Chapter 340: Two People
The message came out of nowhere, and it shocked Luo Nan. But he soon linked it to the changes from before.
How does he know?
They're spying on me!
Oh, I think they mentioned this to me a couple of days ago?
The direct logic evoked rage, but some blurry memories turned clear. The two sides clashed and turned into a wave of meaningless emotional unrest.
Yes, when the Xia City branch of the Society first started surveying, He Yueyin had proposed to install monitoring and alarm devices within Gear, in order to deal with unusual situations. Luo Nan had agreed at the time, and Bamboo Pole was the one in charge of installations. He even integrated the control system to his wristband….
How fortunate. Luo Nan couldn’t distinguish between enemy and self when he got angry. He completely slaughtered everything clean.
Luo Nan wanted to leave a reply, but he didn't know what to say. It took him a long time before he responded with false words, "It's nothing."
"He he, if you say so. Are we still going to do the lesson today?" Bamboo Pole's attitude was really not that of a qualified teacher. This was his usual style.
Already a month’s worth of time had been completed within the course schedule arranged by He Yueyin. Among the courses, Papercut's "Soul Strength Activation Techniques" became extremely simple thanks to Luo Nan achieving the ability of coupling. It was the first course Luo Nan finished, and Luo Nan also finished He Yueyin's "Ins and Outs of the Psychic Wave Network's World Order" two days ago.
As for the two highly practical courses from Crag Burst and Red Fox, adjustments had to be made due to changes in circumstances, which included Luo Nan's increase in ability. Luo Nan had yet to officially start these courses.
This just left Bamboo Pole's course, "Notes on the Major Characters of the World,” and they continued to make steady progress on it.
A fluctuation of emotions wasn't a reason to refuse taking lessons. Luo Nan soon responded, "Yes, can we begin now?"
Bamboo Pole immediately skipped over those unpleasant matters. He sent a set of pictures, videos, and other image materials of people as usual, setting the main content of today's class. He then opened the video call function and waved his hand in greeting. He went blah-blah-blah, conversing with Luo Nan.
Bamboo Pole was the only one who talked the vast majority of the time. Most of his speech consisted of things like, "Don't look at how devout this person appears. Actually, he takes on very beautiful lovers."
Don't be surprised. This was the way Bamboo Pole usually taught. He called it "delightful teachings.”
Luo Nan never met someone as knowledgeable in random facts as this fellow. His appearance was typically that of a hacker as he easily searched for every avenue of beautiful women. But he also had deep attainments in regard to religion, history, mystic arts, and so on. He was also a paparazzi master.
His course was mainly about people. He only talked about two or three each class. The moment he dug out one, he would talk about their proper matters, trifling matters, news, gossip, and all the like. Many layers and many perspectives came down in the class. The characters he talked about were established firmly in Luo Nan's mind. They were hard to forget.
But based on the pace, the course progressed quite leisurely.
Looking at the course plans, He Yueyin's and Bamboo Pole's course volumes were about the same. But He Yueyin's course had already finished, while Bamboo Pole's plan to cover a hundred characters was less than half completed.
Bamboo Pole spoke frankly, "There are two types of people halfway through this kind of course. One type is very interested. They will go digging on their own. They'll learn on their own. The other isn't interested. They just chat, but at least it's fun. This kind of course can be long or short. It can easily adjust to any time."
He was fully aware; Luo Nan's mood was amiss today. So what he taught was relatively simple, and the course content unfurled in full swing. He spoke for a while, even taking the initiative to ask,
"Do you want to stop here?"
Luo Nan was suddenly started awake from his dazed state. He knew that he wasn't paying much attention and was quite embarrassed. He hurriedly apologized.
Bamboo Pole responded, beaming, "Don't be a stranger. In fact, I'm an informer who serves you, Boss. I'm in charge of pushing information toward you. When the boss has time, I'll report more information. When the boss is busy, I'll report less information…. Boss, you've been very busy lately, right?"
Luo Nan felt helpless. The group who participated with him in the matter at Frost River Reality called him Boss anytime, anywhere. This was originally a word of irony from Red Fox to He Yueyin, but he was called this day in and day out, and the maliciousness of the word was wiped away. It even became a well-known nickname.
Bamboo Pole was a mischievous person. He would feel uncomfortable if he didn't call Luo Nan this a few times a day.
Luo Nan could only ignore the nickname, but Bamboo Pole had hit the nail on the head. He really was working himself to death the past few days. He enlisted Worker Zhai as his tutor, and he was learning engineering from him. This huge subject required much time and energy if one wanted to attain some achievements in it. The time and energy required were much more than what a crash course would demand.
However, today's bad mood had nothing to do with the stresses of learning.
At that moment, Luo Nan didn't have the mindset to learn, but he really wanted to speak with someone. And he didn't know where to begin.
He subconsciously flipped through the material that was just given to him. He glanced over the names and achievements, immediately forgetting them. But he made some mental connections thanks to how multi-leveled and multi-angled the data was organized, customary to Bamboo Pole's style.
"This data—how much of it was accumulated from tapping devices, bugs?" Luo Nan's lips twitched. "Is everyone researched in this way?"
"Most of it is public information. Of course, much of it is the blood and sweat of paparazzi." Bamboo Pole raised an eyebrow. "They are like you, interested in this course. You can use it as a template and pass as a chief paparazzi in a large entertainment media company. It won't be a problem."
Luo Nan was suddenly hit with a thought. "I can be considered to have a reputation by now, right?"
"To a certain degree, yes."
"Then... Brother Bamboo Pole, what kind of person am I? What have people like you researched?"
Luo Nan wanted to know how much of his background was exposed to the various intelligence agencies. This was his intention in asking, but his ability to express himself in words was very worrying, causing Bamboo Pole to slightly misunderstand.
"Whoa, do you feel lost in life? You want to analyze yourself?"
Luo Nan wanted to correct him, but his thoughts changed and he thought some more. Before arriving at Gear, interacting with Zhang Yingying had made his mind a mess, putting him in a bad mood. It wouldn't be a bad thing if he could clear up the roots of his problems. He said, "I guess."
In the video chat, Bamboo Pole sat on an ergonomic chair. He adjusted himself into a comfortable position and said, "I've mentioned the ways people are researched. There is nothing else but three aspects: natural, societal, and psychological. These are combined with the specific nodes regarding the changes of time and space."
Luo Nan nodded. He had learned this, but setting a hand to delve into it was a bit complicated.
Bamboo Pole chuckled, "You've asked quite urgently, and I haven't prepared. However, you took the initiative to ask, so let's use this as material. Let's make a simple analysis."
"Okay," Luo Nan said helplessly.
"Let us begin from your topic. A normal, natural person, a societal person, possesses the instinct of psychological privacy, of psychological defenses. People pay attention to the assessment of others toward them, but they rarely take the initiative to have others assess themselves. The exceptions are when they want to show off or when they lack confidence. The intent is consultation, and doing so is considered abnormal."
Luo Nan went, "Uh," and couldn't help laughing. He said, "Then just say I'm asking for a consultation. Although, the intent is a little lighter."
Bamboo Pole shook his head. "There's no need to consult with me. Ask yourself. Ask the self who is here in the present. Under natural conditions, what are your body's circumstances? Are you as fierce as a tiger and as energetic as a dragon? Or do you have a hidden disease?"
"Please be quick about."
"My body is not completely well, I guess."
Luo Nan still needed the external neuron right now. The scope in discrepancy between the God Gear and the Body Gear was a deep-seated problem, most especially with the uncontrollable growth of his mental power. He had yet to make a general resolution about this matter, so there were no ends to his troubles.
Luckily, there were a lot less Human-Faced Arachnids roaming Xia City nowadays. Otherwise, the Wraith Sign in the Bloodflame Order would have its hunting speed increase by double. And in turn, this would cause Luo Nan's mental power to increase to the point where his body was in danger of exploding. The cultivation technique of the orifices that he learned from Gym Master Xiu was unable to eliminate a scale too large.
Bamboo Pole didn't dig deeper. He changed angles, "Looking at your circumstances societal-wise, what is your situation?"
This time Luo Nan didn't hesitate. He responded, "Not good."
Though he had the backing of and many friends from the Xia City branch, there were all sorts of potential threats to him that ranged from Headquarters, Quantum Corporation, the Order of Justice, and even the Bloodflame Order. They were akin to bombs, and Luo Nan would be annihilated ten times over if they were all to go off.
"Psychological circumstances…. Forget it, it's plain as day."
Bamboo Pole whistled, "Three major items, all complete with situations. The answer needs no further discussion. The problem is very serious, my boy!"
Luo Nan never expected this sort of result from following Bamboo Pole's template and performing a quick analysis. Didn't this mean that his entire self was twisted?
He temporarily forgot about the matter with intelligence agencies. His mind was blank for a while, before he asked, "How do I resolve it?"
Bamboo Pole spread his hands open in helplessness. "You want me to be your staff officer? Why are you counting on me when even Secretary He can't handle this matter?"
Luo Nan knew this was true, but he still asked, "If you were in my shoes, Brother Bamboo Pole, what would you do?"
"If I were you, I would turn tail and leave. I would run as far as can be. I would hide as deep as can be. I would be like a cicada that sheds its carapace, vanishing and leaving an empty shell. I would retreat for the sake of progress. I would turn to light for the sake of darkness…. Yeah, I know you won't do this. I'm just talking nonsense."
Bamboo Pole maintained a clear mind from beginning to end. He sighed, "All right, then. I'll give you two examples you can use as references. I've mentioned the first before—Her Majesty Empress Wu.
"In the earliest of times when Her Majesty Empress Wu started off, quite a few people said that she was Lady Wu, someone who only has their looks. Then people called her Fourth Ranked Imperial Consort Wu, and later, Empress Consort Wu. This continued until she was finally known as 'Her Majesty Empress Wu.' This is reference to the classical figure Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty, a controversial yet effective monarch who started off as a concubine and became the only female emperor of China. The names follow Wu Zetian's titles as she grew in power. Our Empress Wu remained unmoved during all this. She’s like a stone immovable by the flowing river. She's smooth on the surface, yet firm at heart."
"Smooth on the surface, yet firm at heart?" Luo Nan instinctively felt that the wording was off.
Bamboo Pole pressed with his views, "Did you forget? I told you before. Sure, Her Majesty Empress Wu is very domineering, but back in the day, her skill in maneuvering through politics is incredible. She starts off by relying on President Ouyang's influence, then she carves out an independent business, the Hidden Indigo Firm. She never recruits fighters to her firm, and she's never done things low-key at all, though she's also never crossed the line.
"She has a galaxy of talent for subordinates. Before, the Xia City branch and even Headquarters weren't always on good terms with her, but nowadays, they've either been appeased or suppressed by her. No matter the stormy waves, she remains unmoved. She steadily expands, forming major power. Her rule is as fair as the heavens, and the way she employs people is as mysterious as a demon. She grasps the true meaning of power, technique, and influence."
Bamboo Pole wasn't finished with his words of praise toward Her Majesty Empress Wu, "This sort of style that is motionless like a mountain can be said to be the way of monarchs. The title Her Majesty Empress Wu is said as a mockery by some people, but I feel that it's very appropriate. Her approach is the most supreme way, in my opinion."
Luo Nan imagined how Her Majesty Empress Wu might have maneuvered so skillfully political-wise and had his thoughts wander far away for a time. "This approach must be very hard, right?"
Bamboo Pole laughed, "Others have a clear goal from the start. Their methods are sharp. They use both the carrot and the stick. You can't learn it, and it's too late even if you can."
"...." Luo Nan was left speechless.
"I used this example to give you a benchmark, so that you have a reference. Let us talk about the second example. I haven't talked about this one before, but you're certainly very familiar with her. She's none other than your secretary."