On a certain grassland in hell.
In the distance, a series of small hills could be seen. In contrast with the grasslands of the mortal realm, the grass in Hell was a lush blue color and glowed with a faint luster. Looking at it from a distance, the grassland was like a sea of stars, and it was extremely beautiful to behold.
On this vast grassland, countless tents were gathered together. The tents were very crude, each comprised of a few pieces of cloth that were stitched up together, but there was a massive number of these tents, and they stretched as far as the eyes could see.
Around 10 kilometers in front of the tents stood over 30,000 cavaliers wearing all types of different attires, holding wooden spears and wooden shields as they stared intently up at the sky.
An exquisitely beautiful woman's head was hovering in mid-air above them, and the head had countless strands of hair that were dancing like venomous snakes. Below her was an army of tens of thousands of troops, all of whom were glowing with golden nether fire while standing in a military formation etched out in Cathayan characters.
"I didn't think there would be someone who would dare to oppose Hell. Do you have a death wish?" A strand of Arthis's hair drifted past her lips as she chuckled, "On top of that, you're still determined to resist even after I've displayed the power of Hell to you. In that case, there's no need for your Shadowend City to exist any longer."
It was very apparent that the two armies were on completely different levels, and that the army of cavaliers was no match for the army of Hell. In fact, many of the Yin spirits' chests were heaving violently, creating a stark contrast with the calm and menacing display being put on by the soldiers of Hell.
"However, our King Yanluo is quite averse to slaughter, so I'll give you one last chance. Truth be told, there aren't many cities as idiotic as yours. Founding a city is no easy task, but..."
She paused here momentarily as her Infernal Judge Yin energy erupted forth violently, forcing all of the grass on the grassland to bow down to the ground. "Don't think that you're on equal terms with me just because you're also Infernal Judges!"
"Cut the chit-chat!" As soon as her voice trailed off, two Infernal Judge level auras erupted forth in unison among the cavaliers. "You say you're from Hell and we're just expected to believe you? Hell is already gone; everyone has a right to claim land for themselves! What gives you the power to deprive others of that right?"
"I see..." Arthis took a deep breath before her Yin energy swept violently across the entire grassland, and she declared, "Kill them all! All those who dare to stand against us will be crushed!"
"Chaaaaarge!!" The sound of synchronized rumbling footsteps rang out as the army of Hell advanced, and they were met by an all-encompassing wave of grassland cavaliers.
The two armies advanced toward one another in a determined manner with their weapons held aloft, and in the blink of an eye, the two sides clashed. Yin energy wreaked havoc over the entire grassland as a fierce battle ensued amid thunderous war cries. Boundless netherflames were constantly erupting into the heavens, and after what seemed like an eternity, the violent waves of Yin energy finally subsided.
At this point, only the army of Hell remained standing. Furthermore, they hadn't even suffered many losses.
Arthis chuckled coldly as her hair danced gently in the breeze, and all of a sudden, all of the netherfire converged in front of her, forming a massive stone plaque. Her hair danced wildly through the air, and after no more than 20 seconds, a line of menacing text had been inscribed onto the stone plaque.
"It was here that Infernal Judge Arakshasa eradicated the rebels of Shadowend City."
"Continue." She seemed to be completely devoid of emotion as she said in a cold voice, "Detain all those who refuse to surrender or are related to those rebels. Interrogate them thoroughly, and if any are found to be in approval of the rebellion, then they are to be killed with no exceptions."
All of the Yin spirits were rather taken aback by this order.
If they were to carry out this order, it would most likely result in the deaths of thousands, perhaps even more!
"My Lady..." A Hellguard approached her in a hesitant manner, and asked, "Hell has only just taken over this place; shouldn't we be a little... gentler with the natives?"
A little gentler?
"Hmm?" Arthis took a calm glance at him, and asked, "Do you know more about Hell or am I more familiar with Hell?"
Her voice suddenly spiked up a few octaves as she continued, "Do you know why even the Eight Great Clans didn't dare to rebel during the past several thousand years? It's because according to the laws of Hell, anyone who rebels will have their entire families executed, including all extended family and anyone related to them, regardless of their age or status! Even the noblest of figures will be punished just the same as an ordinary citizen for this cardinal crime! This law was created by the first King Yanluo, and the second King Yanluo made no attempt to alter it, while the third King Yanluo didn't object to it, so why can't I do this? Throughout the history of Hell, there have been tens of billions of netherworldly citizens! If we only kill those directly involved in rebellions, more and more rebels will simply emerge in their place! We must lay down the law now! Otherwise, what do you suggest? That we wait until a full-fledged rebellion has taken shape before we deploy troops to quell it?"
The Hellguard didn't dare to say anything further and bowed before backing away.
Arthis made no attempt to lower her voice, and her words were audible across the entire grassland like rumbling thunder. She could clearly see that some of the Yin spirits in the tents were panicking in the wake of her declaration, as indicated by the erratic flashes of netherfire. She raised her chin slightly, and instructed, "Go. All those who dare to resist will be seen as accomplices to the rebels. Remember this, and remember it well: we've only just begun our crusade; if we encounter any other cities that insist on resisting, all of the rebels and their relatives must be executed! Tell me, what did General Zhao Zilong teach you before we set off?"
There was no response.
Three seconds later, the sound of war drums shook the heavens while long horns sounded across the entire grassland. With one unified cry, the army of tens of thousands of Yin Soldiers stormed toward Shadowend City.
"By Hell's Dictum, all rabble shall disperse!!"
The sound of the synchronized footsteps carried with it a sense of chilling bloodlust as the army of Hell strode toward the mountain range that contained the seven-tiered waterfall, while countless Yin spirits of Deadsend City looked on with dumbstruck expressions.
Those vivid red-star flags, those suits of inky-black armor, and those razor-sharp weapons... The entire population of over 2,000,000 Yin spirits rushed out of their caves in Deadsend City before casting their eyes toward the horizon in a dumbfounded manner.
On the very top level stood an elderly woman accompanied by several other men and women, and they were also looking on with astonishment in their eyes.
The approaching army was like a slow and methodical black flood, but it was entirely inevitable and unavoidable. At its current speed, the army would reach Deadsend City in about half an hour.
The Yin spirits of Deadsend City were stunned by the sight of this army, but more so by what this army represented.
"Wh, where did this army come from?!"
"My god, they look so much more formidable than our city's army!"
"Good heavens... they have armor! And weapons! And bows and arrows!"
"Wait, take a close look at that; what's that massive tall thing behind them?"
"That's a five-star flag... C, could it be that this is the regular army of the Cathayan Underworld?"
Everyone was in shock, and why wouldn't they be? To them, it really did feel as if they were meeting aliens for the first time!
On the top level, the elderly woman's mouth was slightly agape as she withdrew her stunned gaze, then turned toward the other Yin spirits around her as she asked in a hesitant manner, "Is this the regular army of the Cathayan Underworld?"
"I don't know..." The Yin spirits beside her felt as if their mouths had become parched deserts. They had lived like this for 12 whole years, and they had thought that things would continue like this for the foreseeable future. They would replicate the stages of development in the mortal realm, slowly developing all types of technology such as running water, electricity, heating, agriculture... Never did they think that they would encounter a civilization several orders more advanced than them!
Furthermore, they seemed to be thriving in contrast with Deadsend City.
They had managed to produce metal, textiles, and weaponry... The Yin spirits of Deadsend City were so envious that they felt like they could scream!
However, not a single Yin spirit was willing to go outside to see what was happening. In the face of the unknown, humanity's first reaction was to raise their weapons, even though their wooden spears looked downright laughable in the face of this vastly superior army.
Clack clack... Each footstep seemed to be resounding in the hearts of all of Deadsend City's netherworldly citizens. Half an hour later, the vast army arrived in front of Deadsend City before arranging itself into four separate formations. An omnipresent voice then rang out across the entire sky. "This is the decree of Hell: the war of unification has commenced, and unification of the Cathayan Underworld is inevitable. It's up to you whether you want to resist or join our cause."
Immediately thereafter, around a dozen Hellguards emerged from the ranks and made their way to the very forefront.
But the silence only lasted a second before it was violently shattered.
"What was that?"
"How did they do that?!"
"Is this the legendary... voice transmission?!"
"Is it some type of divine ability?"
"Is it cultivation? Holy shit, tell me this isn't real!"
"Did he say Hell? Hell actually exists?! The legends are all true?!"
The entire city had erupted into a frenzy!
No one had seen such an astonishing spectacle before, and their worldview had been completely turned on its head. For a city like this, which had no idea what Yin Talismans were and were only just beginning to come into contact with Yin energy, the army of Hell was like an army of divine generals.
"What do we do?!" Everyone on the seventh level of Deadsend City turned toward the elderly woman in unison. "What is this about Hell and the Underworld? We've never heard of such a thing and we've never come into contact with them in the past, either! What the hell is going on? How did they manage to do that just now?"
How am I supposed to know?!
A grim look appeared on the elderly woman's face, and only after a long pause did she speak again. "Invite their representative up to see me. Regardless of what happens, this is a tribulation that we can't avoid."
Indeed, Deadsend City had no choice but to face the situation head-on.
Soon, a so-called public servant of Deadsend City led the dozen or so Hellguards into the city. Countless paths had been chiseled into the mountain range, and the Hellguards of Hell strode into the city in a refined and unhurried manner, while millions of Yin spirits looked on with curiosity and uneasiness in their hearts.
Deadsend City was a very large city, and only after walking for half an hour straight did they finally arrive at the largest of the stone caves.
This cave was around 20 to 30 meters in size, and situated within it was a stone table and around a dozen stone chairs. In contrast with Everburn and Ashmound, the conditions here were downright squalid. At this moment, six of the chairs had already been occupied, and the people seated on them immediately turned their attention toward the Hellguards upon their arrival.
Such intricately crafted armor...
Such soft capes...
Where did these people come from? Did Hell really exist? If so, what was it like?
"Greetings, representatives of Deadsend City." A Yin spirit who appeared to be around 30 years of age wore a faint smile as he cupped his fist and said, "I am Lü Fang, and I'm here on behalf of Hell to discuss with you the fate of Deadsend City."
"Please take a seat." The woman at the center took a deep breath before rising to her feet, and she made an inviting hand gesture with a slightly forced smile on her face. "I am the Grand Master of the Deadsend City Freemasonry, Li Lanzhi."
Thus, everyone took a seat, and Lü Fang gave a slight nod to acknowledge the Yin spirits of Deadsend City present. Even though the living conditions in Deadsend City were comparable to those of primitive cavemen in his eyes, he still put on an amicable display that wasn't high and mighty in the slightest. He said, "I know that all of you must have many questions. Prior to coming here, Yanluo Qin gave us some things in the hope that we can have a candid and productive negotiation."
Several seconds later, Li Lanzhi asked with a complex expression, "Why? Wouldn't it be far easier for you to get what you want by force?"
A thin Hellguard smiled, and replied, "We're doing this to minimize unnecessary casualties, of course."
The Yin spirits of Deadsend City immediately turned toward him upon hearing this, and there was clear shock and unease in their eyes.
Only after witnessing the army of Hell in person did they come to understand that the two sides weren't even on the same level; there was simply a fundamental disparity in development that couldn't be overcome.
Casualties? Anyone would be fearful to hear this term being thrown around.
"Yanluo Qin said..." The thin Hellguard slowly swept his gaze over everyone present, and said, "That the Cathayan Underworld must be united. In the Eastmount Province and the Insignia Province, the Book of Life and Death was returned to its rightful place, and we welcomed the return of the Sixfold Ghost King Lord Zhao Zilong, as well as the divine beast Harken. The war of unification is inevitable, and all 9,600,000 square kilometers of Hell must fall under the control of Hell. Otherwise, chaos will arise between the two realms, and it could even bring disaster to the mortal realm. All those who oppose our crusade of unification will be executed with no exceptions. Now is the time for you to make a choice."
He looked deep into everyone's eyes, and continued, "You are bearing witness to the rise of a mighty dynasty; no one will be a match for the regular army of Hell. We don't want to see bloodshed, but we don't mind it, either. If you insist on posing a hindrance, Lord Qin hopes that you won't drag all of the netherworldly citizens of Deadsend City into the grave with you."
Li Lanzhi and the other Yin spirits shuddered in unison upon hearing this.
What an aggressive and unyielding attitude!
They didn't know about anything else, but one thing that they could confirm was that this so-called Yanluo Qin was most likely an aggressive conqueror who wouldn't be denied!Previous Chapter Next Chapter