Looking down from the hillside, across the winter-green trees and icy streams, faintly visible in the distance were villages and rising smoke—that was the village mentioned by Lao Zhang, also the last high-risk village that the police could infiltrate in the surrounding area.

Over the past half month, a task force led by the Provincial Public Security Department, implemented by the Jianning Municipal Public Security Bureau, and coordinated by various county public security agencies near the Yao Mountains, had dispatched several teams to enter the mountains, conducting investigations in various villages, attempting to obtain clues of suspicious individuals from the local residents.

Investigation and interviews were one of the most tedious yet crucial methods in criminal investigation. A large number of police personnel were scattered across hundreds of villages in the mountain range, trekking and questioning mechanically every day. To avoid attracting the attention of drug traffickers, no motor vehicles were allowed to enter the key areas, and all travel was done on foot.

However, what made everyone anxious was the lack of progress in the search for the underground drug manufacturing facility.

Several days ago, “Lao Cai,” a long-term undercover informant under the S Provincial Public Security Department and the representative of the buyer and drug dealer Wang Pengfei, had transmitted a valuable clue from the drug den on the mountain: the transaction would take place in an underground factory located within a 60 to 80-kilometer radius of the Yunzhong Village. This narrowed down the extensive search area, but time was running out, and there was no time left for a night search.

Fortunately, yesterday, amidst the anticipation of leaders at all levels, Lao Cai once again provided the final and most crucial piece of information—an envelope containing soil samples extracted by Jiang Ting from the gap in Black Spade K’s tire.

The envelope was urgently sent to the Forestry Research Institute for analysis. The forensic results indicated the presence of different levels of soil and leaf matter, indicating that the vehicle had driven into a redwood forest near a swampy area multiple times within the past half month.

A swampy area, a redwood forest, and a 60 to 80-kilometer radius around Yunzhong Village. By considering the comprehensive geographical factors, the task force successfully delineated the final crime area. The nearby village most likely to provide a foothold and transit point for the drug traffickers was a village called Laojia.

Yan Yin personally took charge of the investigation into this high-risk village.

After conducting equipment checks for each person, Yan Yin finally let them go. Lao Zhang led Ma Xiang and Han Xiaomei into the jungle along the steep slope, while Yan Yin stood by the car, watching them until the three swaying figures turned into small black dots the size of soybeans before retracting his gaze.

The in-car communication device crackled twice, and the voice of Deputy Bureau Chief Wei came through: “Report the situation at the periphery of Laojia Village, report the situation at the periphery of Laojia Village. Have you reached the transfer point? Please respond, please respond!”

Yan Yin took off the walkie-talkie. “I hear you. Lao Zhang and the others have already set off. Contact me if there’s any situation.”

Deputy Bureau Chief Wei responded irritably, “Alright, move quickly! Pay attention to concealment!”

Yan Yin responded with a confirmation and tossed the walkie-talkie back into the car.

The village was surrounded by mountains, and as far as the eye could see, there were towering cliffs, resembling the legendary isolated paradise of the ancient Shu region.

However, at this moment, everyone knew that within this “paradise” hid numerous heinous crimes and life-threatening dangers.

Yan Yin had faced opposition from nearly everyone before leaving Jianning. Even Director Lu had spoken to him several times, trying to persuade him to withdraw from this major anti-drug operation. Others may not have known, but Director Lu knew very well what motivated Yan Yin to desperately rush to the frontlines. He decided to be clear: If Jiang Ting risked his life to embark on this almost irreversible path, it was not only for revenge but also to ensure the safety of his loved ones back home. If anything happened to Yan Yin on the frontlines, how could the organization approach Jiang Ting?

Sorry, while you’re playing a deadly game in enemy territory, we sent your loved one to the frontlines and got them killed?

Moreover, Yan Yin was the only son in his family. Despite the indifferent attitude the Yan family showed towards him, it was clear to Director Lu that if anything truly happened, Yan Yin’s father would storm into the Provincial Committee building and hang himself with a rope.

Director Lu wasn’t the only one who tried to dissuade him; even Director Liu called to persuade him. Various parties took turns bombarding him, but Yan Yin remained as stubborn as a rock, unable to be swayed. In the end, it was Ms. Zeng Cui Cui who settled the matter once and for all: “Thieves cannot last a thousand days without being caught. Since you say the drug dealers want to kill him, let Yan Yin strike first and kill those drug dealers. Problem solved, right?”

“Let him go,” Ms. Zeng Cui Cui said to Director Liu. “My son may not be successful, but he shouldn’t be scared into hiding at home by criminal traffickers. He’s not that useless.”

With the words reaching this point, Yan Yin was finally granted permission and joined the first police car traveling from Jianning to the Yao Mountains.

Yan Yin surveyed the surrounding mountains, solemn and silent, devoid of even the chirping of birds. He lit a cigarette and gazed into the distance, where snow clouds enveloped the mountaintop, squinting his eyes.

Regardless of whether it was a shipwreck or a complete collapse up ahead, with just one step, it would lead to shattered bones. All the crimes and hatred would be resolved in our hands.

I’m coming for you, Jiang Ting.

·

“Fifty yuan, just take it… No luck? No luck? Last time, someone from the county bought it for fifty-five! Fifty yuan is our New Year’s price. Next year, when we come to collect timber from the mountains…”

“Not buying! Not buying! Fifty won’t do!” Lao Zhang kept his hands in his sleeves, huffing and beckoning Ma Xiang, “Let’s go, we’re not buying from them!”

Ma Xiang’s synthetic leather shoes creaked with each step, while Han Xiaomei carried her LV Chanel collaboration small leather bag, following Lao Zhang out of the courtyard amidst the angry spitting sounds of the villagers, narrowly avoiding a stumble from a big white goose.

“Come back! Come back!” The villagers quickly changed their minds. “Forty-eight, just forty-eight! Ah! These mushrooms are so expensive!”

Lao Zhang glanced over and saw Ma Xiang subtly nodding, so he smoothly turned around and went back to get the money amid the grumbling dialect of the villagers.

“You lied to me. When did someone from the county buy it for fifty-five? Can anyone still come to this place?”

“How could no one come? How could no one come?”

Lao Zhang counted the money, saliva flying. “When did this happen?”

“Just two months ago!”

Han Xiaomei sneaked out of the door with Ma Xiang’s cover, avoiding the big white goose and wandering around the courtyard. She leaned against the back window and looked inside. Lao Zhang blocked the villager in the front room, casually inquired while seemingly uninterested, “Can people still come to this remote place? It seems so cold, and no one wants anything here!”

“You’re talking nonsense!” The villager became anxious, blurting out a string of dialect, leaving Ma Xiang completely confused. He had to stand by the side, pretending to be a high and mighty boss, watching Lao Zhang nod along and sneer, provoking the villager a bit.

A moment later, Han Xiaomei sneaked back, her hands covered in dust, shaking her head at Ma Xiang.

“Let’s go!” Lao Zhang no longer bothered and pointed to the pile of blackish mushrooms in the corner, saying, “Come to pick it up this afternoon, I’ll pack it for you!”

The villagers happily agreed, delighted with their profitable business.

“I didn’t know about this one.” After leaving the courtyard, Lao Zhang finally explained to Ma Xiang what that dialect conversation meant. “It’s the same as the previous two houses. People often come here to collect mountain products and timber, but no outsiders come after winter. He hasn’t seen any unfamiliar faces in the village for nearly two months, let alone any suspicious clues.”

“What about the villagers who go into the mountains to gather medicinal herbs? Have they seen any traces of vehicles nearby?”

Lao Zhang shook his head, pointing to the towering mountains behind the village. “It’s too cold now, they won’t go into the mountains anymore! Otherwise, it’s risky!”

Ma Xiang felt somewhat helpless and asked Han Xiaomei, “What about you?”

“There are no passages, equipment, or sealed rooms near the back of the house. The only transportation is a tricycle. There are no other vehicles, ventilation systems, or suspicious facilities like cement tanks.” Compared to Lao Zhang, Han Xiaomei’s report was more professional and concise. “In short, for now, this house doesn’t seem suspicious.”

Ma Xiang nodded.

“Oh,” Lao Zhang couldn’t help but ask, “How can the police in your city tell if a house is suspicious at a glance?”

“Whether a family is producing drugs or not can be discerned at a glance. It goes without saying for large-scale marijuana or opium cultivation. For chemical synthesis, even for the simplest ‘kitchen drug’ like methamphetamine, you need self-made reaction vessels, filtration pipes, dehydrators, and such equipment. Moreover, to eliminate odors, handle waste, and prevent explosions and fires, strong ventilation facilities and cement reservoirs are indispensable. Otherwise, the smell of ammonia and chlorine can travel far. In our bureau’s anti-drug investigations, we regularly track the flow of products from specific equipment suppliers. That’s how we handled cases back in our Qin–”

Ma Xiang’s explanation paused. He remained silent for two seconds before smiling. “In short, if you don’t want others to know, don’t do it yourself. Once you get involved with drugs, you can’t escape.”

Lao Zhang nodded with an understanding and envious expression. “You really understand.”

“Oh, is there a house to the east of this village?” Han Xiaomei deliberately changed the subject, smiling. “Come on, let’s go over there and ask!” She signaled to Lao Zhang and quickened her pace.

Ma Xiang pressed his brow, suppressing the slight pain, and lifted his spirits, following closely behind.

·

Two kilometers east of Lao Jia Village, in a mountain ravine.

A steep mountain wall separated the village from the mountain road, and at the top, a giant stone resembled a chessboard, standing beneath the sky. Layers of greenish-gray and pale-yellow forests covered most of the visible sky, where flocks of birds flew by and disappeared flutteringly in the forest.

“Tomorrow, Wang Pengfei will lead the team up the mountain. Let them follow the route we just opened and head towards the Chessboard Peak, following the markers along the way. On the journey, there will be two shifts of people to receive them.” Jiang Ting used a red pen to draw a thin line on the map, then pointed, “Based on Wang Pengfei’s vehicle speed, they should reach this position no later than nine o’clock. So, the first group of people should wait at this position starting from eight-thirty.”

Two bodyguards stood beside him, each attentively focusing on the map in Jiang Ting’s hand. They saw his pen move along the route:

“Wang Pengfei is not an honest person. To prevent any tricks along the way, the first group of people who will receive him will consist of brothers who have no knowledge of the transaction location and have never entered the factory. I will lead this group. After reaching the Cloud-Zhong Village, the second group of people will take over and continue to lead the way. According to Wen Shao’s suggestion, the second group of brothers will be led by Qin Chuan.”

Jiang Ting emphasized a circle on a specific location on the map.

“After Qin Chuan and the second group of brothers meet Wang Pengfei, Wen Shao will send him the coordinates of the transaction location, which should be near the factory. At that time, they will first check the deposit Wang Pengfei brought. If there are no issues, they will follow the normal route and lead him there. Any questions?”

Both individuals shook their heads to indicate no.

Jiang Ting raised his eyebrows in consultation, and he noticed the leader of the bodyguards, Gong Achu, who was nicknamed “Ghost King” and whose real name was Gong Achi, silently shaking his head.

“Alright, let’s settle it temporarily like this. Inform your boss.” Jiang Ting put away the map and said briefly, “You can go back now.”

He turned and walked towards the mountain, and Gong Achu signaled. Two subordinates immediately followed.

In these past few days, wherever Jiang Ting went, Gong Achu had been following closely behind. He even waited outside the outhouse when Jiang Ting went to the toilet. This should be an instruction from the King of Spades, and Ajie had probably reminded him a few times in secret.

However, Jiang Ting was the type of person who didn’t show much on his face, no matter how much environmental pressure he faced. He ate and slept as usual. Occasionally, when the King of Spades assigned him tasks, he would bring Gong Achu along without any reservations. Even when urinating in the wild, he would do it openly in front of the other person, creating a strange sense of harmony.

“I just reported to the boss, and he agrees with your plan.” Gong Achu took two steps forward and casually helped Jiang Ting cross a dense thicket, respectfully and coldly saying, “Also, the boss wants us to go to the ’transfer station’ to rest for now. We might need to pick up a batch of goods later.”

Pick up goods?

Jiang Ting unexpectedly exclaimed, “Me?”

—The King of Spades’ attitude towards Jiang Ting was quite complicated. On one hand, he entrusted him with personnel arrangements, but on the other hand, he never allowed him to directly handle any “white goods” or “blue goods.” He even completely excluded chemicals from Jiang Ting’s field of vision. It was unprecedented for him to be directly assigned to pick up goods like this.

Gong Achu didn’t understand either, but he emphasized his tone, “Yes, that’s what the boss said.”

Jiang Ting nodded without saying a word and was guided by Gong Achu as they crossed through the thicket. Then, he lifted his chin towards the path ahead and said, “Let’s go.”

Gong Achu waved his hand behind him and whispered to his subordinates, “Go to Laojia Village.”

The jeep rolled over the Chessboard Peak and traversed the bumpy dirt road. The sparsely populated village on the hillside soon came into view. Gong Achu, who was experienced, instructed his subordinates to park the car a few hundred meters away from the village and then assisted Jiang Ting in walking to their usual “transfer station”—a three-story residential building located at the eastern end of the village.

This was Jiang Ting’s first time here. Gong Achu gestured for him to wait outside the backyard while he went in and knocked on the door. After a while, a stout woman hurriedly walked out of the kitchen and came to open the door. She kept peering at Jiang Ting with a puzzled expression.

“@$%#!…” Gong Achu scolded her in dialect, making the woman nod repeatedly in fear. She immediately respectfully gestured for Jiang Ting to come in.

Jiang Ting was used to being treated this way and showed no expression on his face. He walked straight into the backyard, with the woman leading the way. They entered the back room of the cement building through a small door in the kitchen. It was a small hall, with a standard self-built townhouse decoration, complete with an eight-immortal table and sofas. Several wooden boxes were stacked against the wall, each marked hastily with a triangular symbol using a marker pen—Jiang Ting recognized what it represented at a glance.

Methamphetamine.

“Is it safe here?” Jiang Ting casually sat on the sofa and took the hot water handed to him by his subordinate, asking casually.

“It’s safe. The brothers used to leave from here when making deliveries.” Gong Achu opened the curtains and looked outside, then asked the woman, “Where’s your husband?”

The woman nervously rubbed her hands. “There’s someone in the house. They’re talking in the front.”

“What? Visitors?!” Gong Achu’s expression changed, and he became alert immediately. “Who the hell is coming up here?”

“I-I don’t know. They’re from the county to collect medicinal herbs!” The woman was startled. “Should I call my husband?”

Sitting beside them, Jiang Ting furrowed his brows. “Collecting medicinal herbs?”

But when Gong Achu heard the woman’s explanation, he relaxed and said, “Laojia Village is backed by the mountains, and people often come to collect mountain goods. It’s not a big deal.” He instructed the woman, “Once they leave, call your husband. The boss has goods to pick up. Go cook some dishes, make hot porridge, and heat up water. This damn weather is freezing.”

The woman hurriedly agreed and went out.

The two subordinates sat down to rest, exhaling smoke rings. Jiang Ting didn’t ask any more questions and leaned back on the sofa, sipping the hot water in small sips. His cheeks were pale from the cold, and the steam moistened his eyelashes, making them appear even darker.

Gong Achu glanced at the boxes of goods against the wall and after a while, he lit a cigarette and looked at Jiang Ting askance.

In his life, Gong Achu had killed several people, and his wanted bounty had piled up to half a meter high. He had earned the nickname “Ghost King,” and whoever met him had to address him respectfully as Brother Ghost. He had thought of himself as a ruthless character, but it wasn’t until he encountered the King of Spades that he was truly scared and realized the difference between the grass-rooted underworld and a regional drug lord.

However, he couldn’t understand why this quiet and refined young man in front of him made the King of Spades so cautious.

—Yes, cautious.

The King of Spades didn’t kill him, but he didn’t trust him either. He was always on guard against him. It was like holding a hot potato that couldn’t be picked up or put down, yet it had to be carried around gently and amiably.

Why?

He was just a weak scholar who could be killed with a pinch.

“Do I have something on my face?” Jiang Ting didn’t even raise his head and calmly said, “Nothing.”

Gong Achu’s heart skipped a beat. “No.”

He took a strong drag from his cigarette, stood up, and stomped his feet. Muttering, he said, “I’m going outside for a bit.” He pushed the door and lifted the curtain, but unexpectedly, Jiang Ting also stood up. “I’m going too.”

“You…”

“I’ve never been here before, and I don’t know if it’s safe to pick up the goods.” Jiang Ting spoke calmly, not allowing any objections. He said, “Let’s go.”

Gong Achu had no choice but to lift the curtain for him.

Meanwhile, in the front hall.

“These two bosses from the county said that they can regularly come to collect mushrooms. If you go into the mountains now, they’ll buy however much you gather at this price—48 yuan!…”

Lao Yang was squatting face to face with a man in his fifties from the local area. Ma Xiang sat in a chair in the main room, drinking water while using the enamel cup to cover his face. He whispered, “The village chief’s family seems quite wealthy.”

Han Xiaomei glanced around secretly, pursed her lips, and nodded.

The village chief’s house was located at the eastern end of the village, with continuous mountains behind it. Not far away, a peak rose abruptly, its top resembling a chessboard, blocking the village’s access to the outside world.

It was the only three-story cement building in the village, with aluminum alloy windows and drainage pipes visible from the outside. The interior of the main room was painted with latex paint, and the floor was tiled. The refrigerator and other appliances were complete, not much different from the self-built small villas in the urban-rural junctions. The villagers said it was because the village chief’s son graduated from university last year and earned money working in the city. However, after a quick observation inside the house, Ma Xiang estimated that the son had probably joined the Fortune Global 500 companies after graduation; otherwise, his starting salary wouldn’t be enough to build such a cement building in his hometown.

Ma Xiang made a signal, and Han Xiaomei nodded in understanding. Suddenly, she stood up in panic. “Oh no, where are my keys?”

The village chief was bargaining with Lao Zhang with little interest, but when he heard her, both of them looked over.

“Why are you so careless?” Ma Xiang grew anxious and jumped up, patting Han Xiaomei. “Hurry up and look for them. Where did you lose them? Where did you lose them?”

Han Xiaomei, with a tearful voice, said, “How would I know? Why are you hitting me? Why are you hitting me?”

Ma Xiang insisted, and the village chief hurriedly got up to mediate. Han Xiaomei searched all over her body but couldn’t find the keys. She slapped her thigh and exclaimed, “I must have dropped them on the way!”

“Then go find them!”

Without Ma Xiang needing to shout a second time, Han Xiaomei turned her head and rushed out of the main room.

The village chief seemed worried about them wandering around his house and raised his hand to stop her, but he couldn’t stop her in time. He quickly followed a few steps behind and saw Han Xiaomei already rushing out of the front yard, anxiously searching along the road. She headed towards the distant dirt road.

The village chief watched her go further and further, and it seemed she had no intention of turning back and rummaging through the yard. Only then did he slightly relax. He stretched his neck and waved his hand towards the backyard, whispering, “Hey, hey!”

His wife—just now, a tall and sturdy woman hurriedly approached, holding a spatula. She glanced nervously towards the front of the house and whispered, “Hurry, Brother Ghost and his men are here. They’re waiting for you in the backyard!”

The village chief was surprised. “What?”

“They also brought a handsome guy with them, designated by the big boss to pick up the goods!”

The village chief immediately turned around and said, “Okay, I’ll quickly—You go cook two dishes first, and I’ll deal with these melons before I go.”

Han Xiaomei pretended to walk forward along the rough gravel road while secretly looking back. She saw the village chief turning into the front yard. She quickly changed direction and ran to the side courtyard of the cement building. With agile steps, she climbed up the wall in three swift moves, flipping over the wall.

In rural self-built houses, the stove and chimney were usually built outside. At this time, it wasn’t yet time for lunch, but sounds of boiling water and stir-frying could be heard from the kitchen. Han Xiaomei pretended to peek inside from the window frame, where she saw the village chief’s wife busy cooking on the stove.

“… " Han Xiaomei furrowed her brows and sneaked into the backyard along the base of the wall. She saw a large bundle of firewood piled outside the woodshed.

At first, she didn’t pay much attention and intended to go to the back room. However, after taking a few steps, she suddenly stopped and turned back to look at the almost mountain-like stack of firewood.

—The woodshed wasn’t small, so why was there so much firewood stacked outside?

Han Xiaomei narrowed her eyes, lost in thought. Suddenly, she remembered what Yan Yin had said in the car:

“Villages are involved in drug production and trafficking, or they serve as transportation hubs for drug traffickers, making it much harder to search compared to drug production hidden in residential areas in cities. Since rural areas have separate houses and yards, they’re less likely to hide equipment. Backyards, workshops, woodsheds, and other places are all key areas of investigation. When we were cracking down on the entire village’s drug production, almost every household had a production line set up in the backyard. It’s one of the important characteristics of drug workshops in rural areas.”

The woodshed?

Half of Han Xiaomei’s body was hidden under the eaves. She looked left and right, and in the empty and windy courtyard, not even a dog could be seen.

She calmed herself and tiptoed past the windowsill, sneaking into the backyard. What she didn’t see was that just as her figure disappeared, a man with a scar on his neck and a gloomy expression flashed from the corner of the cement building—that was Gong Achu.

“Fk!” It was only at this moment that the leader of the subordinates couldn’t help but curse out loud. “This whole family is fking dead. They didn’t even know the police were coming! F**k!!”

“Now what?” Jiang Ting asked.

Jiang Ting was dressed in a black tactical jacket and jeans, with his hands in his pockets, completely concealed in the cluttered line of sight. Neither of them spoke, but Gong Achu gritted his teeth, his eyes darting around. After a few seconds, he made up his mind. “We can’t let the police spread the news. We have to take care of that little girl. I’ll go and prepare the men. You come and help me—”

“I can’t face the police.” Jiang Ting interrupted him. He said, “That girl used to be my colleague. I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it when I see her.”

This statement was very straightforward, and Gong Achu was taken aback.

“She appeared here, which means this transfer point has been targeted. Wang Pengfei can’t use the Chessboard Peak route tomorrow. So, you go and inform the male owner of his house, secretly lock up this yard so the police won’t be able to escape. I’ll go and prepare your two men for evacuation. Come over later, and we’ll report to Wen Shao together. Let him send more people to deal with the police. Otherwise, if you act recklessly, there’s a high chance of leaks.”

Gong Achu hesitated for a few seconds, “But…”

“Do you have any doubts about my decision?”

There were no doubts. Jiang Ting’s arrangement was thoughtful and meticulous. However, Gong Achu firmly remembered Ajie’s instructions—to always approach the “Red Queen” before him with 200% caution, protection, and attention. So, he instinctively said, “Time is pressing. I think we should still do it my way…”

Jiang Ting said, “If you question my arrangement, why don’t we contact Wen Shao first and clarify whether we should follow your lead or mine when we encounter trouble outside? If something goes wrong, who will take responsibility—you or me?”

Who takes responsibility? … Is that even a question?!

Gong Achu suddenly shook, as if he had been doused with cold water. His mind quickly reacted, “… Okay, I understand. Let’s do it your way!”

Jiang Ting nodded calmly. Gong Achu didn’t hesitate any longer and hurriedly walked towards the kitchen.

· “You should think again. Fifty is really too much. The two bosses come here regularly to collect goods…”

—Bang!

The front door was pushed open, and Old Zhang, who was about to light a cigarette for the village chief, stopped in his tracks. They all turned their heads to look. Han Xiaomei stood at the doorway, tightly clutching a bunch of keys, and then forced out a stiff smile as she squeezed past Ma Xiang.

“Found… found it.”

Ma Xiang’s gaze changed instantly, “Really found it?”

Han Xiaomei’s chest slightly rose and fell as she held up the keys and shook them.

“Good, as long as you found it,” Old Zhang quickly tried to defuse the situation, “You city folks have so many small things, be careful not to lose them. Otherwise, once they’re lost, they’re gone!”

Han Xiaomei returned to the sofa and nodded slightly in response to Ma Xiang’s inquisitive gaze. The latter’s masseter muscle immediately tensed, but his expression didn’t reveal any clues. He discreetly took out his phone from under his clothes, sent a location message in a swift motion, taking advantage of Han Xiaomei’s body blocking the view:

[Found the ‘keys,’ come quickly, urgent.]

Recipient: Yan Yin, Deputy Bureau Chief Wei. Message sent successfully.

Ma Xiang lightly moved his wrist and concealed the phone back in his clothes.

In the back hall, Jiang Ting lifted the door curtain, and the two bodyguards simultaneously raised their heads. They saw his stern expression and heard him say, “The police are here.”

“What, what?!”

“Where’s Brother Ghost?!”

“He’s up ahead. We must withdraw immediately.” Jiang Ting instructed the shorter subordinate on the left, “You’re familiar with the area, go out and see if the police have surrounded us yet. Be cautious and don’t get discovered. Just take a quick look and come back.”

The subordinate’s face had long turned pale from fear. Without hesitation, he rushed out of the door.

“You,” Jiang Ting turned to the more muscular bodyguard on the right, “Come with me and hide these boxes of goods in the woodshed. Hurry! We don’t have time!”

The bodyguard couldn’t let Jiang Ting handle the boxes himself, especially since they were so heavy. He quickly stepped forward to take over. Just at that moment, a loud “clang!” was heard as Jiang Ting accidentally dropped one of the boxes to the ground. The wooden cover came off, and the tightly wrapped drugs spilled out chaotically.

“I’ll do it, I’ll do it,” the bodyguard hurriedly squatted down to pick up the drugs, sweating profusely. He thought to himself, the boss really lives up to what Brother Ghost said privately. He can’t do anything right, but he always wants to show off. It’s already this late, and he’s still causing trouble here?

Jiang Ting knew what he was muttering about but remained silent. He stood up without a word, reached behind his waist, and grabbed the handle of a cold dagger.

“How much is in this box?”

The bodyguard hastily replied, “About two kilograms!”

“So little?” Jiang Ting casually asked.

“It looks like a lot, but it’s actually packed lightly.”

“Why didn’t you pack more?”

The bodyguard thought, How would I know? That’s how Ajie instructed us. Why don’t you go ask him yourself?

But no one could ignore Jiang Ting’s questions, so he had to hurriedly put the drugs back into the wooden box. He reluctantly answered, “That’s how Ajie said we should do it. Put some soybeans and rice in the box, so it looks like it’s for transportation and easy to pass security checks. As for the specific reasons, we can’t say. Why don’t you go ask him yourself—”

His voice abruptly stopped, and his eyes bulged out.

Jiang Ting stood behind him, one hand firmly covering his mouth, and the sharp dagger silently slid across his throat.

A large amount of blood spurted out, splattering half of the wall, drenching the gray-white drug packaging in crimson. The bodyguard convulsed all over, and from his throat came the sound of bursting bubbles from broken blood foam. However, Jiang Ting’s strong hand pressed him tightly, preventing any sound from escaping.

After about ten seconds, the bodyguard’s legs twitched a few more times before his dying struggles abruptly ceased.

Jiang Ting released his grip, and the corpse fell to the ground. His eyes widened, but even in death, he couldn’t understand how he had been taken so suddenly.

Jiang Ting’s palm was stained with blood. He casually grabbed a dirty rag from the table, wiped his hand, and tossed the soiled towel onto the body.

His expression was cold, his eyelashes drooping, as if he had simply thrown away an insignificant piece of garbage. Just then, the sound of chaotic footsteps could be heard outside the door, growing closer. Jiang Ting turned his head slightly—

The bodyguard who had gone out to gather information had returned.