A metallic sound, like that of a bell chime, resonated throughout the neighborhood and thousands of light orbs streaked across the sky.
“What?” Li Yiming caught one as it ran past him. It was a simple paper envelope.
“The ticket to the music festival?” Li Yiming did not know what the paper container was supposed to be, but quickly understood that it was a key to a domain. Looking around him, he noticed that the other guardians also received the same invitation.
“Since your friends are here, I would consider my promise to be fulfilled. I’ll be taking my leave now.” Pan Junwei glanced at Liu Meng one last time and limped away, supported by his teammates.
“Go.” Liu Meng also ordered, and the rest of team Dissonance soon disappeared into an alleyway.
As the street emptied itself, Li Yiming glanced at his concert ticket. ‘Looks like the ruckus of the fight drew Heaven’s Laws attention. This music festival… it’s almost as if this was made exclusively for me…’
As the wailing of the police sirens was finally heard, Li Yiming sighed, jumped through the greenbelt and into the shadows of the alleyway.
“What the hell is going on?” The police chancellor at the police headquarters shouted, ignoring the numbness caused by his smashing of the table. Several firearm incidents resulting in over a dozen casualties was enough to catch the attention of those back in the capital and consequently make him lose his painstakingly acquired position.
“All of the surveillance footage has been wiped. We’re trying to recover it, but whoever did it did a clean job…” A middle-aged officer answered in a low voice.
“What about the eye-witnesses?” The chancellor spat out.
“There’s… there’s something strange about them. All thirty came up with different stories. We suspect that they’re under the influence of illicit substances. We’re taking urine samples right now…” The vice-chancellor, who sat at the other end of the table with bloodshot eyes, answered.
“What about these special agents?” The chancellor took a deep breath to compose himself.
“They disappeared after the firefight and brought all of their equipment with them.”
“Shit!” The chancellor burst out once more.
Knock Knock Knock!
A light knocking was heard just as the room sank into a long silence.
“Yes, come in.” The chancellor said as he rubbed his temples, hoping for some good news.
“Sir… sir…” The junior officer who entered was so intimidated by the tense atmosphere, he could not help but stammer.
“Please just speak clearly.” The chancellor tried as hard as he could to present himself as an affable figure to his personnel.
“The new… vice-chancellor Lin is here. She wants to see you…” The officer said after gulping down a mouthful of saliva.
“Vice-chancellor Lin? What?”
“We talked about this last time, the colonel who’s transferring from the military,” The head of administration whispered.
The chancellor let out a long sigh as he remembered the file folder from the meeting last time. ‘Seriously? With that look? Special forces? Yeah, special forces in acting and on-stage performance maybe…’
“Alright, well, please make the arrangements,” The chancellor said in frustration. It would have been a nice thing otherwise to work with someone attractive, even if it only helped improve his mood, but right now, he had no time or effort to mind someone who was parachuted into his unit through nepotism.
“Yes, sir.” The head of administration nodded and stood up.
“Oh? Everyone’s here? Is this a meeting? I’m a bit early, I hope you don’t mind,” Lin Lu’s voice was heard at the door. She had a tidy appearance and went straight to the point, as she always did.
* * *
“You’re back?” Stargaze was looked at the young girl as she was pushed into the room on her wheelchair.
“Yes,” Tian Yan answered calmly. Qian Man, who was pushing her wheelchair, had a face full of surprise.
Stargaze lied down on the sofa with silk sleepwear and a facial mask. She had just taken a shower and wore the slippers and bath cap provided by the hotel. One would normally think of it as an everyday sight, but Stargaze was the kind of person who would only wear traditional dresses and meditated like an old monk rather than relaxed on a couch.
“You’ve met her?” Stargaze kept her eyes closed and sipped her cup of red wine.
“Not in person, but I did contact her.” Tian Yan answered, she knew exactly whom Stargaze was asking about, and supposed it to be the reason for having Qian Mian follow her.
“You should rest then.” Stargaze put down her cup and adjusted her position on the sofa.
“Are… Are you not interested in what we talked about?” Tian Yan was surprised, since she had purposely avoided Qian Mian when she contacted Ying Mei.
“That’s your own business. I had him follow you simply because I was worried. I only need a favor from you now,” Stargaze answered.
“The festival will start in three days. Li Yiming will be there. I want you to have a look at him and tell me what you see. Your private matters are of no concern to me.” Stargaze looked away, and Qian Mian began pushing Tian Yan into another room.
“Three days. I have three days to decide.” Stargaze opened her eyes wide. In her irises shone an iridescent orb of light which pierced through the ceiling and shot into the sky.
* * *
“Have you received it?” Li Yiming arrived back in Sai Gao’s place with a bag of food and threw it on the table. He gave his key to Sai Gao, who was in the middle of a yoga session with Shao Xian.
“A ticket? You bought this?” With the event having preoccupied her thoughts for over a day now, Shao Xian recognized the paper right away.
“I’ve told you, I don’t belong to your system,” Sai Gao said.
“V.I.P.? Two-thousand eight-hundred?” Shao Xian suddenly exclaimed. She thought the purchase to squandering money, since she could have gotten preferential treatment as an insider.
“My friend gave it to me. You should eat breakfast.” Li Yiming smiled, took back the ticket, and headed for the balcony.
“Shame I don’t have a friend like his.” Sai Gao stretched himself and finally sat up straight.
“I should have a ticket. You’re my manager, so you shouldn’t even need one…” Shao Xian had found a good friend in Sai Gao just after one night. Their friendly relationship was bound to happen as Sai Gao was an attentive and knowledgeable companion who taught her everything about how to live properly as a young woman.
“Let’s finish this session before eating. That pose is good for your lower body.” Sai Gao smiled.
“Yes.” Shao Xian wiped her sweat.
“Quite the show last night?” Sai Gao lit up a cigarette for himself and joined Li Yiming.
Li Yiming frowned when he looked at plastic cigarette filter. He instead took Sai Gao’s pack and lit one up for himself. Sai Gao shrugged his shoulders and put down a lighter on the railing.
“Everyone showed up. I would have mistaken it for a convention of guardians if I didn’t know better…” Li Yiming was beginning to get used to the bitter smell of tobacco.
“Three days left…” Sai Gao glanced at Shao Xian and then turned his attention back to Li Yiming. ‘Will he be able to defy the Heavens once again…?’
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