Night wrapped the mountain forest and every tree appeared as a spirit of the darkness, watching the humans as they moved about the forest. On one side were the humans fleeing and the other, the humans chasing. This was a meaningless game in to the trees.
Gu Ke-Wu had been on the chase from the middle of the night to late night. There had been tracks to follow in the beginning but those had been lost later. He had broken up his groups into three teams, one to the peak, one to the left of the path and the rest to the right of the path, together with him at the lead. This was in the direction of Bailu Town.
In his pursuit, Gu Ke-Wu had gone from excitement to disappointment, finally ending in despair as they’d lost the tracks. He was dog-tired and had wasted so much energy but had yet to even smell Xia Lei’s fart, much less catch him and kill him off.
What was worse was that it had started to rain.
Spring rain came pattering down from the sky and the treetops acted as funnels, sending water down in a continuous stream. The ground was wet quickly and turned muddy. There was no paved road on the mountain either, so it was slippery and one could fall badly if one were not careful. An area which would have taken them a few minutes to search before now took several times longer.
“Ahh...!” A bodyguard fell, and he landed anus-first on an oddly-shaped rock. His expression turned odd and he looked as if he’d been fed a fly-stuffed dumpling in hot soup.
“Fuck, what searching can we do in this shitty weather? It’ll be a miracle if we do find something!” complained a bodyguard in a low voice.
“Lower your voice; don’t let Young Master Wu hear. He’s mad now so don’t set him off,” said a bodyguard quietly.
How could Gu Ke-Wu not hear his underlings’ discussions and complaints? In fact, it was not just his underlings who’d lost hope but him too. His confidence had been shaken quite some time ago.
Gu Ke-Wu raised his chin to look fiercely up at the sky dropping rain on him. “Fuck you! Even you! You’re helping that punk!”
“Young Master Wu, we…?” A bodyguard asked cautiously.
“Keep looking!” Gu Ke-Wu shouted angrily, “The Gu clan has paid you well for not doing much so far, so now is the time for all of you to show that you're worth the money! If anyone’s going to grumble without putting the effort in, then you’re fired!”
The bodyguards all shut their mouths and continued searching…
This scene did not escape Xia Lei’s eye 500 metres away. He slid down from the top of a big tree.
“How close are they?” asked Annina nervously.
“Far enough. No need to worry.” Xia Lei sat down and relaxed. Five hundred metres was quite a safe distance and he could have a good rest for a few minutes.
Annina leaned on Xia Lei. Her skin was cold and her long legs were uncovered; they were exposed to air and rain and looked like they’d been pulled from cold water.
This was the north after all and the weather was rather cold though it was spring.
“I’ll give you my trousers.” Xia Lei rubbed Annina’s thigh. The cold made him worry.
“Oh no, no. You’ve already given me your clothes. You’re most important - you can’t get sick. It’ll be fine even if I get sick,” said Annina.
Xia Lei felt warm inside. He pulled Annina into his arms. “Sit on my lap and warm up.”
Annina climbed onto Xia Lei and sat on his lap, pressing herself deep into his embrace. Xia Lei’s body was warm and the warmth made her much more comfortable.
The first two minutes were uneventful but a small problem occurred after that.
“What’s that?” Annina looked back at Xia Lei. “What are you poking me with? A twig?”
“Don’t be thinking about such things. There’s nothing…” said Xia Lei awkwardly.
Annina wiggled her hips.
Xia Lei hurriedly held her still. “Stop. Take this chance to rest.”
Annina retaliated and grabbed the ‘twig’. She smirked. “I know what it is. I just want to help you relax. You’re too nervous.”
Xia Lei couldn’t help laughing. He did relax quite a bit with her teasing. Women from different cultures were different indeed, and only she could do something like this so naturally. It would be difficult for a Chinese woman to pull this off.
Annina looked searchingly at Xia Lei, then drew close and kissed him on the lips. She needed some passion in this damned rain and forest to warm her up, body and soul.
Sang Qing-Xin suddenly woke up at that moment. She propped herself up slowly and saw Xia Lei and Annina kissing next to her, then saw Sang Yue-Yue.
The memory of Xia Lei kicking open the door to the room, and him knocking her out flashed through Sang Qing-Xin’s mind. She grew nervous. After some hesitation, she gathered the sleeping Sang Yue-Yue in her arms and got quietly to her feet, prepared to sneak away.
A drop of rainwater suddenly came down from the crown of a tree and landed right on Sang Yue-Yue’s forehead. The cold raindrop startled Sang Yue-Yue awake and she opened her eyes. “Mummy, it’s dark.”
Sang Qing-Xin quickly reached to cover Sang Yue-Yue’s mouth, but it was too late. Sang Yue-Yue’s voice had been heard by those who should not hear and the caucasian female, who was in a deep kiss, got off Xia Lei and climbed to her feet. She blocked off the mother-and-daughter without any instructions from Xia Lei.
Sang Qing-Xin then noticed how strange this woman blocking her way was. She was wearing a man’s jacket but had tattered lace underwear underneath, so torn they were barely enough to save her from embarrassing exposure. She was also wearing slippers full of mud. She was sexy, yet haggard and a hot mess too difficult to describe.
Faced with a caucasian female like this, the forest and the frightening memory of what had transpired made Sang Qing-Xin freeze in fear. “Wh, What do you two want?”
Xia Lei appeared calm. “No need to be afraid. She’s my friend and her name’s Xia Mei. She’s the chief engineer of the military factory. As you see, her efforts in helping to save you resulted in her current appearance.”
“Save us? I remember it clearly - you knocked me unconscious!” said Sang Qing-Xin angrily.
“Lower your volume! The people pursuing us are in the forest!” Xia Lei got to his feet and said more loudly, “I carried you the whole night. I don’t want you to repay me - I just want you to believe me. I won’t stop you if you want to leave but you have to know that if you fall into the hands of those people, you and Sang Yue-Yue will die and Danny will have no good end either.”
Sang Qing-Xin looked back at the flashing of mobile phone lights in the distance. A war raged in her heart. She did not know if she should trust Xia Lei or the people ssearching in the forest.
“Miss Sang, please think about it. If I wanted to hurt you and Sang Yue-Yue, I had plenty of chances to do so. Did I harm a single hair on your heads?” said Xia Lei.
Sang Qing-Xin was silent; she said nothing.
“I’m going to the town at the bottom of the mountain now with Xia Mei. Follow us if you want. Go to those people if you want. You make your own choice,” said Xia Lei.
Annina gave Xia Lei a puzzled glance. She and Xia Lei had gone through so much trouble to get this woman to this point but Xia Lei was going to let them go now? She did not understand why Xia Lei was doing this.
Xia Lei was not letting Sang Qing-Xin and Sang Yue-Yue go - this was a form of reverse psychology. It would be daybreak soon, and he needed to get Sang Qing-Xin and Sang Yue-Yue into Bailu Town, then get a car and meet up with Long Bing. He did not want to drag an unconscious woman around on the streets; he needed to gain Sang Qing-Xin’s trust.
If he could not gain her trust and she decided to go towards Gu Ke-Wu’s group, he would not hesitate to knock her unconscious again and carry her off.
“Let’s go, Xia Mei.” Xia Lei walked off, like he’d said he would.
Annina shrugged and followed Xia Lei.
“Wait…” Sang Qing-Xin finally made her decision. “I’m coming with you.”
Xia Lei let out a breath. “I’ll help you carry the child.”
“No, I’ll carry her.” Sang Qing-Xin was still wary of Xia Lei.
Xia Lei felt much lighter with no need to carry Sang Qing-Xin, and the path going downhill. They went much faster than they had earlier too.
They got on a dirt path when they were close to Bailu Town; it was gradually getting brighter.
When they went past a farmer’s home, Xia Lei climbed over the wall and entered the farmer’s house. He stole a pair of men’s jeans and a woman’s sweater from the clothespins under the eaves of the house. The jeans were men’s jeans but their owner was apparently not as tall as Annina and it grew short on her. Her buttocks were also squeezed tight and it looked funny yet seductive at the same time.
“Mummy, Uncle’s a thief.” Sang Yue-Yue pointed at Xia Lei.
Sang Qing-Xin quickly said, “Don’t talk nonsense, Uncle is not a thief. He… He paid for those.”
Xia Lei laughed. “Little Yue-Yue, Uncle will take you to see your daddy today, okay?”
“Yay! Okay!” Sang Yue-Yue was very happy.
“But you have to be a good girl. You can’t cry, and you can’t speak casually. Got that?” said Xia Lei.
“Yep! I got it.” Sang Yue-Yue looked earnest. She shut her mouth tight.
Xia Lei brought Annina and Sang Qing-Xin, carrying her child, into Bailu Town. He called Long Bing as he walked.
“Is it settled on your end?” Xia Lei was a little anxious.
“It’s done. Mother and daughter still with you?” came Long Bing’s voice. She seemed calm.
“Yes. Gu Ke-Wu brought men and they chased us all night long. We’re in Bailu Town now. Where are you?”
“I’m on my way. Find a place to hide first. Give me half an hour,” said Long Bing.
“Okay. Hurry. This place is not safe.” Xia Lei hung up. He looked about him and he did spot an inn but he also saw two people he did not wish to see.
Two of Gu Ke-Wu’s bodyguards were roughly 300 metres away from him. They were looking around on the road, searching for something.
Gu Ke-Wu was smart and he had had people stay in the town. Lucky thing the rain had shrouded the morning in mist, otherwise those two bodyguards would’ve discovered him already.
“Come with me.” Xia Lei turned and walked into a small alley next to the street, then took a winding route to the only inn in the town.Previous Chapter Next Chapter