Sunlight spilled across the paths, every ray dancing like a sprite between the trees, off the water and on people.
“Chieftain, did you sprain your ankle? You’re walking funny.” A woman with a gun across her back greeted Szlamy with a smirk.
“Uh, yeah, I accidentally sprained my foot.” Szlamy blushed.
“Chieftain, you pulled the muscles of some other foot too, didn’t you?”
“You’re dead!” Szlamy flipped out.
“Hahaha…” The group of women laughed.
A little girl ran over with a look of concern on her face. “Big Sister Szlamy, you cried for a long time last time. Does it hurt?”
Szlamy’s face grew redder. She glared at the child but couldn’t bear to scold her; she was so embarrassed she could die.
The women roared with laughter again.
They had not dared to joke with Dayetia like this when she was chieftain but Szlamy was different. Szlamy was the tribe’s most precious child and many of the women had watched her grow up, and this was why they dared to joke around with her.
Xia Lei naturally became a target of their jokes too and the women teased him mercilessly, saying everything that could be said. He didn’t like this sort of teasing but he didn’t mind and wasn’t angry. He felt that the women of the tribe were simply acting true to their nature and it was nice.
A short while later, Xia Lei and Szlamy rode on their horses to the City of the White Horse of Tomorrow, accompanied by some female warriors. Xia Lei did not need to build a hydropower station to get the permission to excavate after getting rid of the problem of Dayetia. He had actually got the permission that morning at breakfast in exchange for a sweet potato.
The horses cantered between the trees, through mist dissipating under the sun.
“The equipment will arrive in a few days. I’ll be able to build a hydropower station then,” said Xia Lei loudly. He wanted the warriors accompanying Szlamy to hear him. “I’m also prepared to invest in your tribe, and you can all have prosperous days.”
“Will we be able to eat mutton every day?” asked a warrior.
Xia Lei laughed. “Of course. Not just that - you can have beef, flour and grains too.”
“Wow! Can I have some sanitary napkins too?”
Xia Lei nearly fell off his horse.
“Xia, you’ve already done so much to help us get the sword of Attila back. We cannot keep taking your money,” said Szlamy to Xia Lei.
Xia Lei gave a laugh. “I’m not spending it for nothing. You have to pay me back. I plan to build a modern plant cultivation farm, a farm and sanitation building too. I also plan to build a handicrafts factory here. You can produce traditional handicrafts and I’ll take you guys to have them sold. We split the profits. How about that?”
How much could traditional handicrafts sell for? He did not care about this little bit of money but he did not want Szlamy and the people here to feel like they were receiving charity.
“Great!” Szlamy was not a delicate woman and she didn’t think so much about it. Xia Lei’s plans filled her with anticipation. “Can we exchange it for guns when we get money? We’re lacking guns and ammunition.”
“Yeah, exchange money for guns. We will be bullied by the other tribes if we don’t have guns and ammunition. We need to protect our territory, our people. We need better guns, and better ammunition,” said a female warrior.
Xia Lei thought for a bit and said, “Why wait? I’ll make a phone call when I’m back tonight and get them to deliver some weapons and ammunition too when they airdrop the equipment.”
“Really? That’s awesome!” Szlamy was so excited she squealed.
The other warrior women were excited too and their eyes filled with respect when they looked at Xia Lei. He had brought their sacred relic back and become their chieftain’s man. He was also going to build a hydropower station, farms, fields, even sending them weapons and ammunition. He was undoubtedly an integral part of the tribe now.
When they got to the ruins, Xia Lei whispered in Szlamy’s ear and she arranged to have the accompanying warriors wait outside while she led Xia Lei in herself.
Xia Lei had asked for this arrangement, of course. He did not want anyone to know what he was looking for. Szlamy was, of course, an exception. It went without saying that Szlamy was trustworthy, and she was also rather easy to dupe into doing something so he didn’t mind her tagging along in the treasure hunt.
This was also another adorable aspect of the baby-faced H-cup Szlamy.
Xia Lei took out the Ming dynasty compass when they entered the ruins and walked in the direction it pointed to. This was his first time using the compass and he was shocked. It had no complicated systems or electrical components and not even any satellite support but it could follow his every footstep and adjust itself to point in the right direction from beginning to end. It didn’t point north like a normal compass; it was more magically exquisite than that.
“It’s like a compass. I didn’t see that before.” Szlamy looked curious.
Xia Lei spoke casually, “It’s not a magnetic compass. It’s an ancient compass which points me to where treasure is hidden. We’ll be able to find treasure with this.”
“I like it,” said Szlamy. This was rather out of character for her.
Xia Lei smiled. “What do you like it for?”
“We’re together because of it. I know that you wouldn’t have sneaked into my house if it weren’t for it.” Szlamy seemed to be still smarting over that incident and wanted to throw a little tantrum at him.
Xia Lei reached out to put his arms around her little waist and he laughed as he said, “Don’t be angry. Be a good girl and I’ll bathe you tonight.”
“Hee hee..” Szlamy giggled foolishly. “You look like an upright guy but you’re actually a wicked, wicked man.”
Xia Lei’s arms left her waist as he smacked her on her perky buttocks. The smack rang out and the buttocks of the baby-faced H-cup Szlamy rippled as the smack echoed in the empty ruins; it was wonderful.
Szlamy rolled her eyes at Xia Lei, then skipped towards a rock.
“Why are you going there?” asked Xia Lei curiously.
“To relieve myself. No peeking.” Szlamy squatted behind the rock.
Xia Lei looked at her wordlessly and at the rock which was only a foot tall. He couldn’t help thinking, ‘Why doesn’t she go find a bigger rock? That small thing… and telling me not to peek? Is she kidding me?’
The sunlight was shining and there were stones in the grass, as well as white legs. This was the site of an ancient and sacred ruin but there was no ominous air here; it was natural, beautiful and seductive. It had the elegant air of art.
“No peeking!” Szlamy shouted, her baby-face red.
Xia Lei shrugged and turned around.
“Ah! Snake!” screamed Szlamy.
Xia Lei rushed over to her, saying anxiously, “Where? Where?”
“Hahaha… Fooled you!”
Xia Lei abruptly recalled Dayetia saying that Szlamy was an expert at catching snakes and liked to put them in people’s beds. He’d forgotten this in his moment of panic.
“No peeking! Shameless man!”
The corners of Xia Lei’s mouth turned up. He lifted a leg and kicked her gently on her bare bottom.
Szlamy ripped up grass and threw it at Xia Lei.
They passed through some stone ruins and came to the centre of the City of the White Horse of Tomorrow. Before them was a large stretch of stone and some incomplete statues. It spanned the area of over a thousand square metres and it was easy to imagine how majestic it had been though it was just pieces of stone now.
The image of the map in the book surfaced in Xia Lei’s head and he quickly marked it down. The ruins before him was the palace. He looked at the compass in his hand again. The needle was still pointing east.
“I’m not trying to discourage you or anything but countless treasure hunters have come here before you. They brought all sorts of weird machines and tools for treasure hunting but found nothing and they became our slaves in the end. We went digging too but found nothing. That compass in your hand - what can it find?” Szlamy was not optimistic at all.
Xia Lei said nothing. He held the compass and kept walking east. The needle trembled when he walked 20 metres forward and he adjusted himself left, right, backward. The needle was still again when he went out of the area and pointed only in that direction. He then returned to his previous position and the compass needle started trembling again.
Xia Lei looked closely at the ground below him and his brows wrinkled. The foundation of the palace was below his feet and it was covered with huge slabs of rock floor tiles, with a large amount of stone and rubble atop it. There was at least 1,000 cubic metric measurements of rock, surface and underground included. This was going to be a lot of work.
“Discovered something?” Szlamy drew close and looked curiously at the compass in Xia Lei’s hand.
“I’m not sure yet. Help me get the shovel, drill and tools from the horses. I’ll get ready to dig here,” said Xia Lei.
Xia Lei had the tools prepared in advance for treasure hunting and had them on his horse.
“I’ll get them for you now.” Szlamy turned and ran off to where they’d tied their horses.
Xia Lei took out the satellite phone and made a call as soon as Szlamy left.
“Boss Shi, I found it.” Xia Lei cut straight to the chase. “But there’s a lot of rock on top of it and I don’t know how deep we’ll need to dig. This is a big job. I’m afraid I’ll need more time.”
“Hurry. It’s not safe for you there,” came Shi Bo-Ren’s voice. “What do you need? We’re all ready here in Pakistan. We can air-drop it to you tomorrow night at the earliest.”
“Please note down what I need, Boss Shi,” said Xia Lei.
“No problem. Speak.”
“A generator for a small hydropower station, a hundred rifles, 100,000 rounds of ammunition, ten sniper rifles…”
“Hold on, what do you need so many weapons and ammunition for?”
“This is what the White Hun Tribe wants. Would they allow us to excavate their ancient ruins without these?”
“All right, I’ll give it to them. What else?”
“Tools for excavation - I want them compact and the most advanced, best if I can use it by myself. Plus, prepare 2,000,000 US dollars in cash. Send it via air-drop too.”
“Rest assured, Boss Shi. I’ll pick up the tab for the money. I’ll pay, not Bureau 101.”
“No problem, then.”
“Okay, I’ll contact you again.” Xia Lei hung up.
Szlamy ran towards him with a shovel and a drill in her hands. Her breasts swayed as she ran and made one fill with worry that her bosom would fall at any moment due to their weight.
“I’m back!” called Szlamy with the shovel raised.
She tripped over a stone a second later and she flew through the air before landing heavily on the ground. Her chest was the first part of her body to hit the ground.
Xia Lei couldn’t bear to look. He held his hands over his eyes.Previous Chapter Next Chapter