Chapter 314: Yarn of Silence (Part 2/2)
Gong Qi was the first of the ability user society to step into the realm of Extraordinary; he was one of the strongest. As one tiny clue could reveal the general trend, Gong Qi was able to predict the results of the investigation team's operation just from Yuan Fei's walking pace. As for the course of events—whether or not anyone died and how many had died—all these were just minor details. He needed not to be too concerned about them.
Gong Qi's twenty-year career as Deputy Secretary-General also had him serving as the diplomatic officer of secrets. He experienced many stormy waves in his long career, sculpting him his own set of rules and conduct. This made it so that he merely displayed a cold expression, even though the urge to kill surfaced from within his heart. He just used the micro-movements of his limbs to vent his agitation.
He wasn't masking anything; masking was absolutely meaningless. Next to him was You Gang, or Old Man You. Though Old Man You was unable to climb his way to the ranks of Extraordinaries through entire his lifetime, his mind was clear and his eyes were bright. Putting on a phony appearance would just make this old man laugh.
Yuan Fei could be considered perceptive. He didn't reveal the situation in broad daylight, so he preserved a bit of face.
With how matters developed thus far, Gong Qi was disinclined to spend more words with You Gang. His rubbing fingers squeezed then separated, before he knocked against the glass wall in front of him. "I more or less understand the legal matter with Quantum Corporation now. The structure of the girl's body and soul is quite peculiar. Back in the day, Water Deva expounded upon the cross-morphosis of body and soul. There are many similarities between it and her. It's very interesting, which is why I took her away...."
"She's here to recover. That's what she believes. But won't being sent to your hands result in a person’s destruction?" Old Man You, at his age, really did as he pleased. He spoke straightforwardly and ruthlessly,his words all without a hint of civility.
Gong Qi was used to it. His eyes didn't budge a hair. "The conditions here at Headquarters are nevertheless a bit better than Quantum Corporation. It's easier to develop the girl's value here."
Old Man You's eyelids, which were on the verge of losing activity, drooped down. Only his long eyebrows quivered as he said, "Develop? You've been doing good business these days. You've learned to be no different than those big tycoons."
Gong Qi finally frowned. "It's a performance. Or do you think that I shouldn't give youngsters a stage to perform? It's just a slip of the tongue. Old Man You, why are you being so serious."
Old Man You chuckled as he shook his head. "A slip of the tongue? It looks like you, Secretary Gong, have finally grown rotten with age. You should yield your position to the younger folk. In my opinion, Little Yuan is not bad. He has good eyes, and he's highly capable."
Why the hell was I pulled inside this competition between two old fools?
Yuan Fei's face twitched, but soon he donned a smile. He conveyed a bow toward Old Man You. "Old Man You's made quite a joke. The Society still needs Secretary-General Gong. Old Man You, with you at the helm guarding us, thousands upon thousands of ability users are sheltered."
Old Man You laughed. "I provided shelter fifty years ago, and fifty years later I still provide shelter. I can't even build a shed now, plus its boring. What are your thoughts?"
Yuan Fei immediately sealed his mouth. He wouldn't utter a sound no matter what.
"I understand the Xia City branch's attitude now. I'll head back first."
Gong Qi no longer put himself in a bind with You Gang. He cast a glance with his cold face at the glass wall. Inside there was a girl in quiet deep sleep. Her breathing seemed nonexistent, but its rhythm was continuous. It was one from start to end.
His gaze cut over to her. It lingered there for a bit before he turned around and left.
Old Man You grunted. He spoke after a beat's delay, "So today we end things here? You're not going to keep me company?"
Gong Qi didn't acknowledge him. He didn't look back. But a number flashed in his mind.
Quantum Corporation's quoted price always came at quite the opportune time. The Incident Investigation Team had just left Headquarters, and the quotation had landed on the desks of several big shots and various secretaries-general through reliable channels.
Two divided by a thousand was a small number, but eight trillion credits was already invested into this project. This super project would likely have several times that amount of money injected into it in the future. Any small changes would be amplified to astronomical numbers.
What was more, the results that the project was heading toward was more valuable than these numbers of money, which was only significant in the normal world.
From a realistic perspective, Headquarters' focus should be inclined toward realistic interests. They should use all their energy in fighting for complete rights to the girl, to have her completely for themselves. This was what they should be doing.
But then they looked at the news that came from the Order of Justice. An Weng's decisive actions that night clearly involved extremely important information; it was the ultimate secret that Headquarters always sought to obtain.
The two matters stacked together. Which one was lighter? Which one was heavier? How should they distribute their energy and resources? Headquarters had quite a headache going on.
Looking at things now, Apocalypse Laboratory really did have good foresight in arranging the importance of research and excavation.
But when things get down to the nitty-gritty, who wouldn't want to have their cake and eat it too?
Gong Qi returned to his temporary dwelling. He sat on a couch and pondered in silence.
Yuan Fei cautiously approached him. He wanted to raise some words, but Gong Qi wasn't willing to spend too much time with him. He said, "Leave behind the records of the operation. Why don't you go."
Yuan Fei let out a breath of relief. Luckily, he had seized the moment to tidy up the information. He wasn't caught unprepared. He bowed and left the room.
Gong Qi skimmed through the records. Even with only a preliminary combing through the information, he found that there weren't many things of value inside.
Headquarters had temporarily destroyed the function of the Psychic Wave Network. And accordingly, the Xia City branch interfered with Headquarters' communication line. It wasn't easy to ensure internal communications with the mobilization team. The uploading of the corresponding data worked with a bit of a delay.
Currently, Gong Qi could only see the beginning portion where Puppeteer had captured a hostage as a bargaining chip, and the latter portion with Tank's intermittent words. The most crucial period of time was a complete blank. However, he could also see that the situation had taken an abrupt turn, collapsing in a short period of time.
From Gong Qi's perspective, disregarding Black Beetle, Puppeteer, Tank, and especially Snake Tongue all had power. Their shrewdness was acceptable as well. How could they have been wiped clean in just a few minutes?
It didn't quite seem that the Xia City branch's reinforcements had arrived, at least from what he could tell with Tank's shouts just before death. It wasn't likely for the Xia City branch to be this absolute.
It seemed to truly be like Tank said; the military had made a move and used a directed infrasonic wave weapon. But although this thing was perhaps very effective against Puppeteer and Tank, it wouldn't be worth a damn against Snake Tongue's soul body.
And, as far as he knew, Snake Tongue was still alive and well. Something strange was going on!
Gong Qi slowly rubbed his fingers. As a leader, he really shouldn't be spending too much time on these sorts of details. Otherwise, what would Yuan Fei and the others do?
The problem was that the matter was spread before him. This was a race against time with the Order of Justice. If they missed an opportunity, he would be held responsible for it. Those old co-workers who he worked with for many years would be quite delighted to smack him in the head with this injustice.
One less person meant an extra mouthful of rice for the rest. This was the plain and simple truth!
The strength of the fingers’ rubbing increased a bit. Sisi sounds could be heard. Gong Qi closed his eyes, appearing to be in deep thought, while also appearing to be napping.
Roughly five minutes passed before his eyes slightly opened. A telepathic thought, like smoke, merged into the void, thrown into the depths of the mental plane.
Right before the end, two channels of telepathy suddenly cut across space. One channel was tight like a heavenly net. The other channel was tyrannical like a high cliff, a towering peak. The heavenly net just blocked and sealed all telepathy, while the cliff pressed down with its towering might to faintly touch upon Gong Qi's consciousness, intentionally or otherwise.
Gong Qi snorted, his face turning a bit dark, but this didn't continue for long. He soon reverted back to his expressionless state.
Today, he had been constantly enduring, calculating, and pondering. Whatever spoken reasons there were, they were all false. Ultimately, he was the one under subjection.
Ouyang Chen was a homebody who wholeheartedly focused on research, but that Lady Wu was quite ambitious, and her mind was far more unpredictable. These two Extraordinaries converging together had allowed Xia City to become an independent area. Sure enough, he had scalded his hand when he had sent his telepathy out this time.
But he couldn't really blame anyone for this. No one had made him act overly hasty in recent years, giving those old co-workers a handle on him.
He was of old age, and time and tide waited for no man!
Gong Qi composed his state of mind. He stopped thinking about such matters and contacted Yuan Fei, "Have the private plane make preparations. I’m returning tomorrow."
Yuan Fei was quite surprised. "Secretary-General Gong?"
Gong Qi didn't say anything else and simply ended the call. He closed his eyes and resumed his napping state. However, his mind was still active. He sunk layer and layers down, inside himself, not out.
The clash just now only left him suffering a hidden loss. But this collision actually gave him a reason to leave Xia City in a short time frame. It also provided a cover for his other actions.
At that moment, Gong Qi was within his own domain, circulating energy. On a plane unobservable by others existed none other than a roll of fine yarn. It slowly swirled. It was like a hanging curtain.
"Yarn of silence. Yarn of silence...."
Gong Qi had to expend quite a bit of energy in using this technique to tidy up loose ends. He gave a noiseless laugh, and his telepathic thought infused within the empty space of the yarn curtain to write words out of thin air.
"Safe or not?"
The words turned to smoke the instant they were completed, like the telepathic thought he had cast into the void just before. However, this time it wasn't intercepted by the two Extraordinaries. The instant the smoke made contact with the yarn veil, the smoke completely fused inside. Not a tincture leaked out.
Gong Qi knew that this layer of smoke had entered the special channel that was the yarn of silence. The smoke passed through the deepest depths of the mental plane, the absolute realm, to be passed out to the other end in the distance.
"Three Zones, One Region, One Realm." This was the classical method in differentiating the levels of the mental plane. The absolute realm was the deepest level. Its name spelled the existence of an 'absolute limit'. The depths were endless. Even Extraordinaries would find it hard to perceive the minute information within without prior preparation.
The medium that was the yarn of silence was marvelous. Gong Qi was hidden from the two Extraordinaries' attention. He was extremely certain of it.
He waited silently. Two minutes passed, before suddenly a wisp of smoke unfurled into a fuzzy image. It appeared like a cold and mocking face, and it manifested in the center of the yarn curtain.
This was a symbol commonly used in mystic spells. It signified assassination and dark plots. But the image itself might have been more suitable to represent the caster's emotions. If this method of contact didn't expend so much energy, the other side would certainly use more caustic words to shoot back in fury.
In other words, she must be harboring evil intentions by leaving this dark technique inside the reply. His reputation in Headquarters was indeed in tatters. It was quite normal for her to be angry.
Gong Qi didn't really care. The gap between an Extraordinary and a B-Rank mage was the distance between heaven and earth. He was able to ignore most of her loathing, especially since she was certainly in dire straits.
Speaking of which, wasn't being able to reply meant that she had admitted defeat?
Well, there was no difference whether or not she gave in.
In his heart, he glanced over Snake Tongue's weak, frail appearance. He saw her dark and ghastly nature, which was rarely seen. The corner of Gong Qi's mouth twitched, and he left a new mark in the middle of the yarn curtain.
This time, the information wasn't limited to text. It was like Snake Tongue's message: It was a spell symbol that contained a special meaning. Even though he simplified it to the peak, the structure comprised many layers that intertwined. It took him twenty turns to transform it into smoke, bit by bit, and send it through the yarn of silence.
He thought for a while in the end, before sending out a comforting remark.
"Go play dead for ten days. I'll give you new life."
Gong Qi saw that the last bit of smoke didn't go into the yarn curtain, and he sneered in his mind. Then he had this marvelous object disperse, and he truly went to nap.
TL Notes: Lady Wu refers to Wu Huang, the Martial Empress, said to be one of the three pillars of the Xia City branch along with Ouyang Chen and Old Man You.