Chapter 46 - The Law Enforcement Agency’s Mission!
Chapter 46 - The Law Enforcement Agency’s Mission!
(ED note: from this point onwards, “identity plate” will be replaced by “identity token”)
The token of authority was painted pitch black, except for the word ‘LAW’ in the center which was exuding a faint chill.
While Bai Xiaochun was frozen in shock, a cold voice suddenly sounded from within the token, echoing throughout the room.
“Outer sect disciple Bai Xiaochun, according to the investigations of the Law Enforcement Agency, you have entered the sect years ago, but have only managed to complete a single Spirit Plant cultivation mission. You have breached the Sect rules and as such, you are to be conscripted in the outfield mission three days later, no delays will be entertained!”
The cold voice emitted an icy-cold aura, telling Bai Xiaochun that if he dared to object, only the merciless punishment of the Law Enforcement Agency would await him!
“Law Enforcement Agency!” Bai Xiaochun’s eyes widened in shock, his heart felt as if it stopped for a moment. The token of authority transformed into a black streak and disappeared without a trace.
Silence fell as Bai Xiaochun’s expression changed. Taking out his own identity token, he realised that a mission he had to complete had appeared against his will.
He had indeed neglected the sect’s requirement of completing at least one mission each year, however, no matter how much Bai Xiaochun thought about it, the sudden appearance of the Law Enforcement Agency’s token of authority made him feel that the entire matter was a bit fishy.
(ED note: I’m just as baffled as you are. chapter 16: “Every half a year outer sect disciples were required to complete at least one mission. Bai Xiaochun would never forget this law.” )
Pondering for a moment, Bai Xiaochun walked out the room, left the Medicine Refining Pavilion, and headed straight for the mountain peak.
“There’s something not right about this matter, and why do I keep feeling a chill on my back…...I have been on this mountain for so many years and I have never been invited to meet the ancestor. This time, I have to find him and ask him clearly about this matter.” Along the way, Bai Xiaochun’s heart was heavy with worries. However, after he reached the mountain peak and asked Li Qinghou’s assistant, he discovered the Li Qinghou had left months ago and hadn’t come back yet.
Bai Xiaochun could only bitterly lament in his heart. With an uneasy feeling, he turned around and left. Bai Xiaochun did not immediately go back to the Medicine Refining Pavilion, instead, he went to look for Xu Baocai. After all, the other party was akin to a walking encyclopedia, and Bai Xiaochun was hoping to dig out some clues from him.
As an outer sect disciple of the Scented Cloud Mountain, Xu Baocai stayed in a courtyard on the other side of the mountain. As the sun was about to set and as the sky gradually darkened, Bai Xiaochun sprinted towards Xu Baocai’s courtyard; barely meeting anybody else on the way, he reached his destination in no time.
Xu Baocai’s courtyard was not isolated and quiet like Bai Xiaochun’s, instead, it was squeezed together with seven-eight other courtyards. As night fell, one could see the faint candlelight shining from within these courtyards.
Bai Xiaochun hung his head low and dashed into the house without knocking on the door. He immediately saw Xu Baocai hunched over, writing something in a notebook.
“Xu Baocai.” Bai Xiaochun said softly. The moment the words left his mouth, Xu Baocai jumped up in shock as he sharply lifted his head up. Only when Xu Baocai saw that it was Bai Xiaochun did he regain his composure.
“Senior brother Bai.” Xu Baocai greeted in surprise as he quickly stood up and invited Bai Xiaochun into the room.
“Wasn’t Senior brother Bai in closed door training in the Medicine Refining Pavilion, what brings you here?” Xu Baocai curiously asked.
“Xu Baocai, how much do you know about the Law Enforcement Agency?” Bai Xiaochun immediately asked.
“The Law Enforcement Agency? It is split into the North and the South Department where they have the authority to supervise all outer sect disciples and handymen within their designated area. However, they would usually not show their faces unless someone has committed a grievous crime.” Looking at Bai Xiaochun’s gloomy expression, Xu Baocai immediately felt that something was wrong and quickly answered the question.
“But once they appear, with their overwhelming authority, to forcefully make some arrangements is easy, towards those who betrayed the sect, they could even directly kill them. To put it simply, the Law Enforcement Agency is like a knife - a knife that hangs above the heads of the outer sect disciples, making every single one of them fearful of breaking the sect rules.”
“And if one commits an offence and is targeted by the Law Enforcement Agency, even if one doesn’t die, they would probably still lose a layer of their skin……”
“However, even though the Law Enforcement Agency possesses a considerable amount of authority, they are also bound by numerous restrictions. As long as one does not break any sect rules, then there is no need to pay attention to the Law Enforcement Agency.” Xu Baocai explained in detail, giving Bai Xiaochun every single piece of information he knew about the Law Enforcement Agency.
As he continued explaining further, Xu Baocai even told Bai Xiaochun about the disciples who were being targeted by the Law Enforcement Agency before and their miserable endings.
“500 years ago, our Spirit River Sect had a defector who betrayed the sect. He was chased by the Law Enforcement Agency for seven days until he was finally killed, his body and soul destroyed!”
“300 years ago, an outer sect disciple committed a serious offence but the Law Enforcement Agency gave him another chance. However, he neither turned over a new leaf nor paid heed to any advice. In the end, the Law Enforcement Agency reported him to the Sect and punished him at the Black Wind Pass. Merciless winds tore through his body from day to night, and till this day. he is still carrying out his punishment.”
“100 years ago, Zhou Shandao started a rebellion. The Law Enforcement Agency gave him a warning but he did not listen. They then went into action, killing Zhou Shandao and all the others except for the ordinary civilians, causing shockwaves to be sent throughout the Spirit River Sect.”
The more Bai Xiaochun listened, the uglier his expression became; his heart furiously pounded.
“So what you are saying is, the way the Law Enforcement Agency works is to first give a warning, and if the person does not repent, then a heavier punishment will be carried out?”
“Yup, this is one of the restrictions of the Law Enforcement Agency. Otherwise, wouldn’t their authority be limitless.” Xu Baocai took a glance at Bai Xiaochun as he vaguely guessed in his heart that the other party must have been targeted by the Law Enforcement Agency. However, such matters were too sensitive, sharing this information was still acceptable, but to play it safe, Xu Baocai didn’t dare to involve himself any further.
Up until the end, when Bai Xiaochun was about to leave, Xu Baocai was in hesitation. Recalling Bai Xiaochun’s talent in the herbs and plants, he softly spoke to Bai Xiaochun.
“Senior brother Bai, do you know about the Green Peak Mountain’s Inner Sect disciple…...Qian Dajin? He is Chen Fei’s elder cousin and is also one of the members of the Law Enforcement Agency.”
After the time it took for an incense stick to burn, Bai Xiaochun had already left and was on his way back. Looking at the moon shining brightly in the sky, Bai Xiaochun thought back about Xu Baocai’s words. Combing these words and his previous understanding, he came up with a definite conclusion and let out a long sigh.
“In this sect, I have never really offended anyone, if I must pick, only Chen Fei comes to mind, and those Zhou Xinqi admirers could be counted as well…...Qian Dajin, Qian Dajin!” Bai Xiaochun clenched his teeth as he returned to the Medicine Refining Pavilion. Sitting cross-legged in the room and looking at the pill furnace in front of him, his facial muscles twitched for a moment.
“It is more or less clear now; the fact that I did not complete a mission every year is just a red herring. In reality, if no one really investigated, it would not even be such a big matter, after all, it couldn’t possibly be that I am the only one who hasn’t completed any missions for over a year. As a member of the Law Enforcement Agency, that Qian Dajin is simply using authority to settle his personal grudges!” Bai Xiaochun pondered in silence with bloodshot eyes.
“If I were to carry out the mission, this person will definitely take action along the way, otherwise, he wouldn’t have gone to such great lengths. Though this might be the case, his plan still has to be carried out secretly, he wouldn’t dare to let the sect find out about this. All in all, he is still in a passive position.”
“But if I ignore this warning, then I would be truly falling into his trap; he would no longer be passive, but instead, he could take the initiative to punish me under the guise of a Law Enforcement Agency member!”
After thinking about it for a long time, one way held no answer while the other held no promise. Bai Xiaochun decided to take out his identity token and carefully study the details of the mission. In no time at all, he quickly spotted a familiar name.
“Hou Yunfei?” Bai Xiaochun was stunned for a moment. He immediately recalled that when he was first promoted to an outer sect disciple, it was Hou Yunfei that introduced him to the sect in details. After looking through the details of the mission, Bai Xiaochun closed his eyes and fell in deep thought.
The mission was not difficult; Hou Yunfei had accepted a mission and went out to complete it a few years ago. Every month, he would send a report back to the sect without fail. This was a requirement for any disciple that had accepted a long-term mission.
However, two months ago, the sect lost all contact with Hou Yunfei and no longer received any reports.
Hence, this gave birth to the mission this time around - to have three outer sect disciples go out and investigate the matter, there weren’t any certain requirements to find all clues either.
This type of missions were common in the sect. Normally, one only had to search a little, investigate a bit, find some clues, report back to the sect and the sect would handle it from there on.
After all, the disappearance of an outer sect disciple was not a matter of great importance for the sect. But a disciple was still a disciple, no matter what. As such, when it comes to missing people, a proper investigation still had to be carried out.
This was gist of the mission.
Bai Xiaochun weighed the pros and cons as he pondered in silence. A moment later, he clenched his teeth.
“This mission, I’m going!” Bai Xiaochun breathed raggedly. With his eyes bloodshot, he immediately continued the refinement; he had to advance his mastery of the Impenetrable Iron Skin before leaving for the mission.
Two days later, a cracking sound resounded from within Bai Xiaochun’s body, making each and every inch of skin in his body to tremble. In that instant, the colour of his skin turned pitch black before it quickly recovered back to normal. However, if one were to look closely, one could vaguely see strands of red streaking across the surface of his skin.
“Black for Iron and red for Bronze!”
Bai Xiaochun pressed on his skin and a metallic sound immediately resounded. Standing up, his figure blurred - his speed had significantly increased too!
To test his strength he leaped into the air; his thumb and his index finger gave a vicious pinch as he executed the Throat Crushing Grasp. Unlike before, it didn’t produce a cackling sound anymore, instead, a muffled roar echoed. Though it wasn’t loud, Bai Xiaochun could still feel that the strength of his Throat Crushing Grasp was now more than twice as strong compared to before.
“Impenetrable Iron Skin, advanced mastery!” Bai Xiaochun exclaimed as he felt more confident with regards to the mission.
“It’s a pity that I can only refine Grade One medicine which are only suitable for the fifth level Qi Condensation and below. Even if I use spirit refining, the effects after consumption would still not be very good.” Bai Xiaochun lamented as he stood upright in his room. He could only feel pity since time was running out and he still couldn’t refine the Grade Two medicine suitable for the eight level Qi Condensation and below.
Hence, in terms of his cultivation, his progress wasn’t huge, and he had only reached the peak of the sixth level of Qi Condensation.
“Tomorrow, when dawn breaks, I will have to leave…..” Bai Xiaochun’s heart was filled with anxiety. Ever since he had entered the Spirit River Sect, this was truly his first official trip out of the sect and deep inside, he still felt insecure. Thus, he immediately took the shield he had gotten from Chen Fei out of his pocket and used spirit refinement on it three times. Still feeling that it was insufficient, he took the leather armours he wore during the small competition and used spirit refinement on it as well.
After thinking for some time, he spent the night looking for Zhang Fatso One and borrowed his big black pot that was rumoured to have an Earth-Fire Array. Even though he still felt anxious, Bai Xiaochun could no longer come up with any more ideas. In the end, Bai Xiaochun did not go back to the Medicine Refining Pavilion, and instead, he went to his courtyard, awaiting dawn with a gloomy expression.
“Qian Dajin, just wait until I reach Foundation Establishment, I will definitely teach you a good lesson!” The more Bai Xiaochun thought about it, the more nervous he became, his eyes gradually turning bloodshot. He was afraid of death - he was no longer the innocent child that had just stepped through the sect doors, and through his time here, he had gained a certain understanding about the world of cultivation.
A night of ridiculous thoughts and unnecessary worries passed…...gradually, the sky brightened and dawn arrived
Here’s yet another bonus chapter for all the readers of ATTE! Expect ‘more’ tomorrow and also some announcement regarding ATTE! Also, adding ATTE in your novel updates’ reading list + some nice ratings would really help a lot. Again, thank you so much for your support!
Translated by: Xin
Edited by: Arch, Crimsonguard