Bu Tian Gang Ch117

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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

Chapter 117

After the group arrived in Bangkok, Long Shen and the others met Songla, the white-robed master who would be attending the meeting. He was also an important figure in the White Robe Association. It was said that his status in Southeast Asia was almost equal to that of Xinchai, but unlike Xinchai, Songla was tall and looked more like an athlete than a sorcerer. He didn’t speak fluent English, so Kenta attended as his translator.

The deputy team leader of Group 51 was an American named Carlos. Long Shen and him seemed to be old acquaintances. The two didn’t have just a courtesy meeting but instead met in a small conference room for a while before moving to the large conference room.

Long Shen didn’t avoid Dong Zhi during this time and even asked him to stay and listen to their separate meeting with Carlos.

Carlos had known Long Shen for many years. Hearing that Long Shen was introducing his own apprentice, he couldn’t help but be surprised. “I heard that you never accept apprentices. This time, you made an exception. It seems that this little guy must be extraordinary, right?”

Long Shen nodded, holding no intention of explaining too much about it.

Although there was frequent international cooperation now, they were still two different countries. It was hard to say when they would stand on opposite sides. Long Shen had no intention of developing any deep friendships with practitioners outside his own country. However, this time, because he wanted to lift Dong Zhi’s curse, kill Songen, and destroy Mara, Long Shen briefly mentioned these things to Carlos.

Carlos looked relaxed the entire time. When he heard that the heavenly demon had managed to escape, he couldn’t help but complain. “You can’t stop Mara from escaping? Long, this isn’t like your ability!”

Long Shen said indifferently, “I couldn’t stop it at that time, but you can certainly try.”

Carlos curled his lips. “Then you should have called a few more people when you went, such as notifying Group 51 in advance, instead of acting on your own and now telling us.”

Long Shen sneered, “Songen has been there for decades. How come I haven’t seen you guys find Mara and go over and do justice?”

Carlos was speechless for a moment and then laughed. “Don’t be like that, Long. I’m just joking!”

His performance changed within a split second, which surprised Dong Zhi.

However, Carlos didn’t feel that he was thick-skinned.

“Long, you know we’re all working for the top. Now that something so big has happened, I will have to make a report on it. Where is that place? I’ll let someone go and investigate later. Maybe I can find something.”

Long Shen told him the location. When they left, they had done a thorough check, so there was no omission. Even if Carlos sent people there now, it would be impossible to find anything.

Carlos naturally knew this, but in order to have something to account for, he had to ask.

“In your opinion, after Mara’s demonic qi escape, where will it go?”

Long Shen said, “Well, the United States is far away. It may not get there for a while.”

Dong Zhi almost laughed out loud. He discovered that the relationship between Long Shen and Carlos was a bit like the current relationship between the two countries. They cooperated with each other but also tested each other. While trust wasn’t something on the table, it wasn’t to the point that they would tear each other’s faces.

In the past, he didn’t know that Long Shen would have time to chat with others so leisurely, but now that he had seen it, he found it quite entertaining.

Carlos also heard the other party’s ridicule and smiled bitterly. “I already apologized for my previous recklessness earlier. Isn’t that enough? You may have heard that recently, the United States and Europe have also discovered traces of demons. Among them, there is a plague demon. We’re very worried that something like the Black Death* will happen again. The demon hunters are quite understaffed right now. We hope to get your help.”

*Bubonic plague pandemic that was the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, causing the deaths of 75-200 million people.

Long Shen shook his head. “We also have important things to deal with.”

Carlos inquired suspiciously, “Isn’t Mara already eradicated?”

Long Shen said, “There’s something else.”

Seeing that he refused to divulge more, Carlos smiled slyly. “Is it Japan? Do you need our help?”

Given Carlos’ abilities, it wasn’t impossible for him not to know something. Long Shen replied, “Thank you, but I don’t need it for the time being.”

Carlos was disappointed that he didn’t get any other information. He shrugged and spread his hands. “Well, let’s talk about the World Exchange Conference. We’re planning to send five people to participate this year. How about you?”

Long Shen said, “We haven’t decided yet, but it shouldn’t exceed previous years.”

Carlos glanced at Dong Zhi and said with a smile, “Your disciple has never participated before. It seems that you plan to let him attend this year?”

There was nothing to hide about this, so Long Shen nodded. “Where is the location this year?”

Each conference had a host country. Because it had a competition aspect, the location would change every time. This year was Carlos’ country’s turn.

Carlos said, “On a deserted island in the Atlantic Ocean. We will use the latest simulation equipment to perform holographic simulations. The old rule is that the team that gets the designated props first will naturally win.”

After speaking, he saw Long Shen frowning deeply in a contemplative state.

“What are you thinking?”

Long Shen said, “The escape wisp of Mara’s demonic qi can’t pose much threat for the time being, but it will definitely seek opportunities for growth in the future.”

Carlos nodded. “Yes, demons like to draw nutrients from the breath of the living, and it’s likely to go to a prosperous metropolis.”

Long Shen: “No matter how much the breath of a living person is, it’s not as pure as the breath of a practitioner. Given Mara’s nature, I think he would prefer this shortcut.”

Carlos was slightly shocked. He immediately understood what Long Shen meant. “You mean it will take advantage of the World Exchange Conference to attack!”

Long Shen: “I’m just raising a possibility.”

Carlos sighed. “It seems that this time it’s destined to be uneasy again. Fortunately, I’m not leading the team, so I can leave this trouble to someone else for the time being.”

Long Shen raised an eyebrow. “Who’s leading the team?”

The World Exchange Conference aimed to facilitate the exchange and cooperation of practitioners from all over the world. For the competition portion, there was an unwritten rule that only newcomers who had never participated before would compete. In principle, they weren’t allowed to participate a second time. The leader of the team was a senior, but they weren’t allowed to participate in the competition. They could only lead the team.

Carlos smiled and said, “It’s been confirmed that Lily will be leading the team. Otherwise, I really want to see your disciple’s abilities. After all, he is your only one.”

He didn’t hide his interest in Dong Zhi and would look at him from time to time.

Dong Zhi maintained his usual style in front of outsiders. He would smile politely, giving off a soft and cute feeling every time.

Carlos couldn’t help sighing. “Long, did you figure out what you lack so you specially found a disciple who’s completely opposite of your personality?”

Long Shen didn’t bother answering.

When they left the small conference room, the three of them headed to the meeting with practitioners from all over the world. The content was mainly to exchange current monster incidents in various places. Japan had sent their onmyojis, who, whether intentionally or not, didn’t communicate with Long Shen, and Long Shen didn’t take the initiative to talk to them. The two sides maintained a delicate cold war until the end of the meeting.

This was the first time Dong Zhi had been involved in this kind of event and met with so many practitioners from all over the world. Although their names were different, their mannerisms weren’t much different from ordinary people. After all, a country wouldn’t send someone who had been isolated in a deep forest or mountain to a world exchange. Even the wizards from Africa wore suits and ties and spoke fluent English, which Dong Zhi couldn’t help finding contrary to the fantasy in his head.

Everyone communicated on the whereabouts of Mara’s demonic qi and agreed that Long Shen’s speculation was most probable, which made the upcoming world conference heavier. Carlos expressed that this was a good opportunity to tempt the heavenly demon to throw itself into their net and hoped to take advantage of the conference to completely eliminate Mara so as to avoid future troubles.

All parties didn’t immediately express their opinions on this. They believed that they needed to go back and discuss further before making a decision. The meeting ended quickly. Long Shen didn’t stay in Bangkok much longer. After bidding farewell to Songla and Kenta, they returned to China.

On the plane, Dong Zhi couldn’t restrain his curiosity and asked Long Shen, “The person for the exchange conference has been selected?”

Long Shen nodded. “Before we confronted Songen, it was already settled. It should be you, Li Ying, Liu Qingbo, Zhang Song, Liu Si, and one more. Now that Li Ying has gone to Japan, he will be replaced.”

Dong Zhi pondered. “Didn’t Carlos say that a senior can lead the team. We’re all newcomers though?”

Long Shen said, “Most of the bureau is busy with the stone tablet right now, and they can’t find a reliable candidate. Rather than finding a random person, it’s better to compose the team with all newcomers. The tacit understanding you developed during your training is better than others.”

Dong Zhi nodded, thinking this was true.

“I understand Master’s painstaking efforts.”

Long Shen raised his brows. “What painstaking effort?”

“The painstaking effort to take me to this meeting!” Dong Zhi said with a smile, “Although I may have been buying soy sauce* all that time, I have also watched a lot and listened. I now at least know how to deal with practitioners from other countries.”

*(酱油) It has two meanings. The internet buzzword meaning (which applies here) refers to not caring about public topics (acting like a passerby). || In this context, Dong Zhi is basically saying, he didn’t participate in the meeting and just sat there and listened.

Long Shen smiled inwardly but didn’t show it on his face.

“Then tell me.”

Dong Zhi spoke a lot.

“Our relationship with Group 51 is a bit like the relationship between the two countries. It’s neither too close nor too far away. We must cooperate but also guard against it. There are several independent institutions in Europe. They usually do their own thing, which makes it difficult to cooperate at critical moments. This is why the European monsters are so chaotic. Southeast Asia mainly has the White Robed Association, but this association is relatively loose and isn’t an official association. There are also practitioners from Japan, which are now controlled by Otowa Yasuhiko. During the meeting, I noticed that their onmyojis didn’t greet us. In the end, we all have our own positions and interests. It’s fine to cooperate to eliminate demons, but the stone tablet is a matter of great importance, and we can only solve it by ourselves.”

Long Shen looked approvingly at him.

In fact, the new members of the Special Administration Bureau from Dong Zhi’s training class were the best in terms of overall quality in recent years. For example, Zhang Song’s qualifications and abilities were quite high, but his personality was too rebellious, which made him unable to become a team leader. Liu Qingbo, in terms of strength, wasn’t any inferior to Dong Zhi, but he was too easy to fold and also lacked a bit of resilience that could bend and stretch. Others have their own deficiencies in terms of strength. If it had to be said, the most favored ones were Li Ying and Dong Zhi.

This wasn’t just a bias that Long Shen had for his apprentice. Even Wu Bingtian, Song Zhicun, and even Zong Ling and the other bigwigs believed that Li Ying and Dong Zhi may be the mainstays of the Special Administration Bureau ten or twenty years from now, so when Long Shen brought Dong Zhi to this meeting, it was actually decided internally by the top.

Dong Zhi, Liu Qingbo, and others may not think so, but many people were secretly cultivating and nurturing them. This time, Long Shen went because of Dong Zhi’s curse. He had brought a slew of precious pills with him. Although these pills didn’t come in handy in the end, this wasn’t something that Long Shen could bring casually. He needed written consent from Wu Bingtian and Song Zhicun.

Seeing his expression, Dong Zhi became happy and tilted his head to ask for merit. “Did my answer make you feel like you didn’t receive an apprentice in vain?”

“Don’t be mischievous.” This was said with a softness that Long Shen himself didn’t notice, as if he were joking.

Was this being mischievous?

Dong Zhi grabbed Long Shen’s finger and put it on his mouth, gently nibbling on it, then deliberately smiling. “Is this also being mischievous?”

Long Shen held onto Dong Zhi’s mischievous hand and pressed it onto the armrest.

“That’s called teasing.”

Dong Zhi burst out laughing. His master, who was such an unearthly person, actually said teasing.

“Then, has Boss Long been teased successfully?”

Long Shen shook his head. He looked like he was in a good mood as he joked, “I’m not messing around.”

When Dong Zhi’s hand was held down, he wanted to move his feet, but before he could move a toe, the other party seemed to have noticed his intentions in advance.

“If you move again, I’ll forcefully enter your sea of consciousness here.”

Dong Zhi: ……

He didn’t want to be misunderstood by others with his face flushed and his body soft on the plane, so he immediately retracted his hand and stopped teasing his master.

Long Shen turned his head and smiled silently.

They hadn’t rested much since their great battle. On the plane home, with Long Shen sitting next to him, Dong Zhi relaxed his mind and fell asleep before takeoff. The noise and movement on the plane during takeoff failed to wake him up.

Long Shen wasn’t sleepy at first, but perhaps seeing Dong Zhi sleep soundly infected him, and he gradually became tired. He pulled the blanket covering Dong Zhi up, closed his eyes, and subconsciously took a nap.

A few hours later, they returned to the Special Administration Bureau. Dong Zhi looked at the familiar building in front of them and felt nostalgia as he saw the familiar doorman.

The uncle sat there with his arms folded and was dozing off, but his ears had already heard them approaching. He raised his head and glanced at them with his sharp eyes and saw Long Shen and Dong Zhi. Dong Zhi hurriedly greeted the uncle, who nodded slightly at him, then lowered his head and continued to doze off.

Every time Dong Zhi passed this doorman, he felt that there was something mystical about him. At all hours of the day, he would enter and exit the back door and would always see the uncle sitting there. He felt that as long as the Special Administration Bureau existed, he would always be there. If he had to select the number one mysterious figure in the Special Administration Bureau, this uncle was definitely at the top of the list.

He once suspected that the doorman wasn’t a human, but now it seems that even ordinary monsters may not have this energy.

Given that Dong Zhi’s old injuries hadn’t healed yet and the World Exchange Conference was going to be held soon and Liu Qingbo and the others would meet in Beijing, Long Shen asked Dong Zhi to stay in the capital to recuperate first, so there was no need for him to run back and forth. Besides, the network was so well developed that he could communicate remotely at any time.

It happened to be in the afternoon. Because the two were busy, there was no deep affection as imagined between the two lovers.

Long Shen and Dong Zhi first went to greet Wu Bingtian and Song Zhicun and reported their trip to the two directors. He found that both Boss Wu and Song had looked a bit thinner, which showed that they hadn’t been idle these days. At that time, Long Shen was busy closing the abyss passage while Dong Zhi was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the heavenly demon. The two complemented each other’s story to fill in the blanks. Although Wu Bingtian and Song Zhicun weren’t there in person, they were people who have been through many battles. How could they not hear the danger? Song Zhicun sighed at that moment. “I should have gone with you. This trip was way too close to death for comfort!”

Long Shen’s expression was indifferent, and he replied simply, “Since we have returned safely, there’s no need to talk about this. How’s your side?”

Song Zhicun had just returned from Sichuan and was covered in dust. He didn’t even have time to go home and take a shower and spend a little bit of time with his wife and children; instead, he had to rush back to the General Administration for a meeting—because the Special Administration Bureau had found another stone tablet, but things weren’t good.

The eight stone tablets made up an array and were found along several dragon veins. When the stone tablet at the foot of Mount Shaohua was discovered, it had already been broken for hundreds of years and was unable to be restored. After that, the people of the Special Administration Bureau accelerated their actions but found nothing. This forced them to divide their forces. While they sent Li Ying and the others to Japan to find Otowa Yasuhiko, they continued to search for the remaining stone tablets.

Coincidentally, at this time, an ancient tomb near Sanxingdui was excavated. Archaeologists found half of a broken stone tablet in the main tomb. The runes above were incomprehensible and were almost regarded as a new type of text that had never been discovered before. The Southwest Branch rushed over immediately after learning the news. When they completed a comparative survey, it was found that the half stone tablet was indeed one of the stone tablets they were looking for.

In 316 BC, during the reign of King Huiwen of Qin, the ancient Kingdom of Shu was destroyed by Qin troops. The king of Qin appointed Minister Chen Zhuang as head of the Kingdom of Shu. The owner of the tomb who excavated the half stone tablet was Chen Zhuang’s deputy. He should be a nobleman of the Kingdom of Qin at that time and one of the important figures who conquered Shu.

According to the epitaph, the stone tablet was handed down from ancient times. It was regarded by the Shu people as a gift from heaven, and it was regarded by the King of Shu as a mandate from heaven. No matter how many kings changed in Shu, the stone tablet was preserved intact in the ancestral temple. However, since the Qin empire wanted to annex the Kingdom of Shu, they naturally wanted to break the King of Shu’s theory on the mandate of heaven, so Chen Zhuang ordered the stone tablet to be broken in half. Half of it was shipped back to the Kingdom of Qin and dedicated to the King of Quin, while the other half was kept in place.

In the following decades, the situation in Shu gradually calmed down, and the political significance of the stone tablet was gone. Chen Zhuang’s deputy, who was the owner of the tomb, brought half the stone tablet to study it. He later died of illness and was buried alongside the stone tablet, which was discovered thousands of years later.

This news, however, was bad for the Special Administration Bureau. The stone tablet had been broken in half. Even if they found the other half, it wouldn’t help. This meant that there was another gap in the demon seal array.

Hearing this, Wu Bingtian couldn’t help but huff bitterly. “We now have three broken stone tablets.”

Song Zhicun sighed. “There’s a total of eight stone tablets that form the eight-sided demon seal. I’m worried that the formation will be loosened now that three of the eight have been destroyed. I hope that Ding Lan and the others will gain something in Japan. Even if we know where the formations are, we won’t be so passive.”

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