When the gunfire finally ceased, the forest and tracks were littered with bodies.
In the animal kingdom, lions did not eat lions, nor tigers ate tigers. Not even during droughts with a shortage of food. However, humans could kill each other over matters unrelated to food so they essentially were the most violent species on the planet.
Giovanna conducted a headcount for the Relief Society members and found that out of the hundred people she brought, only thirty-two survived.
The Chinese Zodiac Battle Team were injured but had no casualties.
It was already an impressive achievement.
The Chinese Zodiac Battle Team and Giovanna had grouped together, Shentu Tianyin also brought over by Rosa and Theresa but one important figure was missing--- Xia Lei.
“Where’s Boss?” said Anjum Khan. “That must have been him but why isn’t he showing himself?”
“What actually happened?” Yelena was still in a state of shock and confusion.
No one answered the couple’s questions because everyone had the same questions too.
“His calls aren’t getting through.” Qian Jun put down his satellite phone, looking disappointed.
“Why isn’t he coming out to meet us?” asked a panicked Rosa.
Shenyu Tianyin suddenly sprinted towards the Alliance Mining factories, yelling as she ran, “Xia Lei! Xia Lei--- Where are you?!”
“Stop her!” yelled Giovanna.
Before the rest caught up to Shentu Tianyin, a shadow shot out of the forest by the tracks and grabbed her by the waist.
Many thought it was Xia Lei but the person who caught Shentu Tianyin was Tsukino Kyoko. Just as the rest were still discussing Xia Lei’s whereabouts, she had been looking for him on the battlefield.
“Let me go! Let me go!” Shentu Tianyin struggled.
“If you weren’t his woman and he didn’t tell us to protect you, I would not care this much. What the hell are you doing? Do you have a death wish? What will we tell Boss if you died? You idiot!” scolded Tsukino Kyoko.
The word ‘idiot’ seemed to calm her down. Shentu Tianyin bit her lip without a word. In this place among a group of cold-blooded killers, this queen - no, not even the English Queen- would dare put on airs. And it would be useless too.
Tsukino Kyoko carried Shentu Tianyin back and put her down.
“Kyoko, did you find any traces of him?” asked Sa’im.
Tsukino Kyoko took out part of a map and showed it to him.
There was a paragraph of Chinese characters on the back of the map: I’m leaving Nigeria to go to Chad. I’ll come for you all later but if I am not back by evening tomorrow, do not wait for me. Take a plane back to China. Also, take good care of my woman.
When she read the phrase ‘take good care of my woman’, Shentu Tianyin could no longer hold back her tears.
Tsukino Kyoko crushed the piece of map into a ball then burned it with her lighter, tossing it on the ground.
The map turned to ash and scattered in the wind.
“What is Boss planning to do?” Anjum Khan was filled with questions.
She smiled bitterly. “How would I know? Let’s just follow his instructions. We’ve got to leave. If the American reinforcements arrive before we do, we’ll be in deep trouble.”
Everyone prepared to leave.
Shentu Tianyin kept turning back, imagining the man who plagued her dreams to suddenly appear before her. But he never did.
The four knights were engaged in discussion.
“I think that was a miracle,” said Giovanna in Italian. “I don’t think we can call him Master anymore.”
“Then what should we call him?” Stella was confused.
“Saint Lei.” Giovanna made a cross gesture on her chest. “He is a war deity sent by God to this world, and it is an honour for us to be able to serve him. I am willing to give him everything.”
“What do you mean by ‘everything’?” asked Stella with a grin.
The light of sincerity danced in Giovanna’s eyes. “My blood, my spirit and my flesh. Everything I have.”
Rosa grinned. “I think you just want to sleep with Saint Lei? I bet you’re wet already.”
Giovanna was speechless.
The injured group ambled on, away from the battlefield.
On a tall tree hundreds of metres away, Xia Lei watched his people leave without a sound. His eyes lingered on Shentu Tianyin but just for a moment. He muttered to himself, “Forgive me, I want to leave with you too but… There are some matters I must attend to.”
There are things in life that we must do even if we are unwilling because there is no choice.
Xia Lei had no choice.
Zhu Xuanyue did not kill him because he had consumed the last AE pill. Why? He must get to the bottom of this. Also, he must find out who Kestin really was. Although returning to Alliance Mining was dangerous, he had no choice.
Kestin was severely injured so he definitely required treatment. And to receive treatment, he must leave Cave 13. This was his chance to stop or kill Kestin. This was his only opportunity. If Kestin returned to the US, he might never have another chance. Also, he must figure out if Kestin would bring the rare metal blocks from the underground pyramid back to the US to build their Dragon Slayer war machine.
Alliance Mine was completely silent in the night. Cold moonlight shone on the cold bodies like the morgue of the apocalypse.
Xia Lei arrived at the factory area once more, heading towards Cave 13 from the back gate. He scanned the entire area as he walked, studying every corner. The hostages in the warehouse had escaped, the vehicles in the parking area driven off, including a few American military vehicles.
When he scanned the office building, his footsteps halted, then he turned to walk to the building.
In an office on the first floor, a middle-aged man was speaking on the phone.
Xia Lei recognised him immediately.
This man was Shentu Tianyin’s Seventh Uncle, Shentu Weiying.
“...What the hell? You’re supposed to be protecting ME! If I hadn’t left Cave 13 just now for an urgent matter, I would be dead by now? I don’t care! All the workers have escaped and this can’t be kept under wraps anymore. If you don’t send a plane to get me, forget about our agreement!” Shentu Weiying looked panicked and afraid.
“What’s the situation in Cave 13 right now?” came a man’s voice over the phone.
Xia Lei stopped walking when his ear caught the voice on the phone ten metres away.
It was Yan Fo.
He did not expect the person trading with Shentu Weiying to be Yan Fo. The FA group was currently helping the Americans and Yan Fo was also working under Williams’ instructions. This meant that the CIA was behind the deal with Shentu Weiying.
“I don’t know, I don’t want to go in there… but I know what happened outside… Everyone… everyone is dead!” Shentu Weiying’s voice trembled.
“Go check Cave 13. We’ve arrived and you’ll get what you want. Don’t worry about that. Just go check inside Cave 13 and report the situation to me,” said Yan Fo.
“Alright, I’ll go check.”
“Call me after you do.”
“Wait for my call.” Shentu Weiying put down the phone and turned to leave. He had just taken a few steps out of the room when he saw Xia Lei a few metres away.
Xia Lei walked towards him.
“Hey! It’s good you’re here. Go check Cave 13 and report the situation inside to me,” said Shentu Weiying. He thought Xia Lei was one of the remaining American soldiers.
Xia Lei did not speak, instead continued walking towards him.
Shentu Weiying knitted his brows. “Do you not understand Esperanto? How did you get this job? Alright, just follow my instructions and I’ll pay you five hundred dollars… a thousand?”
Xia Lei walked up to him then reached to grab his throat.
“You…” Shentu Weiying paled.
“Is betrayal an inherited trait in your family?” Xia Lei asked in Mandarin.
“Who are…” Shentu Weiying’s voice shook, “you?”
Xia Lei replied flatly, “Someone here to kill you.”
“Let me go!” Shentu Weiying hurled a fist at his cheek.
Xia Lei suddenly tightened his grip on Weiying’s neck, restricting his airflow. Distracted from the punch, he instead clawed at Xia Lei’s hand that had turned into metal grips.
He kicked Xia Lei fervently but the struggles eventually weakened. His pants were already wet with urine, dripping on the ground.
Xia Lei did not even frown when he let go. Shentu Weiying collapsed and never moved.
Xia Lei dragged his body into the office and stuffed it under a desk. He sat behind the desk and imitated Weiying’s voice, repeating his words, “Do you not understand Esperanto? How did you get this job? Alright, just follow my instructions and I’ll pay you five hundred dollars… a thousand?”
Ten minutes later, he picked up the phone and dialled the number Weiying previously called. “It’s-it’s bad!”
“What happened? Calm down!” Yan Fo sounded angry.
Xia Lei spoke frantically, “I must escape… The battle has reached this part already! They’re fighting here! At least two thousand of them!”
“What? Two thousand? How is that possible?”
“They’re coming! No, I must leave now!” cried Xia Lei in a panicked voice. “Right, they also have anti-aircraft weapons, I think they’re… Russians!”
Xia Lei put down the phone, hanging up.
There were obviously no Russian soldiers or anti-aircraft missiles here. He lied to Yan Fo as Shentu Weiying because his target tonight was Kestin, not the FA Group. He must destroy the FA Group someday but not right now. Russia had to take the blame for now. The CIA would definitely launch an investigation now and once they were done with that and sent Yan Fo a rescue team, Xia Lei would have completed his task.
He left the office and went up the roof. Looking in the direction of Cave 13, he took off his weapons bag and started assembling his XL2500 assault rifle.
All he had to do was wait.
Five minutes later, he saw a person.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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