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426 Naysayers Can Go To Hell

 So they were going to do one thing under the guise of another? Or perhaps make the real fake, and the fake real? They were once again keeping him in the shadows. Huo Shaoheng frowned slightly. "I don't understand. What mandate is the military going by?"

"The thing is, the military has been in talks for a long time already. The Special Operations Forces has such a large involvement and although other countries may know your identity, we don't think they could ever imagine that we'd go with the flow." General Ji smiled as he gently tapped the oval conference table with his fingers. "You have been publically dismissed so that those people won't be concentrating on you anymore. At the same time, we'll release a few suitable candidates and of course, this will be done through classified discussion. But you also know that secrets are very tempting to people-they'll use any means necessary to root it out. As for you, you can stay out of the situation."

"Is that so?" Huo Shaoheng cocked his head. "But there needs to be extensive planning, otherwise we will never fool the old foxes at the CIA and the Mossad." Such methods were nothing new for the Mossad, and Huo Shaoheng's mentor from there was an expert at concealing one thing under the guise of another.

"Naturally. It's not like we can decide such an important thing with one decision. But you said that other countries use this method too, yes? What should we do then?" General Ji was at a loss. He wasn't used to espionage work and had always conducted himself honorably. Though he understood the people who stood in the shadows to protect others, he didn't really know what it was like.

Huo Shaoheng looked at General Ji and bowed slightly. "If General Ji doesn't mind, I would like to express an idea that I have."

"What idea?" General Ji asked hastily. "Tell me right now."

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"I can do both jobs, but I need full autonomy. No matter if it's for the soldiers on duty or the desk personnel, anyone who wants to join the Special Ops must be nominated by our division and reported to the Supreme Military Council for approval. If we don't nominate someone, others from outside the division may not arbitrarily mention transfers." Huo Shaoheng's voice grew stern. This request was clearly directed at the incident with Xu Piaohong, but she wasn't the only one. Human resources in the Special Ops was very complicated and Huo Shaoheng could only control the on-duty soldiers. As for desk personnel, many other divisions in the military were able to get involved. For example, in the Legal Department, most of the staff there were spies planted into the Special Ops from other military divisions. Even the Director of the Legal Department, Bai Yueran, was actually an informant for General Ji. But this type of thing could never be mentioned outright. It was fine so long as everyone understood what was happening. In the past, Huo Shaoheng hadn't cared about those kinds of people in the Special Ops because the most confidential information could not be accessed by the desk personnel. However, he'd since learned that although they couldn't get the confidential information, even the most minor leak could result in unimaginably catastrophic consequences. Because the Special Ops headquarters had been moved to the Imperial Capital, there were an increasing number of people trying to infiltrate.

Who the hell was Xu Piaohong? She was merely the daughter of a Deputy Chief of Staff in a certain military military area, who himself was only part of a regiment. How could he have the ability to transfer his idiot daughter from the police department to the Special Ops, which was the highest security national institution? There must be someone behind the scenes, and their rank couldn't possibly be low at all. Of course, Huo Shaoheng knew this person couldn't be General Ji because otherwise he wouldn't be so obvious in repeatedly putting in a good words for Xu Piaohong. There was no question that General Ji was the set up as a target to divert attention.

Seeing General Ji's increasingly stern expression, Huo Shaoheng sipped the tea and continued, "For example, the military is directly involved with personnel transfer in the Special Op's Legal Department. General Ji, think carefully about what kind of people are in there. Otherwise why would you allow Bai Yueran to become the Director? Now that there's another incident with Xu Piaohong, with the kind of person her father is, do you think he has the ability to make the transfer just because he says so? Or transfer her directly from the police department to the Special Ops?"

General Ji was no fool if he had been able to climb the ranks to this position. His brain made the connection and he instantly realized that he had been used. The anger lodged in his chest and, if it weren't for his years of cultivation toning down the explosive personality from his his youth, he may have grabbed a gun to go blow that person's head off. "How dare they! Here I was, an old fool, who had thought I was shooting the geese only to be pecked in the eye by it!" General Ji slapped the table angrily. "If I find out who was working behind the scenes, I'll shoot them in the head!"

"Elder Ji, please calm down." Huo Shaoheng smiled faintly as he poured General Ji another cup of tea. "Have some more relaxation tea. It'll help you calm down."

General Ji suppressed his anger and drank the tea. The faint sandalwood fragrance from the wood cup gradually eased his nervous anger. Huo Shaoheng remained quiet and waited for General Ji to compose himself. After a long time, General Ji closed his eyes and sighed deeply. He raised his eyes to Huo Shaoheng's. "Shaoheng, since you're being so frank now, I'll speak my mind too. Do you know why I was in such a hurry to find a wife for you?" He stared fixedly at Huo Shaoheng without blinking.

Huo Shaoheng grunted with a nod. "I'd guessed a little."

"Yes, it's because of that girl, Gu Nianzhi." General Ji touched the few hairs remaining on his head. "I can tell that you have special feelings for her, but her background is unknown and she will never pass the background check. The military will not approve you marrying her. Also," General Ji glanced at Huo Shaoheng again, then shifted his gaze with embarrassment, "She grew up under your care. If something happens between you two, what will others say about you? You'll sully your reputation ." In order to climb the ranks, a good name was an important criteria. Otherwise, his career would come to a halt.

Huo Shaoheng replied calmly, "I don't think my ethics have anything to do with this. I have no wife or girlfriend. She has no husband or boyfriend. If we do end up together in the future, then that's only natural. It doesn't violate any ethics, and if people want to gossip, then I will respond honestly." He looked at General Ji and enunciated carefully, "It's no one's business. The naysayers can go to hell."

General Ji spit out a mouthful of tea and sprayed the table. He quickly took tissue from the table to wipe it off, breathless from laughter. He pointed to Huo Shaoheng, wracked with his boots and chuckles, before saying, "Oh you, you were your normal self earlier, and now you're giving me this. I thought you were different from those hard headed soldiers, but it looks like you're no different!"

Huo Shaoheng smiled; there was a hint of laughter in his eyes. His voice was still steady and deep as he said sincerely, " Elder Ji, please don't worry. I never do anything that the military won't approve. As for Gu Nianzhi, she's already an adult so please let her make the choice. We've been investigating her background all this time and I'll give Elder Ji some news too. Recently, there's been a great breakthrough."

"Oh?! Are you serious?!" General Ji was shocked by this news and grabbed Huo Shaoheng's hand as he asked anxiously, "Is that true?!"

Huo Shaoheng nodded, "I don't say things unless I'm sure about them. Right now Elder Ji is pushing me, so I had to give you something to work with."

"Then will her background pass the review?" If General Ji still didn't understand Huo Shaoheng by now, then he had been General all these years with nothing to show. Right now he didn't ask for anything but that Gu Nianzhi had a clean family background that could be verified.

"If our direction of investigation is correct, her family background is clean and her father may be able to make a great contribution to our nation. So you don't have to worry anymore." Huo Shaoheng finally broke his own rules by speaking about something that couldn't be yet supported by evidence. When he thought about it carefully, he realized all three exceptions he'd made in life had to do with Gu Nianzhi. Cocking his head slightly, the thought flashed through his mind before he concentrated on watching General Ji for his answer.

"That's great! General Ji pat Huo Shaoheng fiercely on the shoulder. "We already benefited greatly when she brought out the engine blueprints last time. Looks like her family is truly scholarly and it might be just like your grandfather's. So your backgrounds match after all!" General Ji's thoughts spun quickly and he instantly changed from opposing to supporting them.

Huo Shaoheng smiled. He knew that General Ji was exaggerating his support because he felt guilty for the trouble and loss that Xu Piaohong had caused. He didn't take it to heart and stressed to General Ji once again, "I want the Special Ops to be completely autonomous. This power belongs to the Chief of the Special Ops only. Even when I leave and someone else takes over, the autonomy stays." Such an organization was not a garden where just anybody could wander in and out.