The Imperial Hunter Chapter 81 - Metamorphosis (8)

Author: Dawn

After arriving at the original destination, the security bureau branch, we waited half a day. Gao Shusen, the deputy secretary as well as a 1st-grade police superintendent of the Guangzhou Security Bureau, finally showed himself around sunset.

“Sorry for being late. It took quite some time to clean up the reactionary riot that happened this afternoon, and thanks to you all saving my reputation, there were many places I had to show my face. I hope you understand.”

I set down the teacup I was holding and simply answered while still seated.

“Don’t worry about it. Since this extended your and your subordinates’ lifespans by several days, wasting a few hours is acceptable.”


Despite responding sharply on purpose to establish relations with the party cadre who had spent half his life tyrannizing and lording over others, the loose-jawed Gao Shusen didn’t get angry. Instead, he exchanged a friendly greeting with Park Miju behind me and addressed me with a smiling face.

“Chairman Li… Even if that’s an alias, you must be that person. The owner of my old friend who gave me a second life and left this world, and the CEO of the ‘Nameless Company’ renowned for headhunting and arms smuggling.”

Nameless Company. So that was what they called my company here.

“My old friend often said he was alive thanks to you. I’m surprised you look so young. I imagined someone around my age at least.”

He seemed suspicious I might be an imposter, but such suspicion was actually beneficial, so I returned an appropriate response.

“I’m still older than that Gabsoo guy.”

“Huh? So you’re not just extraordinarily skilled!”

Thud. As Gao Shusen, whose cheeks shook, snapped his fingers, the secretary in a short skirt brought over his share of tea. As if it was natural, he patted the secretary’s butt as she leaned forward. After she left with an amused smile, he asked me,

“I had instructed to provide special hospitality, preparing to welcome my esteemed guest, but upon arrival, Chairman immediately rejected it in a single stroke. They say you were so firm that it left the child feeling emotionally hurt. Could it be that her appearance did not suit your taste?”

“I came here for business, not to play. Even if I had turned a blind eye to such matters, I wouldn’t have come out for a job like this.”

Even for me, who didn’t consider relieving sexual desires a troublesome task, entering into dealings with someone like this was inconceivable. On the other hand, it was a cunning move that made me uncomfortably recall the vanished Guan Xi, who disappeared due to past espionage issues.

“Hmm, you are indeed a man of integrity that your subordinates would follow.”

Gao Shusen nodded in understanding, his voice becoming more serious.

“Now let’s get to the point… I knew your company used to hunt down Korean con artists here in China. Sometimes your expert tracking and evidence elimination worried the officials, but still, it benefited us too. Unlike other greedy hunters, your company never failed to show appreciation when successful, after all.”

“That’s right.”

Korean con artists who came to China usually sent a large portion of the funds earned through their scams to third countries outside China and Korea. With officials and rich men so anxious about not being able to smuggle their assets out, who’d foolishly bring everything into China?

Therefore, our human hunting was beneficial even from the perspective of the Chinese authorities. How much benefit did it bring them? They might have eventually stepped aside and started hunting on their own, risking the possibility of diplomatic issues. This was the reason why the organization’s human hunting business in China had sharply shifted since the mid-2010s.

‘If possible, I want to bring it back this time.’

After killing the Communist Party’s watchdogs, filling the vacant positions with our company’s operatives would be ideal.

In the days when China’s surveillance system was lacking, there was no need for gestures of gratitude. However, now, it had become necessary to deposit the insurance provided by the authorities for a secure environment.

“I was an indirect beneficiary of those profits.”

Being an indirect beneficiary meant he wasn’t in a position to directly receive the payoffs back when our headhunting in China thrived. That was only possible thanks to his uncle’s influence.

“So I thought your company’s experience and secrets could help track down the Black Children’s Party too. We find and you catch. That was the extent I expected.”

With a deep sigh, Gao Shusen continued in a more serious tone.

“But the abilities your side showed today were truly, truly unbelievable.”

At a glance, it sounded like praise, but it wasn’t difficult to realize it was a barbed statement.

“Does it seem suspicious?”

“I don’t want to doubt a benefactor, but yes. How can mere civilians possess such capabilities? What if I’m involving foreign powers? I can’t shake off the concern that I may truly become a traitor rather than face false accusations.”

We’re outstanding, but you fools are even more incompetent you pig. As these thoughts swirled in my mouth, I showed understanding outwardly.

“I understand. Given China’s circumstances.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

Gao Shusen revealed a weary appearance.

“What makes my concerns heavier is the decisive betrayal your homeland recently showed. Didn’t Korea throw away the friendship and dedication built with our great nation and take the imperialists’ side? Even considering it’s a survival strategy for a small state, it still can’t be described as anything but an ungrateful villainy. Our great nation has given Korea so much favor…”

Betrayal. Betrayal. The so-called betrayal here referred to Korea’s decision to become a founding member of the new massive military alliance at America’s behest.

That military alliance was the “Pacific-Rim Treaty Organization.” Shortened to “PARTO” or “PARTREO.”

The Pacific-Rim Treaty Organization’s birth was the result of America forcing its allies and associates in the Pacific region to choose one or the other. America or China. No neutrality. Like the deranged declaration to impose economic sanctions on the level of China on any nation refusing or delaying joining. But on second look, this wasn’t simple madness. With the increasing number and strength of awakened primitive magic users, a population now guaranteed asymmetric warfare capabilities. China’s emergency backed by 1.44 billion people had to be desperately obstructed by any and all means.

In response, China warned Korea there would be consequences like a second Hanjin Incident, referring to various forms of retaliation. But at the crossroads, Korea ultimately chose America. Superficially it seemed to submit to American pressure, but in reality, it was due to the geopolitical position leaving them no choice but to feel China’s threat more keenly than America’s. If America failed to contain China, the consequences Korea would face then would be on another dimension. (+)TLN: The Hanjin Incident or the 2010–2011 Hanjin Heavy Industries strike was a strike in South Korea and the Philippines from 28 December 2010 to 10 November 2011, resulting from the layoff of 400 Hanjin Heavy Industries employees.

That was why some Chinese people poisoned by distorted patriotism these days referred to Koreans as Hanjian, using the same characters as the traitors cooperating with Japan during imperial times, albeit with different pronunciation and tone. (+)TLN: Hanjian (韩奸) can be translated as “Korean traitor”. And for the Japan one, it’s Hangan (漢奸).

While mulling over the foolish mob mentality and the Communist Party’s survival strategy exploiting it, I spoke.

“I understand, but it’s useless worrying.”

“Is that so?”

“Even if I’m a death merchant bribed by foreign powers, I’m still the best choice for you, Deputy Secretary. Worrying about unsolvable problems is worse than not worrying at all.”

“What if it’s not the optimal but the least bad option?”

“When the choices are only worst and least bad, the least bad is the optimal. Am I wrong?”


“Although it was a chance opportunity, I’ve already provided free services to you. Frankly, didn’t you enjoy this afternoon quite a bit? For a moment, you forgot the crisis of being purged anytime and wandered around showing your face everywhere as the hero of the glorious party and nation fallen into decline.”

“It was enjoyable. Thanks to you.”

As Gao Shusen readily admitted with a smile, I casually shrugged my shoulders at him.

“Let’s stop wasting time. I will bring you survival and honor in the hunting grounds you open, through which you can become an exceptional ‘friend’ providing me differentiated intimacy. Any profits occurring in the process can be divided by considering safety and each side’s contributions. What do you think about my proposal?”

The “friend” I spoke of was a conventional term indicating a spy’s depth. While Gao Shusen pressed his lips and looked up in thought, Park Miju interjected calmly.

“Deputy Secretary, may I have a moment?”

“Ah, Mrs. Park. Please speak.”

“I won’t take long. The late Department Head Seo Gabsoo owed his life to Chairman here and vowed to repay that debt by dedicating the rest of his life to serving him. And he fulfilled that pledge through action in this city. Literally with his life.”


“In other words, Chairman holds some equity in you still being alive now. Our Chairman is very strict about promises and credibility, so please place your faith because of Department Head Seo and myself.”

After silently watching Miju, Gao Shusen deeply nodded as if dropping his head.

“Entrusting the life I owe thanks to my old friend Seo to my old friend Seo’s company is reasonable.”

He then turned his gaze to me.

“I’ll stop wasting time as you say.”

“You thought it through well.”

“Then tell me. Where and how will we start?”

“That depends on how much influence you have left… But judging from the trip here, your relationship with the military seems non-existent, and other departments of city administration or security don’t seem much different either.”

If not, there would’ve been no need to meet me directly. Which other departments would provide cooperation and intel to a detached man like him? Gao Shusen made an uncomfortable expression.

“That’s too blunt.”

“Then please correct me. We need to build plans reflecting that part. But don’t forget your information’s accuracy will determine your life.”

In short, I was telling him not to bluff out of pointless pride. Though pride and bluffing seemed ingrained in the Chinese identity, he was someone who reached the municipal party standing committee, essentially the core of the Communist Party itself which was a den of power addicts. So this much discernment was probably possible.

‘Or I should shelve making a spy of him. Scout someone else or give up altogether.’

Although securing military funds was possible even with fake identities, that alone was still a profitable business. But fortunately, Gao Shusen complied with my expectations with an irritated sigh.

“……Damn, you’re right. Whether it’s the Politburo or the cyber police squad, the security management squad, criminal investigation squad, they’re all ignoring me without exception. I can’t even fully trust the patrol squad I’m still in charge of.”

The cyber police squad handled cyber crimes, the security management squad monitored anti-government social activities, and the criminal investigation squad responded to crime and terrorism. Add the army to that, and it meant Gao Shusen and the patrol squad chiefs were isolated from all related intel, left to be petty lackeys of other departments before being gradually sacrificed as political scapegoats.

“In short.”

I raised my chin.

“You’re saying we have no choice but to start chasing from scratch at the bottom, gradually hoping for chance meetings like this afternoon?”


“Well, that is the textbook way to hunt, but at that rate, how long will it take to yield meaningful results…? Will you be okay with that?”

The question of whether he’d still be breathing by then. Gao Shusen’s face distorted even more severely than before.

“I can only believe in your company’s abilities. Or is there another alternative?”

“There is. One huge deal that will immediately extend your lifespan.”

“What is it?”

“Let’s take down the triads in this region. It’s been long since those bastards have pretended to be the party’s dirty errand boys, so even someone ostracized like you should have some intel related to the Guangdong triads. Like the profiles of frontline chiefs, the structure of subordinate organizations, where businesses are located, etc.”

“No, but why the triads who have no relation with the Black Children’s Party-“

“Don’t pretend to be naive.”

I cut off Gao Shusen’s bewildered words and tapped the table.

“We can manufacture the connection.”

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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