Dayetia’s and Szlamy’s white horses were spooked and they turned to gallop down the mountain.
Szlamy hid behind a rock, cursing as she shot at the enemy. “Bastards! You are all castrated goats!”
A bullet hit the rock she hid behind and sparks flew, hitting her face. She quickly ducked.
Dayetia’s situation was no better. She could not lift her head for fear of the bullets trickling down from the mountaintop.
The soldiers on top of the mountain moved quickly and their tactics were clear - some continued the suppression fire while the others charged downhill. After some distance, the group in front begun firing from favourable positions, providing cover while the others ran forward. If they kept this up, they would be able to surround Xia Lei, Dayetia and Szlamy in under five minutes.
Bang bang bang! Dayetia stuck her AK47 out from behind the rock and fired a round of bullets. She didn’t dare lift her head, much less aim at a target and kill. She and Szlamy could only use this blind way of returning fire in their situation. This was not to hit any target but to keep the enemy on their toes and slow the speed with which they would surround them.
This was not a solution, however.
“Chieftain! Xia! You two escape! I’ll cover you!” shouted Szlamy. Her young voice was filled with bravery and fearlessness.
“I shall avenge you!” Dayetia’s eyes were scarily cold.
Xia Lei rolled over at that moment and kicked Szlamy down, saying angrily, “The two of you, go downhill. Get the horses back. Let me handle this!”
“You…” Szlamy rubbed the buttock which he had kicked and looked at him, stunned.
Dayetia also looked at Xia Lei in amazement. Her feelings were a complete tangle in that instant - it was easy to tell who was friend or foe when it came to a crucial, life-or-death point. Xia Lei was telling her and Szlamy to escape while he provided cover. One man against at least 20 American Special Forces soldiers - this was suicide! A person who was willing to sacrifice his life for hers… what else could he be if not a friend?
“Go!” Xia Lei turned and roared at them. “You stinking women are getting in the way. Do you want to die here? Go!”
Szlamy’s tears fell right away. These were not tears due to the scolding but because she was touched.
“Don’t die!” Dayetia left him with those words. She grabbed hold of Szlamy’s hand and brought her in a mad dash down the mountain.
The sniper rifle in Xia Lei’s hands roared as Dayetia and Szlamy raced down the mountain. A Special Forces soldier up on the mountaintop fell, never to rise again.
Dark night, desolate mountain, dancing gunfire, flying bullets, flowing blood and corpses - Xia Lei was used to all these. He did not have anything to worry about after Dayetia and Szlamy left and could go all out!
Bang! Another shot rang out. A soldier who had just stuck his head out from behind the rock had his head blown away.
“Fuck! Kill him!” screamed someone on the mountaintop, “Fuck orders! Kill him!”
Bang bang bang...
Gunshots rang out and bullets flew in the direction of Xia Lei’s hiding spot.
Combatants on the battlefield were capable of anything when their lives were in danger. Orders could only be followed if one were alive to do so.
Xia Lei had expected this situation. He had killed two of them, so they would find it difficult to capture him alive.
Xia Lei kept his body close to the ground as he crawled forward. He had spotted two soldiers moving sneakily downhill on the right after killing the second target.
Those two soldiers probably thought they were experienced and were being stealthy but they had no idea that they were running naked in daytime to Xia Lei, and were eye-piercingly obvious.
Xia Lei silently crawled behind a rock on the right and stuck the muzzle of his sniper rifle out from the side. He did not lift his head. His left eye twitched and the rock blocking him disappeared. The two soldiers, who were armed to their teeth, were crouched over and approaching quickly.
“Distance of 500, wind speed negligible…” muttered Xia Lei to himself. His right index finger curled gently and the gun shook for a bit. A soldier dropped to the ground 500 metres away.
Bang! Another shot was fired and the second soldier trying to sneak closer from the right collapsed to the ground too. He had actually found cover after his comrade had been sniped but he had looked out from it to survey his surroundings. Before his eye could see anything, however, it had been blown away by a bullet, along with half of his head.
Having cleared his right of enemies, Xia Lei crawled out from behind the rock and dashed out of the range of the cover-fire.
Dark night, desolate mountain, sniper rifle - this was Xia Lei’s battlefield. Who lived and who died was all up to him!
Down the mountain, Dayetia and Szlamy found their horses. The horses spent day and night with them and were deeply attached to their humans, so they returned to them at a call.
“Chieftain, let’s go back!” said Szlamy worriedly, “There are so many enemies. Xia cannot handle them on his own.”
“No. Going back would be dying in vain,” said Dayetia, “Don’t you get it? Xia is sacrificing himself, gaining us time so that we can escape. He did this so that we will release his friends and those Chinese treasure-hunters.”
“But…” Szlamy started to say something, then stopped. She was not willing to accept it.
“Enough!” Dayetia chided, “You are the marks-woman of our tribe. I can give you however many men you want. Get on your horse. We’re leaving!”
“Humph!” Szlamy had to follow Dayetia’s orders. She got on her horse huffily.
At that moment, the gunfire from the top of the mountain suddenly ceased.
Dayetia was about to get on her horse and leave, but she did not.
Someone suddenly started shouting on the top of the mountain in English. “Surrender, Xia Lei, or I will kill your woman!”
Szlamy was puzzled. “Chieftain, you know English. What is that person saying?”
Dayetia wrinkled her brows. “He’s telling Xia to surrender and threatening to kill his woman if he doesn’t.”
“Xia’s woman? Isn’t that me?” Szlamy’s large eyes were aflame. “That man is sly! He’s pretending to have captured me and is using me to threaten Xia! No, I have to go tell Xia that that is not me!”
Szlamy hopped down from her horse’s back but Dayetia slapped her upside her head before she could go up the mountain to look for Xia Lei. “Idiot! When will you learn? The woman that person is talking about is not you!”
“Not me? Then who?” Szlamy looked confused.
Someone on the mountain had cracked a light stick and the green glow dispelled the darkness in that place. A middle-aged man appeared in the brightest spot with a woman.
On the right side of the mountain, Xia Lei stopped moving. They were a few hundred metres away but he could see the woman’s face clearly. It was Liang Si-Yao.
Only Liang Si-Yao could be called his woman, even though she was his ex.
There was no guilt or panic on Liang Si-Yao’s face - only calm.
The man who had seized her was Colonel Hanks, commander of the special team which had ambushed the Bureau 101 team. He had his arm around Liang Si-Yao’s neck and his body totally behind hers, not giving Xia Lei any opening to shoot.
A camouflaged sniper was already in place about 15 metres to the right of the two of them. He would shoot once Xia Lei revealed himself. In consideration for the aim of capturing him alive, the sniper did not use normal bullets - he had special bullets with tranquillising properties.
To the left of them, dozens of Special Forces soldiers were getting ready and some had already started crawling over with their bodies close to the ground.
Xia Lei had a grasp of how they worked now. There won’t be any people amongst them who would run away like the previous time, and there were CIA special agents too. The CIA agents had a higher level of combat tactics and the Special Forces were no match for them in that area.
A faint sneer appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s mouth after he finished surveying them. ‘Threatening me with a woman who betrayed me? And their own people too… Is this guy’s brain working properly?’
Xia Lei stealthily moved his sniper rifle to the side of the rock and aimed at Liang Si-Yao. The enemy was waiting for him to appear, and he was waiting for a chance to kill their commanding officer.
“Xia Lei! Surrender!” Hanks said loudly, “I’ll give you one minute. I’ll kill your woman if you don’t surrender in a minute!”
Xia Lei did not move. He was so quiet he was like stone.
“You have thirty seconds!” urged Hanks.
“It’s no use,” said Liang Si-Yao quietly, “He won’t appear. I told you that he discovered my identity. He hates me now. Why would he come out to save me?”
“That remains to be seen. Even demons are afraid of the power of love,” scoffed Hanks, “If he truly loves you, he will forgive you, no matter what your identity is and what you’ve done to hurt him. He will reveal himself for your sake.”
“Then let’s see. I don’t think much of your plan anyway,” said Liang Si-Yao calmly.
“Your time’s up, Xia Lei!” Hanks suddenly released Liang Si-Yao from his hold and shot her in the thigh.
Bang! There was a gunshot and blood spurted from Liang Si-Yao’s thigh. Her body moved a little to the side, but Hanks was extremely cautious; he adjusted his position when Liang Si-Yao moved and kept her in front of himself, not giving Xia Lei any angles at which he could shoot.
“Come out!” Hanks shouted angrily, “Or I’ll kill her!”
Xia Lei scoffed. ‘Shit, is this commanding officer from Hollywood or something? He shot an empty shell at her thigh and the blood is just some red colouring. This is an insult to my eyes.’
He was not the old Xia Lei any longer. After going through so many life-or-death battles and racking up a body count, he knew well what a bullet going into a person would look like and how the blood would spurt. He’d already built up a rich experience, so he could tell that the shot Hank had fired at Liang Si-Yao was fake in one glance.
Down the mountain, Szlamy giggled non-stop as she peered through a pair of binoculars. “He shot her! Finally! Blood’s spurting like a fountain… One more! Kill her, kill her!”
Behind her, Dayetia had her hand raised high, ready to slap her - but she didn’t.
This child… When was she going to really grow up?Previous Chapter Next Chapter