After introducing Hong Yunqiao to the group members, the Truth Department Head -- the stubborn old man -- put his hands behind his back and walked away angrily.
A problem of disorganization always disturbed him. Did they think it was easy for him to come out once in a while?
Hong Yunqiao, easily and familiarly, walked outside the Group Leader's office. He knocked on the door without caring that there was someone snoring inside.
That knocking went on for 5 minutes, yet the door stayed shut.
He raised his leg, about to kick it open, but after some thought put it down and turned to one of the people in the office. "Secretary General Liu, ask your ex-leader to come out."
Secretary General Liu looked as though he heard a strict yet familiar voice. Subconsciously, he stood and then looked with puzzlement and the newly named Leader.
Eh, they have not done introductions yet. How did he recognize him with that look?
Oh, yes. The Head did say that he works in the background. He must have had info on all the group members.
After Secretary General Liu was done supplementing his knowledge, he immediately said, "Leader Ren seems unwell today. Maybe we should wait until he wakes and opens the door himself?"
"Huh! What do you mean, unwell? He's obviously hungover and sleeping! Sleeping during work hours!" Hong Yunqiao's voice became suddenly louder, his tone and expression fierce. "Who gave him the power?! All of you are accommodating him! How much talent does he have for all of you to think he's invincible? Does the earth stop spinning without him? Does the Truth Department need to shut down tomorrow without him, Ren Ruofeng?!!"
Secretary General Liu was so cowed that he did not dare do anything else. He cowered slightly as he went to knock the door.
Everyone was shocked, shrinking their heads. This new leader had an even stronger aura than Deputy Leader Hong before. They were truly siblings after all, and their temper was probably equally inherited.
The point was, he had reason, and he had his position. Who could talk back? Who dared to talk back?
The next day, he could send you to the frontlines to suffer.
"Cough, cough." The sound of hanover coughing came from the Leader's office, and then a weak voice said, "No need to knock. I… I'll leave."
A slightly worried look flitted across Hong Yunqiao's face, which immediately became cool. Finally, a chance to scold this old man in public. That felt very good.
Ren Ruofeng stumbled out of the room, not even looking at Hong Yunqiao. He looked slightly reluctantly at the large office of the Think Tank Group and said to his once-confidants. "You all have to depend on yourself now, and be more modest. The next leader cannot be provoked, cannot be provoked…"
With that, he walked out, swaying slightly as he went towards the exit.
"Stop!" Hong Yunqiao called.
Amazingly, Ren Ruofeng actually stopped at that.
"Where are you going?"
"Where can I go? I'm still a budgeted employee of the Truth Department. Having been fired and waiting for another post. I'll find a place where there are no women to be found." Ren Ruofeng said unconcernedly.
"Huh. You carry a lot of the Department's classified secrets. What can be done if you were captured by some demon? How can we let you choose where to go?" Hong Yunqiao scolded, all stern words and reason.
Ren Ruofeng let out a 'hmph'ing sound. "There's a place where no Demon would go, and where there are no women."
He went on, with a note of regret, "Well, Sir Venerable has the gift of premonition. He's wise but seems foolish, even choosing followers from animals, and the only butler is a male. I'd wondered then, but thinking back now -- sigh -- I'm not as good as him."
Hong Yunqiao's face, hearing this, became pale and cold. Also letting out a 'hmph', he shouted, "Get out! Get out now!!"
Ren Ruofeng swayed as he exited the Think Tank office space.
Hong Yunqiao entered the Leader's office, and was assaulted by the smell of alcohol.
He wafted his hand in front of his nose with disgust, then said, "Secretary General Liu. Come here, some of you, and remove all the mirrors here! Using them every day did not give him a human look anyway! Move all the books from Leader Hong's bookshelves next door here!"
Everyone did not dare object. Their ex-leader had said that this man cannot be provoked. Well, they shall hide their stingers first, and when he revealed some sort of weakness, they could topple him and welcome back their old leader.
No one liked a strict boss above them. Working with Ren Ruofeng was much better.
The third level of the Draconic Arcane Realm.
Wild flowers bloomed alongside the weeds below them. It was a desolate scene waiting for development.
Fang Ning was talking with a group of Stone People regarding the renovations of the Draconic Realm when Sir System suddenly spoke.
"Ren Ruofeng has turned green…"
Fang Ning was shocked at this, thinking subconsciously: 'Had that fellow's wife been taken by someone else?' (TN: in Chinese slang, being turned green means being cuckolded. In this context, it means becoming an ally)
He then relaxed and smiled, saying to a certain a**hole, "You idiot, speak in full next time. Stop saying things like 'turned green' and such. Just say he's become an ally. Saying things like turning blue or green doesn't suit your serious personality."
The System then said, "Then I've to say more words, which would waste time... Before, you said that Ren Ruofeng, pondering the bigger picture, would not ponder do that according to us. Now that he's turned green, maybe he could?"
Fang Ning's brow wrinkled. "Not definitely. A strategist like him is hard to predict, but what's definite is that he may not have bad intent towards us."
The System replied, "I don't understand. You can worry about him, while I go capture a spirit tracked down by Yellow Dog. This spirit's been wreaking havoc in a high school for many months."
Fang Ning's eyes lit up. "Is that spirit powerful? Do you want me do some practice?"
Being able to show off in front of his juniors might be a very different feeling…
The System declined. "You want to show off again. No, this spirit is absolutely scary and would scare you half to death. It has already scared 13 people to unconsciousness."
Fang Ning got a cold feeling. He then realized that life, which seemed peaceful and undisturbed before, was because he had Sir System to shield him.
In the new era, many strange, terrifying things have happened, and ordinary people could bump into one unknowingly.
They will not encounter Lake-level and Pond-level demons, of course.
However, a demon of only Bucket Level or Cutlery Level could already cause long-lasting scary tales in a small area.
After all, China was big, and the Truth and Special Affairs Department could not cover every inch of it.
In the past, work on just small challenging normal cases needed half a year or a year, even up to 3 or 5 years. There were some that continued dragging on.
In the new era, it was impossible for things to become efficient immediately. It was still the same people, and the same groups -- although Extraordinaires had now joined in.
However, many strange happenings were even more complicated than past cases, which meant one could not just farm monsters behind them without thought.
They also needed slow combing through until the source of the strange happenings were found. Only then could they be solved.
With Sir System, their workload was greatly decreased.
The Venerable Dragon God did not care about those strange cases. Dealing with them was still a headache, and it always took months for them to close one. That was why now, there were occasionally scary myths in some places.
At least Sir Venerable had been pondering this too, and sent out his servant to help deal with it. This made them touched. The Venerable One, in his heart, would not leave those dark corners alone after all.
Where the Eastern Pharos went, no shadow shall form.
After 5 minutes, Fang Ning, still in the Draconic Arcane Realm, heard System Notifications.
[The System has removed the source of the havoc: a drowned spirit.]
[The System has gained 6000 Experience Points]
[The System has gained unknown amount of Reputation and unknown number of Morality Bars.]
Fang Ning recalled that the Yellow Dog had been out for weeks. In that long period, it had only found one source, where Sir System could come and gain 6000 Experience Points.
That was why Sir System never went to find those sources of strange things. At this rate, how could it develop?
Just then Fang Ning received Zheng Dao's call.
"Sir, Senior Ren has arrived. He says he wants to rest and recuperate here for a while, even taking a book here as rent."
Fang Ning, hearing this, felt suspicious. The Truth Department was busy, and even if there were short breaks, there would be important things to work on. How did he have time for rest and recuperation?
Had he come to spy?
Fang Ning then cancelled out the guess, because the System had notified him earlier.
Alright, since he was an ally, then he could stay for a few days. Fang Ning lived in the System Space anyway, and no one could take up his living space.
He then replied offhandedly, "Of course, let him stay. As for the rent…"
The System broke in, saying into Fang Ning's phone, "Accept the rent."
Fang Ning was speechless. He was going to say "Never mind the rent", but this ass had put its word in first.
He told the System, "Anderson has analysed and come up with N tactics. You haven't learnt them yet, but you're interested in what Old Man Ren brought?"
"I decide whether to learn it or not, but I need to have a look at it first."
Soon after, Fang Ning took over Vigilante A's body to go meet Ren Ruofeng.
Vigilante A's farm villa.
In the living room, Vigilante A, Zheng Dao and Ren Ruofeng sat accordingly as host and guest, conversing.
"Brother Ren, it's been a while. How have you been?" Fang Ning said politely.
Ren Ruofeng laughed bitterly, and said disappointedly, "Sigh, let's not talk about the past. Life has enough storms already. Now with your kind accommodation, I could escape from the trappings of the noisy material world for a while. I consider myself lucky."
Fang Ning nodded. Life must not have been good to him lately -- has he really been cuckolded?
However, he did not make it worse, plus he was not a gossip. So, he assured him, "Then Brother Ren can stay here for some time. If you need anything, just call Butler Zheng. With the protection of the spell formations, it's pretty peaceful here."
"Okay, but no worries about peace or not. The reason I wanted to come to you was, because any mosquitoes that enter would be male anyhow." Ren Ruofeng gave a long sigh.
Fang Ning was immediately shaken. Damn, this Ren Ruofeng definitely has very high IQ. He had just arrived not more than 10 minutes ago, yet could guess this fact.
True, there were no female mosquitoes, because they would suck blood. That was why the Formation had included this.
With such sharp observation skills, Fang Ning was glad that the other was their ally, or he would not have let him stay here for a long time.
While they were talking, Zheng Dao suddenly wrinkled his brow and got up. "Sir, and Senior Ren, there seems to be people descending from the skies. The Formation has rippled."
The other two nodded. They had already felt it.
The three went out together.
Outside, Ren Ruofeng's expression changed, and he did not know whether to laugh or cry.
Xue Feng had descended, and on the sword stood a faintly familiar young woman.
Xue Feng seemed to belie the shine of his power. He had reached Pond Level.
Fang Ning did not looked surprised, and explained, "Oh, I was planning to plant some medicinal herbs in the Draconic Arcane Realm. I bid Xue Feng here to bring this…"
"Zhao Xin, why are you here?" Ren Ruofeng immediately recognized the woman. He had memorized all the information of the many people in the Truth Department.
This Zhao Xin was the medical agriculture team member caring for the Ginseng Spirit in the Land of Heritage.
When Fang Ning was planning to move it, he had remembered her and she had said that she had meticulously cared for it for 10 years. Soon, it could develop sentience.
He was a soft-hearted person, and when he remembered that Sir had promised her, he had told Xue Feng to ask whether he could hire her.
The issue of the Venerable Dragon God requesting a logistic team member was no trouble, and they had immediately approved and asked her to go.
Today, he had let Xue Feng escort her here, and also express his thanks since he had broken through earlier to Pond-level watching the great scene of the Body-Sword Unity technique.
When Fang Ning had explained, Ren Ruofeng immediately understood the true story, nodding and no longer puzzling over it. The other would stay long in the Draconic Arcane Realm anyway, so it was no problem.
That night, Fang Ning allowed his stand-in robot to come in and set up a banquet as a welcoming dinner for Ren Ruofeng, as well as a reward for the Yellow Dog and Black Dog who had done many great deeds in vanquishing demons and monsters. However, they had subconsciously forgotten someone.
"Too bad. Everyone in this house is attending the banquet, except for your Sir Dragon Carp, who isn't allowed to be on that table. You promised to treat me fairly and treat others honestly, but that was all lies…"
In the aquarium in the living room, the gold carp muttered.
It lay on the side of the aquarium, peering towards the dining room and sniffing its nose as it smelt the aroma wafting from it. It drooled.
Delicacies like this, in its memory, had never been thrown and fed to it in the Upper Realm in years.
In the banquet, chopsticks and goblets were set up, and no one thought of it.
Fish? In their subconscious thinking, if it wanted to be at that table, it was only if it was turned into a tasty dish… That included Zheng Dao, who usually cared a lot about his comrades' feelings, yet did not remember that one comrade -- the Dragon Carp had not been invited.
That was obvious why the Dragon Carp felt such hatred.
After three rounds of wine, both sides had become more familiar with one another. Ren Ruofeng thus asked a question.
"Sir has always practised chivalry every day, with the vision of returning a peaceful world to the people. This dream is truly great, and is respected by everyone. I want to know if you have any other personal goals other than this?"
Fang Ning froze. 'Personal goals? I just want to play games till the end of the world without anyone caring. Of course, it cannot be said out loud.'
He told Sir System, "Say your wish."
Vigilante A said emotionlessly, "Concentrate on Cultivation and removing evil, then become World Number One."
Ren Ruofeng nodded. Such a pure and simple dream. No wonder Venerable Dragon God had always remained emotionless and unshaken by material things, fully investing himself in the Path of Heavenly Punishment.
If anyone else had the chance, they would be disturbed by emotions and desires. Their will would not pass the test, like himself…
Fang Ning said, speechless, "Where did you steal that second half of the quote again?"
At the workplace of the Think Tank Group of the Truth Department.