Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 68: This was his master
After lunch, Dong Zhi tried to sleep for a while but found he couldn’t fall asleep, so he decided to go upstairs to find Long Shen. There was still no one in the office, and he didn’t know whether the other party had gone out or was in a meeting that wasn’t finished yet.
He didn’t dare run to the conference room to find him, so he went back to the rooftop to practice diligently.
He needed to get up at 4:30 in the morning, go to the rooftop to study at 5 AM after washing, and then Long Shen would leave him to go to work at 8 AM. After eating breakfast, Dong Zhi would walk around the rooftop for an hour to practice his kung fu tona and then continue practicing Bu Tian Gang until noon. He would have an hour of rest after lunch, then he would practice again until 5 PM. He would then return back to the dorm for a break, and then sleep early at night. This was the practice regime that Long Shen formulated for him.
For urbanites who were used to partying, this plan was undoubtedly extremely difficult, not to mention that the Bu Tian Gang’s footwork was very complicated. It wasn’t easy to remember it, and it was even more difficult to use skillfully after you combined it with swordsmanship.
The most painful thing is that he wanted to eat fish and meat after such high-intensity training, which would at least bring some comfort to his soul. As a result, he wasn’t even allowed such things and had to eat porridge mixed with goji berries every day. It was simply impossible to love this kind of life.
After persisting for two days, Dong Zhi couldn’t hold on any longer. He wanted to be coquettish and asked his master to ease up on the regime. Yet the result was that he stayed up all night reading a novel and forgot about his bedtime, annoying Long Shen. Now, he didn’t know how to coax his master, so he didn’t dare mention any more laziness and had to live his ascetic life honestly.
As soon as he went up to the rooftop with his Changshou Sword, he saw that Liu Qingbo and Liu Si were also there.
Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes when he saw Dong Zhi and didn’t greet him. Since learning that Dong Zhi was accepted as Long Shen’s apprentice, he had acted this way around him, so Dong Zhi had become accustomed to it. Compared with the ridiculing at every possible opportunity from before, this was already merciful for Liu Qingbo.
Liu Si smiled and said, “We were hesitating whether to go to Group One or Group Two to practice. You’re also here. Did you talk to the leaders?”
Dong Zhi was aware of the gossip these days. Although it was not up to the new recruits to choose where they wanted to go, it’s said that everyone would be divided into groups before departure. At that time, in addition to being under the jurisdiction of the branch, they’ll also be subjected to the observation of the leadership of the General Administration Bureau.
“Not yet, but I should be in Group Two.”
However, which group you are in now doesn’t guarantee that you’ll stay there after the probationary period is over. If the leader feels that you are unqualified, they can still kick you out. For those that can’t enter the General Administration Bureau, they’ll be assigned to a branch. After all, the branch’s affairs were more trivial but required more manpower.
Liu Si also wanted to join Group Two. It was said that Long Shen had already approved it. If there was no incident, Gu Meiren and Ba Sang would have joined Group Three. Since Liu Qingbo couldn’t worship Long Shen as his teacher, he went to Group One instead. All these fell into everyone’s expectations.
What was most surprising was Li Ying. His father, Li Rui, was originally the leader before Wu Bingtian. Being born on Mount Maoshan, it stood to reason that he should also join Group One. Unexpectedly, he took the initiative to find Song Zhicun and suggested that he wanted to go to Group Three. Song Zhicun naturally longed for such an elite to join, so he immediately agreed.
Many people felt that Li Ying chose beauty over country, seeing as Chi Banxia was also joining Group Three, and he couldn’t bear to separate from his girlfriend. However, Dong Zhi believed that a group of strong competitors had emerged in large numbers. With Liu Qingbo and Zhang Song, no matter how good Li Ying would be, there would inevitably be fierce competition after entering, so he chose Group Three, which would make it easier for him to stand out.
Hearing Dong Zhi’s response, Liu Si laughed. “That’s right. You are, after all, Boss Long’s disciple, so you must go to Group Two. I’ll have to ask more about this.”
Although he envied Dong Zhi for being able to worship Long Shen as a teacher, he was only envious. After all, as a master of the willow trees, he has his own cultivation method. Whether he could worship or not was simply superfluous.
Liu Qingbo couldn’t help rolling his eyes again.
Dong Zhi invited him. “Would you like to practice with us?”
The practice venues for the three groups were different. Liu Qingbo was determined to go where he originally wanted to and took out his access card. Both Dong Zhi and Liu Si belonged to Group Two.
Liu Qingbo snorted coldly, “No thanks, lest others misunderstand that I want to steal from you!”
He raised his head and swiped his card to enter first. Dong Zhi and Liu Si looked at each other before swiping their cards one after another to enter Group Two’s venue.
Liu Si said, “I heard that next year’s World Exchange Conference will have more participants than in previous years. In this way, we should have a chance.”
Seeing that Dong Zhi was confused, he couldn’t help but wonder, “Didn’t the Boss Long tell you anything?”
Dong Zhi shook his head. In the past two days, he was so exhausted from practice that he didn’t have time to care about the World Exchange Conference.
“Is this exchange conference just a technical exchange from various countries?
Liu Si said, “On the one hand, traveling around the world has become more commonplace. Now demons from the east will run to the west, while wanted demons from the west often run over to the east. This is to strengthen the exchange of information between various countries. On the other hand, it should also for practitioners of various countries to communicate with each other and exchange ideas. Each of them will be representing their country and will certainly have a sense of victory and honor. I heard that there will be a trial competition and that the top three will be excellently rewarded.”
The rewards are only minor, as no one will bat an eye for it. The real prize was being the winners, which would provide them with a great advantage in their popularity for future promotions. Even if they participate in the competition as individuals, they could still make a name for themselves, and they no longer need to worry about fame and fortune.
Liu Si said, “We don’t allow people from the private sector to participate in the competition in their personal names. We have to go through the Special Administration Bureau. When the time comes, we will be representing our country. Every year, the Special Administration Bureau will allocate a number of places for the bureau and the private sector. It’s said that Boss Wu and Boss Song came to prominence in the competition, and later they rose all the way to the top.”
Dong Zhi asked curiously, “What about Boss Long?”
Liu Si shook his head. “I have heard that Boss Long hasn’t participated.”
Dong Zhi never thought about fame or getting a better promotion. He thought it was interesting to be able to meet people from around the world and learn from various practitioners. At the very least, it’ll still be a good experience to improve oneself, but since he thought this, most likely everyone else did too.
“Are the screening criteria strict?” he asked.
Liu Si: “The conference will be held at the end of next year. They shouldn’t have started screening people until the beginning of the year. I also learned about this from listening to a group of people a few days ago. If you want to go, you should step up your practice. There are not too many places available, and we have a lot of elites this time. It’s definitely impossible for everyone to have an opportunity.”
Dong Zhi nodded. As a disciple of Long Shen, he had to fight for a place no matter what. Otherwise, it’ll be too embarrassing for his master.
Thinking like this, he found he had another motivation towards his cultivation. The space here was infinitely extended by magic. Let alone accommodating Liu Si and Dong Zhi, even if dozens more came, it’d still be spacious. Liu Si went towards the hillside in front of him to start his practice while Dong Zhi practiced his footwork by the waterfall.
Long Shen was indeed very busy. He was swarmed with meetings today. He had seminars with those above, meetings in the bureau, and temporary meetings with newcomers. During lunch break, he went back to get his mug and found that there was an extra book on his desk.
<The Incident Book of the Relevant Department for Subduing and Eliminating Demons>. Author: Dong Dong Qiang.
Long Shen frowned slightly before picking it up and turning a few pages.
It portrayed the daily lives of the Relevant Departments in the form of simple comics, as well as clips of them subduing and slaying demons. The name of the Special Administration Bureau was hidden as it was referred to as the “Relevant Department” instead. The protagonist’s name was not a real name, and details of the case had been changed, so it didn’t expose any secrets.
There is also a note in the middle of the book.
[Master, this book is about to go public. The author is me. I plan to donate the manuscript fee to the Bureau as a modest contribution as a pension for my fallen colleagues. Don’t be angry, okay?]
A smiley face is attached to the back, and there is a shy cartoon villain next to it.
Long Shen closed the book, took a document from the drawer, picked up the mug and started to leave. Before he left, he picked up the book again, took out the note that was inside, put it in the drawer, and took the book with him.
Many people think that the top bosses in high positions must sit in their offices all day long while remotely commanding from there, but this is not the case with the Special Administration Bureau. During the last incident where they sent the newcomers on field training, two Deputy Directors led the team in person. Although there were injuries and casualties as expected, as leaders, Long Shen and Song Zhicun were still criticized and had to write a review report on the incident. These were things that Dong Zhi was unaware of.
“The Japanese have already sent the things over, and the above asked us to send Fujikawa back as soon as possible,” Wu Bingtian said.
Song Zhicun snorted coldly, “We worked hard this time and lost two people. I really want to keep the old fucker and never let him go back to Japan!”
Wu Bingtian said slowly, “I don’t want him to go back either, but this is an order from the top, and they have all agreed to the conditions we put forward this time. If we don’t fulfill our promises, there’s no way we can explain it.”
In fact, the matter had already been finalized. Today was just a routine to discuss it. Song Zhicun nodded. “When the above procedures are completed, I’ll make the trip in person and send him back so as to avoid any changes on the way.”
Wu Bingtian smiled and said, “It must be hard on you, Boss Song. It’s reassuring to have you as a leader of a team.”
Director Jiang only cares about the general direction of the spiritual world. He has never intervened in specific business allocations, nor can he. Seeing that the topic had come to an end, he smiled and said, “Is the distribution of the new people’s whereabouts settled?”
Wu Bingtian handed over a form. “It’s almost done. This is everyone’s arrangement. Take a look.”
Director Jiang glanced at him slightly. “Why aren’t any of them staying in the General Administration?”
Wu Bingtian smiled and said, “After the three of us discussed it, we decided that instead of leaving them in the General Administration and not knowing about the sufferings of the outside world, it’s better to let them go to a local branch office and be on the front line to gain an in-depth understanding of major cases.”
Director Jiang nodded. He was just a figurehead, so naturally he had no opinion.
“Okay, when will they leave?”
Wu Bingtian: “They’ll report to work next week.”
Director Jiang: “They finally just came back. Next week feels a bit rushed, so let’s extend it for another week and hold a few seminars before they leave. We can encourage and pump up their enthusiasm.”
When everyone heard this, they knew that Lao Jiang’s addiction to speaking had risen again. Since he took office, he has held meetings and speeches on every occasion possible, so everyone eventually knew how Lao Jiang got the title of “Director of Meetings”. There are only so many people in the bureau. No matter how much Director Jiang loves meetings, it was impossible to gather everyone together all day long. Now that there was a batch of newcomers that had more time to listen to him, how could he easily “let them go”?
Wu Bingtian didn’t want to argue with the director on such trivial matters, so he smiled and said, “Well, they didn’t listen to your teaching well last time they joined. Now they have a chance again. In the future, there will be fewer opportunities, so they can listen to it now and gain more experience.”
Director Jiang smiled. “Of course, young people have to be encouraged. These children are still young, and they are all national elites, so inevitably they are arrogant. We need to let them walk slower so they don’t run too fast!”
Today’s meeting wasn’t formal. There were only a few of them there. After finishing up business, Lao Jiang unknowingly talked about his son. He talked about how his son had gotten into a famous university abroad with a full scholarship. In other words, he was bragging.
Song Zhicun also had a son in the army. He was young and promising, and his military rank wasn’t low. As a parent, it was inevitable that he hoped his child would become like a dragon. Lao Song was no exception. Listening to Director Jiang’s words, Lao Song started talking about his son endlessly as he inadvertently compared him with Director Jiang’s son.
Wu Bingtian only had a daughter, who had just learned to speak, so he couldn’t brag even if he wanted to. However, he still found the common topic of parenting and started wildly talking with the other two.
Seeing that the conversation was completely centered around children, Wu Bingtian looked at Long Shen, who was silent, and said with a smile, “We still have to count on Boss Long with the purest heart and fewest desires. You’ve been working hard all these years and lack attention in your personal life!”
Director Jiang hurriedly said, “Yes, Boss Long hasn’t started a family yet. Do you want me to introduce you to a suitable person? Work is important, but don’t miss out on the big events of your life!”
Director Jiang obviously knew what the Special Administration Bureau was doing, and he knew that he had a powerful man under his command, but he didn’t actually know the full extent, let alone Long Shen’s origins. He only regarded him as a practitioner like Wu Bingtian and Song Zhicun.
Wu Bingtian and Song Zhicun glanced at each other, giving each other an amused look. They didn’t expect Lao Jiang to urge Long Shen to get married.
Unexpectedly, Long Shen used this to advertise a book. “This is my apprentice’s new book. Supposedly, presale volumes have already exceeded 100,000. I’ll ask him later for a few more copies to give you.”
He had checked the sales volume online. With several directors present, it could be said that they were good at exterminating demons, but none knew anything about the publishing industry, so they were quite surprised when they heard the 100,000 number and it quickly piqued their interest.
Director Jiang took a look. “Oh, this is a comic book? I didn’t expect Boss Long to apprentice to be a cartoonist.”
Wu Bingtian smiled bitterly. “It’s Dong Zhi. Boss Long really has a good disciple that he already obtained glory for his master so soon.”
Long Shen said lightly, “He’s very good. He has a good head on his shoulders, can draw, has a good memory, and has good talents. I didn’t expect him to get this far.”
Hearing his opponent’s pretended modesty, Wu Bingtian couldn’t help but feel itchy all over. Although he had looked down on Dong Zhi, a practitioner who hadn’t started his foundation since he was a child, that was long ago.
Wu Bingtian had wanted to attract Dong Zhi into his group since Dong Zhi came to prominence in tracking the whereabouts of the Japanese. His group was filled with influential figures that could provide money and resources. As long as he spoke, no one would refuse his request. Who knew that Long Shen had faster hands than him and made frequent contact in private with Dong Zhi, often giving him advice by living so close to him. This made the child so grateful that he politely declined Wu Bingtian’s proposal.
After all, Wu Bingtian, the dignified director, wasn’t good at taking rejection. After having lost face, he thought that when they returned from Yinchuan, he would go back to his teacher and allow Dong Zhi to enter Mount Longhu’s gate. He had investigated it clearly and found that Dong Zhi had only worshipped a famous master in Mount Hezao, but he wasn’t considered a legitimate descendant of the Hezao Sect, so this meant it wouldn’t be a violation for him to enter Mount Longhu.
Who knew that Long Shen was once again one step ahead of him as he had already accepted him as a disciple while they were in the cave? When they came back, Wu Bingtian heard him mention it lightly that he was so angry he didn’t sleep well that night.
He never said that he would rob Long Shen of his apprentice. Wasn’t there still Liu Qingbo, who had excellent qualifications?! But this only made his opponent move his hand faster! Every time Wu Bingtian thought about this, he wanted to beat himself up.
Moreover, the last time he negotiated with the Japanese, Long Shen didn’t give in but also brought Song Zhicun and Zong Lao to his side. As a result, Wu Bingtian, who was in charge of negotiations, could only act as a courier, passing messages back and forth. Although the Japanese were finally forced to make concessions, in the beginning, the higher ups wanted to settle everything calmly, but because Long Shen and Song Zhicun pushed back, they felt that they “ignored the overall situation”, and this also reflected badly on Wu Bingtian.
Long Shen didn’t care, while Song Zhicun didn’t have much ambition to climb the ladder, thus only Wu Bingtian was left with resentment. Because of this “deep hatred*”, he was still reluctant to make peace.
*Old hatred new hatred (新仇旧恨) Idiom describing a deep hatred.
“Still, at the end of the day, we’re the Special Administration Bureau. Subduing and slaying demons is our priority. No matter how much Boss Long will hurt his apprentice, it’s best if you don’t let him do this kind of job and have him focus on the wrong direction.”
Long Shen said, “That’s right. I finally got an apprentice. It’s inevitable that I want him to do everything well, so I put a lot of pressure on him. Despite this, he has never disappointed me. He now trains very hard, and he’s even willing to donate his manuscript fee for this book to the Bureau as a pension for his fallen colleagues.”
Song Zhicun was first to praise, “Boss Long’s apprentice is truly good. It’s a pity that I’m one step late. Otherwise, I would have competed with you for him.”
As an ordinary person, Director Jiang didn’t know much about exorcism in general, but when he heard that Dong Zhi had donated his manuscript fee, he too had to offer his praise, “Yes! It’s said that an apprentice is worth half a son, and I think this applies to Boss Long!”
Long Shen smiled faintly. “Director Jiang and Boss Song flatter him too much.” He was strict with Dong Zhi but didn’t reveal that in the slightest. In contrast to others, he didn’t hesitate to show off his preference and appreciation.
Wu Bingtian almost choked on his own spit as he was on the verge of having a heart attack.
After their chat came to an end, Long Shen returned to his office and looked at the time. It was almost 4 PM. He put down his hand and went to the rooftop.
Sure enough, Dong Zhi was there. He was standing next to the waterfall with his back to him, holding the Changshou Sword with his forehand, practicing the Tian Gang footwork, so he didn’t hear Long Shen’s arrival.
Long Shen stood for a while until the other party swung his sword and turned around.
Dong Zhi first yelled happily, and then, remembering the blunder he made this morning, paused, and held back his expression when he approached. Long Shen remained expressionless and stood with his hands behind his back.
“Finished practicing.” Dong Zhi gave him a well-behaved smile. “Asking Master to please provide guidance.”
Long Shen said, “You are the author of the book in the office?”
Dong Zhi answered guiltily, “Yes.”
Long Shen frowned slightly. “You practice every day, yet you still have time to draw and write books? Where did you get such free time?”
Dong Zhi hurriedly said, “That was a while ago. After I went to Yinchuan, I didn’t have much time to draw anymore, so I’m now just sending out previous manuscripts. This kind of thing can be drawn very quickly, just need to add a bit of color, and it will not delay my practice.”
Long Shen was silent for a moment before saying, “You have high spirits and many hobbies, but your cultivation is important. I hope you can spend more time on it. It’s important to note that if you miss a good opportunity in battle, you may lose your life.”
After the morning incident, Dong Zhi had already understood Long Shen’s restrictions. It didn’t matter whether his qualifications weren’t good enough or if he was in poor health, but during the training period, he had to concentrate on it and try his best. He couldn’t be careless. He was the one who was wrong, so he didn’t dare defend himself and could only admit his mistake and obediently practice harder.
When Dong Zhi lowered his head, Long Shen couldn’t see his expression and only saw his soft and fluffy hair.
In fact, Long Shen wasn’t actually as angry as he thought, but Dong Zhi’s departure was imminent, and they couldn’t follow each other all the time. If he didn’t beat this into him and something actually happened, he wouldn’t have time to rush over to help.
“You can keep the manuscript fee. You don’t need to donate it.”
Dong Zhi looked up and looked at him in surprise. “Master…”
Long Shen said, “I will use my own money for the amount you want to donate. The salary during the probationary period is relatively small. If you don’t have enough money, just tell me. Drawing, though, cannot affect your work.”
“…Oh.” Dong Zhi didn’t notice that the corners of his mouth were slightly raised. He felt as if his heart was soaked in hot water on a cold day, and after being soaked warm, he was picked up and gently wrapped in a towel.
The man who wrapped a towel around his heart treated his only apprentice in life with the greatest gentleness and kindness.
“Master, can I hug you?”
Before the other party could answer, Dong Zhi had already hugged him tightly.
“How old are you? Always hugging at every turn. What kind of etiquette is this?” Although he said this, Long Shen could have easily gotten out of the way, but he didn’t.
“You are really the best Master in the world.” Dong Zhi stuffed his face into Long Shen’s clothes, and his voice became muffled. “Being able to be your disciple is my greatest blessing.”
Long Shen had never been hugged so tightly before. He wanted to push him away but also felt that it didn’t seem appropriate. After thinking about it, he patted Dong Zhi’s back a few times.
“Alright,” he said.
Dong Zhi was reluctant to let go, so he took the opportunity to rub his face again until Liu Si came around from behind the hillside and greeted them in surprise.
Feeling that Long Shen wanted to push him away, Dong Zhi let go first. He felt a little embarrassed knowing Liu Si had seen him being coquettish.
Liu Si wasn’t paying much attention. He happily said, “Boss Long, are you free? I just wanted to ask you for some guidance!”
Long Shen nodded and followed Liu Si to the front.
Everyone has their own secret techniques. It didn’t matter if Long Shen saw it, since he was already standing at a height that was beyond the reach of ordinary people, but for Dong Zhi, it wasn’t easy to follow them.
He didn’t want to leave like this, so he continued to linger around. As a result, after waiting for an hour, he was so hungry that he curled up and waited until Long Shen and Liu Si came back.
Long Shen was surprised. “Why haven’t you left yet?”
He thought that his apprentice was putting in extra time to work hard and added, “Everything has a degree. Too much isn’t always better.”
Dong Zhi smiled and said, “I’m fine, so I wanted to wait for you.”
Liu Si said, “Thank you so much, Boss Long, for today. It’s just around dinnertime. Why don’t I invite you to a meal?”
Joy sprouted from Dong Zhi, until he heard Long Shen say, “He can’t eat during dinner right now.”
Dong Zhi: …
Long Shen looked at his pitiful expression, and a smile appeared in his eyes. Finally, he said mercifully, “But you can still eat some porridge.”
Porridge was still better than nothing. Dong Zhi found that his current requirements had fallen to an all new low. Let alone a full-Chinese banquet, it’s estimated that even a plate of pickled mustard greens would taste delicious to him.
As a practitioner, Liu Si naturally knew Long Shen’s intention behind why he was making Dong Zhi hungry. He smiled and said, “Well, let’s go eat vegetarian food. That way, Dong Zhi could eat more.”
Dong Zhi was overjoyed. “Lao Liu, you’re such an understanding and considerate person!”
Long Shen was speechless, thinking that this apprentice was too easy to please.
Liu Si had rented a home in the capital, which was a bit far away from where they were. After they finished their meals, he parted ways with them and got on the subway. Dong Zhi walked slowly back with Long Shen.
“Master, after I go to the branch office, there’s still family and annual leave, right?”
Long Shen: “Why are you asking?”
Dong Zhi: “So I can come back to see you more.”
Long Shen: “You can practice well. You don’t need me to watch over you.”
Seeing Dong Zhi’s expression of disappointment, he paused, and then said, “If I go on a business trip, I’ll stop by to see you when I have time.”
Dong Zhi’s expression was like a switch that when pressed immediately turned from dim to bright.
“Has our respective designation been confirmed? Can you tell me who I’ll be partnering with?”
Although the temperaments of these companions who trained together are different, they still have a sense of nostalgia. Even Liu Qingbo’s eye rolling, and cold snorts were sentimentally childish to Dong Zhi. It would be even better if he could be with Ba Sang or Gu Meiren.
Long Shen said, “You won’t have partners. Everyone will be assigned to different places.”
Dong Zhi was taken aback. “Isn’t there only four branches?”
Long Shen: “There are also offices under the branch offices as well as in third-tier cities. There are not many people in those offices, so sometimes the conditions aren’t very good. You must be mentally prepared.”
Listening to his tone, Dong Zhi knew that he would not be assigned an easy job because, according to Long Shen’s personality, he likes to face difficulties, so he’d only be more demanding of his apprentice. Long Shen could make many concessions to him in private that he could even consider overindulgent, but he would never back down on the issues of principle.
This was his Master, but it happened that he liked such a Master.