The container truck got to Busan Port four hours later.
Tang Bo-Chuan stopped the container truck in a warehouse, then opened the hidden compartment and let Xia Lei and Long Bing out.
“It’s been tough on you guys. We’re here.” Tang Bo-Chuan greeted Xia Lei and Long Bing with a smile on his face.
They didn’t say a word to him. Both of them quickly jumped out of the container; one ran to a stack of containers on the right side of the warehouse and the other went to the containers on the left. After a short pause, he heard water from both left and right. He shrugged and smiled wryly.
Two hours later, on international waters.
A freighter loaded with containers sailed into the port of Shanghai.
In a container, Xia Lei held an ancient sword and examined it closely. Long Bing and Tang Bo-Chuan stood next to him, examining the sword with him.
This was the sword of Attila - the sword which Xia Lei had risked his life to obtain. It had symbolised the power of Attila the Hun over a thousand years ago.
Who knew how many people had been felled by this sword over a thousand years ago; even their bones had ceased to exist but this sword was still here. The mottled blade, the notches, and the green gem set on its hilt were full of ancient mystery.
“Fifteen and a half kilograms,” said Tang Bo-Chuan, “I measured it. It’s probably not a normal sword of metal and I have no idea what it’s made of. It’s remarkable. I’d like to study it if given the chance.”
As one of the Tang sect, he had a great interest in weaponry and that was why he had measured it and wanted to study it.
“You won’t get a chance. We’ve got to hand it over to that female chieftain when we get back to China in exchange for your sister and those experts,” said Long Bing.
“I’m just curious and saying it casually. Saving my sister is most important,” said Tang Bo-Chuan. He looked at Xia Lei. “Xia Bro, my sister’s in your care. Please, you must bring her back to China.”
Xia Lei nodded. “Rest assured. I will bring her back safely.”
Tang Bo-Chuan gave a laugh. “What I told you was true. Bring my sister back and my grandfather will take you in as a disciple. You’ll be considered one of our own then.”
Xia Lei was definitely not interested in becoming part of the Tang sect; he was only interested in the Tang hidden weapons techniques and Qinggong.
The three of them chatted for a bit and Long Bing and Tang Bo-Chuan left the cabin, giving Xia Lei the opportunity to have a proper look at the sword of Attila.
Xia Lei’s left eye focused on the blade and the rusty blade gradually ‘melted’ away, becoming thinner and thinner. His left eye was like a furnace melting iron and steel and the sword a piece of iron ore, its impurities melting away in the furnace and becoming purer and purer, becoming steel step by step.
A swathe of green suddenly entered Xia Lei’s field of vision. It was a green strip which ran through the blade from hilt to tip. It was about 3.12 feet in length and one centimetre wide; it looked like an elongated chopstick.
This discovery struck Xia Lei dumb. He’d felt that this sword’s weight was off and that it was odd when he’d held it but he did not expect that there would be something hidden in the body of the sword. Without doubt, two-thirds of the sword’s weight must have come from this green material. Its density was beyond his expectations.
‘Is it the alloy that Ning Jing talked about?’ Xia Lei thought about it immediately but he shook his head. ‘No, she said that that alloy was stronger and tougher than any of the known alloys but it was especially light. The material hidden in this sword is obviously heavy. If this is not the alloy Ning Jing talked about, then what is it? And why is it green?’
Questions popped up in Xia Lei’s head. The best way to find answers was to melt the sword and extract that green alloy for research but Dayetia would have her people kill Tang Yu-Yan, Ning Jing and the experts if he did that.
‘The sword of Attila is a sacred relic of the White Hun Tribe and those women see this sword as more important than anything else. Once I exchange this with Dayetia and she gets her hands on it I’ll never have the chance to study it again. Forget it, it’s just a sword. Maybe I can uncover its secrets from the Ming dynasty compass so why be hasty? It’s more important to save our people.’ Xia Lei gave up on studying it and he put the sword of Attila away.
The freighter suddenly sounded an alarm.
‘Is it the CIA?’ Xia Lei’s heart sank. He hurriedly exited the cabin and went up on deck.
Long Bing, Tang Bo-Chuan and some Bureau 101 agents were on deck. Long Bing and Tang Bo-Chuan were using telescopes to watch two rapidly approaching Korean naval police boats.
Xia Lei’s eye saw it all more clearly than they. The police boats were two large vessels of at least 3,000 tonnes.
The vessels were quick and travelling at close to 18 knots. With their speed they would catch up to the freighter in about ten minutes since it was travelling at barely ten knots.
A Bureau 101 agent walked over with a communicator. “Section Chief Long, they’re requesting to speak to the captain.”
“Give it to me.” Long Bing took the communicator from the agent.
A voice speaking Chinese came from the device. “We are the Korean Naval Police. We suspect that you have illegal contraband on your ship. Please anchor your vessel for inspection immediately.”
Long Bing spoke icily, “These are international waters. You have no right to do this.”
“Your charts are wrong. These are South Korean waters and we have the right to board for investigation. I repeat, anchor your vessel. We have the right to open fire on you.” The voice on the communicator was laced with threat and arrogance.
Long Bing stopped talking for a bit. She then spoke abruptly into the communicator, “Go home and eat your kimchi.”
“What did you say? You’re dead!” The Korean Naval man on the line was enraged. “Drop anchor or we fire on you!”
Long Bing could not be bothered to talk to him anymore. She casually threw the communicator to the Bureau 101 agent.
Xia Lei wrinkled his brows. “These are obviously international waters. These Korean Naval Police are being too much, aren’t they? Will they really fire on us if we don’t stop the ship?”
Long Bing glared at Xia Lei with challenge in her eyes. “You scared?”
She seemed to be challenging Xia Lei intentionally or otherwise ever since they were closed up in that container truck for four hours, as if trying to get something back.
Xia Lei put on an attitude of indifference. “Am I? I’m good with water. I’ll swim if it comes down to it.”
A faint smile appeared in the corners of Long Bing’s mouth. “Don’t worry. I did say that we have a backup plan. Those Korean Naval Police can scare our little fishermen, but us? Not a chance.”
Tang Bo-Chuan folded his arms and said softly, “Wait and see, Xia Bro.”
The situation before them was rather dire but Long Bing and Tang Bo-Chuan both looked like they had a card up their sleeve and were not the least bit worried about the two Korean Naval Police boats catching up to them. Xia Lei was curious about the plan they had but he couldn’t guess what it was.
The Korean vessels came closer and closer and they could even see the Naval Police standing on deck.
Xia Lei did not see the people in plainclothes but he was sure that CIA agents were hidden in the midst of the Korean Naval Police. It looked like they were going to catch up soon but there was no movement on his side so far; Xia Lei begun to feel rather nervous.
Bang bang bang! A Korean Naval Police officer shot into the sky as a last warning.
At that moment, some great movement came from under the water next to the freighter. A huge black thing came out of the water.
“That’s… a Chinese submarine!”
“We’ve been targeted on radar!”
“Shit! Turn around!”
Panic reigned onboard the Korean vessel.
The black submarine showed itself for a bit, then submerged itself again. It was a submarine after all and its battlefield was underwater. Submerged, it was a greater threat than above water.
So this was the backup plan Long Bing and Tang Bo-Chuan meant.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. He hadn’t expected such a large backup plan.
The two Korean Naval Police vessels left quickly, fleeing quicker than they’d come. These were international waters after all and them firing at a Chinese freighter was already in violation of international law. If they really did exchange fire then the ones to be held accountable were them. It was entirely possible that they would’ve been treated as pirates even if they were the ones wiped out in an exchange of fire.
Long Bing walked towards the cabin and said to Xia Lei as she went past, “We shall have a proper talk when we get back.”
Xia Lei did not respond. He watched the two fleeing vessels in the distance. He was not going to bother trying to guess what Long Bing wanted to talk with him about.Previous Chapter Next Chapter