A hotel along Cheng Shun Road North/
Dong Xuebing locked the door of his room the moment he enters it. He also checked the windows and pulled the curtains. After that, he placed his precious pearl necklace at a spot where he could see it, before taking off his shoes and getting on his bed. He was smiling to himself while he stares at the ceiling. He was in a great mood. After he got back to Beijing, he will put his necklace up for auction, and he will have the money to set up a company. He will also put in his best performance at work for his promotion.
Oh, have Aunt Xuan finished her work?
Dong Xuebing wanted to share his happiness with someone and grabbed his phone to call Qu Yunxuan.
The phone rang for quite sometime before it was answered. “Hello…….” It was not Aunt Xuan’s voice.
Dong Xuebing was surprised. “Eh? Did I call the wrong number? Is this Qu Yunxuan’s phone?”
The girl who answered laughed. “You are Dong Xuebing? Yunxuan is in the bathroom. I am her colleague. You can call me Sister Cao. You want me to pass her a message?”
“Oh…… It’s nothing important. Are you all still in Hangzhou? When are you all returning back to Beijing?”
“We are planning to return tomorrow afternoon. We are following an unlicensed tour, and there will be a car to fetch us after we submitted the picture of the illegal tour guides and report.” Sister Cao was a chatty person. “This group of illegal tour guides is too much. They kept forcing their tourist to buy things and charge ridiculous fees. They charge 100 to 200 RMB more for a ticket to a tourist attraction……”
Dong Xuebing was confused by her. “Wait…… What illegal tour guide? Isn’t Aunt Xuan on her work trip?”
Sister Cao replied: “Yes. She is on a work trip, and this is her assignment…….”
“Aunt Xuan is from the advertising department. Why is she conducting uncover operations? She is not even a reporter……”
The other party on the phone kept quiet for a while. “Errr…… Aunt Xuan did not tell you what happened?”
“What is it?” Dong Xuebing asked anxiously. “Sister Cao, tell me what happened?”
“Ok. I am also not sure about the details and reason. But Yunxuan was transferred from the advertising department to our Reporter department as a backend staff. She was demoted from her position as Team leader. Now she is several ranks lower than before…….”
“What? Demoted? How come?”
“Errr…… you better ask her for the details. Ah, she came out of the bathroom. I will pass her the phone.”
After a while, Aunt Xuan’s voice sounded over the phone. “Xiao Bing, are you looking for me?”
Sister Cao’s words let Dong Xuebing realized why Aunt Xuan had not to return back to Heping Street when she was supposed to be back a week ago. She was facing a big problem at work. She was also demoted and did not want to let Dong Xuebing worry about her. So, she hides at her mother’s place. Dong Xuebing immediately says: “Aunt Xuan, I am in Zhejiang Province, Zhuji. I am not far from Hangzhou City.”
“Huh? Why are you here?”
“I am here to look for you. Didn’t I tell you that I am having a few days off from work? Nevermind. What happened to you at your job? Who demoted you……” Aunt Xuan kept quiet, and Dong Xuebing continued: “You have been working in the advertising department and why are you transferred to the Reporter Department? You are transferred there to be a backend staff? You are still being sent to Zhejiang for work? The Beijing Daily cannot even cover all the news in Beijing, and yet they want to meddle with Zhejiang illegal tour guides case? Do they think they are People’s daily? Aunt Xuan, tell me honestly. Did you offend any leaders?”
It was strange for Qu Yunxuan to be transferred to the reporter department or being sent to Zhejiang for undercover investigations!
“Hahaha, Xiao Cao is lying to you. I am doing fine.”
“Fine your head! Tell me the truth!”
“It’s nothing really…… I had only made a small mistake at work…..”
“A small mistake? A small mistake and you are transferred to be a backend staff? You still even must conduct undercover investigations? Those illegal tour guides are all hooligans. It was reported in the news a few months ago! What happens if you meet danger? I will go and look for you now……”
“I will hit you. It’s too late now. How are you going to come over? I am fine here……”
Qu Yunxuan was right. There were no buses or public transport so late at night. “Ok. I will go to Hangzhou tomorrow morning. I will call you when I reach.”
“You just don’t listen!”
“My phone is running out of battery. I will call you again tomorrow.”
“Sigh…… Ok then. Sleep early.”
After hanging up, Dong Xuebing charges his phone and laid on the bed, thinking about Aunt Xuan before falling asleep.
The next day.
After packing his luggage, Dong Xuebing boarded a long-distance bus to Hangzhou City. He changed bus to get to the Hongdu Hotel. This place was not considered the heart of Hangzhou City. The Zhejiang province famous tourism spot Daming Mountain was just next to the hotel. There were lots of tourist walking around there. Dong Xuebing had messaged Qu Yunxuan in the morning. She had almost finished her investigation and one of the stops of the tour group in the afternoon was a Daming Mountains. Both Qu Yunxuan and Sister Cao planned to leave the tour group here and meet Dong Xuebing at Hongdu Hotel entrance. Also, there will be a van from the news agency coming here to pick them up. Aunt Xuan wants to see if there were empty space in the van and hope to let Dong Xuebing hitch a ride back to Beijing.
It was almost noon. Dong Xuebing looked around and did not see Qu Yunxuan.
Traffic jam? There was not much traffic on this road.
After 10 minutes, Dong Xuebing got impatient and dialed Aunt Xuan’s number. “Hello? Where are you?”
“On the tour bus……” It was very noisy on Qu Yunxuan side. There was the sound of engine roaring. From the engine sounds, the tour bus does not seem to be a proper tour bus. “The tour guide and driver did not bring us to Daming Mountains. They stopped nearby and insisted us to climb a hill in front. All the tourists were unhappy, and we are arguing with them now. Wait for me. This place is not far from Daming Mountain. I think if we go along the road towards the northern direction, we will reach Daming Mountain. I will go and find you later…….”
Shouting could be heard in the background.
“I have come to Hangzhou before. This is not Daming Mountain!”
“We have already paid. If you are not bringing us to Daming Mountain, then refund us!”
“That right! Refund! Refund! What type of tour agency is this?”
“Shut up! Shut up!” Stop shouting……” This loud voice should be that female tour guide. “Who says this is not Daming Mountain? Ah? Who says that? Our Hangzhou city’s Daming Mountain is here! Hurry up and get off the bus! There are a restaurant and shop on the mountain! The minimum spending there is 500 RMB. All of you must spend at least 500!” This illegal tour guide must be getting kickbacks from the shop up in the mountain.
“Why is there a minimum spending again?” Qu Yunxuan shouted. “You all are forcing us to spend!”
“Hurry up and get off. We still have another attraction to go in the afternoon…….” It was a threatening male voice. It should be the driver.
Dong Xuebing could hear everything on the phone, and he cursed in his heart. Damn it! These illegal tour guides! He then told Aunt Xuan: “If you are unable to come over, then wait for me. I will follow the road south to look for you all. I should be able to reach where you all are……”
Qu Yunxuan replied: “Ok.”
Suddenly that tour guide shouted: “Why are you pointing your camera at me? Ah? Give me that camera! Now!”
“F**k! Who is taking pictures?” It was the driver. “You are asking for it!”
“What are you doing? I am not taking your pictures! I am taking the scenery……” It was Sister Cao’s voice!
Qu Yunxuan was also shouting: “You all are snatching our stuff!”
That tour guide shouts: “What is written in that notebook? Give it to me!”
Dong Xuebing panicked. “Aunt Xuan! What happened?”
Qu Yunxuan did not reply. There were lots of shouting, and it seems the tour guide and driver were snatching Sister Cao’s stuff. After a while, the tour guide shouted: “Old Zheng! They had recorded everything about us in this notebook! These two bitches are reporters…….”
The driver scolded furiously: “F**K! Get them off the bus!”
“What are you doing?! Let go! Let go of us!” Qu Yunxuan shouted. There were lots of knocking sounds, and then the line was cut.
Dong Xuebing was furious! If anything happens to Aunt Xuan, I will kill you!
Dong Xuebing immediately ran over to a taxi in front of the hotel. He entered the front passenger seat before the two passengers at the back alighted. “Quick! Drive towards the south! Now!”
The taxi driver was shocked to see Dong Xuebing. “Sorry. It’s my lunchtime and I am not taking passengers……”
Lunch your head! Dong Xuebing took out his work pass from his pocket “State Security! Drive now!”
The driver was stunned for a few seconds and then stepped on the accelerator. “Where to in the south?”
“Just drive along the main road towards the south! There is a place there where there are a restaurant and shop on a hill!” Dong Xuebing did not bother whether if the driver knew where to go. He picked up his phone and dialed Qu Yunxuan’s number. But she did not answer. He cursed under his breath and then called the police. He did not mention anything about the tour group. He only told the operator that there was a robbery along the main road south of Daming Mountain! Dong Xuebing was worried that the illegal tour guides had connections with the local authorities. If the local police force had some links with those illegal tour groups, then they will not send their officers.
The taxi was speeding down the main road and was overtaking all the cars.
But Dong Xuebing felt it was too slow. “Can you drive faster?”
“It is already very fast…….” The driver was sweating. He had heard Dong Xuebing’s call to the police and knew this was about a robbery.
Dong Xuebing was restless, and he tried to call Qu Yunxuan again. But she still did not answer!
Aunt Xuan! Please be safe!
Wait for me! I am reaching you soon!
Wait for me!
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