Ahn Suhyeong was calm in the interrogation room; no trace of panic.
“I’ve already said it clearly. Kidnapping? Does a person like me need to kidnap someone?” Ahn Suhyeong spoke in a frank and self-assured manner. “Officer, the accusations you speak of have nothing to do with me. That aside, I would like to make a call. I have to inform my father and ask him to get me my lawyers. This is my right, so please allow it.”
Ahn Suhyeong spoke politely but his words were tough. He was sending a message: My father is a very important person in South Korea, so you can’t do anything to me easily!
The agent interrogating Ahn Suhyeong slammed his hand on the table. “The law treats everyone equally. You committed a serious crime - your father won’t be able to help you even if he came personally.”
Ahn Suhyeong shrugged. “I’m just stating my legal rights. There’s no need to threaten me, is there?”
“Who did?” The agent interrogating him was getting a headache.
The interrogation went on but Xia Lei lost interest. He looked back at Shi Boren and asked, “Boss Shi, would we have to release him?”
Shi Boren was quiet for a bit before answering, “I don’t know what the final solution is going to be either. It’s up to the higher-ups to decide if this person is to be punished or let go.”
Anger flared in Xia Lei’s heart. Ahn Suhyeong had instructed Ahn Sujun to harm his sister and used Lu Sheng as bait to get him and Long Bing to rescue him. If he didn’t have a special body and this resistance to the anaesthetic gas, then Long Bing and himself would not be standing here now. The result would be Long Bing getting violated by those Korean bodyguards and then killed, and Lu Sheng would not survive either. And him - he would have been castrated and delivered to the hands of the CIA to become a lab rat, a life worse than death. And they still had to wait for the decision of the higher-ups when so much wrong had been done to them!
“Isn’t everyone equal before the law?” Xia Lei said as he held his anger in check.
Shi Boren smiled wryly. “Xia Lei, I know you’re not comfortable with this but let me tell you that this is just a pretty line for the masses, even in countries touted as the most lawful like America and Germany. Isn’t your German friend Annina a great example? She did nothing wrong but she is someone the German intelligence and CIA want to capture. She would probably be in Guantanamo Bay now if we hadn’t rescued her.”
Tang Yuyan interrupted to say, “Hackles down, Xia Lei. Don’t bother about this anymore; you can’t do anything about it anyway.”
Tang Bochuan added, “Ahn Suhyeong broke our laws here, so there surely has to be some conditions for his release. The higher-ups might use this incident to make a fuss and get us benefits we need. If a small little Ahn Suhyeong can get the support of a Korean political party and make South Korea lean towards our favour, then this is worth it.”
No wonder he was the tactical planner of Bureau 101. It was the same problem but Tang Bochuan had a different way of looking at it, and his way of reading the situation was also different.
Xia Lei smiled wryly but did not say anything. Tang Bochuan’s words gave him a deeper understanding but he was still uncomfortable.
“You guys go back,” said Shi Boren. “Don’t involve yourselves.”
Long Bing let out a ‘humph’. “Let’s go drinking, Xia Lei.”
Xia Lei followed Long Bing out. He took two steps, then looked back at the glass wall, thinking, ‘This is not over.’
“Xia Lei,” said Tang Yuyan, “My dad says the thing you asked him to help with has some results.”
Xia Lei’s heart thumped. He looked back at her. “What are the results?”
“I don’t know. You go ask him. He’s on leave and will be home tomorrow,” said Tang Yuyan.
“Then I’ll go to your place to visit Uncle Tang tomorrow,” said Xia Lei.
Tang Yuyan smiled. “Sure. Buy more gifts.”
Xia Lei was about to say ‘yes’ when Long Bing grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the exit.
Tang Bochuan sighed. “Aw, Chief Long is against it.”
“It’s just her temper. Let her go. It’ll be fine in two days,” said Shi Boren.
Outside the Bureau 101 headquarters, the skies were thick with darkness and the roads empty of vehicles and people; it was quiet. Xia Lei went to get his car but Long Bing stopped him. “No driving. Walk with me.”
“Aren’t we going drinking?” asked Xia Lei.
“Forget it. Bars are noisy. Just walk with me,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei nodded and walked with her along the pedestrian walkway. The street lamps were bright and several moths danced about them tirelessly. Long Bing looked up at the street lamps occasionally, at those fluttering moths, and seemed rather pensive.
Xia Lei had never seen her like this before, and he grew worried. “What are you thinking about?”
Long Bing let out a soft sigh. “Say, do you think we’re like those moths?”
Xia Lei paused, then laughed and said, “I think I should accompany you to the hospital.”
Long Bing smacked him lightly on the chest with a fist, frowning. “Be serious. I rarely reflect on life like this and you’re joking around.”
The Ice Queen of Bureau 101 can reflect on life? It really was a rare moment. Xia Lei smothered his smile and put on a serious face. “Then tell me, how are we like these moths?”
Xia Lei paused. He abruptly understood why she had made such a strange metaphor.
Long Bing spoke gloomily, “It is my honour to be part of Bureau 101, to ensure the safety of the nation, to uphold the dignity of the law. This is also my mission and I don’t mind giving up my life for this mission either. But now, we clearly have the criminal in our hands so why is he not being punished? If our mission failed we would probably have died. This is the result after we risked our lives. So tell me, how are our existences different from these moths? Ramming our heads till they bleed, till we burn in the flames of the lamp. No one will remember us.”
Xia Lei spoke consolingly, “Don’t mull over it too much. This is politics. I can let go of it even though I want Ahn Suhyeong punished the most. You should let it go too. If I were one of the higher-ups in charge of this case I would use Ahn Suhyeong to do a trade for something beneficial to the nation too.”
“You’ve already thought it through?” Long Bing stopped in her tracks and looked at Xia Lei, face-to-face.
“I’m not entirely comfortable with it, but I can understand why the higher-ups are doing this,” said Xia Lei.
“All right, I’m not going to think about this anymore.”
“It’s good that you’re fine now. It’s nothing much anyway - if that punk gets released there are many ways to deal with him too,” said Xia Lei, “Next time I won’t get him arrested. I’ll use my own methods to solve the problem.”
“Hm…” Long Bing hesitated, then said, “Can you lend me your shoulder for a bit?”
Xia Lei paused. “What for?”
“Are you lending it to me or not?”
“Do you feel like crying?” Xia Lei nodded. “Then lean on my shoulder and cry. It’ll all be better after you cry it all out.”
Long Bing leaned into Xia Lei’s embrace and put her chin on his shoulder; she was quiet.
Xia Lei patted her waist. “Cry if you want, don’t hold back. There’s no one here. I won’t make fun of you.”
“Nn…” Long Bing opened her mouth and suddenly bit Xia Lei on the shoulder.
“Argh!” Xia Lei had not expected that at all and was startled into a shout of pain.
Long Bing let go of Xia Lei and a smile appeared on her lips. “Okay, I feel much better now.”
Xia Lei at his bitten shoulder, his face gloomy. “Why bite me?”
Long Bing laughed. “Who was the one who conned me, saying urine can help dissipate the effects of anaesthetic gas. And you also saw my… that.”
So that was why.
The image of her white bottom surfaced in Xia Lei’s head again - big, round, and that trickling sound… The pain in his shoulder disappeared mysteriously and a wicked smile appeared in the corners of his mouth. “What part of yours did I see?”
“Lend me your shoulder again then.” Long Bing drew close to Xia Lei again.
Xia Lei quickly dodged. “Are you a snapping turtle? Get away!”
Long Bing came chasing. The quiet, deserted road became their mock battleground. Long Bing was no longer a match for Xia Lei at his current skill level but he was on the losing end in this sort of fight from the beginning. Long Bing could use her hands and hit him on the chest but he could not hit her chest with his hands now, could he?
A phone call brought their fight to a stop.
The call was for Long Bing. Xia Lei stood to one side and watched her take the call.
“We’re outside, not far away. What is it?” said Long Bing.
‘Is the call from Shi Boren? Did something new develop in Ahn Suhyeong’s case? It can’t be so quick, can it?’ thought Xia Lei.
“Okay, I’ll be right there.” Long Bing ended the call.
“Was that Boss Shi?” asked Xia Lei.
Long Bing nodded. “It was Boss Shi. It’s an emergency situation.”
“Does it involve Ahn Suhyeong?”
“No, it’s about that group of experts.”
Xia Lei’s heart thumped. “What’s happened?”
“Boss Shi said that one of the experts went mad. The situation’s dangerous,” said Long Bing.
“Mad?” Xia Lei was astonished.
“That’s what Boss Shi said. He didn’t go into details either. I don’t really know the situation over there so I’ll have to go over to know what’s going on. You go back. I have work to do,” said Long Bing.
“Wait,” said Xia Lei, “Can you take me with you?”
“Boss Shi didn’t say you could go,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei paused, uncomfortable. “Looks like Boss Shi doesn’t see me as one of you. You go. I’ll go home to sleep. Go on with whatever mission of yours, and don’t look for me anymore.”
“Don’t be like that,” said Long Bing, “I’ll give Boss Shi a call and talk to him to let you go have a look. Besides those experts and those items were what you had risked your life to bring back to China.”
Xia Lei did not say anything; he waited for her to make the call.
That’s right - those experts and items were that he had risked his life to bring back from Afghanistan. Not letting him to have even a look at what he had brought back was like abandoning one’s benefactor after achieving one’s goal, wasn’t it? If this was the case then he would be a fool as big as the moon if he still did tasks for Bureau 101 after this.
Long Bing walked to one side to give Shi Boren a call. She talked for quite a few minutes, seemingly doing her best to get approval for Xia Lei to join her.
Xia Lei was waiting anxiously too. ‘If Boss Shi doesn’t allow this then I’ll have to find some way to contact Ning Jing. I can only hope to understand the secrets of that alloy through her…’ thought Xia Lei.
Long Bing put her phone away. “Let’s go, you punk. You’re like a child, throwing a tantrum when you can’t go.”
Xia Lei grinned. “I’ll go get my car.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter