Xia Lei spoke only after he’d got into Tang Yu-Yan’s car. “What was that just now?”
Tang Yu-Yan put on an innocent face. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t pretend. I saw it. You put something small on Ahn Suhyeon,” said Xia Lei.
“I was discreet and also quick - how did you see that?” said Tang Yu-Yan in surprise.
Xia Lei laughed. “Your little sleight of hand is nothing to me. I can do it too, and better.”
The thieving skills Qin Xiang had taught him were definitely not something Tang Yu-Yan could measure up to.
“Couldn’t tell that you had so many talents. No way. You’ve got to teach me.” Tang Yu-Yan’s requests knew no end.
“Don’t change the topic. Tell me what that was about.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you since you’ve seen it,” said Tang Yu-Yan, “Ahn Suhyeon’s status is rather special now. His father is one of the candidates for South Korea’s next president too. We need to understand some things so we’re just doing some routine monitoring. I’m not in charge of this task; I’m just helping her put a mini bug on him.”
“You’re talking about your colleagues in the hall?”
“Yeah, but you don’t know them.”
“What do they want to know?”
“They want to know lots of things. Hobbies, habits, social circles, financial trends and so on. The most important is to understand his and his father’s link to America. If Ahn Suhyeon’s father, Ahn Geungan, is a supporter of Western ideologies, we have to make some preparations on our side…” Tang Yu-Yan paused, then said, “This is politics. You won’t be interested.”
Tang Yu-Yan started the car and drove out of Distinguished Gathering.
Xia Lei fished his phone out and called Guan Ling-Shan. He tasked her with the endorsement matters with Tu Qing-Long and several other matters. He was going to Afghanistan and did not know when he would be back, so there were things he had to settle properly.
After making the call the Guan Ling-Shan, he made more calls to Zhou Xiao-Hong, Qin Xiang and Annina. He put all the things he should be doing in order. The car was almost to the airport by the time he was done making his calls.
“You sure are a busy man. Why not just stop managing a company and sell all your assets? Join Bureau 101 officially and have an exciting life,” said Tang Yu-Yan, “Like 007, or Jason in that movie The Bourne Identity. There’s also Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. How about that? Flying bullets, fast cars and babes. You’ll have all the excitement you want - way more interesting than your life now.”
Xia Lei laughed. “Don’t give me this schtick. I’m not some hot-headed greenhorn fresh out of school you can easily trick into jumping into a fire pit.”
Tang Yu-Yan rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “What’s so bad about being tricked by a woman?”
“It wasn’t convenient to talk about it earlier in Distinguished Gathering but can you tell me why Ning Jing is trapped in Afghanistan now?” Xia Lei watched Tang Yu-Yan’s eyes. His left eye was able to tell if a person was lying and he would not hesitate to use his X-ray vision on her if needed.
“This is complicated,” said Tang Yu-Yan. “Remember the compass you fixed for the Archaeological Bureau?”
Xia Lei was surprised. “You mean that Ming dynasty compass?”
Tang Yu-Yan nodded. “Yes, that compass. It’s now in the hands of that group of experts and Ning Jing is one of them.”
Xia Lei was even more surprised now. “Didn’t Long Bing take the Ming dynasty compass with her?”
“She had indeed taken it away after you fixed it but she didn’t take it for herself; it was for a mission. That compass was delivered to the relevant department in the end and then sent to the Science Department. Later, the Archaeological Bureau and the Science Department picked some of the elites to form an expert team and sent them to Afghanistan.”
“How’s the Ming dynasty compass related to Afghanistan? What’s going on?” Xia Lei’s head was full of questions.
Tang Yu-Yan shrugged her pretty shoulders. “Don’t ask me, I really don’t know. I’m just carrying out my task and I’m not in the archaeological or scientific field. You’ll have to wait till after the experts are rescued if you want to know the answers.”
“I have one more question…”
Tang Yu-Yan cut him short. “You’re like my mum. Let me have some quiet - and don’t ask me what ‘quiet’ is.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
What Xia Lei wanted to ask wasn’t actually related to the Ming dynasty compass. He wanted to ask if Tang Tu-Yan had seen Gu Ke-Wen. He had met her in Distinguished Gathering and he’d walked off so he was thinking that Gu Ke-Wen might have left after he walked off, and Tang Yu-Yan would have seen her if she’d gone out the front door. Seeing now that Tang Yu-Yan had not mentioned Gu Ke-Wen at all, Xia Lei could assume that she had not seen her.
‘She must’ve left from the back door, huh?’ thought Xia Lei to himself.
Thinking of Gu Ke-Wen made Xia Lei recall the scene when she had removed her clothing. Those breasts, that butt, and that dense forest…
The haughty and arrogant Gu Ke-Wen had actually used her body as payment to beg him for help - this was so true of the saying that ‘things of the world are impermanent’.
Tang Yu-Yan drove the car straight into the airport and towards a military transport plane.
Xia Lei said in surprise when the car stopped under the plane’s wings, “We’re not taking this to Pakistan, are we?”
Tang Yu-Yan hopped out of the car. “Bingo. This is Bureau 101’s transport plane, Cloud 20. We call it ‘Fatso’.”
Xia Lei gained more information on Bureau 101 by knowing about this Cloud 20 and he thought, ‘Bureau 101 should be like America’s CIA, I guess. The two organisations are actually doing the same things.”
He saw ten Bureau 101 agents after getting on the plane, and a large number of weapons and equipment.
These agents were Tang Yu-Yan’s subordinates and they stood to attention and saluted when she boarded. They then looked at Xia Lei with eyes full of speculation.
“Let me introduce you guys. This is Bureau 101’s senior consultant. He’ll be participating in this mission. Remember this - his authority is second only to mine. You follow his commands when I’m not around. Understood?”
“Yes, ma’am!” The voices of the ten agents were loud and clear.
Xia Lei let out an internal sigh. He was being mired deeper in this swamp of Bureau 101.
A few minutes later, the plane codenamed Fatso started its engines. It zoomed down the runway and lifted from the ground, up to the clouds.
Hours later, Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
Three Ford Raptors drove out of the airport’s special exit. They did not stay in Islamabad but went straight to the Afghan border.
The ten agents were assigned to two Ford Raptors and Tang Yu-Yan and Xia Lei occupied one. The car they were in carried equipment they’d brought from China. These weapons and ammunition were enough to start a small-scale war - weapons aplenty and of great variety.
Tang Yu-Yan was not in a sexy cheongsam anymore but in well-worn outdoor clothing with a peaked cap on her head. She looked like a thrill-seeking self-touring tourist.
Xia Lei had changed out of his suit and into outdoor clothing as well. He didn’t make the connection but him and Tang Yu-Yan, her in the driver’s seat and him in the passenger seat, looked like a young married couple.
“Right, you new identity.” Tang Yu-Yan suddenly remembered something as she drove. “My husband, Yang Guo.”
Husband? Yang Guo*? These words went into Xia Lei’s ear and he felt like they were clubs being wielded by Tang Yu-Yan. He was hit twice by these words and he felt a little light-headed. “I’m your husband? Yang Guo?”
“I didn’t arrange this. It’s all Boss Shi. Take it up with him if you have an issue,” said Tang Yu-Yan with a smile, “And about the name, nobody in the Middle East knows who Yang Guo is. Let me tell you a secret - I like reading martial arts novels and Yang Guo is my idol.”
Xia Lei had nothing to say to that. She was one of the Tang sect, through and through. Even her idol was a heroic character from a martial arts novel. He wasn’t going to take it up with Boss Shi either because it was difficult to talk to him and going to him for small thing like this was just asking for a scolding.
“Actually, my suggestion was to make you my elder brother but Boss Shi scolded me.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “Why scold you? He’s your godfather.”
“So what if he’s my godfather? He’ll still dole out scoldings as usual. He asked me if I’ve ever seen siblings go to a foreign land to drive around together.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
This situation was similar to when he was in Germany. A young man and young woman were easily suspicious as siblings in a foreign land together but not if it were lovers or a married couple. It wasn’t strange for Boss Shi to scold Tang Yu-Yan if one considered that aspect.
Tang Yu-Yan gave Xia Lei a look and spoke with a serious face, “I’ll tell you this, Xia Lei - nothing is more important than completing the mission and protecting yourself and your colleagues to the people in our line. What identities we use for our covers are not important. I can call you ‘Daddy’ if you’re visibly older. You understand what I mean?”
“Are you giving me a lecture?”
“Nn, maybe? Boss Shi said to teach you as much as I can.”
“Then teach me your Tang throwing knife techniques,” said Xia Lei.
“We still have some time so let’s look for a place to have a bite. It’s your first time in Islamabad so you’ll regret it if you just leave like that. This is a beautiful city. Oh, you’ll love the courtesy and respect you receive as a Chinese person in Islamabad.”
The country on friendliest terms with China in this world was Pakistan. The Chinese also fondly call Pakistani their Pakistani brethren, and this title showed their friendliness. It was difficult to put the courtesy and respect the Chinese recieve in this land into words. Xia Lei knew these but he had never experienced it. He was intrigued by Tang Yu-Yan’s words. “Sure, take me around and let’s go get breakfast after.”
Tang Yu-Yan turned the wheel and the car veered off the main road and into a small street to move slowly forward. The other two Ford Raptors zoomed on the main road, continuing their journey to the Afghan border.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
*Yang Guo - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yang_Guo