Chapter 29.1 – I’m so scared
His heart raced, and Li Ying’s mind momentarily failed to react. His reflexes, however, made him roll on the ground to avoid injuring his spine. He looked up at the figure by the window, their features blurred, and asked, “Who are you?”
The pain was evident in his voice as the wound was aggravated, but he lowered his volume, fearing the person above might hear.
Footsteps echoed on the stairs. Jiang Yujin didn’t answer Li Ying’s question. Instead, he bent down, helped Li Ying up, and said, “We need to hurry.”
As the footsteps drew nearer, Li Ying knew there was no time to waste. Despite the tearing pain of his wound, he ran along.
Jiang Yujin had scoped the building’s layout upon entry. Leading the way with others following, they navigated several corridors and finally opened a previously unlocked door, gesturing for Li Ying to go first.
Beyond the door lay a staircase twisting down to the building’s bottom. It was lengthy, concealed by the proximity of the main building and another structure, making it hard to spot from a casual glance.
The footsteps descending the stairs were muted by the rain pounding on the steel steps, seamlessly blending into the storm.
Even in such circumstances, Jiang Yujin was determined to shield the geese, draping his shirt over them.
Li Ying bent over, holding his wound while walking. As they neared the bottom, he slipped, but the person behind caught him, preventing a fall.
Back on solid ground, he glanced back at the person still caring for the two geese, momentarily unsure of which way to go.
Covering the geese securely, Jiang Yujin looked back at the route they came from and said, “Let’s go back.”
Li Ying asked, “Back where?”
“Back” referred to returning to the bar’s entrance.
Jiang Yujin remembered his umbrella, worth 32 yuan. He retrieved it from the bar’s entrance and opened it up.
At times like these, with an umbrella, one could easily blend into the crowd and remain unnoticed.
However, Jiang Yujin didn’t use the umbrella for Li Ying but chose to shield the two geese instead.
The person who chased Li Ying upstairs checked downstairs but found no sign of his body after the fall. There was no blood or traces of impact at the scene.
Search teams combed through the building, floor by floor, but found no one. They converged with the team from downstairs.
The leader lowered their head and then took out a phone, saying:
“Captain Xu, the person has escaped.”
Jiang Yujin led Li Ying into a two-story shop in an alleyway. The atmosphere on the second floor was dimly lit. After sitting down, he took out his phone.
Seeing the numbers on the screen, Li Ying became alert instantly: “What are you planning to do?”
Jiang Yujin replied calmly, “Calling the employer.”
Li Ying recognized the digits; it was a frequently used number on the gold ring that was after him.
At the mention of the “employer,” while not particularly clever, he could piece together the cause and effect. He reached out to stop Jiang Yujin: “You can’t contact them!”
“He is… part of a terrifying organization. They are ruthless. Yes, the three of them are wanted criminals!” Li Ying pleaded, “If he comes, I’ll be dead.”
Jiang Yujin glanced at him while holding the two geese, his fingers continuing to move, pressing the dial button.
Li Ying’s heart pounded, and he quickly added, “Then I’ll entrust you with something too!”
Jiang Yujin lifted his eyes and pressed the dial button.
In the heavy rain, several umbrella-holders rushed past the street. Pedestrians tried to dodge but stumbled aside.
Reaching the mouth of the alley, Gold Ring slowed down, peering inside.
There were a few prominent red signs; this was the alley he had arranged to meet the person on the phone.
He had tasked the person with finding Li Ying yesterday, not expecting him to succeed so soon.
Stepping into the alley, he stopped in front of a shop. This place was remote; the first floor had a few scattered customers, and the second floor seemed deserted, except for the person they had met yesterday, seated at a wooden table by the window, with a silent man behind him.
It was Li Ying, unmistakable with the scar on his face.
“Li Ying, you’ve finally been found by me!”
Gold Ring moved forward but was stopped by the geese. Jiang Yujin stood up and gestured a count on his fingers, saying, “I’ve found the person for you.”
That was the commission fee.
Looking at Li Ying behind him, Gold Ring’s fist clenched involuntarily. Finally, with suppressed patience, he handed over the commission fee: “Now, can you move aside…”
The moment the commission fee exchanged hands, Li Ying, who had been silently seated by the window, suddenly sprang into action.
Jiang Yujin waved his hand with a smile, “I’ve taken on a new commission, to protect the employer from being captured by you guys, so I’m sorry.”
The employer, evidently, was Li Ying.
The initial commission was merely to find Li Ying, not to assist in capturing him. Meeting face-to-face now constituted completion of the commission, allowing for the acceptance of a new one.
The new commission had double the fee.
Without hesitation, he leaped over the table and followed by jumping out of the window.
Realizing, Gold Ring and his two companions crashed through the chair and rushed to the window, only to watch the two individuals vanish from the end of the alley.
Gold Ring’s chest heaved violently, and his hand resting on the window frame crushed it instantly. His voice sounded as if it was squeezed from his throat: “Chase them!”
Jiang Yujin continued to shuttle with Li Ying on the road. This time, it seemed like a change of heart; he finally knew the paths that could shelter from the rain, making the pursuit from behind much more comfortable.
However, when he jumped from upstairs earlier, the wound had completely reopened, saturating the old bandage, barely held back by the windbreaker.
Leveraging his local advantage, Jiang Yujin led them through winding paths, successfully bewildering Gold Ring and his companions, who couldn’t keep up.
The buildings on both sides grew lower and older, with fewer pedestrians. Li Ying kept scanning but found no suitable hiding spots.
They had entered the old city district. Jiang Yujin walked along the roadside, glancing intermittently towards the other side of the road, seemingly searching for something.
A new shutter door appeared among the row of old ones.
He crossed the road, and Li Ying followed closely. Then he bent down and pulled open the large new shutter door.
Behind the door lay a decrepit dining table, with a trail of footprints in the middle of the road.
Unexpectedly, this place existed. Li Ying asked, “Where is this?”
Jiang Yujin closed the shutter door again without answering.
This was a place the Collector used to hide a long time ago. The footprints were left by the previous entry and exit of the Special Investigation Unit. To facilitate their movement, they had dismantled the door back then. Later, to compensate, they installed a new one, but they couldn’t contact the owner. They put up the door but didn’t lock it, which now was convenient for him.
Outside, the rain poured heavily. He found a spot, casually crouched down, resting his head comfortably on the goose, yawning, and turning to ask the person beside him, “How did you end up like this, buddy? Life seems quite thrilling day by day.”
Li Ying also sat down beside him, adjusting his posture and panting while holding his wound. He started talking about the past.
He mentioned working at an organization, let’s call it ‘Xiao Te’ for now. While working there, ‘Xiao Ling’ enticed him to switch jobs. He took the research findings from ‘Xiao Te’ to ‘Xiao Ling’, but later discovered that ‘Xiao Ling’ was much more terrifying than he had thought. Consequently, he fled again, this time with the research findings from ‘Xiao Ling’.
So now, both sides were chasing after him. The individuals he encountered in the building belonged to ‘Xiao Te’, while Gold Ring and his three companions were related to ‘Xiao Ling’.
Jiang Yujin: “…”
The typically vocal Citizen Jiang remained unusually silent for a moment.
‘Xiao Te’ referred to the Special Investigation Unit, while ‘Xiao Ling’ was an organization named Zero. This person seemed to have used a pseudonym but not entirely.
His succinct conclusion was, “Quite good.”
After saying that, he took out his phone again and reopened the call history.
Li Ying’s eyelids twitched as he watched Jiang Yujin retrieve the phone. Jiang Yujin reassured him, “Don’t worry, I’m calling my ex-boyfriend.”
Li Ying was no longer afraid but was rather taken aback.
Jiang Yujin continued, “We can’t stay here forever. I’ll have him come pick us up; he guarantees safety.”
This person seemed earnest, with an honest gaze. Li Ying was momentarily stunned, then nodded, watching as he made the call.
It indeed seemed to be his ex-boyfriend; the number wasn’t saved with any specific details.
After two rings, the call connected, emitting a deep, resonant male voice that vibrated in their ears.
Jiang Yujin’s expression remained unchanged. He cleared his throat twice and asked, “Off work?”
Xu Tonggui replied that he hadn’t finished yet.
“Well, that works perfectly,” Jiang Yujin began to act, “I’m at 137 Third Street in the old city area. No time to explain, there are bad people here, I’m so scared. Hurry and save me.”
There was an obvious pause from the other side, followed by an acknowledgment, advising to stay safe, and promising to rush over immediately.
After hanging up, Jiang Yujin glanced up and caught a somewhat indescribable expression on Li Ying’s face. He raised an eyebrow and asked, “What’s up?”
Li Ying replied, “Nothing much.”
Although not incredibly worldly, Li Ying found it to be the first time seeing someone expressionless say “I’m so scared”.
After the phone call with the incredibly scared Citizen Jiang ended, he casually opened Xiaoxiaole on his phone and checked the battery life.
All good; a sense of security was fully present.