The two boxes of gold coins and valuables were all moved back to the tribe. The tribe was in celebration - slaughtering pigs and goats, singing and dancing. The tribe had no concept of a ‘God of Fortune’ but everyone saw Xia Lei as a bringer of good fortune. His arrival in the tribe pulled over 10,000 out of poverty and turned it into a place of prosperity. 2,000,000 US dollars, a large number of gold coins, jade, porcelain, artifacts - these were beyond the wildest dreams of the women who lived by depending on the sale of goats.
Everyone was in celebration but a person who should have been happy was shedding tears.
“You’re leaving?” In the house, Szlamy looked at Xia Lei with tears in her eyes. “Why?”
Xia Lei put his arms around her shoulders and said gently, “I have to go. If the Americans know I’m here they will come to try and capture me.”
“I’ll kill them if they dare set foot here!” said Szlamy emotionally, “You gave us a bunch of advanced weapons, right? We have the ability to protect you!”
Xia Lei smiled wryly and shook his head. “How can your tribe stop the advancement of the American troops? Their planes can just fly by overhead and drop a few bombs to turn the whole place into a sea of fire.”
“But I don’t want you to go!” Szlamy hugged Xia Lei tight around the waist, afraid that he would just leave all of a sudden.
“Silly girl. It’s not like I won’t come back.” Xia Lei poked her affectionately on the nose. “I’ll still come back after I’ve settled things back home. Didn’t I tell you that I want to invest in your tribe? I’m going to build farms here.”
“Liar.” Szlamy did not buy it. “It’s difficult for you to come here and the Americans also want to capture you. What happens if they catch you when you come to see me?”
Xia Lei had no words for a reply. It would be difficult to fulfil a promise of return. Afghanistan was practically American territory and it was much too dangerous for him to come here but he could not find anything else to console Szlamy with other than this promise.
His time with Szlamy had been filled with happiness, and some aching waist and weak legs. It was already difficult for him to give up on their intimacy; he was also sad and suffering a little.
“I don’t want you to go. I won’t see you again if you go.” Szlamy hugged him even tighter, sensing that he was not going to ever return.
Xia Lei suddenly thought of something and a small smile appeared on his lips. “How about this - you can come to China to look for me when you miss me. If it’s too far for you we can meet in Pakistan. I can buy property in Islamabad and we can rendezvous there.”
This was like getting a golden house to keep one’s mistress. It was definitely much easier for him to fly to Pakistan than to Afghanistan and he could go any time. Peshawar seemed closer but Bureau 101’s intelligence station was there and he did not want them to find out about their rendezvous.
“Sounds good. If you buy property in Islamabad then I can sell my goats there.” Szlamy seemed to be imagining herself opening a shop to sell goats and a smile appeared on her face.
Szlamy was easy to please and Xia Lei liked this about her the most.
“Never mind, let’s get down to business.” Szlamy peeled herself off Xia Lei and giggled. “We’re going to be up all night.”
“Huh?” Xia Lei’s jaw almost dropped to the floor. A great ache could be felt in his waist, as if his kidneys had become stale radishes.
Szlamy pushed him down, and her baby-face went down on him…
She had her own boundless magic, and even an earthworm would become a lively snake under her spell.
It was dark outside but the Chieftain’s house was full of spring and warm white snow…
Their all-nighter included several goodbye positions, and nothing was better than this. It was just… Xia Lei fell off the back of his horse after being assisted in mounting the next day.
The next morning, Peshawar military base.
The helicopter was not back yet but Shi Bo-Ren, Long Bing, Tang Yu-Yan and Tang Bo-Chuan were already waiting on the tarmac. Behind them stood a large group of Bureau 101 agents with guns ready, their expressions cold. Other than the people from Bureau 101, Peshawar had a large number of soldiers involved in guarding and protecting too. More than a dozen fighter planes from China were on standby in the airport; the pilots were even sitting in their cockpits, ready to fly out to attack at any moment.
This setup was because what Xia Lei was bringing back was just too important. They could not afford to make any mistakes.
“How much longer?” Tang Yu-Yan said a little worriedly, “Did he meet some danger on the way?”
Shi Bo-Ren wrinkled his brows. “Our satellites have locked on to that area. Our fighter planes will fly out immediately if any flying targets get close to the plane that Xia Lei is on. We’ve already prepared till this degree so what are you worried about?”
Tang Yu-Yan laughed at him. “I’m just worried about the thing that Xia Lei is bringing back.”
Tang Bo-Chuan leaned on Tang Yu-Yan and said teasingly, “Hey, little sister. You’re not worried about that punk, are you?”
Tang Yu-Yan glared at him. “What kind of elder brother are you? I’ll tell Grandfather!”
“Haha.” Tang Bo-Chuan laughed, “Speaking of Grandfather, I recall him saying that he would accept Xia Lei as his Last Disciple if he manages to save you.”
“What?” A strange expression bloomed on Tang Yu-Yan’s face. “If Grandfather takes Xia Lei in as his Last Disciple, then won’t he become our martial-uncle? This hierarchy… No. I won’t agree to it.”
Tang Bo-Chuan shrugged. “I think it’s weird to call him our Disciple-Uncle too but no one can stop Grandfather from making this decision.”
Long Bing quirked her lips. “I think it’s good. If you two have to call him Uncle later, then I get to be higher up in the hierarchy too.”
Long Bing realised her mistake after she spoke and quickly shut up.
Tang Bo-Chuan followed it with teasing. “Oh, really? When will we get to drink your wedding wine, hmm? Disciple-Aunt?”
Long Bing’s face turned red and she glared fiercely at Tang Bo-Chuan. “I didn’t mean it that way!”
“Yeah, Old Long? Then what do you mean?” Tang Yu-Yan’s tone of voice was a little strange.
“I…” Long Bing was the worst at retorts.
Shi Bo-Ren coughed. “You guys, be serious. What’s all this jibber-jabber? You can run ten laps around the airport if you’re bored.”
The three young people shut their mouths.
A military helicopter appeared on the horizon, approaching speedily.
“He’s back!” cried Tang Yu-Yan excitedly.
Long Bing glanced at her through the corner of her eye and the corners of her mouth turned faintly upwards.
The helicopter landed a few minutes later on the tarmac. Xia Lei jumped out of the helicopter and walked over to Shi Bo-Ren and the others.
“The things?” Shi Bo-Ren asked eagerly as he approached.
Xia Lei removed his backpack and opened it, then took out a cloth bag from inside. He handed the cloth bag to Shi Bo-Ren. There was an even bigger cloth bag in his backpack which filled almost half of it.
“What’s in that cloth bag?” asked Shi Bo-Ren curiously.
Xia Lei opened the big cloth bag. It held dried mutton, dried beef and some other things with unpronounceable names. “These are souvenirs which Chieftain Szlamy of the White Hun Tribe gave me. Want a piece?”
“You can keep them.” Shi Bo-Ren was not interested in dried mutton or beef. He glanced at the contents of the big cloth bag and opened the small cloth bag to check what was inside.
The big cloth bag held precious jade and gems he had taken from Princess Yong-Mei’s coffin, and were the most valuable of all the burial items in the tomb. Xia Lei had spent millions of US dollars for this mission and been plunged into danger after danger, risking his life. Of course he was going to get something for himself.
He was actually not afraid of Shi Bo-Ren or Long Bing and the others finding out that he had kept these things. He could say he wanted compensation. It was just that it was best if he could just not tell them and skip the trouble.
Tang Yu-Yan, Tang Bo-Chuan and Long Bing drew close to look at the things in Shi Bo-Ren’s hands - the compass, pointer-needle, the green alloy, and some gold coins and small jade items, as well as the ancient book Xia Lei had borrowed from Szlamy.
“Just these?” Shi Bo-Ren looked at Xia Lei.
“Of course not. It was the tomb of a princess of the Ming dynasty. There were also two boxes of gold coins, a large number of porcelain, jade and ancient artifacts.” He laughed. “But you can’t expect me to take all of that from the White Hun Tribe, right? I brought only the most important things, and the rest are all the White Hun Tribe’s. Honestly, it wasn’t easy for me to bring even this much back. It’s their sacred ruins after all.”
“You did well.” Shi Bo-Ren gave him a rare smile. “Those things are just money to us anyway and we don’t need that. It’s enough that you’ve brought back the important things. You have contributed much to the nation. I shall put in a good word for you to the higher ups when we get back and show you some appreciation for your efforts.”
Xia Lei smiled. “Well, thanks Boss Shi.”
Tang Bo-Chuan came over and patted Xia Lei on the shoulder. “Come with me on a trip to Sichuan when we’re back. I’ll take you to see my grandfather.”
“Sure. I’d like to visit Grandfather Tang too.” Xia Lei agreed easily. He wouldn’t miss the opportunity to learn Tang techniques.
“Where’s my gun?” Tang Yu-Yan walked over. She had not seen the sniper rifle that Xia Lei had modified for her.
“I gave it as a gift to Szlamy,” said Xia Lei.
Tang Yu-Yan pursed her lips. “You treat her so well.”
Xia Lei laughed as he said, “I could complete the mission thanks to her. You know the previous chieftain, Dayetia? She was not friendly to us and was actually planning on selling me out to the Americans… Forget it. Let’s not talk about the past. It’s just a sniper rifle, okay? I’ll just modify another one for you when we’re back in China.”
“Two.” Tang Bo-Chuan stared at Xia Lei, his eyes alight. “Don’t forget me.”
Xia Lei laughed and nodded. “No problem.”
Long Bing went to Xia Lei and said just one line. “Good that you’re back.”
Xia Lei looked at her and smiled as he nodded again. They sometimes didn’t need any words between them.
Shi Bo-Ren put the items away. “All right, let’s get to Islamabad and back to China via charter plane.”
Xia Lei would buy some property in Islamabad to make it more convenient for him and Szlamy to meet. Flying over a few times a year for a holiday or something was going to be enjoyable too. He was not going to tell anyone about something like this, of course.
For some inexplicable reason, Xia Lei felt a great ache in his waist when he thought of the baby-faced H-cup Szlamy, and he felt a cotton-soft weakness in his knees.
Was this some sort of ‘Szlamy Syndrome’?Previous Chapter Next Chapter