The Imperial Hunter Chapter 75 - Metamorphosis (2)

Author: Dawn

The trembling I witnessed was the slow erosion coming from the outside that was slowly permeating in. It was a phenomenon fundamentally different from simply suppressing it with the output of the circuit and the force of control strength. If I had to express it, it was closer to the concept of slowly unraveling and neutralizing. Because the phenomenon was progressing so slowly and delicately, I was only able to grasp it when I turned my back on the priestess and moved away. I was able to capture the faint ripples occurring at the very edge of the insignificant magical field.

I thought this ripple, this “neutralization” was the effect of the magic the mycelium used.

‘I need to observe something different.’

Looking at my reduced magical field with no changes, and my subordinates being the same, this erosion only seemed to take effect when the engraving in the soul was below a certain level. It seemed anyone decently capable was unaffected.

However, just realizing this did not immediately lead to any progress. The tangled thread of code embraced by the Mycelium Kingdom was still complex and abstruse.

This abstruseness was reminiscent of the Golden Age techniques that were still difficult to use even with the considerable optimization of my circuit. The techniques that even the Round Table masters could only grasp the effect of but not understand the principle. They weren’t even sure if it was a complete technique.

The telekinesis and ignition and such techniques I often used were only extracts of parts of those codes of wisdom.

How much time and effort did the Mycelium Kingdom spend on dismantling and analyzing these codes? Suyeon’s voice pulled my consciousness back to reality.


He immediately lowered his head as I looked at him.

“I’m sorry. You told me not to disturb you but…”

“No, it’s fine.”

It must have been an important matter for her to disregard my order.

“Go ahead.”

“It’s a report from Executive Manager Park Miju who’s in Guangzhou. She’s identified three security bureau executives suitable for the operation, but they all seem close to losing their heads soon.”


“Yes, for now, but the probability of them being killed by the Black Children’s Party before being purged also seems high. All three are executives commanding the suppression and apprehending operations against the Black Children’s Party, and the Black Children’s Party’s assassinations and terrorism targeting these kinds of executives have been increasing exponentially. In addition, the number of people supporting the Black Children’s Party is exponentially increasing, leaving the military and security in dire straits.”

“Support from the people… Looks like they’re putting out quite a bit of money huh.”

“Yes. They’re strengthening their image of righteous outlaws by distributing funds and supplies and seducing the masses by selling Mao Zedong’s name. They’re disguising their own terrorism as a revolutionary struggle for the liberation of the people.”

“That’s a bit unexpected.”

Perhaps the Black Children’s Party leadership were true Mao Zedong followers. This was a new possibility I had failed to consider previously. It was because the true Maoist factions in Chinese politics had withered away long ago.

“Has any connection with the ‘Mao Gong’ been confirmed?”

Mao Gong is an abbreviation for the Maoist Communist Party. Despite revering Mao Zedong, the national father, they were branded as a splinter faction by the Chinese government for simple reasons. Mao Gong denounced the current Chinese Communist Party as a fake communist party and an evil imperialist fascist group. The core of the denunciation was that the party had divided the people who should be equal into classes, creating a reactionary state where the minority exploits the majority.

While the exploitation of the people was true, and they carried the national father on their backs ideologically, the only choice left for the Chinese Communist Party was to suppress them by force and bury them with propaganda. This was because from the Chinese Communist Party’s domestic standpoint, there was foreign power behind the Black Children’s Party.

Even a broken clock shows the right time twice a day.

Suyeon partially affirmed my question. (+) [1]

“No direct connection has been found, but they’ve quoted parts of Mao Gong’s manifestos a few times. For example, the part about how the Chinese Communist Party has deprived the working class of leadership and labor rights, and driven countless workers into unemployment, therefore justifying the rebellion, and…”

Suyeon cautiously added after mentioning a few more passages.

“These are only circumstantial evidence.”

“I know.”

A justified rebellion becomes a revolution. Even if it was just a pretext, they were clever thieves with very agile minds. If this was an operation planned by foreign powers, they’ve struck the Achilles heel of the Chinese Communist Party.

Based on the information that had consistently come in, the possibility of the Black Children’s Party being a conspiracy within a certain faction of the Communist Party was becoming increasingly slim. The political wind was raging indiscriminately of factions in the current Chinese political climate. The world of Chinese politics was truly plunged into chaos, unable to foresee an inch ahead.

“Which factions do the security bureau executives belong to?”

“One is the Tsinghua Clique of the Xi faction, and the other two are presumed to be the Shanghai Gang.”

The Xi faction referred to the followers of President Xi Jinping, and the Tsinghua Clique was the faction formed by elite alumni of Tsinghua University. Since Xi Jinping was also an alumnus of Tsinghua University, most of the Tsinghua Clique belonged to the Xi faction as well.

“How much time do you think is left for the executives?”

“It’s urgent. It wouldn’t be strange if all three disappear today.”

“Next opportunity?”

“It’s hard to guarantee. With the purge of the existing contacts, it’s difficult to identify suitable targets without contacts, gain access to high-level intelligence, and make new contacts before Chinese politics stabilizes. So in order not to miss this opportunity, we need to set foot in China as soon as possible.”


It made sense that it would be difficult to make new contacts for some time. After all, the main – essentially the only – means of making contacts with high-ranking Communist Party officials was bribery. With the rampant corruption and purges going on now, who would dare accept bribes from those they are not closely acquainted with? They could easily end up being charged with corruption rather than treason. With the Black Children’s Party having foreign backing according to the Chinese Communist Party’s domestic stance.

At this point, accepting bribes would provide good excuses for the central party to present to the people.

“By the way…”

As I was recounting the past conversation, I pointed out one strange thing.

“Didn’t you say this was Executive Manager Park Miju’s report? What about Director Seo Gabsoo? Weren’t those two out there together?” (+) [2]

Normally, reports go up in the name of the person in charge.

“I was about to mention that as well-“

Suyeon briefly hesitated and relayed the obituary with his gaze lowered.

“Director Seo is dead.” (+) [3]


Surprised by the unexpected news, I asked back to back.

“Dead? Gabsoo got killed? How?”

“While entertaining Gao Shusen, Deputy Secretary of Guangzhou Security Bureau, he was attacked by an armed group presumed to be the Black Children’s Party. He apparently shielded everyone by covering a grenade that rolled into the room with his body.”

“Is this Gao Shusen guy important?”

“He’s the nephew of Gao Ninghui, Chief of Guangdong Inspection Commission, and in addition to the Deputy Secretary position at the Guangzhou Security Bureau, he also holds the rank of First-Class Police Superintendent, being in charge of Guangzhou Security Bureau’s Patrol Police Division. You can think of him as the contact that provided the information about those three security bureau executives I mentioned earlier.”

Patrol. While comparable to a provincial police chief in Korea, since the military and police in China were the party’s military and party’s police, it was customary for Communist Party executives to concurrently hold executive positions in public security (police).

“This isn’t very fun.”

An unpleasant loss. Suyeon silently lowered her head at my words.

Seo Gabsoo was a subordinate before the organization’s system was fully established, before the International Business Division for managing overseas workplaces and smuggling was even created. He wasn’t exactly a founding contributor, but he was a subordinate who had been dedicated to my business in China for a long time.

Although he lacked the ability to move up to a higher position, only staying at the executive director level for a long time, he had great patience, and an agreeable temperament, and was decent at entertaining and managing business networks.

I picked him up at Mapo Bridge on the recommendation of the then-chief of staff. I personally went to get him. I still have a corner of that memory with the smell of alcohol on him. That smell belonged to a family head gazing at the flowing water while grasping the railing, contemplating. The life insurance policy taken out two years ago still pays out for suicide.

“The will?”

“It’s being held by the legal team. I’m aware it was renewed before leaving for this business trip.”

“He had two sons and a daughter right, probably?”


“Their ages?”

“The eldest son is twenty-one and currently serving in the military. The second daughter and youngest son are eighteen and sixteen respectively.”

“Are they close?”

“I don’t know that. Should I look into it?”

“No, it’s fine. Just carry out his will after the funeral and distribute the inheritance. Make sure to provide scholarships too. Don’t cut corners on recovering and transferring his remains.”

The inheritance mentioned here includes the death benefits determined by the organization. Seo Gabsoo must have designated one of my shell identities as the executor in the will he notarized while alive. This was a method I encouraged in managing the morale and loyalty of organization members. Fair execution of wills and generous death benefits were good stepping stones in fostering loyalty.

That was the extent of my role. Although I will have to fulfill my duties as executor until the young second daughter and youngest son come of age, and strictly manage their share of the inheritance, how they live after the inheritance is complete was none of my business. I didn’t even have the leisure to meddle in that.

Amidst these thoughts, I still felt uncomfortable. And I felt uncomfortable about feeling uncomfortable.

Because of the loss.

What other reason could there be?

With the political wind blowing in the current Chinese political sphere, many of the contacts established earlier would die or be purged, rendered useless. Limited to just the Guangdong province area, it was safe to say there was no talent like Seo Gabsoo to recover from such damages.

I had lost such talent…

After a brief silence, Suyeon asked me,

“What will you do?”

“About what?”

“…Going to China.”

Ah right, we were discussing that issue. I had completely forgotten the original conversation, preoccupied with thoughts of Seo Gabsoo.

What should I do?

Turning my gaze, I weighed the opportunity cost while looking at the forest ruled by the mycelium.

On one side of the scale was the “erosion” phenomenon discovered thanks to the priestess serving the mushrooms. The code causing the phenomenon was still yet to be extracted. The code neutralizing the magical field with erosion was highly likely to enable modifying the circuits of subordinates I could no longer touch. And countless other potential uses.

On the other side of the scale was the opportunity to gain enormous funds, and if luck would have it, the opportunity to gain contacts to China’s national intelligence network.

Seeing the example of the Trembling Giant, analyzing the erosion code would become more difficult as time passed. Hesitating, I made the difficult decision.

“Look for a flight leaving tomorrow afternoon.”


Suyeon lowered her head again.

One day left. Just one day to observe, record, and analyze the spirit of the mycelium as much as possible. I didn’t know if this was the right choice, but a wrong decision was still better than a missed opportunity. I strove to shake off the delusion and focus on the task at hand.

  • 1. TLN: This means that even something or someone that is usually unreliable or incorrect can occasionally be right or accurate by chance. In other words, it highlights the idea that a person or thing may have moments of success or correctness, even if they are generally not reliable.
  • 2. TLN: Since I have a goldfish memory, and I didn’t anticipate these two characters to appear again, I sincerely ask you my dear reader an apologize if I made a mistake in mistranslating the names of these two. However, these are the names that I’ll use from now on. Sorry!
  • 3. TLN: Whoops, I guess only Park Miju’s name that I’ll use from now on xD
Author's Thoughts

This novel is a work of fiction! While it may incorporate elements inspired by our "real" historical world, including historical events, settings, and cultures, it is important to note that the story and characters are entirely products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or deceased, or actual events is purely coincidental. This work should be enjoyed and interpreted as a work of fiction and not as a representation of historical facts or reality.
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