557 Hong Zhuang’s Story
Building 33 was the Union Government's underground department. It was meant for shady businesses. Lin Huang learned about it when he was in the Purple Crow's training camp. However, he only knew that the organization was located under the White Capital, but he had no inkling where the exact point was. He did not expect Hong Zhuang to be locked up in Building 33. However, the Union Government did not arrange their meet-up at Building 33. Instead, they were meeting at the Union Government's headquarters.
It was past nine in the morning when Lin Huang followed the two investigators to the headquarters. Standing at the door, Lin Huang could not help himself but to look at the massive building once again. The building was like a giant pillar standing tall all the way to the sky. It seemed unreal as the top part was shrouded in clouds. He had heard from Mr. Fu earlier that the building was actually a demigod relic.
Apparently, the Union Government was worried that accidents might happen, which was why the meet-up was arranged at the headquarters. Lin Huang had expected that to happen. He knew there would be more than one imperial-level human watching them. Although he had his mind flooded with thoughts about how things might go wrong such as Hong Zhuang harming him or the Union Government threatening him, he decided to walk into the building anyway.
As he entered the hall, he realized that the building was not as luxurious as he expected to be. There were not much extravagant decorations. It was similar to a typical office building. The only expensive decor might be the golden sword in the middle of the hall. The sword was more than three meters long. Although the aura was hidden, Lin Huang figured that it was a demigod relic instead of an ancient relic.
He only managed to peep at the sword before he followed the two investigators to the 101st floor by taking the elevator. They were silent in the elevator, and it took them a while to arrive at the floor. The duo brought Lin Huang into one of the rooms. The room was small. It was only 40 square meters large. There was nothing on the three white-washed walls. Dark glass replaced the top half of the fourth wall. Although he could not see the other side of the glass, he knew that there were people watching him from the other side.
There was a small metal table and two chairs located across each other in the middle of the room. It was simplicity at its best. Besides, the two chairs were placed in front of the glass wall where no secret gestures could be done as they would be scrutinized. Lin Huang looked at the door and sat on the seat that was closer to the door. As he took his seat, the door shut immediately. He did not turn around. Instead, he sank further into the chair, leaning on his back and closed his eyes. He looked like he was resting, but in reality, he was coming up with answers to possible questions that might arise later.
Around five to six minutes later, the door opened again. A somber man in a military uniform brought in Hong Zhuang who was dressed in white and her hands were locked in black chains. As Hong Zhuang sat down, the man placed his palm on the table. A black chain came out of the middle of the table and linked together with the chain on Hong Zhuang's hands. Lin Huang frowned as he watched that.
The man looked at Lin Huang expressionlessly, then walked out of the room and closed the door.
"I didn't expect you to agree to see me." Hong Zhuang smiled as sat across the table.
"I didn't want to come, but I know I can't decline this." Lin Huang shrugged his shoulders.
"So, tell me, what's the reason you wanted me to come all the way here to see you?"
"Nothing, I'm just bored and would love to talk to someone. You know that you're the only person that I know in the White Capital."
"Even if there are still people from the Purple Crow in the city, they wouldn't have the audacity to come to the Union Government to talk to me," Hong Zhuang added.
"I see that you're still joking around. That shows the Union Government has been kind to you while you're here." Lin Huang raised an eyebrow.
"You'd know what they'd really do to me if I take off my clothes. But they've done everything they can. It's not that easy to get me to talk." Hong Zhuang glared at the black glass with an insulting tone.
There were a bunch of men behind the glass just like Lin Huang and Hong Zhuang expected. Even the director of Building 33, Zhou Xiong, was one of them. He glared murderously when he heard Hong Zhuang's insult.
"Don't take off your clothes. There are people watching. I'd feel shameful even if you don't." Lin Huang smiled politely as he declined Hong Zhuang's suggestion.
"We shall see who is the idiot when there's nobody around!" Lin Huang said, but he soon recalled how powerful Hong Zhuang was. He might be the idiot even when nobody was around. Immediately, he felt dumb for saying that.
Hong Zhuang smiled and said nothing.
"What do you want to talk about?" Lin Huang felt awkward as she was staring at him, so he changed the subject.
"Don't you have many questions? You can ask now, and I'll see if I want to answer them. But of course, not all answers are the truth." Hong Zhuang leered slyly at him.
Lin Huang was happy to hear the first half of what she said, but as soon as she finished her sentence, he thought there might be questions that he would rather not ask.
"Alright, let me think about it…"
"The first question. This has been bothering me for a long time. Why did you insist on me joining the Purple Crow when you first met me? Was it because of my summoning monsters?"
"These questions…" Hong Zhuang looked like she was recalling her memories.
"I was born into a wealthy family more than ten years ago, but they weren't royalty. They're an ordinary, rich family in a C-grade foothold. I have a brother who's two years younger than I am. He was cute when he was a kid. He was just like you. He had dark eyes too. He looked adorable even when he was mad, so I loved tricking him. That happy life lasted until I was 16…
"It was winter. I remember it was snowing that day. A Virtual Eye opened near our foothold. It was a disaster-grade monster horde, and the monsters flooded the entire foothold. None of the people from the Union Organizations managed to handle the monsters and they fled. There were even transcendent-level humans who could fly among them. They didn't even try to fight and they left the hundreds of thousands of people behind.
"I was screaming for help under the collapsed house. None of the passersby helped me. All they cared about was to run for their lives. No matter the everyday people or the 'brave' hunters, the 'fearless' adventurers, I watched them being attacked and eaten by monsters, so I decided to fake my death. The monsters seemed to be more interested in moving objects. Thus I managed to escape death.
"There seemed to be nobody alive in the entire foothold after the monster horde was over. I couldn't move as I was under the destroyed house. I was famished. I pulled a male dead body next to me and sucked his blood from his neck that had been bitten by a monster and ate his flesh. To fight the cold, I tore off his clothes and covered myself with them. That went on for three days.
"On the third morning, a man in a black trench coat found me. He told me that I had potential judging from my survival skill and asked if I would like to join the organization that he was in. I told him that I'd rather die if it were one of the Union Organizations. He then smiled and asked me if I heard of a creature called the Purple Crow. I shook my head. He then explained to me that the Purple Crow was a weak bird monster in the abyss. Although it was weak, it was fearless and courageous. They would attack the prey's eyes when they hunted in groups, then drill into the prey's eyeball and eat the brains, killing it. Monsters of all sizes couldn't scare them. He asked me if I would like to join the Purple Crow. I agreed to without thinking twice.
"My spine was broken. I was paralyzed from the bottom down when he saved me from the destroyed house. I wanted to get him to save my parents and brother, but he told me that there was nobody else alive in the entire foothold. I was the only human that was still alive that he found. I didn't believe him, so he moved the debris, and I saw my parents' cold dead bodies, but I couldn't find my brother.
"I followed him back to the Purple Crow, fixed my spine, and joined the training camp, then became a reserve member. I then became an official member, an elite member, and now a core member. Throughout the years, I didn't stop looking for my brother. Perhaps he's dead, but I can't move on. Until I met you last year, I felt that I see so much of him in you, so I used the excuse to get you into the Purple Crow. However, I didn't expect you to fake your death and escape…"
Lin Huang became silent after hearing Hong Zhuang's story. He always thought that she had treated him differently, now he finally understood why.
"How was it? Isn't my story good? Doesn't it sound real?" Hong Zhuang grinned and asked.
"You made that up?" Lin Huang was shocked.
"Of course, I made that up," Hong Zhuang chuckled.
"The real reason why I wanted you to join the Purple Crow was simple. The speed of your leveling up is faster than anybody else's. The summoning monsters that you own seem to be more powerful than the those owned by other Imperial Censors. I heard that you're hiding a big secret. I want to know what that is."
"Erm…" Lin Huang's heart skipped a beat. He did not expect her to have such sharp instincts.
"Too bad there's no way for you to find out what that secret is anymore," Lin Huang thought to himself.
"What else do you want to ask? Ask now. You won't get the chance to after today." Hong Zhuang smiled at him.
"Alright then, the second question…"