Chapter 417 - Obeying Orders
“Have you informed headquarters of their demands?” the conductor asked the security captain.
“I’ve already sent a message,” said the security captain. “But headquarters said they would have to consult the higher ups first. It’s impossible to fulfill their demands in half an hour. The people these terrorists want released are all extremely heinous criminals. If we give in to these demands…”
The conductor clenched her jaw. “When will backup arrive?”
“They should be here in twenty minutes, but... since the bombs are already ticking, by the time backup arrives…” Cold sweat ran down the security captain’s back.
An eerie look washed over the conductor’s face. “Have the crew withdraw to the sixth carriage.”
The security captain looked at her in shock. “Conductor, don’t tell me we’re sacrificing the hostages?”
“Who said we’re sacrificing them! Just carry out your orders,” the conductor barked.
In case of emergencies, the conductor held the highest authority on a train. The attendants stood by, waiting for their orders. The security captain clenched his teeth, then commanded the attendants to withdraw with a wave of his hand.
The conductor turned back to the fifth carriage. “Please don’t act impulsively! We’re fulfilling your demands as we speak, but we need more time! Thirty minutes is too short. Please extend the timer on the bombs. I beg of you to trust me. I will do my best to mediate and get you what you want. But I also need you to promise me you won’t hurt the hostages.”
All of the attendants and security staff withdrew to the sixth carriage.
“How do I know you’re not just stalling for time?” a hoarse voice shouted back.
The conductor remained calm. “You have bombs installed, so even if mechas come as backup, they wouldn’t be able to storm your carriage. Hundreds of lives are at risk after all. I’ve already contacted headquarters and they agreed to your demands, but this matter involves the Federal government. We need to get someone with more authority to approve it. It’ll take about one hour to do that. If you can trust me, extend the time limit to one hour. I’m certain you have some way to detonate the bombs at any time, so you don’t have to be worried if I’m lying.”
The terrorists in the fifth carriage went silent for a while, then the same voice as before spoke up again. “Fine. I’ll trust you this time. We’ll extend the bomb timers to one hour. But if you’re lying, everyone dies.”
The conductor took a deep breath. “Let’s discuss the demands then. Let me introduce myself first. I am this train’s conductor. My name is Mo Lan. I’m an ordinary person without any soul power. My father is the administrator of Heaven Dou City, Mo Wu. I’m sure that I am far more valuable as a hostage than ordinary people. So, I request that you release all the elderly, women, and children you have taken hostage. Take me in their stead.”
“Conductor, you can’t!” The security captain grabbed her arm.
Mo Lan threw him off. Despite being a mere ordinary person, she was able to shake off the grip of a two-ringed soul master. She turned to glare at him. The security captain couldn’t help but avert his gaze when he saw the imposing determination in her eyes.
The hoarse voice finally spoke up once more. “We can’t agree to your request. We have no way of verifying your identity.”
Mo Lan sucked in a breath of air, then stepped into the doorway, exposing herself to the guns of the terrorists. “You can search me up on soulnet and verify my appearance. If you also cross-reference my name with my father’s, you should have no trouble confirming my identity.” She scanned the carriage as she spoke. Most of the passengers were huddled at the back. She could see a bomb stuck to the roof of the carriage from where she was standing, but she couldn’t see the terrorists. Instead, their guns poked out of gaps between the hostages, aimed straight at her.
Perhaps affected by her calmness, one of the terrorists spoke up after a few moments. “Alright. We have confirmed your identity. We will release all the elderly, women, and children. But don’t even think about pulling any stunts. This is a game of trust now. We’ll release ten people first, then you’ll walk over. After that, I’ll release the rest. If you don’t keep your promise after we release the first ten people, I’ll kill ten others to make up for it.”
“Understood!” Mo Lan answered without hesitation.
The terrorists acted quickly. A few moments later, ten hostages walked out of the carriage and into the other. They thanked Mo Lan in between sobs as they passed her. Mo Lan remained stone-faced. She simply patted each hostage on the back as she directed them to the security captain, who inspected them to make sure no bombs had been planted on them.
“We’ve fulfilled our part of the deal. Now it’s your turn!” shouted the hoarse voice.
Mo Lan took out her beam gun and passed it to the security captain. With both hands high in the air to indicate she wasn’t armed, she walked into the fifth carriage. Her movements were slow and steady, and she soon reached the other hostages. A hand stretched out to point a gun right at her forehead.
Mo Lan kept her cool. “You can release the rest now.”
“Alright. You’re very brave, Miss Mo Lan. You certainly live up to your status as the daughter of an official. I really admire you. Release the others!”
There were about four hundred passengers in the first five carriages, with elderly, women, and children making up about a third of that number. Over a hundred people were released and began trickling into the sixth carriage.
A terrorist completely garbed in black restrained Mo Lan from behind. He held a gun to her head as he watched the procession of people leaving for the sixth carriage, not noticing the faint smile she wore. “We’ve shown our sincerity, so now it’s your turn. You guys have forty minutes remaining to meet our demands.”
Mo Lan was about to speak when a young voice called out from the sixth carriage. “Big Sis! Big Sis!” A small figure ran out, and was instantly met with three beam guns pointed at his head.
“Wulin? W-what are you doing here?” Mo Lan’s face turned pale.
Indeed, it was Tang Wulin who had just barged into the carriage. He stumbled a few steps forward, tears in his eyes and panic on his face. A couple more steps and he arrived in front of Mo Lan and hugged her waist. “Big Sis, don’t abandon me! They told me there are bad guys here.” He glared at the terrorist with childish rebellion. “Don’t hurt my Big Sis!”
“Huh? Is this kid your brother? How come you two don’t look anything alike? Is he a bastard child?” the hoarse voiced terrorist teased, soliciting hoots of laughter from his comrades.
“He’s my cousin. Stop talking nonsense,” Mo Lan said furiously as she sneaked a questioning glance at Tang Wulin.
“Don’t abandon me, Big Sis!” Tang Wulin still wore the mask of a sobbing child. “I don’t care what happens! Just let me stay with you!”
This kid… Mo Lan looked to the distant security captain. They were in a desperate situation now. She gave him a slight nod.
The security captain steeled his resolve and stepped into the fifth carriage. “Take me as a hostage too,” he said with his hands raised in the air.
“Conductor!” “Captain!” a few train attendants cried.
As the terrorists debated what to do, the sixth carriage detached from the fifth.