"That was the second time!"
Inside an office of the Shengtian sub-bureau of the BIMAUP, the director Xie Yuenian smacked a file on the desk and sighed despite himself. In it was a case report on the three human traffickers.
Although Long Qiu managed to return the kid secretly, those traffickers had seen her face. The police interrogated the culprits, collected the fingerprints, ran a face simulation, and located their target in no time.
When they tried to pull the file on Long Qiu, however, they were told that it was classified information—the top secret kind!
Such thing almost never happened in a place as small as Bai Town. The case was immediately reported to the municipal bureau of Shengtian, who took one look and was amazed. 'Holy sh*t, isn't she the girl that totally screwed Xue Zhao up a while ago?'
That case earlier was such a handful for the Shengtian police. With the Xue Family, the BIMAUP, and Phoenix Mountain all involved, it was way beyond the capacity of a mere police office.
Therefore, the municipal bureau had learned its lesson. This time, it couldn't transfer the case quickly enough to the sub-bureau of the BIMAUP without any hesitation.
But what could the BIMAUP do?
Bring her in? Who were they kidding?
Xie Yuenian was helpless and indignant—what sort of director was this! Several other major officials were also in the room, who exchanged looks and felt the pressure to share the boss's burden.
Jiang Chaofan was the first to react. He walked up to the man and said, "Director, should we send someone to talk to them?"
"About the case. Technically, this is a criminal case. Even if she was doing it for a just cause, we at least should question her, or even hold her in custody for a while, until the court acquits her…"
"Huh? Are you saying we should sent the police to take them in?" Another departmental head sneered at the suggestion.
Xie Yuenian ignored the comment and said, "Xiao Jiang, go on!"
"Well, I mean, they're still citizens of this country, aren't they? They are making it very difficult for the government if they keep ignoring the law. I've met that Mr. Gu twice and he seemed a reasonable man. We're not requiring him to do anything; it'll be a gesture only. Meanwhile, we can also sound out their attitude. After all, that's what the BIMAUP is built for," said Jiang Chaofan.
Xie Yuenian's face brightened up. That last bit was right on the spot, for what concerned him the most was the lack of exposure of the BIMAUP. In order to avoid being overlooked by those above and improve their activeness, they had to demonstrate one thing: we might not be able to solve anything, but we are conscientious and responsible.
What was more, it would only be a talk. It would be great if they could achieve something, but they wouldn't lose anything even if nothing came out of it.
With that in mind, he gestured the others to leave and only had Jiang Chaofan stay behind. He smiled. "Xiao Jiang, I didn't know you have such a flexible mind. That's a very promising quality!"
"I'm only taking advantage of my past experience. The other colleagues are not very familiar with the case and I have at least met Mr. Gu before."
"And you're a humble man. Good."
Xie Yuenian rose to his feet, strolled around the room for a moment, and said, "Since you are the one making the suggestion, I'd like you to take the trouble and go see him. As the saying goes, 'one guest should not bother two hosts.'"
"Yes, sir! You have my word!"
Jiang Chaofan stood at attention promptly and seeing that the boss was in a good mood, he made a military salute to amuse the man.
Xie Yuenian laughed. He gave Jiang another look and asked unexpectedly, "By the way, how's that Taoist scripture of yours going?"
Jiang Chaofan raised his pitch like a choked duck, his voice terrified. "Director, I, I was just flipping through it. I wasn't, wasn't…"
"Why, don't be so nervous. It's just a random question."
Xie Yuenian waved it off. After making sure that no one was passing outside, he lowered his voice. "To tell you the truth, those above are turning a blind eye on this. They wouldn't openly support it, but they are not against it either. They don't think anything would come out of it, but it'll be all the better if someone indeed succeeds. One of our own is always better than some outsider."
This was a natural move. Ever since the news got around the system, quite a few people were studying Taoist scriptures behind closed doors.
One had to realize that the bosses were materialists. Had this happened in the past when certain institute was holding anti-science or pseudo-science attitude to the point of suppresing of ignorant and superstitious activities, every participant would be eliminated with no leniency.
However, now that the Taoist skills had indeed made a come-back, the attitude was becoming rather ambiguous.
As clever as Jiang Chaofan was, he expressed his loyalty right away at this confidential information offered to the most trusted subordinate by his director. "Understood! Thank you, Director!"
He hesitated before his curiosity finally got the upper hand. "Director, exactly how is everything going in Tianzhu Mountain? We're all looking forward to its development!"
"I heard they were coming up with something, but… hey, what are you looking forward to?"
"Once the people there are trained, aren't they going to be sent to our bureau?" Jiang Chaofan asked surprisingly.
"Sent here? You people are so naive!"
Xie Yuenian snorted and said, "The best ones will go to the bosses, the less excellent ones belong to the 'royalties', and we will get whatever is left. I heard there are only 36 people in total. All the sub-bureaus have their eyes on them!"
Under Phoenix Mountain, the small courtyard.
Today was Gu Yu's out-of-the-mountain visit day again. As always, the stewards of Yuan, Lei, and Zeng Families awaited respectfully for the man, and another batch of medicinal plants were brought in.
Gu Yu examined it and found it rather odd as he said, "Why are there only ten plants? And their quality is mediocre at best."
"Well, Mr. Gu…"
The steward of the Yuan Family bowed and replied, "We are very sorry about that, but we have exhausted the medicinal plants we could find. As you may know, these wild medicinal materials are very hard to come by, and harder if there are a few years behind them. We've barely managed to make this batch at all."
"Are you saying that you can't find anything anymore?" he asked.
"Well, as far as our capability goes, yes… but our country is so vast that our people cannot cover it all. There must be something out there."
"Ok, that's fine."
Gu Yu did not press on. He casually produced a large case and smiled. "I was thinking of giving this to you today. From what you just told me, we'd better settle the accounts now. You've gone through much trouble for us for the past six months and here's a little present. I hope you'll like it."
The three stewards were pleasantly surprised. That was what they had counted on for staying in this god-forsaken place for half a year!
"Thank you very much, Mr. Gu!"
"Thank you, Mr. Gu!"
They couldn't express their gratitude enough. However, Gu Yu interrupted them, "Not so fast. I've got another favor to ask."
"Please let the word out that from today onwards, Phoenix Mountain is in need of medicinal materials and unusual minerals. As long as you have the right stuff, anyone can come to us for an exchange."
The one from the Yuan Family was a bit hesitant. "Are you sure about the 'anyone' part?"
"And the terms of exchange?"
"It'll be up to me."
"Well, I'm not at the liberty to give the consent. I'll have to ask for permission first."
With that, the discussion was over and the three left the room.
Gu Yu did not have much choice. The Essence-gathering Incense required a lot of medicinal materials and the more he could get, the better. He had reached an agreement with Wang Qi back then, which said the government was to gather rare materials for him as part of the reward for the development of the node.
As it turned out, half a year had passed and they had given him nothing, zilch! Whether it was because they couldn't find anything or they simply did not want to give him, it still said a lot about the government's sincerity.
He was getting a stronger feeling everyday that the authorities were trying something behind his back, as if they were preparing for some major offense, about which he couldn't care less. Bring it on. As long as it was cultivation-related, he didn't mind demonstrating how capable he was to raise hell and screw them over.
After they were done, it was finally Jiang Chaofan's turn, who stood up and greeted, "Mr. Gu, we meet again."
"Haha, why, is there another abnormality?" He gestured the man to sit down.
"It's not that. I'm here today to talk to you about Miss Long Qiu."
He was interested. "What about her?"
"Let me make it clear first, it's not meant to be an offense against you two. I'm only here to do my job."
Jiang Chaofan was very smart in clarifying his attitude first. He then said, "I presume that you're well aware of the two incidents Miss Long Qiu was involved in. She has broken the law and we haven't done anything about it only because of her special status. But I think you do understand that the society needs stability more than anything else, which is achieved when certain compulsory restrictions are set and a public belief that there is a lasting safe environment is upheld. If the restriction is loosened and the belief crumbles, an all-over panic might be caused in long term."
Gu Yu was taken by surprise, not by what the man said, but by the fact that someone was actually lecturing him on the subject, let alone from a nobody.
Of course he did not need reminding that the law was a representation of the state power. To some extent, defying the law was equivalent to challenging the state.
That was why, despite all his capricious acts, he made sure that he always operated within the lines drawn by the government—he never killed randomly. Thanks to that, the authorities would negotiate with him instead of terminating him right away.
The swarthy and slick butterball in front of him had a righteous and lofty look about him, yet Gu Yu could see tension and cunningness in those eyes.
The guy was obviously an opportunist, taking the chance to make himself recognized, and have his resume polished while he was at it. Gu Yu found the man dismissible and only smiled. "Yeah, I get what you mean."
"So, what's your opinion?" Jiang Chaofan asked eagerly.
"Me? I have no opinion…" Half-jokingly, Gu Yu said, "It's quite complicated. With due respect, the answer is above your pay grid."