Chen Chen was awakened by the cold floor. At first, she didn’t understand what was happening. She only remembered following a girl from the photography class home—it was really close, just around the corner after leaving the park. Although it looked a bit empty, it was tidy. The telephone wasn’t working well, always having poor reception. The girl confidently said that reconnecting the line would fix it and gave Chen Chen a bottle of chilled drink. With the straw in her mouth, sipping mango juice, Chen Chen felt like she might be troubling the girl. She hesitated whether to say, “I should go back to school,” but before she could speak, she felt as if something was being pulled out of her body. Her limbs lost control instantly, and she swayed for a few moments before everything went blank. Chen Chen’s braids were undone, covered in dust. Her limbs were bound together, indicating that she had been violently dragged across the ground. Several exposed areas of her skin were scraped and stinging with pain. The tape on her lips carried the smell of rubber. She struggled to curl up, desperately trying to move away. Su Luozhan stood a few steps away, looking down at her from above. Su Luozhan tilted her head, a strand of hair falling from her temple. She extended her slender fingers, twirling her hair beside her cheek. Her cold eyes resembled those of a wicked and cold-blooded creature. Then, she curled her lips and smiled at Chen Chen. “You’re so annoying.” Chen Chen trembled violently. “I hate people like you who know nothing, who are all calculating bitches. At your age, you rely on acting cute, always expecting someone to cater to your needs. You get whatever you want, acting like a child, as if the whole world should revolve around you.” Su Luozhan spoke while bending down, grabbing a curved-blade knife from the shoe cabinet by the entrance. The metallic weapon was too heavy for her thin and delicate hands. The blade scraped against the old wooden cabinet, making a scraping sound. Chen Chen struggled fiercely, her mouth sealed shut. She made a feeble, animal-like “hmm hmm” sound, her face turning red from the exertion. She desperately tried to free herself from the ropes. “If he doesn’t come, I can do it myself!” Suddenly, Su Luozhan erupted. She grabbed the knife and charged towards Chen Chen. In a state of extreme fear, one’s potential seems limitless. In that moment, Chen Chen found strength from somewhere and, while still bound, used her feet to find the ground. Before she could stand up, the knife was already dangerously close. Chen Chen closed her eyes and lunged forward, rolling away from Su Luozhan’s knife. She bumped her forehead against the corner of the coffee table, immediately causing a gash and blood to flow. Dazed and disoriented from the impact, Chen Chen felt overwhelmingly overwhelmed and just wanted to cry out for help. She knew that crying wouldn’t help, but she struggled to use her shoulder to support herself against the coffee table, attempting to stand up again. The knife in Su Luozhan’s hand swung too forcefully and got stuck in a wooden cabinet in the corner. The heavy blade didn’t budge when she pulled it, frustrating Su Luozhan. In her rage, she rushed forward, grabbing Chen Chen’s hair from behind. Chen Chen felt as if her entire scalp was being torn off as she was forcibly bent over by Su Luozhan’s hand. Tears streamed down her face, causing the adhesive tape on her mouth to loosen. She was like a defenseless little lamb being slaughtered. But it only fueled another person’s desire to inflict pain. Su Luozhan raised her hand and slapped Chen Chen’s face. Chen Chen, who had never been touched before, was left stunned. “Bitch,” Su Luozhan said, “you’re just a bitch!” Influenced by movies and TV shows, the term “bitch” had actually become common among middle and upper-grade students, with some kids who matured earlier than their peers starting to use these adult-oriented words—even in the presence of children who would throw tantrums while holding ice cream at home. Su Luozhan forcefully pushed Chen Chen onto the coffee table. Chen Chen’s lower back hit the small table. Underneath the glass table cover, in the yellowed old photo, the deceased faces seemed to be smiling mischievously at the two living girls. Chen Chen’s mouth, moistened by tears, finally broke free from the loosening tape as she cried out, “Help!” The first cry was hoarse and weak. Then, Chen Chen quickly adapted to the feeling of speaking, and her voice grew louder, “Help! Help!” Su Luozhan was startled by her scream. She had felt something missing, not quite “satisfied” enough, and now she realized that she hadn’t heard a scream. Chen Chen’s cry for help, filled with tears, stimulated Su Luozhan. She looked at Chen Chen with a surprised expression, lifted her foot, and stomped on Chen Chen’s outstretched fingers, spread out on the ground. Chen Chen’s pain reached a point where she couldn’t make a sound anymore. She opened her mouth wide, gasping silently for air.

Su Luozhan: “Why aren’t you screaming anymore?” Chen Chen, crying and struggling to catch her breath, managed to squeeze out a few words: “Su… uh, sister… I really, really admire… you… you…” At first, Su Luozhan had a cold expression on her face, but the word “admire” made her pause slightly. Her hand, which was about to grab the girl’s hair, stopped in midair. Her eyes, black like beans, stared at Chen Chen. Just then, the door was forcefully banged several times, and a man outside gruffly said, “Why are you making so much noise? Do you want anyone to sleep? Watching horror movies at this hour, huh? Screaming and shouting like crazy. Is this the only family living here?” Both Su Luozhan and Chen Chen shivered at the same time. The man continued angrily, “Open the door, or I’ll call the police! Do you think it’s appropriate to create such a ruckus in the middle of the night? What’s wrong with you kids? Which school are you from? I’ll make sure to call your teacher. How are these naughty kids being brought up!” Seeing that the man wouldn’t stop, Su Luozhan forcefully covered Chen Chen’s mouth. She randomly pulled out a few tissue papers from a nearby box, which hadn’t been cleaned for a long time, and stuffed them into Chen Chen’s mouth. “Sorry, sir,” Su Luozhan took a deep breath, her face cold, and spoke in a gentle voice, “The adults in our house aren’t here, so I can’t just open the door for strangers. I’ll keep it down.” The man at the door paused and sternly said, “What’s this nonsense, kid? Come over here, let me teach you a lesson on behalf of your parents!” Su Luozhan frowned, but before she could say anything, the man at the door blurted out again, “You should have some public decency, you know? What does it mean? At the very least, it means not causing trouble for others. What about you? Which school are you from? I’m definitely going to call your teacher. How are they teaching these little brats!” Su Luozhan just wanted to get rid of this sudden weirdo. She reached over and stuffed the tissue in Chen Chen’s mouth, then stood up and walked towards the door. One step, two steps… Suddenly, as Su Luozhan took her seventh step, she froze in place. Although this old house had someone cleaning and paying the bills regularly, the neighbors knew that no one lived there and it had been vacant for a long time. So why wasn’t the man outside surprised to hear that there was an unaccompanied child inside in the middle of the night? Su Luozhan suddenly turned and ran, just as the old wooden door was violently broken from the outside. Several police officers rushed in, and Su Luozhan grabbed the knife that had been stuck in the cabinet. Under the pressure, the knife that she couldn’t pull out a moment ago slipped out of the wooden cabinet’s gap. The police officers were about to catch her— Su Luozhan turned around and pointed the knife at the back of Chen Chen’s neck. The sharp tip immediately left a bloody cut on the girl’s pale neck, and she screamed, “Don’t come any closer!” The broken door trembled against the wall, and the atmosphere in the room became tense. Su Luozhan suddenly crouched down, hiding behind Chen Chen. She held the heavy knife, trembling, and swiftly moved it around Chen Chen’s neck, finally stopping at her neck. Her hand trembled incessantly, and her eyes, glaring up from below, resembled a small struggling beast, fierce and angry. Taoran quickly stopped the people around him from approaching and cautiously stood a few steps away. “Su… Su Luozhan, right?” Su Luozhan remained silent. Taoran’s mind raced with various thoughts, unsure how to negotiate with such a young suspect. Just then, Feidu appeared at the door, slightly tilting his body to block his injured arm. He casually swept his gaze around the room. “Where’s the person we’re trying to catch?” Su Luozhan was taken aback and involuntarily looked at him. “Ah, there’s a kid,” Feidu seemed to have just noticed her, asking somewhat dismissively, “Where did the kidnapper and murderer you were with go?” Su Luozhan looked at the knife in her hand and the person beneath it, then looked up at Feidu, seemingly unsure how to respond. “Put down the knife quickly. Everything is fine now. You don’t need to be so nervous,” Feidu surveyed the old house, where the previous owner had left but their chaotic life traces remained, with smoke-stained walls and a pile of empty bottles in the corner. “You really did a number, using a child as bait. I’ve never seen a criminal hide and seek like this before. Don’t worry, little girl. The police are surrounding the place from all sides. He can’t escape. The police officers and the Protection of Minors Law will protect you… It’s impressive that you can even handle such a big knife. Isn’t it heavy?”

He didn’t say anything, but as soon as it was mentioned, Su Luozhan felt her wrist couldn’t bear the weight, and she was on the verge of losing consciousness from the heavy machete. At the same time, she understood Feidu’s words—The police believed that the person responsible for all this was that man, and she was just a pitiful bait! A sense of self-satisfaction for fooling others emerged in Su Luozhan’s heart. She reddened her eye sockets, making herself appear even more pitiful than Chen Chen. With eyes fixedly on Feidu, she looked at him expectantly. Taoran immediately took a step forward in response to Feidu’s words. When Su Luozhan shrank, her hand gripping the knife tightened in vigilance. He squatted down, spread his hands towards her, his gaze level with the girl’s, and his focus shifted from Chen Chen to Su Luozhan: “Is it true? Has someone forced you?” Su Luozhan hesitated for a few seconds and then nodded decisively. Taoran’s voice softened even further as he slowly extended his open hand inch by inch towards her: “Then give Uncle the knife and lead us to catch the bad guy, okay?” Su Luozhan stared at his hand, seemingly undecided. When Taoran’s hand got too close, she nervously lifted the knife in her hand, and the trembling blade immediately left several small wounds on Chen Chen’s neck—she really couldn’t hold onto the knife anymore. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Taoran grabbed the hand holding the knife. Su Luozhan instinctively struggled, and Taoran said softly, “Don’t be afraid, it’s all right now. Uncle knows you’re a good kid, and these things were forced upon you by the bad guy. You don’t need to worry…” His tone was gentle, and the grip on her hand was strong. Su Luozhan couldn’t resist at all. She hesitated for a moment, then relaxed her grip, allowing Taoran to take away her knife. A detective immediately stepped forward and lifted Chen Chen, taking her out of Su Luozhan’s reach. Luowen Zhou, who had just arrived, heard his colleague on the earpiece say, “Captain Luo, one of the suspects has been captured. They identified their accomplice as Xu Wenchao. Can we apply for an arrest warrant?” “Yes, immediately notify the surveillance team, don’t let that guy escape,” Luowen Zhou turned and helped lift the stretcher onto the ambulance, then turned to Su Luozhan, who was under police control. “Where is Qu Tong? Is she still alive?” Su Luozhan didn’t answer, she just shook her head at him. She seemed to have thought of something, and the corners of her delicate mouth lifted slightly, but she quickly realized it and meekly lowered her head. Even though Luowen Zhou was mentally prepared when he saw the music box, he still felt a sense of discomfort. His gaze swept over the girl’s slightly curled hair and long, thick eyelashes, and he suddenly felt an indescribable, absurd sadness. He waved his hand, instructing his colleagues to take Su Luozhan into the police car, then turned his head towards the direction of the ambulance. Several doctors were treating the wound on Chen Chen’s forehead while quietly asking questions. The family members of Chen Chen had arrived at the fastest speed, and the overwhelming relief made Chen Chen’s mother’s legs go weak, nearly falling to the ground. Her husband quickly supported her, and their momentary blame for each other dissipated instantly as they walked together towards their daughter. With nearly eight hours of disappearance, despite the fright, Zhang Yuchen was finally found safe and sound, with only minor injuries. It was truly a miracle. They had worked through the night, at least salvaging one. Luowen Zhou let out a sigh of relief and habitually raised his hand, but after waiting for a while, his usual partner, who would usually give him a high-five, remained motionless. Awkwardly turning around, Luowen Zhou discovered Taoran standing beside Changning, who couldn’t stop her tears. Taoran was softly comforting her and even took out a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her, completely forgetting who his partner was. Luowen Zhou: “…” To think there was still a man in the world who valued romance over friendship!

At that moment, before he could retract his hand, Luo Wenzhou felt a gentle pat on his palm. He turned his head in surprise and saw Feidu, the disabled CEO with one arm, strolling over to him. For some unknown reason, he condescended to do this unnecessary act. And then, in a leisurely manner, he tucked his hand back into his pocket, looking at Luo Wenzhou with a smile that was not quite a smile. “Tsk, how childish, Captain Luo.” Luo Wenzhou had no words to respond, watching as this outsider casually got into his own car, lifted one leg up comfortably, and waited for the driver to start the car. With his extensive experience and ability to read people, he could guarantee that he absolutely sensed a hint of inappropriate flirtation in Feidu’s words and expression. Luo Wenzhou couldn’t believe it and thought to himself, “Is he trying to provoke me… no, to provoke the heavens?!”