Guan Zheng was dead.
The first one to discover him was Uncle Chai, the worker at the office. He was the first to arrive the next morning. The doors and windows had been locked properly. When Uncle Chai opened the door with his own keys, he noticed the lights were on in Guan Zheng’s office. When he went to take a look, the old man almost got a heart attack from fright.
Guan Zheng was sitting at his desk, having been dead for some time. His face was ashen and covered in scratches made by his own hand. One of his eyeballs had fallen out, landing on the desk. It stared right at the door. The computer was completely destroyed and nothing could be recovered. Furthermore, he had died of drug overdose.
The most surprising thing was that the corpse of a sadistically murdered cat was discovered in his office!
Someone who claimed to uphold the sanctity of the law had died of drug overdose, and had even tortured an animal prior to his death. Those who Guan Zheng had previously offended mocked him behind his back. Xiao Xia was extremely infuriated.
Whether or not he was extreme, his intentions had been good. He just wanted to help people!
Not long after his death, the organization’s founders sent over a replacement. Before this person arrived, Xiao Xia became the office’s backbone. She had to organize the files and continue handling the cases. Guan Zheng’s funeral also had to be arranged. She was frantically busy. Due to the similar circumstances surrounding these deaths, the police grew suspicious. Xiao Xia had to cooperate with their investigation.
The police getting involved helped solve one of Xiao Xia’s problems.
Guan Zheng wanted her to avenge him, but she wasn’t able to act on her own. Even if she went along with his final wish and secretly investigated, Ruan Zhan and Wan Li wouldn’t let her do as she pleased. In reality, she would end up getting them involved. Ultimately, this matter was unrelated to her.
Therefore, despite Guan Zheng’s warning not to tell anyone else, she still gave all the evidence and the contents of the email over to the police. Of course, this didn’t include that black cat or the moving poppy. Those would only reduce the believability of her evidence.
This matter should be left to someone capable! Although she felt a little bad about Guan Zheng’s entrusted task, it was all she could do.
As for herself, she naturally took the opportunity to shamelessly freeload at Ruan Zhan’s place again. However, she wasn’t able to implement her “villages besieging the city” Mr. Handsome baiting plan immediately as she wished. She didn’t even have the opportunity to chat a little. She was too busy during this period of time. He was asleep when she left in the morning and busy when she returned exhausted. When she fell asleep, he was still entertaining customers.
They were like night and day, unable to spend any time together. Yet just having a few moments to glance at each other and smile made Xiao Xia very happy! Furthermore, she was finally about to be done with everything.
“Guan Zheng’s funeral is tomorrow.” Xiao Xia had been free since the morning so she had been hanging around Ruan Zhan. She was currently sprawled onto the bar, watching him wipe down the glasses.
“You can finally rest a little?” Ruan Zhan smiled and asked.
Xiao Xia nodded. This was the first time she noticed that when Ruan Zhan smiled, his gaze became focused and his expression gentle.
“Is Wan Li going with you?”
“That’s right. He said he’s making an appearance as my boyfriend so I don’t appear to be Guan Zheng’s widow!”
“He always likes to observe special people on special occasions!” Ruan Zhan stopped what he was doing. “When we were young, he would always drag me to whatever event was happening in town, be it weddings, funerals, baby showers or ceremonies. I don’t like crowded places while he unfortunately loves them. When we got back, he would always excitedly describe the reactions of everyone towards everything, annoying me to no end. However, I think this is why he ultimately chose to become a psychiatrist. He likes to analyze people’s thoughts. But my father said that with his curiosity and insisting on investigating everything, he’ll eventually….”
Ruan Zhan stopped speaking in surprise. He discovered that his usual caution towards others had completely disappeared with Xiao Xia. He had even unwittingly started speaking about his childhood. He had never been willing to mention his past. He wouldn’t even respond when Wan Li occasionally reminisced.
Xiao Xia knew he wasn’t used to revealing his inner thoughts, and smartly kept quiet. She didn’t press him, and changed the subject instead.
“Then….do you have any thoughts about this matter?”
“That cat is the key to this. Of course, the moving plant as well. Unfortunately, we know too little and cannot come to any conclusions. Yet as far as I know, there are a few tribes who worship various living things. Some even treat them as totems. Putting it all together with the location Guan Zheng wrote in his dying message, I feel like everything is intricately connected.”
“Should we go take a look at the graves of the victims in other cities to confirm things?”
“There’s no need. Although this sort of poppy seed must have been enchanted to remain unharmed by cremation and unsealed by cement, they immediately wilted after leaving the soil. I think it loses everything immediately upon being uprooted. I looked through your information. Those people all died a while ago, and their ashes were stored in a mausoleum after cremation. Those places all have maintenance people who would immediately pull out anything that didn’t belong. You won’t find any evidence there anymore.”
“You’re right. Well, I’ve already handed it over to the police. It’s none of my business anymore!” Xiao Xia forcibly dispelled her gloominess and made a show of casually shrugging.
Ruan Zhan was about to speak when the door to the bar opened and the first customer of the night came in.
“Ah Zhan, hurry and make me a drink. I’m dying of thirst!” The person called in a sweet and tender voice, her tone extremely intimate as though speaking with a relative…or a lover?!
Xiao Xia rolled her eyes and headed upstairs without turning to look.
This woman was called Bai Jing Jing. She had the same name as that fiend in the Journey to the West, and was just as overflowing with seduction. She had recently been clinging tightly to Ruan Zhan, and he seemed to treat her a little differently than others. Therefore, Xiao Xia hated her exceptionally.
However, she didn’t get up and leave because of this woman. She was able to resist such a small matter. She just couldn’t stand see Ruan Zhan smiling at Bai Jing Jing. This made her feel no longer as special, so she might as well not look.
Her pique of jealousy made her miss the fact that despite Ruan Zhan flashing his signature smile that seemed to contain a trace of affection, the depths of his eyes didn’t contain the tenderness he only revealed towards Xiao Xia.
The funeral was simple and solemn, with things proceeding per convention. However, not many people had come. There were some good friends, classmates and coworkers of the deceased, as well as representatives from the various branches of the organization and one of the major investors. Not a single person who had received his help made an appearance.
Xiao Xia was both sad and angry.
She was sad because although she wasn’t especially close with Guan Zheng, he had still treated her rather well despite his sternness. It was impossible not to feel anything as his colleague. She was angry because there were less and less conscientious people in the world. He had helped so many people when he was a live, yet none of them would remember him!
“Death is just the beginning. An unnamed hero would definitely receive excellent treatment on the other side. No need to be unreconciled.” Wan Li knew why Xiao Xia was tearing up. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and comforted. “The heavens are always watching after all!”
“You’re being a thorough believer in the philosophy of idealism.” Xiao Xia relaxed. She had been tense during the entire service. She kept feeling like Guan Zheng’s portrait was criticizing her. Now that it was finally over, she let out a long breath.
“My belief is based on my personal experiences.” Wan Li’s hand remained on her shoulder. “Have you asked off? Weren’t you planning on taking a few days to rest?”
“It wasn’t approved. I have to wrap up some matters for the organization before I can rest. I’m going to the Everplenty Group tomorrow.” Xiao Xia glanced at her new boss.
The newly arrived superior had the same surname as Director Pan from the Vast Sky law firm. He had a monosyllabic given name: Shan. He was around the same age as Guan Zheng, but he looked much older. He looked stern, inflexible, and not easy to get along with.
As she was looking at Pan Shan, she inadvertently met the gaze of the investor who had come for the service. She hurriedly smiled and nodded politely. Unexpectedly, as though having been given permission, the person walked towards her.
She instinctively stepped closer to Wan Li, feeling a little awkward. She had never been good at interacting with rich people.
Wan Li sensed her body language asking for help and dropped the idea of going to chat with Pan Shan. He remained by Xiao Xia’s side.
“Hello, I am the Everplenty Group’s Huang Bo Heng1.” He gracefully handed a business card to Xiao Xia, who hurriedly received it with both hands.
So this was the head of the Everplenty Group!
Xiao Xia introduced herself while thinking that the head of such a large financial group was actually around Guan Zheng’s age. He was young and refined, without the tacky feeling of the nouveau riche. He looked a little like a scholar. Xiao Xia had worked at his subsidiary before, and had heard from the workers there that his rise to power was rather miraculous. It happened basically overnight.
“My name is Wan Li. I’m her boyfriend.” Wan Li’s voice rang out by her ear. She felt a grip around her waist and was pulled into Wan Li’s arms. She had no choice but to cooperate and smile foolishly.
“Miss Yue…” Huang Bo Heng smiled with poise. “I heard from Director Pan that our company’s legal assignment in City A was handled by Miss Yue. I haven’t had the chance to thank you yet.”
“What are you saying, I was just doing my job. I should be the one thanking you for the opportunity.”
“This memorial service was also well organized. Miss Yue is clearly a capable talent. No need for modesty. If I ever come recruiting, you should come work for me.” Huang Bo Heng spoke while appraising her, making her feel a little uncomfortable.
She stammered a few words. Luckily, Wan Li took over, continuing to exchange pleasantries with Huang Bo Heng. However, he kept his arm around her waist, as though announcing his ownership.
“Miss Yue’s complexion doesn’t look too good.” Before long, Huang Bo Heng once again focused upon Xiao Xia.
“She’s exhausted. She’ll be fine after we get back early and rest.”
“Miss Yue is really fortunate to have such a considerate boyfriend.” Huang Bo Heng was still smiling but Xiao Xia’s sharp intuition sensed some displeasure in his gaze. “I was going to discuss the transfer of funds, but since that’s the case, you can come find me tomorrow instead. I won’t keep you any longer today.”
“Then we’ll see you around, Chairman Huang.” Wan Li took the initiative to respond once again. Then, after saying some simple farewells to the remaining people, he left with Xiao Xia, his arm still holding her.
“You’re making me feel like a pampered brat!” Xiao Xia gave the arm around her waist a smack.
“I’m just telling that Huang guy that you’re already taken.” Wan Li looked back. “Sometimes, body language is more convincing.”
“You’re speaking nonsense again!”
“You’re not sensitive enough about men!” Wan Li said. “Haven’t you noticed? He was interested in you. Rich young masters really don’t have a conscience. He’s actually trying to pick up chicks at a funeral.”
“It was a memorial service.”
“Isn’t it the same thing? Why are you being so nitpicky? Are you going to his office tomorrow?” Hearing Xiao Xia respond affirmatively, Wan Li said. “I’ll go with you…no, I have to teach class tomorrow. How about getting Ah Zhan to go?”
“Is that necessary?” Xiao Xia laughed at Wan Li’s overreaction. “If he tries to harass me I’ll sue him! Don’t worry, I’m already grown up. I can judge the situation. At most I won’t drink anything he gives me and keep my distance from him. Is that being cautious enough? Besides, maybe he’s just used to chatting up women. Maybe it’s just a habit and he isn’t really interested in me. You’re probably being oversensitive. Although he makes others feel uncomfortable, he doesn’t seem to be the despicable type. It’ll be fine!”
“It’s better to ask Ah Zhan anyway. You can go by yourself if that doesn’t work.” For some reason, Wan Li’s intuition as a man told him Huang Bo Heng was deeply interested in Xiao Xia, making him feel a little uneasy.
Xiao Xia seemed very strong, and sometimes made threatening displays, but she was actually a little white rabbit, the kind that gets easily carried away in some unknown animal’s mouth. Although this made her more likeable, she wasn’t as safe as those women who acted like little white rabbits but were actually big bad wolves in disguise.
“You’re being paranoid.”
“I just worry about you.” Wan Li pulled her to a stop, looking her up and down. “What’s so good about a brat like you? Why is everyone out to get you?!”
The two argued back and forth on the way back, making Xiao Xia temporarily forget the pressure brought about by Guan Zheng’s death. When they got back and asked, Ruan Zhan said he was busy the next day. Xiao Xia could only choose to go by herself.
She didn’t think anything would happen, but she was still disappointed Ruan Zhan wasn’t able to go with her.
“How is it?” Huang Bo Heng sat in the study of his luxurious villa, giving orders to the man across from him.
“She lives on the second floor of the bar called Nocturnal Revenant.”
“She lives together with a man?”
“The bar’s owner is a man. She’s living together with him.”
“The bar’s owner and the one surnamed Wan, which one of them is her lover?”
“This….it’s only been a single night, I….”
“Go investigate again!” Huang Bo Heng reproached.
That person hurriedly left.
Huang Bo Heng sneered and sank deeper into the sofa. He once again recalled Xiao Xia’s appearance.
“Any woman that catches my eye will be mine. Those who get in my way will all die!” He muttered to himself, but was also a little puzzled.
This was their first meeting, so why did he like that woman surnamed Yue so much? Although she was pretty and cute, she wasn’t anything special compared to those mistresses of his. Why did he feel so strongly about obtaining her? It was like something was growing in his heart while a cat’s claw was desperately scratching at it at the same time!