A wry smile appeared on Qin Ye's face. "Remember the new energy resource I told you about?"
The second King Yanluo nodded in response.
Thus, Qin Ye gave him a recount of what he had seen in Xu Fu's memories.
The second King Yanluo slammed the table and rose to his feet.
"You can do that?" Even the second King Yanluo was stunned by what he had heard. "So what Xu Fu was saying was that he fed Richardman some Taisui fungus? I wouldn't doubt the validity of this claim, he's definitely far more well versed with the Taisui fungus than a noob like you. So that's why he was able to live to 100... Wait, no, it was close to 200. Don't forget that according to what you just said, Richardman was already 67 years old when he met Nikola Tesla."
The fact that he had stood up meant that even he had realized just how important this was. It was no exaggeration to say that whether the Cathayan Underworld would be able to quickly make it back to the pinnacle of the world hinged virtually, solely on whether it could obtain this new energy resource.
However, Xu Fu had sealed away all of his important memories in order to give himself a chance at survival. Perhaps he was of the opinion that Hell wanted him dead due to his acts of indirect provocation against the Cathayan Underworld, but he most likely wouldn't have anticipated that what Qin Ye wanted the most was his memories.
Unfortunately, Richardman had also passed away, and Mictlantecutli and Mictetikasiwa just so happened to be in a deranged state, meaning that Richardman's soul had almost certainly been devoured. As a result of this set of circumstances, this had become an unsolvable mystery.
No one could've imagined that a small box stored in the First Usonian Bank would contain the blueprint to changing the entire world.
A grim look appeared in the second King Yanluo as he slowly paced back and forth in the room, and only after a long while did he continue, "I agree with your stance on this matter. There's a very good chance that this scroll has something to do with the new energy resource. Xu Fu knew just how important this new energy resource is, so it's extremely likely that he would find a place to store it for safekeeping. Unfortunately for us, he was a living human, so most of his belongings are stored in the mortal realm. I'll carefully search through his memories to see if I can find any instances of him hiding certain things. If I do find such instances and those events took place during that sensitive period shortly after Nikola Tesla's death, then there's a very good chance that what he was hiding at the time would be the handwritten notes pertaining to the new energy resource!"
Qin Ye cast a bitter gaze toward the second King Yanluo. "Why couldn't you have invented electricity or magnetic energy or something like that in the underworld? If you had done that, we wouldn't have to go through so much trouble..."
A cold smile appeared on the second King Yanluo's face. "Do I look like I'm capable of inventing something like that?"
... I have no response to that.
Immediately thereafter, Qin Ye put on a fawning smile again and asked, "So, hypothetically speaking, if I can find out who Richardman's successor is during this conference, will you be able to..."
"No," the second King Yanluo cut him off in a cold voice, but he then couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of Qin Ye's dismayed expression upon hearing this response. "I'm very impressed by your ability to change expressions at will, but do you think it was simple for me to come back this time? In order to cross through a realm, I have to endure the laws of a world."
He slowly rolled up his sleeve as he spoke, revealing countless golden runes on his tanned arm. These runes were far more complex than any Yin runes that Qin Ye had ever seen before, and looking at them made him feel as if he were plunging into a vast and complex galaxy.
"What are those?"
"You can interpret this as the rejection of this world. In other words, it's a power seal," the second King Yanluo explained as he rolled his sleeve back down. "Even though I was able to enter this world, the essence of this world is rejecting me, so at the very most, I can only use my power on myself. If I try to use it on others or use it outside of the territory of the Cathayan Underworld... Do you want to witness the end of the world?"
Qin Ye repressed the urge to say that he did. He had a feeling that such a response would lead to a lot of suffering for him...
"Also, I'm surprised you have the heart to be thinking about something like this," the second King Yanluo said with an amused smile. "Most of the world's death gods will be attending the conference next month; have you thought about how many underworlds would've defected to the other three pillars during the Cathayan Underworld's century-long absence? Have you thought about how many underworlds would attack the Cathayan Underworld for being silent for over 100 years? Have you considered how many death gods are looking forward to seeing the Cathayan Underworld being removed from the four pillars? On top of that, once the Cathayan Underworld reappears in the public eye, your hands will essentially be tied, and you'll have to attend all of the subsequent international conferences as well. Have you thought about how much pressure you'll be under during those conferences? The fact of the matter is that the Cathayan Underworld hasn't fulfilled its duty as one of the four pillars during the past century. This is undeniable, and it's a permanent blotch on our resume."
The second King Yanluo continued in a grim voice, "A century ago, we funded other underworlds and we set up all types of research and development projects. How many of those projects have been forced to shut down due to our sudden withdrawal and the resulting lack of funds? How many underworlds will harbor resentment toward us as a result? Your top priority is to clean up the mess left behind by the first King Yanluo, and only after that will you have a chance to come into contact with the Usonian Underworld, understood?"
Qin Ye nodded in response, but there was a skeptical look in his eyes.
What do you mean by "the mess left behind by the first King Yanluo"? Aren't you forgetting something?!
However, this wasn't the time to be bickering about such trivial details. Qin Ye cleared his throat before putting on the most sycophantic smile that he could muster up. "Then... would you like to attend the conference with me?"
The second King Yanluo aimed a derisive glare at him before sipping his tea without a response. However, through the look in his eyes, Qin Ye could see the words "piss off"!
... This is so typical of the way that the second King Yanluo does things that I can't even find anything to complain about...
There were simply too many things to complain about that he couldn't settle on a single piece of criticism, and on top of that, he didn't dare to complain anyway. Thus, he took a deep breath and said, "Then I'll be entrusting the duty of searching through Xu Fu's memories to you."
The second King Yanluo merely nodded impatiently in response.
"Also, the Cathayan Underworld is returning from a century-long absence, shouldn't you be training your subordinates in preparation for such an important conference?"
The second King Yanluo set down his teacup, and a half-smile appeared on his face as he continued, "For a conference like this, there's one thing that you must do."
"What is it?"
"You have to arrive three to five days early."
Qin Ye: !?
What kind of advice is this?! Get there early? Then do what? Shoot myself in the foot?!
"Why?" Qin Ye was completely perplexed. There was only a month left to begin with, and that was being further whittled down to only 25 days, there wasn't enough time to even complete basic etiquette training!
The second King Yanluo gently stroked his teacup as he explained, "You must remember at all times that you're representing one of the four pillars. It's an unspoken rule that the representatives of the four pillars must arrive at all conferences several days early. You are in a paramount position and all of the underworlds fear and respect you. If all of the underworlds that wanted to see you were to line up, the line would stretch all the way from the Eastmount Province to the Cloudriver Province! You're not the representative of an insignificant underworld who only turns up to these conferences to sign the treaty and give their vote. If you want to settle into this position, then you have to embrace the pressure that comes with it. There are far too many people who want to see you. The return of the Cathayan Underworld entails the establishment of new alliances and international relations. You have to know which underworlds have remained old friends of the Cathayan Underworld during this past century, which ones are new friends, which ones have switched from friends to enemies, which ones have switched from enemies to allies, and everything else in between. If you arrive right on time, you're essentially telling everyone that you intend to play no further role in this conference other than to sign the treaty. Like I said, all of those small and insignificant underworlds can do that, but you can't! Even if you really intend to do nothing other than signing the treaty, you have to take on your duty as one of the four pillars again and allow others time to approach you."
The second King Yanluo gradually began to fade into nothingness as he spoke, and just before he completely disappeared, he left one final parting message. "You have to make sense of all of this first before you find the time to meet with the representatives of the Usonian Underworld. Make sure to get your priorities straight, kid."
Time flew by very quickly.
That same day, Qin Ye returned to Ashmound to visit Zhao Yun. Thankfully, his injuries weren't very severe. This was the difference between a Yama-King and someone above the Yama-King level. Withstanding a forbidden art was almost enough to kill the Plumed Serpent God, yet it was no big deal for Zhao Yun.
After that, Qin Ye pored himself over his duties.
At this point, he had already grown accustomed to his duties as King Yanluo. In contrast with the mortal realm, the leaders of the underworld didn't have to do as much, and most of the work was left to the suitable Emissaries of Hell to complete.
The first reason for this was that the Cathayan Underworld was a fair feudal society, and it wasn't the only one, all of the underworlds were also like this.
There would always automatically be a higher degree of fairness in a society with a system of power.
Essentially, King Yanluo was responsible for earning money and looking after the administration, while the Emissaries of Hell were responsible for everything else. The only prerequisite that King Yanluo had to fulfill was that they had to be powerful. In an era without firearms, individual power reigned supreme. Rulers of the underworlds were responsible for deciding on the main direction for their respective underworlds' development, and they didn't need to complete all of the menial tasks involved, but virtually every single underworld ruler had progressed up the ranks from the very bottom, so they weren't completely clueless when it came to the finer details.
The second reason for this was that there wasn't actually much work that had to be done in the underworld. The top priority wasn't development; instead, it was to maintain the balance between the nation's Yin and Yang.
"Brother Qin, everything is ready." The following night, Wang Chenghao approached Qin Ye with a respectful expression as he informed, "All of the officials are waiting at the North Yin Pavilion, and notification has been sent out."
Qin Ye nodded in response before rising to his feet, then carefully pulled out a box and gently opened it.
This was a wooden box with intricate flowers engraved upon its surface. Every single flower petal was painted with bronze lacquer, and the stamens were small pearls embedded into the surface of the box. Inside the box was a complete piece of rouge blood jade that was of the highest standard of quality. However, a rivet had been carved straight down the center of this exceptional piece of jade, and within the rivet sat a completely unremarkable-looking pen.
The pen was very ordinary.
It had a white shaft with faint scenic designs on its surface, and a black tip. The only thing special about it was that wisps of black and white energy were constantly permeating out of the tip of the pen.
It was the Judgment Pen!
Even Qin Ye couldn't help but be overcome by a myriad of emotions as he stroked the pen.
It had been six and a half years since he had caught Granny Meng's eye in Clear Creek County...
On this day, he was able to assemble all three of Hell's divine artifacts. Back then, he had fled Clear Creek County for just a fragment of one of these divine artifacts, and never did he think that he would reach this step someday.
As he climbed further and further up the ranks, his past self seemed to have become more and more distant. He arrived on the top floor with Wang Chenghao, and as he looked up at the dark night sky, a smile suddenly appeared on his face.
No one could be exempt from paying the price of growth.
No one could live a carefree life forever.
With the recovery of the Judgment Pen, it was time for him to bid farewell to his past self. He joined his palms together and chanted something, then opened the box and injected his Yin energy into the Judgment Pen with all his might. In the next instant, dazzling golden light erupted from the ordinary-looking Judgment Pen, and immediately thereafter, it flew up into the heavens.
Everyone could see a streak of light rising up into the sky from the North Yin Pavilion, and all of the netherworldly citizens who had already received word of this were looking from all parts of the city with expectant expressions.
The entirety of Everburn was completely silent.
One minute passed, then two, and three minutes later, a series of stars suddenly lit up silently in the dark night sky.
Prior to this, the night sky of the Cathayan Underworld had only held the moon. During the day, there were no clouds, and only the sun hung in the sky, but in this instant, the sky was finally complete.
The stars had been reunited with the moon.
After a few minutes of silence, the entirety of Everburn erupted into thunderous cheers, as everyone celebrated the resplendent galaxy of stars that had appeared overhead.Previous Chapter Next Chapter