Chapter 61: Demanding for People
Xing Shabei clenched his hand furiously, shattering the jug of wine that he was holding.
“What a bold tone!” he said darkly. “Then how do you explain the death of City Head Liu and his supporters?”
“City Lord An has already settled the case. You don’t need to ask me about it anymore. If you’re not satisfied with my answer, you can go and ask the City Lord himself personally.”
“I knew that you were going to default to the City Lord. Don’t believe for a second that you can act so fearlessly just because An Siyuan is protecting you!” Xing Shabei stared viciously at Su Chen.
They both knew that they were opponents from the very beginning, so neither was polite to the other. They began to fight almost as soon as they met.
“Then what about City Head Xing? Which clan’s dog are you? Or is there more than one clan feeding you?” Su Chen shot back sarcastically.
“How bold!” Xing Shabei slammed the table with his palm. The table itself was fine, but small cracks began to appear in the ground.
This wasn’t an Origin Skill. Rather, it was evidence that he was very skilled at controlling his power output.
Without a doubt, he was the most proficient in close-quarters combat.
At this moment, Xing Shabei continued, “Su Chen, you are allowed to make a verdict regarding Liu Wuya and his supporters, but don’t expect me to be polite about Duan Feng and the others!”
“Haven’t you already done that?” Su Chen laughed coldly. “Right, as the City Head, you have the right to capture a few subordinates. But since you’ve made the accusation and imprisoned them, I have the right to view the materials and investigate whether they are guilty or not as the Knowledge Executor. I won’t say that they are completely innocent, so I can only ask City Head Xing to graciously hand them over.”
“What if I don’t give them to you?” Xing Shabei countered.
“If you won’t give them to me, then you won’t give them to me.” Unexpectedly, Su Chen completely dropped his forceful and stubborn demeanor, replying, “Cao Zhengjun, did you hear that? I, as the Origin Bureau Knowledge Executor, requested to investigate the matter of Duan Feng collaborating with the pirates to attack the fleet, but City Head Xing refused to cooperate. Now that it’s been recorded down in the case, I have the authority to suspect whether City Head Xing is making false charges against loyal and honest people!”
“This little one understands.”
Xing Shabei harrumphed, “If you want to report it to the higher-ups, please do so. I’m afraid that even if you were to shatter the sky with your yells, this report won’t reach them!”
If he dared to act in this way, he naturally had to have a source of confidence.
“What if I were to do it?”
A voice suddenly spoke up at this moment.
Xing Shabei raised his head and saw a youth walking slowly in their direction.
The youth was wearing an azure robe with nine dragons embroidered on it with gold thread and a jade python belt wrapped around his waist. He wore a tall cap on his head, and a Grade Nine Origin Tool, Wind Eye Blade, was sheathed in a scabbard hung below his waist.
The Secret Task Force was the emperor’s guards, and the members acted on behalf of the emperor himself. How had one appeared here?
Xing Shabei was stunned.
The Secret Task Force wasn’t just another government office; they could report directly to the imperial family.
If the Secret Task Force were to bring this matter to the surface, Xing Shabei definitely wouldn’t have a good outcome.
He stood up immediately. “Esteemed sir, who might you be? I am very familiar with the Secret Task Force’s Sir Li and Sir Bai.”
“My name is Cloud Leopard. You don’t need to mention those two to me; I don’t know who they are, and I am not planning on getting to know them anytime soon.”
Cloud Leopard still spoke just as directly as before, not sparing anyone any face. He stood next to Su Chen and stared directly at Xing Shabei.
Xing Shabei glanced at Su Chen, then at Cloud Leopard, and seemed to realize something.
“Sir Cloud, you must be new to the Secret Task Force, right?”
“So what if I am?”
“Sir Cloud doesn’t seem very old. Could you have graduated from an institute recently?”
“The Hidden Dragon Institute,” Cloud Leopard replied directly.
“So that is how it is.” Xing Shabei understood. “Though the Secret Task Force has the ability to act at their discretion, they are responsible for protecting the country and exterminating any insurrectionists. The matters of the Origin Bureau aren’t quite under your jurisdiction, are they?”
“That might not be the case. The Secret Task Force can also supervise government officials to make sure that they are operating in an orderly fashion. If someone isn’t doing one’s duty and is instead working for others or sets up a private criminal court to harm a fellow worker, then the Secret Task Force has the authority to supervise the situation.”
It had to be said that after being in the Secret Task Force for some time, Cloud Leopard’s manner of speaking had improved greatly. At the very least, he could speak like a government official.
If it were before, he probably would’ve said something like “I’ll do it if I want to”.
The Secret Task Force’s responsibility of supervising government officials and making sure that they were operating in an orderly fashion was actually a bit unclear. On the one hand, the government hadn’t given the Secret Task Force the ability to directly supervise other branches of the government, but on the other hand, they had also been assigned this kind of a duty, making it so that it wasn’t as clear-cut as it sounded.
The Secret Task Force’s true authority was still related to assassinations and reporting to the imperial family. As for supervising other governmental officials, that was a responsibility in name only. Of course, if evidence fell in someone’s hands and they reported it, the people involved would be punished accordingly, but if there was no evidence, then they were only really blowing hot air.
However, Cloud Leopard could still use this as an excuse. He didn’t request the interrogation, but if Xing Shabei disregarded procedure and refused to procure the dossier, he could report that.
Xing Shabei had only just taken on this position and didn’t want to be accused immediately, so he could only say resentfully, “Cao Zhengjun, bring the evidence over to Knowledge Executor Su.”
Very quickly, a dossier was brought before Su Chen.
Su Chen flipped through it carefully. He saw how Duan Feng and the other three got in contact with the pirates, then set up an ambush for the fleet on the outskirts of the river. Both human testimonies and material evidence were present.
The dossier was quite impressive.
Even though he knew it was fake, if he only looked at the dossier and the associated materials, he might really believe that such a thing had happened.
Regardless, no matter how real they made it seem, it was still fake and couldn’t conceal the truth.
As he inspected it more closely, Su Chen said with a laugh, “Interesting. Sir Xing, it says on here that Duan Feng and the others sold the information about the departure of the fleet to the bandits, which resulted in the fleet being exterminated. Is that accurate?”
“So what if it is?”
“Nothing really. I just wanted to ask how they knew the time and path of the departure of the fleet? The Origin Bureau isn’t responsible for financial matters.”
“They bought out one of the He Clan’s underlings to obtain the information. We have a human testimony of this. Cao Zhengjun, go and grab……”
“You don’t need to bring the person to me. I’m not interested in human testimonies. I just find it interesting that the He Clan’s underling didn’t sell the information directly to the pirates but to them. They took such a roundabout way and let someone else haul in the profits?”
“Perhaps he was too cowardly and didn’t dare to directly interact with the pirates.”
“Then I have another question. On here, it says that the fleet was sent to West River Forest to buy medicinal ingredients and was robbed en route. I want to confirm whether they were robbed on their way there or on their way back.”
“Is there a difference?”
“Please answer the question.”
“This……” Xing Shabei hesitated for a moment, then said, “It should’ve been when they were on their way there. Yes, when they were on their way there.”
Su Chen laughed. “That’s quite interesting. Everyone knows of the reputation of the resources from West River Forest. What can be bought there for a tael of gold can be sold for hundreds of times the price outside. However, this market has always been firmly in the control of the Bloodline Nobility Clans, and no outsiders can stick their hands in. Now, someone wants to steal the Bloodline Nobility Clans’ goods, but they attacked while the caravan was still on its way instead of waiting for them to finish harvesting the medicinal ingredients…… If that’s the case, then what’s the point of robbing the boats at all? If they wanted pure gold, why not just rob someone’s store for it?”
“I remembered incorrectly. It was on the way back, they were robbed on the way back!” Xing Shabei hurriedly corrected.
Su Chen’s expression sank. “If it’s on the way back, we have an even bigger issue. Based on what I know, the West River Forest villagers are still in conflict with the ten Bloodline Nobility Clans over prices and shouldn’t have sold them any goods in the first place. If that’s the case, what medicinal ingredients could the pirates possibly have stolen?”
“What?” Xing Shabei was shocked.
How did Su Chen know about that?
Su Chen had already stood up and said, “The Clear River Robbery case has too many points of doubt. I don’t even need to interrogate the prisoners to figure out that there’s something off; if I continued to investigate, even more problems might pop up. Of course, you can continue to overlook these discrepancies and continue to keep those people locked up, and we can report this impartially. Otherwise, we can agree to both take a step back.”
“Both take a step back?” Xing Shabei’s eyes glinted coldly.
“Yes, both take a step back,” Su Chen replied. “Perhaps you don’t understand me that well, Sir Xing. Most of the time, I do things in a relentless fashion until I either succeed or die trying. Taking a step back today is a rare occurrence for me. Consider it a gift to Sir Xing from me for your new position. Please be sure to value it!”
The words, though spoken indifferently, carried a weight behind them that was extremely difficult to rebuff.