Xiao Zheng received Luo Cuicui's call and was silent for five seconds. Then he couldn't help it, and raged.
Since he issued the order "to kill the suspect regardless of the cost", "Bi Chunsheng" has almost become his trauma.
Luo Cuicui made a phone call that left everyone baffled, saying that Xuan Ji suspected Bi Chunsheng and this perfectly hit Director Xiao's nerve, causing him to explode: "Say it again - I'll arrest that temporary worker with the surname Xuan first! No, Old Luo, he just arrived and doesn't know anything. But are you so irresponsible when you talk? What is Bi Chunsheng's background? She has risked her life for most of her life and was awarded third-class merit. After being injured, she retired to the second line. Was that temporary worker even born when she joined the field team?"
"I'm just relaying the message, don't be mad at me," Luo Cuicui said aggrievedly. Wrapped in a small blanket that someone gave him, she sat huddled in the trunk of the field vehicle, sniffled, and continued to say in a muffled voice, "Our leader asked me to say this, and I'll say it to you like this, Director Xiao. To tell you the truth, I can't even find north anymore. I've been doing clean-up work for so many years and I've never encountered something like this...sigh, can I ask the organization to transfer me to a rear position? I had a slight arrhythmia in my physical exam last year, and I...Hello? Director Xiao? Oh..."
Xiao Zheng hung up the phone before he could finish.
It was already the middle of the night, and the lights of the Bureau headquarters were still on. The field agents had almost called in all the purification equipment and were spraying the walls with all kinds of substances to remove the bloodstains. The bloodstains were quickly washed away, but before they could even breathe a sigh of relief, new blood started trickling down from the walls.
Xiao Zheng threw his phone aside and leaned on the table in the meeting room, bowing his head deeply.
Suddenly, for no apparent reason, he thought of the last time he saw the former bureau chief. The previous bureau chief was one of the founding elders of the Bureau, who had just retired in the first half of this year at the age of ninety. He had dedicated his life to the bureau and after leaving his post, he seemed to have suddenly lost his purpose in life. His once strong body suddenly collapsed, and he fell ill and passed away a month later.
Since he had just retired, all the department heads in the bureau had gone to visit him, but none of them had seen him. In the end, only Xiao Zheng was allowed to enter the sickroom.
Xiao Zheng still remembers that sickroom to this day—the floor, walls, and even the ceiling were filled with ancient secret spells that ordinary people could not see. As soon as he entered, he felt as if countless eyes were going through his life frame by frame, trying to uncover his slightest evil thoughts and drag them out for judgment.
In a cold sweat, he saw the old bureau chief struggling to open his eyes and say a few words to him.
The first sentence was: “There will be a big mess in the bureau.”
The second sentence was: “Old Huang was brought here after I filed a report. The bureau needs him and it isn’t easy for an ordinary mortal to stay rooted, so I’m leaving you with him. I know you’re still clean.”
The last sentence was barely audible, and Xiao Zheng had to lean in close to the old man’s mouth to hear him repeatedly saying: “The waters in the Aftermath Department run too deep.”
Xiao Zheng didn’t have time to ask what these words meant. Just like he still doesn’t know why the old bureau chief chose him—after saying these few last words, the old man closed his eyes and never woke up again.
Not long after that, they received an anonymous tip letter accusing Former Aftermath Department Head Gong Chenggong of corruption and bribery. The letter vaguely mentioned the causes and consequences of Gong Chenggong’s bribery, but it clearly described his methods of collecting payments, accounts, and money laundering processes. Before the bureau had finished its investigation, Gong Chenggong suddenly fell into a coma, attracting a group of experts for diagnosis, and the cause has yet to be identified.
It was then that Xuan Ji joked and asked him which position was the easiest to get, and Xiao Zheng answered him “Aftermath Department” without thinking.
The waters in the Aftermath Department run too deep…
Xiao Zheng snapped back to reality and closed his eyes tightly. In a deep voice, he ordered, “Help me check the file of Bi Chunsheng from the Aftermath Department.”
"Xuan Ji is probably a human-shaped broom star. Wherever he goes, there is trouble. He was sent out to maintain stability temporarily, but he caused so much trouble that he almost blew up the entire Bureau. What's the use of such talent in logistics? They would be better off working in sabotage behind enemy lines!
"Bi Chunsheng was born in 1963 in Yong'an. After graduating from nursing school, she worked as a nurse at Beicheng Second Hospital. She got married in 1985 and had a son in 1987. She did not show any special abilities before this."
"In 1988, due to our bureau's negligence, two mutated pythons that were under custody escaped and collided with a moving train while on the run. At the time, there were more than 2,000 passengers on the train in imminent danger. Fortunately, the former field agent in charge, oh, the old chief, reacted promptly and controlled the situation, saving the people on the train from disaster."
"At the time, the statement we released to the public was that the 'train derailed.' When Bi Chunsheng's parents, husband, and son, who were on the train, heard the news, Bi Chunsheng, who was on duty at the hospital, became emotionally excited and exhibited special abilities, which were captured by the bureau's monitoring network."
"After training and passing the political review in September 1989, she was absorbed into our bureau's security department. Because she was grateful to the Bureau for saving her family, she has worked hard and made outstanding achievements for so many years - she was awarded the third-class merit once, and was named 'outstanding field agent' for seven consecutive years. She only applied to transfer to the logistics department last year due to injuries."
Xiao Zheng asked, "Is that all?"
"Yes, Director. That's Bi Chunsheng's resume."
The more Xiao Zheng listened, the more he felt that Xuan Ji was talking nonsense. This Bi Chunsheng's story could easily be included in the bureau's official propaganda brochure - her family was saved by a hero, she was grateful and inspired to follow the path of a hero, and eventually became a hero herself.
From small love to great love, from "for the small family" to "for the big family," is there anything more positive than this?
"Director Xiao, um... the comrades from the Chiyuan Sub-bureau asked if we should cooperate with Director Xuan?"
Xiao Zheng replied impatiently, "Cooperate with what? Are you capable of cooperating with that guy?"
"Uh..." What does that mean? Does he agree or disagree?
“Send a team of emergency investigators to Bi Chunsheng’s house. I will apply for a search warrant immediately.” Xiao Zheng took a breath and said, “If the family has any objection, just say that this is a special period, please ask Bi Chunsheng and her family to understand, and this matter must be kept strictly confidential. It is related to the reputation of the old hero. No one is allowed to talk about it outside - if Xuan Ji is wrong, I will personally make him kowtow to her.”
“Director Xiao,” At this time, another investigator ran over, whispering in Xiao Zheng’s ear, “We traced the lost butterfly eggs… Can I have a word?”
The investigator pulled Xiao Zheng aside and whispered as if he didn't want anyone to see, “Director, this matter is a bit strange. The jar of butterfly eggs was lost 30 years ago, and a record was left when it was lost, but then it was somehow canceled.”
Xiao Zheng was stunned - could it be so long, thirty years ago? And why did the suspect keep the butterfly eggs for so long, only for something to happen now? Were they using it as home decor?
"What did you mean when you said that there was a record of this?"
"You know that the Mirror Flower Water Moon Butterfly is a level one dangerous material. When the inventory was taken, one can was found to be missing. The files department was in panic. After the inventory, they immediately reported it - at that time, we did not have an electronic database, only paper files. But the butterfly eggs were not found, and the records mysteriously disappeared. The only thing left in the files was a letter that erased the record...Gong Chengguo from the aftermath department had signed it, and the old chief approved it."
Xiao Zheng's mind buzzed and his palms were cold with sweat. He looked up at the four walls that kept oozing out blood words, feeling that the entire building was covered by a huge shadow. Under the pale lights, the shadows floated, as if there were many monsters hidden.
"Let me...let me think first."
The air at the county hospital's placement point was full of the rotten smell of blood and the smell of the Yin Sacrifice from the great demon, which was almost choking - it was the smell of the person who had been cursed by the Yin Sacrifice. The coins that Xuan Ji had shot out were rolling towards the smell of the Yin Sacrifice, and after he hastily instructed Luo Cuicui, he began to chase after the coins.
The group of field agents were struck by his dramatic departure and instinctively followed him. They chased the coin to the inpatient building of the county hospital, where it hit the building and sparked like a firework, shooting up into the sky. The agents followed Xuan Ji's lead and looked up, following the sparks with their eyes all the way to the rooftop.
Standing on the roof of the hospital building was a person.
The coin with fire was like a small lantern, flying to the roof and then hovering at a distance of about five or six meters from Bi Chunsheng. It illuminated her face, and people saw the sacrificial characters crawling on her face. She seemed to be a great criminal, had been branded, and was about to be sent to the underworld.
It was Bi Chunsheng.
"I thought they would let me take over from Gong Chenggong, but I didn't expect someone new to be parachuted in," Bi Chunsheng combed her hair and said in a low voice. Her words echoed from the roof, as if they were ringing in everyone's ears. "When I heard the rumor, I knew that this paratrooper must have a background. I wanted to settle this matter before you came, but I didn't expect it to be one day too late...it must be fate."
Xuan Ji raised his head with the heavy sword: "People who lose usually say 'fate'. Sister Bi, why are you stealing my lines?"
Bi Chunsheng's hair swayed in the murky night breeze, her pink sweater gleaming strikingly in the darkness. She still looked the same, her hair done up in the most voluminous of “Teddy curls”, her face dotted with yellowish freckles, all the marks of a weariness worn by time. She was a living embodiment of the stereotypical image of an “Auntie,” reminding one of square dances, scarves and matchmaking, not to mention her loud and inappropriate volume.
But strangely, when she stood atop the winds of the night, draped in funeral wear, she seemed to have transcended these mundane descriptions. Perhaps, it was only when these seemingly soulless bit-players ripped themselves bloody, would one be surprised to realize that within those prop-like shells lived a full range of emotions.
Xuan Ji caught something in her peripheral vision and, upon closer inspection, saw a few of the men on the mission, who had followed him, had clambered up the side of the building behind Bi Chunsheng, ready to ambush her.
Xuan Ji’s scalp tingled. Those fools! Bi Chunsheng had been doing field work for nearly thirty years, how could they not know her field techniques?
By this point, the few field operatives had already reached the rooftop, and had each produced their weapons, pointing them at Bi Chunsheng.
“Put your hands where we can see them! Don’t speak!”
Xuan Ji yelled: “Back off! Don’t come near her!”
Unfortunately, the few field operatives sent to bring her back had not heard him—Bi Chunsheng’s special ability was her voice and the few field operatives had on soundproof earmuffs, probably to prevent being mesmerized by her at the last minute.
Xuan Ji: “......”
Which genius had come up with this idea, unbelievable!
The next moment, the few field operatives suddenly froze in place. It turned out that the rooftop had been filled with Yin Sacrifice text—it was so dense it seemed pitch black, and was hard to make out at first glance. The moment the few lively field operatives stepped onto the rooftop, it was as if a fat raccoon had fallen into a trap, immediately bound by the sacrificial text, the temperature around them dropping by ten or so degrees, nearly reaching freezing point. Then, with Bi Chunsheng as the center, the familiar thick fog began to spread outwards, Xuan Ji's heart sinking.
Sure enough, the next moment, a man with long hair slowly stepped out of the fog, looking around curiously. This heavenly demon marveled: “This street is so wide, and the walls of the courtyard so grand, is this the imperial capital? Why are there only a few people from the Qingping Division?”
Bi Chunsheng suddenly turned around, and gradually, an ecstatic look appeared on her face, she muttered to herself, almost incoherently: “It’s true, it’s actually true!”
Sheng Lingyuan heard this and turned his gaze, studying her for a moment, before muttering: “Ah… it’s a Human Candle, no wonder.”
Because of his old-fashioned manner of speech, only Xuan Ji could understand his words: "Human Candle?"
Sheng Lingyuan shot him a glance but didn't answer. He then switched to Mandarin, which he learnt hastily from television and his recent experiences, and asked Bi Chunsheng gently: "Was it you who woke me up? What happened? Who bullied you?"
His speech was already slow, and his Mandarin was not fluent, hesitating between words and seeming wary, making people feel as if they were being treasured by him.
Bi Chunsheng seemed to have been reminded of her lifetime grievance by his words, and her eyes reddened abruptly.
"It's okay," Sheng Lingyuan smiled at her, "You can talk as long as you like. No one will interrupt you."
"Bi Chunsheng," Xuan Ji reminded her coldly, "If I were you, I would be more careful. The one you called out is not an angel who grants wishes."
"Then there's no need for you to worry," Bi Chunsheng turned to him and suppressed the fragile expression that flashed across her face. She sneered, "The contract between him and me has been established. I've paid the money, but the goods haven't been delivered yet. He won't touch me until he's settled the debt, or he'll suffer a thousandfold retaliation from the curse."
Sheng Lingyuan stood with his hands in his pocket, his expression calm, as if he didn't understand what she said.
At the same time, Xiao Zheng avoided everyone and went to the chief’s office.
Chief Huang was informed of the situation in Chiyuan and hurriedly rushed from home. Unlike the old chief with an active field background, it’s much less easy for an ordinary mortal like him. He can rely on experience to deal with administrative work, but when it comes to the current chaos, he doesn't understand what those special abilities people are doing.
"I was just looking for you," Chief Huang stood up, "What's the situation outside now?"
Xiao Zheng didn't answer, but closed the door. He whispered, "I'll explain to you later, Chief Huang. I have a search warrant here, requesting to investigate the home of former field agent Bi Chunsheng who has now retired to the second line. I'd like to ask you for approval."
"Bi Chunsheng? Is she one of us? " Chief Huang only knew a few people in the department. He took the document and asked blankly, "Which department is it from? What's going on?"
Xiao Zheng slowly raised his head: "It has something to do with a jar of Mirror Flower Water Moon Butterfly eggs stolen from the bureau 30 years ago."
Chief Huang suddenly stopped.
"Chief," Xiao Zheng said in a deep voice, "It was the old chief who reported this in person and asked you to take over from him. Do you know of this matter?"
Chief Huang was silent for a moment, then signed the search warrant and handed it to Xiao Zheng. He sighed and said, "In this position, I'm sitting on tenterhooks everyday. I wanted to handle it properly before this bomb exploded, but I didn't expect it to be so fast..."
Xiao Zheng: "Do you know the reason why Gong Chenggong, the former Director of the Aftermath Department, was reported?"
Chief Huang waved his hand, gesturing for him to sit down, and lit a cigarette: "Ah...where should I start? Xiao, you are from the Field Operations Department. You guys hate the Fifteen-People Red Line, right?"
"The first principle of the security department's field agents is to protect ordinary people," said Bi Chunsheng, on the roof. "The 'special individuals' must not harm ordinary people, and if any harm is caused to ordinary people, except for subjective intent or negligence, each field agent will be deducted one point. The person in charge will be penalized double, and if fifteen points are deducted, the person will be suspended. This is on the first page of the work manual. Director Xuan, perhaps you haven't had a chance to read the manual yet? Let me enlighten you. If any major problems occur during the field work or if fifteen points are deducted, the aftermath department must immediately produce an evaluation report."
Xuan Ji frowned, not understanding why she was reciting the regulations of the Bureau of Paranormal Control.
Bi Chunsheng's face bore a bleak smile. "Thirty years ago, two mutated pythons escaped. During the chase, the person in charge was careless, allowing the pythons to collide with a train as it crossed a bridge and the train fell into the river. The pythons took the opportunity to consume the life force of the passengers, and less than one-tenth of the two thousand passengers survived."
"That's impossible!" a field agent shouted, taking off his earphones. "The Bureau has never had such a huge accident since its establishment! A disaster that killed over two thousand people could not be concealed from the news!"
Bi Chunsheng spoke softly. "Yes, that's right. Then, where did those dead people go? Has Director Xiao found out where the jar of butterfly eggs went?"
Happy readers make me float like a cloud in the sky. If you enjoy my translations and want to read them more quickly, I'll translate bonus chapters as a thank you for coffee!
Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@eyks.