When Xiao Li walked out of the station that he was kept before release, there was already a black off-road vehicle waiting outside for him.
“Xiao Li.” A sturdy-looking man called out and walked over, wearing black sunglasses.
“Did Mr. Zhou speak to you about this already?”
“You’re the person that’s here to pick me up?” Xiao Li raised his head for a glance at the person, he seemed to tower over the average person with that height. Someone strong and built like Lin Zi was already 190cm yet this man was even taller than him.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the name ‘Haozhu Chen’29 before, have you?” The man stretched his right hand out and smiled, “But ‘Daoba Xiao’ has a well-known reputation here.”
Xiao Li grasped his hand, “I’ve never heard of that title but the name Chen Wu, I don’t dare to recklessly say it out in the open.”
“You flatter me.” Chen Wu gestured for them to walk towards the off-road vehicle, “It was difficult getting you out of here, why don’t you seem very happy about it?”
Xiao Li did not look at him or replied as he followed him. Just as he opened the car door, he was met with a blast of surprise. There was someone in the vehicle, a very familiar-looking person.
“Xiao Li, long time no see.” Ah-Mei30 looked up, a syringe clumsily fell out of her hand. “When I heard that you’re being picked up, I immediately took the chance to come and continue our fated meeting, just like before.”
Remembering that face, Xiao Li quickly retreated, swinging his elbow back so that he could strike, however, there was someone waiting behind him. His arm was firmly grasped while the other arm was pulled back close to his shoulder blade; he was forced to walk forward.
Jing-Jing quickly moved over, and within seconds, a sharp needle punctured Xiao Li’s shoulder. The end of syringe pushed in allowing more than half the liquid inside to invade his skin.
Ignoring the glower wolfing Xiao Li’s appearance and his struggle, Jing-Jing licked her lips, pulling closer to the side of his face. “Every time I see Li ge… I just want to ‘stick’ it in.”
Xiao Li’s brows drew together as the last bit of soberness took refuge in his eyes.
With a cigarette in his mouth, Yan Ming waited at the intersection with impatience and uneasiness.
Sun Zeyu never personally appeared, but he had contacted Lu Wu, and this was the designated location for their meet up. More than half an hour had with no one in sight, what’s worse was that they did not have their contact either – Yan Ming’s uneasiness intensified.
“Ming ge,” his confidant peered his head out from the driver’s seat to explore the surrounding. “Should we give Qing-Ye a call?”
“Wait a bit longer.” Yan Ming inhaled another puff of smoke and frowned.
“Ming ge, you also know how ruthless Li ge’s fists are. If by chance he struck Lu Wu’s men and ran off, Qing-Ye will be at a dead loss and his efforts in vain. Wouldn’t we be blamed?”
“I’m not the only one that knows the ruthlessness of his fists. I don’t believe Lu Wu is the kind of person who would not be keep his eyes open and be alert about it this kind of thing. More so, he knows of what Xiao Li has done before.” Yan Ming said in a fidgety manner. The more he pondered, the more anxious he felt – he walked back toward the car to get his phone.
“Hey! Ming ge, is it that car?”
A black off-road vehicle drove toward them from the distance with all the windows closed even though the weather was pretty good.
Yan Ming waited for the vehicle to approach before he moved in closer. Once the window rolled down, it revealed a tall and robust looking driver, wearing a pair of black sunglasses.
“Chen Wu?” Yan Ming said, a bit startled as he looked at the scar on Chen Wu’s forehead.
“We’re a bit late.” Chen Wu snorted, “I had to take my comrade to the hospital on the way here. From the look of it, two of her ribs were broken.”
Hearing that, Yan Ming did not know what kind expression to put on. Chen Wu narrowed his eyes from behind the sunglasses. “Your younger brother here has really strong bones. Even when he was drugged to such an extent, he still has the guts to risk his life just to attack us back. You see, my arm was nearly destroyed by him. Let me say this,” he hesitated for a moment, “If you guys don’t have any intention of keeping this person, remember to give him to us.”
“What? You’ve taken a liking to him?” Yan Min openly sneered, “Don’t worry, it won’t be your turn no matter what.”
Without expressing any other opinion, Chen Wu kept quiet and raised his chin as a signal for Yan Ming to open the back door himself.
When Yan Ming opened the door, the two rows of seats in the off-road vehicle was already torn and thrown out and Xiao Li was lying in an extremely uncomfortable posture – eyes half-opened, disorientated.
“What drug did you use?” Yan Ming’ reached out to inspect Xiao Li’s eyes.
“Who knows?” Chen Wu said. “That comrade of mine was the one who drugged him. Mr. Yan, aren’t you an expert in the usage of drugs? You can’t tell?”
Yan Ming scoffed, “No comment.”
His confidant had already run over earlier and dragged Xiao Li out of the vehicle. He grabbed him by the waist, heaved him on his shoulder and returned to their own car.
Chen Wu looked at their backs with pursed lips.
Yan Ming shut the back door and tapped on the window. “There’s no need for you to sigh with sorrow like that. Since he wants to leave the gang, it’s the same as a betrayal. No matter where you go, this kind of situation doesn’t have a good result. “
Chen Wu gave him a glance and drove off without rolling the windows back up.
“Okay…bring him back.” Li Shiqing hung up on the call and faced Sun Zeyu with a smile, “Thank you, Sun Tingzhang. Xiao Li is already on his way back.”
Sun Zeyu simply said, ‘it’s fine’, and looked at Li Shiqing from the corner of his eye. “Then you must not forget that since this person has returned, he is no longer a part of the gang.”
“I understand.” Li Shiqing smiled faintly, “Who has such power and influence to be able to make Sun Tingzhang find me and ask for this person?”
“Who said I’m not the one that wants him, huh?” Sun Zeyu said absent-mindedly.
“Sun Tingzhang, what do you need a gangster for?” Li Shiqing’s smile did not change. “The person who has a good relationship with you must be the one with this kind of thought, right?”
“A good relationship?” Sun Zeyu’s complexion sank. He snorted, “In short, I want you to let Xiao Li go, but…I’ve never demanded that he comes back uninjured. Do you understand?”
Li Shiqing smiled.
A few minutes later, Sun Zeyu impatiently stood up, “Cut his hand, his leg or gauge his eyes out, just do as you wish. I’ve only promised the person that I’ll take him out of the gang, but I never said in what condition.”
Li Shiqing also stood up and politely walked him out while smoothly, “Then I’ll handle it according to what Sun Tingzhang means.”
“Hello, Sun Tingzhang,” Qi Xiuyuan spoke into the handset. “I wanted to ask you, how’s the matter that I’ve asked you for help with?”
“Qi Laoshi, since you’ve been asking me every single day, you must really be concern about your rival in love.” Sun Zeyu replied in an unhurriedly.
In truth, Qi Xiuyuan didn’t have any desire to speak to with him. “Please answer me.”
“Xiao Li has returned, and I’ve also told Li Shiqing that I want him out.”
Qi Xiuyuan let out a sigh of relief, “Then, is he safe now?”
Sun Zeyu smiled and whispered, “Now? Qi Laoshi, you only said that you want the person, you’ve never set a time limit, did you?”
Those words forced Qi Xiuyuan’s brows together, “What do you mean?”
“Qi Laoshi, I’m doing this for your own good.” Sun Zeyu paused for a moment and added: “If Xiao Li actually returns with all his limbs completely attached, he’ll only escape somewhere far with Han Jia. Wouldn’t your love be a fail then, hmmm?”
Qi Xiuyuan went silent for a moment then seethed, “You’re messing with me?”
“How can that be? Qi Laoshi, you’ll understand my earnest efforts sooner or later. I’m only helping you—”
“Where is Li Shiqing’s house?” Qi Xiuyuan immediately interrupted him.
“Where is Li Shiqing’s house?!” Qi Xiuyuan shouted, flustered and exasperated.
This time, Sun Zeyu went silent instead but then he said, “Sorry, I don’t know.” The call then disconnected before anything else could be said.
Feeling worried, Qi Xiuyuan gritted his teeth. He first dialed Xiao Li’s number – just as he did every day since he was in police custody and as expected, it was still turned off.
He wanted to contact Han Jia but before he could, another call came through.
“Brother, brother…quickly come and get me!” Susu’s voice was filled with confusion.
“What happened? I have an urgent matter to—”
“Brother,” Susu’s voice cracked as if on the verge of tears, “There’s a pervert stalking me. When I went to work this morning, I saw him outside staring at me. Right now, I’m in a public telephone booth on Yuxin Road. It’s really dark and scary outside, I don’t have the nerve to walk out. Brother, come here and get me!”
“…stay there and don’t move. I’ll go immediately.” Qi Xiuyuan closed the phone and turn to face the driver, “Make a U-turn and go to Yuxin Road.”
The driver seemed to be someone that had experienced all kinds of strange scenarios since he was not the least curious at the sudden change of direction. Even more surprising, he didn’t give Qi Xiuyuan a glance either as he turned the car around.
29 Haozhu Chen – Haozhu means ‘porcupine’ so, in this instant, he’s introducing himself as “Porcupine Chen”. I’ll leave it as Haozhu Chen for the time being since the translated version of it is awkward for me. But, his real name is “Chen Wu”.
30 Jing-Jing – she’s from chapter 14, who chased after Xiao Li after he had jumped out of that room near Arc’ de Triomphe