Against the Fate – Chapter 20
Chapter 20: Cui Ming’s Past
Evelyn re-interrogated the members of the theft and fraud gangs that were detained in the prison of Dawn City. This investigation let her know a few things including the fact that Cui Ming was kidnapped by the gang’s boss during his childhood. It wasn’t clear where they kidnapped him from, maybe Dawn City, maybe Moonlight City, which was thousands of kilometers away, or it may even be the West Continent. There were a total of 13 children who were kidnapped from their homes, including Cui Ming. The remaining 12 people were successful members of the Acrobatic Troupe. Cui Ming was very smart considering the situation. He was fancied by the boss of the gang, who adopted Cui Ming as his son and taught him various thieving techniques and tricks.
Evelyn combined testimonies given by the gang members and came to the conclusion that the fraud and theft gang had likely been destroyed by Cui Ming. At that time, Cui Ming was responsible for checking, using his age to extract information from children and women. All the while, he used public telephone booths to become an informant for the police. Eventually, the police set up an ambush to capture the gang members and no one escaped except for Cui Ming. From there on out, he was truly free.
Where was Cui Ming from? There was no answer because the leaders of the gang were already sentenced to hang. The remaining members did not know where Cui Ming came from, they only knew that Cui Ming had been in the circus since the age of two. Evelyn judged that the gang boss was planning to buy a group of children from some traffickers and use the circus as a cover to transport the children. However, it was difficult to pursue the investigation because of miscommunications and other hurdles. According to Evelyn, Cui Ming was a Two Per Millioner, that must mean his parents were not cultivators. Otherwise, even if he was abducted, the kidnappers couldn’t escape the wrath of his parents.
Cui Ming’s first recorded period was during his time in the Acrobatic Troupe, and the second period was during his childhood at the Charity School. The old nuns were very impressed with Cui Ming, “He was an extremely troublesome child. Cui Ming was very mischievous. If he put a bug in the chalk box of the nun’s teacher, it wasn’t just to scare the teacher but also to cover up his other pranks. For example, he would care for the scared teacher and then steal the exam question paper and then recite the answer to the class. He almost never allowed the examinations that should have been conducted to proceed normally and would disrupt order. For example, he made fake blood from red ink and tomato sauce, then poured it on the watching teacher, etc. He had many cunning tricks.”
The Charity School advocated to care for these orphans with love, so it never resorted to corporal punishment for Cui Ming. Even under the advice of the old nuns, Cui Ming did not get rid of his tricks. Instead, he began to use them to serve his own interests.
Evelyn asked the old nun, “Is Cui Ming a bad boy?”
The old nun replied after thinking for a long time, “It depends on what your criteria are. He did a lot of bad things, but the children liked him. Objectively, he became a role model for some children, but he hurt some other children. On one occasion, four students had beaten up a priest. The four students were his admirers and they beat the priest because the priest had punished him by ordering him to clean the church for a month. What I was most angry about was what he said when he heard about that incident.”
“What did he say?”
“He said they deserved it.” The old nun fell into a reverie “At the time I was very angry and disappointed with his words. If he pleaded for the four students or swept his way down, I would feel that he was responsible. After all, those four children did that for him. But he also said, ‘There must be a bottom moral line to be a man. It is unforgivable, for whatever reason, to beat the people who give you food and a bed free of charge.’ Yes, although he did a lot of bad things, he also had a grateful heart.”
However, the Charity School finally punished Cui Ming. They believed that Cui Ming had incited those children. In the end, Cui Ming was physically punished for the first time. He was also the first student to be physically punished in ten years. Cui Ming received three lashes. After the whipping, Cui Ming ceased to be the leader of the students. He often disappeared, ranging from as little as ten days to as many as six months. A few years later, he went to prison because he did street scams, he was released three months later. The old nuns personally picked up Cui Ming. However, the old nun said that Cui Ming was no longer able to return. On the second day he left the Charity School for good. Since then, there has been no news of Cui Ming. The old nuns had always been guilty of self-blame. In that case, they should have stuck to their positions and not punish Cui Ming. This was the most important reason why she removed whipping as a punishment after she became the principal.
The following investigation surprised Evelyn. After the whipping, in the six-year period between then and his arrest there was no record about him. She originally thought that Cui Ming did not return to Charity School and went to join the street gangs. However, no one heard of this Cui Ming person. The reason for his arrest and jailing, and the reason for his imprisonment, were exactly the same. He did a poker scam on the street with plain-clothes policemen and be arrested.
After talking with The Professor, Evelyn inferred that Cui Ming had met a certain cultivator during these six years. That cultivator taught Release to Cui Ming before dying. Why did he leave no formal instruction to Cui Ming, it couldn’t be inferred.
The destructive power of a bad cultivator was great. This was why Evelyn had repeatedly contacted Cui Ming. At present, although several cultivators in Dawn City weren’t willing to serve the public, they could all be considered good people. Cui Ming was a cultivator who appeared out of nowhere. His record was fragmented and he spent his childhood in a criminal gang. All of that meant Evelyn couldn’t help but worry. Because of this, Evelyn did not hurry to leave Room 702, she directly and indirectly contacted Cui Ming several times.
In Cui Ming’s opinion, Evelyn was a confident and beautiful woman with strong logical thinking and keen observation. It was worth mentioning that she was a beautiful woman with a good figure, especially her legs which were long and strong. Evelyn was rather heroic, but she hid her true intention: to test Cui Ming’s character.
In a coffee and a dinner conversation, Cui Ming suddenly found out that Evelyn and North Luna turned out to be rivals. In the words of Evelyn, North Luna had repeatedly used the privilege of cultivators to ignore the law and connive with criminals. Evelyn was unsuccessful in their two contacts, because Cui Ming was too cunning and always vigilant. She couldn’t find out anything about where he had been for six years and who he had met. On the contrary, he successfully extracted from her the reason she signed a contract with Dawn City.
Although Evelyn was suspicious towards him, Cui Ming had a certain degree of affection for Evelyn. After the signing of the contract of Dawn City, Evelyn had the obligation to help Dawn City deal with cultivators who broke the order. Evelyn chose to become a police officer. In Evelyn’s words, she was a Two Per Millioner, so she had the responsibility and mission to protect Dawn City.
Cui Ming respected such people, but he would never be close to such people.