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Li Yiming chose to ignore Mrs. Qiang as he had more important matters to attend to. It was when she interjected that he turned his head toward her and noticed a cell phone on the desk right in front of where she sat.
‘She still has her cell phone?’ Given her status, Li Yiming was not completely surprised. After all, those who participated in the auction were all important figures of society, and it would be outrageous to deprive them of their means to manage their business and assets. In reality, confiscating the cellphones of the unimportant guests was a way to control the divulgement of information and to protect the privacy of the wealthy and powerful.
“I need to make a call, it’s really important. Could you help?” Li Yiming asked the vice-captain earnestly.
“That’s not a problem, but both of us need to be in this room when making your call,” The vice-captain answered with a smile after a brief glance at Mrs. Qiang.
“That’s not a problem.” Li Yiming gave a grateful nod and paced toward the telephone.
“Wait!” Mrs. Qiang suddenly intervened.
Li Yiming stopped as he extended his hand toward the phone.
“You need to wait in line, don’t you?” Mrs. Qiang stood up from her chair and said with a sly grin.
“Mrs. Qiang…” The vice-captain did not know the reason for her interposition. As soon as Mrs. Qiang entered the room, the vice-captain knew that she was there to ask information about another guest on the cruise ship. After all, he was the one who managed the background data files for every individual that participated in the auction.
“I also want to use the phone. I was here first.” Mrs. Qiang stared at the vice-captain.
“Don’t you have your own phone?” Chen Quan was perplexed. He pointed at the cell phone on the table, which was decorated with glittering accessories, suggesting that it belonged to a woman.
“The battery’s dead.” Mrs. Qiang smiled and waved her phone before putting it into her handbag. After an approving glance from the vice-captain, she picked up the satellite phone.
“It’s urgent,” Chen Quan said after glancing at Li Yiming, whose countenance sunk gradually.
“But I’ve also got something urgent. Young people nowadays…” Mrs. Qiang tossed her hair behind her shoulders and glanced at Li Yiming. She was pleased with the turn of events that allowed her to exact revenge. After going over the events that happened on the upper deck, she wondered what gave Li Yiming the courage to humiliate publicly. She suspected that even the money that he used to pay the young model came from Fang Shui’er.
‘Fang Shui’er… Did I piss you off?’ Mrs. Qiang pondered as she waited for the call to go through.
“I’m sorry. She was here first. Could you please...?” The vice-captain guessed Mrs. Qiang’s intentions right away. He simply did not want to be involved in personal disputes between guests. The remainder of his sentence was stuck in his throat the moment he made contact with Li Yiming’s eyes.
The vice-captain had witnessed that kind of threatening, glacial look before. There had been a time when one of the rich guests had publicly humiliated his captain after drinking too much. The day after, that guest had vanished, never to be seen again. Nobody talked about the latter until the disappearance was mentioned on the news a few weeks later.
“Hey, sis Fang? It’s me. Oh yeah, my phone ran out of batteries. I just wanted to ask you if you’ve given Bei’Er her bath on time. Remember, she’s a purebred Samoyed. Dry her properly after her bath. Otherwise, she’ll fall sick. Also, you’ve turned on the air conditioning when she’s sleeping, right?” Mrs. Qiang, who had turned her back to Li Yiming, continued to go on about her “urgent affairs”.
“Excuse me, I just remembered that I was on patrolling duty today…” The vice-captain suddenly said with a smile, completely disregarding the rule he mentioned about his needing to be present when a guest was at the telephone. He suddenly understood that taking into account what Chen Quan did for a living, his friends were not to be trifled with. ‘He’s an A-listed criminal who deals with corpses! I can give Mrs. Qiang a favor, but anything more is going to be trouble.’
Li Yiming ignored the vice-captain as the latter ran out of the room. His attention remained on the woman in front of him. ‘Liu Meng’s life is in danger, and she…’
Just as Li Yiming was about to leap on Mrs. Qiang and seize the telephone, Chen Quan tapped his hand and gave him a small square-shaped leaf.
Chen Quan had a diabolical smile, and after showing a second, identical leaf to Li Yiming, he put it under his tongue, suggesting Li Yiming to do the same. He unwrapped his bath towel right after, causing Li Yiming to frown as he did not wear anything other than an old belt with all sorts of pouches attached to it.
Just as Li Yiming was having a brief moment of confusion, Chen Quan reached out for one of the small pouches and threw a pinch of powder in Mrs. Qiang’s direction.
‘Poison?’ Li Yiming had thought about the taking the phone and teaching Mrs. Qiang a lesson, but poison seemed a little over the top to him.
Although Chen Quan’s actions were completely unexpected, Li Yiming was quick to put the leaf Chen Quan gave to him in his mouth. He had no doubts about the potency of Chen Quan’s poison, especially after witnessing the latter’s ability in the Lianyun City domain. As the leaf came into contact with his mouth, an extremely sour and irritating taste invaded his throat. Li Yiming’s eyes filled up with tears instantly, and he almost spat out the leaf. He glanced at Chen Quan and saw the latter completely unfazed by the unpleasant taste.
“Oh yeah… be careful about that plant we have in the study, my husband cares a lot…” Mrs. Qiang’s topic now moved from the dog to indoor plants.
“Also…” Mrs. Qiang paused unnaturally.
‘This fast?’ Li Yiming was shocked.
“The skirt I’ve sent off to the tailor last week, can you…” Mrs. Qiang continued talking, but only managed to squeeze out half a sentence before stopping again.
“I…” Mrs. Qiang frowned and looked at Li Yiming and Chen Quan, who were waiting behind her. Li Yiming could see beads of sweat rolling down her forehead, and the shaking of her legs grew even more violent.
‘What did he…’ Li Yiming looked at Mrs. Qiang, who seemed to be growing more uncomfortable by the second, and then at Chen Quan, who smiled diabolically.
“I’ve heard from last time that the car washing…” Mrs. Qiang tried to continue her conversation…
A loud noise was heard, one which covered Mrs. Qiang’s voice. It took both Li Yiming and her by surprise. Li Yiming knew that something wet just came out of Mrs. Qiang.
Another noise. Li Yiming took a step back and noticed that Chen Quan had already retreated back to the entrance.
Pfft! Pffft! Pfft!
Mrs. Qiang could barely stand up. She put the telephone to her stomach and supported herself with one hand.
“Are you done with your call?” Chen Quan walked forth with his hand around his nose exaggeratedly.
“If so, then we’ll make ours..” Chen Quan could barely retain his laugh as he took the telephone from Mrs. Qiang. “It seems like you’ve got food poisoning, you should talk to the vice-captain about it.”
Chen Quan tossed the phone to Li Yiming and rushed out of the room. The putrid smell which filled up the room began to spread into the hallways.
Li Yiming gulped down his astringent-tasting saliva as more noises were heard, accompanied by the disgusting smell.
“A laxative?” Li Yiming asked as he walked out of the room.
“She should thank me for it. It’s deep desintoxication. Very expensive, by the way…” Chen Quan shrugged his shoulders. Li Yiming thought of his appearance, with his small eyes and his large nostrils, to be strangely resembling that of a devil laughing at others’ misfortune.
‘I should never underestimate these old legacies…’ Li Yiming thought to himself.
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