Hooves thundered, deafening ears. Trees and mountains flashed by and grew distant in their vision. The women on horseback waved guns, spears and riding whips and let out strange shouts. This scene made Xia Lei feel like he had gone back 1,000 years in time. He had become Xuanzang, captured by the savages of the land of women, and what awaited him was a broiling or simmer-fried fate.
The baby-faced, succubus-bodied Szlamy did not sit still either on their ride. Her hands roamed Xia Lei’s body and he wanted to knock her off the horse several times but the big group of wolfish, tigress-like White Hun warriors around him made him quash the idea.
Szlamy got more and more carried away and she put her arms around Xia Lei’s waist.
Xia Lei became more embarrassed the more Szlamy got into it. If Dayetia had not been next to them, Szlamy would probably have done some horse acrobatics with him.
They went through a patch of forest and a river entered his field of vision. The river opened up a riverbed between two mountains and stretched deep into the mountains.
The White Hun Tribe lived in this valley.
Numerous wooden huts and domed tents filled the area around the river banks. The tribe was surrounded by huge fields of crops, where many men worked. Some of these men were shackled and were moving wood they had chopped in the forest to the tribe.
A man with metal around his ankles looked up at the warhorses entering the valley. He had just taken one look at them but a woman’s leather boot came down heavily on his back, throwing him to the ground.
The sight of it made Xia Lei frown heavily.
What Kabir said was true. This was a world ruled by women and men had no rights here. The men in the tribe did tasks such as farming or manual labour. The women were in charge of management and war.
“See that?” Szlamy spoke in Xia Lei’s ear and her tone was threatening as she said, “Those men in chains came looking for treasure. A number of them are Soviet soldiers. If you’re obedient and serve me well I will let you go tend the fields without being shackled. You will live well like a dog.”
“You are still a child. You should study, go out into the world and take a look around… Hands off!” Xia Lei smacked away her questing hand. There was no talking sense to this girl.
“You cannot escape. You are mine.” Szlamy smiled happily. “You will be mine tonight. Don’t worry. I will be gentle with you.”
Xia Lei was more than speechless.
He had experienced everything here, including the affairs of man and woman.
The horse-riders entered the tribal area and the White Huns came gathering, many calling out in welcome. It gave one the impression that their tribe had won yet another great victory or something.
Xia Lei and Tang Yu-Yan were let off the horses. A group of women surrounded Xia Lei, discussing the goods - someone pinched his butt. She found his butt nice and firm, and immediately offered the handsome sum of one goat.
It was that feeling again - his billion-yuan value was reduced to one goat. Xia Lei was beyond wanting to die. What made him even more depressed was that Tang Yu-Yan would look over at him and laugh in schadenfreude, making him grit his teeth in anger.
Xia Lei and Tang Yu-Yan were brought to a house, and Szlamy wanted to follow them in but was chased out by Dayetia. Dayetia sent the warriors guarding them out too, leaving just her, Xia Lei, and Tang Yu-Yan.
Subduing Dayetia and using her as a hostage was no problem for Xia Lei and Tang Yu-Yan with their skills, but neither of them had any ropes or cuffs. They did not dare make any false moves, however. The reason was simple - would Dayetia dare to face them like this if she was not confident of her own abilities?
“Speak,” said Dayetia, “Where is the sword of Attila? Who has it?”
“We want to see our people first,” said Tang Yu-Yan.
Dayetia looked scornfully at Tang Yu-Yan. “I did not ask you. Know your place. You’re only alive because of him. You are useless to me.”
A touch of anger appeared between Tang Yu-Yan’s brows but she hid it away quickly. She pretended to shrug casually, like she didn’t care, and closed her mouth.
“I am on the same page. I want to see my people first,” said Xia Lei.
“Szlamy!” Dayetia faced the doorway and called.
The door creaked open and Szlamy came in hurriedly with a happy smile on her face. “Chieftain, can I take him back now?”
Seeing Szlamy and hearing what she said made Xia Lei’s head ache again, and it was not the sort of headache which would go away with medicine. He couldn’t help wondering if this girl had nothing else in her brain.
“Bring those five over here,” said Dayetia.
“Oh.” Szlamy looked a little disappointed, but she still carried out the task.
Szlamy returned to the house a while later and the Chinese experts, including Ning Jing, came with her. Her hair was a mess and her clothes were dirty. She had rubber boots on and had stepped in goat droppings, stinking up the place with the rank odour of goat.
Ning Jing stared blankly when she saw Xia Lei, then let out a sob and ran straight to his embrace.
Before she could put herself in Xia Lei’s arms, however, Szlamy caught her by the collar and flung her bodily backwards as she shouted fiercely, “What are you doing? Stealing my man? Fine, I’ll give you a chance. Fight me!”
Ning Jing looked at Xia Lei, then at the ferocious Szlamy, and didn’t know what was going on anymore.
The other four experts were in no better condition. They were also dirty and had mud, pig droppings and the like stuck on their footwear. It seemed they had been taken from their labour and brought over. These experts were the elite of China and had some status in their cities but they were reduced to manual labourers here. What Xia Lei saw was not just this. He found that the male experts were pasty-faced and that their eyes were soulless. They also stood weakly and were fairly dispirited. It was obvious that the women here had taken them unwillingly!
This made sense - they were the elites in their fields too, so would the White Hun women let go of these elite seeds?
He swept his gaze over the experts and returned it to Ning Jing. Her current appearance tugged a little at his heart. “Don’t be afraid, Big Sister Ning. I came to save you all. I’ll take you out of this place.”
“Nn.” Ning Jing was so emotional she could not speak; tears rolled down in two little lines.
Xia Lei looked at Dayetia. “How about it? I’ve already laid out my terms. Let’s make the trade. You let us leave and I tell you the location of Attila’s sword, plus a million US dollars.”
“Where’s the money?” said Dayetia.
“I can transfer it to you right now if you have a computer and the internet,” said Xia Lei.
Dayetia snorted. “You saw how it is. We don’t even have electric lights here - would we have computers? I can consider it if you’re paying it in cash. No cash, no trade.”
Xia Lei wrinkled his brows. A million US dollars was no small sum and he could not bring it over the border, nor withdraw it locally from a bank.
Dayetia spoke again, “And you say you know the location of the sword of Attila. How can I know that what you say is true?”
“I will not lie to you and I have no need to lie to you. About the problem of money, you can get someone to follow us to Peshawar, Pakistan. I can withdraw the money there and pay you,” said Xia Lei.
“Hahaha…” Dayetia laughed loudly.
Szlamy paused, then laughed too. Her laughed went well with Dayetia’s and her chest went well with her body, bouncing up and down with her laughter like hopping rabbits.
“What are you laughing at?” Xia Lei held his anger in check. He could see that this Dayetia was angering him on purpose.
Dayetia stopped laughing and her eyes could spit flames when she glared at Xia Lei. “I go with you to Peshawar and you won’t be paying me in US dollars but with bullets, huh?”
“Why are we trading if you don’t trust me?”
“I have what you want but you don’t have what I want. My requirements for trade are simple. A million US dollars and the sword of Attila. If you hand these two things to me I’ll let you go right away.”
“You…” Tang Yu-Yan was beside herself with anger.
Xia Lei made no retort. He thought for a bit, and said, “I have no way of meeting your requirements. Tell me, what trade do you want?”
“Szlamy and I will go with you to retrieve the sword of Attila. And that one million US dollars. My people will let your people go when I have these two things,” said Dayetia.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “I can give you the money but the sword is not mine. How am I to give it to you? I am only telling you who has it. You have to figure out how to get it on your own.”
“The outside world is alien to us. We have no way of adjusting and no way of getting back the relic which should be ours from the hands of others. You must assist us,” said Dayetia.
Xia Lei shook his head. “This won’t work. I have no way of getting that sword either. You cannot be so greedy. You want too many things - this trade is not fair at all.”
“You feel it unfair? Well, then it’ll be fair if I kill two.” Dayetia shot Szlamy a look.
Szlamy pointed her AK47 at Ning Jing’s heart.
Ning Jing’s face paled immediately.
“Stop!” Xia Lei was mad.
Dayetia took no notice of Xia Lei’s anger. She took out a handgun and pointed the muzzle at Tang Yu-Yan’s head as she said, “How about this. I’ll kill just one. You choose between these two. Who dies?”
Tang Yu-Yan was expressionless and she looked calm but her forehead was beaded with small pearls of sweat.
There was no way Xia Lei could make a decision like this. He could not bear to watch either Ning Jing or Tang Yu-Yan die.
“I’m counting to three. Tell me your answer.” Dayetia raised her voice, “One!”
“Fuck… I’ll help you!” Xia Lei had no choice; he had to agree.
Dayetia put her gun away and a small smile appeared in the corners of her lips. “Deal.”
Szlamy put her gun away too.
Ning Jing’s knees buckled and she collapsed a little dangerously to the ground.
Xia Lei spoke coldly, “Warn your people not to harm them. Once I help you get that sword, your people are to release my people immediately. And return the satellite phone to my companion. I will call her every day to confirm the situation here.”
“No problem.” Dayetia threw the satellite phone to Tang Yu-Yan as she said, “I’ll give you people some time to interact. We set off at daybreak. Get ready.”
“Chieftain, he…” Szlamy looked at Xia Lei with wide eyes.
Dayetia glared icily at Szlamy and she shut up. She grudgingly followed Dayetia and walked away from her prize.Previous Chapter Next Chapter