“Not bad.” A glimpse of approval flashed across Li Moshen’s eyes. He then added, “I also appreciate your information in regards to that limped youngster.
“Since Flower Rain has gone with you to the Tang Sect, the others from the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade pinpointed a youth with a limp by the name ‘Wen Tao’ enrolling into Beijing University. His admission was secretly requested by Ning Guangyao himself.
“What I was most suspicious about was the fact that Wen Tao was kept alive despite his knowledge on the events that have most likely transpired. Yet, he was kept alive and was treated very well for someone of his status.
“The informants from the Security Bureau within the Ning clan have notified us of the latest updates. Wen Tao was indeed brought alongside Luo Cuishan to Beijing but was the only one kept alive. He was even escorted into the Ning residence to meet Ning Guangyao, while Luo Cuishan’s death was simultaneously announced to the public.”
Yang Chen had a strange grin as he continued, “I had my suspicions in regards to his being back then. Who would’ve thought that he had several tricks up his sleeve? He must have something that Premier Ning wants for him to still be alive.”
“Wen Tao has been under our surveillance for a while now, but retrieving any information from him might not be possible,” Li Moshen added. “But one thing that we are most certain about, is that Luo Cuishan’s corpse has been taken away by Yan Buwen.”
“How can you be so sure?” Yang Chen interrupted.
Li Moshen and Cai Yunchen both had grim looks on their faces.
“Long story short, there were two others who were involved in this.” Cai Yuncheng declared, “First, it was Ning Guodong, and the second, was Yang Lie…”
Hearing the mention of the name ‘Yang Lie’, tension arose in Yang Chen’s mind.
Cai Yuncheng added, “Yang Lie’s condition was a peculiar one. Previously, you single-handedly wiped his cultivations clean. But not too long ago, he seemed to have returned with his cultivations intact. Not only that, he was much stronger than before.
“This is something I myself, along with Gray Robe and Abbess Yun Miao, both of whom are among the Group of Eight, have contemplated upon. It is safe to say that he has reached the Xiantian realm.”
Cai Ning, on the other hand, was uncharacteristically furious about the revelation. She had believed that besides Yang Chen, there shouldn’t be anyone else of her age range who would reach the Xiantian stage before herself. Never would she have thought that the title would have been stripped off by someone who recently had their cultivation purged.
Yang Chen grimly said, “I broke his meridians with my own hands. I watched his internal energy disperse with my own eyes. How is it possible that he managed to recover in such a short time, and even have a break through?”
Li Moshen dispiritedly sighed as he explained, “If it was under normal circumstances, it wouldn’t have been possible. But Yan Buwen has been known to dabble in things even we cannot understand.”
“Yang Chen, I admire your exceptional ability and talent but please don’t underestimate Yan Buwen’s thirst for excellence.
“Taking his enormous contribution towards Chinese technological advancements, his achievements were unprecedented and frankly unheard off on the planet, with the only exception being the UK's very own Princess Jane.”
“Pfft, his experiments are clearly unethical and borderline masochistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually used living humans as his lab rats. But from the looks of it, human lives are deemed sacrificial in the eyes of developing weaponry. But who am I to comment, I'm no saint myself.” Yang Chen sarcastically hit back.
The two seniors were left silent for a while before Cai Yuncheng broke the ice. “Yang Lie… was the product of his frequent collaborations with Yan Buwen, alongside his subsequent leap in cultivations.
“Not to mention his regular visits to Yan Buwen’s private weapon facility had been ever more recurring the past weeks. Right after Luo Cuishan’s funeral, Ning Guodong had also received Yang Lie’s invitation towards Yan Buwen’s laboratory.”
“So I assume you’re saying that one visit to the secret lab would expose the answers to all our inquiries right now, is that right?” Yang Chen took to question.
“This issue requires a bilateral agreement with the military. It’s a weapon facility after all. Now that we’re on the topic, it might do us some good if your old man decides to back us up on this. If he bothers to ask, I’m sure many of the military officials wouldn’t mind a visit,” Li Moshen said smilingly. “I might throw your name in as leverage, hope you don't mind.”
Yang Chen was unbothered. “He’s not an idiot, I’m sure he would instantly call you out on your bluff.”
Li Moshen smirked as he replied, “Oh, before I forget, my rascal of a son Li Dun has identified Tang Xin of the Tang clan to have intimate relations with Yan Buwen. Nonetheless, Yan Buwen has yet to have fallen to our baits, and since it would be best to avoid a forced confrontation with the Tang clan, I believe we should make haste in the continuation of our investigations.”
“Our?” Yang Chen irked.
Li Moshen was stern-faced. “Yes, our. Luo Cuishan’s encounters were very much tied to you and your actions. Yang Lie and Ning Guodong are both locked in a feud with you, isn’t that right? Even the Ning clan seems to be associated with you.”
Watching the old miser tweak the situation against his favor, Yang Chen seemed to have noticed the ultimate intention of this video meeting. I guess the truth that Lin Ruoxi is the bloodline of the Ning clan isn’t a surprise to the Li clan’s Security Bureau. I should’ve known, he thought.
“So you want me to assist with the investigations?” Yang Chen pouted. “Just so you know, I’m a busy man. There are many matters that require my immediate attention back home. If they were to find their way to me, you can be sure that they are all bound to end up dead.”
“My my… a young man with an insatiable fury.” Li Moshen shook his head in disbelief. “Killing might seem quick and effective in the heat of the moment, but for every man you recklessly kill, the consequences stack up like dominos awaiting your eventual fall. If you were to take action, at least make sure it’s justifiable. Look, I have been in deep discussion with General Cai, and the biggest plothole in this series of events is Yan Buwen’s ultimate goal in mind. We must lay low in uncovering the truth behind Wen Tao the cripple, and his twisted relationship with Luo Cuishan and the Ning clan.”
Yang Chen gave it a thought. I mean it sure is good that I don’t need to take action on my own. I guess I’ll help out whenever I can. After all, we are after the same things. I will be able to rid myself of those pesky bugs.
“As you said, as long as my neutral stance is respected, I don’t mind lending a hand to the likes of you,” Yang Chen replied.
“This naturally will not spill over to your handlings abroad,” Cai Yuncheng said. “We too are dealing with a shortage of manpower in the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade and cannot allow normal agents to deal with matters like this one. You are our best chance at resolving this matter with that handy team of yours. I have just one party in mind that could slip into China under the noses of the government.”
“Wait… are you talking about the Yamata Sect?” Yang Chen instantly brought his thoughts towards the squad of ninjas. Similar in appearance to the Chinese, they were certainly more than accustomed for this mission.
Li Moshen nodded in agreement as he added. “We’ll play our part in overseeing, or lack thereof, of Yamata Sect’s entry into the country. Since they are eternally loyal to you, it guarantees the reassurance needed in the stealth operations of this manner. See it as our part of the bargain.
“We would even approve for further reinforcements of Sea Eagles’ members into Zhonghai as a means of protection for your loved ones. I’ve just caught wind of the news regarding Ms Lin. A few more members of the Sea Eagles would surely lighten the load off your back.”
Yang Chen had a rush of glee. Deeming the odds in his favor, he instantly accepted.
Cai Yuncheng continued, “One more thing, it might hardly be likely, but it could very well be added into the range of investigation. Previously in the Pacific, there was a silhouette of someone resembling you. Knowing that it wasn’t you, there might be a divine being impersonating you.
“My intuitions point towards Yan Buwen. If he was able to help Yang Lie breakthrough into the Xiantian realm, there’s nothing stopping him from recreating someone in your image.”
Yang Chen’s heart sunk from hearing Cai Yuncheng’s presumptions, nonetheless it did remind him of a certain something. Could God’s Stone be in Yan Buwen’s hands too? he thought.
It is entirely possible for Yan Buwen to wield the power of the stone and create a being capable of manipulating space laws.
In those circumstances, the worst I fear will be a god that functions as a war machine under the orders of that vile person, who could also disobey the Treaty of Gods. Who knows what kind of mayhem can come out of that?
What if it’s not just one god, but a whole army of them suckers?
“Since Yan Buwen has already posed a lurking threat, what’s stopping me from going over there and killing him myself? I could very well end it once and for all.” Yang Chen felt his killing intent rise.
“Absolutely not.” Li Moshen quickly rejected his proposal. “Excluding the fact that the Yan clan is among the four dominant clans with actual power, Yan Buwen himself has not been convicted with any crime as of late.
“Just taking the groundbreaking contributions he has gifted to the advancement of our great nation, we should never take any risky measures against him. If he really was killed by a blunder, it would undoubtedly be a huge loss to China.”
Yang Chen was furious as the situation panned out exactly the way he thought government officials were going to operate, which led him to wave his hands in dismay. “Whatever suits you. But make no mistake, if he ever decides to cross my path, I’ll send him off myself.”
After the issue was conferred and views were exchanged, Li Moshen and Cai Yuncheng continued on with Tang Dianshan and his board of elders with the distribution of manpower within his sect, hoping for a mutual agreement on the support of the ancient sects whenever needed.
Tang Dianshan originally wanted to exclude the Tang Sect from the covert operation, but after the entire board of elders was left manipulated and defenseless, they ultimately recognized the pressing issue at hand and the reality that they could stay excluded no longer.
They agreed to deploy some of their best disciples to assist the Security Bureau with the case, in an attempt to exert their alignment with the national direction, bulking up as a security measure for the inevitable.
Yang Chen declared to Tang Dianshan and the rest of his board that he had ultimately made up his mind to leave for Zhonghai the next morning. There were things that required his attention back home, as he said.
The people of Tang Sect comprehensibly took no action to persuade him to stay. After all, his volatile behavior and disregard for the rules left them feeling insecure.
Cai Ning naturally agreed to leave with him. As a member of the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade, she was genuinely worried about her father’s safety.
As the couple left for their respective accommodations in the company of one another, Cai Ning cracked a smile ever so slightly, with plans to return to her own room, but was abruptly halted by Yang Chen.
Cai Yan was dumbfounded, unsure of what Yang Chen was about to do next.
“Ning’er, I actually wanted to take time refining the art that I have recently developed before I pass it on to you. But because you are leaving for Beijing so soon, I reckon we should start the cultivations tonight. I’ll first enlighten you. It’ll surely help out with your strive towards the Xiantian stage,” Yang Chen said softly.