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447 Passing the Blame

 Huo Shaoheng only remembered his plan to go crab fishing with Gu Nianzhi when he heard her voice.

"Nianzhi, something came up. It's an emergency. I can't go back this weekend. Go on your own. I'll get Big Xiong to give you the keys to the boat."

"An emergency? Forget it. It wouldn't be fun if I were to go on my own." Gu Nianzhi lost interest the moment Huo Shaoheng said that he couldn't make it.

"Okay, let's talk about it again when this is over." Huo Shaoheng hung up abruptly and looked at the car driving into the heavily guarded Army's Supreme Council.

...

"General Ji, this is the orange level emergency we've just received from Japan." Huo Shaoheng put the decoded highly confidential information on the desk in front of the five standing committee members of the Army's Supreme Council. "I've already sent orders regarding the Japanese spies. They'll experience the same thing they did to our people."

"What! Is this real?" The five standing committee members were extremely shocked. "How were our men's identities revealed so effortlessly?" It was within expectations for a couple of people's identities to be revealed, but it was extremely strange for an entire department's soldiers to be outted.

"One of our people from management leaked information." Huo Shaoheng lowered his voice in anger. "Their rank can't be too low."

"Impossible!" General Ji could not accept Huo Shaoheng's suggestion. "Why would a high ranking officer do this? What would they gain?"

"The election is fast approaching," Huo Shaoheng said calmly. "Look at the emergency information our man sent with his final breath: 'Japan's Yamaguchi group has intervened in the country's election.'"

"You mean, the Yamaguchi had already intervened in the Prime Minister elections? If that's true, we definitely have to inform Senior Speaker Long and Prime Minister Dou and investigate all the candidates who participated in the election."

The Army had no controls in cases such as these. It was necessary for Senior Speaker Long and Prime Minister Dou to step in. Huo Shaoheng did not voice his opinions anymore and waited for the other men to come up with a solution. Senior Speaker Long and Prime Minister Dou were making their way to the Army's Supreme Council for a meeting. All the people with the highest authority in the Huaxia Empire would be present, so security had increased yet again. Huo Shaoheng sat beside General Ji and listened to their discussion silently.

Someone knocked on the door and handed General Ji a document. General Ji took a look and nodded. He turned to the people in the meeting and said, "our men reacted quickly and have already punished the Japanese spies within our country. For each death on our end, they are to compensate with two of their lives."

Prime Minister Dou had started breaking out in cold sweat the moment he set foot into the meeting room. When he heard the 'one here and two there' punishment, his heart sank. Instinctively, he rejected the idea.

"Is that really a good idea? It might cause a serious diplomatic dispute."

Huo Shaoheng had been observing the reactions of the people in the meeting. When he heard what Prime Minister Dou said he replied, "did they care about diplomatic disputes when they killed our men?"

"But has this case already been verified? Major General Huo, we cannot make these kinds of decisions based purely on your word." Prime Minister Dou looked at Huo Shaoheng eagerly. "Evidence, Major General Huo?"

Of course, Huo Shaoheng had evidence, but one could not show evidence from the Special Forces just like that.

"Prime Minister Dou, I'll definitely show it to you when you achieve the required security level." What he really meant was Prime Minister Dou still wasn't qualified to look at this evidence. Prime Minister Dou felt humiliated. With a dark expression, he glared at Huo Shaoheng before turning to look at Senior Speaker Long.

"Senior Speaker Long, do our law state anything about the Prime Minister being unable to ask about the Special Force's operations?"

Senior Speaker Long frowned. "There isn't anything specifically prohibiting that."

"As long as there isn't a law that states so. Major General Huo, you must respect Senior Speaker Long's knowledge on the law, right?" Prime Minister Dou asked persistently. This was the same tactic he used to challenge his opponents in debates.

Huo Shaoheng remained calm and said, "there're special cases, and the law should have included that a long time ago." After pausing for a while, he continued. "If there isn't, then we should include one in as soon as possible."

Senior Speaker Long raised his eyebrows and looked at Prime Minister Dou. "There're indeed special cases. When the Special Forces department was set up last year, the Council specially included a new law stating special cases should be treated as such. Regarding how it should be treated, the power lies with the Special Forces."

This totally retorted Prime Minister Dou's suggestion. Prime Minister Dou supported his chin, thought for a moment, and stopped harping on the issue. He merely said, "since that's the case, please handle the diplomatic inquiries with Japan when it comes."

"Yes. We dare to answer as long as they dare to ask." Huo Shaoheng stood his ground. "On top of that, they've caught some of our important members. I've also handed down orders to arrest some of their important members. Please get the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mediate."

Prime Minister Dou was taken aback again. "Why should we have to meditate? I thought you were overdoing it before, but at least that was understandable. Now you want to mediate? Do you think our nation has no dignity?"

"Dignity? Who gave you that?" Huo Shaoheng looked solemn, refusing to back down. "The only dignity we have is from our citizens. Who cares if people outside give us any? Are you our Prime Ministers or theirs?"

"I thought the people in your line of work prided yourselves on being unafraid of death? Suddenly it's starting to sound like you don't want to die for our nation anymore." He hit the table as he looked at Huo Shaoheng. He was thinking of his eldest daughter who had been sentenced for life. He still held a grudge.

Huo Shaoheng almost laughed wryly. "Being willing to lay down our lives is one thing, but you're commanding it of us. Don't you think that's shameless?"

Huo Shaoheng's words were harsh, but Prime Minister Dou's words were indeed shameless. Even though the committee was unhappy with Huo Shaoheng, they were more upset with Prime Minister Dou's attitude.

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"Just because our men aren't afraid to die doesn't mean you can force them too." General Ji felt the most passionately of all of them. He hit the table and bellowed, "I support this! As long as there are people alive, we will think of means and ways to let them return home. Whether we have to mediate or use other means. We have to try!"

Prime Minister Dou smiled and changed his tone when he saw General Ji's support. "I didn't mean that. General Ji, you're right. We should think of ways to bring our men home. Let me discuss this with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see if we can solve it through them."

Prime Minister Dou left with a stern face. Huo Shaoheng requested for the rights to investigate from Senior Speaker Long and General Ji. "Our people faced a huge setback due to the nation. I request to have the rights to investigate the Election of the Nation."

"We cannot do that. The relevant department will take over from here. They'll give us a good answer for the men who were sacrificed." General Ji rejected Huo Shaoheng's suggestion flatly, but he explained to Huo Shaoheng after the meeting ended. "You already have a massive amount of power. If I were to grant you more, some people would not be able to sleep at night..."

Huo Shaoheng was adaptable. He adjusted the terms quickly. "Fine. I can't intervene in the election process, but what if the Special Forces were to receive full autonomy? It's been really long. Can I have a response?"

"I know. Let me push them."

General Ji brought up Huo Shaoheng's request to the standing committee. Senior Speaker Long and the standing committee also refused his suggestion to investigate the election. However, due to the fact that the Special Forces lost many men, they'd needed to do something to pacify them. After looking at the situation, they gave in and granted full autonomy to the head of Special Forces, Huo Shaoheng.

...

Once they were back in his mansion, Prime Minister Dou contacted Yamaguchi Aiko quickly. "It seems they've found out. Think of ways to deny any form of connection you have with me."

Yamaguchi Aiko had not expected the Special Forces to be so efficient. However, she managed to think of an alternative route in no time. Calmly, she said, "don't worry. I'll shift their target for you."

Shortly after, Yamaguchi Aiko called Miao Yunxiao and her aunt, who also happened to be Xu Piaohong's mother, to meet at an ice cream shop to have a talk.

"Miss Aiko, your idea didn't work." Miao Yunxiao felt wronged. "I'm so unlucky. Everyone in my faculty has gone over to Gu Nianzhi's side. Those betraying snobs!"

Yamaguchi Aiko had not expected Gu Nianzhi to have such quick reflexes and get out of their trap so easily. Information from the country had recently been limited. Apart from the heads up from Prime Minister Dou, she too had realized quite a number of Japanese spies had gone missing.

"Don't look for her in the meantime. I'll contact you in a few days," Yamaguchi Aiko said. She left a couple of flaws, allowing the people following Xu Piaohong's mother to see them.

After their meet up, Yamaguchi Aiko became completely uncontactable. No matter what Miao Yunxiao did, she could not get through. Xu Piaohong's case was about to begin, and her mother was panicking. It had been extremely difficult, but she's gotten the house arrest order removed so Xu Piaohong would help her. Now all she had was a Japanese girl whose idea didn't work.

And now, Xu Piaohong's case on leaking information was further supported by the evidence that Xu Piaohong's mother and Miao Yunxiao met a Japanese lady, Yamaguchi Aiko, in private. The Special Forces' A-Team in Japan had all died and now the severity of her case had increased again.