In truth, Li Mu did not care whether he should leave office.
When he first came to this world, in order to protect himself, he became the county magistrate by accident and kept a low profile. But by the time, his strength already enabled him to turn up his nose at anyone. To him, it no longer mattered whether he was the county magistrate or not. After all, when being in office, he did not have much extra power, nor did all the forces treat him with extra scruples.
If he could acquire some high standing after joining the Supervisory Department, he would be more fearsome than just being a county magistrate.
Nevertheless, he could not so easily give his consent to Xu Sheng’s proposal right off.
To live in the world, men had to be a bit greedy… er… no, a bit reserved.
Li Mu pretended to be torn between his options. He kept musing and scratching the back of his head, showing that he was quite undecided.
But Xu Sheng’s temper was shorter than Li Mu had imagined. He urged, “Boy, what is there to think about? Once you agree on our plan, I can pledge to make you the Routing Supervisor of the Supervisory Department in charge of the northwest. Then, you’ll have the entire Wulin in the northwest at your command. You’ll inspect all the factions at regular times, and may destroy any expert or force inferior to the Sixth-level Sect or the Natural Realm who violate the law of our empire without asking for approval beforehand…”
By his side, Li Gang had remained seated with a majestic air throughout their conversation. He listened carefully but did not utter a word, so no one knew what he was thinking.
Upon hearing Xu Sheng’s remark, Li Mu involuntarily gasped within.
“Northwestern Routing Supervisor?”
“The old chap does talk big!”
“That position is truly a high one.”
“To put it in other words, that is the bossman of the martial arts circle in the northwest of the Western Qin Empire, the chief of the northwestern Wulin.”
“And that is acknowledged by the government! His power is more enforcible than those chiefs selected by the Wulin Conferences as the martial arts novels on Earth depicted.
So far, Li Mu was ready to accept that proposal.
But in fear that Li Mu was still not entirely persuaded, Xu Sheng went on. “Besides, when you entered the Supervisory Department, the benefits you can get a hold of are beyond your wildest dream. Give your protective and provocative character, and you won’t worry about loads of small trouble you get yourself in. And each month brings you a very generous pay that will match your status. With your performance and contributions, you can also exchange for certain Cultivation Methods and resources from the headquarters of the Supervisory Department. Plus, you will be given access to all the connections and information networks the Supervisory Department has across the empire… You won’t be subject to the law of the empire. Only the Supervisory Department and the royals can overpower you. It’s also possible that you can get into the Guanshan Pasture, one of the Holy Clans, soon…”
At the news, Li Mu was beside himself with joy.
The thigh was indeed fat, perhaps worth currying favor with.
As there were so many benefits after being a Supervisor, in light of either privilege or status, he would obviously be better off than being a county magistrate purely living on salary.
On the Divine Land, ‘formality convenience’ was quite important no matter in the three great empires, the vast pasture, or the south end. If you made your name or were taught by a famous master, you would be acknowledged by the large. Take Li Mu as an example. He had killed that Supervisor Xu and then injured Lu Lizi. His behavior risked everyone’s condemnation. If his strength had not grown so fast, he probably had died ten thousand times by then.
Even though he was famous, the Supervisory Department still sent Xu Sheng to handle him. If the Xu Sheng did not choose to quiet him with an offer, Li Mu might have to deal with the experts continually sent on by the Supervisory Department, like entering one level after another when playing video games. Eventually, even the Holy Clan would probably chase after him.
Although Li Mu did not find that that process scaring, he considered it too troublesome.
However, if he had to leave Taibai County after joining the Supervisory Department, he was unwilling to give his permission.
He had set up a tactical deployment at the original county government, which was located at the highest spot in Taibai County and carefully maintained it for months. The original county government sat on the bridge of a high mountain, where the Spiritual Qi was abundant. That place was about to be converted into a blessed spot. Li Mu did spend a long time and a ton of energy on that project. By then, its environment was even more agreeable than the Shack in the Pig-Herding Alley. Given all that, Li Mu planned to dwell in Taibai County in the long term.
At last, Li Mu and Xu Sheng reached an agreement.
Li Mu would join the Supervisory Department but not leave Taibai County.
He needed to build the mansion of the Northwestern Routing Supervisor himself, and it would be located on the old spot of the Taibai County Government, while the latter should be moved to some other place in the county.
Indeed, what Li Mu got was not all power. He shall assume some duties as well, such as completing the tasks assigned by the headquarters of the Supervisory Department. In most cases, he would be required to arrest some notorious villains in the martial arts circle, and to oppress specific spies and experts from enemy states. For Li Mu, that kind stuff sounded like a walk in the park.
What was more, Li Gang, the actual ruler of Chang’an, raised no objection to their agreement.
Li Mu surmised that Li Gang and Xu Sheng must have made a particular deal and straightened out the terms before he arrived there. Or else, the two were in the same party or league and so had shared interests.
“Great. I’ve done my part. Haha, Your Lordship, you can discuss the rest with this kid now.” Xu Sheng laughed merrily. He then flung himself in a chair to their side and fixed his eyes on Li Mu. The longer he gazed at him, the stronger his affection and admiration towards the boy were, as if he was looking at an outstanding son-in-law.
Li Gang smiled and nodded at Xu Sheng. Then, he set his eyes on Li Mu and said, “I want to talk to the sect behind you.”
Li Mu was staggered at that request. But he immediately caught on Li Gang’s intention.
Clearly, Li Gang reckoned Li Mu’s status was too low to call the shots, so he wanted to meet the real decision-maker. That also implied that what Li Gang aimed at was rather ambitious.
For all the time, Li Mu had been leading the public to the wrong scent with a smoke bomb—he had claimed that he was from a very ancient and highly powerful sect and even made up a fellow senior apprentice called Duan Shuiliu. That story truly helped him scare away many opponents. It was a smart way to protect himself, especially when he just came to this world and had little power.
Even so, as his strength kept growing, he had not used that bluff for a long time.
But Li Gang might have done thorough research on his rebellious son and bought that story.
Now that Li Gang required to talk to that so-called powerful sect, the only possible explanation was that he believed Li Mu was yet qualified to have a dialogue based on equality with him, though he already had the power to kill a Celestial Being. Or he did not think Li Mu would be of much help to him. If not, he must figure that the Red-hair Killing God was probably drawn out by Li Mu and killed by some mighty expert in his sect.
And for some reason, Li Gang needed to make deals or get into a certain relation with such a formidable force that had just come to light.
But all those were merely the guesses that crossed Li Mu’s mind in that instant.
A moment later, Li Mu answered with a smile. “The sect behind me doesn’t want any contact with the others. Your Honor, if you have anything to say, tell me.” But at the same time, he was murmuring in his head. “It’s you brute who thinks there is a sect behind me, not me leading you on.”
Void of expression, Li Gang asked, “Can you represent your sect?”
Li Mu nodded confidently and said, “Of course.”
“On any matters?”
At that, Li Gang showed a trace of surprise on his face. He measured Li Mu with a different look. A while later, he nodded and said, “Such as assassinating a prince?”
Li Mu’s heart shuddered at that question.
“To assassinate a prince?”
When Li Mu came out of the Chang’an government, he was still wearing a bizarre look.
“That is a really… really interesting thing.”
“Young Master, have you found out who is using the golden fingerprint is?” At the sight of Li Mu, Zheng Cunjian, who had been waiting out of the mansion, scurried towards him at once.
Li Mu shook his head blankly.
Zheng Cunjian was quite stunned to see his reaction.
He conjured that Li Mu should have obtained the answer he desired because he had heard from Private Adviser Tian that His Lordship and Li Mu had a private talk in the hall for almost the whole hour. As the Chang’an magistrate never wasted his time on anything insignificant, the conversation must have gone well.
However, Li Mu’s reply startled him.
“Is it that His Lordship is unwilling to…” asked Zheng Cunjian tentatively.
Li Mu shook his head again before saying, “It’s nothing like that. It takes time for the Sky-stabilizing Mirror to be switched on. So, we might not hear the result until tomorrow.”
Zheng Cunjian then breathed a sigh of relief.
“Here are the moves the Red Blaze Battalion made these days and some of Meng Wu’s remarks. He has declared that he will flatten the Shack.” Zheng Cunjian handed Li Mu a pile of files and then continued, “The Red Blaze Battalion tried to force their way into Chang’an three times, but they were all blocked by the orders of His Lordship. For this, the second prince even visited the Chang’an government to meet the magistrate. Yet, he was turned down by His Lordship.”
Li Mu took the files, flipped through them, and got the large picture in his head.
It did fit with what Li Gang just told him.
A moment ago, Li Gang warned, “Do you really think Meng Wu has no way to tackle the Shack? He has not succeeded yet only because his army is stopped at the city under my orders. Otherwise, the thirty thousand soldiers of the Red Blaze Battalion can easily drown you by spitting at your yard.”
Indeed, that was one of the reasons that Meng Wu and his Red Blaze Battalion merely gave him much-vaunted threats in the past few days.
After that, Li Mu went back to the Pig-Herding Alley alone.
What he heard and learned in the Chang’an government today came to him as quite an astonishment.
Li Gang, the mean magistrate of Chang’an, was like a massive prehistoric crocodile loitering in the undercurrents in Chang’an. No one else could see clearly the features of the colossal beast and could hardly sense the terrifying power of the monster hiding in the water. However, once it came to the surface of the water, it would make waves that could shoot to the sky.
Li Mu felt that not until today did he truly learn about that mean magistrate.
No, in fact, he only learned about a pinch of his wild ambition.
All the information Zheng Cunjian provided him with and the comments he heard from the other people seemed quite different from what Li Mu perceived with his own eyes today. Undoubtedly, only since that day had Li Mu realized what kind of man was truly intimidating—those who frequently suppressed the others with his mightiness like Zhang Bulao were not horrible at all; the real frighting one, like Li Gang, disguised their fangs with a low-key image and constant silence instead.
The tycoon dominating Chang’an had stayed low for such a long time that it almost felt as if he did not exist. Thus, many people had subconsciously ignored him.
Back at the yard of the Shack, Li Mu rechecked the progress Shangguan Yuting and the other girls made in cultivation before returning to the secret chamber for practice to digest the information he attained today. As the ‘advance payment’ for recruiting Li Mu, Xu Sheng had given him some resources for cultivation, several elixirs, and a few manuals on Cultivation Methods. Among those articles, Li Mu found the instrument-refining method that he needed most, because he wanted to refine the Samsara Knife again as soon as possible.
After brooding on that matter for days, Li Mu already had a quite strange idea.