An hour later, the police car arrived in the city center. This street was normally crowded during the holidays, but right now it was even more crowded. Everyone could only park their cars nearby and push away the crowd who just wanted to watch the scene out of curiosity.
Lin Dongxue picked up a bulletproof vest from the car and threw it over to Chen Shi. "Put it on."
Chen Shi was very reluctant. It was like wearing a quilt on a hot day, but he had to obey.
Through the window of the hot pot restaurant, everyone saw terrified guests squatting under tables. A man in a red shirt was sitting on the table in the middle, slowly drinking cold beer and eating mutton in a copper hot pot. He was holding chopsticks in his right hand and the gun in his left.
Lin Qiupu put his gun belt down. "I'll negotiate!"
Chen Shi said, "Since I'm asked to help, if I'm not allowed to go in and negotiate, I'll head back. Who has the patience to wear a bulletproof vest on this hot day getting heat rashes for no reason?"
"You don't understand. The negotiator must have a certain status, otherwise your words are like farts. It won’t be persuasive.”
"That's just a certain strategy. There are many strategies in negotiation. I have my own strategy. Just watch!"
With that said, Chen Shi walked in. Lin Qiupu shouted, "Radio!"
He threw the radio to Chen Shi. Chen Shi took it and tested it. Then, he made an “ok” gesture to Lin Qiupu.
Chen Shi walked into the hot pot restaurant and the air-conditioning blowing at him made him feel very comfortable. Both his body and mind were calmed down. Lin Qiupu heard the sound of "Guru Guru" on the radio and asked, "What are you doing?"
"Drinking a cold beer. It’s so refreshing!"
Lin Qiupu was about to vomit blood. He regretted it a little bit. Did this guy know how to negotiate? How could he act so casual?
The gunman saw Chen Shi and pointed at him with the gun with the intention of not letting him come over. Chen Shi finished drinking the glass of beer, put the glass down, wiped his mouth, and said, "Hello, I’m a negotiation expert. How should I address you?"
"Mr. Ouyang..." Chen Shi looked to the side. A man that looked like the manager was on the ground, moaning while covering his leg. Blood flowed all over the ground. "Since there are so many hostages, I reckon you should let this injured guy go first.”
"I’m not letting him go."
"Let him go, okay? Please."
"Is there a point in that?"
Lin Qiupu outside said helplessly, "This guy doesn’t know how to negotiate at all!"
Chen Shi asked, "Can I sit down?"
"I'm curious. There are gold shops, convenience stores, and tobacco shops on this street. Why did you hijack this hot pot restaurant? Brother, what’s troubling you?"
Ouyang rolled his eyes. "It has nothing to do with you. Get lost!"
Chen Shi walked to the window and Ouyang became alert. "What are you doing?!"
Chen Shi said, "Helping you, brother. You have all the windows open. The sniper can kill you with a single shot. I’m closing the window for you, okay?"
Lin Qiupu was about to go insane. "How can this idiot do this?! Negotiation isn’t to help criminals!"
Chen Shi closed the windows one by one and the restaurant became a lot cooler. Ouyang's expression eased a little as he said, "You’re different from those policemen."
"Actually, I’m not a policeman."
"Not a policeman?"
"Negotiation experts are usually just citizens. By the way, I've been to this place before. It's not bad. Do you come often?"
"No, I don’t."
Chen Shi observed his whole body and noticed that he was wearing thick trousers and thick socks. A person’s income can be known by looking at their shoes. He was wearing a pair of worn-out sneakers, which showed that he didn’t have a high income.
"Do you have any conditions or anything?"
Ouyang shook his head with a smile. "You don’t need to waste your efforts. I’ll surrender after eating this meal."
"By the time you finish eating, the person will probably die. I suggest you let the injured one go first, and then you can just eat. I can even accompany you to eat. It's okay to eat until nighttime, okay?"
"Don't even think about it."
"Do you have a personal grudge with him?"
When the words "personal grudge" was mentioned, the hand that held a glass shook a little, but his face was still calm. This detail didn’t escape Chen Shi's eyes.
In fact, when he came in, he was already thinking that this man had no reason to hijack a hot pot restaurant. He must have had his own reasons.
Chen Shi asked the man on the ground, "How should I address you?"
"My surname is Zhang... Hurry and rescue me. I’m really dizzy... I can't feel this leg anymore..."
"No talking!" Ouyang roared loudly as he grabbed a handful of enoki mushrooms and threw them at the man's face.
Chen Shi noticed a detail. Ouyang could have kicked him with his left foot, but he grabbed something with his right hand to throw at him instead. The man on the ground was also shot on the left leg. He observed Ouyang's legs again and noticed something.
He asked the man on the ground, "Have you met this Mr. Ouyang before?"
He shook his head desperately. "I don't know him at all."
"You don't know me?!" Ouyang grabbed a handful of lettuce and chucked it at his face. "Bastard!"
"Brother, what kind of bad-blood do I have with you?"
"Do you want to nag me more? Do you not want that other leg anymore?"
The injured man shut his mouth in fright. His lips were already purple.
Lin Qiupu anxiously said over the radio, "Talk about the conditions. Talk about the conditions quickly!"
Chen Shi ignored it and said to Ouyang, "If I’m guessing correctly, your left leg is fake."
Ouyang looked at him in surprise.
Chen Shi continued, "Because your right foot’s shoe is badly worn but your left shoe isn’t. Also, you’ve been sitting still since you entered. Just now, you could have easily kicked him with your left foot, but you grabbed things to throw at him with your right hand. I was just thinking that your left leg is either seriously disabled or prosthetic."
Ouyang smiled. "You’re amazing!"
He slowly rolled up his left pant leg to reveal the wooden prosthetic leg. The man on the ground was surprised.
Ouyang said to the injured man, "Do you really not remember me?"
The injured man shook his head.
"Let me remind you. On March 18th two years ago, there was still a Chinese fast-food restaurant here. One night, you received an order and asked a delivery person who was already off work to help you deliver it. You said you’d give them extra money. In order to earn a dozen more yuan, the delivery person set off in the light of rain, but there was a car accident on the road and he lost a leg. When he wanted to talk about compensation, you insisted that he was already off work at the time and it wasn’t a work-related injury.”
The injured man seemed to recall and said, "You aren’t being reasonable. I already compensated! I compensated a hundred thousand!"
Ouyang was furious and swept all the dishes on the table to the ground. Lin Qiupu heard the movement inside and asked, "What's wrong? What happened?"
Chen Shi found it annoying and took off the wireless radio completely. Ouyang shouted, "That's after I spent money getting a lawyer to sue you. That’s when you wanted to sort it out privately. This compensation was dragged on for two years. I lay in bed for two years and lost everything! The source of all of this was caused by you. I will never forget your shameless face at that time!" He picked up a beer and took a big sip. "I don't want to take any lives today. I asked the doctor and got told that if you’re shot in the thigh and don’t go to the hospital for an hour, then you’d have to get it amputated. When I finish eating this hot pot, I’ll surrender myself. Your leg would be rendered useless by then. A leg for a leg!"
1. An expression commonly used to express immense frustration caused by someone else.
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