Book 1 Chapter 9 - More Than Twenty
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Li Yiming had no attention to spare for Qing Qiaoqiao. His eyes remained fixated on Ji Xiaoqin. He noticed the man starting to grope her, all the while observing Guo Xiang’s reaction with quick glances.
Guo Xiang looked at the whole scene without doing anything. He did not care particularly for Ji Xiaoqin, especially after what had happened at the gala. Li Yiming’s disregard, and that woman’s indifference, and… Especially the way she looked at Li Yiming, irritated him profoundly. After the gala, he answered the invitation from a group of friends and came to the nightclub to vent off his anger. Ji Xiaoqin insisted on accompanying him, and he did not oppose it. However, looking at the way she was treated by his “buddy” now, he felt the odd, twisted pleasure of retribution.
The man kept his attention on Guo Xiang. Seeing that he was not vexed, he lifted his eyebrow. Guo Xiang was a little surprised, but nodded with a smile. The man grinned perversely, emptied his drink, took Ji Xiaoqin in his arms and walked towards the bathroom.
Li Yiming, who had been espying the scene, fumed with indignation. He stood up and rushed towards the group. Perhaps the abnormal experiences he has had during the day gave him a newfound courage, Li Yiming yelled out in a vociferous voice, “Let her go!”
‘An overflowing sense of justice?’ Qing Qiaoqiao was a little stirred; she had also noticed that girl.
All of the heads turned towards Li Yiming. The D.J., true to his professionalism, lowered the volume of the music so that the hall sank into a dead silence.
“Li Yiming?” Guo Xiang stood up in an excited fury. ‘A road to heaven yet you won’t walk it, no door to hell but you insist on knocking.’
“You dare show up here?” Guo Xiang limped towards him, followed by a dozen men, all with mischievous expressions.
“What do you think you’re doing? You think you’re some kind of hero who’ll save the princess?” Guo Xiang stopped right in front of Li Yiming and blew out a mouthful of smoke onto his face. He turned his head to look back at Ji Xiaoqin, who still rested in the arms of his friend.
Li Yiming’s confidence waned when he looked at the crowd behind Guo Xiang. ‘I don’t think that this was the plan…’
“Oh? That little fairy’s also here?” Guo Xiang suddenly noticed Qing Qiaoqiao, who walked over from behind Li Yiming, and his eyes flashed with lewdness.
“You… Let go of her! How can you treat her like that? You animal!” Seeing the woman he loved in the arms of another, Li Yiming felt a bitterness unlike anything he had ever experienced.
“Ji Xiaoqin? Let her go?” Guo Xiang shifted his angry glare to Li Yiming. ‘What a loser! How dare he insult me?’ This was enough to burn away the fuse of barbarity within him. He fell into a folly exacerbated by his drunkenness. “Why? Why would she belong to you? Li Yiming, I’m telling you right now, I like to screw your girls. Not only Ji Xiaoqin, but that little fairy too, and I’ll screw her right in front of you!”
“Causing trouble for master Guo? You want to f*cking die?” The man who held Ji Xiaoqin dropped her and picked up a beer bottle. To pay back a favor doubly was the appropriate behavior in their society. He had just been granted permission by Guo Xiang to “enjoy” his girl, how would his peers look at him if he just stood there and did nothing?
Li Yiming looked at the man, who was about a head taller, leap at him. His hot blood was instantly chilled. He took a step back instinctively, but then, he clutched his hand on something Qing Qiaoqiao handed over. He lowered his head to look at the object.
By the time the thought ran through his mind, the man had closed in, and Li Yiming could already hear the sound of the glass bottle shattering against his skull. He did not have much time to think. Bang - Bang- Bang! The man collapsed on the ground, struck by the three rounds he had fired. The beer bottle clunked against the floor, but, owing to its high quality, did not shatter. Instead, it rolled sideways all the way to Guo Xiang’s feet.
A scream resounded through the hall. The group of people around Li Yiming instantly backed away, and Li Yiming found himself facing Guo Xiang alone.
Li Yiming looked at the gun in his hand, and at the muscled man, who was writhing on the floor. ‘I killed someone…’
The gunshot attracted the attention of security, and about twenty men dressed in black appeared at the exit of the hall.
Guo Xiang had too much to drink that day. The gun Li Yiming held was not enough to douse his hot-blood, but instead brought out the madman within him. After all, when was the last time Young Master Guo had been forced to swallow bitter endings in Hangzhou? He glanced at the security guards and screeched with all of his might. “You dare fire? Li Yiming? You dare? You have twenty bullets tops, and we’re a lot more people than that. How many can you shoot? Kill me if you dare. Listen to me, I’ll give two million yuan to whomever he kills, whoever that kills him… Five million.”
Reward is mother of courage. The mobsters and the security guards were people who were used to dealing with situations like this, and so, when they heard the numbers, their eyes glittered with greed. They searched around for something convenient to use as a weapon, and those who were not too drunk to think clearly were calculating their odds. Guns were banned in the country, so if that man had a gun, it must not have been entirely legal. On top of that, he fired first, so even if they were caught by the police later, these would be extenuating circumstances. As for the question of who will be shot by him, that was not worth their attention, five million… Unlucky is the one who gets shot.
The group of people came closer and closer to Li Yiming with bloodthirsty eyes.
Tatatatatatatat…. The sound of continuous firing suddenly went off, exploding a row of glass bottles on the bar counter. Everyone retracted their necks instinctively, and Li Yiming almost dropped his handgun when he heard the noise. He turned his head around slowly and saw Qing Qiaoqiao raise her shoulders, looking back at him gently. His attention then fell to the object she held in her hands.
An assault rifle… ‘I’ve seen that thing before in a game… Isn’t that the M4…’
“I have more than twenty bullets in mine…” Qing Qiaoqiao smiled… A smile which was as beautiful as it was sweet, with shyness hidden beneath her tender gaze, and timidity wrapped within her cheerful expression…
* * *
When Eyeglasses came back with a dozen boxes and began to set up, Guo Tai finally started to appreciate the danger he was in. ‘Just who on Earth is trying to kill me?’
Satellite radar… Sonar sensor… Infrared laser protection grid… 3D holographic surveillance system… A4 anti-personnel mine… Micro anti-air signal jammer… And these were only the pieces of equipment for which his bodyguards knew the names. The bodyguards helped set up the devices, and looking at the way they moved the objects around, it seemed as if they were handling nuclear missiles.
Guo Tai paced around in the living room. Although the clock had already ticked past three in the morning, he barely felt tired. A few dozens of patrol cars had arrived, and the flashing lights made the atmosphere even tenser. Qing Linglong stood by the window with her hand covering her ear, whispering about something. Grandma Wang remained in her seat in the living room with her eyes closed and her arms crossed in front of her, just as someone of her stature ought to be. Eyeglasses was busy conducting tests using the dozen of monitors layed out in front of him.
“Commissioner Wang, how long do you think it will take before this Zhang Qiang... Tries to kill me?” Guo Tai felt rather uneasy: it was very unusual for him to be at the mercy of someone else.
“Two days… He will surely make his move within two days. We have received information that Zhang Qiang will be participating in a deal at the national border in three days, so…” Grandma Wang kept his eyes closed as she answered the question, true to her pretense of a high-level official.
“Two days…” It was good news for Guo Tai, since it meant that his terror will last only two more days. However, this information also inevitably made him even more nervous, since it also meant that Zhang Qiang would certainly appear before too long.
At that precise instant, the butler rushed into the room and whispered into Guo Tai’s ear nervously. “What?! Are you sure?” asked Guo Tai shockingly.
“Yes, it was a call from the owner of Golden Shine Nightclub himself.”
“What happened exactly?”
The butler looked left and right, and whispered a few sentences into Guo Tai’s ears.
“Bullshit! Some jealousy fit about a woman? Who the f*ck brings an assault rifle to a nightclub for a woman’s sake?” Guo Tai lost his temper upon hearing that his only son, Guo Xiang, had just been kidnapped. Those who did so were armed with heavy weaponry in a country where even compressed air guns are a rare sight. ‘A fit of jealousy… Pftt, unbelievable!’
“Mr. Li from Golden Shine wants to know if we should call the police…” The butler was also shocked by the news: it seemed like his master was in quite a bit of trouble. Guo Tai gestured in annoyance, and the butler knew better than to stay around him. Qing Linglong had just finished her call by the window and returned to her seat in the sofa. Grandma Wang glanced at the back of the butler, who walked away and smiled inwardly. ‘The fish has taken the bait…’
“Did something happen?” Grandma Wang asked Guo Tai impassively.
“My son… My son has just been kidnapped, and the kidnappers were armed with heavy weapons,” said Guo Tai. With his wealth of experience, he already had a good idea of the reason behind such an event.
“Oh?” Grandma Wang sounded surprised. “It must be Zhang Qiang… This is due to our negligence. Ah, we shouldn’t have forgotten about it.”
“Mr. Guo, Zhang Qiang holds you responsible for the death of his adopted daughter, so…” Qing Linglong stood up and interjected, “What should we do now? Zhang Qiang is no ordinary criminal, he’s not going to ask us for a ransom, nor leave us any time to think of countermeasures.”
Qing Linglong’s explanation sufficed to completely obliterating Guo Tai’s facade of calmness. ‘Then, my only son is probably…’
“No, we still have a chance,” said Grandma Wang with a calm voice, hinting at the fact that nothing had escaped her calculations.
“How?” asked Guo Tai in a voice filled with worry.
“With Zhang Qiang’s capabilities, he would not even need to go through the trouble of kidnapping your son. He could just kill him…”
“You mean that…”
“Yes. Your son was left alive for a reason. There must be an ulterior motive, so your son should be safe in the meantime… I’d guess that Zhang Qiang has noticed our presence, and he’s worried about confronting us. He knows that you have only one son, so he wants to increase his chips on the table…”
“So… What happens next?” Grandma Wang’s phlegmatism and her calm analysis did not bring comfort to Guo Tai, since it was but a reprieve. Who knows what kind of fate might await Guo Xiang? After all, he was at the mercy of that butcher… Also, what kind of demand would Zhang Qiang make? He was after Guo Tai’s own life, after all.
“Maybe there’s a way to save your son, Mr. Guo, and it can also shelter you from Zhang Qiang…” Qing Linglong hesitantly proposed.
“Comrade Qing Linglong!” Grandma Wang yelled with a look of reproach.
“Ah… It’s nothing…” Qing Linglong understood the intimation and stopped herself.
Guo Tai squinted his eyes and carefully thought about what just happened.
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