The escapees in the metal cart travelled until beams of light began to appear in front of them. They had reached the end of the tunnel. Jerusalem was long behind them.
Before the metal cart had made it out of the opening, a few people appeared. They obstructed the light shining into the tunnel, each of their silhouettes had included that of a weapon. Xia Lei could see it clearly. The light at the end was not natural. It was merely bright artificial lighting.
Though he couldn’t see what was going on above the ground, Xia Lei’s mind had helpfully offered him a simulatory image. Over their heads was a damaged courtyard that belonged to an old Arabian man. On the floor of his bedroom was an entrance into the tunnel that was hidden by wood panels and a frugal rug. While he was preoccupied with the mental image, a few men with live ammunition took their places at the exit.
Xia Lei spoke, “There are two men at the end of the tunnel, armed with AK-47s. Keep them unharmed for now. There are more above them. We’ll take action after we get out.”
Everyone else in the metal cart nodded.
“Then I wouldn’t need this for the time being. If I hold it, they’d be on high alert.” The man with the cobra tattoo swiftly tossed the AK-47 out of the cart.
From his perspective, an AK-47 in his grip would’ve added to his security. But the man did not hesitate to throw it out.
A smirk played on the edge of Xia Lei’s lips. This was a good indication of the man’s trust towards him and the Chinese Zodiac Battle Team. This was an excellent start.
The metal cart came closer to the end. Xia Lei took out two thick stashes of American dollars and screamed at the top of his lungs in Arabic. “Friends in the front! Allah blesses you!”
His voice boomed through the enclosed space. The green bills in his hands flapped around wildly.
Money was evidently more useful than words.
And Xia Lei, on the other hand, was only lacking the word- hostage- scribbled across his forehead.
The armed Arabians at the end raised their guns as a precautionary measure. Xia Lei’s eyes locked onto them. If they had signs of pulling their triggers, he would order his subordinates to subdue them. In the face of the Chinese Zodiac Battle Team, the armed Arabians were literally no different from boy scouts.
The metal cart finally came to a halt.
The Arabian man studied them. “Where are our people?”
Xia Lei answered, “I left a safe in Jerusalem’s Sheraton Hotel. I’ve got one million USD and a diamond worth five million USD inside. They’re off to get it for me.”
It was fortunate that the two men that left the metal cart midway had not contacted these men on the other end. Xia Lei had not seen this coming and honestly, he couldn’t be bothered at this point.
“I’ll call them to confirm that. If you dare lie to us, you’re done for!” The Arabian hissed and produced a cell phone.
Tsukino Kyoko reached an arm behind her back.
Xia Lei quickly gripped her wrist. He whispered discreetly in Chinese, “Don’t worry, this is a tunnel. Their shitty phones wouldn’t be able to capture any signal.”
Tsukino Kyoko nodded, returning her hand to its original position.
As expected, the man couldn’t get any signal. He changed his positions multiple times to no avail.
Xia Lei tossed over his two stashes of USDs. “My friend, go make that call above ground. You’ll get a better signal up there. Take this, it’s a gift from me. Long live Allah.”
The two armed Arabians picked up the dollar bills. They turned to look at each other before breaking out into smiles. One of them instructed, “Come with me.”
The two Arabians brought them to a metal ladder. One of them led the climb and the other guarded the end. One by one, Xia Lei and his team ascended the ladder.
Exiting the tunnel, all Xia Lei could see was a dilapidated house. There were ten armed Arabians in the same vicinity. There was also a bed, its sheets filthy and strewn. The bed was the only furniture in this house.
The members of the Chinese Zodiac Battle Team and the man with the cobra tattoo left the tunnel and joined them in the house.
Xia Lei offered the strangers a smile. “My friend…”
“Kneel!” Their commander barked out the blue.
Xia Lei raised his palms. “What’s the matter?”
Before Xia Lei could utter another word, the commander whipped the back of his gun onto Xia Lei’s skull.
As soon as Xia Lei’s head was tilted, his right hand lunged forward into the commander’s chest. His fingers struck the commander’s heart before it turned into a fist. He drove it into the same position again.
Everything had happened in a mere second.
The commander screamed in agony, the immense force sending him away from the ground. He fell backwards before his back collided with the wall.
Gunshots rang, not from the Arabians but from the members of the Chinese Zodiac Battle Team. The excellent Viper pistols equipped with a silencer rapidly harvested the souls of the men in the vicinity. Yet, the most exaggeratedly deadly of them all was Tsukino Kyoko that used no firearms. The moment Xia Lei had attacked the commander, her arms were thrown forward. The four Arabians in front of her slumped to the ground, each of their foreheads adorned with a shuriken.
The man with the cobra tattoo had executed a set of lethal attacks unknown to the rest of them. When Xia Lei attacked the commander, he took a step back and lunged forward to slam his weight onto one of the Arabians. In that process, the man slid his finger into his opponent’s AK-47 and blocked the trigger. He flipped over and drew out a dagger from the Arabian man’s waist. The tattooed man then began to drive the blade repeatedly into his chest until everyone had gotten rid of their opponents.
The battle was over before anyone realized it began.
Fairly speaking, the better word to describe this was a massacre instead of a battle.
The man with the cobra tattoo finally halted his assault, letting loose of his victim’s collar. The poor man had at least twenty gashes in his body. The frequency of the man’s stab was as fast as lightning. Mind you, he was able to create twenty flesh holes in a matter of not more than two seconds!
“We should leave,” reminded Xia Lei.
They left the house and found themselves in a garden that had two Great Wall pickup trucks parked in it. It was a genuine surprise to find China produced vehicles in the Gaza Strip. However, it was to be expected as the Great Wall trucks were very well-received in the Middle East. It was cheap and had the versatility to add machine guns on it
Xia Lei opened the gate. Gaza City was only a distance away. While it was Palestine’s largest city, it didn’t radiate any ounce of urban life. The torn city was filled with traces of bombings everywhere.
Sa’im came closer to Xia Lei. “Boss, we need to get past Gaza to enter Egypt. After that, we’ll board a plane from Egypt back to China.”
“If we’re going to Egypt, let’s take their car.” Xia Lei urged, “We got to move fast.”
One minute later, two Great Wall trucks drove out of the back gate towards Gaza.
In one of the vehicles, Yelena was the driver while Tsukino Kyoko sat at her side. Xia Lei and the man with the cobra tattoo sat behind them. The arrangement wasn’t made deliberately to avoid Anjum Khan and Sa’im, Xia Lei just wanted some privacy to talk to this mysterious ex-prisoner.
“Can you tell me your name?” Xia Lei broke the silence in the moving truck. “And I mean your real name, not your alias.”
There was a beat of silence before the tattooed man replied, “What’s your name? Also, remove the human face mask. I want to see who you really are.”
Tsukino Kyoko whipped her head around. Her icy glares sent warning signals to the man. She was pissed at his attitude.
Xia Lei was reluctant to heed his request but he was certain that this dishevelled man before him was no ordinary person. Mossad had locked the man away in an underground prison for years and yet failed to get him to speak. If Xia Lei did not offer him some form of sincerity, the man would not reveal anything.
And so Xia Lei rubbed his fingers around his face. He removed his mask to reveal himself.
The man with the cobra tattoo froze at the sight. There was something unusual about the glint in his momentarily expressive eyes.
His response had triggered a feeling in Xia Lei. After all, his observation skills were second to none. New assumptions were manifested. “This guy is the first one to come in contact with the AE capsule, but the capsule had made its way into the grasps of the Americans at last. After that, my father stole it away. Therefore, it’s obvious that he knows about the structure of the pyramid. My father had left me clues and this man knows much about the pyramid. This is the first time he has seen my real face. Why is he looking at me in such a weird way? Does he recognize me from somewhere? Does he know my father? What kind of relationship did he share with my father?”
As Xia Lei pondered about these new queries, the tattooed man blurted, “Your surname is Xia. Your name is Xia Lei.”
Just one sentence was enough to have Xia Lei’s mind blown.
“Alright, let me answer your questions.” The man with the cobra tattoo continued, “My surname’s Qian. My name is Qian Jun.”
Qian Jun… What an imposing name.
He was a fellow Chinese and even owned one of the rarest surnames in the mainland.
“How… How did you know my name?” Xia Lei found it difficult to recover from his shock.
“I know your father. I’ve been to your house once and met you. But you’ve never met me,” said Qian Jun.
Unknowingly, Xia Lei immediately thought of someone Xia Changhe was adamant on keeping hush about. The snake.
The association wasn’t brought on by the intimidating cobra tattoo that decorated Qian Jun’s arm. It made no sense because everyone else in the Chinese Zodiac Battle Team did not have tattoos with their corresponding animal. Tsukino Kyoko did not have a rat tattoo and Yelena did not own a chicken tattoo either. The tattoo played no part in his reasoning. Xia Lei was merely making a guess based on how Qian Jun was the first one to obtain the AE capsule while Xia Changhe was familiar with the pyramid’s structure like the back of his hand!
“You’re probably wondering what your father was to me.” Qian Jun stared directly into Xia Lei’s eyes. There was no ounce of caution in his pupils. Now, there was only excitement.
Xia Lei choked out. “You’re… the snake?”
Qian Jun nodded.
Yelena couldn’t help but peel her eyes away from the road to spare Qian Jun a glance.
Tsukino Kyoko was equally shocked. No one in the Chinese Zodiac Battle Team had ever come across the snake. No one had expected that the person they painstakingly saved happened to be the mysterious snake!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
have a nice day!