Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Chapter 74 - Chapter 74

Perhaps it was due to Captain Wang's efficient work and careful consideration, or perhaps it was because the people behind the scenes felt the presence of Sheng Lingyuan on the plane and didn't dare to make any unnecessary moves.

In any case, their journey back to the Yong'an headquarters was exceptionally smooth, and they even arrived fifteen minutes early.

When the plane arrived at the West Mountain, it was almost noon. It seemed that the north had just experienced a snowfall, and the usually deserted the West Mountain was covered in white overnight.

Apart from a few scattered crows and sparrows, there were no birds in sight. Compared to the hot and humid Yuyang with its coconut trees, this was a completely different scenery.

Sheng Lingyuan had fought in different regions during his lifetime, so he naturally knew about the differences in climate between the north and south.

However, he had never traveled directly from the south to the north during the time he played two games of chess.

Although the emperor's face remained unchanged, he was secretly surprised in his heart.

He realised that his comment to Xuan Ji before leaving, "Why don't you fly yourself?" was narrow-minded, to say the least.

Xuan Ji aside, could even the ancient Kunpeng, those legendary gods who could travel thousands of miles in a day, possess such lightning-fast abilities?

"Hmph, although it's a special mission aircraft, it's actually just a small civilian plane that's been modified. There's not much technical expertise involved," Comrade Wang Ze was truly the conscience of the tour guide industry, never stopping his storytelling.

He went through all the famous stories from ancient and modern times, both domestic and foreign, and said, "The real technical expertise is in military and aerospace."

Xuan Ji twisted open the second bottle of mineral water and lost the battle for the emperor's attention.

On one hand, he had just started his job and couldn't recite everything like the experienced Wang Ze. On the other hand, although he could speak, he would still get dry mouth if he talked too much.

He wasn't as blessed as the water element, which could produce endless saliva.

Sheng Lingyuan was completely confused.

When Wang Ze talked about things like "manned spaceflight technology," "space station," and "lunar spacecraft" with saliva flying everywhere, he only politely praised him and didn't believe it in his heart.

Mortals going to heaven, gods coming to earth, time flowing backwards, and life and death reversing... wouldn't that be chaotic?

It was all nonsense.

The plane came to a stop on the dedicated runway of the Bureau. Wang Ze and Xuan Ji had already told of the functions of the hundreds of floors of the bureau building.

Outside, the wind howled and the snow fell heavily. As they entered the thirty-sixth floor lobby, the temperature-controlled indoor heating kicked in without hesitation.

Sheng Lingyuan's divine sense swept over the area and he immediately knew that the heating came from the hot water pipes buried beneath the walls and floors.

He couldn't help but marvel at how much more advanced this was compared to the firewalls used for heating in the imperial palace back in the day. Looking around at the lighting, elevators, and other amenities in the building, even King Wei Yu's luxurious white jade palace paled in comparison.

Suddenly, Sheng Lingyuan understood why many of the "special abilities" in modern times seemed so "ignorant" and couldn't even perform simple tricks that were readily available in daily life - they simply had no need to.

However, the two guides quickly fell silent, seeing Director Xiao waiting on the 36th floor.

"Oh my god..." Wang Ze swallowed hard and squeezed out a "hmm" from his throat, asking Xuan Ji, "Do you think Director Xiao's face is powdered with lead? I see his forehead is black."

"Son," Xuan Ji dryly replied, "not just that, I think even his scalp is black."

Just then, Director Xiao projected a cold laugh from afar, "Captain Wang, Director Xuan, you've returned triumphantly quite quickly. The big red flowers we prepared for you two aren't even ready yet."

Xuan Ji and Wang Ze exchanged a glance, feeling that these "big red flowers" were probably ordered from a funeral home.

These troublemakers shrank into the shape of quails and hid behind Sheng Lingyuan. Sheng Lingyuan, this 'Sword Spirit' who had just attacked Director Xiao's overnight, didn't even bother to look at the mischievous little thunder-fire beast, and continued to calmly admire the building.

Xiao Zheng was furious, his lungs were like bellows, and he was fanning the flames with every breath.

He couldn't hold back any longer and erupted like a volcano: "Bribing the administrator of the danger zone, causing a security breach, and resulting in the loss of high-risk sealed items. It almost caused a 'Yin Sacrifice Sea Riot' and almost flooded Yuzhou Island! Wang Ze! This is not just neglect of duty, do you know that? This is intentional dereliction of duty! Bribery and corruption! To put it bluntly, you are anti-human! The minimum sentence is fifteen years in prison, and there is no upper limit!"

Chief Huang rushed over upon hearing the news.

After listening to the lengthy verdict, he was afraid that Xiao would drag this Wind God Boss out and execute him. He quickly advised, "It won't come to that. There are reasons for everything, reasons for everything."

"And you!" Xiao Zheng aimed his gun at Xuan Ji and said, "Why didn't you report the problem when you discovered it? You acted without informing anyone! How can we, ordinary people, be so lucky to have you as a colleague? You even let dangerous weapons wander around freely without going through security checks or signing liability agreements..."

Xuan Ji weakly uttered, "I signed it."

Xiao Zheng didn't even think before responding, "Isn't it because you maxed out your credit card and couldn't make ends meet with just one salary?"

Xuan Ji could have argued back with confidence, but he was left speechless when he remembered his action of clearing his shopping cart with just one click.

He met Sheng Lingyuan's surprised gaze and felt even more embarrassed, wishing he could find a hole to hide in.

Sheng Lingyuan had heard from the chubby girl in the aftermath department about the "full liability agreement."

At first, he thought the little demon was crazy, but then he realized that Xuan Ji had a point. With this agreement, they were on the same side, and it would make his activities in the human world much easier.

The fact that the other party expressed such sincerity meant that he would also reciprocate, as long as he wasn't intentionally causing trouble. Besides, he didn't want to stay in the human world for long.

He just wanted to resolve the matter quickly and rest in peace. This "full liability agreement" couldn't bind him for a lifetime anyway.

After some thought, Sheng Lingyuan couldn't help but give Xuan Ji a praising look. Although they didn't have any deep hatred, they had quite a few conflicts since they met.

This little demon may seem unreliable and playful, but after spending time in the human world, he had become shrewd and capable of handling things with ease.

He had a clear sense of what was important and what was not.

The emperor was used to seeing people in a complex way, but he never thought that Xuan Ji was simply foolishly in love and made such a mistake.

Chief Huang smiled kindly and advised, "It's not an issue, we understand. In times of urgency, we have to do things differently."

Xiao Zheng was furious and shouted, "No organization, no discipline! You people have no sense of morality. You should..."

"Great job, everyone," Chief Huang put his arm around Xiao Zheng's shoulder and cut him off mid-sentence. "Thanks to our comrades' quick response, this second Yin Sacrifice ritual could have been a disaster. One hundred and eight clones, I was sweating just listening to it."

Xiao Zheng remained silent.

Then, Chief Huang praised each person one by one, even mentioning Sheng Lingyuan, the "miraculous sword spirit."

Finally, he specifically inquired about Yan Qiushan's health, prognosis, and various family situations. This was not just a polite exchange, Chief Huang genuinely cared about Yan Qiushan's well-being and even adopted a serious attitude towards the treatment of the former Wind God Captain.

"Captain Yan is a true hero. Back then, the decision to dismiss and punish Zhi Chun was too harsh and lacked empathy. Zhi Chun was injured while on the job, and later when something went wrong, the bureau failed to protect him, causing losses to the outside world. The bureau should take responsibility and not handle it this way.

"Xiao Zheng, remember to notify the logistics, internal audit, and inspection departments to come over. We will re-examine the incident where Zhi Chun was poisoned and injured, and recognize and compensate him accordingly. The honors he deserves must be in place! We cannot let our hero bleed and shed tears on the front line."

After finishing his speech, Chief Huang's tone suddenly changed and he said seriously, "I have selected the most elite members from the three major special forces to form an expert investigation team for this case. We will now hand over the suspect. The bureau attaches great importance to this matter and we will pursue it to the end as long as there are clues. I don't care who may be implicated, whether it's a big shot, an ancestor, or even a god, we will give everyone an explanation."

As Chief Huang spoke, he calmly pressed his hand on Xiao Zheng's shoulder. Xiao Zheng, who had been barking incessantly, immediately quieted down.

He awkwardly pushed up his glasses, trying to maintain a cool and detached demeanor, but his failed attempt at managing his expression gave him away.

Wang Ze was taken aback and suddenly remembered that Xiao Zheng's first internship was at Wind God... It was strange that all sorts of difficult-to-get-along-with and unpopular people loved to come to Wind God, for some unknown reason.

Later, because Xiao Zheng had a good image, high education, and a privileged family background, he was scheduled to be transferred to 'Thunder'.

Unlike the wild and unruly gang at Wind God, Leiting mostly carried out large-scale security tasks for events and foreign exchanges. They were the "face" of the headquarters and followed the upper-level route. The head of the security department was often promoted from people from the Thunder team.

It was a great opportunity, but this guy refused to go no matter what. Captain Yan considered his future and begged and pleaded for him to sign the transfer order.

At the time, Xiao Zheng, a lifelong sufferer of stage two cancer of the mind, even had a big argument with Captain Yan. Wang Ze remembered the string of messages that Director Xiao had sent to Captain Yan on his phone.

He realized a beat too late that Director Xiao was not furious because they had not reported their private actions to their "superiors," but because he had not told his brother.

Wang Ze's eyes turned red, and all the resentment he had felt from his suspicion over the lost fragment of Zhi Chun disappeared. He strode over to Director Xiao and roughly patted him on the back.

Director Xiao looked like an angry cat, his tail puffed up like a feather duster, and he pushed Wang Ze away with a black face, but he didn't lash out and say anything unpleasant.

Sheng Lingyuan listened absentmindedly as Xuan Ji roughly introduced who was who and what they did. He watched with a cold eye, thinking that this "Chief Huang" was just an ordinary person mixed in with a group of highly capable individuals.

At first glance, he seemed like a weak and indecisive person, but in reality, he was not simple at all.

Shortly after taking office, he appeared to have done nothing, but quietly and effortlessly dismantled the previously invincible security department, and promoted his own proxy, Xiao Zheng. He then quickly resolved the tension between the Director and his former peers, openly and honestly bringing the Wind Gods to his side.

Compared to the Old Lady Yu, who had lived for hundreds of years and only played in the shadows, he was much more clever.

'It seems that the fate of the human race is not yet over,' he thought with a bit of relief and sarcasm, 'It's true that heroes come from all walks of life.'

Chief Huang seemed to have sensed something and turned his head towards Sheng Lingyuan.

Their eyes met and both were momentarily stunned before breaking into harmless smiles.

One was honest and straightforward, while the other was gentle and affectionate, giving off a sense of mutual understanding.

Chief Huang politely suggested, "You haven't visited our bureau yet, have you? It was supposed to be Little Xuan's job to show you around, but unfortunately, we're currently undergoing maintenance..."

The building of the Bureau was supported by numerous intricate formations. A few months ago, Bi Chunsheng's dark ritual had attracted lightning, which struck the ancient trees outside the main hall and caused significant damage to the formations on other floors.

After a thorough internal cleaning, they were now working overtime to repair the building, starting from the main hall and sealing off more than ten floors.

Sheng Lingyuan remained noncommittal, but Xuan Ji quickly spoke up: "Don't worry, we'll come back often once the paperwork is done. Let's head back for now."

There were designated personnel in charge of transferring the prisoner and interrogating Silver Shadow, so the two of them could leave.

Xuan Ji borrowed a car with his work ID, feeling both nervous and excited, and invited Sheng Lingyuan back to his home.

As soon as they entered the city, the cold and desolate atmosphere of winter disappeared without a trace.

With the end of the year approaching, various foreign and local festivals followed one after another, and the major shopping malls became bustling with activity. The streets were noticeably more crowded, with red promotions and events everywhere.

The mall windows were filled with New Year's gift boxes, and a long line of young people wearing down jackets stood outside the trendy stores, shivering and exhaling white steam from their mouths and noses. The colder it got, the more vibrant the fireworks seemed, as if they were eager to challenge the harsh cold.

"On the left, that 'big ball' is the sports stadium. They hold various competitions there, but when there's no one competing, it's free for citizens to use with a reservation. Next door is the library, where you can read any book you want... it's kind of like the ancient sects' scripture halls," Xuan Ji said as he multitasked as both driver and tour guide.

"That's a park, a place for walking and activities. During the day, it's filled with old men and women practicing Tai Chi. Once they reach retirement age, they don't have to work anymore and are supported by their pension, which comes from..."

Since he got on the plane, Sheng Lingyuan's ears had not been at peace. It had been years since anyone dared to be so noisy around him, and he wasn't used to it.

Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and said, "Can you take a break? You've been talking the whole way, aren't you tired?"

Why are the winged clan always so talkative?

As Xuan Ji glanced at him through the rearview mirror, he met the Emperor's cold gaze and decided to keep quiet.

"But I thought you would want to hear it," he thought to himself.

The Emperor had returned to the mortal world for several months now, yet he had never inquired about the longevity of the Great Qi or the success of his descendants.

He had never even asked about how history had judged him.

He was truly the embodiment of "when I am gone, let the floodwaters rage."

He was beyond life and death, beyond the material world.

But Xuan Ji couldn't help but feel that if there was anything in this world that could bring him even a little comfort, it was the gentle breeze and moonlight of the peaceful world.

As the car entered the city where his home was located, Xuan Ji's palms began to sweat as he gripped the steering wheel.

As they drove into the neighborhood, his heart rate became irregular. By the time they reached the entrance of his complex, he was so nervous that he could barely distinguish between the brake and the accelerator.

Xuan Ji racked his brain, trying to remember if she had put away all his underwear and socks before leaving, if he had washed the dishes, and even if he had messed up parking and had to go back to sneakily push his car into the spot using his special abilities.

After leaving him for a short while, Xuan Ji turned around and saw the Emperor scrutinizing the residential building in front of them with a critical eye. He became as nervous as if he were taking a college entrance exam, unsure of what grade the Emperor would give him.

Given that the previous student had presented a magnificent Du Ling Palace, he had a high probability of failing.

" did you know that the building in front is my home?'s small, but the location is still good." Xuan Ji stammered.

Sheng Lingyuan raised an eyebrow nonchalantly. "Didn't I visit before?"

As Xuan Ji realized, Sheng Lingyuan had actually been to his house when he was inside the sword. He panicked and desperately tried to recall if he had done anything shameful during that time, like running around naked or picking his feet.

Then he remembered that he had demonstrated the hypnotic effect of books to the emperor. Oh no, his reputation as a poor student was now irreparable.

Fortunately, the emperor didn't remember that incident and instead said something even more painful.

"You said you're renting this house?" Sheng Lingyuan pointed to the shabby exterior of the old building and asked, "Your family is so obsessed with the mortal world that they've even neglected their cultivation. Did they not leave you any assets in the human realm?"

Upon hearing this, Xuan Ji almost burst into tears.

Who said he had any assets?

'It's really unfortunate for him that these useless ancestors have made his life so difficult,' thought Xuan Ji to himself.

But before he could voice his complaints, Sheng Lingyuan interjected, "But speaking of which, you've also been in the mortal world for over a decade now, haven't you?"

Xuan Ji felt like he had been struck by an arrow through the heart, but he managed to force a smile onto his cracked face.

It was a smile that looked like he wanted to eat someone, but also like he was being choked by something.

After a moment, he gritted his teeth and managed to ask, "Your Majesty, do you drink pearl milk tea?"

After five minutes, His Majesty, who had been choked with three-point sugar milk tea, entered Xuan Ji's chicken coop for the second time with a serious expression on his face.

The last time Sheng Lingyuan had visited, he was still in his sword form and had already felt like the ceiling was pressing down on him. This time, as he walked into the two-room, one-living room that had no visible beams or pillars, he felt like he was walking into a giant coffin.

"The house...well, it's a bit messy. I haven't been home much lately," said Xuan Ji, rubbing the sweat off his back from the hot night.

As soon as he entered the house, he scrambled to clear a spot for Sheng Lingyuan to sit. Looking around, he didn't know where to start cleaning.

To be fair, he wasn't a slob.

His home was cleaner than 90% of single young adults, both male and female. But he came from an ordinary family and couldn't afford a maid.

His home couldn't compare to the palace where a large group of people took turns cleaning every day.

Xuan Ji sadly realized that once he brought this person home, he was like a poor man who accidentally found a precious gem and didn't know how to treasure it. He searched all over his body, feeling that no matter which pocket he put it in, it would be a desecration of the treasure.

Meanwhile, the "treasure" himself held a cup of milk tea and sat on the sofa like an old man, busy despising his entire family.

"Although it's not messy, this place is so small. How can you fly around like this?" Sheng Lingyuan looked at him, seemingly busy doing nothing, spinning around in the room and even arguing with the floor-cleaning robot a few times.

Xuan Ji replied, "I don't usually fly around in the house."

Sheng Lingyuan looked at him meaningfully and said, "The winged race I know, unless necessary, they don't have the patience to walk on two legs."

For the winged race, making them walk on their legs was like making humans crawl on the ground - not that they couldn't do it, but it was slow and tiring, and they didn't enjoy it.

But Xuan Ji gave off the impression of someone with an extra pair of wings, only remembering to use them when necessary.

According to Sheng Lingyuan's observations, he even enjoyed taking walks.

As a demon who grew up in seclusion, reintegrating into society shouldn't completely erase his inherent nature.

After ten years in the human world, could it really change him beyond recognition?

Xuan Ji was stumped by the question.

As he thought about it, he realized how strange it was that he, a wild bone spirit who grew up among scrap metal, was able to seamlessly integrate into human society when he first arrived in the mortal world.

No one had ever taught him the complex rules of human interaction, yet he seemed to know them instinctively.

"Maybe... it's because I'm not a pure-blooded demon," Xuan Ji hesitated for a moment before continuing, still on his knees as he wiped the dust off the coffee table.

He glanced up at Sheng Lingyuan from below, a posture that made him look pitiful and vulnerable.

"Our clan was born because of the Emperor. We don't want to behave like demons." Sheng Lingyuan raised an eyebrow.

Xuan Ji shamelessly represented his thirty-five fellow clansmen.

Their clan was really unreliable and all thirty-six generations was being despised by the emperor. It was impossible to change that impression, so Xuan Ji decided to use this disadvantage to gain sympathy.

Normally, Xuan Ji understood the hardships of being a working class member and sympathized with everyone's difficulties.

However, he didn't want to remain silent in front of Sheng Lingyuan.

Including his days of wandering aimlessly in Chiyuan Canyon, he had lived for several decades and had never been moved like this before. He couldn't let this opportunity pass him by.

"Your Majesty," Xuan Ji persisted, "our clan of fire-keepers...we haven't been performing up to par in recent years. It's because we were all accidents, born without anyone to guide us. We don't know where we came from or what our purpose is. We've been stumbling around blindly, trying to figure things out on our own."

The central idea of this statement is "you are responsible," but it's a lie - at least according to the fragments of ancestral memory that Xuan Ji has access to.

All the other ancestors knew exactly what their purpose was, but for some reason, his own memories are fragmented.

Xuan Ji didn't feel good about lying, so he lowered his eyelids to show the Emperor a desolate forehead.

Whether it was "seeking responsibility" or "seeking guidance," he would first rely on it and figure it out later.

If all else failed, he could shamelessly become his student and slowly trap him. He didn't want to be left with nowhere to find him if the heavenly demon suddenly left.

"Are you relying on me now?" Sheng Lingyuan said, "You're quite good at acting cute."

He didn't mind Xuan Ji trying to take advantage of him, but he was more afraid of the fire-keeper just idling around.

If the little demon wanted to use him to gain some benefits, then he was willing to play along. It was equivalent to being willing to improve, which was exactly what the emperor wanted.

As Xuan Ji was contemplating his next move, a cold hand suddenly landed on his head and slid down his hair, lifting up his face.

"Born because of me?" Sheng Lingyuan asked.

Xuan Ji stared at him, trembling involuntarily.

"Wow, you really know how to act cute," Sheng Lingyuan laughed, "Alright then, as a gift for my first visit to your precious land and with nothing to offer, I'll give you something to remember me by."

In the next moment, Xuan Ji felt himself being lifted up by Sheng Lingyuan, who grabbed his hand from behind and whispered in his ear, "Infuse your true energy...oh, sorry, I mean concentrate your special ability on..."

Xuan Ji's mind went blank and he was on the verge of short-circuiting when a huge fireball erupted from his palm, instantly turning the floor into charcoal.

Sheng Lingyuan said, "...your fingertips."

Xuan Ji frantically put out the fire.

"No need to try so hard," Sheng Lingyuan chuckled, and with just a whisper in Xuan Ji's ear, he made him tremble so hard that his legs went weak. In the next moment, he drew a formation on the ground while holding Xuan Ji's hand.

As Xuan Ji's heart stirred, the symbols of the formation landed and the wooden floor beneath his feet disappeared in an instant, replaced by a thick and soft meadow.

"Focus," said Sheng Lingyuan.

With that, he took Xuan Ji's hand and, using it as a guide, left behind a string of fiery lines.

A complex formation took shape without any hesitation, and the walls around them quickly receded while the ceiling rose high above.

In the blink of an eye, Xuan Ji's small two-bedroom apartment, which was less than sixty square meters, expanded to an unknown size. The living room had become an indoor soccer field, and the ceiling had turned into the sky.

It was actually an entire set of spatial formations, even more exquisite than the landing pad of the Bureau's headquarters!

"If only you had worked harder, you wouldn't have had to live in a chicken coop," Sheng Lingyuan let go of him, feeling the space stretch out, "What are you doing?"

Xuan Ji couldn't believe his eyes. He had never seen anything like this before.

Xuan Ji grabbed his hand tightly and said, "Master, how much is the tuition for the remedial class? Name your price! I am willing to work like a slave, sell my organs, and even offer myself to make up for it!"


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