Jiang Ting struggled fiercely, but Wen Shao quickly and forcefully pressed him against the tree. At the same time, Wen Shao reached into the inner side of his right ear and lightly touched it, involuntarily making a soft sound of surprise.

—There was nothing on the inner side of his ear.

Then, he reached back and pinched his left ear, swiftly tearing off Yan Yin’s dark gray cashmere scarf, mercilessly throwing it down the slope. The cold wind rushed in, causing Jiang Ting to shiver involuntarily. Wen Shao, disregarding his resistance, forcefully probed the inside of his clothes, feeling along the neck, but found nothing.

How could this be?

Inside the command vehicle, Yan Yin faced the gaze of the leaders at all levels in the car, calmly uttered two words, “Nothing.”

“…What do you mean by ’nothing’?” Vice Director Wei couldn’t hold back anymore. “Weren’t you connected to Captain Jiang through the communication channel? What do you mean by ’nothing’?!”

“We have cut off the connection.”

In an instant, not only Vice Director Wei, but also Yu, Chen, and Director Lv almost stood up. “What?!”

Three hours ago, Qiju Peak—

Wang Pengfei’s convoy gradually appeared at the end of the winding mountain road in the distance, while Jiang Ting stood alone on a high cliff, one hand pressing the communication earpiece, amidst the roaring wind and crackling sound of electricity, he only heard Yan Yin giving careful instructions, “If anything is wrong when you arrive at Yunzhong Village or if you feel endangered, find a way to destroy or bury the communicator. The command center will dispatch a team to search for you in Yunzhong Village. No matter what happens, I will come find you, understood?”

The engine roared closer, and Jiang Ting said, “Understood, I’ll wait for you.”

Then, he brushed the ends of his hair to a position just covering the tips of his ears, facing the direction of the approaching convoy.

Two hours ago, Yunzhong Village—

Qin Chuan’s attention was distracted by Lao Cai. When he turned back, he saw Jiang Ting leaning close, almost next to his ear, while raising his hand to cover half of his face, saying, “Wen Shao gave Lao Cai some money, so he will advise the Wang guy to behave…”

No matter how you looked at it, Jiang Ting’s raised left hand only covered his mouth to prevent eavesdropping.

But what no one noticed was that at the same time, his ring finger lightly brushed against the inner side of his earlobe, secretly removing that button communicator:

“Just avoid being alone with the Wang guy along the way, so he won’t cause trouble—”

Qin Chuan exaggeratedly leaned back, and at that moment, he didn’t see Jiang Ting’s ring finger glide over his mouth, seemingly catching something with the tip of his teeth.

“Captain Jiang, I’m just a small fry, and I still want to live a few more years. Please spare me a way out…”

Jiang Ting stood in place, looking completely baffled, as if he had no understanding of Qin Chuan’s sincerely mocking tone. A bodyguard, a couple of steps away, watched Jiang Ting vigilantly, but failed to notice the slight movement in his throat as he swallowed the button.

“You suspect that I’m communicating with the police?” Jiang Ting turned his head, his eyes seemingly burning with anger. “Where’s the evidence? Have I sent any messages? Or are you just picking a fight for no reason?!”

This dominating posture made Wen Shao even more condescending. When he looked down from above, there was even a touch of coldness and inquisitiveness.

But immediately, that ferocity gradually turned into a terrifying tenderness.

“I don’t need any evidence, Jiang Ting.” He said regretfully, “Just like you understand me, I also understand you.”

Jiang Ting’s eyebrows jumped dramatically, but it was already too late—Wen Shao’s hand rose and fell, accurately striking a certain spot on the back of his neck, causing Jiang Ting’s vision to darken!

“You once said that was the happiest and most anticipated day of your life.” Wen Shao whispered softly against his icy ear, “I’m sorry for making you wait so many years. It will be over soon.”

The blood-red sunset melted into the sky, and two children by the creek splashed water barefoot, their laughter rising with the evening breeze and reflecting the bright morning star.

“Why are you always so happy?”

“I’m not!”

“But you look happy.”

“That’s because I get to see you!” The little boy playfully splashed a handful of water, laughing as his companion dodged, “Since I met you, every day has been the happiest day for me!”

No, it’s not like that at all—

Jiang Ting’s consciousness quickly faded, and he desperately tried to reach out to the boy happily playing in the void, but he missed it by a hair’s breadth.

The next moment, he closed his eyes and fell into a deep abyss.

·

Jiang Ting fell silently and was caught immediately. Wen Shao leaned in to check his breathing and pulse, and after a few seconds, he relaxed a bit.

He effortlessly carried Jiang Ting, feeling no weight at all. He saw that the bruise at the throat, no longer hidden by the scarf, had turned purple-black, and couldn’t help but make a couple of pitying sounds, murmuring, “Poor thing.”

Jiang Ting was unconscious, his brows still tightly furrowed in his slumber.

Wen Shao didn’t mind, carrying him down the steep slope. They saw Qin Chuan and his men coming from the warehouse area, and Qin Chuan walked up quickly and said concisely, “It’s done over there.”

“What reason did you use to come out?” Wen Shao asked as they walked.

“I said there was a missing weight on the cargo scale, so I came out to ask Jin Jie for two. Otherwise, if the weight is wrong, it could be fatal.”

Wen Shao nodded.

“And…”

“What?”

Qin Chuan seemed hesitant to speak, but he finally said, “There are still the two of our brothers in the warehouse…”

Wen Shao smiled and asked back, “If all our people have come out, do you think Wang Pengfei will stay inside obediently?”

Qin Chuan was momentarily speechless.

There was a jeep parked in the open space in the distance, and the driver had been waiting respectfully by the side. Qin Chuan walked a few steps quickly and opened the rear door.

Wen Shao leaned in and put the unconscious Jiang Ting in the back seat, then rummaged in his pocket and took out a pair of handcuffs, snapping them onto his wrists.

“If I didn’t bring them out, they would have died in the Wa State a few years ago.” Wen Shao clapped his hands and said, “If you’ve been in this line of work for a while, you’ll find that sometimes you can’t get things done without killing a few people.”

Wen Shao, perhaps because he was relatively young, didn’t seem to have much of an air about him most of the time, as a boss.

But that was only on the surface. He would always reveal his true and cruel side in certain careless details.

Qin Chuan nodded in agreement, said no more, and stepped aside to make way for Wen Shao.

But in that instant when he stepped aside, the handle of a gun peeked out from the holster on his waist, visible from under his tactical vest. Wen Shao’s gaze fell on it, seemingly noticing something, and his eyelids twitched slightly.

In an instant, Qin Chuan had turned around, lowered his head, and asked, “What should we do next? Should we continue with the plan?”

Wen Shao stood by the side of the jeep, and in the back seat, Jiang Ting remained unconscious. He didn’t immediately respond to his subordinate’s inquiry. Instead, he pondered for a moment before instructing the driver, “Don’t rush to leave. When he wakes up later, you can drive out. I’ve already given you the route.”

The driver spoke in Burmese, “Understood, boss! I know what to do!”

Qin Chuan, standing next to them, understood very well that this meant letting Jiang Ting witness the entire process from inside the car.

Only then did Wen Shao take a step towards the factory area, taking out a cigarette case and lighting one for himself, then offering it to Qin Chuan.

“I quit,” Qin Chuan politely declined without hesitation.

Wen Shao seemed somewhat amused but didn’t insist, lighting his own cigarette. “You can’t hold your breath as well as Jiang Ting.”

“…”

“When I offered him a cigarette for the first time, Jiang Ting accepted it readily. He never asked for one, but he never refused either. Look at him.”

Qin Chuan chuckled, “Boss, that’s not holding one’s breath, that’s being open-minded. I just want to make money and stay alive, our starting points are different, so how can we compare?”

Wen Shao glanced at him sideways, a hint of a smile on his face.

“By the way,” he suddenly asked, “Do you still remember your mother?”

Qin Chuan couldn’t keep up with the sudden change of topic, “Of course I do. Why?”

“Just asking, I don’t remember anymore.” Wen Shao gestured towards the jeep, which was already quite far away. The implication was pointing to Jiang Ting, “He should remember, but he never talks about it, keeps it hidden.”

Qin Chuan thought for a moment before saying, “Maybe it’s because it’s not important anymore. Besides, it’s all in the past, there’s no point in dwelling on it.”

Wen Shao nodded without speaking.

In front of them, the drug lord inserted his hands into his pockets, crossed the rough and difficult-to-walk stone crusher, and walked steadily without hesitation. From his back, there was no sign of any emotions, no signs of joy or anger, and no indication of continuing with the original plan.

Qin Chuan’s palms were slightly damp, and he clenched them tightly, carrying a perfect mix of doubt and hesitation as he coughed:

“By the way, you told me to be responsible for making that call—”

By this time, they had reached the front of the factory area, where dark green aluminum alloy tents stood under the sky, twinkling with scattered lights. Further in the distance, the surrounding mountain streams and lush trees were enveloped in darkness, and the cold wind rustled through, as if countless withered arms were waving in the dimness.

Wen Shao suddenly halted his steps.

Qin Chuan’s words abruptly stopped, and he also came to a halt.

“You used to be a police officer,” Wen Shao said with a laugh. “Tell me, given the terrain around here, if the police were keeping an eye on us, where would they set up their ambush?”

“Ah?”

A hundred meters away, on higher ground, two figures stood in front of the warehouse. Their actions could be vaguely discerned from a distance, indicating that they were in conversation.

But the distance was too far, and the content of their conversation could not be monitored.

“A91 observation point calling the command vehicle, calling the command vehicle.” “The main target and another person have appeared in the observation range again. Please instruct!”

Several department heads from the provincial bureau looked at each other, and Director Lv snatched up the microphone, “Is the accompanying person ‘Nail’?”

“No,” the special police observer in the treetops immediately denied, “I’ll send the live scene images!”

With a click, the live scene images buffered inch by inch on the satellite screen in the command vehicle, and everyone leaned in to get a closer look. Without needing Director Lv’s order, Huang Xing immediately started sharpening the images. However, before the process was complete, Director Lv, Deputy Director Wei, and others all simultaneously recognized the person next to Wen Shao:

“Qin Chuan?!”

“…Where’s Dingzi?” Chief Chen exclaimed, “Where’s Dingzi?!”

Director Lv turned his head abruptly, completely unsurprised, and his stern expression matched that of his own face. As the eyes of the two police officers, old and young, met, Director Lv made a hand gesture.

Chief Chen nodded, without saying a word, turned around, and rushed down from the command vehicle.

“Team Yan!”

“Yan ge!”

Gao Panqing, Ma Xiang, and others rushed in from outside the cordon. They saw Yan Yan’s swift steps, one hand gripping his gun, and the other pulling open the police car door. Ma Xiang only managed to grab onto the passenger-side window, “What’s the situation, Yan ge? How’s… Jiang ge?”

“It’s almost certain that we’ve been exposed. We need to rush to the scene immediately.” Yan Yan’s voice was deep, and without looking back, he got into the car, “Let’s go!”

In just a few seconds, the prepared police cars lit up their headlights one after another, their engines emitting a dull roar, and then they charged out of the cordon!

“If it were me?” Qin Chuan calmed down from his brief confusion, squinting as he surveyed the surroundings. It took him several minutes before he said, “At twelve o’clock in front of us, two points in the northeast direction, the hollow formed by the rock in the mountain stream, and all the tree pits where the line of sight is blocked… these are all possible ambush points.”

“What would you do if you were me?” Wen Shao asked without hesitation.

Qin Chuan didn’t hesitate either, “Set fire to the mountains.”

The two men looked at each other, and behind Qin Chuan’s lenses, a cold and resolute gaze flickered.

Every second seemed to stretch out excessively long. Qin Chuan was dressed lightly, but sweat seeped from the back of his neck, making him shiver when the wind blew, chilling him to the bone. Nevertheless, he still met the unpredictable drug lord in front of him with a steady gaze. In the time it took to smoke a cigarette, Wen Shao finally flicked the cigarette butt away and smiled, “You’re too ruthless!”

That breath that had been stuck in Qin Chuan’s throat finally came out, and he smiled too, pushing his glasses with his finger joints. “So should I go and do it now?”

The rising intonation of his voice was handled very skillfully, not appearing too urgent, but very sincere and calm. If Wen Shao nodded and said a positive word, he would immediately turn around and go get the gasoline can.

“No need,” Wen Shao said calmly, “I’ve already had people sweep the area nearby. Even if the police are watching here, the nearest observation point can only be set…”

He raised his chin forward.

-This action was faithfully reflected in the focused telescope, and one of the observers moved and asked the comrade lying in ambush next to him almost soundlessly, “Is he looking at us?”

“Fuck,” the special police whispered, “What is he doing?”

“Besides that spot, everywhere else is clean. This means that the police’s observation angle and range are very limited, and even if the action team is ambushing at the forefront at the risk of exposure, it will take at least six minutes from the start of the operation to reach the scene.”

Qin Chuan’s face looked strange after Wen Shao said these few words.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“…Nothing,” Qin Chuan slowly said, “I was just thinking… Fortunately, in all the years I’ve been a police officer, I’ve never had a direct confrontation with you.”

Wen Shao seemed quite pleased, “Of course you haven’t. The only one dedicated to catching me is Jiang Ting.”

He inserted both hands into his pockets after flicking away the cigarette butt and didn’t know what he was gripping. It was this dangerous unknown that kept Qin Chuan in a state of extreme tension from just now until now. However, at this moment, he finally saw Wen Shao move. Wen Shao extended his left hand from his pants pocket, holding out a piece of paper that he waved in front of Qin Chuan, “Take it.”

-That piece of paper conspicuously contained a string of phone numbers.

Thump! The heart that had been suspended in Qin Chuan’s throat finally fell back into his chest.

“…Okay,” Qin Chuan remained expressionless, accepting the piece of paper and putting it in the inner pocket of his chest, “When I receive a signal, I’ll immediately dial this number.”

Wen Shao nodded and made a soft sound, patting Qin Chuan’s shoulder.

“We’ve known each other for more than ten years, and we’ve always had a great deal of trust in each other. I hope that when it’s crucial, your abilities can match that trust.”

Qin Chuan nodded, and Wen Shao smiled, “Go.”

Qin Chuan responded neatly and quickly walked towards the production plant in the distance. Wen Shao squinted and stared at his retreating figure until he was dozens of meters away, then slowly took out his phone from his right pants pocket and dialed a number:

“Hello.”

On the other end of the call was A Jie, “Boss?”

Wen Shao turned and walked towards the warehouse where Wang Pengfei and his group had entered just now, completely unconcerned that he was exposing his back to the observers in the ambush point. He only heard him ask, “Did you give Qin Chuan that gun today?”

I don’t know what A Jie explained on the other end of the phone, but Wen Shao squinted his eyes, and a hint of blood appeared in his abyss-like dark pupils.

“I got it. Follow my instructions later…”

·

In the telescope, Wen Shao and his men entered the dark warehouse, and several armed men closed the aluminum alloy door with combined effort.

“Report to the command vehicle! Report to the action team!” the observer urgently said, “The main target has entered the scene, the transaction has begun!”

Chief Chen clenched his fists and nodded forcefully, Director Lv’s calm voice echoed in every speeding police car, in every ambush point where special police were waiting, and in every communication channel within several miles:

“Take action!”

The daylight faded, and night fell. Looking down from a high vantage point, dozens of criminal police and special police teams emerged from the flat land amidst the vast mountains and forests, taking advantage of the cover of darkness, rushing towards the halfway point from all directions—

At the same moment, inside the warehouse that was surrounded by all the police forces.

Snap! Wang Pengfei couldn’t help but smash a teacup, abruptly stood up in anger, and said, “What about that guy named Qin? Is the Black Spade K coming or not? No, even if you have Blue Gold, you can’t do this. What do you mean by leaving the buyer hanging like this?!”

The two bodyguards brought in by Qin Chuan looked at each other in confusion, completely unaware. The older one took out his phone to make a call, but then said, “Huh?”

“What’s wrong?”

“No signal.”

Lao Cai stood behind Wang Pengfei, his heartbeat suddenly racing for some unknown reason, his face almost changing color. He immediately secretly pinched his thigh tightly to stabilize the inexplicable trembling.

“We came here honestly with the money and people for the transaction! If you don’t want to do business, just say so. Are you playing games with me, Wang Pengfei?!” Wang Pengfei ignored the bodyguards’ attempts to stop him and angrily walked towards the door, “I’m going out to find your boss. Are you moving such a heavy load so slowly? Are you trying to bring in a shipping container?!”

Lao Cai hurriedly caught up, “Hey boss, boss, please wait…”

Wang Pengfei pushed him away, “Don’t stop me! If we don’t do business, Wang can’t stand—”

His words abruptly stopped, his muddy eyes blinked twice, and he questioned with suspicion, “What’s that sound?”

The warehouse suddenly fell silent, and the dim lights flickered on and off. The only sound was the eerie howling of the mountain wind outside, sometimes close, sometimes distant.

“….Hmm—hmm…”

A sharp, crying-like sound gradually permeated the silence, not only causing Wang Pengfei to feel puzzled, but even his subordinates felt goosebumps all over their bodies. “What… what’s that noise?”

“Uhh… uhh—”

“Who’s playing tricks there?” Wang Pengfei’s anger surged, and suddenly he caught sight of a dark corner deep in the warehouse. Instantly, anger turned into courage, and without hesitation, he charged towards it, “Whoever you are, come out!”