“Bastards!” Yu Zhenhai slammed his fist into the table. “How dare they fire at us!”
A teacup leapt from the table then shattered on the floor. White porcelain and tea leaves were strewn in a mess but no one cared.
The meeting room was filled with anger as Xia Lei described what happened to the naval commanders. They would have brought their guns out to fight the culprits now if they could.
“This is literally an act of war!” exclaimed a naval commander in anger. “We must retaliate!”
“Yes! Retaliate! They must pay for the blood we have shed!” cried another through gritted teeth.
After the disappointment came about fury. Human emotions were not complicated. First anger, then fury, and after fury was madness!
In the midst of furious soldiers, Xia Lei gradually calmed down instead. Declaring war was indeed a simple act. However, declaring war against America was still an insane thing to do. It was the blood and lives of soldiers, as well as the livelihoods of regular people. How could one speak lightly of war like that? Especially when the opponent is America?
In this world, there was no country who could win America in an all-out war. Russia could not, China could not either. Plus, dragging a country with more than a billion people into the war would also end up being a dark page in the history of mankind.
America was aware of this too. The Americans had a simple strategy. Not only will I provoke you, but I’ll also hit you too. Yet you wouldn’t dare retaliate. You retaliating will mean you’ll get sucked into a war. Then you’ll have to worry about feeding your one billion people during an all-out war. Just their mouths would kill you. Once you collapse, there will be no one else left in this world who can stop me. How could I not provoke you then?
This was not the first time either. The incident in Yugoslavia was a bloody example of this.
“Brother Xia, what do you think?” asked Yu Zhenhai. “They killed our warriors, even almost killing you. We must show them what we think! At least avenge our people!”
“Mr Xia, just tell us what you want us to do!” cried multiple commanders. “I’ll just die on this mission if that’s what it takes!”
“We’ll fight them!” One slammed the table.
“Everyone, be quiet. Let’s listen to what Brother Xia has to say,” said Yu Zhenhai.
The conference room fell silent.
After a moment of silence, Xia Lei said, “Brother Yu, report this to the military leaders. We were bullied, yes, and one young warrior died. But this is still not an excuse to play with the fate of an entire nation’s people. Declaring war isn’t something you or me can decide either. That’s up to the decision-making leaders of the nation.”
Xia Lei’s words were like a bucket of cold water dumped on the group of naval commanders.
Some were woken up, while the rest grew even angrier.
“Mr Xia! I thought you were a brave man, yet you’re just a…” The soldier trailed off.
Xia Lei was not angry. He said flatly, “I’m just a coward, is that what you wanted to say?”
The soldier glared at Xia Lei, stewing in his fury. Although he did not admit it, that was exactly what he wanted to say.
Xia Lei continued, “At this point, the number of American CIA agents and special military task force members I killed have exceeded hundreds. If that’s called a coward, may I know what the benchmark for not being a coward is?”
There was silence in the room.
They were brave soldiers but they were soldiers living in a peaceful time. Other than experienced generals like Yu Zhenhai, which of these people had killed actual humans on the battlefield?
Yu Zhenhai was furious too. Slamming the table, he declared, “Anyone who dares call Xia Lei a coward better get the fuck out now! Last year during the Russian tank competition, Brother Xia defeated three Japanese tanks alone in his ZTZ100. He’d blasted them off in front of all the other participating nations! Who else here has the guts to do such a thing?”
The commander who had wanted to call Xia Lei a coward felt guilty. He hesitated then saluted Xia Lei in an instant. “Mr Xia, I apologise. I just…”
Xia Lei cut him off. “It’s fine, there’s no need for an apology. I understand your predicament. If you all do not have courage, then this country is done for. However, sometimes, logic is the right path to take. Impulse can lead to your downfall.”
“Mr Xia, so is this case closed just like that?” The naval commander looked like he was hiding a lot of pain.
Xia Lei said, “Of course not. Our warriors shouldn’t die in vain. Plus I almost died on the helicopter. They must not shed one less drop of blood, everything they owe must be returned with interest. However, you and I have separate paths. Just hand this over to my people. We’ll deal with this.”
“Wait,” probed Yu Zhenhai. “Brother Xia, what do you mean by ‘you and I have separate paths’?”
“I made myself very clear. You do you, I’ll do me. You’re all soldiers, you represent the country and her people. Every move of yours will be scrutinized. But I just represent myself. I’m the only one responsible for whatever I do. If needed, the country can refuse to recognise me as one of them. They can even double-cross me and put whatever sort of blame on me.”
That was Xia Lei’s plan to exclude the military.
The military was a country’s weapon. Mobilising troops would drag an entire country into war. China was in a critical development period now. However, the Americans wanted China dragged into war and would relentlessly cause friction with various countries. Their purpose was simple. To prevent the rise of China. China used this period of relative peace to rise as a nation now, hence America’s impatience. Their tactics have been growing increasingly brutal in order to achieve their target! If the Chinese decided to fire at the American airforce or navy, that would mean falling into their trap.
But Xia Lei acting alone was different. What could America do against him? Send assassins? That was nothing to Xia Lei!
The room of commanders finally understood his plans. No one spoke. There was a suffocating silence in the room.
After a while, Yu Zhenhai finally spoke up. “Brother Xia, are you sure you can do it alone?”
He smiled. “Didn’t I talk about this already? I have my helpers.”
“I know you do but that’s just one man and one woman. What can the three of you do?” said Yu Zhenhai.
“I have my plans, of course. Brother Yu, you just need to provide a storage unit. Then transport my goods into that storage unit. That is all.”
“Tell me your plans, I want to know them,” said Yu Zhenhai.
Xia Lei replied, “Brother Yu, it’s best you don’t know about this. I won’t have you lie in future investigations.”
Yu Zhenhai was stunned for a moment.
Xia Lei grinned. “Brother Yu, report what happened yesterday to the higher-ups, then operate according to their instructions. As for me, I’ll do whatever I want.”
Yu Zhenhai wasn’t an idiot either. At this point, if he still hadn’t understood what Xia Lei implied, he didn’t deserve his position. He nodded without a word.
Xia Lei said, “That’s good. From today onwards, I do not know you all, nor have I been here before.”
Yu Zhenhai said, “Dismissed! Today’s meeting stays in this room! Also, no one interferes with Brother Xia’s work!”
“Yes, sir!” came a series of deafening replies.
When he walked out, a vast, blue ocean entered Xia Lei’s field of vision. A flock of seagulls flew among the clouds. He looked ahead and saw a man-made island ahead. There was a military camp, training grounds, garages and storage warehouses. It was a small but self-sufficient place.
Tens of soldiers were training at the training grounds, drenched in sweat under the hot sun. Their focus on their training was admirable.
There were two Quasi-aircraft on the airstrip in the middle of the man-made island.
Two transport aircraft glided into the airstrip, accelerated, then lifted off into the air in a deafening rumble.
These two planes were the ones that sent the ‘delivery’ from Thunder Horse Group to this island. Xia Lei looked at the ‘delivery’ next to the hangar and smirked. He went downstairs and walked towards the hangar. The soldiers, as according to Yu Zhenhai’s orders, left him alone. However, their eyes were filled with respect for Xia Lei.
He walked to the goods and was welcomed by Tsukino Kiyoko and E’er Demutu who were guarding the place.
“Boss, what did you talk to the soldiers about? Are we going into war?” E’er Demutu rubbed his fists as if itching for a fight.
“I told them to do nothing. All they have to do is watch our performance.”
“Huh? Just the three of us?” E’er Demutu was shocked.
Xia Lei grinned. “Or more accurately, my performance. You two are just extras.”
E’er Demutu was speechless.
Tsukino Kyoko smiled, not feeling like she was just an extra. Anyhow, she was still the most important female extra in the show.
Doot doot doot, doot doot doot…
The satellite phone suddenly rang.
Xia Lei answered it. “It’s me. What’s up?”
“Boss,” came Yelena’s voice, “Are you alright?”
“I’m alright, do you know what happened?”
“Of course, I have already got the results from what you wanted me to investigate.”
“So soon?” Xia Lei was surprised.
“The Russian informants were more than willing. I offered a high price, so three hours later I received the information,” said Yelena. “I just knew about the Americans shooting down a helicopter and guessed that you were on it. Anjum Khan and your four girls were already prepared after they knew about this.”
Xia Lei furrowed his brows. “What are they going to do?”
“The Russian informant’s information was very detailed. We even received details on the identity of the Americans who shot at your helicopter. The two of them are celebrating at the red-light district right now.”
Xia Lei said, “Tell them to be careful, they must not expose their identities. Also, Giovanna and the rest rarely go on missions like this, so take care of them.”
“Don’t worry, it’s just two bastards. There won’t be a problem. That will be it. I’ll contact you once we catch them.” Yelena hung up.
Xia Lei kept his satellite phone. “Start moving the goods, it’s time for us to begin working too!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
have a nice day!