Ten minutes later, the duo were already seated in a late-night snack bar.
It was naturally the ubiquitous Ma Xiao.
It wasn’t far from Tianxi Fourth Street. In fact, it was located just one street away. Yet the difference between the two streets was practically like night and day. Tianxi Fourth Street was dim and lightless, while the next street was brightly lit and filled with singing and dancing despite the time of the night.
The Ma Xiao shop chosen by Sun Kangliang was located in a great place. Although it was already well past one in the morning, it was still filled with guests. The shop was also quite well-decorated, and there were several traditional Westriver operatic masks hanging on the walls. Qin Ye and Sun Kangliang already had a piping hot pot of yabbies sitting in front of them. The yabbies were soaking in a pot of broth topped with fresh spring onions, chilli oil, and a variety of other spices. It looked incredibly inviting and appetizing.
They were the only two located in the elegant-looking private room. Yet none of them said a single word.
Qin Ye didn’t have any appetite to eat right now, and he simply fiddled with the teacup in his hands. On the other hand, Sun Kangliang evidently had other things on his mind as well. For as long as Qin Ye appeared out of it, Sun Kangliang continued to observe Qin Ye silently.
This man isn’t even twenty years old.
But he’s sure able to hold his own. In fact, his eyes even seem rather deep and abstruse for some strange reason…
Sun Kangliang was somewhat astounded that such a thought had even crossed his mind to begin with. But upon closer inspection, he soon confirmed his earlier suspicions.
That’s right. It’s deep and abstruse indeed.
There wasn’t any of the usual youthful frivolity about him, and the false pretension of maturity was long gone. Instead, there was a sincere maturity about him that came with having experienced the vicissitudes of life. All expressions of his came genuinely from the heart. Whether laughter or anger, none of his manifestations of emotions made the person on the receiving end feel embarrassed or put him in a spot. It’s almost as though…
He’s the embodiment of sincerity?
During this period of silence, he sorted through several modes of making his claim, only to reject all but one of them. In the end, he decided on the simplest and most sincere method he knew.
“We’ve been observing the surveillance cameras in Coffee Shop No. 4 for a while now.” His smile faded away, and he held out a pack of cigarettes to Qin Ye. He didn’t smoke, but it was still a habit of his to have a pack of cigarettes on hand at all times.
Qin Ye responded with a casual nod.
“I was aware of your arrival ever since noontime. After listening to your conversation with Li Jiankang, I’d immediately waited for you at the front of the street. That said, you’ll have to forgive me for not daring to take a single step onto that street. Can I know how I should address you?”
“Qin.” Qin Ye responded placidly, “But before you proceed with your questions, I’ve got a few questions of my own as well.”
Qin Ye continued to fiddle with his teacup, “How do you know about the Special Investigations Department? How much do you know about them? And who told you about them?”
Sun Kangliang smiled amiably, “Mr Qin, walls have ears. There will always be people who have their ears to the ground and know more than most others.”
“Incidentally, the chairman of the Soaring Dragon Developers is ranked 349th on the list of the 500 richest men in Cathay. He was the one who had sincerely reminded everyone at a board meeting to give in to anyone from the Special Investigations Department regardless of age or sex - even if the representative were only a ten-year old child.”
Qin Ye stared at his own reflection in the teacup.
This was an unexpected gain.
His primary objective in this trip to Mount Tai City was not to secure the title of an outstanding instructor. Rather… it was to establish a relationship with a construction company!
Qin Ye’s earlier question might have seemed aimless, but the truth of the matter was that he was probing at Sun Kangliang’s stature. His title in and of itself didn’t reveal much about his importance. A division manager in a small company might very well be a nobody, while a division manager in a large company could very well have been appointed by the chairman himself. In this regard, Sun Kangliang’s response was largely satisfactory, since it provided him with an insight to the implicit question he had in his heart.
It was now clear to Qin Ye that Sun Kangliang was likely also a shareholder of Soaring Dragon Developers.
His stature was neither insignificant nor overwhelming. It was perfect for Qin Ye’s purposes.
Working with a person who was of great importance would naturally shine the limelight on him, and he didn’t want to get embroiled in a tussle between their competitors. On the other hand, working with an insignificant person just wouldn’t cut it at all. This was a display of Qin Ye’s art of listening, which he had honed and sharpened over the years that he had under his belt. A multitude of important information undergirded the most banal and seemingly unimportant conversations.
But… Qin Ye still needed to know how implicated the Soaring Dragon Developers was with the Tianxi Fourth Street.
“You’re looking to demolish Tianxi Fourth Street.” Although Qin Ye wasn’t in a good mood right now, he did his best to perk up his spirits, “I’ve seen the plans. The total area is approximately 25 square kilometers. This is a massive project. Is Li Jiankang the only hindrance standing in the way of your demolition works?”
Sun Kangliang had already been prepared to disclose everything to Qin Ye from the onset. Yet he was still somewhat taken aback by Qin Ye’s blunt questions. Nevertheless, Sun Kangliang’s keen intuition told him not to beat about the bush with Qin Ye. Perhaps that might have been possible on any other day, but he could tell that Qin Ye was in a rather bad mood right now, “That’s right… Mr Qin, we can only proceed with our demolition works after Li Jiankang moves away. But that’s not a problem in and of itself. The problem lies elsewhere.”
“You might not be aware of this, but there are regulations which require us to resettle all citizens before commencing demolition works. This is a unified resettlement effort to relocate them to the exact same place. But… after what happened to Li Jiankang, do you think anyone would agree to be his neighbour?”
“Ordinary citizens are incredibly afraid. They are afraid that Li Cheng would suddenly return to his home, and they simply can’t fathom the prospects of being neighbours to a man who might potentially be harbouring his son, a murderer. The ones who remain in Tianxi Fourth Street are all Li Jiankang’s neighbours. According to the plans, they were all designated to continue being neighbours with Li Jiankang in the new settlement. But all of them gave us but one condition for their relocation - they are not willing to be neighbours with Li Jiankang in the new settlement.”
Qin Ye nodded his head slightly, indicating his understanding of the situation as he took over for Sun Kangliang, “So, they’re all waiting for Li Jiankang to shift out before they’re willing to give their confirmation?”
“That’s right…” Sun Kangliang chuckled bitterly, “As long as Li Jiankang refuses to shift, none of his neighbours would agree to the relocation. In turn, Li Jiankang’s conditions to our firm is this - as long as we’re able to resolve his family’s affair, he would be happy to accept the basic resettlement compensation sum. But if we’re unable to resolve his affairs for him, he’s indicated that he would never shift away until the day he dies.”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows.
Something seems amiss?
When he mentioned that, I felt a certain fleeting notion flicker across my mind, but I was unable to grasp it entirely.
Sun Kangliang continued, “We’ve demolished and redeveloped many areas across the country, and we’re well aware that people like these aren’t after money. But we really have no means to assist him in his affairs!”
“Eight of the ten monks, Taoist priests and experts that we had hired in the past were all cheats and con artists! I’m not even sure what Li Jiankang is thinking. One would be able to tell at a glance that some of these con artists aren’t worth their mettle at all, but he doesn’t seem to reject any of… Mr Qin?”
Qin Ye had abruptly stood up.
I’ve got it…
The earlier notion that had slipped through my mind - I’ve got it!
“Say it again.” Qin Ye slammed his palms on the table and gazed deeply into Sun Kangliang’s eyes, “Please repeat what you’ve just said once more.”
Sun Kangliang blinked his eyes. Qin Ye’s attitude had suddenly filled his despondent heart with hope again.
This ridiculously young-looking man… might perhaps have a way of resolving this matter?
He adjusted his thoughts for a moment before explaining with a grave expression on his face, “We’d called upon many such experts, some of whom are even locals from the funerary street who call themselves experts. Some of them even address themselves as goddesses or avatars and the like. We would always invite some of these experts to bless our efforts every time we commence construction works on a new site, so I’ve seen my fair share of these experts, and I can tell with just a few probative questions whether these so-called experts are genuinely reliable or not.”
“But Li Jiankang has never rejected a single one of these. As long as they are willing to go, he would welcome them with open arms. He hardly says much apart from his account of the incident either… Right, there was one exception. I heard that the Special Investigations Department had sent someone over, and I’d even stepped into Tianxi Fourth Street for the very first time in excitement. Unfortunately, Li Jiankang rejected their help.”
Qin Ye raised his brows quizzically, “Reason?”
Sun Kangliang deliberated for a moment, “Back then, I think he’d mentioned that… their paperwork wasn’t in order, and he couldn’t trust them.”
The fragments of the puzzle had finally begun to come together. He turned around and immediately made his way for the exit, “Prepare the honorarium. This matter will be resolved by dawn.”
“Really?!” Sun Kangliang stood up abruptly and took a deep breath. His eyes were blazing as though they were on fire, “If you can really bring an end to this madness… we will definitely reward you with a satisfactory sum!”
Thud… The door closed.
Qin Ye stood outside the building. He ran his fingers through his hair, and a bright glimmer of killing intent surfaced in the depths of his eyes.
“So that’s how it is… that’s how it is…”
“You guys are really… challenging the baseline of my authority as an Emissary of Hell…”
“Since that’s the case… don’t blame me for reaping your souls!”
He no longer concealed his presence. Ten minutes later, he showed up once more in front of Li Jiankang’s home.
The door opened softly, and then closed. Qin Ye surveyed the surrounding darkness, and then suddenly spoke aloud, “I know that you’re watching me from somewhere.”
“I’m giving you five seconds to show yourself. Turn yourself in, and you’ll be treated completely differently down under than if I have to personally apprehend you.”
“Five… four, three, two, one… Very well.” As soon as Qin Ye finished his countdown, his Yin energy suddenly exploded, and he immediately clothed himself in his Hell’s Emissary state. He appeared like the most terrifying evil ghost in Hell. His white hair scattered about in tandem with his fluttering black robes. The pale white blade of the saber was as long as half his height. Qin Ye unsheathed his saber and dropped its edge to the ground with a loud clang, causing cracks to spread throughout the floor like a spiderweb.
Wisps of pure black Yin energy flowed from the sleeves of his robe and his seven apertures alike, almost like they were snakes that were slithering about menacingly. A Hell’s Emissary has arrived; all ghosts must bow in retreat. A scream of abject fear echoed through the darkness and vanished without a trace.
“Arti, is it possible to change my eyes such that they can only perceive humans, and not Yin spirits?” Qin Ye glanced about his surroundings and asked placidly.
“Simple.” The paper crane flew up and spun in front of him, “It’s done.”
In the next second, Qin Ye’s pupils immediately changed from a miserable white colour to a scarlet red colour. He surveyed his surroundings once more, and he immediately chuckled softly, “As expected…”
“He truly doesn’t give up until the very end…” Qin Ye tightened his grip around the hilt of his saber and immediately hacked down onto the ground with all his might, “Li Jiankang!”
The surface of the ground immediately cracked open, revealing a solid foundation underneath.
Meanwhile, the two agents of Mount Tai City’s Special Investigations Department on surveillance duty opened their eyes wide in surprise.
“What powerful true energy…” One of the agents gasped with a blazing gleam in his eyes, “It’s there… he has made his move! He has finally made his move!”
This was something that only they could see right now. Powerful Hunter-class true energy swirled like a massive tide in a hundred meter radius around Li Jiankang’s home, causing all of the surrounding trees to sway wildly!
“He… has he encountered something? Or has he already unlocked the secret behind this hunting zone?” The other agent stared intently at Li Jiankang’s home as he muttered aloud.
“That’s impossible… even the elites in Mount Tai City haven’t been able to crack this hunting zone…”
Yet Qin Ye simply answered all of their doubts with his actions.
His long saber gleamed like pristine snow. Disguising his Yin energy as true energy, Qin Ye continued to wildly swing his energy-infused saber at the surface of the ground, causing the web of cracks on the ground to turn into a massive crevice. The ground rumbled violently as Qin Ye continued to sink lower and lower!
One meter, three meters, five meters… ten meters!
Kkkkkrrrrr… The cracks grew larger and larger until it finally became a massive crevice in the ground. With yet another swing of his saber, Qin Ye had finally arrived at the depth of twelve meters below ground level. Just then… BOOM!!
Qin Ye had swung his saber at the ground once more. But this time, instead of hacking up a sturdy foundation of the ground, his saber cracked open a massive hole that was almost twenty square meters wide!
With the dim glow of the moonlight in tow, countless fragments of debris, earth, wood and gravel fell straight into the gaping hole that stank of the smell of rotting flesh. A man wearing a black coat, a hat, and carrying a walking stick stood in the center of the hole, staring at the ceiling above him with his mouth agape.
Gentle beams of moonlight peeked through the hole above him. A white-haired man with scarlet pupils and black irises, dressed in an ancient-looking robe was currently descending from the skies with countless wisps of Yin energy dancing wildly around him. And this man was currently staring right at him!
It was akin to the descent of an Anitya Hellguard!
“Ahh… The whole family happens to be around…” Qin Ye licked his lips. With his back against the pale glow of moonlight, he pointed his long saber below him, directly at the man in the middle of the room. The soft swish of the sword was accompanied by a chorus of ghastly moans, as though declaring the arrival of a Soul Hunter.
“By Hell’s dictum, all rabble shall disperse!”
2. The company culture in China is quite different from the rest of the world. Connections are of paramount importance, especially when it comes to large companies. This is why the author says that a division manager in a large company is likely to be connected to the chairman of the company.