Qing Linglong frowned as she put her dislocated shoulder back into the normal position, but her attention was mostly focused on Eyeglasses, for the news about Li Yiming he would bring.
“He's not involved in this. Seems like things aren't as bad as we think they are,” Big Beard said as he took out a cigar and took a puff, seemingly unaffected by the pain caused by his bleeding wound.
“Who were those people?” Qing Qiaoqiao said with a frightened voice as she helped her sister bandage up.
“Pan Junwei…” Eyeglasses spat out as he let go of Big Beard’s wrist.
“Didn’t expect him to join forces with Yun Yiyuan…” Qing Linglong said with a sunken voice.
“I'm not so sure about that… If he really was working for Yun Yiyuan, I doubt we would have made it out alive,” Big Beard said as he rolled the bandage around his wrist.
“Then why did they attack us? Were they not here to protect the laboratory?” Qing Qiaoqiao asked angrily. They had escaped at the cost of Big Beard’s mecha.
“I've met him before… He was an honorable man.” Big Beard said with a low voice as he looked at the remnants of his mecha — it was broken beyond what he could repair with his talent.
“He had a military background, according to my research.” Eyeglasses said as he opened his computer.
“So you're saying that he's protecting the country?” Qing Qiaoqiao said with a voice full of disbelief.
“Well, I think we all have a different understanding of what it means to protect the country. Heaven's Laws used to be our shackle, but now that it's gone…” Qing Linglong said as she moved her left arm around.
“But how could he possibly think that? Protecting the country by using artificial guardians? Doesn't he know what that implies?”
“You know, in a way, it does fix some problems.”
“What do you mean?”
“With Heaven’s Laws gone, we are free to do whatever we want. Although most of us are still being careful, you can imagine how things will turn out in the future.”
“Big Beard’s right. Even now, you can see how the newly-awakened guardians have no regard for laws. If everyone starts to do whatever they want, it’s going to be a disaster,” Eyeglasses agreed.
“So you're telling me that he went back to the military to create an army that can establish order?”
“You’ve seen it for yourself. Aside from Pan Junwei, there were large groups of soldiers who participated in the ambush. I wouldn't think that Yun Yiyuan would be able to have this much influence over the military in such a short span of time.”
“Well, it would make sense for the military to finally react to all these bizarre occurrences over the last year.”
“What about Li Yiming? I thought he was working with National Security?”
“We need to go have a talk with him... face to face…” Qing Linglong said with a severe countenance. Having no other means to stop the military’s research by themselves, Li Yiming’s help became of utmost importance.
“Before that, how about we have a talk?” An amused voice was suddenly heard from behind.
“Who is it?” Big Beard said as he pulled out a steel dagger, his teammates followed suit and each brandished their own weapons.
“It’s me, Wu Yun.” Wu Yun appeared in his usual greasy factory uniform.
* * *
Li Yiming, who was completely unaware of what was happening with his teammates, descended from his car with an umbrella after closing his phone.
“We should receive news from them soon. I trust them. Could you go back and wait for me at the tea shop? I have a few things I'd like to do,” Li Yiming said to Chen Quan.
“Alright.” Although disappointed, Chen Quan resolved to waiting, as there seemed to be nothing he could do.
“Be careful, okay?” Li Yiming said as he walked away from the car.
From his call with Lin Lu, he was also informed about the results of the interrogation of the gang leader. After forcing him to spill the beans, they learned that Yun Yiyuan was the one behind Wu Jia’s kidnapping. Upon receiving the news, Li Yiming cracked a devious smile that not even Liu Meng would have recognized on him, as he looked forward to fighting Yun Yiyuan.
* * *
“Look at this,” A young girl who looked like she was in junior high school said as she opened the door holding several file folders.
Li Huaibei shook his head when he saw the young girl and resumed sipping his wine.
“Oh? What did you find?” Tian Yan asked, not showing any reaction.
“Her name is Wu Jia. She’s one of Li Yiming’s high school classmates.” Qian Mian seemed a little disappointed at the two not showing any reactions to his disguise and began presenting his findings.
“Nothing unusual.” Tian Yan said when she finished hearing the report.
“Yes, everything is normal until a few days ago, when she attended a stone exhibition. She was kidnapped and almost raped as a result.” Qian Mian said as he went to the last page of the report.
“Really? Which one?”
“The same one you attended a few days ago.”
“Where was she brought to after being kidnapped?” Tian Yan asked.
“A sauna center.”
“You’ve got it.”
“So is she the reason why Li Yiming slaughtered the entire gang?” Tian Yan glanced at Li Huaibei, who also paused in his drinking.
“Sounds about right, based on the information we’ve got here.”
“So we were right… Where’s Li Yiming?” Tian Yan knew that if she had figured out the truth behind the kidnappings, then Li Yiming surely must have as well.
“On his way to the headquarters of Yunyun Corporation.”
“Bring Tian Yan back, I’ll go take care of Wu Jia.” Li Huaibei suddenly put his cup down and stood up.
“You're not going anywhere,” Qian Mian said with a sunken countenance. After seeing the stone tablets, he had grown wary of Li Huaibei’s role in the events which were about to unfold — he doubted as to whether he was the one who would claim Stargaze’s life.
“I think I'll stay too. I want to have a look at Li Yiming.” Tian Yan understood that Li Huaibei was worried for her safety, but she could not possibly let valuable information slip by when they were so close to the truth.
“I'll trust that you'll take care of yourself. I'll go investigate the stone tablets and the mysterious being at the stone exhibition that was able to suppress your senses,” Qian Mian said as he began walking toward the door. When he reached the exit, he had transformed into an old man with a hunched back.
* * *
Inside the tea shop, Chen Jiawang found himself staring at Bai Ze as he gave her her third ice cream in less than half an hour.
“So... are you really boss's cousin?” Chen Jiawang found Bai Ze’s story a little bit hard to believe, given the fact that she did not look like Li Yiming at all.
“You think I had a choice in this?” Bai Ze stared back at Chen Jiawang in frustration, disappointed by Li Yiming’s true identity.
“It's not good for you to eat that much ice cream…” Chen Jiawang took out a piece of tissue and wiped away the ice cream on Bai Ze’s cheeks.
“Shut up. Go and get me two more buckets. After that, we’ll go to the amusement park.” Bai Ze decided that she needed a way to vent out her frustration, and the best way would be by riding roller coasters and wooden horses.
“So, are you…” Chen Jiawang suddenly asked with a low voice.
“What do you think?” Bai Ze looked back at Chen Jiawang as if she was looking at an idiot. “What’s your talent?”
“So you really are a guardian?” Chen Jiawang could not believe what she heard.
Bai Ze rolled her eyes and continued eating her ice cream.
“How about you tell me first?” Chen Jiawang was brimming with curiosity, but he still had a hard time believing that the cute little girl sitting in front of him possessed extraordinary powers.
Bai Ze pursed her lips out of annoyance and picked up a coin from the table.
“Have a close look.” Bai Ze closed her fists and opened them again; the coin had turned into a small metallic sphere.
“Wow…” Chen Jiawang was shocked at he examined the solid metallic ball.
“Your turn now.”
“Hehe, have a look at this…” Chen Jiawang licked his lips and put the metallic ball back onto the table, only this time, it emitted a golden luster.
“Alchemy?” Bai Ze’s eyes lit up.
“Wait a second.” Bai Ze suddenly jumped off her chair and made for the door.
“Hey! Where are you going?” Chen Jiawang chased after her.
“Can you get me a glass cup?” Bai Ze came back before Chen Jiawang even made it out of the room.
After Chen Jiawang gave her a cup, she turned it over and slammed it onto the table.
“...A fly?” Chen Jiawang looked at the bug inside the cup.
“Ever tried your power on living things?” Bai Ze pointed at the cup.
“Give it a shot.”
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