Chapter 29 – Planning
Stargaze looked at the man who was slowly approaching him. Guo Xiang had such a grossly indecent expression that even with Stargaze’s demeanor, she had a hard time resisting the urge of blowing him to dust. “Is this your way of treating a guest? Looks like coming here was a mistake.”
Guo Xiang paused when he realized that the woman was referring to his erection. “Well, honestly is a virtue, so why hide things?” Guo Xiang came up with what he thought was a rather poetic line and continued his walk towards her.
“Hmmph!” Guo Xiang felt an icy gust of wind graze his back. However, Stargaze’s coldness aroused him even more. He licked his dry lips and made ready to pounce on his target.
“Sorry for the inconvenience, Ms. Wang, he still has much to learn.” An authoritative voice came from behind Guo Xiang.
Guo Xiang shivered from head to toes. He turned back. ‘This guy?’ Guo Xiang thought with irritation. Bing Shuai had lived in Guo Xiang’s “home” ever since he was a child, and seeing that even his father appeared to display extreme reverence around the man, Guo Xiang feared him from the bottom of his heart.
“Go.” Bing Shuai gave an uncompromising order.
“Yes.” Guo Xiang nodded. He peeked once more at Stargaze and left in irritation, his aroused desired completely extinguished.
“What kind of abomination are you breeding here?” Stargaze swallowed down her anger. She would have walked away were it not for the things at stake.
“He’s the son of one of my representatives. Sorry about that. Please come inside.” Bing Shuai said with a smile that hid away all his worries from the last few days.
Ying Mei came with a tray of tea as soon as the two settled in the living room. She stood on the side quietly and scrutinized Stargaze. ‘This is the woman that’s reputed to be Bing Shuai’s equal?’
“We made a pact ten years ago that we wouldn’t mind each other’s business.” Bing Shuai said rather plainly.
“It didn’t forbid us from visiting each other, did it?” Stargaze picked up one of the expensive crystal cups and smelled the tea inside. She had recovered her usual calm and elegant air.
“You aren’t here just for a visit, aren’t you?” Bing Shuai retorted calmly.
“What do you think?” Stargaze appreciated the sweet aroma of the tea for a moment before putting the cup back.
“You don’t like it?”
“Tea should be served in a teacup.” Stargaze glanced at Ying Mei.
“As you wish.” Ying Mei left the living room immediately.
“You want to get involved in this?” Bing Shuai opened with a candid question they were left with to the privacy of the living room.
“It depends on what you mean.” Stargaze played around Bing Shuai’s question.
“You know, what I’ve been trying to achieve for a long time now.”
“Oh? Are you making progress?”
“No, but other people are.” Bing Shuai stared directly into Stargaze’s eyes, hoping to see something that betrayed her undecryptable countenance.
“You trust me this much?” Stargaze smiled.
‘It’s not her.’ Bing Shuai knew from Stargaze’s reaction that she was not his enemy.
“I have two… interesting people in my house.” After a moment of consideration, Bing Shuai decided to involve Stargaze in the affair. ‘Li Huaibei by himself isn’t too much trouble, but the people behind him… If my guesses are right, then it really is him. I’ll be doomed alone, but with Wang Liping here, just maybe… She’s probably here because she noticed something. I should use this opportunity to make her my ally. I’m sure that with how high the stakes are, she won’t stay unmoved.’ 1
Stargaze listened quietly. This was the purpose of her visit today, and she would not risk a single moment of inattention.
“The one upstairs has seventy percent karma. The one in the basement has some kind of innate Dao technique.” Bing Shuai paused and observed Stargaze’s reaction. As he expected, his revelation was enough to shock even a sage-level guardian, although only briefly. ‘Yes. I’m sure that you know what seventy percent karma means.’
It never occured to Bing Shuai that Stargaze’s concern was directed toward Fu Bo.
* * *
The car came to an abrupt halt with a screech. “Are you sure? The Recorder?” Li Huaibei was shocked.
“Fu Bo’s a novelist. One of the books he wrote is called ‘Adventure to the East’…”
“I’ve read that book.” Li Huaibei interrupted him; he would not be here in such a hurry if it was not because of that novel.
“You’ve read it? Then…”
“I have my own ways, it’s just a little troublesome.” Li Huaibei looked at Li Yiming. ‘And yet he can remember the content effortlessly, Li Yiming…’
“There’s something else. Fu Bo’s writing a second book.”
“It hasn’t been published yet. It’s called ‘Sundering Nature’, and I’m the main character…” Li Yiming shivered when he remembered the eerie feeling of reading about his own life and even his own thoughts.
“Yes, everything about me ever since I became a guardian. That includes all of the domains I’ve gone through, and even the memories of Eden you’ve given to me.”
Li Huaibei sank into a contemplative silence. There was simply no way for anyone else to know about the memories he shared with Li Yiming. In fact, even if the latter tried to narrate what he had witnessed to someone else, his words would be muted by Heaven’s Laws. ‘The Recorder… the one who sees the truth in history… This has to be the reason why Stargaze sent me here. But, since it’s the Recorder, does that mean that I’ll see Stargaze again? Also, Li Yiming must be involved in a hidden truth, or the Recorder wouldn’t be writing his life down.’
“There’s something else. Oftentimes, a small domain would just appear out of nowhere around Fu Bo.” Li Yiming revealed his second concern to Li Huaibei.
“That’s not a domain. It’s a protective realm. The Recorder’s duty is to write down the history of Heaven’s Laws, but Heaven’s Laws doesn’t… want to reveal certain truths. That realm is for the protection of the Recorder. It shields him from everything, even the authority of the Heavens.”
“So you’re telling me that the realm will pop up as soon as Fu Bo starts writing, so he isn’t affected by the outside?” Li Yiming remembered his bowl of noodles. It came to him that when he entered the restaurant, Fu Bo was working on his novel. The entire interior of the shop was an illusion within Fu Bo’s domain, and the moment Fu Bo closed his computer, the domain vanished, along with the bowl of noodles he had ordered. Li Yiming was brought back to the real shop and mistakenly believed that someone had stolen his food without him noticing.
“Recorders are special entities. Most of them don’t know about their own identity. They’re usually authors or painters, and with each his or her own way to record the truth of Heaven’s Laws. Some of these truths will be revealed when the time is right, but some of these stories could potentially destroy the very foundations of the order of this world…” Li Huaibei raised his head toward the starry sky; he remembered his friends, the woman he loved, and Eden.
“So Heaven’s Law’s is concealing things?” Li Yiming started to understand the severity of the implications.
Li Huaibei looked back at him, baffled by what he had just heard, and looked at the sky once again. ‘Are you serious? This kid… if I were to say such things…’
“So Fu Bo is in their hands?”
“Yes. He should be somewhere in Century Garden right now.”
“The Recorder is too important to let him fall into the hands of our enemies.” The consequences of Fu Bo being imprisoned were immediately clear to Li Huaibei; the Recorder did not necessarily have to write things down after they happened. To bend fate with one’s words was not an impossibility.
“What are we waiting for then? We should go rescue Fu Bo.” Li Yiming urged.
“Let me guess what you’re thinking. We’ll get there, I’ll show them a little bit of my sage powers, and the people there are going to give Fu Bo back.” Li Huaibei suddenly looked back at Li Yiming, half-amused.
“Are you telling me otherwise?’ Li Yiming was thinking exactly that. After witnessing Li Huaibei’s abilities, Li Yiming was sure that there was nothing in Hangzhou that could stop him.
“The Yunlong Group that you’ve mentioned. They represent a group of guardians. You’ll learn about what I mean by “representative” soon enough. Do you know who’s behind Yunlong?”
“Who? Is it some kind of big shot?” Li Yiming asked.
“Yan Bing. He’s known as Bing Shuai. He became a sage about fifteen years ago. That’s three years earlier than my team captain, Ma Dafang.”
* * *
Mr. Kong contemplated the amber city lights in the distance that shone and moved around in the darkness, like a red Koi fish in a stream. He sat on top of a mountain peak, his knit bag swaying back and forth in the violent gusts of wind.
“It won’t be a quiet night.” He sighed, clasped his bag and let it drop down once again.
He wanted to go, but could not.
Mr. Kong raised his head toward the sky. A golden glow appeared in his irises as he did so, carrying all of his fury and rage toward somewhere above the clouds. However, a moment later and he sat down once again, taking out a stack of paper from his bag. The paper was new and in perfect condition, held together by a delicate cord on the left edge. On the cover page, the title was handwritten flamboyantly: “Adventure to the East.”
“To let go of the six senses and desires and to transcend this illusive reality. And yet I can’t do it. I’ve turned back, only to realize that there’s no shore to go back to. I’ve knelt down to whom I thought was going to be my teacher, but that only brought pain and death… I…” 2
“What is the use of this staff…?”
The bag fell down into the abyss below. Mr. Kong held the book with both of his hands and whispered his silent frustration.
Remember that Mr. Kong has a signature weapon, which is a staff. This is what he is referring to.
1. Kind reminder that Wang Liping is Stargaze’s real name.
2. The six senses are hearing, taste, sight, touch, smell and mental consciousness. It’s a concept of Buddhism. Also, “turn back and you shall see the shore”, is an old saying in Chinese Buddhism whose meaning is pretty self-explanatory. In Mr. Kong’s case, it refers to his “conversion” to help out Tang Seng on his journey after being stuck under a mountain for five hundred years.