Chapter 763: Meeting the Envoys Again

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"In order to usher in a renaissance, we have to make sweeping changes across the board. Firstly, the quality and production capabilities of the clothing industry must be able to keep up..."

Inside the conference hall, Wu Daozi was wearing a pair of reading glasses as he read his report aloud. "Aesthetic standards must be implemented first by the upper classes and nobility, and the masses will gradually follow. If we want to restore the aesthetic standards of Cathay rather than follow the aesthetic standards of the rest of the world, then we'll have to get rid of things like jeans, t-shirts, and makeup from Nippon and Daehan, and these changes must be adopted by the leaders first and foremost..."

Qin Ye took a sip of tea from his cup before smiling as he praised, "Looks like you've done your homework, Elder Wu, you even know about jeans and t-shirts. I must say that I'm impressed."

It was currently 5th September.

Three months had passed since the conquest of Lotus City and the unification of the nation.

In contrast with the mountainous pile of duties that had to be taken care of initially, things were now a lot less hectic. The foundation had been set, and all that was left were the finer details. All of the important matters that had to be discussed during official conferences had been addressed, and there was now even enough time in the day for Qin Ye to take one-hour lunch breaks.

It had to be said that after holding so many conferences, Qin Ye had grown very much accustomed to it all. Currently, there were over thirty thousand public servants in the city of Ashmound, and through their tireless efforts, preparations for the founding ceremony were coming along nicely.

Wu Daozi smiled and said, "I've always been in support of your practical and hands-on approach, Lord Qin. To talk about something while not fully understanding it is extremely irresponsible and pointless. As ancient scholars of Cathay, Li Chun, Lu Ban, and I should all be entitled to speak on these matters."

Of course! If the saint of art and saint of architecture don't have speaking rights on these matters, then who does? 

Following the conclusion of Wu Daozi's report, another minister stood up. "Yanluo Qin, currently, all of the Yin spirits across the land are experiencing a period of rapid development. The total population of the Qin Dynasty has already reached a billion, and all of the major roads across the nation have been connected. The quality of life for all Yin spirits is rising day by day, and the number of registered companies has reached in excess of 10,000, but this is still far from enough to support nationwide demand. On top of that, if we want to usher in a renaissance, then we'll need a massive amount of wood to support our construction projects. Even if we want to replicate the construction style of old, large amounts of wooden construction material will still be required to support our buildings. At the moment, we're still unsure of which forests we can fell and which type of wood is best for construction. All of the natural resources are currently unfamiliar to us, and step-by-step experimentation will be required to find the best materials..."

Qin Ye nodded in response. "We're currently suffering from an industrial vacuum, and the only city that has a complete industrial production line is Ashmound. However, this is only the beginning of our new dynasty. Even if everything looks fine and prosperous now, we still have to proceed with caution and budget meticulously. The Cathay of the mortal realm is also in the same position, is it not? All we have to do is endure this period, which will last a maximum of five years. If anyone dares to rise up in rebellion, kill them without any exceptions, and there's no need to report such matters to me."

"Understood." The minister who had just spoken heaved an internal sigh of relief. The lack of manufacturing capability wasn't something to fear as long he had a psychological pillar to lean on. However, Yanluo Qin wasn't a leader who was interested in depicting himself as an omnipotent god. Furthermore, the mortal realm had already developed to a certain extent, and following their deaths, the Yin spirits that arrived in Hell would definitely be extremely displeased by the vast disparity in living conditions. With no promise of a better future, their dissatisfaction would inevitably lead to rebellion, and this had been seen on many occasions in the past few years.

In the past, this issue could be ignored as the unification of the nation was far more important and had to be prioritized. However, now that the nation was united, relevant rules had to be set, and the authority that Qin Ye had given the minister instilled him with a great deal of confidence.

Right at this moment, Wang Chenghao made his way over to Qin Ye before whispering into his ear, "Brother Qin, the twelve envoys are here."

"Which one?" Qin Ye asked as he took a casual sip of his tea.

"All of them," Wang Chenghao replied with a smile, "They're currently waiting in the office next door. Would you like to meet them?"

"Looks like they're not completely irredeemable after all," Qin Ye said as a faint smile appeared on his face.

The fact that they had come to him one by one and tried to smooth things over by offering gifts was a sign that they were still unwilling to lay down their pride.

They had disrespected the King Yanluo, and it was not a transgression to be taken lightly!

The only hope for them was to come together and atone for their misdeeds in earnest, and even then, whether Qin Ye decided to see them would depend on whether he was in a good mood on that day. If they had refrained from acting before the official founding of the nation, then Qin Ye would be forced to consider more cruel and forceful courses of action.

Anyone who dared to defy the administration of the new Hell would become new neighbors for the Black Yaksha.

"I have something important that needs to be taken care of, so please excuse me for a moment and oversee this meeting in my stead." After issuing that request to the Harken, he made his way out of the conference hall with Wang Chenghao and arrived at the office next door.

The office in question was another smaller conference hall with an elegant embroidered screen in the back, and over 20 taishi chairs in the style of the Ming Dynasty spread around the room. An ornate palace lantern hung down from the ceiling, and beautiful golden vases carrying crimson azaleas were situated in the corners of the room. There was also another screen embroidered with peonies at the entrance, presenting a lavish and refined atmosphere.

As soon as Qin Ye made his way around the screen and strode into the room, all of the envoys were completely dumbstruck.

Ma Fubo unconsciously tightened his grip, causing the wooden armrests to creak and groan. The netherflames in Zhou Yu's eyes flickered wildly while Ban Chao's mouth gaped open slightly as he shook his head in disbelief, and Guo Ziyi's lips were tightly pursed as his mouth suddenly became as parched as a desert.

All of a sudden, deathly silence had descended upon the conference hall.

He's become an Abyssal Prefect!! How has he reached this level in such a short time?! 

It wasn't that they hadn't sensed the aura of an Abyssal Prefect in the city, but never did they think that the aura would belong to Qin Ye. With the likes of the Harken and Zhao Yun present in the city, no one dared to recklessly examine exactly whom this Abyssal Prefect level aura belonged to, and now that they were seeing this Abyssal Prefect in person, they were all completely rooted to their seats.

"To think that he's become an Abyssal Prefect in such a short time..." Han Qinhu was vigorously stroking his own beard as he murmured to himself in a trembling voice, "How is this even possible?! He was only an Anitya Hellguard a few years ago!"

Qin Ye paid no heed to the astonished envoys as he strode over to the taishi chair at the very center before taking a seat. Only after taking a sip of tea did he finally smile and acknowledge everyone in the room. "Apologies for delaying this meeting for so long, I was very busy with the matters concerning the founding of a new nation."

As soon as his voice trailed off, Zhou Yu rose to his feet and fell to his knees in an extremely decisive manner.

He hadn't just knelt down on one knee, he was kneeling on both knees as he kowtowed with the utmost respect and reverence. "Zhou Gongjin pays his respect to His Majesty!"

All of the other envoys immediately returned to their senses upon hearing this, and they immediately followed suit. All of a sudden, a whole collection of vastly renowned historical figures had knelt down in a row before Qin Ye, and their voices rang out in unison. "We pay our respects to His Majesty!!"

Qin Ye didn't seem to have witnessed their gesture at all, and he merely took another sip of tea before casually remarking, "The tea is not bad."

Despite his casual display, he swept a piercing gaze across the envoys gathered before him as he spoke and none of them displayed any abnormal reactions.

This was undeniably an insult to all of them. Every single one of these envoys were vastly renowned figures in the history books of Cathay, and even when meeting the emperors of their respective eras, they would be treated with a great deal of respect. There was no way that anyone would leave them hanging like this.

However, on this day, thousands of years after their passing from the mortal realm, they were once again feeling the weight of an emperor's might.

None of them dared to make a false move.

Qin Ye casually set down his teacup as he appraised the envoys with a smile and said, "What a surprise it is to be seeing all of you again. Did you bring your respective armies this time?"

On their last meeting, the envoys had been accompanied by their armies.

"We wouldn't dare to bring our armies, Your Majesty." Han Qinhu felt as if his heart had been plunged into a glacial pit. Qin Ye's aura was completely dominating his, and it was clear that Qin Ye's confidence stemmed from power. Predicting what Qin Ye was about to ask next, he hurriedly added, "We only brought our armies last time for... for protection..."

"Protection?" Qin Ye rested his chin on his hand as he appraised Han Qinhu with an amused expression. "For whose protection? For mine or... for yours?"

Qin Ye's voice took a cold and menacing turn as he enunciated those last two words.

Han Qinhu felt as if his heart had frozen solid, and his entire body was already drenched in cold sweat.

He gulped nervously as he replied in the most respectful voice he could muster up, "Of course it's for your protection, Your Majesty. Everything I have was granted by your kindness. There's no way I would dare to consider betraying you even for a split second!"

"You say you wouldn't dare to betray me?!" Qin Ye suddenly snapped in a thunderous voice as his Abyssal Prefect level Yin energy swept through the entire rooms, and all of the envoys immediately pressed themselves even more tightly against the ground.

"Back when Hell was first founded, I was in desperate need of support. Initially, I was unaware of your existence, but when I learned about all of you, I was ecstatic. After that, I learned about the imperial court meeting, and all of you sure put me in my place there!"

A cold smile appeared on his face as he appraised the envoys, none of whom dared to utter even a single word. "Yu Qian and Yang Jiye remained loyal to me despite my situation at the time, but what about all of you? You tried to stage a coup!!"

"We wouldn't dare!!" 10 voices instantly rang out in unison, and even Zhou Yu's forehead had almost come into contact with the ground.

It didn't matter that he was a vastly renowned figure in history, there were countless figures of immense historical renown serving under Hell's administration.

"After the founding of the nation, I was planning to take care of disloyal subordinates like you, but you've made my job much easier and come to see me." Qin Ye smiled as he continued, "I don't want to waste any more time here, so I'll make things clear for you. Currently, you have two options, the first of which is to leave the Cathayan Underworld. The Qin Dynasty doesn't need disloyal emissaries, and if you think you have what it takes to fend for yourselves, then you're free to leave, but you'll be forbidden to remain in Hell's territory. Your second option is to relinquish your military power and send all of your troops to Everburn City within three months. After that, you can choose which department you would like to serve at, and you can atone for your crimes through your service. Rest assured, I'm not a petty ruler. History has already proven your capabilities, and as long as you wholeheartedly submit to me, you'll be entrusted with many important duties in the future."

After that, Qin Ye sat back down and picked up his teacup again, awaiting the response of the envoys in silence.

All of the envoys were in complete despair.

Who didn't lust for power and status?

They had been given an option to leave the Cathayan Underworld, but all of them knew that there was no way they would actually be allowed to leave alive. Essentially, their options were to either oppose the Qin Dynasty or to serve under Hell's administration; there was no middle ground.

Several seconds later, Han Qinhu was the first one to raise his head as he declared in a decisive voice, "Your Majesty, I was disrespectful to you during the imperial court meeting, but never have I considered betraying the Cathayan Underworld. I'm willing to lay down my military power with immediate effect and work toward establishing a trade route between Sanfotsi and Cathay!"

With him setting the example, everyone else naturally quickly followed suit.

"Lord Tangming, Zhou Gongjin, is willing to disband all of Tangming's armed forces and establish a trade route."

"Lord of the Khmer Empire, Guo Zi Yi, is willing to disband all of Khmer's armed forces and establish a trade route."

"Lord of Bagan, Ma Fubo, is willing to disband all of Bagan's armed forces and establish a trade route."

"Lord of Malaya, Ban Chao, is willing to serve as your loyal subordinate!"

"As the Lord of Singapura, I, Wang Meng, hereby declare that from this day forth, Singapura will be the Qin Dynasty's back garden!"

The envoys had all pledged their subordination!

Qin Ye was momentarily overcome by a myriad of emotions. Sure enough, power was the foundation for speaking rights. During the imperial court meeting, he had been far more amicable toward the envoys, but did it win him any favors?

What he wanted was not just to take the envoys' military power; he was even more interested in the local products that the 10 nations had to offer. Currently, the Cathayan Underworld was suffering from a desperate shortage of resources, and progress would be significantly accelerated once all of the trade routes were established!

He didn't benefit at all from killing these envoys. They were all extremely capable individuals, and it would be far better to make use of them than to take their lives.

"I'm glad to see that all of you are intelligent individuals." He smiled as he rose to his feet, then promptly departed, leaving behind one final piece of parting dialog. "Tomorrow, each of you can choose a department to join, and Assistant Wang will inform you of your specific positions and duties. I hope you can all create glorious legacies for yourselves here in the Qin Dynasty."

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