“It’s Li Yiming.” Eyeglasses turned away from his computer and informed his teammates.
“What?” Everyone’s countenance quickly shifted.
The accusation started with a simple description of Pure Water Herb Hall’s meteoric rise to success, as well as the personal gains Li Yiming had realized at his young age. It was entirely scripted in such that it would arouse the jealousy of many. It was followed by more damning accusations, going from the corporation’s shady deals to Li Yiming’s personal faults. One video even showed Li Yiming jumping out of a window with Shao Xian in his arms. The most controversial parts were the footages of Li Yiming’s bloody massacres at the sauna center and at Yunding Tower.
What was worse, still, was the information about the origin of the Gate of Ghosts. The warrior in dark armor was a figure that left a lasting impression on many. A previously undisclosed segment of the warrior removing his mask, revealing himself to be Li Yiming’s was released, which meant to many that the latter was solely responsible for the disaster in Shangbei.
The dominating look that Li Yiming had casted upon the entire battlefield while giving them the choice to submit or perish caused great resentment. Of course, it did not help that a great amount of people had lost their home or a loved one during the disaster.
“They’re after him.”
“This is going to be a difficult dilemma for the authorities. They’ll have to either hunt Li Yiming down or collapse completely. At this, he is undefendable.” Eyeglasses sighed.
“Where is he now?” Qing Qiaoqiao asked in an anxious voice.
“He should almost be in Beihai. Don’t worry about his safety. Unless Mr. Kong comes down from the Heavens, he and Liu Meng are nearly invincible.”
“I’m not worried at all about Li Yiming…” Qing Linglong said. Despite knowing Li Yiming for so long, she never felt as if she truly understood him. To this day, he was still a mystery to him and she could not predict how he would react to the accusations.
* * *
“I would’ve never thought for this to happen…” Li Huaibei opened a jug of wine and filled the three cups on the table.
“I apologize for what I did.” Liu Meng expressed her regret before emptying her cup.
“You’re a lucky man.” Li Huaibei said to Li Yiming before emptying his own.
“Yes, I am.” Li Yiming nodded and gazed at the piece of yellow silk around his wrist.
“Can I ask you something?” Li Yiming pointed at the object. Having experienced Eden through Li Huaibei’s eyes, he knew exactly who the original owners of the scarf, the old gourd, and the piece of broken blade were.
“Some things are best left in my heart.” Li Huaibei shook his head.
“You shouldn’t be. The same will happen to you one day or another.” Li Huaibei replied as he picked up the piece of broken metal.
Li Huaibei’s words were harsh, but Li Yiming understood where he was coming from. He reached out for Liu Meng’s hand and kneaded it tightly.
“He lied to me, I need to go meet him.” Li Huaibei said as he slowly put down the chunk of metal.
“We’ll be leaving.” Li Yiming raised his cup one last time in Li Huaibei’s direction and set it down on the table before retreating out of Li Huaibei’s residence with Liu Meng.
“What did I tell you?” Liu Meng said as she put her head on Li Yiming’s shoulder.
“He shouldn’t go.” Li Yiming sighed and looked at the small wooden cabin basking in the setting sun.
“Now what? Are you going to go look for your dear superstar?” Liu Meng pinched Li Yiming’s waist.
“There’s no need for that. I know what her answer will be.” Li Yiming suddenly picked Liu Meng up and ran toward the beach, leaving behind a trail of footprints in the soft sand upon which the waves of ocean slid back and forth.
* * *
“A demonstration?” The president asked.
Pan Junwei looked outside. In only three hours after the announcement of the public event, more than thirty thousand people had already signed up.
“In three days, in the ruins of Shangbei.”
“Most likely a way to fuel their hatred.” Pan Junwei sighed.
“Send out a notice. We’ll have to make Li Yiming a wanted criminal…” The president ordered bitterly.
* * *
“Do you think that boss will go?” Chen Jiawang asked as he looked at his phone.
Bai Ze answered after a long silence as she headed toward the door, “Stay here, keep your parents company.”
“Where is she going?” Chen Jiawang’s mother asked.
“She’s just taking a walk…” Chen Jiawang could not come up with an excuse.
“Why don’t you go with her then? Her parents trust us so much, and you’re being so careless!” Chen Jiawang’s mother slapped him in the forehead.
“Yes, yes, I’m sorry. Also, we’ll need to go back to the city soon, it’s not good for her to be absent from class for so long.” Chen Jiawang squeezed out a smile as he rubbed his forehead.
“Make sure you take good care of her, okay?”
“Yes,” Chen Jiawang said before standing up.
“Mom, see you later.” Chen Jiawang bit his lips and bid farewell to his parents.
“Be careful on the road, okay? Tell her parents that we’ll take good care of their house, and tell them to visit. Your dad planted some corn in the field around it, maybe you’ll get to eat it next year.”
It took all of Chen Jiawang’s resolve to turn around and dash toward Bai Ze.
“What are you doing here?” Bai Ze asked without turning her head back.
“I want to see more of the world,” Chen Jiawang said as he took Bai Ze’s bag of snacks.
* * *
“What was the name of our team again?” Qing Linglong asked.
“Dissonance, after Heaven’s Dissonance,” Big Beard replied.
“What a stupid name!” Qing Qiaoqiao said.
“You were the come who came up with it!” Her friends answered in unison and they all laughed out loud. However, after the laughing came to a long silence.
“Should we go?” Qing Qiaoqiao said as she opened the car window.
“We have no choice,” Qing Linglong said as she put her hand on her chest, in front of her heart. The day the lotus flowers appeared in the sky, all four of them felt a burning ache in their chest. They all understood that it could only mean one thing: Heaven’s Laws had awakened, and they could lose control of their bodies at any time again due to the Heart Trial Punishment.
“What if I pull the trigger” Eyeglasses took out a handgun and pressed it against Big Beard’s skull.
“He’s still going to show up as a headless zombie.”
“What about this?” Eyeglasses took off his shadowless stone and looked at the bright sun outside.
“A specter,” Big Bead said before pressing down on the gas pedal and overtaking a police car, causing the sirens to be heard behind them.
* * *
Although the midday sun was enough to irritate the skin of many, it did not stop a large crowd of hundreds of thousands of people to form and protest against Li Yiming. Even with all the soldiers posted right outside of the city, the authorities could do nothing about the gathering, as most of the troops sympathized with the protesters.
Right in the middle of the city was a giant crater Li Yiming left behind when he appeared in his dark armor. At its center, a giant stage was erected, surrounded by speakers. In the air were countless drones with all of their cameras focused on the stage, ready for the big event.
“What are you up to?” Yun Yiyuan asked Ying Mei, who sat at the edge of the stage.
Ying Mei turned back and looked at Yun Yiyuan coldly.
The piercing gaze that she gave him was one that hurt his pride greatly. He never would have imagined the woman he considered to be his plaything to cast such a spiteful and condescending look at him.
“It’s time to start.” Ying Mei stood up and walked toward the center of the stage with a smirk.
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