3.00 a.m. Far away, in a luxurious villa in the Dragonriver City, a middle-aged man hung up the phone and sighed wistfully.
Even though it was an ungodly hour in the morning, the villa was still brightly lit, and there were even five other elderly persons sitting in front of the middle-aged man, including both men and women.
“Is the information from Guardian Auctions reliable?” The leader of the elders was an old man who was nearing his seventies. He wore his pajamas and held a walking stick. Although he looked old, he carried himself with a dignified disposition.
If reporters were here, they would have rushed right up to the panel of elders.
This was the Furniture King Gao Youliang, also the leader of the Gao Clan. Gao Youliang had uprooted his entire clan and brought them to Dragonriver City when it was first drafted to form part of the special economic zone. The Gao Clan came from a lineage of palace master carpenters, and their handiwork was exquisite. As the Dragonriver City flourished and grew, so did the number of wealthy tycoons living in the area. The nouveau riche began to have higher and greater expectations of their living environment, including the furniture which they used at home, and the Gao Clan naturally rode the wave of demand to create the country’s high-end antique furniture hegemony, Imperial Furniture.
Their custom-made pieces were of such high quality that they were often considered treasures that could be sold at the Sotheby’s auction house. In fact, one of the artifacts auctioned by Sotheby’s in recent times was the clothes rack of the Qianlong Emperor, one of the handiwork of the Gao Clan ancestors. All things considered, the Gao Clan was considered to be one of the wealthiest in Dragonriver City, even among other tycoons.
After all, any business which commands a monopoly or an oligopoly of the entire market - even paper towels at that - would bring immense wealth to its owners.
After decades of grooming and nurturing the business, Imperial Furniture had finally been passed down to Gao Zhongde, who represented the second generation after Gao Youliang. Gao Youliang went on to live the life of a retiree, spending the most part of his time living within the compound of his sprawling villa and rarely stepping out. This naturally meant that any reporters who wished to speak with him would have to request for an interview. Yet, despite all that, the retired magnate of upscale furniture was now personally presiding over a meeting within the Gao Clan villa in the wee hours of the morning.
“It’s reliable.” Another white-haired old man responded in earnest, “Guardian Auctions would never toss their name around lightly. While the money is substantial, it wouldn’t be good for business if their good reputation were tarnished by unreliable news. Besides, it’s not as though they’ve never helped to connect potential clients before.”
Another old man held an unlit cigarette as he frowned, “Qin Ye… There’s a handful of great, reputable families in our country bearing the name of Qin, but we’ve never heard of someone with his name. And to think that the first offer he made was for a stock of Southsea Huanghuali worth three billion… That’s by no means ordinary, no matter how you look at it.”
“Of course he wouldn’t be any ordinary person.” Gao Youliang picked up a piece of paper from the table, “Qin Ye. We’ve only got his name. I’ve already got someone to do a background check for other particulars pertaining to this man, but…”
He handed the paper to the other elders, “Take a look for yourself.”
Everyone gathered around immediately, and Gao Zhongde couldn’t help but gasp, “This is…”
There were only two words on the paper. The rest of it was completely blank.
“Confidential, secret and top secret form our country’s classifications of the three tiers of secrecy. Particulars of his identity are actually of the second tier of secrecy… I’ve never heard of something like that…” Gao Youliang’s eyes narrowed, and then he continued with a soft voice, “Are you aware of the public broadcast announcement that happens everyday at exactly 6 p.m.? And also… news of the murders at the Pearlriver Delta area that have been suppressed by the authorities. As well as…”
He closed his eyes and sighed softly, “The special department that has been established by the government in recent times?”
“Are you saying that this man is one of them?” One of the elders shuddered lightly as he responded hoarsely.
“It’s very likely. If so, his credentials would be even more reliable. After all, as far as I know… nobody with classified personal particulars would ever do something as silly as committing fraud.” Gao Youliang turned to his personal secretary who was standing behind him, “Tell them to withdraw their investigations. It’s not going to turn up any results.”
The room grew silent. Several moments later, Gao Youliang’s eyes narrowed, and he remarked softly, “No cap on the stock of Southsea Huanghuali… What an astonishing claim… Well, since that’s the case, then… perhaps I should personally make the trip down to meet you face to face.”
“Make the necessary preparations, and tell Guardian Auctions that I’ll be participating in the upcoming summer major auctions.”
Qin Ye was naturally unaware of these things that were taking place far away in Dragonriver City.
He was a busy man. On the second day, he received a call from the Imperial Furniture Group. The two didn’t say much else, apart from some pleasantries and an agreement to meet on 15 June to inspect the samples.
Afterwards, Qin Ye checked on the background of the Imperial Furniture Group, only to realize that the sheer magnitude of their business was like kryptonite to his dog eyes. Not only were they a furniture mogul, they had even in recent times become involved in the creation of small villas. In other words, their business had turned into a one stop shop, from construction to interior design to home decor and furnishing. And these villas could easily go for a hundred million each.
This is quite the reliable collaborator.
This was Qin Ye’s assessment of them. With that, Qin Ye spent the next few days performing his classroom duties and resting between his work. He even took the initiative to review and revise the lesson plans which had been crafted earlier. His experience with the thesis gave him a newfound appreciation for the pursuit of knowledge, and the multitude of words on the lesson plans no longer appeared as boring as they did before. In fact, the review and revision of the lesson plan came much more naturally than before.
Certain concepts which he hadn’t thought through properly back then were now patently clear to him. It was as though a new realm of knowledge had been opened in his mind.
There were some areas of uncertainty which appeared incredibly simple to him right now. He even had a better appreciation for some of the things Arthis had said before. The entire experience with the thesis paper had helped him to sort out the great mountain of information in his mind.
He was undoubtedly settling into his office as an Anitya Hellguard right now, whether in terms of strength or knowledge.
Then, amidst his anxious anticipation, 27 May finally arrived.
This was the date of his inaugural publication on Weekly Cultivators!
A county with a thousand years of history.
The outbreak of supernatural incidents in this region couldn’t be considered too severe. Although the public broadcast announcements were still being played religiously each day, it was clear that the mortal realm had gained the upper hand in the clash of power.
There was a research center located in Shang County known as the Origin Research Center. This institution was renowned in the academic circles in the field of Yin spirit research and studies.
The research center bore the appearance of an old building with the necessary amenities located all around it. It was located on the outskirts of the city. The only prominent feature that stood out was the fact there were hardly any residential facilities located in the vicinity of the research center.
Instead, it was surrounded by military outposts, national guards, and the offices of the Special Investigations Department. Even the cafes and restaurants around were all opened and run by ex-officers of these military or governmental departments.
Luo He was one of the members of the Origin Research Center.
It was 12.00 p.m.
“Dr Luo, would you like to have lunch together?” A colleague dressed in a white lab coat asked as he walked past Dr Luo’s office. Dr Luo responded, “No, thank you. Something’s come up. You guys go ahead.”
His colleagues chatted heartily as they left for lunch, and the rest of the office building quietened down.
Right then, the door flung open, and a newspaper delivery man walked into his room with a pile of newspapers. The delivery man was just about to set the papers on the table when Dr Luo grabbed it from him.
The faint smile on his face had already faded away. His hands trembled lightly, and he drew a deep breath as he unraveled the papers.
On what basis!
On what basis did you cut me out when we had a deal to begin with? I’m toiled so hard to earn myself this opportunity at a prized publication for my thesis, and I was supposed to rise to stardom with this week’s publication of Cultivators Weekly. Why do I have to wait in line all over again?!
“I’d like to see who’s hogging my limelight!” He flipped straight to the page where the academic updates were published.
“The Mutation of Yin Spirits: Causes, Developments and Possibilities.” A row of large, black characters appeared right in front of his eyes. He read on, “First author: Instructor Qin Ye, First Academy of Cultivators.”
“Co-authors: Instructors Su Feng and Lin Han, First Academy of Cultivators.”
“Contributors: Ye Xingchen, Wang Chenghao, Zhang Ronghua, Pu Zhi…”
First Academy of Cultivators?
He was momentarily taken aback, and then he snorted, “The First Academy of Cultivators has only been inaugurated several months ago, and they’ve already got results to show for it? And it’s not even the two principals or their professors, but mere instructors from the academy? What could these kids in their twenties or thirties possibly come up with? Do they even appreciate the concept of academic rigour?!”
“Such irreverence!” He took a deep breath and fervently suppressed his swelling anger as he read the article proper.
But after merely ten seconds of doing so, the angry huffs quickly disappeared altogether.
He knitted his eyes together, blinked a few times, and then gasped slightly.
What a novel perspective!
“This perspective…” He paused, and then turned to his computer and entered the keywords “Yin spirit” and “evolution” into his academic search function. An entire series of articles appeared.
These were all of the published articles that referred to both keywords within the same paper.
Every single article on this list discussed each of these concepts separately, but none of them had ever considered discussing them in the very same breath!
“This is… a completely fresh idea!!” His mind went numb, and he sprung to his feet with a great exclamation. His breaths had become even more ragged than when he was incensed just moments ago!
Having lived his life as an academic, he knew full well what a completely novel perspective meant to the entire academia.
Unchartered territories, a novel perspective, and a completely fresh idea. This was what the parapsychology academia needed the most right now!
This would… forge a path to a whole new sub-discipline! We would see innumerable master students and doctorates in the pursuit of new knowledge in this research field. It’s not even an exaggeration to call it groundbreaking!
“Where the hell did this monster come from?!” He grabbed his glasses and began to scrutinize the thesis, “Qin Ye… Qin Ye? Why haven’t I heard of this doctorate before… Perhaps he’s just a masters degree holder? Or could he be a research fellow?!”
“This premise employs the case of the thirty-three headless bodies discovered in the Greatriver City. That’s one of the most renowned unsolved supernatural incidents. He actually reconstructed the entire incident based solely on the available forensic evidence as well as what video footage was available to him. It’s obviously not factual… but why do I feel completely convinced by his conjectures?”
“And every single premise is exactly like that… built upon facts, cogent and logical, and completely irrefutable no matter how you look at it. I should have heard of someone as amazing as him, even if he had merely been occupied with his research and experimentation! So, why haven’t I heard of his name before?”
Twenty minutes later, he slouched back on his seat and stared vacantly at the paper.
The blow he had just received was far too great. An unknown person had just seized the limelight from him and even managed to secure a full-page publication. And even though Dr Luo had sought to peruse the thesis paper with the sole intent of poking holes at its arguments, he ended up worshipping Qin Ye instead…
Two words reverberated in his heart endlessly.
I’ve been completely defeated by this man. His ideas are fresh and novel. I was barely able to scrape together a paper worth publishing by finding new ways to repackage old ideas. There’s no way I can match up to this man.
He had already known that someone who was able to command a full page publication would most certainly be better than him. But, having read the paper himself, he couldn’t help but concede that this man was several times better than him to boot! In fact, the difference was so great that the loss was incredibly difficult for him to stomach.
“Bullshit.” Several minutes later, he slowly got to his feet and massaged his temples with a bitter smile on his face, “I’m truly getting old. The talent of the new generation is incredible… truly incredible!”
What he didn’t realize was that his reactions were already considered mild compared to some others. After all, he already had an inkling of what was to come today. Elsewhere, in various institutions, including the Luo River’s Dragoncircle Research and Development Center, Pearlriver’s Astronomy Experimental Base and Eastsea Building 653. Even SRC Headquarter’s Star Building and the Special Investigations Department Headquarter’s Cutting Edge Building were exploding with chaos!
Special Defense Division, Special Investigations Department, Yan Capital Headquarters.
This special division comprised tens of thousands of personnel, all of whom were the sharpest swords among all registered cultivators. These were all personnel who regularly stood on the frontlines, facing all sorts of supernatural threats and incidents. Naturally, each of them would have encountered their fair share of bizarre encounters.
“Bloody hell!” Section Chief Zhen Daoming of the Special Defense Division was routinely having his lunch while reading the papers when he suddenly exclaimed and nearly spat out some vermicelli in his lips.
“Section Chief?” His assistant, a young man in his twenties, was playing games on his computer when he heard the exclamation. He stuffed two more mouthfuls of rice into his mouth lazily before turning around and asking in confusion.
Zhen Daoming couldn’t care about his image at this moment. There was still food by the side of his mouth as he firmly instructed, “Little Zuo, head over to our data room right away and pull out all files of secret classification and above, including the files of all unresolved incidents! And tell all section members to pack their lunches and assemble in the conference room right away!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter