Thanks to Ye Qi’s quick-thinking, the other end of the bug must’ve been placed on the kidnappers. It was a pity that Ye Qi’s Bug card had a distance limit. The full-level card could only eavesdrop within 500 meters. At this time, there was no sound from the bug, indicating that Ye Qi’s location exceeded 500 meters.
Yu Hanjiang placed the bug receiver in his ear. He looked around the town while calling Shao Qingge, “Chief Shao, can you contact Xiao Ye?”
Shao Qingge’s voice was filled with a trace of helplessness. “I am unable to contact him through Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings. He should still be unconscious.”
“Where are you?” Yu Hanjiang glanced at his watch. It was already 9:30 p.m. and there were only two and a half hours left before midnight, when they should place the ransom payment at the cemetery as mentioned in the WeChat group. Time was very tight.
“There is still more than an hour until we arrive at Qingshui Town.” Shao Qingge was already driving at the speed limit of the highway. If he went any faster he would be intercepted by the traffic police. He was also very worried.
“Once you arrive, don’t act immediately and listen to my instructions. I’m trying to find out where Ye Qi and the others are,” Yu Hanjiang instructed softly.
“Check the location?” Shao Qingge asked. “Group Leader Yu, do you have a way to find their position?”
“The drone left behind by Xiao Lou filmed the kidnapper’s license plate number and I found the black van with the help of the police. There was no one in the car so they should’ve been transferred. Fortunately, Ye Qi left a clue in the car. His Bug card is in my hand.” Yu Hanjiang explained. “I am driving around Qingshui Town to check. As long as I hear any sounds, I will look for them within a 500 meter radius.”
“Ye Qi left the bug?” Shao Qingge gripped the steering wheel tightly and couldn’t help blaming himself. Ye Qi was able to leave the bug which proved he was still conscious when he was tied up. However, Shao Qingge was sleeping at that time. Ye Qi might’ve used the Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings but didn’t receive a response from Shao Qingge. Therefore, he left the bug and pinned his hope on Yu Hanjiang finding it.
If Shao Qingge hadn’t slept late today, perhaps he would have found out when Ye Qi was kidnapped.
“I changed phones but I’m still using the same number. I can contact you by phone if I have something,” Yu Hanjiang told him.
“Okay.” Shao Qingge took a deep breath, pushing aside the self-blame in his heart. “Group Leader Yu, we’ll come as soon as possible.”
After hanging up the phone, Shao Qingge pressed hard on the accelerator. There was a strong sense of being thrown back and the white sedan drove like lightning on the highway.
At this time, Xiao Lou was sitting quietly on the ground, motionless. It was dark and he couldn’t judge the specific time and place.
He and Old Mo were connected by Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings. Now they were both kidnapped and he had to find a way to get in touch with his teammates outside. However, his card skills wouldn’t refresh until midnight. Not to mention, his hands were tied and he couldn’t activate his cards.
He could only wait until his card skills refreshed and then find a way to activate Qin Guan’s Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings again to establish a connection with Yu Hanjiang. What time was it now?
He was the only person in this quiet space. He kept trying to contact Old Mo but Old Mo never responded. He didn’t know how much time passed before a hoarse voice was heard in his mind. “Professor Xiao?”
Xiao Lou’s heart shook and he immediately asked, “Old Mo, what is the situation on your side?”
Old Mo woke up in a daze and was a bit lost for a moment. Then the darkness in front of him and his bound hands made him quickly judge the current situation—he was kidnapped.
Old Mo smiled bitterly and explained, “Ye Qi and I wandered around the hotel at noon to see if there were any suspicious people coming or going. It didn’t take long before we saw Uncle Zhong surrounded by people being carried out of the hotel. We hid in the corner to observe and were attacked from behind. I quickly lost consciousness, it felt like I was shot by an anesthesia gun.”
His experience was similar to Xiao Lou’s. The enemy had a professional anesthesia gun which could instantly bring down an adult.
Xiao Lou wondered, “Is Ye Qi with you? What is the environment like around you?”
“Xiao Ye isn’t with me. I’m blindfolded and can’t see or hear anything. However, I just kicked the ground and heard an echo. It feels like I’m locked in a closed room.”
“Is the ground covered with cement?”
“Yes, it must be cement.” Old Mo spoke confidently. He was very sensitive to decoration materials. The temperature and texture of the cement floor was different from wood or ceramic tiles. He was sitting directly on the cold concrete floor and this made him shiver.
“Has anyone come in?” Xiao Lou wanted to know more details.
“I don’t know. I just woke up and heard you calling me in my head.” Old Mo frowned in a worried manner. “I was kidnapped, right? Professor Xiao, where are you?”
“I was also kidnapped. I should be locked up in the same place as you but a different room.” Xiao Lou paused and comforted him. “Don’t worry, our teammates are outside and they will find a way to save us. Old Mo, the two of us should keep in touch at all times. Once the contact is interrupted, it means it is midnight and the card skills are refreshed. I need to grasp this specific point in time.”
“Understood.” Old Mo spoke in an understanding manner. “Once the skills are refreshed, can you find a way to contact Group Leader Yu?”
“Yes, I hope he hasn’t been kidnapped as well.” Xiao Lou said helplessly. “If Group Leader Yu was also kidnapped, we would have to find a way to meet up and escape together. Don’t act rashly for now.”
Old Mo and Xiao Lou talked about the case through their connection.
Yu Hanjiang drove back and forth around Qingshui Town for three rounds. He didn’t let go of even the dead end places but the bug stayed silent.
There were two possibilities. Either the three of them were taken away from Qingshui Town and were beyond the reach of the 500 meters radius of the eavesdropper or the person carrying the eavesdropper didn’t make a sound. It was unlikely that a person would make no sound at all. They would at least have footsteps while walking. Therefore, there was a greater possibility that Ye Qi was no longer in Qingshui Town.
Seeing that it was getting late, Yu Hanjiang’s mobile phone rang again. “Group Leader Yu, we are here.” Shao Qingge sent him a location via WeChat. The four of them had just gotten off the highway and were parked in a remote suburb.
Yu Hanjiang told them, “Wait for me there. I will come immediately.”
He drove the car and quickly arrived at Shao Qingge’s position. Shao Qingge got out of the car, walked over to Yu Hanjiang and spoke quickly. “What is the result of the bug investigation? Is the range locked?”
“It isn’t too optimistic.” Yu Hanjiang’s expression was extremely cold. “Xiao Ye’s bug can only transmit sounds within a range of 500 meters. They might’ve been taken to a place far away from Qingshui Town. I went around the town several times and couldn’t hear any movement from the bug.”
“Then what should we do? It is almost time.” Shao Qingge frowned and looked down at his watch. It was 11:30 p.m. and there were only 30 minutes left until the midnight appointment time set by the other party. Just then, there was a message in the WeChat group.
He saw ‘Xiao Lou’ typing: [At midnight tonight, the Xishan Cemetery. Don’t be late. The five of you have to come together. It can’t be more or less. Otherwise, you will immediately see the bodies of your three friends.]
Yu Hanjiang immediately replied: [I want to confirm the safety of these three people. Let me talk to them.]
The other party said: [A call isn’t necessary. I’ll show you that they are still alive!]
Three photos were sent to the group.
Xiao Lou and Old Mo were blindfolded by black cloth, their hands tied tightly behind their backs while they sat on the ground. While Xiao Ye was huddled in the corner like a shrimp. The three of them were locked in three rooms with no windows or lights. It looked like a dark basement and it was impossible to tell where they were.
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou in the photo and his heart stung.
Fortunately, on the surface, Xiao Lou didn’t seem to suffer from any traumatic injuries. He shouldn’t have been beaten or abused. Yu Hanjiang took a deep breath and spoke in the group: [See you at Xishan Cemetery at midnight. I’ll pay the money so hand over my people.]
The other party said: [You aren’t allowed to call the police. If I find any police officers other than Group Leader Yu on the scene, you will immediately see videos of these three friends being dismembered, understood?]
“…….” Yu Hanjiang almost smashed his phone out of anger.
[I understand. We will try our best to cooperate.] He resisted the anger in his heart and calmly finished typing.
[Very good. I’ll see you soon.] The other party replied with Xiao Lou’s phone.
Yu Hanjiang put away his phone and looked at his four teammates. “The phones of Xiao Ye, Old Mo and Xiao Lou are all controlled by them. They saw our chat history in the WeChat group and know that we have a lot of information. Their purpose is to lure us with the ransom and then wipe us out.”
“This is why they asked the five of us to go together to pay the ransom. If we do go, it is like throwing ourselves into the net.” Shao Qingge’s expression was ugly and a sharp glint flashed in his eyes. “I believe that once we fail to meet their requirements, these beasts will immediately take a video of them dismembering the three people and send it to us on Xiao Lou’s phone.”
“……” Liu Qiao, Long Sen and Qu Wanyue all shuddered.
They thought of the corpse with a missing kidney in the hospital morgue and then Xiao Lou, Xiao Ye and Old Mo being dismembered. They couldn’t help feeling a chill and their blood was frozen. This was the biggest crisis their team had encountered so far. If they didn’t handle it well, perhaps Xiao Lou’s group of three would actually be dismembered!
“F*k them!” Long Sen couldn’t help swearing. “If the five of us go together, it is very likely we will be caught as a group. Professor Xiao definitely won’t be at Xishan Cemetery! Shouldn’t we leave someone behind to save them?”
The five of them going together was tantamount to death. However, if they split up and didn’t meet the demands of the other side, it was possible Xiao Lou’s group of three would be dismembered. Even if they went to Xishan Cemetery and beat up the people present, they wouldn’t be able to save Xiao Lou’s group. Rather, it might put them in danger. Their teammates were still in the hands of the kidnappers. Didn’t this mean the five of them had to go obediently to Xishan Cemetery? Then wasn’t it the end once all of them were caught?
Everyone was silently in a dilemma for a while. Suddenly, Liu Qiao said, “I have a way but I don’t know if it will work.”
Yu Hanjiang turned to her. “Say it.”
Liu Qiao took out a card. “My Twin card can copy anyone I see within 30 minutes. Later, I’ll pretend to be Group Leader Yu. Then I will summon Little Red Riding Hood and let her pretend to be me. This way, we can be five people.” She paused for a moment. “Little Red Riding Hood will always follow me. At least on the surface, there will be five of us.”
Qu Wanyue’s eyes lit up. “This is a good method. Xiao Liu can pretend to be Group Leader Yu and Group Leader Yu can find a way to save the others!”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “How long can you pretend to be a person and how long can Little Red Riding Hood exist?”
The Twin card was first used by Liu Qiao in 4 of Hearts, Liuxi Village. Later in the World Weekly, she used it to pretend to be a shark. She never used it in the subsequent secret rooms and Yu Hanjiang didn’t know the status of her card.
Liu Qiao said, “I can pretend to be Group Leader Yu for an hour and Little Red Riding Hood will follow me as long as I don’t cancel it.”
Little Red Riding Hood was one of Liu Qiao’s fairy tale cards. As long as she didn’t take it back, Little Red Riding Hood would always follow its master silently.
Yu Hanjiang thought about it and nodded. “Yes, we’ll do that.”
Liu Qiao used the Twin card and soon one more Yu Hanjiang appeared in front of everyone. He had the same height, appearance and even had the same voice. Then Liu Qiao summoned Little Red Riding Hood and arranged the girls’ clothes. Qu Wanyue even helped her have the same hairstyle as Liu Qiao. From a distance, it looked indeed like Liu Qiao was following Yu Hanjiang. This should be fine in the darkness.
Yu Hanjiang looked at Liu Qiao appreciatively. “Speak as little as possible to avoid arousing the other party’s suspicions.”
Liu Qiao who was pretending to be Yu Hanjiang nodded and spoke in the same voice. “Don’t worry Group Leader Yu, I will try to imitate your tone of voice.”
Shao Qingge looked over at Yu Hanjiang. “The five of us will go to Xishan Cemetery to pay the ransom. We will act according to the circumstances. It is up to you to rescue the others, Yu Hanjiang.”
This was the first time Shao Qingge called out Yu Hanjiang’s name. For so long, he had always been referring to him as Group Leader Yu so it felt very strange. Yet at this moment, Yu Hanjiang saw firmness and trust in Shao Qingge’s eyes. They were life and death brothers now.
Shao Qingge stretched out a hand. Yu Hanjiang also extended his hand and the two people shook hands firmly to give each other some encouragement. The organization had a large number of guns and the members were cold-blooded and brutal. No one knew if they would come back alive from this.
Shao Qingge and the others faced the risk of being caught in a trap and all of them being wiped out. Meanwhile, Yu Hanjiang had to face the despair of possibly not finding Xiao Lou’s hiding place in time, causing his teammates to be wiped out.
Yu Hanjiang turned to stare at the distant sky. The dark night sky was full of stars. Their current location was just north of Qingshui Town and it was a 20 minutes drive from Xishan Cemetery. Liu Qiao could pretend to be Yu Hanjiang for one hour. For the real Yu Hanjiang, he only had one hour to find Xiao Lou.
Yu Hanjiang turned around without hesitation and waved to his teammates. “Don’t worry, I will bring them back intact… if the plan fails, I’ll bury you next to me.”
Proofreader: Fictional Reality & Paranoid Kitten