Following behind the young agent, Li Yiming entered the local police station in charge of the case. Under the curious attention of many of the police officers, he walked into an interrogation room.
“Did he confess?” Li Yiming asked as soon as he walked into the room.
“He doesn't know much, but we’re pretty certain that this has to do with a gang called the Merry Couples.” The agent who was responsible for the interrogation, one of Lin Lu’s top aides, stood up from where he sat and reported his findings. Having been working under Lin Lu for quite a while already, he knew just how much she valued Li Yiming. Right now, Li Yiming was their best bet in finding Lin Lu, as their requests to their superiors have all been ignored.
“The Merry Couples?” Li Yiming asked as he scanned through the interrogation report for the possibility that the agent might have missed something.
“It's a local gang that makes counterfeit stones and artifacts. They’ve been making quite a name for themselves during the past three years.”
“So they’re a criminal organization?” Li Yiming asked to confirm.
“Yes. It should be the one with the most local influence.”
“Well, to be precise, it was a rather small gang until a year ago, until the occurrences of paranormal incidents forced the local police to direct its manpower away from keeping them down. Ever since, they’ve been growing at a rapid pace.” The agent noticed Li Yiming’s confusion about how a group of gangsters would be involved in the kidnapping of a high-ranking official.
“So what did they use? Some kind of sedative?” Uninterested in the history of the organization, Li Yiming focused on the matter at hand.
“Yes. Apparently they forced the owner of the stone shop to add it to the tea.”
“So he's not with them?” Li Yiming glanced at the shop owner, whose limbs were trembling violently.
“It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that the gang has a lot of influence and power with the local folks.”
“But why would they target Lin Lu?” Li Yiming stated the question which bothered him the most.
“Well, ever since its explosive growth, it seems like they've gotten themselves involved in other… businesses. There have already been three disappearance cases related to them, only nothing could have been done due to lack of evidence.”
“All young women. Aside from running some of the artifacts shops here, the gang also runs many sauna centers, clubs, and underground casinos.”
Li Yiming’s expression froze upon hearing the agent’s words — he knew exactly what that implied. The biggest mystery to him was how such an organization could exist in broad daylight.
“What are you guys planning now?” Although the agent had been reporting to Li Yiming as if the latter was his superior, Li Yiming knew that it was not his place to give out orders.
“We've already contacted local police forces. Everything’s being set up undercover to avoid attracting any unwanted attention.”
“What's the name of the shop in the stone market place?” Having no interest in fighting against organized crime, Li Yiming was focused on figuring out Lin Lu and Wu Jia were.
“Merry Couples Jadeware.”
“I'll go take a look then.” Li Yiming put down the integration report and made for the door.
“Wait, I'll come with you!” One of the agents quickly followed.
* * *
“What on Earth are you doing?” Sai Gao looked at Fu Bo in bafflement as the latter walked out of the shop with a giant rock on a trolley cart.
“I have a feeling that there's something very interesting about this rock, but since this isn't the place to examine it in detail, I…”
“You don't say…” Sai Gao gulped down a mouth of saliva with difficulty, as his hands began shaking with excitement.
“So you're feeling it too? Come, have a look at it!” Fu Bo grew more excited as Sai Gao’s reaction gave him a sense of vindication.
“ Wait…” Sai Go suddenly took two steps back, as large beads of sweat began rolling down his forehead.
“What is it?”
“This…” Sai Gao said with a trembling voice.
“You know what this is?”
“I…” Sai Gao fell to his knees before he could finish the sentence.
“Sai Gao! Are you okay?” Fu Bo cried out and rushed to help his friend.
“I… I don't know what this is, but something tells me... a voice deep inside me is telling me that I need to bow down to this rock... it's as if it's my king…” Sai Gao said with a grave voice as he supported himself with his arms.
“Shit…” Normally Fu Bo would have thought Sai Gao to be playing around, but his reaction seemed much too genuine.
“We can't stay here with this... We need to bring it away.”
“Don't you have a storage ring?”
“I can't even stand up right now, how do you expect me to put this into my ring?” A blue scale appeared and immediately vanished afterward on his right hand, as Sai Gao struggled to restrain the erupting power within him.
“Let’s get you out of here first, then I’ll take care of the rock.”
As Sai Gao was dragged away by his friend, he looked back at the rock one last time. ‘The king of this world... who could that be…?’
* * *
“Why is he here? Is he the one behind all of this?” Li Huaibei frowned as he witnessed Li Yiming entered the shop in a hurry, surmising about whether the latter was responsible for the suppression of his senses.
In addition, Li Huaibei had a strange feeling that the person he saw was not exactly Li Yiming in his entirety. After fighting by Li Yiming’s side before, Li Huaibei knew exactly what kind of extraordinary power he possessed.
“Tian Yan, call Qian Mian right away, we're going to need this help for this.” After some pondering, Li Huaibei took out his cell phone.
“I've already contacted him, he's on his way now. What's the situation over there?” Tian Yan asked.
“Li Yiming just entered the shop.”
“What? He’s also there?”
“Yes… I don't know how to put it but… I think you need to see for yourself…”
“You think that he’s behind all of this?”
“It's hard to tell. I'll keep an eye on him. Be careful, tell me as soon as Qian Mian arrives,” Li Huaibei hung up his phone and began closely monitoring the shopfront.
After hanging up the phone, Tian Yan slowly moved her wheelchair next to the window. She took out the small paper slip and stroked it slowly with her thumb. ‘So Li Yiming’s there... What about you?’
* * *
“Shit! We’ve been drugged…” Chen Quan looked around. He found his two companions laying on the ground, unconscious, with their teacups at their feet.
The moment he drank the tea, he realized that there was something wrong, but it was too late to warn his two companions, and both of them fell under the influence of the drug. After that, the only course of action to take was to pretend that he was also under the influence of the drug, and he laid down against the wall.
A well-built man arrived in the room and began examining the three stone tablets, two of which were already in the shop, and one was brought in by Chen Quan’s group.
“Are these things really artifacts?” The man mumbled to himself.
Hearing the man speaking to himself, Chen Quan understood everything right away. He realized that they have been targeted because the shop owner realized the value of the artifacts. ‘Wang Youfa, you idiot. Why did you have to be so conspicuous about this? Now, how am I going to get out of this? It's going to be easy to escape the shop, but what about the stone tablet...’
“Oh? What is it?” One employee rushed into the room and began whispering into the owner’s ear.
“Alright, tell him that we're finished with business today.” The owner dismissed his subordinate. He had just received a report that the two girls he kidnapped had been brought to the sauna center. Today was a fruitful day both in terms of wealth and lust, and he was eager to claim his prize.
“Right away.” The employee chuckled, as he understood the mood his boss was in.
“Close the shop front, we're going to have plenty of things to enjoy tonight.”
“Yes!” The employee answered enthusiastically. One of the qualities his boss possessed was the generosity about sharing his prey with his subordinates. He had seen the two girls they had kidnapped today, and both of them were rare beauties. As lewd thoughts ran through his mind, the employee pulled on his pants and rushed for the door.
The door was suddenly sent flying before he could reach it, and a white sports shoe then collided with his face.
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