Mo Lan glanced at her, then looked at Tang Wulin, and she couldn't help but feel rather perplexed. She naturally didn't believe Shen Xing's claims; Tang Wulin had only just arrived in Bright City, so how could he possibly be Shen Xing's boyfriend? However, it wouldn't be a good idea to expose this fact, but with how sensitive Tang Wulin's current situation was, she couldn't allow Shen Xing to take him away.
"He's my little brother, and I have something I still need to speak to him about; you guys can settle your argument later. You can go back now." Mo Lan adopted a very serious expression as she spoke.
Shen Xing didn't dare to say anything at the sight of Mo Lan's serious look, and she stuck out her tongue before aiming a vicious glare at Tang Wulin before reluctantly trudging away.
Tang Wulin was just about to say something at the sight of her departing figure, but Mo Lan raised a hand to stop him. Little Bai then drove Mo Lan's car over to them; this was a very ordinary and understated soul car.
Tang Wulin instantly realized what Mo Lan's intentions were, and the two of them got into the car while Little Bai drove them toward the central region of the city.
Mo Lan didn't say anything along the way, and there seemed to be something on her mind. Tang Wulin didn't say anything, either, and he merely sat beside her in silence.
Not long after that, Little Bai drove the car into an underground garage beneath a tall building. The three of them emerged from the car before taking the elevator upward.
The elevator rose all the way to the top floor, and Mo Lan turned to Little Bai as she instructed, "You can go back for now. Don't record anything that happened today, and pretend as if nothing happened, understood?"
"Yes, I understand." Little Bai departed in the elevator after taking one final curious glance at Tang Wulin.
Mo Lan led Tang Wulin into a very large room that was close to 200 square meters in size, but the room was very sparsely furnished.
Due to the fact that they were on the top floor, the scenery outside the floor-to-ceiling window was quite breathtaking. One could look out very far into the distance, upon which they would be greeted by the sight of a bustling city situated in a forest of iron and steel.
Mo Lan switched on the light, pulled down the curtain, then pressed a button. With Tang Wulin's sharp senses, he was immediately able to discover that an energy barrier seemed to have appeared around the room, making it impossible for the sensory devices outside to eavesdrop or spy on them.
"Alright, we can talk now. Wulin, it looks like you're in some trouble already. What's the deal with you and Shen Xing?" It was already quite remarkable that she had managed to repress her curiosity for so long.
Tang Wulin heaved a resigned sigh in response. "It's a long story. I met her by chance..." He gave Mo Lan a brief recount of his military training stint on the demonic island, and how he had abducted Shen Xing on the Northsea Legion, as well as their last meeting just the night before.
Mo Lan listened very carefully to his words, and in the beginning, her brows had been tightly furrowed. However, her expression then began to relax, and at the end, she was already looking at Tang Wulin with a suggestive smile on her face.
"So that's the gist of the matter. Why are you looking at me like that?" Tang Wulin was growing rather embarrassed under her suggestive gaze.
Mo Lan couldn't help but burst into laughter. "I thought your cover had been blown and that you've been targeted by the military already, but who would've thought that it's just a matter of love? That makes sense; this little brother of mine is so handsome and powerful, which woman wouldn't fall in love with you? How about you accept her feelings? Shen Xing is quite an outstanding girl, and even though she comes from a powerful family, there has never been any controversy or reports of misconduct surrounding her. Her family is very strict, so something like this has most likely never happened before, and the fact that she was willing to go to such great lengths to capture you is an indication of just how much of an impact you've had on her."
Tang Wulin wore a resigned expression as he replied, "Please don't make jokes at my expense; how can I possibly be with her? I already have someone I love. By the way, from your interactions with her, it seems like you're somehow related to her family?"
Mo Lan nodded and heaved a faint sigh. "I would've much rather encountered anyone else from the military than her; that would've given me the opportunity to instigate an anti-military rally. At the very least, that would hamper the influence of the military to a certain extent. However, I can't do that to the Shen Family. In reality, the military isn't a completely tightly-knit unit. After so many years of development, there have been many major families who have planted their members in the military, thereby essentially staking a partial claim in the federal military. These major families have established their own areas of control that are very difficult to shake, and even the federal government wouldn't dare to encroach upon their authority for no good reason. After all, any politician who wishes to rise to power would require the support of these families."
Tang Wulin's heart stirred slightly upon hearing this. "Are you saying that the Shen Family is related to the Dove Faction?"
Mo Lan nodded in response. "There are five major families in the military, one of which is the Shen Family. They're also the only family that supports our Dove Faction, and the current head of the family, who is also Shen Xing's grandfather, is one of the federal military's main advisers, as well as a general. He's one of the three most powerful military officials, ranking alongside the commander-in-chief and head of the federal general armament department. The Shen Family's sphere of influence mostly lies in the Northsea Legion, as well as in the Bright City garrison, and they're a very powerful family. During our Dove Faction's time in power, it was all thanks to the Shen Family that we didn't fall prey to the dirty tactics the Eagle Faction used to target us in secret.
"The Shen Family stands for justice and champions peaceful development, which is directly concurrent with our ideology. Furthermore, the Imperial Sun Moon Soul Engineer Academy stands behind the Shen Family, and under these circumstances, even I have no choice but to let things slide. Otherwise, if the Shen Family were to be dealt a heavy blow as a result of this incident, then the entire Dove Faction would be severely impacted."
Tang Wulin was enlightened upon hearing this explanation. It was no wonder that Mo Lan had let Shen Xing off the hook and given up on this opportunity.
"Are the other four major families in the military all supporters of the Eagle Faction?" Tang Wulin asked.
Mo Lan shook her head in response. "Three of them support the Eagle Faction, with the most prominent one being the Qiangu Family. The remaining one is the Yue Family of the Southern Legion, and they support the neutral faction, so they could potentially be our ally in the future."
The Yue Family? Wasn't that Yue Zhengyu's family? Tang Wulin heaved an internal sigh of relief upon hearing this. Two of the five major families didn't support the Eagle Faction, so the situation wasn't too bad. It was no wonder that the Dove Faction could still maintain the current situation.
"However, the situation is still not a very optimistic one," Mo Lan sighed, "Ever since Qiangu Dongfeng became the chairman of the Spirit Pagoda, the Qiangu Family has been developing at a phenomenal rate. They've kept a low profile for many years, and now that the family is rearing its head, they've quickly accumulated a lot of power. With the support of the Spirit Pagoda, the Qiangu Family is now too powerful for anyone to contend with; they've even seized direct and indirect control of over 20% of all parliamentary seats, and this has never happened in the history of the federation."
Tang Wulin was quite alarmed to hear this. "Is the federation unable to do anything to address this? How can they allow a single family to continue developing like this? If things continue in this manner, won't the Qiangu Family become a dictatorship in the future?"
Mo Lan replied in a grim voice, "We've instigated many discussions about this matter, but the Qiangu Family is very cunning; they have direct control over very few seats, so they brush aside our arguments as ad hominem attacks. Furthermore, there are many people who are clearly affiliated with them, but pretend as if they have nothing to do with the Qiangu Family."
Tang Wulin's brows furrowed tightly upon hearing this. "Do you think they played a hand in the Shrek City bombing?"
Mo Lan gave him a meaningful look, and replied, "This is not something that I can say for sure; all I can say is that it's very possible. The Qiangu Family has always kept a very low profile, and if it weren't for the fact that Qiangu Dongfeng had become the chairman of the Spirit Pagoda, they would've most likely continued to lie low, and no one knows exactly how powerful they are. However, this is a family that has been around for a very long time, so one can only assume that they've accumulated an enormous amount of power and resources.
"As the number one academy on the continent, Shrek Academy was the main pillar of support for the neutral faction, and with the Tang Sect acting as another major source of support, no powers dared to look down on the neutral faction. Back when Shrek Academy and the Tang Sect were in their heyday, neither the Dove Faction nor the Eagle Faction dared to overstep their boundaries, and this was exactly because both sides feared intervention from the neutral faction. The neutral faction appeared to be the weakest among the three, but Shrek Academy and the Tang Sect had both stood at the pinnacle of the entire continent for over 20,000 years, and they were far too powerful to contend with.
"In particular, Shrek Academy had alumni in all three factions, all of whom were closely affiliated with the academy, so for some people, Shrek Academy was constantly a thorn in their sides. The sudden attack launched against Shrek Academy definitely wasn't something that could've been thrown together in a day or two."
Mo Lan suddenly paused here before continuing, "What are your future plans, Wulin? If you plan to revive the academy, then I have to firmly advise you against it."
"Why?" Tang Wulin asked.
A wry smile appeared on Mo Lan's face. "It's far too difficult. If you want to revive Shrek Academy, then you'll be making all of the major families your enemies, including the Shen Family and the Yue Family. No one wants to see an organization as powerful as Shrek Academy appear again as the academy acted as a restrictive force on all of the major families. Do you understand what I mean?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter