Chapter 31 – Kidnapped
After the video game competition, Cao Dongfeng no longer looked for Jiaming to cause trouble. However, when Jiaming was at school, he kept feeling a stare of hatred from afar, and he was quite uncomfortable with it.
In October, as autumn arrived, the leaves changed to a golden yellow. The three of them were walking home after school, and leaves slowly drifted down from the trees. Shasha was actually calmer now as she was no longer her violent younger self. If there was no one provoking her (i.e. Cao Dongfeng), she had times when she appeared gentle and quiet. Ever since the martial arts competition during summer, she had started carrying around and reading romance novels. If one was particularly good, she would lend it to Lingjing for her to reference.
The two girls were somewhat careful with their actions, as they did not realize that Jiaming had thought that they were a couple since a long time ago. When the three of them were together, sometimes the two girls would whisper in each other’s ears, cheeks a light rosy pink. Thus, Jiaming thought that the two girls’ relationship was quite splendid. However, he still found women difficult to understand.
When the fifth day of the ninth month of the lunar year (October 28th) arrived, it was Shasha’s fifteenth birthday. Like usual, she spent her birthday with her two best friends, Jiaming and Lingjing, as her father was busy and unable to get away. It seemed that recently, the clean up of gang areas in Jianghai City was quite high and this was likely due to Jiaming. That time when he went to rescue Marilyn and her daughter, tens of people including the politician Tang Jingyao had died. Guns were not the only things confiscated, and these actions were considered one of the most severe blows dealt against the gangs in Jianghai City.
This crackdown continued for around half a year, and a lot of the smaller gangs were rooted out. There were a lot of free territories now, and as the Sha Zhu gang was one of the big three triads, they naturally did not slack off on expanding their domain. These days, when school ended, Jiaming noticed that various triad members were hanging around the area near Shasha – they were the bodyguards that her father had secretly sent to protect his daughter.
Even though Shasha did not seem to notice the triad members, Jiaming and Lingjing both knew that she was disturbed by them. As usual, the three of them made their way to the Liu family villa to play for the rest of the day. When evening came, Lingjing’s mother called and asked them to return home to have dinner and celebrate Shasha’s birthday at the same time. When they entered Lingjing’s home, the usually tomboyish girl’s eyes were red-rimmed. After dinner, when father Ye said that Shasha should come over for dinner regularly, she was so moved that she could not stop the tears from leaking out.
“Hey, does that mean I have two wives now?”
Seeing Shasha cry, Jiaming intervened by joking. The Ye family was used to joking around, but hearing the usually sincere Jiaming make a joke, the Ye couple laughed heartily. Lingjing blushed as she blew a quiet raspberry at him and punched him hard. Shasha stopped crying and leaped out of her seat to chase after him as Jiaming ran off. He did not evade her for too long; he only ran ten laps around the arena before letting Shasha catch up to him and punch him fiercely. However, because he did this, Shasha was no longer crying which was exactly his intention.
The next day after Shasha’s birthday, an unusual situation happened.
That day after school, Lingjing had stayed behind to help a teacher with distributing some documents, so Jiaming and Shasha left first and planned to wait for her near the school gate. The two of them were browsing a small stall nearby when two minivans suddenly drove up and sandwiched them on each side.
The hiding bodyguards instantly rushed over, but because one of the minivans was obstructing them, they could not get there in time. The masked men that leapt off the van had already grabbed Shasha and were getting back into the minivan.
If he had acted at that time, he would definitely have destroyed a few of them, but… there were too many people…
In terms of strength, Jiaming and Shasha combined would have not been enough against that many adults, so rapidly adapting to the situation, Jiaming held onto Shasha’s hand with a death grip. He ended up being thrown into the minivan with her.The minivan instantly drove off, and the two teenagers were quickly tied up, blindfolded, and gagged. When Jiaming had been tied up, he had already hidden a blade in his hand, and it would have been easy for him to get out of the ropes. He lay quietly, concentrating on feeling the direction that the van was moving in; Shasha, who was quite afraid, leaned towards him, her voice muffled behind the gag as she struggled with her bindings.
“I say, Brother Feng said to take three people, right?”
“There’s only two of them, where is the third person? How about stopping the van and just take some random kid? Also what Brother Feng, that pint-sized brat, I only listen to Brother Hao. Brother Hao said to take one person only, if this boy hadn’t refused to let go, I wouldn’t have taken him as well,” that person said as he kicked Jiaming.
It was Cao Dongfeng again. Since it was like this, was the Cao family relying on the Ling Hai gang or were they trying to set up their own gang?
Jiaming reviewed what he knew about them. After clashing with Cao Dongfeng, he had looked up both father and son’s backgrounds. In the Sha Zhu gang, Cao Jinghao considered himself to be an important figure; when some of the elders died, he named himself as second-in-command, while hiding his ambition to be the head of the gang. Sadly, this person was actually somewhat capable, partly due to a foreign influence. Jiaming had not considered it to be too big of a deal, but because he was only one person, if he were to investigate, it would be very troublesome. However, before he had a chance to gather all the information, his opponent already made their move.
Jiaming had long since memorized all the locations in this city. He estimated that the van’s final destination should be on the west side of the city at a lumber mill. After they stopped, Jiaming and Shasha were forcefully separated, and their blindfolds and gags were removed. They had actually arrived at the lumber factory as the ground was littered with wood chips and building materials. They were currently at the central plaza, in between a row of covered sheds and a small two-storey building. A crowd of people gathered around watching the two children on the ground, their main interest naturally on Shasha.
“Little niece, it's been a while. How are you recently?”
Shasha coldly eyed the slightly chubby middle-aged man that was speaking. “I know you, Cao Jinghao! Don't worry; my dad will come here soon!”
“Haha, I am worried about that, so I wanted niece Huaisha to help me and say a few good things about me. Hm, that little guy, he seems to be the boy in your group of three, what was his name again? Oh right, what about the other girl?”
As he asked, Cao Dongfeng standing next to him spoke up, “Yeah, what about Ye Lingjing, you guys didn't catch her?”
“We saw those two kids together outside the school. Because the girl looked like Liu Huaisha’s photo, we made a move.”
“Hmph, Cao Dongfeng.” Even though Huaisha was tied up and lying on the ground, she retained her sharp tongue, “You're a toad that wants to eat swan meat, haven't you given up yet? Seeing how virtuous you are, even a real toad wouldn't like you!”
“If you continue spouting sh*t, I'mma f*ck you up.” An angry glint appeared in Cao Dongfeng’s eyes. “I may not be a match for Ye Lingjing, but I sure as f*ck am better than that brat! Since Lingjing isn't here, it's fine that you're here. If you don't want to die after getting played with, my last name isn't Cao!”
“Jiaming, don't be scared.” Shasha was quietly comforting him even though she was trembling herself.
“Mmm, don't worry about it.” Jiaming nodded as he absent-mindedly scanned his surroundings. Opposite them, there were two people inside a small bamboo shed that had caught his attention. One of them was a 50-or-so Japanese old man wearing a samurai outfit, while holding a shinai; the other was a girl clothed in a loose red kimono sitting on the ground. She seemed to be around Jiaming and Lingjing’s age and looked like a carved porcelain doll as she sat there unmoving, like a millennium-year iceberg.
That old man loudly shouted something but did not get a response, so he viciously hit the girl once with the shinai. Jiaming could see that he used his full power without holding anything back, but the girl barely reacted, only a brief thread of pain flashing past in her eyes.
The old man was speaking Japanese, so other people did not understand him, but Jiaming understood. The old man said, “I've given you two days, but you still refuse to talk… Fine, tomorrow if you still won't talk, don't blame me if I destroy your future!”
That girl… Jiaming searched his memories for someone similar looking. It seems that in his previous life, around eight years ago, he had seen her adult self once. Apparently, that girl had lived in a room for eight years without leaving until one day she slashed her wrists and painted a sakura blossom on the walls with her blood. At that time she was also wearing a brightly colored kimono, neat and graceful, her last expression serene and cold like ice.
Back then, Jiaming thought that Japanese people were bizarre. An unmatched beauty that could calmly kill herself like that... even though he had gone through countless training, he did not believe that he could maintain that expression at the time of his death, let alone if he committed suicide.
Now that he thought about it, he had been here for around eight years, but the butterfly effect was not that strong. So what she was going through right now should follow with his previous timeline. If he remembered correctly, Tsukichi was the Japanese clan’s name, and they knew a mystical type of ninjutsu, Ikesakura Senmaboroshi.
Her name was… Kaoru.
 A toad that wants to eat swan meat basically means someone not suitable (eg. someone the girl's parents would not approve of) wants to marry someone out of their reach. ↩
 Shinai - bamboo sword used in kendo. ↩
 Ikesakura Senmaboroshi (池櫻千幻) - literally translates into pool of sakura blossoms, a thousand illusions.
3 / 4 chapters of the week (next release is Friday, March 2).
A new loli Kaoru is introduced :3