Jiang Qianren visited Ying's residence for the second time. In fact, it was Xin Qing who had invited him.
"Qianren, am I your friend?" The pureness and dazzle in Xin Qing's eyes stunned Jiang Qianren slightly.
They were sitting in the garden. Not just the two of them, but three. Poker-faced Xiao Rui was there too.
"Look, whatever it is that you want to say, just say it." Jiang Qianren felt a little bit frustrated; the way Xin Qing was acting made him feel as though there was a much greater distance between them now.
Xin Qing laughed. "Well, let me tell you a story, then! Once upon a time, there was a girl, and her father..."
Once in a while, a bird or two would glide across the garden, flying in circles aloft the three of them before soaring away into the sky. Xin Qing told her story in a steady voice. Slowly, her and Ying Qingcang's pasts unfolded before Jiang Qianren's eyes like some kind of old movie.
"I understand," Jiang Qianren said once he had finished listening to Xin Qing's account. He stared at Xin Qing. "Now I truly believe that you'll never be able to fall in love with me." While he spoke, Jiang Qianren found that he was not as devastated as he had imagined he would be.
He smiled. "Let me guess, you're telling me all this because Ying Qingcang needs help, am I right?"
"Yes," Xin Qing said with a nod. "We couldn't find a way to remove the bomb. Chen Huan said that the military might know a way."
Jiang Qianren felt a bit rueful when he heard the mention of Chen Huan's name, "Chen Huan had always been under the country's protection. I know that she has a man, but I'd never been able to find out his identity. So it turns out that it's Boss Wan, a terrorist's greatest source of headache."
Xin Qing had noticed the look of disdain on Jiang Qianren's face. "You guys don't get along with each other?"
Jiang Qianren snorted. "I'm a soldier and he's a thief. I wouldn't have liked him even if the country isn't trying to hunt him down." When he saw the downcast look on Xin Qing's face, Jiang Qianren smiled again. "Don't worry, okay? My dislike of him won't change anything. Whatever his faults are, they are all his and have nothing to do with you."
"As for this matter, I think we have to seek out my old man," Jiang Qianren said. Then, he shot a glance at Xiao Rui. "However, I'm confident that he'll want to help you."
Xiao Rui suddenly raised his head. "Song Chunli can never know about this."
Jiang Qianren did not seem to mind at all that Xiao Rui had just called his own grandmother directly by name. Although he did find it a bit strange that Xiao Rui would want to keep this from Song Chunli.
"I told you before that Xiao Rui is like a radar, right?" Xin Qing paused, choosing her words carefully. "He's very sensitive to the emotions of others. He felt that... that there's something wrong with Aunt Song's emotions."
Jiang Qianren felt somewhat irked at that insinuation. "Hey, that's my mother, and Xiao Rui's grandmother! You think she would betray her own grandson?"
"I didn't mean it that way," Xin Qing said apologetically, though she honestly had no idea how to explain it. Xiao Rui tugged her sleeve. "Allow me to tell him," Xiao Rui said.
"I didn't say that she would betray me," Xiao Rui went on in a serious tone. "But I'm positive that the emotions she's feeling deep down aren't the same as the ones she had shown us. She's very happy that I was found, but at the same time, she was struggling with fear, hatred and anger." Xiao Rui looked Jiang Qianren in the eye. "This is a life-and-death matter. We can't risk it."
Jiang Qianren was quiet the whole time. After a long while, he sighed in resignation. "I understand. I'll return to the capital right away."
What Jiang Qianren never saw coming was that after he had relayed everything to his father, including the fact that Xin Qing wanted to keep everything a secret from his mother, Jiang Min actually nodded in agreement.
"It would indeed be best if we keep it from her." The old man paused in thought. "Tell Xin Qing that I'll help her."
After that, Jiang Min gave Jiang Qianren a phone number and told him to pass the number to Xin Qing. The condition was that Xin Qing should not be the one to call the number. Instead, it should be Boss Wan and his wife who make the contact.
"Dad! I can't believe you knew all along that Professor Chen's man is Boss Wan!" In that split second, Jiang Qianren felt as if there was still a huge gap in ability between him and his father.
"I met him a few years back." Jiang Min remembered that man with the poker face. Then, in a slightly regretful tone, he said, "The country offered to recruit him. Too bad he refused."
Jiang Qianren curled his lips in disdain. "Since when were you on speaking terms, anyway." Boss Wan's power was by no means inferior to that of an army. How could the country allow him to just run loose all over the place?
"Let's just say that he has a good wife," Jiang Min said in a meaningful tone. After that he dismissed Jiang Qianren.
Jiang Qianren had no intention on delving further into the matter; he hurried back to S City to tell Xin Qing the news.
Even if Xin Qing had known that Jiang Min would likely agree to help her, she was still highly emotional after she got the confirmation. She contacted Boss Wan immediately and gave him the number that had been provided to her by Jiang Min.
Boss Wan got back to her before the day ended, telling her that the military had agreed to help. The condition was that they had to meet with Ying Qingcang and Rong Siman once.
"Do you know who those people are?" Xin Qing asked Chen Huan.
Chen Huan shrugged. "I'm not clear on the specifics. But I heard from my thesis advisor that there were a lot of clandestine stuff and covert members in the military's special research lab. Each and every one of those people is a genius."
"Then they must know a way, right?" Xin Qing desperately needed some sort of guarantee.
"Oh, you!" Chen Huan sighed. "Let's just hope for the best but plan for the worst, okay?"
The light faded away in Xin Qing's eyes. She knew very well that if this attempt resulted in a failure, then there would be no one else in the world who could save Ying Qingcang...
The public had been following closely any news regarding the joint project involving Xin Enterprises and Ying Enterprises; namely, the establishment of holiday homes in the vicinity of the underground hot springs. In the beginning of November, the holiday homes were finally in business. This event instantly became a new talking point for the citizens of S City who had been slightly rattled due to major news from a few days ago; three murderers had escaped from prison a few days ago.
The government had reminded the public to be aware of their own safety. Cops and patrol cars could be seen on the major streets every day to ensure public safety. On the day of the holiday homes' opening ceremony, the area near the foot of the mountain was cordoned off by an entire swarm of police officers. The people attending today's event consisted of government leaders as well as people from all around the world. If anything happened to these people, the consequences would be too much for anyone to bear.
During the car ride uphill, Rong Siman kept whining and complaining, "Before, we said that the official launching would be on the National Day, but that Xin woman had postponed it claiming that she was ill. And now she suddenly wants to hold the event when there are three murderers running loose. Is she nuts?"
Ying Qingcang sat there quietly, staring out of the car window. Rong Siman's complaints only made him smile. "Well, can't say that she's wrong," Ying Qingcang remarked. "Today's a lucky day according to the Chinese calendar."
"Hahahaha!" Rong Siman smirked. "Not even this so-called lucky day could save her from her impending doom. You said it yourself that the entire mountain would collapse in less than half a year. She would have to face so much more than just a hefty fine when that happened. Those tourists buried under the mountain would be enough to ruin the woman's reputation!"
Rong Siman could barely wait to see Xin Qing's pathetic state when disaster struck. By then, Ying Qingcang would start buying out the shares of Xin Enterprises, and soon, Xin Enterprises would be back in his hands. The dream she had for over 10 years would then be realized.
Rong Siman felt a bit hazy and light-headed as she stared at the man beside her. When would she finally have the chance to lose herself in bed with this man? She craved his embrace and hunger for his kisses. Every night, she would fantasize about her moaning and writhing underneath his body.
Unable to help herself, Rong Siman moaned his name. "Ah Cang..."
Ying Qingcang sneered inwardly. "This imbecile of a woman must be fantasizing about me again."
"You better keep your own emotions in check and don't let others notice anything. Don't ruin everything when we're already this close to success."
Rong Siman snapped back to reality. She leaned her head against his shoulder and nodded. "Don't worry. I know!"
Before its launch, the holiday homes had received a lot of publicity. A lot of citizens came today for the special half-price discount as well as the lucky draw. Nobody had anticipated the incident that was about to happen; there was breaking news that afternoon claiming that the escaped prisoners had gone to the event and had, in fact, run off with a few hostages.
On an island in the South China Sea whose name shall remain anonymous, Jiang Qianren was watching Ying Qingcang and Xin Qing climbing out of a helicopter.
"I'm very sorry, but you guys have to be blindfolded."
Ying Qingcang nodded. After that, a few men dressed in combat fatigues put blindfolds on him and Xin Qing.
"Boss Wan and Chen Huan are already waiting downstairs. Please follow me." Jiang Qianren turned around and led the way.
After walking for some distance, Jiang Qianren suddenly heard Ying Qingcang's voice from behind him, "Thank you."
A tight line formed on Jiang Qianren's lips. "Be careful," Jiang Qianren said, pausing in thought. Then, he added, "I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to Ah Qing."
Leaning into Ying Qingcang's embrace, Xin Qing smiled. She had a lot of things to say to Jiang Qianren, though now was not the right time. Half a month ago, Jiang Qianren had released the news that a few murderers had escaped from prison; and today, he had ordered his soldiers to play the role of the "prisoners" in order to kidnap Rong Siman and bring her here.
"We're here," Jiang Qianren said. Then, he gave his men a hand signal, and the blindfold was removed from Xin Qing's eyes. Xin Qing saw Chen Huan and an old man dressed in white uniform standing beside Rong Siman's unconscious form. They were speaking to each other in muted tones.
Boss Wan walked over and appraised Ying Qingcang. "They gave Rong Siman a special drug. She's now unconscious, but her heart would beat at the same rate as if she were still conscious. That's the only way to test the minimum heart rate that would trigger the explosion."
Ying Qingcang responded with a few nods. Just then, the old man in white uniform walked towards Ying Qingcang and shouted, "I will definitely save you! After that you have to bring back Mo Lin!"
Mo Lin? The old chieftain? Both Xin Qing and Ying Qingcang looked at Boss Wan.
"Seems like the grandmaster is an acquaintance of Mo Lin," Boss Wan whispered to them.
"Hey, why are you still standing around over there?" The grandmaster was already standing in front of a surgical table. "Get over here and lie on the table. We don't have much time left."
It was imperative that they moved Rong Siman to the pre-planned location before she woke up. After that, the police would be there to "rescue" her. That way, she would never have a single clue about the things that were about to take place here. Of course, if they could find a solution to the problem and remove the bomb right away, they would not even have to bother with the original plan; they could just use her body as fish food.
"Wait, doesn't that device have an audio recording function? What if she hears our conversation after she wakes up?" Xin Qing asked worriedly.
Chen Huan patted her shoulder. "The device doesn't work here."
That had reassured Xin Qing. After that, she watched Ying Qingcang being transferred into device that looked like a huge tumble dryer. White lights scanned the region on his chest where his heart was in a repeated fashion. That was when she noticed that Jiang Qianren was staring at Boss Wan the whole time.
"If you're planning to steal something from this research lab, believe me I will shoot you right now," Jiang Qianren said in a cold voice.
Keeping a neutral face, Boss Wan played the ring on his finger. "Don't worry. I've never been interested in government property. It's a matter of principle."
"Haha!" Jiang Qianren laughed contemptuously. "Is that so? Then might I ask how you managed to get your hands on that invisible radar five years ago, the one that had once appeared in the Golden Triangle?"
Sensing the hostility of the person beside him, Boss Wan tilted his head and appraised Jiang Qianren's face. All of a sudden, Boss Wan broke into a wide grin. "I picked it up!"
Xin Qing silently turned away from the two men. "Yep. Xunxun’s sharp tongue is indeed an inherited trait..."
Around two hours later, Ying Qingcang climbed down from the surgical table.
Everyone was now looking at the grandmaster anxiously. Even Ying Qingcang, who had always been calm, was clenching his fists tightly.
"I can offer you two solutions," the grandmaster began slowly. "Which one do you prefer?"