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“Waldo, we’ve been exposed. The casino has people watching us! They even sent someone in a car to abduct us! The guy was terrifying. I can tell from a glance that he’s not a good person. Maybe they’ll even kill us…”
In his panic, Flannel-shirt keyed in the wrong number twice, and when his trembling fingers finally got it right, he instantly started blurting out words into the receiver like a trigger-happy machine gun. “Calm down, man! Calm down…” The guy named Waldo on the other end of the line said. “We’re just making small money off the casinos. They’re not going to kill us for a couple of euros.”
“That’s because you didn’t see those guys! The leader was like a perverted, abusive serial killer. He even brought a whole group of Terminators and was about to haul us into their car! God knows what they’d do to us! I’ve seen movies like that—they will tie us up, electrocute us, and torture us like we’re animals until we tell them everything we know. They’ll even want to find out who I liked in primary school!”
“Hey… Philip. Listen to me. You need to calm down! It’s just the way the casinos do things. They will shake you up and do everything they can to break down your psychological barrier, forcing you to slip up. But like I said before, they don’t want to be involved in any kind of trouble unless it is their last resort. Speaking of which, if they found you, how did you escape?” “To be honest, I’m not sure either. Some guy that was dressed like the Green Arrow, except he didn’t have any bow, suddenly jumped down from the building. It was like in the movies-It took him only one minute to take out all the casino guys. Justina and I escaped while they were fighting.” Philip wondered out aloud, “Did we just come across a superhero like Batman or Green Arrow?”
“I don’t know. But you’re right; we should leave. Where are the both of you? Get to the hotel and pack up. We leave in half an hour…” Waldo paused. His friend on the other side of the line wasn’t responding. “Philip, Philip? Are you still there?” Philip hid his phone behind him when he saw the masked man walking toward him, feeling no more relaxed than when he was facing the bald guy. The one who had taken down four guys in one breath was right in front of him, not the black Buick. It could only mean that this person must have defeated the bald guy and his casino entourage.
Justina put on a brave face. “What do you want? The money we earned from the casino?” she asked boldly. When Zhang Heng heard this, he stopped in front of Justina. Instead of showing fear, she stuck her chest out—those assets weren’t too bad at all. Though she only worked in a small town, Justina never thought herself as lesser or worse off than those in the big cities. The only thing she lacked was an opportunitywhich was why she was desperate to make money.
She believed that only with enough money could she escape that little backwater town and move on to a bigger stage. So, if possible, she wanted to keep the money-even if she had to sacrifice something else for it. However, to her surprise, the masked man was neither interested in her bag of money, nor was he drooling at her cleavage (of which she was very proud of). Instead, he reached out and took the bottle of red wine from her.
The moment Zhang Heng got hold of the bottle, he threw it down, spilling the blood-red liquid all over the ground. There was an overbearing smell of wine in the air. Justina felt herself wince. Even if she did not drink the bottle, she could have sold it for two to three hundred euros. What a waste, something so valuable was so blatantly and thoughtlessly chucked like that. The masked man, on the contrary, did not seem to think so.
Zhang Heng bent down and picked up something he was looking for among the broken pieces of glass. It turned out to be a waterproof miniature tracking device that was stuck inside the bottle, concealed by the label outside. Unless the bottle was destroyed, no one would ever notice it.
Zhang Heng then proceeded to toss the tracking device and the phone that the bald man used to track it into a nearby dumpster. It finally dawned on Philip that everything Zhang Heng had done up until now was all in the name of helping him. He was about to say something, but Zhang Heng spoke first.
“Where do you live?”
“Err… We are staying at the Port Palace Hotel, but we were just planning to leave. We’re about to pack up and leave,” Philip answered. Zhang Heng’s accent sounded a little strange, but considering his Asian descent, Philip did not overthink it.
“Good. Lead the way,” Zhang Heng said.
“Huh… are you coming with us? How would I know that you don’t have other intentions? Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful that you saved us, but it doesn’t mean that we’ll just trust you right off the bat. I’ve watched a lot of movies, and I’m not attacking you personally, but bad guys usually approach the protagonist by pretending to be friendly. Then, it would turn out that they were actually hiding sinister secrets.”
“You have no choice,” Zhang Heng answered.
“Okay. I understand.”
Zhang Heng’s sharp reply made Philip realize the gravity of the situation. So, he nodded obediently and lead Zhang Heng to their hotel. The hotel wasn’t very far from the casino. Naturally, given that it was actually Monaco we’re talking about here, even the furthest place was not that far away.
Soon, the three of them arrived at the door of the hotel.
“Erm… you have to get rid of that thing on your face, or the guests in the lobby would become suspicious,” Philip reminded.
Zhang Heng made no comments, simply asking for Philip’s room number. He then followed the couple to take the elevator upstairs.
Justina kept giving Philip the look, but the latter only gave Zhang Heng their real room number.
In the room, Waldo had already packed up, and when he saw Philip, he heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness you guys are back! When the call cut out, I thought of calling the cops. There’s no train to Nice at this hour, but we can drive. I’ve just hired a car.”
“Waldo…” Philip interrupted his partner, shaking his head. “About that… We might have an extra passenger.”
“What do you mean by one more passenger? Hold on. Did you hook up with some chick in the casino? But how is that even possible when Justina is with you the whole time? Since when could you still attract women? What does she look like, and how old is she?”
“Waldo, it’s a guy, and… OH-MY-GOD—He’s right behind you!” Philip’s eyes widened.
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