The waitress thought that these women from extraordinary backgrounds were all the same. Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, she would not be able to escape from punishment or compensation. Who would have thought that she was let off scot-free.
Mo Li Xin went to the bathroom, accompanied by Ji Nan Feng.
“You didn’t need to follow me. From the looks of it, there’s still many who want to get acquainted with you,” Mo Li Xin moistened a paper towel and wiped the hem of her skirt. Luckily, the material was silky and with just a light dab, the wine could be wiped off.
“As I’ve said before, it’s not safe here.”
“Didn’t Eldest Brother liaise with Interpol and have this place under stringent monitoring? It should be fine,” Mo Li Xin whispered, trying to lower her voice as much as possible. Although she did not know the specifics, she was able to roughly guess based on Ji Nan Feng’s previous words.
After their last operation got foiled by Lu Xing Yan, the criminal syndicate decided to take a bigger risk this time out of desperation. According to intel, they planned to discreetly add a newly developed drug into the drinks at the banquet. This way, they would be able to gain control of those people in the upper class. This was also why Ji Nan Feng warned her not to consume the alcohol at the reception.
But of course, the authorities would not allow the innocent to drink it either. Hence they arranged manpower to monitor the syndicate’s actions. They hoped to beat the gang at their own game by exchanging a raccoon for a prince1A Chinese idiom whereby one substitutes someone/something valuable with another.. After allowing them to switch the alcohol with those contaminated by the drug, they would secretly have it switched back with clean alcohol again without startling the criminals.
It was impossible to identify who the perpetrators were as there were too many people coming and going from the venue. Everyone, from the waiting staff to the big bosses, could be part of the group. Hence, it was better to let them show their hands themselves. As for how the plan would be executed, it would be dependent on Lu Xing Yan and Interpol.
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The nine-layered champagne tower on top of the table came crashing down. To be precise, the entire table gave way, causing the crowd to descend into chaos and disarray. Just as Mo Li Xin was about to tighten her hold on Ji Nan Feng’s hand, she was bumped away from him.
Amidst the panicking masses, a deafening gunshot was fired causing everyone to duck down.
Everyone except for Ji Nan Feng. Because the person whose hand he held just disappeared in that few seconds of havoc, even her voice just vanished. Staring at his empty palm, he was filled with disbelief and fear, his flurry of emotions could not be concealed.
“Third Brother!” Lu Xing Yan called out as he walked over, already guessing what had happened.
“We’ve secured the premises and all exits have been sealed off, those people won’t be able to escape.”
It was undetermined if Ji Nan Feng heard Lu Xing Yan’s words. After composing himself, he immediately scanned the entire banquet hall and the people present. It was jarringly obvious that she was no longer here.
“Eldest Brother, lend a few people to me. Since you just came through the front entrance, they wouldn’t be able to leave right under your eyes in such a short period of time. So Xin’er is either still in the venue, or they’ve found another way to escape from here. Eldest Brother should stay here to tie up the loose ends while I’ll go and find Xin’er,” Ji Nan Feng forced himself to calm down and articulate.
Lu Xing Yan hesitated for a moment before he instructed a few skilled soldiers. His hesitation was not due to reluctance to lend a few men, but because he was worried for his brother’s safety. After all, it was very chaotic now.
Seeing that Mo Li Xin was kidnapped, the opposing party must have realised their presence. He reckoned that some of the more prominent leaders had already taken the chance to escape. Hence, it would be better to order a few more men to search together. Moreover, he received help from this Third sister-in-law a couple of times previously and he had eyes to see how his third brother had been treating her these past few months.
“Uhm… Uhm… There’s something I want to tell you,” someone suddenly broke the silence, halting Ji Nan Feng from leaving.
Ji Nan Feng recognized the person at a glance. It was the waitress that accidentally spilled wine on Xin’er when she tripped. Seeing how she looked like she wanted to say something, she might have known something, “speak. What do you know? Or what did you see?”
He could tell that this person held no malicious intentions and might still be able to help him. Yet, he could not control his temper and tone of voice. Only God knew how terrified he was currently.
“Inside the underground storage room, there’s a big cabinet. When you move it aside… it will reveal a secret passageway. Previously, I saw several masked men coming in and out from there. So I think… if someone wants to leave, that should be a probable exit,” the waitress shakily replied.
Originally, she did not want to stick her foot into matters of the upper class. But thinking back to that compassionate, beautiful woman, she finally decided to speak up. That secret passageway was also unintentionally discovered by her previously, and combined with what she just witnessed, she knew it was suspicious.
After a moment of consideration, Ji Nan Feng instructed, “lead the way.”
As he strode away, the waitress immediately followed.
While Ji Nan Feng went ahead to look for Mo Li Xin, the chaos in the banquet hall slightly calmed down. The pronounced figures also had time to cool down and reflect on their situation at hand.
“This esteemed commander, can I ask what is going on?” a man asked. He was the president of Yong Qing Corporation of Country A. Seeing that Lu Xing Yan looked like he hailed from Country A too, he decided to clarify with him.
“Recently a few major crime syndicates got together planning to commit a nefarious crime and their reach has long stretched far and wide. We recently got intel of their plan and they wanted to poison the drinks at Bai Sha Exhibition with their newly invented drug. And from the looks of it, many of you have already consumed it,” Lu Xing Yan explained.
As everyone came from prominent backgrounds, Lu Xing Yan was not worried that they could not understand the underlying meaning of his words.
As expected, majority of the crowd’s expressions changed as soon as his words fell.
“Then what are we to do? We’ve already drunk it.”
“Ya! What were the authorities doing? Why did you not say it earlier? Why have you only just arrived?!”
“What a psychotic group! Why do they want to harm us like this?”
More and more voices started emerging.
“But, there is no need to worry. Our team has already developed an antidote,” Lu Xing Yan scanned the crowd before saying.
“That’s good, that’s good… That scared us to death,” many breathed a sigh of relief. All was not over as long as there was a cure.
Although many were relieved, there were some that remained mum.
“However…” Just as the crowd was calming down, Lu Xing Yan continued.
“However, this antidote has a unique characteristic. It would only work on those that had consumed the poisoned alcohol. Those that took it without drinking the drugged alcohol previously would suffer severe side effects such as experiencing pain throughout their body and their faces would flush red.”
Lu Xing Yan calmly informed the group, his sharp eyes not missing any of their facial expressions.
There was a moment of silence in the banquet hall before many voiced their approval.
“That’s fine, as long as the antidote works,” someone said. It was soon followed by many who nodded in agreement. Yet, there were a fraction of people whose expressions got worse and all of it fell into Lu Xing Yan’s gaze.
Unbeknownst to all, there was no such antidote. Lu Xing Yan merely fabricated said ‘antidote’. An hour before they came, he received news that this group of people was ruthless. They did not plan to spare anyone as they poisoned all the drinks with the drug. Therefore, it was safe to assume as the banquet was drawing to a close that those that did not drink any of the drinks must be part of the group. But of course, there might be a few innocent people that coincidentally did not drink. But to be safe than sorry, it would be better to capture them all back for further investigation before releasing anyone.
The so-called ‘antidote’ was just a chemical compound that would heat up upon getting in contact with water. It would not cause harm to those that consumed it. But for those that did not drink anything before the ‘antidote’, they would feel like they were experiencing the side effects described.
This way, who was innocent and who was part of the gang would be easily differentiated.
The waitress guided Ji Nan Feng to the underground storage room. And sure enough, there was a hidden passage behind the cabinet. Due to the lack of care and use of the space, there was a thick layer of dust inside. And because of this, it left many messy footprints within. From the looks of it, it should belong to a group of six to seven people.
Following the passage, it took them about half an hour before they exited the tunnel. They were greeted by the sight of an abandoned factory. And an unconscious woman was tied to a cross propped on an elevated platform in front.
“Over there. Be careful, might be a trap,” an accompanying officer warned.
Surprisingly, Ji Nan Feng did not rush over. That was because, at a glance, he could tell that the person was not his Xin’er. But Duan An Ran, who had been missing for a long time.
“Greetings, Ji… Second Young Master, or should I address you as Third Young Master?” On the second storey of the dilapidated factory, right where Duan An Ran was tied up, a rickety man stepped out wearing a mask as he grinned.
Following the voice, Ji Nan Feng looked up. Unbefitting to his figure, although the speaker’s voice was modified, it was husky but extremely domineering.
“What do you want?” He knew that questions were useless, but at the same time, he felt relieved. This person looked like he was a major figure and his willingness to show himself proved that Xin’er was safe for now. So now he just needed to delay time and wait for Lu Xing Yan to arrive.
“Nothing. I just feel like you’re an old friend and want to have a chat with you.”