Bu Tian Gang Ch80

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 80

“Dong Ge?”

After He Jia finished her call, she opened the door and saw Dong Zhi standing in the corridor. The other party came back to his senses after hearing his name being called a couple of times.

Thinking of the strange things that Dong Zhi said just now, she couldn’t help but feel a little scared. She timidly said, “Are you okay?”

“Yes.” Dong Zhi gave her a soothing smile. “How was the call?”

He Jia said, “It’s strange. My great aunt said that she was dreaming. She dreamt that Uncle Liu said goodbye to her and told her he was leaving. She woke up and felt something was wrong before calling me.”

Dong Zhi nodded. “Uncle Liu is the guardian of your family, and his fate was tied to your great aunt.”

He Jia smiled and said, “But don’t worry. I didn’t say anything about what you told me I couldn’t divulge. I didn’t even mention your existence. I just told her that I know a master in this field who could help with things. My great aunt gave me the right to deal with it, but I have to bury Uncle Liu and set up a monument. She told me she would return home to sweep the tomb of Uncle Liu in the future.”

Dong Zhi secretly praised the girl’s reaction and tone. He didn’t forget to tell her again. “You can handle Uncle Liu’s body yourself, but the hotel must be cleared as soon as possible. This can’t be delayed.”

On Mu Duo’s side, the police rushed over as soon as they received the news. Zhou Dui and Xiao Qi were handed over to them, while Mu Duo took Yan Nuo back to the office and hurriedly reported the matter to the branch office.

She didn’t conceal Dong Zhi’s role in the incident, and emphasized that if it wasn’t for Dong Zhi, they might not have been able to escape alive. The phone call lasted for two hours. The branch leader attached great importance to the matter and said he would send additional personnel to assist them and asked Mu Duo to formally write the situation into a report as soon as possible.

At the end of the call, Mu Duo finally breathed a sigh of relief.

Exhausted, she fell back to the sofa.

This kind of exhaustion came not only from the body but also the mind.

In just one night, she was seriously injured and almost died. She had lost two companions, and in the end, she narrowly escaped death by the skin of her teeth. At that time, every second was critical, so her reaction was instinctive, but now that she was settled, she felt lingering fear.

“Sorry, I hurt you,” Yan Nuo said weakly.

“Don’t say that.” Mu Duo pulled out a smile. Her face wasn’t much better than Yan Nuo’s.

Just now, Captain Zhou’s subordinates wanted to take them to the hospital, but Mu Duo thought about reporting the incident to the higher ups first, so she chose to rush back to the office.

“Dong Zhi’s injuries aren’t light, but he’s still busy trying to resolve this matter. On the other hand, we’re dragging our feet here.”

“Before, I was too emotional and vented my dissatisfaction of the previous newcomer on him, which had affected your judgement.” Yan Nuo’s voice was very soft, as if the wind could blow it away at any moment.

“I don’t blame you. Not only did you make a mistake in judgement, but we also all had preconceived notions.” Mu Duo’s eyelids felt heavy. Her internal organs were in pain, like a knife cutting at them, but she no longer had the strength to get up. Besides, she won’t be able to breathe properly for a while, so she might as well just sleep first.

The sky outside was getting brighter as light pierced through the gaps between the leaves and branches. All the darkness had subsided, sending hope into the heart.

When she woke up, she had to find Dong Zhi and apologize. This was Mu Duo’s last thought before she finally fell asleep.

After waking up, it would be a new day.

No matter how long the night was, the arrival of dawn would always ignite new hope.

He Jia’s actions were fast. The hotel was cleared by the next evening, and all the employees were put on paid leave. For the guest who had already paid the deposit, she gave double compensation and cancelled all bookings. The police directly blocked off the hotel and prohibited anyone from entering.

The lack of personnel in the Lucheng office was now manifest at this moment. Xiao Qi died, and Yan Nuo was still suffering from the aftermath of losing his soul, so he was unable to work. Before the manpower dispatched by the branch to help arrived, Mu Duo and Dong Zhi had to drag their injured bodies up and down the hotel to do another check. Unfortunately, Dong Zhi still didn’t find any other traps that the weasel had told him about.

Perhaps the other party had already withdrawn and, in order to not leave any clues behind, they killed Lao Liu.

But this wasn’t good news, because such an enemy was also more cunning and difficult to deal with. Those lurking in the shadows had many hidden dangers.

Probably due to their high alert, the other party didn’t commit crimes in Lucheng again, but that didn’t mean that they wouldn’t go somewhere else.

When Yamamoto hadn’t appeared before, both Mu Duo and Yan Nuo felt that Dong Zhi was eager to make contributions and thought he was making a fuss about the hotel. Now, Mu Duo had naturally stopped thinking such things, and she also added this matter to the report.

Meanwhile, Dong Zhi didn’t remain idle. He had to recover from his injuries and find a place to rent. The agency finally found a suitable home for him. It was in the community next door to the office. It was completed just a few years ago, so the facilities were brand new, and the environment was pristine. It was more than a hundred times better than the office. It had two bedrooms and a living room. The only catch was that the rent was higher, but fortunately, Dong Zhi had savings and he also earned remuneration during this period, which was more than enough to support the rent.

The card Long Shen gave him had been in his wallet all this time and hadn’t been used once. When he paid for the rent deposit, Dong Zhi accidentally opened his wallet and suddenly remembered he hadn’t contacted his master for a whole week.

Although the Special Administration Bureau was a special department, it must also follow the same protocol for doing things. It was reasonable to report it to the South China Branch first, and from there the branch would decide whether to report it to headquarters. Naturally, Dong Zhi didn’t rely on the fact that he came from the General Administration and directly ran to Long Shen, as this was taboo in the workplace. Just like when he was the lead graphics designer, he didn’t like contradictions between newcomers under his management who would go directly over him and complain to the project manager.

Although he won’t leapfrog to report, he did have many doubts in his heart. For example, the gray piece of paper in the hotel that was similar to a shikigami. If it could be identified, it could help them solve the case and find Lao Liu’s murderer. In terms of extensive knowledge, his master naturally was the one who possessed such thing.

Taking advantage of the fact that he finally had a place to settle down and his injuries were almost healed, he directly called Long Shen.

The phone rang twice before the other line picked up.

“Dong Zhi.”

The tone of the voice was familiar and pleasant-sounding, which made his heart throb slightly.

“Master, it’s me. I didn’t bother you, did I?”

There was a short snort on the other end. Dong Zhi was still adjusting his mood, and he didn’t speak for a while.

Both ends were silent for a few seconds, as they were connected by a phone call but were separated by thousands of mountains and rivers.

The only thing that could maintain their connection was this small phone that could transmit sound waves.

He calmed down and showed the same composure when he confronted Kiyoshi Yamamoto. “Well, an incident happened a few days ago. It’s a work matter. We have already reported it to the branch office, but there’s a discovery that I’m unsure about, so I want to ask you for help.”

Dong Zhi roughly gave the general description of the piece of paper that he found at the hotel.

“That piece of paper is still with me now. I’m afraid there’s something weird in it, so I sealed it with a talisman.”

Long Shen pondered for a moment. “Take a picture and send it over. Make sure the shape of the piece of paper is clear and enlarge the details.”

Dong Zhi hurriedly complied. The other party answered his question normally, and there wasn’t anything off with his tone, but he always seemed to have an indescribable sense of disobedience.

“Master, have you been busy lately? Why don’t you even reply to my text messages? Is Longlong okay?”

Long Shen: “Good.”

Dong Zhi: …He skipped all the questions and directly answered the last one!

He deliberately pressed onwards, “Then is He Yu alright? Is Chaosheng okay? Is Zhong Yuyi doing well? Do you miss your lovely apprentice?”

Long Shen was silent for a while. “Let’s end this here. I still have something to do.”

Dong Zhi: ???

Before he could react, the line hung up.

Dong Zhi stared at the phone for a while.

Was this normal or abnormal for his master to be like this?

He still remembered that before he left, even if Long Shen didn’t like to talk nonsense, he would occasionally talk to him about his daily life. Now it seemed he didn’t want to say much about anything.

Something must be wrong.

Dong Zhi searched his mind for any shortcomings that might have annoyed him, and after thinking about it for a long time, he couldn’t come up with a reason. He could only take a picture of the piece of paper and send it over.

This time, Long Shen quickly replied: [There may be some kind of spirit attached to it.]

Heroes think alike. Dong Zhi laughed and replied: [Master, can you tell me what kind of spirit it is?]

Long Shen: [As you know, generally shikigamis transform into various shapes and follow their master’s orders to kill people, but it will not suck away yang qi and cause people to get sick. According to what you said, combined with the photos, the shikigami may be attached to a demonic qi, resentment, or a remnant soul. At present, I can’t judge which one it is. Go back and wait for the people from the branch to come and give it to them so they can test it.]

He agreed.

Dong Zhi: [Master, would you like to let people searching for the stone tablets come to Lucheng to look? This matter involves Fujikawa’s shidi. Maybe it has something to do with the stone tablets.]

Long Shen’s reply was simple: [The branch will handle it.]

Dong Zhi didn’t mention anything about his injury. He usually suffered a little injury, and he was happy to act coquettish to win attention, but now that his injury wasn’t serious, he didn’t want to cause worry for the other party.

However, Long Shen’s attitude was indeed quite strange.

After thinking about it for a while, he sent a message to He Yu: [Have you left Beijing yet?]

He Yu quickly replied: [No. Zhong Yuyi went first. I’ll be leaving in two days, but the boss didn’t rush me. How’s it going with you?]

Dong Zhi: [It’s okay. I encountered a small incident, but it can be resolved. Can you help me check to see if Master is in a meeting right now?]

He Yu: [No. I just met the boss. He’s in his office.]

Dong Zhi: [Has he been busy lately?]

He Yu: [So, so. There are more meetings, but it shouldn’t be very busy. Otherwise, he won’t have time to call me over and scold me, saying that if I don’t start working, he’ll deduct my bonus and confiscate my game account. Why do you think he does this all day? I was injured on duty and my leg is broken. Why doesn’t he have any pity at all!]

The image of a sturdy man like He Yu typing furiously as if he was pinching his throat made him want to laugh subconsciously.

As soon as he was about to reply, his newly raised smile suddenly froze. Since Long Shen wasn’t busy, why was he so stingy about talking to him?

When he was still in the capital, the other party’s attitude towards his only apprentice wasn’t like this.

He held the phone in his hand and hesitated for almost half a minute before he asked He Yu: [Has Master been in a bad mood recently?]

He Yu: [No.]

Dong Zhi: [Did he mention anything about how I’m not doing well?]

He Yu: [Of course not. Do you think the boss is this kind of person? I suspect that one day he’ll suffocate to death because he knows too many secrets, or he’ll be broken by the secrets and explode on the spot. Why are you asking? Did you quarrel with him?]

Dong Zhi: [Do you think he looks like someone who can quarrel with others?]

He Yu: [That’s true. He usually doesn’t talk nonsense. He’d rather just stab you to death with a sword.]

Dong Zhi: ……

He felt that rather than typing word by word, which would take forever to address the problem, he decided to simply call.

Soon, He Yu’s lazy voice came through, “Hey, Xiao Dongdong. It’s been a long time since we talked. It feels like many autumns ago!”

Dong Zhi couldn’t help laughing. “It has been a long time. How’s your leg?”

He Yu sighed. “It’s okay. I can remove the plaster after two more days. When I think about going on a mission with Kan Chaosheng, my heart grows cold. I’ll partner with you next time. You‘re much more reliable than him!”

Dong Zhi: “I can’t transform, so I won’t help you much.”

He Yu: “Your voice seems a bit off. Are you hurt?”

Dong Zhi sighed. “I encountered Fujikawa’s shidi here in Lucheng and fought with him. It’s not a big deal.”

He was afraid that the other party would turn around and tell Long Shen, so he understated it.

However, He Yu wasn’t easily fooled. “It doesn’t seem like a minor injury.”

Dong Zhi smiled and said, “It’s fine. Don’t worry about it, okay?”

He Yu solemnly said, “You also know about the boss’ physique? It’s different from ours. He can still hold on even if he’s injured. Don’t think that if you become his apprentice, you can be as invulnerable as him! If you don’t pay attention to it now, in a few years, old and new injuries will come together and attack you. Then you’ll know how serious it is!”

Dong Zhi’s heart warmed. “I know. These days are near the end. I’ll go back to the hospital later, but I just called Master and he didn’t seem very happy to talk to me. Has something happened recently?”

He Yu let out a sigh. “Did you find out too?”

This sentence made Dong Zhi emotional.

“What do you mean?”

He Yu: “I also think he’s been weird lately; a little absent-minded, but other people think I’m seeing things. Even Kan Chaosheng said that I entered menopause early!”

He sounded aggravated.

Dong Zhi was puzzled. “What can make Master lose his temperament? Is it something from the higher ups?”

He Yu: “That’s impossible. The boss has never cared about that. There are generally two reasons why men lose their mind. Either for fame and fortune or for personal affairs.”

Long Shen was only distracted for a few seconds, and the result was directly exaggerated to the point of his losing his mind.

However, He Yu also analyzed it seriously. “There are also several kinds of personal affairs. The boss has no parents or siblings. It’s impossible for it to be related to family. According to me, it’s either lovelorn or in love, but then again, I don’t think it’s possible! He’s been single for longer than my Master’s age. If this is true, I’ll swallow an entire durian raw!”

Dong Zhi: “…Instead of listening to your nonsense, I might as well go to the hospital to recuperate. Bye!”

He Yu yelled, “Don’t hang up. Lao Zhong and Kan Chaosheng have too low an EQ to discuss this kind of thing with them, and they can’t match my wisdom. We’re in the period of Bo Ya and Ziqi1There are high mountains and flowing water, and our hearts are connected2!”

1Referring to the story Zhiyin of Bo Ya and Ziqi who are considered an important part of the philosophy of inter-person relationships in Chinese culture, reflecting the Chinese ideal of friendship.
2This is part of the story of Zhiyin that shows Ziqi’s deep understanding of Bo Ya’s personality. Ziqi knew that Boya was committed to high mountains and flowing water through his music, because he himself was committed to the mountains and water in the natural world as well. Ziqi found himself in Bo Ya’s music, thus making himself empathize and sympathize with Bo Ya. Sympathy and empathy in the resonance could be heading to the realm of the integration of heart and object, subject and object, which is an important concept in Confucianism.

What he said gave Dong Zhi goosebumps.

“No, no. I don’t want to be your Ziqi. I’m far away now. Just help me find out and see if Master has encountered any problems.”

He Yu said, “Don’t joke. He has problems? It would be nice if he didn’t create problems for others! Why don’t you care about your lonely, injured friend?”

Dong Zhi rolled his eyes. “Wasn’t the first sentence I said was to inquire about your health? Besides, even if you don’t ask, I know you probably want to be lazy for a few more days and milk your injury. In fact, your legs are almost fully healed, right? Be careful not to pretend too much or you’ll get burned!”

He Yu snickered. “For the sake of your usual loyalty, this brother will help you inquire about it to avoid your wrath!”

Dong Zhi was overjoyed. “Thank you, brother. I’ll see you later and invite you to a big meal!”

He Yu: “I don’t want a big meal. Do you think I’m Kan Chaosheng? That’s his low-level taste!”

Dong Zhi: “I know, I know. Game package! You prefer high-end interest. ‘The Great Wasteland’ recently added a lot of new costumes. Do you want me to buy you a set?”

He Yu immediately said, “Dad! I’m going now. Just tell me if you need anything!”

Dong Zhi: ……

He Yu thought he was a man of integrity. He did what he said. As soon as he put the phone down, he got up and went to Long Shen’s office.

“Boss, the most handsome jade tree in the world, lovely and amiable… Your subordinate has come to see you!” He Yu said sweetly.

Long Shen took his gaze away from the computer. His tone didn’t seem affected at all.

“What’s wrong?”

“Can’t I just come and catch up with you?” He Yu sat down on the sofa and looked aggrieved. “Boss, people get injured while on the job, yet you still drive them to work without reward. You know, people’s hearts are made of flesh. Do you think I won’t get sad when I go through hard times?”

Long Shen: “Isn’t your leg healed?”

He Yu said angrily, “Who told you that?! Do you I look fine?”

Long Shen said lightly, “Last time I saw you go downstairs to get takeout. You were skipping like your legs could fly and you ran faster than Zhong Yuyi.”

He Yu choked.

Long Shen: “You were injured in Yunnan last time, and your overall performance was good. The mission was fruitless, so it’s impossible to commend you, but Boss Song and I have applied for an injury pension for you. This should be allocated this month. You should pay attention to the transfer record.”

He Yu’s expression immediately bloomed with joy. “Boss, I love you so much. I knew you would pity me!”

The word pity was used by him without any shame. He was as calm as a dragon, but he couldn’t help showing a weird expression on his face.

“So why did you come here? What’s the matter?”

He Yu smiled and said, “Helping Xiao Dong Zhi take care of you! Didn’t I tell you how good your apprentice is? He studies hard, never talks back, is obedient, and takes great care of you. He told me he was afraid that you’re stuck in meetings all day long and urged me to persuade you to rest more!”

He sighed again. “I’m so envious. If I knew he was so filial, I would’ve accepted him as an apprentice on the train and I wouldn’t worry about game packages any longer!”

Long Shen looked at him blankly.

He Yu laughed dryly, knowing that he had gone too far, and hurriedly pulled the topic back.

“Actually, I also think that you’ve been a little absent-minded recently. Is there anything troubling you? Even if you can’t tell your apprentice, you can always talk to me, right?”

“Nothing,” Long Shen said.

He Yu got up, limped over, and sat down at his desk.

“We’ve been fighting side by side for many years. Although you’re my boss in business, in private, I treat you as a brother. I also know that you’re not like Kan Chaosheng, who’s ignorant of the world. If there’s something wrong, it’ll be known in the world. In life, how can you not have any trouble? Your heart’s been hardened, but even if it’s harder than diamond, you’ll one day won’t be able to bear it, right?”

The corners of Long Shen’s mouth curled up slightly, looking as if he was both moved and amused.

He Yu pretended to be shy. “Boss, if you look at me like that again, I’ll think you’re in love with me! Xiao Dong Zhi didn’t dare ask you, so I had to come forward to do it for him. He said that you seemed to be avoiding him recently and didn’t want to talk to him. I’m worried if something happens to you. Look, such a filial apprentice can’t easily be found.”

Long Shen was silent for a few seconds, then said, “I’m fine.”

If he hadn’t been silent for those few seconds, He Yu would’ve felt like Dong Zhi was being too worrisome, but he had been with Long Shen long enough, and he wasn’t a heartless person by nature. On the contrary, he seemed to be careless in doing things, but in fact he was meticulous and keen. Suddenly, he felt like there was an inside story.

“Okay, okay. If you say you’re fine, then you’re fine! But what should I tell Dong Zhi?”

Long Shen’s expression was faint. “Just tell him I’m fine.”

He Yu tentatively asked, “Boss, did… Dong Zhi make you angry?”

Long Shen shook his head. “Don’t try to guess. Go back and get ready. You’re leaving early.”

If He Yu could ask about this, then Long Shen, as the boss, shouldn’t deserve such a position.

He Yu felt a little disappointed, and unexpectedly, he thought to himself that, fortunately, he hadn’t made a bet with Dong Zhi. Otherwise, he would definitely make a fortune.

After returning, he immediately called Dong Zhi and went straight to the point. “I think my guess is quite reliable. The boss must have something on his mind!”

Dong Zhi: “Did you find out?”

He Yu vividly described Long Shen’s subtle changes in expression just now, and finally concluded. “I guess it’s a private matter, and maybe it’s related to you.”

Dong Zhi was taken aback. “It’s related to me?”

He Yu: “He usually doesn’t get too close to anyone. Maybe a little closer to us, but you’re his apprentice. You must be closer to him than we are. He won’t tell you, so what’s the explanation? The reason can only be you.”

His analysis was well-founded, and Dong Zhi was almost persuaded by him.

But what could make Long Shen feel unhappy about him?

If it was the incident where he read late into the night and went to practice without energy, that was so long ago, and he admitted to his mistake and changed it. Long Shen wasn’t a person who would be preoccupied by such things, so it was unlikely he would alienate him because of this kind of trivial matter.

But if it wasn’t this, then what?

What else could make Long Shen alienate him like this?

Could it be…

Long Shen knew that he liked him?

The author has something to say:

He Yu: What integrity? I just need a gift package, and whoever buys it will be my father!

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

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