The dust flew and slowly settled. Yan Yin stood there dumbfounded for a while before blurting out, “This potential is impressive…”

“Back in the day, I also…” Jiang Ting clapped his hands and stood up, still panting. “I used to practice martial arts and ranked top three in the department. Hoo, hoo…”

Yan Yin pondered for a while and asked, “Management or criminal investigation?”

Before he could finish his sentence, he received a deadly glare from Jiang Ting.

The cellar wasn’t dug very deep, only about two people’s height. The bottom was covered with a messy oilcloth, and there was an empty shelf, resembling a vegetable cellar in a northern household. It could barely accommodate two people standing face to face, and even turning around was a bit of a struggle. Yan Yin was the first to crawl down, using a flashlight to search around. Jiang Ting squatted above him and asked, “Did you find anything?”

“…” Yan Yin suddenly gestured, “Come down quickly!”

“What’s wrong?”

“No time to explain, come down quickly!”

Confused, Jiang Ting followed the framework and descended into the cellar. Before he could steady himself, Yan Yin abruptly grabbed him and covered the opening.

“You—mm…” The flashlight clattered to the ground and rolled twice, casting a halo that revealed the intertwined feet of the two individuals. Above that were their tightly pressed knees and thighs. The sound of fabric rubbing and their breaths became unusually clear in the quiet underground. Soon, the sound of swallowing saliva added to the delicate water droplets, and Jiang Ting let out a low “Hmm.”

“You don’t want me to squeeze?” Yan Yin asked in a low voice, forcefully pressing him against the earthen wall. In the cramped space, it took little effort to immobilize Jiang Ting. “I want to squeeze.”

“…”

The field was silent, the halo dim, and the entangled breaths stirred up restless thoughts. Jiang Ting pretended to push Yan Yin away, but Yan Yin hastily grabbed him. “Don’t go, don’t go… I’m not lying, I really found something! Look.”

As if performing a magic trick, Yan Yin picked up the flashlight, crouched down, and lifted the jumble of waterproof cloth. On the shelf, a dark lump was tightly wrapped. After unpacking layer after layer, a neatly wrapped stack of money, enclosed in a white paper bag, was revealed.

Jiang Ting understood what the brick-like object was with a single pat. Cash.

“It’s quite weighty,” Yan Yin gestured for him to take a look. “There are words on it.”

Jiang Ting lowered his head, and under the flashlight’s beam, he saw faint words written in black pen on the white paper bag: Two hundred and fifty thousand.

In the intersecting beams of light, both their faces appeared dim and unclear. After a while, Yan Yin suddenly asked, “Usually, assassins receive half the payment beforehand and the other half after completing the job, right?”

“How would I know? I’ve never been an assassin.”

Yan Yin squatted on the ground, Jiang Ting stood behind him, and due to the limited space, the two were tightly pressed together. Yan Yin turned his head to look at Jiang Ting, his face appearing somewhat strange as he suppressed a smile, and he slowly said, “I never expected that you were so cheap in Wang Xingye’s eyes, only five hundred thousand…”

Then, seeing Jiang Ting’s expression, he quickly added, “It’s nothing, in my eyes, you’re worth five billion—fifty billion! You’re priceless!”

“Get lost,” Jiang Ting couldn’t help but laugh and curse, using his knee to nudge Yan Yin’s back. “Pack up and let’s go up. We’ve made a discovery on this trip.”

Reluctantly standing up, Yan Yin still wanted to get intimate, but Jiang Ting, who was prepared, immediately leaned back, entangled for a moment before reluctantly giving up. He grabbed the framework and climbed out of the cellar.

The fresh summer night air greeted them. Before he could emerge from the tunnel, Yan Yin took a deep breath of the fresh air. Just as he turned his head to ask Jiang Ting to hand over the two hundred and fifty thousand in cash, he suddenly caught sight of something and froze in place.

—In front of the backyard wall, the moonlight clearly revealed several furtive figures. One had already descended, while two were crouched on the wall, preparing to climb down. The leader held a flashlight, sweeping its beam around. The light hit the half-exposed body of Yan Yin, and in that instant, he also froze.

Immediately after, someone exclaimed, “Someone!”

“Who?!”

This sudden change was too abrupt. At a critical moment, Yan Yin caught sight of a gun in the other person’s hand, and he immediately guessed the person’s identity. He blurted out, “Fan Wu?”

Fan Wu, the one holding the flashlight, had originally intended to pounce forward, but upon hearing his name called out, he instinctively stumbled. In that split second, Yan Yin pressed Jiang Ting tightly against the tunnel, then swiftly rolled aside, retrieving his handgun. He warned in a stern voice, “Don’t move! Police!”

Even the most desperate criminals, upon hearing the word “police,” instinctively turned to flee. The two individuals on the wall immediately scrambled to escape. However, before they could completely get away, footsteps suddenly approached from the front of the house. The thin police officer from the local police station rushed in, caught off guard, and was immediately shocked by the scene in the backyard. “There… there’s a gun?!”

Yan Yin suddenly realized that nowadays most frontline police officers didn’t carry bullets, at most just an empty gun for show—yet this skinny officer didn’t even dare to pretend and directly blurted it out!

“Run! Call for backup!” Yan Yin blurted out.

At the same time, Fan Wu also realized the situation. “There’s only one cop! Don’t be afraid, those who want the money, go!”

The two individuals on the wall jumped down in response, and the backyard suddenly had four criminals. The thin police officer didn’t wait for Yan Yin to repeat himself and immediately rushed out the door!

When people make choices, they often only have a few seconds, sometimes even less. When the actual situation occurs, the decision-making is purely subconscious. At least when Yan Yin recalled later, he could only remember one thought in his mind: What will happen to Jiang Ting in the cellar if I run away?

Jiang Ting had no gun and couldn’t escape. What’s even more dangerous was that he was guarding the two hundred and fifty thousand stolen money. These people wouldn’t spare his life just because he handed over the stolen money. They were ruthless criminals who even dared to kill the police!

With determination, Yan Yin swiftly dodged the enemy’s bullets, then quickly approached and kicked one of them in the chest without hesitation!

Fan Wu didn’t expect this detective to face them alone, single-handedly. He cursed out loud, and in a panic, fired at close range but missed. Yan Yin’s swift and powerful kick kicked the homemade gun into the grass. At this moment, another thug rushed over to support, but Yan Yin quickly grabbed his arm. With a swift and clean over-the-shoulder throw, he slammed the thug to the ground, breaking his wrist bone with a crisp “crack”!

“Ah, ah, ah!” The thug let out a miserable scream, while Fan Wu swung his flashlight aimlessly. The aluminum flashlight happened to hit Yan Yin’s temple, and warm liquid immediately gushed down.

However, there is no pain in combat. The scent of blood instead stimulated the ferocity in Yan Yin’s nature. He grabbed the flashlight and ruthlessly smashed it several times, causing the other thug who rushed forward to be bloodied and battered!

Fan Wu angrily roared, “Attack! Kill him!”

In the dark night, two or three people surged forward, attempting to grab the gun from Yan Yin’s hand. If this were to happen outside, the act of attempting to seize a gun would be enough to put each of them in prison for ten years. However, the temptation of money and the fear of being captured made the criminals lose their rationality. In the chaos, Yan Yin felt someone behind him, gripping him tightly, while his hand holding the gun was forcibly twisted open. Blood rushed to his head, and he clenched his hand and pulled the trigger!

Bang! Bang!

“Blood, blood… Ahhh! There’s blood!!”

—Someone knelt down in the dimness, slightly swaying, and then the body collapsed with a dull thud.

The sound wasn’t heavy, but it felt like a heavy hammer striking everyone’s hearts. The entire situation froze in an instant. The air seemed to solidify for about two or three seconds. Fan Wu suddenly reacted, exploding with a shrill and changed tone, “Quick, take his gun!”

Yan Yin withdrew, but in the midst of the three attackers, he lost his balance and stumbled. The Type 92 pistol fell from his hand, and one of the thugs immediately rushed to snatch it. However, Yan Yin was quick to react. He kicked the Type 92 pistol, sending it spinning away. Immediately after, Fan Wu pulled him up and struck him with several punches, causing him to spit out a mouthful of blood.

“Fuck your mother!”

Yan Yin was always the one delivering the blows, never the one being beaten. These few blows unleashed his ferocity. At once, neither of the two thugs could restrain him. He charged forward, knocking Fan Wu to the ground. The two engaged in a fierce struggle. Suddenly, Yan Yin felt something in his hand and instinctively grabbed it. With all his strength, he fiercely flung it—

Clang!

The sound of metal colliding with a human skull echoed. Fan Wu’s eyes widened as he maintained the motion of a clenched fist, but blood quickly welled up in his eye sockets. Crimson blood streamed down his face. Then, blood flowed from his nostrils, corners of his mouth, and even his ear, gushing out rapidly. In the blink of an eye, his entire head turned into a bloody mess.

“Bag… Bag-ge…” One of the thugs trembled as he took a step back. “Your… your head…”

Fan Wu’s shoulder twitched, causing half of his body to convulse. It seemed like he wanted to touch the sunken part of his skull—but it was obvious that he couldn’t do it anymore. A creaking sound of gasping for air emanated from his throat. He stared at Yan Yin with eyes on the verge of bursting, filled with countless resentment and incomprehension. Then, he collapsed to the ground.

“Bag-ge is dead. He beat Bag-ge to death…”

Yan Yin looked at the aluminum flashlight in his hand, stained with blood, and was somewhat dazed—how did this thing, which had just hit his own forehead, manage to break someone’s skull?

“Quick, run…” a short thug trembled and roared in madness, “Their reinforcements are coming, run!”

The short thug jumped back, and Yan Yin chased after him, shouting, “Stop!”

Moonlight suddenly flashed through the clouds. At the same time, another thug with a buzz cut caught sight of something shiny not far away. Without hesitation, he immediately pounced and grabbed it, feeling ecstatic in his heart—it was indeed the homemade gun that Fan Wu had been kicked away.

His sanity had completely vanished. He aimed the gun at Yan Yin and shouted, “Stop, stand still!”

Before the words fell, Yan Yin tackled the short thug, rolling up and delivering a right hook that made the suspect spurt blood from his mouth and nose before he could even resist. Then, Yan Yin pulled handcuffs from his back waist, twisted the short thug’s hands behind his back in a split second, and just as he was about to cuff him, he heard it—

Bang!

A searing bullet whizzed past his ear. Yan Yin abruptly raised his head, his pupils shrinking.

He was facing the dark barrel of the buzz cut thug!

In just half a second, the world seemed to freeze. The buzz cut thug held the gun against Yan Yin, his eyes bloodshot, filled with ferocity.

If he still had half of a normal person’s thinking, he should have turned around and run, the farther the better. But at this moment, the desperate ruthlessness, the resentment of a doomed situation, and the gambler’s psychology stimulated by blood had taken over his mind. He felt a buzzing in his ears, clenched his molars, and aimed at Yan Yin, pulling the trigger—

Bang!

The bullet spun through the night sky, leaving behind a trail of blood blossoms.

“Ah… Ah… Ahhh!”

Intermittent screams echoed. The buzz cut thug clutched his body, rolling on the ground incessantly. The homemade gun had long flown outside the wall. Yan Yin looked incredulously toward the direction of the gunshot, and in the moonlight, he saw Jiang Ting standing a few steps away, gasping for breath while holding the gun.

Moonlight clearly illuminated his profile, and his sweat-soaked skin reflected a faint gleam. His lips were completely pale gray.

—He had his eyes closed.

The short thug, fueled by unknown strength, broke free from Yan Yin’s grip and ran toward the outer wall of the backyard like a madman. Just as he was about to make it, another figure suddenly leaped over the wall, landing swiftly and stepping forward. Jumping up, he delivered a flying kick, causing the short thug to retreat repeatedly. Then, as the short thug was trying to get up, a pair of handcuffs flew through the air, whooshing twice, nearly knocking out his front teeth. He screamed in pain.

The person exuded a killing intent, stepping on the short thug and snapping the handcuffs on. Then, he looked up and shouted, “Yan Team! Consultant Lu! Are you alright?”

It was indeed the reinforcement called by the thin police officer—Han Xiaomei.

Yan Yin was about to respond when he saw Jiang Ting suddenly snap out of what seemed like a nightmare. He hurriedly walked over in a rushed manner.

—Yan Yin didn’t know what he was thinking. It was probably just a momentary lapse of reason, or perhaps the near-death experience had triggered a burst of inspiration in his subconscious. The words “We’re fine” were suddenly choked back, and he immediately lay quietly on the ground.

“Yan Team?” Han Xiaomei was puzzled. “What’s wrong with you?”

Jiang Ting paused.

“Yan Team?”

All the color drained from Jiang Ting’s face in an instant. He nearly stumbled, half-kneeling down. In the moonlight, Yan Yin’s face was covered in blood, with half of it completely smeared.

“…Yan Yin,” Jiang Ting tried to feel his breath. He didn’t even notice his fingers trembling violently. “Wake up, Yan Yin?”

“…”

“Yan Yin! Don’t joke around!”

Jiang Ting’s voice instantly broke, and he felt helpless. He could only lift Yan Yin’s upper body and forcefully apply pressure to the wound on his forehead. Although the blood was hot, his entire body trembled as if immersed in icy water. Each word came with the chattering sound of teeth, “Yan Yin, wake up, I beg you… Call an ambulance, call an ambulance!!”

Han Xiaomei also panicked. As soon as she took out her phone, it slipped from her hand and fell to the ground. She knelt down and frantically picked it up.

Yan Yin’s consciousness became fuzzy. “Jiang… Jiang Ting…”

“Don’t sleep, don’t pass out!” Jiang Ting’s ears were buzzing, and he couldn’t even hear what he was shouting: “Yan Yin, look at me! Look at me! Don’t fall asleep, I beg you!”

Yan Yin lifted his head slightly, as if he wanted to say something. Jiang Ting immediately leaned closer, only to hear a faint voice in his ear, “So, in the end… will you… marry me…”

Jiang Ting’s expression suddenly turned blank.

“This is my last—cough cough, last wish. Please, you must promise… Puhahaha—”

Yan Yin couldn’t hold it anymore and burst into laughter. Before he could laugh a few times, it triggered the wound, causing pain. He laughed while gasping for air and pounding the ground.

Jiang Ting froze.

Han Xiaomei was also stunned.

“Hahaha, hahaha… Ah!”

That insane laughter abruptly stopped. Jiang Ting lifted Yan Yin’s collar with one hand and delivered a heavy punch to his handsome face. Then, without looking back, he walked away.

Ten minutes later, in the Mercedes G-Class.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, is that not enough? It wasn’t intentional, really, I was a bit dizzy at the time… Oh, my baby, you’re still angry? How about you punch me again? Come on, right here, hit harder.”

Yan Yin clung to Jiang Ting like an octopus, but before he could get close, Jiang Ting suddenly turned around, leaving him facing a cold back.

Han Xiaomei squatted by the car door, munching on watermelon, spitting out two seeds disdainfully, and muttered, “Deserved it!”

“Hey, why are you like this? Don’t you know how to mediate when adults are quarreling? And you’re fanning the flames on the side?” Yan Yin immediately shifted his focus, patting Han Xiaomei’s head repeatedly to scold her. “Eating, eating, eating, that’s all you know. What was the situation in the backyard when you arrived? Why didn’t you wait until both me and Consultant Lu were done for before leisurely coming over?”

Han Xiaomei, with a mouthful of watermelon, replied, “As soon as I heard the police officer shouting for help, I rushed over immediately! Climbing up the slope and taking a detour in the middle of the night, is it easy to find the scene?”

The “police officer shouting for help” was lifting his head and lifting his foot together with the security director. They were carrying the bodies of the two suspects out of the backyard. Hearing Han Xiaomei’s words, they smiled awkwardly and rubbed their hands. Fortunately, the darkness concealed their flushed faces.

“It’s okay, brother, I don’t blame you.” Yan Yin wiped his blood-covered forehead with a towel and said, “You guys shouldn’t have guns, so it’s really dangerous to confront them head-on. It’s just that this little girl is too fierce.”

The thin police officer laughed along, “I… I’ll go collect the stolen money and bullets in the backyard…” Then, he hurriedly covered his feverish face and slipped away.

Once the outsider left, Yan Yin immediately reverted to his usual self. Ignoring his bloodied face, he smiled warmly and squeezed Jiang Ting towards the car door. “Hey, let me take a look at our sulky Captain Jiang, Police Chief Jiang, Jiang Beauty… Come on, be good, can’t I apologize? I won’t dare next time, okay? Shh…”

Jiang Ting was being squeezed into a corner of the narrow and dimly lit compartment. There was nowhere to escape. He couldn’t help but shout angrily, “Yan Yin!”

Yan Yin immediately responded, “Hmm?”

The two of them stared at each other closely in the narrow and dimly lit car for a moment. Suddenly, Yan Yin lowered his head and quickly pecked Jiang Ting’s eyelid, his lips brushing against his, as he whispered, “Still angry?”

“…”

“Don’t be angry, okay?”

Jiang Ting’s fair forehead twitched slightly. After a while, he finally squeezed out a few words through gritted teeth, “How have you managed to survive without getting killed until now?”

Yan Yin proudly replied, “Because I’m handsome!”

“Yan Team, Yan Team!” The thin police officer ran over panting, holding two hundred and fifty thousand in cash. “I’ve brought it, your stolen money!”

Yan Yin immediately let go of Consultant Lu, as if nothing had happened, and said, “What stolen money of mine? Look at how you said it… Don’t put it in the trunk. There are two dead bodies in there. Put the stolen money on the front passenger seat. When we go back, let Consultant Lu hold his redemption money. Is the police car from your station already on the way?”

The thin police officer didn’t understand the joke about redemption money and replied blankly, “Yes, it is. Our station chief has already informed the higher authorities. He will personally come with the car later.”

Han Xiaomei finished eating the watermelon by the driver’s side, casually wiped her sticky hands on the police uniform pants, stretched her neck up and down to observe the twenty-five thousand that was wrapped in paper, and muttered, “To be honest, I’ve never seen so much cash in my life.”

Yan Yin said, “Then you must be really pitiful. Yan Ge has decided not to let you be so pitiful anymore. How about this, after we go back, let’s withdraw one or two million in cash from the bank, or maybe three or four million…”

“And then?” Han Xiaomei asked eagerly.

“And then we take photos together and put it back in the bank,” Yan Yin smiled slightly. “Otherwise, what do you want to do?”

Han Xiaomei almost rolled her eyes in disbelief.

“…” Suddenly, Jiang Ting in the back seat leaned forward and furrowed his brows, grabbing the cash and moving it to the back seat.

“Huh?” Han Xiaomei was puzzled. “What’s wrong, Consultant Lu?”

“Give me the flashlight,” Jiang Ting said, taking the flashlight Yan Yin had taken out and shining it on the four characters on the white paper bag. The strokes of “25,000” were rough but neat, hastily written, and the ink was a very faint light brown color. If one were to observe it meticulously, the light brown traces on the paper looked a bit like crayon.

“Do you wear makeup?” Jiang Ting suddenly asked.

Han Xiaomei was surprised. “Not much… occasionally, why?”

Jiang Ting tapped his index finger on the “25,000” and furrowed his brow, saying, “I always feel like these four characters resemble the eyebrow pencil used by you girls.”