No one said anything.
Everyone could feel the weight of this mission, and it was no wonder that no information had been leaked in advance. This was a major task concerning population control across the entire nation. It was going to take several years of observation and planning to decide on who was going to be put into the cycle of reincarnation. The ideological and clean-up work required was going to be monumental, and it was the first major hurdle that the new administration had to face, so it was no surprise that no one had heard anything in advance about this.
"Lord Qin." A governor finally broke the silence. "Do we have any leads on the whereabouts of the Judgment Pen? It's the final prerequisite required to complete the cycle of reincarnation, after all."
"I'm afraid not." The one to reply on this occasion was Zhao Yun, and his brows were slightly furrowed as he said, "It's quite strange. King Yanluo's Seal has already recovered, and theoretically speaking, now that we have two of the three divine artifacts, they should automatically reveal the location of the final divine artifact. However, that has not been the case. There are two possible reasons for this, the first of which is that the Judgment Pen is broken, and the second of which is that it's currently situated somewhere hidden from the Heavenly Dao."
All of the officials quickly took notes, latching onto Zhao Yun's every word. Right at this moment, the Harken's voice rang out again. "Following this meeting, Hell is going to found the department of reincarnation, and all provinces, cities, counties, and villages must do everything in their power to carry out work related to the reincarnation initiative, actively communicating with the netherworldly citizens under their jurisdiction to work out practicable plans of action. I hope to see these plans of actions submitted by all provinces by the Qingming Festival of this year at the latest."
The Harken's announcement was greeted by the sound of rustling pen on paper. After about two minutes, the Harken continued, "That was the first order of business. The second point of discussion is still related to the six paths of reincarnation and King Yanluo's Seal, and that is the core construction of Hell. Perhaps everyone is very confused about what we're supposed to be constructing, and the answer to that is infrastructure, which will form the foundation of Hell. Examples of infrastructure that we can take from other underworlds include the Argosian Underworld's Gates of the Underworld, Lake Acheron, the Elysian Fields, etc. Once completed, these construction projects will form the true core of Hell! In the old Fengdu, there was the Infernal Judge Manor, the 10 Yama-King Palaces, the Yellow Springs, the Yin Yang Path, etc. All of these landmarks have been destroyed over time, and even after our new Hell rebuilds the six paths of reincarnation, it still won't be complete. In order to complete the construction of Hell..."
The Harken's voice trailed off here as it turned to Qin Ye, who pressed a finger gently against his own glabella, and the map of Hell that Granny Meng had instilled into his mind immediately appeared in the hall like a 3D hologram.
Li Lanzhi set down her pen as she stared at the 3D with a dumbstruck expression. The more she looked at it, the more surprised she became as there were many places on the map that she had never even heard of!
At the mention of Hell, what would immediately spring into one's mind?
There was the Naraka Bridge, Granny Meng's soup, the Yama-King Palaces, and those who were particularly knowledgeable may bring up the Yellow Springs. However, what else was there?
That question was answered by the map in superb detail. Qin Ye reached out with a hand, and the entire image, which was several dozen meters in size and constructed from golden lines, quickly began to expand or shrink according to the gestures he made using his fingers.
"Firstly, everyone has to understand the entire process that Yin spirits go through upon arriving in Hell. The first stop for the deceased is the City God Temple. Their information will be confirmed there, including whether they're a local resident, whether they died of natural causes, whether their souls were wrongly seized, and various other things. Once all of that has been verified, they'll be sent to the Book of Life and Death. Only when a full hundred Yin spirits are gathered will they move onto the second stop en masse."
He gently tapped the table in front of him before continuing, "Netherworld Operatives are required to carry out the duty of soul seizing, and we have nowhere near enough public servants to fill these roles. At the very least, a county should have five Netherworld Operatives, and a city should have over 20 Netherworld Operatives in addition to a Soul Hunter. At the same time, the City God Temple also needs a complete verification team. These two parties should belong to different organizations to prevent collusion. As for the exact details, Warden Arakshasa is already coming up with a plan. The second stop will be the Yellow Springs Path, also known as the Yin Yang Path. Once one steps onto the Yellow Springs Path, they'll be in a world of nothingness. There will be no light up ahead, no friends or loved ones behind them, no celestial bodies in the sky, and no earth beneath their feet. The only thing they'll be able to see will be the red spider lilies growing on either side of them. When the flowers are in full bloom, there will be no leaves, and when the leaves are growing, there will be no flowers. This will symbolize the divide between life and death."
More rustling rang out as all of the officials furiously took notes. The qualities of the leader decided the qualities of their subordinates. Qin Ye wasn't fond of wasting time, and he had never been involved in politics in the mortal realm, so he was always striving to do things quickly and efficiently, unlike what one would expect from the leader of a bureaucracy. As a result, all of the governors, magistrates, and procurators of the provinces were also capable and efficient individuals with no tolerance for time-wasting.
Everyone was listening extremely attentively to his explanation. No one had ever dissected the sections of Hell and introduced them to all of the officials present in such detail before, so even without a reminder from Qin Ye, they were well aware that this was information that they had to commit to memory.
"The Yellow Springs Path is a very special space. According to the Old Hell's Legacy, The Yellow Springs Path is a manifestation of the Book of Life and Death, and its purpose is to make those who set foot upon it undergo another round of verification, assessing whether they are indeed Yin spirits of Cathay and whether there are some... dirty things among them."
"Dirty things?" a procurator murmured to himself with a puzzled expression.
Despite how quiet his voice had been, it didn't manage to escape Qin Ye's ears, and he explained, "Currently, our nation still hasn't opened up to the rest of the world, and the international state of affairs of all of the underworlds is quite tense overall. Under this environment, some nations will stoop to extremely unscrupulous methods to target other nations. You'll learn about all of this in the future. Moving on, the stop after the Yellow Springs Path is the Home-Viewing Pavilion. This is where Yin spirits can settle their final wish and take one last look at their loved ones. It's important to keep in mind here that it's virtually impossible to return to the mortal realm once one reaches this point. If you read through the records of the past, you'll see that most people who return mortal realm instead of going through the full cycle of reincarnation do so at the Yellow Springs Path, whereas it's extremely rare for successful resuscitation once one's soul has reached the Home-Viewing Pavilion."
He swiped a finger through the air, and the 3D map rotated at his behest. "Does everyone still remember the concept of burial rites? These traditions will change from region to region, but one common rite that is shared among all regions is the burning of paper money, and placing grains into the deceased individual's coffin. This is because these things are going to be necessary at the next places they move onto, which are the Feral Dog Ridges, the Mount of the Golden Rooster, and the Wild Ghost Village. The Feral Dog Ridges and the Mount of the Golden Rooster are actually the same place. The feral dogs and golden roosters there will devour the limbs of the deceased souls passing by, but only 'evil' limbs will be devoured. This is essentially the first trial for deceased souls before they arrive at the Infernal Judge Manor, and those who are extremely sinful will be taken by the feral dogs and golden roosters straight to the Infernal Judge Manor. Even those who haven't committed any heinous crimes during their lifetimes will still have to endure the pain of being ravaged by these feral dogs and golden roosters in order to atone for the various minor sins they've committed in their living days. This is where the various grains are needed, and it's actually quite a craft measure devised by those in the mortal realm. This is a place where the boundary between the underworld and the mortal realm is significantly weaker than everywhere else, so if a deceased soul is unable to endure the torment, they can contact their children through dreams, asking them to burn paper money and send various grains to them. Next comes the Wild Ghost Village, which is very close to the actual Hell. It's a prosperous and thriving paradise, yet all of this is just an illusion. Everyone who travels through the Wild Ghost Village must pay a toll, and generally speaking, this toll comes from the paper money burned by the deceased souls' loved ones. This money can be directly converted into HLs that go straight into the treasury at a conversion rate of roughly 10,000:1."
He paused momentarily before continuing, "After passing through those three hurdles, the Infernal Judge Manor is up next. Contrary to what everyone thinks, the Yama-Kings do not have the spare time to judge the virtuosity of Yin spirits in person. Instead, this work is carried out by the panel of Infernal Judges. Once someone is deemed to be guilty, they'll directly enter the abyss that corresponds with their crimes. In contrast, those who have committed no sins or only minor sins will enter the underworld to officially begin their lives as netherworldly citizens to await their deathday. A so-called deathday is recorded by the Old Hell's Legacy, and each cycle lasts a century. On the exact day 100 years after they've entered the underworld, a Yin spirit will arrive at their deathday, on which they'll be able to enter the six paths of reincarnation. Netherworldly citizens of Hell who are eligible for deathday cycles will have to follow relevant regulations regarding when they can return to the mortal realm, when they can reveal themselves, and even under what circumstances can they possess others. All of these regulations are currently listed in the department of labor, and you can enquire Director Shang Yang about the specific laws."
Having delivered so much information at once, Qin Ye was finally able to take a rest, and the Harken immediately took over where he left off. "There are a total of four major areas. The construction of these special areas requires not just work from the construction team, but also Yama-King level beings to inscribe Yin runes. At the same time, the energy supplied to these places will be derived from the kinetic energy of the Yellow Springs. Once the Yellow Springs flows into the waterway system, General Zhao and I will become directly involved in the construction of these four special areas, and the projected time frame required for their completion will be somewhere within 20 years."
Gu Chang faltered slightly upon hearing this, and he couldn't help but ask, "Pardon my interruption, but in that case, what if Yanluo Qin were required to leave for some reason? Who would be responsible for overseeing the daily operation of Hell?"
Qin Ye shook his head and replied in a calm voice, "Judging from that question, it's clear that you haven't died for long enough and haven't grown accustomed to life in the underworld yet. The Yellow Springs is the foundational source of energy, and the energy that it provides is Yin energy. Once this system is up and running, it can easily be overseen by several Abyssal Prefects, so even when all of the Yama-Kings and I are absent, there won't be any issues. In the mortal realm, everything has to be operated by manpower, but that's not the case in the underworld. Many buildings will be able to operate on their own given sufficient Yin energy. Perhaps the number of grassroots public servants in the underworld, such as Soul Hunters and Netherworld Operatives, will far exceed that of the mortal realm, but the number of high-ranking Emissaries of Hell will only continue to dwindle over time. In addition to that, there's no way I can be permanently based in Everburn, and when it comes time for me to leave, I'll promote several Abyssal Prefects to run the city in my stead."
Qin Ye was far from the perfect ruler, and what he needed the most right now was more experience. He had to completely absorb the inheritance that the second King Yanluo had left to him, and he would only be able to do that through accumulating more experience. Zhao Yun and the others were right, he had essentially fallen into the role of King Yanluo out of nowhere, and he was far too inexperienced compared with a local King Yanluo.
Once the whole system was up and running and he didn't need to sign so many documents every day, he would be able to promote a new batch of Abyssal Prefects and Infernal Judges, and these were going to be the people to truly run the show.
"Perhaps you're still currently unable to fully comprehend what I'm saying, but I'm sure you'll come to understand very soon. Do you still recall that in every province, there are large numbers of buildings that are currently unable to be activated?"
All of the officials present nodded in response. There were indeed quite a large number of these buildings. They hadn't been built by Yin Construction, and no one knew what purpose they served.
"You'll know the reason for their existence tomorrow." Qin Ye rose to his feet and said, "Come to Hell's Gate at 10 AM tomorrow to attend the unveiling of King Yanluo's Seal. That's it, meeting over.
On the main stage, Qin Ye and the others silently vanished, while the officials gathered in the hall were still furiously scribbling down notes. A long while later, someone finally raised their head.
"As expected, this was an extremely important meeting," a procurator said with a wry smile. "Lord Qin really is keeping us on our toes. I can't even begin to imagine what the underworld is going to transform into once the Yellow Springs is released into the waterways..."
Li Lanzhi also set down her pen before looking up at the ceiling with a dazed expression.
All of this had come far too abruptly. The utmost diligence was needed to work in Hell. Otherwise, one could easily find themselves falling behind and unable to catch up...
At the same time, she was quite perplexed. Where was the Yellow Springs coming from? As far as she knew, there wasn't any major body of water in the entire nation. Also, could a single body of water really transform the current underworld into something completely different?
Furthermore, each city had many majestic buildings that were completely inaccessible, and all of the officials knew that these were like cultural relics left behind by the last Hell. Would all of those buildings spring to life with the arrival of the Yellow Springs?
After a long while, she finally heaved a faint sigh. "I still don't know anywhere near enough about the underworld..."Previous Chapter Next Chapter