Chapter 868: Century-long Unsolvable Mystery (1)

Xu Fu was like a lever that had stirred up the state of the world.

This was very normal. After all, fugitives from all over the world were gathered in Mirage City, and in order to earn themselves amnesty, they had been doing everything in their power to try and secure intelligence from the Cathayan Underworld. Xu Fu had always had ties and dealings with other underworlds, so all of these things were in his memories.

What Qin Ye wanted to see was exactly which underworld he had the closest ties with. Geographically speaking, it should be Izanami, and there was a very good chance that Izanami was the sender of the letter in that memory. However, Izanami herself was only a pawn, and there were even more powerful underworlds behind her using her to do their bidding.

Originally, Qin Ye wouldn't have been able to come into contact with these things. The main objective of Hell was to bring peace and prosperity to the Cathayan Underworld first, and it wasn't in contact with the rest of the world. However, through the lever that was Xu Fu, he was able to trigger the second lever that was Izanami, so perhaps he could further this chain reaction and uncover even more things!

That would be greatly beneficial to his upcoming trip to the Nipponese Underworld.

One who knew both the enemy and themselves would never lose a battle!

With that in mind, Qin Ye delved even deeper into Xu Fu's sea of consciousness. Xu Fu was a very cautious man, so he didn't have much contact with those that he was working with. Thus, the deeper Qin Ye went, the more that all types of memories became clumped together. After a long while, Qin Ye's eyes suddenly lit up as he caught sight of another memory that he wanted to see.

It was as black as ink, and Xu Fu's face would occasionally surface within it.

He immediately injected his consciousness into the memory without any hesitation.

After a brief moment of darkness and silence, a brand new memory was presented before him.

The setting was Mirage City.

Xu Fu seemed to be seated on a very tall chair, and standing beneath him was a figure dressed in black cloaks.

The figure was very tall, two and a half meters in height at a minimum, and his cloak was ragged and tattered. Furthermore, there seemed to be nothing beneath the cloak aside from a pair of hands protruding out of the sleeves.

The hands were very dry and withered, looking as if they belonged to a mummy, and just a single glance was enough to tell Qin Ye that this was an underworld emissary. There was no physical body beneath the cloak, but pure inky-black Yin energy was seeping out of it.

"Interesting." Xu Fu was the first one to speak. "Which underworld death god has dared to seek out my Peach Blossom Spring?"

Qin Ye's eyes narrowed slightly upon hearing the words "death god", yet before he had a chance to ponder this any further, the cloaked figure replied, "I didn't think that living human death gods really existed."

He was speaking in fluent Cathayan, and it was impossible to tell from his accent where he was from. Of course, the term "death god" was western terminology, but that wasn't enough to serve as evidence as the cloaked figure could be intentionally using this terminology to muddy the waters.

"Go on then," Xu Fu prompted in an indifferent voice. "What proposal does your master have for me?"

The cloaked figure hesitated momentarily before replying, "It's very simple, my master wants you to open up Mirage City and tell us where that seabed trade route that leads to the Cathayan Underworld is situated. In exchange, we can give you anything you want."

Xu Fu gently drummed his fingers against his armrest, and he suddenly smiled as he asked, "I want to find a person in the Usonian Underworld, can you do that for me?"

The cloaked figure seemed to have been rather aback by this request, and only after several seconds of silence did he reply, "As you're aware, Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa have already entered an insane state, and they view all foreign underworld emissaries as sworn enemies. Even their own subordinates and people are being slaughtered with no restraint by them, so this is a very dangerous task."

"I would also be incurring a lot of risk by accepting your proposal," Xu Fu countered in an unhurried manner, "What do you think is more dangerous, the Cathayan Underworld or the Usonian Underworld?"

The cloaked figure fell silent once again.

After close to 20 seconds had passed, the cloaked figure asked, "Who do you want to find?"

Xu Fu smiled and replied, "I'm a person who hates unnecessary hassle and doesn't want to have to deal with any more people than absolutely necessary. I once asked a Usonian to look after something for me. I didn't ask him to look after it for very long, and that thing was very important to me, so I gave him a little reward. Barring any mishaps, he will continue to live until I'm ready to reclaim that item."

A bright red eye finally lit up at the center of the cloaked figure's hood, and he hesitated momentarily before asking, "Are you referring to the legendary Cathayan elixir of immortality?"

Xu Fu smiled and replied, "I didn't give him the complete version, I only needed him to live an extra 100 years. After all, why get more people involved than necessary?"

His smile then faded as he continued, "However, much to my surprise, he died in a car crash, and he's a pureblood descendant to native Usonians!"

The cloaked figure chuckled upon hearing this. "That's quite troublesome."

Xu Fu heaved a forlorn sigh. "I don't know his whereabouts, and there are underworld emissaries planted in the mortal realm in the organization that he belongs to. Someone must've taken over his duties, and I don't know where they've stored my item. I've contacted it several times through the mark I left upon it, but it seems to have vanished into thin air."

The cloaked figure paused momentarily before asking, "What's his name?"

"Richardman," XuFu replied. "If you can track him down and open up a waterway for me to access Usonia, I'll agree to your proposal."

The cloaked figure immediately dissipated into a gust of Yin wind upon hearing this. He seemed to also be fearful of being discovered if he were to linger near the Cathayan Underworld for too long, and he left only a parting sentence. "I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

After that, the image completely disappeared.

At this point, an extremely grim look had already appeared on Qin Ye's face.

Even though Xu Fu had already been executed, the extreme caution that he exercised during his life made it extremely difficult to dig up any information from his memories.

Richardman was dead, and the item that Xu Fu had asked Richardman to store in the First Usonian Bank for him had disappeared!

When he first heard about the 100-year time limit, Qin Ye hadn't thought much of it. After all, he would just have to pay a visit to Usonia in person. However, the problem now was that he didn't even know where the damn thing was! Furthermore, after three or four more years, the item would automatically self-destruct.

There was a very good chance that it was the only set of notes pertaining to this new energy resource.

"Fuck!" Qin Ye felt as if he had found himself in a dead-end, and he quickly vanished from within Xu Fu's sea of consciousness.

The best way to track down this item was to find Richardman, and the best way to find Richardman was to ask a death god.

However, the deranged Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa had already transformed the Usonian Underworld into a cesspool of madness and suffering. Just as the cloaked figure in Xu Fu's memories had said, Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa "view all foreign underworld emissaries as sworn enemies”. This was the origin site of the three civilizations, the Aztecs, the Incans, and the Mayans, and even a Yama-King would be courting death by venturing into such a perilous land.

However, perhaps there was a place where he would be able to make contact with them, namely the re-signing conference for the treaty on the non-proliferation of forbidden arts to be held in the Nipponese Underworld in the following month!

Barring any mishaps, there should be Usonian representatives in attendance.

……………………………………………………

In the Star Plucking Pavilion.

The second King Yanluo was casually sipping on his tea when a gust of Yin wind suddenly materialized into Qin Ye in front of his table. However, instead of saying anything, Qin Ye merely cast his gaze out the window with a contemplative expression.

"Quit trying to act profound and tell me what you saw!" the second King Yanluo urged with furrowed brows as he set down his teacup.

Qin Ye's expression immediately gave way to a fawning smile, and he rubbed his hands together like a cunning servant. "I did find out some things."

For Qin Ye, there were only two types of people in his life.

The first type were the people who posed a threat to his life. Exhibit A was Arthis when they had first met, and exhibit B was the second King Yanluo.

The second type were the people who posed no threat to his life, such as Qin Xinzhong, Wang Chenghao, and the current Arthis.

"Oh? Let me hear it," the second King Yanluo prompted.

A serious look appeared on Qin Ye's face as he said, "In a month from now, the conference for the re-signing of the treaty on the non-proliferation of forbidden arts will be held. I have a few questions that I want to ask, the first of which is, is this conference important?"

"My Lord!" Right at this moment, a Yin soldier made his way up the staircase before cupping a fist in a respectful salute. "All of the spoils from the Peach Blossom Spring have been tallied, and records have been made. Would you like to..."

"It's alright, I'll leave it for now." Qin Ye waved a hand to dismiss the Yin soldier as he spoke. Back when he was an Anitya Hellguard, he would've been so ecstatic at securing all of these spoils that he wouldn't have been able to sleep at night, but now, unless those spoils included things that could change an entire era like the new energy resource, he simply wasn't interested.

As King Yanluo, that wasn't what he was supposed to be pursuing. He was the ruler of the Cathayan Underworld, what materialistic things couldn't he have if he wanted them?

Thus, the room fell silent again, and the second King Yanluo flicked a finger through the air, upon which the surrounding space trembled slightly, and the entire top floor was completely cut off. Only then did he reply with a serious expression, "It's extremely important, particularly in the past two centuries."

Before Qin Ye had a chance to say anything, he swept a hand through the air again, and a world map formed by golden light appeared before them. He gently pinched his fingers together, and he was able to zoom in and out of the map at will. "Come to think of it, I've never told you about the state of the world. I suppose it's fine, this lesson wouldn't have been of much use to you in the past anyway."

... Are you sure you didn't just forget?! 

Qin Ye repressed the urge to raise an objection as he continued listening. He was asking for guidance from the second King Yanluo, so he had to put on a good attitude.

"Let's get back to the main subject. The treaty on the non-proliferation of forbidden arts was submitted to the union of underworlds by all of the Alkebulan Underworlds, and it was signed by over 30 death gods. It's no exaggeration to say that it's currently the most important treaty in all of the underworlds, and I said that it's been particularly important during the past 200 years because of the state of the new continent."

He pointed at the continent of Usonia on the map as he spoke.

"As you're aware, Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa are on the verge of death, and they've already gone completely insane. However, you most likely don't know the exact circumstances involved. I can tell you that currently, the new continent has the least supernatural activity out of any place in the world. This is because Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa have been devouring their netherworldly citizens in a frenzy, and they've already sealed off the underworld so no Yin spirits can return to the mortal realm."

"Why?" As soon as the question slipped out of Qin Ye's mouth, he realized how stupid it was.

The answer was very clear: the fastest way for Yin spirits to rapidly progress would be to devour other Yin spirits. Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa were desperately trying to extend their lifespans by attempting to break through to the cultivation rank above the Yama-King level, and they had no choice but to devour their own followers.

"What did you just say?" the Second King Yanluo asked with furrowed brows.

"Ah, nothing! I was asking... why... are you so... knowledgeable in world affairs? I wish I was half as knowledgeable as you are!"

The second King Yanluo made no comment on Qin Ye's terrible attempt to cover up his own idiotic question, and he continued, "Unfortunately for them, there aren't enough Yin spirits for them to devour on the new continent."

On this occasion, before Qin Ye had a chance to ask any questions, he continued, "That's because during the war of colonization, almost all of the indigenous Usonians were wiped out. Usonia was already a sparsely populated continent, and with the drastic reduction in the indigenous Usonian population, fewer offspring are also being produced. Even if the two death gods devour the entire underworld, it won't be enough for them to make breakthroughs."

A strained look appeared on Qin Ye's face upon hearing this.

This meant that there was no way Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa would pass up the souls of any pureblood indigenous Usonians, and that meant that Richardman had most definitely already been devoured.

He finally understood why that cloaked figure in Xu Fu's memories had referred to this as a troublesome task.

The second King Yanluo continued, "Hence, everyone is in fear of the Usonian Underworld. Everyone is scared that these two deranged death gods will get their hands on forbidden arts somehow. Their lives will be coming to an end in the next 200 years, but that's already enough time to develop a forbidden art. If they manage to succeed in that endeavor, the first thing that they'll do with their newly developed forbidden art would be to threaten the entire world, using it as leverage to force all of the nations to offer up their netherworldly citizens to become followers of their religion. They would even go as far as to set mass migration of their underworld into motion. They already have nothing to lose. In contrast with their lives, the rules of the world are completely insignificant. Hence, the importance of this conference is definitely beyond what you've anticipated."

Qin Ye massaged his own glabella as he heaved a faint sigh. "Will there be Usonian representatives in attendance?"

"Yes," the second King Yanluo replied with a smile. "Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa are the only ones who've gone insane, the other death gods are still very much sane, and they know that they have to remain on relatively good terms with the rest of the world. Perhaps it'll be Xolotl, perhaps it'll be Supay, perhaps it'll be some other death god. In any case, there will definitely be representatives from Usonia attending the conference. Why do you ask?"

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