“That serious?” Li Guang exclaimed. “You were so secretive about that plan. How did he find out?”
Now that Qi MingYang properly realized he had a knife at his throat, he felt much more relaxed. Perhaps it’s because he had been bottling it all up for too long and needed someone to vent to, he patiently continued his explanation.
“Bai YiHan’s life was at risk,” MingYang said. “Even if Mu JingYuan had to comb through the entire world, he would find me. He had never once let up the investigation after the kidnapping was over. Anything done in the world would leave behind a trace. It has been a miracle the investigation had dragged on as long as it had. It’s fine. At least, there’ll be an end to things.”
“Do we stand any chance of winning?” Guang cautiously asked.
“Winning?” MingYang asked with a lopsided smile. “We stood no chance of winning prior to the restructuring of the southern districts, let alone now. Have you never witnessed the might of JingYuan?
“If I had started paying attention to YiHan earlier, perhaps everything would be different,” he continued in a mumble, sighing. “Unfortunately, the most unlikely to be rewound in the world is time.”
“Do we just wait then?” asked Guang.
MingYang softly chuckled. “Wait? I’ve never been one to wait for death. You must know that the blood of the Qi family flows within me. Everyone in the Qi family is crazy…”
Back at the Mu family mansion, JingYuan carefully carried YiHan out of the car and onto his bed. YiHan remained sound asleep the entire time.
“You must be knackered,” JingYuan whispered as he tenderly stroked YiHan’s cheek. “You didn’t sleep well last night.”
After helping YiHan out of his suit, JingYuan tucked his husband in and head into the bathroom to wash up. However, when he walked out, he saw YiHan sitting up on the bed with his head drooping and his eyes still closed.
“HanHan, what is it?” JingYuan asked, hurriedly walking over. When he noticed YiHan’s closed eyes, he cautiously asked, “Are you awake?”
“Mn,” YiHan softly hummed before mumbling, “I’m hungry.”
“I just asked Mrs Liu to make some congee,” JingYuan swiftly responded. “However, it might not be ready yet. Why don’t I get you a bowl of noodles?”
“Cooked by you?” YiHan suspiciously asked, one of his eyes opening up to a slit.
“Okay, I’ll cook for you,” JingYuan replied, nodding. “Go back to sleep. I’ll call you once it’s done.”
“Carry me down,” YiHan said. His eye slid back shut as he stretched out his arms. “I’ll wait there.”
JingYuan reluctantly helped YiHan into some clothes and turned to carry him on his back.
“Mr Mu, what’s with Little Master Bai?” Mrs Liu was startled to see them downstairs.
“He’s fine. Just hungry,” JingYuan said as he placed YiHan down on the couch. “I’ll go cook a bowl of noodles for him.”
“Hungry? The congee’s not done yet. Why don’t I cook the noodles? What would the Little Master like?” asked Mrs Liu.
“It’s fine,” answered JingYuan. “I’ll cook for him. Go rest your feet — oh, wait. You can’t — you need to teach me how to make it taste nice.”
“Okay, sir,” Mrs Liu said, hiding a smile. “You’re so nice to Little Master.”
JingYuan smiled in response and turned to the kitchen, rolling up his sleeves as he went.
Resting against the back of the couch with his eyes closed, YiHan pursed his lips to hide a smile. However, his dimples still appeared, and the corners of his eyes crinkled with joy.
After a series of bangs and crashes, a bowl of noodles was finally served. It didn’t look like much, but it tasted quite nice.
“I didn’t think you had the talents of a chef as well, great sir,” YiHan said, hands clasped in front of him in a salute. “My apologies for the disrespect.”
“You’re too kind, young warrior. Eat up,” JingYuan said, smiling.
Once the entire bowl of noodles was consumed, YiHan let out a satisfied sigh as he ran a hand over his stomach.
“Are you full?” JingYuan asked.
“I had too much,” YiHan said with a laugh. “At the thought that you made this yourself, I couldn’t even bear to let a drop of soup go.”
Upon hearing those words, there was a hint of a smile in JingYuan’s warm eyes. A moment of silence later, JingYuan spoke up, “HanHan, I have something to tell you.”
“What is it?” asked YiHan.
“Our honeymoon would probably be postponed for a while,” said JingYuan.
“What? Did something happen?” YiHan anxiously asked.
“No,” JingYuan hurriedly moved to hold his hand. “Don’t worry. It’s about your kidnapping. We’ve found a lead and are currently wrapping things up. I want to resolve this matter before we have fun. I’d feel less worried.”
“You found the mastermind? Who is it?” asked YiHan.
“Chen Jing and I are now certain it’s Qi MingYang,” JingYuan answered after some thought. “We just need the final evidence.”
“It was him? He wanted to kill me but failed,” YiHan was shocked. “Now, he’s trying to cosy up to me. He said he was lonely. He said he only wanted to be friends. It sounded so honest and true that I nearly believed him! This man… He’s too good of an actor! But there are no grudges between us. Why would he want to kill me?”
“There are many reasons other than a grudge that would drive one to murder,” replied JingYuan. “He’s a meticulous man who has many nefarious means at his disposal. Before the case is closed, it’s best that you’re never alone.”
“I know,” YiHan said, nodding. “But I did go out alone before and he didn’t do anything then.”
“That’s because we were all-out investigating the matter. He wouldn’t dare make another move. Furthermore, every time you went out, you only appeared alone. Qin Ying and Qin Jie were secretly protecting you the entire time. They just wouldn’t act unless it’s an emergency.”
YiHan’s eyes went wide. “There were people following me? How did I not realize? Qin Ying and Qin Jie? Are they the pair of identical twins?”
“That’s them,” JingYuan said as he tweaked YiHan’s nose. “They specialize in staying hidden. If you could see them, they wouldn’t be secretly protecting you.”
“Oh, then wouldn’t I be fine with them? I can pretend to be going out alone. If he ever makes a move, we can catch him red-handed. Simple, right?”
JingYuan’s face went dark. “What nonsense are you saying? He’s a mad man. He’s capable of anything. Don’t you know how dangerous that would be? Nothing is worth putting you in danger’s way!”
“Okay, okay.” YiHan hurriedly pacified upon seeing his husband getting angry. “I was wrong. I’m just joking. I have a family. How could I do something so dangerous?”
“A boat can survive for millennia under a careful hand,” JingYuan said, face slowly calming down. “Now that the investigation is in the final stages, there’s nothing wrong with being cautious in case he bites from being backed into a corner.”
“Then, I’ll just follow you everywhere.” YiHan nodded. “I’ll always be safe when I’m by your side, right?”
Running a hand through YiHan’s hair, JingYuan smiled and nodded.
However, one could never predict the future. YiHan fell sick.
As the weather turned hotter, YiHan grew to love the cold. One day, he stood directly under the cool air of the air conditioner while he was still sweating from being outside. It felt amazing then but what happened later made him regret his decision. The very next morning, he had a stuffy nose and a persistent cough. His head throbbed as his vision spun.
The family doctor was summoned. Some medication and IV fluids later, YiHan felt better. However, he was still ill. He was unable to head into the office with JingYuan as he still had another injection lined up. For two days, JingYuan skipped going into the office to stay by YiHan’s side.
Then, on the morning of the third day, Chen Jing called to inform them he had concrete evidence pointing to Qi MingYang as the mastermind of the kidnapping. JingYuan instructed YiHan to take a nap as he hurriedly changed his clothes and rushed out to meet Captain Chen.
YiHan had been obediently dozing off in bed when he felt his phone buzz. It was a message from his grandfather’s number.
The old Mr Bai might be old but his body is still strong. I wonder if he can survive having an arm chopped off. For the old man’s safety, come to his place alone. I really do want to be friends with you. Note: if you’re not here within twenty minutes, I will be mailing you a finger. — Qi MingYang
YiHan froze. He felt as if he had shattered into pieces. He immediately hopped out of bed. He didn’t have time to think. He ran out of the room, still barefoot and dressed in his pyjamas.
As he was still sick and had been sprinting at full speed, his vision began to spin. He tripped the moment he stepped off the staircase.
“Little Master!” Mrs Liu called out upon hearing the noise. When she saw him trip, she panicked and rushed over to support him. However, he had already climbed to his feet and raced towards the foyer. Grabbing his car keys from the keyholder, he flung the door open and dashed like a madman towards the garage. Soon, a car sped out of the manor with a loud vroom.
From their posts in the shadows, Qin Ying and Qin Jie were startled. One of them instantly started calling JingYuan while the other chased after YiHan’s car.
When Qin Ying briefed JingYuan on the situation, the man violently shot up to his feet, flipping his chair over.
“What’s going on?” JingYuan spat through gritted teeth. “Where is he now?”
“We don’t know either,” came Qin Ying’s swift reply. “Little Master Bai suddenly charged out of his room. He didn’t have any shoes and hadn’t gotten dressed either. He ran straight for the garage and drove off. We’re currently trying to stop him but he’s going too fast. It’s like he’s gone insane. We don’t dare forcefully stop him as it’d be too easy for an accident to happen. He went on Riverside Street as soon as he could and headed in the direction of the old Mr Bai.”
“If you can’t stop him, follow him,” JingYuan said, face pale as he ran out of the room. “I’ll be there soon.”
“What’s happened to Little Master Bai?” Chen Jing and Fang Yi asked, following close behind.
“My man said he suddenly ran out for some unknown reason and drove off in a crazed state,” JingYuan answered with his jaw clenched.
With a few quick taps on his phone, JingYuan was able to locate YiHan’s phone. He had previously installed a tracker on it just in case something bad happened. The locator indicated YiHan to be home. Just then, his phone chimed. His heart dropped as he saw the notification for a new message from YiHan. The younger man had forwarded to him a copy of the message he had received from his grandfather’s number. JingYuan’s pupils shrank as he read the message. Then, the phone rang. It was a call from YiHan.
Answering the call, he was greeted with the panicked voice of Mrs Liu. “Sir, have you received the message? Little Master tripped when he ran down the stairs just now, dropping his phone. I had thought to keep it safe for him but then I saw this…! Sir, he’s driven off! He must be heading towards the old Mr Bai’s home!”
“Understood,” JingYuan responded before hanging up. “Damn it!” he spat through gritted teeth.
“What is it, Mr Mu?” Chen Jing asked.
Showing Captain Chen the message he had received, JingYuan replied, “YiHan left his phone at home. I had a tracker installed in his phone but it’s useless now.”
“Pan Wen! Wei Wu!” JingYuan hollered, striding out the building. “Start the car!”