CR: Chapter 343

Xiao Lou woke up and his vision was pitch black. His surroundings were so quiet that he could almost hear his own breathing. He wanted to stretch out his hands to explore but found they were tied behind his back. The rope was so tight that he felt a dull pain from his wrist. He seemed to be sitting on the cold concrete floor and his eyes were covered by a thick cloth.

Xiao Lou didn’t expect that one day, he would also encounter a thrilling ‘kidnapping experience’.

He recalled the scene just now. Right after he walked around the corner, his neck suddenly felt numb and he quickly lost consciousness. The other party should’ve been watching him for some time and had been observing his movements. Once no one was around, they shot him with an anesthesia gun and took him away.

The men’s leather shoes he saw last were the latest style, proving that the other person wasn’t an ordinary street gangster. He was someone who paid attention to appearance. Ye Qi and Old Mo were probably also kidnapped by this person.

Since he was brought here after he fell unconscious, he didn’t know where this place was. What’s worse, he was connected to Old Mo and couldn’t tell Yu Hanjiang about the current situation. Xiao Lou tried to contact Old Mo through Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings but there was still no response. It was very likely that Old Mo and Ye Qi were still unconscious.

Xiao Lou quickly calmed down and carefully analyzed the current situation.

There was no doubt that it was someone from the mysterious organization who kidnapped them. Maybe Qingshui Town was the stronghold of this organization so they had attracted the organization’s attention as ‘outsiders’.

All four of them wore invisibility cloaks when visiting the ‘Tianya Club’ last night and couldn’t have been seen. How could the other party lock onto them and kidnap them?

The first possibility was that as early as the hospital where they launched the investigation into the organ trafficking case, someone had been watching them. After they came to Qingshui Town, the other party monitored them and took the opportunity to capture them today. If so, there must be someone from the organization inside the hospital.

The second possibility was that after they came to Qingshui Town, they accidentally triggered the alarm in the secret warehouse of the ‘Tianya Club’ which aroused the organization’s suspicion. Today, they came to Uncle Zhong’s birthday banquet. The other party confirmed their identity and took them away. Either way, there could never be a good result being in the hands of this organization.

What would this group of frantic lunatics do to them? Killing them was the quickest way to shut their mouths. After all, Cheng Shaofeng and Uncle Zhong were already killed by them, right?

The thing that worried Xiao Lou the most was that many cards couldn’t be used because his hands were tightly bound. For example, cards like Bai Juyi, Tao Yuanming, etc., required him to take out the cards with his hand and summon the card characters before he could use the attached skills. His card pack was hidden in this secret room and hadn’t been found by kidnappers. Unfortunately, Xiao Lou couldn’t move his hands now and he couldn’t take out the cards at all!

What to do? Would Group Leader Yu find the clue he left behind?

Xiao Lou’s heart thumped. The moment he had been anaesthetized, he left a card behind at the scene. It was the Drone card.

At that time, he only had three seconds to react. By the time the dizziness hit his mind, the man in leather shoes had already walked in front of him. He used the last of his lucidity to activate the dragonfly-sized drone in the sky. If there were no accidents, Yu Hanjiang should be able to find the drone he left behind. After recovering the card, he could see the scene under its surveillance.

Hopefully Group Leader Yu was fine. At present, only Yu Hanjiang could save them.

Just as Xiao Lou was thinking about countermeasures, there was the sudden sound of footsteps. The sound of leather shoes stepping on the ground clearly echoed in the quiet space. Xiao Lou was alerted and listened carefully. There were three people, one of whom had very regular footsteps. He walked slowly and seemed calm and relaxed. The other two followed this man.

“Brother Rong, these people have actually come to Qingshui Town. What should we do?” It was a woman’s voice.

“They dared to pull the hair on a tiger’s head. What do you think the consequences will be?” The deep male voice showed a trace of laughter. He made a ‘cut the throat’ gesture with his hand and the two people with him immediately understood.

“Before killing them, it is better to use them.” A young man suggested. “The old man is useless but we can take the hearts, livers and kidneys from the young man and child. Maybe a suitable match can be found. If not, the corneas can still be used.”

“……” Xiao Lou was horrified to hear this. These people wanted to empty out their organs?

“Go and see first if the three of them are awake,” Brother Rong instructed in a low voice.

The footsteps approached and Xiao Lou immediately pretended to sleep.

He heard an iron door being opened and the clatter of footsteps as the leather shoes gradually approached him. A pair of cold fingers gently pinched Xiao Lou’s chin. Xiao Lou felt cold. It was like he had been bitten by a poisonous snake.

The man asked with a smile, “Are you awake?”

The other person’s fingers pressed hard, causing pain. Xiao Lou didn’t dare to move and tried to keep his breathing steady. The man found that Xiao Lou didn’t respond and let go, speaking indifferently, “Watch them.”

It wasn’t until the other person left the room that Xiao Lou let out a slight sigh of relief.

Judging from the footsteps and the echo when speaking, this was a closed space with an area of around 10 square meters. The door was a heavy iron door and the floor should be covered with cement instead of wood or common floor tiles. The sound of footsteps was weakened in some places which might be ground without cement.

The man had brought a strange fragrance when he walked into the room just now.

Xiao Lou didn’t know exactly where this place was. His eyes were blindfolded and his hands were tied. He could only obtain more information using his hearing and sense of smell to facilitate the rescue of his teammates.

***

At the same time, Shao Qingge anxiously waited for the call to be connected.

According to Xiao Lou’s instructions, he informed Long Sen and Qu Wanyue that they should stay in the hotel and not go out. He also sent a message to Liu Qiao for her to rest in the hospital today. All three replied that they were fine for the moment.

Then Shao Qingge called Xiao Lou’s phone but only got a busy tone. Although his phone wasn’t turned off, Shao Qingge had a bad premonition when the call wasn’t connected/answered.. Shao Qingge persevered and tried three times. However, 10 minutes passed and still no one answered.

What was going on? Was something wrong with Xiao Lou too? He tried to call Yu Hanjiang only to get, “I’m sorry, the number you dialed has been turned off.”

Shao Qingge finally couldn’t sit still anymore. He left and headed to the hotel to find Long Sen and Qu Wanyue. Seeing Shao Qingge’s ugly expression, Qu Wanyue immediately invited him into the room and poured a glass of water for him. “Chief Shao, you just finished surgery and should be resting at home. Why did you run out? In case your heart…”

“Something happened to Xiao Lou.” Shao Qingge interrupted her. “And Ye Qi, Old Mo and Group Leader Yu can’t be contacted at all!”

“What?!” Qu Wanyue stared at him incredulously. “What the hell is going on?”

“I can’t get through to the phones of all four people and I can’t connect with Xiao Ye through Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings. It is only when the other person is unconscious that this connection will be interrupted.” Shao Qingge’s eyes narrowed and a sharp glint flashed in them. “I suspect that when they went to Qingshui Town to investigate the case, they were caught by the people of the organization.”

“Oh my god…” Qu Wanyue stared at Long Sen in disbelief. “These people are crazy. If they grab Professor Xiao and the others, won’t they kill them? What should we do now to save them?”

“We are a three hour drive away from Qingshui Town. Can we rush over now?” Long Sen had no idea how to proceed. Every time they entered, the Hearts and Spades secret rooms were led by Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang. Now neither of them could be contacted. His mind was about to become a mess.

“……” Shao Qingge pressed a hand against his head that felt like it was about to burst. He had no experience in this area either! What should they do? Qingshui Town was too far away. Even if it was close, they had no clues. It was like finding a needle in a haystack!

[Do you want to save me?] Suddenly, Xiao Lou sent a message in the WeChat group.

[Xiao Lou?] Shao Qingge sat up straight and quickly typed: [Where are you? What is going on?]

[At 12 midnight at Xishan Cemetery of Qingshui Town, prepare 5 billion gold coins in large denominations. Pack them in boxes and place them in front of the 10th tombstone from the left in the 18th row of the cemetery.] Xiao Lou sent a message and then continued. [All the remaining five people in the group must come. There can’t be one missing. Once I get the money, I’ll let your friends go.]

“……” Shao Qingge, Qu Wanyue and Long Sen exchanged looks.

“Professor Xiao’s mobile phone should be controlled by them.” Qu Wanyue spoke softly. “These people are using Professor Xiao’s mobile phone to send messages and have us pay the ransom.”

“It can’t be as simple as paying a ransom to save our teammates.” Based on Shao Qingge’s understanding of the Spades and Clubs keepers, things wouldn’t be so easy. After the last Clubs secret room, Shao Qingge’s savings were more than enough to afford 5 billion gold coins. Moreover, kidnapping and extortion wasn’t like the cold-blooded and brutal style of the organization. It was more likely to be…

“They want us to pay and then kill the hostages?” Long Sen came back to his senses and spoke in a frightened manner. “Having us all go there isn’t only to get a lot of money but to also kill all of us, right?”

“……” Qu Wanyue stiffened and she nodded solemnly. “It is possible. The chat records in the WeChat group must’ve been exposed. It isn’t just Professor Xiao. The phones of Old Mo, Xiao Ye and Group Leader Yu might be in their hands as well. They saw our chat history and know we are investigating the organ trafficking. They naturally won’t let us go back alive!”

“No.” Shao Qingge suddenly picked up his phone and looked carefully at the messages from ‘Xiao Lou’. He couldn’t help narrowing his eyes slightly. “The other party asked for the remaining five people to be present, indicating they have only kidnapped three people.”

“Three? Is there someone who hasn’t been kidnapped?” Long Sen scratched his head. “Could it be Group Leader Yu?”

“It must be Group Leader Yu!” Shao Qingge stood up immediately. “Xiao Ye and Old Mo haven’t separated. If they are kidnapped then the two of them must’ve been kidnapped together. Xiao Lou’s phone is being controlled by the organization. Only Group Leader Yu remains. I can’t reach him but it says that his phone is turned off rather than getting the busy tone or the ‘out of service area’ message.”

“Turned off. If Group Leader Yu was worried about us contacting him, he can mute his phone. Perhaps something is wrong with his phone such as it having no power or is broken? Is that why we can’t contact him for the moment?” Qu Wanyue quickly speculated.

“Yes, as long as Group Leader Yu isn’t caught, Professor Xiao and the others can be saved.” Shao Qingge believed in Yu Hanjiang’s strength but he couldn’t wait. He reconfirmed the messages sent in the group and told the others, “We will first take out the cash and get Liu Qiao. Then we will go to Qingshui Town to join Group Leader Yu as soon as possible.”

Shao Qingge found some large suitcases and called out an ATM machine on the spot. The other party had asked for large gold coins so Shao Qingge took out gold coins worth 50,000 apiece. The three people quickly filled the suitcases, got into a private car and went to the hospital to pick up Liu Qiao.

Liu Qiao had already received the news and found an excuse to get away from the doctors. She was waiting for them at the hospital gates.

After getting in the car, Liu Qiao remained silent and sat in the back seat thoughtfully.

Shao Qingge was driving the sports car. They had just left the city and reached the express highway when Shao Qingge’s phone rang. It was an unknown number. Shao Qingge thought it was the kidnappers so he hurriedly answered the phone and asked in a low voice, “Hello? Who is this?”

“It’s me.” The man’s low and familiar voice entered his ears. “Yu Hanjiang.”

“……” Hearing the familiar voice, Shao Qingge acted like a drowning person grabbing onto the life-saving straw. There was joy in his eyes as he exclaimed, “Group Leader Yu! Do you know that Xiao Lou, Xiao Ye and Old Mo are in trouble?!”

“I know.” Yu Hanjiang’s tone was calm but his fists were clenched so hard that the veins on the back of his hands bulged. He resisted the urge to catch those people and beat them up. He took a deep breath and told Shao Qingge, “Xiao Lou left me the drone and I saw him being taken away.”

Yu Hanjiang had hurried back to the coffee shop only to find that Xiao Lou wasn’t there and his phone couldn’t be reached. He had to look around and he found the dragonfly-sized drone hidden under the streetlamp at the corner of the street.

The S-grade card Drone was very easy to use. Once it was released, the card terminal could monitor it remotely. The released drone could also be recovered and the camera system inside the drone used to see images that had been monitored for some time.

Yu Hanjiang first saw the scene inside the hotel that Xiao Lou had filmed. The local police questioned the guests attending the banquet. The glass of wine President Zhang brought over was the most suspicious but President Zhang couldn’t remember what the waiter looked like.

Yu Hanjiang recognized the waiter—it was the mysterious killer who shot him at Cheng Shaofeng’s house on the first day of the secret room.

It was a pity that he lost this person halfway through. On the way, he encountered a group of small gangsters who tried to rob him. Yu Hanjiang put them down one after another but unfortunately, his phone broke in the chaos.

Yu Hanjiang continued to watch. The drone surveillance was blank for a while and it should be Xiao Lou taking back the card.

After half an hour, the drone started working again. In the image, Xiao Lou was lying on the ground and seemed to be unconscious. A big man got down from a black van and walked over to Xiao Lou. He leaned down and patted Xiao Lou’s face gently, confirming that Xiao Lou didn’t respond. Then he waved behind him. Two more people got out of the car and carried Xiao Lou away.

The drone caught Xiao Lou’s face.

His eyes were closed and he was slightly frowning. He seemed to be quietly asleep. Seeing him being carried away without any resistance, Yu Hanjiang was annoyed. He wanted to enter the video and cripple all those basta*ds! If they dared to touch a hair on Xiao Lou’s head then he would never let them go!

Yu Hanjiang restrained his anger and contacted Shao Qingge to confirm the safety of their other teammates.

Shao Qingge wondered, “Did Professor Xiao’s drone capture any other clues?”

“The drone captured the license plate of the van. It is Bin A-78964. Xiao Lou left me a very useful clue and I will immediately go to find the location of the car. I will find them even if I have to turn over the entire Qingshui Town.” Yu Hanjiang paused before declaring firmly, “I won’t let anyone get hurt.”


Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality

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