A melodious ringtone sounded out within the solemn and silent conference room.
By the time Xiao Xia realized it was coming her, everyone else in the room was looking over. The originally sleepy Xiao Xia shot up and scrambled to turn off her phone. In her panic, she knocked documents and her cup of water to the floor, causing an even bigger ruckus.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She apologized to Xiao Wang who had gotten splashed by the water. She hurriedly took out some paper towels and wiped the large wet patch on his suit.
“Let me do it myself.” Xiao Wang took the paper napkin and then said in an extremely low voice: “Forgot to turn your phone off again? I already reminded you, sloppy big sis!”
That’s right! Everyone in the firm knew that Director Pan hated phones going off during meetings the most, especially during their regular Monday meetings. This meeting was to summarize the past week and give an outlook for the week ahead. It was also an opportunity to admonish his subordinates. He naturally didn’t like to be interrupted. He still had his habits from being a teacher of many years. Although he wasn’t perverse enough to make offenders write a hundred lines, a self-reflection of two thousand words was inevitable.
Xiao Xia was very familiar with writing self-reflections. What she was afraid of was the director’s murderous gaze. It was really very chilling! Her luck happened to be very bad. The director was currently venting his anger regarding an outstanding lawyer’s mistake last week.
“I’m sorry!” She apologized once again, her voice small and not daring to raise her head. She put on a guilty appearance and shrank back into her seat in embarrassment.
The director ignored her and merely sighed. He had completely given up trying to correct her forgetful nature. But right as he was about to resume speaking on the previous topic, Xiao Xia’s phone rang once again.
Xiao Xia suffered a huge shock. Only then did she realize she had just hung up the first time, and didn’t turn off her phone completely.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” She bowed and apologized again, almost kneeling and begging for forgiveness. “I didn’t, didn’t turn it off properly earlier!”
She might as well toss it from the nineteenth floor they were on. How were phones conveniences for people? People were clearly slaves to their phones. They couldn’t even get a moment of peace. Ruan Zhan was better off. He didn’t use a phone at all, and when he disappeared, he could avoid being hassled by anyone. Such freedom.
“You should pick up.” The director suddenly said.
“No no no, I’ll turn it off right away.”
“Better pick it up.” The director ordered, his brows furrowed.
He didn’t like being disturbed by phones during meetings for the sake of everyone’s focus and efficiency. However, he also wasn’t unreasonable. The caller kept calling so it might be urgent.
“It’s no problem if it’s business. However, if it’s personal I’ll be deducting your performance points.”
Xiao Xia looked at his stern expression. She hesitated a little but ultimately didn’t dare disobey heaven’s decree. She ran out of the conference room to take the call.
She wasn’t afraid of having to write self-reflections. She had a well written, eloquent draft saved in her computer. She just needed to print out a copy and grace it with her signature. The director had punished her in this manner from the time she was a student. She was already used to it. But getting docked performance points was a huge loss. That would affect her bonus. Her performance wasn’t good to begin with and her income was at the lower end of the firm. If her bonus was further reduced, wouldn’t “meat and alcohol be spoiling in wealthy households while people froze to death on the streets!?”
“Who is it?” Xiao Xia asked in an unpleasant tone.
“This is Gu Yu Fang.” A woman’s voice.
“Gu Yu Fang?” Xiao Xia felt this name sounded a little familiar but couldn’t quite place it.
“We met at the Nocturnal Revenant bar. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I was the one who took you inside the first time.” The woman said. “I’m Ah Zhan’s regular customer.”
“Oh, so it’s Sis Gu!” Xiao Xia finally recalled.
She was the first person Xiao Xia met at the bar. She claimed to frequent the bar to cultivate her mind, but was always trying to reel Ruan Zhan home to become her permanent plaything. She’s that lecherous woman who used special methods to “cultivate her mind”! However, they weren’t that close with each other so why was she calling her? Was she trying to find Ruan Zhan? Even if Xiao Xia knew where he was, she wouldn’t tell her. She was determined not to let the innocent Ruan Zhan get ravaged.
Every life is precious. If one were to do good, it’s best to do a good deed every day. Amen!
“May I ask why you’re looking for me?” She asked in confusion. She decided engage in tai-chi with her.
“I…I wish to request your help.” Gu Yu Fang’s tone sounded downcast and had some hesitation. “I have a serious legal problem! I’d like to request your help with posting bail.” The final words were as quiet as a mosquito’s buzz.
“What was that? I couldn’t hear you clearly. Can you speak up a little?”
“Help me make bail!”
“Bail? Did something happen?” This made Xiao Xia curious. What matter was serious enough to warrant a bail being set!?
In her mind, Gu Yu Fang was a very impressive woman. She was shrewd, tough, wise, experienced and successful. Who knew how many times higher her status was than Xiao Xia’s? In front of her, she was like a country bumpkin who still dripped dirt despite being dusted for half the day. She would be secretly mocked before she even tried to scheme against her. What problems could such a woman have!?
Unless it was a financial matter, something like tax evasion or tax avoidance. She would rather handle criminal cases compared to those types of cases. Although lawyers earned the most in such financial cases, she didn’t even have a complete handle on her own monthly salary. It was better not to harm others.
“But I’m not good at handling financial cases!”
“It’s not a financial case.” Gu Yu Fang stammered, but still had to say it. “It’s a criminal one.”
Criminal case? How is that possible? Since it was possible to be released on bail, it shouldn’t be too serious! However…
“Xiao Xia, there’s no one else I can turn to. I don’t wish to alarm my company’s lawyers. I can only ask you!”
“But I’m still busy with a case. I’m afraid I don’t have time.”
“Treat is as this older sister begging you.” Gu Yu Fang didn’t let her finish her excuses before he spoke in a sobbing tone.
Xiao Xia hesitated. Her heart couldn’t help but grow soft at the other party’s weak tone. She could only give up and engage in Shaolin Kung Fu instead of tai-chi. After all, her job involved helping people solve legal problems. She was also truly curious about what had happened to Gu Yu Fang.
“Fine, tell me where you are. I’ll head over right away.” Xiao Xia promised. After getting the address, she hung up. She was pettily glad for herself for a moment since this counted as a business matter. Her performance points wouldn’t be deducted and her bonus was safe.
“Director!” She knocked on the door and went inside to report. “A client needs my legal services as a consultant and to help bail her out of jail.” She purposefully made it sound a little more professional. “Shall I head out right away?”
“Go ahead.” The work addict Director Pan’s answer was within her expectations. “Works is most important. You must do it well!”
“Don’t worry, I will live up to your guidance and care.” She went to grab her stuff, forcefully suppressing her joy. She made a face at Xiao Wang behind the director’s back.
What was a blessing in disguise? This was! Not only did she not get punished for taking a call during the meeting, she also didn’t need to listen to the director drone on fussily like Monk Tripitaka. How lucky was that?
However, after she got Gu Yu Fang out on bail, she realized nothing came cheaply under the heavens. The ancient saying that getting an advantage meant being taken advantage of was truly accurate. She once again had to deal with a strange matter.
It turns out that Gu Yu Fang was part of a society called the Flower Society. It was probably more accurate to call it a private organization. There were over a dozen members who were all “White Bone Spirits”. White-collar, tough backbone, elite spirited “White Bone Spirits”. Basically, wealthy, beautiful, older single women.
They seemed to have been brainwashed by something. These initially beautiful, intelligent, rational, successful, educated women were all led astray by this organization. They believed they didn’t belong to this world, and were women promised to gods.
No man could tie them down. Only a god was worthy of their love, their service, and their wholehearted devotion.
The night of the event, it was supposedly the day of sacrifice to the gods. The women at the scene personally witnessed the willing participant get married to a god. This meant being stabbed through the heart by a wooden stake. The person doing it was the next sacrifice in line.
The strange thing was, there was only a fiendishly weird red imprint left on the floor instead of what should have been a river of blood.
The moment the forensic investigator who hurried over touched the corpse, it immediately turned to a pile of dust.
This matter occurred on Friday night within the villa of one of the organization’s members, Zhao Xiao Ying. Zhao Xiao Ying was an influential figure in this city. Therefore, despite her villa being in the outskirts, it was both large and magnificent. It had some air of nobility.
After the ceremony, they had all mysteriously fallen asleep. After the matter, apart from traces of drugs being found in Gu Yu Fang’s bloodstream, there was nothing abnormal about everyone else’s condition. It was like they had all been hypnotized.
This lasted until Saturday night, when a desperate thief visited the dark house that seemed to be empty. He discovered a scattered bunch of women in red lying in the basement. He was terrified and thought he had encountered a murder case. Afraid of being implicated, he hurriedly called the police.
By the time those women woke up, the police had efficiently gotten an understanding of the general situation, and had confirmed the unusual suspects and unusual murder method in this case. The police decided to arrest Gu Yu Fang, but allowed for bail.
Due to the strangeness of the case and the fact that the perpetrators were all influential people, the police decided not to make the details public at this time. Gu Yu Fang also didn’t want too many people knowing about it. This was why she asked Xiao Xia to represent her despite not being too close with her normally.
For the sake of bailing her out, Xiao Xia was truly busy for a while. She had to find a guarantor based on Gu Yu Fang’s provided information, arrange payment for bail and also handle the relevant legal affairs. Then, she sent the bailed Gu Yu Fang home and told her the things she had to pay attention to during this period of time.
“We need to make an appointment to have a discussion.” Xiao Xia looked at this graceful, high-class and completely exhausted and flustered implicated party. She wouldn’t have imagined her to be involved in such a case, and also take drugs. “I’m only acting as your legal consultant and helped you handle the relevant legal matters. I can only decide whether or not to represent you in court after hearing the specifics.”
She was very serious regarding this matter. No matter what, they were acquaintances and it could be said there was some fate between them. This matter was probably not easy to resolve. It was best to help if she could.
“Are you able to come at three tomorrow? I must first hand off my work at the office.” After some consideration, Gu Yu Fang arranged a time with Xiao Xia. Then, she no longer bothered with Xiao Xia who was about to leave. She suddenly started singing randomly. Her eyes were weirdly bright and she was acting very on edge. This made Xiao Xia mysteriously start getting the chills. Only after some time did she realize what she was singing.
It was Woman Flower by Anita Mui.
The gently, sorrowful melody lingered in the luxurious apartment’s lonely air for a long time.