Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
The moment Li Jingtian opened the door, he almost thought he was hallucinating.
He never thought he would see Lin Chen again in this way.
The ambient light in the attic was extremely dim. The small chandelier on the ceiling shook gently when the door was pushed open. Someone was sitting under the small chandelier, reclining on a dark brown chair. Li Jingtian looked at the person sitting under the chandelier and didn’t immediately react to the danger.
The reason was probably because Lin Chen’s reclining chair looked too peaceful, or perhaps it was because Lin Chen rarely wore glasses. The slender, black frame was really suitable on him. Coupled with the warm yellow light and his movements of lowering his head and flipping through some documents, this made Li Jingtian suddenly feel an impulse.
Of course, he was always impulsive, but he was also good at restraining them, so he was extremely vigilant after entering the room. He didn’t immediately slam the door and leave or say anything rude, leaving himself in a passive situation.
After all, he was a professional singer, and the habits of maintaining a good demeanor were already seared deep into his bones.
He looked around and quickly noticed that four professional 4K high-definition cameras were set up at the top of the four corners of the room. The cameras were lit up in red, indicating that they were working.
Li Jingtian inadvertently looked at the window again, only to realize that the window of the attack was covered by a professional studio black veil, in order to create a subtle atmosphere, regardless of day or night.
Although it wasn’t clear what Lin Chen was doing, all the atmosphere showed that he had just stepped into a trap. Li Jingtian smiled. Fortunately, he still maintained his good tongue and actions just now, having been born the son of a noble family and was a famous singer.
“Consultant Lin, I didn’t expect we would meet again in this way. I thought you wouldn’t come.” He stood by the door but didn’t close it as he greeted Lin Chen in an amicable tone.
“Oh, that’s just because you haven’t thought about it.” Lin Chen was still staring at the paper in his hand and responded without even raising his head.
“Consultant Lin, you’re really so aggressive toward me,” Li Jingtian said with emotion. He looked at Lin Chen’s slender neck, which was exposed when he lowered it to read. His skin was fair and delicate, like fine China, making him wonder what it would taste like if he took a bite.
Li Jingtian swallowed carefully and became more vigilant because of his instinct.
Although Lin Chen was pretending to be a seductive prey, he knew better than anyone else what kind of experienced hunter his opponent was; steady and precise. Once he locked onto a target, he would never let go of the trigger.
Li Jingtian glanced at Lin Chen’s calm face again, feeling more creeped out. He realized that his best choice now was to leave immediately—at least not step into this room—but when he was thinking this, Lin Chen raised his head.
“Please close the door, Mr. Li Jingtian,” Lin Chen said in an imperative tone.
Li Jingtian laughed instead and asked, “Are you restricting my personal freedom?”
Lin Chen shook his head. He pointed to the corners of the room as he spoke in a voice that was as calm as water. “As you can see, there are four high-definition cameras mounted in the four corners of this room. These four cameras belong to Yongchuan Satellite TV, Central News, CATV, and MeTube, the world’s four largest media stations. Now, these four media giants will broadcast the entire process of my conversation with you, so you can make a conservative estimate of how many people are watching your conversation with me… If you don’t want to look too guilty, then say hello to our audience friends in front of the TV first.”
Following Lin Chen’s words, Li Jingtian raised his eyes and looked at the four cameras. The space was filled with a buzzing sound from the cameras. His back was cold, and he could only feel the four cameras suddenly turning into countless empty eyes, staring at him at this moment.
He understood that Lin Chen was intimidating him to increase his psychological pressure, but he couldn’t move his feet because of these words.
The live broadcast, countless viewers, and the caring eyes of hundreds of millions of stars were all temptations that he couldn’t refuse.
He thought for a while, then turned his head and asked Lin Chen, “Conversation? In fact, isn’t it more appropriate for you to say interrogation? First of all, I don’t know what crime I have committed and need to be interrogated by the Chinese police. Secondly, since it’s an interrogation without any formal procedures, naturally I can refuse, no?”
“Of course you can refuse, but you should know first of all, it’s difficult for a person like you to find a better opportunity to be watched by the public in this lifetime… Secondly, let me remind you that if you turn around and leave, this behavior will be very suspicious in the eyes of the audience. I advise you not to do this,” Lin Chen said calmly.
Li Jingtian looked at the four corners of the room again. He knew better than anyone else that when he walked into the room, there was no chance of escape.
With a long sigh, he walked up to Lin Chen helplessly and sat down on the stool opposite him.
“Consultant Lin, you can ask anything you want, but I have a plane to catch, so I hope you can complete the interrogation as soon as possible.”
“I understand.” Lin Chen nodded, then fell silent.
For the first time, Li Jingtian felt the silence was a bit uncomfortable. He discovered that he was feeling uneasy because he was sitting on a small square stool that was extremely uncomfortable, whereas Lin Chen was sitting comfortably with his legs crossed on a chair with a backrest. The distance between them was also awkward. They were about two meters apart—a distance that wasn’t too short nor too far, and there was nothing in the middle. The feeling of facing each other was extremely nerve-wracking.
“That half an hour was hard just now, right?” Lin Chen suddenly asked him.
Li Jingtian’s heart skipped a beat. He suddenly felt he had fallen into Lin Chen’s trap again, but he had to pretend to answer calmly. “Actually, it wasn’t. I was simply packing my luggage and felt that time passed by quickly.”
“Didn’t you just remind me you have a plane to catch and for me not to delay you too long?” Lin Chen paused, then continued, “In fact, you can bluntly tell me what you’re thinking. If you’re too pedantic, the audience will think you’re being hypocritical.”
Li Jingtian had never met such a person as Lin Chen. He adjusted his thoughts, leaned forward slightly, and said, “It’s a bit embarrassing to be guessed by you. If you can be considerate of my eagerness to go home, that would be great.”
“I understand.” Lin Chen nodded. Then, to Li Jingtian’s great surprise, Lin Chen actually clapped his hands.
The crisp sound of clapping echoed in the attic.
The next thing he knew, the door behind him creaked open.
Li Jingtian suddenly turned his head and saw that the wooden door of the attic was violently pushed open, and two people walked into the room carrying a long table.
Li Jingtian recognized one of them. It was Shen Chenggong, the embassy military attaché responsible for protecting him during this trip.
Shen Chenggong looked at him with cold eyes full of anger. Li Jingtian didn’t know what tricks Lin Chen had used to make him follow his orders, but this scene gave him intense psychological pressure. This was probably another one of Lin Chen’s tricks.
However, Li Jingtian thought mockingly that even if it was, it didn’t matter. No matter what, the initiative was in his hands, and it was impossible for Lin Chen to get anything out of him in a short conversation.
More importantly, Li Jingtian felt that after sitting face-to-face with Lin Chen for a while, he had gradually calmed down. He thought that Lin Chen was right. Thinking of the millions of eyes watching him, he actually had a crepey sense of excitement.
It could be said that the person who knows you best will always be your nemesis.
He looked up at the quiet psychologist opposite him and felt that he was about to fall in love with Lin Chen.
The old man who lived in the Li mansion in the capital of Xinni was also stimulated.
But his kind of stimulation wasn’t due to excitement, but because of tension. Looking at the picture of his grandson sitting opposite of the Hongjing policeman, Mr. Li felt that his blood vessels were about to burst.
He called Ambassador Luo Qiusheng’s number for the third time; his fingers trembling with anger.
Several long waiting sounds passed, and this time, the phone finally connected.
The moment it was connected, Mr. Li yelled into the phone with all his might, “Luo Qiusheng, are you crazy? Why is Jingtian in that room? You let him out. You must let him out right away!”
“Sorry Mr. Li. I can’t do it,” Luo Qiusheng replied calmly.
“You are selling out our country. You’re trampling on the dignity of our country!”
Mr. Li, who was far away in the Xinni Capital, threw his cane hard at the living room clock. The clock rang as glass shattered. The loud noise echoed in the empty hall, making people dizzy.
The servants were all silent. Mr. Li restrained his urge to smash the phone. He took a deep breath and threatened in a very calm tone, “Luo Qiusheng, don’t forget who has supported you and brought you to the position you’re in now. How dare you say that to me? You can’t do it?”
“It’s you,” Ambassador Luo replied humbly. “You have always been kind to me.”
“You recognize my kindness? Yet you’re repaying me with this? That is my only grandson of the Li family. Why don’t you just come to my doorstep and stab this old man to death? Isn’t that more straightforward?”
Ambassador Luo stood by the window and moved the phone away from his ear.
Although the old man who went crazy for the sake of his future generation still remembered his status, he left all righteousness and benevolence behind. Mr. Ambassador rarely showed a mocking look on his face and said bluntly, “I’m really sorry, Mr. Li, but I can’t refuse because the ‘door’ is open.”
After Luo Qiusheng finished speaking, there was a long pause on the phone. Luo Qiusheng even suspected that Mr. Li might have had a heart attack because his breathing had become stagnant.
Thinking of this, the mock on his lips became more intense. He felt that overwhelming others wasn’t too bad.
After a while, the old man began to question him with the same tone as if what he said was a joke. “Luo Qiusheng, you don’t need to find such an excuse to prevaricate with an old man. Not to mention that my grandson was falsely accused of raping a Chinese, if Jingtian really killed her, the door wouldn’t open because of some small incident the size of a bean!”
“But the door really is open,” Ambassador Luo Qiusheng rebutted calmly.
The other end of the line fell silent again. Mr. Li thought for a while and finally seemed to make up his mind. He said solemnly, “I want to talk to the ‘knocker’!”
On the other end of the phone, Ambassador Luo Qiusheng looked at the man standing in front of him but didn’t immediately agree to Li Lao’s request.
However, the other party had guessed what he was thinking. Not only did he look away from the screen, but he also stretched out his hand towards him.
Hearing the breathing sound at the other end of the line becoming quieter, Mr. Lu used honorifics for the first time in the countless calls he made today. “Hello.”
But the person on the other end of the phone didn’t respond. Not even the rhythm of his breathing changed. Perceiving that the other party might hang up in the next moment, Mr. Li made up his mind and hurriedly said, “I don’t care who you are, but please believe me that Jingtian has really been wronged. Please let him go. As long as you let him go, it’ll be a great favor to our Li family. If you make a condition, I will accept it. Anything can be discussed. All of it can be negotiated!”
The old man’s tone became more anxious, until the person on the other end of the line finally responded.
“Mr. Li, what did I just say?”
“You… You didn’t say anything,” the old man said humbly.
“Since I didn’t say anything, why do you think there’s room for negotiations between us?”
“What do you want? No matter what, name the price!”
There was no sadness or joy in the man’s face—no contempt, ridicule, or emotions.
He said, “First of all, there are really not many people in this world who are qualified to bargain with me. You obviously don’t belong in that category.” As he spoke, he looked down at the people sitting on either side of the long table on the screen. Looking from the surveillance camera, they both had calm faces under the dim chandelier light, giving off a mysterious feeling.
And his existence was just to prop up some possibilities.
Hearing this, he said to the old man on the other end, “And you should know, in fact, if I want to deal with Li Jingtian, there are many ways to make his life worse than death, but now, I have chosen the most upright method. You should be happy.”
After saying this, the man moved the phone away from his ear and casually hung up.
The attic was dim but calm.
There were some things on the long table that had been newly moved into the room.
From left to right, there was a clock, a deck of cards, and a square wooden box.
The wooden door was shut again as the personnel retreated.
Lin Chen put his hand on the wooden table, picked up the deck of playing cards, and pushed it face up and sideways.
Like facing an old friend, he casually said to Li Jingtian, “I have always liked Xinni’s cards. Although it’s not much different from the cards that are common all over the world, I always think that the design of Xinni cards is very interesting, and people can’t help but delve into its meaning.”
Lin Chen drew out five cards at random, as if showing them inadvertently, and continued, “I once flipped through a research book on Xinni cards. It’s said that the designer of Xinni cards was to commemorate the Red Sun War, so he designed five different suits, among which ‘house’ symbolizes homeland, ‘people’ symbolizes the warriors, ‘bird’ symbolizes freedom, ‘sun’ symbolizes victory, and ‘flower’ symbolizes heroic spirit. This kind of symbolism is something I have never seen in gambling systems in other countries.”
“Consultant Lin, since you took cards out, do you want to gamble with me?” Li Jingtian interrupted.
Lin Chen acted as if he didn’t hear Li Jingtian’s question. He put the five cards of different suits back into the deck, then began to shuffle the deck. “And I heard that in Xinni’s underground bars, they play cards in a very interesting way. This kind of card game was born out of the most primitive way of betting, and influenced by the bar’s quick knife and finger game, and evolved into what it is now.”
As Lin Chen spoke, he knocked on the table and asked Li Jingtian, “What suit do you like best? Just pick one.”
Li Jingtian was taken aback, as if he suspected there was something hidden in this question. After careful consideration, he finally answered, “Sun.”
Lin Chen laid out the deck again and took a golden sun ace out of the pile. “This game is very simple. It’s mainly about luck. Both sides will draw one from the ten inverted cards from 1-10. The person who draws the highest number wins. Of course, the game of pure ratio is a little stupid, but the interesting thing about this game is the bet. The winner of each round may ask the loser any questions. The game stipulates that the loser must answer truthfully. If you really don’t want to answer, you can cut yourself with a knife to show your determination.”
Lin Chen opened the wooden box on the table with his other hand.
A short knife lay quietly inside, against the backdrop of black velvet. The blade of the dagger shone with dazzling silver light.
Li Jingtian laughed. He could hardly restrain the corners of his mouth, but he had to maintain an innocent attitude. “This game is too dangerous for you. We can play a match, but can we not bet?”
“As long as you’re willing to tell the truth, this game isn’t dangerous at all.”
Li Jingtian shook his head, as if he felt Lin Chen’s proposal was too outrageous. “But how can we tell if the other party is answering truthfully?”
“It’s simple. All the viewers in front of the TV and computer can help us check.”
Li Jingtian almost burst out laughing. He pushed away the wooden stool and stood up and said in an apologetic tone, “Although I think this game is quite interesting, I do have a plane to catch so I can’t accompany you. If possible, Consultant Lin is welcome to come to Xinni one day, and I will entertain you.”
“Oh, I know you have a plane to catch. Your flight takes off at 15:30. Suppose you need to go through security checks 40 minutes in advance, plus the time to reach the airport from the Xinni Embassy—it’s estimated that if you leave the embassy at 14:00, you can still catch your flight.”
“But it’s almost time now.” Li Jingtian tapped on his watch, looking helpless.
“Well, there’s still a quarter of an hour left, which is enough for five rounds. Whoever wins three out of five matches wins.” Lin Chen picked up the clock on the table, twisted it, and set the timer for fifteen minutes.
His gesture was irresistible. The ticking of the old-fashioned alarm clock immediately began to echo through the room.
Li Jingtian turned his head slowly, staring at the clock on the table. His expression changed instantly.
Lin Chen said, “Come back. The door is locked, and it won’t open until fifteen minutes later.” He looked at Li Jingtian and dragged his tone as he said, “Of course you can choose not to play, but the audience in front of their TVs will definitely be very disappointed…”
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