Xia Lei defended himself against Dong Wu’s sword and kept his guard up against Qin Qi’s throwing knives at the same time. The wound on his leg affected his speed and he was suddenly at a disadvantage, forced to the railing by the cliff’s edge by Dong Wu in an instant.
Qin Qi had locked his gaze onto Xia Lei’s injured thigh and he slowly lifted his knife-throwing hand.
The cliff’s edge was at Xia Lei’s back and there was no way to retreat. He was in dire straits.
At that moment, a wooden stick suddenly swished through the air and slammed into Qin Qi’s knife-throwing arm. Qin Qi was hurt and the knife he was aiming at Xia Lei clattered to the ground.
Qin Qi looked back and saw an angry-faced Liang Zheng-Chun.
“What are you up to?” said Liang Zheng-Chun angrily, “If you want to fight, fight me!”
Lu Sheng, who had turned up with Liang Zheng-Chun, also said thunderously, “And me!”
Dong Wu, Qin Qi and the woman were three, and Xia Lei, Liang Zheng-Chun and Lu Sheng were also three; their numbers were even.
More people walked over - some were workers from the venue while some were martial artists who’d come to participate in the martial arts seminar, as well as employees of the organisers of the event.
The place was livelier with more people and there was no way of continuing dirty deeds. Dong Wu stepped back and put his sword away. A middle-aged man came over and said, displeased, “What’s going on here? What are you all doing?”
He was the person in charge of the martial arts seminar and the chairman from the Cultural Bureau; his name was He Ping. His voice carried the weight of leadership and it held the place still. However, his voice had only cowed the small fries of the martial arts world and the workers from the venue - Dong Wu and Qin Qi were in disdain of his existence.
Dong Wu’s daughter, Dong Qing-Yue cried, “Him! He wanted to molest me!” She pointed at Xia Lei. “My father got angry and was going to teach him a lesson.”
“Is this true?” asked He Ping.
“It is.” One of the workers who had appeared at the same time that Dong Wu and Qin Qi had spoke up, “We saw it too. He was pulling this young lady’s hand and she was crying all the while.”
He Ping looked at Xia Lei and thundered, “Come here!”
Xia Lei walked over. His wound was still bleeding but it was not so serious anymore; it only looked bad.
He Ping spoke fiercely, “Don’t you know that it is illegal to harass women?”
Xia Lei was not one bit affected by He Ping’s aura and said evenly, “Look at her. I’m not blind. Would I go molest her?”
Dong Qing-Yue was young but not beautiful. She had a large moon-face and two very dense, thick eyebrows. The face alone would discourage many men and her thick waist had no curves at all. It would be a close fight between a woman like this and Sun Er-Niang* from ‘The Water Margin’. Why would a man like Xia Lei, who could make women’s eyes light up at the sight of him, molest a woman like this?
“No way. This handsome guy is not blind - why would he molest this kind of woman?” said a young woman who had come to see some action.
Laughter rang from around her.
Dong Qing-Yue was pissed. She pointed at the woman who’d spoken up for Xia Lei. “What did you say? I dare you to say it again!”
“I said what I said. Do you want to fight?” The woman who’d spoken up for Xia Lei was tall, slim, had a pretty face and a neat black braid which fell to her hips. She was beautiful and had good manners.
“Little Sister, I’ll cut her for you if she dares come over,” said a young man, “When have we of the Tang Sect backed away?”
Dong Qing-Yue made to do something but Qin Qi reached out to hold her back.
The Tang Sect was a large martial art group in novels and members of the group were excellent with concealed weapons and very powerful. The martial art group in reality was not as exaggerated as in novels but this was Mount Emei, their home ground and Tang Sect territory. Dong Wu and Qin Qi had the backing of the Gu clan but the Gu clan did not have their roots here. Qin Qi was a smart man and he knew what would happen if Dong Qing-Yue moved against the group on their own territory.
“What? You restless?” The young man said provokingly, “How about we have a little early competition.”
“Humph!” Dong Qing-Yue snorted but did not go forward.
Dong Wu returned his sword to its sheath and said loudly, “Organiser He, this punk molested my daughter. Are you simply letting this matter go?”
Dong Wu was a clever man. His and Qin Qi’s target was Xia Lei and he did not want to anger the people of Tang Sect unnecessarily. That was why he moved the attention of the audience to something which didn’t even exist - the matter of Xia Lei molesting his daughter.
“Nonsense!” Liang Zheng-Chun said angrily, “I know my people - don’t frame a good person!”
“We have witnesses. It’s not framing,” said Dong Wu bitingly.
He Ping looked at Xia Lei and asked, “They have witnesses - what do you have to say for yourself?”
Before Xia Lei could reply, the woman who’d spoken up for him spoke again, “Organiser He, look at that woman’s body. She has no injuries and her clothes are all in good order. How is this molest? It’s a frame job.”
The young man next to her stared fixedly at the worker who’d spoken up for Dong Wu. “You sure this gentleman here molested this ugly woman? If you’ve received a bribe to say this then I’ll pursue this matter with you.”
“I…” The worker was terrified and stuttered, “I, I’m not sure. I didn’t see it clearly.”
Xia Lei looked at the young and tall, beautiful woman in gratitude. He did not know them but they still helped him and though there was a bit of taunting mixed in, he felt like he owed them a huge favour.
Dong Wu and Qin Qi glared at the worker who had taken their money but changed his tune. There were too many people around, though, and they did not dare say anything too obvious.
“You martial artists are all so hot-headed and such troublemakers. Forget it, I’m not going to bother anymore. If you want to keep at it then make a police report and get them to resolve this.” He Ping left them with those words and walked off. He could not be bothered anymore.
“Let’s go.” Dong Wu gave up as well.
Qin Qi let go of Dong Qing-Yue only then and left with Dong Wu.
Xia Lei did not stop them. Dong Wu, Qin Qi and Dong Qing-Yue had plotted to kill him and he hated them for it but he was not reckless. He knew that nothing would come of him stopping these three. There was no way of proving that they plotted to kill him while he would have more trouble if they insisted that he had molested Dong Qing-Yue. Stopping them would mean fighting them again and he might have an advantage with his fists but he could not finish the three of them off with so many people watching, could he?
“Lei, how is your wound?” asked Liang Zheng-Chun in concern.
“It’s fine; not serious,” said Xia Lei.
“What happened just now?” asked Liang Zheng-Chun. He did not believe that Xia Lei would molest a woman like Dong Qing-Yue but he could not understand why something like this could have happened.
“I’ll explain it to you later, Master. I’ll go thank those friends now,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Zheng-Chun nodded.
Xia Lei went up to the young man and woman and said politely, “Thank you for just now.”
The tall woman smiled. “No need to thank me. I just couldn’t stand that self-righteous woman.”
The young man also smiled as he said, “Bro, I don’t believe that you’d molest a woman like that either. We’re all martial artists so it’s only right that we’d say something if we see something wrong.”
“Thank you.” Xia Lei held out a hand to the young man. “I am Xia Lei. Let’s be friends.”
The young man shook hands with Xia Lei. “Tang Bo-Chuan.”
The tall woman also shook hands with Xia Lei. “I’m Tang Yu-Yan.”
“Thank you, Miss Tang.” Xia Lei smiled.
Tang Yu-Yan smiled with one upturned corner of her lips. “You’re welcome.”
It was easy for handsome men to make women have good feelings about them.
“Xia Bro, I saw you fight just now. You’re a Wing Chun practitioner, aren’t you?” said Tang Bo-Chuan.
Xia Lei nodded. “Yes, I am practicing Wing Chun.”
Tang Yu-Yan smiled. “So it really is Wing Chun. Let’s exchange some pointers next time if we get the chance.” After a pause, she added, “But you have to go tend to your wound now. It’s bleeding.”
“Right, right, you should take care of your wound, Xia Bro. Let’s chat when we have time,” said Tang Bo-Chuan.
“Sure, let’s have tea when we have time,” said Xia Lei.
Back in the hotel room, Lu Sheng helped Xia Lei bandage his wound.
Liang Zheng-Chun’s expression was grave. “That person used weapons and was intent on killing you. Lei, don’t hide it from me. What is going on?”
Xia Lei then told him of Dong Wu and Qin Qi’s identities, and the bad blood between him and Gu Ke-Wu. The only thing he did not mention was Shentu Tian-Yin. Liang Zheng-Chun was his Master and future father-in-law so it would be bad to tell him something like that. It was enough that Liang Si-Yao knew.
“Master, you have to be careful too.” Xia Lei had given a brief overview of the matter but he had his worries too. “The Gu clan has its roots in the underworld and uses underhanded methods. I’m afraid that the Gu clan will take their revenge on you.”
“Humph!” scoffed Liang Zheng-Chun. “I, Liang Zheng-Chun, have never backed down from anything. You are my people and if they want to harm you, they want to harm me too. Those three people had better not run into me at the martial arts seminar or I will exact justice for you as your Master.”
Xia Lei was moved by the words ‘my people’. He could be counted as one of the Liang household at this point since he and Liang Si-Yao were practically husband-and-wife. The only thing that was missing was the government-issued marriage certificate.
“Count me in. Damn it, Lei, your matter is my matter. I can’t stand those underhanded jerks either!” said Lu Sheng.
“Thanks, Big Brother Sheng.” Xia Lei did not need to thank Liang Zheng-Chun when it was just them but he still had to be polite with Lu Sheng around.
Lu Sheng rolled his eyes at Xia Lei. “What’s with the formalities between us fellow disciples? I’ll get mad if you keep being so polite.”
Xia Lei gave a laugh. “Okay, no formalities.”
“Oh, right, I want to discuss something with you,” said Lu Sheng.
“Please speak, Big Brother Sheng,” said Xia Lei.
“I don’t want to be a bodyguard for Zhang Sen anymore. I’ll go work for you at your company. Give me whatever salary you think fair. I’ll just be a security guy,” said Lu Sheng.
Xia Lei answered easily, “No problem. I’ll give you the job of head of security if you join my company. I’ll pay you twice what you earned with Zhang Sen.”
“I don’t want you to give me twice the amount. He pays me 200,000 so I just want 200,000, not one cent more.” Lu Sheng didn’t feel good about getting twice the amount from Xia Lei. He was already glad that Xia Lei would take him.
Having Lu Sheng as head of security was a good thing for Xia Lei. He was a professional bodyguard after all and a skilled martial artist. With Lu Sheng around, the problem of security at the company was solved and Liang Si-Yao would have another bodyguard. Xia Lei felt more at ease.
*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_ErniangPrevious Chapter Next Chapter