Xia Lei could understand why his father had abandoned his sister and himself. He had been gone for five years, but he could not avoid the unpleasant feeling in his heart when he thought of how he had endured those early years. Plus, Xia Chang-He had still not shown himself. Xia Lei’s heart flamed with anger, “Whether I forgive him or not is our private matter. Where is he? Get him to come out and meet me. What is this, sending an assistant to meet me every time?”
Yelena sighed. “He wants to see you very much too but now’s not the time. You two will meet soon, believe me.”
“Hah! He sent you here to say all these to me?” said Xia Lei angrily, “What I need is help, not chatter! Even if it’s talk, he should come here and talk to me, not you!”
Yelena was not angry at all. She took out a package from her backpack and chucked it at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei caught it; it was heavy. “What’s this?” he asked curiously.
“You need help, right? Your father knows your current situation. He’s already prepared everything for you.”
Xia Lei opened the package. There was a satellite phone, and a letter.
Tang Yu-Yan had most urgently needed a satellite phone after the ambush the previous night so this satellite phone was like sending charcoal in a snowstorm to him and Tang Yu-Yan.
Xia Lei turned on the satellite phone but there was no number saved in it. He’d thought that his father would have left him a contact number on it but it seemed he had expected too much.
Xia Lei put the phone in his pocket, then opened the letter. There was an envelope in it and a photograph. The photograph was of a sword; an ancient sword. It was just a photograph but one could feel the great changes it had wrought, as if it was using blood and steel to describe its story.
“What did he give me a photograph of a sword for?” Xia Lei looked uncomprehendingly at Yelena.
“Do you know what sword this is? This is the sword of Attila,” said Yelena.
“Yes. Attila was the greatest Hun ruler. The White Hun Tribe in this basin are his descendants and this sword is what they’ve always wanted.”
Xia Lei was struck by a thought. “My father has it?”
Yelena shook her head. “Your father was not a historian and even less of a collector. He knows where this sword is and he is willing to give the chieftain of the White Hun Tribe some clues. This can serve as a trade for your safe passage. In other words, if you meet the White Hun Tribe again, show them this photograph, tell them you know where it is and you can leave this place safely.”
This photograph, and clues to the location of Attila’s sword was undoubtedly a life-saver. No wonder his father was not worried about him entering this basin.
“The woman with you is actually a troublesome thing. You’ll kill her if you’re smart. Or make it so that the White Hun Tribe kills her, then leave this place yourself,” said Yelena.
“I’m not the same as you. I will not kill anyone just like that, and definitely not someone who has gone through the gates of hell with me. That’s enough. I do not want to hear words like these more than once,” said Xia Lei.
Yelena laughed. “Your temper is just like your father’s.”
“Where is that sword?” said Xia Lei, “Just the photograph is not enough if I meet the people of the White Hun Tribe.”
“It’s all in that envelope. Read it yourself. There’s also a message from your father. I should get going or your comrade will discover me.” Yelena left right away, just as she’d said she would.
Xia Lei wanted to call her to wait, but he swallowed his words before they left his lips. He knew that he would not get his father’s location from her even if he got her to stop and continued his conversation with her.
Xia Lei opened the envelope and took out the letter in it.
‘Son, I know you have many questions and I know you want very much to meet me and get answers from me but this is not the time for us to meet. It is too dangerous. The White Hun Tribe is not frightful at all - the frightful ones are the Americans. You should know well that they have always been on the hunt for me and they want to capture you too. They will come here soon. You should leave before they do. Bring the photograph and the information I gave you to the chieftain of the White Hun Tribe, Dayetia. Negotiate with her. She will hand over those experts and probably let your Bureau 101 friend go too. Lastly, please believe that I have always looked forward to our reunion.’
A paragraph of text was attached to the end of the letter with information on the sword of Attila.
Xia Lei stared blankly when he read that paragraph. ‘South Korea’s Shinyeok Group… Ahn Geungan! Isn’t this Ahn Suhyeon’s father? How unexpected that the sword of Attila the Hun had gone all the way to Korea. Dad sure has great reach to know about something like this.’
The sword of Attila symbolised the power of the Huns and also represented the greatest, proudest history of the Huns. It was just an antique to Ahn Geungan and other collectors but to the White Hun Tribe, it was a sacred object and held far more meaning than its own existence.
Xia Lei burnt the letter with a lighter and kept the photograph.
Xia Lei slowed his pace while walking back, and he pondered over how he’d explain the satellite phone and photograph to Tang Yu-Yan as he walked…
He got to the edge of the forest but did not see Tang Yu-Yan. She suddenly jumped down from the tree above him two seconds later, before he could awaken the power of his left eye.
Xia Lei hurriedly got out of the way and she landed next to him. Her full breasts sank towards the ground, then bounced back up again, down and up, jiggling till they stabilised. This made a strange feeling stir in Xia Lei and he couldn’t help recalling the scene from last night when he had forcefully removed her clothing; he also felt his lower abdomen heating up. He was a man after all and it was already very impressive of him to have not crossed that dangerous line last night - some bits of fantasy couldn’t be avoided.
Tang Yu-Yan shoved Xia Lei. “Where did you go just now? I was so worried about you! I was going to go look for you if you didn’t come back.”
“I met a woman of the White Hun Tribe,” said Xia Lei.
“Huh?” Tang Yu-Yan was stunned, “And what did you do?”
“I didn’t let her live, of course. She would have brought a big group to kill us if I let her go,” said Xia Lei.
“You did the right thing. I know you don’t like doing things like this, but… We have no choice,” said Tang Yu-Yan comfortingly.
Xia Lei revealed the satellite phone and the photograph. “I found these two things on her.”
Tang Yu-Yan’s eyes lit up when she saw the satellite phone in Xia Lei’s hand. She grabbed it as she said excitedly, “Great! I can use it to contact headquarters and get them to send troops over… Wait, how does a White Hun Tribe warrior have a satellite phone?”
Xia Lei shook his head and put on a dumb look. “I don’t know either. I searched her body and found these. I think it’s probably looted from one of the White Rock Tribe or from some other channels.”
“Never mind, that’s not important. It’s fine if we can use it…” Tang Yu-Yan’s gaze went to the photograph in Xia Lei’s hand and she asked curiously, “A sword? What’s it about?”
Xia Lei smiled faintly. “I know the history of this sword. It’s the sword of Attila the Hun. You know who he was? He was the greatest ruler of the Huns; an impressive man. This sword represents his power and glory. It’s very important to the White Hun Tribe.”
“It’s just a photograph. It’s only awesome if you have the sword.” Tang Yu-Yan was not impressed.
“I don’t have the real sword but I know who has it in his collection. This information may prove useful to us,” said Xia Lei.
“You know this too?” said Tang Yu-Yan in surprise.
“I read a lot of books and have friends all over the world, so is it strange for me to know about this? Forget it, I’m in no mood to argue about this with you. Didn’t you want to go to the ruins? Let’s go. I didn’t find anything suspicious while observing it earlier.” Xia Lei walked out of the forest and strode towards the historical ruins.
Tang Yu-Yan was no fool and she was a professional agent. Xia Lei had gone off for half an hour and come back with a satellite phone and a photograph. She was full of curiosity and also suspicion, but Xia Lei’s explanations were seamless; there were no cracks.
‘This punk. Could he have given up some of his chastity to deceive some little girl of the White Hun Tribe? Holy shit. What the hell am I thinking? I’ll observe him first.’ Tang Yu-Yan followed Xia Lei to the ruins.
No matter how she suspected and how she thought about it, she did not link it to Xia Lei’s missing father of six years.
The two of them came to the front of the ruins ten minutes later. Slabs of ancient stone lay haphazardly in the grass. Some still stood and one could faintly recognise it as part of a city wall. Inside, some parts resembled streets and some resembled houses, or temples and so on. The stone could not speak and made no sound but they were a language in themselves, speaking of the prosperity of times past, of the changes that had happened over the years.
Tang Yu-Yan walked forward with the transponder in one hand and a gun in the other. Any wind which ruffled the grass startled a reaction from her. Xia Lei, on the other hand, had no such pressure. He just walked along with Tang Yu-Yan as he admired the ancient remains. He knew Ning Jing and the experts had already been captured by the White Hun Tribe but he did not tell Tang Yu-Yan that or his earlier lies would be revealed.
“Where are our experts?” Xia Lei pretended to be anxious.
“Fifty metres ahead… Strange. Why don’t I see anyone?” Tang Yu-Yan looked confused. “The signal is definitely coming from here. We should have seen someone.”
“Could they be in a basement or underground palace? Archaeology is mostly underground, isn’t it?” said Xia Lei.
“Mm, what you say makes sense. I hope they’re all right.” Tang Yu-Yan quickened her pace.
They went 50 more metres towards the location indicated on the transponder and an underground passage hidden under a pile of stones appeared before Xia Lei and Tang Yu-Yan. The passage stretched underground. It was dark and its depth unknown. Who knew what was in there.
Xia Lei and Tang Yu-Yan did not move because they had seen a transmitter on a stone step in the passage. The signal they were receiving was from that device.
It was the thunder of horses’ hooves!Previous Chapter Next Chapter