If time were to rewind ten months ago, Xu Qingyan would never believe that she would make such a decision.
Back then, she was just an ordinary member of society.
After graduating, she was fortunate enough to secure a position at the hospital thanks to the favour of her teachers.
Every day, she fought on the front lines, saving lives and treating illnesses tirelessly and without complaint.
She spent her days in consultations, ward rounds, studying medical records, and did not engage in too much social interaction after work.
Her life was filled with exercise, reading, and sleep.
While it might seem boring to others, Xu Qingyan was content.
Occasionally, Cao Jin would contact her.
They would meet up for a meal and exchange updates on their lives.
Every time, Cao Jin would smile helplessly and say, “Can you talk about your life? Why is it always about work?”
Xu Qingyan would pause, carefully thinking, and could only come up with, “This is my life.”
Cao Jin sighed, “That’s not called living.
Tonight, I’ll treat you to a movie.
How long has it been since you’ve been to a cinema?”
Xu Qingyan rested her chin on her hand, and a rare smile appeared on her delicate face.
“No, I’m on duty tonight.”
In everyone’s eyes, even Cao Jin, Xu Qingyan seemed emotionally detached, like the air on a mountaintop—cold and thin.
Sometimes, they didn’t know how to communicate with her.
Indeed, she had been an introverted child since she was young, and her classmates often mistook her reserved nature for arrogance.
She had been bullied by mischievous classmates because of this personality trait.
However, there were slight differences between her before the age of twenty and after, but no one, not even her closest loved ones, could pinpoint exactly what changed.
It was as if a piece of her soul had suddenly gone missing, never to be replaced.
But Xu Qingyan believed that she had her own life, even if others didn’t understand it.
For example, she enjoyed traveling alone.
Her job limited her freedom, but she always managed to make it a point to go on a trip every year.
With a backpack on her back, she would let go of burdens and explore the world with just a map, feeling carefree.
Perhaps she had a bit of an adventurer’s spirit deep down, but most people couldn’t see it in her usual demeanor.
This time, Xu Qingyan went to Nepal for a visit, opting for a self-guided trip.
Accommodation didn’t matter much to her as she wandered between different small hotels by the roadside.
She wasn’t in a hurry to visit tourist attractions.
Instead, she would sit by the window, savoring a cup of tea while observing the local life in the small streets and alleys, enjoying the rare tranquility.
Before leaving one place for another, Xu Qingyan held her camera and took photos to capture memories of this small hotel.
At this moment, she had a vague sense that the atmosphere in the hotel was different from usual.
When she focused her lens at the reception desk, two men behind the counter suddenly rushed towards her, forcefully snatching her camera.
Both men were Chinese, one tall like a leopard with sharp, piercing eyes, while the other was slim with a dark complexion, exuding a strong sense of menace.
It was this man who had snatched her camera, his grip so tight that it left a red mark on Xu Qingyan’s palm.
He stared coldly at her, as if he could snap her neck with a single move.
He growled in a low voice, “What were you taking pictures of?”
Xu Qingyan had heard in the past few days that the area she was currently in was located near the border and not entirely safe.
She knew that she had to rely on her own luck when faced with such situations.
“I’m sorry, I just wanted to take a picture of that decoration,” Xu Qingyan calmly pointed to the row of stone statues placed on the front desk.
The man seemed skeptical, and the man behind him continued to scrutinize her with leopard-like eyes.
“Are you a doctor?” His low voice felt heavy as if it pressed down on her, making it hard to breathe.
Xu Qingyan paused, following his gaze to her luggage, where a prestigious medical journal was placed.
Xu Qingyan dared not lie, “Yes.”
The man asked again, “A surgeon?”
Xu Qingyan hesitated, and the man with a dark face turned his head and exchanged a glance with the man behind him.
Then, he suddenly grabbed Xu Qingyan’s arm and lowered his voice, saying, “Come with me.”
Even though Xu Qingyan remained calm, cold sweat started to form on her back.
However, she still asked without changing her expression, “Where are you taking me?”
The dark-faced man was impatient and didn’t allow Xu Qingyan to say much.
Without explaining, he forcefully pulled her along.
On the other hand, the man with leopard-like features stepped forward and spoke in an unquestionable tone, “We need your help.”
Although they said it was asking for help, who would use violence to request help from someone?
While confronting them earlier, Xu Qingyan had already observed her surroundings.
The shopkeeper had been feigning ignorance the whole time.
Having survived in this unstable area for many years, they had already devised a prudent way to protect themselves.
It was possible that these shopkeepers were not entirely innocent either.
Seeking help from them would be futile, and her phone was inside her bag, with no opportunity to retrieve it.
In the hotel lobby, there were no other guests present apart from them.
Although unsure of the identities of these two men, upon seeing the tattoo on the dark-faced man’s neck and the dark aura emanating from the leopard-man, it wasn’t difficult to deduce that they belonged to the underworld.
In other words, she had unwittingly walked into danger today.
Xu Qingyan was forcefully escorted by the two men, one in front and one behind, to the innermost area on the ground floor.
She knew that calling for help now would only hasten her demise.
Lost in her thoughts, she couldn’t help but wryly smile.
Who could have imagined that a melodramatic TV plot would unfold in her own life? She blamed herself for not listening to Cao Jin’s advice.
He had warned her earlier that this area was not as calm as it appeared, and he had advised against venturing here alone.
The dark-faced man and the leopard-man continued walking until they reached the last room.
The dark-faced man turned around and glanced at Xu Qingyan, saying, “You’re not allowed to make any noise after entering.”
Xu Qingyan nodded in acknowledgement.
The dark-faced man opened the door and entered the room, with Xu Qingyan following closely behind.
She had mentally prepared herself for witnessing something terrifying, but the room was dark.
The curtains were drawn, preventing her from seeing clearly.
The leopard-man closed the door behind her, and for a moment the only sound in the room was the beating of her own heart.
The leopard-man whispered urgently behind her, “Move.”
Once her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Xu Qingyan cautiously followed behind the dark-faced man.
It turned out that this suite had a basement.
As they descended the stairs, dampness filled the air, and the creaking of the old wooden steps sent chills down her spine.
Xu Qingyan carefully maneuvered her way down, with the dark-faced man occasionally looking back at her.
The vigilance in his eyes felt like tangible shackles restraining her.
The basement had a faint glow of light.
Xu Qingyan squinted as she observed her surroundings.
The setup was quite rudimentary, with a floor covered in marked cement and patches of damp stains on the walls.
Aside from a wooden cabinet placed against the wall and a suitcase, there were two chairs placed on the floor, one on the east and one on the west.
Other than that, there was an empty space in front covered by a silver curtain, concealing whatever lay beyond.
The dark-faced man stood by the curtain and gestured for her to come over.
Xu Qingyan slowed her pace and approached him step by step.
She didn’t know what was behind the curtain, but since they said they needed her help, it was probably related to her profession.
“Hurry up!” The dark-faced man was so anxious that he seemed to want to pull her over.
Xu Qingyan quickened her pace.
Her heartbeat increased, as if an invisible hand was firmly gripping her heart.
However, due to her usual calm demeanor, it was not easy to see any change in her expression, so she appeared composed.
She finally arrived and saw a bed first, where she immediately noticed the remnants of bloodstains on the bed sheets.
The bloodstains had turned black, indicating a continuous seepage that deepened the color to this horrifying extent.
There was a person lying on the bed, who appeared to be terminally ill.
Xu Qingyan speculated that he had suffered a serious injury.
Next to the bed stood a stand with a bag of antibiotics hanging from it, but it probably offered little relief from his pain.
The dark-faced man suddenly approached Xu Qingyan and said in a sinister tone, “I want you to operate on him right now.”
Xu Qingyan coldly averted her gaze, took a moment to compose herself after seeing the menacing face of the dark-faced man.
Staying grounded in reality, she responded calmly and deliberately, “That’s impossible.
There are no surgical conditions here, and I have no idea about his condition.
Why didn’t you take him to a hospital if the situation is so urgent?”
Bulging veins could be seen on the forehead of the dark-faced man.
“Stop talking nonsense.
I’m telling you to treat him, and if you can’t…,” he threatened.
Suddenly, the man pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at Xu Qingyan’s temple.
The black barrel of the gun emitted a chilling aura, as if it could go off at any moment.
His strength was immense, causing Xu Qingyan to feel dizzy, and she even stumbled for a step.
The sudden icy touch made her temple throb uncontrollably.
Anyone would be terrified at the sight of a real gun, and Xu Qingyan’s body erupted with instant goosebumps.
Deep within her sweat pores, cold sweat seeped into her undergarments.
However, she clenched her teeth, trying to control her breathing as much as possible and stabilize herself.
“Put down the gun.” The leopard-man observed for a while and felt that this woman had an unexpectedly bold spirit.
At least from her face, there was no obvious sign of fear.
Her personality seemed tougher than her delicate appearance, which made him develop some admiration for her.
He finally stepped forward and forcefully pressed down the gun, then sternly warned the dark-faced man, “Now, the second young master’s life is the most important.”
The dark-faced man barely suppressed his anger and stepped aside.
Then, the leopard-man coldly addressed Xu Qingyan, “Miss, you should be able to guess why we didn’t take him to the hospital.
What you need to do now is to examine his condition and perform the surgery as soon as possible.
You tell us what you need for the surgery, and we will get it for you.”
This is chaos, absolute chaos.
Do they think they’re filming a movie? It’s as if capturing a doctor is a miraculous feat.
If she could, she would immediately reprimand such disregard for the patient’s safety.
However, deep down she knew that these desperate men wouldn’t resort to her unless they were truly cornered and had no other options.
They wouldn’t bring her in as a last-ditch effort unless they had some level of desperation.
She lowered her gaze and quickly analyzed the situation in her head.
The men wouldn’t give her much time to think, or rather, she didn’t have much of a choice.
If she said no, she might not be able to leave this room alive.
“I can only do my best,” Xu Qingyan spoke decisively, “but I can’t guarantee that I can save him.”
A faint relief appeared on the tense face of the leopard-like man.
Xu Qingyan saw that the leopard-man was still a reasonable person, so she quickly made a request, “Regardless of the outcome, you must let me go, and I won’t mention this to anyone.”
Perhaps it was Xu Qingyan’s composed demeanor and ability to speak calmly in such a crisis that impressed the leopard-like man once again.
Without wasting any time, Xu Qingyan took off her coat and assessed the crude surroundings.
She could only disinfect her hands repeatedly with alcohol and then put on medical gloves and a mask.
She then inquired about the injuries, “When did he sustain the injury?”
“Two days ago.”
“What kind of injury?”
Xu Qingyan lifted the thin blanket and immediately saw the blood-soaked gauze on the man’s abdomen, which had lost its original color.
The fact that he could survive until now despite such a wound was quite fortunate.
She couldn’t help but shift her gaze and look at the man’s face.
It was an exceptionally simple face, but before she could get a clear look, her eyes were drawn to a crescent-shaped scar that ran from his left eyebrow to his eye socket.
This scar looked somewhat terrifying at first glance, as if something could tear from within at any moment, spewing forth thick, dark blood or something else.
Xu Qingyan forced herself not to avert her gaze and focused on the man’s other facial features, which appeared much less remarkable compared to the scar.
His facial contours were well-defined, and although he was currently unconscious with a pale complexion, Xu Qingyan couldn’t help but acknowledge a certain captivating handsomeness that emanated from him—a unique charm that made her steal a second glance.
After a momentary pause, she shook her head, regaining her focus.
This man was deeply unconscious, and she was now in a battle against death itself.
Perhaps Xu Qingyan appeared somewhat lost as she stared at his pale face, as the dark-faced man stepped forward and grabbed her hand, his eyes filled with menace.
He growled, “What are you looking at? Hurry up and save him!”
Xu Qingyan snapped out of her trance and endured the pain in silence.
The dark-faced man released her, his voice dripping with hostility.
“Don’t try any tricks.
Your life is in my hands.”
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