“Before I’ve confirmed anything, you should just stay put.”
Reacting to what Lan Kuang said, Ran Feng Ge stumbled backwards purposefully as though he was frightened.
The four bodyguards immediately surged forward to surround Ran Feng Ge, before looking towards Lan Kuang for further instructions.
Ran Feng Ge felt a shudder run down his spine; was it his fight or flight response?
If it came down to fighting, taking all four men at once would cost him a significant amount of energy. In addition, Lan Kuang was still in the equation; if he were to join the fray, what they had in the past might be revealed.
Even though he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, he did not forget to consider all his options and how the real Jing Qiu Han would react in this situation.
“Master, you promised me…” Ran Feng Ge said softly, giving in without a fight. Wind and Fire each held onto Ran Feng Ge’s arms as he gave his most troubled expression to Lan Kuang, “Master…”
Unperturbed, Lan Kuang replied “You agreed to come back to my side too, did you not?”
“But, I have not seen my sister…”
“We will discuss the matter of your sister after I have verified the information you have provided me. If it is as valuable as it seems to be, your sister will be granted her freedom.” Lan Kuang rose up from the chair and took two steps towards Ran Feng Ge, fingers lifting up his chin, “As for you, just sit quietly in confinement. Take this as punishment for taking so long to acquire the data.”
Ran Feng Ge pretended to put up a fight, and amid his struggle his phone, weapons and the like were all taken away.
In the end, Ran Feng Ge was escorted by all four men into the car that was waiting downstairs.
He was placed on his side across the back seat, blindfolded with his hands tied together; Ran Feng Ge decided to close his eyes and pretend to sleep.
In his heart, Ran Feng Ge felt regret. Looks like there is no way I’ll be able to attend the thank you dinner! Boss Su, I swear it is not my intention to stand you up. With Lan Kuang being the suspicious man he is, there is nothing I can do! Looks like I’m going to have to stay with him for a few days.
Nightfall, 7 PM
Ran Feng Ge’s appointment with Su Yi Mo was supposed to be at 6 PM.
Su Yi Mo has already waited for an hour.
Glancing at his watch again, the minute hand was now over the number 6. Su Yi Mo could not stop himself from calling Ran Feng Ge’s number, but no one was picking it up.
He called again, but still no one picked up the call.
He repeated the calls a few more times, only to have someone end the call prematurely.
Su Yi Mo had already guessed that something bad must have happened.
His fingers flew across the phone screen swiftly, typing out the message “Where is he?”
At the other end, Lan Kuang who had been playing with the phone that had been ringing nonstop, clicked open the message that had just arrived, the edges of his lips rising into a grin, and replied with “No comment”, before switching the phone off.
As expected, the little traitor’s value in Su Yi Mo’s eyes was not small.
Su Yi Mo could not help but redial the number again, but this time, a female voice sounded “Sorry, the number you have dialled is currently not in service”. As soon as he heard this, Su Yi Mo dropped his hand, his expression darkening.
Since he could not get into contact with Ran Feng Ge, then it meant that Lan Kuang must have him.
Jing Qiu Han wanting to discuss terms with Lan Kuang was more than enough to expose his betrayal, Lan Kuang keeping Ran Feng Ge who was playing Jing Qiu Han, meant that he had no intentions of letting him go.
Thinking that providing a sizable compromise would allow Lan Kuang to drop his defences, who would have thought that this fellow was smarter than he seems, to actually use Jing Qiu Han to threaten him.
Should I abandon Ran Feng Ge?
With his skills, weapons knowledge and ability to transform into anyone, in addition to his quick-wittedness, he should be able to get out of this by himself unscathed right?
Should I make all of the information Lan Kuang just received obsolete?
If Ran Feng Ge cannot be rescued, it would be stupid to allow himself to be made so disadvantaged wouldn’t it?
Fingers tightened across the phone in his hand, Su Yi Mo furrowed his brows as he thought about the situation. Finally, with a flick of his wrist, Su Yi Mo replaced his phone onto the coffee table, silently telling himself you have to remain strong.
Since Lan Kuang was keeping “Jing Qiu Han”, naturally, there would be a motive behind it, something to do with what Su Yi Mo has on hand.
“Jing Qiu Han” was Lan Kuang’s blue chip, at the moment, he is still safe. At the most, he will only be under house arrest.
For now, Su Yi Mo could only remain calm and composed and wait patiently for Lan Kuang to contact him.
As for the information that was given, you can’t expect great returns without significant risks, right?
Lan Kuang’s next step would most likely be to verify the validity of the information, if he were to find out that everything he was given was fake Ran Feng Ge would definitely be in danger.
Right from the start, Ran Feng Ge knew that he was but a pawn in this game. He will just have to grit his teeth and go with the flow for now.
Just hope for the best that Ran Feng Ge will be safe and sound when they get to him.
If he was not wrong, Su Yi Mo guessed that Ran Feng Ge was most likely locked up in a secret off-site location.
The room Ran Feng Ge was to be locked in was big, but it was very tightly sealed. There was very little light within and all four walls were made of metal and except for the door there were no other routes of ventilation. Once the door closes, there wouldn’t be any light at all; it would be as though he was sucked into an abyss.
Ran Feng Ge felt a strike of fear through his heart, this place… brought back some very unpleasant memories.
“Get in!” Without giving Ran Feng Ge a chance to argue back, the person who had brought him in pushed him into the room and sealed the door, leaving Ran Feng Ge locked inside!
The impenetrable darkness, the silence and the fear would slowly eat away at a person’s sanity.
This was even worse for Ran Feng Ge who had a traumatic past.
He normally did not think about things that had already gone by but in this situation, Ran Feng Ge could not help but relive those memories.
Taking a deep breath, Ran Feng Ge made his way to the back wall, and closed his eyes as he sat down.
He had to force himself to think of things that helped him relax.
What kind of present should he get for Xi Ran and Xiao Mi’s wedding? The two of them are very hard to placate, if he gifted them something that was not what they wanted, he was sure they would give him a beating to remember. And it must be given in a pair, it cannot be too expensive but at the same time it cannot be too cheap. Thinking about their wedding, Ran Feng Ge could not stop the feeling of envy from bubbling up within him; to be able to meet the right someone, and to want to stay together for the rest of your life may sound easy, but in fact it was easier said than done!
When will I be able to meet my destined partner?
Ah, ah… I’m thinking too much…
Ran Feng Ge pulled his knees up against his chest and rested his chin on the top of his knee, silently calculating his assets, the amount he calculated out in the end left him stunned as he did not realise that he had that much to his name!
Where should I migrate to in the future? Should I stay here? But there is both Su Yi Mo and Lan Kuang here, it might not be wise to remain here. But Xi Ran and Xiao Mi’s bar is here, and I’ve already agreed to be their waiter when the time comes.
Thinking about his friends, Ran Feng Ge could not stop the small smile from pulling at his lips. Forget it, those two aren’t calculating fellows. If Ran Feng Ge tells them that he wishes to migrate overseas to settle down, those two will not say anything, but will instead drop everything, sell the bar and be ready to travel with him as a set of three.
If Su Yi Mo gets impatient, he should be able to at least guess what had happened, right? He is a smart man, he’s definitely the kind who knows exactly when a relationship is unsalvageable and to pull out at the optimum time. If not, his little lover and his sister’s rescue mission would require more than what he has done so far.
That is how businessmen are. They must always be able to ensure that their losses are kept to a bare minimum.
Time seemed to be passing slowly and yet at times, it was as though time was just zooming by.
Ran Feng Ge was unsure of how long he had been locked up for. He could only constantly go over all kinds of past memories. Every time he opened his eyes he found that he was still stuck in the same place, surrounded by a deep darkness, making him question if he were even breathing.
As his legs were numb, Ran Feng Ge stretched them out to try and get some blood flow back into them. Once the numbness had subsided, Ran Feng Ge attempted to stand up but was overcome by a wave of dizziness; his ears rang loudly with the sound of nothingness. Ran Feng Ge rushed to settle back down onto the floor again, after sitting for some time, Ran Feng Ge felt that he could no longer hold himself upright and proceeded to lay on the ground.
Ran Feng Ge understood that most times when people are locked up, it was a test of mental strength. To be locked up in a room such as this where there was nothing and no one, it’s not hard for thoughts to stray. Once they have been locked up long enough, even the strongest will break.
He had been locked up here for quite a long period, even though he was unsure of the passage of time, signs of air deprivation were starting to show.
For now he could only minimize body movements by allowing himself to lie there silently.
Ran Feng Ge slowed his breathing and slowly drifted off to sleep.
It was pain that forced him from his slumber. His stomach was cramping painfully and it felt as though his intestines were knotting up. It made him nauseous and sick, the breaths he now took were shallow, his heart was beating very quickly, and the tremble in his hands was getting stronger. All in all, Ran Feng Ge was feeling very uncomfortable.
He knew he was suffering from moderate air deprivation and hunger.
Painstakingly, Ran Feng Ge reached for the small cube of chocolate he had in his pants pocket, and bringing it up to his lips used his teeth to rip the wrapping away, Ran Feng Ge then popped the chocolate into his mouth.
The energy content in this little bit of chocolate was very high, it can even be used as a meal replacement sometimes. This can even be classed as a life-saving food stuff.
Ran Feng Ge was sure that he shouldn’t be eating chocolate when he was suffering from such extreme gastric pain, but if he had to choose, he chose a chance to live. Eating this chocolate would worsen his gastric problems, but at least he will be able to hang on a little longer. If he did not eat the chocolate he wouldn’t have had the energy to carry on and would have most likely died here. And so, all he could do now was grit his teeth and ride out the cramping pain.
Ran Feng Ge managed to stay awake for some time after eating the chocolate, but his consciousness now appeared to be drifting away slowly. It was painful and difficult to breathe now, so much so that the pain from his gastric disease seemed to disappear.
Ran Feng Ge realised that if no one were to rescue him now, he would most definitely suffocate to death soon.
At the moment his consciousness was about to fade into nothing, the door to the room was suddenly pulled open. Hurried steps rushed towards his direction, pulling along a draft of cool fresh air from the outside. The person pulled the nearly unconscious Ran Feng Ge up, and with one swift motion, carried him in their arms! With large strides, said person quickly exited the room.
Ran Feng Ge had no strength left, and all he could do was struggle to keep his eyelids open. His sight was blurred from the lack of oxygen so that he could not make out who the person carrying him was. But this kind of cool, icy atmosphere, could only belong to one person… Could this person be Su Yi Mo?
Previous: Chapter 13: I Will Return to Master’s Side, Without Fail
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Lan Kuang laid sprawled across the sofa, drunkenly clutching onto both the picture and the wine glass for the entire night only to be awoken by the ringing of his phone.
With his eyes still closed, Lan Kuang blindly reached for his phone to end the call so that he could continue sleeping.
His phone rang relentlessly once more.
Groaning, Lan Kuang grabbed his phone, squinting at the screen. Who the hell was it calling him so early in the morning! He must be seeking death!
He stared at the name on the screen dumbly for a few moments, momentarily stunned before he accepted the call. His voice was still tinged with sleep but no less commanding, “Ah Qiu? Have you gotten the data?”
On the other end, as soon as he heard Lan Kuang’s voice, Ran Feng Ge felt his breath hitch in his throat, although his expression remained unchanged: “Yes. I do have the data to give you, but there is a condition.”
Stunned, Lan Kuang’s voice turned cold as he chuckled, “Condition? You still dare try to negotiate terms with me?”
“I know I don’t have the right, but I know that master, you are a benevolent man, I know you will grant me this request.” Ran Feng Ge controlled the tremble in his voice and forcing himself to calm down, “If master refuses to agree, Ah Qiu would rather let the jade shatter than give it to you!”
“Fine! You’ve got guts!” Lan Kuang gritted out, “… What’s your condition?”
“Please release my sister.” Ran Feng Ge took the chance to negotiate the terms, “This entire thing has nothing to do with her, it was all due to my negligence which dragged this on too long, if master wants to punish someone, please punish me instead!”
Propping both his feet on the coffee table, Lan Kuang decided to go about it a new way, “Releasing her is possible, it all depends on how valuable your information is.”
“I swear it is worth it! Please believe me master! If it isn’t worth it, Ah Qiu is willing to accept any punishment you wish on me!” Ran Feng Ge said confidently.
Lan Kuang closed both eyes “But if I released Qiu Lan, isn’t it the same, there will be no one who will look after her? She grew up within the group, she might get bullied outside. There may not be much freedom within the group, but at least it is safe, is it not?”
Ran Feng Ge rolled his eyes: “Thank you for your worries, but Ah Qiu will handle it myself.”
Lan Kuang gave a low chuckle, “I know, you intend on letting Su Yi Mo take care of her, don’t you?”
Ran Feng Ge quickly retorted “No!”
With this, Lan Kuang was even more certain, “Looks like you are being well taken care of by Su Yi Mo”
With furrowed brows, Ran Feng Ge could not help but think that there was a hidden meaning in Lan Kuang’s words.
The next moment, Lan Kuang’s sinister voice said “I agree to your terms, you give me the information and I will return Qiu Lan back to you.”
Holding his breathe, Ran Feng Ge was sure that Lan Kuang had something else to say.
“But, once you have settled Qiu Lan down, you have to return back to my side.” Lan Kuang replied with his own condition, “Is that a problem?”
Su Yi Mo was always so protective of Jing Qiu Han, having him back by Lan Kuang’s side would definitely be a huge advantage. Who is to say if Su Yi Mo might be willing to give up a whole lot more for Jing Qiu Han!
Although there is a saying that goes soldiers do not cheat, but he, Lan Kuang has never had a problem using underhanded moves to get what he wants.
All of this… was taught to him by An Mu, and so he will use what he was taught!
“This… …” Ran Feng Ge hesitated, why did Lan Kuang want Jing Qiu Han back by his side? Did he want to torture him? This bastard really did not learn from his past behavior!
“What? You are not willing? Then don’t come to me with terms and conditions! Qiu Lan can forget about leaving Chasing Hawk!” with that said, Lan Kuang was about to end the call.
Ran Feng Ge hurriedly replied, “No! I’m willing! I am willing! Master, please don’t be angry.” With a deep sigh, Ran Feng Ge slowly repeated, “I will return to master’s side, without fail.”
“Now that’s more like it!” Lan Kuang replied with a satisfied laugh, “Then I will wait for your good news! You better deliver me information that is worth all this, if not you can forget about getting out of this alive!”
“Noon, 12pm, bring the data to Lang Ting hotel, room 3206. Got it?”
“Yes, I got it.”
Once he ended the call, Lan Kuang rubbed at his aching temples, the expression on his face darkened. It was time to show the Su family who was the better one!
Why did the branch family have to listen and follow the main family? Shouldn’t it be based on skills?
Just wait, I, Lan Kuang will prove that Chasing Hawk is better than Falcon!
On the other hand, Ran Feng Ge’s ended the call with a dark expression. Su Yi Mo, who had been listening the entire time, asked “Did he agree to release her?”
Nodding his head, Ran Feng Ge replied “Yea, but he had a condition.” Ran Feng Ge explained the terms negotiated to Su Yi Mo.
Su Yi Mo replied “I understand, ‘the information has to be worth it, right? Don’t you worry, I will give him one part of my subsidies to ensure Qiu Lan’s safety.”
“… Have you ever considered my safety?” Ran Feng Ge offhandedly asked.
Su Yi Mo was silent, he glanced over at Ran Feng Ge, catching his gaze, he was just about to answer when Ran Feng Ge gave a mischievous smirk, reaching forward to pat Su Yi Mo on the shoulders, “I was just kidding! I am in charge of my own safety. I’ve already checked, the money has been transferred into my account, you are honest and sincere. Then… I will go and do my meet-up!”
With that said, it seemed as though he were just going on a date with a lover, he grabbed the USB and was about to leave.
Su Yi Mo reached out and grabbed onto his arm, he seemed like he had a lot to say but could not put it into words, it was only when Ran Feng Ge raised an eyebrow at him that he was able to say “You need to watch out for yourself as well, I will book a restaurant tonight as my thanks to you.”
“A treat?” Ran Feng Ge asked, “Okay!”
Who knows, this might be his last dinner. Once he passed Qiu Lan to Su Yi Mo, he still had to return to Lan Kuang’s side… and then he had to find an opportunity to slip away.
And if that didn’t work, he could always fake his own death.
The money was already in his account anyways. As long as Jing Qiu Han never showed his face again and Ran Feng Ge stopped accepting requests in the near future, then everything will work out!
Lang Ting Hotel – Room 3206
After he was done with his morning washup, the Lan Kuang from that morning and the man who was now cleaned up and dressed in a white suit seemed to be two different people.
Other people who wore white suits may exude a more gentle and innocent charm, however on him, only power seemed to pour from him.
Time was slowly moving towards the arranged meeting time of 12 pm.
The door bell rang.
With just the flick of his eye, Lan Kuang prompted the men by his side to open the room door.
Just beyond the door, stood Ran Feng Ge with Jing Qiu Han’s face wearing a black suit with a checkered shirt.
Scanning the room quickly, Ran Feng Ge realised that the room had a total of five people, other than Lan Kuang, the other four were his personal bodyguards. These four men were his bodyguards all those years ago too, with a moniker along the lines of Wind, Fire, Thunder, Lightning, as though it were some WuXia film.
Seem like, Lan Kuang was very determined to fight with Su Yi Mo this time.
Unfortunately, his motive was a little despicable.
Of course, Ran Feng Ge also knew that a soldier never cheats, and that in an industry that was like a battlefield, if you did not steel your heart, you will be the one to suffer in the end! In this case the two big players were members of triads who were trying to do the same above ground business. If they were to start fighting it would be even more chaotic.
“Come on in!” Lan Kuang said sharply, slowly observing the ‘Jing Qiu Han’ before him.
The last time he had Hei Bao bring Jing Qiu Han in hastily and he was gone after a few words, he did not even have the time to look at him properly.
And now, after seeing him properly, it seems as though he had grown taller than before, even the atmosphere around him was different.
“It seems like you have grown taller.” Lan Kuang smiled.
Ran Feng Ge lowered his head, “Yes… It has been seven years since we last met, growing taller is not something that can be helped.”
Lan Kuang raised an eyebrow, and did not return a comment, only asking “Where is it?”
Ran Feng Ge did not give it to him, he only observed the room, looking left and right before saying “I don’t see my sister.”
“First, I want to see the data.” Lan Kuang commanded. It was just a drop in tone, but the two men by his side stepped forward, ready to search Ran Feng Ge.
Ran Feng Ge knew that even if he were to come at Lan Kuang head on and refuse to hand Jing Qiu Lan over, there would be nothing he could do, it was better to obediently play along first, and if all else fails use some of his special skills to get the girl out.
With a glare at the two approaching men, Ran Feng Ge retrieved the USB that was in the pocket of his pants, handing it over to Lan Kuang, “The data is all in here, please check it.”
Of the four bodyguards, Lightning took the USB and inserted it into the Lan Kuang’s laptop, with a few clicks, he opened up the folders and turned the laptop around to Lan Kuang to allow him to inspect.
Lan Kuang moved the mouse around, scanning through the information within the USB, the grin he had on his face slowly morphed into something more serious.
All this information… was indeed really valuable! If they were to use the information against the Su family, then Su Yi Mo will definitely feel his wrath!
Closing his eyes slowly, Lan Kuang’s brain was going into overdrive. In just one day, Jing Qiu Han shouldn’t have been able to access information that was this important, if this had been the work of seven years, then it would have been more believable. But, was it even possible to get it all in just one day?
If the day came where Jing Qiu Han chose to betray him, using his sister as a bargaining chip was just one of the methods Lan Kuang had to deal with him. Who would have thought that it would actually work!
Without missing a beat, his line of sight went back onto ‘Jing Qiu Han’, watching him for any flaws that could give him an advantage.
Lan Kuang was no idiot; he had enough knowledge and experience to think of the other side of things. What if this was a trap that was set by Su Yi Mo?
Under Lan Kuang’s scrutiny, Ran Feng Ge was wary, for now all he could do was lower his head even more to try and distract Lan Kuang.
But Lan Kuang’s motto was that he’d “rather kill the innocent, than let go of the guilty!” and because of this, Lan Kuang knew he had to take precautions.
Closing the lid of the laptop, Lan Kuang leaned back in the chair he was sitting in, “I am very satisfied with the information you have brought me.”
It was as though a boulder had been removed from his shoulders, Ran Feng Ge excitedly replied “Then, my sister…”
“Don’t be hasty!” Lan Kuang raised his finger and moved it side to side,” I am happy with this information, but I still need time to check if it’s real.”
Ran Feng Ge felt his heart tighten.
“And before that happens, you will not be allowed to leave.”
Lan Kuang pulled out all the recordings from the surveillance cameras and stared fixedly at the screen for a long time. Finally, he caught a scene of the guy taking his mask off.
He had gentle and handsome looks, pretty enough to be called seductive. His gaze was also slightly condescending, with a hint of unrestrained complacency.
After stealing information from under Lan Kuang’s own nose, he had a right to be pleased with himself.
However, that smile became a big mockery in Lan Kuang’s eyes.
Looking carefully at the fuzzy graphics, Lan Kuang inwardly clenched his fingers—An Mu!
However, he didn’t expect the young master of the family to personally set out himself and use such a vile method!
Fine…If you never want to see me again, then I’ll make sure that never happens.
We’ll see each other again, sooner than you can imagine!
Lan Kuang stuffed the videotapes inside his bag, planning to look them over more closely at home.
After that night, he carried out a series of acts of revenge.
Disguising himself, approaching the target, capturing the target, separating them from the outside world, torturing them, and engraving them with a mark of possession, he did it all.
He could still hear the weak breaths beside his ear and the begging voice saying, “I won’t provoke you again… So let me go…”
It was the compromise the man had given him after reaching his breaking point. The man’s voice was tired, his eyes tightly shut, and his lips stained with blood. Over the past few days, the image of that face appeared inside Lan Kuang’s mind frequently.
Lan Kuang snapped out of his reverie. The coffee table was cluttered with the stack of papers he’d been looking through. Deep in thought, his fingers tightened around the picture he was holding. The glass of wine he’d been holding in his other hand tipped toward the floor and spilled its contents onto carpet. The deep red drink seeped into the red carpet, merging with it and becoming one.
His eyes were fixed on the man’s face in the picture. Lan Kung slowly lifted his hand and left a gentle kiss on An Mu’s lips. His touch was light, as if afraid of alarming the person in the picture. A hint of pain welled up inside Lan Kuang’s eyes. He closed his eyes and murmured, “I’m sorry…”
The scar on his own chest was shallow. It didn’t take long to fade, and now, it was practically impossible to see it even if one looked closely. Nobody would be able to tell that a scar once existed there.
But the scar on An Mu’s body was deep and terrible. He would see it every time he took a shower; it would remind him of the nightmares every time he looked upon it.
How did one make up for nightmares such as those? What should he do so that An Mu never recalled them again?
Could a mere sorry write it off in one stroke?
Ran Feng Ge woke up with a gasp from his dream. He grasped the blankets and sat up straight, gulping down air. It took a long time for him to calm down. He then got off the bed and poured a cup of water from the water dispenser. After downing the cup, he felt a little better.
It had been such a long time already, yet why couldn’t he forget?
Was… Was something much more horrible going to happen once he comes across that man again?
He should have rejected Su Yi Mo from the start. Why did he have to be a smart ass and offer to help him?
Even though he’d always put money first when it came to accepting jobs, he still valued his own life above money!
Faced with another sleepless night, Ran Feng Ge paced back and forth in the room. He cursed himself for the fool he’d been, getting blinded by money yet again.
When he got near the door, he noticed a ray of light peeking through the gaps. He quietly opened the door and peered downstairs. Was Su Yi Mo still awake?!
The iceberg of a man was wearing black, silk pajamas, looking quite refined as he sat on the couch. His head was down as he softly talked on the phone with someone. Ran Feng Ge noted that his expression was much warmer than usual.
Ran Feng Ge pricked up his ears and decided to eavesdrop. He only had to wait for a few minutes before he heard Su Yi Mo’s voice warmly saying, “Yeah, I’m already home. Yeah, I’ve also showered…. All right…. Rest early as well, you’ve had a hard day today so you must be tired…Your phone? Oh right, I took it away… I’ll buy you another one, all right? I’ll buy you the new model that you’ve been wanting… I need your old phone for something, so I’m keeping it for now. All right, go to sleep. Good night.”
Hearing such a kind and gentle voice, Ran Feng Ge could guess who was on the other end with just his toes. Ran Feng Ge sneered to himself. The so-called iceberg was only cold and indifferent to outsiders. To people he treated as family, he was kind to a frightening extent…
While secretly cursing at Su Yi Mo, Ran Feng Ge suddenly felt a biting cold gaze pointed his way. He looked up and noticed that Su Yi Mo had already ended the call and was staring at him expressionlessly.
Alarmed, Ran Feng Ge quickly hid himself and scratched his nose. He’d been discovered. Was he in trouble?
He quickly heard footsteps on the stairs. No way, was Su Yi Mo coming upstairs? Was he going to lecture him?
Ran Feng Ge moved faster than his brain could process. With a whoosh, he ran back to his room and closed the door. He then jumped into bed and lay down sideways with his back facing the door. Holding the blankets in his arms, he tried to channel the sleeping ostrich.
Hearing the doorknob turn, Ran Feng Ge closed his eyes tightly.
Su Yi Mo looked at Ran Feng Ge, who appeared deep asleep and couldn’t help but smile. Did Ran Feng Ge think he was an idiot? Who could fall asleep in mere seconds?
“I know you’re pretending to be asleep. I also know you were eavesdropping on me,” Su Yi Mo said.
Ran Feng Ge gripped the blankets, but made no reply. He retorted to himself instead, So what if you know? Is it worth it coming upstairs to tell me that you know? Is it going to kill you to pretend not to know? Why are you so stupid?
“If I woke you up by talking on the phone, I apologize. Next time, I’ll go to my room so that I won’t disturb you,” Su Yi Mo said good-naturedly.
Ran Feng Ge opened his eyes and raised an eyebrow. Did he hear Su Yi Mo correctly? Why was the iceberg in such a good temper these past two days?
“This is Qiu Han’s phone, and here’s the information about the people in his contact list. I thought that you’d be able to use it, so I had people collect and organize them all. I’ll leave them on the table. I’ll…leave tomorrow to you then,” Su Yi Mo said sincerely.
Ran Feng Ge really wanted to answer with, “Leave it to me.” However, the nightmare earlier still hadn’t left his mind. He wasn’t confident enough to make a promise like that. But considering that he was pretending to be asleep and wasn’t supposed to speak, he simply shut his eyes and continued pretending.
Su Yi Mo wasn’t angry; he merely shook his head. In a quiet voice, he said, “Then…goodnight.”
“You…” With his sight blurred, Lan Kuang could vaguely see the man with the demon mask approach him, but the man’s bewitching voice was clear beside his ears.
“Hah, idiot. The drug isn’t in the wine, it’s on the glass. People say you’re a cautious man who’s sharp and clever. But perhaps you’re too smart for your own good.” The man smirked at Lan Kuang. He wrapped the whip around his left hand, playing with it. “But don’t worry. I won’t do anything to harm you. The drug was merely an aphrodisiac. You’ll be fine as long as you find a person to help you later.”
Lan Kuang struggled to get up while also trying to get a good kick at the man. The latter dodged easily and added, “I forgot to mention, but the drug isn’t simply an aphrodisiac. I’ve mixed some anesthetics in there as well. It’s normal for you to not be able to control your limbs right now. Don’t even think about trying to kick me. We have to be realistic here. If you have the time to attempt something so pointless, why don’t you try to conserve your energy instead?”
Lan Kuang’s angry expression was immediately replaced by a look of nonchalance. He even chuckled and said, “Oh? My dear, did you bring a whip because you thought it would more exciting? What heavy tastes you have! But if that’s the case, I can go wild with you. Come on, I can’t wait!”
The man in the mask had never faced such a situation before. Why did Lan Kuang suddenly turn passionate and wild? Was he trying to tease him with those words? He couldn’t believe the thickness of Lan Kuang’s skin. Lan Kuang should be glaring at him and demanding to know what he had planned in mind. Why was he being so…so obscene?
Thank god that he was wearing a mask. He wouldn’t be able to live if Lan Kuang noticed the blush creeping up his face. He forced himself to calm down and restrained his mind from wandering into dark places. He glanced over Lan Kuang, who was half-naked on the bed. He then knelt on the sheets and reached to pull Lan Kuang’s pants down.
At the touch of the other’s cold fingers, Lan Kuang felt a wave of cool relief flow through him. Without a hint of embarrassment, Lan Kuang started moaning, trying to get a crack at the man still wearing the mask. “Ah… Darling, just a single touch from you is enough to get me reacting like this. Ah… I feel so good. Oh… Darling, you’re too slow. Don’t just take off my clothes. Do yours too. I can’t wait!”
Hearing those words, the man in the mask could feel his ears turning red and his fingers trembling as he pulled Lan Kuang’s pants down the thighs, calves, and ankles. Before moving any further, he calmed himself, and then ripped off Lan Kuang’s pants in one smooth move. He leaned toward Lan Kuang and lifted the man’s chin with the whip that was still wrapped around his hand. He asked in a low voice, “Where’s the data?”
“What data?” Lan Kuang was shocked.
“Don’t pretend in front of me.” The smile that appeared on the man’s face was rather wicked. He waved the whip in front of Lan Kuang. “If you don’t tell me now, you’ll have a tough time later.”
Lan Kuang’s expression finally turned serious again. “What are you planning?”
The man in the mask swung the whip around a few times and glanced warningly at Lan Kuang. He chuckled and said, “I’ll ask you again. Where’s the customer data from the Long Wei Group?”
Lan Kuang sneered coldly. “Your methods are a little too despicable, don’t you think?”
The man raised an eyebrow underneath the mask. “As they say, all’s fair in love and war. The business world is akin to a battlefield. In a war like this, who can claim to be a gentleman all the time? Even if you can, they are the words of a hypocrite. As for me… Isn’t it better to be straight up vile instead of hiding behind a barrier of pretenses?”
The man swung the whip down to mark the end of his words. A red lash appeared on Lan Kuang’s chest. The man swung the whip again, adding another lash that crisscrossed with the other, making a giant X.
“Where’s the data?” The man’s voice was harsher than before. Lan Kuang now knew he was serious.
Lan Kuang winced at the pain on his chest, but he didn’t say anything. He was more curious about the other’s identity. “Who are you? What are you going to do with the data? What use do you have for it? Who ordered you? Moreover, don’t you know that a cautious person like me never carries important data on my person?”
“That’s a lot of questions.” The man frowned at Lan Kuang. The marks on the latter’s chest were starting to bleed in parts. He turned his head away. “There’s no benefit from knowing too much. I’ll say it again: I won’t harm you, I simply don’t want the Long Wei Group to have it too easy. If you’d been willing to cooperate, then I wouldn’t have whipped you.”
The man turned around and started rifling through Lan Kuang’s clothes. He pulled out Lan Kuang’s wallet, ID, and keys, not a single thing slipping his eyes.
While examining Lan Kuang’s keys, the man found a small flash drive strapped to the keychain. The flash drive was made to resemble a monkey dressed up in hip-hop style. At first glance, it appeared like a normal keychain charm, but pulling off the monkey’s head revealed the USB plug inside.
The most dangerous place was the safest at the same time, was it? Luckily, he had seen plenty of cartoon flash drives before. Otherwise, he’d have completely disregarded the monkey as a simple charm.
Like the demon mask he was wearing, the man smiled wickedly. He pulled the monkey off the keychain and said, “I should’ve known beforehand. For an overly cautious person who pretends to be smart, you’d definitely carry everything on your person. I apologize, but I’ll be borrowing this from you. Please forgive me if I’ve caused you any problems.”
Lan Kuang was already feeling the effects of the drug. The man in the mask noticed his reaction and smiled deeply. “I’ve only given you a taste of your own medicine. You’d followed me out of your own free will. You can’t blame me for this.” He paused, then continued, “But seeing as you rather like me, I’ve decreased the dosage of the drug. Just bear with it. Or…you can go ahead and help yourself. Don’t try to resist it though, I’d feel bad if anything happens.”
Lan Kuang was silent. He was filled with self-hate due to his carelessness. He also hated the brilliant method the other had used in order to capture him.
“Then… Goodbye! Thank you for the data.” The man blew a kiss at Lan Kuang and walked toward the door.
Barely two steps later, the man turned around. Meeting Lan Kuang’s cold gaze, he said, “I guess you can say we are acquaintances now. If not for the data you have in your hands, we might have become friends. Since we’re hitting it off so well, let me teach you something.”
The man raised a finger and smiled, “One, the business world is a battlefield. People who randomly get close to you either have bad intentions or they are corporal spies. Don’t trust anything such as a one-night stand. Especially when it comes to people like me, who are capable of letting go of ourselves in order to trap our target. You should’ve realized that something was wrong the second I insisted on pouring you a glass of wine. But I did take advantage of that. I can only say that you aren’t careful enough. Too much confidence isn’t a good thing.”
The man added a second finger to the first, his smile widening. “Two, don’t suddenly change your approach when you’re capable of controlling the situation. Never let another person take command. The most innocent people are often the most manipulative. Like the smooth surface of a lake, you never know what’s inside the waters. You never know when something might jump out and bite apart your throat.”
The man raised a third finger and leaned down to look at Lan Kuang. He rubbed the latter’s chin in a teasing manner. “Three, don’t carry valuable information on your person. It’ll be the end of you if you come across a calculating man like me.”
The man straightened and added, “How about this? I’ll teach you a good way to back up information. You should go and register for two email accounts. When you come across valuable information, upload it onto one account, then use that account to send it to the second one. Even if one system were to break down, you’d still have another to rely on. You’d never have to worry about losing your information. As long as you have access to the internet, you can view it whenever. As for other people, even if they were to ransack your home or beat you down into the ground, they’d never find it.”
A crafty and arrogant smile appeared on the man’s face. “I feel a bit guilty that you fell for my trap today. In the future…you should be careful.” He patted Lan Kuang on the face. “I won’t say goodbye again. I hope we never see each other again.”
The man leaned down and kissed the whip marks on Lan Kuang’s chest. He then turned around and left, leaving behind an elegant and proud figure.
Completely naked on the bed with both hands tied above his head, Lan Kuang watched angrily as the other man walked away step by step. When the figure disappeared from his sight, he finally broke down in laughter, a dangerous edge in his voice.
Very well! We are enemies from this day forth! You better prepare yourself for revenge.
Lan Kuang glanced at his lower half and another wave of anger rolled through him. With great difficulty, he managed to flip over and rubbed himself against the bedsheet. The rampaging heat inside him subsided for a moment, only to return at full force the next second.
Despite the anger in his eyes, Lan Kuang’s face was icy. He gritted his teeth and glared at the door, as if trying to bore a hole into the wood.
Goddamn it. If I ever learn of who’s behind this, they are dead for sure. My methods aren’t as simple as yours.
Forcing me to do it by myself… Next time, I’ll do it until you’re screaming for help, until you can’t get out of bed for three days!
You will pay me back in double! In triple! I’ll make you penniless, but that would be letting you off too easy!
Shit! Not being able to do anything while this drug is inside my body makes me want to kill someone!
Lan Kuang had never been in such a sorry state in his whole life.
By the time the effects of the analgesic wore off, Lan Kuang was drenched in sweat. His lower half was still swollen to the point of pain. He leaned up and used his teeth to bite apart the belt that was tied around his hands. He then reached down and took care of himself a few times, finally, he felt the heat recede.
Still feeling a bit weak in the limbs, Lan Kuang quickly dressed himself. He left the room and ran in the direction of the security control room.
In Lan Kuang’s mind, that night was unforgettable.
He had always been unruly and arrogant, but he had met someone even more so that night.
When he’d come across that person, he was engulfed by a desperate need to conquer them. He had wanted to claim them!
That night, after meeting with a few business partners, Lan Kuang had gone up to the balcony and opened a window to clear his mind. He had drunk too much during the meeting. Rubbing his temples, he glanced down at the people who were still mingling on the dancefloor, and sneered in contempt.
The people dancing below were all single-mindedly focused on finding someone for the night, they paid no attention to their rough moves that were jarringly out of place. It was an ugly sight.
As his business was over, Lan Kuang had no reason to stay any longer.
Just when he was about to turn away, he picked up on the sound of cheering coming from the dancefloor. The music had been switched to a fast-paced dance track. Lan Kuang wasn’t interested in that type of music, so he didn’t know the name of the song. However, just by listening to it, he could feel his blood strum in excitement.
The cheers became louder as the heavy beat of the track thrummed through the room like a steady clock.
Lan Kuang looked down.
A man wearing a demon mask was dancing slowly at the center of the dancefloor.
He moved his shoulders, flipped his hair, rotated his waist, and thrusted his hips.
It was carefree. It was confident. It was willful. And it was insolent.
The eyes hidden behind the mask were especially bright.
When the music slowed down, the man’s moves also became gentler. If his earlier moves were aggressive and arrogant, then he could only be described as alluring and seductive now.
The man with the mask fingered the buttons of his shirt, pulling it open and off his body. With a swing of his arm, he threw the shirt into the air.
The crowd cheered and screamed, the noise deafening to the ears.
Lan Kuang found that he couldn’t move his eyes away.
For the entire track, he found himself fixated on the man who was tearing up the dancefloor.
He could feel the desire to conquer welling up inside his heart.
Lan Kuang had always lived under the principle of “If someone dares to be wild in front of me, I’ll be even wilder.”
He pulled out the vampire masquerade mask he’d been given when he’d entered the dance party. Lan Kuang smiled to himself. He put the mask on, put one hand on the railings, and leapt down from the balcony.
It was at least a two-story drop.
Some of the onlookers screamed when they noticed a man falling from above. They went silent and stared intensely at the spot where Lan Kuang had landed.
Lan Kuang had bent his knees during his fall to lessen the impact on his legs. His bent position had an indescribable charm to it.
The man wearing the demon mask had already stopped dancing. He’d collected his shirt and was putting it on, preparing to leave. Before he could step away, Lan Kuang grabbed his arm.
“Is something wrong?” A simple and direct question.
“Why don’t we dance together?”
“Sorry, I’ve just finished so I’m a bit tired right now. Sir, please go find someone else.” The man pulled his arm out of Lan Kuang’s grasp and turned to walk away. But underneath his mask, he was smiling.
Very good. For such an egotistical man, Lan Kuang had taken the bait as expected.
“Then why don’t we get a drink together?” Lan Kuang didn’t force the issue, but he quickly followed after the other.
It’d been a long time since he’d taken an interest in someone. He had to get to know the man better.
As for conquering him, that could come after he’d gotten to know the man.
“All right, my treat.”
“No, it’ll be my treat!” Lan Kuang insisted. He was used to getting his way.
“Then…I gladly accept!”
The crowd watched as the two walked away. For some unknown reason, they felt that the two men matched each other rather well.
Without any further disturbances, the dancefloor resumed its previous noisiness, as if the period of silence had never existed.
The two men each picked up a glass of alcohol and sat down in a corner. After sitting together for a while, Lan Kuang said, “Don’t you think the air is stuffy in here?”
“No, not at all. I think it’s fine.” The man in the demon mask smiled.
Lan Kuang chuckled, his eyes narrowing behind his mask. He leaned next to the other’s ear and murmured, “Have you…done it with a man before?”
The other stiffened in shock, but replied honestly, “No.”
“Do you want to try?” Lan Kuang reached toward the other’s collar, the image of the man’s smooth chest replaying inside his mind. He felt his abs tighten and spoke in an alluring voice, “Try it. I promise, you will die from how good it feels.”
“But I don’t like to be controlled by others.” The man grabbed Lan Kuang’s wrist and stopped it from moving. He emphasized, “Also, my tastes are a bit heavy. Are you sure…you can handle it?”
Lan Kuang watched as an enticing smile bloomed on the man’s face, his smooth lips shining under the light. Although the upper half of the man’s face was hidden behind the mask, Lan Kuang was sure that the other’s expression was one of provocation.
He was the first one to challenge his authority.
Good. Lan Kuang liked it very much.
“All right, I’ve never tried being on the bottom before, but I can make an exception for you tonight.” Lan Kuang was a bit scary when he suddenly acts gentle. “Be nice with me!”
“Then what are we waiting for?” The man with the demon mask stood up first. He pulled Lan Kuang out of the hall they were in and pressed the elevator for the top floor.
Lan Kuang understood what was going on. He’d heard of the popular trend that was going on in society. Young men and women of all kinds gathered at parties to pick out their target for the night. It was common for one-night stands to occur, and deals that lasted past the night happened as well. For men who liked to play around with other men, they were eager to resort to this sort of method.
Only, Lan Kuang was a bit curious as to how the current situation had turned out this way. Even though he had been the one to offer the invitation, why did it feel like the other was laying a trap for him?
Could it be that the other had something in mind? Was that why he had resorted to such an eye-catching dance to draw his attention?
Lan Kuang glanced at the man with the demon mask, who was leaning against a corner of the elevator and studying him. Lan Kuang’s smile deepened.
Ha… Interesting! It was the first time that someone had dared to have any ideas about him. If he didn’t play along, he would be wasting the man’s efforts.
It hadn’t been decided which of them was going to play the demon yet!
The two of them smiled at each other; the meanings behind those smiles impossible to decipher.
When they entered the hotel room, the man with the demon mask pressed his hands against Lan Kuang’s chest and kissed him.
Both of them were wearing masks, but it didn’t prevent them from kissing as the lower halves of their faces were exposed.
Leaning against the door, Lan Kuang tilted his head and kissed the other man back. They ground their lips together, biting and twisting their tongues against each other. Soon, their lips became linked with a thread of saliva.
They could feel the heat rising.
Even though he was unused to being so passive, Lan Kuang allowed the other man to do as he liked.
Of course, he didn’t play along for long. Lan Kuang grabbed the other’s waist and switched their positions, pushing the man against the door. He crushed their lips together in a violent kiss.
Taking the initiative felt very different from being passive. Having everything under his control was a fantastic feeling.
The more they kissed, the more rugged their breaths became.
“Wait…” When Lan Kuang reached down to unbuckle the man’s belt, the latter stopped him with a hoarse voice.
Lan Kuang raised a brow, not understanding what the other meant.
Asking him to wait at a time like this? What kind of person did that?
“Why don’t we have a drink to liven things up?” The man pushed Lan Kuang toward the bed. He then opened one of the cupboards inside the room and as expected, found it stocked with alcohol.
Lan Kuang leaned backwards, supporting himself with both hands on the bed. It was a lazy, yet charming position. “I thought that the glasses we’ve had earlier were enough.”
“But I don’t feel excited.” The man popped the bottle open, and pulled out two wineglasses from the cupboard. “They only have wine here. Do we need to call for something different?”
“No, wine is enough.” Lan Kuang glanced over the other’s body with a satisfied smile on his face. “I’m confident in my skills to make you feel excited in all sorts of places.”
The man with the demon mask gave an enigmatic smile. He poured the wine into a glass. “Here, have a glass.”
Lan Kuang accepted it and raised it to his lips, but he did not take a sip. He stared at the man and asked casually, “There isn’t anything in here, right?”
“Are you scared?” A light flashed across the other’s eyes, bright like the stars in the sky.
“Of course. If something’s in this wine and we end up going overboard because of it… What are we going to do? Although I’m making an exception to be on the bottom for you tonight, I still have my limits. If you’re too rough, I won’t be able to take it.” Lan Kuang swirled the liquid in the glass, staring at its deep red color, his gaze as intense as if he were staring at a glass of poison.
“Then we don’t have to drink.” The man turned to place his glass down. Although he didn’t voice it out loud, it was obvious that he’d lost interest and wasn’t willing to play anymore.
Lan Kuang grabbed his wrist. “Don’t be angry. Why don’t you drink my glass then? I’ll take care of yours.” He exchanged wineglasses with the man and added, “Don’t you think this is fair?”
“All right.” The other quickly downed half of the wine that was in Lan Kuang’s glass. “Are you satisfied now?”
Lan Kuang stared at him. His expression and pose remained unchanged.
The man in the demon mask sighed. “Aren’t you too cautious? Here, why don’t you take the one I’ve drunk from? You can return my glass to me. It’s only a one-night stand. Why do you have to turn it into an assassination attempt?”
The man handed Lan Kuang’s glass back. He took the glass that was originally his and took a sip.
Lan Kuang took another glance at him, and finally drank the wine.
The minute Lan Kuang swallowed, the other man came over and took his glass, tossing it onto the carpet along with his own. He then pressed Lan Kuang down onto the bed, kissing and touching all the while.
The taste of the wine remained in Lan Kuang’s mouth, but he could feel the heat rising from his groin. It felt as if something were trying to burst through his body.
“Hey, you aren’t bad at taking the initiative.” Lan Kuang noticed that the other hadn’t spoken a single word; the man was purely focused on kissing him. Despite that, the man’s hands weren’t idle. They pulled at his clothes and smoothed over his body in an erratic dance. Lan Kuang could feel his body heating up. His eyes were also glazing over. Was his desire muddling with his head?
The man with the demon mask pulled off his belt. Lan Kuang thought, how could he let someone else do as they liked with him? He was determined to switch their positions. Just as he lifted his hand however, he felt his head spin. His body gave way and he fell back onto the bed. His body was hot to the point of agony.
Lan Kuang knew something was wrong. The next second, the man used the belt he’d taken off to bind Lan Kuang’s hands around the headboard. He then got up and took out a leather whip from the cupboard where he’d found the wine. The whip snapped through the air, the sharp sound filling the room. He stared down at the half-naked Lan Kuang, an ambiguous smile on his face and disdain in his eyes.
Next: Chapter 11: It’d Be Best If We Never See Each Other Again
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