In the plaza next to the Federal Square, inside the field command center of the Demon Execution Division, Guo Chunfeng almost buried his face into the window when he stared at the messy, bloodstained square in a daze.
Countless light beams were flashing behind him, which were displaying the injured people and their confusion, but there was not a trace of Li Yao.
Lu Zui, the director of the Secret Sword Bureau, walked through the light beams and handed him a cigarette that was filled with Heavenly Fragrance Grass and designed to pacify Cultivators and ease their fatigue.
“Ah Feng. It was not your fault. Don’t blame yourself.” Lu Zui sighed and said, “We’d all underestimated the formidability of our enemy. Recently, we were too focused on Li Yao to care about the bigger picture. Now that I think about it, Li Yao might’ve left traces on purpose as a distraction so that his accomplices could take the opportunity to make a move!”
“I’m fine.” Guo Chunfeng’s fingers that held the cigarette was slightly trembling. He said in a hoarse voice, “Director, let me ask you something. When we moved to capture Li Yao, my brothers and I were attacked by snipers at the same time. Later, we found a few bodies on the commanding heights nearby. They should be Li Yao’s accomplices.
“However, just when we were shot, Li Yao suffered a perilous attack, too, which must’ve been made by a super expert!
“It was his accomplices who shot us, but who was it that shot him?”
Lu Zui blew a ring of blue smoke and admitted frankly, “It was ‘Death Ray’ Ye Changkong.”
Guo Chunfeng’s pupils constricted violently!
‘Death Ray’ Ye Changkong was the chief firearms coach in the federal army, the best expert in gunnery in the Heaven’s Origin Sector, and a ‘Gun Cultivator’ in the Nascent Soul Stage!
Generally speaking, the high-level Cultivators in the Core Formation Stage and the Nascent Soul Stage would select cold weapons such as sabers or swords as their primary weapon.
Because of their immense spiritual energy, they could launch their blades and metal scraps like bullets with a telepathic thought. There was no need for them to use firearms.
Even if they did use firearms, the firearms would mostly serve as the ‘secondary weapon’ like Li Yao’s ‘Six-Barreled Vulcan Machine Cannon’. It was their sabers and swords that mattered most in combat.
However, some of the extremists of firearms inherited the skills of the ancient Cultivators in their manipulation of the ‘sword aura’ and insisted on using firearms as their primary weapon.
‘Death Ray’ Ye Changkong was the best among them. The saying that ‘the fastest martial art is the best martial art’ proved to be true for him.
In the entire Heaven’s Origin Sector, not a single Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator dared to say that they could escape from the gun of ‘Death Ray’!
“So, besides my Demon Execution Division, there was a second squad that was hunting Vulture?” Guo Chunfeng narrowed his eyes and gnashed his teeth. “Why?”
“Because I didn’t trust you.” Lu Zui was still as frank as ever. “You were likely Abyss!”
Guo Chunfeng was dazed. “Abyss What is that?”
“The Children of the Nether World are classified into different levels. Those you were told about before are at the bottom level. The most confidential one of them, who is also of the highest rank, has the code name Abyss.
“Later, you will be given higher permissions and have access to the information about Abyss. You will know after reading the files how perfectly you match the description of Abyss.”
Guo Chunfeng hesitated for a moment. “Are you suggesting that you arranged another hunting squad, led by ‘Death Ray’ Ye Changkong, because you were suspicious that there are traitors in the Demon Execution Division?”
“I was not suspicious; I was certain.” Lu Zui looked Guo Chunfeng in the eye as if he were staring at his subordinate’s soul. “More than one Child of the Nether World must’ve infiltrated the Secret Sword Bureau. As for whether or not Abyss is among them, and who exactly Abyss is, we are not clear yet.
“We only know that both the Children of the Nether World and Abyss should be no more than a hundred years old.
“So, I trust nobody, and suspect everyone, except for those above a hundred years old.
“The hunting squad led by ‘Death Ray’ Ye Changkong is made of experienced Cultivators above a hundred years old. They are the only ones that are definitely not Children of the Nether World or Abyss.”
Guo Chunfeng was silent for a long time before he smiled bitterly. “I understand now. I am willing to suspend my work and receive investigation to wash my suspicions.”
“That will not be necessary. You’ve proven your loyalty with your actions,” Lu Zui remarked. “But there are so many Secret Sword Agents in the Demon Execution Division. Do you absolutely trust every one of them?”
Guo Chunfeng was lost for words.
Lu Zui finished his cigarette. Gazing at the glimmer on the butt, he asked, “Do you feel wronged, angry, and disgusting?”
Guo Chunfeng was staring at his cigarette butt, too. “No.”
Lu Zui smiled sadly. “You are free to feel disgusting. Sometimes, when I wash my face after I get up in the morning, I feel like throwing up as I look at the detesting old man in the mirror.
“However, that’s how it is for us. We must be suspicious of everyone, including those who are most trusted and closest to us, and those who have made great contributions to the federation!
“This is a job in the dirt and darkness. Perhaps, even the hookers on the street are cleaner than us.
“But somebody has got to do such dirty, dark jobs so that more people can live in a clean, bright world, right?”
Guo Chunfeng took a long breath and replied, “Of course, Director. If I were in your place, after I learned of the existence of the Children of the Nether World and Abyss, I would’ve doubted the young men working in the important posts and dispatched a hunting team that is more reliable and inconspicuous, too.”
“That’s good.” Lu Zui patted his subordinate’s shoulder hard. He said earnestly, “I cannot promise you much now except for one thing.
“I, Lu Zui, director of the Secret Sword Bureau, am a real patriot. Everything I did was meant to slay the evilness and defend the federation!
“I, together with countless real patriots, will burn my life, soul, and everything to fight until the last moment. I will not allow any evil beings to sully our sacred motherland, the great Star Glory Federation!”
Guo Chunfeng was greatly touched.
Stared at by Lu Zui’s sharp eyes, the last shield in him seemed to be breaking apart.
Right then, his portable crystal processor uttered the loudest alarm.
Glancing at it, Guo Chunfeng’s face blanched. “My daughter is in the ICU!”
Soon, Guo Chunfeng arrived at the Fifth Hospital of the capital city.
Because of the explosions, the hospitals in the city large and small, and even the clinics in the neighborhoods, were all packed with people.
Not only were the wards fully-occupied, even the corridors were filed with patients who were soaked in blood and crying in pain.
Some of the patients were still bleeding, and others had lost their hearing while they were moaning. It was quite a gory scene.
A middle-aged, sloppy-looking man, whose hair was so greasy it there must have been at least ten days since he last took a shower or slept, squeezed through the crowd. Dirty water was flowing down his cheeks. There was no telling whether it was his sweat or his tears.
He staggered to the third floor and rushed to the ICU, almost tripping himself over, but he could not find his daughter at all. In the end, he was about to collapse to the ground.
Yao Li called her husband from behind him.
Guo Chunfeng suddenly trembled. He slowly turned around like a rusted machine, only to discover that his wife was standing on the corridor as softly as a ghost.
“Xiaohe is alright,” Yao Li said softly. “She is being observed in the ward.”
After having such an accident, she did not even have the strength to fight with Guo Chunfeng now.
“What happened?” Guo Chunfeng’s voice didn’t sound like his own. “Do we need to take her to the hospital of our bureau?”
“That won’t be necessary. Xiaohe went to the memorial ceremony with her classmates. According to her classmates, they were not affected by the explosions and were about to run out when Xiaohe saw an old lady being stepped on by the crowd. She went back to save her, only to fall over, too. The old lady was saved in the end, but she she was injured herself.”
Yao Li tried to stop her body from shivering and said, “She was not in a good condition when she was brought here. Even her heartbeat Anyway, she is back now.”
“Where is she? Take me there!”
In the ward, sticking to the transparent glass on the medical cabin, Guo Chunfeng stared at his daughter who was floating in the bright green medication drugs.
Every wound on her daughter made his eyelid tremble violently.
Perhaps because of the telepathic connection between a father and a daughter, Guo Xiaohe, who was in a coma a moment ago, slightly opened her eyes and saw her father. She beamed with joy and grinned, extending her hand.
Blocked by the glass, the hands of the father and daughter, one large and the other small, reached together.
Guo Chunfeng finally could not hold back his tears any longer as they flooded uncontrollably on his pale face. In his eyes that were almost pure black now, unprecedented sharpness and determination were taking shape!
“Can you come? I have something for you.”
Kissing his daughter’s forehead against the glass, he left the ward with his wife.
On the crowded corridor, Guo Chunfeng gave a jade chip to his wife. “The divorce agreement, both the spiritual version and the paper version, is inside. All our assets will be left for you and our daughter. I have signed and made the soul stamp. After you sign it, find a law firm, and confirm the agreement, it will go effective immediately.”
“Old Guo!” Yao Li looked at her husband with surprise. Somewhat at a loss, she asked in a low voice, “You not being at home for months, is that related to what happened today? If it is, I can understand.”
Guo Chunfeng smiled bitterly. “You know the rules. I cannot say it.”
Yao Li stared at her husband and touched the new wrinkles on his forehead. “Old Guo, you are keeping something from me.”
Guo Chunfeng’s pupils constricted violently. “People of my trade keep a lot of things from their wives.”
“No!” Yao Li examined the brilliance in his eyes carefully and remarked, “This is different. This is different from all the things that you kept from me in the past. You are not right. Very not right!”
Guo Chunfeng was silent.
Yao Li held Guo Chunfeng’s hands hard and gritted his teeth. “I haven’t signed the paper yet. We are not divorced yet. I am still your wife. I am still the wife of a hero! Old Guo, what is the matter with you? What has happened? Tell me. Let’s shoulder it together!”
Guo Chunfeng took a deep breath. All the brilliance deep inside his eyes was gone, and his eyes turned into two immeasurable swirls. He shrugged off his wife’s hands and shook his head stubbornly. “I’m fine. Even if I’m not, it is none of your business. Go and finish the divorce procedures quickly. The sooner, the better. It will be best if you can get everything done tomorrow morning!”
Looking at his daughter in the medical cabin through the gap in the door of the ward for the last time, Guo Chunfeng turned around and left.
“Old Guo, what’s the meaning of this? Where are you going?” Yao Li was crying.
However, his wife’s cries did not stop Guo Chunfeng’s footstep, nor did they make the most terrifying demon hunter of the Heaven’s Origin Sector shed any more drop of tears.
I am going to fulfill the responsibility as a father and a husband. Guo Chunfeng walked forward step after step in the dense crowd.I am going to fight for a bright future for you and our daughter!