No one could knock the door open. They could hear the sound of snoring from inside, as well as that of vague mumbling in sleep.
It went along the lines of, "I was wrong", "I shouldn't have been so greedy", "I deserved it", which made them confused.
The Deputy Leader, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen.
It was only after noon that the head of the Truth Department, a man with a determined demeanor, took action. This was a revered God-like figure whose level of power was unknown, and who rarely materialized unless there was a major happening.
Now that he had come, there must be something wrong.
As expected, behind him was an attractive young man who bore a striking resemblance to the Deputy Leader.
Then, the Head of the Truth Department said something that shook them.
"Hmm, your Leader Ren and Leader Hong is advanced in age and is preparing to retire. This is Leader Hong Yunjiao's long-lost younger brother…" At this, the old man's face changed slightly, glaring fiercely at the young man beside him before continuing, "He is Hong Yunqiao, who has extraordinary intelligence and is extremely learned in poetry. He has always chosen to work in the background, but the two Leaders have advocated for him as the future leader of the Think Tank Group."
"Why? Isn't Leader Ren doing pretty well now? Everything is progressing well, and there are a few big plans he's handling," a few brave people treated by Ren Ruofeng as confidants muttered among themselves, their tones discontent.
"No wonder this Hong Yunqiao looks so similar to Leader Hong before. That's her brother… But it's weird, Leader Hong's true age is over 70, but her brother looks 20. How was he conceived?" a fellow mumbled skeptically.
Hong Yunqiao glared at him intensely, knowing that he was one of Ren Ruofeng's ardent supporters. He said, "My sister and I have the same father but different mothers…"
"That's easily explained then; many men could still have sons in their seventies. " Everyone understood, and seemed to hint at something.
"But there's something wrong, since Leader Ren and Leader Hong both still look young. Haven't they returned to their youthful bodies? Why are they retiring?"
"Things aren't as busy as they were before. The Pathos of the East has illuminated the entire world, and with the Venerable One, they can enjoy some alone time for a while. Unfortunately, that gives an advantage to certain people, who only come to enjoy the fruits of others who have labored before them. ."
Everyone was defending Ren Ruofeng, hoping to give the new leader some warning.
However, they did not expect that their new leader knew them like the back of his hand. They were destined for a disastrous beginning.
While Ren Ruofeng was drunk and incoherent,, Fang Ning was discussing something with Shi Gan.
Because thirty thousand Chinese hectares of land had just been rented for agriculture, the Whitestone People were not willing to return it immediately, since it would be considered breaching the contract, and only two-thirds of the rent would be returned.
The third story of the Draconic Arcane Realm only had 1 square kilometer of land.
One square kilometer was one million square meters, one Chinese hectare was 666 square meters and thus, there were 1500 Chinese hectares of land.
Compared to the outside world, this was considered small, but there it had a large advantage -- it was isolated from the outside world. Fang Ning had originally thought there would be people who would not be able to get used to it. He had not considered that those Whitestone People would be extremely satisfied at this.
These days, some of those Whitestone People were troubled.
While eating, sleeping, even while using the bathroom or dozing off, there would be people secretly recording videos or sound recordings of them, utterly despicable.
Many had started missing life in the Upper Realm, where they had been ostracized. At least back then, they felt at peace.
Due to their honest, simple temperament, they were too embarrassed to let their temper loose and chase them away. They only resisted it day by day, waiting for the day when those people would scatter as their interest waned.
Well, it could be said that entering this arcane realm could thoroughly free them from this awkward, humiliating situation where they were constantly being watched.
When something happened, who would be the ones to plant the fields outside, and who was going to plant the fields inside?
To Fang Ning, this was a minor issue -- solved by merely giving orders.
He was used to commanding the criminals and spirits in the Penitentiary, and very few of them even dared to disobey his orders.
However, to the Whitestone People, this was a major issue, and was something which required democracy and free discussion.
The first round of the free discussion began.
Shi Da said, "I'm the oldest, and I should go in to plant the fields."
Shi Er followed with, "I am the second oldest, and Shi Da alone is not enough to plant the fields inside. I have to help."
As they finished their first round, Fang Ning was staring at all 250 of them. Everyone, including their clan leader, was speaking honestly, and wanted to go in to sow the fields.
That also meant that they all wanted to hole up in the Draconic Arcane Realm and not come out.
Fang Ning welcomed this, of course. With more hands, work could be done faster.
However, the clan leader Shi Gan was quite responsible, as he remembered his great ambition of reforming the world. If all of them went in there, it was no use.
He did not want to use his power to force his people, and so asked the Venerable One to think of something.
Fang Ning was too lazy for that. He called upon the expert on human relations -- Zheng Dao and told him to deal with it.
Zheng Dao was a psychologist, after all. He might not be able to solve the three questions, but this was no trouble for him. Just change the questions a bit, then he could solve it.
"Which of you are willing to stay outside in the face of adversity in order to convince the humans here and fulfill the great dream of your ancestors? Those who don't can go in to sow the fields."
At this, all the Whitestone People raised their hands again.
It's true that staying in there and hiding away from the eyes of the world was their real choice, but not fearing dangers and fulfilling the vision of their ancestors was equally their true dream.
It seemed contradictory.
However, that was alright. Every true living being was a mix of contradictions, where laziness and diligence exist side by side, and cowardice and nobility co-exist.
Clan Leader Shi Gan felt admiration at this. Truly, anyone who followed the True Dragon was learned and talented. The problem that had been troubling him for half a day had been solved with just a sentence from the other.
Well, it was simple after that. Everyone made an agreement; five years per shift, and there would be two shifts -- one inside and one outside, taking turns.
Just as the Stone People celebrated exultantly, Vigilante A glanced emotionlessly in a certain direction.
Shi Gan looked there at the same time, then wrinkled his brows and reminded him, "True Dragon Sir, there's a very concentrated beam of demon energy just now. That must be the War Demons from the Upper Realm. Unexpectedly, they've become braver after Descending and actually dare to spy on Sir Dragon. They must have nefarious intentions."
Vigilante A said nonchalantly, "I see. Hmm, you don't need to worry about this. You can go on untroubled."
Shi Gan said, naturally, "I thank you, True Dragon Sir, for your protection. With your True Dragon's Celestial Aura, those inferior beings cannot stand a single blow…"
When honest people flatter others, the effect is multiplied…
Fang Ning relaxed at this, and praised, "Well, it seems that your power is amazing. Even the truth spoken by an honest person sounds like flattery."
The System replied, "He may be honest, but what he had said cannot be considered truth."
Fang Ning was surprised. The head demons labeled powerful by Sir System could be counted on one hand. That was, when Sir System had not developed to this stage, there were only a handful that could really challenge it.
He immediately asked with concern, "That Head Demon is enormously powerful then?"
The System replied, "I am not talking about its power... I'm saying that he could probably block three blows from me, and definitely not 'cannot stand a single blow '(TN:不堪一击 was used here. It is a Chinese idiom to describe an opponent so inferior he would not withstand even a blow from his assailant.)."
Fang Ning was speechless at this. "Sir, you're truly arrogant. I was worried for 5 seconds for nothing again."
In the North Sea, on a deserted island thousands of kilometers away from Qiongzhou Island.
The sea breeze was strong, and had no impediment. The island had no tall trees, only scarce weeds growing determinedly in the crevices between the rocks, swaying in the breeze.
A tall, dark-skinned man wearing black armor all over his body was standing together with Black Cat Tom and Huang Rui.
"Vigilante A truly is great, " the tall man's face was full of excitement, as though he had found a rare and worthy opponent. "With my level, I can probably stand three blows from him and if I don't flee, my fate would be death."
Huang Rui was secretly shocked, and looked towards Lord Tom. Black Cat Tom did not even look surprised. He shot it a look.
He then provoked him, saying, "Lord Thunder Demon, you're a War Demon of the Upper Realm who never fails in attacks or battles. You're truly strong. Are you saying you fear this Vigilante A?"
"Ha ha," the War Demon Lei Tian slanted him a look and said contemptuously, "Don't play those games with me. I am a descendant of the War Demons, while he's a Descended True Dragon. His blood is so much more powerful than mine. If we were in the Upper Realm, I would not be able to even go within ten thousand miles of him. At the very least, this is the Lower Realm, which allows me to fight him at such a short distance. This is extremely lucky for me."
The black cat laughed, taunting him. "Sir Thunder Demon, don't be too modest. You are the best in fighting, the best in detecting weaknesses in the enemy. Vigilante A may be powerful, but he also has weaknesses. According to our investigations, Vigilante A is truly a Descended True Dragon, but we hear that his Upper Realm memories are all gone, only retaining some secret arts of the Dragons such as Dragon Clan Alchemy."
The War Demon Lei Tian's eyes lit up. "The Pills of the Dragon Clan are quite powerful. Can this source be trusted? Maybe he is feigning weakness on purpose and playing for a wolf in sheep's clothing? You say he is practicing the Path of Heavenly Punishment, which makes him stronger the more he fights. He has the motivation for this."
The Black Cat concurred immediately, "The intel is dependable. It was said by that gluttonous Chong Daqing herself. She's the daughter of the Head of the Celestial Clan, and doesn't have any hidden motives. She probably won't…no, probably doesn't have the ability to help in Vigilante A's act. The Hummingbirds have ostensibly treated it to meals for days to buy information from her before getting it. It's trustworthy. ."
"I see. No wonder I could approach him within a thousand meters and yet could sense that he won't be able to kill me in three blows or less. If he still has Upper Realm True Dragon memories, it definitely won't be so." The War Demon Lei Tian nodded thoughtfully.
Huang Rui did not know what the other was thinking, and dared not answer. The black cat was not anxious.
It said, "I hear that my lord enters the path through war, and can, similarly, become stronger the more you fight. You have just recently descended, yet could block three of Vigilante A's blows. In a few more months, I believe you can defeat him."
"Ha ha, Black Cat, you're indeed informed and have ears everywhere. Oh yes, I am curious, why did you change your name to Tom? I remember you weren't called this before?" Lei Tian did not respond to Tom's flattery but asked a seemingly strange question.
Black Cat Tom rolled his eyes ever so slightly. "Oh, I'm just adopting the local culture. I have wandered around in the West for a while, and this is the most common name."
Huang Rui tutted inwardly, 'I remember you saying inadvertently that you called yourself Tom so you can live longer.'
Lei Tian did not linger on this topic, but smiled and turned suddenly. His black armor disappeared, and then a strong muscular man exuding an aura of greatness materialized, wielding a large machete. This form was very much different from that of the head demon before.
"Ha ha, what do you think of this character?"
Huang Rui was stupefied. No wonder Tom said before that this guy was extremely cunning. With this look of belligerence, it was obvious that he wanted to become an undercover spy.
Thinking back to when Tom said he would become stronger the more he fought, he had a terrible thought. Was he going to become Vigilante A's ally?
While using martial arts as a way to become allies, he would gain the other's goodwill. Then, when he was stronger and regained his power, he would assassinate him when his guard was down.
This similar strategy had played around in his military-advisor mind in about (n+1) forms. He was definitely a very cunning man.
No wonder Sir Tom was so confident in him.
Black Cat Tom gave a sniff, sensing carefully before saying with admiration, "This art of disguise by the Lord War Demon has entered the realm of the divine and reached its peak. No matter how powerful Vigilante A's Heaven Eyes are, he wouldn't be able to see through it. I understand what Sir wants to do."
Lei Tian smiled, before a coldness took over his expression.
Black Cat Tom was shocked at this, and immediately jumped into the air and fled.
"That's fast. No wonder it wants to change its name to Tom. You really thought I wouldn't check out everything here?" Lei Tian stared at a ripple in space, unsurprised.
He looked towards Huang Rui. "Your master has fled and abandoned you here. What do you have to say about that?"
Huang Rui, shaking, immediately gave a bow. "I am willing to serve you, Lord War Demon."
Lei Tian smiled, satisfied, and said coldly, "No one has ever succeeded in using me, including the black cat and those great Upper Realm demons. This planet is destined to be my hunting ground. You are familiar with the conditions here, and also with that black cat. I shall take mercy on you, but serve me well from now on."
At this, he stretched out a finger, and a black aura entered Old Man Huang Rui's body.
His entire body shook, shivered. He could feel something cold in him, like there was something else in him.
He immediately understood that this was the way the Head Demon controlled people. He felt like ashes, hopeless.
Lord Tom might be strict on occasion, but it treated him quite well. Even if he had made grievous mistakes because of Vigilante A, he had not been punished badly.
This time, in this Head Demon's hands, he was afraid he would not have that sort of life anymore.
He thought this with despair, but wore an expression of praise and said, "I am willing to do my very best and help Lord Thunder Demon come up with tactics and strategies. I shall give it my all, until the end of my days."
The next day, the members of the Think Tank Group wondered why the usually alert, well-dressed Leader Ren came into the office with stubble and the smell of alcohol all over his body.