A Good-for-Nothing Chapter 45: Invocation of the Thundercloud 1
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Chapter 45: Invocation of the Thundercloud (1)
Translator: Dragon Rider
The Supernaturalism Management Bureau (SMB) and the Counter-demon Committee (CDC) were the two mainstays of exorcism work in this country. Nationwide, with the joint efforts and authority of SMB and CDC, seven level-one office agencies, three level-two office agencies and two special action groups had been set up. The headquarter, known as the Rosefinch Office, was located on the Rosefinch Lane, a branch of the Rosefinch Avenue in the Coastal City.
The Rosefinch Lane was adjacent to the Universal Edifice, a landmark of the Coastal City. People always found it amazing that a bustling metropolitan area and a lane of ancient style coexisted successfully side by side.
He Zheng hung out at the Universal Edifice. The entrance of the Rosefinch Lane was right at the major intersection, which he would occasionally drive by, but it had never crossed his mind that the headquarter of SMB was on the Rosefince Avenue.
As usual, Li Zong parked his car in the parking lot. It was rush hour. Many people were hastily driving here to park their vehicles before going to the workplace. There were already a lot of cars parked in the parking lot. When Li Zong got out of his Hummer, a white Mercedes S-Class drove to the parking space beside him and stopped steadily.
A man around thirty-five or so, wearing a neat suit and shiny leather shoes, got out of the car.
"Good morning, Li Zong." The man nodded at Li Zong and greeted him.
This was the first time that He Zheng had heard people other than Li Tiangang call Li Zong by his full name. Li Zong also waved a friendly greeting.
"Would you care to go inside together with me?"
Li Zong declined the invitation of Zhang Jingqiu and knocked at the window. He Zheng opened the car door and got out.
Zhang Jingqiu flicked a somewhat surprised glance at He Zheng who had just got out of Li Zong's vehicle. The look in his eyes deepened briefly, but soon he came to understand. It was said that Li Zong had married the eldest son of He family, and now Li Zong brought a man to SMB, so it must be him.
With that, some information about He Zheng occurred to Zhang Jingqiu. A man who had always had an inclination to ignore those with little strength, he nodded at Li Zong without giving He Zheng any gestures of acknowledgement, saying, "Then I'll go inside first. By the way, remember to go through the necessary formalities if you're taking any family members into the workplace."
After saying this, Zhang Jingqiu walked away.
He Zheng, who had been disregarded, knitted his eyebrows in displeasure.
"He's Zhang Jingqiu, group leader of the second action group. He learned his skills in the Tigers and Dragons Mountain, a master of both Fu-craft and swordcraft."
He Zheng, who was very familiar with the name "the Tigers and Dragons Mountain", briefly grinded his teeth. "Oh, it turns out that he's from the Tigers and Dragons Mountain."
He Yu was an inner disciple of the Tigers and Dragons Mountain, and He Qin an outer one. The Tigers and Dragons Mountain had always been in contact with He family. Given that He Yu had spent so many years training in the Tigers and Dragons Mountain, He Zheng found it unsurprising that her sect-brother had treated him this way.
Li Zong, before taking He Zheng inside, informed him, "Follow me."
Li Zong led him to the entrance of the Rosefinch Lane, where there was a vendor selling baked sweet potatoes. Since they had left home very early in the morning, Li Zong hadn't had the time to buy breakfast. He bought two baked sweet potatoes from the vendor's stand and gave them both to He Zheng.
He Zheng, as if still sleepy, took them. The sweet potatoes were giving off an appetizing smell and he was hungry. Childe He was never a man who would do himself a disservice. Before Li Zong could say anything, he lowered his head, opened a fully-baked sweet potato with one hand, holding the sleeve of Li Zong with the other, and ate only the innermost part of it, which was also the sweetest.
Li Zong took him into the alley, which looked very much the same as common alleys. He Zheng flicked a curious glance at the alley when entering it, but soon all his attention was concentrated upon the sweet potatoes.
When he raised his head again, he found himself in a totally different place. How far they had walked was unknown, but they had arrived at the end of the lane, where there was an ancient-looking residence with a courtyard. The pitch-black front gate, which had two lion-shaped solid brass lock catches, was tightly closed.
Li Zong pulled up the little knocker ring in the mouth of the lion-shaped lock catch on the right, gave a couple of knocks and with that the pitch-black front gate slowly opened in front of them.
There was another gate inside, which was wide open. On the right side of it hung a plaque engraved with the name "the Rosefinch Lane Office".
There was a crouching child eating fish at the gateway.
On seeing Li Zong walk inside, the good-looking child, who had a pair of yin-yang pupils (In Chinese philosophy and medicine, yin and yang are the two opposing principles in nature, the former feminine and negative, the latter masculine and positive.), quickly raised his head and called, "Chief!"
Li Zong uttered "Um" as a response of acknowledgement.
Then the child quickly looked at He Zheng standing beside Li Zong. For some reason, he seemed to be very hostile towards He Zheng. As if faced with a dangerous enemy, he instantly covered his fish, opening his mouth and showing his teeth.
He Zheng wondered whether he had offended this child sometime in the past. When his gaze rested on the eyes of the child, the white cat with yin-yang pupils brought home by Li Zong sprang to mind.
'Was that cat by any chance this kid?'
He Zheng was secretly astonished. This was SMB, and it wasn't really surprising that one or two staff members of this organization were Yōkai in human form.
Li Zong said to the child, "Tun Shanhai, go and get Zu Zhichong."
"He's still playing video games in the dorm!" Tun Shanhai, who never got along with Zu Zhichong, immediately grasped this opportunity to tell on him.
Li Zong gave a bod of his head and led He Zheng inside. The layout of the headquarter of SMB bore little resemblance to that of the area near the entrance. All buildings inside were of the baroque style. The combination of curves and arcs imbued the whole headquarter with sentiments of romance. Large areas of exuberant trees could be seen everywhere. On their way inside, they had walked past two fountains opposite each other. In each fountain there was a statue of Cupid. Of different poses, the two Cupid statues were giving off golden light. Golden bees were flying around the pools, making a beautiful scene.
What instantly drew He Zheng's attention was a huge office building ahead of him with over ten stories, which was enwrapped in a gigantic, transparent protective shield. It looked very much the same as a common office building, only that it was considerably prettier.
The reason why it had attracted He Zheng's attention was that it was the only building in this area.
"That is the United Front Work Department of SMB. Offices of all operation teams are also there," Li Zong informed He Zheng in a bland tone of voice, "but we're going to the dormitory first."
"There are dormitories here? It sounds pretty considerate." After taking a few bites of each of the baked sweet potatoes eating only the innermost parts of them, He Zheng, who couldn't find anywhere to put the remaining potatoes, stuffed them back into Li Zong's hands.
Then he asked, "Do you have a room here as well?"
Li Zong nodded. "I live here most of the time."
Without thinking, He Zheng observed, "I don't know why you bother shuttling between two places."
Like college dormitories, SMB dormitories were also arranged in rows. Li Zong led him to the doorway of the room with the number "3808" on the door, and then twisted his head aside to reply to He Zheng. "I have to go home because I'm expected."
He Zheng fell speechless.
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