Pan Wen and Wei Wu didn’t dare dally. They swiftly got into the car. Before JingYuan stepped into the car, he turned to look at Fang Yi.
“Please ask Qin An for help!” said JingYuan. “Tell him that I’ll do anything in return on request as long as YiHan is safe!”
Blinded by panic, Fang Yi had forgotten about the man JingYuan spoke of and only remembered Qin An when he heard JingYuan’s words. Thumping himself hard on the head, Fang Yi’s terrified hands pulled out his phone and called Qin An.
“YiHan’s in trouble!” Fang Yi immediately shouted into the phone when the call was answered. “Help me bring him back safely!”
“What’s going on? Tell me everything!” Qin Feng barked. Gone was his usual languid attitude.
Fang Yi briefly summarised the situation. His voice was trembling with fear — a rare occurrence. “Ah-Feng, this is very important. If anything happens to YiHan…”
“Don’t panic,” Qin Feng calmly said. “He’ll be fine. I’m here.”
When the call ended, Chen Jing glanced at Fang Yi from behind the steering wheel and said, “I know you’re close to Little Master Bai. It’s understandable that you’re worried for him. However, you must understand that it is a major mistake to panic at the scene. The more dangerous the situation, the more important it is for you to stay calm. That is a basic rule of being a policeman.”
Slapping himself on the head once more to calm himself down, Fang Yi slowly replied, “I understand, chief.”
When JingYuan and the group finally arrived at the location Qin Ying spoke of, there was no trace of anyone to be found. Continuing on towards the old Mr Bai’s home, they were passing by a rather remote patch of the road when Pan Wen suddenly cried out.
“Qin Ying’s over there!” shouted Pan Wen.
Looking at the direction Pan Wen was pointing, JingYuan saw a shirt peeking out from the bushes on the side of the road. It belonged to Qin Ying.
JingYuan’s heart dropped. The men stepped out of the car to check on the situation. Qin Ying and Qin Jie were laid out behind the bushes. Half of Qin Ying’s face was covered in blood. The front of Qin Jie’s shirt and his jaw was also covered in blood. It was unclear whether they were dead or alive. From the looks of them, they must’ve been in a vicious battle. Their car and YiHan’s car had crashed into the river. YiHan was nowhere to be seen.
Pan Wen’s eyes were red as he looked down at the Qin brothers. With clenched jaws, Wei Wu and he strode forward to examine the duo. Pan Wen then laid a hand over his eyes.
“Boss, they’re still alive!” Pan Wen called out in a shaky voice that hinted at both laughter and tears.
JingYuan let out a sigh of relief. “That’s good. Go and arrange for transport to the hospital. Wei Wu, follow me!”
“Leave the injured men to me,” Chen Jing spoke up. “Pan Wen is an exceptional fighter. He should come along with our search for Little Master Bai.”
Captain Chen had brought a few policemen with him. After briefing his men on what to do, he left two of his men behind with a car to send the Qin brothers to the hospital.
“Qin Ying and Qin Jie aren’t any weaker than Wei and me,” Pan Wen said with a serious face. “They must’ve been faced with a lot of opponents in order to be defeated. Boss, I think the old Mr Bai might just be a red herring.”
JingYuan nodded, his thin lips pursed into a grim line.
“Have the men we sent to the old Mr Bai responded?” Captain Chen asked.
“No,” JingYuan replied, shaking his head, “but they should be responding soon.”
As the two were speaking, JingYuan’s phone started ringing. JingYuan answered the phone, hand clenched tight around the phone.
“The old sir is fine,” said the person on the other side of the call. “Someone had just stolen his phone and all communication devices in his home had been disrupted or disconnected by someone. The signal around here has also been blocked for some time. The old Mr Bai left the area as soon as he could and had called the Bai family home with a borrowed phone. He had also called YiHan but he had already left by then and had left his phone behind.”
“As expected,” Fang Yi spat through gritted teeth, “YiHan was the target of all of this. They stole the old Mr Bai’s phone so they could scare YiHan, then they set a time limit so he couldn’t verify the truth of the situation. He must have thought it was better to believe in the threat than to take risks. The culprits did all of this just to lure YiHan out!”
“Our enemy has planned this to the minute,” Captain Chen said. “Our investigation hasn’t gone well lately. However, we suddenly made a new breakthrough today. Now that I think about it, it must’ve been bait to lure Mr Mu away. They began to make their move the moment Mr Mu left the house. They took the old Mr Bai’s phone, cut off all communications to him and even blocked off the signal around him. Then, using this short period of time the old Mr Bai would be cut off from the world, they messaged Little Master Bai. Panicking, Little Master Bai left the safety of the Mu family manor and this is where they had been gearing up for an ambush to deal with his bodyguards.”
“I was too careless,” JingYuan said, jaw clenched.
Fang Yi was pacing up and down, hands curled up into fists. “They’re using the same method as last time. However, he doesn’t even bother covering up his tracks this time. It’s clear Qi MingYang has gone mad. He doesn’t want to fight us but he won’t prepare for a retreat. Instead, he strikes at YiHan at such a time. Normal people don’t think like that.”
“No matter the reason,” said Captain Chen, “Little Master Bai is now in his hands. The trail ends here. We must make good use of our time and find the Little Master as soon as possible.”
Pulling out his phone, Fang Yi called Qin Feng to update him on the situation. The men of the Hidden Dragon quietly spread out and searched through every property ever connected to the Qi family, be it done through legal or shady means. JingYuan notified the Bai, Chen and Yan families, hoping that the might of all four families combined could find YiHan in the shortest time possible.
When YiHan came to, he found his limbs spread out and shackled to all four corners of a bed. The bed was soft and comfortable. Someone had covered him with a blanket as if they were afraid he’d catch a cold. The shackles were even lined with a layer of soft fabric, making it impossible for YiHan’s wrists to be hurt by the shackles.
YiHan tested his bindings, chains clanking and rustling as he did so. He still felt a little dizzy while his head and neck throbbed with pain. Halfway through his drive to his grandfather’s home, two cars began to drive extremely close to him from both sides. He had to slow down. Then, someone shot at his car’s tyres. The sudden shift in momentum caused him to hit his head. He dazedly watched as over a dozen cars suddenly appeared before him. Realizing he was in a bad situation, he tried to get away, but it was all too late.
Although Qin Ying and Qin Jie managed to show up by his side and defeated the men that tried to drag him out of the car, they couldn’t escort him into their car. There were too many enemies. No matter how amazing the Qin brothers were, they couldn’t get him away. Then, someone had hit him in the back of his neck with something. The last thing he remembered was the sight of the twin brothers charging towards him with eyes burning with fury. He wanted to tell them to run. No one could stop them if their goal was just to run away. If they continued protecting him, they would die. However, YiHan couldn’t fight against the darkness and fainted. He knew nothing of what happened afterward.
YiHan looked around. The room he was in looked extremely cosy. He had been locked to a narrow steel bed but the blanket was made of silk. The room had a window, but all sunlight had been blocked off by a thick purple curtain. The only source of light in the room was the ceiling light which gave off a soft and warm glow. The entire room looked very wobbly to YiHan with furniture slightly swaying and rocking at times. He could even hear the faint splash of waves.
YiHan didn’t care too much how his kidnappers treated him. His mind was overwhelmed with worry over the wellbeing of his grandfather and the Qin brothers. He didn’t know how long he had been out for, but it had likely been over twenty minutes. If his grandfather was truly in the hands of Qi MingYang, he would be in danger. He didn’t even know if the Qin brothers had survived the encounter. If JingYuan found out about his kidnapping, JingYuan would be panicking as well.
Distress blazed through him. He knew there was no way he could get out of his bindings, but he still did his best to wrestle against them. Despite the soft cushioning added to the shackles, his fair wrists were slowly dyed a bright red as he struggled too hard. Loud clangs echoed through the room as the metal shackles banged against the metal bed frame.
Soon, the door was opened and MingYang swiftly walked in.
“YiHan, you’re awake,” MingYang said, smiling. “Does your head still hurt? The idiots are all to blame. I’ve told them you must be brought to me unharmed. Unharmed. Still, those clumsy oafs injured you. Don’t be angry. I’ve punished them.”
“Where is my grandfather?” YiHan asked, glaring at the other man.
Walking closer, MingYang reached out to stop YiHan from struggling. His face was filled with sorrow as he tenderly ran his fingers over the red scars on YiHan’s wrists.
“Don’t struggle anymore,” said MingYang. “You’ve nearly scraped off your skin. This fabric is still too coarse. Does it hurt?”
“I’m asking you a question. Where is my father?” YiHan hoarsely yelled.
“The old Mr Bai?” MingYang asked with a faint smile. “Relax. He’s fine. I wouldn’t dare do anything to him. I’ve only picked up his phone and thought to joke around with you. He’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to worry.”
YiHan let out a sigh of relief. “Really?”
“Of course, it’s true,” MingYang patiently answered. “Why would I lie to you?”
Letting out a cold chuckle, YiHan then asked, “What about Qin Ying and Qin Jie?”
“You mean the twins?” asked MingYang. “They’re fine. They’re both still alive. They had to suffer a few unavoidable but minor injuries. You know how good they are at fighting. I had gone to great lengths in order to stop them. Many of my men were nearly incapacitated by their fight with them.”
“Minor injuries?” asked YiHan.
“They really are nothing,” MingYang said, gesturing with his fingers. “Relax. Their lives weren’t at risk.”
Closing his eyes, YiHan went quiet.
“I’m going to let go,” said MingYang. “Don’t struggle, please.”
YiHan didn’t respond. MingYang slowly released his hold on YiHan’s hands. When YiHan didn’t continue struggling against his shackles, MingYang smiled.
“YiHan, why aren’t you speaking?” asked MingYang.
“I’m a prisoner,” said YiHan. “What is there to talk about?”
“Don’t say that,” MingYang pitifully said. “While the message I sent you about the old Mr Bai isn’t true, I truly want to be your friend. I honestly meant that line. Don’t worry. I absolutely would not hurt you.”
“Ah, is this how one makes friends? That’s a first. I’ve learned a lot,” YiHan said, coldly smirking.
MingYang was even more upset upon hearing that. “I have no choice. I’ve tried several times to show my sincerity, but you’ve always kept me away. If I don’t do this, I would never again have the chance to have a proper chat with you.”