Chapter 131 - Man With No Way Out
Back in Annina’s house, Xia Lei went up to the second floor and opened the door to the room she talked about. He then discovered that the room she’d ‘arranged’ for him was actually her own. Her pyjamas were on the bed and her slippers by it. The room was full of soft touches like pink lampshades and bears. It looked like the room of a 17 or 18-year-old and not that of a mature woman.
Xia Lei stood in the doorway and smiled wryly. ‘Didn’t expect that workaholic to have such a cute side to her… And why did she tell me to sleep in her room? This isn’t appropriate; I should use another room.’
Xia Let exited Annina’s room and looked for another. He showered in the bathroom and was about to go to bed when he suddenly found a woman sitting next to the bed.
This woman was not Annina, back from the police station, but Long Bing.
Xia Lei let out a sound of surprise when he saw Long Bing, then rushed to get the trousers he had left on the bed. Annina had not prepared for guests so he had no towels or things like that.
Long Bing watched all his actions quietly and expressionlessly.
“You…” Xia Lei hurriedly crouched next to the bed to put his trousers on and said in annoyance, “Why didn’t you knock?”
“How would I know that you were taking a shower?” Long Bing replied.
Xia Lei looked at her gloomily; he had no words of reproach.
“Looks like I was too late and missed the gunfight,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei could hear the dissatisfaction in her voice and he bit the bullet and said, “I’ve already taken care of it. There won’t be any more trouble.”
“What should I say about you? You have to remember that we are here to do our mission, not to pick up girls.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Long Bing continued her lecture. “I’ve reminded you not to stir trouble and yet here you are, making enemies of the local gang over a woman. If you keep going like this we will draw the attention of German or American informants before we complete our mission. Do you want to go to jail in Europe or in America?”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “I know what we’re here to do; there’s no need to remind me so frequently. I am just not a natural-born spy like the people in your line of work. I’m not preparing to become the cold-blooded killer you expect me to be who would do anything to complete a mission. She treats me as a friend - can’t I help her when she is in danger?”
Long Bing glared at Xia Lei. She looked like she wanted to kick him.
Xia Lei shrugged. “No use glaring at me. I have my own way of doing things. Furthermore, I do gain something from being friends with Annina. I’ve already got what we want.”
Long Bing paused. “What have you got?”
“Annina has a friend named Josef who lives nearby. He’s an outstanding electrical engineer and he’s doing research on an intelligent lathe. I saw that lathe just now and it really is the most advanced lathe in the world.” Xia Lei revealed some things about Josef, including him getting shot.
“You actually used tweezers to remove the bullet in his body?” Long Bing’s interest in the intelligent lathe dimmed when Xia Lei got to that part of his narration.
“I had no other choice. That lathe is still incomplete; the most critical part, the CNC, is still not finished and Josef must be the one to complete it. Who will finish that lathe if Josef dies?” said Xia Lei.
“Did you find the drawings?” Xia Lei had drawn Long Bing’s attention back to the mission.
“I found the drawings for the lathe in his shed and they included the circuitry. I took pictures with my phone. I’ll give you the memory card and you can take a look after you’re back. The information I’ve obtained tonight is enough for you to submit to your superiors.” He took the mobile phone out of his trouser pocket, removed the memory card and handed it to Long Bing. He also took out the box containing the soap and handed it to Long Bing.
Long Bing looked at the soap box curiously. “What are you giving me a piece of soap for?”
“There’s a key mould in the soap. Bring it back with you - I need it to make a key. It’ll open the door of Josef’s shed,” said Xia Lei.
Long Bing’s expression softened and she put away the memory card and soap box, then looked at Xia Lei. “Aren’t you coming back with me tonight?”
“Annina’s gone to help with the investigation at the police station and asked me to stay. I want to know the situation at the police station and Josef’s condition so I won’t be going back,” said Xia Lei.
A strange smile appeared in the corners of Long Bing’s lips. “You haven’t fallen in love with that German woman, have you?”
“What nonsense are you saying? I’m only doing this to complete the mission,” said Xia Lei. “I will know more about Josef’s condition if I am on very good terms with her. Once Josef completes his machine design I’ll steal it immediately and we’ll go back to China and hand it over to the higher-ups. Isn’t this a very good thing? Think about it - this is the only intelligent lathe in the world and we can get all the information on it before it is even revealed to the world. Don’t you know the significance of this?”
“Fine. I’ll send the drawings you have back to China post-haste. If it really is as you say our mission here in Germany will bring great benefit to our nation. The higher-ups will not forget your contributions.”
“I don’t want any recognition,” said Xia Lei.
“Okay, well done. I’ll be going back now. It’ll be bad if I run into your German girlfriend.”
“You… What do you mean?” Xia Lei felt down; he’d not expected Long Bing to say such nonsense.
Long Bing replied expressionlessly, “I’m your wife. Can’t I say a word or two about you spending the night at another woman’s place?”
Xia Lei had no response.
“Will you sleep with her?” Long Bing suddenly asked.
Xia Lei rolled his eyes at her. “You think too little of me. Am I that sort of person? I slept on the same bed as you; I didn’t do anything to you, did I?”
“She’s not a match for you, believe me.” Long Bing walked out the door with that line. She closed the door on her way out.
She arrived mysteriously and departed without a trace like a shadow. Good thing Xia Lei was accustomed to her modus operandi or he’d have developed heart problems.
Long Bing had already left but Xia Lei still stared dumbly at the closed door. He spoke to himself after a while, “Annina is not a match? How is she more certain than myself? Who’s a match for me if Annina is not? A person with no female friends is actually telling me how to fall in love? What the heck?”
He was almost immediately at ease after handing off the items to Long Bing and lay on the bed to think over some things. Perhaps it was the overuse of his X-ray vision but his head was groggy and he fell asleep in just a few minutes.
After who knew how long, Xia Lei felt something climbing up his body in his sleepiness. His eye flew open and he saw a face close up - Annina’s face.
Annina grinned at Xia Lei. “You woke up. Do you know that you sleep like a log? You didn’t even wake up when I climbed on the bed.”
Xia Lei tried to get off the bed but Annina was pressing him down and not letting him move.
Annina spoke again, “I know what you want to ask me. The police have done their investigations. Even death cannot erase those bastards’ crimes and they have no right to have a funeral in a church. Right, you probably didn’t know it but they appeared in Werden because Josef’s friend Hans tipped them off via a phone call.”
“How’s that possible?” asked Xia Lei in surprise.
“How is it not? The police checked the call log in Navas’ mobile phone and got the details of the call from the telecom operator,” said Annina.
“Who are these people? He wanted us dead just because I defeated him? How vicious.” Xia Lei sighed. He’d probably never find out how Navas knew to look for them here if Annina hadn’t told him.
“Not everyone is a good man like you.” Annina smiled. “Oh, and, I went to visit Josef in hospital. He’s had surgery and regained consciousness. I told him you saved him and he was ashamed of himself. He told me to convey his gratitude to you and his apology.”
“It’s all right. It’s good that he’s okay,” said Xia Lei.
“I’ve told you all you wanted to know. We…” Annina suddenly stopped talking. She stared at Xia Lei, an invisible flame in her blue eyes. She was quietly setting herself alight and was prepared to light that same flame in Xia Lei.
Xia Lei knew what she wanted and it was something he was worried and hesitant about. His body was all in favour of an outstanding beauty like Annina but his sense of reason was against it. Maintaining a friendship was great for him but if it developed into a relationship, wouldn’t it be like using and dumping her with his imminent departure from Germany? He could not do something like that.
“You like me taking the initiative?” Seeing Xia Lei not move, Annina asked probingly, “I can…”
Xia Lei spoke nervously, “Annina, I, I’m… I’m sorry. I’m a married man.”
“What?” Annina was dumbfounded.
“Her name’s Laura. She’s in Germany too. We live together in a rented flat,” continued Xia Lei.
Annina’s eyes were full of hurt and disappointment. “She must be very pretty, huh?” she asked sourly.
“She’s beautiful,” said Xia Lei.
“But…” Annina suddenly hugged Xia Lei. “I’ll snatch you away from her!”
Xia Lei was still hanging onto a shred of reason but his body’s urges couldn’t be held back any longer in that instant.
When he moved to begin his counterattack, however, a crash came from the roof all of a sudden.
The pair on the bed were scared by the noise.
“What was that?” asked Annina nervously. “Is it gang members again?”
“I’ll go out and take a look.” Xia Lei put his clothes on and walked out. He actually wanted to cool his head. Being on a bed with a beautiful, sexy woman like Annina would turn even a celibate monk into her slave, much less himself and his laughable bit of reason.
Xia Lei walked out the room and stood in the corridor, then lifted his head to look at the roof. His left eye twitched and he saw a woman sitting on the roof.
The woman was none other than Long Bing, who said she was leaving but hadn’t.
Long Bing had a rock in her hand and looked about to knock on the roof a second time.
Xia Lei was dumbstruck.
“Do you see anything, Lukas?” Annina stuck her head out of the room.
“I…” Xia Lei’s reaction was slow. “Nothing. I don’t see anything. Might’ve been a cat.”
Annina laughed. “That must be a mischievous kitty. Come back quick.”
Xia Lei did not move.
“What are you waiting for, Lukas?” Annina smiled charmingly.
Temptation like this could straighten steel bars and make one leave the monastic order.
Xia Lei looked sideways at the stairs next to him. He clenched his teeth and bent his body in a clattering tumble down the stairs.Previous Chapter Next Chapter