‘Tried to kill herself…Rescued…’ Li Yiming’s heart skipped a beat.
“Wait, there’s something unusual with her bank account,” Eyeglasses suddenly remarked, “After that incident, she was paid a large sum of money…”
“Just enough to buy 200 tons of steel… Shit!” Eyeglasses struck his thigh with his fist.
“We’ve had it wrong since the start…’ Qing Linglong rubbed her forehead in frustration.
They had incorrectly interpreted the rules since the beginning, especially about the nature of the will at the root of the domain.
The first clue was the collapse of the viaduct. Yunlong Construction Group and Wang Jianjun’s embezzlement emerged as the points of interest following its occurence. However, despite the ostensible conclusion of “corruption”, or even “politics” at first sight, if one dug a little deeper, they would quickly realize that these clues were all but a distraction from the true nature of this domain, “infidelity”.
The excesses of modern society had weakened the commitment of its members to family and marital fidelity, creating an environment rife with men who sought sensuality and women who had ulterior motives for maintaining relationships with such men. This is nothing out of the ordinary, and yet, precisely because of its normality, a will was born out of the phenomenon. Unbeknownst to his wife, Wang Jianjun had a mistress of his own, and, for the latter’s sake, forced his wife down the path of suicide. After the incident, Wang Jianjun used the money he embezzled to buy peace from the former.
Contemplating the matter in hindsight made the chain of events seem evident. Had they been able to control Wang Jianjun from the start, it would not have taken long before the bare truth was exposed. However, the interference of the camouflager befogged their investigation, and, with the trails broken, they had no choice but to follow their original deductions…
“What do we do now? We know the truth about the mission now, but the next clue isn’t anywhere in sight. Also, why would the camouflager kill Guo Xiang? What does he have to do with Wang Jianjun? I can’t find a link between them.” Eyeglasses was restless and continued to type on his computer at a furious speed; there was not much time left for him, and he had to start everything anew.
‘The camouflager’s targeting of Guo Xiang, could it be…’ Qing Qiaoqiao thought about Li Yiming.
The same thought ran through Li Yiming’s mind. The way the camouflager looked at him, the second dagger he held, Li Yiming’s intuition was that it had something to do with himself.
“Where’s Ji Xiaoqin right now?” A terrible conjecture suddenly occurred to Li Yiming. He yelled out loudly enough to arouse the attention of the police officers around him.
“That girl at the scene? She’s in the Second Provincial Hospital, undergoing psychological therapy…” A petite officer jumped upon hearing Li Yiming’s loud voice, and the answer slipped out of her mouth almost instinctively.
“Therapeutic division of the Second Provincial Hospital.” Eyeglasses’s answer came at nearly the same speed.
“You’ve got something?”
The two identical questions came from Captain Zhang and Qing Linglong. Li Yiming did not answer them. He grabbed a set of car keys from the table and dashed toward the exit. He was praying with his entire soul that he was wrong.
“Where are you going?” Captain Zhang’s voice came from behind. “Quick, contact secretary Ye. There might be a breakthrough on their side.”
“The camouflager, the camouflager wants to kill Ji Xiaoqin.” Qing Qiaoqiao suspected.
“There’s no time to explain. Quick, we have to go to the hospital.” Qing Qiaoqiao answered anxiously: she knew exactly how much Ji Xiaoqin mattered to Li Yiming.
The praise Wu Jie had just received from his superiors warmed his heart. He received acknowledgement for his meticulousness, his daring approach, and even a promise for a promotion, despite the fact that he had barely finished his internship. When he saw Li Yiming running towards him, he did not feel embarrassed in the slightest, and he was instead very moved by the latter. ‘He’s as old as I am, yet already a key member of State Security. A secret agent, wow! Look at him, he’s only been there for a few minutes, and he’s completely absorbed by his work. Look at the anxiousness on his face! It’s almost as if his own life was at stake… Look at the speed at which he’s running! He already beats everyone I’ve seen today with just that.’
Wu Jie straightened his shoulders and saluted Li Yiming while the latter was still far away, but Li Yiming stopped right in front of him. Wu Jie was a little scared, ‘Does he have a grudge against me…’
“Do you know how to drive?”
“Yes… Yes, I do.”
“You have been enlisted,” said Li Yiming as he pulled on him. Wu Jie felt a mixture of bewilderment, excitement and anticipation as Li Yiming pushed him into the driver seat of the car. Li Yiming himself did not know how to drive…
“Get to the Second Provincial Hospital as fast as you can. You can save the world and become a national hero,” said Li Yiming between heavy gasps for air.
“Yes, sir! I won’t disappoint you.” Wu Jie sat upright and stepped on the gas pedal. The car bolted out of the police station with the sirens wailing. ‘Saving the world… National hero…’
“Li Yiming, Li Yiming…” Captain Zhang’s voice came from the telecommunication device. Li Yiming pulled the wires and threw the device out of the window. ‘Who has the time to mind a Non-Player Character?’
Wu Jie glanced at Li Yiming in surprise, but the latter’s visible anxiety intimidated him into silence. “If I can’t get there on time… I’ll be damned…” Li Yiming uttered to himself as he clenched his fists in front of his chest.
This was the spark which set ablaze Wu Jie’s heroic aspirations. His reaction speed, which he had trained so much back at school, and his aptitude at fine-tuning, were on full display as the patrol car sped up to more than 120 kilometers per hour on the bustling streets of Hangzhou. Although it was not the rush hour, and the terrorist attack made the residents of the city hesitate to leave their homes, such a speed was beyond amazing for anyone familiar with the city’s infrastructures. However, they were soon blocked by a BMW with its signalling lights on: it seemed like the car mistakenly entered the fast lane and intended to merge into the right lane. A middle-aged woman with voluminous hair was speaking on her cell phone in the car, and, upon hearing the honking and the siren coming, she flashed a glance and went back to looking at the front, without showing any intention to yield the way. 1
“Ram it!” Li Yiming noticed the deceleration and made a crazy decision.
‘For the safety of the country…’ Wu Jie pushed on the pedal he had just moved his feet away from as hard as he could.
Bam! The BMW spun two full turns, and a piece of the patrol car fell onto the pavement. The car hood was severely deformed as a result of the collision.
Wu Jie threw a furtive look at the rear-viewing mirror, and, instead of feeling panic for what was essentially a hit and run, he felt an odd excitement. Since he had made the decision to enroll in the police academy, it meant that he would have few opportunities to drive like this in his life. Wu Jie’s blood boiled, and his eyes glittered with buzz. He remembered the slogan he was taught during the ethics course of the academy, ‘For the safety of the country!’
As a student from the police academy destined for greatness, Wu Jie inherited all of his hot-blood, his energy from the likes of Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Takumi Fujiwara 2: he was speed and fury itself, and he was not alone in his fight. Today was the day the world witnessed the birth of someone blessed with the attention of modern media, tomorrow was the day he was going to be on the headlines of all of the news outlets.
Sidewalks, pedestrian-only streets, green belts… Equipped with flashing lights and wailing sirens, Wu Jie was ready to race through any segment of this crowded city. Wherever he went, commotion ensued. BMW, Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, no car could match him. Police, firefighters, traffic regulators, city administration, all could but bite his dust.
With a beautiful drift, the damaged patrol car stopped right in front of the Second Provincial Hospital, causing screams left and right from the pedestrians. A trip of 17.8 kilometers within the heart of Hangzhou only took 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Li Yiming opened his car door, a little disoriented, and threw a fearful look at Wu Jie. ‘Is this guy a guardian?’
Wu Jie also disembarked, and he was struck by a sense of pride as he turned back to look at the road he had driven on.
Beep beep! A white Land Rover arrived quickly after from behind, stopped on the side of the road and honked at the two.
Qing Linglong came out of the car with a frown, and glanced at the broken patrol car. ‘We’re barely 5 kilometers away, and they came from the headquarters, yet they arrived first?’
“Pick up your gear,” Qing Linglong did not ask any further and signalled Li Yiming to the trunk of the car.
‘Are all secret agents this attractive? Does she really have what it takes? She doesn’t look like someone made for the harshness of the job…’ Wu Jie looked on with curiosity and followed Li Yiming, but the next moment, he was dumbstruck and swallowed back all the pride and madness which he felt from his crazy car ride. ‘A full car load of weapons… Heavy weaponry…’
Ji Xiaoqin laid on the white hospital bed with a vacant stare. The doctor had just injected a dose of tranquilizer, but she could not fall asleep at all. ‘Guo Xiang is dead? Li Yiming killed him? Did he do it for me? That girl by his side, she was beautiful… More than me… How do they know each other?’
Her thoughts were curious to say the least, for she did not think about how she appeared inside that hotel room, or why there was a terrorist attack: these questions completely slipped by her mind.
Ji Xiaoqin was put inside an intensive care unit with sealed windows and a reinforced door. Not only was she the only patient inside the room, two guards were also posted at the entrance to protect her.
* * *
Guo Tai had lost his reason: his son was dead and all that mattered to him now was vindication. The soldiers his father sent to protect him had arrived, and he gave five million to each of them for the task of avenging Guo Xiang. However, news soon came from the police. Secretary Ye called him in person to inform him that Li Yiming was not the real culprit, and that he was in fact trying to protect his son. Now that Li Yiming, the only outlet upon which he could vent his boundless rage, was off the radar, Guo Tai was driven even closer to the brink of madness.
However, he quickly found another target. ‘Yes, Ji Xiaoqin. She disappeared with my son, was kidnapped along with my son. He’s dead but she’s still alive? No, she will die along with my son. I will have her die right in front of his funeral hall. She will accompany my son in life and in death; she will live as a Guo and die as one…’
* * *
The two officers at the door were very nervous; although the mission they were tasked with consisted of protecting a witness to a terrorist attack, which carried significantly less risk than being on the front line with their colleagues, when they saw the imposing figures of the four soldiers in front them, they lost the little composure they had. The four-man squad had asked to take over the eyewitness and refused to allow them to contact their superiors for permission. The two officers were convinced by a handgun to not sacrifice their lives to futile infighting among the proletariat…
The four soldiers rushed into Ji Xiaoqin’s room when the latter was about to fall asleep. They dragged her out of her bed without asking, while the two police officers posted to protect her observed from the entrance. The group of five had barely exited the room when one of the soldiers suddenly collapsed to the side, dragging a nurse down in his fall. A scalpel was gouged into his temple.
Action action action! For those of you who have been waiting for 13 chapters already.
1. Apparently this isn’t an exaggeration. Not yielding to emergency vehicles is a problem in China. As reported in this article of the Beijing Review
2. Racers most of whom I don’t know the name
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