[Translator – woni]
[Proofreader – sharlottle]
Chapter 81: How About This?
“So you just left?”
“I can imagine how flustered Head Manager Wang must have been,” Li Chingwei said with a bitter smile.
“Why? Was it that weird for me to give him a few words of advice before leaving?”
“…You know, I’ve been thinking about it since the whole Wang guy ordeal. Just what do you guys think of me to constantly feel so surprised?”
“Well, if I hazard a guess, it would probably be a rascal of a husband who does absolutely nothing but cause trouble.”
“That’s not something you should be saying now, is it?”
Li Chingwei was the one who had proposed to him and given him an organization like Guardian, which was blatantly to sow chaos within the clan.
In response, Li Chingwei calmly answered, “It is nothing more than our clan’s one-sided opinion.”
“My reputation is that bad?”
“Yes. And it’s worsened after you handed off the investigation on this incident to Head Manager Wang.”
Guardian was in charge of security within the clan. Having the chairman wave away his responsibilities was a valid criticism.
“Still, it is nothing to be concerned about. Hurting the Master of Swords’ reputation does not matter with how bad it already is.”
Whether it was a jab or an attempt at consolation from Li Chingwei, Limon could not tell.
“But you’re looking pretty lighthearted. I figured that you would be under fire as well for my ‘failings’.”
“Thanks to the Master of Swords’ poor reputation of being a bitch, I’ve been getting sympathy points instead.”
“…All right. I guess it works out in the end since I’m unexpectedly covered for you,” Limon sighed, thinking to himself, ‘Jeez. Why do things keep going wrong?’
Limon had a clear plan in mind going into his marriage. He would assert his dominance within the clan as quickly as possible, earn their support, and use that as a stepping stone towards acquiring the six other clans. Unfortunately, his plans had to be pushed back to focus on training, which proceeded to irrevocably tarnish his already poor reputation.
‘It’s not that a good reputation is necessary, but… If this continues and I slip up, I wouldn’t just be her cover. I’d become regarded as the “Ten Eunuchs”,’ Limon lamented.
TL/N: The Ten Eunuchs were a group of eunuch officials who were heavily corrupt in ancient China.
“But Master of Swords, should you not have accepted Head Manager Wang’s offer? Having the support of the Shanghai Royal Family would have been of great help.”
“My ass. The support wouldn’t be of any substance.”
“You mean Head Manager Wang didn’t have any intention to give you genuine support?”
“Even if it were, it wouldn’t be of any help. It can’t exactly be said that this incident had nothing to do with me. It’s my fault the guy had to be on sick leave.”
His appearance may have been that of a disloyal retainer, but Wang ki-neung was his family’s head. If he hadn’t been away, there was a chance that some may have survived the Black Dragon Building raid.
“They’re probably already outraged that this happened at all, but what would they think of me if they still had to give me their support on top of that?”
“Hm… I’m guessing either a robber or a corrupt official who makes you pay him your hospital bill after getting you sick.”
“That’s right. Would they feel like genuinely supporting me amidst all that?”
The on-looker tends to be more detestable than the bully. If Limon had gotten involved with the investigation for his own personal gain, Wang Ki-neung might have grown to resent him alongside the killers.
“So you are saying that it’s better to leave a horse to graze than to force it to a well when it isn’t even hungry.”
“I won’t risk getting kicked, at least.”
Upon hearing that, Li Chingwei looked away in shame.
“That stings a bit.”
“What do you mean?”
“If we are talking about a situation where you created a scenario for the horse to kick you, then I am not completely innocent, either.”
Thinking back to his downfall, Limon chuckled.
“Heh, that’s different. There, the horse voluntarily went to the well.”
“Forcing a bridled horse and getting on top of a wild one are not comparable.”
“Now that’s a biting piece of truth.”
Li Chingwei smiled brightly. She understood the intention behind his words—to reassure her that he wouldn’t have married her if there was even a sliver of doubt in his mind.
“It is certainly a shame. Even if it were superficial, acquiring the Shanghai Royal Family’s support would have come in useful in many ways.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that you would have put it to good use.”
Having managed to place all the Elders in the palm of her hand, Li Chingwei was very resourceful. She would have found numerous uses for even the most insignificant of things.
“I think it was for the best to turn down the offer in the end, though.”
“If I accept it now, it would be hard to have a say in things once things change.”
Li Chingwei immediately recognized what Limon meant by that.
“…You think Head Manager Wang won’t be able to catch the criminals?”
“Under most circumstances, he would. You people are the Seven Dragons Association.”
As an organization with deep roots and as a globally distinguished conglomerate, they held influence incomparable to any police organization. It was why a massacre of such magnitude hadn’t yet received any police or media coverage.
As long as they had their minds set on it, they could find any criminal in no time.
Translator - woni
Proofreader - sharlottle
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“But the ones behind this mess don’t feel like ‘most circumstances’.
“Is that your intuition as a swordmaster speaking?”
“More like… the intuition of a former PAB agent. There are a lot of messed up players. But it’s not every day you catch systematically insane monsters like these with ease.”
“A person can be ‘systematically insane’?”
“Look at your Seven Dragons Association.”
Without giving it a second thought, Li Chingwei agreed.
“Indeed. It is easy to understand now that you put it that way.”
If faith was a form of insanity, the Seven Dragons Association would be systematically unhinged lunatics unmatched by even the most religious of zealots—and taking into consideration the things they themselves have done, what happened in the Black Dragon Building was rather mild.
“Then, unlike what our tracers said, this incident is not an act of indiscriminate terrorism, but one with a clear objective in mind.”
“Or they could have just been bored and that building just so happened to catch their eyes.”
“So it’s all a matter of possibility.”
“You can’t ever get into the mind of a madman, after all.”
That was why Limon only told Wang Ki-neung what he was relatively certain about from his investigation. Carelessly jumping to conclusions about the perpetrators and sparking confusion would be no better than saying nothing.
‘Though it seems the tracers are certain this was an indiscriminate act of terrorism.’
[Criminal Psychology Detection], [Deduction of the Great Detective], [Catechism of the Stars]. Alongside those was the conclusion reached by countless tracers specialized in detective work: The culprits were no doubt aimless, psychopathic murderers who spontaneously decided to massacre the people in the Black Dragon Building.
Recalling their interpretations, Limon laughed.
“I wonder if they know that there’s nothing more suspicious in the world than ‘indiscriminate’.”
In his time as both a swordmaster and a PAB agent, Limon encountered many criminals and villains. He knew that every incident had some kind of logic behind them. It was simply the difference of whether that logic was rational or irrational.
Seeing how far the culprits went with the killings while still being thorough and not leaving behind any evidence that could lead to them… They had both kinds of logic carefully intertwined. It was what Limon could refer to as ‘systematically insane’.
‘If that Wang guy isn’t a doofus, his list of suspects should have narrowed from the clues I provided.’
Someone with ties to the military who was a bloodthirsty lunatic and a high-level player. Limon clicked his tongue as he thought about the possible suspects that matched up with those three conditions. It was still in the realm of speculation, but if he was right, there was an extremely high chance their atrocities would continue.
‘I don’t know what they’re going after, but if their target is the Black Dragon Clan…’
Lost in thought, Limon snapped to ask the princess a question.
“Hey, princess. What are your borders like right now?”
Lost in thought, Limon snapped out to ask Li Chingwei a question.
“Princess, what are your borders like right now?”
“I have them on second-degree alert mode.”
“‘Second-degree alert mode’, huh…”
He had seen it for himself. He recalled the marks of resistance Wang Ki-sung left behind in particular. Carefully running through the calculations in his mind, Limon’s brows furrowed.
“Can you raise it to ‘special alert’?”
“…All the subsidiaries in the nation?”
It was unexpected. Li Chingwei widened her eyes at Limon’s sudden request, a solemn look forming on her face.
“Do you think they will continue to attack subsidiaries?”
“It might be just an old dog’s unduly worries, but anything that has happened can happen again.”
If this had been any of the other six clans that were attacked, Li Chingwei might have taken it as just a senile old man’s paranoia. Charging into the domain of a prepared Black Dragon Clan was something even Monarchs would not dare do.
But she did not overlook Limon’s wisdom and intuition. They were only attacked because they were defenseless.
“That will be… troublesome.”
“Would that be hard to do?”
“Going on special alert means that we would have to get our armed forces in action. It would be okay if it were two or three borders, but we lack the people to protect all of them.”
The Black Dragon Clan may have been collapsing, but they were still part of the Seven Dragons Association. That meant they had countless subsidiaries.
It would be impossible to dispatch forces to each and every one of them. Sure, they had a lot of martial arts masters, but it was by no means infinite. And spreading themselves too thin would only make the clan more vulnerable to death by a thousand paper cuts.
“Hm. So there’s a lack of manpower.”
He pondered for a minute stroking his chin, wondering if there would be any way to protect all of the subsidiaries from danger. Finally, his eyes gleamed with light.
“How about we…”
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