Chapter 51: How to Become an Undercover Agent (Part One)
An Bu poured a cup of hot tea for Officer Sun Kaiwen, then sat on the sofa, listening to him explain the case.
“It’s like this: not long ago, a wealthy businessman bought an antique overseas for over twenty million. After bringing it back to the country, a renowned archaeology professor went to appraise it. He discovered that the antique matched the artifacts unearthed from a tomb they excavated several years ago. That tomb showed no signs of being robbed, so logically, all the artifacts should be safely stored in the museum’s treasure vault and shouldn’t have circulated. Unless…”
“Unless someone stole the artifacts from the vault,” An Bu interjected.
“Exactly.” Officer Sun nodded. “So, the professor submitted an application for a reevaluation of those artifacts. In the end, he found five missing precious items, with a total value exceeding one billion.”
An Bu looked puzzled. Wasn’t this just an art theft case? What was so bizarre about it?
Seeing her confusion, Officer Sun seemed to understand and explained, “Let’s put aside the stolen artifacts for now. I came to you today mainly because the archaeology professor, after appraising the antique, died suddenly of a heart attack seven days later.”
An Bu understood, “Do you think his death is related to the antique?”
Officer Sun nodded, “We didn’t connect the two at first, but shortly afterward, several staff members who were reevaluating the artifacts died successively, all from heart attacks. It was too unbelievable. It wasn’t until I saw the supernatural show you filmed in Kangquan Town that I began to speculate about unnatural phenomena.”
“I see.” An Bu asked, “Do you want me to take a look at those artifacts?”
“Yes.” Officer Sun hesitated for a moment and said, “Currently, those artifacts have been temporarily sealed, and no one dares to approach. Before you agree, I want you to understand that there may be some level of danger involved.”
An Bu smiled, “Don’t worry; nothing will happen.” As long as she wasn’t asked to personally enter a tomb, everything else was manageable.
“Thank you.” Officer Sun felt relieved and looked at An Bu gratefully. He added, “Inviting you as a consultant was my personal decision. The other team members don’t know much about your situation, and I don’t want this matter to be associated with the supernatural.”
“Alright, I believe in science and don’t believe there are ghosts in this world.” An Bu revealed a sly smile.
Officer Sun was shaken by her smile, “…”
At this moment, Jian Ningxuan walked in from outside, seeing Officer Sun Kaiwen in casual clothes. He asked, “Do we have a guest?”
“You’re back.” An Bu briefly introduced, “This is Officer Sun Kaiwen, a friend I knew before.”
“He looks somewhat familiar.” Jian Ningxuan stared at Officer Sun for a long time, not remembering that they had met at the crime scene.
“Public faces* always seem familiar.” An Bu replied with a smile.
* average face
Officer Sun felt indignant. Wasn’t he quite manly? How could he be considered a common face!
“Hello, I’m Jian Ningxuan.” Jian Ningxuan greeted indifferently.
“Hello.” Officer Sun had known this great god for a long time and tried to maintain a calm expression.
After Jian Ningxuan returned, Officer Sun didn’t stay long. After setting the time with An Bu, he bid farewell and left.
After seeing off Officer Sun, An Bu turned around and saw Jian Ningxuan quietly looking at her, his face clearly expressing, “Baby, I won’t ask anything; I patiently wait for you to speak up.”
An Bu couldn’t help but want to laugh, saying to him, “He invited me to go to the museum tomorrow to see antiques.”
“Oh.” Jian Ningxuan nodded indifferently, then apologized, “Sorry, I might not have time to accompany you.”
“…It’s okay.” An Bu didn’t plan to invite you, okay?
Her cat master always felt that she needed his constant company and indulgence.
The next day, An Bu arrived at the museum as agreed.
Officer Sun was waiting for her at the entrance and immediately led her inside.
“Let me take you to see the antique the wealthy businessman brought back from overseas.” Officer Sun led An Bu into a meeting room.
In the meeting room, six people were either standing or sitting. Officer Sun introduced each one: “Director Ji Hong, antique appraisal experts Mr. Song Yinhe and Mr. Wei Jianbo, the owner of the antique, Ms. Fei Xinjue, and our two officers, Little Wang and Little Lin.” Then he introduced An Bu to everyone, “This is Miss An Bu, the consultant I invited.”
“Consultant?” Song Yinhe carefully examined An Bu over his glasses. “I wonder what kind of consultant you are?”
An Bu replied calmly, “Consultant for Unnatural Death Investigations.”
“Consultant for Unnatural Death Investigations?” Upon hearing this prestigious title, everyone wore expressions of confusion.
An Bu ignored their reactions and continued to gaze at the antique on the coffee table. It was an exquisite porcelain vase named “Beauty Embracing a Hairpin Vase.” According to experts, it had a history of seven hundred years. However, An Bu had no interest in its history. What truly captivated her was the yin energy emanating from the porcelain.
Unlike the Feng Shui yin energy in Kangquan Town, the yin energy on the vase came not only from the Feng Shui veins but also from the lingering obsessions and residual death aura of those who passed away centuries ago. Merging with the ancient artifact, they formed a unique spiritual entity that An Bu referred to as “object spirits.”
Yin spirits were adept at imitation, devoid of moral distinctions. They would disappear as soon as their obsessions were removed. However, object spirits were different; they were attached to specific items and wouldn’t vanish as long as the item existed, nor could they separate from it. They also have their own emotions and would actively attack anyone trying to destroy them or make them feel threatened. Their method of attack, like that of spirits, induced terrifying hallucinations.
When freshly unearthed, they might be in a state of ignorance. As more people interacted with them, they would gradually “awaken,” absorbing human brainwaves and eventually forming their own consciousness.
Object spirits were extremely rare, much fewer in number than regular spirits. In the eighty-some years after An Bu’s death, she had encountered only nine object spirits. However, this time, it was evident that more than one was present among the batch of artifacts.
“What’s the matter, Miss An? Do you have any thoughts on this vase?” Seeing An Bu staring at the vase without speaking, Song Yinhe asked with a half-smile.
Except for the police, everyone present didn’t believe in ghosts and spirits. They only had an affection for antiques, without any fear. Therefore, the object spirits did not attack them.
“No, I just think it’s beautiful,” An Bu casually said. As soon as she finished speaking, the object spirit in the vase suddenly surged, floating over to her with enthusiasm, absorbing her death energy delightfully.
The white mist-like object spirit circled around An Bu like a mischievous little ghost. Although they possessed their consciousness, they needed proper guidance. If they absorbed too much negative energy, it would be dangerous for anyone near them. Unfortunately, object spirits mostly originated from tombs, feeding on negative energy.
At this moment, Officer Sun spoke, “Mr. Song, Mr. Wei, Ms. Fei, thank you for your cooperation. I’ve briefed everyone on the general situation. The police hope that you can pay attention to the recent antique market to see if anyone is selling the stolen five precious items.”
Antique dealers had their own rules. Direct police intervention might startle the criminals, so it was better to discreetly gather information within the industry.
“No problem. We also want to know the whereabouts of those five precious items.” Wei Jianbo said solemnly, “This Beauty Embracing a Hairpin Vase has been resold abroad, and I absolutely won’t allow the other five to fall into the wrong hands.”
“Then I’ll trouble you all. Do any of you have any leads at the moment?” Officer Sun asked again.
Fei Xinjue spoke up, “In a few days, there will be a privately held antique appraisal gathering. I’ve received an invitation, so maybe I can gather some information there.”
“I wonder if Ms. Fei can bring her?” Officer Sun looked at An Bu.
Fei Xinjue apologized, “I’m sorry, but this gathering only allows one companion, and I’ve already promised Mr. Song.”
Song Yinhe nodded, confirming Fei Xinjue’s words.
Officer Sun then looked at Wei Jianbo, who snorted, “I haven’t received an invitation.”
“It’s okay, I’ll figure it out myself,” An Bu smiled.
No one knew how many hidden identities An Bu had. Even for a private gathering held by a regular businessman, she could find a way to sneak in.
Officer Sun initially wanted to say more but thought of Jian Ningxuan’s identity and wisely kept quiet. With Jian Ningxuan’s assistance, attending the gathering shouldn’t be difficult.
After discussing the specific details, Officer Sun took An Bu out of the meeting room. They followed the museum director to the treasure vault where the batch of artifacts was stored. Several armed guards stood outside the vault.
After presenting their identification, the three were allowed to enter the vault.
An Bu surveyed the surroundings and identified two object spirits hidden in a pair of jade pendants.
She looked at the label on the jade pendants: Yin-Yang Tai Chi Double Fish Pendants.
The object spirits on the jade pendants, resembling two carp, swam and played in the air. Sensing An Bu’s presence, they immediately swam over, conveying a sense of joy and excitement.
Suddenly, An Bu said to Officer Sun, “Can you let me see the pictures of the five stolen precious items?”
Officer Sun turned to the museum director, who took out his tablet and displayed the images.
After looking for a while, An Bu pointed to one of the pictures and said, “Does this vase look like a pair with the Beauty Embracing a Hairpin Vase?”
“Yes,” the museum director replied, “It’s called ‘Scholar Cautionary Carving Heart Vase.'”
Yin-Yang Tai Chi Double Fish Pendants, Scholar Beauty Embracing a Hairpin Carving Heart Vase… An Bu noticed that the antiques generating object spirits seemed to come in pairs, whether it was a coincidence or not.
“How about it, any discoveries?” Officer Sun asked.
An Bu pointed at the pair of Yin-Yang Tai Chi Double Fish Pendants and said, “Keep these jade pendants separately.”
“Do you mean…” Officer Sun’s eyes flashed with surprise.
“Yes, they are not clean.” As soon as she finished speaking, the fish-like object spirits circling around her immediately swam discontentedly and then dived into the jade pendants, ignoring her. After seeing An Bu turn to leave, they swiftly swam out again, quickly catching up, hovering around her as if saying, “This time we forgive you. Don’t go; stay and play with us.”
An Bu thought to herself: Next time I’ll come to find you, be good and don’t harm people again.
Double Fish: Hmph, if you don’t stay, we’ll go harm others!
Next, she saw them fiercely rushing towards Director Ji’s back.
An Bu raised her hand and swept them into the palm of her hand.
Seeing this, Officer Sun asked strangely, “What’s going on?”
“Nothing,” An Bu paused and suggested, “If you don’t want any more accidents, it’s better for you not to approach this treasure trove temporarily.”
“Weren’t you saying just now…”
“Unless I personally take care of them, otherwise, no matter where you put them, it will inevitably cause trouble.” These Double Fish seemed quite capricious, ready to harm others at the slightest disagreement. An Bu couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t cause trouble after she left.
Officer Sun nodded as if he vaguely understood, wanting to ask for clarification but not knowing where to start. After all, he instinctively resisted such bizarre and unpredictable matters.
However, in his heart, he had already decided not to let anyone approach the pair of jade pendants for a short period.