Chapter 431 - New Skill

Xia Lei had to weigh his words and choose them carefully for the report so he took almost an hour to write the report. He wrote about what had happened from the time he received the phone call from the doctor to the end of the fighting. He left out the part about being injected with anaesthetic and the part where he interrogated Ramsbigg. He would definitely not mention AE. He only wrote about Ramsbigg saying that Gu Kewen was a CIA spy and that Ahn Suhyeong had been involved in the targeted kidnapping of Shentu Tianyin. 

Ramsbigg was already dead and his subordinates too. The dead told no tales so some secrets were safe, for now. 

Ling Han and Shi Boren read Xia Lei’s report. 

“Damn it!” Shi Boren was angered. “The CIA is inciting a war! Are they belittling us Chinese? Good job killing them! That’s how it should be done! Come one, kill one - let’s see how arrogant they can get then!” 

China was a sovereign country so the CIA coming into her territory to kidnap someone was an act of war. Even regular citizens would be outraged at this, not just Shi Boren. 

“Director Shi, calm down. Those people are all dead. This matter will be handed to the higher-ups to handle. Let’s not voice any more opinions about it,” said Ling Han. 

Sho Boren snorted. “How are the higher-ups going to handle this? Looks to me like everyone will just pretend not to know about it. Even if we protest about this the Americans aren’t going to admit to the identities of those people. 

Xia Lei had been watching Shi Boren and Ling Han’s expressions. Fortunately, the two of them had not asked further questions about the contents of the report, saving him the trouble of explaining. From his perspective, this was something which was going to come to an end sooner or later anyway. He didn’t care how China was going to handle it or how America was going to take care of it. It was no use caring. 

Tang Yuyan walked in just then and said right away, “The latest intelligence - Gu Kewen disembarked in New York. Ahn Suhyeong also returned to South Korea last night.” 

“These two are suspicious!” Shi Boren’s expression was cold. 

“This matter shall be left at this. Capture Gu Kewen if she ever comes back. If Ahn Suhyeong re-enters China I want him under surveillance and we’ll decide on what to do with him then. What do you think of this, Director Shi? I’m just making a suggestion here,” said Ling Han. 

“What else can we do? The people who should die are dead. We don’t have any proof to get the Koreans to hand him over either. This matter ends here for now. We’ll get Gu Kewen and Ahn Suhyeong to pay if we get the chance!” said Shi Boren. 

“Good,” said Ling Han. “Xia Lei, get yourself ready to go to Jerusalem.” 

“When?” asked Xia Lei.

“The sooner the better,” said Ling Han. “Hurry up and tie up what loose ends you have. Best to leave in the next three days.” 

“So quick?” Xia Lei pretended to look surprised and troubled. 

“We know you’re very busy but this incident has already attracted America’s attention. We need to get the item that’s in Jerusalem back to China as soon as possible,” said Ling Han. 

“All right, three days,” said Xia Lei. 

“That’s that then. I’ll make a move first. I wish you a safe journey, and a quick return.” Ling Han left Shi Boren’s office with these words. 

Shi Boren looked at Tang Yuyan. “Yuyan, you get ready too.” 

“I don’t have much to prepare. I can be mobilised anytime,” said Tang Yuyan. 

Long Bing stared straight at Xia Lei, then winked. 

Xia Lei smiled wryly and forced himself to say, “Boss Shi, two people aren’t enough, right? Jerusalem’s a mess and Israel’s Mossad and the Palestinian Hamas are not anything to sneeze at. I’d like Long Bing to come with us. Is that… possible?” 

Shi Boren gave Xia Lei a look then looked at Long Bing. 

Long Bing then glared at Xia Lei and said, “Really, you sure know how to find busy-work for me. You don’t even dare to go to Jerusalem without me. I’m not your nanny.” 

Xia Lei looked woodenly at Long Bing; he was at a loss for words. She had requested him to ask Shi Boren to include her in the mission and she was saying this now, when he did as she asked? Women were so unreasonable sometimes!

“Stop the act.” Shi Boren waved his hand. “You three all go.” 

Long Bing smiled. “All right, then I’ll go to Jerusalem.” 

Shi Boren glared at Long Bing. “Trying to act innocent after getting your way? You’re becoming more and more disobedient.” He looked at Xia Lei next and said meaningfully, “You, Boy. You’ve taken the two most beautiful female employees in Bureau 101. I’m not going to say anything about it but you have to focus on official matters. Let me remind you that I’ll beat you up if you fail to bring the items back!” 

Xia Lei was speechless. 

Xia Lei left Bureau 101 and went to Thunder Horse Military Factory. 

He was going to Jerusalem in three days, so he had to make his preparations in these three days. 

Jerusalem was the epicentre of Palestinian-Israeli conflict and he would have to deal with Israel’s Mossad and the militant Hamas. What worried him most was still the CIA. Israel was an ally of the United States in the Middle East and they shared intelligence. There would be practically no obstacle to the CIA when they operated in Jerusalem. 

So it was a must for him to bring the realistic mask his father had given him for this mission to Jerusalem. Weapons, too. He was going to bring his modified XL2500 sniper rifle and the assault rifle he had made himself. 

The only problem was how he was going to explain how he had acquired the mask to Long Bing and Tang Yuyan. He thought and he thought and he thought to find a solution. 

He analysed the material composition of the mask and searched for some mask-making methods on the internet. Once he was done with these preparations he carved a mould and bought silica gel and other materials, then made a mask himself. This was all fine work, and needed close attention, but it was as easy as pie to Xia Lei with his ungodly learning capacity. 

His original aim in doing this was to explain the origins of the mask he had and avoid suspicion by Tang Yuyan and Long Bing, but he found that the mask he made himself was better than the original. This was, of course, due to his eye. The mask he made was supremely detailed, practically a real face. Plus, his left eye let him see the minute changes in the material during the process of making it, letting him make the appropriate changes and get closer to perfection. 

Once he had his surprisingly good results, Xia Lei threw the mask his father had given him into the fire without hesitation, destroying it. Why? Simple. He had a better one so why use the one that’s worse? Plus, he wasn’t going to be able to explain where he’d gotten the first mask from. 

He put on the mask he made and looked at himself in the mirror. Xia Lei found that he looked like a whole other person. The him in the mirror was an Asian man in his early thirties, tanned and plain-looking. He looked like a labourer at first glance. 

‘I wonder how Annina and Qin Xiang would react if they saw me,’ thought Xia Lei. He was curious. 

He left his workshop and went to Annina’s office. 

Annina had her head buried in work in the office. She was already looking into the design on the production line for the assault rifle. According to Xia Lei’s plan, the assault rifle was going to go into production when the orders received for the XL2500 reached 70% completion. Thunder Horse Military Factory was going to have a load of new orders at that time. 

Xia Lei appeared in the doorway and knocked on the door. 

Annina glanced up at Xia Lei. “Who’re you looking for?” 

Xia Lei did not speak. He walked in.

Annina wrinkled her brows. “Which workshop are you from? What are you doing?” 

Xia Lei changed his voice and spoke quietly with an evil smile on his face. “Let’s play, girlie.” 

“Perv!” Annina reached out to snatch up the phone on the desk, prepared to call security. 

Xia Lei was faster. He pressed the phone down, not letting her call anyone. 

Annina suddenly let a punch fly at Xia Lei’s eyes. 

Xia Lei moved his head and easily dodged Annina’s punch. He then grabbed her wrist and pulled her into his embrace. Annina opened her mouth and bit his hand, and Xia Lei hurriedly let go. Annina suddenly swung her leg and kicked viciously at Xia Lei’s crotch. 

Xia Lei hopped backwards and avoided that kick, then laughed. “It’s me.” 

Annina paused, opening her mouth in shock. She spoke after a while. “Lukas…? It’s you?” 

Xia Lei reached out and pulled off his mask. There was a smug smile on his face. “Looks like you didn’t recognise me. It’s a great success.” 

Annina took the mask from Xia Lei’s hands and turned it over, then said in praise, “It’s so detailed. Even I was fooled. Is this what you were working on in the workshop the past two days?” 

Xia Lei nodded. “I’ll take it with me to Jerusalem.” 

“You’re going to Jerusalem?” Annina was surprised. 

“Nn, you’d better not ask. I’ll be leaving the factory in your and Qin Xiang’s care,” said Xia Lei. 

“I know. You must have some new mission. I won’t ask further.” She smiled. “But you have to make me a mask like this too. Hm, I want to become Marilyn Monroe, oh! And Rihanna!” 

Xia Lei felt a headache coming on. “All right, I’ll help transform you into Marilyn Monroe when I get back. And Rihanna.” 

“Then…” Annina paused, then said in a small voice, “Can you be with me tonight?” 

Xia Lei was silent for a bit, but he still said it. “Annina, I’m already engaged. We… we can’t be like we were before.” 

It was fine for him to play around when he was single but he was engaged to Shentu Tianyin now. A man should have a man’s morals and responsibilities. If he maintained this vague relationship with Annina, then what sort of man was he? He would not be able to face Shentu Tianyin if he did that. 

These words were hurtful but they had to be said sooner or later. 

Annina’s eyes filled with hurt but she struggled to form a smile on her lips. She shrugged, and said in pretend nonchalance, “You’re a good man. You could just keep our relationship a secret but you didn’t. I know it’s because you won’t be able to face your future wife. All right, I respect your decision.” 

Women of the West were strong and independent, and were able to let go more easily than their Eastern counterparts. A woman of the East would probably have already started the waterworks and ‘great show’ at this point. 

“Annina, I…” Xia Lei was ashamed. 

“No need to apologise. You didn’t do anything to feel sorry for. It was me who initiated it. You’ve accompanied me through a wonderful time and I’m content. I am grateful to you too,” said Annina. 

Xia Lei was silent. “I’ll help you realise your dream. For sure.” 

“Nn. Give me a hug,” said Annina with a smile. 

Xia Lei held her in his arms. There was no awkwardness, and he felt like a rock had been lifted off his heart. 

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