Chapter 21 – Tian Yan’s Love
“Bing Shuai.” Ying Mei arrived with a folder. She glanced at the sealed basement door, with a confused look.
“What is it?” Bing Shuai smiled again in frustration. He had just tried to tell his subordinates to keep an eye on the door instead of Fu Bo himself, but even that order could not be imprinted on their minds. ‘What a terrifying technique…’
“Li Yiming showed up again. We found him in his apartment.”
“Oh? So he finally showed up? Was there anyone else?” Bing Shuai’s interest was piqued. ‘You go missing for ten days after I kidnap your friend? Interesting, very interesting…’
“No one else for now, but…” Ying Mei looked at one sheet of paper in the folder. “We’ve just found out that another group of people is tracking Li Yiming. We would’ve failed to notice them had we not taken precautionary measures.’
“Other people?” Bing Shuai frowned.
“Yes. We’ve only realized that a little while ago. They are located in an apartment facing Li Yiming, building number 137. They purchased the property on the second day we brought Ji Xiaoqin back.”
“It took you this long to find out about something this important!” Bing Shuai exploded in anger. ‘They move quickly… and here I thought that they haven’t even mobilized yet. It mustn’t be easy to hide from Ying Mei for ten days. We’re dealing with a scary opponent. Maybe there’s something else, another team that I haven’t discovered yet.’
“All of our hands are working on Li Yiming right now…” Ying Mei stepped away, intimidated by Bing Shuai’s outburst, and lowered her head.
“Put more people around there. Make sure to check the surroundings again. We can’t afford to expose ourselves, remember that we’re probably facing a foe with superior strength.” Bing Shuai took a deep breath to compose himself. ‘I need to stay calm. Emotional turbulences will only lead to irreparable mistakes. Our enemy is calm and patient… I have to match these qualities.’
“As you wish.” Ying Mei answered in a low voice and strode away.
* * *
Tian Yan rested on the wooden floor of her room. She could feel its warmth with her forehead, and she smiled shyly as the tip of her nose rubbed against the wooden planks. The light that came from below made her feel warm, made her heart race, made her face flush, and lit up her tenebrous world for the first time.
Bing Shuai had intentionally put her bedroom right above the basement, since it was the most appropriate location to sense any changes that would occur below. Right now, Tian Yan was thanking her good fortune; the visitor that had moved into the basement was the person whom she thought about day and night.
Tian Yan had visited Fu Bo the night before.
‘What a gentle voice. He speaks so slowly… and his jokes. Hihi. Apparently, he’s an author. It’s a shame I can’t see. Otherwise, I’d ask someone to buy a copy of his book for me. But… why is he here? Is it because of Bing Shuai? It doesn’t seem like he’s been harmed. I… I’m so close to him… Why isn’t Bing Shuai leaving? I want to go see him again.’
* * *
Fu Bo sank into the sofa, going through TV channels rather mindlessly. The room he was in was sumptuously decorated, much like a luxury suite at a hotel, with all the food and entertainment he could want, save for the ability to contact the outside world.
‘Seems like this is my prison cell. Not sure where I am, or what my kidnappers want. I’ve been rotting here ever since that weird, menacing looking man asked me some weird questions. Oh well, it’s not as if I’m not used to living like that, might as well make myself comfortable. Only Li Yiming… I won’t be able to meet him again.’
‘Speaking of friends, maybe I should thank my kidnappers. I met another new friend. That cute little girl, I remember seeing her at the mall and lamenting her fate…’
Tian Yan visited Fu Bo on the third day of his imprisonment. Fu Bo’s first thought was to try to extract some information out of her, but he abandoned the thought as soon as he heard her speak.
“I remember you…”
* * *
Li Yiming looked up at Yunding Tower, the legendary office building that stood high in Hangzhou. Both Fu Bo and Ji Xiaoqin were gone. The only clue he had was Guo Ying, whom he had met for the first time that day. However, neither Guo Ying or Guo Xiang could be found, so he would need to resort to finding Guo Xiang’s father, Guo Tai, the chairman of Yunlong construction group.
* * *
“Li Yiming left his apartment. He arrived Yunding Tower.” In a black car behind him, the muscular man picked up his transmitter.
“Yunding Tower? What is he doing there?” His mistress was surprised.
“He’s been standing next to a newspaper stand for about ten minutes, and it looks like he’s thinking about something.”
“Where are you right now?”
“In a parking lot right in front of Yunding.” The man did not understand why he was being asked such a question, but answered nonetheless.
“How long have you been there for?”
“About eleven minutes.”
“Leave now. Buy an airplane ticket to the south, treat it as a vacation until I call you back. I’ll get someone to replace you.”
“Why?” The man was surprised.
“You’ve been exposed.”
“As you wish.” The man did not question further. He put down his transmitter and headed straight for the airport.
In the capital, a woman dressed in a traditional robe stared at the birds on her window, her fingers slowly brushing her white jade teacup. ‘Yunding… Yunlong… Guo Tai… Bing Shuai… Li Yiming, why are you seeking Bing Shuai’s representative? What is your relationship with Bing Shuai?’
“Number Three’s already gone. Go replace him. Keep your distance and don’t expose yourself.” The woman put down her teacup.
“Don’t worry. Unless that Ying Mei shows up… hehe, these small shrimps won’t even notice me if I stood right in front of them!” An amused voice answered her command.
“Be careful. It’s Bing Shuai’s base of operations.” The woman frowned and said with a severe countenance.
* * *
‘It’s been the third time in ten days. What is she trying to accomplish?’ Bing Shuai sat in his usual spot with a cigar between his fingers. His attention was on the neighboring room. Beyond the wall, Tian Yan was slowly inching down to the basement by touching the walls.
‘She’s going down to see him again. Is it out of curiosity? She goes down, peeks at him, and then forgets about him. I guess it wouldn’t be surprising for Tian Yan to be curious about someone she can’t see. The second time could just be her forgetting about it and repeating her attempt, but the third time…’
A knock on his door was heard.
“Come in.” Ying Mei came into the room with her usual reverence as soon as she heard Bing Shuai.
“Li Yiming left his apartment. He’s at Yunding Tower now.”
“Really? What is he doing?” Bing Shuai stopped fidgeting his cigar.
“He’s at the front desk, seeking for a meeting with Guo Tai. He presented himself as a friend of Guo Xiang.”
“Where’s Guo Tai right now?”
“He’s having a meeting in Yunding right now. Twenty minutes until it’s over.” Ying Mei flipped open her folder again.
“They know everything about us. I’m guessing he’s looking to negotiate with Guo Tai…”
“Why not you then? Why Guo Tai?”
“Most likely to avoid an escalation. If anything happens, at least it’ll stay between the representatives. What of the other watcher?” Bing Shuai produced a sinister smile.
“He was tailing Li Yiming until a while ago. He suddenly left for the airport after seeing Li Yiming enter the skyscraper. I’ve asked someone to trail him.”
“He left? Did we get spotted?”
“Unlikely. We just switched people when he moved from one area to the next.”
“There’s something fishy about this… third party. I can’t tell if they’re Li Yiming’s support team, or if it’s an entirely new enemy. They know about us, and they’re showing their prudence around Yunding Tower.”
“Keep your distance. If that man is going to the airport to meet reinforcements, then keep paying close attention. If he’s just leaving, then let him go.”
“Understood. What about Guo Tai…”
“Tell him to meet with Li Yiming. We don’t know anything about our enemies yet. Prepare the equipment. I want to have a live broadcast of their meeting.”
“I’ll set things up right away.” Ying Mei left after a nod. Bing Shuai, however, continued to ponder about the possibilities nervously; it was the first time he faced an enemy he knew nothing about, and this unsettled him greatly. ‘I should expect reinforcements to come in through the airport. But what if he leaves… then, we’ve been exposed, there’s no doubt about it. Another enemy… this is getting out of hand.’
Eyeglasses: Hello team captain, Eyeglasses with hacker powers here… (although I’m not sure if using that consumes life marks… hmmm…)