Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Han Qi was discovered with massive abdominal bleeding. Though she was sent to the hospital, she shortly died after due to having been found too late.
The news of her death directly triggered a shock in the entertainment industry. All kinds of suspicion and gossip were flying all over the world. Rumors of the death of a well-known actress in a hotel due to a miscarriage spread like wildfire. Regarding her rumored lover, her cause of death triggered a lot of fanciful speculation from the outside world. Some people even guessed that she was the mistress of a certain powerful person, and she knew too many things and had to be silenced.
Her current agent announced that she died of an acute illness in the hotel, and Han Qi’s fans also stood up to defend her reputation. However, at the time, there were hotel staff present at the incident, and some piecemeal insights had spread, adding more fuel to the big news.
Some people even linked this incident to Hui Yiguang, saying that she was a broom star* and something would happen wherever she went. Of course, most of these kinds of remarks were made by diehard fans of Han Qi, who didn’t believe the death of their idol was due to an emergency attack.
*In reference to Mrs. Ma from the novel “Fengshen Romance” in the Ming Dynasty. She was married to Jiang Ziya, but he wasn’t good at making money, so she abandoned him. Later, Jiang Ziya became famous and a god, so she regretted her decision and hanged herself, giving Jiang Ziya the god of broom stars. || In this context it’s saying Hui Yiguang is like a bad omen.
With the death of Han Qi, the progress of the drama being filmed was interrupted. Before that, the crew had suffered many injuries, and the death of Han Qi made people even more frightened. Though the crew didn’t say it, many were glad that the filming had stopped. The only people who would be unhappy were the investors. A large sum of money was floating in the water, and they didn’t know how long it would take to recover it.
However, Boss Zhao didn’t care either way. He was rich and had deep pockets, so this investment wasn’t worth paying much attention to. He could get back to his life and go on a trip. On the contrary, he felt that business wasn’t a loss as he was able to develop contacts with experts like Liu Qingbo and Dong Zhi through Hui Yiguang. Though he tried to visit them and give them a hefty reward, Dong Zhi rejected all of them. Receiving money from Hui Yiguang was agreed upon in advance, and the task and payment were already cleared. Moreover, Hui Yiguang had a relationship before, which could be regarded as a cause and effect.
However, Boss Zhao was different. He was a pure businessman. If they were to collect money now, next time he would push other requirements forward, and it was easy to get entangled with such a matter. Slaying and warding off demons was the duty of the Special Administration Bureau. Dong Zhi didn’t want to cause unnecessary trouble because of a moment of greed, so he strictly refused all gifts and rewards from Boss Zhao. Unable to push his agenda, he could only give up and leave in a daze.
For Dong Zhi and the others, Han Qi’s death wasn’t part of after-dinner gossip, but an unsolved mystery.
They cooperated with the police and quickly found Han Qi’s lover, Hong Rui, and Han Qi’s former agent, Dong Qiaolan, but the strange thing was that the two of them had taken a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, a few days before the incident, and then disappeared without a trace. There was no record of them returning and no information about them having been found in Thailand. It was as if they had completely evaporated from the world, leaving nothing behind.
As for Han Qi’s first love, Zhong Huan, the two hadn’t contacted each other since they broke up, and they couldn’t get more useful information from him.
After interrogating Han Qi’s assistant and current agent, they found that the key was related to the master Han Qi talked about, but that master was introduced to her by Dong Qiaolan. When she took Han Qi, Han Qi didn’t even bring her assistant, so as soon as Dong Qiaolan disappeared, naturally, they wouldn’t be able to find the master that was mentioned.
Based on the limited information, Dong Zhi could only draw a general conclusion. That master was most likely a witch or witch doctor who wanted to use Han Qi’s child for his own desire. In pursuit of fame and fortune, Han Qi was tempted by the witch doctor and Dong Qiaolan and allowed it to happen. She was unaware that the witch doctor had placed a wisp of demonic qi using witchcraft on her. Eventually, the demonic embryo broke loose and attacked the mother’s body. It even triggered the rebound of Han Qi’s original fetus, which eventually led to this tragedy.
Seeing that his companion rolled his eyes, Dong Zhi smiled. “Making a report in the dilapidated house is still very different from making a report here, right?”
“I just can’t figure it out!”
As the report went on, Liu Qingbo became angrier the more he thought about it. He couldn’t help but stop his movements and say in disbelief, “Han Qi is a woman who wanted fame and fortune. I don’t get why she would deal with those missing moths. Is it human to want to lock your dead child into a jade charm?”
Dong Zhi was also indignant about this kind of thing at the beginning of his career, but now he had turned to appease Liu Qingbo. “The desires of human nature are endless. When you’re a prime minister, you want to face the south and be an emperor, one who’s in charge of the world and eventually the heavens. If one’s been poor, it’s fine. However, Han Qi is from the entertainment industry. The luxury she has seen far exceeds the imagination of ordinary people, so the temptation is greater than ordinary people. Some people can control it, while others cave in to their desires.”
Liu Qingbo sneered, “I only pity her child, who was abandoned by her and locked up to be used as feed for the demon. Despite this, it wanted to help her drive away the demon, and finally sacrifice itself and lose its soul. In the end, with Han Qi’s virtue, even if she knew it, she would only feel that she was the victim and would not have the slightest repentance.”
Dong Zhi shrugged. “So it’s natural that she suffered the consequences. As you can see, she has been chasing fame and fortune, and has died disgracefully. Where will her fame be after her death? There’s also us, the Special Administration Bureau here as well. We can help take care of things that God can’t manage, but we are also there for those that God doesn’t want to manage.”
Liu Qingbo squinted at him and sneered again, “Your mouth is getting sharper, but this isn’t the reason for you to be lazy!”
Dong Zhi yawned, and not long after sitting up, he retreated into the blanket again.
He wasn’t sure if it was because it was winter, but recently, he had become more prone to drowsiness. Although he practiced kung fu and his Bu Tian Gang a lot, he still felt that his energy couldn’t keep up. He suspected the reason why was because he had been feeding his sword with his blood to see the illusions recently. He became scared, so he didn’t dare do it again in the past few days.
The remuneration received from Hui Yiguang was reported in full, and his application for reconstruction of the new office was quickly approved. Combined with the allocation of the branch office, the total amount wasn’t large, but it was almost enough. Although Zhang Chong liked to boast, his skills were more suitable for business. He quickly found a small two-story house for the office. The location was also good. Not far away was a school. He would sell milk tea and snacks downstairs, while the upstairs would be used as an office. He also left a room for Zhang Chong, so he didn’t need to rent another place and could take care of the decoration process of the shop. Thus, everyone was happy in this way.
The upper floor was originally the office of a small company. The furniture was all ready-made, and the decorations were mostly new. It was directly transferred to them, so Dong Zhi didn’t have to bother with such things. Moreover, the former boss was probably a very neat person with a keen eye. The office had a lot of green plants and ceramics used for decorations, and the sofa, chaise lounge, and office desk’s style were consistent with each other. It gave off a very simple and comfortable feeling that made one feel at home.
After Yan Nuo lost his soul, his memory had significantly decreased, and his body was slow to recover. His application for suspension from work was approved, and he had already returned to his teacher’s school a while ago. As a result, there were only four people left. For a branch office, however, such an office wasn’t considered small. With Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo present, their combat power had also greatly improved.
Unintentionally, the Dong Zhi had jumped from a newcomer to the top of the four. Under his leadership, the Lucheng office had been reborn and was about to embark on a new journey.
Out of the need to hide from people’s eyes and ears and be self-financing, it was still necessary for the milk tea shop downstairs to exist. After all, the funds were too small. Once in a while, they could occasionally get some small benefits and would be able to communicate with the outside world as a way to ask for some information.
With Mu Duo and Zhang Chong involved with the decoration, there was no need for Dong Zhi to bother. He and Liu Qingbo mainly followed up on Han Qi’s incident. Dong Zhi tried to connect Han Qi’s incident to the case of the murder of the family and the death of the weasel, Lao Liu, but so far, there didn’t seem to be any clues indicating the connection between these events.
If Hong Rui and Dong Qiaolan couldn’t be found, there would be no breakthrough in the case.
Dong Zhi wrapped himself tightly in a thin blanket, revealing only his head. When the phone rang, he lazily stretched out his hand to get it and said to Liu Qingbo, “Lao Liu, can you help.”
Liu Qingbo scolded, “Why are you so lazy?!”
As he scolded, he helped him pick up the phone.
“Shu He. Who?”
Dong Zhi sighed, “Colleague from the Branch Bureau is calling me.”
He took the cellphone, said a few words to the other side, hung up the phone, and said to Liu Qingbo, “The top asked us to go to Shencheng as soon as possible. After we came from the General Administration, we haven’t been to the Branch Bureau yet. Recently, a lot of things have happened in Lucheng, so it’s good to report to him in person.”
Liu Qingbo was stunned. “These days there are computers and the internet, so who would make a special trip to report in person? Did you offend some leader?”
Dong Zhi touched his chin and thought. “I don’t think so. I have met the director of the Branch Bureau and have cooperated with him once. I guess he may have something to tell us.”
Liu Qingbo: “What do you mean us?”
Dong Zhi said innocently, “It’s you and me.”
Liu Qingbo: “…I’m not going.”
Dong Zhi said solemnly, “Han Qi’s affairs have caused a lot of trouble. After all, she is a public figure. Although the cause of death announced to the public wasn’t a murder, there were still a lot of people present at that time. There will always be some gossip that will spread. It’s normal for the top to inquire about it. You should participate since you naturally report to me. Besides, showing your face in front of the leader is something many people can’t wait to do. Otherwise, aren’t you afraid that I will take all the credit?”
Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes. “You are so lazy to even get up and get your cellphone. Would you do such a strenuous thing as stealing credit?”
“That’s right.” Dong Zhi smiled and closed his eyes. “I’ll squint for a while, and you can call me again when it’s dinner time. I’ll talk to Mu Duo in the afternoon and set off for Shencheng in the evening…”
In the end, his tone was almost mumbled and blurred, so Liu Qingbo couldn’t hear clearly any longer unless he got closer.
Liu Qingbo: “…Did you go sneaking around last night*?”
*Steal chickens and dogs (偷鸡摸狗) Refers to the act of stealing or other unethical activities.
Dong Zhi ignored him and turned over, revealing only his fluffy head.
Liu Qingbo frowned slightly, walked over, and put his hand on Dong Zhi’s forehead. Dong Zhi was already asleep.
The temperature of the palm was normal, there was no fever, the pulse felt normal, and there were no signs of illness.
Sure enough, he was sneaking around all night!
For Long Shen, this was an ordinary day.
When he didn’t have to go out in the field, his life at the General Administration was very ordinary. At three, he would be either in his dorm, office, or the conference room. He would occasionally go to the rooftop to practice.
This routine was broken during the apprenticeship period. When Dong Zhi was here, if he had nothing to do, Dong Zhi would take the opportunity to drag him to restaurants. Long Shen usually had no appetite. If the meal wasn’t mandatory, he generally wouldn’t think about eating.
However, under the tireless introduction of Dong Zhi, he knew which Hunan restaurants were the best nearby, and the Cantonese restaurant in the comprehensive shopping mall next to the General Administration’s most authentic dish wasn’t the scallion oil chicken, but the sweet and sour pork.
The memory wasn’t relevant, but even if one didn’t specifically recall it, they would still unexpectedly remember it when they saw it.
He then remembered that it had been almost two months since Dong Zhi had gone to Lucheng.
In late autumn, heading into winter, there had been several heavy snowfalls in the capital. Long Shen’s thin and chic black windbreaker attracted a lot of head turns from passersby on the road, but he didn’t care. He went around the back of the building, nodded to greet the uncle guarding the door, and walked in as usual.
On the way, he met Wu Bingtian and Song Zhicun, and the two of them gave their congratulations. Long Shen had always been thoughtful and couldn’t help but be surprised.
“Congratulations on what?”
Song Zhicun smiled and said, “Why, don’t you know yet? Didn’t your apprentice tell you the good news?”
“Boss Long has very good eyes! You had never accepted apprentices before, and now as soon as you get one, he turns out to be truly capable. He’s only been in the office for less than two months and was recently promoted to the person in charge. Since the establishment of our Special Administration Bureau, this is the fastest promotion, right?” Wu Bingtian’s tone wasn’t as natural as Song Zhicun’s, most likely because he also wanted to accept Dong Zhi as his disciple.
Long Shen’s reaction was half a beat slower: “…Is it Han Qi’s business?”
Song Zhicun and Wu Bingtian looked at each other.
“Dong Zhi really didn’t tell you?”
Long Shen shook his head. “I know about Han Qi. The branch office has already reported it. He should be directly responsible for the branch office. There is no need to tell me everything.”
But before that, didn’t you two have a good relationship and were super sticky to each other? Song Zhicun swallowed those words and instead said, with a smile, “Your apprentice is very good at things. As soon as he arrived in Lucheng, he first seriously injured Yamamoto Kiyoshi, and then destroyed the Han Qi’s demonic qi in the nick of time. She didn’t give birth to that child who would have caused a great disaster. Yan Nuo, the original person in charge of Lucheng, had applied for sick leave due to his injury in the Yamamoto incident. The branch office wants to change Dong Zhi from temporarily in charge to an official position. He and Liu Qingbo will become director and deputy director of the Lucheng office.”
“I see.” Long Shen’s expression was calm, and he didn’t look happy or unhappy.
Song Zhicun couldn’t figure out his reaction, so he continued, “However, the following is not without gossip. It’s said that he privately received Hui Yiguang’s money as a reward this time. Although he had already reported to the bureau and used it for the construction of the office, at the end of the day, he still used a loophole. If this precedent is set, I’m afraid someone else will follow suit in the future.”
Long Shen said, “Lucheng has very little funding?”
Song Zhicun: “It’s true since before this, Lucheng’s performance was mediocre, and the Branch Office didn’t give much. Now they have changed offices and the initial funds aren’t enough. It just so happened that Hui Yiguang’s crew had an incident and had asked him for help. Dong Zhi took the remuneration to cover the cost of the office construction.”
Long Shen said, “Well, all the remuneration was turned over. Let him write a review. This time, the General Administration will allocate a sum of money to them in the name of meritorious service awards so that they won’t have to worry about expenses.”
Wu Bingtian and Song Zhicun were stunned.
There seems to be a big bend here. Why so different?
The difference here was the way of allocating money. Normally, it was unorthodox for the General Administration to allocate funds directly to an office, but if it was done in the name of meritorious awards, it would look like the General Administration was commending the office.
The corner of Song Zhicun’s mouth twitched. “They all say that Boss Wu protect his group’s shortcomings1, but I think Boss Long protects the short and the home2.”
1The term here is (护短) which basically means they are shielding a shortcoming/fault/mistake of someone. He’s saying that Wu Bingtian tends to cover up for his team members mistake.
2Basically, he’s saying not only does Long Shen shield the shortcomings of Dong Zhi in the sense because he’s in his team, but he’s also shielding him as someone special to him (like family).
Wu Bingtian was annoyed. “Where do I protect shortcomings? I have always been known to be fair, okay!”
Yes, of course, there’s totally no difference between your fifty steps and one hundred steps. Song Zhicun perfunctorily said in his heart.
“After all, Dong Zhi has to work under the Branch Office, so it’s easy for them to get a bad impression of him. Anyway, a little gossip won’t affect anything. Besides, all the money was handed over to the public and he has also written a project report on it. The branch doesn’t plan to do anything to him,” Song Zhicun persuaded.
Long Shen listened, nodded, and said nothing, since the matter was already exposed.
Song Zhicun breathed a sigh of relief.
After the meeting, it was time to get off work. Long Shen went directly back to the dorm, fed the cat, watered the potted plants, and inadvertently saw the cellphone at hand. After hesitating for a moment, he opened the address book and found the familiar number.
He would naturally defend his apprentice in front of strangers, but he must also warn him not to act too quickly in order to avoid being caught. Although this time it was just a trivial matter, there was no guarantee that it would be trivial every time.
If one day he didn’t pay attention, Dong Zhi might have had a big fall.
The phone rang for a long time before a voice prompt told him the call couldn’t be connected at this time. He most likely had his phone turned off.
Long Shen glanced at the time. It was only six in the evening, which was far from bedtime. He tried several more times but only go the same response, so he simply changed the number.
The old office was going to be sold. In the past two days, they had found an intermediary buyer. Mu Duo and Zhang Chong were busy completing the handover procedures with the other party. Just after they finished the process with the intermediary and were about to head to dinner, they received a call from an unknown number.
Mu Duo didn’t think much about it, so she picked it up. “Hello?”
A strange male voice came from the other end. “Hello, I am Dong Zhi’s master. I can’t get through to his phone right now. Has he turned it off?”
Mu Duo was taken aback and quickly replied, “Yes, they had an evening flight to Shencheng and should still be on the plane now.”
The other party said, “Okay, I see. Thank you.”
The tone was very polite, but it was difficult to conceal the prestige. When one heard it, they would know it was a tone that was used for giving orders. Mu Duo hurriedly said you’re welcome, and seeing as the other party had nothing else to say, she hung up.
Zhang Chong was thinking about what to eat, but he couldn’t help but see Mu Duo stop abruptly.
“What’s the matter? “
Mu Duo said indifferently, “I just remembered that Dong Zhi’s master is Director Long from the General Administration, right?”
Zhang Cheng: “It seems so. Why?”
Mu Duo sighed. “I didn’t connect these two identities at first!”
Zhang Chong scratched his head. “You didn’t say anything you shouldn’t have, did you?”
Mu Duo wondered, “Why does Boss Long have my number? Did he ask Dong Zhi before, or did he find someone to ask for it?”
Zhang Cheng said, “Our phone number is stored in the General Administration’s data. Even if Dong Zhi didn’t tell him, with his authority, it’s not difficult to find.”
Mu Duo sighed again. “As soon as the apprentice turns off his phone, he becomes worried and calls me. Why didn’t my master care so much about me?”
Zhang Cheng laughed. “Don’t be envious. Haven’t you heard that the General Administration has three giants that protect shortcomings!”
Mu Duo: “What three giants?”
Zhang Chong smiled and told her about the gossip of the General Administration. “I heard from my elder martial brother that it was two seniors, Boss Wu and the consultant Daoist Master Li Rui, who tend to protect their group’s shortcomings. After Boss Long accepted his apprentice, Dong Zhi, he was added to that list, which now is the big three! I heard that there’s another named Li Ying, who’s the son of Daoist Master Li. You should be glad that he didn’t come to Lucheng for an internship. Otherwise, you might have another person who’ll be calling you!”
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