It wasn’t strange that Gu Ke-Wu was able to come chasing all the way to Bailu Town. The people who had visited Gu Ding-Shan in Baisui Garden’s study were people with standing and clout. They shared the same interests as Gu Ding-Shan and they could easily do what Gu Ding-Shan could not.
Sang Qing-Xin and Sang Yue-Yue’s disappearance was very strange to Gu Ding-Shan and Gu Ke-Wu, especially since Gu Ke-Wu had not known of their existence. This made Xia Lei an easy suspect for Gu Ding-Shan and Gu Ke-Wu, and this was how Gu Ke-Wu could rush to the military factory construction site in such a short amount of time.
In the forest behind the construction site, Xia Lei climbed up the mountain step by step. He had Sang Qing-Xin on his back and Sang Yue-Yue in his arms and their weight combined was over 50 kilograms. This weight was difficult to carry on flat ground, not to mention uphill.
“Let me carry the child.” Annina had caught up with Xia Lei.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “It’s fine. Let’s go.”
Annina followed Xia Lei in his climb up wearing only slippers on her feet. It was tough for her. There were many shrubs in the forest and she’d not walked far before her soft skin was scratched in several places, drawing beads of blood; Xia Lei felt bad for her.
Xia Lei was not feeling good either - it was more tiring to carry a grown woman up a mountain than practice martial arts.
They climbed tens of metres higher before Xia Lei looked back at the military factory and stopped. “Annina, stay here and look after them. I’ll go down to take a look.”
“You want to go down? No, no, no, I’m going with you.” Annina grew nervous. She was not afraid with Xia Lei by her side but with him gone, the thought of facing the dark forest alone scared her.
Xia Lei put Sang Qing-Xin down, then took off his jacket and put it on Annina. “Don’t worry. I’ll be back in half an hour.”
“Then… Hurry.” Annina looked at him with wide eyes.
Xia Lei went back the way they’d come and slowly approached the construction site…
The men Gu Ke-Wu brought had taken control of the construction site. The wooden huts had been searched inside-out but the people they were looking for had vanished. Xia Lei had been one step ahead from start to end, and this made Gu Ke-Wu mad.
“Xia Lei! Get out here!” Gu Ke-Wu roared in anger in front of the wooden huts. His voice could be heard from afar.
Xia Lei did not move. He hid in the forest and took out his phone to take a picture of Gu Ke-Wu and the group of people next to him. His phone was able to pick up the phone signals close to the construction site and he sent the picture to Long Bing.
A bodyguard went up to Gu Ke-Wu and braced himself as he said, “Young Master Wu, we’ve searched the entire site. We did not find that punk and we didn’t find the mother and daughter either. What do we do?”
“Trash! You are all trash!” Gu Ke-Wu lashed out with a slap. The worsening situation made him lose it.
The bodyguard who’d been hit held his face but did not dare make a sound, nor let Gu Ke-Wu see the hate in his eyes.
“What are you all standing around for? Go search in the mountain!” screamed Gu Ke-Wu.
“The mountain? It's such a large area…” said a bodyguard worriedly, “Young Master Wu, we…”
“Shut up! Search!” Gu Ke-Wu went first and walked towards the forest.
He had lost control of his emotions but he was not stupid. Xia Lei’s car was still at the construction site and the sheets in the hut were still warm and had traces of a woman’s perfume. If Xia Lei had not gone into hiding in the mountain, then what? He flew?
The big group of bodyguards and National Guard followed Gu Ke-Wu up the mountain. No one was in favour of this but no one dared to ask Gu Ke-Wu to give up. He was like a barrel of explosives and could explode at any moment.
Xia Lei glanced at his phone; he’d received a message.
It was from Long Bing and it contained just two words: Hide well.
This message gave Xia Lei another message - no one was coming to help him tonight. It was a bitter pill to swallow but Xia Lei quickly understood why. Long Bing was moving Danny to another location right now and could not spare the time to help him here. Plus, Gu Ding-Shan’s friends would definitely keep a close watch on Bureau 101 and if Bureau 101 sent reinforcements, the situation would escalate and affect Long Bing’s task.
‘Forget it. Even if Bureau 101 sent reinforcements they won’t fight; they’ll just spar with words. It’s not good to inadvertently alert the enemy either. I’ll just let Gu Ke-Wu play in the forest.’ Xia Lei made his decision and left his hiding spot. He climbed quickly in Annina’s direction.
Annina was hiding behind a tree trunk and she heard footsteps but no person. “Who’s that?” she asked nervously.
“It’s me.” It was Xia Lei’s voice.
Annina let out a breath of relief and stepped out of her hiding place.
Xia Lei lifted Sang Qing-Xin again and over his shoulder as he said, “Take the child. We have to leave this place.”
“Are we going further up?” Annina’s legs were weary.
“They’ve started searching the mountain. We have to go up and hide till morning,” said Xia Lei.
“All right. I’m not afraid with you by my side.” Annina carried the still-sleeping Sang Yue-Yue in her arms and fell in behind Xia Lei. She climbed haltingly up the mountain.
Under the mountain, light after light from mobile phones swept the area. Gu Ke-Wu, his bodyguards and nearly 50 of the National Guard were searching for them on the mountain.
A bodyguard soon made a discovery. He plucked a piece of black lace from a branch and said excitedly, “Young Master Wu, you were right! That punk and his woman did come up the mountain! This is a piece of that woman’s underwear!”
Gu Ke-Wu strode over and snatched up the piece of lace to sniff it. “It is that woman’s perfume. Search the area! Find that punk!”
The group continued upward in their search.
More traces were soon found - pieces of lace, obvious footprints, broken branches and so on. Xia Lei had no way of avoiding these since he had to carry Sang Qing-Xin up the mountain. It was impossible for their added weight to not leave any footprints in the damp ground.
These discoveries excited Gu Ke-Wu and he seemed to see hope in catching up to Xia Lei.
“I must kill that punk when I catch him!” This was an opportunity, and Gu Ke-Wu was not worried at all about what trouble would come after if he killed Xia Lei. He had methods aplenty to shirk himself of the relation to Xia Lei. He could say that Xia Lei had a heart attack, or lost his way and fell off a cliff. There would be a big group of people to bear witness too, so who could do anything to him?
The thought of killing Xia Lei acted as a stimulant for Gu Ke-Wu, and his speed increased…
In the forest, Xia Lei was tired to the bone. He could go no further when he reached the halfway-mark. He put Sang Qing-Xin down and sat his butt on the ground. Annina was in no better shape and she plonked her butt on the grass.
The lights from mobile phones flashed here and there below them; they had drawn much closer.
“Damn it. Didn’t think they’d follow the tracks we left behind.” Xia Lei frowned. “It’s difficult to lose them with our extra baggage.”
Annina was out of breath. “I saw soldiers. They won’t do anything bad, will they? Maybe we don’t have to escape. Maybe we can talk to them.”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “You’re too naive. Have you forgotten how your own countrymen treated you? They work for the government too.”
Annina shut her mouth; she remembered the two German special agents, her countrymen. If it hadn’t been for Xia Lei, she would not be here right now breathing the air of freedom but in Guantanamo prison being tortured.
Every country was made of its people and there were sure to be bad people no matter which belief system or morals it had. Take those of the National Guard chasing Xia Lei and Annina, for example. They were good people and were children of regular folk but the one whose orders they followed was not a good person.
“Let’s go. We can’t rest anymore.” Xia Lei climbed to his feet, tired as can be, but he still hefted Sang Qing-Xin, prepared to put her over his shoulder.
“Why not wake her up? You’ll have an easier time if you do,” said Annina.
Xia Lei shook his head. “No. She will see those soldiers and think we are the bad guys, while those are the people trying to rescue her. We’ll be in big trouble if she calls out to them or hinders us.”
“But…” Annina begun, then stopped. She was full of worry.
“We won’t be caught, believe me. Follow me. We’re going to where the ground is firm so they will lose our tracks and spend more time trying to figure out which direction we’d gone,” said Xia Lei.
Annina nodded and gathered Sang Yue-Yue in her arms.
The child slept very well - Sang Yue-Yue had made no signs of waking up.
Xia Lei led Annina to an area with rocky ground and few trees. This was going to be difficult, but he would welcome the light when he’d weathered the night.Previous Chapter Next Chapter