A few steps shy of the door, Xia Lei came to an abrupt halt. A simple lift of his chin had shown him a surveillance camera pointed towards the sturdy cell door. If he took another two steps forward, he would be in plain sight of the camera.
Right at the moment when his step faltered, Tsukino Kyoko gripped his elbow urgently. She too had noticed the same surveillance camera in the corridor. However, her reminder was not as fast as his intuition.
Xia Lei checked his multifunctional wristwatch. There was still thirty seconds to spare before Yelena would cut off the optical fibres. He thanked himself for not committing a trivial mistake. Anyone would be prone to look past something when they were riding on a high. Sometimes, a small error would be enough to bring severe consequences.
It didn’t take long for thirty seconds to pass. Xia Lei locked his vision on the surveillance camera, noticing the red warning LED bulb on the side of the device.
Yelena had managed to cut off the optical fibres of 48 St. Cross Street in the nick of time.
Xia Lei quickly strode over to the door and pried it open with tools within fifteen seconds.
With the metal barred wooden door open, Tsukino Kyoko and Xia Lei showed themselves in. The former closed the door behind her back. They had to be careful as the door was right opposite the rock stairway that led to the upper floors of the Mossad base. If anyone walked down, they would be able to see both Xia Lei and Tsukino Kyoko.
The pungent scent of shit and piss welcomed their senses. The air inside the cell room was horrible. Tsukino Kyoko couldn’t help but furrow her brows. Like the majority of the female population, she too wasn’t a fan of filthy living conditions.
“Hey!” Xia Lei spoke in English. “Wake up!”
The man with the cobra tattoo remained motionless. He looked to be asleep or he had just passed out.
Xia Lei came to his side and nudged him with his foot.
At that instant, the man suddenly flipped over on the hay bedding. His right foot aimed towards Xia Lei’s weak spot between his legs!
One second ago he looked nothing better than a dying stray. In a blink of an eye, he had switched from a dead dog to a ferocious tiger. He was out for blood!
Caught by surprise, Xia Lei frantically lifted his right leg and blocked the incoming assault with his tough knees.
Slam! The force sent Xia Lei wobbling, forcing him to take a small step back. There was not much balance offered by one leg of support to begin with anyway.
The man with the cobra tattoo was in an unbelievably horrible state, yet his strength and speed were terrifying. If he was in his prime condition, his real capabilities would be invincible!
Failing his sneak attack, the man clambered from his spot on the ground. Before he could launch another attack, Tsukino Kyoko was already pointing the silenced Viper pistol to his skull.
“One more movement and I’ll shoot.” Her threat was icy.
And so the man heeded, no longer attempting to attack Xia Lei and Tsukino Kyoko. He was wary, unsure of the unfamiliar Native American faces. But if he had resumed his defence, the woman would certainly not hesitate to kill him on the spot.
“You’re not part of Mossad. Who are you? The CIA?” The man with the cobra tattoo questioned. He too spoke English.
It was only natural for him to assume so due to their unannounced presence.
Xia Lei warned, “Do you want to live? Come with us.”
“Not until you answer me!” The man did not budge. It was not that he had long given up on freedom. But if the two Native Americans were CIA agents, it would mean submitting to greater torment. It would make no difference.
“Bastard!” Tsukino Kyoko yelled. “I risked myself for the sake of rescuing you! What the fuck are you thinking?!”
The man studied Tsukino Kyoko, then shifting his gaze onto Xia Lei. He seemed to be making his final guess.
“This is not the time to make our identities and intentions clear.” Xia Lei checked his wristwatch. “We’ve got eleven minutes to spare and we need to retreat out of St Cross Street within the time limit. I’m giving you thirty seconds to think this through. Come with us or waste away. But I’m sure you know that the FA Organization is going to bring you away very soon.”
“Twenty seconds left.” Tsukino Kyoko announced, helping Xia Lei keep track of time.
“Hmph!” The tattooed man scoffed coldly. “You’re trying to trick me? It’s not the first time you’ve done this to me. Did I even fall for this last time?”
Just as Tsukino Kyoko was about to reprimand him, Xia Lei stopped her. It had been years since the man had last learnt of freedom in this dingy filthy cell. The man was physically and mentally tattered by the countless torments and lies. There was no way he could easily trust someone anymore.
“Boss, his thirty seconds is up.” Tsukino Kyoko said as she spared the watch another look, reminding Xia Lei of the scarce time.
The person he was looking for was here in plain sight and Xia Lei was reluctant to give up like this. He thought briefly and decided to rub his fingers along the edge of his cheek. It lifted a corner of the human face mask to reveal a span of his original skin.
Before Xia Lei had uttered another word, the tattooed man was already speaking out of shock. “This… Where did you get a human face mask like that?”
To everyone’s surprise, the man was speaking Chinese now!
Something thumped at Xia Lei’s heart. “You’re Chinese?” He used the same language in response.
The man with the cobra tattoo refused to answer Xia Lei’s probe. “Tell me, where exactly did you get this human face mask from?”
Xia Lei answered, “I made this myself.”
The man was riled up with emotions. “Who taught you this?”
“I’ll tell you more when we escape. Come on, we’re running out of time.” Xia Lei urged.
“Fine, I’ll come with you. Help me with the chains.” The tattooed man had finally settled on a decision.
Xia Lei broke the metal shackles that restrained his ankles and wrists with a picklock. With the help of his X-ray vision, he could see every internal structure of the lock, which helped make the process effortless.
Tsukino Kyoko watched the tattooed man with caution when the last of the restraint had slid off his limb. If he had attempted any funny business, she would not hesitate to attack him. However, her worry was unnecessary. The man was content with no plans to seize the opportunity to injure Xia Lei. He merely exercised his limbs and followed Xia Lei out of the door.
But before they could exit, Xia Lei stopped. He raised his right arm and gestured with two fingers.
Tsukino Kyoko swiftly slid to one side of the door, Viper pistol raised to her collar bone. Xia Lei had signalled that there were two incoming targets.
The tattooed man did not need any instructions from Xia Lei, smartly returning himself onto the hay bedding. He curled his body to hide the unlocked shackles beneath.
The three of them braced themselves.
Outside of the door came the sound of footsteps and chatter.
‘One of the field agents already went to investigate it. Turns out it was a problem with the optical fibres. Nothing like this had happened before.” A deep voice muttered in Hebrew.
This voice was not a stranger to Xia Lei’s ears. He could recognize that it was Harde’s voice.
Another man replied, “Sir, do you think this is a premeditated attack?”
Harde answered, “We need to be careful. The FA members are known to be sly. Who knows if they had plans to extract this bastard themselves?”
“Sir, let me unlock the door.” Harde’s subordinate came to the door and unlocked it.
The door opened and he strode inside. The sight of the motionless tattooed man entered his line of sight. Nothing out of the ordinary, the man was still the dead dog he had grown accustomed to.
“Man, this dude is such a pig.” Harde’s subordinate entered the cell.
Poof! Before the man could notice anything, a bullet was driven into his skull. Warm blood splattered about and splashed against Harde’s face.
Harde was fast, stomping both soles against the hard ground to leapt backwards. His gun was already out while in the middle of the action. He was prepared to scream and warn those above!
The moment his jaw had slacked, another mass came flying out from the other side. Before he could even make out the face of his assaulter, a bullet had flown into his mouth and pierced through the back of his skull.
In the end, he could not produce a single word nor shot.
Harde’s body slumped onto the cold hard ground.
Xia Lei’s body finally came in contact with the floor. With a slight lift of both palms, the man regained his posture. “Bring the bodies, we’re leaving.”
Tsukino Kyoko nodded and lifted the Mossad agent onto her back while Xia Lei lugged along Harde. They exited the damned space, not forgetting to rub off the blood trails with his shoes. If only they had more time to spare, Xia Lei would’ve cleaned everything up. It was unfortunate that they didn’t have that luxury.
The man with the cobra tattoo helped them out with the blood trail, running behind Xia Lei and Tsukino Kyoko towards the communal showers.
They had just merely gotten to the corner when the green light of the surveillance camera returned. It was working again. Mossad had managed to fix the optical fibre issue with such unbelievable speed.
Stumbling into the communal showers, Xia Lei removed the manhole cover and threw Harde’s body into it. Tsukino Kyoko repeated the motion with the corpse on her back. The three of them made their way into it and Xia Lei returned the cover to its original spot again. But in doing so, they left behind obvious trails. There were trails in the dungeon cell, along the corridor and even the pried manhole cover was one. However, Xia Lei could not afford to care at this point.
The moment they reached the bottom of the metal ladder, the tattooed man stomped on Harde’s head. He kicked at it, screaming at the top of his lungs to soothe his fury and hatred. “Fuck you! You had an easy death! I’ll find your family and have them see you in hell!”
His words and contorted expression sent shivers down Xia Lei’s spine.
The man gave one last stomp to Harde’s skull and proceeded to leave with Xia Lei and Tsukino Kyoko. Motionless in the contaminated sewage, Harde’s skull was shattered and beyond recognition.
Crossing over three hundred metres worth of ancient pipe systems, they made it to the opening in two minutes.
Xia Lei passed his portable oxygen supply gear to the tattooed man. “Wear this, oxygen levels are low here.”
“But what about you?” The man eyed Xia Lei weirdly.
Xia Lei shrugged. “I can hold my breath for five minutes.” And as his sentence fell, he crossed over the opening and entered the sewage system.
Tsukino Kyoko followed suit wordlessly.
Watching their retreating backs, the man with the cobra tattoo could help but mutter to no one.
“Who the hell is he to him?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
have a nice day!