Dawn was still hours away. The land and skies had entered its darkest hours.
On the highway exit to Jerusalem were checkpoints guarded by armed Israeli soldiers. They checked each vehicle and passer-by with great attention. In their grip were pictures of two Asians, but the faces depicted did not exist. Not even the Mossad intelligence system was able to obtain their identities.
The two Asians were none other than Xia Lei and Tsukino Kyoko. They were currently convicts wanted by the Israeli government. At this moment, Xia Lei and Tsukino Kyoko were coincidentally within earshot of the temporary checkpoint.
“Ah, they’re really going all out to catch two non-existent people. I wonder whose instructions it was.” At a house beside the road, Xia Lei stood at the edge of its wall to observe the checkpoint one kilometre away. He felt troubled. He must’ve missed something, but he just couldn’t figure out what it was.
Tsukino Kyoko approached him from the side and held up her military-grade binoculars. The checkpoint was in sight but she couldn’t see anything past lights and blurry figures. Her high-grade binoculars had returned results that were different from Xia Lei’s clear sight, but the ninja was able to grasp the situation.
“The road leading into the city is closed too.” Tsukino scowled. “The person behind this operation must be some bigshot who knows about the pyramid’s secret. I think their target is the crystal skull that we whisked away from the pyramid.”
Without reason, Xia Lei thought about the man with the cobra tattoo. In George’s footage, the tattooed man did not reveal his face. The only thing captured was his back and the striking cobra tattoo on his arm. He replayed the video in his head, but the lack of details was infuriating. Even if the man had passed by him, he could easily hide his tattoo with sleeves. Xia Lei was certain that he wouldn’t be able to identify him.
“Boss, what do we do now?” Tsukino Kyoko asked.
Xia Lei hummed. “They have our pictures and they’re trying to match it to everyone that enters through the checkpoint. We need to change our appearance.”
“Then we’ll need a safe place.” Tsukino Kyoko looked around, trying to search for a patch of tall grass.
Meanwhile, Xia Lei’s gaze landed on the house beside him. His eyes were trained on it for a few seconds before he moved to the door along the outer wall. Tsukino Kyoko did not hesitate to follow after him. Xia Lei’s treatment was working really well, allowing the ninja to regain one-third of her usual performance.
Tsukino Kyoko pulled out her Viper pistol.
“No need, it’s vacant,” said Xia Lei.
Tsukino Kyoko was taken aback. In her eyes, Xia Lei was already a god amongst men. He opened the door and led Tsukino Kyoko inside.
True to his words, there was no one home. The owner was a single man, his identity further told by the lewd posters plastered around his bedroom. The floors were scattered with CDs and gentlemen magazines, along with a desktop computer.
Xia Lei opened his bag and brought out his cosmetic tools and materials on the computer desk. He peeled his human face away, prompting Tsukino Kyoko to do the same.
“Lie down and get some rest. I’ll wake you up when I’m done,” said Xia Lei.
Tsukino Kyoko nodded and laid on the bed. Her body was running weak and exhausted after staying up the entire night for their lengthy journey.
Xia Lei altered both human face masks extensively, turning them into Native American faces. Native Americans had shared about the same skin tone as Asians.
After adding on some finishing touches, Xia Lei allowed Tsukino to rest further. Instead, he booted the owner’s computer. The owner’s desktop had no security protection and was of lower specs. It paled greatly in comparison to his own laptop. However, as long as Xia Lei let his mind do the work, a normal setup was sufficient for him to accomplish what he needed to.
Ten minutes later, Xia Lei gained access to the Jerusalem traffic system. The screen was displaying his desired surveillance footage.
Checkpoints were set up on all main roads in Jerusalem. There were also some checkpoints that were stationed with armed Israeli Defence Force members. However, there was bound to be openings around the city. The checkpoints at remote places had lacked soldiers. It wouldn’t be an issue to enter through those parts. Along this process, Xia Lei’s mind had already drawn out a safe route. With this designed route, he was ready to wake Tsukino Kyoko up and bring her into Jerusalem. After that, they’d find a place to wait for Sa’im, Yelena and Anjum Khan.
Pleased with his safe route, Xia Lei switched the surveillance footage to peer into the Tel Aviv Airport. While he had no plans to leave Israel via plane, the man simply wanted to study the security situation at the airport.
The situation in Tel Aviv Airport was soon displayed through the monitor. A large number of Israeli soldiers patrolled its exterior. Even if this was still the wee hours of the morning, the soldiers were on high alert. The same situation was seen in the waiting hall. All flight passengers were under heavy surveillance of the police and military. The Israeli military had even dispatched K-9 units to sniff out possible weapons and ammunition hidden among unassuming luggage.
“Did the President of Israel give them orders? Isn’t this too much?” Xia Lei could only muster a bitter smile at the scene. He had no idea how things could have progressed to this extent.
At this moment, several people exited the security check lane and entered the pick-up hall. Among these were Mexicans, Asians and Europeans. Although there were only a few of them, the racial profile was diverse. However, the clarity of the surveillance footage wasn’t high. It was difficult to study their facial details.
“Flights to Tel Aviv have been suspended for a while now, they must’ve arrived here through chartered flights. Who would fly chartered to Tel Aviv at a time like this?” Xia Lei crossed his arms, curiosity peaking. He leaned forward and zoomed in on the footage.
The footage was pixelated but the zoom had made their faces a tad bit clearer.
At that instance, Xia Lei’s attention fell on his face. He was stunned. The elderly man had a crown of white hair, his body was skinny but buzzing with energy. It was almost as if the man was an extremely sharp knife. This old man was none other than the FA Organization’s chief instructor, Augustan.
Another familiar face appeared alongside Augustan. It was a man that bore Asian features. It was Yan Fo, the proud military advisor of the FA Organization.
Back in America, Augustan and Yan Fo had led elite assassins of the FA Organization on a chase for him towards the borders of Mexico. Following a twist of events, Xia Lei used Predator B on the chasing convoy. Back then, Xia Lei had assumed that everyone involved was dead. However, Sirita’s appearance during the Jingdu assassination scheme had made him question things. He wanted to capture Sirita alive for some closure but things had taken a different turn. Following Sirita’s suicide, Augustan and Yan Fo had decided to reenter his sight at this timing.
“Why are the FA members here with bigshots like Augustan and Yan Fo? Does the FA know about the crystal skull’s secret? If many are aware of it, why did they continue to seal the entrance but never once try to take it away?” Xia Lei was more confused than before.
Yes. If the FA Organization had known about the crystal skull, they would have brought it away regardless of the pyramid being destroyed. Judging by their style, they would have no qualms killing everyone inside.
If the FA Organization was aware, wouldn’t the CIA know about it too? With America’s capabilities, it wouldn’t be an issue for them to uproot the entire pyramid and bring away the crystal skull.
Hence, the possibilities of this scenario were low, especially the latter. However, casting aside FA’s knowledge of the secret, Xia Lei had no idea why Augustan and Yan Fo were in Israel.
On the screen, the FA members were stopped by a few soldiers. The K-9 barked at Augustan fiercely. Despite that, there was no audio feedback for the footage.
Realizing it, Xia Lei glued his eyes to the screen and activated his lip-reading abilities.
The lieutenant requested for them to show their documents and cooperate for a body search in English. Augustan remained silent, letting Yan Fo do the talking.
At this point, Yan Fo stopped talking to the lieutenant. He dug out his phone and made a call.
Xia Lei once again locked his gaze on Yan Fo’s lips. “We’re here but there’s some issue at the airport. Please notify your men.” Following that, Yan Fo held out the device to the lieutenant.
The lieutenant pressed the phone to his ear. “Hello? Yes… Yes… Very well. Understood.” A simple conversation happened and the man returned the device. “My apologies, I was not aware of the situation. You may leave now. Should you require transportation, I can assist with the arrangement.”
It was only then that Augustan spoke. “No need.” That all he said before he strode into the pick-up lobby.
Yan Fo continued to be engaged in the call as they walked. “48, St. Cross Street. See you soon.” And the call ended.
Xia Lei’s fingers quickly switched the camera to the one outside the pick-up lobby.
Augustan and Yan Fo made their exit. Two Mercedes-Benz was already waiting for them outside the door. The FA members sorted themselves into the vehicles and it left for the city.
Xia Lei exited the interface and shut the computer down. He padded over to the bed and gently tapped on Tsukino’s cheek. “Hey, wake up. It’s time to put on our disguise.”
Tsukino Kyoko cracked an eye open and nodded languidly. There was a brief pause before she requested, “Hey, can you change my bandages? My wound is really itchy.”
Xia Lei was speechless.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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