The mountain roads were twisting but an armoured personnel carrier equipped with heavy guns zoomed over the surface of these roads. Dozens of off-road vehicles followed closely behind it, whizzing over the mountain roads.
In the sky, a military helicopter with shells equipped hovered at low altitude, surveying the surroundings as it went past.
Who would dare to get in their way? Who would dare to mess with them?
This was the Special Forces team that the higher-ups had sent. 60 Special Forces soldiers, one Colonel. They were to go with Xia Lei to Thunder Horse Military Factory, and to guard those two pieces of alloy and the bronze book. Xia Lei wouldn’t have to worry about anyone coming to steal these items with these people there to guard them - unless the person attempting to steal it didn’t want his life anymore.
Outside the window, the skies were blue, the mountains were green, the leaves were red and the scenery mesmerising. Xia Lei’s gaze, however, was fixed on a chair opposite him. A woman so beautiful one could hardly believe she was real sat on that chair, looking quietly back at him.
She was Princess Yongmei and she was naked.
Xia Lei half-suspected that he had destroyed her clothes in that ancient burial site, and that was why she was naked now. He had no way of confirming what sort of existence she was now, and whether she was sentient, but these did not seem to stop him from admiring her beauty and nosebleed-inducing sexiness.
Long Bing reached out a hand and waved it in front of Xia Lei’s eyes. “What are you looking at? You’re staring.”
Xia Lei came back to his senses and gave a laugh. “Nothing, just thinking of stuff.”
“Thinking of how to solve the mystery of the alloy and the bronze book?” guessed Long Bing.
“Yep.” Xia Lei was glad she thought that way. “This is quite a troublesome matter. I wouldn’t have agreed to this task if it weren’t for you.”
Long Bing lifted a corner of her mouth in a smirk. “Yeah, right. I’m not the type of woman to be tricked easily. Men who lied to me have mostly ended up in the hospital.”
“And that’s why you haven’t had a boyfriend till now,” said Xia Lei with a laugh. “You should act dumb a little and let men lie a little to you, coddle you.”
Long Bing gave Xia Lei a look. She held off for about ten seconds, then suddenly stomped on the back of Xia Lei’s leg.
Xia Lei held in his cry of pain. He changed the topic, “Let me ask you something, Long Bing.”
“You think there are ghosts on this Earth?”
“What made you think of asking me a childish question like this?”
“I’m just asking. Just tell me what you think,” said Xia Lei.
“I think ghosts don’t exist in this world. If there are ghosts then people like you and me will have uncountable ghosts hanging onto us every night,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei paused. He knew what she meant - they were both people who had their hands soaked in blood. If there really were ghosts, then wouldn’t those they killed come back to haunt them? His gaze went back to Princess Yongmei. If she was not a ghost, then what was she?
“You’re not thinking of researching the alloy and bronze book from the ghost angle, are you?” Long Bing looked oddly at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei quirked one corner of his mouth. “Didn’t I say I was just asking? Why link it to researching the alloy and the bronze book? I did graduate from high school, you know? I can be considered an intellectual too, yeah?”
Long Bing sputtered with laughter. “You’d better not say such things in front of Ling Han and those Scholars. They’ll laugh at you.”
“Aren’t you laughing at me now?” Xia Lei didn’t actually mind it. He just wanted to divert Long Bing’s attention.
“Oh, right, did Tang Yuyan come looking for you recently?”
Xia Lei shook his head. “Nope. I’ve been busy and I had my mobile phone off for a lot of the time. I’ve only just passed my busy stage today but you came along. And I was thinking about a holiday too… Right, why ask?”
“Just asking,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. His gaze returned to Princess Yongmei.
Just then, Princess Yongmei suddenly smiled at him and she was instantly so very, very charming…
Back in Thunder Horse Military Factory, Xia Lei arranged for the laboratory to be moved to the basement of the villa. This would reduce the chances of being seen by others and also reduce the amount of surveillance the Special Forces would put on him. More importantly, the basement had a safe that he had personally modified, and he felt more assured when he put the items in there.
The two pieces of alloy and the bronze book were delivered to the basement.
The Colonel of the Special Forces, Wu Xiaoguo shook hands with Xia Lei after the handover was complete. He then cut straight to the chase, “Mr Xia, this basement will be guarded round the clock from now on. You can order my men to leave when you are working but you must have my people watching when you are putting the items away. Additionally, no one else is allowed to get close to the villa other than you.”
“No, no, no, there’s someone else. Her name’s Annina. She’s actually living here in this villa. She’s entirely okay. I can vouch for her and take responsibility for all her actions.”
Wu Xiaoguo was silent for a bit before saying, “All right, then she is included. There can be no third person.”
“There’s no one else. The soldiers can use the first floor of the villa, and they can have meals at the cafeteria too,” said Xia Lei.
“Thank you. I hope we work well together.” Wu Xiaoguo ended their conversation.
Just Long Bing and Xia Lei were left in the basement after Wu Xiaoguo took his men with him and left. Them and the safe with the two pieces of alloy and the bronze book in it. There was also a very special existence - Princess Yongmei, Zhu Xuanyue. Too bad Xia Lei was the only one in this world who could see her.
Long Bing looked around at the workstation and some machining tools in the basement and she wrinkled her brows. “There’s nothing here. I really wonder how you’re going to start your research.”
“No need to worry about that. I have my ways. All right, I have to get to work now. You should go. It’ll be dangerous if you stay.”
Long Bing hesitated, then said, “All right, I’ll go ask about the progress in Jerusalem. I’ll give you a call if there’s any news.”
Xia Lei watched Long Bing leave. He opened the safe only after she had disappeared from sight. He took out the two pieces of alloy and the bronze book and placed them on his worktable.
He stood before the worktable and looked closely at the alloy and book.
Princess Yongmei drew close too and stood shoulder to shoulder with him, staring straight at the items on the worktable.
“I remember your face,” said Princess Yongmei.
“Okay, okay, I know. You remember my face.” Xia Lei gave Princess Yongmei a look of distaste. “What the heck are you? Is there some meaning in you following me around like this?”
“I’ve waited for you for so very long.”
“I’m going to piss. Are you going to follow me too?” Xia Lei walked towards the bathroom and actually did pull his zipper down after entering. He got ready to pee.
Princess Yongmei appeared soundlessly next to him. Her voice was attractive as she said, “I remember your face.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
He did not pull his equipment out to pee; he could not, not with Princess Yongmei watching. If going to the bathroom was like this, then he could not imagine what it would be like if she floated about his bed while he slept. He also could not imagine the sort of life he would have to lead if Princess Yongmei were to be right next to him all the time.
The first thing he had to solve was not the mysteries of the alloy and the bronze book but the problem of Princess Yongmei’s stalking.
Xia Lei wracked his brains back at the worktable and finally called forth the power of his left eye to use his X-ray vision on the piece of alloy he had not looked at yet.
The terrifying and strange feeling enveloped him again when his gaze met that piece of ancient alloy. He felt like his entire being had been sucked into a dark and cold icehouse. He could not see anything and could not hear anything - the whole world seemed to have died, including himself.
After two minutes, Xia Lei’s vision went back to normal. He was covered in cold sweat. He looked about himself and found that Princess Yongmei had disappeared.
“Where are you?” Xia Lei tried calling for her but he received no reply.
If he could see while he was using his X-ray vision on the alloy, he would have seen what had happened. But everything during that process had been one of darkness to him and he had seen nothing. Of course he didn’t know why Princess Yongmei had disappeared.
After a pause, Xia Lei used his X-ray vision again on that same piece of alloy.
His vision entered a dark void again, and it felt like he had been plunged into an icehouse of absolute darkness. This was his third time experiencing this feeling but his heart was still full of terror and awe.
Then something strange happened.
Princess Yongmei appeared again when his vision returned to normal. Her nakedness was so breathtakingly beautiful. She looked at Xia Lei with a quiet smile on her lips.
This was her second time smiling. A smile like that made Xia Lei suspect that she was actually sentient.
Xia Lei’s gaze went to the two pieces of alloy and a bold idea formed in his head. ‘What if… it’s a box? And my X-ray vision is the key to opening this box? I open the box, and Princess Yongmei appears. I close the box and she goes back?’
This was quite a bold assumption but it seemed quite plausible.
“I remember your face,” said Princess Yongmei into Xia Lei’s ear.
“What else do you remember other than my face?” said Xia Lei in annoyance. He used his X-ray vision on the other piece of alloy.
Princess Yongmei had disappeared when his vision went back to normal.
He had a proven result now. The two pieces of alloy seemed to function as a ‘soul box’. Open it, and Princess Yongmei would appear. Close it, and Princess Yongmei was sealed away.
Xia Lei did not release Princess Yongmei again after he sealed her away. He wouldn’t mind letting her out if she could help him solve the mysteries of the alloy and the bronze book, or talk normally with him. But she could only say two lines, so letting her out was unnecessary. Besides, it was just too creepy to have her stalking him.
‘If all the alloy parts were gathered and put together, would they form a box? And if I use my ability to unlock that complete box, would I be releasing the complete Princess Yongmei?’ An even bolder idea popped into Xia Lei’s head.
This hypothesis of his could not be proven; not yet.Previous Chapter Next Chapter