Chapter 341: Solicitor
Bamboo Pole gazed straight at Luo Nan as an image through the Psychic Wave Network. He chuckled as he said, "I won't say much else. You're taking my class, and you're taking Secretary He's class. Don't you have any impressions?"
"...Yes, probably." Luo Nan wasn't hesitating in his heart as much as he was with his mouth. After all, He Yueyin and Bamboo Pole were both teaching him 'cultural courses,’ but their styles were completely different. It was unavoidable for him to sometimes compare in private.
Bamboo Pole encouraged him, "Speak. Speak and see."
There wasn't much else to say about Bamboo Pole's teaching style. As for He Yueyin's teaching style, Luo Nan had to think as he spoke, "When Sister He Yueyin teaches, she easily provides all sorts of information. She covers vastly and thoroughly, and she also makes the overall concept exceptionally clear. Her lessons are quite enchanting."
"And what else?"
"Her arguments are precise and appropriate. Her words are precise and the meanings are plentiful. They are usually sharp to the bone. She often points out the deep, hidden activities behind important events. She explains the relationship between the secular world and the inner world, the traditional political structures and the new power that are ability users, very smoothly and understandably."
Bamboo Pole's eyebrows jumped. "I feel that what you've said is not much different from my own impressions, of course, except the thing about her words being precise and the meanings plentiful. Don't blindly praise her. Doesn't she have any flaws? Or something that's different from me?"
He saw Luo Nan hesitate a bit, so he persisted in pressing him, "Relax, I won't spill the beans. Even if I do, she's a very open-minded person. She won't mind."
"I don't quite understand when it comes to her flaws." Luo Nan was an honest kid in the end. He was unwilling to talk behind someone's back, regardless if it was about their shortcomings or their strengths. He pondered for quite a while before he said, "If there is something different, it would be that her knowledge points are more focused. Her pace is also much faster than yours."
Bamboo Pole burst into laughter. He smacked his chin fiercely. "That's the right answer."
"Huh?" Luo Nan didn't understand what was so funny.
Bamboo Pole gave him a further step in realization. "Isn't the course schedule she arranged for you based on this same principle? From morning to night, you follow it closely, step by step."
"Uh, it's all right. It's not particularly strict. It's nothing much now that you've mentioned it. Besides, how else can I grasp knowledge as quickly as possible?"
"Of course you feel that it's normal, because you and she are the same kind of person. You two are both bows stretched very taut. The arrow that shoots out is sharp and penetrating. It is unstoppable, but what happens in normal times?"
Luo Nan was a little stunned. This was the first time he heard someone compare him side by side with He Yueyin.
Bamboo Pole continued his assessment, "There is no one in the entire branch who can keep up with Secretary He's fast tempo. She moves as if a ferocious beast is chasing her. Since entering the Society, she has managed the branch's affairs, drawn up various systems, and so on. Obviously, this is good, but this is a chill Society. We're not in a state of battle. Who can persevere like this day in and day out? Of one hundred people, ten will carry on as usual. Ten will persevere. Fifty will thrash as if they are drowning. And thirty will drag everyone else down. Collapse will first happen from within, before the enemy even attacks."
Luo Nan was seriously suspecting that Bamboo Pole was using this as a chance to roast He Yueyin.
As a hacker, this fellow’s nature treated anything binding with skepticism. He was a standard anarchist. He never hid this during his lectures.
Luo Nan really admired this aspect of Bamboo Pole. Although Bamboo Pole liked to roast others, he was the person who coordinated the best with He Yueyin during the last few operations. Their tacit understanding was the highest.
"Well, I digress. Let's continue talking about the examples." Bamboo Pole adopted a different posture on his ergonomic chair. His expression conveyed helplessness as he said, "In a sense, people like Secretary He are extremely selfish. Don't be suspicious. I'm also talking about you. Consciously or not, you both believe that the world turns according to your tempo."
The 'selfish' Luo Nan could only listen.
"I won't mention you for now. Secretary He is actually quite a magnanimous person. She has the aura of a savior. I always feel that her methods are good for everyone. She has a sense of mission. She gives off the feeling that all the living beings under the heavens are her business. Maybe she has a lot more secrets, a lot more dangers, than we know, based on her family background. She likely has unspeakable difficulties. But she's a bit vapid from the perspectives of us incorrigible fellows. It makes people not interested in pursuing her."
When Bamboo Pole spoke to this point, his eyes tilted over. "What about you?"
They were silent like this for quite a while before Luo Nan asked, baffled, "Why aren't you saying anything?"
Bamboo Pole raised a hands. "I'm the one who's asking. You're much more closed off than Secretary He, and Secretary He's goals are much more clear-cut than yours. Her skills are more superb, and her mind is clearer. She knows that she's lacking, so she still continues to revise and improve herself. You are different. You're sixteen this year, right? You're not of age. You haven't finished maturing. Your temperament is still unfixed, and your brain is filled with fantastical thoughts. It is very tiring to use the mind to guess what you're thinking when you don't talk."
Luo Nan pressed his lips into a thin line. This wasn't the first time he heard a similar evaluation. But such a situation, with Bamboo Pole using this to set off an example, was rarely seen. Luo Nan could only feel a bit apologetic for He Yueyin.
He was just about to speak when Bamboo Pole raised a hand. "You don't need to talk about restoring Formatting Theory's name, defending your mother's work of art, or similar talk."
Then what could he talk about? Luo Nan was stifled in an instant.
Bamboo Pole stared straight at him. He sighed only after a long while, "You don't have any other goals?"
Luo Nan copied Bamboo Pole's previous action of spreading his hands in helplessness. "These goals still aren't enough? What else do I need?"
Bamboo Pole sighed again, "Isn't it enough?"
"What else is there to analyze? We spoke a long series, and the conclusion is very clear. You and Secretary He are the same kind of person. You both live your days strung tight. Your goals are your source of stress because they are very hard to resolve, very hard to realize."
Luo Nan didn't like listening to this. He asked, "Very hard to realize?"
"As long as matters involve opposition, it all is very hard." Bamboo Pole was considerate of Luo Nan's feelings. He erased a keyword and emphasized another, "Who stands in opposition to you? If the gap is too large, the more you strive, the stronger the pressure. The exception exists when you can level everything as equal. You need the ability to make the majority of people compromise, at the very least. Like Her Majesty Empress Wu."
Luo Nan was silent.
"Her Majesty Empress Wu very rarely faces a colossus in opposition. Her number one priority is to grow and strengthen. She does this with initiative. It takes precedence. Detouring on a few circles is nothing if she makes steps toward this. Sometimes, she can even accumulate power more easily this way.
“Secretary He's route is very clear. She wants to consolidate the Society. She wants to consolidate this group of straggling and disbanded soldiers. Her methods may be worthy of debate, but her foundation is firm, her resources aplenty, and her selfishness lacking.
"And you? You charge straight forward according to your goals. You tread through any trap, any pitfall. Fortunately, you're like a piece of stubborn iron. The usual crucial junctures are the striking of hammers. You, who is iron, make it through, while other people would have long since been smashed to mincemeat. But what if this were to continue in the future? What if Quantum Corporation, the Order of Justice, and even Headquarters continue to hammer you? Or what if they just melt you in a blast furnace in one breath?"
Luo Nan's eyelids twitched. This was the situation he was worried about.
However, it seemed the Bamboo Pole was shifting directions having spoken to this point. The sense Luo Nan got was no longer that of pure analysis.
Luo Nan was still unsure. He smoothed his tone and asked, "Then, Brother Bamboo Pole, what do you think I should do next?"
The words had just left his mouth when he recalled that he had asked Bamboo Pole for guidance not too long ago. Bamboo Pole had refused at the time, and instead, brought out the examples of Her Majesty Empress Wu and He Yueyin.
Sure enough, Bamboo Pole extended a hand to point at him. "These words again. What's the point of asking me? I wager that with your temperament, you'll follow your nature when things come to a head, regardless of what extravagant embellishments others may say. You'll just tread straight ahead! There's a head of the hammer in front, or perhaps a blast furnace. It makes no difference to you."
Luo Nan wasn't really hopeful in regard to his ability to control himself. But he believed that Bamboo Pole had spoken wrongly about one point. "I don't want to tread straight or whatever. Who doesn't want to take an easier way to reach their objective? But I absolutely have no choice when things come to a head."
"Then how do you wind up in situations where 'things come to a head' time and time again?"
"...." Luo Nan really thought this over conscientiously. When did it begin with him always sinking to points of no return?
He didn't get an answer, but there was one point that was very clear. If these sorts of days were to continue, there would be more and more times when 'things come to a head.’ The chances to make choices would grow smaller and smaller, until they disappear entirely.
Bamboo Pole observed Luo Nan's expression and was able to understand Luo Nan's current perplexities. "Therefore, my words won't change. If I were you, I will certainly run whatever distance away. It is not because of fear or weakness. It is because one needs sufficient space as a cushion in order to grow and strengthen, in order to have the leeway to make choices."
"That's impossible." Luo Nan didn't even need to think before refusing.
Bamboo Pole already anticipated this. His eyes didn't even blink once as he said, "Then you need a shield, and you need reins. The shield gives you a chance to recover energy on the battlefield. Reins can rein in your neck when your head is heated feverishly."
Luo Nan blinked. "Brother Bamboo Pole, can you speak more clearly?"
Bamboo Pole rolled his eyes. "I've already spoken clear enough…. Fine, what I mean is, you need to find a backer."
"A backer? Who can I rely on?"
Bamboo Pole looked at him like he was looking at an idiot. "Who can you rely on right now in Xia City?"
"GTFO YOU IDIOT!"
Luo Nan gasped, feeling that he was being treated unjustly. There were only two Extraordinaries in Xia City who could shield him. What was wrong with the first answer he thought of? With Ouyang Chen?
Luo Nan's mind took another turn, and only then did he realize that Bamboo Pole's examples, which came out easily, were absolutely not spoken with casual intent.
"You want me to rely on Her Majesty Empress Wu?"
Luo Nan saw Bamboo Pole's expression and knew he had finally guessed right. However, he still didn't understand Bamboo Pole's train of thought. "What's the difference between President Ouyang and Her Majesty Empress Wu? Also, am I not currently receiving their protection?"
"The Xia City branch looking out for you is official business. Since it's official business, it is restricted to procedural processes. Correspondingly, holes in the system will certainly exist. The matter with Headquarters is the best proof. The same reasoning can be used upon President Ouyang. Who made him the president?"
Bamboo Pole used a finger to point far in the distant air. "There's something more important. There is absolutely nobody in this Society, this loose organization, who can control you. Whenever you make a folly, there are no means to restrict you. He Yueyin could fit the role, but she began in the wrong position. How very awkward to be playing the secretary of a boss and the like."
Luo Nan was a bit embarrassed. He said, "Brother Bamboo Pole, you're an anarchist. Opening and closing your mouth is under check. Is this really okay?"
"At least I never cause trouble," Bamboo Pole stabbed Luo Nan in the chest with this blade. He even twisted it, "I also rarely do something stupid. Even if I do, I find a place to rest and earn a bit of extra money or something."
"Idiot! I'm soliciting right now, Boss Luo!"