“What’s the situation?” Big Beard asked between puffs of smoke.
“It’s spreading. Seems like there’s another one now” Eyeglasses said as he worked on his computer.
“Who is it this time?” Qing Linglong dropped her work and came to the computer.
“Shao Xian…” Eyeglasses opened a webpage and a video popped out.
Shao Xian, who was instrumental in the battle against the ghosts back in Shangbei, also became a very popular figure for the public. Just like Fang Shui’er, she had an established reputation prior to the events. Combined with her charming appearance, she had attracted a large group of supporters, some even calling her a saint of the new religion.
However, a new video that had been circulating around accused Shao Xian of being a high-end prostitute. Not only were there pictures and recordings of Shao Xian being at some events she had participated in when she was young, but even some clients of hers have come out to confess.
The public discourse grew increasingly vitriolic at what seemed like the scam of the century; the government and guardians working hand to hand to trick the common people into doing their bidding.
“What is he up to?” Qing Linglong cursed as she looked at the pictures in the video.
Shao Xian was not the first person that had been victimized. There had been multiple videos that circulated prior to her scandal regarding other guardians as well. Their crimes included money laundering, fraud, to even rape and murder. What made matters worse was that the majority of the accusations were true, thus making it incredibly difficult to refute the claims.
Before the collapse of Heaven’s Laws, the guardians enjoyed immunity to the rules of society which bound the common people. Times were different back then, however, with their image being so important to the public now, no one could bear worshipping a criminal. This resulted in the complete destruction of the president’s effort in reforming public opinion.
“Spreading rumors to sow doubt. Releasing information about the artificial guardian project and diverting the attention of the government, only to follow up with the knock-out punch of revealing the guardians’ past crimes…” Eyeglasses said as he rubbed his nose bridge.
“He’s not smart enough for that. There’s someone else giving him these ideas,” Qing Linglong said as she looked at the information she received. Yun Yiyuan’s philosophy was always might over cunning.
* * *
“Why? Why did it turn out like this?” Fu Bo clenched his fist as he watched the protests being broadcasted on television. The protestors were brandishing signs and chanting slogans, demanding justice.
“Sis Ying…” Tian Yan murmured. On the night of the lotus flowers bloomed, she had received a visit from Ying Mei. What was unsettling about it was that she realized she could no longer see Ying Mei’s fate.
* * *
Li Yiming and Liu Meng, soon after the showing of the lotus flowers, bid farewell to Liu Meng’s mother and went on a long trip. They planned on traveling around the world, leaving their smiles and footprints behind, while creating everlasting memories. Despite the emergency, the two chose to spend their days entirely with each other, unconcerned with what was about to come, or the significance of the apparition in the sky and Mr. Kong’s awakening.
* * *
As for Bai Ze, she closed down the tea house and bought a mansion near Chen Jiawang’s birthplace. She visited Chen Jiawang’s parents and asked them to move over, using an excuse about the mansion’s being too empty for two people. Despite not completely understanding her explanation, Chen Jiawang’s parents gladly took the offer to be reunited with their son and moved in.
Chen Jiawang looked at his parents, who were dutifully keeping the house clean, and asked. “What are you doing? I don’t think we needed that.”
“Let them enjoy what little days we have left…” Bai Ze sighed as she looked up at the sky.
* * *
As for Shao Xian and Sai Gao, they had gone back to playing games on the couch all day after the damning video about Shao Xian was released. Shao Xian herself was not too affected, as she simply returned to her normal reclusive life and hid from the public, especially since the accusations from the video were mostly true.
“Hey, what if no one wants to marry me anymore?” Shao Xian suddenly poked Sai Gao with her foot.
“What’s the rush? If I’m not worried about it, why should you?” Sai Gao said as he looked at his phone — with the current situation, there were a lot fewer people playing games, so he had to wait longer to find a match in his game.
“Hey, how about we get ourselves married?” Shao Xian suddenly said.
“What?” Sai Gao turned around, stupefied.
“Am I going to die single…” Shao Xian sighed. A few days ago, she had heard news about Li Yiming and Liu Meng’s wedding, and seeing them tie the knot seemed to have affected her.
“Are you serious?” Sai Gao put his cell phone down and looked at Shao Xian, only to be answered by cursing coming out of his phone.
Shao Xian nodded.
“Yay!” Shao Xian jumped with joy.
“I didn’t know our country recognized same-sex marriage though…”
“You’re a man, you hear me? At least on your ID card!” Shao Xian picked up a pillow and threw it on Sai Gao’s face.
* * *
Resentment against the guardians continued to grow, and the president was forced to make some compromises after discussing the matter with Pan Junwei. For those who could accept it, the guardians would be sent to a special facility in which they awaited their trial. However, there were many who simply vanished, revolted at the fact that the people could be so ungrateful when they had risked their lives in Shangbei for their sake.
“They’re splitting our forces…’ Pan Junwei said with a defeated look.
“There’s nothing we can do at this point…” The president looked like he aged several years over the last few weeks.
“Sir… maybe… I should leave.” Pan Junwei finally told the president what he had hesitated to say for so long; it would not be long before he would become the target of one of Yun Yiyuan’s smear campaign, so he decided to leave the critical position he was occupying to prevent any further damage to the government’s credibility.
“You…” The president knew that this was the logical course of action, but it still hurt him to be so ungrateful to someone who had saved the country from utter destruction. However, the fact the president understood what Pan Junwei contributed did not mean that any normal person would.
“Sir, don’t worry. I’ll show up when the country needs me again…” Pan Junwei said. Even since the lotus apparition, Heaven’s Laws had stabilized itself. As such, the supernormal events had ceased for the most part.
“You’re going to look for Yun Yiyuan?” The president asked.
“He must pay with his life for his sins,” Pan Junwei said.
“Sir! Something terrible happened!” A soldier suddenly rushed into the room.
“Speak.” The president stood up from his seat. For the soldier to come in without knocking surely must have meant that it was an important matter.
“It’s Yun Yiyuan again!”
“Who is it this time?” The president asked after exchanging a glance with Pan Junwei.
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