After a while of silence, Wang Xingdong's voice came from the radio again. "Negotiation expert, you keep talking, but you basically mean to say that I was unlucky and can’t blame others, right?”
Chen Shi responded, "It does mean that. If such a thing were to happen to anyone, it may have resulted the same way... The person who sent you the gun is just manipulating your grievances. Are you willing to be his puppet? Calm down a bit!"
"Calm down? Hahahaha!" Wang Xingdong laughed. "Then let me ask you something, negotiator. What if you drew the short straw?"
Chen Shi was silent for a moment, ignoring Lin Dongxue's desperate shaking of her head to signal him not to continue. He said, "Accept reality."
"Okay then. I’ll send you a short straw right now. Come and swap with the hostage.”
Hearing this sentence, everyone was tense. Only Captain Zhang of the anti-narcotics team was relieved. Lin Qiupu said, "If we’re exchanging hostages, let me go. He’s just a consultant. I am the captain."
"Shut up!" Wang Xingdong shouted. "I will stop in a minute. Get that eloquent guy to come over and get in from the passenger door. If anyone else dares to get off the cars, I will kill the hostage."
"I promise!" Chen Shi said.
Lin Dongxue turned off the radio and said with a broken heart, "Are you crazy? He has already killed someone. It’s impossible to dissuade him."
"It's okay. He’s different from ordinary criminals. He will keep his promises."
"I'm not talking about that..." Lin Dongxue was so angry that she was about to burst into tears. "What if he kills you?"
"I will look for an opportunity to persuade him. Don’t worry." Chen Shi gently patted Lin Dongxue's shoulder, comforting her.
After the car stopped, Lin Dongxue cried and embraced Chen Shi. She said into his ear, "If you dare die on me, I will commit suicide!"
"It won’t happen. It won’t."
Although he said that, in fact, Chen Shi wasn’t confident. He could only take it one step at a time.
He pushed the door open and got out of the car. He opened the door of the police car and sat in the front passenger seat. The blood of the policeman who was shot was still on the seat. It was shocking to look at. Wang Xingdong was a thin man, like a thin branch. He looked similar to someone who was about to die from sickness. He was dressed in a long linen shirt and was unshaven. Hair that hadn’t been washed in a long time draped on both sides. He looked as though he would fall down even with a light push. Amidst all of that was a pair of bright eyes.
He swung the gun in his hand. "You, get out!"
The officer who was driving looked as though he was bestowed amnesty from a king and hurried to get out of the car as he fled back to his captain’s car. Then, Chen Shi shifted over to the driver's seat. Wang Xingdong said, "Take out all the things in your pocket."
Chen Shi took out the things in his pocket. There was a phone, wallet, and ID. Wang Xingdong reached out and picked it up every time a new item appeared. Finally, Chen Shi turned his whole pocket over, indicating that there was nothing left before Wang Xingdong nodded. “Start the car!"
The cars in the back immediately followed them as they drove quietly on the empty road in the middle of the night. Wang Xingdong turned over Chen Shi’s wallet and saw the photo of Tao Yueyue, which was the ID photo required by Tao Yueyue’s school. Chen Shi went to get it printed two days ago and it never left his wallet.
"Is this your daughter?"
"No, I’m just her guardian. In fact, it doesn't matter if I die. My house, car, and savings should be able to get her through to adulthood. She is very smart. It's probably not a problem for her to live alone. She’ll just be a little sad.”
"Haha, you are an interesting person. Normally, wouldn’t you play emotional cards to gain sympathy?"
"I'm just telling the truth. Besides, would that trick work even on you?"
"Hmph, it wouldn’t!" Wang Xingdong continued to look at Chen Shi's documents. "Criminal consultant? It turns out that you’re not really a policeman. Then you're really out of luck. They’ll shoot you and I both if necessary.”
"Don’t worry. That won’t happen unless you kill me first."
"What is your job?"
"I’m a driver."
"Haha!" Wang Xingdong laughed. "Making you drive is in line with your job then."
"Where would this gentleman like to go?" Chen Shi deliberately asked in the manner he usually used to speak to passengers.
"Keep going in circles."
"I need to remind you that there’s not much gas. I suggest going to a nearby gas station where the police wouldn’t dare to shoot and fill up on fuel before continuing."
Wang Xingdong thought about this suggestion and said, "Don't play any tricks!"
"Relax, passengers are Gods."
Wang Xingdong smiled. "This is probably the most dangerous ride in your career, right?"
"Not really. One time, there was a long-distance ride on a rainy day. I had to cross through the mountain road. That was dangerous..." Chen Shi calmly talked about his experience and Wang Xingdong listened quietly. The atmosphere in the car was as if he was driving a normal passenger around.
Half an hour later, they got to a gas station, filled up the tank, and got on again. Chen Shi made an “ok” sign to the police behind him. Lin Qiupu and the others were getting impatient. The communication between them ended so they didn’t know about the situation at all, and they couldn’t send a SWAT team after them right now either. Their only hope was Chen Shi’s wit.
Sitting back in the car again, Chen Shi asked, "Are you hungry? There’s a skewer place nearby. How about I take you there?"
Wang Xingdong asked slowly, "Are you trying to help me or lie to me? It's not easy to take action in the car, so you want to change to another place?"
"I want to help you."
"How can you help?"
"Let you escape outside the city!"
Wang Xingdong was a little shocked. These words were actually said by a negotiating expert. But if you thought about it carefully, he was not a policeman after all. He was somewhat credible.
"Really? Covering for and assisting criminals is a felony."
"It's better than death."
Wang Xingdong poked Chen Shi's head with the gun. "How does it feel to draw the short straw?"
"To be honest, it's quite a misfortune. I shouldn't have said so much."
"You deserve it!" Wang Xingdong laughed and then looked sad. "There’s no hope for a person like me. I either have to surrender myself or be killed on the spot. It's just the difference between an early death and late one.”
“Do you have any family members?"
"There was once a woman. After I started taking drugs, she turned away from me. I cheated money from her all day. Her family forbade us from being acquainted with one another... I even asked her things like why she didn’t sell her body. I was just an asshole who always hurt the people around me. Finally, I ended up all alone. Let me tell you something. The first time I took drugs wasn’t of my own volition. The drug dealers wanted me to show an act of loyalty since the drug dealers I’d been involved with were all arrested in succession. It was impossible for them not to be suspicious of me. At that time, if I didn’t take the drugs, they would have found a chance to kill me. In order to survive, I could only do that. I almost died the first time. Then, I gradually started enjoying it after the second and third time. That kind of happiness was better than eating, drinking, or making love. Once the threshold was crossed, I was able to do all kinds of things. I was more of a drug dealer than the real drug dealers. In the end, even my past colleagues were shocked to see me. I repeatedly recalled that day. Did I choose the wrong path? I should have refused and then died in the line of duty. Then, I’d forever be a martyr! It’s like a pilot rushing into the city with a plane that’s out of control. In the city, a forced landing would kill people and they’d wear a tarnished name for life. They may even have to go to jail. They’d have to find a way to fly away from the city. They’d die, but they’d become martyrs, praised by the world… Sometimes, if the principles of right and wrong want you to die, you will have to die. But I just wanted to live back then. I just wanted to survive!"
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