All of the departments handling government affairs of the Capital were mostly situated at the district east of the Tian He (Or Heavenly river ~MCM) road. There were not many residents here and the streets were wider than usual, with a great variety of beautiful and grand wooden buildings on both sides of the road. These buildings housed the various groups of power in the country. For example, the Old Military department was situated near the road; a gigantic stone lion was erected at the door. Every morning, it would welcome the rising sun with a display of its claws and teeth. The contrast of shadows and light was magical yet surreal, making it resemble an ancient great beast and was not a good representative of the Qin nation’s military might.
But the true might of the Qin nation lies in depths of the palace in the northern city. With the exception of having a towering watchtower, the size of this palace was not bigger than the other departments. However, the combination of the thick walls of the palace with its significantly wide area creates an effect of sanctity unlike any other.
It was already clear to the officials of the Qin nation that the fierce and talented (Not so sure about this one ~MCM) Emperor from the palace would scarcely meddle in the affairs of the departments. Which is why for them, in the entire bureaucracy of the Qin nation, the most terrifying and powerful place was neither the departments nor the palace – it was the eerie building with oblong, ash-black walls to the west of the city.
The Empire’s Bureau of Investigation was situated here. Qin nation had three major departments, which include the Bureau of Investigation, the Education Ministry and the department a rank above the Old Military department, the Agency for Military Affairs. Within these three departments, the one with the most power was the Empire’s Bureau of Investigation. The Empire’s Bureau of Investigation had the ** (Two hanzi censored here, which could mean “unrestricted” ~MCM) authority to interrogate, capture and, in certain cases, the power to put someone on trial. Incidentally, no other organization had the power to oversee its actions. (Shiiiiit, I think I should start abbreviating the Empire’s Bureau of Investigation to EBI ~MCM)
From a certain perspective, it was an unleashed beast that worked directly for the Emperor on secret missions. No, to put it more accurately, the EBI was originally created as a Secret Service dedicated to special missions for the Emperor.
The only problem was that the officials of the Qin nation were always very worried. Although the Emperor was a genius that was descended from the heavens and could even control the shady and dangerous Director Chen, his countless secret operatives and their terrifying hidden power, if something happened however…… when it happens, who would be the one to rein this fearsome beast? Moreover, the officials who have suffered greatly from the EBI were always gossiping behind their backs that the EMI was not a beast; rather, it was just a very vicious and contemptible stray dog.
Right now, in the room without a trace of light in the EBI, a very secretive conversation was going on.
“The assassin from the fire in Danzhou port was confirmed to be sent from the Bureau. He belonged to the jurisdiction of the Eastern Mountain Road (not too sure about this either ~MCM). Incidentally, the Fourth Division has always been in charge of foreign operations. The Internal Affairs Department managed to find out that one of the officials of the Fourth division was distantly related to the Second Mistress of the Master’s house. That must be how this mission was arranged,” Fei Jie glanced at the Director and said hoarsely.
“The identity?” This was the Old man’s greatest concern.
Fei Jie’s eyes narrowed; the faint brown eyes were full of uncertainty. “I believe that amongst the eight men who knew about this matter, none of them would ever leak it. And though Master Five was the personal attendant of the Mistress, he rarely appeared back then. As of now, no one in the world has ever seen him in person. The only one he has ever met, Liu Yun, is currently already a Grandmaster; it would be nigh impossible for him to travel all the way to Danzhou for a vacation. It would be too much of a coincidence. That is why there is no need to worry that anyone would deduce his identity because of Master Five.”
The Director’s bone-thin and gnarled fingers were tapping lightly on the table in deep thought. “Back then, when I request that you kill all the Dark Riders who have seen Five-bamboo, you plead me to let them off. Now, it seems like a bad idea to me.”
Fei Jie chuckled; his eyes that were bleached a faint brown after long exposure to poisons sparkled with a strange light, “A lot of people already died that night.”
At least on the surface, it seems that Fei Jie did not seem to fear this high-ranking and powerful Old man. His identity and qualifications were well-known after all (Might wanna change this late ~MCM). He cackled and retorted, “Killing unnecessarily is foolish. Have you forgotten? The Mistress used to say this back then.”
“Oh.” The Old man also began to smile faintly as though he was reminiscing about the good old days. However, with the same expression, he issued a chilling and ghastly order.
“The Eastern Mountain Road obeys the authority of the Fourth Division. Since the authorizing signatures are all there and the sequence of procedures was also accurate, the Eastern Mountain Road need not be accountable for this incident. As for the rest of the people, handle as you see fit.” He smiled gently and murmured to himself, “To think you would use my own power to try to kill the people I’m protecting. Is this merely a coincidence, or is someone trying to phish for something? This Second Mistress is not a simple person.”
“The Fourth Division’s Chief Yan Ruo Hai (Ain’t sure about this one ~MCM) is weak. He assigns things without checking properly and kills indiscriminately as long as it isn’t one of his own. That’s outrageous! Freeze three years worth of his salary and send his eldest son, Yan Bin Yun to somewhere far north. Until he gets the rank of two stripes and above, he is not allowed to return.” He continued.
After saying those words, the Director took up the documents that the Internal Affairs Department had already prepared from the table. He wrote the last part of the verdict and signed his name – Chen Ping Ping.
Every time Fei Jie saw the Director’s wizened and ugly handwriting, he wanted to laugh. However, he would always hold himself back. He knew that this extremely effeminate signature was capable of making a few high ranking officials dead or send some even higher ranking officials into a miserable exile in enemy territory to obtain valuable information before being able to return. That was a fate even more frightening than death.
The Old man guffawed to himself. “I grew up together with Fan Jian since young. I didn’t expect that, even now, I would still have to worry so much for the affairs of his family. Order some of your capable men to investigate whether the Second Mistress has any connections with that person.”
Fan Jian was the Count of Southernland’s name. He was Fan Xian’s father.
Fei Jie’s brow furrowed, the faded brown of his eyes shimmered, “Impossible. They should have already assumed that the infant had already died long ago.”
“You mistook me. I too believe that they could not know that Fan Xian was the Mistress’s son.”
The Director grinned. “The Emperor has always requested for the nobility, the officials and us to maintain our distance between each other. Yet, during the year you were sent to Danzhou, although it was very covert, it was still possible for the other party to have found out. It must have been curious to everyone, whether it was the Empress or the Prime Minister, about the relations our Bureau have with the Count of Southernland. The power that has been hiding in the shadows and lending a hand to the Second Mistress must have wanted to test ours and Master Fan’s reactions to this incident. It is because of this that we should not have too big of a reaction. Understood?”
Fei Jie suddenly had a suspicion about the assassination attempt in Danzhou. Perhaps it had happened because the Director had intentionally leaked some information.
The Old man pushed his wheelchair to the window and, lifting a corner of the black cloth, he looked out the window and said mildly, “Another thing regarding the incident with the box. Even if Five-Bamboo had spoken the truth, it would be best if it did not fall into the hands of the enemy in the North.”
“It is a pity we do not know how big the box was or how it looked like.” Fei Jie came to his side and followed the Old man’s gaze out the window.
“After I’m in hell, try your best to arrive faster and accompany me to play cards.” Director Chen laughed while saying it.
Fei Jie knew that the Director’s true age was not as old as reflected in his face. He smiled and said, “I’m a good person. I’m destined for Heaven.”
A silhouette drifted like the wind from the corner of the chamber of secrets (Hahahaha, it still cracks me up ~MCM) and pulled down the black cloth, preventing sunlight that is too intense from shining on the Old man’s skin. This person moved without a sound and was the same elite fighter that killed the Staff Wielding Master with a single strike of the sword back in the Capital many years ago.
Fei Jie pointed at the faded black silhouette and said, “I suspect he would be the one to accompany you to play chess.”
It was a beautiful sunny day outside the window and, far away, the polished tiles on the halls of the palace were shining brilliantly.
Passers-by on the road in front of the EBI’s door would often consciously move to the opposite side of the road, as though they were afraid of being infected by the dark atmosphere.
There was a tablet cut from some stone material at the door of the EBI. What was carved and painted in gold were these words: “I wish the people of Qin nation to become free men. To never give in even when suffering the tortures of others, to never back down from the various disasters and hardships of life; if anything seems wrong, to not be afraid to correct it; to not flatter and……”
Inscribed below were two words: Qin Mei. (The author wrote “three words” instead of “two”. I saw fit to change it. Also, the words Qin Mei means “Light eyebrows”. Just saying. ~MCM)
No one knew who Qin Mei was, though all the residents of the Capital knew that, the stone tablet has already been erected since the time the EBI was founded. It has always been shining gold and bright, as though it was communicating with the golden roof of the palace far away…… as though covering for the darkness within both of these buildings.