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168 Cold-blooded

 Lying there in the dark, He Ruanliang's rotund form was a bleeding mess, his wide eyes with fear as sweat ran down his thick, chinless face. He stared at Xiao Luo's depraved smile in abject terror, to the point he dared not even breathe. Those four short words from Xiao Luo told him everything he needed to know about what was about to happen to him. Wasn't this the man who single-handedly confronted the Dragon Gang in the September 12th incident? Gang enforcer, Guo Jianghu had led more than a hundred of his fighters against Xiao Luo. But the Red Cudgel was defeated and killed along with all his gang members that fateful night.

He had heard from an inside source he had in the JC that a single fighter had annihilated an entire group of gangsters in that incident. By some providence, he had been helped through certain actions taken by JC.

Could the twelve-nine incident have anything to do with this man?

Random thoughts flashed through his mind without any logical reason as he shrank in fear from the ominous presence of his tormentor, Xiao Luo.

Xiao Luo reached for the knife sticking out of He Ruanliang's left shoulder, gripped it tightly and yanked it out. As he did so, he said in that familiar cold voice, "Long Sankui gloats about his three thousand fighters. I'll arrange for him three thousand coffins!"

Without a further word, the blade came down and pierced He Ruanlaing's open palm, pinning it to the ground.

Aarrgggh!

The pain was unbearable! And the screams now unrestrained.

Xiao Luo smiled cruelly. He once again withdrew the blade from the impaled palm. His attention wandered to other parts of He Ruanliang's shivering body, as the fat man whimpered. Xiao Luo wielded his bladé like a surgeon's scalpel as he filleted the fleshy parts of his victim's torso, like a knife through butter. He Ruanliang lost control of all bodily functions, shamelessly discharging his fluids amid cries of pain and anguish. His screams echoed in the empty space.

In a matter of minutes, He Ruanliang had turned into a bloody mess of flesh and blood. Strips of flesh hung like ribbons where his shirt had been ripped off. Blood flowed copiously from his open wounds. What was left of his garments was stained in a morbid red. A gaping mark was drawn across his forehead, revealing the white bone of his skull. The cut was deep and continued down to the right side of his chin, causing his face to appear like it was falling off to one side.

He Ruanliang's body now twitched uncontrollably, as if in his last throes of death. His body was soon coming into a state of shock, and he only stared blankly at Xiao Luo. He was trying to speak. His mouth was opening and closing like a fish out of water, even as choked in his own blood. In his mind, he begging for his life. He couldn't have imagined he would die such a horrific death.

Xiao Luo finally stood up. He looked down at He Ruanliang with no emotion, as if admiring a piece of fine art.

Xiao Luo didn't plan on taking his life with a single strike, and he wanted to quietly watch this man suffer in pain and grow in despair before he finally died. He had no intention of giving this man a quick death. It would be a long and painful one.

Bang!

The high-pitched report of a handgun pierced the silence.

A single bullet sped through the darkness and found its mark, hitting Xiao Luo on the rear of his left shoulder. The impact from the low-velocity round threw him forward, almost tripping him over.

Within a split second, he had identified the direction of the shooter, and instinctively he immediately grabbed He Ruanliang off the ground. Xiao Luo pulled him up and held him like a human shield.

"Release him!"

Gu Qinglin held her piece in both hands aligned with her line of sight, as she quickly made her way over. She stood facing him now, in her shooting stance, her left foot slightly forward, dropping her cheeks close to her biceps lining up the gun with her eyes. With a stern voice, she warned him not to make a move.

Wang Hanxuan was positioned just behind her, with two other JCs as backups. Xiao Luo now held his knife against He Ruanliang's neck and faced the rescuers. For a brief, tense moment, there was complete silence, the officers stared in horror at what they witnessed. They felt their palms get sweaty as an unexplainable sense of that they had come face to face with a beast.

"He-help me...."

As adrenaline surged through his body, He Ruanliang's instinct for survival returned. He called out weakly for help when he saw the JC team right in front of him.

"Did you hear us? Release him."

Gu Qinglin repeated the order firmly. She wasn't sure if the perpetrator was Xiao Luo but had a reasonable suspicion that it was. If he really was Xiao Luo, then she now had an ID on his real face.

A chill shot through her spine as she looked at He Ruanliang, his face barely recognizable. He was soaked in blood, and his flesh virtually shredded. Whoever they were facing was a pro, an intelligent and steady, cold-blooded killer. He carried out his assault within such a short time, given that the JC was already on route to apprehend He Ruanliang. The fact that their opponent could react in such a short amount of time and held He Ruanliang hostage proved that this person was a real intelligent, cold-blooded, and calm killer. Even with her experience, Gu Qinglin felt goosebumps rise out of nowhere.

Xiao Luo kept hid behind He Ruanliang's body as a shield. Gu Qinglin's arrival had messed up his plan, so he might have to leave the man behind.

Without another word, Xiao Luo lifted He Ruanliang and carried him off like a beast towards another exit. He kept to the darkness as he made his way there. The pursuing JC team could see the knife pressed against He Ruanliang's neck as it glistened coldly under the dim light.

Gu Qinglin followed closely, waiting for a chance to take a shot at Xiao Luo.

The chance never came as Xiao Luo successfully reached the exit. The stalemate continued.

He Ruanliang now felt the knife pressing on his neck and knew that Xiao Luo was about to take his life. In fear and horror, he called out again, in a course guttural voice, "N-no. please don't...."

"Stop it, I'm telling you to stop, do you hear me?"

Gu Qinglin yelled; she could sense what would soon be happening. She cringed at the thought of a human life brutally taken, right in front of her.

Then, the sound of a grunt. The knife mercilessly sliced through He Ruanliang's throat, and blood oozed out in an instant.

"Damn it!"

Gu Qinglin lost control of her emotions and immediately opened fire.

Bang. Bang. Bang.

A volley of shots tore through the exit area. But Xiao Luo had already made his escape, and the bullets lodged harmlessly in the wall.

When they arrived at the spot, He Ruanliang was already lying dead in a pool of blood, his eyes open, staring blankly at the wall.

"He's brutal. A cold-blooded murderer!" Wang Hanxuan said, staring chillingly at the corpse.

Gu Qinglin was furious, clenching her teeth, she ordered, "Send a request to the headquarters immediately, get a warrant of arrest out for criminal suspect Xiao Luo!!!"

Committing a crime right before her eyes was not only an affront to her but more so an insult to the law. He must be captured at all costs; he cannot escape the long arm of the law.

"Understood." Wang Hanxuan nodded and acknowledged her order.

...

...

Xiao Luo arrived at the pavilion on the mountains in the Guangming Park. Even though Gu Qinglin's shot wasn't life-threatening, the bullet had lodged deep in his shoulder, causing hemorrhage and massive trauma to the affected area. The loss of blood dramatically affected his physical and mental state.

He slowly reached his hand back towards the injury and clenching his teeth, pushed his finger into the wound, attempting to dig the slug out.

A sharp pain flashed from the wound the moment his finger reached into the wound, his face to twisted in anguish. After what seemed like a long, agonizing time, he finally managed to extract the bullet from his injury.

He felt his legs giving and collapsed to the ground. The cold-blooded assassin rolled over and lay where he fell, his face a deathly pale.