Chapter 354: Mistake in Direction
Today, Long Seven wore clothes well-suited for the outdoors. He wore a leather jacket and a pair of short leather boots. A plaid scarf was even wrapped around his neck. He looked like a male model on the runway, giving off an extremely casual air. He and Peony were the most attractive people in the action team.
But he intrinsically possessed quite the work ethic. His body was covered with dust, and there were cobwebs stuck to his leather jacket. He had clearly gone to the reservoir, and he had done more than just take a look.
Long Seven patted the dust off his jacket before asking, "Are the influence of gangs spreading faster than the government’s right now?"
Axel Thue didn't want to talk about this, but Long Seven and Peony both had their eyes fixed upon him. They appeared to be very interested in this subject, so Axel Thue could only chat and explain, "See that road over there? The one that's half-fixed."
Everybody noticed the road in question to various degrees when leaving the city. An old highway extended out to this area from the main city district. It was a two-way road with twelve lanes in total. It was quite wide, but it should have been constructed quite far back for there weren't any high-speed magnetic rails installed. No follow-up construction occurred as well. There was even some shape to it where it extended out from the city. It was unknown where it started exactly, but the road disappeared amongst the buildings of the city.
"There are already thirty years of history to this road. It was initially designed to be the main road to the east and west of Xia City, and it joins up with the war transport roads to the wilderness. But when super-conductive technology became practical, main roads began to turn to the direction of magnetic rails. So, this road was scrapped."
Axel Thue projected a digital map and drew a line on it. "But this geographical location is still quite good. Through this road, one can go straight to the recycling stratum of the River Wu District. So it's natural for criminal channels and related activity to be lively around here."
Luo Nan recalled something when Axel Thue talked about this. He fought upon this road in the past. It was the time with Jack.
'Gangs' were just a small episode. Today's primary objective was the discussion over the next move regarding the Mutant infiltration.
Actually, looking at Trigate Security's attitude, Luo Nan believed that an official reconnaissance search would start immediately. But whether it was Trigate Security, Peony, or Long Seven, everyone was much more patient than he imagined.
They continued to hold the meeting, and the meeting went on and on. The subject started from the river channel, went to the riverbank, then to the inhabited area. They went through these areas one after another without taking any breaks all.
They just barely finished talking about the inhabited area before following the most probable route for the targets' advancement. They gradually pushed closer toward the main city district, stopping at the roadside at any time for information collection and discussion among the meeting members.
Perhaps this was a sort of reconnaissance and search from their perspective?
Frankly speaking, Luo Nan had been full of interest for the meeting yesterday afternoon. During yesterday morning, he could be considered cautious and conscientious. But by lunch today, his patience began to plummet. Ultimately speaking, he was already used to using extraordinary powers as an efficient and direct manner to resolve problems. He kept a respectful distance from so-called modeling, probabilities, and other mathematical problems.
Yes, He Yueyin had mentioned this tendency in her course before. She called it 'Extraordinary Logic.’ This tendency was quite widespread in the inner world. Luo Nan never thought that he would subconsciously assimilate this as a newcomer who had just entered the inner world.
He was forced to admire Peony and Long Seven as he watched them. These two people, one an elite of the Hidden Indigo Firm, the other a Burner, were both part of the circle of the inner world. He really didn't know how they were able to put up with its challenges.
Luo Nan finally retreated in defeat. His mind completely withdrew to the school campus, just in time for lunch.
Luo Nan and Xue Lei's morning classes were different. They only got together after morning class was over to get and eat lunch together. Acumen College's lunch break was extremely short. They would have to eat fast in order to squeeze out some free time. Luo Nan and Xue Lei both had noon classes; this made the timing tighter.
The two had their heads buried in their food all the way until they sat on the campus shuttle. Only then did they have the time to chat.
With noon classes about to start, Luo Nan mentioned last night's matter with the eyes orifice. Xue Lei naturally was generous with praise. "Nanster, you really are god-like. You've reached this stage in the internal refinement technique. You've already gone to the next level."
Xue Lei even spoke emotionally, "Back then I was just giving medicine to a dead horse, trying everything in a desperate situation. I wanted you to learn some breathing techniques to help alleviate your symptoms. I never thought that you would advance by leaps and bounds in this cultivation! Even the gym master said that you are the number one in forging ahead in his many years of teaching disciples."
Luo Nan laughed, "I'm even thinking about the next steps."
"Gym Master Xiu said it before. Since you've already started with the eyes orifice, there's no harm in walking this road until the end. Recall this, 'Seven orifices, six roots, the gates of life and death. Perception and the profound shine upon each other to confirm life and nature.' The profound has seven orifices. Perception has six roots. One is heavy on life. The other is the cultivation of nature. The two mix and validate each other. This is the dual cultivation of life and nature."
Xue Lei's words were half-literary and half-vernacular. Luo Nan had been working hard recently, taking extra lessons and doing his homework. He was able to get a general understanding of what Xue Lei was saying. Xue Lei wanted him to cultivate the rest of his sensory organs, from the eyes orifice to the ears orifice, the tongue orifice, the mouth orifice, the nose orifice, and so on. Cultivating in the nine orifices and six roots would drive the inner organs, cultivating the entire body and polishing one's nature.
"The gym master said it before, but I'll mention it again. The concrete steps in reasoning will require direct contact with the gym master. Do you want to head over tonight?"
"Of course, let's go. I can have the gym master assess me, so I can avoid pursuing the wrong path."
In other words, Luo Nan had to push the time to probe the mysteries of Gear even further back. This wasn't the first time Luo Nan felt that there wasn't enough time, but similar emotions of sorrow were likely to appear more frequently in the future.
Xue Lei also asked about the outsourced work. He was curious about its situation.
Luo Nan picked a few interesting things to tell him, and was unable to refrain from mentioning just how long and painful the meeting was going.
Xue Lei grit his teeth just by listening. "We don't understand the world of professionals. If it were me, I'd probably go crazy. Your work is a bit different than what I imagined. When can you actually do stuff?"
Luo Nan's heart was very conflicted. In fact, he really hoped to obtain some knowledge and reap some income. But when things really went deeper, he wasn't able to keep up. He was able to understand eighty percent of what they said yesterday afternoon, while he was only able to understand sixty percent of this morning. He was afraid that this afternoon would become even more miserable for him. He was forced to admit,
"The difference between my composition of knowledge and these professionals’ is far too large. And Zhang Yingying wants me to seize the initiative and be active. How the heck do I do this!?"
"Nanster, I think you're going about this wrong." Xue Lei shook his head. "The gym master said once: The greatest taboo in cultivation is to know one and understand half, to have bits and pieces of knowledge. Assembling such knowledge together, believing it to be logical, is the path to death. If you can't keep up in lessons, you might as well not learn at all. Therefore, when the gym master teaches his students, the first thing he does is divide people in classes and grades, so that he could teach in line with the student's ability. Your circumstance right now may not be as dangerous, but it also sounds like it doesn't really matter. I feel that Senior Sister Yingying is quite right. You should seize the initiative."
"How do I seize it?"
"Heck if I know! In any case, I think that since Her Majesty Empress Wu has outsourced this work to you, no matter how much Sister Yingying exerts herself in her firm, Her Majesty Empress Wu's ultimately believes in you. Her Majesty Empress Wu feels that you can do it, which means there has to be a way to do it. Otherwise, isn't she purposefully making things difficult for you?"
Xue Lei's words weren't emotional, but Luo Nan could hear the meaning within. His heart immediately stirred. Her Majesty Empress Wu selected this work to be outsourced to him, originally as compensation for him. There was no reason to deliberately make things difficult for him. She had Peony be his partner for the purpose of filling his flaws, now that he thought about it. Otherwise, if that old woman really put her mind to it, Luo Nan wouldn't even have a scrap of pride left.
All right, Luo Nan could admit that the level of professionalism that Peony displayed had really scared him. He had been dealing in someone else's expertise with no expertise of his own, so naturally, he fell downwind in every aspect.
Xue Lei added, "Actually, I feel that you've done things quite well in the past. The time at Frost River Reality. Red Fox and Papercut were both screwing with you, but in the end, they all accepted you. Then, of course, there's last week. We weren't able to help you at all, and you were able to settle everything by yourself."
Luo Nan coughed, “Oh, please…."
"Don't be modest. I chatted with Crag Burst a couple of days ago. He said that you can be totally considered a powerful B-rank ability user with that devil ray by your side. And don't forget your heaven-defying pure sensing ability. Your current position in the Xia City branch is right behind Old Man You from back in the day. He he, Old Man You didn't have two Extraordinaries looking out for him back then like you."
"Really? I've done things quite well?"
Xue Lei rolled his eyes. "How about we stop acting cute! Or do you want me to praise you from the very beginning. Fine, I'll speak the truth. I especially agree with Crag Burst's words. Your pure sensing ability is absolutely heaven-defying. I hear that Cat Eyes simply changed the direction of her ability just because of you. She plans on focusing on long-range perception. She's giving up on all-encompassing perception."
"There's even this?"
This was the first time Luo Nan heard of these things. He blushed with great embarrassment for a time. Cat Eyes was one of his believers, in a certain sense, but this had been an accident from start to finish. She wasn't even willing, and her heart was unreconciled. Luo Nan wasn't Tyrant Nan. He wouldn't force himself upon her. Instead, he deliberately kept some distance from her. But now it looked like the distance was pulled a bit too close.
Fine, Luo Nan kept some distance from practically everybody. He had the HexaEar, and communicating on the Psychic Wave Network was awfully convenient. Xue Lei entered the Society a month later than him, yet he was able to chat and gossip about all sorts of stuff. In comparison, Luo Nan practically lived under a rock, so no information reached him.
It’s all about the temperament. The temperament!
Xue Lei didn't know of Luo Nan's current emotional regrets. He continued, "When we chat, I find myself suspecting that your ability is still in an explosive growth period. Your numbers are different for every operation. Sister Yingying said that your soul-attached state had an upper limit of five hundred meters during the time at Frost River Reality. When your body and soul are merged, the radius of your sensing limits is eighty meters. But last time at Ocean Sky Cloud City, I was on the 88th floor and you were on the viewing platform, the 142nd floor. There were around sixty-two floors between us; that's nearly three hundred meters. Your body and soul should have been merged at that time too…."
Luo Nan laughed, "The benefits of following the gym master in cultivation is shown here."
Xue Lei was delighted to hear these words. His smile was so large that his eyes disappeared. "So, Luo Nan, there's nothing to worry about. There's no need to be anxious. In the entirety of Xia City, aside from the two Extraordinaries, when it comes to individual people with all-encompassing sensing, there is no one who can compare to you."
These words were quite familiar to his ears.
Luo Nan suddenly asked, "Did Yingying seek you out to be a solicitor?"
Xue Lei's grinning mouth froze in place before gathering into a fawning laugh, "I just feel that Sister Yingying's words make a lot of sense."
"...I think so too."
Xue Lei gave Luo Nan a thumbs up, only to turn it upside down to give Luo Nan two fierce stabs.