Scarface struggled so hard under the sheets that I almost lost my hold on him. Fortunately, Dali threw the rope around him in time, quickly tying him up tightly like a large barquillo.
Wiping the beads of sweat off his forehead, Dali remarked, "He’s just like a wild buffalo! He’s so strong he almost broke free!”
Scarface glared at us ferociously, his eyes ready to pop out of their sockets, but Dali remained unbothered and sternly harrumphed, "What are you looking at?! Keep looking and I'll slap you!"
I noticed Scarface moving his hands under the quilt and a bad feeling immediately sprouted inside of me. I aimed a heavy kick at his ribs, drawing a muffled groan from Scarface. While he lay unmoving from the pain, I reached into the quilt and felt something hard. "What’s this?" I demanded.
"It's my cock!” Scarface grinned sinisterly. “It's very hard, isn't it? Would you like to suck on it?"
Upon removing it, I realized it was a homemade pistol and the terrifying near-miss hit me like a bat to the head. Scarface had been groping around, getting ready to shoot Dali! Stunned, Dali stood there as if paralyzed from the neck down.
"There’s a bit of a gap under the blanket,” I said. “Let’s tighten the rope so he can’t move at all."
Scarface's mouth was dishonest and he said frivolously, "If the little bitch joined me there’d be no room left, eh!" Scarface goaded, trying to provoke a reaction from us.
Bingxin furrowed her brows and was about to hit him when I stopped her. "Don't fall into his trap. They’re all fierce criminals who aren’t afraid of death. He’s used to being this arrogant. Just ignore him, he’s deliberately provoking us."
Splat! I felt something sticky on my chest. The sight of a gob of thick, yellow-green phlegm disgusted me so much that I was tempted to give him a good beating.
Scarface smiled triumphantly, "This position is quite comfortable but my face feels a little itchy. Come here and scratch it for me."
I found a rag to wipe my chest clean and quickly regained my composure. "Here’s the deal—we’re actually police officers. When our backup gets here, I’ll hand you over to them all in one piece. Don’t worry, I won’t lay a finger on you until then."
“You fucking cop!” he yelled, fires of fury and hatred smoldered in his widened eyes. "I won't surrender even if you kill me!"
He twisted his lips again as if hawking up more phlegm to spit at me. But the realization dawned upon me–he was going to bite his tongue off! I quickly pried his jaws apart and instructed Dali to bring some rags to stuff his mouth. With his mouth blocked, Scarface finally quieted down.
Having committed so many murders, Scarface was well aware of the fate that awaited him so he would rather die than surrender. I was relieved we hadn’t confronted him head-on, otherwise there might have been casualties.
Dali curiously studied the pistol. "What kind of stupid gun is this?” he scoffed. “Why is the workmanship so bad?"
"This is a single shot, homemade gun which has a design similar to a musket,” I explained. “Look, there isn’t a magazine and there’s only one bullet in it. The impact force can pierce a person's skull and it’s easy to fire. I'll hold on to it first."
"Oh no!” cried Bingxin. “His accomplice is here!"
A frowning Song Xingchen walked into the room. "Young master, isn’t this putting your lives at risk? Why won't you let me finish him off?"
"I have my reasons!" I said, standing up to face him. "First off, I know that you’re a violent maniac and your methods are cruel but effective. Secondly, I don't want to rely too much on you. It’s best if I do whatever I can. As for the last reason… " I smiled, "I’d like to personally experience the thrill of watching these vicious criminals fall into the trap that I’ve designed."
After solving so many cases, I had arrived at the conclusion that a turbulent heart lay beneath my calm appearance. Like a moth to a flame, I was perversely fascinated and drawn to danger and adventure!
Song Xingchen stared at me for a few seconds before he nodded. "This is exactly why the Song family sent me to protect you. As the saying goes, fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
Bingxin cast a starry-eyed look of infatuation in our direction. "What a beautiful picture you make standing next to each other!"
Song Xingchen arched an eyebrow at her words. Bingxin nervously stretched out a hand, "I haven't introduced myself yet. My name is Sun Bingxin. I’m..."
But before she could finish her sentence, Song Xingchen left the room as abruptly as he had entered.
"Dude, I just realized what amazing genes the Song family has! The men are all so good-looking!” Dali exclaimed. “Do you have a sister?"
"There she is," I pointed to Bingxin.
The room felt a little small with four people crammed into it so I suggested we go out for a breather. Upon entering the yard, Bingxin stretched and sighed, "The feeling of freedom is incomparable! We’ve finally taken over the temple."
"There's still one person left to deal with!” I said. “Let's discuss how we’re going to catch the abbot."
Right then, something seemed to stir Song Xingchen, raising his hackles. Quick as a flash, he accelerated, running up the wall to jump onto the roof. "You don't have much time,” he warned, gaze fixed outside the courtyard. “The old monk is heading back. You have about five minutes before he gets here."
"There’s four of us. What’s there to be afraid of?" Dali dismissed.
"The abbot has a gun!" I blurted.
"I can cut off his right hand with my sword before he pulls out his gun,” said Song Xingchen, jumping back down from the roof. “All you have to do is give me the command!"
However, I didn’t intend to heed his suggestion because we had no first-aid equipment here. The abbot would surely bleed to death if his arm was severed. I had to hand over two intact fugitives to the police, not dead bodies.
"How about we dig a trap at the entrance?" Bingxin proposed.
"It's too late…” I shook my head. “But we can use a tripwire. Dali, go get a bundle of straw!" I picked up a tile from the ground and said, "When I break the tile, it’s a signal for you to light up the straw in the inner courtyard to create smoke."
Dali proceeded to get ready while Song Xingchen hid on the roof as I requested. Then, using a rope I found in the courtyard, Bingxin and I fashioned a tripwire, each of us holding one end of the rope as we lay in ambush on both sides of the entrance.
A while later, Song Xingchen gestured at me, signalling the abbot’s impending arrival. As soon as I dropped the tile, smoke rose from the inner courtyard. The sound of hurried footsteps drifted from outside the courtyard. Bingxin and I exchanged a meaningful look.
When the abbot rushed in, we pulled the rope taut, tripping him so he fell to the ground in a fluster, pistol falling out of his hand. I quickly sat on him and tied his hands behind his back.
Bingxin excitedly high-fived me at our success.
Even after all this, the abbot still stuck to his script. "Benefactor,” he cried. “There’s no hatred or enmity between us so why have you tied me up?"
"Keep on pretending if you like!” I mocked. “Tell me, why would a monk like you have a gun?"
"I picked it up somewhere," the abbot chuckled. "You must let me go! Let’s not resort to violence."
I couldn’t be bothered to play along with his performance. After tying the man up, I gagged him with a rag and threw him in the yard.
I grabbed the gun from the ground and examined it with Bingxin who recognized it at a glance. "It's a police-issued firearm."
"The serial number has worn off,” I remarked. “It was most likely stolen from an officer and sold on the black market."
The temple was now under our control. I couldn't believe it only took one day. We went back to the inner courtyard to help Dali put out the fire and then ventured to the main hall together. I wanted to investigate the bodies inside the Buddha statues.
The arhat statue was tall and large—it was so heavy I couldn't lift it on my own. I turned to Song Xingchen for help but he turned a deaf ear and continued to lean languidly against the pillar. I repeated his name a few times before he finally answered, "This isn’t part of my responsibility."
"Fine, forget it then!” I retorted. “Dali, give me a hand with the statue!"
With Dali on the left and me on the right, we carefully carried the statue. A highly decomposed corpse already at the bloating stage fell out from below. Judging from the clothes and hair, the victim was female. The body was covered in plump, wriggling maggots, all signs of decomposition suggesting that the corpse was about a week old.
At the sight of the corpse, Dali dashed out of the temple and vomited by the side. Even I couldn’t help but grimace at the multiple wounds on the body that indicated the extent of the abuse suffered by the victim before her death.
I decided to leave the other bodies in the statues and wait until the police arrived.Previous Chapter Next Chapter