpose of Hell is twofold - to repay good with good and evil with evil; as well as to render assistance to the mortal realm. After all, where would ghosts come from if there aren’t any people?”
Just then, Governor Gao’s stern voice resounded throughout the entire plaza, and his voice was similarly transmitted live to every home and every place with screens that were playing the same broadcast, “... It wasn’t until a few days ago, when the massive outbreak of supernatural incidents occurred in the City of Salvation, that we’d decided it was impossible to conceal the truth any longer. That was the catalyzing incident for the broadcast today. And now, we shall announce the exact details of the central government’s decision.”
Qin Ye’s eyes quivered, and he immediately sat up straight. Every single cultivator gazed intently at the main stage.
This was the main event for the day!
This represented the mortal realm’s attitude on the upcoming war! It would set the stage for the strategies to come!
Without any needless words, Zhou Xianlong declared, “Order number one. All citizens and residents of the City of Salvation and its subordinate districts and counties shall sign the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement within three days’ time. Failure or refusal to sign shall be seen as treason and punished accordingly. A breach of the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement shall also be seen as treason and punished accordingly.”
“After signing the agreement, you will be given the option of leaving or staying within the City of Salvation. This is because… the City of Salvation will usher in a completely different era!”
He took another deep breath, “We call it… the era of cultivators!”
His words boomed through the broadcast, reverberating throughout the far flung corners of the entire city.
This was the inauguration of the era of cultivators!
“Order number two. In a week’s time, the entire city will be placed under a five-year lockdown. All entry and exit to or from the city will be strictly prohibited.” Zhou Xianlong continued, “At the same time, the City of Salvation will fall under the direct administration of the central government of Cathay. Furthermore, three hundred and fifty hectares of land located around the city hall will be razed to the ground and rebuilt from scratch.”
“What?!” “Rebuilt from scratch? Then what about those who want to stay? Where are we going to live?” “What’s all this about?”
A ripple of unrest instantly spread throughout the previously silent city.
However, there was no room for negotiations. Zhou Xianlong didn’t leave any ambiguity in that regard either.
“This is an order.” He cast a frigid look at the projection on the screen, “As Cathayans, this is your duty. After all, there won’t be any place to call home if Cathay no longer exists. Therefore, all of your private interests ought to give way in the face of such paramount national interest!”
“You don’t have to worry about lodging. This order will be implemented in one years’ time. During this year, the Cathay Construction Group will be responsible for constructing twenty-five high-density neighbourhoods around the three-hundred and fifty hectares of land. The nation would never leave its people in the lurch.”
“Order number three.” Zhou Xianlong knew that the response from the first two orders were probably already explosive in nature. However, he knew that the only thing he could do was to press on and push ahead with the broadcast, and not consider the feelings of others.
And this was because… the next order was even more controversial!
He paused for a moment, “Starting from next week, the City of Salvation shall be piloting a citizen-grading system.”
“Cultivation… isn’t a simple word.” He gazed at the crowd, “Cultivators are completely different from normal people. They are the shield that protects ordinary citizens; and the vanguard of the nation against the outbreak of supernatural incidents! One week later, we will begin differentiating between all of our citizens in accordance with the natural aptitudes. Those who possess some level of aptitude for cultivation will be classified as second grade citizens. Ordinary citizens will be classified as third grade citizens. Fully fledged cultivators will be considered first grade citizens.”
“All resources and expenditure incurred by first and second grade citizens shall be fully sponsored and paid for by the government from the commencement of their cultivation journey until the day they die!”
“Furthermore, one year later, as soon as all of the relocation works are complete, a brand new Academy of Cultivators shall be established where the main city district is presently located! All first and second grade citizens shall enjoy priority enrollment in the Academy of Cultivators!”
Order after order was announced live on the broadcast. Qin Ye sighed ruefully.
What a masterstroke.
This was something that involved the lives of millions of people, yet a single order was all it took to raze and rebuild the entire city. It was quite apparent just how heavily the nation viewed this pilot project!
Need policies? Here!
Funds for the construction? Here’s some more!
The only thing we ask for in return is a paradise for cultivators!
These were the thoughts on the minds of every other person out there. Even though everyone’s breaths had grown somewhat ragged, Zhou Xianlong continued adamantly, “The establishment of the academy is a pilot project across all of Cathay. It covers a massive area, and a whole slew of cultivation related facilities will also be constructed alongside the main campus grounds. All of our instructors are cultivators who have a wealth of experience in dealing with Yin spirits. On that note… the Academy of Cultivators shall commence its enrollment of students after winter break this year!”
“Everyone, let me reiterate - this isn’t some mere fantasy novel. You can ignore it all you want, but everything is going to be gathered here, from the strongest Yin artifacts, to the nation’s strongest cultivators. We will even have access to the latest information relating to the Yin spirits, the most accurate information to any supernatural incidents across the nation, as well as all forms of tasks, assignments and missions. As long as you manage to gain entry to the Academy of Cultivators, your lives will be changed forever.”
“I can personally guarantee right now that as long as you’re able to graduate from this academy, your future… and the future of your children… will be limitless!”
Qin Ye could practically hear the thumping heartbeats of the audience below. Each and every cultivator was watching the conference with a bright gleam in their eyes.
Things are finally getting real…
The City of Salvation’s most recent outbreak of supernatural incidents has made it clear to the mortal realm that mere status quo was insufficient.
If it’s war you want, then it’s war you’ll get!
“What a masterstroke.” Su Feng exclaimed with a sigh, “Flattening an entire city to the ground and rebuilding it from scratch; and demanding the deference of millions of citizens to a single command… I’m afraid this is something that’s only possible in Cathay.”
Qin Ye nodded his head, “I’d never expect the country to be so bold this time. The Academy of Cultivators, huh… They’ve piqued my interest.”
Su Feng glanced at him, before leaning in and whispering, “Brother, I can tell you that, as far as I know, the university isn’t going to be an easygoing place.”
“All of the S-class experts at the Soul Hunter level have been ordered to teach, without exception. These people are all barbarians who don’t conform to anybody. Furthermore…” He squinted his eyes, “The youngest of them all is only 25…”
Qin Ye stared at Su Feng with widened eyes. It was obvious that Su Feng was taking pleasure in his misery!
“... Is there no room for discussion at all?”
Su Feng smiled radiantly, “Of course… not. Do you think there’s anyone who’s not curious about the standards of the youngest Hunter-class expert around right now? There’s already four or five experts within our community who have decided to come, and all of them don’t seem too pleased with you…”
After all, everyone else was in their twenties when an eighteen years-old Hunter-class expert had just appeared out of nowhere!
Zhou Xianlong’s voice continued in the background, “... Order number eight. With immediate effect, the City of Salvation shall impose no taxes for the next three years. All suspended companies, and any affected factories, employees, workers, and individuals across the board shall be given a one-off allowance that is RMB 500 higher than what they are entitled to ordinarily. Furthermore, any citizens who set up a cultivation-related company or business shall be entitled to ten-years of tax exemption!”
“Order number nine…”
Qin Ye no longer paid as much attention to the orders as he did before. After all, the major bombshells have all landed, and the rest were more ancillary and supplementary in nature. Therefore, he continued chatting with Su Feng. Just then, an electrifying sensation suddenly shot up his spine!
“What happened to you?” Su Feng was startled by the change in Qin Ye’s expression.
Qin Ye didn’t respond to him. Instead, he simply curled up his body. Sweat drops began to bead up all over his forehead. It’s just too frightening… Just a moment ago, a marrow-piercing chill had abruptly shot straight through his entire body!
There were now at least four Judge-class experts in the City of Salvation - three of which were in attendance at the plaza, and one of which was hidden in a sphere in his bosom!
Yet just like that, none of them noticed the appearance of the terrifying Yin energy. It had arrived abruptly, without any form of indication at all. And as soon as it struck, Qin Ye felt almost as though a cold, invisible hand had just been caressing his back, making every single one of his hairs stand on end!
There’s a ghost…
There’s a ghost right here.
And such a terrifying presence revealed that the ghost was an existence that was out of the world. In fact, he wasn’t the only one who had experienced this - he could even hear Arthis’ teeth chattering through the sealed soul sphere!
“It’s… stronger than you.” Qin Ye gnashed his teeth and declared affirmatively.
Arthis shuddered, “What terrifying Yin energy… This… is definitely in the millions! This is what the kid next to you had been talking about… it’s the exact same entity! But who is it? How could there still be such a powerful ghost residing in the mortal realm?”
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